Well, after moving from one house to another in nine days, a lack of internet for two weeks and dealing with bitchy, unappreciative people... things have finally settled in after a fashion. Can't say I'm thrilled with the end result, but there's not a lot I can do right now.
On the writing front, Avarice has ground to a halt. The book is not dead, but it does appear to be in stasis right now. I feel like I'm repeating myself and the time has come to take a deep breath and push myself away from the project for a little while. There are some good elements in the book, but it feels like everything is about to crash in a very nasty collision. Might not be a bad thing for some books, but it doesn't feel right. I'm still going over the text every now and again, looking for clues that might help. Will it be done? Yes. Will it have a 2011 release date still? I'm hoping, though early 2012 might be more realistic. Avarice will be released, though. I still like the book, but the dense cast number and the overlapping storylines has made it a more challenging book than Coercion.
While all of that is going on, I am working on a shorter novel. More of a straight-up mystery set in Oak Villa. I suppose there is some inspiration to be found from Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series, but it isn't a pastiche or anything. This book is going in its own direction and pieces of the story have been floating in my mind for a while now. The book is about eighty pages right now and is moving at a solid clip (knock on wood). I suppose it helps that the story will be told entirely from the perspectives of two of my minor characters from Coercion, Jason Redman and Amy Hollins. I imagine the book will be around 250 pages or so and in terms of setting it will be set between Coercion and Avarice, with events of the former playing a role on some level (more emotionally than plot-wise) on the characters to give the universe some connectivity and the impression that actions from prior stories will turn up again and again. The book's working title is Contract.
As for artwork on Coercion, I should have word on that soon. If it goes well, I imagine I will use the same artist for Contract and Avarice for the sake of continuity. Make them like those mass-market paperbacks where there is a unifying theme.
All of this, as always, is in a state of constant flux. I do hope to get a review from the two bloggers I sent Coercion to. That would be nice. With any luck I'll have a new cover by then.