There will be two more books set in the same universe as Wide Open. I’m currently editing the second book, Deep Down, which I mentioned briefly in a previous update. Here’s a brief excerpt:
Ten minutes later, she turned onto the rough lane up to Pabby’s ranch house. Halfway up the lane there was a low spot that washed out every spring. Hallie dropped into second and the tail end of her pickup slid sideways along old ruts and morning-frosted grass. Then, the tires caught, the engine revved up half a note, and she moved on up the lane.
She drove around the final shallow curve to the main ranch house and stopped with the front of her pickup pointing toward the house. A skinny black dog slunk across the drive in front of her. It stopped when it reached the far side just short of a trio of scrub trees. A second dog, as skinny and lank as the first, settled next to it, tongue lolling and sharp teeth gleaming.
It was always parked in the same spot, had been there long enough that it had iced over, the ice had half-melted and it had iced over again so that the ice now looked permanent, like brittle armor. Boyd was the overnight deputy tonight and it was there as he drove down Main Street, the only car in a row of slant-front parking. A Toyota, twenty years old, maybe a bit more, a nice car when it was new, it still looked pretty good, nothing more than a little rust along the wheel wells. There was a web of spidering cracks in the back window on the passenger side, from a kicked-up stone or a hard stab with something pointed, not much yet, but as warm days and cold nights heated and cooled the glass, the cracks would spread.
I’m also occasionally working on a not-secret project with no specific due date or home. It’s YA, set in present-day Nebraska, about a shapeshifter who doesn’t know what his true shape is, who his family is, or how to live in a world where he looks different every time he looks in the mirror. So, finally, here’s a brief excerpt from that:
Today, I need to look sharp, like people should pay attention to me. I choose six feet tall, which is comfortable, dark hair cut short, a running back build—muscles but not too heavy. I sharpen the nose a little—aquiline, that’s what they call it. I make my lips fuller on top than bottom, cheekbones a little high, but not too prominent, and blue eyes. Girls go for blue eyes, the brighter, the better. You can only go so blue, though, or it starts to creep them out.
Atwater calls it the ‘uncanny valley,’ but I looked it up and uncanny valley means when something looks nearly human. People are more creeped out when something looks almost but not quite like a real person than they are by something that looks completely inhuman. Weird, right? Sometimes I wonder what people would do if I shifted into a wolf-man or an ape or a jaguar. Because I could do it. Or, I think I could do it. Atwater’s asked me not to experiment too far outside what we kind of call the Zone. “You don’t know how it would change you,” he says. “Everything you do, every shape you adopt, changes you.” That’s what he says.
I don’t want to be a monster.
Though I guess I kind of am.
I have some other stories in the draft or planning stages, but these are most likely the next three novels in what’s most likely the order of completion.
So many stories. So little time.