My current work in progress is a project rather nebulously labelled as 'Forest Brides', and I began working on it in 2009. That's not to say that I'm exactly dragging my feet, but I wrote the first story back then and had no intention of going any further with it. Sacrifices was meant to stand alone, a short story with nothing else attached (though it's more of a novelette, to be honest). It concerns a woman who's sacrificed to appease a god and the discovery that everything her culture believes about the deity is wrong.
The story grew out of a few ideas, including a sexual fantasy and the idea that if the world thinks you're dead then you know true freedom and can shape yourself as you choose. Slowly everything grew together, though, for a long time, it was too explicit and ended up needing a lot of editing to make it fit for purpose. Once I got the story fixed and believing at the time that it was a novella I sent it to Sam Stone to see if Telos Publishing could publish it, and she suggested writing a book of short stories to expand the world. That was back in about 2013, and as I have six short stories and two novellas, yeah I am dragging my feet (in my defence that's partly finding time to write, getting over my tendency to people please, and struggling with my mental health and feelings of worthlessness*). My current work is to write the final two novellas and to start on a novel trilogy.
I wanted to talk a bit about the world, and how I envisage it. This ties very much into my tastes in Fantasy, the fact that I have grown bored of a lot of the standard Tolkienesque worlds, and find a lot of the tropes dull. A lot of my writing heroes are the grubby types who wrote for pulp magazines, who gave us Sword and Sorcery, and I wanted to write that sort of thing, but with a focus on female characters and the roles women adopt during their lives. So the stories not only went out to tell tales but to conjure with ideas like women as psychopomps, or as mothers. The first novella story I wrote, Hyena, set out to flip the scenario over, to show the reader how the women in the forest looked to the outside world (as meddlers in the main).
I don't feel you can do that with fiction; if you have a dozen different sun gods, how is the reader to keep up, and it just makes it more likely that you'll confuse yourself. I'm sure there are some writers out there who do it anyway, explaining the different pantheons in the appendices, but I don't want to go down that route. As a result I've stuck with one sun goddess, one moon god and so on. They have varying names depending on the culture you're in, but other than that they're pretty consistent. After all, different pantheons isn't my focus, any more than being scientifically accurate is (and I don't feel it's my job as a writer to promote science, sorry).
Anyway, I should, I hope, have the novellas finished by the end of June, and am waiting to hear about a couple of the other pieces as I've sent them over to Sam (who sent them to her bloke as far as I know). Fingers crossed we're on and soon you'll be able to buy them with beautiful covers and so on.
*Plays tiny violin.