Progress: I has it!

Hey all! Time for a long-overdue check-in as to what’s been going on.

1. First, and most importantly, I’ve finished the first draft of The Song of Forgotten Stars, book iv: The Savior Worlds. Huzzah!!!

THE DRAFT IS DONE!!! #amwriting #writersofinstagram #sciencefiction #spaceopera #forgottenstars #ahhh #huzzah #woot

If you’re wondering, the manuscript wound up just shy of 194,000 words. I aim for cutting at least ten percent of the book’s length at each round of edits, which means that I’ll be striving for a ballpark figure of around 160,000 words for the final draft. But that’s getting ahead of things, as my practice is to set aside drafts for at least several months upon completion before I start the first round of edits.

As to when we might expect a release of The Savior Worlds, I’m guessing sometime in 2020.

2. I had planned to have The Chilling Killing Wind out in the world by now, but I was postponed by my focus on finishing the Forgotten Stars IV draft, and by Amazon’s decision to finally make CreateSpace a part of Kindle Direct Publishing. This is now complete, so I plan to resume work on that front.

3. I continue to write for The Geekiverse, although I haven’t had anything up in a few weeks because of, again, my focus on the Savior Worlds draft. I’m hoping to return there next week, though. See what you’ve missed by me, here!

4. Finally, check it out: I got FAN ART! Wil Meade, who is the son of a fine fellow named Sean Meade who provides highly valuable editing and proofreading services (seriously, my books would be freakishly messy if not for his eyes), actually sketched my trio of Forgotten Stars heroines: Princess Tariana, Princess Margeth, and Lieutenant Rasharri. What I love most about this is how he captures Tariana’s cheerful “Gosh whiz!” optimism and Margeth’s “Oh, would you stop already!” practicality. Check it out!

That’s about all I have going on right now. More updates to come, though! Onward and upward! Zap! Pow!!

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Of NaNoWriMo, and other delights

Goodness, I’ve really let this site go fallow, haven’t I? Over three months of radio silence here. That’s not because of any bad developments or anything like that; just that I’ve been plugging along with writing and not really saying much here. I should change that, I think.

But anyway, here’s what’s going on:

  1. I’ve been prepping a lot for NaNoWriMo 2017. For the uninitiated, that’s National Novel Writing Month, set for November when writers the world over, amateurs and professionals and folks in the middle like me alike, all commit to attempting to produce 50,000 words of something in a single month. This will be my sixth year of participation, and I am greatly hoping to post a “win” this year. There’s no shame in not hitting the 50K mark, but I made it both of my first two years and then missed the mark three years in a row. 2015 was a special case, as my writing time for the month was greatly impacted by our six-day trip to New York City for Thanksgiving that year, and 2016…well, let’s just say that certain events in the world that began unfolding in November last year sent me into a massive slump.
  2. Oh, and my project for NaNoWriMo? I’m starting Book IV of The Song of Forgotten Stars, titled The Savior Worlds. I haven’t done any new work in that series in a long time and I’m itching to move onto the next phase of the story. To that end I’ve been planning and…outlining. Yes, outlining. Me, the pantser-to-rule-them-all. Well, if Forgotten Stars is one big story, then the first three books have told the first act. Now I’m entering Act II of the BIG STORY, and as such, I need to have a better idea of what the BIG STORY entails. Hence, planning.
  3. That being the case, I’ve temporarily shelved the project I was working on, Orion’s Huntress, the all-female Firefly-meets-James Bond-in-space thing that I’ve been working on. I have a lot of notes and material put together on that book, so when I return to it, I shouldn’t have too much difficulty getting back into its swing.
  4. Also, I’ve started preparing The Chilling Killing Wind for publication, hopefully to come in December (but, more likely, January). I’ll keep you all posted…including when I put up some sample chapters!
  5. On the subject of NaNoWriMo itself, my usual advice stands, which you can read here. I wouldn’t add much at all to this, except to reiterate: Have fun! NaNoWriMo shouldn’t feel like pressure.

See you around the galaxy, and I promise to check in more frequently!

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FINALLY!!!

At long, long last, the ebooks of AMONGST THE STARS are available!

Kindle
Nook

I do apologize for how long this took. This book’s formatting was quite the hassle in terms of getting it all to render correctly in e-book form. Scrivener is a fantastic piece of software, but the “compiling” part of the job is ZERO fun. In fairness, I’m not really sure how they could make it any better than it is, and there is always some aspect to ANY job that is the pits.

(If you MUST know, this book eschews numbered chapters in favor of “viewpoint” chapters, with each chapter headed by the name of the character whose viewpoint we are now in. If you’ve read George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, you know how this works. Getting all that to compile correctly, without Scrivener adding chapter numbers, and generating a proper table of contents, was a HUGE pain. But I got it figured out in the end! And I wonder about people who compile even more complex works, in terms of structure within Scrivener where you can have entirely separate scenes to compile into chapters and then into parts and then into novels…yikes!)

But there we have it. The ebooks are here! Huzzah!!

And there will be another announcement toward the end of next week, so hold on to your hats!

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AMONGST THE STARS COVER REVEAL!!!

It’s here! At long, long last, it’s here: the cover for Amongst the Stars, otherwise known as The Song of Forgotten Stars, book III.

IT'S MY FRONT COVER YOU GUYS!!! #amwriting #ForgottenStars #AmongstTheStars #sciencefiction #spaceopera #soon

Here is the back cover copy:

ANNNNNND, the back-cover copy! I wrote the HELL out of this book, folks. I can't wait for it to be out there! #amwriting #ForgottenStars #AmongstTheStars #sciencefiction #spaceopera #soon

If that’s hard to read, never fear:

Penda Rasharri has heard the call of the stars ever since she first gazed upon the night sky. She hears them still, even after her home world’s tragic destruction and her search in a thousand different skies for a place to call her own. Even now, after being stranded for two years on the planet Xonareth with her young companions, Princesses Tariana and Margeth Osono of Gavinar Five, the stars still call to her.

Now, as the Xonarethi rebuild their cities and look themselves to the stars, Penda and the Princesses wonder if it’s time to renew their search for a way home. But partisans of Xonareth’s former King are driving the planet toward civil war, and unbeknownst to all, a mysterious spaceship — only the second in ten thousand years — is approaching the planet.

Continuing the tale begun in STARDANCER and THE WISDOMFOLD PATH, AMONGST THE STARS is a story of belonging and finding one’s way, of the promise of the future and the persistence of the past, of homecomings and departures…and of one starpilot’s search for the place she truly belongs.

What’s next? Well, I just got my proof copy of the book in the mail the other day, so I still have to make one last pass through the physical copy to correct any lingering errors that I can find. THEN, I’ll announce an actual release date, which will be in May. As has been my usual approach, I’ll be publishing the paperback first, with the e-book to come two or three weeks later.

But between now and then, I won’t be leaving you hanging: the traditional sample chapters will be on the way! Tune in next Tuesday for Chapter One! I will also soon be finalizing plans for offering signed copies of my books through this site (a much-overdue thing) and a policy for offering free copies to reviewers.

It’s almost here, folks! I’m excited!

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Yikes!!!

I can’t believe I’ve gone close to four months without posting here. The time has not been wasted, folks — but I have really fallen behind on some things.

BUT, I am indeed making progress! The long-promised Amongst the Stars is in the pipeline, and I hope to have it out sometime quite soon. I’m not promising a date, but…soon. As in, no later than Memorial Day, and likely before that, once I iron out the last bits of design and get my proof copies.

For now, here’s a little teaser of the cover!

Rasharri's Eyes

More details as they come! I’m picking up the pace now! Onward and upward! Zap! Pow!!

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Looking ahead: setting goals for the rest of 2016 and into 2017!

As we head into the final third of 2016, it’s worth looking ahead, both to the conclusion of this year but into the next. So here’s what I hope to get done over the next sixteen months and change!

via GIPHY

:: Publish Amongst the Stars (The Song of Forgotten Stars, book III). This is a no-brainer. This book has to get out there! I hope readers will enjoy what’s in store for Tariana, Margeth, Lt. Rasharri, and their friends this time out. The series does not end with this book, but we do reach the end of the larger story’s first act.

Sadly, there will almost certainly not be a Forgotten Stars book in 2017. I haven’t even started drafting Forgotten Stars IV (although I do have some notes and some ideas for what happens in it), and I’m not sure how soon I’ll be getting there.

:: NaNoWriMo: my project this year will be my new space opera series! I’ve been doing a lot of background work and brainstorming for this one, since it’ll be a more character-driven series and more episodic in nature than the Forgotten Stars books. I’ll also be writing in a more adult tone for this one, which I’m looking forward to doing.

:: Signed copies of all existing books. This is something I’ve meant to do ever since I released Stardancer, and I’m frustrated that I haven’t got there yet. I really truly mean to do it soon! Hopefully in the next few months, once I get a chance to restock my supply of my own books. Stay tuned for details, but if you’ve ever wanted a signed copy of one of my books, you’ll soon be able to have precisely that.

:: Publish GhostCop and start editing its sequel. I had originally planned to get GhostCop out this year, but I decided to push it to 2017, because otherwise I wasn’t sure if I’d have anything ready for release next year, and I don’t want to go more than an entire year without anything coming out. Since I’m not sure when the next Forgotten Stars book will be on the docket, this looks to be my best bet.

As for the sequel? As of this writing I am now wrestling with that book’s climax and I have high hopes for making my deadline to finish the first draft by August 31. Yay! After that, I will let the manuscript lie fallow until March 1, 2017, at the earliest. (I am a staunch believer in letting manuscripts sit for a long time before attempting edits.)

:: Lighthouse Boy. Ahhh, now here’s a bit of a problem: I’m still not sure where I’m going with this one. The problem is the structure of the entire project: it’s one large book, kinda-sorta split in two. (The framing device is that the book is a autobiographical manuscript left behind by Our Hero later in life, which has just been found in two parts by an academic dude who leaves annotations and stuff all over the manuscript.)

So while I have the first draft of the first half done, I’m waffling currently on whether I write the second part and then edit the entire thing en masse, or edit the first part and then write the second. For various reasons, I’m leaning toward the former – mainly because if I need to change anything in Part One to reflect and/or anticipate the events of Part Two, I can’t do that if I’ve already edited and released the first one.

I am also really considering serializing this book, once it’s done, on Wattpad prior to publishing the entire thing, or maybe as a series of chapbooks. We’ll see. In any event, if I go the way I’m leaning, I won’t start drafting Book Two of Lighthouse Boy until some time next year, and then return to Forgotten Stars after that.

:: Attend local cons! I need to do more of this. Buffalo Comic-Con is coming up in September, and I’ll be in attendance, albeit as a ticket-buying fan. But I’ll be there, sizing things up and hopefully doing some interacting. Next year, once I have four books out, I’d love to be able to set up a dealer table of my own. We’ll see.

Locally, there are a surprising number of cons right now. Buffalo Comic-Con has been growing for several years, and this year it was joined by a new one, Nickel City Con, which was just held last weekend but next year apparently shifts to May. There are also UBCon and EerieCon, neither of which I’ve yet attended. (I can’t attend EerieCon this year because its dates coincide with an annual getaway trip The Wife and I take every year.) I do wonder if the Buffalo con scene is getting a little oversaturated, but as long as they all exist, I’ll try to attend as many as I can.

:: Short fiction. I’ve been thinking that it might be time to start writing some short fiction again. Right now I don’t really have any ideas ready to go, but that’s never a problem. I can walk down the street and spot ideas to write. What would I do with short fiction? I’m not sure. If nothing else, I can post it all on Wattpad, which I’ve already started doing with some of my older stories.

So there are some of my “stretch goals” for the next year-and-change. Will I make them all? Maybe, maybe not…but I’m going to have a hell of a time trying! Onward and upward! Zap! Pow!

Because in my head I'm still twelve. #AmWriting #overalls

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DEE-YOU-ENN

I haven't been posting much because I'm THIS CLOSE to finishing the first draft of SEAFLAME, Book One. TODAY I FINISH WRITING THE THING, fellow writer-warriors!!! #amwriting

My intent has been to post here at least once a week, but obviously that hasn’t happened lately, and the reason is my usual one: I’ve been really focused on cranking out the words on SEAFLAME!, and guess what! Today I finished the first draft!

So…how did it come out in the end? Well:

It. Is. DONE. [thud] #amwriting

I’m not gonna lie, folks: while I gave myself permission to write a long book, mainly because I wanted to write a long book, I didn’t quite expect it to be this long! That’s a lot of words. It’s about 60,000 words longer than Stardancer‘s first draft, about 50,000 longer than The Wisdomfold Path‘s, and it’s about 30,000 longer than what was my longest book to date yet, Amongst the Stars. Plus, this is only the first book in a duology, and I plan to take a break from this project before I draft Book II, so it’ll be a while before this book sees the light of day beyond my own eyes. Sorry, folks, that’s just the way of it. But I will say this: I think I’ve done some really nifty work here, if I do say so myself. Certainly there’s some very strong character writing, and I look forward to seeing how it’s received!

SEAFLAME! is my Dumas-inspired adventure novel, and it’s a “fantasy” by virtue of taking place in a completely imaginary world, and there is no magic in it at all. It was a lot of fun to write, and I’m really glad to have a draft complete, because this is a project that I’ve started three times already. Third time was the charm, though!

So what’s next? Ghostcop II (more on Ghostcop to come in the next few months), and then the first draft in a new space opera series (which will be set in the same universe as The Song of Forgotten Stars, but the stories won’t intersect), and then either SEAFLAME! Book Two or Forgotten Stars IV. I like having my work planned out way in advance. Almost makes me feel like a real writer!

Onward and upward! Zap! Pow! #AmWriting

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