One Down, Two Nearly There

Hello, all!

Having found a momentary respite between combined bouts of PhD and writing work, I figured I’d better share the latest on how the latter’s doing before being pulled back in. 😀

First up: The beta edits for Awakenings, the first book in my Cross & Flag series, are finished as of this past Friday (7/17), bringing new work on this project to a close (apart from a few possible dialogue tweaks I’m still debating), and the book to what I believe to be agent query-status! Given other writing and Outside World demands from now thru fall, it’ll be a while before I start sending out queries, but I’m nonetheless hopeful that this book (and maybe more of the series) will be on track for publication by the start of 2021. 

Second: The structural edits on my scifi novel Discarded wrapped up this previous week, and the draft is now in the copy-edit stage, one step closer to publication. No word yet on who my Unbound editor will be, or whether the current expected March 2021 release date has changed, although the first should be clear by next update!

Thirdly: With Awakenings done, and the second book, Trials, already in de facto beta-ready status, I’ve started what will hopefully be the last round of new work on the third book in the C&F series, Revelations. Given the work done thus far, and the outline edits  I’ve made in odd moments since the last round, there’s a very good chance this draft will be finished by the end of August, and ready to send to beta-readers. After that, it’s all new projects for the rest of the year, and probably well into Spring 2021…then the final round of C&F work, on the fourth and last book Reckonings!

Finally, my Alternate History novella Divided Worlds: An Alternate Space Race, is again on sale on Amazon Kindle, through next Friday (7/24). Grab a copy if you need to escape to another, non-COVID world for a while, or pass it on to someone who’s got the same urge. Other than that, stay hunkered down or masked, and I’ll see you all again next month!

Gearing Up Again…

Good afternoon, everyone!

After another long round of edits, world-building, PhD work and other Outside World demands, a small window of time has opened for this month’s update.

Starting off, I’m pleased to report that the first round of structural edits for my scifi novel Discarded is finished a ways ahead of schedule, and the draft is now in the hands of Gary Gibson, my editor through Unbound. The publication date remains uncertain (as so many things still are, thanks to COVID), but the next step in the editing process should happen by next month, at the latest.

Next, the cover design and beta read for my Alternate History novel Dixie Curtain (the sequel to my earlier novella, Dillinger in Charleston) are getting closer and closer to the finish line as of this post. Like Discarded, the release is still unclear, though I’m still aiming for the end of summer, or just before. In the meantime, with a planned round of work on other projects (including some on a planned sequel to DC) winding down at last, all writing muscles are now prepped for the biggest project yet of this year: Two months of edits and new work on my Cross & Flag series, starting on the Fourth. With luck (and with PhD work permitting), the final draft of Book 1, Awakenings, will be finished by the end of August, and ready to share with agents as my first step into mainstream publishing!

Lastly, my AH novel Red Delta is back on sale thru Fri (6/26) on Kindle. If you know of anyone with a taste for thriller or AH fiction, share the link, or pick up a copy for yourself; meantime, stay safe, and see you in July!

Ambling Along II

Good evening, all!

Though the COVID crap is still bringing on occasional bouts of “executive dysfunction”, I’m pleased to report these have subsided enough in recent days to allow for some progress on several projects.

Earlier this month (several weeks ahead of schedule, in fact), I put the finishing touches to the outline of a new Alternate History novella (working title: A Bright, Cold Day), centered on famous author George Orwell during his stint as a soldier in the Spanish Civil War. The draft work for this story won’t start until Fall, given other planned projects, but just working through the details (must-have and editable) has kept me from going completely off the deep end amid the (still-vital) social isolation.

Also, the structural edits on my crowdfund novel Discarded have begun in earnest; the editor chosen by Unbound, SF writer Gary Gibson, has sent me his first impressions and suggestions, and I am nearly finished selecting the sections most in need of editing or outright removal. It’s been entertaining in some ways, taking the story apart this way–though the prospect of redoing all the spots I’ve marked is keeping me from getting too hack-and-slash, so far 😀 . Current plan is to have these alterations done and sent on to Gary by the end of June, with extension to mid-July if Outside World demands require it. After that, it’s back to the editing table for any remaining issues, then off to the next stage of the Unbound publication process; I’ll keep you all in the loop on this, as usual!

Finally, my Alternate History novella is once more on sale on Amazon US and UK Kindle, starting today and lasting through Memorial Day (5/25)! Grab a copy if yours or a friend’s/family member’s isolation bookshelf is starting to seem a bit empty; meanwhile, be safe, and I’ll see you again in summer!

Yet Another One Down!

Happy Sunday, everybody!

If, like probably countless others (including yours truly), you’ve been afflicted with “executive dysfunction” (i.e. finding motivation for anything) on good days, and total temporal dislocation on the bad, this month’s mix of great and “meh” news will hopefully provide some kind of jolt. 😀

First, the great news: Though it came down to the eleventh hour (literally, it was past 11pm :D) the beta-ready draft of Dixie Curtain, my latest Alternate History novel, passed the finish line on March 31st, as planned! The draft is now in highly capable beta and proofread hands, and the edited version is currently expected around May 30, at the earliest. Cover art is also being put together by the stellar Donna B. Canavan; once the design’s nailed down, I’ll be sharing it on my FB page! Aiming for a publish date of early summer right now, end of June at the latest; any and all changes will of course be posted!

Now for the “meh” news. Given the COVID squeeze on all schedules these days, Unbound has decided to move Discarded, and all other digitally published projects expected in September or later, forward several months. Originally planned for February 2021, the final release date is now set for March, and may possibly change again in the intervening months, depending on how the COVID crisis plays out. On the bright side, Discarded is now in the developmental edit stage, meaning the most in-depth manuscript work is in progress. Fear not; the light at the end of the tunnel is farther away for this project than expected, but it’s still on the way!

Finally, for anyone looking for an AH or Hist. Fiction fix to help get through lockdown, Dillinger in Charleston and For State & Country will be going on sale in the last week of this month. Grab a copy, spread the word–and above all, stay safe!

Almost There…

Hello, once again!

Given the not-entirely-voluntary hermit’s existence we all seem to be headed towards thanks to COVID, suddenly there was enough time to take a breath and fill you in on the writing news of late!

My Alternate History project Dixie Curtain is within sight of the (beta-ready) finish line as of tonight, and getting closer by the day. The biggest hurdles (even more than dialogue, this time) are what I’ve come to call “bridging sections”: actions or descriptions that link two or more key events in the plot. Most often, at least in my experience, these are really mundane in terms of writing, on the order of “Character reached into his coat, taking out X”, or “Character looked around, trying to spot Y anywhere near her.” To the average reader, these might be almost unnoticeable; for a writer such as I’m still working out how to be, they’re the nuts and bolts to having a scene, chapter or entire draft make sense. I’ve cleared several of these hurdles in the scene I’m currently working on, so the flow is picking up again; still, there’s always another set waiting to pop up. Depending on how many are left in this draft, I expect to finish on or a little before the end of this month, as hoped/planned, then relax a bit before plunging into beta-reads and further edits–and the next round of outlining and research for new work, of course. 🙂

Also, my AH ebook Red Delta will be on sale on Kindle starting Friday (3/20) and lasting till the following Friday. A free period for Divided Worlds will be running through that time as well, for anyone who needs another bit of gratis reading to help pass the hours of isolation an increasing number of us are being pushed into. Feel free to share the links below, and stay safe however you can; hopefully by next month, we’ll be on track back to normal!

Slow Yet Steady II

Hello, all!

With the PhD demands lessening a bit for the moment, I have a short breathing space to bring you up to date on my various writing endeavors!

First: The final manuscript of my crowdfunded sci-fi novel Discarded has been submitted to Unbound, and I am currently awaiting the first editorial comments. Cover design work is also underway; according to the latest email, the first samples should be sent my way by the end of March, at the latest! Still not quite sure if the rest of the editing and publication process will take the 10-12 months described in Unbound’s FAQ, but I’ll keep you all in the loop as more details come down the pipeline!

Second: As of next week, I’ll have entered the editing/refinement stage of my dissertation writing–which, while still demanding and likely to last well into summer, leaves more time than I’d thought for the final new/edit work on Dixie Curtain. My wildest hope is to marathon-write next week and have all this done by the 29th, leaving March thru May for beta reading, edits, and Kindle publication. In all likelihood, it’ll take closer to my original estimated end-of-March finish–but there’s still a chance! In either case, I expect to have this project released before the start of summer.

Lastly, my Alternate History novella Obsidian & Steel will be back on sale starting tomorrow, and lasting through Mon (2/24). Grab a copy if you’re looking for a leap year gift, or just pass the word to any fiction-lovers you know! Other than this, keep on sharing and commenting, and I’ll see you in March!

“Discarded” FUNDED!

Good evening, everyone!

Biggest news for this first post of 2020, as the title says: After nearly 3 years of pledging and promotion, my sci-fi novel Discarded has at last reached 100% funded on Unbound.com! Next step (which, I freely admit, I sometimes didn’t think I would see) is submitting the manuscript to an assigned editor, and starting the long, arduous (yet still critical) edit work needed before this book is publish-worthy. Typical estimate for completing the writing process through Unbound is 10-12 months, so there may well be a release sometime around Xmas, and those of you who’ve pledged should have your copies and other rewards in the same period! Not that long ago, it would’ve felt anticlimactic, to wait so long and then wait some more on a project; guess I’m getting used (or resigned) to the idea 🙂 .

There’s plenty on the docket while waiting, though, so it shouldn’t be dull. Though the PhD defense has been moved to later in the year, the demands of dissertation writing still dominate every week, and probably will until the start of summer, with just a few gaps here and there for new/edit work on Dixie Curtain, my chosen draft for spring. I’ve already cleared a bunch of minor edits and closed several big gaps in this project, so the new material should still be done by late March, as planned–barring any collapses from dissertation exhaustion 🙂 . Apart from these two behemoth jobs, it’s all relaxing and catching up on the ever-lengthening reading list.

That’s it for news this month! Updates on Discarded will be posted on my FB and Twitter pages as any news comes in, like always; meanwhile, just pass the word along, and keep on sharing and reviewing!

Last Words (For 2019)…

Happy Holidays to all!

With another year soon to end, I wanted to check in here one final time with the latest (good) news, and give you all a sneak preview of the writing lineup for 2020!

First: After a final week of near-debilitating effort, my NaNoWriMo draft Murder in Utopia crossed the 50K word count finish line on 11/29! Within two days, however , a whole new set of plotlines and ideas came to mind, and (as has become almost typical by now), I ended up scrapping close to two-thirds of the story (Curse you, never-sleeping Inner Editor! 🙂 ). I’m building it back up to a comfortable stopping point of 25K right now, and expect to reach this by Sunday (12/22), at which point I’ll be sinking into a haze of reading and relaxation that will last through New Year’s–plenty of time to recharge for the next round of dissertation and fiction work.

I’ve worked out a (very) rough schedule for the latter; with my PhD defense planned for around the start of May, flexibility is an asset, to put it mildly 😀 . Edits and new work on Dixie Curtain will be first up in January, and expected to last through the end of March. While that draft’s going through beta reading, cover design, and the Kindle publication process later in the spring, I’ll be outlining for a new Alternate History draft centered on George Orwell, with writing expected to start in fall, and submission to Sea Lion Press for publication probably in winter. Summer will see outlining for an anthology of AH Civil War short stories that I’ve been bouncing around a while; for a nonfiction work centering on the role/impact of weather in certain major historical events (an attempt at serious history-writing, apart from my PhD 🙂 ); and edits/new work on Revelations, the third book in my Cross & Flag series. Gets a bit uncertain after that, but the sequel/bridging novel to Murder in Utopia is expected to be my selection for NaNoWriMo 2020. An ambitious schedule, yet hopefully nebulous enough to let me relax when needed, and not get too demoralized if anything falls through; we shall see!

Finally, if anybody’s looking for a Christmas or New Year’s gift, my AH work Red Delta is back on sale on Kindle starting today, and lasting till 12/26! Share the link below even if you’ve already read or gotten a copy, and consider leaving a review as well!

That’s all for 2019! Happy Holidays once again, and see you in the next decade! 😀

NANO 2019

Hello, everybody!

Given a rare lull today in the dissertation and NaNoWriMo work that’s combined to take over November, I seized the chance to post this month’s brief update 🙂 .

Nano’s going at a steady clip so far, with the 25K word count halfway point passed yesterday; if all goes well, the 50K finish line should be reached by the 29th or 30th! A Murder In Utopia is the working title for this murder mystery/fantasy draft; writing in either style has been…enlightening, to say the least, given how little of both I’ve done in the past 😀 . Here’s the synopsis from the NNWM site:

“The town of Utopia, Montana is a quiet little hamlet, with minimal connection to the outside world. Given that the outside world is going further downhill every day–rising crime and armed internal conflict, international resource wars, mass migrations, infrastructure collapse, floods, droughts, storms and famines galore thanks to climate change–the town’s citizens count themselves as lucky to have weathered what’s come their way so far, and hold onto a slim hope of doing so when and if the long-expected ‘tipping point’ comes.

“Then, one morning, a body is found near the edge of the town: Utopia’s first cold-blooded murder in over a century. Within days, another body turns up, with similar strange wounds and marks…then another. What appears to be a serial killer has taken up residence in town–and this may only be a sign of far worse to come.

“10-year FBI agent Thomas Barnes is used to long, solo assignments, often to the back of beyond. With the Bureau stretched to the breaking point by unrest and violence nationwide, he has been sent out more and more to catch killers on his own: a one-man profiling and apprehension team, with a long list of noteworthy captures. When the Utopia case comes his way, he sees it as just one more attempt to shore up even a tiny part of the country, before the whole of it–and the world–comes crashing down. But the case is far more bizarre than he or anybody else can possibly imagine…and ours isn’t the only world that may be in danger from it…”

Work on this project will probably continue till around Xmas; not sure how far I’ll be able to get once the Nano buzz wears off, but best guess is a bit past the midpoint. After that, it’ll be nothing but relaxing and detoxing from this latest bruising yet always enjoyable writing ride, through New Year’s…and then, of course, on to the next one!

Also, starting Friday (11/22), a new sale of my Alternate History works Obsidian & Steel, For State & Country, and Dillinger In Charleston will be launched on Amazon US and UK Kindle, lasting through Thanksgiving. If you, family or friends need a quick gift for that holiday, or an early one for Xmas, check out or share the links below!

Liftoff #6!

A good Saturday evening to all!

Best news first: As you can see from the link, after three long years of work, my Civil War Alternate History novel Kansas Troubles has been officially published by Sea Lion Press, and is now available in ebook form on Amazon Kindle! A paperback version is also in the works; I’ll post the link here and on my author pages when it’s finished. Special thanks are due to proofreader Ed Feery and director Tom Black at SLP, for their effort and patience in bringing this work to published status!

Though PhD work has taken up most of the past two months, I’ve managed to make decent strides in edits and world-building on several projects–most of all on my choice for this year’s NaNoWriMo! It’ll be a good step outside my usual genre(s): a combination of murder mystery and fantasy, serving as a prequel to a post-apocalyptic quartet, which in turn will link to another series that will be a blend of fantasy and Alternate History (a lot to keep straight, I know; I’ve gotten lost a couple times myself, but that’s part of the fun :D). No title has come together for the prequel draft, but the overarching theme for all the potential books is “Pangaea”, based on the supercontinent of the same name–and which, in the fantasy/AH series, will still exist in what we know as the late 15th century. I’ve nearly finished the world-build for the murder mystery/fantasy, and already have a good start on those for both main “Pangaea” series. It’ll be a while before I take a serious stab at the latter (until I have a better grasp of full-on fantasy writing, anyhow), but it will see the light of day, never fear!

That’s all for right now. Check out and comment on, share or review Kansas Troubles below, and feel free to do likewise with any of the other works on SLP’s site, or on my Kindle page. Red Delta and Divided Worlds are also on sale until late tomorrow night, so grab or share a copy of either if you haven’t already!

See you next month!