August is always an odd month for me. Most years, I’m doing everything I can to finish the book that’s due to be released in November. This year, I was supposed to be doing that and taking a victory lap after releasing my new series starter over the summer.
I know, I know… I can hear you ask: “What new series starter? Did I miss a release? Am I on the Naughty List now?”
And the answer to all of that is (a) I’ll get to that in a second, (b) no, you did not, and (c) almost definitely, if I know my readers.
The Release That Wasn’t
As some of you may have already discovered1, I did not release a new series starter this summer. In fact, I didn’t release anything. My glorious plans for global conquest went off the rails in an outcome everyone but me saw coming. It turns out that writing a new book/world can be difficult when trying to sell a house, build a house, and rent a third house for the interim months.
It’s even more difficult when both the economy and the real estate market decide to go belly-up in as soon as your house is marked for sale.
Three months later, and I have nothing to show for all that lost time. We ended up withdrawing from our build contract and pulling our current home off the market. I also had to finally accept that my second attempt at the new series starter, while vastly superior to the first attempt, was still going nowhere fast.
So… no new series starter this year. I’m still excited about the story I want to tell, but it’s going to be a 2023 sort of thing.
The Release That Might Be
Where does that leave things? Well, currently we’re dealing with Covid after a trip and celebration for my angel-wife’s birthday last week. But before that, I had switched gears to the book I promised for November, the stand-alone post-Break “Her Majesty”2 novel, which takes place some time after the epilogue of One Tin Soldier. Between said vacation and illness, I haven’t gotten as much work done as I would have preferred, but I’m 15k words in now, and things are going smoothly.
Oddly, my biggest recurring issue is that, because the novelette featuring Her Majesty was written in present tense, I find that same tense keeps sneaking into the novel that I’m trying to write in past tense. Very odd. I do like Her Majesty as a character and I’m enjoying getting to delve into her mindset and personality in a way that I couldn’t in The Storm in Her Smile 3.
To meet a November release date, I need to finish drafting by late September–mid-September would be better for my poor, sainted alpha and beta readers–and the initial version will need to be solid. So, we’ll have to see how it goes. Regardless, it feels good to be making progress at last!
Side note: as too often happens, once I switched to working on this book, I figured out some possible solutions to the problems I was encountering with the new series starter. It’s annoying, but hopefully, that means I’ll be in good shape to jump on that book when I can.
The News That… is News?
Somewhere in the middle of all this chaos, I recorded an interview for The Merry Writer podcast. I do not do well with that sort of thing4, and don’t remember much of what I said, but Rachel and Ari were great sports throughout. We had a fun discussion about authors and how/why we should talk about our writing5. I’m not sure when the interview will be posted on YouTube6, but will post a link when it’s available. (Assuming I don’t sound like a complete moron, that is7.)
While I hesitate to even mention schedules, considering what 2022 has turned into, my goal remains to have the Her Majesty novel out this year, followed by a free short story detailing some of the unseen events8 in One Tin Soldier. Next year, we’ll have book five in The Many Travails of John Smith, the new series starter9, and the first book in a new post-Break trilogy that will be set a year or two after the Her Majesty novel10.
What I’m Reading…
My biggest issue with these blog posts is that they’re always about me. I’d like to change that by sharing some love for other authors’ books each month. This month, I wanted to give a shout out to a whole series: The Ripple System, by Kyle Kirrin.
These books belong to a subgenre called VR LitRPGs, wherein the protagonist is essentially partaking in an MMO. In general, I prefer outright fantasy books, even when they have rpg or cultivation elements, but this series is really quite clever, and often genuinely hilarious. And Frank is both ridiculous and ridiculously awesome.
Here is the blurb for book 1:
Corporate flameout Ned Altimer dreams of leaving his world behind. So when Earthblood Online splashes onto the VRMMO scene, he dives in and never looks back.
His advantages are twofold: exclusive access to the game’s three-day Head Start period, and a ridiculously handsome talking axe named Frank who has knowledge of the game’s deepest secrets…if the magnificent Frank ever feels like sharing them.
But those advantages also make Ned a target. Once the Head Start period ends, his fellow players will stop at nothing to rip that suave, violent-yet-disarmingly-charismatic axe right out of his hands.
In seventy-two hours, the greatest manhunt in gaming history is set to begin.
It’s gonna be a lot of fun.
The series is free to read on Kindle Unlimited, and the third book just launched this past week. If it sounds like something you might be interested in, check it out!
And that’s it from me this month. Happy August, stay safe, eat well, and keep reading!
- Hopefully without hours of painstaking research.
- Aka the Queen of Smiles.
- I was trying to avoid spoiling the reveals in One Tin Soldier. It’s all connected!
- Also known as basic human interaction.
- As well as why it’s so damn hard!
- I assume they’re busy editing out my 7,236 ‘uhm’s!
- A partial moron would be entirely acceptable.
- Genericized for spoilers!
- I hope!
- And yes, I’ll probably need to create an official timeline, just to keep all of this stuff straight. To this point, we still don’t really know when The Stars That Sing takes place!