So, I’m doing the heavy edits for the next story. It’s got a working title of ‘California’ and covers the events that lead Krystal Cruz into the job in Sandblaster. It’s been a bit of a tough run, because my editor and I both think it needs some additional scenes and expansions to move it to novel length, and because the rest of my life has been pretty busy.
I’ve also got the first story in the Chicago books written in rough draft (Bad Karma goes to Chicago. Alone. And, yes, that does mean bad things happen).
I’m also about to do the last long run for my training cycle for the Nebraska State Fair Marathon (next week) and then get into taper cycle for that. August is going to be busy.
So hang in there. If things go well, I should start getting more of your favorite characters into published stories over the next few months. Getting books out fasters is becoming a bigger priority for me, so expect me to make some changes in how I get them done!
So a lot has happened in the last couple of months. I hosted my first panel at Desmoinescon (www.desmoinescon.com) and it went over very well. I’m going to work with the con coordinator to attend some future cons as well, and present panels. I might even have a table in the dealers room!
I also recorded a podcast with JR Handley and Cisca Small at The Blasters and Blades Podcast (https://anchor.fm/blasters-and-blades/)! I had a great time, and even picked up a few notes on things I need to do in the future as well as trying to be as entertaining as JR and Cisca. They’ve got a great podcast (available on Youtube and the usual podcast venues). Give them a listen. I think our episode comes out in the next week or so. I’ll post when it does.
And, last, I sold another story to an anthology to Bayonet Books. The anthology requires Santa Claus as a military door kicker/operator type. And, well, I had Phoebe sitting right there. So I have now sold a story about Santa Claus, a sentient tank and a blue haired special operations hacker. That’s got to be a first of some kind. I’ll give more details when the publisher lets us know, but the anthology is targeted to release shortly after Thanksgiving, so look forward to Operation Sleigh Ride!
Well, May got busy for me as a writer. I’ve already done a book signing at Pella Books during Tulip Time, where I got to meet a lot of great people and even sell a few books.
Tonight (19 May 2022), I’ll be participating in my first podcast as an author with the Blasters and Blades crew. Once JR and Cisca let me know when the episode goes live, I’ll let you know, but having listened to their podcast for a while, this will be fun! I’ll be focusing on how Sandblaster and Amarillo by Fire Fight in Baen Books World Breakers anthology) are connected, with attention to Phoebe the sentient tank and how she came to be.
I’ll also be a panelist at Desmoinescon on Sunday, May 22nd 2022, (11:30 AM in room 107) running a panel about what new writers need to think about (besides telling great stories) when they’re getting started if they want to write for the long term. Des Moines Con also has a slate of other panels and a host of guests, so check it out here!
I’m also wrapping up a short story for an anthology about Santa Claus as a special operations guy (and Phoebe gets to work with Santa in this one) and I’m working with Henchmen Press to build an anthology of military science fiction stories about the E4 Mafia. I’ll post more about that next time, but it’s coming and it’s another new thing in my writing life!
Thanks for everyone’s encouragement and support. My writing world is expanding and I’m doing more in this world, which is scary and cool and fun all at once. I’m also getting some more Burn and Bad Karma stories together. The next one out will be about Bad Karma returning to Chicago!
Here’s an update on what all projects I’ve got going or coming up:
Working Title Malta: Rough draft in progess and near the end, with Burn and Bad Karma meeting up with the Grey Man from Mexican Escape while everyone is trying to recover something from a yacht in the Mediterranean Sea.
California: the story about Krystal Cruz’s from Sandblaster’s experience in California. This is in major edit phase and should be ready to go out to first readers some time next week.
Chicago Story 1: I completed the rough draft of this story about Bad Karma going to Chicago to follow up leads about her past. I’ll get into edits after California goes out to 1st readers.
Santa Claus Story: This is a story about Phoebe the Tank, Jess Wilser, and Santa Claus that I’m submitting to an anthology about Santa Claus as a high level military operator. Krystal Cruz has it in hand.
Bad Karma Short story: I’ve finished the rough draft on this, but I’m planning to use it for a reader magnet when I get my email list started. Bad Karma, an FBI team, and a guy who couldn’t pay his child support because of the war. Much fun and, surprisingly, no dead bodies in this one.
Once I get a chance, I’ll be outline Chicago Story 2, and developing an outline for an urban fantasy Chosen One story I’ve been thinking about.
March got busy for me. Book sales have been up, which is good since I’d like to keep improving there. I’m making progress as a fitness coach, with another client coming on board. I took and passed an exam to help get another stream of income going. I’m about 60% of the way through the rough draft for a Burn and Bad Karma story set around the Isle of Malta, and I’m getting started on edits for the California story that started as a novella, but my editor says needs to be a novel. As soon as the major edits get completed, I’ll schedule the launch for it and get to work on edits for the 1st of 2 books in the Burn and Bad Karma ‘Chicago cycle’ stories. And I’m working on a better series title for the Burn and Bad Karma stories. So, thank you for your patience and hang in there. I’ve got more stories coming!
It’s been a bit of a landmark month for me as an author/writer. I’ve achieved my third highest sales month total, so thanks to all of you who’ve purchased or read through my stories! A huge amount of that improvement comes from the progress I made in my Amazon advertising thanks to Bryan Cohen from https://bestpageforward.net and his 20 Books Vegas presentation and the January Ad challenge.
In the productivity area, I completed two short story rough drafts (one for a mail list, and the other as a submission for an anthology about Santa Claus. Yes, really). I’ve also started a new novel in the Burn and Bad Karma setting based around the Isle of Malta. That’s added up to a total of 29,258 words of new fiction written. Along with all those new words, my editor returned a novella and told me that it needs scenes added, and should be a full novel length work to really be what it needs to be. So edits on that one (California is the tentative title) will be starting this month.
March looks like it will be just as busy. So thanks to everyone who’s purchased or read my works, and thanks for the slowly climbing number of reviews! I really appreciate all of your time and interest!
Here’s a snippet from the current work in progress. I hope you enjoy!
Nine Bad Karma triggered the call answer function as she leaned to the left and cut around the pickup running slow in the left lane. The driver stared at her as she blew by him on the left hand shoulder. She gave him a grin and added more acceleration. “Hey, Burn,” She triggered whisper mode on the call so the comm implant would take her sub vocal range speech and transmit it. “What, exactly, happened?” “The FBI showed up. Tried to kidnap Scott. Said they were arresting him,” Bad Karma replied. “How do you know?” “FBI is a northie agency.” “Ok, that does make sense. How many of them did you shoot?” “None.” “Stab?” “None.” “Grenade?” “None. Punched and kicked them. Got Scott out. Now we need to hide.” “Did you call the cops?” “Had Scott do that.” “Why?” “You’d call when you found out.” “Are you grinning?” “Yeah.” “Get through this alive. And you better have one hell of a story.” “I will. They aren’t shooting.” “I wonder why.” “In the wrong country. Out gunned. Not as good as me.” “How would they know who you are?” “I kicked four of their asses.” “Fair,” Burn said. “Gotta go. State trooper next to us.”
Along with writing stories, I’ve been putting time into reading other people’s fiction over the last few months, and encountered a couple of good military science fiction tales you might enjoy.
Shane Gries released a story about veterans of a secret war who are finally allowed to tell the stories about their experiences fighting an alien threat while the world thought they were fighting in Vietnam. It’s gripping read that rings true to anyone who’s listened to old veterans tell stories and has an intriguing twist. Click the image and go get a copy!
Leo Champion’s story of galactic colonists’ response to a tyrannical government on Earth. The characters are gripping, the intensity rises throughout and you’ll finish the story with a lot to consider. Click the image to read it!
I’ve had several chances to read my own story, Sandblaster. More importantly, my readers have let me know that this story works for them. It’s the second story in my cyberpunk setting, and the most heavily military themed of the series. Give it a read!
Thanks, and I hope you find something you enjoy from these stories!
Well, I received my order of author copies of Sandblaster! That’s exciting stuff for me. I’ve also heard from some readers that they’ve enjoyed the story, which is always welcome news. And Phoebe seems to be popular. I’ll probably have to re-visit her in a story at some point.
And, that, folks, is why I don’t worry about running out of ideas. Wherever I look, there appears to be another idea 🙂
Now that Sandblaster is out in the world and getting at least a little traction, I’m working on another Burn and Bad Karma novel, and I’ll be starting edits on ‘California’ (the story of what really happened to Krystal prior to Sandblaster). I’ve got a few other stories in the works as well, so I should be able to keep my productivity up and providing you with fun stories to read!