Feels Like Summer

We've had four days in a row of 90-degree warmth here in West Michigan, and while it may not officially be summer until the 21st, our current weather begs to differ. 

Ever since I started teaching, way back at the turn of the century, summers have meant a change of pace. I ran an eight-week day camp for a few summers, then switched gears to teach guitar lessons, and then I made a habit of writing full-time from June through August. 

But now that we own a house, certain projects are vying for my attention. So I'll need to carve out writing time in between all the painting and yard work and whatever else rears its head. Good thing subbing for the past three years has trained me to be flexible and write on command. I've learned to write whenever I have the opportunity, not just when inspiration strikes.

This month I'm reading through the first AGROTHARN novel, making final edits as I go along, and getting reacquainted with the style and pace. I'm planning to start the sequel by mid-June and hopefully have it drafted by the end of the summer. That seems doable for an 80K manuscript.

In other news, I've joined Bookfunnel to participate in some multi-author promotions, and I'm hoping they'll help spread the word about my new mystery series. We'll see how it goes. I've also decided to pull half of my wide-selling books and distribute them through KDP Select, giving Kindle Unlimited another shot. And, last but not least, I'll be revamping the paperback version of BackTracker.

June goals recorded? Check. Now to make them happen—without getting too distracted by that zero-gravity lounge chair on the back deck calling my name...

New Release(s)

This month has been all about those edits—and eBook formatting, and paperback formatting, and cover assembly for the paperbacks. But the hard work has paid off, and now, at long last, the Inspector Broekstein trilogy is ready to greet the masses. 

Book 1, Murders at the Manor, will be available tomorrow; Book 2, Lives on the Line, will be released on June 20; and Book 3, Whispers in the Woods, will be out July 18. This is my first time rapid-releasing a series without a publisher's help, and it's my first venture into the cozy mystery / amateur sleuth genre. So, we'll see how it goes. 

I like to think of this series as a post-WWII homage to Agatha Christie with a quirky protagonist and plenty of situational humor. I hope you enjoy these peculiar murder mysteries!

Aeroship Extraordinaire

The battle has just begun. To save the future, Anthony Reynolds and Sephora Ashton must change the past by becoming cold-blooded assassins. The interdimensional entities have established a tetrarchy spanning four epochs of Earth, thousands of years apart. Traveling back through time, Anthony and Sephora will have to eliminate each tetrarch hiding inside the skulls of unwitting human hosts in order to destroy their foothold in our reality. Otherwise, they will consume all that we have ever known. 

Read the first three episodes of Peter Gideon's Aeroship Extraordinaire for free. And catch up on The Interdimensionals here.

Novel #20

The Inspector Broekstein Trilogy is complete! I finished drafting the third book today, and it turned out even better than I had hoped, considering I've never written a novel in two months before. Then again, it's only 53K, so cranking out a chapter a day was fairly manageable.

I'm working on the blurb now; here's what I've got: 

Invited to the heart of Maine for a weekend getaway on Lake Chumgichkook, quirky Inspector Broekstein is at once mistaken for someone mysteriously known as The Dutchman. Then he's robbed. And somebody starts shooting at him.

He has encountered his share of odd situations in the past, but this time he's up against a rogue bull moose, short circus performers, and rumors of a haunted forest—not to mention a cold-blooded killer.

As always, all is not as it seems, and Broekstein will need to keep his wits about him, headstrong and heartstrong, if he's to root out the crime festering deep in Passamaquoddy County.

The first book, Murders at the Manor, will be released in eBook and paperback next month with the sequel, Lives on the Line, out in June. Then Whispers in the Woods will be available in July. That's the plan, and I'm sticking to it.

April Showers

It's raining today here in West Michigan, which always seems to boost my word count. 

I'm up to 40K in the third Inspector Broekstein murder mystery, Whispers in the Woods, and on track to wrap up this draft by the end of the month. The first book takes place in a mansion, the second in a soap factory, and this one's deep in the heart of Maine. I'm imagining the area around Camp Fowler as I write it, but of course I'm changing the names of everything to protect the innocent.

In other news, I finished serializing the second book in my Interdimensionals trilogy last week, and I plan to start serializing the third book by May 1 at the latest. On the paperback front, I haven't decided which one to revamp this month, but I'm thinking it will be a short story collection: Coyote Cal or Soul Smuggler. Maybe both?

Short & Strange New Release

My last short story collection (for now) brings nineteen darker tales together for the first time. Seventeen of them were included when Shadowland Theatre had its serialized run on Kindle Vella last year, but for the eBook release, I've added a couple stories that originally appeared here on the blog. 

As with After Thoughts, each of these flash-sized tales (600+ words) is based on a haiku from Maikro. Short & strange standalone episodes of horror, science fiction, and fantasy guaranteed to stay with you long after you've turned out the lights for the night—should you dare to do so.

But don't take my word for it. If you're in the mood for something along the lines of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits, check out Shadowland Theatre for yourself at an insanely low new-release price:


After Thoughts: The Audiobook

Amazon       Apple       Audible

After Thoughts collects 12 speculative fiction tales you'll never forget, now available in audio and featuring the voice talents of Craig Waletzko: 

  All That's Left Behind     Entrepreneur of the Year
  Better View Desired       Danse Nocturne
  Collateral Damage         Supersonic
  Collective Bargaining      Favorable Winds
  Absolute Magnitude        Kagemusha
  First People                    Monochromatic Mandate

Novel #19

Finished drafting Lives on the Line (Inspector Broekstein, Book 2) a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure exactly how I would write a murder mystery set in a late 1940s Connecticut soap factory, but somehow I managed. The twist at the end surprised me, which is always fun. No matter where I think a story is going, there's always a chance it might veer in an unexpected direction, and as long as it makes sense, that's alright by me. I enjoy surprises as a reader, and probably even more so as a writer.

Now I'm 17K into the trilogy's third installment, and this time, Inspector Broekstein finds himself deep in the heart of Maine, contending with ornery wildlife and thick accents. If I keep up my current pace, I should have it drafted in a couple months. Then the plan is to release all three cozy mysteries this summer. A small press rapid-released my post-apocalyptic trilogy in 2020 and my comedic space opera in 2021, but this will be my first solo flight in a completely different genre. Should be interesting.

March Madness

Real life has been hectic lately, so I haven't written a whole lot, but I am two chapters into the third Inspector Broekstein mystery, Whispers in the Woods, so that's something. I also finished updating the paperback version of Westward, Tally Ho! and, by all indications, it turned out well. 

This month's goals: make it a third of the way through the first draft of Whispers in the Woods, continue posting an episode of Monsieur Moule's Subterranean Casino each day, and revamp the paperback edition of Double Murders are Twice as Bad. That should be doable.

In other news, my flash fiction collection After Thoughts is getting the audio treatment, courtesy of Craig Waletzko who produced Alienated. Based on what I've heard so far, it's going to sound great. He really knows how to bring characters to life.

How I Publish a Paperback

After seeing how well Uncommoner turned out in print, I've decided to overhaul my entire paper-and-glue backlist and spruce them up a bit. I plan to refer back to this post whenever I'm working on a paperback, so I may update some things as I go along.

First up, here are a few sites that really came in handy:

And here's the path I took:

1. Copy and paste the single-spaced manuscript with chapter headings into the chosen trim size template: 5.25" by 8"

2. Use a free, commercial-use font: EB Garamond

3. Change line indents from 0.5" to 0.2" and add running headers + page numbers; turn off page borders in design to delete horizontal lines in headers/footers

4. Add section breaks in page layout to eliminate running headers above chapter titles, which should be twice the normal font size to ensure consistent spacing between text and page numbers in the footer

5. Set full justification and check for any weirdness at the ends of pages and chapters; ensure that widow/orphan control is turned off

6. Input the page count in the cover calculator and download the template; use Canva to create a custom project with the cover dimensions in inches; assemble the cover with free, commercial-use art from Pixabay, keeping all text lined up inside the template's white space

7. Save the book and cover as PDFs, and carefully review every page prior to publishing

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