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Murders Most Foul

"What would you say if I were to tell you I believed...that in the heart of every man and woman alive, there lies the potential for ultimate evil?" So begins a mystery of murder, jealousy, and revenge, as old friendships are tested and new alliances form.

When a wealthy heir invites half a dozen people to his recently inherited estate, all hell breaks loose, and it will be up to the quirky, lovelorn Inspector Willem Broekstein to find out whodunnit.

But of course all is not as it seems, and Broekstein will need his wits about him if he's to keep from losing his head—or his heart—along the way.

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Somehow, everything is connected.

The case seems straightforward at first: a high-tech heist at a jewelry shop specializing in priceless items favored by the upper castes. Except the thieves make an impossible getaway, and they're caught on surveillance employing a powerful military-grade weapon Sera Chen is all-too familiar with. 

If that's not weird enough, the Prometheus cult unexpectedly reemerges, threatening death to infidels refusing to believe in their venerable AI. Amid the ensuing mayhem, a mysterious government agent appears with a cryptic warning for Sera. And to top things off, there's a killer lurking in the maintenance tunnels under Dome 1's streets.

Sera and her partner Dunn make a good team. But everyone has a limit, and theirs will be tested when a high profile coup threatens to take over the Domes, revealing the interrelated nature of recent events.

Editing Update

Took about a month of blood, sweat, and tears (not so much), but it was well worth the effort, and I'm pleased with how the edits turned out. Trimmed some fat, fleshed out a few scenes, cut and tightened the dialogue, improved the overall pacing, and fixed a dozen or so typos along the way. Next, I'll give the manuscript one more proofreading pass in Word, which always seems to catch things I've missed in Docs. Then I'll start work on the formatting: eBook and paperback.

The blurb is good to go, and you can check it out here. There's a lot going on in this novel, and summarizing it in a way that piques reader curiosity was no small task. I may give it a tweak at some point, but for now, it's serviceable enough.

I'm kicking around the idea of writing a couple novella-length adventures that take place between Infidels & Insurgents and the next book, Zombies & Zealots. Just not sure which order to do this in. Novellas first? Novel first? Dinner then dessert? Guess I'll go where the muse takes me.

Novel #23

The second riveting installment in my Dome City Investigations series has been drafted in toto: 90K of futuristic crime-solving action & adventure with plenty of character development and even some humor along the way. I enjoyed writing in this world again, building on the precarious setting I established in the Spirits of the Earth trilogy and bringing back two of my favorite characters as supporting cast. I also introduced some major political intrigue alluded to in Dust Freaks & Demigods, which was interesting to see play out.

Next: a few rounds of edits and blurb-composing in 150 words or less. I have about a month and a half before the final draft is due, so that should give me plenty of time to polish everything up just right.

Meanwhile, you can be first in line to snag your very own Kindle copy by pre-ordering it right here. Assuming I get it formatted in time, a paperback version will also be available on the release date.

Spring Has Sprung

Springtime in Michigan is unpredictable, I've come to realize. After living here for almost four years now, you'd think I would know better than to assume a beautitful, sun-filled day in the '70s would be followed by another and then another. Nope. How 'bout some snow instead? Grey skies, temps in the '20s? Awww yeah.... That's more like it. But as my Nana always used to say, "If you don't like the weather, wait a while." Words to live by, those.

On the writing front, I'm hard at work scribbling the sequel to Dust Freaks & Demigods. The goal is to take Infidels & Insurgents to the 60K mark by the end of the month. Then I'll have only 30K to go. Doable, methinks. I just have to stay focused when I'd much rather watch our feathered and furry friends in the backyard. They're such a hoot.

The StoryBundle went well; we ended up selling a few hundred bundles. So that's a few hundred people with AGROTHARN on their eReaders now. A scary thought. In other news, I participated in my first in-person event at the local library: Author Hop 2024. Not a big turnout, what with the snow and it taking place after-hours, but I managed to sell twice as many paperbacks as I thought I would. Which would be two. =)

Halfway There

Reached the 45K mark in my current work-in-progress, which should be the halfway point if it ends up being the same length as the first book in the series. I've got the plot arc mapped out with plenty of room for surprises along the way. Added some political intrigue to make things interesting, as well as some trust issues the protagonist has to work through. Hoping to keep the momentum going and have the first draft completed in time for summer edits.

In other news, I decided to give the Virtual Voice robo-narrator a chance with one of my short eBooks, just to see how it turned out. I've gotta say, I'm pleasantly surprised with the result. It's much more lifelike than the text-to-voice function on my 2009 Kindle. While I don't plan on taking this route for all of my books that aren't currently available in audio, it was a fun experiment, and I'm always up for trying something new. Check it out here: Out of Time.

March Update

Making good progress on Infidels & Insurgents, the sequel to Dust Freaks & Demigods. Hit the 30K mark this week, and that's about a third of the way, methinks. Doing my best to average 1K a day, even if it means only 500 words on some days and 1,500 on others. So far, so good.

I'm fully immersed in this world again, but I still have to go back to the first book to make sure certain details and descriptions are consistent. Sometimes I have both documents up at the same time as I search for specific terms. All part of the world-building fun: sticking to your own rules.

Easter eggs are always a hoot, so I'm referencing a character from one of my other series each time the protagonist dives into VR to meet one of her underworld contacts. The interactive storyline is a Future Noir environment, so of course one of the avatars had to be Charlie Madison.

In other news, I think I'm prepared for the Author Hop at the local library later this month. I'll have a few of my paperbacks for sale and flyers with a QR code so folks can sign up for my newsletter (and get a free eBook each month). First time I've ever tried selling my books IRL, so I told my wife that if I sell one, I'll consider it a success.

Release Day

Rookie investigator Sera Chen is having a rough week. Her partner is a clone of the man she killed. His ghost still haunts her nightmares. Her boss seems to be going out of his way to block her investigation. And not only has a dangerous criminal escaped from custody, but a bizarre cult may be involved in a rash of deaths across the Ten Domes of Eurasia.

Life has always been precious, but it's even more so now with the last remnants of humankind living in ten interconnected biospheres along the Mediterranean Sea. When dust addicts threaten to disrupt the delicate equilibrium of the Domes, it will take a demigod to balance the scales. But even with her special abilities, Sera must first overcome her personal demons before she can stop a powerful emergent threat intent on total domination.

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Not Much Writing Update

The goals this month were to finish final edits on Dust Freaks & Demigods, get the eBook and paperback formatted for their February 6 release, compile the AGROTHARN trilogy into a box set, and start drafting the next installment of Dome City Investigations: Infidels & Insurgents. With three days left in the month, I'm pleased to say I've managed to meet every goal but one. Then again, if I manage to write even the first line of Infidels by Wednesday, I'll consider that a win.

First, I need to go over the pages of notes I took while giving Dust Freaks a final read-through. Plenty of details to keep straight while expanding the world with new conflicts and characters. I'm looking forward to diving into Sera and Dunn's next adventure, but I want to make sure I've got everything just right before I knock it all down and make life difficult for them. Then I'll follow them around while they sort through the mess and hope they can figure it all out. 

They've done it before, and they make a great team, so I have every confidence they will. But will it be smooth sailing? No chance of that.

The Trilogy is Complete


Now available in eBook and paperback: the Chronicles of AGROTHARN! The first book is currently available wide, and both sequels will soon follow suit. Since Book 1 is going to be included in a StoryBundle next month, and it couldn't be in Kindle Unlimited in order to participate, I figured this was a good time to test the wide open waters again. We'll see how it goes. Sales have been pretty good so far, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. For what it's worth, these books won a fictitious "best trilogy in the universe" major award, after all!
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