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All Aboard the 2K/Day Train

Over the past ten years of this writing adventure, I've had both good days and bad wordcount-wise. I'll never forget the two days I drafted Immaterial Evidence; somehow I managed to write 10K/day! But that's as rare an occurrence as finding a native San Diegan in the city of San Diego.

When I'm in the zone, I can consistently write 1K/day. But I haven't really been in the zone for the past few years. Back in December, I committed to writing daily, even if that was only 300 words per day. I stuck to it, often reaching 500 words on particularly good days. Then I signed my trilogy deal with Aethon. Once I finished polishing up the first two books, it was time to write the third. With After the Sky scheduled to be released in August and Tomorrow's Children a couple months after that, we set December 1 as my due date for Book 3. I would need to write, revise, and edit a 125K novel in 6 months. 1K/day would take four months to complete the draft...but 2K/day would take only two. And then I'd have four months to make it the best it could be prior to my editor's perusal.

How's it going? Well, for the past three weeks, I've managed to schedule a morning 1K writing session followed by an afternoon 1K session. And thanks to that 2K/day regimen, I've got 60K down with only 65K to go! Will I be able to keep it up, going forward? We'll see. One day at a time...

New Story Published: "Absolute Magnitude"


Back in May of last year, I set a goal for myself: write a new short story each day, based on one of the haiku (or scifaiku) included in my Maikro collection. On day 4, I tackled this one:

shipyards on the moon | unexpected holiday | bright supernova

While writing "Absolute Magnitude," I wanted to try something that's a big no-no in flash fiction: cramming it full of too much story. In breaking the rules, I found all the worldbuilding fade into the background behind the real story: the magnificent Ophylia, our devoted anonymous narrator, someone's impending death, and someone else's self-sacrifice. You might even find some political commentary along the way...

I hope you enjoy it.

Two Short Story Sales

I've finally found homes for two of my StoryADay 2018 tales: "Monochromatic Mandate" will be published by Factor Four Magazine this summer, and "Absolute Magnitude" will be available to read at the end of the week, courtesy of Theme of Absence.

"Monochromatic Mandate" is a satirical look at politics and social media in the near future while "Absolute Magnitude" is my attempt at doing what you're never supposed to do in flash fiction: cram a novel's worth of story into four pages. So maybe it's anti-flash fiction...

Besides being extra-short, what qualifies as flash? It tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end; there is some sort of character development; every word counts; and the focus is on one scene. To make things interesting, I usually try to keep my flash-sized stories at exactly 1,000 words, adding and cutting as necessary. 

It's a great exercise for writers, and as an added bonus, flash fiction is an engaging way to capture the imagination of new readers. Who doesn't have four minutes to spare?

Spring Writing Update

The first draft of the Captain Quasar sequel is finished! The Mass-Exodus Reversal picks up shortly after The Space-Time Conundrum and introduces new characters and locations while bringing back all the favorites. After a few rounds of edits, the 80K word count will undoubtedly change, but my goal is to keep it as close as possible to the length of the original. Good news: I signed a second contract with Aethon Books, and they're already in the process of preparing the first Quasar novel for re-release. Once the sequel is ready, they'll be publishing that one as well. 

In other noveling news, I'm over halfway through polishing up the second book in my Spirits of the Earth trilogy. It's been a chore to rewrite the POV in first-person/present tense instead of third-person/past tense, but I'm glad it will match the first book. The audio versions will be produced by the same voice actor, so it'll be good to have all three books in the same POV. And now that I'm planning the third book, I know I'll be writing it in first-person/present tense.

BackTracker is still with Baen Books. It's been four years now since I sent them that manuscript. But like I've said before, if I eventually get a book deal with Baen, it will be worth the wait. And it's not like I have nothing else to work on in the meantime.

In short story news, I still have 12 tales out on submission, and two of them are currently on short lists. Yes, these are the same dozen stories I wrote during StoryADay last year. No, I haven't sold a single one yet. But it's been encouraging to see so many of them shortlisted, and for one story to receive positive editorial feedback from both Asimov's and Pseudopod. Hoping to break into those publications someday soon!

4 Future Noir Novellas - 1 Audiobook

Now Available:    Amazon    Audible    iTunes

The audio version of The Suprahuman Secret is out, and Robert Rossmann put all of his stage acting skills to good use bringing world-weary private eye Charlie Madison to life. Most of my audiobooks have been well-produced, but this one is the best of the best. It collects Girl of Great Price, Immaterial Evidence, Yakuza Territory, and Chimera Effect. One reader called it "a futuristic detective series...part Terminator and part Maltese Falcon." Yep. Or Blade Runner meets X-Men.

An Epic Hero Returns

"Captain Quasar and the Insurmountable Barrier of Space Junk" greets a fresh audience today, courtesy of the fine folks at The New Accelerator.

Moving Right Along

Believe it or not, After the Sky already has cover art in the works, and it's looking good. I'll share it as soon as I get the green light from my publisher. I was hoping for something that hollered post-apocalyptic adventure, and this does not disappoint. 

In other noveling news, edits on After the Sky's sequel Tomorrow's Children are progressing well, and the writing isn't nearly as bad as I remembered. I haven't looked at this manuscript for a while, so it's been fun reacquainting myself with the characters and enjoying the plot's gnarly twists and turns. Along the way, I'm building bridges to the third book in the trilogy, City of Glass.

The Captain Quasar sequel is slowly but surely heading toward completion. If all goes according to plan, I'll hit the 70K mark this weekend; then it'll be just a 10K lightspeed jump to the grande finale. So...probably another month at my current output level. 

In audiobook news, production has wrapped on The Suprahuman Secret, and Robert Rossmann did an incredible job bringing world-weary future-noir detective Charlie Madison to life. I can't wait to share it with you next month. And speaking of audiobooks, I found out Unreal Encounters won't have 10 narrators after all. It'll have 13 instead. Whoa Nelly!

This Just In: 3 Book Deal

It's official: I've signed my contract with Aethon Books, and they'll be publishing my supernatural post-apocalyptic trilogy Spirits of the Earth over the next couple years. The first book in the series, After the Sky (125K) is currently with their editor, and the second book, Tomorrow's Children (127K) is sitting on my desk in dire need of revisions. I haven't written the third book yet, but I've been kicking around some ideas for a while now, and I look forward to seeing where they take me this summer. I'm always up for new adventures with my writing, and this project promises to be a real humdinger.

Tales from the Outer Rim...

Now Available:    Amazon    Audible    iTunes

Don Wang recently wrapped production on my latest audiobook, and he did a fine job bringing these tales to life. Deep Space collects seven short stories from way out in the star-punctured black: "Live by the Ten, Die by the Gun", "From Gaia to Proxima Centauri", "Resurrection of the Hornet", "Autonomic Zen and the Art of Destruction", "From Scheol My Soulfire Burns", "Dance by the Light of the Moon", and "Tomorrow's Dawn". Spaceships sold separately.

Marching into March

I'm continuing to make good progress on the new Captain Quasar novel: up to 61,000 words this week. My ultimate goal is 80K, the same as The Space-Time Displacement Conundrum. This story is told in five parts, and I'm in the middle of the fifth and final episode right now. The tone has been a struggle for me lately (epic showdown, some dark elements while keeping the humor going strong), but I'll figure it out. I've been writing every day for the past three months, and it feels good.

In other news, Daily Science Fiction has held another story for consideration. This is my fourth submission from last year's StoryADay challenge to be shortlisted by DSF. And while it's nice being told that only 10% of submissions make it this far, an acceptance sure would be nicer.

In audiobook news, Unreal Encounters, my collection of 40 Twilight Zone-ish tales, is now in production, and it's going to have not 1 but 10 narrators. How cool is that? A producer/director contacted me via ACX out of the blue and asked if I'd be interested in working with them. After listening to a few audio samples from the narrators and liking what I heard, I signed the contract. The final product will be 10 hours long and should be completed by this summer. I can't wait to hear it and share it with you.
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