July Update

Those of you who are impatiently waiting for Thrall will be happy to hear that I’ve just finished chapter 19, so things are still on track for a fall release. I’m still projecting that the book will be about 23-24 chapters long, so I’ve only got about four chapters to go.

My plans for Alice have undergone substantial revisions, because I finally have a plot for a real sequel to Perilous Waif. Merciful Troubleshooter is going to be a door-stopper of a book, but it should be fun to write. We’ll see a lot more of the weird societies and advanced technology of the 26th century, and explore what it’s like to work security for a crew of shady characters when their past comes back to haunt them. The events of the novella I’d been planning will end up being worked into the latter half of the book.

Finally, I’ve decided how I’m going to handle preview content for my books from now on. I like to post the first few chapters of a novel here before its release date, so readers can get some idea of what to expect. But my books sometimes undergo major revisions as they’re being written, and I don’t want to post a chapter and then discover I need to completely re-write it before publication.

Luckily I’ve also decided I need to move to a more professional pre-publication process, including using a proofreading service to help rid my manuscripts of all those little typos and grammatical snafus that tend to sneak past me. That adds a few weeks between finishing the first draft and actual publication, which gives me an interval where I know there aren’t going to be any more major changes. So what I’m going from now on is post the first preview chapter as I wrap up the end of a book, and then post another preview every couple of weeks during the editing process.

At my current rate of progress, that means you can expect the first public preview of Thrall in early August.

April Status

I see it’s been a while since I did a status post, so I suppose I’d better give an update.

I’m just finishing up chapter 14 of Thrall, the next Daniel Black novel. My current outline has the book being 23 chapters long, so the end is in sight on this one.

The next Alice Long story is a novella that’s currently at 4 chapters, out of an expected 12 or so. The way things are going it will probably be done around the same time as Thrall.

I’ve been doing some outlining and background work on the sueprhero story that I’ve mentioned before, but that’s defintiely on the back burner for now. I’ve also been considering a military SF concept set in the same universe as Alice Long’s story, but that’s a lower priority project at the moment.

So it looks like I should end up having two releases this year, but they’ll probably both be in the Fall.

Daniel Black Open Thread

There seem to be a lot of people who still want to talk about what Daniel ought to be doing and what enchantments he should be working on, so I figured I’d give you a better place to do it that the comments of an unrelated post. I may even answer a few questions, as long as they don’t give away anything I have planned for future books.

Of course, the answer to most questions of the form ‘why hasn’t Daniel done X’ is ‘he hasn’t had time’. At the end of Extermination it’s only been about three months since he was summoned, and he’s been insanely busy for that entire time. So his enchantment work has focused almost entirely on things he could do quickly, without having to spend much time figuring things out.

The other point I want to mention, though, is that Daniel isn’t intended to be some perfectly hyper-competent superman. He’s just a guy who had enough brains, imagination and determination to get the job done, at least so far. But there were several places where I intentionally had him do things that turned out to be a mistake because it fit his attitude at the time, or because he had no way of knowing better. That’s going to continue to happen in the future, although he is learning.

My inspiration for Daniel actually comes from some of the more capable players I’ve met in tabletop RPG games over the years. You know that guy who can debate everything from Napoleonic military tactics to advanced space launch technologies? The one who keeps bypassing the GM’s carefully constructed plot complications by doing something clever but sensible instead of just charging after the obvious plot hooks? The one who always seems to be overpowered, because he reads all the rulebooks and carefully min-maxes hisĀ  characters? That’s Daniel.

The trouble is, it’s a lot easier to talk about things than to actually do them. Real life doesn’t come with a rulebook, and just because you watched a video about something once doesn’t mean you can do it. So even with the huge cheat of mana sorcery, there’s going to be a lot of trial and error in Daniel’s future.

He’s still frustrated that he can’t remember how a Geiger counter is supposed to work…

December Update

I’ve gotten a decent bit of writing done since the last update, although by efforts have been a bit unfocused. Another chapter of Thrall is done, along with a couple of chapters of the next Alice Long story. I also have another two chapters of the superhero story I mentioned in the last status post.

Letting myself switch stories when inspiration strikes seems to be working better than trying to chain myself to a single book, so I’m going to continue to experiment with it this month. I can live with having a longer delay between books in the same series if it means I get more total work out the door. But I’m going to give this new method anther month or two before I call it a success, so we’ll see how it goes.

October Update

I’ve moved since the last update, and the inevitable hassle of packing, unpacking and dealing with unexpected problems ended up consuming a lot of my month. But everything is back to normal now, and I’m finally making progress again.

Thrall has undergone extensive revisions since the last update, to address some major plot issues that have been bothering me since I started writing it. The original version had a major problem with a shortage of interesting antagonists, but thanks to a suggestion from my beta reader that’s no longer going to be a problem. I had to switch a lot of scenes around and drop a few plot threads that no longer lead anywhere, but all that work is now finished. I’m finally feeling good about the flow of the narrative, so with any luck that will be the last major revision.

Meanwhile, I’ve written a couple of chapters of that superhero story I mentioned last time. My muse seems to be pretty interested in the idea, so it may end up being the next thing I publish after Thrall. But as usual, I’m not going to make any predictions until I’m a lot closer to publication.

September Update

Well, I’m officially never going to publish any guesses about a release date again. I’m not a particularly fast writer to begin with, and trying to rush only makes things worse.

At the moment the next Daniel Black book, Thrall, is about half done. This book really didn’t want to be written, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to iron out various problems and get the plot to behave. It’s still my major project at the moment, but it will be done when it’s done.

I’ve also done a bit of work on an Alice Long novella, which will probably end up at 30,000 words or so. This may or may not end up being finished before Thrall, depending on what I feel inspired to work on.

Several other projects are on the back burner. I’ve done a bit of preliminary work on a Horatio Alger story set in the Aliceverse, a superhero trilogy that would be something of an answer to Watchmen, and an extremely smutty alien invasion story. But those are long-term projects that may or may not ever come to fruition, and certainly aren’t going to get much attention this year.