June 27, 2017

Another book down, on to the next

It’s been almost two months since my last update. A lot has happened since then, actually.

First of all, I completed the first draft of Fortress Ghosts. All 56 chapters written and accounted for. I put out some feelers for beta readers and got a few takers. Waiting to hear back from them.

I also made a first pass at outlining the next book, Zero Avalon. Coincidentally, it also comes out to 56 chapters. But while Fortress Ghosts has 3 characters in POV rotation, Zero Avalon has four. This is another way of saying that each of the respective stories being told in Zero Avalon is shorter than the stories in Fortress Ghosts. I don’t think this should matter too much, though. One thing I’m trying to improve with with Zero Avalon is having all of the stories more connected in terms of both theme and major plot events.

The first book, The Militiaman, was pretty tight in terms of scope. It goes in one particular direction, building from one event to the next. The Star Mother complicated things and this is where the storylines began to diverge. All the characters didn’t end up going in the same direction, although most things came together at the end. Fortress Ghosts really spiraled outward. Each of the three POV storylines in it goes its own way, and they don’t really come together in the end, either–they remain fairly separate stories that happen to occur in the same universe. Zero Avalon starts to pull that back, converging major story events, filling in a lot of gaps, and so on. This is in anticipation of the final book, tentatively called Earthblade, in which all the storylines come together for a final resolution. All this probably makes the series sound excessively plot-heavy, but in the end these are stories about people and the decisions they make–the consequences of those decisions, and how the consequences affect each of them.

One thing I’ve been struggling with is cover art. I am not a visual artist. I am very bad at all forms of drawing, except maybe technical drawing. But I have a friend whose art is excellent and who I think would be a great fit for the cover style I am looking for. You can see more of his work here. I definitely recommend checking him out! I’ll certainly be sharing some cover art samples once I get my act together and he turns my absurd rambling into art.

On yet another note, I’ve gone to the trouble of setting up a build server, the ultimate goal of which is to automatically crank out ebooks. It won’t be writing them, of course, but it will take most of the work out of manually typesetting my books and performing format conversions. A service called Leanpub does (did?) things like this but was ultimately not flexible enough for me. I plan to use this to make production and distribution of my ebooks simpler and more streamlined, at least for me. I may let others use it, too, if I can develop enough confidence in how well it works to share it.

I’m also giving some thought to writing one-shot stories set in the Totality universe and giving those away to people as an “appetizer.” Not sure yet. There are so many stories I could tell. I’ll just have to pick one and do it–and keep it short, of course.

Thanks for stopping by!