A bit more on the plate this week than usual, so here we go.
Until the end of the month, CoM: Book 1 is 99 cents (or equivalent) on Amazon. If you're new to the site and you're thinking "what the bloody hell is CoM?" there's a link to the right of this post that goes to amazon. You can also go to the top of this page and mouse over/click on "about the books" I have a nice little page that will also tell you about it and where you can purchase it.
The writing of book 4, "Consequences" is complete. I'm about 1/3 of the way done with the first wave of edits. I'm going to pass the book along to my editor at the beginning of December, with a release date sometime that same month. Once I pass it on I'll start work on Book 5 - still working on a title for that one.
As for the standalone "5 Man Midget Death Squad" I have been writing here and there for the past few days on this one. So far, I'm really enjoying it. For the most part it'll be told in a series of short stories, with the occasional short chapter tieing up the previous story, or starting off the next. I suppose the easiest way to describe it is to think of a show where they re-enact an event and then the host/narrator comes on ending/introducing the next piece. I'm hoping this will make the book more cohesive. Plus, I'm writing it from Uhler's point of view, which I don't get to do very often. Remember, this is a standalone book, but it wraps into the main series. Think the Hobbit, or Silmarillion to the Lord of the Rings.
The thought that's been boggling my mind is how to categorize this book. I don't think there's a Historical, steampunk, fantasy documentary genre. Then again, CoM doesn't really fit into any particular fantasy genre either, so what else is new.
Well, I'm not as far as I'd like to be on this one, but I've got a ton of notes and ideas drawn out which will make the writing that much smoother and faster. However, I have the preface completed, which not only ties it into the CoM world, but eludes to some upcoming concepts in the main series. Does this affect the book as a standalone? Absolutely not. A preface just serves to explain how the author came to write the book, it just so happens to be written by Uhler.
As I have stated before, all the standalones will be in different styles and genres (somewhat) from the main series. Partially, so that I can step away from the series and take a slight breather and partially because it's always good to try new things. Where Hitori is a historical, Japanese fantasy piece, this one is almost a historical documentary about dwarven society. If I had to compare it to something, I would go with Band of Brothers, or even World War Z. That's the book, not the movie.
The idea is to share a bit of background on dwarves: how they were ran out of their lands by Germanic tribes, forced into the Scottish mountains, their struggles there, their meet/greet with the Lord residing over that territory and their willingness to help the Lord defend the land, in the form of a 5 (wo)man team. So, lots of background information that I'll splice up with stories about their greatest squad: The Five Man Midget Death Squad. The Death Squad happens to be the group who play a large role in the next few books, so that should all tie together nicely without killing the standalone concept.
Sometime in the days ahead I'll write up a piece on the death squad members. It's not exactly a spoiler and the idea of describing a group of steampunk dwarves from Scotland makes me giggle a little.
Here we are again with updates and such. The book is currently at 61k words and I have probably 2 and 1/2 good sized chapters to go. I'd like to think I'll be done with the first draft by this Sunday, giving me 2 solid weeks to edit the crud out of it, but I highly doubt it. My life tends to be rather busy with adult type things that take priority, or fit into quadrant 1, if you are a fan of the Stephen Covey's 7 habits.
It also comes down to how I decide to end this. Keep in mind that the next book will be either be directly after this book, in the timeline, or very shortly after. It all depends on what I decide works best as an ending. At the moment, I'm deciding between two points.
On a related note, I WILL be starting book 5 directly after this one. However, I'm also going to work on the Five Man Midget Death Squad book as well. Yes, that will be the name of it. I've already started work on it. Normally, I don't like working on two things at once, because I feel like nothing is getting done. In this case, the majority of my efforts will go towards book 5 and the rest to the Death Squad. If I keep up the pace I've been going I should be able to complete Death Squad before Planet Comicon as well as Book 5. If I don't keep the pace, I'll def finish book 5 first. As much as I'd like to have another book to sell at the convention, I'd rather put the fans first. I don't like long gaps between books, especially when it's because the author decided to go off and work on something else. Yes, it's related, but it's not important to the main series. It will be a standalone.
That being said, writing the Death Squad book (thus far) is giving me a chance to really get to know these characters and the dynamics of the team. As oddly important to the next few books as the Death Squad will be, it'll ultimately make for a better read if I develop them completely. From that, I'm glad I decided to start working on it. I won't get into details on that story, I'll probably put up a blog post on that tomorrow under a Death Squad update.
This post is being made simply because I'd like some feedback. I have a few routes to go and, to me either is acceptable. As such, I go to you, the public opinion.
Planet Comicon is the big comic convention here in Kansas City. Thousands of people show up for this and it's a great opportunity to "whore myself out"...as far as books go. Here's the issue: at a convention, series don't sell. I can't say I blame the average consumer. I wouldn't buy the entire series from some unknown author that I spoke to for 10 minutes. Sure, I'd buy the first book, but unless it sounded like the most amazing thing ever, I'd probably save my cash for someone else's wares.
Currently, I have CoM book 1-3 in paperback, ready to go. For obvious reasons, I have about 3 times more copies of book 1 than the others. I figured I could do some sort of buy the set and save money sort of deal. Either way, I only have 1 real seller here and that is book 1.
Hitori, being a standalone, makes for a perfect addition. It's just a matter of getting in paperback and getting some copies. No biggie. So, I have 2 real sellers.
IF I manage to get a kickstarter going and IF an artist and I can push out a first issue of the CoM series before then, I may have that as well. Planet Comicon is in March and the earliest I can hope to have an artist lined up would be Jan, so it's highly unlikely that's going to happen.
Book 4, "Consequences" will be done by Decemeber, might not be published, but it'll be to the point that I can start on the next book, giving me just enough time to finish it, publish it and get it out in paperback, so long as there aren't too many hurdles along the way. "Consequences" begins the next set of books 10 yrs after the previous set, so technically a new reader could pick up this book and use it as a starting point if they really wanted to. That is also a possible seller.
So, after that long explanation, here's the situation: I have 3 options here for the next book I work on. I can either continue on with Book #5 as I originally planned, giving me nothing new for the Con. I also have two, potentially three other ideas for standalone books that I could easily sell at a con, but would force the main story to come to a halt (again).
1. A CoM standalone of what I've been calling the Five Man Midget Death Squad. It's a team of steampunk, Scottish dwarves (fantasy dwarves) who work for a Lord (No spoiler here) in the same sense as Mai/Hitori does for Bishamon - defend the lands, fight off nasty stuff, etc. It would be part historical piece, explaining why the dwarves live in the Scottish mountains and why no one knows about them except in myth, eventually leading up to their introduction in book 4. it would also explain a few other silly ideas to give it a more realistic ring.
2. A CoM standalone about very old, very insane, sociopathic, mass murdering zombie named Dom. He's introduced in book 4 and I won't say anymore than that, other than he is basically the worst case scenario for a evolved zombie, vs Uhler who is probably as good as it gets. So, a first person story about a mass murderer who gives zero f's.
3. Something I started working on, but put to the side a while back. A few of you may remember some blog posts about it. A grindhouse/horro sort of story with dumb college kids, ghosts, midget bikers and a whole slew of crazy characters that end like any good grindhouse movie should. With a big ass, ridiculous battle.
There we are, 4 options to choose from. Personally, it's all the same to me. I'll eventually write each of them regardless of this decision. I just felt that it should be up to the people following the books, or whoever cares to voice an opinion. On one hand, I feel kind of bad leaving the main series for a seperate book when I just came back from that with Hitori. On the other hand, doing so might garner some new readers at this convention. Either way, there will be new content to read. So....what do you think? Drop a comment below and thanks in advance.
So, as you can see we not only have a name for the story, but a cover as well!
Currently, I'm sitting at about 52k words and I'm guessing I have about ~20k to go on this story. It's coming along nicely and as long as life doesn't toss a few dozen hurdles in my way, I should have this completed by the end of Nov, getting it to the editor on Dec 1st. I'd like to see it published around Christmas, if possible.
Right now I'm finishing up a section where M is doing a solo investigation - the first for him. Usually Thomas would be right at his side, but he's been forced to split away to handle his own situation. There's also a third story going on involving Uhler, Albert and a deranged nutcase that I don't want to discuss because he's far too fun to spoil.
As that is the end of the update for the week, I'll leave you with a couple samples of writing from a chapter. It contains no spoilers, but shows how M is thinking these days. I've barely given them a second glance, so please excuse the grammatical issues. Enjoy :)
Sample 1: I explain to the manager why I’ve come by and she happily takes me to her office to discuss the situation. Luckily, she recognizes me from my time on TV, so there’s no resistance when I ask if the suspect, a twenty year old named Spencer, had the day off. If Spencer didn’t have the day off, did he at least enough to time to run to the library? The all rainbows manager assures me that the suspect hardly had a break that day because of the big sale at the time. I thank her for her time and get out of there, doing my damnedest to ignore the poptastic music, filling the store with horrors. It's a modern triumph of auto-tunes, drum machines and overly-direct lyrics about having sex. It makes me want to jam a pencil in my ears.
Sample 2: I don’t even bother going home. Instead, I stretch out in the back of Jenny and chow down on some fast food goodness. By goodness, I mean a greasy sweat burger that doesn’t require chewing before effortlessly sliding down my throat. For now, my hunger is sated. In a few hours I’ll probably have to fire one off and then toss in a heal spell for good measure.
Oh, I almost forgot, I revamped the front page of the site and the pages that detail each book. So, check that out when you get a chance. I also added a section for book 4 - http://www.chroniclesofm.com/com-consequences-book-4.html
It's been a busy day.