First things first: In case you missed it—which I’ve tried my hardest to prevent—Colony is now available for pre-order and will release on November 11th! It’s here, it’s ready to be read, and it is awesome.
Which, since Colony has been the end-all-be-all of my last few months, begs the question: What now? After all, Colony is done, it’s coming out … so now what? What’s next?
That’s right, it’s time for a general roadmap post. Because my work isn’t stopping now that Colony is done. No, I took a few days to relax and celebrate the completion of another book, but I can’t rest on my laurels, no matter how tempting that may sound. I need to set some goals, and them keep working towards them.
Of course, some goals work better when those around you know that you’re working towards them. Which is part of the reason for this post. It’s a nice little bit of motivation in the back of my head if I know that my audience has already been told “I’m working on this.”
But that little extra motivational boost isn’t the only reason. I also want you guys to know what’s coming down the pipe! What you can look forward to. The last thing I want is for one of my long-time readers to know that Colony is about to come out but have nothing else to set in their mind to look forward to.
Hence this post. The roadmap. What I’m up to, and what’s coming in the next few weeks and then months.
One Drink and Dead Silver Polish and Price Drop
Well, the most immediate thing you can expect? Well, starting today, I’m getting right back into one of my least-favorite hobbies—editing—to polish up One Drink and Dead Silver before they undergo a price drop.
Price drop? Yup. I’ve mentioned it a few times before, but I’m modeling my book sales model after the way a lot of digital game storefronts—Steam in particular—manage their game prices. In other words, new books and newish books are full-price, while older titles undergo periodic price drops as new works come out until they’re roughly half the price they once were. Which means a patient individual who is either new to my work or not quite as committed to picking my work up ASAP can wait a few patient years and pick up a lower-priced title, while those who want to support me up front, can’t wait a few years to read the newest book, don’t want to run the risk of spoilers, or want to pay full price can grab the title ASAP.
How this shakes out in the long run is still a question to be determined. While it makes sense to me (older titles are lower priced, newer ones are a premium) and works well in the game industry, it’s worth noting that games are quite a bit more costly than books at the storefront. New games are $60—quite a bit more of an investment than a book that costs less than your average lunch. So a drop from $60 to $30 over the course of a few years may be a bit more meaningful than a drop from $8 to $4, or the price of an average lunch to the lunch of a frugal college student.
But I’m going to try it anyway. Well, I already have once before—One Drink dropped from $3 to $2 when Unusual Events released, but now that Colony is out, I’ll have both it and Dead Silver dropping. One Drink will soon be $0.99, and Dead Silver will take its first drop down to $3.99. Note that it will be the last price drop for One Drink, as I only drop the price twice, and this is One Drink‘s second drop.
Anyway, it’s a bit of an experiment. I don’t know how it will work out in the long run, but in the short term, it’s a worthy experiment I don’t mind performing. Plus, as someone who has purchased older, cheaper games only to move up the chain and start buying new games from the same developer because I liked what I found, there’s a hope that books can function in a similar manner when it comes to sales.
Right, that’s only half of what I promised, though. I also said something about polish.
Simply put, I’m giving both One Drink and Dead Silver a quick editing pass prior to their respective price drops. No rewrites—nothing extreme. Just what basically boils down to an additional Beta pass.
Why? Well, because in the several years worth of writing since One Drink, I’ve gotten better at what I do, and my process for editing and prepping a novel for publication has solidified. And that process hadn’t yet quite solidified when I worked on Dead Silver, and didn’t even exist when I released One Drink (back then it was “hire editor, make changes, publish”).
And … it shows. Not so much with Dead Silver, but certainly with One Drink. Hence … it’s time for a polish run. It shouldn’t take long; after all, One Drink is only 100 pages, a mere few chapters worth of work by my current standards (two, in fact, if you take the average wordcount of chapters near the end of my books). But they need it. Dead Silver, not so much (in fact, Dead Silver‘s actually picked up some praise in reviews for being pretty dang error-free as is), but certainly One Drink. And because these are digital works, those who already own them will simply get a nice, nifty update the next time they look at one of them passing on all the changes.
A quick note here, however. These aren’t rewwrites. I’m not prepping some “remastered director’s cut” with either of these. One Drink isn’t getting rewrites, nor Dead Silver. This is just beta work. A few sentences might change here and there to tweak things, but there will be no new chapters, paragraphs, or reveals. This is simply the equivalent of an edition number; fixing errors here and there.
And once that’s done and the newer, cleaner versions are live, the price will drop. Simple as that.
Back to Writing, Then
Right. The prior section won’t take me long (in fact, I intend to be done by the time Colony is out). So what comes next?
Well, I’ll be writing again. No, I’m not doing Nanowrimo (my 60K-80K words per month habit sort of makes the conclusion a little foregone), just writing as normal. Being a Better Writer will continue, of course, but that’s not what a lot are here for. They want to know what my next project is.
And the most immediate ones that I’ll be embarking upon? Well, fanfiction, actually. My fanfic-loving readers have had a drought since … (checks) … September of 2015. Yup, over a year now. I’ve been busy with other writing projects such as Unusual Events, Colony, and Shadow of an Empire, and so now that those are mostly done (Shadow of an Empire is in Alpha 1), I need to give those dedicated fans something to chew on.
Those of you who read fanfiction or have no interest in it or the stuff I’ve written, feel free to skip this section. Me, I can’t forget where my fanbase and the majority of my early readers came from. Besides, it is fun to play in another sandbox for a little while, even if it means I’m writing something I can’t sell. I like that sandbox, it’s why I wrote fanfic in the first place.
Anyway, I’ve actually got two things coming for them. The first is already written, and just awaiting an Alpha and Beta read, while the second will be my go-to writing project as soon as I’m done polishing One Drink and Dead Silver.
No, it is not the next installment in The Dusk Guard Saga. That’s coming after my next book draft is written (so close, but a little while yet). It is, however, the sequel to something I’ve already written and released. I’m not going to say exactly what, because that would spoil the fun, but suffice to say I’ve been brainstorming on it for a few days now, and it’s starting to reach that part of the process where it moves from a nebulous “Here’s the gist of it” to a specific sequence of events—and I am liking where it is going. This is going to be both fun to write and, if I do my job, pretty heart-warming.
Again, I’m not spoiling it just yet. I’ll start letting details drip out as it comes closer to actually being a finished product (and not just a collection of plot points and themes in my head), but it’s definitely going to be worth waiting for. Until then, you guys can make guesses about it (though it won’t be hard if you’ve encountered a clue I left elsewhere …)
Now, quickly and before I move on, I should address the elephant in the room: When is the next Dusk Guard Saga book coming?
No, seriously. Soon! Right now, Shadow of an Empire is in Alpha 1, and soon it’ll be in Alpha 2. I’ll be writing this quick fanfic projects, and then getting to work on Jungle (see the section below this).
Once Jungle is in Alpha 1 … I will start work writing the next Dusk Guard Saga book, Hunter/Hunted. Which means you can most likely, and barring an sudden surprises (like bankruptcy) expect it in 2017. And yes, this one will be about the DG themselves, not the DR (that’ll be book 4, Fires of the Earth, which at the current pace I’m pumping these out will be somewhere in 2019 … which seems way out there, but writing is a lot of work, so …).
Anyway, those DG-only fans that have been patiently waiting (and some that have not) for the next installment, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! And as usual, there’s going to be some interesting revelations—and I shouldn’t get ahead of myself . Yes, I’ve plotted out the series pretty much to the end, NO, you do not get spoilers, lol. I will tell you, however, that at the moment, the focus characters of this particular entry (and at this time, barring any changes) are going to be Hunter and Sabra.
Yes, it’s coming. I haven’t forgotten about my first epic. You are going to start getting hints and tips soon. But first …
Right, so once those two fanfic projects are done (so likely by the end of this month), work can start on my next big project.
The sequel to Colony.
Yes, you read that right. Most of you (read: pretty much all) haven’t read it yet, and it isn’t even out yet, but I’m already working on a sequel. Which probably has some of you thinking “What? Really?”
Yes. Simply put, the early feedback from Alpha and Beta readers has been fantastic, far moreso than I ever expected. They loved Colony. They loved the characters, they loved the setting, they loved the tech, and they loved the universe. And before the book was even out of Alpha 1 (!), I had multiple readers contacting me to ask when the sequel could be expected. Because they wanted it. They wanted it bad. Crud, some of them continued asking me about a possible sequel each time I had contact with them afterwards. I’ve had clamoring for a sequel before, but to date the only thing that’s had this much of a positive response along with cries for more has been my first fanfic, Rise.
Thankfully, a sequel was actually possible. Expected, actually. Don’t worry! Colony‘s story is self-contained—you don’t have to worry about a big cliffhanger or anything. It has a start and a finish. But it definitely opens up a wider universe with space to explore (haha, get it? Because it’s a Sci-Fi about a colony world, and I said space to explore, and … I’ll show myself out now). But I was thinking along the lines of “Well, if people like this, I’ll get to it, here’s where the plot will go,” etc.
Then people liked it. Really liked it. And so the possibility of a sequel became “I’d better write this.”
To be fair, it’s not like I didn’t want to. I had fun writing Colony. Now I’m diving back in, and there’s so much to … Okay, I should save it until after most of you have had a chance to read Colony.
Point is, I’ll be starting work on Jungle as soon as I’m done with these fan projects. Simple title? Sure. But, like Colony‘s, it fits, and fits well. Plus, I get to keep that ominous, one-word title theme, which I’ll likely carry to any and all future books in the series. Anyway, that’s my next project while Shadow gets edited, and I’m excited to start work on it.
There are more writing projects coming after that, of course. At some point I’ll need to revisit Indrim (Shadow of an Empire), and I’ve got plans there. I’ve got ideas for both a new Jacob Rocke book and a new Hawke Decroux book, plus a few other stories set in the Unusuals universe. As long as I can keep making money enough to live off my writing, I’ll have books coming. There’s no end to the ideas!
Anyway, this section isn’t supposed to be about that. It’s actually about extras. Well, one extra, in particular.
Ever heard of the game X-COM 2? If no, then you can probably skip this one out. If yes, or even better, some form of “Great heaping mounds of mashed-potatoes and gravy, yes!” then I’ve got something coming that should make you very happy.
So, X-COM 2 has a character creator. Which is awesome. You can sit down and build all sorts of characters who can then become characters you encounter in-game as your own forces or allies! Even better, the developers went ahead and made it so t
hat you can export “pools” of characters that others can download and import into their game.
You might be able to see where I’m going with this. What author who enjoyed the
game wouldn’t sit down and create all of their characters?
Yeah, I was busy for hours. Oh, but the results … well, they speak for themselves. Above there? That is Hawke Decroux, everyone’s favorite Native American-French Canadian shaman, ready to bring his particular skills to bear to help X-COM.
Yes, he’s a psychic in-game. Or at least, he should be. That’ll get you closest, anyway. And he’s a lot of fun. He had a custom beam rifle in my playthrough named “Pew-Pew-Pew” supported his team with a bunch of stat boosts. Jacob Rocke was there as well, of course. I had to have both of them.
But … I’m not stopping there. Not just with characters (the Colony main cast is already done), but with regards to who gets to play with them. I haven’t figured out how yet (WordPress doesn’t want me sharing zip files, apparently), but I am going to be making both Jacob Rocke and Hawke Decroux available for anyone to download and stick into their X-COM 2 character pool.
They may not come out looking exactly the same as they do here, as I do have a few mods installed that add extra camo patterns and the like. But they’re all popular mods, so if you’re a major X-COM 2 player, you probably already have them and all should be good.
Anyway, as soon as I figure out how to get them on here as a file you can grab, I’ll be putting them up. And a Colony set as well. And one for Shadow of an Empire once that comes out, and … probably so on and so forth. It’s a gimmick, but it’s a fun one. Plus, you’ll get to see how I envision these characters (or as close as I could get, anyway, the character creator isn’t the best, especially with faces, but it’s close).
Anyway, look for that in the coming weeks!
And … Work Time
So there you have it. All the things you can expect from me in the coming months and into 2017. It’s a lot, and it’s a lot of fun, too.
Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow or Friday with another blog post (this one just some musings on something), but until then good luck, keep writing, and—of course—go order Colony if you haven’t already!