Good news first:
The second installment of Speculative E-Shorts is ready to go live in two months and is available for pre-order on Amazon. On October 5, it will be free on Kindle Unlimited and 0.99 cents to buy.
Now for the “bad” news:
Havoc’s Moon, The Slaughter Chronicles Book One, will not be coming out this year.
The manuscript is currently with my editor undergoing a serious critique. When it comes back to me in September, I will be re-writing about half of it. Because the conflict gluing the middle to the end was okay. Just okay. Not great. And that is not acceptable.
This isn’t the perfectionist in me talking, this is the reader in me talking. The reader who wanted some super cool shit to happen and got “just okay.”
This is nothing new to me or my writing process. This same thing happened in 2019 when I finished the first draft of the first version of Havoc’s Moon. I gave it to Mr. J to read, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: Did you like it?
Mr J: <silence>
Me: Come on. What did you think?
Mr. J: <long pause> Someone somewhere will like it.
Me: But did YOU like it?
Mr. J: <another long pause> Like I said, someone will like it.
Me: So… you didn’t like it?
Mr. J: <silence>
Yeah. I was crushed. But I picked myself up and kept writing. In that first draft, there was no Squee, there was no Hyperion. I am happy to say that Mr. J does like the second version of the manuscript.
And now it needs to go through another evolution. Mushy middle is real, y’all.
How did I know the book needed a re-write? What if what I re-write is worse than what I had that was just okay?
In the last stages of my drafting process, I had three big story gaps that I was struggling to fill. I knew the plot, the themes I wanted to evoke with my characters’ actions. I had all the fight blocking sorted out. But when I sat down to write those gaps, I. Just. Couldn’t. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. And because I had deadlines, one from my editor and a personal deadline involving school, I did something I shouldn’t have done: I tried to force it.
Never force the writing. Ever.
As my August deadline drew closer, I looked back at my revisions with one recurring thought: I wish I wrote <redacted for spoilers> instead of this. But I convinced myself I was too committed to this plot thread and too close to the deadline to just start over.
I should have started over. Because the stress got real.
Here’s a cautionary tale for you: two days before my manuscript was due, I cut 15,000 words. Cut them. Because the conflict did nothing to move the story forward. The beginning and the end sandwiched something that I didn’t really care about (that also contributed to my stalled writing).
So, in an Earl Grey fueled panic, I cobbled together the beginnings of how I wanted to improve the conflict, drafted skeletons of the new scenes, and sent that to my editor with a long list of notes and a huge apology. And a request for a developmental edit next year.
And now, even though I’m writing the book while I’m in Lab Science college, which is something I really didn’t want to do because school is hard (awesome but hard), I am confident that readers will appreciate reading a better book.
Lab Science college is probably the best thing that ever happened to me, but holy shit, my entire life has become STUDYING. I warned friends and family that I wouldn’t be around as much. I should have said I wouldn’t be around at all.
Lucky the betta fish is fine, subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive betta pictures (shameless plug, I know).
The cats are a different story. Leela caught a “kitty cold” but is doing better. Titain and Tiny Rick have fungal infections in their claws. That was a fun discovery.
And I’ve started taking allergy shots. I’ve always been the kind of person who “toughs it out” when it comes to allergies, but my new PCP offered me the option to talk to an allergist and I thought, why not? So now every other day I stick myself (sometimes badly) and fill myself with <insert long scientific explanation here> that my immune system can get used to.
I also got bangs… cut my hair into bangs? Not sure how to form that sentence properly. Anyway, I’m not mad at them.
Supernatural Suspense author Claire Fishback just released the second book in her Origin Codex series. I’m absolutely in love with the title, The Gorging of Souls. And there’s an eyeball on the cover! With a little optic nerve dangling from it.
Dark Historical Suspense author Christie Stratos launches into Kindle Vella with Grimoire Society of Dark Acts. I find the main character, a Victorian era pharmacist, absolutely fascinating and the magic system definitely lives up to the serial’s intriguing name.
Dancing Lemur Press released Damien Larkin’s Blood Red Sand, an epic sequel/prequel (there’s time-y-wime-y bits) to Big Red. Nazis on Mars. WWII in space. Explosions. Blood Red Sands has it all.
WHAT I’M READING NOW
Hematology and Immunology, y’all. I can tell you how blood works.
In my limited spare time, I’m re-reading Frank Herbert’s Dune series. But I’m starting with Paul of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I’ve only read the six original books so it’s nice to dive into the new material.
I’m also looking forward to finding the time to read A Terrible Fall of Angels, the newest Laurell K. Hamilton book. LKH is one of my top 5 writing idols.