Offworld Chronicles - Troubled Waters:
I figured to just throw out a small writing update for all of you. I know a lot of you are really, really looking forward to my next book, OWC6 - Troubled Waters. However, as much as I've been trying to keep on my previous 6 month release schedule, despite having said that I'm going to a floating schedule instead, I've still tried and tried to push for those original publishing dates and to keep to that schedule as best I could. I know you enjoy it, and I love pushing them out like that on a regular schedule. However, I'm having to admit that I just can't do that anymore. From everything that's happening in my life right now, I'm gonna have to throw the towel in on that for good.
And NO, NO, I'm NOT quitting, I'm NOT giving up. Far from it. However, to ensure that I maintain the best possible quality of my books, something I know you appreciate, I'm gonna have to move to, not even a floating schedule. I'm just gonna have to throw the schedule completely out the window at this point because, if I can't even make the dates I plan, and replan, and re-replan for, what's the point of keeping a schedule? So, rather than getting you excited, then disappointed over and over again, I'm gonna move to a simplified release schedule of "I'll release it whenever it's done," whatever dark century that is.
Again, I will not release a book that is not 100% satisfactory to me, and I will not rush it. So, if I simply do not have the time to work on them for the next 3, 6, 12 months or more, then they just don't get released. I know you'll all appreciate that, even if it makes you wait longer. But I'm not going to release a book that I'm not totally satisfied with. When it's ready, it will come out, but not before then. So please, bear with me, be patient (I know that's hard today in our instant gratification, do it now or else, "microwave" society) and you will be rewarded greatly for that.
Final release dates for any future books that I do going forward will not likely come out until I'm either done with all the editing and ready to release, or I know I'm only one or two edits away from being done. So, for now, the February release date window is shut, and I will not be releasing anything that month, short of a miracle. At this point I'm aiming for June 2021 for the release, but that will be the earliest date with any possibility of being honored, given how things are going. Anyhow, I'll update all of you on how that goes as I know more, or get closer to my release dates.
As for writing updates, and other stories, the obvious next book, after OWC6 - Troubled Waters, is going to be OWC7 - Journey's End. Once those two are done, then my slate changes as I'm now free to move in any direction I want or need to. And, while my writing plans do shift back and forth (everything is naturally in flux until I find myself able to know specifically, and with certainty, what I will do next), I do like to keep you guys updated on what I plan to do, where, and how. So, here's where the docket stands right now as far as plans go for the future of my publishing.
Earthfleet: As many of you know, The Earthfleet Saga was my first books that I've written that actually made it to publication, and really only because a bunch of friends twisted my arm really hard (ouch!! lol!!) and convinced (re: begged) that I get them published. So I did. Fast forward over 12 years later and I now have 21 books in the wild, with another 25 in the "pending" file. Since Earthfleet was my first published series, it holds a special place in my heart. However, 12 years makes a HUGE difference in a writer's skill and quality of story writing. You can see that natural growth as you read the stories I've published in the order that I've released them.
That's why I want to go back (I've mentioned this before) and go back through the Earthfleet series and improve it. Now, I know that's caused some of you heart attacks, or darned near it. However, don't worry, my prior comments about "rebooting" aren't anything close to what one would consider a reboot. For me, it's like the USS Discovery from Star Trek season 3 where she got a major overhaul and upgrade, but was still the same ship, just with a LOT of new toys. That's more my goal with Earthfleet at this point. Presently, the primary areas of interest in "improving" in the series are these:
1. Improve spelling and grammar. Trust me, my spelling and grammar from 12 years ago is horrible compared to now. So I want to fix that.
2. Fix plot, continuity and cannon issues. Believe it or not, despite how hard I worked on it, there's still issues with cannon. I've since worked out most of those in my mind, and some of it in the wiki, but really, before I make anymore new Earthfleet novels, I need to make sure I plug all the holes in the proverbial dike before I move forward. There's nothing worse than a nasty plot hole ruining a perfectly good story.
3. Solidifying the characters. One of the things that I had issues with early on in my writing, and even now to some small degree, is what I call "Character Drift." In short, this is situations where the personality, character, patterns of speech, and so on, for a given character drifts in and out of what it should be. And I'm not talking about the small little diversions that occur as part of them having fun, making jokes, etc. I mean, we all do that, and it's completely normal. I mean, how many of you have periodically enjoyed talking like a pirate? :) What' I'm more thinking about is character drift that's not natural and shouldn't be happening. That I need to fix.
Once these are fixed, I think the books will be just fine being left as they are. The above three items really aren't major updates. It's more a case of fixing the dings and putting a proper coat of paint on the story, to make it the story it was meant to be, even if it was written in my younger, earlier, less writing mature days. And, even if I do fix up those things, the story will still have that younger writer flavor to it, which I really can't fix short of throwing everything out and starting from scratch. But that's fine. I mean, we fix up and repaint old cars, don't we, and even when we do they're still old cars, right? This is no different. Old car, new paintjob. That's basically what I'm doing. :)
Planetfall: Some of you have been asking about this series ever since I announced that I'd be doing it as a follow-on to Offworld Chronicles. So what is Planetfall? Planetfall is another effort by me to learn, and grow as a writer. However, Planetfall will NOT be anything like Offworld Chronicles. How so, you might ask, since it occurs in the same universe? Well, in Planetfall, the race is over, the events of the OWC series are done, and this is a new time, new era, new struggles, new characters, along with some old ones that we love and know, and a whole new type of adventure. Whereas OWC was survival scifi, Planetfall's primary theme will be colony building.
Yes, it will share some "survival scifi" elements with OWC, as any new colony is always going to be going through that initial "survival" period. But once that's done, and the colony is established, stable, and functional, everything switches from survival to society building. Now, while I'm good at world building, actual society building is still relatively new for me. This includes colony building. The reason why is (WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!) because the colony will begin with just 100 people. The idea behind this is, a small initial colony group would be easier to get established than a much larger one, primarily due to the fact that they have very limited resources when they first arrive, and will need to pretty much spin up everything from scratch. So the smaller the team, the easier that is to do.
Once they're established, the next team appears, rinse, repeat, then the final team appears. After that, they're entirely on their own, with no further injections of people or resources to get them going. The end goal of the expedition is to prepare the planet of Ember, a former colony and resource planet for the Syndicate, which was abandoned nearly 700 years previously due to a plague that has since run its course and is no longer deadly. So, since the race is won, the Syndicate, and their Section 17 loyalists have left Offworld. However, in doing so, they sabotaged all their tech that was installed on the planet. And, since Offworld is NOT a stable world, and requires that technology to remain viable and stable, the planet begins to slowly tear itself apart, facilitating the need to abandon ship, or planet in this case, and go somewhere else.
Since there are about 10m people who need to be evacuated (the population is a big bigger than that, but not everyone is being evacuated. Just a select group of about 10m. But, Ember, having been abandoned for so long, is in no condition to absorb these people. Hence the forward colonial teams who have a 150 year window, thanks in part to time travel (that'll be explained in the book) to do everything they can to prepare the planet for the arrival of these refugees. And, since they're starting from scratch, I have to (and they as well) build everything from the ground up, and do it fast enough that, when the 150 year window is over (not a easy feat, mind you) they can safely, efficiently, and effectively ingest these refugees and integrate them into the newly completed and matured local society.
**END OF SPOILERS!!** So anyhow, that's the general gist of the idea so far. And, as the old saying goes, "no outline ever survives the rough draft", that whole idea may get thrown under the bus at some point, either in part, or in whole. But that's what I've got so far for the rough plot outline of the story and series. So, when will I be starting on this? Pfft, I've still got a LOT of work to get all the details ironed before I can start writing. Plus, I need to finish OWC first. Without finishing the cannon on that first, I can't begin to solidify the cannon for Planetfall. So I figure, based on prior experience, since I'm diving into something new, and doing some pretty massive world and society building at the same time, with lots of new stuff that didn't exist in the OWC series, I'm gonna need at least a year or two beyond OWC before the first book has any prayer of being done. So what am I looking at doing in the meantime? Funny you should ask. :)
Earthfleet: The Weaver's Forge: This is an old, incomplete Earthfleet novel that I've been dying to finish, but for one reason or another was never able to. It's 95% done, but just needs some more work, which the fixes to the original Earthfleet books should rectify, or help make possible. Once I have the cannon solidified in them, it'll make it much, much easier to finish this book. I think the issues with the cannon I had in those books is what train wrecked this one, as I wasn't able to solve the problems when I originally wrote it, not realizing until recently that it was issues I hadn't ironed out in the original books that was a majority cause of the problems. So, once those are sorted, then I'll move on to this. And no, I'm not gonna spoil it for you, aside from mentioning that it's a prequel to the Earthfleet Saga that occurs just shortly after the first refit of the Sergenious, around the time when the first members of Simon's crew, as seen in Oort Perimeter, first began assembling, and the Sergenious began its initial journey forward under Mike's expert command. So, once I declare the issues with Earthfleet fixed, or at least sufficiently enough to move forward, then expect to see this one show up as one of my completed novels a few months after that, best case scenario, of course. :)
Earthfleet: The Specimen: This is another 90% majority done novel that just needs the same cleanup of Earthfleet to make it work. Plot and storyline are still in flux (it's not a full rough draft yet), so I don't have any real "spoilers" to give you other than to say that this occurs roughly during the time period AFTER the events of Destiny's Mission shortly after the time when Earthfleet and the Society are again free to move about freely in the now post UGW galaxy. The reason they now have this freedom after being so locked down and limited in the first two books is because the UGW has collapsed and no longer exists at this point, with all member worlds withdrawing their memberships after the events of Destiny's Mission. So it will occur during a period that things are sort of a galactic wild wild west.
Felix the Knight (Mouseville): This one is an interesting book, and sort of a side project I'm doing for a friend Don. He's been badgering me for a long time, upon hearing my original mouseville idea and has been chomping at the bit to do the artwork for it. So, I've written up the story for this book (one of several planned), passed it to him, he had his wife level it, I did some final tweaking, and now it's ready for the art creation. The book itself, while I originally figured to either do it as a YA or tween book, I eventually decided that this story, or series of stories, would be best done as a kids book, so that's what it'll be. ETA on when this will be done? No idea. I did my part. The rest is artwork, which is entirely in his lap. But, once I know more, you will too. :) As for other books in the series, I have 2-3 more planned, but there may be more than that. The total number will depend on a lot of things, but I think it'll be fun to do, even if this isn't my forte, or primary focus of writing.
Other Stuff: As stated above, I have about 25 books in a "pending" state right now in various states of completion, from just an "idea" with lots of notes, to a fully fledged story that just needs finishing, polishing, editing, etc. So there's still LOTS more stuff in the pipe for the future, including a potential five more Earthfleet novels. As various ideas get feet under them, I'll update you here. But, as it stands, with what's currently on my plate, I have easily another 12 years of writing worth of pending works ahead. What I'll do after that, no idea. But, finding that out is half the adventure. :D