I finished writing the second book in the series this morning! Rough draft came in at 155K words. Now on to the misery that is editing…
Hearing that someone enjoyed something I wrote this much will never stop making my day. I’m always so grateful to hear that something I wrote has resonated with someone out there.
Fantastically, it seems there are still folks out there taking a gamble on my first book. I say “fantastically” because that means that by this point, anyone still hitting the button to download it is a complete and total stranger. The family and friends crowd was exhausted a long time ago.
This also means that I’m doubly grateful to those of you jumping on the bus. It’s no secret that this is a series I’m working on; a series that is incomplete, by the way. I get that there are plenty of people out there who may be interested in beginning a series of books but hold back from doing so until said series has been completed. Seems George R. R. Martin has burned one too many fans in the world…
So not only are you guys taking a chance on a relatively unknown author in a veritable ocean of new talent, you’re also banking on the fact that I’ll have this series of books done in a timely manner. I’m absolutely humbled that you’re diving in with me.
I’m well aware of the phenomenon of authors freezing up towards the end of their series, freaking out that they won’t be able to bring things to a satisfactory conclusion. What I can promise you, my readers, is that I knew what the end of the Commune Series looked like from Day One when I wrote the opening line. There’s a plan here, and I don’t mean some nebulous Lost plan wherein the smoke monster turns out to be the manifestations of some super mutant human and all the characters are actually just dead time travelers (good God). Nope, I’m talking about a real ending that gets properly setup and paid off. I can’t promise that you’ll love what happens to every single character but I can guarantee that the ending will be earned.
Book Two is just around the corner. There are only a few chapters left to write (perhaps five or less) and then on to editing!
The last couple of days have seen me diligently researching any and all details I can find regarding field disposal of human waste, including historical measures, techniques, outhouse construction, the utility of pit and burn out latrines, and the safety and sanitation hazards one needs to consider when preparing to shit into a hole. This is what comes of writing post apocalyptic fiction.
Today, I was eating my lunch while reviewing the following picture. It was during this time that I thought to myself, “You know, this probably isn’t what my mother thinks about when she tells her friends that I’m a published writer…”
This morning sees the manuscript at 73K words and my very rough guesstimate is that I’m about halfway through, give or take. The outline, strictly followed, calls it 50% of the way there, but I’ve had additional ideas while in the process of writing that I’ve jotted down. I may include them or not, depending on relevance to the story and how they effect the flow. It’s looking good, though. I’m happy with how things are progressing and the pacing feels right.
You can grab a copy of the first book in the series by clicking the cover below if you need to catch up. Feel free to crack open the free preview and see if this is a story you’d like to dive into. I’m well aware that some people are resistant to starting a series that isn’t yet finished but I can fairly promise you that this one is getting finished. I’ve had the whole series (three books) mapped out from the start; there’s not really any point where I’m running into writer’s block here. I know what the whole story is; I just need the time to write it out. The whole series will be done by early to mid next year. I’m pushing hard to have the second book complete towards the end of August.
I’m a civilian. The only knowledge I have about military life is what I’ve learned from my dad, who was a Soldier, and my other friends who have served, in addition to what I’ve researched for myself.
This presents a hell of a challenge, then, when a major character in my second book (currently in progress right now) is a 12 year veteran of the Marine Corps. The reader spends a lot of time with this guy, so I’ve had to create not just a character, but a character with a realistic military career in the United States Marine Corps.
That shit is hard.
Lucky for me, I have some good Marine friends, both veterans as well as active service members, who can protect me from doing idiotic things. One of them is listed in the acknowledgements of Commune Book One (Hi, Scott); another of them (currently stationed out in Okinawa right now) is looking like he’ll be a big part of me keeping Book Two on point.
I’ve spoken to a few vets on the matter and, so far, they all seem to appreciate the fact that the main thing I’m trying to do is show the most realistic portrayal I can of the military mindset and lifestyle, warts and all. I’m getting the impression that these guys are excited about having their stories told, even if it’s only in a work of apocalypse fiction.
I’m trying to do a lot of things in this series of books, one of which is to honor the service and actions of the men and women of the United States Military in the truest way that I can, showing them as the real, complex people that they are. Call it a fanboy love letter, if you like.
Whether I’m qualified or not, I’m taking on the role of a collector and keeper of stories, here. If you have served or are currently serving and you have stories you want to share from your experiences (pretty or ugly), whether you were in country, on base, or in basic, please feel encouraged to send them my way. If they work out for the story I’m trying to tell, an adapted version may end up in my books (with your permission). Even if they don’t, I’ll be posting them up here at this site (again with your permission, of course – you or I can change names to protect the not-so-innocent).
I don’t know how much range this post is going to have or if there will be a lot of takers but I’d sure as hell like to get as many eyes on as I can. If you’re reading this right now and you know anyone who might be interested, please share this along and direct them to my contact info on this site so they can drop me a line. No story is too small; I’m not necessarily looking for a bunch of top tier operator stories, though if you went out and did that, it’s cool and you’re welcome here too. But the background folks, whether you ran logistics in an office of slung food in the mess, I want you here too. The lowliest grunt who never did anything more than fill a gas tank is still more of a badass than me; you guys are all my heroes, men and women alike. You all have a place here.
I’m looking for human stories. Whether it has to do with your first or last firefight; or that night you got bored, lit your pubes on fire, and ended up in the infirmary; or that wild time in Thailand that you can only vaguely remember. I’m interested in all of it. I’m damned sure not the only one.
A lovely person left me a 5-star on Amazon today. Man, it tickles me stupid that people are digging the book 🙂