Here’s to 2024

Currently, I’m working on a few projects. The first draft of my next novel is now approximately 75% complete. I’ve been working on it for a few months now, and I feel like it’s coming along very nicely. The novel is called Crusaders, and it’s a direct sequel to my first novel, Donner und Blitzkrieg. This novel picks up immediately after the previous one ended; in fact, the first couple of paragraphs of Chapter 1 are copied from the final couple of paragraphs from the end of Donner und Blitzkrieg, and continue that scene, which ended on something of a cliffhanger.

Crusaders draft cover

I’ve also spent much of the previous year working on short story submissions for various science fiction magazines, including Asimov’s and Analog. I’ve only gotten rejection letters so far, but competition for those coveted pages is fierce, with thousands of entries competing for a mere handful of slots. The fact that I got a personalized rejection for one of my stories, letting me know that I made it to the final round of read-throughs, felt like a victory in itself.

I plan to continue working on those short story submissions, as well as several other projects. After I finish and publish Crusaders, my next planned book project is a short story collection, which I’ve decided to title Have Yourself a Post-Apocalyptic Christmas.

The genesis of this project was unexpected, to say the least. I was browsing a site that sells pre-made cover art for books, looking to see if anything caught my eye for Crusaders. Instead, a totally unrelated cover image, of someone in a Santa suit with a rifle and tactical gear against the background of a post-apocalyptic street, caught my eye and inspired a flood of ideas. The cover was on sale, no less, and I bought it immediately. Unfortunately, after a couple brief emails, the designer of the cover stopped communicating with me and I never received the finished product. More than a month later, the web site owners have also been unable to get a reply. My money was refunded, and the designer’s other covers have been pulled from the site. I’m now searching for a new cover, but the original cover was perfect for the project, so it’s disappointing. Moreover, I hope that the designer is all right; it’s very odd for someone with as large a presence as they had on the site to suddenly disappear like that.

In the longer term, I also have other novels in various states of preparation. A sequel to Invasion is planned for 2025, and I’m still trying to wrestle with the plot of a science fiction trilogy that I started a couple of years ago. The first novel is fully plotted, and the second and third have rough outlines, but halfway through writing the first novel, things ground to a halt. Negotiations with the characters have stalled, but the outlook remains hopeful.

This year, I’ve opened up a storefront on Shopify in order to sell my ebooks directly to readers. I feel that limiting all of my sales to one platform or another—be it Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or any other single site—is short-sighted and foolhardy. Instead, I try to sell my books as widely as possible, and adding direct sales to that only makes sense. I also refuse to use Digital Rights Management (DRM) encryption on my books. First, it is laughably easy to circumvent. Second, it only serves to lock readers into whichever storefront they happened to buy the books from. If you buy the book on Amazon, you should be able to read it anywhere, and the file is yours to keep, rather than locked to their devices under a license that prevents you from actually owning what you buy.

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