Thoughts on Genesis Earth

So I finished rereading Genesis Earth, in preparation for writing the sequel, and I have to say it was not what I expected.

It wasn’t disappointing. There were some annoying ticks that I noticed, like too many said bookisms or turns of phrase that I wouldn’t have written today. Also, the book was a little wordy or slow in parts, compared to my more recent writing. But those were relatively minor issues. The story was quite solid. I’d actually forgotten some of the plot twists, so it was fun to watch them unfold. A bit like reading the book for the first time.

But one thing above all else struck home: the person who wrote Genesis Earth is not the person I am today. I doubt that that person would have been able to write Gunslinger to the Stars. And if I were to go back and write Genesis Earth from scratch, it would be a completely different book in every meaningful way.

It’s bizarre. When you’re caught up in day-to-day life, you never really get a sense that you’re changing. And yet, the truth is that we’re always changing, hopefully for the best, but not always. It’s impossible to experience life and still remain unchanged.

I also got a sense of this when I finished the 2.0 draft for The Sword Keeper. Perhaps it was just me reliving my own memories from the times when I wrote it, but the first half of the book seemed very different from the second half. I wrote the first half while living abroad in Georgia, and the second half years later here in Utah.

There’s a couple of things I’ve taken away from this experience.

First, it’s not always a good idea to put a WIP on the back burner. By the time you come back to it, you may not be capable of writing it exactly the way you first envisioned it. Better to push through whatever’s blocking you and strike while the iron is hot.

Second, at anything you want to do well, it’s important to always strive to improve. Even when you’re at the top of your game (and I’m certainly not at the top of mine—not yet anyway), if you’re not always trying to do better, to learn and to grow, you’ll fall off really fast.

In reality, there is no “top,” because nothing is ever static. Improvement is a lifelong process, because the moment you stop improving is the moment you start getting worse.

One thing I really need to work on is writing every day. In the past, when I’ve been working on revisions, or prewriting, or getting a book ready for publication, I’ve slacked off on this. But the truth is that writing new words is the best way to sharpen your writing skills, and that writing every day is the best way to always keep them sharp. And there’s always something to write, even if it’s just a short story. If I could write a short story every week for a year…

So yeah, lots to think on. And I’ve got a few ideas for Edenfall as well. But first, before I move to Iowa next week, I need to get Gunslinger to the Stars ready for publication. Harder, better, faster, stronger—our work is never over!

Recovering…

This sinus infection has really been kicking my butt. I’m running at about 70% right now, which is better than last week, but still sub-optimal.

A lot of stuff is happening in the next couple of weeks. First, I got the edits back for Gunslinger to the Stars, which means that it should go up for pre-order sometime early next month. I’m also rereading Genesis Earth in preparation for writing book two, Edenfall. If things go well, that should be out by the end of the year.

At the same time, I’m moving out of my apartment soon, probably within two weeks. My landlady is selling her house, which means that the mother-in-law apartment where I’m currently living is not the best arrangement. Also, I just discovered some major mold issues. If it weren’t for this sinus infection, I’d already be in process of moving, but the illness has delayed things. Need to work out a plan.

Then there’s the half-foot of snow that just got dumped on us here in Utah. Joy.

Point is, it’s probably going to be a while before you hear from me again. I’ll try to keep you guys updated, but no guarantees. I’m still writing, though, and should have some more stuff coming out soon. Next month’s release will probably be another short story, since they’re easy to put out, but my next novel, Gunslinger to the Stars, will be available soon.

Sick, sick, sick

So Thursday morning, I came back from the gym after running 2.5 miles on the treadmill and promptly fell asleep for half an hour. Later that evening, I went for a walk and found myself out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs. For some reason, I was having difficulty getting air into my lungs. No other symptoms, though, so I chalked it up to the inversion and took an alka seltzer to clear things up.

Friday, I woke up with a complete lack of desire to go anywhere or to do anything. The day was mostly a wash, though I did get up to Salt Lake to see my sister who was attending Rootstech 2017. On the way, I started coming down with a mild headache. Also, minor congestion.

Saturday was when the plague finally struck me.

Congestion, massive headache, unbelievable chills—the whole works. I spent most of the day in bed, with a blanket, a quilt, and a down comforter all piled on top of me, and I still didn’t feel warm enough. Drank lots of water and took a bunch of medicine, but I was still in a pretty bad way through most of Sunday.

As things stand right now, I’ve still got a headache and I’m coughing up all kinds of nastiness, but it seems that the worst has passed. Still popping vitamin Cs and drinking piss-tons of water, which isn’t fun, but at least I’m getting better.

No idea how that’s going to impact things this week. Hopefully, I’m back on my feet and writing again relatively soon, but that may or may not be the case.

Either way, there’s still a lot of prewriting to do before I can start my next WIP, Edenfall. I need to reread Genesis Earth and really immerse myself in that universe. I also plan to look over the reviews and spend a day or two picking over tvtropes like a menu. If I can line everything up the way I want to, I should be able to write a really clean first draft and publish it before the end of the year.

No promises, though. I’m still not sure when this sickness is going to go away. Hopefully soon.

January update

I had hoped to write a big blog post detailing my goals and plans for the year, but January got off to a rocky start (food poisoning, the flu, massive back-to-back snowstorms, and sub-zero temperatures), and this week I’m working a temp job. The big New Year’s post will have to wait.

I do have plans, however, and they’re already in motion. The main thing for now is to finish the 3.0 draft of Gunslinger to the Stars. The story is pretty much ready to go, so now I’m doing a final draft to tighten it up. I’m hoping to get it down from 66k words to just under 50k. Should make for a rip-roaring adventure.

My original deadline for Gunslinger was the end of this week, but with the job eating up all my time, it looks like I’ll have to push that back to Wednesday. Fortunately, that’s still quite doable. Revision is a pain, but it goes a lot faster for me than drafting, especially if the story is already in place.

After that, I plan to work on The Sword Keeper and finish the 2.0 draft. These are major story revisions, so it’s going to take some time to work them all out. My plan is to publish it in August, and I want to have it finished before it goes out for pre-order.

With luck, both of those projects will be finished by mid-February, freeing me up to really throw myself into Edenfall. You guys have been asking for it, and I plan to deliver. The Genesis Earth trilogy has waited long enough!

There also seems to be a great deal of interest in more J.M. Wight stories. “Worlds Without Number” has been performing exceptionally well, especially without any kind of promotion. I have some great ideas for more stories in that universe, and do hope to finish Starship Lachoneus sometime in 2018. There’s still a lot of work to do before that can happen, but if this is the story you guys want to read, I’ll move it up from the back burner.

I also just came up with a great idea for the next two Gunslinger books. The first one will be Gunslinger to the Stars, the second, Gunslinger to the Galaxy, and the third, Gunslinger to Earth. If the first one does well, I’d love to expand it into a trilogy.

But first! I’ve got to finish book one. The next big step is to find a good cover artist, then send it out for edits and put it up for pre-order. Right now, it’s scheduled to release in May, going up for Amazon pre-order in April and everywhere else in February. Gotta get on that!

TL;DR, things are crazy crazy busy around here (but in a good way). I do have a resolution to blog more frequently this year, especially with these quick update posts. Let me know what you think, or if there’s any particular book you’re looking forward to! In the meantime, thanks for reading!

Well, that rules out time travelers

If there’s one thing that the events of the weekend have proven, it’s that time machines aren’t going to be invented for at least another few hundred years. Because if time travelers from our immediate future were in our midst, I have no doubt that either Hillary or Trump (or both, Godwilling!) would have been assassinated by now.

Of course, it could just be that things are going to collapse so hard that it wouldn’t make a difference which one of them became president, but whatever. No sense in being overly optimistic.

Last week was a total wash after the motorcycle accident, but I’m slowly getting back into the saddle. I’ve got the comments back from my first readers for Gunslinger to the Stars, so that’s the WIP I’m picking up next. Deadline for draft 2.0 is October 29, but I may be able to get it done sooner than that. Hell, I may even get it done this week.

Publishing it is another question. Finances are tight, and it’s been a bad year for sales, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to produce a quality book. Right now, I’m shooting for an April release date. That may actually be a good thing, though as it gives me time to write and release a few tie-in short stories. But regardless, it’s going to come out early next year.

Between now and then, I’ll probably release a couple of short stories and story collections. The shorts are selling better than I expected, and they make great giveaways for InstaFreebie and my mailing list. I’ve still got a bunch of stories on submission, but some of them are coming off soon, and others (like the tie-ins I want to write) would probably do better as direct to publish anyways.

As far as other WIPs go, my next big project is The Sword Keeper 2.0. I want to do a solid clean-up pass before I hand it off to my first readers, which shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks. It is my first epic fantasy novel, though, so it’s probably going to need a lot of work before I can publish it.

Next one up after that is Edenfall. There’s been a lot of interest in that one from readers of Genesis Earth, so I think it’s time (after so many years) to finish the trilogy.

I have plans for Sons of the Starfarers, but those will have to go on hold for a while as I work on these other projects. I’ll probably write the last four books in a big sprint and publish them all within a month of each other. No idea when, but hopefully before the end of next year.

That pretty much does it. I’ll leave you with some words of Hungarian optimism that showed up in my YouTube feed today: