Stumbling to the End of a Story

Literally, stumbling.

Shortly after my last post I picked up an allergy. You might say that allergies are fairly common but this was a first for me. The cause is unknown, but it was probably related to the pollution that drifts across the Chinese border. The downer was that I got this one while developing a nasty Asian flu–a double whammy that drained the will to live. Anyhow, after 12 weeks, I thought it was time to see a doctor.

Two surgery visits and five X-Rays later, the Doc confirms the allergy (and the flu) and, for good measure, threw in acute sinusitis on top of chronic sinusitis (which accounts for a whole bunch of “feel bad” moments I’ve had and put down to growing old).

Two courses of antibiotics later, I could smell again–everything: the traffic, the burning rubber, propane gas exhaust, coal dust, early morning commuter farts and, worse still, stinky Tofu–the whole Asian street scene came flooding back. I’m also aware that my dogs need a bath, my favourite shoes are well past their sell-by date and I have proof-positive (finally) that the cheese in the fridge really does stink. I apologise to my wife for not believing her.

Moving on… Some of you will know that I am a pension portfolio manager by day. Of late, I have gotten involved in a new pension structure that has required my reading up on local legislation, tax treaties and tax codes globally. The more I read, the more I got excited about it and the more time I had to spend on it. Day and night.

…And now I’m taking a couple of weeks off to see my daughter be married in the UK.

So, yep, “Petroff’s Pogrom” has taken a back seat. Not willingly, mind. I enjoy the writing. But the “Birdie Down” sequel won’t be ready in late May as I had promised in early January. Sorry.  I thought I should just let you know.

In the meantime, the story I most enjoyed writing is waiting to be read. “Army of Souls”, the sequel to “Scat”, isn’t free, but it is my best yet. (Best being relative, of course. And subjective.) Still, I hope you’ve got a spare USD2.99 and a free weekend. And that you enjoy it.

Alternatively, if you promise to write an honest review and can leave me your email address, I will send you a Smashword code that’ll let you pick up “Army of Souls” for a dollar. That’s 5 pages of science fiction action and gallows humour per US cent.

And that’s a steal, right?

Jim

 

 

Over Halfway

I get a little excited when I reach the halfway mark in a first draft of a new story. I’m beyond that point now with my next story, which has a working title of Petroff’s Progrom. I won’t call it that when I publish. I fancy Pharma. I haven’t yet decided.

Right now, Thomas Irwin and his friend, Mark Stafford, are in the thick of some brutal fighting along the cold, dark tunnels of the Gobi mines; Sebastian Scatkiewicz, Andrew ‘Birdie’ Goosen and Day are busy expanding their rebel fleet by ambushing smugglers; and Jack Petroff is committing mass murder as he attempts to protect his personal business interests against Cohen and Cotton’s snooping. These threads will come together as I write this episode’s final scenes a little later this month. Hopefully, I’ll have the second Rebellion story ready to upload–after a serious edit and a new book cover–sometime in April. Tell a friend;)

After that, it’s back to the third story in the Scat’s Universe series (working title, Destiny), which is 20% done. I have yet to decide whether Scat gets to rule Purgatory or simply saves Mankind from it. Maybe neither: Haraani politics is complicating things.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, book-lovers

I know that success, fortune and peace of mind rarely coexist, but I hope you get it all, and in spades, this 2014.

Please remember Scat and his small, rag-tag band of refugees this holiday season. They don’t get a Christmas this year and no booze on new year’s eve. (I’m working them harder this year than ever before.)

Best

Jim

BIRDIE DOWN – still flying …

So consumed was I in writing and publishing ARMY of SOULS, and finding the time to hunker down and make in-roads into the third story in the SCAT’S UNIVERSE space opera saga, I had almost completely forgotten to promote my REBELLION story. As a result it was feeling a little neglected, but a recent review has just perked it up a little.

For those of you who didn’t see a tweet on the topic,  BIRDIE DOWN is a shoot ‘em up space opera side story that fits into the bigger novel SCAT at around chapter 100.

Here’s the review: Goodreads

It’s a free story. Grab it from Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords or click onto the BIRDIE DOWN website page to find your preferred retailer.

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Dream on, Destiny

Aside

Early reader comments for ARMY of SOULS are in. They range from: “could be your break out novel”, “Really great book” and “addicted to the concept” to “what were you using when you dreamt this stuff up”. All of which is very encouraging: The concept is meant to be intriguing, and the story aims to be a little “out there”.

Right now I’m ingesting copious amounts of coffee just before bedtime so as to dream up the third Scat’s Universe story, currently entitled, “Destiny”. (I have found that Starbuck’s Guatemala and Antigua beans generate the best dreams, so I’m sticking with them.)

Which reminds me to pop down to the Circle K. My coffee needs milk.

Destiny – Working Title – Book 3 of Scat’s Universe

I’m 10% into the first draft of the follow-on story to Army of Souls. I’m calling it Destiny for now. It aims to be as complicated and as ‘addictive’ as AoS and leave the reader feeling just as ‘spellbound’ as they were after reading Scat. (I just love Twitter–tweeps tweet the nicest of things when they are in the middle of a story).

It’s a Scat’s Universe novel, so you’d be right in thinking that Scatkiewicz will have his work cut out for him, again. There’s new stuff, new characters and new places. I also hope to introduce a new concept or two to brush the cobwebs from the brain (mine if not yours) and to edge a little closer to a victory for the Virtues. Or not. I have several endings in mind.

If you are reading Army of Souls, or have finished it, please let me know what you think of it. Feedback is essential to my growth as an author. Sadly, my publisher/publicist/agent resides in the left side of my brain and rarely, if ever, speaks to the writer who lives mostly in the right;-) Up till now I’ve been told that AoS, ‘…could be your break-out novel’ and was asked, ‘What were you using when you dreamt this stuff up?’ My thanks to the coffee.