So I’m Not Writing Much at the Moment

In case you were wondering. I do have a complete outline of my next book, the third in The Unity Sequence, and I’ve drafted the first four chapters. But a combination of the tendinitis in my left wrist flaring up a few weeks back, and the fact that Mrs. Dan and I preparing to relocate from Brazil to the US at the start of July–with all of the visa getting, flight planning, and shipping organising that this entails–has meant I haven’t put any words to digital paper in the last few weeks.

Not pictured: Me grimacing.

But never fear. I’m still confident I can get a first draft done by about October, and edits complete ready for publication before the end of the year. That’ll keep me on the two-books-a-year plan which should make me rich and famous by about 2024.

It’s good to have attainable goals.

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Edit The Second One, Sell The First One: Rinse, Repeat, Profit

Bit of a status update, this post. My wonderful editor–Misti from RedAdept–finished her initial edit of Venus Rising at the end of last week, and we had our edit kickoff call this Tuesday. Some of you might remember this post from the same point during the writing of Ascension Point. Highlights included an hour and a half on the phone to talk through all of the things that needed fixing, and a mammoth 619 comments from Misti on my first draft, as well as all of the inline edits she’d suggested. This time?

Twenty five minutes on the phone. 90 comments on the draft. (Fewer than on the first chapter alone of that draft of Ascension Point.)

So, yeah–it certainly seems like I’m improving as a writer. Hurrah! I’d thought so, but it’s nice to have something approaching quantitative evidence.

Anyway. Lovely wife is away at a conference this week, giving me a certain amount of spare time to fill. There are only so many back episodes of Chuck that I can watch in one evening, so I spent quite a lot of time on my edits, and sent Misti a new draft last night. It’s looking really good, and I’m confident the final draft of Venus Rising that I release in April is going to be great. Exciting times!

In other news (the ‘sell the first one’ part of the headline) today Ascension Point is Ereader News Today’s Book of the Day. This is far and away the biggest promo I’ve ever done. Greg at ENT gets thousands of applicants in January for the 240 BotD slots available for the coming year, so I was thrilled that he deemed Ascension Point worthy of one.

It’s $150 for the promo, and as you’ll have seen from my post a couple of days back I chopped the ebook price down to $2.99 to make it even more enticing to the ENT subscribers. 75 sales will see me break even, which would be a lovely goal to achieve; mainly I’m after some word of mouth and a few more reviews. After eleven hours–and with folks on the west coast of the U.S. just now getting home from work and checking their email–I’ve sold 49 copies and the book’s Amazon rank has gone from 673,000 to 11,000, so it’s looking pretty promising!

I’ll post final numbers in a few days once the bump is over, for the interest of the more writerly readers out there.

G’night!

Venus Rising: To The Editor!

I just sent the MS for Venus Rising to Lynn at Red Adept, and Misti–my editor–will be starting her edit this week. Very exciting. The process took about a month for Ascension Point, from Misti’s first look to the final proofread version, so if things go similarly well we’re looking at an early April release.

I’m a bit more organised for this release than I was the last time; namely, I already have the paperback cover and blurb ready, so I’ll be releasing all versions at the same time rather than over a few weeks. It’s a little more professional, and also gives all of my potential readers their choice of edition right from the off.

Then it’s on to book three! Rinse, repeat.

In The (SFF) News This Week…

A super-nerdy but awesome explanation of the Kardashev scale, which is ‘used to classify hypothetical alien civilizations according to the amount of energy at their disposal’.

‘This led him to speculate about a Type II civilization. For an [extraterrestrial intelligence] to reach K2, it would need to capture the entire energy output of its parent star. The best way to achieve this, of course, is to build a Dyson Sphere.

Conjured by Freeman Dyson in 1959, this hypothetical megastructure would envelope a star at a distance of 1 AU and cover an inconceivably large area of 2.72 x 1017 km2, which is around 600 million times the surface area of the Earth. The sun has an energy output of around 4 x 1026 Watts, of which most would be available to do useful work.’

As anyone who’s read Ascension Point knows, I’ve always been more of a Dyson Swarm kind of guy, but each to their own.

Next up, are you ready for season three of Game of Thrones? I know I am.

We should stop using nuclear weapons as a unit of measurement, says annoyed atomic historian.

“In general,” he added, “What I don’t like is … the idea that kiloton or a megaton is just an energy unit, that it’s equivalent to so many joules or something. Because you could do that. You could claim that your house runs so many tons of TNT worth of electricity per year, but it sort of trivializes the notion.”

Also at The Atlantic, a spectacular NASA video of three simultaneous solar phenomena.

…a solar flare, a coronal mass ejection (CME), and coronal rain, “complex moving structures in association with changes in magnetic field lines that loop up into the sun’s atmosphere,” NASA explains.’

Finally, in Dan-specific news, Venus Rising goes to my editor on March 8th, which means it should be out in just a couple of months!

What’s Going On (Right On, Baby, Right On)

It’s been a little while. What have I been up to? There are a few strands.

Venus Rising is mid-edit. I’ve got feedback from a couple more beta readers coming in the next week or so, and then some edits to make. After that, the MS goes to Misti at Red Adept on March 11th for a good tearing apart and putting back together again. Stephanie is working on the cover, and I hope to have that ready to reveal in the next week or so. Can’t wait.

Meanwhile, I’ve pulled together the outline for the next book. It’s going to be a novella, and the third book in the still-unnamed series. I have a title which I love, but which I’m not quite ready to announce yet; I’ve got three parts, and a brief summary for all of the scenes. I still need to expand the character bios and write those up, and then I’ll be ready to start the first draft.

But before I do that, I’m doing something a little bit random. I’ve realised that it’s got to the point where I can’t quite hold all of the important details of the Ascension Point universe in my head. It’s crucial for the continuity and consistency of the other books in the series (and the trilogy I’ve got planned after that–watch this space) that I keep track of all of the people, places, factions, groups, landmarks and technology that I’ve created. So to help me do that I’ve started indexing everything in an already-massive spreadsheet. It’s pretty damn tedious, but it should mean that when I’m halfway through a draft of my sixth novel I don’t spontaneously change the canon I set up in the earlier books. That’s the idea, anyway.

So that’s my update. I’m still on track to release Venus Rising in April, so look out for that!

(P.S. If you didn’t get the reference in the title, it’s from ‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye. Do yourself a favour, and familiarise yourself: Marvin Gaye – The Best Of Marvin Gaye.)

Venus Rising Update: Beta Readers Are Go Go Go

Phew. Just in time for me and the missus to bugger off for a week’s holiday over New Year’s, I finished my initial edit of VENUS RISING, and sent the latest draft off to my beta readers.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, beta readers come into the editing process after the writer’s first edits, but before it goes to the professional editor–in my case, the lovely Misti (Level 80 Dual-Class Grammarian and Sci-Fi Expert).

Betas give feedback on high-level stuff like plot continuity, characterisation, and plain-old whether they enjoyed the story. Invaluable feedback, for which they are paid not at all. Mwahahaha.

Anyway. I was pretty happy with the first draft, and how clean it was. My initial edit was mainly running through and tightening up the writing. I’ll find out if there are any more fundamental changes that need to be made when I get my beta feedback in a few weeks. Nailbiting!

Finally, there won’t be any posts for the next week while I’m away, so I’ll catch up with you all in 2013. Happy New Year, everyone!

P.S. I considered using the holiday to outline the novella that’s next in the series after VENUS RISING, but I’ve decided to just read instead. I’ve got Old Man’s War and Zoo City waiting on my Kindle, among others. Can’t wait!

Ascension Point, Meet Proofreader

Exciting news! I’ve just this afternoon completed the edit process with Misti, and ASCENSION POINT will shortly be winging its way into the inbox of a lucky proofreader at RedAdept.

Who will doubtless tell me that we got all of the ellipses wrong, and they should be em-dashes, and then we’ll have to have a grammar fight. I can’t wait.

What does this mean? It means, in theory, that I’m a mere week away from being ready to publish.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: DEFCON 2.

Writer In Stunning ‘Writing New Material’ Shock

Just a quick one.

Somewhat amazingly, I’ve actually written over 2,000 new words of my second book, ROGUE, in the last two days. I can’t remember exactly the last time I wrote anything entirely new, but it was probably in June, what with the focus on editing ASCENSION POINT and, you know, getting married and stuff.

It was also pleasing for me to notice how I could immediately apply Misti’s feedback from her edit of ASCENSION POINT to the new scenes in ROGUE. This should mean my first draft is much higher quality than it would otherwise have been, and the editing process at the end will be even smoother.