Crisp fall days…and having finished your revisions

Life is soooo much more enjoyable when you get your revisions back to your editor. Central Park was absolutely brilliant yesterday. The air was clear, the sky a vibrant blue, and the foliage every shade from orange rust to sunshine yellow. I was able to enjoy the park to its fullest because I finally finished the revisions to A Darkness Forged in Fire.

For weeks these revisions had ambled around my brain and never really let me relax. Sending my editor the novel, now a svelte 142,000 words – down from its heftier 156,000 word weight – was like giving birth (except without the pain, screaming, bloating, drugs…ok, it was nothing like giving birth, but I’m a single guy so to me it seemed like that.) This version will now be used for the ARCs (advanced reading copies) that will be sent to reviewers. In the meantime, the ms will get copy-edited and sent back to me for one last crack at clarifying things and making any other revisions before it goes to first pages. Once it gets to first pages things become increasingly more expensive to change, so it’s really key to get it as clean as possible while still in the ms stage.

It’s another glorious day here in the Big Apple, and I have a date this afternoon, so have a great day and enjoy the weekend.

A very rewarding lunch and a motto for writers to live by

I went to lunch yesterday with my agent, Don Maass, and my friend and Del Rey publishing maven, Shelly Shapiro. We were celebrating the book deal (Shelly was the one who suggested I talk to Don about representing me.) It was a real treat. The two of them have over a half century combined experience in New York publishing. I did the smartest thing I could do and kept as quiet as possible. The conversation was wide ranging and touched on all facets of publishing and of the many things discussed, one simple idea rose above all the others:



ALWAYS be writing the next book. Of all the things a writer can do, especially a new one, from websites to book signings, the single most important task to creating and maintaining a career is to be always writing the next book. Nothing is as important. Careers, almost without exception, are built on longevity and productivity. For every flash in the pan that rockets to stardom there are thousands and thousands that will climb the publishing mountain one step at a time. Those that reach the top, or even close enough to see the summit, do it by writing book after book after book…and learning from each one as they go.

Oh yeah, and the further apart the tables are in a restaurant, the more expensive the meal while the portions are correspondingly smaller (thanks to Don for that observation 🙂

My five block move

Last weekend I packed up my stuff and moved. I love my new place. It’s bigger, brighter, and on a quieter street. I have a bedroom again! And a kitchen with space to move around…not that I know how to cook, but it’s nice to know I could (sort of) if I ever get the urge. In writing news I am finishing up the revisions to A Darkness Forged in Fire and plotting away on the second book as yet untitled.


There is a cover draft for A Darkness Forged in Fire! My editor called me on the phone before he emailed it as he wanted to hear my reaction when I saw it. I think I said something like ‘Holy ****! That rocks!’ (ever the articulate, I.) I’ve now had a few days to stare at it and consider it from all angles and I’m still jazzed. It’s still being tweaked and I’ve been sworn to secrecy for the moment which is killing me. I always had it in my mind that seeing my first cover with my name on it would be a defining moment and make all of this real, and I’m thrilled to say that sheer joy hammered cynicism into submission. As my British friend, Karen Traviss, often says – Woot Woot!

The power of local media

Band of Sisters by Kirsten Holmstedt continues the good fight. Kirsten landed a few big gigs – PBS News Hour, testified before Congress, NPR and BBC World radio – but as of yet no invite to sit on a morning show couch. Despite that, the book continues to sell very well. So well that we’ve gone back to press a third time. Local media, not national, has proven to be the main engine driving this.

Kirsten has been nothing short of amazing in granting interviews to whomever asks. The result has been dozens (probably over a hundred at this point) of locally focused pieces in small town papers, blogs, and websites plus radio and tv interviews on public and network affiliate channels. These media outlets are always looking for content. And the networking benefits that come from these smaller gigs should not be underestimated. Don’t discount a reading at a library either because no one there is going to buy your book. Libraries themselves are big consumers and respond to patron requests.

No one (or a thousand) of these events will add up to a chat with Oprah, but the cumulative effect is keeping the rate of movement healthy in the accounts. That, in turn, is fueling constant reorders. And that makes everyone happy.