“I missed the kickstarter! Can I buy it on Amazon?”

Several people have asked me “I missed the kickstarter! Can I buy it on Amazon?”.

The short answer is: no, but you will be able to buy copies again…some day.

The longer answer is:

When the kickstarter closed at over $18,000 – putting it in the top 5% of all kickstarter publishing projects ever – I was contacted by two publishing agents.

I signed with one of them and the book is currently being shopped around to major publishers.

Part of the deal with major publishers is that they don’t want to RE-publish something. This limited kickstarter release is OK, but my agent cautions me against doing anything more.

…so I won’t. If a publisher wants the book and makes me a sufficiently good offer, I’ll go that route. If either no publisher wants to take a chance on 1,300 pages of talking dogs and 25mm rifles used in space combat, or one of them does, but comes up with an insultingly low offer, I’ll self publish on Amazon.

So, either way, we’re in a blackout period now. If you missed the kickstarter, you will get to read the book eventually…once it is either published by a real publisher, or once I decide to ignore them and pull the self-publishing trigger.

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Limited edition prequel short story

The 10 lucky folks who pledged at the “signed, limited to an edition of 10” level will also get copies of this trade paperback prequel short story, explaining how John and the Dogs escaped from Earth.

In the future I hope to write two more sequel novels, and a host of prequel short stories.

I also want to write more in the Timetraders series (which starts with Firefly Season 2).

We’ll see what the future holds.

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Books are shipping!

My wife (and very talented graphic designer) Jennifer revised the covers of the two books, and I’ve uploaded those images, plus the final proof-read text to Lulu.

All of the books that need to get signed by me ($999 tier and $250 tier) are on their way to my house. Once they get here I’ll sign them and turn them around ASAP.

All of the other books have shipped as well! …with the exception of those going to the 9 people who never filled out their kickstarter surveys. I’ve sent those 9 emails, so You Know Who You Are.

Lulu says that printing takes 3-5 business days. Being pessimistic, that means books will be printed next Wednesday (26 July). Shipping takes 2-6 business days. Again being pessimistic, books might arrive around 4 August.

Ebooks will go out soon; I intentionally pushed on physical books first so that I could achieve some parallelism while books were in the physical queue.

Thanks for your patience. This has been a project of 6.5 years (I started writing the novels on 1 January 2011), and it’s amazing to see it crossing the finish line.

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Proof copies have arrived

Proof copies (that I ordered ~10 days ago) have arrived.

First off, they look amazing!

Second, I am now hard at work, reading through all ~1,500 pages, word by word, looking for typos, spelling errors, any thing that needs to be corrected with a last minute editorial change, etc.

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We did it!

Thanks so much

I didn’t think that there was any realistic chance that we’d break $18k, but we did it! I’m thrilled with the money, of course (hey, it’s not every day someone gets to earn $2.90 per hour for 2,000+ hours! 🙂 ), but what really makes me happy is that a story that I worked so long and hard on is of interest to so many people. It’s a great tale, and I think you’re really going to enjoy it. And speaking of enjoyment, I’ve got pride-of-craftsmanship flowing right now: this is the story I wanted to write, and I wrote it the best way I knew how, and I took a full five drafts to really get it right. I’ll probably never climb Everest, but this is something I worked hard on…and I think when you read it, you’ll be able to tell.

What comes next

It is my understanding that it takes 14 days for funds to get released. In parallel with this I will send out surveys, asking people for details on their order (does the $100 pledge want one set of hardcovers, two sets of trade, or what? …and each of the ten collectors edition hardcover pledges gets to specify a name for a minor character!).

Also, during those 14 days, I will be reading the proof copies which should be arriving imminently, and making any required changes.

Once the funds release I will go to my printer and start cranking out orders, to direct ship to backers. I will also be sending out e-books at the same time.

Printing and binding takes ~5 days.

Shipping takes ~5-7 days.

People who pledged for the collectors editions hardcovers will be getting signed and numbered books, so those will ship to my home, and I will turn them around within a day or so.

Here is the best possible case schedule:

  1. KS ends: 18 April
  2. funds released to me: 2 May
  3. books purchased from printer: 2 May
  4. books shipped by printer: 9 May
  5. books arrive at pledge backers: 16 May
  6. 10 collectors edition sets arrive at my house: 16 May
  7. I sign and reship 10 collectors edition sets: 17 May
  8. 10 collectors edition sets arrive at your home: 24 May

There is also one person who has signed up for the “lunatic edition”, which will be bound in leather.

I do not have a precise schedule for that yet.

N.B. that the above is the best possible schedule. Any number of things (known unknowns, or unknown unknowns) could happen, causing one or more 1-2 day hiccups.

I will proceed as quickly as possible, aiming to hit the above dates…and I will keep you in the loop if there are any noteworthy deviations.

Thanks again

Once again, I really really appreciate your support!


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Firefly Season 2 available at Amazon

This is a fun little short story. It’s got twelve 5-star views. Check out Firefly Season 2.

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The books are finished and ready to buy!

Please check out the kickstarter ! E-books starting at just $6.

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Act I Problems / a Five Year Writing Project

Writing a novel isn’t always a team exercise, but it can be.

While I’m doing 100% of the labor and 99.99% of the decision making on this novel, there are a few trusted voices I’m listening to:

  • a writing coach I’ve retained for a few hours of consultation
  • a line editor
  • a friend and fellow writer who’s working on her first novel

Recently I’ve started to realize that Act 1 of book 1 is slow. It’s not terribly slow. I like big vast worlds and multithreaded books (e.g. Lord of the Rings, Directive 51, etc.) and these kinds of books often do start slow. It’s almost inevitable: a motorcycle can rev and be doing 60mph in a few seconds, but a 200 car freight train takes a bit longer to get up to speed.

…but that said, something to draw the reader in in the first ten pages is good, drawing him in in the first five pages is better, and capturing his attention on the very first page is best.

A few people told me that the book started well enough, but “well enough” wasn’t – well – well enough for me.

So the four of us put our heads together and came up with this.

Facts / Problems

  • the pacing problem is largely in Act 1
    • the Earth governments don’t burn the lunar satellites until 15,000 words in (60 pages)
    • the Earth governments don’t hijack a expat ship until 33,000 words in (132 pages)
  • the book is dense with long-fuse plot elements, most of which are lit in Act 1, but don’t pay off till late in book 1 / middle of book 2
  • Mike’s personality is mostly defined by his reactions to long fuse plot elements, so he becomes better defined late in book 1 and in book 2, but because there ARE no short fuse plot elements in act 1, Mike has nothing to push back against and is rudderless as a character
  • much of Mike’s drama is sitting in a boardroom writing memos and arguing with people, which (a) is not suitable for a man of action, and (b) doesn’t show the reader that he is a man of action

Action Plan

  • we need to speed things up in the first 33,000 words
  • …via need a short-fuse plot that starts, builds, and resolves in 33,000 words
  • it should involve Mike, so that
    • we see that he is the hero of the novel
    • he gets a chance to demonstrate his personality
  • the short-fuse plot should be out in Aristillus, not behind a desk
  • some hand-waving ideas on how to work in the new short-fuse plot
    • make room
      • cut up to 10% of the scenes in Act 1
      • condense the word count of the remaining Act 1 scenes between 0% and 33%
    • insert plot
      • add up to 10% new material to 5 existing scenes
      • write 5 new chapters

In addition to all of this my line editor has come up with a list of about ten other issues. She was very kind, telling me that this is the best thing that she’s edited in a long time. That’s good for the ego, but does not change the fact that I’ve been laboring over this project for 3.5 years and had hoped to have it finished before the calendar turned to 2015.

It’s now looking like that won’t happen, and the book will spill into a fifth year.


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soccer in micro-gravity

You ask:

We deliver:

{{{***x 306: MIKE, DARCY – walking through tunnels

== 2064: Conveyor Belt district, Aristillus, 2.4 million km from Earth

A ball went flying past Mike’s face. He looked up with a start and realized that he’d walked into the middle of a wild free-ranging game of street soccer. Mike grumbled at Darcy. “A guy could get hit with a ball -”

Darcy slapped him playfully on the shoulder. “Stop being a bear. This is incredible! No one has ever played soccer in a twentieth g before. We might be watching the creation of a new sport!”

Mike raised one eyebrow. “Soccer is not a sport.”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “OK, Tex, whatever you say.” She pointed. “Look at that guy, see the way he’s doing a flip before he kicks. And that guy? He jumped halfway to the ceiling. Of the tunnel! It’s awesome – come on, admit it!”

Mike shrugged. “Maybe it’s a little neat.”

Darcy looked at him seriously as they continued walking down the center of the vehicle-less tunnel road. “Mike, you’ve been in a funk for a week. You perked up for a bit after coffee with Darren, but now you’re back in it. What’s going on?”

“Nothing.” He paused, then raise his head and pointed with his chin “Looks like they’ve set up another music stage at the festival since yesterday.”

“You’re not answering my question.”

Mike said nothing for a long moment, then sighed. “Morlock is gone and the pieces sold off to make good on the revolution’s debts. An in return, I’m left holding a bunch of bonds from the First Bank of Aristillus.”


“So Mark keeps pressuring me to back his plan.”

“His tax plan?”

“Yeah. He wants a one percent sales tax on every transaction to pay bank bondholders.”

Darcy laughed. “Mark has been pressing for that since before the invasion. And all the Aristillus media is covering the fact that you’re not backing him. So you’re not just a hero for winning the war, but for fighting Mark. So why are you upset?”

He looked at the ground. “Never mind.”

Darcy nodded and they walked in silence for a long moment, then Mike looked over. “I’m not upset. I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I have to choose between legitimizing Mark’s government, which I won’t do, and being poor.”

Darcy let the silence stretch out. “Mike?”


“How long ago did we meet?”

“Uhh…twelve – no, thirteen – years ago.”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “It was fourteen years ago. You remember how?”

“Of course. I was in DC to testify, and you -”

Darcy laughed. “It wasn’t ‘to testify’. You were under arrest, and you were defending yourself in the CEO Trials. Everything – your warehouses, your machinery, your offices – had already been seized. Your bank accounts were frozen. You were facing life in jail. Do you remember what you told the Secretary of Commerce in open court?”

Mike smiled even now, almost a decade and a half later. “Yeah. I -”

Darcy held up a hand. “No, I don’t need to hear it again. Think of my delicate ears.”

Mike smiled more broadly. “But, yeah, I remember. What’s your point?”

“The point, Mike Martin, is I believed in you when you were a penniless about-to-be-convicted-felon facing a life sentence. The fact that even when you were on that stand, you had that much fight in you – well, anyway. That was fourteen years ago. What have you accomplished since then?”

Mike said “I know what you’re saying, but Morlock is -”

Darcy shook her head then put her hand on his arm. “I’m not talking about Morlock. I never cared about your company or the money that came with it. I cared about the drive of the lunatic BEHIND it all. Here’s what you’ve done in the last fourteen years: you and Javier bribed your way out of jail during the CEO Trials, you hooked up with Ponzie, outfitted the first ship, begged and borrowed your way to owning a TBM-”

“Yeah, but -”

“Let me finish. You established Aristillus. You helped John’s Team rescue the Dogs from genocide. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, you saw the Revolution coming and you laid the groundwork to win it.” She gave him a hard stare. “And because of all that, you’ve rescued nearly a million people from tyranny and are leading them to build a new world. That hokey phrase ‘with freedom for all’? You’ve done it. THAT, Michael Martin, is what you’ve accomplished in the last fourteen years.”

Mike grinned a bit. Raised his eyebrows “You know, when you put it that way, maybe I have done a thing or two.”

Darcy smiled at his understatement, but then grew serious. “You’ve done the impossible. I don’t care if you’re penniless.”

“Well, I wasn’t really worried that YOU were worried -”

“I know. I’m saying that YOU shouldn’t care if you’re penniless.”

“Don’t give me that hippie crap that money doesn’t matter-”

“Money doesn’t matter – accomplishment does. But even if you insist that money does matter, I have no doubt that you’ll be rich and powerful again, if you want to.”

“You’re saying you’d be OK with me playing chess in the park and writing my memoirs for the rest of my life?”

“Absolutely.” Darcy smiled. “But I bet that if you tried it you’d be bored inside of a week.”

Mike shrugged. “Maybe.” The two of them walked down the middle of the street in companionable silence. Suddenly Darcy, with out warning, started skipping – literally skipping – along, bouncing high in the air on each hop.

He shook his head. What a goofball. She saw him looking. “What?”

He smiled. “You.”

“Hey, you won your revolution. Why SHOULDN’T I dance?”. She laughed at her own joke and skipped ahead.


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stats 2014 update

I’m 53 days and 43 percent of the way in to draft 5.

It’s going a bit slower than I had hoped when I started this draft, but I’m still doing 3-4 hours per day, 7 days per week, and getting more done per day than on any previous draft (partially because the input material is more finished than in any other draft, and partially just because I’m cranking out more hours per day).

draft start finish duration words/day size
1 1 Jan ’11 24 Aug ’11 235 720 169,000
2 1 Jan ’12 3 Aug ’12 215 976 210,000
3 04 Aug ’12 20 Dec ’12 139 1,975 275,000
4 17 Mar ’13 30 Oct ’13 227 1,462 332,049
5 23 Apr ’14 23 Aug ’14
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