Too many WIPS!

Ok, so I know that sometimes I tend to do more than I should (my wife says I can’t say “No” to a project), so here’s my conundrum. I’ve got three Works In Progress (WIP) not including Openings. The issue is that I’d like to knock them out one at a time, rather than working on them simultaneously (as I’ve been doing). Which one first?

The three books are a sequel to Openings, a fourth book in the Corps of Discovery Series, and a stand-alone YA novel (based on Hayek a few years before Surveyor). BTW, none of this includes any of the other books I’ve got floating around in my overactive brain case.

In case you’re wondering where this is going, it’s my way of processing how to proceed. At bat is the YA novel, with Reset (the sequel to Openings) on deck. Sorry fans of Bill of Meri, but you’re gonna have to wait a bit, as the fourth in the Corps of Discovery series is in the hole (gotta love baseball terminology – did I ever tell you I played baseball from the 1st through 6th grade?).

I think my AU series of a tank destroyer unit (haven’t decided if it’ll be at the company, battalion, or CRT level yet) is gonna have to wait another year 😦 (very sad face, I really want to get this out). But, don’t despair – it’ll be set in one of the AUs already covered.

Oh, did I mention I still have to work my fraud investigative business (or forensic accounting for fraud as otherwise described), plus I still get to teach my Geography & Cartography for Worldbuilding class once a semester at Digipen Institute of Technology (love teaching there – great, smart kids – plus my youngest just graduated from there with her BFA in Digital Art & Animation).

“I really enjoyed this one”

Got the draft of Openings back from the editor today. The line above was the second sentence in her email. Gotta love it when you get emails like this. The full sentence was “I really enjoyed this one–I mean, I’ve liked them all, but this was fascinating, it was so great to see how it all started.”

I guess I’ll spend a week or two refining the copy so it either comports with my editor’s comments, or not (remember, if writing, you are the master of your own wordsmith!).

I know, I know. “When will Openings be released James?” or “Damnit Jim, we’re readers, and we gotta read!” Patience grasshopper (or for the newer generation, “Soon, Padwan.”). I’m also tweaking the cover. All while trying to do this after toe joint replacement (ever try to write at a desk with a foot-rest under it, pushing the screen closer to the edge while you have to sit further back due to said position of foot under desk?).

So, back to the original question of “when will Openings be released?” Not certain, but figure within the month. If you’d like advance notice of the release date (i.e., a personal email) make sure you’ve sent me your email. Wouldn’t it be awesome if all my readers/fans/groupies purchased Openings on the release date? That would certainly put the Amazon algorithms up and push my book to the top (I would love to see that #1 New Release banner on the release date – hint, hint).


I’ve decided to coin a new word (along with my previously developed word of waldenglow which is in the forthcoming Openings) – kleptocohort.

How did this word come about? Well, the other day, I was describing the differences between traditional economies, market economies, command economies, and mixed economies in the class I teach at DigiPen Institute of Technology (the class is Geography & Cartography for Worldbuilding). Of course, many of the students were unaware of the differences, with the usual “capitalism is bad” discussion leading to discussions on enlightened self interest, socialism, fascism, and communism.

After class, several students and I were chatting, and we got on the topic of student loans, and how many who have loans want them forgiven. Having had student loans, I would have loved to have this happen, but the fact of the matter is, I took out loans to pay for my education, and I paid them off. Then again, I didn’t take on anywhere near the debt many of the younger generation have taken on. The discussion turned toward whether or not having students loans forgiven was socialism or some form of theft (kleptomaniacy). I think the actual term we were looking for was kleptocohort – a group of people who believe it’s acceptable to steal from others to benefit them individually and their cohort.

Mike Rowe talks about this in his FB postings, describing how some feel student loans should be forgiven, but what about the guy who takes out a loan to start a small business rather than going to college? Their attitude appears to be, not my problem. Hence, my creation of the new word, kleptocohort.


While Openings is going through the alpha-review process, I’ve started on the next in The Hayek Chronicles series, Reset. Not sure where it’s going (as all my other novels when I start them), but I’ve got an idea. We’ll see how it turns out. I’m already near two thousand words.

For those wondering when I’ll get back to the Corps of Discovery series, I do have book four started, but want to wrap up Book 2 of The Hayek Chronicles before I delve back into that. Way too many ideas floating around this skull, and not enough time to get them all written when I want to.

The Hayek Chronicles – Openings

The first draft of the first novel in The Hayek Chronicles is now finished! Openings has topped out at a bit over 113K words (for reference, Surveyor is only 102K words). So, a bit longer than Surveyor, and not quite the cliff-hanger ending. But…

So, what next? I need to run it through some editing software (Grammarly) to pull out the egregious spelling and grammar mistakes, have the alpha reader (aka, boss-lady) read through it, then run it through the copy editor and beta readers. Expect another month or so before release.

Stay tuned.

Thoughts on Reader’s Thoughts

Occasionally I’ll take time out to see what readers are thinking when they post reviews. I may (or may not) incorporate some of those thoughts in my novels. For example, someone opined that they just finished the Corps of Discovery trilogy and was hoping it would be a longer series. Short answer, it is (working on Book 4, but mostly focusing on Book 1 of the new Chronicles of Hayek series (set in the time when Tim Bowman first opens the gate).

Somebody else suggested that having a spin-off series with Drew in it would be interesting (taking that one into consideration, but I’ve got a huge backlist of stories I’m working on).

Then again, there are those readers who find fault with me at the personal level, such as I’m unpatriotic (not really – I love my country but hate our politics), I don’t know anything about firearms (I’m sure those Expert and Sharpshooter medals I have, the fact that I was on my college’s rifle team, along with a confirmed 1,200 yard hit on a target after some intense precision rifle training I undertook, belies that), I hate the military (again, not really – I’m married to a war veteran and have many friends in the military whom I respect, and I support a strong national defense – I’m actually just against war and using our military frivolously), and that I never lived in the south so my version of the South in Explorer is all wrong (again, not really – I lived in Virginia and Georgia for approximately 8 years, so, yeah, I have lived in and traveled throughout the south). Besides, my version of an independent south is what we call speculative fiction, with the operative word there being speculative.

Just a thought to those posting their thoughts on how they think I feel about things- get to know me before posting something about me (or posting your projections), and remember, I write speculative fiction, not memoirs. If you actually think I feel a certain way about something, shoot me a message. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. But, you won’t know unless you actually ask.


Interesting news in the world of firearms (if you follow that kind of stuff). True Velocity’s 6.8x51mm polymer case turns out to work quite well with legacy firearms (machine guns and SAWs), simply by switching the barrel. For those unfamiliar, the 7.62x51mm (which is the NATO dimensions) has the same length as the new 6.8mm, so they fit the chambers quite nicely.

Not saying I called it, but does anyone remember the caliber used in the Militia issue rifle on Hayek? Hint, hint: 6.8mm, but longer than the 6.8SPC.

#1 Baby!

For those that missed it, I gave away Explorer yesterday in a free frenzy of eBooks. Thanks to a little advertising and all you new fans, I hit #1 in the Free Book Sales (not sure why they call them “sales” when I’m giving them away) in the Science Fiction genres of Alternative History, Science Fiction Adventure, and Space Exploration Science Fiction. Thank You!!!

Technology – leaping with both feet!

Yes, I’ve decided to join the whole technology movement. I now have QR codes so those attending the Las Vegas book signing won’t have to carry cash (hopefully, there’ll be sufficient wifi/cell reception).

If you want to order a book, just let me know; I’ll sign it, notify you of the amount, you pay through, then I ship. Pretty danged simple.

Here’s the PayPal link

Send legal representation, firearms, and legal tender!