January wasn’t the worst month on record for writing, but did fall short. However, Martyrs al-Sabra was published in most formats and the response of people reading it has been very gratifying. There will be reviews published shortly.
The first Martyrs al-Sabra print copies were received today and I am very pleased with the results! They have been available for purchase for a week or so, but it took time to generate first articles.
You’re never quite sure whether the finished version is right until you hold it in your hand. Holding more than one in your hands is even better. They have that new book smell!
Book One of the Martyrs series is set after the Presidential Election in 2020, when the first woman is elected President; a new group of terrorists are targeting America and it isn’t business-as-usual. Led by a shadowy figure known only as “The Hammer of Islam”, they take their name from a 2006 massacre of Palestinian schoolchildren in Gaza City, the Martyrs al-Sabra. When the Martyrs make good on their attack threats, the country is torn apart.
Farid Monsour al-Haj is a Palestinian orphan who was adopted and raised from the age of five by one of America’s elite families. Growing up in Northern Virginia, Farid attends the finest schools and is a success in all he attempts. Throughout it all, Farid is encouraged to maintain his cultural identify by his adoptive parents, the Royces. He now works as a television news personality, helping explain the daily news from a Muslim point of view. Farid is increasingly torn between the demands of his Palestinian heritage and those who welcomed him into the mainstream of America.
Farid’s childhood friend, Justin Simons, is a FBI Special Agent assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force and leads the Martyrs manhunt.
Can a lifetime of friendship protect against divided loyalties?
Ringing out the old, which came in with a roar and exited with a whimper. Even though there are perfectly good reasons for the fall-off, I desire for it to have been otherwise. (Of course, I would still want BoP and Martyrs to be where they are today. If we’re wishing, may as well go whole-fig.)
Happy New Year everyone!
The month of November represented a transition month. I get to put my publisher and editor hats down for a bit and get back to writing. Most of November had zero new writing, so for this update I’ll list only the projects and their associated word count.
Balance Off Plumb is currently available for pre-order for many of the ebook sales channels, the print version is in final formatting and full launch is scheduled for 12/14/2018.
Martyrs al-Sabra is with the beta readers; I am making final changes to the manuscript as the comments come back. At its current state of development, I expect it to be available mid-to-late January 2019.
Pandora’s Children needs the final chapter before going into edit. Currently the target date for release is March 29, 2019.
Next month, I’m hoping to have my regular reporting charts showing good December results!
People have asked how I decide to cast action scenes, or where the detail ideas come from. I’ll illustrate my process with two scenes from my upcoming Martyrs novel.
In Martyrs, terrorists are shooting random people across the country with deer rifles. The first shooting occurs in Roseville, California. How did I pick Roseville? I simply followed the terrorists’ decision tree. They had selected the top forty metropolitan areas in the United States, then would randomly pick from those forty at random time intervals. I made a random city-selection program and let her rip. Sacramento metropolitan area came up the winner for the first attack. Roseville came up because a site selected itself, it had to offer cover for the sniper, with an easy escape route. Using Google maps, I found the following location.
It creates a perfect setup for the terrorist. They park in the Home Depot lot, take their rifle across the field at night, shoot someone in the WinCo foods parking lot then reverse tracks in a clean getaway. This particular scenario, I actually got to visit in person to see how well the actual situation would have worked.
In the daytime, the WinCo food parking lot is visible across the field. At night the field would be very dark. Across the field, our terrorist could easily remain unseen until he found the right victim.
Needless to say, the reality of the location was very gratifying from a story perspective. Now as it happens, I have relatives who live in Roseville. They might not be pleased by the site picked, and, who knows, they may even have shopped here once or twice.
The second shooting was set for the Atlanta, GA metropolitan area. In that case, I selected a location in Stone Mountain GA for the action.
In this case, the shooter is targeting a private school, parking in the back of a Walmart, walking down a fireroad through the woods, then inserting himself in woods next to the ball field or play area.
A closeup of the end location, the play structures on the left, the baseball diamond on the right. In the story, the sniper takes the left option, then escapes through the woods back to the Walmart.
Throughout the novel, I used Google maps a lot, along with wikipedia entries for locations. It helped underscore and test whether some of the things I imagined happening were really possible. One sad conclusion was that too much of it was in fact very possible.
Changing gears, last chance to climb aboard the beta version train. I’ve got it ready and will be sending it to those who contact me. This is your last active opportunity to nip this whole story line in the bud, people!
It’s probably about time to be unveiling the overall plot for “Martyrs al-Sabra”. The book is a fairly lengthy thriller (the first manuscript came in at 260K words). My editor carved off large chunks with her chainsaw, but it is still pretty long.
Set after the Presidential Election in 2020, when a woman is first elected President, a new group of terrorists are targeting America and it isn’t business-as-usual.
Farid Monsour al-Haj is a Palestinian orphan who was adopted and raised by one of America’s elite families from the age of five. Growing up in Northern Virginia, he attends the finest schools and is a success in all he attempts. Throughout it all, he is encouraged to maintain his cultural identify by the Royces, his adoptive parents. Farid is increasingly torn between the demands of his Palestinian heritage and those who welcomed him into the mainstream of America. He works as a television news reporter/commentator, helping explain the daily news from a Muslim point of view.
His childhood friend, Justin Simons, is an FBI Special Agent assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
When the new group of terrorists announces themselves to the world, led by the shadowy figure known only as “The Hammer of Islam”, they take the name of a massacre of Palestinian schoolchildren in Gaza City, the Martyrs al-Sabra. When the terrorists make good on their attack threats, the country is torn apart.
Can a lifetime of friendship protect against divided loyalties?
Beta readers will be seeing it hopefully no later than October 31, 2018.
Today, I finished reading, and rating, the last of 921 short stories submitted for the Bubble Off Plumb anthology. More than 2.5 million words of short story delight. I will post statistics on story ratings separately on the Feral Cat Publishers website within the next few days.
Tomorrow starts the negotiation of contracts with selected authors, as well as the horrible duty of sending rejection notices to everyone else. In fairness, the anthology concept generated a much larger response than we ever anticipated. We’ve learned many lessons on what to do next time.
On other fronts, the Martyrs edits are back in hand, which means a beta version will be completed shortly for reading. I have a core group already interested, but there is always room for a few more. Send me a note in the contact form if you would want to volunteer as a beta reader. I’ll reciprocate by sending you an autographed print copy with my thanks, once it is final. I’ll prepare a synopsis of the thriller’s plot in the next few days.
Been reading short story submissions night and day on the Bubble Off Plumb Anthology for Feral Cat Publishers. We were hoping to see fifty decent stories come in during the sixty day period. But here we are, three weeks into it, with more than 260 stories.
Our guidelines were 1000 to 5000 word-count stories, so doing the math, I’m on the hook to read close to a million words already. Damn!
How did it happen? Somewhere along the line, word of our call-for-submission made it onto a large writer group website as a featured listing, and our website exploded. Entries have come in from all over the world.
The good news, is I get to read a lot for the foreseeable future. So far the stories are very good, for the most part, and definitely qualified for inclusion in the anthology. But I’m not going to be doing much work editing my own manuscripts or writing myself. As I said, be careful what you ask for.
I know this looks as though not much was being done this month, but it is a bit misleading. The production updates keep track of what I would call “new words” being written without any consideration for rewrites or post-editing production. This month Martyrs edits have been coming back, with associated rewrites, as well as launching new websites and an anthology call for submissions. In short, pretty darn busy. Expect Martyrs to be available no later than September 30th.