Commune Book Two – Progress Update #editing #writing #goodgodletitbeover

slamFirst editing pass is complete on the manuscript.  I’m not sick of the story just yet, which is good, but I soon will be after a few more passes.  Time to send her out to some beta readers now.  Unfortunately, there are few enough of those in my little circle that can read and critique a book in a timely manner – not due to lack of interest, of course.  None of these people actually get paid; they just do it out of the goodness of their hearts.  The thing about being a grownup is that your life is busy as hell.  I’m grateful to the folks who are willing to lend a hand.  To those of my friends lacking the time: I totally get it.  Just buy a copy when it comes out and we’ll call it even 😛

Commune Book One Audio Book Release @audbks @audible_com #audiobooks #listeninggoals

Commune One Audio BookSome of you may have seen this previously but I thought I’d put up another update on the audio release of Commune Book One.  Due to R. C. Bray’s crazy production schedule, the release of my book as been moved back a little to the September/October time frame, which is totally cool with me.  I’m ridiculously lucky just to have signed Bray; I’m not going to quibble over a month.

Either way, it sounds like we could be seeing book one available on Audible around October.  I planning on having book two ready to go right around this time, so hey, maybe the audio on two is ready to drop early next year?  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, you can grab the print or ebook version (as well as preview the story) here.

Commune Book Two Progress #apocalypse #amwriting

Well, I crossed the 110K word mark today.  Judging how much there is left in the story to cover for this entry, I’m guessing the final count will be somewhere around 130 to 140K, which is alright with me.  The good news is that I think I can still have it finished by August, but that’s probably only the first draft.  It’ll need to go through a few edits and such.

I didn’t have much of a target length for this book so much as I knew what the plot needed to be and what I wanted to cover.  I’m not sure if I’m surprised or not at the scope of this story.  I knew there were going to be several more people in it, that I’d have to deal a bit more with group dynamics, and that there would need to be some world building due to the fact that we’re now over a half-year into the post apocalypse and the world needs to be getting harder to live in as resources get consumed.

The biggest challenge by far has been keeping myself limited to telling the story in first person from POV characters.  It’s hard because as the writer, I’m aware of everything that’s going on in this world that I’d like to be sharing with you, the reader, and yet I can’t because the perspectives of my characters can’t see much further than the little valley they’ve carved out for themselves.  It’s important that I keep it up at least until the end of this book, though.  The idea that perspective of the narrator shades the story is a big part of what I’m trying to convey in these stories; giving up 1st person would obliterate that intent.

Should you be interested, you can find the first book in the series at this link.  Get yourself up to speed; these stories aren’t slowing down any time soon.

Fun little dialogue exchange I enjoyed writing #conflictresolution #marines #amwriting #postapocalypse

ssgtSSgt Blake “Gibs” Gibson is probably one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written.  Well, “written” may be putting it strongly.  He’s basically just an amalgam of some good friends who picked up a rifle and served.

If you’re ever about to tell one of them, “thanks”, do make sure you’re not being a dick when you do it.

“Easy,” George said.  “Gibs is a Marine Veteran.  He tends to look out for people.  We know this about him.  We’ve all benefited from this attitude many times over, lest any of us forget.  It’s a little disingenuous to start complaining when the very attitude that makes him such an asset in our group gets directed at some strangers in need.”

“Yes, George, that’s all well and good but the fact remains,” Edgar interrupted.  He turned his attention back to me and said, “First off, thank you for your service-“

“Don’t…you…even…try to start in with that line,” I said.

“I beg your pardon?” he asked, genuinely confused.

“That ‘thank you for your service’ bullshit.  It’s what a Vet usually hears right before he’s told that he’s basically wrong and irrelevant.  If someone’s gonna tell me I’m full of shit, I want to hear it outright.  I don’t want to be buttered up with that line.  You know how many times I heard that line right before someone told me in the same breath that I was full of shit and didn’t know what the hell I was talking about?  I’ll give you a hint: it’s like a big, old, sloppy blowjob in your basic, garden variety porn.  It’s foreplay, Edgar, and you’ve just told me that you like it rough.”

Vacations and Book Research #amwriting #postapocalypse #books #fiction

I’ve been on vacation out on Catalina Island for the last week and a half, so I’ve been pretty quiet with the whole on-line thing.  I’ve read this is a big no-no in terms of social media connectivity – you basically have to keep quacking out into the great big empty if you want to keep people engaged.  There is such a thing as decompression, though, dammit.

It’s been good being disconnected.  It’s kind of like when I wrote my first book.  I wasn’t trying to sell anything or engage with anyone.  I was just trying to bang out a good story.  This little media disconnect has taken me back to that early kind of momentum.  This has been good for the second entry in the Commune series; the book currently stands at 91K words with a lot more stuff to cover before it’s done.  I’m still projecting a finish around August (I’d love to have it all done by the time the Audio book for Book One is released), but who the hell knows at this point?  The story has already taken enough unexpected turns that I’m giving up on predicting anything.  I can say with certainty that book two is available well before the end of this year.  As far as the audio for book two?  Eh.  R. C. Bray is a busy dude.  He’ll get to it when schedule permits, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to post links to some of the articles and information I dug up while doing research for these books.  There’s a broad array of stuff to cover and still quite a bit more to go.  Never thought I’d know as much as I do about burning poop…

In addition to the below links, I am indebted to a collection of friends who have served in the Military over the years and who have been gracious enough to consider and answer my questions regarding their lives and experiences.  These people include H. S. Brandt (USMC), James R. Clark (US Army), and Brett Nelson (USMC).  All of these folks will get a mention in the coming book; they have been instrumental in this whole process.

Marine/Military Life
http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/01/04/were-getting-out-of-the-marines-because-we-wanted-to-be-part-of-an-elite-force-2/
https://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/lingo/b
https://undertheradar.military.com/2015/05/37-been-there-done-that-nicknames-for-military-gear/
http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-98713.html

Weaponry
https://www.botach.com/pws-mk1-mod2-long-stroke-piston-rifle-5-56mm-18-bbl/
https://tacmedaustralia.com.au/graphic-grisly-effects-high-velocity-gunshot-wound-leg/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.56%C3%9745mm_NATO#Improvements
https://deserttech.com/product_overview.php?product_id=2&load=product_overview
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_HK416

Logistics
http://www.alu.army.mil/alog/issues/SepOct01/MS673.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classes_of_supply
http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/dealing-with-human-waste-and-hygiene/
https://dmna.ny.gov/foodservice/docs/Field_Sanitation_Team_Certification_Course/Instructor_Manual/L006LP_Waste_Disposal_LP.pdf

Needed to develop some relationships. Wrote a scene involving a pissing contest…involving actual piss. #amwriting

pissingmatch

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

It’s okay to write about pee-pee if you’re also about the business of developing your characters and plot.  That’s my story, anyway…

Commune Book One is available right now on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble (see the free preview).  Book Two (including the epic pissing match in question) will be available later this year.

Everything I (N)ever Wanted to Know about POOP #yuck #apocalypse #amwriting

DisgustThe last couple of days have seen me diligently researching any and all details I can find regarding field disposal of human waste, including historical measures, techniques, outhouse construction, the utility of pit and burn out latrines, and the safety and sanitation hazards one needs to consider when preparing to shit into a hole.  This is what comes of writing post apocalyptic fiction.

Today, I was eating my lunch while reviewing the following picture.  It was during this time that I thought to myself, “You know, this probably isn’t what my mother thinks about when she tells her friends that I’m a published writer…”

Defecating_into_a_pit_(schematic)

Defecating into a pit (schematic): Credit Wikipedia