We start production on 1/15. Get ready…
We start production on 1/15. Get ready…
A lot of you are starting to clamor for book 2’s release date on Audible. Well, I’m sorry to say that, though R. C. Bray and I have a production target date set, I’m unable to share it yet because of his schedule, which is always insane. This is a courtesy to R. C. Bray; he has a lot of things pulling him around, making demands on his time and so forth. Sometimes, he has no choice but to shift his projects around other life events.
Think about it; even if the guy gets a cold, his voice is rendered unusable until he fully recovers, and this could throw his whole production schedule off by a week or so. A week isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but then he and I have both seen readers and other authors alike tear out their hair at the slightest prospect of delay. On one hand, this is a great problem for us to have – it’s wonderful that you guys want so badly to share in our labors, and most of you are incredibly understanding with regard to life’s little curve balls. Even so, guys like RC and me hate to disappoint, and setting a concrete date months in advance is more stress than I want to put on the guy.
What I can say is that we’re scheduled to start very early in 2018 and, the closer we get to him stepping into the booth, the better we’ll feel about announcing a hard date. But like I said, we look like starting super early in the first part of 2018.
Thank you, all, for your patience.
Originally posted on dustysharp.com:
Commune: Book 2 is a remarkable read, and even manages to improve on the solid first book in the series. And that’s a tall order, as that one came charging out of the gates as a fresh, thoughtful take on the post-apaclyptic theme by rookie author Joshua Gayou. With his sophomore effort, Gayou ratchets up the storyline by digging us deeper into the personalities of several of the main characters, while continuing to advance the overall narrative of the “history” of this fictional community of survivors.
Book 2 primarily expands the story of another of the commune’s main characters, who was briefly introduced in the epilogue to the first book. Gibs is a former Marine, and we meet him and his hapless band of misfits as they struggle to survive amid the ruined cities of Colorado. There are several tense, violent, defining moments where hope seems all but lost, but under Gibs’ will and perseverence they manage to press on. Eventually they make their way to the Jackson, Wyoming, and are taken in by the original settlers of the commune (whose establishment was the subject of the first book). Here, the narrative switches from run-and-gun survival against other groups of more ill intent, and settles into a procedural of planning and working toward their long term survival in a more secure, permanent place. There are some interesting solutions to the problems of housing, food, security, and yes even waste disposal. Gayou has thought of everything.
This is where Book 2 continues with the satisfying breadth of theme and subject matter that was initiated in the first installment. Yes, we get plenty of action, plenty of Road Warrior style confrontations with the bad guys. But mixing in a healthy dose of real-world problems, and the clever solutions to them, helps with the immersion into the story. It lends a level of believability that is absent in the more cartoonish, all-gore-and-grim examples in the genre. And, gratefully for this reader, it also infuses an underlying sense of hope to the story. Yes, disasters happen, the group is fraught with setbacks, but ultimately we can see that they’re laying down the groundwork for long term success. We’re rooting for them.
Which isn’t to say the violence and action take a back seat. The story climaxes in an epic road-borne battle that rivals any I’ve read in the genre. This is the set piece that Gibs’ entire story arc has laid the groundwork for. His colorful personality is matched by his battle-toughness, as he leads his ragtag group of scavengers against an overwhelming force of bad guys. Here is the red meat for hard core fans of the genre.
But Gayou’s talent is in weaving the id and the ego. It’s not all just gunfire and explosions. He’s put some real thought into many of the more basic questions of a post-apaclyptic world, and handled those subjects with skill. The aforementioned survival needs, and their solutions, are a case in point. But Gayou throws subjects into the mix that you’d never even think of, then forces his characters to figure out a solution. One such episode features a member of their own group, who goes off the rails in a way that I’ve never seen addressed in a story of this genre. Several themes come together in that one small corner of the story, such as the subject matter itself, the idea that the monsters a group of survivors must face can come from within as well as without, and also the moral struggle to figure out a just solution.
Commune: Book 2, ultimately becomes more than just a post-apocalyptic narrative. It studies themes that break the norms of the genre, and therefore would be a satisfying read for even those who don’t usually read such books. We see deep character studies, watch them grow and develop, some for the good and some not so. Gayou stress-tests them in a wide variety of situations to see what they do. And its fun to watch.
Disclaimer: I was provided an Advanced Reader Copy by the author at no cost. I was only asked for initial feedback, though there was no requirement to post an official review in exchange for the ARC. However, I enjoyed the book so much that I gladly purchased it anyhow, and am proud to offer my thoughts in this review as a verified customer of the book.
First 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 😛
I finished writing the second book in the series this morning! Rough draft came in at 155K words. Now on to the misery that is editing…
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.