Life Happens

Sorry to have been gone for the last month. Early this month, I got that call you dread. My 89 year old mom was in the hospital. By the time I got a ticket, we were talking about hospice. Before I got on the plane, my brother called to tell me she had passed on. I spent the next week with my brothers and sister trying to come to grips with her life.

No sooner than I got home but I had to head for the Oregon Coast to attend a symposium on the business of self publishing your books. There will be more to talk about later on this, but it suffices to say that Kris Longknife’s Replacement: Admiral Santiago on Alwa Station trying to fill Kris’s shoes will be published in January and Ray Longknife – Enemy Unknown, the first book of the Iteeche War will follow it in March with Kris Longknife Emissary in May. I plan to have three more books out in the second half of 2017.

I also intend to get some short stories out, either stuff that got cut out of Kris books or new material, say a story from Abby’s viewpoint, on the months you don’t have a new book.

Lots of fun stuff coming your way next year. Enjoy!

A new Lost Millennium novel

lost-dawns-novella-cover-2015I’m happy to announce the e-publication of the long lost story of how Launa O’brian and Jack Walking Bear met, got to know each other, hit and did not hit it off and and got on with training anyway together. Lost Dawns tells the story that was referred to in the other books of the trilogy, but you’ve never had a chance to read before. Follow these two courageous troopers as they prepare for an insane mission even as the world around them descends into its own insanity.

Included with this short novel are sample chapters from three books you can expect to see in the first half of 2017: Kris Longknife’s Replacement: Grand Admiral Sandy Santiago on Alwa Station; Kris Longknife – Emissary, and Ray Longknife – Enemy Unknown. The first novel of the Iteeche War. Enjoy!

Bold is about ready

KrisLongknifeBoldI got the author queries about the last nits to straighten out in Bold. Strange, after living with the manuscript and galley proofs for nearly two years, there’s still that goof that no one noticed before. Oh bother. I’m sure there’s still one left in for those of you that delight in spotting them.

The next book is coming along.

I owe Ace one more book on this three book contract and that book is moving along finally. Emissary takes Kris in a totally different direction. It was a slow start but I reached 33,000 words today. Hopefully, it will come together in the next few months and leave me time to write a book about what happens on Alwa after Kris leaves. It’s not like it’s going to be easy for Grand Admiral Santiago to step into her shoes. All three pairs she was wearing at once. 😉

A Few Questions.

A fan dropped this list of questions on Kris Longknife’s facebook page.

What Caused the ” unity war’?……
What’s the story of the itchee war?….
How did ‘Trouble’ become a general?
Ruth and Troubles marriage… It STILL works in Kris’s time…..

Here’s some answers.

The Unity war, like most wars, had a whole series of causes. I think I covered them pretty clearly in First Casualty. Part of it was the developed planets, say Earth and the first 49, charging too much for finished products and paying too little to the 150 Rim worlds for raw product. Part of it was the high interest rates the Earth banks were charging the start up colonies, making it impossible for them to get out of debt. Then there was President Urm of Unity who promised lots of things but usually only brought in thugs to take over a planet. (See the problems in To Do or Die of trying to clean up after Unity.) Then, there may have been a Peterwald at the bottom of it all, expecting to make a killing, buying up distressed companies after the war. First Casualty revolves around the war, while the other three books examine the aftermath.

The Iteeche War covers humanities collision with its first aliens. Unfortunately, first contact was not made through “official” channels but by our pirates outside human space running into some Iteeche Masterless Men likewise living out side the rule of law. I’ve written the first two or three of those books. I’m waiting to see if Ace buys them or if they will pass. The Ray Longknife books sell about half as well as the Kris books. I hope to have something to report early next year.

To Do or Die ends with Trouble still a captain. I think you’ll see his star rising very quickly during the Iteeche War.

And Yes, Ruth and Trouble’s marriage has survived all the pushing and pulling that a military wedding has thrown at it. I think the novella Kris Longknife Welcome Home, Go Away made good use of Trouble’s viewpoint to give you a good look at those two. Kris is not their only great-grandchild, though she may be their most troublesome one.

What do you think of Unrelenting?

unrelenting_fcHere’s a place to talk about Unrelenting after you’ve finished reading it. Spoilers are allowed, so if you haven’t finished, you might want to stay away from this blog. For those of you who have, things have changed a lot for Kris, and it looks like more is on the way. What do you think?

Getting Ready for Fun

Today I finished the last revisions on KL – Fearless for Oct 16. Kris Longknife – Unrelenting will be showing up on your e-readers and Audible players on Tuesday. The 27th it should become available in bookstores as well.

If you want to read the first seven chapters of Unrelenting, Ace has it up on their website. Click through to Read an Excerpt for the first seven chapters. Please don’t click on Look Inside. There you will see the first two and a half chapters. After that comes the 600 pound spoiler. They included the last page of the book! Big mistake! It spoils the fun and suspense of the first quarter of the book. I’m trying to get it changed, but not yet.

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/317156/kris-longknife-unrelenting-by-mike-shepherd/

WorldCon Spokane

I had a pleasant worldcon this last week. It was fun running into so many of you fans when I’d give you a book mark and get a surprised. “Are you Mike Shepherd? Do you write the Kris Longknife stories?” You make my day.

My grand kids were there with me as well as my brother Bruce and his two boys and their wife, girlfriend and kid. We had a ball palling around as well as enjoying the con. And my grandkids hit grampa up for a nice batch of T-shirts.

Now back to finishing KL Fearless for delivery November 1.

Where does all this come from and why does it take so long.

I got a question from one of you, and I thought I’d share the answer.

The question was why does it take so long to produce a book. If he was a writer, he’d spend every minute of every day writing.

I rarely spend more than four or five hours a day at the computer writing. My body can’t really take much more of it. I know writers who have had to crash for a month or more after meeting a tight deadline and writing madly for a week. Some of the problems they developed that week never really went away. The back and wrists can only take so much work.

Besides, there are other things a writer needs to do with his time. There’s answering fan mail and keeping up with the changes in the publishing industry, and there are a lot of them of late. In my case, I’ve got a couple of grand kids living with me; both are in High School, and guess who gets to see that their homework is done and help them with that (History/Science/English project) that they forgot and is due real soon.

There’s also the things you have to do beside putting new words into the story. I’m working this week on doing the second edit for Kris Longknife – Fearless. Last weekend I was in the middle of a five day rush to review ACE’s copy edits on Vicky Peterwald – Rebel. A couple of weeks ago, I had to drop my push to finish Fearless to review the Galley Proofs of Kris Longknife – Unrelenting. Oh, and somewhere in there I reviewed cover copy for Rebel and looked at the cover for Rebel and had to ask them to correct Vicky’s uniform.

When I started writing, a thousand words a week was a big goal. Now, I aim for 3 to 4000 a day maybe 25,000 a month. It takes time to work up to that kind of production. I wrote one book a year when I had my day job. Strange, I could only write one book, maybe one and a half a year after I quit my day job.

It also takes time to come up with ideas, both for the book and for the latest mess I’ve gotten Kris into. The brilliant idea that Kris comes up with in a snap may take me a week or more of mulling over to hit upon. I really wish I was as smart as Kris, but I’m only human.

I’ve just finished the 14th Kris book and until a week ago, I really had no idea what problem would come next for Kris. The biggest challenge is to write the same book, but different. The same is easy. Getting that bit of difference into it is the hard part. By the way, I won’t start writing the 15th Kris book until November. Hopefully, I’ll have a lot more ideas for that book than the two that I’m hanging everything on now.

The fan wanted to know if I knew a certain major author and tell him to write two books a year in the series he likes. Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever met that major author. There are a lot of Cons that fans go to, but it takes a lot out of a writer to go to a Con. I usually lose the week before and at least a week after, maybe two, getting back up to speed. When you’re a new writer, going to cons and meeting writers is a major energizer. After you’ve gone to a hundred or more, you kind of realize you’ve answered most questions a dozen times or more and the shiny has worn off.

I hope this glimpse into what’s behind the curtain was worthwhile.

Not again

Okay, I put in 27,000 words in the last 7 days, 6000 today, and I finish the first draft of KL – Fearless. I’m feeling good until I check my e-mails and there are 700 in the 4 days I’ve been busy writing. Oh, and one is from Ace with the copy edits attached for VP – Rebel!

REBEL(2)I’m taking a couple of days off and then I’ll tackle the copy edits. There’s a few TV shows Ellen’s saving for me.