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.

That was a fun week

Vicky Peterwald: Rebel coverLast week I got 22,000 words into KL – Fearless. I figured to finished it this week. So much for that thought. The Galley Proofs for Unrelenting showed up with a two week deadline, so that went to the head of the line. As of Monday, I’m 2/3 of the way done. Well, at least I have the cover of Vicky’s next book, Rebel to share with you

Not again

Vicky Peterwald: Rebel coverOkay, 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!

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.

Vicky Peterwald: Survivor discussion

Viicky Peterwald Survivor cover

Vicky still has her head on, if not on all that straight. Unwilling to let her step-mom give her a hatchet job, she finds herself waltzing her way backwards toward the revolution she doesn’t want to start. Then again, how many people want to follow a Peterwald into rebelling against a Peterwald?

Use this space for comments. Spoilers Allowed

March has been busy

I returned the copy edits of Kris Longknife – Unrelenting. Notice the new name. I don’t have a cover yet, but I’ll get it to you as soon as possible. Audible.com has begun production on Vicky Peterwald – Survivor. Those of you who want to listen to her yarn will have it as soon as the book it out. I’m in the final dash to finish Vicky Peterwald – Rebel. I’ll talk about all the things in life that delayed that book another time. Books are coming your way.

Kris Longknife Relentless turned in

Relentless was turned in to Ace on time. It will be the October 2015 book. It is one whale of a book. All kinds of challenges for Kris including a whole batch of battles, both spoilers and the big event you’ve been expecting as well as civil and personal. Boy is there a personal challenge for our Kris. More about it as October 2015 gets close. Now on to finishing Vicky Peterwald – Rebel. Boy is that gal growing up. It’s either grow up or die.

Vicky Peterwald – Survivor is in the works

Survivor has been accepted.  We’ve discussed the cover, likely Vicky will be wearing something like the Dinner Dress Uniform from Target.  They’ve also already got the inside cover blurbs done.

I’m now concentrating on getting Kris Longknife Relentless ready for delivery in October. My second reader returned it today and didn’t see any rough spots from where I cut out 20,000 words. I’ve saved at least two chapters and I’ll post them on this web site next year after it comes out for you to get some extra story.

Both books for next year are moving along fine.10

Books are coming at you.

The galley proofs KL Tenacious are done and the book is available for early order in October. Last week I turned in the rewrite for Vicky Peterwald – Survivor. Now I’m doing an edit for next years Kris Longknife – Relentless. Boy does Kris have a lot of problems to juggle!

What do you think of Vicky?

I’ve got a lot of comments about Vicky. For someone who just kind of walked into Resolute as an echo of “There is another one. He has a sister,” she’s developed in a lot of ways, most not so good. But her time with Kris has opened her eyes a bit and what with her stepmommy dearest out to kill her, Vicky has to change or die. What do you think so far?