First Blood, Plus Some Changes

As you all know, I’ve been cranking on The Pericles Conspiracy for the last couple weeks.  Well, maybe cranking isn’t the best word to use.  The story was sitting at a bit under 29,000 words at the beginning of the month.  As of this morning, it’s at 39,132 words.  So 10,000 words in two or three weeks.  Plus about 2,000 words that I wrote after getting some feedback from a friend who read what I’d written so far.  At first I thought his feedback was sound, and certainly it was well thought out, but when I started writing with that feedback in mind, I found that the story was heading in a direction that was completely different from where I wanted it to go, and where it was supposed to go.  So I scrapped those 2,000 words.

So yeah, about 10,000 words total.  That’s not so impressive.  There are a bunch of reasons for that, but they don’t really count.  The real reason is I hadn’t given it the priority I should have all the time.  Plus, I hit that mid-story bleah stage – the stage where it just seems like a complete drag to even write a couple words down on this totally uninteresting story.  Not that the story is really uninteresting, it’s just this weird funk that always seems to happen.  From reading other people’s blogs, it seems this is a common occurence.

So on Thursday, after trying for a half hour to make progress and failing miserably, I decided to say screw it and write something else instead.  Two reasons for doing that.  First is I’ve found when I get bogged down on a project it helps to shift focus to something else for a little bit.  Second, I read a comment that another writer made on Dean‘s blog.  The guy said he was publishing a new title each week.  I read that and thought, “Duh!  I should be doing that!”

I don’t know that I’m actually going to do it every week, but I decided that, while I’m going to focus on getting the sequels et al finished like I said I would in my annual and quarterly goals, I’m also going to take time every week or two to just crank out a short story.  After I do that, I’ll publish it on all the various channels and post it up here for free, just like Dean and several others do.  It’ll remain free here until I finish the next and get it up.  I intend to post the new stories on Friday, for Free Friday.  Look for a new page on my website here to contain the latest Free Friday story.

That said, on Thursday, I started work on a short story.  I decided to continue Larian’s adventures.  For those who don’t know, Larian is the main character in How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress and Measuring Up.  I had long ago (spoken – about 6 months back) thought it would be cool to do a bunch of short stories that follow a single character in his adventures, a sort of serialized short story series.  But I never wrote anything about Larian after Measuring Up.  Well that’s changed now.  On Thursday I cranked out about 2,050 words.  Then yesterday (Friday) afternoon after work I wrote another 1,500 words to finish it off.

Last night and this morning, I spent a bunch of time on Dreamstine hunting down cover art, then I uploaded the story to KDP and Smashwords.  And so, without further ado: First Blood.

The blurb:

Intelligence told High Command that the Mar Tabban, arch-enemies of the Citizens’ Army, had moved into the territory garrisoned by Larian’s Regiment. In response, the Regimental Commander sent the scouts of B Company, Larian’s unit, out to locate the enemy intruders. On his first operational assignment with his unit, the scouts of B Company, Larian must overcome inexperience and his own fear and uncertainty to get the information his Regiment needs to emerge victorious.

First Blood is a 3,500 word short story and the third tale of Larian’s adventures.

Larian’s earlier adventures are described in How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress and Measuring Up.

It’s now live on Smashwords and will be live on Amazon in a few hours.  Barnes and Noble and the other Smashwords distribution channels will take a week or two.  Check it out!

Even though it’s not Friday, I’m going to kick off Free Friday with First Blood anyway.  I’ll post it on the Free Friday page later this afternoon, for those who are interested.

But wait, there’s more….

I’ve been playing with GIMP a lot over the last few months and I’ve gotten better at making covers.  Not awesome, but better.  I’ve long intended to redo the covers for How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress and Falling Softly because, frankly, they sucked.  But I never got around to it.  Well, this morning, I went ahead and bought some art and redid the covers.  Observe.

How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress:


And Falling Softly:


I think the new covers are much improved.  They portray what’s going on in each story a lot better and are quite a bit more interesting to look at.

While I was at it, I went ahead and updated both stories’ front and back matter, putting in references and links to my other stories.  I also made a couple editorial corrections, as I found a couple oopsies that I missed last time.  (sigh)

So that’s what I’ve been up to the last couple days.  It’s been a good end to the week.  Fun and productive!