Looking back v. looking ahead…

To my U.S. readers…Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday involves both looking back and looking ahead. Be thankful for the good things in your life and your abilities to fight the good fights, and help those in the world who are downtrodden and exploited and have neither. Celebrate the good things in your past and forge your better future.

Readers, do you want your favorite writers to get on to that next book? Writers, do you rest on your laurels, or do you push on to that next book? Some writers in the past only had one good book in them. Harper Lee and her friend Truman Capote are examples; although the former published a rejected version of To Kill a Mockingbird that became its sequel, and the latter had other works besides In Cold Blood, they are known only for those two books. This happens a lot for authors whose books are placed in that catch-all category “literary fiction.” Some writers write many books, and, for genre fiction, publishers as well as readers want them just to get on to that next book.

I push myself to write the next book. I jokingly describe this as my muses getting after me; they’re really banshees with Tasers, who know I have many good stories in me (I’ve never had writer’s block). But I’m really talking about pushing myself. Actually, not pushing—writing is so much fun that I want to tell the next story to the world (but the muses should learn that takes some time!). So I rarely look back to the books I’ve written and get on to that next book. Yeah, it’s a bit like an addiction. I consider it a healthy one.

It consequently cost me some angst to look back at the “Chaos Chronicles Trilogy” in order to make the bundle I call Chaos Chronicles Trilogy Collection.  Why do I call it angst?

First, preparing the bundle required editing, lots of it, the only other thing in my writing life more tedious than PR and marketing my books. I’m good at editing and bad at PR and marketing, but both are tedious, and I’d rather be writing—that causes angst.

Second, the bundle is an experiment. I’ve never published one before. I’ve seen and heard mixed reports about how effective bundles are. Some of the ones I’ve tried as a reader didn’t satisfy and were instead like buying an LP for a few good songs, because the unrelated novels contained in the bundles were by different authors and just didn’t hold my interest. If you don’t know what an LP is, think of a CD collection of oldies where you only like one or two songs. Or a Baskins & Robbins ice cream store with only one or two flavors you like. I’ve had better luck when the bundled novels are all by the same author, though, so that mitigated my fears a wee bit.

Third…you already know. Except for promo purposes or writing the next book in a series, I usually don’t refer to a book I’ve written—I don’t look in the rearview mirror, I look ahead. But I’ve been writing long enough that I’ve published three second editions, not counting book #1 in the new bundle, so I’ll look back for that.

There are at least two ways I can survive this experiment and consider it a success. First, some readers will appreciate having an epic sci-fi saga to read that still seems as fresh and new as when I wrote it—OMG, I published book #1 all the way back in 2011. What an oldie! Second, I’ve already accomplished for the most part: Publishing the bundle inspired me to finish two new novels. It seems you can focus on the road ahead and still glance back at what’s behind you. For driving, that’s essential. Maybe it is for writing too?

By the way, large projects like this novel, even a novel or a collection, aren’t possible without a lot of help! 100% DIY just isn’t possible if an author wants an excellent product. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to acknowledge some very important collaborators.  First, I’d like to thank Donna Carrick of Carrick Publishing, a fantastic author in her own right, for putting the novels of the trilogy together—this wasn’t an easy task by any means. Second, I’d like to thank Sara Carrick, a skilled graphic artist whose artistic cover of novel #3 is now featured on the bundle. I’d also like to thank my beta-readers who read the original novels and always manage to find more editorial glitches and logical errors in the text. And I’d like to thank all of them for being great friends and last, but more importantly, my wife, who has been my greatest cheerleader. I’ve been remiss; I don’t do this often enough. I want the internet to know that publishing is a team sport even though writing is often an individual one.


You can read the Chaos Chronicles Trilogy Collection for $5.99—one ebook that costs less than the ebook for the first novel in the trilogy. The novels, Survivors of the Chaos, Sing a Zamba Galactica, and Come Dance a Cumbia…with Stars in Your Hand!, take you from the Chaos years of an Earth dominated by multinationals and controlled by their mercenaries to Humans’ first interstellar colonies and a first encounter. You will meet strange ETs, good and bad, bipeds and collective intelligences, and experience mystery and intrigue, as Humans expand into near-Earth space. Now available on Amazon and Smashwords and soon at all the latter’s distributors (Apple, B&N, Kobo, etc).

And, for all those holiday shoppers, the entire “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series” is on sale at Smashwords–seven ebooks for your favorite mystery/thriller reader–maybe that’s you.

In libris libertas!


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