Book Six Is Done!

This morning, I wrote the last words on Book 6. It is officially drafted!

This one came easily, especially compared to Book 5. I wrote it in fits and starts, grabbing a few minutes here and there whenever I could, but it flowed and came together quickly. I’m actually quite proud of this book, and can’t wait for everyone to get a chance to read it.

That’s going to have to wait, of course. I’m sending it to my editor next week, and then I’ll have to do all the formatting and setup on the paperback copy and all that. I’m thinking I might make this one available in Kindle Unlimited, and maybe even go back and make all of my books available there again (going wide hasn’t done much for my book sales, so there’s really not much point to it).

All that being said, when can you expect Book 6? Probably around February next year. And I’m already elbow-deep in Book 7. I’ve got the rough plot outline done, and I know what I want to do and what’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of getting all the words on the page in the right order now.

NaNoWriMo Roundup

Well, November has come and gone, and I did not get my novel finished.

I’m sitting at about 37,000 words on the thing, which I feel is pretty damn good. It’s not 50,000, for sure, but I know what the rest of the book needs to cover. I’m pretty sure I can get it finished in the next couple of weeks.

So, what worked and what didn’t?

Well, writing in short burst worked pretty well for me. Most of my writing took place between classes and during lunch or right after school in five to ten minute chunks. I was usually able to get a few hundred words cranked out each time, which was awesome.

Something else that worked pretty well was doing a bit of plotting beforehand. Did I follow all that plotting? Hell no. But it got me thinking about my characters before I started writing them, and it helped steer the direction I took the story.

But what didn’t work? Well, writing at home, first of all. There are too many distractions there, and I found myself staring at the screen and writing nothing more often than not.

I also need to start keeping better track of character and place names. I spent an hour one day last month combing through old novels, short stories, and half-complete stories trying to find the name for a character, only to eventually decide I hadn’t named her. I could’ve spent that time actually writing if I had a document with my characters’ names and basic info listed.

All in all, I feel pretty good about my progress on Book 6. No, the first draft isn’t done, but that’s okay. It’s not like I was going to be ready to put it out before Christmas.

But hey, congrats to all those NaNo’ers who got their 50K written. It’s a helluva thing, ain’t it?

The Halfway Point

We’re about halfway through the month of November, so I thought I’d give y’all a little status update on Book 6.

I’m currently sitting at a little under 24,000 words on the book. About half of that was written before this month began, mind you, but things are proceeding apace.

I’ve already commissioned the cover, from the same artist who did the cover for Book 5. I’ve seen the rough sketch for it, and I’m pretty pleased. I’ll share the final art when I get it.

I’ve got the book plotted out. I’ve got lots of surprising revelations in store for you; I am, as always, doing my best to just put Hazzard through the wringer.

I’m excited for this book. I feel like it’s one of my strongest to date so far, and I really cannot wait for you to get your hands on it. In the meantime, Book 5 is available to buy!

NaNoWriMo 2019!

Hey, folks! It’s November, which means it’s NaNoWriMo time again!

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a full 50,000 word book during the month of November. I’ve done it a couple of times before: The Invisible Crown, The Hidden Throne, and Crooked Halos all started as NaNoWriMo efforts.

I’m working on Book 6, The Long Fall Into Darkness. I technically started it back in October, and knocked out a good 10,000 words before November even began. I’m currently sitting at just over 15,000, and I’ve got the book mostly plotted and figured out (I even wrote some plot points down, if you can believe it).

It feels good to be writing again. I’d forgotten how much I missed it until I buckled down back in September and got Book 5 finished. It kick-started Book 6 for me, and as I said, I’m well on my way with it now.

Will I hit 50,000 words before the end of November? You can find out by following me on Twitter (where I post NaNoWriMo accomplishments most every day) or at the NaNoWriMo website.

Book 5: An Ill Wind Blows Cover Reveal and Book Release!

It’s finally done! Book 5 has been edited, the cover is done, and I’m ready to publish!

So, first off, hows about a cover reveal?

Book 5!

Pretty swanky, right? I am right chuffed (as the Brits might say) with this cover. I’ll definitely be using this artist for Book 6 (and probably having them redo the covers to Books 1-4 eventually).

Hows about a synopsis? Well, your wish is my command!

Everyone wants a piece of Eddie Hazzard, Arcadia’s premier private detective and sometimes crime boss. There’s a price on his head, a team of highly-trained assassins on his tail, and now he’s suddenly wanted for a murder he definitely didn’t commit. Not only that, he’s been hired to find the fabled Jewel of Hakido, a priceless diamond, and everyone and anyone knows he’s after it. What will Eddie do? What is the connection between the Seven Ill Winds and Eddie’s ninja leader, Kimiko? Will he find the Jewel in time? Will he survive the case? Or will everything that’s been piling up on top of Eddie for the past several years finally crush him?

Anyway, the book has been submitted to Amazon, and will be live and ready for purchase sometime this week (probably Friday at the latest, I’d assume). I know I’ll be sitting here the rest of the day hitting refresh on the KDP page, waiting for it to shift from “In Review” to “Published.” Both the print and the ebook version are submitted and should be available for purchase soon! I’ll post a link as soon as it’s available.

Books 5 & 6 Progress Report

I rolled over 10,000 words on Book 6 today. Just blew right past it. It feels good to be writing again, to put words on the page that I’m (mostly) happy with. The story is shaping up pretty quickly, and I’ve got most of the book plotted out in my head already.

I’ve also commissioned a cover for Book 5. Yeah, I don’t even have it edited or formatted yet, but I don’t see why I can’t get a cover image figured out ahead of all that. I already knew what I wanted it to look like, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger on getting that started. The plan is to have it ready to publish by the end of November.

All of which is to say: things are progressing. Things are progressing very well, and I’m looking forward to the start of November and NaNoWriMo (when I’ll really kick the Book 6 work into high gear). Wish me luck!

Book 6 Underway

Good morning (or afternoon or evening or whatever. It’s morning as I write this, so “morning” is part of the salutation)! As you may recall, I recently completed the first draft of Book 5, which is fantastic news and gladdens the very cockles of my heart. But did you know that I have already started writing Book 6? It’s true! I’m about 5,000 words into it, which doesn’t sound like much (and, frankly, isn’t actually that much), but this is coming off of a stretch where getting any words to page was a big victory, so I’ll take it!

Book 6 sees a lot of the status quo shaken up. I don’t tend to let things sit for too long in the story if I can help it in general and I’ve been building to this particular book for quite some time. I’ve got a lot of the broad strokes planned out already, and a few fun subplots to keep things interesting while I turn Hazzard’s world upside down again. And all of that leads to Book 7, the culmination of the Hazzard Pay story. Does that mean Book 7 will be the last we hear of Eddie and company? Heck no! Just that the story I’ve been crafting has a definite end game in mind, and we’re moving towards it. In the meantime, I’ve got a dozen or so short stories I’d love to get out there in the world, like Bad Press. I’ll eventually collect all of those into a single volume, too (or maybe two volumes; let’s see how many of them get out there).

All that being said, I’m hoping to have Book 5 ready to go before Christmas. Wish me luck!

Book Five Complete!

Today, I finished up the first draft to Book 5. It’s the shortest book I’ve written, at just about 45,000 words, but it’s all killer, no filler. I talked with my editor this afternoon and have arranged for it to get edited at the beginning of November. That means I should have the finished product ready for release by Christmas! Just in time for stuffing all your stockings.

This has been, in many ways, the hardest book I’ve ever written. Anxiety and depression are much to blame for that, unfortunately, but I feel like I’ve come through whatever block I was experiencing and I’m back in my groove.

In fact, I spent some time this afternoon plotting out Book 6. It’s gonna be pretty epic, and it picks up right where Book 5 left off.

I’m feeling pumped and ready to write more. It’s a good feeling.

On Absence and the Impossibility of Book Five

I’ve been…absent for a while, I know. Missing in action. Lost.

Well, it’s time to blow the cobwebs off the site and get to writing again.

I was…stalled on Book Five for most of the last year. I was about two-thirds done with it, with all the major beats written (or at least plotted out) and how I wanted it to end figured out. “I just have to connect the dots,” I’d tell anyone who asked how it was going. “It’s almost done,” I’d add.

But…I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t feeling the urge, the desire, to write, and so I…didn’t. I went several months — most of last year — without putting a word on the page.

Every time I’d open up Dropbox and look at the Hazzard folder, I’d see the file sitting there, daring me to open it and type a sentence. Or a paragraph. Or even, God forbid, a whole page. Can you imagine, a whole page? But I’d open it, and stare at the words already on the page, and I’d come up with…nothing.

Just absolutely nothing, for months at a time. And then I looked and realized I hadn’t written anything here, even, for several months. I’d sort of abandoned all writing, except for my daily webcomic, and even that I took several extended breaks from in the past several months.

I felt bad about it. Really bad. Embarrassed and annoyed with myself and just angry that I couldn’t sit down and finish this damn book, or write a blog post describing why I couldn’t write. And there were an endless number of reasons I couldn’t put words on paper, though most of it boiled down to (1) depression or (2) apathy.

And I feel bad about that, too. Not the depression part — I have depression, it’s something I have to live with, and sometimes I just don’t feel like doing the things that bring me joy. The apathy is probably tied up in the depression, if I’m being honest.

As much as I hate to admit it, though, those are only part of the reason I stopped writing Book Five. I also stopped writing because of reader apathy.

Now, this isn’t an exercise in passing the blame. If readers aren’t flocking to my books, lavishing me with praise and million-dollar Hollywood contracts, that’s probably on me. I don’t do marketing, like, at all. And in the indie publishing game, if you aren’t hustling 24-7, you aren’t gonna find your readership.

All of which is a long way of saying: I was dormant for a long while, but I’m getting back in the swing of things. I’ve added a few thousand words to Book Five, and I’m hoping to have the first draft done in the next few weeks. I’ll try to post more consistently here as well.

Book 4 Cover Reveal and Release Date

Hey, folks! I’m all finished getting the fourth book of the Hazzard Pay series, Crooked Halos, set up! That means it’s time to get it out there. Here’s the synopsis/back cover blurb for the book:

In Arcadia, no one is innocent. This is true even for Dresden Crowder, Eddie Hazzard’s old partner from his days on the Arcadia police force. While the city considers Crowder to be a hero who sacrificed his health and well-being for the sake of the city, Hazzard knows better: Crowder was a crooked cop who framed Eddie and got him kicked off the force.

Now, Crowder is suddenly back in town with murder on his mind and a patsy to frame. Three guesses as to who the patsy will be. Hazzard has to save Crowder’s would-be victim—who actually wants to be murdered—salvage his own tarnished reputation, and survive against a whole host of villains, all while trying to shut down organized crime once and for all in the city. Poor odds? Little chance of success? Yup, this is definitely a case for Eddie Hazzard.

And here’s the cover:

Cmcottrell_3D.jpg

The book will be available this Friday, August 10th! You can get it from Amazon or from a number of other fine distributors, as is your wont. The dead trees edition will be available this weekend as well, for those who still prefer to read that way.

I keep getting asked about audiobooks and when I’ll have those available. The sort answer: not unless the ebooks or physical books really take off. Audiobooks are expensive, unless you’re doing it yourself (and no one wants to hear me drone on for hours and hours, reading my stuff and being impressed with my own cleverness. Or do they? I don’t know).

But anyway: book! Buy it! I worked really hard on this one for a really long time. I think it is pretty darn good. That is all.