Giveaway Time!

So, I’ve been slowly but surely getting new covers for all of my books, as I’m sure you know. I’ve been doing the cover design and layouts myself and I’ve really enjoyed the process. Each book cover is unique, of course, but they’re also unified in design and type and stuff like that.

Anyway, I ordered a copy of Book 2, The Hidden Throne, for myself a couple of weeks ago. I was super-pleased with the cover and my work on it, until I took a moment to really look at the spine of the book:

Yeah, that’s not the right title at all.

So, I’ve since corrected it, but I’ve still got this (otherwise perfectly serviceable) book just sitting around, reminding me of my failures.

So! Giveaway time! Here’s the rules:

First, follow me on Twitter. I don’t tweet much, but I do let you know when my books come out or are on sale or whatever, and occasionally I post funny comments or comics or I rant about something for a moment. It’s a good time. If you already follow me on Twitter, congratulations, you’ve completed step one.

Step the second, tell me why I should give you the book. Just a sentence or two, whatever you can fit in a tweet along with thing the third.

Thing the third, use the hashtag #HazzardGiveaway.

I’ll give away the book on my birthday, March 27th, which is coincidentally the day Book 6 — The Long Fall Into Darkness — comes out! It is also the day I turn 40 and all of my bones turn to dust (I assume; I dunno, I’ve never been 40 before). Good luck!

New Book 2 Cover!

In my ongoing effort to unify the style and look of my books, I’m happy to reveal the new cover for book 2, The Hidden Throne! It looks a little something like this:

Pretty snazzy, eh?

Up next will be Book 3, Death Comes Calling, and then all of the books will have covers with the new aesthetic. I’m real excited to see what my cover artist is able to do with the third book.

The Hidden Throne Pre-Order!

Book Two, The Hidden Throne, is now available for pre-order! It goes live on October 20th, a week from tomorrow. I’m very excited that this one is finally getting out there. I’m hoping to have Book Three ready sometime in February or March.

I’m very proud of this book. I’ve spent the past five years working on it, really, tweaking things and making it the best it can possibly be. I hope you’ll pick it up. Like The Invisible Crown, it’s only $2.99 for the ebook. That’s cheaper than a latte at Starbucks.

Book 2 Progress Report

As the school year draws to a close, I’ve been digging into Book 2 and getting it prepped for a fall release.  My editor sent me her edits and notes a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been going through them and making changes and corrections as needed.  In fact, I finished up just this week and have moved on to formatting.

Formatting has been a bit of a challenge.  I found the font Royal James used, so there’ll be visual consistency in the books, and I’m doing all the little, fiddly things that have to be done to make it look like a real, professional book.  Margins are set, title pages are created, and I’m messing about with the header text and page numbers now.  There are some challenges with getting everything exactly the way I want it, but I’m confident it’ll all be ready in September.

Once the formatting is done, I’ll be in a holding pattern, waiting for my artist to create the cover.  I know he has other jobs ahead of mine, so it’s going to be sometime this summer before he even begins, but once I have the cover in hand the book will basically be ready to go.  Between now and then, there’ll be a short story called “Bad Press” (anyone who got the old Hazzard Pay collection from a few years ago will be familiar with this one, though I’ve added a few new bits).

So, all in all, things are moving along well.  I feel I’ve got a much better handle on the stuff I have to do to self-publish this time around, and I think the results are going to be fantastic.  My editor was tremendously positive about the manuscript, as were my beta readers, so I’m hopeful this one will be a hit.

Book 2 Complete!

The edits for Book 2 (The Hidden Throne) are complete!  The manuscript was sent off to my publisher yesterday.

I’m glad to have this book finally done and sent off.  Granted, it doesn’t come out until December 2017, but that just means there’s lots of time for polishing and prepping.

What’s up next?  Well, lots of things.  I need to make edits to Book 3 and Book 4.  I need to continue (and complete) Book 5.  I’ve got lots of short stories I want to tweak and polish up and set up in the publishing queue (there’s already one lined up to be published in April 2017).

All in all, I’m very excited to have this project done, and it’s got me fired up to move on to others.

Back in the Saddle

As of this moment (Friday, August 26, about 10:30 in the morning), I’ve been back at work for a little over two and a half hours.  I know what classes I’m teaching for the coming school year (team-taught World History II and Government), what classrooms I’ll be in (I’m a nomad this year, bouncing from room to room like a man without a homeroom), and who I’m teaching with (one veteran teacher and one fresh-faced second year).  It looks – admittedly, from what little information I have so far – like it will be a pretty good year.  I’m feeling re-energized after my summer off, ready to tackle new topics and get down in the trenches, as it were.

Of course, that means we should probably review the summer’s activities and assess my performance, yes?

I had three primary goals this summer:

  1. Start exercising again so I don’t die of a heart attack or something similar before I hit the age of 40.
  2. Drive for Uber to make some extra cash.
  3. Edit book 2 and maybe even finish writing book 5.

I can say item #1 has been going pretty well.  I’ve been exercising consistently, and I’m up to running a mile most every day.  Should be up to two miles by the end of September.

I did a bit of driving for Uber, but it wasn’t as productive or profitable as I’d imagined it would be.  Part of it was because I was usually busy chauffeuring my wife to and from school during the times when I’d have been able to make the most money, part of it was I didn’t really want to drive in DC much (where the demand and thus pay were usually higher than out in the ‘burbs), and part of it is just the flaws inherent in the ridesharing app and business.  I’ll probably continue to drive for Uber once in a while during the school year, but I don’t see it being something I do as a steady source of income.

I edited a grand total of 11 (eleven) pages of book 2 this summer!  That’s…not great.  However, I did do a lot of plotting in my head for book 5 and beyond, and came up with a couple of short story ideas in the Hazzard universe, so it wasn’t completely wasted time.  And I tend to do better when I’ve got a full schedule anyway.  My ADD brain just works more efficiently when there’s the pressure of lots of external deadlines, so I’m sure I’ll get the edits done on book 2 pretty fast now that the school year is upon us.  Heck, since my classroom is already set up, I may even be able to get some editing done today.

Lazy Summer

I’ve been pretty lazy so far this summer.  I spent the first couple of weeks of it sleeping in (or getting up, driving my wife to work, then coming back home and taking a long nap) and binge-watching several shows on Netflix.  The past couple of weeks, I’ve been driving for Uber, which has been a novel experience.

Editing has started, though it’s going slowly.  I’ve made it to page 11 (of 118) of the manuscript.  Admittedly, most of the editing for The Hidden Throne (book 2) will go pretty quick, because this book has already been through three rounds of self-editing.  It was the only novel I ended up self-publishing, after all.

I have signed contracts for THT and a short story, both of which will appear sometime next year.  So that’s pretty exciting!  It does mean I need to get on the stick with the editing.

I’ve got a month or so left before I have to report back to school for teacher inservice.  In that time, I should be able to get THT edited, and maybe get some more work done on book 5.

In the meantime, though, I have to go.  Season Three of Bojack Horseman ain’t gonna binge-watch itself!


I’m still neck-deep in the first draft of Book 5, but I was chatting with my publisher the other day and she asked when she could expect to see Book 2.  She wants to go ahead and get it placed on the calendar for next year.  The publisher has added a couple of new authors in the past few weeks, which means more releases, which means forward planning becomes a must.

And that also means that, today, I started going over The Hidden Throne and doing some edits and revisions.  It’s going to take some time – there were a couple of plot threads that I left dangling in The Invisible Crown that I want to pick up and weave into Book 2 (see how I extended that metaphor?  Yeah, that was good), and just some general clean-up and revision on a book that I haven’t touched in over a year.

I have an uneasy truce with editing.  It’s far from my favorite part of writing, but I recognize its importance.  Sure, I know an editor will look over the manuscript once I pass it along to the publisher, but it’s sorta like those folks who clean their houses before they have a cleaning service come in to clean.  You don’t want the pros thinking you’re a complete slob or crap at this thing, so you do your best to have everything all tidied away and make sure the proverbial underwear isn’t hanging from the metaphorical lampshade when the house cleaners arrive.  It’s sorta like that.  I’m sure there will still be a few missing words here and there, typos and misplaced commas and run-on sentences and things like that.  I’m sure there will be bits that need revision and work when the manuscript gets back to me.  But I still want what I send out to be as polished as possible.  Plus, there’s the new bits I want to work into it before it goes out.

So, the long and short of it is, I’m in editing mode for the next week or two at least.  It’s probably for the best, because I was about to hit a wall in Book 5’s progress, and I need a little time to recharge the ol’ batteries.

Anyway, if you hear a scream of eternal suffering from Northern Virginia, that’s just me editing.