Dear friends and followers,

It is now three weeks since we won the Full Publication deal with The List. The manuscript for "Murder at the Veterans’ Club" was submitted two weeks ago, and now it is a matter of waiting for an editor to be assigned to me. This could take a while; here’s the article about the publishing timeline, in case you missed the last update: I know there are a couple of new faces among you since then.

So, what lies ahead?

Well, I am currently halfway through working on a story-game project for Choice Of Games. I expect to see it come out some time in the latter half of this year. (I encourage everyone to check them out. I’ve enjoyed their stuff over the past few years, and I’m excited at the possibility of seeing myself in their lineup.)

There is also the matter of what to do with the Peterkin franchise. With the publishing timeline being somewhat longer than I expected, and with the additional time required to properly fund a campaign ... plus the sheer chutzpah it would require for me to begin asking for orders on a second book before the first book is even in anyone’s hands.... If I plan on getting the Full Publication deal on something, I should probably start the funding campaign after the launch of this current book, which means it could be two years or more in between books. That seems ... likely to result in an overall loss of interest.

So, I’m toying with a couple of ideas.

One: start a new campaign anyway, for the short story collection "Peterkin Investigates the Anthology"--but aim only for the 250 orders required for the Quill imprint. It won’t get all the services of the Full Publication deal, but then it isn’t a sequel and it isn’t a full-length novel, and it will be out there and available within a year after "Murder at the Veterans’ Club".

Two: take that collection apart and publish the stories individually via Kindle Direct; say, one every two months.

I haven’t quite researched these options yet, nor have I decided on a course of action. It seems the adventure is only just beginning....

Zack headshot 2015 ZUrlocker · Reader · edited over 1 year ago · 1 like
Congrats! This is awesome news.  Well done.

Dear friends and followers,

Happy new year! By now, you should all have gotten the news that we’ve made our goal, a month early. Or, more precisely, that we’ve made the top three on The List, which means the same result without having to actually hit the full 750 orders. This is pretty awesome, and it’s all thanks to you. Every one of you who pre-ordered, who spread the word, who got your friends to pre-order or even just to look at the book: thank you. Thank you so much.

So, now that we’re "in production", what does that mean? When will you get your books?

I know I’ve been saying that books will probably be out around November 2017, and that was a conservative estimate back in March when I started. But the volume of books going through Inkshares of late means that the production process is longer now than it used to be. Here is what Inkshares has to say about the production process. According to this, it could be twelve to eighteen months from the moment I submit my manuscript before the book comes out. In short: between January and June 2018.

I know. I’m a little dismayed too. But it’s still miles better than not getting it out at all, so it’s still a cause for celebration.

Again, thank you for everything. Let’s party like it’s 1925!

First of all: merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

Second: we’ve passed 300 readers, which means I can start talking about how I’m defending my position on The List with 300, like King Leonidas at Thermopylae. Have you looked at The List’s leaderboard today, though? The contenders from the Launchpad competition have just been transferred in, at 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. While the top three Launchpad entries are, according to the rules, probably going to be taken out again, there’s still that one contender, the fourth Launchpad entry, currently in 6th on The List, who’s just 10 readers below me and still taking orders....

In short, my position is Extremely Precarious, and I’m probably going to need a bunch of new readers within the next week to ensure my place.

In book news, the manuscript is complete and ready for submission. So is a brand new plan of the Veterans’ Club ground floor--and yes, the manuscript has been edited to take into account the new layout.

In short, we’re ready to roll. It’s just a question of what happens over the course of the next week. Now, more than ever: tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your complete strangers. King Leonidas may have made an impressive defence of Thermopylae with his 300 Spartans, but that ultimately ended in defeat. Let’s hope the same doesn’t happen with my 300 readers.

It is now one week to Christmas, and a bit under two weeks to the end of The List. On the 30th, we shall see how our pre-order volume measures up against everyone else’s--I’m expecting a bit of jump in everybody else’s pre-order volume over the Christmas holidays as they meet up with distant relatives they haven’t spoken to all year, so let’s try not to get left behind. Make sure you’ve got your pre-order in!

Competing in The List ... well, that puts one in mind of a certain sport, doesn’t it?

Except the jousting in this List is done with pages. (And did you know that the official state sport of Maryland is jousting?)

Eric Peterkin, the hero of "Murder at the Veterans’ Club", doesn’t joust, but he does have dreams of Arthurian chivalry. The novel compares him to Sir Pellinore, one of King Arthur’s knights of the round table: according to legend, Sir Pellinore’s primary hobby was the pursuit of the mythical Questing Beast, a creature with the head of a snake, the body of a leopard, the feet of a deer, and a constant sound in its belly described as like "thirty brace of hounds a’questing"--hence its name. (Apparently the verb "to quest" once meant "to bark". Think of that the next time you read of heroes gone a’questing.)

The comparison is rooted in Eric’s Quixotic need to go chasing after something--anything!--and, in the novel, his "Questing Beast" is the identity of the murderer. Just as Sir Pellinore isn’t happy unless he’s out chasing his Beast, Eric won’t be happy unless he’s doing the same. Not that he’d ever admit it, of course.

In the meantime: happy Christmas, everybody! And may your new year be awesome!

Dear friends and followers:

Christmas is coming. So is my birthday. If you’re following the Julian calendar, those are on the same day. I think it’s pretty clear what I’d like for Christmas....

Well, the List contest continues apace. Thanks to you, I’m still in second. There’s no place for complacency, though, as I am not convinced that the numbers are entirely accurate: I believe that some of the books behind me have uncounted readers, which puts them a lot closer to knocking me out of position than I’m comfortable with. And things could easily change over the next month.

I’m grateful to all of you for having gotten me this far.

Meanwhile, I have not been neglecting the book itself in favour of selling it. I’ve updated the first two chapters on the site; I’ve worked out the actual calendar-date timeline for the events of the novel, and I am happy to say that the story officially begins on 31 October 1924. I’d very much like to be able to hand this in first thing in the new year, but that’s all dependent on what happens with the List.

Speaking of timelines and the upcoming New Year, it’s been a while since I made any recommendations. So here are a couple that I believe you’d enjoy, and whose authors would also appreciate the Christmas gift of your vote of confidence.

1) "Manifesto", by Daniel Poort. This one’s a psychological thriller about a small-town cop on the trail of a serial killer. Poort promises an escalating body count; and of course nothing says edge-of-your-seat like murder and betrayal.

2) "Shady Place", by David Byrne. A more light-hearted take, I think. A police detective and a mobster retire to the same seniors’ community, and find they have to work together to prevent a murder. If they play "good cop/bad cop", I wonder which would be which....

Until next time: have fun, and keep reading. And tell all your friends!

We have reached 450 orders! This means we have only 300 more to go before guaranteeing the Full Publication deal.

We’re also holding steady at second place on The List.

Things are looking good, but nothing is written in stone yet. The competition on The List is close, but a just a few more orders could be all we need to ensure our position; and if we make it to the end of the year still in the top three, we won’t have to worry about getting a whole 300 more orders. So, tell your friends, tell your neighbours, tell your enemies, tell your total strangers ... the sooner this becomes a done deal, the sooner we can start the process of getting this book into your hands.

Good things are coming.

EXCITING NEWS!

"Murder at the Veterans’ Club" has been selected for The List. This is a contest for book projects on Inkshares that have caught the eye of the Powers That Be--unlike other contests, participation is by invitation only. On 31 December, the three book projects with the most unique readers will win the Full Publication deal ... you know, that thing that happens when you get 750 orders.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

It means that on 31 December, if "Murder at the Veterans’ Club" is still in the top three--thanks to you, we have a head start in second position--we can go into production with the Full Publication deal right then and there. It means you could get your books a month earlier than expected. It means the current focus is no longer on the great 750, but on maintaining a position at the top of the heap.

It means that people think "Murder at the Veterans’ Club" is a book worthy of note, in case you had any doubts before.

But wait! Is there any doubt that we can make it? Is there any doubt that we can maintain our position in the top three? Well ... yes. A handful of our competition are only just now starting: they’re blank slates, and anything could happen with them. The first few weeks of a campaign always see a huge spike in orders, so any one of these fresh-faced young recruits could pole-vault right over us. And then there are those veterans infused with fresh enthusiasm. We have to keep moving!

So if you’ve been on the fence before, now is the time to place your order! Stand up and be counted, because that’s the only way we can stay in the top three and make this happen!

As I write this, it is the final hour of Remembrance Day--Veterans Day in the U.S., and Armistice Day in the 1920s world of "Murder at the Veterans’ Club". It’s a solemn occasion, for remembering the sacrifices made in the name of one’s country. In Cape Town, South Africa, they began observing a daily three-minute silence from April 1918 onwards; this idea spread through the commonwealth and became, in 1919, an observed two-minute silence from 11:00 to 11:02 AM on the 11 November, the anniversary of the Armistice.

One minute for the soldiers who died. One minute for their families left behind.

To all the veterans out there, to their families, and to the families of those who are not coming back ... thank you.

On this occasion, we had an interview with Regina McMenomy of The Geek Embassy. Dr. McMenomy is the author of "Mothering: the Game", available for pre-order at Inkshares.

And, because it’s a day for remembering our veterans and because my background is in Architecture, here is a link to a news story about housing for homeless veterans in Kansas City, Missouri.

Let us not forget.

THREE MONTHS LEFT!

I admit to being more than a little anxious. Three months! They’ll be gone in no time! And one of those months is December and, as everyone knows, nothing except Christmas ever happens in December.

(I know what I want for Christmas.)

Well, back to the story. "The Butler did it" is a stereotype of mystery fiction, yet I’ll bet most people would be hard-pressed to name a story where that does happen. I know I can’t. Well, the nearest thing the Veterans’ Club has to a butler is the resident porter....

Until next time (THREE MONTHS LEFT!) have fun and (THREE!) keep reading.

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