Papa Zulu Proof Ordered!

papa_zuluStep two semi-complete! After finishing my edits on Papa Zulu, I have gone ahead and ordered a proof copy so that my darling wife (i.e. chief editor) can give it a second pass. I’ve also sent the PDF off to my beta readers/other editors, so they too can tell me exactly what’s wrong with it and why I should stick to writing and avoid proofreading.

And while I was working on that, I fashioned a cover for the third book. All this work on book II, as expected, has gotten the ball rolling on book III. And as always, I feel the need to visualize the end product, even before I’ve committed to writing the manuscript. Once again, I’ve gone with a cover image from Shutterstock, which now provides the bulk of my cover art.

Oscar Mike_2What do you think? Too much green going on here? I really like this cover template because of the solid front cover, the watermarked back, and the balance created by the text boxes, images, and quote section. Can’t wait to get moving on that one too! I hope to augment as time goes on with more favorable reviews, which is what I did with the jacket for book II.

Good luck to all us indie writers! May the sales be plentiful, the reviews favorable, and the inspiration unending!

Papa Zulu: Edits Complete!

Oscar MikeWell, it’s finally finished. After months of being behind on getting Whiskey Delta‘s sequel ready for publication, I am finally finished with my edits. And now, I turn it over to my betas and those who’ve selflessly volunteered to take this book on with me. I sincerely hope I got all the typos and errors out in that first run.

Probably not, but it’s nice to think that the next round of edits will be mercifully brief so I can get this book out before the holidays. Fans of the first book specifically requested a sequel, and people shouldn’t have to wait for a year to get one. You hear that George RR Martin?

Another reason I need to get this book out is because of my progress on the third, or rather lack thereof. Twice now I’ve tried to get the ball rolling on that story, only to find myself backtracking a few weeks later and deleting everything I wrote.

I know why too, I can feel in my heart that I’m overreaching. Until such time as I can get book II out and get some feedback on the story, I know I won’t feel confident plotting out the third one.  I imagine there are plenty of people out there who know what I’m talking about 😉

In any case, look for it soon. Papa Zulu, second book in the Whiskey Delta series!

Papa Zulu – Second Revision 1/2 Done!

editing1Editing is such a slow moving process, which is why I hate it so! As it’s not enough that you go through your initial draft and make all those pesky corrections, then you have to go over the whole thing and implement them. Then, assuming you haven’t made additional mistakes, you got to wait on beta readers to pick out anything you missed. Only then can you finally submit your work and wait for the kudos and criticisms from the reading public to come in.

At least, that’s the process when you’re working from a paper manuscript and doing most of it yourself. Were it not for the fact that this way is actually faster for me than scanning line after line of a doc file, I would have abandoned it a long time ago! And of course, its become a necessity since I can’t afford most editors rates. Oh, the slings and arrows of being an indie writer/teacher!

papa_zuluBut alas, this post was supposed to be about good news. After finishing the edits on Papa Zulu‘s first draft – the sequel to my Whiskey Delta zombie-apocalypse novel – I am now half done implementing all the edits and rewrites I made there. The process has felt arduous, but I’m actually surprised by the progress. I seem to be able to get four to five chapters a day done, far better than my initial prediction of say, one!

And in case its not patently obvious, I am very anxious and impatient to get this done! I was so hoping to have this novel finished by the end of this past summer. Despite its initial success, Whiskey Delta has been accumulating dust over at Amazon and the reviews have ceased since the last few (which were all really good). So I am determined to get the ball rolling and figured the sequel would be the best way of doing that.

thumbs upAnd of course, part of why this editing process is taking so long is that I am determined to get it right this time. Whiskey Delta still only has a rating of 3.5 stars thanks to all the people who penalized it for having editing mistakes. In my haste to get it out there after Max Brooks mentioned it by name (thanks again, Rami!), I took some serious flak for that. This time around, I want there to be no mistakes, or at least as few as possible.

I’m also hoping that getting the sequel out will help me get the ball rolling on the third one – Oscar Mike. I tell ya, that book has been through two starts and stops now, but I just can’t seem to capture the essence of what the third book should be about. Somehow, I feel that some sales and some feedback on the second installment might help me get my priorities straight for the latest.

Such is the life we’ve chosen isn’t it, my fellow indies? I sincerely hope you’re all doing well with your own pursuits and your works are garnering praise or at least some constructive criticism. And may we all find our way to that lovely person, known as an editor, who can take some of this arduous process of our hands and help us to do better!

Zombie Hunters!

apoc_soldiersHello fellow zombie smashers! As you may recall, a few weeks back I hosted a zombie hunters get-together. People were asked to take part by designers their own warriors, specifying weapons, apparel, and a bit of a back story. And of course, those who took part would have the honor of seeing their character featured in the next installment of my Whiskey Delta series – Oscar Mike!

So far, only three people have fashioned characters, but this is more than I need to work into the story. Still, if anyone’s interesting in seeing their creation presented in literary form, there is still time. All you need do is consult the pages on Apparel and Melee Weapons, then pick a primary weapon, a secondary, and create a little backstory to go along with it.

And in the meantime, allow me to present the first three zombie hunters that have been created for this challenge, arranged in alphabetical order:

Khaalidah Muhammed-Ali:
Alias: The Hurting Healer (Jamilah Al Mo’alej)
Apparel: Hooded Cloak, denim clothes, leather gloves, hijab
Primary Weapon: Composite Bow
Secondary Weapon: Desert Eagle .357
Melee Weapon: Truncheon
Backstory:  When the zombie apocalypse happened, Jamilah I put her three children (aged 22, 20 and 11) into her truck and hauled out of the Houston metropolitan area. Her husband was one of the many casualties when the biters first came, and the people in her area proved worse when chaos followed in their wake. Once they reached the countryside, they decided to take up residence in an old farm house where she grew herbs for medicine and vegetables while her oldest son, 22 years old, hunted rabbits, birds and fishes in the local stream. Her 20 year old daughter, the nervous ninny that she was, served as their lookout and security adviser and her 11 year old daughter, taciturn yet brilliant, created devious little traps to snare food, and the undead!

Rami Ungar:
Alias: Ghost
Apparel: Trench coat, glasses
Primary Weapon: MP5
Secondary Weapon:
Melee Weapon: Katana sword
Backstory: Originally from Ohio, when the zombies began to roam, Rami packed up his gear and what weapons he could get his hands on and hit the open road. Realizing quickly that the only way to stay alive was to move fast and remain unnoticed, he adopted the name “Ghost”. After losing everything to the undead hordes, he lost his old name and has maintained the alias ever since. Though nominally skilled in firearms, his weapon of choice is the naked blade.

Rhys C. Ethan:
Alias: Tromos
Apparel: Kevlar vest
Primary Weapon: Crossbow
Secondary Weapon: .357 Magnum
Melee Weapon: Baseball bat
Backstory: Tromos  was an honourably discharged police officer when the zombie apocalypse first hit. And when the law failed to act in the midst of the crisis, he took matters into his own hands and became the terror of the living dead. His life now is spent traveling to wherever zombies endanger safe shelters, and slaughtering as many of the living dead as humanly possible!

And as promised, these characters will have the honor of appearing in the upcoming Oscar Mike. The re-released Prologue is coming soon, which will offer a sneak peak at these badasses as well as the larger plot of the third book in my Whiskey Delta series. Stay tuned!