Rest and much geekery


Having finished both Shift Tense and The Barrow Lover (see below) recently, I’m feeling simultaneously relieved and drained. Now I’ve got ideas on the radar screen, the outlines/initial chapters of two novels, the start of the next Clar1ty Wars collection, but they’re all just kinda… sitting there.

The only shiver of excitement is seeing what Chila at Port Yonder Press does with The Barrow Lover. Someone asked if I was worried an editor would ruin the story, change its voice. I’m sure some do but I’m not sensing that here. I need and want a solid editor. A good book isn’t so much written as re-written, and having an objective yet sympathetic set of eyes to hone a story, tease out the best and grind down the rough edges is critical. Like Twain said, the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightening and a lightening bug. A good editor helps you in that struggle.

So I’ve moved into a Reading Phase to step back and recharge. Right now, I’ve got Jane Gardam’s Old Filth, Iain Banks’ Surface Detail, Gorky Park, Story by Robert McKee, and The Moth at my bedside. (Plus a bunch of stuff on my Kindle) I’m especially looking forward to The Moth, as immersing yourself in good stories teaches you about good writing as much if not more than a book about writing.

To keep my otaku juices flowing, I’ve been gaming a new set of table top wargame rules titled Pulp Alley, adapting them to science fiction and post-apocalypse settings. My friend and I are having a blast. It’s refreshing to sit back and just enjoy a game.

Here are some pictures from three recent games:

There’s plenty more at my hobby blog if you’re interested.

I’ll also say turning 50 the other day turned out to be more a major blessing, and less one of those ‘acute sense of mortality/passage of time’ things. (I think those are good – in proper doses) My wife rented a house on a lake for a potluck with family and close friends, and we held a story slam that broke up around 11 pm. “All good” is an understatement; it was an opportunity to appreciate God’s grace on my life.

Eshu International backstories?

SHIFT_TENSE_final_rgb_flatten_6x9inches_with_bleeds I plan on releasing the full SHIFT TENSE novel in trade paperback and ebook late this year, but I want to add bonus material to distinguish the separate release from the serialized portions. I was considering short stories centering on Poet9, Tam and Jace, and the Triplets prior to the formation of Eshu International.

I’ve got a killer one for Poet9, but any preferences or suggestions?

Kinda like kicking a puppy

The setting of my latest Eshu International books, the Shift Tense series, is a future fragmented Horn of Africa. (Top three titles at the link)

BBC World report on increased US military activity in Somalia

If we don’t beat a motley bunch of malnourished, khat-addicted militia in pick-up trucks, armed with knock-off Soviet surplus, we’re in trouble. Serious trouble.

I’m sure our soldiers can do this, actually. The real questions are have our leaders considered the cost of getting involved in such a fragmented society, are they willing to stay the course to legitimately stabilize the region, and will they commit the amount and type of forces necessary to do so?

Now if a coltan deposit is discovered, you can call me ‘Prophet Pat’.

“Angels” Official Release

SHIFT_TENSE_3_ANGELS
ANGELS– the third and final installment of the action-packed Eshu International novel, Shift Tense, is now available at Amazon.com

***

In war, expect treachery above all else.

Framed for murder, Eshu International is caught in the crossfire of the war’s final offensive. Hunted at every turn by former allies and new enemies, the pressure mounts as their corporate employers demand they complete their original mission: assassinate the charismatic rebel commander, Professor Harun Hamid. No matter the cost.

Killer drones, child soldiers, rival mercenaries, a nation ravaged by genocide and civil war, ANGELS is the third and final part of the Eshu International novel, SHIFT TENSE.

***

Part One “Red Flags” HERE
Part Two “Soldier Dreams” HERE

The first Eshu International novel, “Running Black” is available HERE

Thank you all very much. Enjoy.

And the map comes down.


The map of Somaliland, that is. Along with the list of Shift Tense characters, chapters, and blast pattern of plot point post-it notes. The lads of Eshu International are back in Die Nerdshanze in Belfast for a well-deserved rest.

The edited, formatted manuscript for the third and final portion, ANGELS, arrived yesterday. Another thorough, professional job from Mark at Angel Editing. Can’t recommend him highly enough. Michal Oracz finished the cover a while back. He makes it look better than it is, IMO. Errors and delays were all on me.

ERRORS AND DELAYS
Pretty much sums up the last two years. All chuffed after Running Black, I figured I’d bust out the sequel in like nine months. Right?

Live and learn.

Now I’ve heard the second book is harder than the first, that part-time indie authors have a tough time juggling the demands of marketing, writing, editing, with family, job, and the usual obligations. I could talk about chasing Clar1ty Wars inspiration, about my stained glass business picking up, but they’re really beside the point.

The main reason I opted to serialize Shift Tense was a mounting discomfort at not keeping my personal deadline. I didn’t want to disappoint those folks who’d been gracious enough to purchase and read my work. Add to that several articles on the rising ebook tide, the small portions preferred by Kindle readers, and a reader preference for spec-fiction series, and it looked like an attractive, sensible option.

Now I’ve received two complaints about this release schedule/experiment, (In fact, it earned me my first One-Star review) but kicking it out the door not only widened the net, so to speak, it forced me to finish.

ANGELS_final_rgb_flatten_6x9inches So far, I have no serious concerns with the Shift Tense ebook serialization. In the past six months, I’ve sold copies in Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and France, plus the usual US and UK. I suspect this fifth title will put me consistently over the 100 sales/month mark, which ain’t NYTimes Bestseller list, but is pretty damn remarkable considering how technology allows a no-name like me to publish and distribute material. Hey, John Scalzi even stopped by to comment. (Maybe he’ll blurb my next book?)

WHAT’S NEXT
I do have a plot seed for another Eshu International novel set in space/on the moon. It’ll get written, but it’s definitely on the back burner for now. Last October, a Celtic-flavored ghost tale popped into my head, and what began as a wee short story transmogrified into a novella. 4/5ths of the way through, I should have it to my beta-readers before the end of Feb.

Next in the queue is ‘Under Strange Stars’, the second installment of The Clar1ty Wars. A sci-fi re-imagining of the 19th Century Opium Wars, it’s about to get vicious. Ten scenes/chapters are outlined, three are written. Then there’s a large, three part fantasy piece simmering, as well as a modern exorcism/terrorism piece. Spec-fiction junkie that I am, I’m excited to start digging away at both, as well as any other settings/characters that pop in unexpectedly.

To end, I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has waited so patiently, followed this blog, reviewed and read my work. A thousand thanks. I sincerely hope your time spent in my stories is enjoyable. That’s the idea.

Best to all of you,
P. Todoroff
Cape Cod, MA.
SDG

So close…

Cover for final installment of Shift Tense.
Cover for final installment of Shift Tense.

Cover is done, the manuscript is waiting on the final tidying, (Angel Editing) and its done. Ebook should be on Amazon before the end of Jan.

Writing-wise, I need to finish a celtic-flavored ghost story that’s morphed into a novella. I’m at the halfway point now, so I think St. Patrick’s Day is a reasonable deadline. (In time for my 50th b-day as well) Then I’ll turn my attention back to the next installment of Clar1ty Wars – “Under Strange Stars“.

Then, I’ve got a modern Christian-horror novel that’s been sitting on the back burner for quite a while, along with a massive fantasy piece. That’s the plan anyway.

Thanks to everyone who’s been so patient.

For those of you who want the complete Shift Tense in one volume, I plan on releasing a print version with bonus material late 2014.