State of the WIP


Almost three weeks have passed since the launch of Hybrid Mechanics, and since you’ve already purchased, read, and reviewed that book on Amazon, I thought I’d clue you in on what’s coming next. You’ll be happy to know that while Hybrid Mechanics was with my editor, I was already working on a new book, tentatively titled Brigham Plaza. In fact, as of this morning, I’m already through 31 chapters of the zero draft.

Regarding Marketing

As you know, I don’t really take anything seriously outside of the actual writing of my novels. Marketing is literally the worst part of my life, as I hate how pervasive advertising is online these days and also the fact that I’m bad at it. I hate begging friends and family to pre-order, to order, to review, to share, etc. I hate waiting for that call from Robert Rodriguez telling me he’s ready to turn one of my books into a movie.

But writing isn’t about hate. And as any psych major will tell you, you can’t control what happens to you, you can only control how you react to it. I used to stew for days at the lack of sales and reviews and social media engagement. But now… now it all seems so unimportant.

I love writing, and I wake up every day ready to write something. Everything that comes after the story is complete is just icing on a cake I’ve already devoured. If someone buys the book, great. If someone reviews it, super. But sales and reviews and fame will never dictate whether I write or not, so therefore, the publishing side of being a writer is effectively an unappealing chore.

Regarding Phases

As I was saying, I don’t take things seriously (have you seen this very serious author BS?), so I was thinking the other day about the direction I want to take the Vinestead Anthology. Avengers: Endgame has been everywhere recently, and I was reminded of how those movies are arranged in some kind of phase structure. I don’t understand it myself and don’t think I’ll ever take the time to research it, but the idea is kinda neat.

Therefore, I have decided that the first five books of the Vinestead Anthology will be PHASE ONE, in which all of the major players and events are introduced and origin stories are told. PHASE TWO will consist of bringing all those players back together to participate in grand spectacles in which the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

I really like that idea because it will allow me to revisit favorite characters from books past. My novels jump around in the timeline, so you’ll get to see characters as both young and old. You’ll see their successes and failures on a longer scale, perhaps ending with their death.

Regarding Brigham Plaza

I have chosen for this first PHASE TWO book to bring back characters primarily from Xronixle and Perion Synthetics.

As you can see from this mock cover, there will be six featured players, though only four of them will have POVs in the story.

Danny Guns Montreal is a new character invented for this story, though he may have been mentioned in a previous work… I honestly can’t remember.

Gordon King is G from Xronixle. He has been in hiding since the events of V-Night and now lives with the Lost Pines Survivalists just outside of Bastrop, Texas.

Megan “Tanzy” Riley is from Xronixle. She was acquaintances with G and was present during the data rush scene with G and UltraKill.

Kaili Zabora is a staple of the Vinestead Anthology and was first introduced in the short story Guardian Angels. She has since been seen or referenced in Perion Synthetics, Por Vida, and Hybrid Mechanics.

Cynthia Mesquina was introduced in Perion Synthetics as a freelance aggregator/mercenary.

Johnny San Vito is a new character and a celebrity hacker like Montreal. His mysterious death kicks off the new novel.

I really don’t care if it’s cliche to start a story with a death. If it has already been done a million times, consider this one million and one. Johnny’s death has immediate consequences for several of the characters in the story, and when everyone comes together, old relationships are reestablished, forgotten history is remembered, and the harbinger of the apocalypse is released upon the world.

Relationships drive every story I’ve written. With six characters in the mix and a metric ass-ton of backstory, the relationships in this story are as complicated as they’ve ever been. Love and loyalty will play a big role in this story as characters try to figure out who to trust, who to protect, and how to feel about it once the killing is over.

Regarding First Glances

As with Por Vida and Hybrid Mechanics, I will giving subscribers of my newsletter a real-time preview of Brigham Plaza, Draft 1. Once I’m done with the zero draft, I’ll start rewriting, and each chapter that I finish will be sent to your inbox if you’re so inclined. Comments, critique, and questions are always welcome.

Honestly, it’s a lot of fun, and if you’re a fan, it’ll be a lot of fun for you too.

Regarding a Parting Excerpt

Please enjoy this small excerpt.

The walls of the construct were a translucent white, bulging like rounded prisms, lit from behind by an unseen source. Streaks of primary colors broke off from the corners of the room like lens flares from multiple suns. Gordon recalled how futuristic the space had looked the first time he saw it, how its spacious footprint had been twice the size of his dorm room at UT Austin.

Now, the construct felt as if it had contracted in the decades since, pulling into itself like a desiccated animal left in the open air. His presence seemed to overwhelm the simulation, and for a horrible moment, he thought maybe he had left it dormant in the code cube too long, that twenty years was too much for the ROM to burn fuel in a holding pattern.

He remembered the display on the far wall, a large rectangle cut into the white material. It was on, though the image it showed was very faint. He could just make out the words Synaptic Synth in large, blocky letters.

“Welcome back,” said a soft voice.

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