The definitive draft for this book completed a few days ago, and now that I've taken a couple days off and let it all sink in for a while I can say I'm comfortable with the risks I've taken plot-wise, the journeys the characters have taken and I'm ready to begin editing and refining this draft.
Now that pile of pages (about 400 high), isn't so much a mark of progress as it is another mountain to climb as I edit my way through it.
What do I have to say about it now that it's finished?
The plot is simpler than I had expected, the journey far more complex and certain characters get a lot more exposure than I thought I would ever give them, but they move the big picture story along a great deal.
Am I certain that this is the best book I've ever written? Will people enjoy this one as much as or more than the ones that have come before? As with every work I've completed in the last year and a half or so I've lost my objectivity. I know I like what's been done here, that the stories go in the right direction and that I've been true to the characters but I can't be sure if it's in need of another revision. That's why I've brought a few more test readers on board. None of them know each other, I've known each of them for quite some time, they won't get a chance to discuss what they're reading, and they're all more well educated than I am.
My Editor is at the fore of this group, and after I finish editing large sections of this book they'll be sent off to her and the other test readers. The whole process takes a few weeks for a book this size if I've done my job well and there's no need for massive revisions. If all goes well you'll be seeing this book on Mobipocket by the end of April and on Amazon.com by the end of May.
I'm very excited about this book even though it is much darker and riskier than the ones that came before. I'll keep everyone updated on how the editing and test readings are going as the work is done and the results come in. Thank you all very much for your support and for spreading the word. Without you I wouldn't be able to do this full time and Frontline would not only be a different book but it would have taken a year to complete, perhaps more.
The journey continues, and believe me when I tell you it's extremely difficult to restrain myself from skipping my part of the editing process to move on and write the next book in the series. I was supposed to take a break and write a horror novel, but the journey ahead in the Spinward Fringe is so compelling to me that I'm going to put that on hold and write another SF book as soon as Frontline is released.
More news coming soon!