Hey y’all. It’s been a few weeks since my big announcement about the Colonies Lost publishing deal. So, thought I’d stick my head out for a quick update about my plans moving forward.

As mentioned in my last blog, the delay of Colonies Lost means I’ve now got time to devote to other projects that I might not have gotten to otherwise (this year, anyway).

Here’s a quick rundown of what those are, after which I’ll give details:

  • For A Few Credits More anthology short story
  • Mako second edition, trilogy relaunch
  • New Mako novel (untitled)
  • New Mako short story (untitled)
  • Nightfall: A Roanoke Short Story (Colonies Lost prequel)
  • Colonies Lost launch

So yeah… I’m busy.

For A Few Credits More anthology short story

As previously announced, I was invited to write a short story for the forthcoming second anthology set in the Four Horsemen universe (FHU).

I now have a tentative release date for that — September 15, 2017.

For those not familiar with the series, the FHU is a brilliant new Military Science Fiction canvas from the minds of Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey, both Amazon bestsellers in the genre.

Here’s a quick blurb from the publisher (Seventh Seal Press):

It’s the Twenty-Second Century. The galaxy has opened up to humanity as a hyperactive beehive of stargates and new technologies, and we suddenly find ourselves in a vast playground of different races, environments, and cultures. There’s just one catch: we are pretty much at the bottom of the food chain.

Enter the Four Horsemen universe, where only a willingness to fight and die for money separates Humans from the majority of the other races. Enter a galaxy not only of mercenaries, but also of Peacemakers, bounty hunters, and even a strung-out junkie in the way of a hired assassin.

To date, the FHU has two books set in its space: Cartwright’s Cavaliers by Wandrey and Asbaran Solutions from Kennedy. The next book — A Fistful of Credits (anthology) — will arrive June 30, and be followed by four more books by year’s end.

  • Winged Hussars (novel) by Mark Wandrey
  • The Golden Horde (novel) by Chris Kennedy
  • For A Few Credits More (anthology) by various authors including yours truly
  • Peacemaker (novel) by Kevin Ikenberry

So, what does an IJM short story look like in the FHU?

I don’t want to say too much because there’s something of a thematic element here that likeminded fans of Southern rock will quickly detect.

*cough* FREEBIRD!!! *cough*

Alas, I’d be a jerk if I didn’t at least throw you a bone or two. So, here goes:

  • Set in Florida: The story is set in my home state, specifically in the city of Jacksonville. (Fun Fact: Jacksonville, FL is the largest city in the United States by land mass.)
  • Florida has changed… a lot: The Sunshine State is a very, very different place in the 22nd century. Case in point: it’s not even called “Florida” anymore.
  • Jacksonville = Merc Capital of the Deep South: For a bevy or reasons, mostly economic, Jax has risen to prominence as one of the biggest centers for mercenary operations on Earth. It’s also home to the largest hub, or “starport” as they’re known in the FHU, south of Houston, Texas.
  • The Cult of Apple is No More: Anyone who follows me on social media knows the love/hate relationship I have with Apple products. I guess I was feeling rather spiteful the day I wrote this, because the fruit giant is officially sliced in the FHU. Sorry, oh ye followers of Jobs. Your cult is dead. I freakin’ killed it. (I love fiction writing.)

Again, my story along with all the others in For A Few Credits More will arrive this September. On behalf of everyone who contributed, we hope you enjoy them.

Mako 2.0

As many know, the original Mako novel went through quite a few incarnations before finally going to print, and even then it took some tweaking afterward. I’ve since gone on to finish the trilogy, an experience I’d like to believe has made me a better writer. As such, the time has finally come to upgrade that initial book so it falls in line with the others in terms of story and style quality.

Enter Mako: Second Edition.

Just so we’re clear, nothing will change in this version of Mako. It’ll simply be a cleaner, more polished read on par with its counterparts. I will, however, take the opportunity to “trim some of the story fat” in an effort to pick up the pace a bit.

An example of this might involve the game, Mako Assault. It’s an intragap part of the story in the early going, though that ceases to be the case as the main arc progresses. By trimming some of those details, it tightens the narrative, increases tempo, and keeps the focus of the story where it truly belongs — on the characters today.

Relaunching the Saga

In addition to craft, I’ve also learned a lot about cover design in the last few years — specifically the need for series uniformity.

I was extremely fortunate when I released Mako to have a dear friend who specialized in graphic design. He built an amazing cover, no doubt about it. As the series progressed, however, he was no longer available, meaning I had to hire another artist. Thus, in turn, created a break in design style which is why the covers for Red Sky Dawning and At Circle’s End look so drastically different for that of Mako.

It’s time to correct that.

In the coming months, I’ll roll out brand-new covers for all three saga books, starting first with that of Mako 2.0. The process will then conclude with the cover reveal for…

A new novel set in the Makoverse

I told you after At Circle’s End that I wasn’t done with these characters, and I meant it. In fact, I’ve got stories in mind for each of The Big Five (Lee and Mac, Danny, Link and Hamish). Some of these will be standalone stories. Others may lead to new series on their own. We’ll just have to wait and see.

The first of these “spinoff” books will center on Danny Tucker and his crew from Overlook. Think of them as the A-Team of that universe— or at least, that’s what they’re working toward.

The novel itself should be short (70,000 words or so) and packed with action. It’ll also find Danny in a very different place than he was in At Circle’s End — a happier place. He’ll need that, too, for what’s coming in the days ahead.

As was the case with the other books in this universe, I will indie publish to retain full control over the story, its themes, and its cover. Because of this, there shouldn’t be much of a lag once the manuscript is finished. That means I can get it onto shelves quickly.

Expect the Danny Tucker book in early-2018.

Full Disclosure: I already know the title but don’t want to give it away until I have the cover. Believe me, die-hard fans of this series will understand why when they see it.

A Mako short story

Quick note here: I’ll also be penning a brief Mako short story for distribution to my email list. Not sure what this will look like yet, but expect something light and fun to the tune of 3,000-5,000 words.

Nightfall: A Roanoke Short Story

Like the Mako short story, this will be another 3K-word quick-hitter for my email listers. Unlike the former, though (likely a fun, wisecracking standalone story), Nightfall will serve as a direct prequel to the vents of my novel Colonies Lost (tentative title now), due out next year from Red Adept Publishing.

I already have the cover for Nightfall, so look for a reveal sometime in the coming months. The story itself will drop in early-2018.

Colonies Lost release

Finally, if I play my cards right, everything I’ve laid out above will serve to ramp up momentum for the launch of Colonies Lost. I won’t expound on that story here, as I’ve already done so in earlier blogs. Just know that I’m still every bit as jacked for its release as I was then, perhaps even more so now that I’ve got a partner in Red Adept to help me make this story all that it can be.

Whew…

Okay, gang. That’s it for now. As you can plainly see, I’ve got tons to do in the days, weeks, and months ahead, so let me get to it.

Take care, stay cool this summer, and thanks as always for supporting my work.

Cheers,

IJM

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