Sunken City Caper Book 4 Progress

Happy October!

I’ve had it on my calendar since this past April that on Oct. 1 I would start writing book 4 of the Sunken City Capers series to be released in early 2017. You know what they say about the best laid plans. Unfortunately, prepping three books for rapid release sucks up quite a bit of time. But on the plus side I got to do this:

img_1614

hold all three books of mine at once! There was a great sense of accomplishment in that moment. I’ve dreamed of writing books most of my life, having loved to read my entire life. And seeing the product of those dreams in reality was quite a feeling.

The silver lining in the delay is that having to read and prep the first three books, makes the story ideas fresh for book 4. I’m going to back to final proofreads of book 1 and having “ah-ha!” moments that will filter into books 4, 5, and 6. Also, it’s not like I haven’t been thinking about book 4—try telling my brain not to tell stories to itself (not possible).

I decided to try something different for writing book 4: outline! The first three books were pantsed, meaning I wrote them without any idea where they were going. This makes the writing process a little slower, and editing and revision  a horrid chore. Hopefully, working from an outline will speed up the writing process and reduce the amount of revision needed. We’ll see. I’ve already outlined the first 1/3-1/2 of book 4 and I’m excited to write it. But first, I need to finish prepping the first three books.

And, and, and The Solid-State Shuffle: Sunken City Capers Book 1 goes live next Tuesday, October 4. You can pre-order/order your copy here.

Free Sneak Peeks!

I’ve had the good fortune over the last few weeks to stumble upon Instafreebie. It’s a great platform for authors to upload free books and readers to download them easily.

I put a sneak peek of the first three chapters of The Solid-State Shuffle up on Instafreebie, which is currently featured alongside 20 (!) other sneak peek books at J.L. Hendricks blog on #FreebieFriday on #Instafreebie. You should definitely check out the blog and links to all the great sneak peaks on Instafreebie if your looking for great (free!) reads.

Countdown to Sunken City Capers Launch

There’s been several exciting developments over the past several weeks for the the Sunken City Capers series that’s officially launching in October.

First, the trade paperback for The Solid-State Shuffle: Sunken City Capers Book 1 is up and available for sale! Early reviews are in and they’re overwhelming positive (whew!). Second, the Kindle version is up for a special pre-order price of $0.99 (normal price of $2.99).

Finally, to celebrate the paperback version going live, I’m currently sponsoring a Goodreads giveaway of 10 signed copies. You can sign up below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Solid-State Shuffle by Jeffrey A. Ballard

The Solid-State Shuffle

by Jeffrey A. Ballard

Giveaway ends September 11, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Cover Reveal for Sunken City Capers Book 2

Last time I wrote a bit about all the work that is going on behind the scenes to prepare for the October launch of Sunken City Capers and I wrote that I should share the covers for books 2 and 3, so here’s the cover for The Elgin Deceptions: Sunken City Capers Book 2. I love the way it came out; it matches the tone of the book perfectly.

elgin_fullI had a lot of fun writing The Elgin Deceptions, almost to the point that when I finished it, I wondered if I should start the series with book 2! Then I rolled directly into writing book 3, and had the same exact thought about book 3. Turns out that I tend to favor whichever book I just finished. I was relieved when I went back to edit book 1 that I felt that book 1 brings the awesome and kicks off the series nicely.

The Elgin Deceptions is special to the Sunken City Capers series (and me) in a unique way. It was in a pub in Bath, England that I finished drafting The Solid-State Shuffle: Sunken City Capers Book 1. It was also during that period that I conceived of The Elgin Deceptions while traveling around London with my spouse. My personal favorite of the trip was Buckingham Palace, which we were able to tour inside of. But my second favorite part was the British Museum. Both places make an appearance in The Elgin Deceptions.

IMG_0538  IMG_0531IMG_0577

The first two are the British Museum, specifically the south entrance and the King’s Library–an absolutely gorgeous place. The third picture is Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, I don’t have any interior photos to share, but I loved it. It added a lot of fun to tour these amazing places and imagine them underwater and how they would be defended and broken into. You’ll have to read The Elgin Deceptions to find out how they’ve been incorporated into the novel!

 

Busy Busy

So I didn’t post the last scheduled time I was supposed to. A result of which was one part being busy, one part choosing to prioritize other work. I wrote last time about how the eARC for The Solid-State Shuffle is now available (sign up here) and that milestone has kicked off a very busy period for me getting ready for the upcoming October 4, release.

One of the tasks that occupied my time was laying out the print book. A tedious, but enjoyable, task that culminates in the always satisfying feeling of holding your book in your hand:

IMG_1473IMG_1474

Pretty nifty, right! Easily one of my favorite parts of the process.

Other work has included final edits on book 2, The Elgin Deceptions (coming Nov. 1, 2016), and book 3, Leverage (coming Dec. 6, 2016) ready to go. Speaking of which, I should share those covers at some point, maybe next time. At the moment, I need to dive back into those final edits. I’m so close I can smell it! I’m also seriously itching to write book 4, but one thing at time.

Underwater Restorations in Audio!

This past week an event finally happened that I had been eagerly anticipating for months: Starshipsofa published an audio version of Underwater Restorations! And if that wasn’t cool enough, it’ free!

Audio stories are soooo cool. I got to listen to this one on a plane and it was a thoroughly cool experience. There are parts of the story where the characters drop from 10,000 feet, and to be that high up and looking down on the landscape passing by under me while I was listening to those parts was surreal. The narrator Setsu Uzumé was perfect for it. It’s now one of my favorite writing experiences to date.

I highly recommend you check it out!

Patience is a Virtue

Well my day job puked all over my free time the past few weeks, and for the first time in a long time, I’ve gone more than a day at time without working on writing related tasks. This is, in part, due to the fact that I am now cycling back to edit The Solid-State-Shuffle, book 1 in the Sunken City Capers series. This both an awesome and terrifying task.

I finished The Solid-State Shuffle almost nine months ago now, and have written two more complete novels in that series since then. As the series evolved so too did the characters, the world, and the tech. I pants this series, which means I make it up as I go along and trust myself and my process that’ll it all come together in the end (which it does, but usually unexpectedly so). The problem became that as I made stuff up for books 2 and 3, that book 1 needed to be changed to accommodate those narrative decisions.

This is why patience is a virtue. I get to make to those changes. And that is both awesome and terrifying.

Initially, as I went back to edit chapter 1 in The Solid-State Shuffle, I was a little stressed out and despondent. I hadn’t looked at book 1 in nine months and chapter 1 needed a fair amount of reworking. Most writers hate to go back and read their “earlier” work because we feel we’ve gotten better with practice (and usually so). I was no different here. I was both terrified of screwing it up, making book 1 inconsistent, as well as reading it again for the first time in a while and hating it, killing enthusiasm for the series.

Well, chapter 1 did need a little more love than the other chapters, but once I was through that, it went easy. Like “damn this fun” easy. And book 1 is about ten times stronger than it was before the edits. I finally found what book 1 had been missing and it makes it all the more awesomer. It just took me to book 3 to figure it out, and then it was like a flash of lightening and I started cackling in delight.

Had I rushed publishing to “get something out there,” I wouldn’t have been able to make those edits and make book 1 the strongest book I could. Patience is a virtue, and I consider myself fortunate and lucky to have been patient at least once in my life.

 

The eARC for The Solid-State Shuffle (the book that is now ten times more awesome and set to be published October 2016) is scheduled to go out July 1 to a select group of advance readers. You can still sign up here if you’re interested.

Some Free Stuff

I have a couple of free things going on at the moment.

1. First I put up a free science fiction heist novelette, Just Heroes on NoiseTrade. It’s a fun entertaining read that plays with story structure by telling the story out of chronological order (it was a ton of fun to write too!). Cover and description below.

2. I currently have an Amazon Giveaway going for Underwater Restorations: A Sunken City Capers Novelette. Two prizes have already been claimed, there are three still remaining. Enter now!

3. If you can exercise patience and delay gratification (available July 1) the eARC signup for the Solid State Shuffle: Sunken City Capers Book 1 continues to gain steam and is still open.

 

Just Heroes Cover 300 dpi Max

For once, Asher finds himself getting shot at for reasons not of his own making. Well … at least he thinks so. Could go either way really.

Forced into the unlikely role of hero on the Ceres Mining Colony, Asher must find a way to stop runaway mining payloads from devastating Mars, all while still achieving his team’s original goal. In a situation where secret agendas abound, Asher fights to save Mars while keeping his own motives unknown.

2016 Targets Update

This is going to be a short post. The last three weeks I’ve been on a ton of travel for work and now that I’m finally home long enough to relax, sleep is continually tugging at me from around the corner of consciousness.

While I was on travel, I realized that I had almost inadvertently hit one of my 2016 targets already and quite by accident: read 6 fiction novels. This is the first year I had ever set a reading goal, because I had never needed to before. I love reading and had never had any trouble plowing through books before. But it felt like I hadn’t read much fiction in 2015 and that didn’t sit well with me (I had read a fair amount of non-fiction).

Well, it’s the start of May and I’ve already read 5 fiction novels, all steampunk so far and I’m loving it. I’ve already narrowed down my next book, switching now from steampunk to classic sci-fi between Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or The Man in the High Castle. I’ll probably end up reading both (and in that order).

But I think I may have underestimated myself on number of books I could read in 2016. Not that it matters, whether I read 6 or 12, I’m spending time doing what I love.