I got the page proofs for MHI today. I’m finally able to see what it is going to look like in the Baen format. I was right, and it isn’t going to be in the 300 page range like it was listed on Amazon. It is going to be fatter. Which is good, because I couldn’t figure out how they were going to squeeze 195,000 words into that many pages.
Everybody who read the initial version of MHI found it to be a very fast read, but it is actually rather fat. I take it as the ultimate compliment when somebody gets back to me that they finished my book in two or three days. (and in a few cases, in one sitting!) That means that I did my job.
That July 28th release date is getting closer. MHI is being listed on more bookstore’s pages every day. I even found my first UK listing, which is very cool. The one original self-published copy listed on Amazon is going for $1,000, which is totally nuts.
MHI:2 The Rough Draft has been been submitted to Baen, and now all I need you guys to do is buy lots of copies of MHI:1 so I can get this sucker published.
Dead Six is rolling right along, and we’re still on track to have the rough done next month. This is one of the more original thrillers that I can think of, and it just keeps getting better. We’ve created a deep and plausible world here, and it has gotten to the point that it just kind of keeps creating itself.
Mike and I did up a character file, where we did a brief sketch of every single named character in the trilogy so far. (and the 3rd book still doesn’t exist at all). It was EPIC. Unlike most thrillers, everybody actually has a plausible motivation, and we tried to make the people as realistic as possible. Somebody once asked Mike if our main characters were “flawed” because supposedly flawed characters are more interesting. He could honestly reply that one of them is a emotionally damaged alchoholic and the other is a narcissistic criminal scumbag, and we still make it fun. In the world of Dead Six, the actual good guy does bad things, while the bad guy ends up trying hard to be good.
On that note, let me digress and put my writer pontification hat on for a minute. I think that thing about flawed characters is a two-edged sword. Owen Zastava Pitt is a popular character, and he does have some flaws, (sucks with women, clumsy, petty, holds a grudge, opinionated, and stubborn), but they’re all plausible things that any normal person could have. On the other hand, you get into the really flawed territory, and I just can’t bear to read about those characters because it is too painful. I’m looking at you Stephen King. I really don’t want to listen to the ramblings of a drug-addled, adultering, child-molesting, porn-addicted, drunken, abused, whoring, wimpy idiot for 800 pages. My favorite King book is still Dark Half, not for his standard King cutout main character, but rather because King (probably accidentally) created a heroic supporting character (who wasn’t a drug addicted pederast) in the Sheriff. I know there are others, but King loves creating chracters that I would just never tolerate in real life, and if I couldn’t stand them in real life, why do I want to be in their head for 800 pages? (man… what was that one where the chick was handcuffed to the bed for like 600 pages?)
My current Grimnoir project is evolving, and I’m extremely pumped about it too. It is turning out in a very interesting way, kind of an alternative history where Indiana Jones meets Black Mask (the 1930s one, not the Jet Li one) meets Harry Potter only with more guns, samurai, and zeppelins. I’m having fun with this main character because I get to write somebody in the pulp style of the hardboiled detectives. I’m talking about the kind of square jawed manly man that has a fried egg, black coffee, and a cigarette for breakfast, stuffs a Colt .45 in his coat, saves the dame, and takes out the trash. All while wearing a fedora. Because men should wear cool HATS.