2016 Year End Wrap-Up

Well, it’s that time of year again, the time to look back on what’s done and look forward to the year to come. Poetic enough, I suppose, although 2016 was anything but pretty.

Looking back at my year-end post from 2015, I had high hopes for 2016. I’d planned on writing a half-million words, but instead I came up short at just over a quarter million. All in all, not a bad way to fail, but that’s still only 50% of my goal.

What happened? The first distraction came with my day job. The company I worked for was sold and that didn’t work out well for me, so I found myself back on the job market for the first time in nine years. It was a lot of stress and a big distraction. I have a new job now that’s going pretty well, so that distraction is gone.

The second problem was not having a good system in place to edit and proofread the work after I completed a first draft. After adopting Chris Fox’s sprinting technique, I started producing new words faster than I could proof them. As a result, I got way behind and sacrificed a lot of time writing new words in order to get caught up. I now have a good end-to-end system in place for proofing and publishing those manuscripts, so that bottleneck is gone too.

And thirdly, I let self-doubt cloud my creativity and I floundered for a while trying to get inspired to work on projects. Combined with the work problems, this stopped me cold.

Combined, these distractions cost me about a quarter million words.

That said, I did use this down time to work on other book-related tasks. I created paperback editions for all my novels, something I’d been way behind on. Now all my novels in eBook format also have paperback counterparts. In doing so, I streamlined the process, allowing me to release books in both paper and eBook at the same time going forward.

I also revamped my website, brianjjarrett.com, improving the aesthetics, simplifying the navigation, and reorganizing the content. It’s much improved now and I’m very proud of it.

So while I might have missed out on getting a few new books to market, at least I didn’t let the time go to to waste. I have something tangible to show for those hours and my business is further ahead than it was last year.

I published five new books this year so far, with one more coming out at the end of this month. I’m ecstatic about that. I completed all the major projects I’d planned on. So while a lot of bad things happened in 2016, I still came out of it with something to show for it.

So what’s in store for 2017?

I have a half-finished “creature feature” novel called Kryptos that should see the light of day next year.

I also have a completed Badlands novel manuscript written and in need of only an edit. I plan to release that one before 2017 year’s end. Speaking of Badlands, I think there’s more to come in this story world. I plan to flesh out some of those ideas by the end of next year. Stay tuned.

I started a few projects in 2016 that I plan to finish up next year: a crime novel, a short story collection, and a zombie book. Look for at least one more Tom Miller book too.

I have a vague idea for a book centered around dreams and perceptions of reality. I feel like that one will make it into the 2017 release schedule.

And then there’s a secret project that I’m not ready to talk about yet.

Ambitious? Sure, but doable, I think. Mostly because I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work and how to avoid the latter while focusing on the former. Will I hit a half-million words in 2017? Hard to say, but I feel more prepared this time around.

Either way, I’m glad 2016 is nearly behind me. I’m super excited about 2017. I feel like it’s going to be a fantastic year. I hope you guys come along for the ride.

Up Next: Devil Breed

I’m a little more than halfway through the first draft of my new book, so it seems like a good time to announce it. It’s called Devil Breed; a horror novel set in a small town where everyone seems to have something to hide. Here’s the synopsis:

When Eric Bradley was thirteen, something viciously killed his brother during a family camping trip near the small town of Sander’s Run, leaving Eric barely alive and bleeding out on the forest floor.

The authorities said it was a wild animal, but Eric knows it was something much worse.

Now, fourteen years later, Eric has returned to Sander’s Run with a single goal: to find and kill the thing responsible for his brother’s death.

Sander’s Run is a town full of secrets; a place where everyone has something to hide. To find the monster that killed his brother, Eric will have to follow it into the shadows where it lives…and hunts.

But the shadows conceal more than monsters. In the shadows are answers that will force Eric to question everything he thought he knew about what happened to his brother.

And everything he thought he knew about reality itself.

I’m making decent progress on this one, especially now that all my backlogged books have been published. I figure this manuscript will be finished by the end of May, so likely a mid-summer release. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll be the first to know when it’s available. I might even run a short preorder sale on this one, heavily discounted and advertised only to members of my mailing list.

I’m also working on other perks for mailing list members. More on that later.

Speaking of backlog, my weird western The Saint, the Sinner and the Coward is now available to read immediately on your Kindle, iPhone or iPad, Kobo, Nook, or any other reader. Not sure when it’ll make it to paperback, but it should get there eventually. And don’t forget that book #3 in the Badlands trilogy, Out of the Badlands, is also available now.

Until next time, take it easy.

The Trilogy Is Complete

My Badlands Trilogy is finally complete.

I started this series back in 2011. Into the Badlands was the first book I’d written after discovering I could publish myself on this “Kindle” thingamajig. I made a lot of mistakes while also getting a lot of it right with this book. I learned more than I can explain writing and publishing this book (I also sold a ton of them, which didn’t hurt).

I teed it up for a sequel, but it took two years before I finally published that book, aptly titled Beyond the Badlands.

Then it took another three years for the third book in the trilogy, Out of the Badlands, to finally see the light of day.

All these years later, Into the Badlands literally changed my life.

So, I humbly offer up to you the final book in the trilogy, available for preorder right now. It’ll hit your Kindle on April 16th and you’ll save a buck if you preorder now.

Either way, I hope you dig it.

 

Badlands #3 is off to the editor

I just sent Out of the Badlands, book #3 in the trilogy, off to the editor tonight. I worked for nine hours straight today cramming the revisions in, but I did it.

My brain is fried and my eyes don’t focus right, but the damn thing is done and out the door. Out of my hands now.

Badlands #3 Ready for the Editor

Out of the BadlandsBadlands #3 (Out of the Badlands) is finished and ready to go off to the editor. It’s nearly 100,000 words and the longest book of the series. I’m hoping it goes over well, but you never can tell with these sorts of things. Once I get a firm date on when I’ll get the manuscript back, I’ll put up a preorder page for the book. So look for an April timeframe.

While I was at it, I attached the cover for you as well.

And hell, let’s throw in an excerpt from the first chapter too. It’s unedited, but you get the idea.

Chapter One

Twelve year old Sam Treiber watched the big oak fall as a jagged arc of white-hot lightning tore a hole in the sky, illuminating the land below. The tree lurched, the undersides of its leaves flashing white as its massive bulk came roaring down to the ground, felled by a wind gust as easily as a first year sapling.

Denise Treiber looked up from her tattered and yellowed copy of ‘Salem’s Lot. “What the hell was that?”

“A tree just fell outside,” Sam said, turning away from the scene outside the window. “A big one.”

“This is a hell of a storm,” Denise replied. She relaxed, her eyes back on the book. “Bound to take down some trees.”

“I think it hit the fence,” Sam said, turning to look at his mother.

Eyes wide, Denise looked up at her son. She closed the book without saving her place and swallowed hard. “Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure.”

“You need to be damn sure.” She got to her feet and went to the window, gazing into the blackness. Another bolt of lightning arced, lighting up the landscape like the flash from a giant camera. Just as Sam described, the tree lay across a section of ruined fence.

“Shit,” Denise said, walking toward the door of the room they shared. “We need to tell the others. Get your shoes on.”

Sam sat, his eyes wide.

“Come! Now!”

Sam leapt to his feet. Outside, the lightning struck again, brightening the yard in a blinding flash of light. Sam caught sight of the gigantic tree’s bushy top. Three figures appeared through the leaves, their white skin nearly reflective in the brightness. Then the light vanished, replaced by inky darkness.

Sam rubbed his eyes, trying to get rid of the spots in his vision. He stared again, but could see nothing in the dark.

Those weren’t carriers, he thought. They weren’t people either.

They were something else.

“Mom…” he began.

“Let’s go, Sam!” his mother called.

Sam ran to the nightstand beside the room’s only bed and yanked open the top drawer, fumbling through the contents inside.

“Sam!”

“Just a sec,” he replied. A moment more of searching and he found was he was looking for. He retrieved the one possession he prized more than anything else: his camera. Fed by rechargeable batteries refreshed when the generators were turned on, Sam had been carrying the thing ever since Jonathan, the man who ran the camp and took Sam and his mother in, gave it to him.

“Sam, move your ass!”

Sam gripped the camera and stuffed it into his pocket before picking up the flashlight from the nightstand. He turned to see his mother place her pistol into her back pocket and open the door. He slipped his shoes on and the two of them bolted down the hall, flashlight in hand, the forgotten candle casting a pale yellow glow inside the empty room.