Well, summer's over, my daughter's back in school and the wife's back to work. We had a really great summer, this being the first time we've all been together for the entire summer. We squeezed in a few trips to the coast, twice to Beaufort and once to Charleston, to visit my wife's two kids. We worked side by side in the garden and had a really great crop this year.
I'm about 75% through with the writing part of Fallen Mangrove and 100% through my own editing, up to this point. I'm taking a large chunk of this month's royalties to invest in a new professional developmental editing service. Until now, I'd relied on proofreaders and copy editors only. My new developmental editor will spend a few weeks scouring the pages of my manuscript, to help develop both the plot and the characters, on top of looking for misspellings and improper punctuation and grammar. I should be able to submit it to beta readers in three or four weeks, then to the editor about 9/24.
As always, I'll utilize specialty beta readers also. I've found these people to be extremely valuable in finding discrepancies. For instance, in Fallen Pride, I'd written a lot of interaction between the pilot, Dave, and air traffic control. Two of my beta readers for that book were pilots and one was an air traffic controller. We wound up scrapping 70% of the dialogue and polished up what was left to make it a whole lot more realistic. I choose my beta readers, usually ten to twelve, by their expertise. Since much of Fallen Mangrove will take place on the island of Elbow Cay in the northern Bahamas, I'll be asking people who are very familiar with Elbow Cay to read it prior to release.
This will be very important, because Fallen Mangrove will be the first book I've written with a location I've never been to. Sure, I've visited the Bahamas, I've even been to Great Abaco in the northern Bahamas, which is the main island that Elbow Cay is a barrier island to. Until now, I've kept my writing to places I've been to. Well, except for Cuba. But Fidel can't live forever and I WILL dive the Cuban reefs one day.
Because I've never been to Elbow Cay, I spent a lot of time early in the writing of this book researching this location. Fallen Pride so far has taken the longest to write, nearly four months start to finish. I started writing and researching Fallen Mangrove in April, nearly four months ago. At publication, it will have been over five months. A friend from high school owns vacation rental property on Elbow Cay and her property will be featured as part of the setting and she will be one of my beta readers.
My other books have been pretty straight up, as far as plot goes, with a single protagonist group and a single antagonist group. Fallen Mangrove will be a bit different, with more than one antagonist group coming at Jesse and friends from several different directions, a new familial character, and secret help from more than one unknown source.
Here's a forewarning. Fallen Mangrove will be just a bit racier than previous books. Nothing graphic, but the extracurricular activities of several characters will be explored.
I still expect it to be available in early October, which will be the anniversary of the release of my first book, Fallen Palm. I should be able to narrow down a date in the next few weeks. The very first print copy I receive from the printer will be signed and given to one person chosen at random from my newsletter mailing list. Also, those on the mailing list will have the exact time and date of the release special, where Fallen Mangrove will be reduced to only $.99 for Kindle users for one day only. You can sign up on my website to be eligible. I usually send out an email about every ten to fourteen days, but ramp it up to a couple of emails in the last week before the release.
That's it for now, back to writing.