Finally!

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I remember a song years ago called ‘Finally’. I can’t recall who sang it right now, since I just used all my memory to remember the song, but it was a good song.

A song with a name like that could describe me at the moment. After all this time, I have finally been able to finish Fire From the Sky book 6, and send it to the publisher. The title of the book is not Finally, but instead is Friendly Fire.

This Fire novel clocked in at just over 130k words, which is about 30-40k more than usual for a Fire novel.

I feel like I have gone ten rounds with. . .well, I can’t think of anyone, since I don’t keep up with fights anymore, but it would be somebody big and that punches like a mule kick.

Just as I was finishing, the tension bar for my computer ‘shelf’ decided to go on strike. I heard it and looked up just in time to get the top of my laptop computer right across the bridge of the nose. I thought ‘ow’, but it wasn’t that bad, right?

Few minutes later I feel something cold on my nose and reach up to wipe whatever it is off and my hand comes away bloody. My laptop top (and say that three times real quick 😉 )  had cut my nose and I was bleeding rather profusely. So. . . .

I also now LOOK as if I went ten rounds with someone who can punch like a mule kick.

At least now that I’ve managed to get book 6 finished, the stage is set for the next arc and I can probably get that working much better and maybe faster.

Assuming  I don’t get whacked again by my computer and end up with a concussion.

ON a completely different subject, I have yet to see Avengers;Endgame, and never saw Captain Marvel at all. I am feeling a bit ambivalent over the whole thing at this point, looking back at the mess made of the whole thing since CA:CW. I probably will see the movie, but. . .I know I won’t like it.

And I missed seeing the Aquaman movie in the theaters. Durn it.

I did however see that a new Dune movie is in the works, and appears to have a great cast, including said Aquaman, Jason Momoa, as Duncan Idaho. I have always been partial to the newer three part series over the movie from 1984, but I do admit to wondering how such a new movie now will play out. The effects should be pretty awesome, especially if they have a big budget, but they will have to step it up a notch to beat the series. We ‘ll see I guess.

So, it’s back to work for me, and hopefully faster now that I’ve gotten past so much change. I hope those of you who enjoy Fire will enjoy this latest novel and that it will have been worth the wait.

I appreciate all the notes wishing me well, and the encouragement you all send me. Sometimes that’s all that keeps me from giving up and just going fishing 😀

Thank you.

 

NCR

Where in the world is NC REED?

Well, it’s complicated.

He’s been sick through New Years, after which he had to go and have a test done. Routine they said. Just a thing. In and out, back home and done.

Then, after the test it was “we’re gonna need to do something else.”

So I had another. This time someone hit a nerve in my leg. Ever had that happen? No? Well, it’s like this. Imagine you’ve sat on your leg watching the full length version of Fellowship of the Ring, and then you get up to change over to “The Two Towers”.

Bam. Leg is asleep. Can’t walk on it, tingles, feels funny, hurts really.

Now imagine that it doesn’t go away for a month. At all. Nothing works.

Well, there you have it. You now know what it feels like when a ‘procedure’ (an insurance term for SURGERY) nicks a nerve.

And thus I have been in pretty much constant pain for. . .how long have I been gone again? Anyway. . . .

I have not been idle despite that, and BOOK 6 of the FIRE series is now just over 60% completed. This book will run longer than usual in the series as it introduces new characters and starts a new arc in the story, where the farm begins to emerge from isolation. This novel is somewhat transitional as it introduces the new characters and sets up interactions that will come into play down the road, establishing the foundation for the next four to six novels in the series. So while there is more dialogue than normal, all of it will be applicable to the new arc.

 

ALSO—-BONUS ALERT

Many people have been wanting more information about a certain character. In BOOK 6 you will finally get it. Won’t say who cause it will spoil it, but if you think hard you ‘ll probably get it!

 

So, stay away from nerve injuries. “Sucks” does not BEGIN to describe it. Sorry for leaving you guys hanging like that, but I have seriously been miserable for so long I can’t remember. Love to all!

 

NCR

Happy Holidays? Humbug

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I’ve gotten a lot of messages and mail the last few weeks about different things and  I’m trying to answer them now. Long story short, my entire household was struck with a severe illness that effectively ruined our ‘happy holidays’ and a good bit more.

As we recuperate and try to move forward I am slowly being able to get back into the groove, but I am behind in my schedule now. We had big plans for Christmas, though not so much for New Years, but all of that went down the pipe thanks to a nasty bug. No idea where we caught it even though we backtracked for several days trying to figure it out.

Meantime, as I said I’m gearing back up and trying to catch up, but I am hopelessly behind in my self appointed schedule and honestly still not completely well.

Ah, the holidays 🙂

Anyway, I hope your holiday was better and that you had a great time.

Thanksgiving

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I look up and ‘bam’, year is coming to an end.

I’ve had a pretty good year productivity wise, I have to admit. While I have not accomplished all that I intended to, I have produced four novels this year and am currently working on two others. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to do that.

I’m also thankful for the people who read my work. A writer is nothing without readers to share his work with. I have been blessed to have so many people read and enjoy my work. Never in a million years would I have thought four and a half years ago (is that really all it’s been?) that I would be saying something like that. I sat at my computer and banged away at the keys with nothing more than a glimmer of hope and the desire to get a story out of my head and onto the screen.

And finally, I did. But the stories kept coming, the ideas kept popping up, and I just kept writing. Head down, rarely looking up, just like now. Then, I look up, and months have gone by. I forget at times how much actual work it is to produce a novel, mostly because I get lost in the tale as I write, I guess. When I’m done and looking back over it, I sometimes have to just marvel at the fact that I created something.

And I marvel even more at how many people seem to truly enjoy the work that I produce. When someone tells me how much they enjoy reading something I’ve written, it makes that hard work, regardless of how much it is, totally worth it.

So I’m thankful. To all of you who have made my dream of being a writer come true. You are the driving force behind me. You’re who I write for.

May you and your families be blessed this holiday season.

NCR

Something to think on

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We are about to commision a rendition of the BlackSheep flag, with the bloody fanged and bloody clawed red-eyed black sheep that depicts members of Parno’s personal regiment.

 

My idea is to make the sheep into a patch, like a shoulder patch. Someone else suggested making them to sell. I admit I hadn’t considered that, but I’m not against it either. Admittedly I have no idea what it would cost to do something like that, and we haven’t yet even found the artist we want to create the image.

But, assuming we can, is something like that anything you guys would be interested in? I have considered having small flags made of Parno’s Regimental Flag, and maybe even tee shirts, since that seems to be pretty easy to do these days.

It’s also been suggested we make a ‘skull and bones’ image for the “Fire” series, either as a patch or flag or both, with the tee shirt also being an option.

 

The question is though, assuming all this doesn’t cost an arm and leg, is this something any of you are interested in? IF not, then cool, no problem. But if you are, I will try and make it happen. I admit I wouldn’t mind a Black Sheep tee myself 😀
Anyway, if you think that would interest you, let me know.

 

NCR

Home Fires

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The reviews for Home Fires are nothing short of amazing. I am rarely at a loss for words, (my wife would be glad to attest to that 😀 ) but truly, the comments for Home Fires are humbling to say the least.

I’d be remiss in my thanks not to say a huge “THANK YOU” to Creative Texts and the publisher, Dan Edwards, for the hard work they do editing and proofing my work. I’m not the best typist in the world, or even in my house for that matter, and it takes a lot of work to make me look good. Fortunately I have Dan and his team who work tirelessly on my behalf to make me look like a real author 😀

Thank you so much to those of you who have so thoughtfully left such glowing reviews. I am so glad you enjoyed the book and the series! Lord willing and the river don’t rise, there will be more of Clay and the Sanders outfit soon!

Thank you again a million times over!

 

NCR

AND JUST LIKE THAT

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half the year is way past gone. Two thirds of it in fact. What happened to all the time? I missed some of it somewhere, for real.

I’ve been very busy this year so far, so maybe that’s what happened, but whatever it was, I looked up today and ‘boom’ it’s nearly

 

FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!

 

By which of course I mean college football. I haven’t watched an NFL game in years and certainly won’t start now. College football on the other hand gives us all the chance to hate our friends and neighbors for reasons other than the election signs in their yards, 😀

I sometimes wonder what people in other nations think when they see one hundred thousand screaming Americans in a stadium like that. I imagine once in a while that they see us screaming at each other over a game and then try to imagine us at war, and then decide ‘you know, we ‘ll just leave them alone’, ROFL.

But seriously, this year has absolutely run away from me, screaming by like a banshee. It’s not that it’s been a bad year, it’s just gone by really quick.

Anyway, in just a few days we ‘ll be doing the only ‘teeing off’ that I’ve ever had an interest in; Kickoff!

 

NCR

A little bit about how I do things

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“Why so long?”

That is a frequent question I get about the wait between titles, particularly with my “Black Sheep” series.  Some note that I might have two or three other books between each Parno novel, and that is true.

To breakdown how that comes to be, first you have to realize the scope and size of the Black Sheep universe. To quote my nephew, “it has a lot of moving parts”. I like that analogy and have used it often since he said it, because it’s true. There are far more characters in Parno’s world than in say the “Fire” or “Stormcrow” worlds. I should say recurring characters rather than just blanket characters perhaps, but either way it is still accurate.

The truth is that it takes me a good while just to make sure that I haven’t written a character in Parno ‘out of character’, and to make sure that I don’t write something that invalidates something I wrote in an earlier novel. Another reason is that Parno novels tend to be anywhere from half-again larger to twice as large as most of my other works, word count wise. I think every Parno novel has weighed in at over 150k words, whereas most of my other works usually run about 90k, give or take.

Why is it that way? Mostly because it takes that many more words to tell the same amount of story. Because the scope is so much larger and there are so many more characters, it takes a lot more book to cover roughly the same amount of ground. The “Fire” series for instance is kept deliberately limited because it’s meant to be oriented only around the Sanders family and their struggle with the PAW world they live in. I don’t delve into anything else or try to show what may or may not be happening anywhere other than in their immediate area. They are isolated and trying to remain so.

Parno on the other hand is way more massive in size, encompassing almost all of what had once been the Southeastern United States as well as other areas of the eastern part of the country. It deals with governments as well as individuals and includes political realities of their world as well as military issues and personal lives of the characters. Many, many characters.

I tend to work on more than one project at the time as well. I might work half the day on a “Fire” novel, then stop and change to working on a Parno novel, or perhaps a Stormcrow novel, or one of a few other projects I’m trying to make work. If I get on a real roll with one project or another and things are starting to really fall into place, then I stay with that project for as long as that ‘roll’ lasts, which could be a day, two days, or a week. Sometimes I’m blocked on a project and just have to set it aside while I work through that block. Meanwhile I can work on something else.

Such was the case with “Parno’s Peril”. I knew how I wanted the first third or so to read, I knew how I wanted it to end, at least more or less, but connecting the two became an issue. I wrote no telling how many pages that were ultimately deleted because they just felt off. Clunky if you will. No flow, hard to read and uncomfortable. If they read that way for me and I’m the writer, then I have to believe they ‘ll read that way for the my readers as well, and I just don’t want that. Above all else I want people to enjoy reading my works. I’m not usually trying to highlight any particular social issue or political issue or anything else really. I’m just trying to tell a good story that is believable, readable, and above all else enjoyable. At the end of the day if I haven’t entertained the reader, then I failed at my job.

I try to attain realism in all things. I remember that some people felt like Billy Todd showed people having a little too much good luck finding things, but reminded them that over 96% of the world’s population had perished in “Odd Billy Todd”. Of course they’d have ‘luck’ finding things since there weren’t that many people left to compete with.

In Parno, it takes time for a rider on a horse to ride from say Jackson, Tennessee to Nashville. It takes more time to ride from Jackson, Mississippi to Atlanta Georgia. Weeks in fact. So, the story had to cover a lot of time as well as territory. And news travels at the speed of horse, too. What happens on the battlefield won’t be known in the Royal City for days, three at least usually.

It takes a good deal of study and research to write realistic scenarios, and I am an army of one so to speak, so when I’m researching, I’m not writing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that writing isn’t work, because if you’re intending to tell a good, accurate and believable story then you’re going to have to put in some work, never doubt.

So yes, sometimes it takes me a while to get something done. I wish, sincerely, that I could do it faster, but if I work too fast, then it becomes sloppy, clunky and hard to read. The last thing I want, ever, in my work.

Finally, the truth is that writing a completed “Parno” novel is often exhausting. I slept over twelve hours the day after I delivered “Parno’s Peril” to the publisher, lol. You’d think that sitting in front of computer and writing wouldn’t tire you out, but you’d be wrong. It amazes me even now how tired I can get ‘working’ on a book, lol.

So, that’s a rather simplified look at how I try to work, as well as some of the reasons why writing a “Parno” novel takes longer than my other books. It’s honestly just much more difficult to do. But I enjoy it even so, thus I keep doing it. It doesn’t hurt that people who like what I do tell me that. I always enjoy hearing from people who have read my work and have something to say. Every few days I try to take the time to check here and on my FB page and reply to whatever messages I have been sent so if you want to ask me a question or make a comment, please don’t hesitate to do just that!

NCR