Friday, March 13, 2020

Two out of twenty-six is a crazy ratio!

Being a dedicated introvert, I stopped going to grocery stores a couple years ago when InstaCart started servicing my area. I eventually switched to Shipt, which provides better service in my opinion, but the glorious result is the same:  I place an order online via my browser and an hour or two later, my shopper shows up at my door with groceries. Greatest service ever, right? (Right!)

Today I placed an order and about an hour later one of my favorite Shipt shoppers, Edwin, messaged me to let me know that out of the twenty-six items on my grocery list, HEB had exactly two of them in stock. Two. Out of twenty-six. He offered up a few substitutes that were available but in the end I told him to bring my sugar-free Popsicles and Tillamook cheese snacks and forget looking for the other things.

When he got here, Edwin described a scene of mayhem at the grocery store. People instantly grabbing all the meat that had just been put out, piling it into their carts as if they were solely responsible for feeding their entire neighborhoods. Same with other types of products. An entire produce section in a huge grocery store standing bare. Aisles of empty shelving everywhere.

Such is life in the early days of the CoronaVirus Panic of 2020. No big deal. I have plenty of food here at home, both for me and my furry friends, so we'll be fine. When it comes to in-the-flesh interaction, social distancing is sort of my default, so little adjustment is required. I love interacting with online friends and fans, and that shouldn't take much of a hit at all.

What I'm doing with my time is working hard on PROJECTIONIST. Some of you will remember this one, which I started years ago as a serial novel which I was releasing a chapter at a time right here on my StoryFreak blog. That approach didn't work out well. Too complex a story for a week-to-week approach, so it eventually got back-burnered. That hiatus has ended and I'm shooting for a release date of May 15 for this quirky tale. This book, which features some parallel-world and other interesting elements, along with romance and some other content, is way outside my typical wheelhouse, but it's also one that generated a lot of interest here on the blog and elsewhere from the fans who stay in touch. Stay tuned for more specifics.

As soon as PROJECTIONIST is on the market, my initial plan was to quickly release the third book in the Sam Flatt series, which started with UNALLOCATED SPACE and most recently continued via FAKE NEWS. That was before I looked at a couple factors. First, I've gotten a lot of negative feedback on the title of FAKE NEWS. To my surprise, it seems a great number of people see the title and the cover and instantly interpret it as a non-fiction book on politics. Not good. I'm going to fix that with a new title and a new cover that are more in keeping with thriller norms and more congruous with the cover of the first book in the Sam Flatt series, Unallocated Space. Stay tuned for more specifics on that.

The second factor I looked at with regard to post-PROJECTIONIST plans was fan reaction to my previous books across the board. I looked at initial sales, longevity of sales, reviews, and contact from fans regarding the various books. This analysis led to what was a momentous decision for me. Instead of the third book in the Sam Flatt series, the next book out (later this year) after PROJECTIONIST, will be a sequel to SEVEN UNHOLY DAYS.

Yup, Matt Decker returns! It will be a technothriller, of course, and will continue in the same vein as SEVEN UNHOLY DAYS in that Matt will face high-stakes issues that are global in scope, with the potential to be apocalyptic in severity. And you can expect to see some intersection between the worlds of Matt Decker and Sam Flatt. I can't say more on that right now, since I consider spoilers to be the Eighth Deadly Sin, but can tell you that it will be big and exciting, and it will also lead naturally into the next in the Sam Flatt series.

Bottom line? Stay tuned! Lots of thrills lie in the not-distant future. There will be no more multi-year gaps between books. I'm now writing hard and fast and will be producing new books much more frequently going forward.

On the more immediate front, stay safe and well out there, my friends. These are anxious times but I fervently believe we'll pull through this season and be stronger than ever.

Keep reading!


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