If you read Burnout closely enough, you’ll notice that there are A LOT of errors in it, specifically continuity errors. Couples meet months earlier or later than they should have given what time of year it is in the following book. Babies are born (or not born yet) at the wrong times.
This is because I would work on one book at a time. I would finish one book with complete disregard for what would come after, often forgetting that in the last book it started off in a chilly spring so how could it be Christmas now if only five months have passed?
I also missed a lot of opportunity for foreshadowing and better storytelling. I could have hinted that Awseome Thing was going to happen in Book 4 while I as writing Book 3 but since I didn’t know it was going to happen until I sat down to write Book 4, that opportunity was missed.
Also, if you read Burnout while I was writing it, you’ll notice that it only took one month for Tex to come out after Shooter because it was mostly already written when I published Shooter and then it took anywhere from 4-6 months for another installment to come out in the series. The release days were pretty willy nilly.
I didn’t like that and neither did you.
So, to create an overall more cohesive series that has release dates that seem more planned rather than scatter shot, I’m writing most of Stark Ink BEFORE I start releasing it. I feel overall this will make the entire series better as well as a less annoying customer experience for you.
Yes you have to wait a considerable amount of time for me to make some good headway, HOWEVER I will be releasing the Stark Ink books consecutively, one a month. So there will be no waiting months at a time for the next installment. You’ll get Harder in one month (I’m aiming for February) and then Better will be released in March (again an approximation) and so on.
I originally would have liked to release them ALL AT ONCE ON THE SAME DAY, but I discovered that I’m not a fast enough writer at this point to pull something like that off. So I adjusted my expectations based on my workload and abilities.
As soon as I get my edits back for Harder (Stark Ink 1) I will have a good idea of when Stark Ink will be ready to start releasing.
If you’re not on my mailing list (Over there to the right) feel free to sign up and I’ll email you when the series is about to begin. Or you can check back here or on Facebook to find out.
I suspect that on January 1st I will be able to make an official announcement regarding release dates for the series.
Thanks for your patience as I try to write and deliver the best stories I’m capable of producing.
Harder (Stark Ink 1) is out for edits. While that’s going on, I’m hard at work on Better (Stark Ink 2). I’ll have an announcement for the release date for Harder sometime at the end of this month!
Thanks for being patient!
Dalton Stark had tried to sell his soul to the devil once in a room smaller than this one. As blood seeped from his thumb he remembered trying to make that deal. At the time he’d assumed the Father of Lies was on vacation, because no lesser demon had appeared with a pen and a piece of parchment paper. Now he was beginning to rethink that assumption. Perhaps the deal had gone through and he was living it now.
“Stark,” Stephens said from across the room.
Dalton glanced up. “Not a big deal,” he insisted.
Stephens looked at the blood. He seemed unconvinced.
“Really,” Dalton insisted. For good measure he picked the nail gun back up. “It’s fine.”
He pressed the guide sight flush against the wooden window frame and pulled the trigger. There was a slight hiss before the sharp crack of the finish nail being fired by thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch. This time the tiny metal projectile embedded itself into the wood and not into Dalton’s skin. Nowhere to go but up, he figured.
Half an hour later, the job foreman called for a break. The filed out of the work site and onto the packed dirt of someone’s future front lawn, a rich someone judging by the size of the other homes in the area. Dalton himself had only worked on these kinds of houses. He was from a different neighborhood altogether, far on the other side of town.
Stephens, Donaldson, and two Hispanic floorers that Dalton didn’t know stood in a huddle, blocking themselves from the cutting wind by strategically locating themselves near the row of port-a-potties. Dalton was thankful he didn’t have the urge. He’d pissed in front of enough strangers lately. They all lit up at once. Dalton was tempted to join them even though he didn’t smoke. What kind of greedy asshole worked a crew nearly round the clock in late November? But the question already contained the answer.
The foreman lit up his own cig and glared at Dalton through a haze of blue smoke. Dalton ignored him. He’d skipped lunch, yet again, but he wasn’t skipping break. He climbed into his beat up Toyota pick-up and stretched out in the cab. He pulled a bandanna out of the glove compartment and wrapped it around his throbbing thumb. The last thing he saw before he closed his eyes was the jagged, white scar on his hand.
Dalton supposed he could live without food, but the lack of sleep might actually kill him.
A few minutes later a loud bang on the side of the truck startled him awake. By the time he sat up, the foreman was already walking away. Dalton sighed and opened the lid of the small cooler sitting on the passenger side floorboards. He popped the top off a can of Coke and took a large gulp. He still had four more hours left on his shift that had started before dawn. None of the houses in the new subdivision were occupied yet, so there was no one around to complain about the noise.
Dalton slid from the cab and shut the driver’s side door. As he crossed the lawn, his watch beeped signaling the end of the break.
He worked gingerly around his still-throbbing thumb. It wasn’t that he couldn’t take the pain, but it brought back old memories and reminded him of what could go wrong on the job. He worked slowly, cautiously, ducking the disapproving looks being thrown at him by the foreman.
Fuck him, Dalton thought. His good will could only stretch so far. Dalton was grateful to have a job, but if he wasn’t careful, it would be his last.
He finished framing the window, setting the last nail just as the call sounded for the end of the shift. Dalton said a silent prayer of thanks. If it’d been a weekday they’d plug along until well after dark using tripod lights and a generator to see. But it was Friday and the boss man wanted to get his drink on.
It was strange how alcohol still affected his life in certain ways.
Dalton slowly put his tools away as the foreman passed out the envelopes. There was no point in hurrying, he’d always get his pay last. The man liked to make him wait.
Union guys got their envelopes first, thin ones with actual checks with extra zeroes denoting the overtime. Next were the undocumented workers, guys who spoke just enough English between them to get the job done. As a former union man, Dalton had been irritated by their presence on work sites. Now that he was among them, below them, so it would seem, he couldn’t conjure up any animosity toward them. Their envelopes were fatter, though not by a lot. Cash was king on a job site these days, though Dalton didn’t have to compare totals to know who got paid more. He vowed never to complain about the dues if he ever got reinstated.
The foreman finally reached him and tossed the envelope into the open tool box Dalton was loading. Dalton didn’t say thank you or even bother to look up, but he supposed he had no real right to complain. He’d missed days, a lot of days, back when his pay came stamped with bank routing numbers and respectability. Somewhere in the hazy days of early summer, he’d been officially fired. He’d had to wade through a dozen voice mail messages before that last one telling him not to bother coming back. It had been Adam who’d gotten him his job back, Adam who’d gotten him cleaned up in the first place.
As Dalton watched the foreman walk away, he wondered what Adam had offered him to make him hire Dalton back. Free tattoos for life? Dalton doubted it. The boss didn’t seem to have any ink, nothing visible anyway.
Who knew? Maybe the man had “HOLE” written across his butt cheeks.
Dalton pocketed the envelope without bothering to open it. If he’d been shorted, he had no recourse anyway. The foreman, so far, had not stooped that low. Dalton was still the best worker they had on site and there were plenty of other construction outfits in the city that paid under the table. Dalton could probably make more money with them, but he’d rather make amends instead.
He headed back to his truck and his open can of Coke. At this rate, he’d need an IV of caffeine by Christmas. He was on hour fifty this week, or maybe more. He’d lost count and he still had tomorrow to work.
Come Hell or high water this cookie cutter house would be finished for the holiday— A true Christmas miracle!
Except that clinking sound wasn’t a bell, it was the extra change in the boss’ pocket that he saved by not paying Dalton time and a half. Dalton didn’t care much. He was still getting his wings. Maybe. Eventually. Maybe eventually. He refused to dwell on it, though. Jig had warned him to be careful about depression, especially around the holidays.
Dalton had a job and a place to lay his always-weary-lately head. Things could be worse.
He hauled his massive frame into the rusted out truck and cranked the ignition. It roared to life despite the weather growing increasingly colder. It didn’t look like much, but it was reliable, at least. He reached up and rubbed the two-day stubble on his face and hoped no one could say the same about him.
He was a decent looking guy when he was cleaned up, if he did say so himself. He was also built like a linebacker, which made sense because he was one in high school. A partial scholarship had come through even, to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, but Mom and Pop couldn’t afford the rest.
They might have. God knows they would have tried for as long as they could scrape the money together to send him, but Dalton hadn’t let them. He wasn’t quite NFL material due to a slowly deteriorating left shoulder. He’d have made it through college, though, barring any serious injuries. But all Mom and Pop’s tuition money would have bought was a useless degree for jobs that didn’t exist in Rapid City for a guy like him and maybe a few more trophies to put on a shelf. In the end it seemed hardly worth it just for a few more years of gridiron glory. Dalton had let Mom and Pop keep their hard-earned money and enrolled in trade school after graduation.
As it turned out, he’d had a talent for carpentry. Mom had beamed and said, “You know who else had a talent for carpentry?” Dalton had never responded. He was a nice guy, but he was no saint. He’d had too many women and too many beers, even back then. That had been Mom, though. She had always seen the good in people. When Dalton and Adam had moved out, she’d adopted two more kids. Her philosophy had always been that everyone deserved a second chance. Dalton wasn’t sure about that yet.
Kids, yeah, because they were innocent, just victims of the shit hand life had dealt them. They didn’t deserve the short end of the stick just for being born to asshole parents. But Dalton had made his choices and none of them had been good after the accident.
If he was in Hell, which was debatable at this point, then it was one of his own making.
He turned down a side street and headed to a more humble abode across town, though not his own.
So I’m a firm believer in FINISHING a series before starting a new IP (intellectual property). It’s not cool to leave people hanging while they’re waiting for a future installment about characters they are already invested in. So Stark Ink will be written in its entirety for Winter/Spring 2015 before I move on to the next project.
That’s the easy part. The hard part is choosing the next project.
Oh, man. As it stands I have 10 different IP’s. For the purposes of this blog an IP is either a series or a standalone book that is fully encompassed. For example, I have a Tarot-themed series in mind and also a standalone book about a carnival. So these are two separate IP’s, even though the tarot series will have four books in it but the carnival title is just one book.
So TEN different IP’s (over 40 titles in all) and I’m excited about ALL of them, which I guess it a good thing but it’s hard to choose. I’ve got sexy, sweaty Intergalactic Marines, a cute rom-com featuring a down-on-her-luck real estate agent, a paranomal action series set in Baltimore, a fantasy-ish title with swords but no magic. I’ve even got an idea swirling in my head that’s not even an idea at all it’s just a joke about a moose and yes I’m going to make a whole book around that joke, whatever that book is.
There’s not enough me to go around. Sheesh. Where’s Bradley Cooper with his DangerCandy when you need him?
A newly formatted version is available now on iTunes, Kobo, Nook, and Kindle. If you’re experiencing problems, try updating to the new version and see if maybe that fixes it.
For those of you checking me out because of the Bookbub ad, be aware that the Burnout Box Set is a MASSIVE file. It seems to work on most people’s devices but not everyone’s. I am having someone look at the formatting. I sincerely doubt that will help at all, but I would feel better if I at least tried.
I’ve officially finished the first draft of Harder (Stark Ink 1)! As it stands it is 60,066 words long. It’s not going out the door, though, until it’s 75K. As soon as I get editing lined up, I’ll announce a release date.
Just got back from taking the Tot to the State Fair. She’s only 6 but she’s got her mother’s fierce heart. She rode every adult ride she could get on for her height. We defied death a few times this afternoon. Sitting at the top of the Stampede and overlooking the Midway is my favorite part. I prefer the carnival at night, though, for so many reasons.
What a great setting for a novel, though. Mysterious yet beckoning, fun yet terrifying. Like any good romance, right? It’s a slice of life that’s distinctly American. I’d need the right town, the right cast of characters, the right “feel,” but what do you think? Love on the Midway?
I’ve never done NaNo before, but I’m interested in the idea that it takes 30 days to form a habit. I need to get into the habit of writing every single day. So I’ve made my profile (Dahlia West) and I’m gearing up for Nov. 1. I’m planning to finish the rough draft of Better (Stark Ink 2) by Nov 31! I’ll be tweeting my daily word count.
If you’re doing NaNo this year, feel free to add me as a friend. We can keep each other motivated!