I can finally, happily announce that we sold my novel PLANETSIDE and a second book to David Pomerico at Harper Voyager. It is tentatively set for release in summer of 2018.
PLANETSIDE is the story of a decorated war veteran who flies to a distant planet to take care of a routine investigation, only to find himself enmeshed in a conspiracy with galaxy-wide implications. The trail leads him into a war zone where he faces off with the enemy as well as his own demons.
While it’s firmly in the Military Sci-Fi genre, there are a lot of mystery/thriller elements as well. As with most books, there’s a story about how this one came to be. But I’ll tell that on another day. Today I just want to give thanks to all of the people who helped this project come to fruition.
I’d like to thank my wife, Melody. Her unwavering support and belief is amazing. Her sacrifices for me and our family, not just with this project, but in all things, are humbling.
I’d like to thank my agent, Lisa Rodgers, first for believing in my book, but also for her sharp eye for story and detail. Every time I got an editorial note from her it was like ‘Huh. Yeah, she’s right. Again.’ She has been a rock throughout this entire process, fielding what I know are ridiculous emails from me, and I can’t thank her enough. Also thanks to the rest of the JABberwocky team who read and offered suggestions on my book.
I’d like to thank my brother Steve, who read this before anybody else. Which meant it wasn’t very good, since it han’t been revised much yet. But somebody has to do it. Thanks to my brother Pat, who inspired me to start writing several years back, and my Sister-in-law Melissa, who told me the second half of my book wasn’t very good (she was right. It wasn’t. It’s totally different now.)
So many people read and gave input on this book. Jessica Bloczynski, is responsible for the fact that my main character has feelings…I’m told those are important. David Kristoph helped me develop a key scene that I can’t tell you about, but is one of my favorites. Tahani Nelson fixed my grammar and the fact that I don’t know how to hyphenate words.
I’d like to thank Dan Koboldt, who was my mentor when I entered PLANETSIDE in Pitch Wars in 2015, and then took me on as a co-mentor in 2016. I’ve learned a lot about the business of writing from him, and his sound counsel on all things is invaluable. We also now have the same editor, which is cool.
While I have many readers, I need to specifically mention three of my original critique partners. They’ve been with me since before I started writing this book, and they still help me on a regular basis:
I want to thank Becka Enzor, who more than anybody else kept me sane while I was writing, and even more when I was going through the long process of trying to get this book published. We went through querying at the same time, and signed with our agents the same week, so there was a lot of shared stress. But mostly, on those days where I debate whether my work is good enough, she’s always been the one to offer the needed advice. Usually it’s some form of ‘You’re a dumbass. Shut up and stop whining.’
Red Levine’s fingers are on this book in fifty different, tiny ways that are so subtle I can’t even tell you what they are. But if you find yourself reading it some day and you’re thinking ‘wow, there are a lot of women doing cool things in this book,’ she gets a lot of the credit for that. Red also does magic things with words that most people just can’t do, and I’ve learned a lot from that. It is my hope that while I write in a very different style from her, I’ve learned at least a little bit of that sorcery. I know I have a long way to go.
Colleen Halverson’s work–and it was a lot of work–critiquing my first book was the single biggest factor in my advancing as a writer enough to write PLANETSIDE. That book is now gone, but basically she taught me how to write. She understands pace better than anyone I know, and she’s the person who made me understand that it’s not really a story unless something is happening. WHAT IS HAPPENING? NOTHING IS HAPPENING IN THIS SCENE! Oops…sorry. I had a flashback there. We also have a connection in our critique work that goes beyond words. It’s not unusual to get a note on a chapter that says simply: ‘You’re doing it again.’ Colleen can tell me that an entire chapter needs to be cut, and after I finish weeping and get out of bed two days later, I start looking for how to cut it. Because she’s probably right. She’s been the single biggest influence on my writing.
There are many people who didn’t directly work on PLANETSIDE that I need to thank as well. It’s invaluable to have people that you can call one who have been through the things you’re going through. Thanks go to: Brenda Drake and Pitch Wars, for everything she has done for the writing community and for me personally. Kellye Garrett, who I want to thank mostly just for being Kellye, because that’s pretty awesome. She also said something really nice about the first chapter of my book at a time when I was really unsure, and it meant a lot. Mary Ann Marlowe, who has been a sounding board, provided outstanding advice, and helped me navigate the world of publishing (plus she likes all the same TV shows I do.) My writing friends in the Clubhouse, especially Dannie Morin for everything she does. Janet Wrenn, who critiqued one page of my previous book but did it so well that it provided me with that moment of clarity where I realized that my work wasn’t good enough, and I needed to get better. JC Nelson, for his advice and for talking me off a ledge at more than one point. Michelle Hauck for always being available to answer a question and share her experience. I’d like also to thank Claribel Ortega for being such a positive force in the writing community, and for me personally. And Pancho for making me smile, no matter what the situation. Claribel is also to thank for the GIF attached to this post (in her alter ego as gif grrl)
I would like to thank all of my fellow Pitchwars 2015 friends for their support and everything they do. You’re an amazing group of people, and you have helped me beyond measure. What an incredible, giving, uplifting group.
Lastly I’d like to thank my parents, for taking me to the library a lot as a kid and instilling in me a love of reading. I’d especially like to thank my mom, who, thirty years ago, when I told her I was going to be an author, believed me.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten somebody, though I’ve now hit almost 1300 words, so it’s hard to think who it could be. If I left you off, I am sorry. I get so much help from so many different people, and I appreciate you all.