On the Precipice of Publishing

Phoenix Operator started out as a character sketch in one of my many notebooks. I was writing a different novel at the time, one that eventually went nowhere after two chapters. I knew from that short sketch I had something I could turn into a novel. My protagonist Jack Speer had a different name and he had a fellow American agent with him, but the underlying premise remained. I wanted to write a spy novel that dealt with how a CIA officer involved in operations like the Phoenix Program dealt with his work, as well as how such a character would have friends or maintain contact with his family.

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Page from the original sketch, titled “Special Activities Division”

It is my third written novel, and the other two will (most likely) never see the light of day. Writing it provided me something to do for leisure at college. I learned more about the craft of fiction writing as I do with every book or story. However, the most important thing I learned from the book had far more to do with thinking of writing as a profession, rather than as a hobby. I found out how dealing with literary agents and asking permission from Big Five publishing is not only a painful waiting game, but royally bad business, both in terms of money and copyright. Some in Big Publishing and the literary establishment are also hostile to anyone whose ideology is even vaguely conservative, as the recent Tor Books incident has shown.

With Amazon, all I have to do is write as best I can and package my work professionally, and let the chips fall where they may. I must confess some nerves here. It’s both liberating and frightening to have work published on Amazon, where a broad audience can read my work.

While Phoenix Operator is being proof read by a trusted reader, I am working on new material. I tried to stop writing and take a break (at my family’s insistence), but I’ve found that I really can’t. At least I know I’ve got more stories in me. I think I’ll release a short story collection with some of my more recent stories in it. Right now, I’ve got a novella plus some short stories I’ve written over the summer months that would make a nice collection.

I’ve got the cover done, the paperback interior formatted, and the ebook formatted. Right now it’s just a matter of cleaning up some very embarrassing typos and incorrect words in the text. My beta reader has proven invaluable.

Phoenix Operator due out by the first week of August. I sincerely hope you enjoy it when the time comes.

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