Writers have plenty to do between bouts of publication: marketing, book events (remember those), interviews, and, of course, writing something new. With the publication of Love Death in February… No, let’s back up.
I haven’t left behind all the habits I created while working for Uncle Sam. One of those was end of year planning for the next fiscal year. Since our fiscal year started on October 1 every year, that meant each summer I spent planning what my group would do for the following fiscal year. This was key to getting the budget I’d requested and identifying areas where I might need to hire new employees or engage contractors. It was an onerous process, mainly because of all the levels of approval and having to deal with mid-level management who had no clue what my group did.
But those were the old days, and I have it much better now that the only person I have to plan for is me, and I not only set the budget but also approve the plan.
I don’t feel so bad about planning now.
What to Do in 2021?
I knew I wanted to publish three books in 2021, and I knew which three. Planning was a matter of when. I scheduled Love Death for February but knew promotion needed to start in December 2020. The second book I scheduled for July, with promo to start in May 2021. The third book is set for December 2021, and promo for that will start in October. That left March, April, August, and September with lots of empty days to fill.
Since 2018 with the publication of book one of the series A Perfect Hatred, I’ve been focused nearly 100 percent on producing that series and the Self-Inflicted Wounds trilogy. So, for 2021 planning, I decided to revisit some of my earlier short story collections, novellas, and my debut novel, A War of Deception.
A Germ of an Idea
A War of Deception began as a germ of an idea when I read about the capture of a Russian mole in the FBI–a long-time FBI agent, who’d been selling secrets to the Russians for nearly three decades. As more about his character emerged, it was almost as if some writer somewhere had created an over-the-top villain. But in 2001, when that FBI agent was captured I was still working full-time, and later that year something…else occupied a lot of my time.
But the idea remained, and I occasionally made notes or jotted down a scene that came into my head. It wasn’t until my retirement from federal service in 2009 that I had the time and inclination to take that idea and expand upon it. And wasn’t it lucky that the second month of my retirement was November–National Novel Writing Month? In thirty days, I had an incoherent draft of a novel then titled “The Game.” A couple of critique groups, a workshop, and several beta readers later, in 2016, I had a novel on the cusp of being published.
Long story short, trying for traditional publishing was a waste of time, especially when the criticism of the MS amounted to “You titled the first chapter ‘Threshold.’ It should be ‘The Threshold.'” A teacher of creative writing whom I admire greatly told me, “You know how this is done. You know the publishing process. Publish it.”
And so I did. In May 2017, A War of Deception debuted. It’s garnered mostly five-star reviews (except for one guy in England who I think didn’t actually read it), and won an award for best historical fiction. This novel validated me as a writer of fiction. I’m beyond proud of it.
So…for the month of March, you can get A War of Deception for your Kindle or Kindle app for 99 cents. Yup. You read that correctly.
And did I mention its “mini-sequel” A Face in the Crowd? My editor wanted me to write about what happened to a particular secondary character, so I did because keeping your editor happy is crucial. This ended up being a novelette (10,000 to 20,000 words), and it’s also on sale this month for 99 cents.
You can have both for under $2.00–what a deal! And that price doesn’t mean you’re getting a cheap story. Rather, I love that novel so much, I want the world to know about it.
Oh, the twist to A War of Deception is that Mai and Alexei are “retired.” Wha?
You can find both books HERE.
2021 Publishing Schedule
Love Death – published 2/14/21
Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules – coming 7/10/21, a collection of short stories
Supreme Madness of the Carnival Season – coming 12/4/21 (a non-espionage, quasi-mystery novel)