I am not proud enough that I will fail to admit when, bluntly, I have been beaten, and Starcruiser Polaris has finally bested me. I've had five – count them, five – attempts at this one now, and it just hasn't worked itself out. On two occasions, I've had books that I could easily have finished – I'm four days away from finishing Draft Five – but it hasn't felt right to do so, simply because it is not as good as it should be. Not as good as you, my readers, deserve. Which means I'm not going to release it, not going to finish it.
It's been too long since my last release, I freely admit, and for those of you reading who are also writers, you'll know the effect this is having on my sales curve. Further, I have a deadline – the latest I can release a book is May 31st, and ideally, I'd try and launch sooner than that. As a result, reluctantly – though with my head held high – I am scrapping work on Polaris, at least for the time being, and will instead be proceeding with another Alamo, which I aim to have released before the end of the month.
There is one reason that this is a practical possibility, and that is thanks to the man who, frankly, has been my creative co-conspirator for years. I speak naturally of my wonderful cover artist, Keith Draws, without whom I would never have been a success. Suspecting that I might have some trouble with Polaris a week ago, I asked him for a new Alamo cover, and the result so far exceeded anything I might have hoped for, that it begs and demands that it be worked on now.
You know me well enough to know that I'm not going to be giving out any spoilers, but I will say three things. The first is that it is perhaps the most 'science-fiction' Alamo that I've ever done, exploring a setting that I've never even come close to before. The second is that it has a scope that I will not be able to complete in a single book – this is going to be three at least, maybe more, and you'll understand when you see it. The third is that a major character returns for this book – and I shall say no more on this. You'll probably guess fairly early on in any case, but no spoilers.
This is going to be a stretch; I won't deny it, but the plot has already settled into position in my head. My intention is to write the next Alamo immediately thereafter, with a planned release of mid-July, as I honestly don't know what is happening with Polaris at present. I've got plenty of other projects in mind, and it's likely that I will switch to one of those instead – though I won't make a final decision on this for a little while yet.
Things are happening – and I'm not completely off the radar – but I'll be on silent running until I can report that I have completed 'Shadows in the Sky', and that I am preparing to release it. If the Gods are with me, it will be soon – I actually have a really good feeling about this one, better than I have about a book for some time. Writing Alamo is always a pleasure, and I'm hopeful that this will be one of the highlights of the series.