The Transformative 2018?

I know, I know, it's been a while, but wrestling the last Alamo to the ground has been rather tougher than I had anticipated. Nevertheless, I've finished the draft, and it's out to the beta readers now – you can expect to see it on the virtual shelves within a week. I'm about to start work on the third Starcruiser Polaris, and with a little luck, I hope to have that out this month as well – yes, that means two books out this month! (I'm targeting the 10th and the 28th, though both might slip a little. Nevertheless, I want two books out in September.) For the rest of the year, there will be one release a month, with a Polaris in October, an Alamo in November, and what will I think be the final book in the Polaris series in December, to conclude that story. (I am working on possible spin-offs, having said that, so I might revisit the universe again after that fifth book.)

This post, however, will talk more fully about my plans for next year, with specific reference at present to my science-fictional goals. I should – I think – just about manage one book a month this year, counting 'Tales from the Vault', and I'll say here and now that my intention is to do exactly the same in the coming year, probably on a thirty-day release schedule. Most of these will be new series; I've enjoyed writing Polaris a lot, and I want to expand my creative reach a little with new stories in new universes, so you can expect to see more of them over the coming months. Not that I will be neglecting Alamo, of course – there will be a few of those creeping in over the year. I haven't come close to working out an actual schedule for 2018 yet, though I know already that I am aiming for sixteen books in the year.

Yes, you heard me right. Sixteen books. Twelve of which will be science-fiction, roughly at the 60,000-word length; I've got very comfortable with that length, and I'll probably be sticking to it for my science-fiction for a while – it seems to suit my style of writing very well. I'd be tempted to say that all of them will be series books – except that I'm hoping to sneak 'Rocket Dawn' in there somewhere, but that's to be seen. I might manage to jam it into the schedule for this year, if everything goes completely according to plan, but for the moment, I know what I'm facing in the next three months, and it's a pretty tough workload.

Twelve books, then, and in new series. I've got several of them roughed out, and although I'm still a little way from nailing them down – still less starting to write them, not scheduled until January – I think I am in a position to start providing a few details about what I'm planning. Thoughts and comments decidedly invited.

'Ring Raiders'. This originated in an idea I had for a 'Buck Rogers' style awakening from sleep – think of it as a female Buck Rogers waking up in a hard-SF Firefly set in the moons of Saturn, a crew of renegades and privateers fighting to make a living in a post-apocalyptic solar system, a couple of centuries after the destruction of Earth. This one I don't actually see as a 'series' in itself, more a collection of single books – though I'd start with three, with the potential to do more in the future.

'Cosmopunk', which in its latest form is set on Phobos about fifty years from now, when it has become the beating heart of the exploitation of the Solar System – the home of tens of thousands of people working for a hundred different nations, alliances and megacorporations. Our hero? A noir-style private detective, working for hire to solve mysteries and crimes on a lawless frontier. I've had a few people asking me about venturing into 'space noir' once again; this is my response!

'Fox Company', which as the name suggests is out-and-out Space Marine SF. Under the concept I'm working on at present, this could best be described as 'ground-pounder Battlestar Galactica' – the remnants of an infantry company fleeing the aftermath of a war in which they were the losers, trying to find a new home somewhere out in the stars. This one I do see as a three- to five-part series, analogous to Starcruiser Polaris.

One of the things I want to do next year is to set up two or three series that I can write as occasional, perhaps annual projects, in between my tighter series. I've been giving a lot of thought of late to 'where I want to be in 2020', and it boils down to this concept – to write perhaps one or two three- to five-part series a year, as well as having a few ongoing series that I can add to occasionally – standalone books rather than part of a wider arc. Ultimately, Alamo's going to be that, probably after the Andromeda arc comes to an end. I'd like to add at least one more to the roster, perhaps two. In addition, I want to crack a new genre, but that's something for later.

So, just as 2017 was about, in may ways, Starcruiser Polaris, 2018 is set to be a transformative year for me. A year where I venture into a new genre, and establish – I hope – at least one, possibly two on-going series that I can continue to work in for years to come. (My money is on 'Cosmopunk', actually – 'Ring Raiders' is showing signs of metamorphosing into a tighter trilogy, but the Cosmopunk concept is inherently standalone.)

Naturally, there will be more details as I get closer to it – but I've got a lot of work to do before I can start these new projects!

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