Update on Jackson Speed at the High Tide

The trauma of NaNoWriMo has left me speechless. I’ve not written a blog post in two months.

For you fans of Jackson Speed, here’s where things stand: The fourth book is written but I am still editing/rewriting.

Taking Jackson Speed at the High Tide as a continuation of Jackson Speed on the Orange Turnpike and considering them one complete work as they were initially intended, I’ve got to say Volumes III and IV of the Jackson Speed memoirs are my personal favorites so far. I’m really proud of these two books, and I cannot wait for Jackson Speed fans to see Volume IV!

Speaking of Jackson Speed fans, I’ve occasionally written about my sales here, and I’ll say a word about sales today, too. December was awful. I’d been riding a pretty good wave of sales from May through November, but December my sales fell off the wagon.

Thankfully, January picked up steam and February (so far) has been very good. Interestingly, I’m selling books in the United States again. Back in June my sales in the United Kingdom began to increase dramatically, and through the second half of 2014 almost all of my sales came out of Britain. But my U.S. sales outpaced foreign sales in January. I think that’s a good thing, because my novels offer a chance for more people to learn about U.S. history as seen by Jackson Speed – and what better way to learn than with Ol’ Speedy as your teacher?

When I say that I am grateful beyond words to you people who buy my books, I hope you understand that I am being completely genuine. It’s not the $1.34 I get from the sales in England or the $2.05 I get from the sales in the United States … it’s the fact that people are enjoying my work enough to come back and read the next book. That’s really so amazing to me.

When I started writing the Jackson Speed novels, I was writing stories that would entertain me. I created this character who I found amusing and put him in historical situations that I found interesting. I didn’t know if I would ever sell a single book or if anyone who read the stories would even enjoy them. Basically, Jackson Speed was just a pleasant diversion for me.

But when I go to look at my sales chart and see that I’ve sold a copy of Blood Tubs or Orange Turnpike – that people enjoyed El Teneria enough to want more – it truly is the most gratifying experience.

While I work on edits of High Tide, I’ve also got some other projects that I’m working on – many of which are in some latter stages of completion – and I hope to soon be able to share some details about some of those projects.

My target date for publishing Jackson Speed at the High Tide is late March (though it could be mid-May), and when the time gets a little closer I’ll release the cover image that Alex McArdell created for High Tide. It’s spectacular!

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November 24, ready to start on NaNoWriMo

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Six days left in NaNoWriMo and I’m ready to get started. 50,000 words in six days? No sweat.

For those not familiar, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Somewhere along the way I became intrigued with the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo. I wrote the first Jackson Speed novel (El Teneria) in 28 days. It came in around 60,000 words. But I did that in June of 2012, so I picked the wrong month to do it and it didn’t count. But I figured if I could do it once, I could do it again.

My initial plan for NaNoWriMowas to write the fifth Jackson Speed novel, and in October I sort of started doing research for that book. But I never really got moving on the research the way I needed to. And I’m still writing the fourth book, and I found it harder than I thought I would to switch from one book to another.

The rules of NaNoWriMo allow me to finish an already-started novel as long as I write 50,000 words in 30 days. I was already just over 50,000 words into High Tide, and I’ve always figured it would be close to 100,000 words (much longer than the other three Speed novels, but it is Gettysburg, after all).

So a couple of weeks ago I abandoned my initial plans and decided to just keep rolling on the fourth book, Jackson Speed at the High Tide.

But November has been terribly busy for me. The boys have had soccer games and tournaments on the weekends and it’s been cold and I’ve been sleepy a lot. The result is I haven’t been writing much at all.

I’ve got six days left in NaNoWriMo and I’ve written somewhere between 16,000 and 20,000 words. So I’m not really starting from scratch with just six days to go, but I am very much in a hole.

But I’ve not given up. If I can write an average of 5,000 words over the next six days, I can still win NaNoWriMo, and I think I can do it. I’ve got a couple of days off from work this week thanks to Thanksgiving, and there’re no soccer games this weekend.

So I’m deep in a hole, but I’m committed to seeing this thing through.

I’ll post an update December 1 (or sometime thereabouts) and let you know how it turned out.

In the meantime, keep watching this space. My hope is to release some short stories prior to Christmas for all you people who have Kindles on your wish lists.