The computer is fixed. Had to get a new hard drive, but I was able to recover my files first, thank goodness. Back to writing. I got to say, it’s really fun writing for Sarah and Tyler again, since they were basically absent from the last book. Can’t wait for you guys to read it!
Computer is in the shop, doesn’t look great. Hope I can recover my documents. I have back-ups, but they’re not completely up to date. Between that and work and house-searching, writing is taking a back seat at the time being. Still, I’m over 10% into the fifth book, and it should be finished by the end of the summer, though I’m aiming for earlier. I’ll keep you guys updated. (All three of you.)
Blackcoats: The Dragons Below (Book 4) is out today! That makes four Blackcoats books in under one year! Check out the description and links below:
THE HOLLOW EARTH. DINOSAURS. LIZARD PEOPLE.
STILL EASIER THAN HIGH SCHOOL.
After being abandoned by her former mentor, Holly finds herself questioning all her life choices. Before she can fully process everything, she and Adam are thrust into a new mission, deep within the Hollow Earth. With dinosaurs and Dragonkin lurking behind every corner, Holly’s skills as a Blackcoat are constantly tested. But while she has their back, can she trust C.H.E.S.S. her have hers?
When things start to spiral out of control—with the fate of the surface world in the balance—Holly has to pull herself together if she hopes to survive.
Just a quick update on Blackcoats. You can check out the series trailer on the books page of the website. Had some fun throwing it together. As for book 4 of Blackcoats, I’m currently making some final edits, it should be ready soon. Meanwhile, the outline for the 5th book has been finalized last week, and I’ve officially started writing the first draft. The fifth book will have to tie up all the loose ends, as it’s basically the finale to the Wrain story arc. (I’m looking at the sixth book as the begining of “season two,” and it’ll feature a completely new storyline and a major change in the status quo going forward.)
One last thing, the first book, Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking, is a quarterfinalist in the SPSFC. I’m honestly very surprised, and I’m under no illusions it’ll win or even be a finalist, but it’d be nice to make it as a semifinalist. (A number of the judges have admitted bias against YA books, so the fact that it made it this far is a major accomplishment.)
Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking is a quarterfinalist in the Self-Published Science Fiction Contest. I’m honestly surprised it made it this far. Next up, semifinals! Who knows, maybe Blackcoats will make it! On a related note, if you’re looking for some solid indie scifi books, check out the books below. They’re all pretty solid and deserve a look.
After much consternation, deliberation, and probably another unnamed “ation” or two, Team Space Lasagna is proud to announce the quarterfinalists for The SPSFC. Each team member read at lest 10-20% of 31 books this fall. We chose the 10 best books to move on to the quarterfinals as follows (in no particular order): A Star […]SPSFC: Quarterfinalists
Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking, the first book in my Blackcoats series is currently on sale on Amazon. The kindle edition is $0.99 and the paperback is $7.99. If you haven’t read it, now’s a great time to pick it up!
On a related note, the first draft of book four is nearing completion. I should have it finished within the next two to three weeks, at which point I’ll commission the cover while working on the subsequent drafts. Hopefully it will be out by the end of the year, though early next year is still a possibility.
An Orthodox Jew’s review: It’s not every book that I’ll stay up to 3 am on Shabbos just to finish it. Helene Wecker’s The Hidden Palace, despite being a direct sequel, is a different sort of book than The Golem and the Jinni–but that isn’t a bad thing. It focuses on a longer period of time, but it still has all the characters you love, and the prose is still so gorgeous yet fun and easy to read, I’d read it even if I didn’t care for the plot. And I do like the plot–yes, it can seem a little simplistic at times, and it could be argued that it relies too much on coincidence, but for me, the story just jelled really well. Besides, coincidence in stories like these feel more like the hand of G-d pushing things along, l’havdil like Megilas Esther, which is full of coincidences, until the end where everything ties together and it was all meant to be. Yeah, some folks may not like that in their storytelling, but here it really worked. It probably helped that I loved the characters, I loved the writing, and I loved how all the separate threads masterfully wove together to create a cohesive story.
My only real gripes were minor nitpicks, specifically regarding one character, who despite clearly being ashkenazi is learning Hebrew from her father with a sfardi pronunciation, when she’s reading what is clearly supposed to be gemara, she refers to it as Hebrew when it is actually Aramaic, and despite being uncompromising in her orthodox judaism, writes on Shabbos several times and doesn’t ever mention that it’s something she shouldn’t be doing, or rationalizing it. Oh, and there’s a scene where *spoilers* a character mentions the Golem of Prague, and how accoridng to some stories it went on a rampage, so he names his golem after a reletive of his who was very calm–and names the golem Yossele, which was the very name of the Golem of Prague–you’d think he’d know that, right? *end of spoilers*
Clearly though, these are minor nitpicks that unless you are an orthodox jew yourself, you probably won’t pick up on. As a whole though, this book is fantastic. Is it perfect? No–no book is. But it’s about as close as a perfect book could be, for me anyway. Jewish folklore, major historical events, magic, compelling characters, and a focus on storytelling that reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. This book is timeless, and anyone who picked up the first book would be doing themselves a disservice if they missed out on this one. I’m eagerly awaiting the third.
So the first Blackcoats book was released four months ago, and the third book was released within a month of the first. They’ve been selling alright by my standards, but not particularly well–at the rate I’m going, it will be years before I make my money back. That’s fine though, I still plan on publishing more books, and the reviews I’ve gotten have been great, so that’s been a good motivation.
I was really hoping to have the fourth book finished by now, but my work laid off a huge chunk of its employees, so I’ve been busier than I thought I’d be. Still, I’m over halfway through the first draft of the fourth book, and it’s coming along really well. Also, as a Holly-centered story, which it fun, but difficult to write sometimes–she’s so different from me in terms of personality, and I have to constantly make sure that it’s her voice that’s coming through. While the third book was a take on those alternate dimension/time travel stories, this one is a riff off of those old ‘hollow earth’ books, like Journey to the Center of the Earth and ERB’s Pellucidar series. I think you’ll all really enjoy it.
I still think I can have it out by the end of the year, but it’s just as likely it won’t come out until the first quarter of 2022. I’ll keep you guys updated if anything changes.
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. :)*
Blackcoats: Dead Man Walking
by Michael Lachman
My stars: 5
Zombies. Cryptids. Secret government agencies.
And Adam thought high school was tough.
When Adam arrives home to find his house swarming with government agents, he quickly discovers that his father was a secret government scientist specializing in fringe science and the paranormal. An agent reveals that Adam’s father was caught performing illegal experiments, including genetically modifying Adam’s DNA.
Now, with his father missing and the genetic tampering beginning to take effect, Adam’s only chance to find a cure is to help the agency track down his father. The mystery deepens as agents go missing, and all the evidence points to a man long dead. With the clock ticking and hints of a mole within the agency, Adam must uncover the traitor, find his father, and secure a cure—before…
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Cryptids, alternate dimensions, zombies, lizard-people—all that stuff is real. That’s where the Cryptid Handling and Extranormal Secret Service comes in. Adam and Holly are two teenagers drafted into C.H.E.S.S. against their will after being genetically experimented on by rogue government scientists. Now they’ll have to learn to work together if they hope to make it out alive.
Blackcoats is a new series, though I’ve been working on it for years. It began as an attempt to create my own Animorphs-inspired series, throwing in a healthy dose of Chuck, Fringe, Men in Black, and Spider-man. The end result is basically Alex Rider meets Maximum Ride.
The first book, Dead Man Walking, will be out on Tuesday this week, and the following book, The Next Mutation, will be out two weeks later. The third book, One World Over, will come out two weeks after that. All are available for pre-order on the Books Page. The plan at the moment is for the series to be comprised of five books, which will closed out the story and tie up all the loose ends. I have plans for further books, but whether or not I write them depend on if the demand is there and how well the initial five books sell. Like Animorphs, the books are written in first person POV, with each book being told from a different character’s POV. The first five books only rotate between Adam and Holly, but that will change if a sixth book is made. As of this writing, the fourth book is fully outlined and the fifth books is heavily outlined as well, though it won’t be finalized until the fourth book is finished. The goal is to have the fourth book out by the end of the year, and the fifth book out by June 2022 at the latest (though hopefully before then).
The books take place in the same world as A Spark Ignites, but other than the Inventor appearing in both, and a few blink-and-you-miss-it references and cameos, Blackcoats is it’s own separate thing. If you haven’t read A Spark Ignites, you’re not really missing anything, but if you liked Blackcoats, then maybe you should check Spark out.