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 […]
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.
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…
On top of turning 30 this week, I finished the first draft of another manuscript. I’ll probably do another pass over the next week or so, then put it to the side and outline another book, before jumping back into a manuscript I’d started a few months ago. I feel like I have too many plates spinning, and I’m on a time crunch. I’m writing them for my kids, but my daughter will be the right age in just eight years or so. That sounds like enough time, but it doesn’t feel like it. I have in my head six different books that I’d like to be finished by then before I can focus on the older-skewing ideas, but I don’t know if I’ll be fast enough to meet the deadline.
I’m a big sci fi guy. I used to love Doctor Who, although lately I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it. Meanwhile, I recently binged my way through The Orville, which I loved. Both shows are written by writers with similar politics, trying to explore political and philosophical issues through the lens of sci fi (as good sci fi generally does). So why was it that I enjoyed The Orville while being turned off by the recent season of Doctor Who?
The major difference between the two shows is how they explore their subjects. The Orville will raise an issue, explore it from both sides, tell you what each character thinks, and leave it to you to come to your own conclusions. It lets you think. Doctor Who on the other hand (I’ve noticed this with Supergirl as well) will show an issue, demonize anyone who holds an idea different from the writer/main character, hits you over the head with their ‘answer,’ telling you exactly what you should think. Even if you agree with everything they’re saying, its still patronizing.
The Orville is sci fi. Doctor Who is propaganda.
This realization made me realize what I hated about one of my shelved manuscripts. It was pushing a message, where my answer was the ONLY answer. And it just sucked. Rule of thumb, tell a good story before telling a good message, and second, don’t tell folks what they should think (or at least don’t make it so obvious), and instead let them come to the conclusion on their own. If you’re a talented enough writer, they’ll end up exactly where you want them anyway.
Yeah, I’ll admit the title is misleading. No, I’m not done with writing in it’s entirety, but I am done with this book. After thirteen drafts, its about as polished as I can make it. And I’ve got other half-completed manuscripts that need my attention. It feels weird, after having spent so long with something to put it aside. I’ve heard that art is never really finished, just abandoned, and the older I’ve gotten, the more true that seems to be. Can my manuscript be better?
Probably. But in its current state its as good as I can make it, as the writer I am today. I’ve very proud of it, and I’m querying it around. But the revision period is over. Perhaps if I get an agent, I’ll return to it again.
On another note, while I had previously spoke of the virtues of self-publishing, I now find myself perusing the traditional route. What changed, you may ask? I find myself with more patience ever since I became a father. I have time to query, to wait. This isn’t a race. And if in a few years I find myself still without an agent and a virtual stack of completed manuscripts on my hard drive, then I’ll probably dive into the self-publishing pool. But for now, I have time. For now, I wait.
Yeah, I haven’t been posting much lately. There’s a reason for that. The past few months have been very busy for me. First, there was the bar exam, and intense two day test that I spent months preparing for. Then I had to find a job to support me, my wife, and our daughter. Then I had to spend time either helping take care of my father-in-law, or spending time watching my daughter so my wife could. Then my computer broke (and every time I get it back, something else seems to be wrong with it. Hopefully the next time I get it back, it’ll be in working order). I was busy and stressed, and frankly I couldn’t get much writing done, and didn’t care to.
Then my father-in-law passed away. I was close to him, and loved him like my own father, so this hasn’t been the easiest time for me. I can honestly say that he was the best man I’ve ever known. It’s been barely two weeks since he passed, and it still feels raw. I’ve found myself writing more now, if only to express my emotions, to find some way to let them out. I keep on thinking back to the times I could have spent with him, but didn’t, often for my own selfish reasons. It’s hard not to dwell on such things.
So I’m not going to lie and say that I’ll be updating this blog every week. I honestly don’t know when the next time will be. Right now I’m just going to focus on my life, my family, and my writing. But I will try to post here more often. But for the time being, don’t expect it to be a regular thing.