*Taps mic and looks out into the empty room.* Anyone still out there? I know it’s been a few months, but I have some good news. Black Market, the sequel to Black Magic, is done! Well, the first draft anyway.

Here’s the thing about that. Just days after releasing the first Black Records book, my world was turned completely upside down by the arrival of the most wonderful beautiful bawling creature. Now, I consider myself at least passingly intelligent, and I’d anticipated a bit of downtime from writing while I adjusted to life as a father. Say, three weeks? After that, I imagined, I’d get right down to work blasting out page after page of the next book in the series. Can you guess what actually happened?

It’s not that I didn’t write. I had some great days, but they were few and far between. Often I was so tired I could barely focus on the page. I wrote paragraphs of gibberish that I deleted, rewrote, deleted, rewrote, and finally obliterated from the earth entirely. For every two steps forward, I suffered a gut punch that left me staggering several paces back.

Eventually I got over it. I buckled down and began writing again. At first it was a few hundred words a day, then that number creeped into the thousands. Baby’s five months sleep regression threw a pretty large wrench into things, but I persevered and dutifully hammered out a few pages almost every day. By the time the holidays had come and gone, I was back in the swing of things and finally able to rip out the last few chapters of a book that was now several months behind schedule.

So I edit it and publish it, yeah? Easier said than done. The first draft of Black Market was written by three different people. The me before my daughter was born, the me during the first sleep-deprived months after my baby was born, and the current me who has no freaking clue what the other two versions of me were thinking when they wrote the first two thirds of the book. The overarching story is sound, but the other two Marks had some great bursts of insight that led to new twists and turns that had never been planned in the original outline. There are some snarls that need untangling. If you’re a writer, you’re probably familiar with the idea that it’s advisable to put some time and distance between the first draft and the second. I have a page of notes I’m eager to apply to the first Black Market revision, but first I need to clear my head a little.

So I jumped right into Black Records #3, Black Ice. As of this writing, the first draft is 41% complete. That’s from just 9 days of writing. I’m typing furiously every day in an attempt to knock this book out in the next couple of weeks. Once that’s done, I’ll go back and apply those edits to turn the lumpy edges of Black Market into a nice polished story that I’m happy to release as soon as is humanly possible. The second I figure out a realistic release date, I’ll post it everywhere people follow me. Until then, thank you for your patience. Please rest assured that I hate waiting for new books as much as you do, and I’m working my ass off to get new stories into your sweaty little hands.

If you’re keen to follow along with my progress with either book, you can view it right here. If you’re a writer hoping to boost your daily word count, I’ll be posting daily work threads over on Google+. Share your goal and make your wrist and finger tendons scream for mercy as you knock down page after page of your work in progress.

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