Out of radio silence once more. And yeah, yeah, I know the song quote in question refers to April, but I'm planning ahead. Here's what the roster will bear for the coming month or so.
First up is the fourth and, I hope, final major edit pass on Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. There isn't that much story surgery to be done; it's mostly adding a few key things here and there, making sure I didn't miss some stuff along the way.
The real work is in what I call the "clichéctomy" pass, where I go through my list of common mis-usages and over-usages and purge them from the manuscript. I think I no longer use "less" when I mean "fewer" and vicey versey, but I still have plenty of other bad habits that I have to set aside the time to stamp out.
Bad writing is difficult to fight when you have little idea what good writing sounds or looks like, or why it is the way it is. The best literary writing was created by people who already had a firm grasp of what the rules existed to do (convey meaning, reduce ambiguity), and who knew how to break them creatively and selectively. Elementary, unpretentious writing is underrated, but the authors who made it central to their practice are receiving a better share of of deserved attention these days: Georges Simenon, for instance, or even the masters of pulp like Jim Thompson. I tried to use those folks as my model for AONO whenever it seemed possible, and not just because the venue of the story is itself pulp-noir-ish.
To my surprise, the cover design I created way back when still seems to hold up nicely. Most of the work was not in the design itself, but finding an image that seemed to fit the flavor of the story. Once I landed that, the rest of it fell into place in short order, and I haven't been motivated to tinker too much with it since.
The book is slated to go out to my select audience of beta readers by the end of February. They have until the end of March to read and respond, as I'd like to get the entire package wrapped and in the mail to all the rest of you by April/May at the latest.
After that, schedule still TBD, is the project formerly known as The Fall Of The Hammer, but I haven't the foggiest idea what it'll be called now. That's the least of my worries. On bad days I'm not even sure what it's going to be about!