Yesterday I put my third Christmas book up for pre-order (you can find it here). Release date is November 15th, so it needs a bit of a quick turnaround but it shouldn't be too hard as its went off to the editor in pretty good shape this week. I'm anticipating it back on Friday so next week will be about tweaking.
This morning I enjoyed my best period on Slim 5 in a while, getting half a chapter or so, which I then uploaded from my phone to the computer. The manuscript is sitting at 44,236 words, which is actually close to the length of the other four books already (44k - 54k), although it feels like there's a way to go in this one. I'd like to keep it to under 65k if possible. If it ends up at 90k or something it'll be way out of proportion to the rest of the series.
I actually started trying to reorganise it again by making notes on each chapter, before thinking, screw it, and just picking up where I'd got to. It's way easier to edit a finished mess than half a finished mess, and only an amateur throws away 44,000 words. I've done it a few times, but not often since I started self-publishing. Once you have a certain amount of experience (my own is over 30 completed books now) you understand that you're going to get sticky sections, but if you can just keep the new words coming you'll eventually figure it all out.
Actually this morning, I was thinking about how people must perceive me, with all this talk of Christmas books and mysteries. I've long felt pigeonholed as a science fiction writer, but the truth is that I don't belong in any particular genre. I only gained that label after the Tube Riders series was a minor success, but Underground was actually my first science fiction novel. The six or seven I'd written before that were everything from horror to psyche drama to comedy. I'm not really sure what is even my preferred genre anymore, I just like telling a good story. One thing I do feel though is that I much prefer writing one-offs. The series thing is 100% about trying to make money in self-publishing. Exile would probably never have come along if I hadn't self-published Underground. I see people with 30+ books in the same series and I wonder how on earth they can maintain the interest. I like to tell a story and then say goodbye to the characters, not dig them up over and over again.
On a similar theme, I saw the new Star Wars trailer yesterday, and while I'm looking forward to seeing it, I wonder at the point of reviving Palpatine. Sure, he was a cool bad guy, but you know, he died. It feels like he's only been brought back to life in order to untangle the unholy mess that was made of Last Jedi. Still, one way or another, it'll probably be entertaining.
Outside the writing, I've started getting my dried persimmons peeled and hung. I'm more of a Japanese grandmother than most Japanese grandmothers, and as far as I can see I'm the first person on my street to do some. I just feel that its a shame to waste the fruit on the massive persimmon tree which overhangs my garden, even if I'm the only one who ever eats them. Lucky escape yesterday though - I was out picking a few more when I looked down to see something moving on a squashed one on the floor below me. It was a giant Japanese hornet, all of a thumb's length long. I was too scared to pick any more after that...!