The Deadline Death March

Anyone who knows my work or reads this blog is familiar with how much I write.  I work on several novel projects at once (and maybe a short story or two), at various stages of completion.  This summer, though, thanks to prior commitments and moving publication schedules, I found myself in a collision course of deadlines. MENTATS OF DINE, THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS, and THE DRAGON BUSINESS all came due at about the same time.

I wrote the first draft of THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS, volume one in a new trilogy set in the Seven Suns universe,  last November and December in a high-energy rush. (Read my blog “How It’s Done” for a full description of that ordeal).  I spent the past six months polishing it, sending it through test readers, doing revisions.  The Rebecca did a complete line-by-line edit, and I keyed in all her corrections.  I delivered the final 830-page manuscript on July 14.  Tor Books and Simon & Schuster UK will publish it next June.

Brian Herbert and I started writing MENTATS OF DUNE last summer, and because of the nature of our collaboration, we wrote and edited our chapters, then spent months passing the manuscript back and forth for fine-tuning.  Eight drafts until we were finished.  Again, through test readers, did revisions, editing, more revisions, back and forth between Brian and me.  Rebecca did a complete line-by-line edit again, and I keyed in all her corrections. The 630-page final manuscript went to the editor on August 4.  Tor Books and Simon & Schuster UK will publish it next March.

For a change of pace, I signed up to write a new humorous fantasy novel, THE DRAGON BUSINESS, for a new serials program released by  This is some of my funniest stuff ever, a group of medieval con-men selling their services from kingdom to kingdom to kill a non-existent dragon.  Amazon will start releasing a chapter at a time this October, but I wanted the chance to write it all first, just to make sure all the threads were tied together.  While being buried in epic, complex space novels, I loved going off on this caper.  I started writing the novel in June, kept several typists busy from my typing service, and edited the draft chapters as they came in.  Sent the second draft around to test readers, then rewrote and made revisions, polished it one more time, and Rebecca gave it her final edit.  340 pages, delivered last night, August 18.

So, THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS delivered July 14, MENTATS OF DUNE delivered August 4, THE DRAGON BUSINESS delivered August 19.  No time for my brain to rest, though—Brian Herbert and I are writing HELLHOLE INFERNO for delivery by the end of the year, and I have a fourth Dan Shamble, Zombie PI novel (SLIMY UNDERBELLY) to write and deliver by October.

In our other hats as publishers of WordFire Press, Rebecca and I also have our busiest month of book releases.  Below are the covers for the new books we have coming out in August.  Better busy than bored!