February 10, 2020 Newsletter

I first published this military science-fiction/action novel way back in 2011. It was my first 'published' novel. Since then the publisher has shuttered his doors. All rights reverted back to me. Giving me the opportunity to hit this one hard with the revision hammer. And boy! Did it ever need revising!

 

I've learned a lot about the craft since 2011. It's clear this was rushed. I feel bad for those who bought the earlier copy-- it's that bad. But all first novels kinda stink. As I work on these latest revisions, I become more and more pleased, and can't wait to share it all with the world (if it'll give me a second chance after that first debacle).

 

I think the best way to illustrate what I'm talking about is to show you the progress I've made. The following paragraphs are the actual text from the original, the first big revision, and what I hope will be the final draft. These are the words that either opened or will open the novel. So:

Original opening:

 

     Easing his van into the parking slot, Hetz tabbed the power-down key and stepped from the vehicle. The five human, byveri and cavaxian men and women traveling with him, each in nondescript black sweaters and pants, a plain travel cylinder slung over one shoulder, followed him onto the rough plascrete lot. Hetz paused at the van’s rear bumper, savoring the cool breeze that blew in with the tide. Heavy with the spicy, invigorating scent of island pines, it encouraged deep, relaxing breaths as it dried the sweat on his brow. He dropped his hands into his trench coat pockets, felt the trembling in his fingers ease as he caressed the Krakker 303 snug within the right pocket holster.
     Across the bay, Cerradis Starport bustled with activity. A mid-size freighter heaved skyward, the rumble of its Columbus thrusters merging with the natural thunder of an approaching storm. Hetz watched it ascend into the gloomy evening sky, its passage through the clouds illuminated by flashes of lightning.
     “Yes,” he said in a low voice, smiling at the nervous anticipation in his stomach. “A storm certainly descends upon these shores tonight.”

Mid-revision changes:

 

     Hetz eased his van into the parking slot, tabbed the power-down key, and stepped out. The five human, byveri, and cavaxian men and women with him followed. Each wore black sweaters, pants, and boots, and carried a plain travel cylinder over one shoulder.
     He paused at the van’s rear bumper and inhaled the cool breeze blowing in with the tide. Heavy with the scent of island pines, it encouraged deep, relaxing breaths. He put his hands into his trench coat pockets. The trembling in his right hand settled as he caressed the Krakker 303 snug in its holster.
     Across the bay, Cerradis Starport bustled. A freighter heaved skyward, the rumble of its Columbus thrusters merging with an approaching storm’s thunder. It ascended into the gloomy evening sky, its passage through the clouds illuminated by flashes of lightning.
     “Yes,” he murmured. “A storm certainly washes upon these shores tonight.”

Final revision:

 

     Hetz eased the stolen van into the parking slot, jabbed the power-down key, then clenched the steering wheel with both hands. His pulse ticked hard and sweat glazed his forehead.
     Ten minutes, then either they’ll be dead, or my team’ll be dead. Probably some of both. It’d been a while since he’d felt this anxious. He whispered, “Let’s do this.”
     When he stepped out, his five human, byveri, and kavax associates followed. Each wore black sweaters, pants, and boots, and carried a plain mesh backpack over one shoulder.
     He paused at the van’s rear bumper and inhaled. The cool breeze washing in with the tide carried the scent of island pines, which encouraged deep, relaxing breaths. He dropped his hands into his trench coat pockets. The trembling in his right hand settled as he caressed the Krakker 303 holstered within.
     Across the bay, Cerradis Starport bustled. A freighter heaved skyward, the rumble of its Columbus thrusters merging with an approaching storm’s thunder. Flashes of lightning illuminated its ascent through the gloomy dark-gray clouds.
     “Yes,” he murmured. “A storm certainly looms upon these shores tonight.”

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