All in all, my writing is on track.

I've thought of a couple of extra scenes for Tuskers IV. I have a couple of major characters who kind of fade in the second half of the book, so I've figured out how to include them again.

I'm  eager to get Fires of Allah finished.

I took a week off from writing while family was home. It was good timing, with Tuskers IV finished.
Been doing my walks in the cool of morning instead of the evening. Doesn't work when I'm writing, because I really don't get going on the actual writing until later in the day.

I've refined the process I'm going to be following from here on out. Roughly speaking, I'm doubling the time I spend on a book. The actual writing will probably be about the same. Once I'm in the flow of a story, I really write at the pace the story comes to me. But I'm going to spend some time thinking about the book before I start. I'm adding a step of editing the previous days writing in the morning, I'm going to do a full rewrite before I send it to my editor, Lara, and a full rewrite when it comes back.

I'm in no hurry. I can still produce a goodly number of books at this rate and it's time to try to apply everything I've learned.

Meanwhile, I've got what I think is a very cool idea for my next new book. I'm very excited by the possibilities of it. I haven't decided if I want to make it the next Virginia Reed book, which will require putting in a supernatural element (which happens to be kind of cool) and changing the time of the real events.

Or I can write it as a straight historical.

I've got until the first of the year to decide. Like I said, Step #1 is to fully think through the book before I start.

I'm applying some of this new process to Fires of Allah, which means it will take up most of the rest of the year. In the in-betweens, I'm going to finish off my Lander series. I still have to write the ending of the 2nd book, Zombielander, and I'm undecided about whether to try to include a fifth book. But the other four books just require that I finish them and polish them up.

Like I said, I feel like my writing is right on track. I believe I'm getting better, I'm getting the hang of what a good story should be, I'm refining the process of creation. So all that is going smoothly.

The publishing front will always rely on the other guys. When and how and where is up to them. While somewhat frustrating, the difference in sales is Night And Day. The publishers have their own followings, which really helps.

When I put out my own books, sales are slim to none.  And yet...strangely it doesn't seem to matter to me that much. I still get great satisfaction out of writing the books, making them as good as I can, getting them edited, finding nice covers, and simply putting them out. Every book I put out is up to my standards, so the books I put out myself are just as good as the ones the publishers are doing.

It's just that I've filled all the available slots already, and I don't know if I want to go searching for other publishers too.

So I'm just plopping my own books out there every few months with zero expectation.

It's as if I was a painter who finished a painting he really liked and he just hangs it on the wall of his own office. It may only be seen by him and a few family and friends, but the painting is still the painting, and there is something to be said for that.

I've thought it all through, and I'm pretty satisfied with the way things are going. The quality of the books isn't dependent on sales, really.

I was on fire at work on Thursday. I think I sold 8 to 10 of my books. I did it out of sheer enthusiasm.

I had two separate instances of readers coming in specifically to tell me how much they enjoyed my books. I mean, they really did mean it. I could tell.

That counts for a lot.

So I'm just going to keep on doing what I'm doing.