One of the things I told myself coming back to writing was to be patient. To make sure the manuscripts were ready before sending them off or publishing them.

When I ran into trouble with my first two attempts, "Faerielander" and "The Reluctant Wizard," for instance, I set them aside. I didn't publish until my third book, "Freedy Filkins." It was hit or miss after that, but mostly hit.

But there were some clunkers along the way.

As of now, I have written 13 books that I haven't felt were ready for primetime. Someday, maybe, I'll go back and work on them some more, see which ones can be saved. But in the meantime, I've forged ahead.

When I had an opening with a major publisher for some thrillers, I wrote first "Deadfall Ridge" and then "Takeover." In both cases, I thought the books were ready. In the same way I thought my "Tuskers" books and "Snaked: and my "Virginia Reed Aventures"  and my "Vampire Evolution Trilogy" and all the books I've self-published were ready.

But for some reason, after three or four months, it became clear to me that I'd made some missteps with both thrillers. I don't think it was because I was impatient. Maybe it's because they are thrillers, very plot oriented, without any ability to liven up the story with supernatural elements, but time gave me a new perspective.

I mean, I thought the books were good when I sent them off. It wasn't impatience that got me but for some reason, these particular books turned out to have some ready fixes that I simply hadn't thought of...that I hadn't even known were necessary.

I will no longer send off any book without sitting on it for at least 3 months, even though in most cases, I'm not sure it will be necessary. But what this has taught me is that I won't always know if it is necessary until it happens.

Maybe I'm just second-guessing myself on these books because they weren't immediately accepted. Maybe if I applied the same analysis to my earlier books, I'd have come to the same conclusions. But I don't think so. There were a couple of books that had some weaknesses that I regretted, but I didn't have any choice because of the publishing schedule. But that was done with full awareness, and the weaknesses to me also had some interesting elements.

I suppose the same thing could be said to the weaknesses of "Takeover." I like what I did, but I need to admit that perhaps they don't serve the story.  Time has given me the ruthlessness to remove those elements and see if the story works better.

The interesting part to me is that what doesn't work on "Takeover" was the same reason I wrote the book in the first place. That is, if I hadn't done those character chapters early in the book, I wouldn't have written it at all. If I hadn't included the politics, the book would have seemed shallow to me.

But, I just didn't have the particular chops to make it work.

I suppose the lesson might be that one shouldn't try to write beyond one's means.  I certainly tried with this book, but I fell short. But I think I can fix it by sticking to what I do well.

The second half of the book is fine. It's the first and second acts that need to be refined. I'll just have to see if it is even possible.