Back In The Game
Well, now that the dust has settled and things are mostly back to normal–as normal as things get around here, that is–I’m back at it, and banged out around 4,700 words last night on the latest book. I have to finish it by December 3, as that’s when I’m supposed to release it to the editor. Of course, it’s only 65% done, but hey, I’m up for it.
I was going to release Tribes as my next book, but it wasn’t coming along all that well for me, so I’ve tabled it for the moment until I can figure out how to make it more exciting and fun, something which has eluded me for some time. I like the general story, about researchers at the South Pole uncovering something from the distant past that has a great amount of value in the present day, valuable enough to finally push the United States into direct conflict with the happy People’s Republic of China with our intrepid researchers caught in the middle (and where their outpost is suddenly ground zero between U.S. Army Rangers and Chinese Marines), but while the framework is there, I’ve had a lot of trouble building up the body mass that such a story should sport. So, Tribes is out of the running for the nonce.
But reaching into my vast collection of old stories, scripts, and half-completed novels, I pulled out a work that thrilled the socks off me when I first wrote it. In 1983.
It’s a post-apocalypse science fiction adventure script called Earthfall, which I’ve been busily converting into a standalone novel. It takes place in the not-so-distant future where an unforunate nuclear exchange between the U.S. and a resurgent nationalist Russia pretty much altered the course of human history, as the detonation of several hundred nuclear weapons will do. The U.S. had a sustainment plan since the Reagan years called Harmony Base, a subterranean facility buried several hundred feet below the surface of western Kansas, where a mixture of civilians and military types essentially shelter in place for a decade before emerging from the base to rebuild and renew. A freak accident places the installation in jeopardy, and a team of explorers is dispatched to distant California, where they have to locate items that can restore Harmony Base to functionality–otherwise, everyone in the base will kick the bucket in two weeks.
Readers of The Gathering Dead series of books will instantly identify Command Sergeant Major Scott Mulligan as Gartrell’s progenitor. Like Gartrell did in the Dead books, Mulligan carries the dramatic weight of the story, a fifty-something warrior who is tasked to carry out one final mission in a world that’s just not as lifeless as it looks. I liken the work to The Road Warrior meets Damnation Alley with a little of The Hills Have Eyes thrown in for good measure. It should be released in ebook and print in the middle of December.
And after that, I start winding up on another McDaniels/Gartrell ouvre with some support from Sergeant Jorge Roche, presuming I can come up with a suitable story.
That’s all for now, folks. Next up, an update on The Gathering Dead film. Stay tuned.