Working on the initial research stages of my second novel, second in a series actually. I've got my first book in beta reading stage right now and I feel very good about it, so I doubt it'll take much more beyond one or two rounds of scattered rewrites to get it ready to send out. With that in mind, I'm following the advice of Jim Butcher, that the most important thing to do after writing your first novel is to start writing your second. I like that guy, excellent taste in hats. So, one of the problems I had with the first one was that I really, really really like really really for real reals wanted to talk about it. To someone. Anyone. Wherever I felt people might listen. Pretty sure I ended up annoying the crap out of people on Facebook when I yammered about it. What I hope is that a progress journal on an actual writing forum will help me cut down on that and actually elicit some good feedback in the process. More than anything, this is going to be a jumbled collection of my own thoughts on where I'm at, what I'm doing, why I hate myself for not writing more, that sort of thing. I wish I had an actual real live person to talk to about this stuff, but I live and work in Saudi Arabia as a security contractor, so believe me when I say that the people in my life are not exactly rocket surgeons. Don't get me wrong, they have plenty of great stories about the time they knifed that one guy and the face he made when he died, and that time in the UC2w33 with the AWA-10 the DERPS and all the other acronyms I can't freaking understand, but they just aren't reading types. Now, this second book is unlike the first in that I'll need to do research. A large part of the story will take place on sailing ships (fantasy setting with steampunk influences), and while I've always had an affinity for raising a black flag and swinging to, I don't really know much about sailing. The cannons make a cool sound, though. Working title is "Fire Sail," meant as a play on Fire Sale because it follows shortly after the local mage academy burns to the ground. The overall plot is that, in order to facilitate a ludicrously dangerous experiment, a group of young mages charter a disreputable ship in a disreputable port to act as a floating, extra-disreputable laboratory because no city or academy will grant them the permits to do it on-site. As is the way of things with dramatized science, everything goes wrong and they blow the ass off their ship, end up being "rescued" by privateers and set on a collision course with Dark and Ominous Destiny, all that crap. I confess that I'm somewhat stumped on the story I want to tell with this novel. I know that it plays a critical role in the overall narrative, lots of important things happen here, and I have a few great characters and a truly hate-worthy villain in short-shorts. But I can't figure out where the book should end, how much time they should spend at sea, that sort of thing. I want to get into the action a little sooner than last time. No zombies, no necromancy, none of that stuff. I spent ll last book mulching zombies with magic and fighting of a poisonous super-zed, so this really needs something else. Also, the next book is going to be set in this kingdom ruled by liches and smelling of vampire piss all the time, so the reader really needs a break from the undead. Ninjas? Would it be excessively silly to somehow include ninjas? m I babbling? I'm babbling.