My rewrite of book 1 of The Kestral Voyages, now retitled to be Race to Deep Abignon, was officially finished last night.  In the tradition of the 20BooksTo50K Facebook page, I saluted myself with a Montana Mule (Gentleman Jack whiskey, ginger beer and lime juice… there are SOOO many variations on the Moscow Mule out there these days).

Kestral 1 Race to Deep Abignon
The new cover for Kestral book 1.

I really enjoyed working on this rewrite.  I’d been initially afraid of making minor or major changes to the book, which was already considered by readers as one of my best.  But a good author is always learning and improving, and as I went through the novel, I found plenty of room for improvement.  For instance, I’ve found a few key places to apply the “Show, not Tell” rule and punch up the narrative overall.  And I found a few phrases that early-author-me thought were da s#!t when I first started… but that don’t read so well to me today.  And damned if I didn’t find a few typos in there, even after so many edits over the years!

I was assisted in this effort by MS Word, which has developed ways of suggesting changes to text, or pointing out oft-repeated phrases, that helped me tighten up the text overall (where needed; Word also makes dialogue suggestions that are not always helpful… but thanks for the input).  Don’t call this an endorsement or anything… but I still prefer Word for writing, editing and formatting my novels, and will probably be using it for years to come.

The Mary in 2018I also made changes that tightened up the characters themselves.  I made mention in an earlier post that I have a very different vision of Carolyn Kestral now than I had when I first started writing her.  This new image is reflected in the new cover, also created by myself.  The cover was done in Photoshop, combining the face of the new Kestral and interesting lighting effects, along with a new design for her space freighter, the Mary; I’ve depicted multiple versions of the Mary over the years, but this one is closer to the original description of the freighter than any I’ve done before.

The rest of the characters—Mark O’Bannon, Angel Shakra, Sarander Fi and Tirri Riza—still look the same (though I’ve re-emphasized Sarander’s size compared to the rest of the crew), so most of my edits were concerned with their dialogue, and giving them more individual mannerisms to make them shine a bit more.  Yes, this is a story for adults: There is some language, there is some sex, but nothing you won’t get from television (after 10 pm, anyway).

So, writing done… but the book still needs a few things before it’s ready for re-release, so be patient.  I’m moving on to the next book in the series, which is already off to a great start; and Race will need to have links and references to the new book, and the overall marketing program, before it’s released.  Right now it’s scheduled to be available in January or February of 2018, and I’ll be more exact as I get closer to having everything else done.