Operation Trojan is currently in the publication pipeline and should be out in a couple of weeks. Getting this book out has been overcoming one obstacle after another. But I wanted to get this book done and complete the story I started writing three years ago. Below is the Afterword for Operation Trojan which describes some of these obstacles.
I have said in every book that writing a book is hard. Yep, still true. This one was even harder and upon some reflection, I think I know why. After all, you would think it would get easier the more you do it. It hasn’t. This one took more dedication than the other ones to finish. But I wanted to finish it because I wanted to finish the story. At least finish this story that I started almost three years ago.
While writing the rough draft took about the same amount of time as the previous books, it was more of a struggle. I could see the destination and where I wanted to go. I knew how the story started and how it ended. I just had to connect the two points, which took a bit of work and exploration. But that exploration is part of the fun as you find new and interesting things in that exploration. But I was also a bit fatigued. These books consumed quite a bit of my life these past three years, and I was ready to take a break. I was so relieved when I finished the rough draft. The story was done! Now, I just needed to make it presentable.
I have written in the past that I have three editing passes on the book, by members of my family. The editors are my wife, Michelle, who does the “I don’t get this” pass. She usually finds the parts of the story where people will probably get lost and helps me fix it, so things are clearer. Then there is my mom, Connie, a retired newspaper editor, who takes my rough writing and beautifies the language. Then there is my dad, Jack, who is a retired newspaper sports copy editor. He tends to find the grammar and punctuation mistakes everyone else misses. After all of that is done, I do one last read, where I usually find one or two minor corrections.
Well, the editing process started off great and we were making excellent progress. I was holding out hope that I could have this book out by the end of 2017. Then came Hurricane Irma.
I live on the west coast of Florida, in the Tampa Bay region. Around Labor Day 2017, long-range projections for Irma’s path started taking it into my part of Florida. The entire area started going into storm-prep mode or evacuation mode. Gas became a very rare commodity, so much so that our Toyota got the best tank of gas its ever going to get as the only gas I could find was Premium. While a lot of people got out of the area, we decided to ride out the storm. I froze editing on the book, making sure there were multiple copies of the latest version, so work done to date wouldn’t be lost. Seeing as we didn’t know where or how bad the storm was going to be, a wise precaution. I put up the storm shutters, and we all huddled together and rode out the storm as a family.
As it turned out, Irma went up the middle of the state and was just a Category 1 hurricane at its center when it reached my area. I wasn’t near the center, so it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Around us, we had some trees down and were without power for a couple of days. We got lucky. But Irma did take some wind out of our sails. It took a couple of weeks for things to get back to a semblance of normal. It was a month before crews were able to pick up the pile of storm debris we left at our curb.
Once things settled down, life started to get crazy. My wife had a big project at work that absorbed a lot of her time. My parents had things going on. And before we knew it, it was the holidays. After the holidays, we made slow progress as things kept coming up. I spent two weeks in California helping my brother and best friend move. My wife and I started a major project around the house, taking advantage of her mother being out of town for a few months.
But we got past all of that and finishing the book has become a focus again. The end is near. And now I am reflecting on the journey.
It has been a long three-year journey. I started this train thinking of a series of short stories. But the story evolved. The series of short stories turned into a novel, then two novels, and now this third novel. Are there things I would change if I did it over? Plenty. But I am very proud of the work I have done on this story. And I learned a lot doing it. I hope you have enjoyed it. Because I really wanted to tell a good, interesting story. I hope that is what you found. If you have, then I have done my job.