When you ask a writer what their process is, some will tell you they outline others will tell you they just sit down and start writing. Some will look at you and then shrug before saying it changes with every project. For me, it’s a little of all that. One thing is usually true, however. When I finally sit down to write, I have an idea where the story is going and how to get there. Oh, I might struggle with the opening paragraph or first few pages, but I know what the story’s about.

Sure, there are times the story might take a left turn before finally getting to the end. Sometimes, characters decide they don’t want to die even if I think the plot needs it. But very rarely do I get into a story and realize that it has gone completely off the rails and there is no nope of saving it. Usually, what happens is that I realize the short story I planned is really part of a novel and, if I begin the story, I will find myself having to write the novel.

The going off the rails is what happened with Battle Wounds. Or, more precisely, it never got on the rails. Yes, I had the story drafted but it just didn’t ring right with me. If it was a standalone short story that wasn’t populated with characters who already have a backstory and all, it would work. But, as part of the Honor and Duty universe, not so much.

Well, to be honest, it would work as a prequel novel.

And, no, I’m not going down that road. Having short stories that take place before the series opens is more than enough. (Yes, yes, I know I just jinxed myself. Without warning, Myrtle the Evil Muse will hit me over the head with the book and not let me go. Sigh.)

Does this mean the short story is off the schedule? Absolutely not. In fact, it should be ready for publication next week some time (assuming my beta readers and editor are available the first of the week). The reason is that about three minutes after I realized why I’d been so bothered with the original draft, I also realized what the story should be. It came to me pretty much full-blown. Now I just need to sit down and write it. That’s my goal over the next couple of days.

Knock on wood.

That means I’ll be announcing its release soon. In the meantime, if you haven’t read the other titles in the series, be sure to check them out. Links to the short stories are included below. Also, as I mentioned yesterday, I’d really appreciate it if you would leave reviews over on Amazon. They really do help. Thanks!

Taking Flight

Duty, honor, sacrifice. That motto meant everything to newly commissioned Second Lieutenant Ashlyn Shaw. She thought she understood the meaning of those simple words. Little did she know.

Challenged by those who believed she made it through the Academy on her family’s coattails, a roommate who just wants to see “some action” and a gunnery sergeant determined to make a real Marine out of her, Ash soon realizes what it means to be a Marine. As the signs point to war on the horizon, she is determined to do everything she can to serve Fuercon and do the Corps proud.

Battle Bound

Newly promoted, Captain Ashlyn Shaw has been ordered to take Delta Company to the Bennington System. Their mission is simple: secure groundside defenses and seek out the Callusian invaders. It should be a simple assignment. The Fuerconese Navy had proven itself time and again since war had been declared to be more than a match for the Callusians. Once Taskforce Liberator, under the command of Admiral Tremayne, secured the system approaches, Ash and her Devil Dogs could get to work.

Except no battle plan ever survives the first encounter with the enemy. This time the Callusians are breaking pattern and it will take everything Tremayne and Ashlyn have to lead their people to victory.

The Devil Dogs will get the mission done, no matter what the cost.