Terminal Peace, Draft One

I started writing Terminal Peace in August of 2018 … a few months before Amy got sick. After her cancer diagnosis, I tried to continue working on the book when I could for a while. A few hundred words here and there when she was free from the hospitals and I had the spoons to write.

Eventually, I gave up. I couldn’t focus on the book, and I certainly wasn’t in the right mental space to write humorous SF. I spoke with my agent and my editor, both of whom were incredibly understanding and supportive. I set the partial manuscript aside and focused on taking care of my wife and kids.

A month or so after Amy died, I started writing again. I had a hard time caring about the story. My life was very different from when I’d started. I was different. I ended up starting from page one, reusing a fair amount of what I’d already written, but adjusting the story as I went. I also added a new plotline that let me process a little of what we’d been going through.

Last night, I finished the first draft of the book.

It still needs a lot of work. Like all of my first drafts, it’s crap — but it gives me a better grasp of the story, and allows me to go back and turn it into something cohesive and exciting and … well … good. I hope.

I have no idea how long it will take me to turn this into a final, publishable manuscript. Nor do I know when DAW would be able to schedule it for publication once that’s done. I’m still not writing as much or as quickly as I was before everything went to hell at the end of 2018, but I’m doing better than I was.

If I had to guess, I’d say Terminal Peace would probably be out within 1-2 years. But that’s a complete guess.

Thanks to everyone for their patience and support. It helps to know people are excited to read the third and final Janitors book, and it helps too that everyone has been so understanding about how long it’s taking me to finish it.

And as a reward for reading this far, here’s a snipped from chapter one that will almost certainly be changed by the time the book is published:

After a month of repairs and upgrades, Mops barely recognized the Pufferfish bridge. Gone were the video game controllers Grom had used to simplify navigation and tactical. All the exposed circuitry and wiring had been repaired, and the various notes and reminders Kumar had scrawled on the walls were scrubbed clean. The air held no trace of the old methane smell from spilled alien slushees.

At Mops’ request, they’d even installed a cupholder at Grom’s station.

Autographed Copies of Terminal Alliance: 48-Hour Sale

Terminal Alliance Cover Art by Dan Dos SantosI’m trying an experiment. For the next 48 hours, I’m going to offer direct sales of the hardcover of Terminal Alliance, the first book in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy.

I’ve generally avoided doing direct sales, because of the time involved. But, well, I gotta have *some* way to pay for the rest of this tattoo! 😉

The details…

  1. Cost is $20. This includes media-rate shipping within the U.S. (I’m sorry, but I’m not ready to deal with non-U.S. shipping hassles this round.) PayPal button is below.
  2. Make sure you include a U.S. shipping address.
  3. The book will be autographed and personalized (if desired). Enter the name of the person(s) you want the book signed for. And please double-check the spelling 🙂
  4. Books will ship within 2-3 weeks. I have some stock on hand, but I have no idea how many people will want copies. I’ll mail out initial orders relatively quickly, but after that, I’ll need to order additional stock. Sorry about that.

Contact me if you have any questions.

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Number of Copies
Name (for personalization)




Terminal Uprising, Now in Convenient Paperback Form!

Today is publication day for the mass market paperback of Terminal Uprising, book two in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy. Yay!!!

Terminal Uprising Cover Art by Dan Dos Santos

This means the ebook price has also dropped. Yay again!!!

If for some reason you’re missing book one, or you’d like to catch up on other Hines books, I’ve also checked and updated the links on my Bookstore page. Some of the old B&N links had broken, but everything should be working again.

I’m continuing to make slow but steady(ish) progress on book three, Terminal Peace. I don’t know exactly when it will be turned in, or when after that it will be put on the publication schedule, but we’ll get there. Thanks to everyone for their patience and understanding.

And…that’s it for today. Happy Tuesday, all!

Post-Convention: Back to Real Life

ConFusion was a strange experience this year, in some ways. I didn’t bring my camera. I only did one panel, along with a reading and the group autographing. I didn’t even wear the fancy author jacket. I just showed up in my T-shirt and jeans and mostly just hung out.

This was also the first time I’d brought my son along. It was fun getting to spend the weekend with him. I know he got a bit bored when I’d get caught up talking to all of my grown-up friends, but I think he had a good time. He attended a few panels on his own, went swimming, did some art stuff, played Pokemon Go with me and Suzanne Church … and at the end, he said he wanted to come back again next year.

One of the best parts for me — really, the primary reason I wanted to go — was seeing people again. This was my first convention in more than a year.

One of the most frustrating parts — as it always is — was not having enough time with everyone.

Lots of people asked how I was doing, or expressed condolences, or said they didn’t know what to say, or gave me a hug… and it all helped. It all made me feel cared about and less alone with everything I’ve been through in the past year and a half. Thank you all for that.

And then I came back home and spent an hour shoveling snow and ice so I could get my car into the garage.

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Back home, and back to the routine. It’s almost five months now since Amy died. Fourteen months since she started getting sick. The sadness and the loneliness and the emptiness are all still very much there, but I’ve been feeling more functional. I’m continuing to do what I can to take care of myself and the kids. And to paraphrase my therapist, there’s a bit of confidence that I can do this. I don’t like it, and it’s a hell of a lot harder, but I’m managing.

I was even able to break through the last part of the outline on Terminal Peace and get back to writing the ending this week.

I’ve done a fair amount of reading about grief and being a widower and single parent, trying to be proactive about self-care and caring for the kids. Some of the changes I’ve made in the past months…

  • Exercise – I’ve been doing this pretty much since Amy got sick. I think it’s a coping mechanism. But as long as I don’t get obsessive about it, it’s a healthy one. (Side note: No less than three people last week commented that I looked (or felt) like I’d been working out. That was unexpected, but nice.)
  • Game night – I’ve got a group of gaming friends, and we never manage to get together to do stuff. Well, I herded those cats into a monthly get-together, because I need more social interaction and escape. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep that going.
  • Therapy – I started back with my therapist, and have also been attending a weekly support group for parents who’ve lost a partner. It helps me to stay in touch with the grief and keep working through it, and to make sure I’m continuing to take active steps to manage everything the best I can.
  • Asking for Help – I recruited my father to take my son to one of his weekly things. It’s only one night a week, but it frees up a couple hours of my time, and it’s a little less stress on my shoulders. (I need to keep working on this one…)
  • Saying Yes to Social Stuff – As much as I can, if someone invites me to lunch or a movie or whatever, I’m trying to say yes. Even if I’m not always feeling super-social. It helps me to get out and stay connected with other people. (I need to get more proactive about initiating this stuff.)
  • Letting Myself Grieve – Sometimes the grief just hits. It happened at work a couple weeks back, triggered by a conversation about hospitals. It happened Saturday afternoon at the con, and I have no idea what cause it that time. Rather than trying to keep the pain locked away, I try to let it just happen. Let myself be sad. Let myself miss her. Let myself cry, if it happens. It hurts, but there’s a sense of release to it, and I’m more functional afterward.

So to answer the most frequently asked question of the weekend, I’m doing okay. Not great — it’s probably going to take a while to reach great — but okay. It hurts, but I feel like I’m getting closer to acceptance of what my life looks like now.

I think Amy would be proud of how her husband and kids are holding up and working through things.

ConFusion

After more than a year away from the convention scene, I’ll be at ConFusion in Novi this weekend. My schedule is relatively light, which is probably for the best:

Saturday

  • 10 a.m. – Evolving Visions of Toxic Masculinity (with Jason Sanford, Marsalis, Kameron Hurley, and Brandon O’Brien)
  • 3 p.m. – Mass Autographing
  • 7 p.m. – Reading (with Cherie Priest and Anthony W. Eichenlaub)

My son is coming with my this year. I’ll probably be splitting my free time between catching up with all of my SF/F friends and showing him around the convention. My main goal is just for both of us to have a fun, relatively laid-back time. And of course, to catch up on more than a year’s worth of hugs from everyone!

Jim C. Hines