My Latest Novel, Losing Dani Strumm

Updated: Jan 27

Today I wanted to write a little about my latest novel, Losing Dani Strumm. It's the story of a young military graduate who has dreamed of space exploration her entire life. Raised by her father and losing her brother to suicide, it was difficult for Dani to focus on her academy training. Eventually, she graduated and excelled in her preparations for the New Earth Corps.

The story begins with Dani on a routine mission setting satellites in orbit around the earth-like planet to observe and take readings for future exploration; this is when disaster strikes. Finding herself stranded on the planet's surface injured, with two weeks supply of food, a few days of oxygen, and help nearly two months away.

My inspiration for this story comes from deep within me and is the seed for many of my books. At the fundamental, survival in a terrible situation in which you have no control over.

The world around you is falling apart, and your life is in danger at every turn, yet you must survive.

This idea was the foundation of my post-apocalyptic series Pandemic Dawn. Not all of my stories are of survival. However, many of them are.

I have enjoyed writing this novel, and at the time of this blog, I am approximately half-way through the rough draft.

I have searched and found who I think will be perfect for the cover; I have spoken to her, and she agreed to do it, so I'm excited about that.

I have also begun the editing portion. My least favorite part because of my dyslexia. I don't allow my dyslexia to slow my rough draft of the chapters; however, I have to read and re-read things many times when it comes to editing.

One may ask, why don't you have an editor or copy editor take care of it? Simple, I do, but they charge for their time, and if I were to send them a manuscript in the rough draft form I initially write the story in, it would be tens-of-thousands of dollars for editing.

My first novel in the Pandemic Dawn Series was 70,000 words. When I sent it to the copy editor, they quoted an estimated $8,000 for editing, assuming there were an average of corrections to be made, which was not the case.

Over the years, you will have many friends and family who offer to "edit" your book, not knowing what they are offering. They think simple grammar and spelling is all that matters, but there is so much more to it than that, and copy editors are worth every penny they charge. I just don't have that many pennies.

So I write my rough drafts, sometimes rewrite them to get the feel and continuity I want, tighten up the story, drop unnecessary descriptions or explanations, and then the chapter heads to my editing stage.

Some days I edit chapters and later write other chapters. Sometimes I spend days just writing. I go with what I feel.

I have approximately 35-40,000 words written for Losing Dani Strumm so far, and maybe another 20-30,000 to go?

My guess is it will be ready for this spring. I am just getting back into the story after putting it down for a year. After Pandemic Dawn Book IV: Before the Sun Sets, I took a break from writing for my other business responsibilities.

Since COVID, I have had to close my cafe and limit my antique store open-time each week, which has given me more time to write.

I do love to write and tell stories. I have many ideas written in my little book of stories, and I hope to write them all someday.

Losing Dani Strumm will officially be my eighth novel, though I have written many stories never published and just over 700 sermons texts. Two of my books are religious topics, but science fiction is my favorite to write.

As soon as I finish Losing Dani Strumm, I am sure I will get started on my next writing adventure. I haven't decided if it will be the fifth Pandemic Dawn or the prequel novel to Pandemic Dawn about Virgil and Tanner.

Another project I cannot wait to write is a western I have been working on for about a year. I have the main characters finished and the main story arc complete. My goal for this story is to keep it a pocketbook size, like the Louis L'Amour books my grandfather used to read.

It is more challenging than most think to write a great short story. You don't have the time to develop the characters, set scenes, slowly smolder a relationship. You have to make the reader connect with your characters quickly and build relationships your readers will care about within a few pages and does not feel contrived or rushed.

I applaud short story writers, though the gigantic novelists usually get the praise.

I initially write Pandemic Dawn to be a short story, which has turned into a 5th novel, coming soon.

So, the prequel, the western, and maybe Makayla Atkin's Pandemic Dawn spin-off will all be short stories. It will be good for me to do short stories. I have many ideas written down that are just not novel worthy tales but still worth telling.

So, in keeping with the theme of this blog, I will stop here. I think this will be the shortest post I've made to date—probably half of what I usually write.

Maybe not.

Until next time, write all those ideas for stories down, even if they are not complete! You never know what may come of them!





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