Finished Draft and Hunt the Stars Proof Pages

Yesterday, I finished the draft of the next book after Hunt the Stars. I still need to do an end-to-end editing pass to tighten up a few things (and ensure everything makes sense… the last month has been a bit blurry), but the draft is done, the story is complete, and now I actually have something to edit!

I always set my Scrivener draft target to 100k words, and I always go over. This MS is about 107k, and it will likely grow in edits, because that’s how I roll. For reference, the finished draft of HTS is right at 113k.

And speaking of HTS, proof pages landed in my inbox less than an hour after I wrote THE END on book two, even though it was well past business hours in New York.

Conspiracy? Probably. ;)

Both things are due in two weeks, so no rest for me yet. Hopefully the proofs won’t take me too long, but it’s my very last chance to catch and fix errors, so I have to read it with attention to detail, which is harder when my brain feels like day-old mashed potatoes.

I love proof pages, though, because that’s when the book really starts to look like a book. Shh, no one tell my editor I’m over here sharing this, but behold, the first page!

The formatted first page of Chapter One of HUNT THE STARS, featuring an adorable fox-looking creature leaping over the chapter title.
Click to embiggen

Isn’t [REDACTED] adorable!! 😍 If you want to find out the significance, you could always use this opportunity to preorder the book. 😘😏

But for now, I’m disappearing back into the editing/proofing cave. See you in mid-August!

Hunt the Stars Cover Reveal & First Chapter!

I know I’ve been teasing this forever (and my newsletter subscribers got a sneak peek earlier this week), but the cover for Hunt the Stars is finally here, and it’s absolutely gorgeous!! 😍

Hunt the Stars Cover. A woman with a ponytail and a man with short hair in silhouette in front of a blue background of stars and alien planets.
Click to embiggen

Preorder:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | IndieBound

The silhouettes, the stars, the ship, the tiny creature that you’ll have to read to find out about!! 😉 I love it all.

I also got an amazing blurb from Kit Rocha:

Fans of Nalini Singh will swoon for this stoic psychic space warrior hero, and fall in love with a badass mercenary captain heroine who will go to any lengths to protect her wounded-squad-turned-found-family. Compelling, steamy, and impossible to put down–Mihalik has created a world I want to visit again and again for years to come. Give me more sexy hot psychic space aliens!

Kit Rocha, New York Times bestselling author

And in case you missed the back cover copy, here you go!

The critically acclaimed author of Polaris Rising takes readers on an exciting journey with the start of her brand-new series about a female bounty hunter and the man who is her sworn enemy.

Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.

With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.

But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.


But wait, I also promised you the first chapter! If you mosey over to the book page, you’ll find the entire chapter in it’s freshly copyedited glory. Chapter two will have to wait until closer to release, but I hope this at least gives you a little hint of Tavi and Torran.

And if you are able, please consider preordering the book or recommending it to your local library or telling your friends about it! :)

Preorder:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | IndieBound

Back Into The Deadline Cave

My next book (the second in the Starlight’s Shadow trilogy) is due a month from today. :flails: I’m on track, mostly, but I have to write at least another 20k words in that time, so I’ll be around even less than usual.

I’m trying to finish drafting by the end of the month, giving me time to do a quick editing pass, but we’ll see what happens. If it works, the book will be done in two weeks, which is completely wild to think about. I feel like I’ve been writing this book forever, but it’s only really been since March.

Of course, March also feels like it was a year ago, so… 🤷🏻‍♀️

In any case, if you want to keep up with me, I’m on Twitter most often. Right now, I’m waxing poetic about how perfect Ted Lasso is, even on the rewatch. Oh, and how For the Wolf put me through the wringer as a reader (in the best way!), before delivering an HEA. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Copyedits, Plumbing, and Scorpions

It’s been a week in the Mihalik household and it’s only Wednesday. In the best news, I turned in copyedits for Hunt the Stars yesterday, which means it’s continuing to inch ever closer to becoming a real book. To that point, I saw a sample of the interior layout this morning, and it’s looking really good! As a hint, let me just say that I will still need my metallic Sharpies for signings. :)

In less great news, last week our kitchen sink decided that it was done being a sink and wanted to try life as a tiny pool filled with icky drain water. Despite our best efforts (and a 25′ plumbing snake), we were unable to fix it over the weekend, so we called in the pros.

Kind of.

Our normal plumber was busy, but he recommended another company. They were… adequate…ish.

Yesterday, the plumber came out and started working, but after an hour or so, he decided that he needed a longer snake, which he didn’t have, so he’d have to come back.

So today he arrives with his snake and an extension he can hook on to make it longer. So far, so good. He runs 65′ of snake into the pipe, which is probably only 30′ from the sewer clean-out opening, but it doesn’t make it through. So he attaches the next part and keeps going.

Finally, we see the snake in the clean-out, but it doesn’t really look like it has anything on it, and water still isn’t draining. So the plumber decides to pull it back through with a bigger head on it. Still seems reasonable.

Only, he somehow manages to disconnect the two lines, so one gets stuck in the pipe without either end attached or accessible.

The plumber puts in a panicked call to his boss, they confer for a while, and he finally manages to fish it out. But then he’s spooked and refuses to try again, so he puts everything under the sink back together and tries running water.

It drains!

He doesn’t know how or why, but he charges us and skips off on his merry way. We let him go and considered it a sunk cost. Hopefully the drain will continue to work, but if not, we’re hiring someone else. 🤷🏻‍♀️

And, finally, to add insult to injury this week, while I was cooking bacon last night, a scorpion crawled out of the vent hood and fell onto the stovetop. By the time I safely moved the pan without dumping lava-hot grease everywhere, the scorpion had disappeared.

And lest you think I imagined the whole thing, it was Mr. M who pointed it out in the first place. He erroneously claimed it was a lizard, which is why I was trying to move the pan away to save its life. When we both saw Mr. Scorpion chilling on the stove, we switched from rescue to murder and started scrambling for appropriate murder equipment, but the scorpion had vanished.

Today, the scorpion is still missing. I’ve named him Phil and I hope to never see him again.

So that’s how my week is going. 😅 How about you?

The Tomato Thief

A black and white night-vision image of of opossum on our back deck.

This is Larry. Larry is a thief, albeit not a very sneaky one because he made quite the ruckus while climbing up into our container garden. And then, when I opened the door and yelled at him, he just continued munching on tomatoes like I wasn’t even there.

Bold, our Larry.

I wouldn’t begrudge him a tomato or two if he ate the whole thing, but noooooo. Larry likes to eat a few bites and then move on to a nice, fresh tomato, leaving devastation in his wake. For such a little guy, he really can pack away the food.

Larry finally moseyed on after I stepped outside and clapped at him. Lest you think me a heartless monster, I tossed the half-eaten tomatoes after him so he could continue his meal in the woods behind our house. I think he must’ve appreciated the gesture because we haven’t seen him in a couple of days now.

Or he’s just biding his time while planning his next attack. 😂

In non-opossum-related news, I’m still writing the second book of the Starlight’s Shadow trilogy (yes, the series has a name now!). I’m a little over 62k words now and aiming for 100-105k by August 15. I’m still on track, but only just. I haven’t started working weekends yet, but that time is coming soon. Related: how is June almost over?!?!

This book is a little different than the previous one. I thought it was terrible, but I started reading it from the beginning this weekend and it’s not (yet, at least—I’m not finished, lol).

But I can’t edit a blank page, so I’m moving ever onward because for me, at least, editing is waaaaaay easier than drafting. Once I have the whole picture, I can go back and smooth out the rough spots.

I hope. :)