I feel as if I’ve been on the road to Release Day for most of this summer, but at last it’s here! We made it! A Bone to Pick should now be available in print and ebook formats through a wide variety of outlets!
What’s it about?
In case you’re new to this blog, here’s the book description for A Bone to Pick:
XK9 Rex is a dog who knows too much. Now his past is gunning for him.
Rex and his Packmates were bio-engineered and cyber-enhanced to be cutting edge law enforcement tools. So smart they’re considered uplifted sapient beings on Rana Habitat Space Station. Rex may be the Leader of the Pack on Rana, but his past is still on his trail.
Before Rex came to Rana Station, he ran afoul of Transmondian spymaster Col. Jackson Wisniewski. He deliberately flunked out of the espionage program and threatened Wisniewski’s life. Now Wisniewski wants Rex dead. Transmondian agents watch and wait for any opportunity to strike.
Rex takes pains to evade his old enemy. His human partner, Charlie, faces a different struggle. He works to recover from catastrophic injuries – and comes face-to-face with a once-in-a-lifetime love he thought he’d lost forever.
Can Rex and Charlie confront their pasts and secure their futures? Or will events force them to sacrifice everything?
The Road to Release Day
If you’ve been following this blog, you might feel you’ve been on the road to Release Day along with me. It hasn’t exactly been a full summer of unrelieved hype, but I have written about this book, um, a time or two.
In June I blogged about my long writing process in Writing A Bone to Pick and Almost There. Tangentially, I also touched on some aspects of creating Rana Station, home of the Orangeboro Pack, in Real and Fictional Space Stations.
As the road to Release Day grew shorter, I blogged about The Story Behind A Bone to Pick’s Cover, which probably was a longer, more involved story than you might expect. Last week I shared a short excerpt from Chapter One in Midnight Crop Inspection.
So now it’s here! Today is Release Day! Yay!
Okay, so Now What?
Yes, that is the next question, isn’t it? Sure, it may have taken me more than two years to write that one, but it’s out now. When’s the next one coming?
Well, it’s in the works. I’ve already started on the road to Release Day for Bone of Contention. I’m not just plotting it, I’m already writing it. However, I must refer you to the cautionary tales I told in Writing A Bone to Pick and The Story Behind A Bone to Pick’s Cover. If you’re already wondering about Bone of Contention, fair warning: have patience.
Both of the first two books in the Trilogy are what you might call “big books.” What’s Bred in the Bone, in its current version, weighs in at 478 pages. That includes the Directory of “Who’s Who and What’s What,” including acronyms. It’s a reader-requested feature I added in an update this year. A Bone to Pick (which also comes with a Directory in the back) is even bigger, at 624 pages in the printed Amazon version.
The third book, Bone of Contention , will almost certainly be a big one, too.
What to Expect from Bone of Contention
I did my very best to make A Bone to Pick a story that could stand alone, if need be. As in any series, it’s best if you start at the beginning (ideally, start with The Other Side of Fear, which you can get for free as an ebook, if you subscribe to my mailing list). But I’ve tried my best to bring each book to its own, internally-satisfying conclusion. I don’t want readers to feel cheated by any story I release into the world.
But the XK9s and their human allies haven’t solved the whole case yet. In the course of the events in A Bone to Pick, the Izgubil investigation expands considerably. The Pack and their human law enforcement colleagues from the Orangeboro Police Department and the Station Department of Investigation make a lot of progress on the case.
But that case is still not totally solved yet, by the end of the second book. Not all of the “bad guys” behind the Izgubil’s destruction are in custody yet. After all, the XK9 “Bones” Trilogy is a Trilogy, and that’s for a very good reason. There’s still a lot of the story left to tell!
New and Old Points of View
So, who will be back in Bone of Contention ? At the risk of spoilers, I’ll reveal that Rex, as the Trilogy’s primary protagonist, will continue in that role. His mate Shady will continue as a point-of-view (POV) character. So will Rex’s human partner, Charlie Morgan.
In A Bone to Pick I added a new POV, Hildie Gallagher. She worked with Charlie back in the “old days,” before the accident that changed the course of his life. Readers first met her in What’s Bred in the Bone.In Bone of Contention she’s back as a POV. Pamela Gómez, XK9 Shady’s human partner, will be, too. Pam was our sole POV in The Other Side of Fear, as readers of the full oeuvre will remember.
Readers also will see more of the ozzirikkians, the non-human sapient beings who make up a significant minority of Rana Station’s population. We’ll also see more of Dr. SCISCO and nir Farricainan AI siblings—another small, but extremely significant, minority group of Ranan citizenry. If you like reading speculative stories about non-human exo-Terrestrial beings, I hope you’ll enjoy Bone of Contention for its exo-Terrans, as well as its XK9s. I certainly have been having great fun developing and fleshing out ideas for them.
Returning readers of this blog will probably have seen most of the images in this post before. The two Trilogy-so-far covers, those for What’s Bred in the Bone and A Bone to Pick, are © 2019 and 2020, respectively, by Jody A. Lee. The cover for The Other Side of Fear is © 2020 by Lucy A. Synk. Lucy is also the artist responsible for the Four Running XK9s and the ten portraits of the dogs of the Orangeboro Pack. All of those illustrations are © 2020 by Lucy A. Synk. The “Celebrate!” design uses a framing image created by 9 Dream Studio, sourced via 123rf. Many thanks to all!