Yes, I'm back, after a one-week hiatus, which in the blogosphere is like going off the air permanently. My only excuse is that I wanted to spend the last few days in Oxford and London enjoying the country instead of typing for all you nice folks.
Now I'm in Columbia, Missouri, working on my next book, Guerrilla Tactics of the American Civil War, which I mentioned in a previous post. I went to graduate school in Columbia, and it's home to many friends and the State Historical Society of Missouri, the best organization of its kind I've been to. Guerrilla warfare reached its highest (or lowest) point in Missouri, so this is a good place to work on the book.
The book is coming along well. The publisher, Osprey Publishing, is very strict as to the template. They've been the leading military history publisher for thirty years, and their formula works, so they have no interest in writers who push the envelope. Knuckling under to what the editors want is an important skill for a midlister. They're paying your wages, after all. With more personal work like fiction I stick to my guns a bit more, but for work like this I write to order. The hardest part for me is that I have to stay within a 22,500 word limit. As someone who naturally writes long (some obsessive fellow bloggers even whine that my posts are too long) it's a challenge to keep within the word count!