Well, here I am, yet again.

It’s time for Firehurler’s 6th birthday, marking the end of Year 6 of my 5-10 Year Overnight Success Plan. I’ve made a minor improvement over last year in getting this done in January rather than June (doh!).  Hopefully, I can turn this into an annual trend.

As per usual, I’ll start off by reviewing how things went last year in comparison to my goals.

My 2018 goals were:

  • Publish 4 books in my collaborative series Black Ocean: Astral Prime
  • Publish 4-8 books in my solo series Black Ocean: Mercy for Hire
  • Re-release Twinborn Chronicles: Awakening on audio with a new narrator
  • Look for a film/TV rights agent for Black Ocean

All set on the first two. Pretty much to a tee. M. A. Larkin (as Matt calls himself these days in sci-fi circles) and I got out 4 installments of Astral Prime. I wrote for missions solo for Mercy for Hire. Mission Packs and audio versions came out for both. As of right NOW, I’ve actually written 8 Mercy for Hires, with one coming out shortly and the others trickling their way through narrators and pre-orders.

Mikael Naramore continues to be a champ getting it all narrated.

I did get Twinborn Chronicles: Awakening redone. Again, Mr. Naramore did yeoman’s work recording it all. Checkmark for Jeff on that one!

Still nothing on the Hollywood front, however. No deals. Thanks for asking, everyone.

So, aside from my goals, how did I do in 2018?

Good, I guess.

My last update to this blog series was so late last year that I stole some of my own thunder. Black Ocean: Galaxy Outlaws (the 16 missions of the main series, plus short stories) came out in audiobook last spring. I hovered among the likes of Andy Weir, Ready Player One, and Fahrenheit 451 for over a month before sales settled into a groove that they are still grooving to this day.

That led to my biggest accomplishment of 2018…

My wife got to quit her day job. She now works full-time managing the business side of our budding publishing empire.

Is that success?


It’s certainly been great for our lifestyle. Work-life balance has gone completely out the window, but we get to spend more time together. We grab lunch when we’re hungry. We see matinees instead of going to crowded movie theaters at night. When the weather was nicer, we’d often drive an hour to the beach on the spur of the moment just to unwind with some sand on our feet and cool ocean breezes.

We also work until 11pm or later most nights.

But I’d still argue that it’s not “overnight success.” An overnight success has widespread name recognition that I clearly still don’t have. If you polled 100 random people across the US, I’d wager not a single one has heard of me. It’s possible that between 1 and 3 might have seen an ad for Black Ocean on Facebook or something, but even that might be optimistic.

So, no end to the 5-10 year plan in year 6.

What’s in store for 2019?

  • Publish 12 more missions of Black Ocean: Mercy for Hire
  • Release a full-series audio collection for Mercy for Hire (16 missions)
  • Publish 8 more missions of Black Ocean: Astral Prime with M.A. Larkin
  • Release a full-series audio collection for Astral Prime (12 missions)
  • Keep an eye open for a screen adaptation of Black Ocean
  • Same for Robot Geneticists
  • Start writing the next set of Black Ocean spinoffs (we’ll see whether they come out this year or next)

The publication schedule sounds brutal, and maybe it is. But I’ve already written 4 mission of Mercy for Hire that are just percolating through the publishing end of the process. I’ve tentatively coordinated with Matt to work on the 8 Astral Prime missions we’re shooting for to complete the 12-mission story. The rest is just plunking myself behind a keyboard and writing.

On the Hollywood front, it’s a catch-22 situation. I don’t want to say much about my efforts in case I spoil something. Let’s just leave it at: I want to see these made, and I will try.

For those who worry that Black Ocean may end with the two open series I have going right now, don’t. I have plenty more Black Ocean areas I want to explore and more stories to tell. The leading candidate for the next series to come up is…

Black Ocean: Squadron 333, the story of a cocky young fighter pilot named Bradley Carlin “Blackjack” Ramsey who turns a bunch of disciplinary cases and last-chancers into the best Typhoon squadron in Earth Navy.

I can’t promise I won’t come up with more projects to cram into 2019, but this is the basic plan. If you don’t see Black Ocean on your television or in theaters in 2019, assume I’ll be back with an update to this blog series next year, likely with some ham-fisted hindsight jokes for the year 2020.