Finally, after a several months process involving beta readers and editing... and more editing, my manuscript is now down to 94,452 words from its original 108,952 at the completion of the first draft. For the mathematically challenged, that's a reduction of 14,500 words. I was worried about the editing process. When the first draft was complete I was convinced every word was necessary, and every scene was perfect. The past few months made it clear that I was wrong, that the first draft was bloated and needed to be tighter. Believe me when I tell you that if you had said I'd be able to cut 14,500 words from the first draft I'd have said it was impossible. My original goal was to cut it down to 100,000 words, give or take. However, as I continued the editing process, I discovered I was enjoying making the book tighter and cutting out the gratuitous dialogue and scenes... because I knew it was making the novel better and worthy of an audience. So, yesterday I completed my final run through, which was technically "Draft 8." The proofreader's corrections will be "Draft 9" and my final pass through will be "Draft 10." After this, I will be reaching out to the book bloggers and reviewers who have agreed to read the book... for which I have set a target publication date of January 15, 2019.