At several minutes before 4 p.m. today, I managed to finish the first draft of Iron Man: Femme Fatales . The book is due to my editor, the esteemed Steve Saffel, on December 15, which gives me plenty of time to let it sit for a day or two and then read with fresh eyes.I was contracted for 85,000 words but the first draft, complete with some of the back matter, clocks in at 79,281 which puts me in the ballpark. When done, this is going to be my longest work of fiction to dateOverall, I’m satisfied with how it went and think there’s plenty of good stuff in here. I already know some character bits to tweak, some aspects of Iron Man’s power that could be showcased better so know there’s work to do And then there will be more rewriting once I get Steve’s notes during the holidays.DelRey has yet to give me anything more definitive than summer 2009 for a pub date and there seems to be no urgency yet for a cover although I’ve recommended images and artists.As usual, I am taking immense pride in meeting the deadline. I am also impressed I have managed this considering life’s distractions this fall. In fact, no sooner do I post this than I have to switch hats and attend a Board of Selectman meeting, thinking political not super-powered thoughts.