You guys have been so good to me, so congrats, have a surprise excerpt from Chapter 2.  She’s still rough but getting better (There will probably be more polish in the final version but hey, a treat for you guys).  If you need a reminder, you can find the pre-beta first chapter sample here.

Enjoy and comment away.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

from: Brother Finn Arrives

“Mum, Why is Brother Finn here?” Reimar asked once inside their longhouse.

“Do not worry about that, Honeycomb,” she said. “The sun is gone to bed, and that means it is time for you to sleep as well.” Reimar heard something in his mother’s voice. It was almost… yes, something was wrong. Why would that be with a monk? They were going to have Mass, and then back to hunting and scavenging. That meant more apple picking he supposed. Reimar took off his kyrtill, tunic and trousers and put on his nightshirt from his clothes basket. He then climbed up to the low loft where his sister and one of his older brothers slept. His eldest brother Bjorn slept on the other end of the longhouse with his mother and father, farthest from the hearth.

Below, his father came in and dragged his fingers against the loft, tapping the wood in his usual good-night ritual. Reimar, Katrin and Erik scooted to the edge of the little loft and stuck their heads over.

“Ha hah!” Anton said playfully and stood up on his tip toes to give each of them a kiss goodnight, saving the noisiest one for Katrin. She giggled the unique sound of little girls amused by their father.

“Da?” Erik began to ask.

“No,”  Anton said in a voice that brooked no compromise.  “This is not for you,”

“But how-?” His face surprised that he knew what he was going to ask.

“Because I am your father, and I know the minds of curious boys. I promise you, tomorrow you will know more. Be patient till then. For now, you just have to sleep. That should not be so hard.”

“Jah, but I am thirteen! I am old enough to be a man and part of these things,” he protested weakly.

“You are not yet enough of a man to be part of this, Erik. Do not vex me.”

“Yes, Da,” he obeyed.

Reimar and the rest rolled over onto their clover tick mattresses. A few minutes later, Bjorn came in.

“Anton, come. They are waiting,” Anette said after taking the cauldron off the fire, and banked the coals for night.

“Bjorn, stay here,” Anton ordered, hooking a thumb up to the loft where the three younger children pretended to sleep.

“Jah, Father!” Bjorn said with a disappointed sigh.


Edit #4 begins!… and more.

Oh I am soooooo looking forward to this… but at the same time very nervous.

I got a lot of good advice on Reimarsoga.  Seriously good stuff, and Beta Readers, thank you all.

Thousands of technical issues were caught… yeah, I know it’s over 1500, plus cultural references from one of my experts, and a few questions about the ecclesiastical underpinnings of things that I am mulling over as well.

I can’t wait to start, but I have to wait a little (till after I get home from doing adult/responsible like things, ugh.) And then dig into them.


Work, work, work, work.

And then there’s the next book which I am really champing at the bit to write.

Thanks to all the feedback, I’m having to push what I had previously written as the second book, back to third book status.  At first I was really grumpy with this, because I really like what I have so far, but after a few conversations with some of the beta readers, I realized I had to put a new book in-between as next in chronological order, which is going to focus on Brother Finn.  Ultimately, it will be a big help for the overall universe, and might work out better in the long run, making it possible for multiple books to be released this year.  Who knows?  Maybe I can go from 2 to 3.  Hah!

At least I know how to speed up the process now.

Anyway, my goal, if I can meet it, is to have the 4th edit done in a week or two, and get it to an editor before the end of the month, and I can start writing forward again.

What’s really amazing is how much anxiety I am having over this all.  I mean I just want to be published so badly but I cannot, dare not afford to put crap out there with a cheap cover.  Gotta do it right if I’m going to do it at all.  In this aspect, it’s been a fight with being patient.  Everything will happen in the right timing I keep telling myself, despite the fact I want it faster than its going.

Le Sigh…

Okay, I gotta shup, go do necessary stuff and get back to edit.


Achievement Unlocked: NaNoWriMo Winner!

Yep.  Met my personal goal, though I had to drag that bad boy across the finish line.

My project for NaNoWriMo 2016 is complete.  50,013 words and I am done.

Now I can get back to editing my novel so I can send… it…. to the… umm… editor?  Why does that sound so wrong?  ;cD


AAAaaaaaanyhoo, I’m a happy boy.  Let the Carlton commence.


The Forest of My Imagination


Every time I start to write,
it is like going for a walk in the woods.
I get on my jacket and decide to get out among there in the bright sun,
to be shaded by the yellow leaves of a glorious autumn day.
The frost of the new ideas fresh on the ground, gilding the leaves.
Like halos, they glisten, melting in the warming beams of the morning.
A little mist hugs the ground as I walk through the wet leaves that hiss and crunch
The smell of the trees, moss and loam an incense as I walk.

This is what it is like for me to write.
I listen for the woodpeckers rattling against the dead trees looking for bugs
The Bluejays scream and cuss over my head.
An angry squirrel chatters and squeals at me as I disturb its scavenging.
These are the happy accidents.
The wondrous discoveries in my ideas as I walk along the deer-path to my goal.
The little ripples and rills of rocky land that may trip me up from time to time
They’re there too, but again.
They are happy accidents.
Then I find the large trees.
The heart of the story.
That dense thicket deep within the heart of the forest of my ideas.
It towers there, deep and dark and calm.
The wind whistles and sighs in her crown.
Dropping pine cones and leaves of all the sorts of trees that make it up.
Every heart of the forest is different,
For every story is different.
Every time I step out that door, it’s a new forest,
but there are always paths back to the familiar trails I had been too before.


But there I sit, taking in the inspiration of the new ideas.
Getting closer and closer to every tree.
Going to them in turn.
Touching them.
Feeling their rough bark.
Stroking the moss and even busting open the puff balls as their roots.
I put my nose to the bark and rest there for a while considering its meaning.
The idea was here long before I discovered it
It will survive long after.
But no one could have found it but for me.
For I am the only guide into and out of this forest.
That is both the blessing and curse of it all.


For you see,
I am never outside the forest.
Not once.
Not even for a second.
Even though forests layer on top of forests,
Each shifting and jostling the path to and from with some of its own ideas
Shaping those deer trails I use to get there,
The heart remains the same.
That deep heart of the forest.
Where I put my nose to its bark.


You, dear reader,
Dear listener.
Dear wanderer who found the secret entrance to my forest
You have a gift that I envy.
For you have lived without.
You can see my forest from afar.
Maybe you have your own forests, and somehow found my trail in your own woods.
Perhaps you came from great plains,
or deep and sonorous seas,
Do desert dunes sweep across your own creative land of your mind?
Do jungles drip vines in the depths of summer and rain?
You can see my forest from the distant heights of the mountains,
And yet, you saw something there that you chose to experience.
And you came, enjoying the trip to my forest.
Seeing it from without.
A place I can never be.


So welcome, fellow wanderer to my forest.
Know that I envy you with a kind heart.
For while I am forced to commune with my forest
Nose to bark.
And can never see it in its totality from without.
You can, and that is something maybe some day.
When in heaven.
I will be able to enjoy it that way too.
And then I will finally be able to completely understand,
What it is that God hath wrought through me.






The Beta Read Comes to a Close

First and foremost,

Thank you to all my Beta Readers who participated and gave me much needed feedback on my first novel.  If anyone has any questionnaires left out there, I still will gladly accept them if you wish to share your thoughts.

It has been a challenge as the edits came in to look at all my errors laid bare.  I did ask for you to be honest and brutal, and thankfully you all have, just as much as you have been encouraging and supportive.  My ego took some serious hits, but that is good.  Dishonest praise is worse than honest criticism.  The fact that I got lots of both, all done out of love and caring was best of all.

So once again, thank you.

Now, the future looks like the following.

  1. Finish NaNoWriMo.  This has been stumbling thanks to my discovery about derivative works.  I have not been so enthused to finish the project since I cannot publish it.
  2. Plotting the NEW book 2.  Yes, what I have previously written will be bumped to Book 3 in the series, and a whole new Book 2 written.  The goal is to be ready to start writing this when I finish with…
  3. Finish the 4th edit of Reimarsoga.  All those suggestions, edits and conversation come home to roost.  I hope… HOPE I will be done before the end of December because…
  4. Send last edit to professional editor and hire a cover artist.  My true deadline is the 1 year anniversary of me starting to write the first novel.  If I am really fortunate, I will also find a way to pre-order the book.  So, here’s hoping all goes according to plan.  So if you have some Christmas money you saved up for buying a book, get ready for pre-order pitches.  I will announce more where you will be able to purchase your copy as time gets closer.


An Era Ends


This is a very special, personal blog.


Today, I went to church at Trinity Lutheran Church for the last time.  Not because I won’t go back, but rather, because it will be gone.


The church that I grew up in, Trinity Lutheran Church, in Appleton Wisconsin resided right down town, snug up against the, all be they small sky scrapers of the little city.  I was baptized there, confirmed there and even married there and I fully expected the possibility of my funeral there..  It was eternal in my life.  Something that would live long past me.  Only last year I learned that this was not to be true, and today, that fact came to be.


Almost 100 years old, expanded and rededicated in the 1960’s, this ELCA Lutheran landmark of the city had been in decline for several years.  I know I was not being spiritually fed when I left it in the early 1990’s, but always went home for special events and showed support to my parents who were for much of their adult life heavily involved there.


I sang with the Appleton Boy Choir for four years in the 1980’s and through this door, I spent many hours practicing.  Often, I wished I was elsewhere, but came to love this room as I had spent so much time there as a boy, either singing, or playing (they had wonderful chalk boards in there)


Or hiding in those big cabinets.  Yes, with the choir risers and chairs that you see, this is the view that I had so long.  My youth group once had dozens of faces painted on the wall across, but those have long since been painted over.  The cubbyholes to the right filled with the choir member’s folders.  A choir my father directed for almost 30 years.  He put on so many concerts there.  The Christmas concert was a highlight of the entire year which often had a full orchestra.


I used to sit in the choir loft for services under these monstrous pipes, loud enough your ears would ring if the organist really got into it with thundering glee.  I was surrounded by the members of the choir, watching my father direct as I squirmed around with them singing away for communion or some other part of the service.  Without someone to buy it, it is relegated to storage, awaiting the day someone would want to play it again.


How does one measure such a place in one’s life?  I really can’t answer that well.  All the pizza fund raisers, the bell choir rehearsals, the youth group plays, the running about the hallways and in the basement.  Your entire youth going through Sunday school classes and even for a few weeks out of the summer.  The church… this building will always be that iconic first impression all other houses of worship will always be measured against in my mind.


But efforts to save the church had been thwarted by the passage of time and apathy.  The congregation dwindled away.  The repair costs for the building mounted and struck horrible complications which made it impossible in the end.


So when I learned today was to be the last worship service ever to be performed here, I knew I had to come.  Praise God I had taken vacation this week so I had a chance to push my internal clock onto days and come.


The service itself was nice, but a little ungainly at times.  The Bishop actually showed up to deliver the last sermon.  I think that’s the first time I ever saw a Bishop in that building, though I would expect it had happened more than a few times before.


What makes the building’s passing so bitter sweet is what’s to come after.  The property and building was bought by one of its own members who owns an architectural company who will be tearing the whole thing down and building new condos on the site.  Some are furious about it for what they see as crass commercialism.  I cannot think of a better person to do the job though since no one is able or willing to pony up the money to renovate it for a congregation that has all but evaporated.

It’s a very sought after site.  It made up a large part of the skyline as you crossed into downtown Appleton over the Oneida Street bridge, high above the Fox River.  It’s actually a grand sight for someone coming to town the first time.


The eternal flame as I always knew it in the red glass.  It used to hang from the ceiling in the upper right, in the era before projectors and high tech AV wizardry.  On rare occasions when I was in the church at night for a youth event or some other stuff going on, and occasionally I would walk into the pitch black chapel, and there it would be, hanging high, glowing red.  I knew what it represented, but I always felt it was like an eye, watching me.  It always scared me even though I knew it should not.  To see it now reduced to being nothing more majestic than a candle on a table was pretty sad for me, despite the converse being true and knowing what it really was and what it represented to my emotions in the past.


Seeing that little plate in the floor was actually the most spiritually ironic thing I could think of.  I knew of pastors that had tripped, but this also, to my adult mind served as a reminder of something else.  We should always watch our step when approaching God at His alter.  That is my father in the far back ground discussing some things with a good organist whom he worked with for many years.  I always enjoyed listening to him play.


After a brunch next door, post service, I was able to come back and take some last pictures, as you’ve seen here.  I may put a few of them into a memorial video in the future.  I haven’t decided yet.  But this was my chance to say good bye.  A chance to see a piece of my life, like many funerals, signify the end of an era though the world kept on going.  I do not like leave-taking like this.  Particularly when I believed that something might have been able to be done to save it.  I am sure this is a sentiment felt by millions of Christians all over the world when it came time to see their church end, or worse, come back to find only its remnants or ashes.


So I took my time leaving.  I faced my memories, my personal demons.  All those things good and bad.  I walked the old parts of the church.  Saw the renovations done in my long absence from when I was a member.  One by one, I ran those down, remembering the smells and the hopes, nightmares and dreams.  You do not spend 20 years of your life in a place without many of all building up in you.


I now take my leave of Trinity and leave her to her fate.  A date with the bulldozer and architectural reclamation.  She had left her indelible mark on the history of the city, but now, failing to provide what she once had, and becoming a husk of her former self, it is time to let go with dignity in what she had done.


I remember an interview with Brandon Lee just before he was killed while filming “The Crow”.  He waxed prophetic about how many more times you would see a sunset, or a full moon, or visit a friend’s house.  How it all seemed so seamless, but somewhere out there was the cosmic counter, ticking off one more visit in the countdown to the last one.


Today, the last worship service was marked off, and an era of my life, I really once believed to outlive my own is at an end.


Go in peace, and serve the Lord.

Rough Grace

My own personal comments are below. Great retelling of a great memory, Mr. Teemley.

Mitch Teemley


It was 30 years ago today, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was crawling with pre-holiday misery. Planes were late and tempers were flaring. The holidays might be impending, but the holiday spirit was nowhere to be seen. And then the announcement came: Our flight to Denver had been cancelled. No reason was offered. Which meant the airline was responsible; if the airport or weather were to blame, it would be the first thing they’d say.

Cranky passengers were greeted by an even crankier Steward. Allen (my partner in the comedy act Mitch & Allen) and I knew that FAA regulations required them to put us on a competitor’s flight if they didn’t have one of their own leaving within four hours. We also knew they would not offer this unless it was demanded.

The only person who…

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Planning, Plotting and Scheming



As I mentioned last post… I think…  I dunno.  It’s been a long night.  I have realized that I need to satisfy my readers as much as myself.  And to that point, I need to give someone who has become almost a co-protagonist a far increased status in the second book or do something to incorporate him.

On the one hand, I can write several exciting storylines worthy of their own novel.  The problem is that the already written 2nd book of Reimarsoga would either need:

  1. A near complete rewrite (something I’m not willing to do because it’s gooooood!)
  2. Or the incorporation of the other storyline (which could bloat the book to an unwieldy 200k wordcount… oy my back!)
  3. Something I haven’t thought of yet.

Oh, and there’s another complication… the timeline is already set, and neither of the two plotlines are really compatible with one another, so it’d be like alternating books, not intermixed chapterrrrrrrs, which then why botherrrrrrr, I may as well keep it separaaaaate…  I dunno.

So, here’s your chance to opine.  Seriously, comment below if you have an opinion on what kind of direction you think would work best for a book.  The most ambitious idea I am considering is releasing book 2 of Reimarsoga and then book 1 of the other character nearly simultaneously!  So you could pick up technically either one and read it then the other, but the order of which you read first would not matter, if I do it right.

OR should I smoosh the plotlines so you read book 1 which would focus on Reimar, and then book 2 which will focus on the other.

Or just release them as part of the same series but in chronological order, meaning Reimarsoga book 2 would become book 3 while I shove the other book inbetween and just rename the whole series something else.  Which probably is the easiest of the whole bunch.

I dunno.  I know I’m not saying much because, you know… no spoilers I hope.

Seriously, opinions wanted!  Now’s your chance to tell the world what you think!

Ha HAAAaa! Surprise Idiocy!… (on my part)

So… NaNoWriMo.

I now has a sad.  A self inflicted sad none the less, because a cool idea that I had now is probably unpublishable because…  It’s a derivative work, and the work I’m coming off is not in public domain for another, oh I dunno… thirty years or so?

Okay, so I got inspired to do an adaptation of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” by transposing it into my fantasy setting.  Love the movie, think it’s a masterpiece (You know they REALLY drink a lot in that.  I don’t know how Brick didn’t have catastrophic liver failure during the party, holy crap dood!).  Better than the written play IMHO, which is rare, but then again, my opinion.  Could be that I just love watching Paul Newman, Burl Ives and of course, Elizabeth Taylor.

So now I’m stuck, half way written, downloaded Scrivener and need to finish to get the full half off discount but I find myself lacking all desire to continue because I don’t wanna no mo!  And I can’t legally share it.

Well… that’s not entirely true.

I suppose I could try to find out what the cost would be for getting the rights for adaptation, but I doubt that will be affordable.  I know what I really need to do.

Power through, get it done as fast as I can, get the discount and then shelve this bad boy and let it sit in the drawer for 30 years till it is able to be public domain and I can use it.  Yayyyyy my first ‘lost work’!  And my career’s not really started yet.



Live and learn I guess.


A Muse Can Be a Fickle Mistress

So, as the last 8 days of my beta read come rolling in, and I am about at the half way mark of my NaNoWriMo project (Still just under 25k words, but that will start to change tomorrow again), I started thinking about the editing of Reimarsoga: Book 2.  And I skim it, breaking it up into Scrivener, because I’m going to try that thing out finally and I see some good things there.


…hmmmm how to talk about what’s to come without dropping a few major MAJOR spoilers.  Ugh!


Make it staaahp!


Okay, let’s try it this way…

In the structural edit, I realized that continuity between book 1 and book 2 got broken.  I will have to write a whole separate book that will possibly become a stand alone (Or one of two books… I dunno), but related novel that involves characters from the first AND second books, bridging the gap between the two, AND build up the whole Akiniwazi world even more!  So, now, my brain’s on fire for recombining certain characters together, outside of Reimar, in a way that would then tie the first two books of Reimarsoga together.

Now… for complication #2.  Reimarsoga: Book 1 is written as more of an Epic Adventure with a flavor more found in say “Treasure Island” or “The Sea Wolf” or “Huckleberry Finn” (to some extent) or “The Deerslayer”.  As you can see my influences are were not necessarily fantasy directed.

Book 1.5, I shall call it for the time being… would be more of an Epic Conspiracy/cloak and dagger/thriller set in Akiniwazi.  Mind you this was part of the scenario whole for the series (and that’s not really a spoiler… there are hints in book 1… you’ll see)  But I am worried jumping the storytype will be offputting to many.  PLUS… this is going to be a related novel.  You wouldn’t have to read it to enjoy the Series, but it will add to the richness of the overall setting and plotline.  Sort of like “Rogue 1” is a related movie to the Star Wars “Nonology”  (yes that’s a series of 9).  It’s canon, but fills in the gap between the Prequels and A New Hope.  In actuality, it might end up having more in common with say “The Big Sleep”, “The Angel of Darkness”, “The Name of the Rose” and other detectivey kind of stuff.

…In a fantasy setting.  I know… I’m mad.

Oh… and before I forget.  I named my Character Brother Finn long before “The Force Awakens”.  6 years before to be precise!

So anyway.  Looks like I might be putting book 2 into cold storage while I then refocus onto the necessary book 1.5

Dear Lord, what has your inspiration done to me?????

Gloria in Excelsis