Welcome Back to Akiniwazi!

That is correct Ladies and Gentlemen!  The sequel to Akiniwazisaga: A Light Rises in a Dark World” is now available on Amazon.

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We’re going for an exclusive release there this time to see how well it works out.  But now’s the time to start reading or buy your copy now!  Hardcover and paperbacks coming soon.

In Akiniwazi, the veil between Heaven, Earth and Hell is torn. Here angels, miracles and gifts of the Spirit do battle against demons, curses and their sorcery. This is a wild land of ice and steam, where two cultures are trapped in a war to the death and the fate of every soul hangs in the balance.

What does it profit a man to gain the world, but lose his immortal soul?

For centuries, the Akiniwazi Union, has been ruled by the Sveinnaettir dynasty. Now crumbling under the weight of debt, politics and an ancient family curse, Gregor the Visekonge entrusts his son with a dangerous quest in an attempt to restore the power of his crown. The Visekonge’s plan emboldens an ambitious vassal to steal the crown for his own son and rewrite the lines of succession.

But God has a plan of his own.

To put the Battle of Athrvorthfestning behind him, Inquisitor Urban heads for home and much needed rest. Along the way he encounters Aske Rekkerson, a Skaerslinger timberjack who shows him a ring of silver and a ring of gold and tells the grisly tale of their discovery. Urban connects these rings to the vicious politics of the Visekonge’s court as well as the sectarian intrigue behind Brother Finn’s exile. Brother Finn finds himself plucked from his peaceful exile and unknowingly dropped into the middle of a corrupt and powerful conspiracy that threatens the Union, the Kyrkja and his life.

 

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Progress Update: January & Beyond

Life keeps chucking curveballs at me, but I’m getting a few solid dingers from time to time.

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So why isn’t Book 2 out?

Honestly?

Book 1 is still getting edited for reissue.  I am 95% done with Book 2 (basically formatting) but Book 1 has been an absolute beast.  Combined with my issues surrounding my new day job, I’ve had a dickens of a time getting focused on the work.  On a positive note, it will be worth it, and you’ll get a “twofer” when the release happens.  The schedule for book 3 is uninhibited yet.  I only worry about book 4 at this point.

So Books 1 and 2 will release as soon as I can manage, and then we move on to editing Book 3 and writing of Book 4 in between.

Now, something else that is sapping my creative strength has been a new series that is demanding my attention.  I’ve been taking notes, thinking about characters and worldbuilding for that too.  So some of that energy has been diverted.  The intent is to not work on that till book 4 is in editing, and then bang out the whole trilogy.  Yes this new project is designed to be a one off trilogy, written in serial format.

So what is it?  Once again, I don’t write clean genres.  It’s going to have elements of Film Noir, Pulp Adventure, Dieselpunk, Cyberpunk and Space Opera.  It’s an awesome concept with a twist I think will really be fun for those of you who like mangling tropes.  So when it comes time to start working on that, I’ll have y’all put your axes up, strap on your ray guns, and put on your aviator shades, cuz we’re gonna go save humanity!

 

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Akiniwazisaga: Reissue & The Name is….!

First the big news.  Book 2 is with the proofreaders.  (One because I need someone to pick over the grammar and the other to pick over the proper use of Scandinavian languages to make sure I didn’t botch something really big.)  So next stop format city.  This seems to mean (barring any new disasters) that a January is likely now that real world concerns are out of the way.  What real world concerns?  Well, I’m not quite self sufficient on my writing earnings, so that means you get these books less frequently, and that means I have a real world job.  This last month I switched companies in a process that was a diagonal move upward.  Different company, similar position, but up the process chain.  On the positive notes, it means that I no longer have large chunks of time that I can’t write.  But it means I can’t edit at work like the previous position allowed.  So it’s an overall improvement in that regard.  It is also an overall improvement to my quality of life.

That’s what’s been going on in the life for me.  You can imagine what kind of toll it’s taken on my ability to focus on this work.  Don’t worry, I’ll get better as time goes by and I settle into the new position.

With that said… it’s time for the big reveal!

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As you know Book 2 is a much more sprawling novel as it is the first part of a trilogy story arc.  Yeah, couldn’t pack all that goodness into just one book, unless you wanted a 1200-1500 page monstrosity I can’t afford to print nor you to buy in one bite.  I do toy with the idea of making an “Omnibus” in the future that will be just that for the real collector.  We shall see.

 

I can hear you shouting “get on with it!” from the cheap seats.  Okay, okay!!!

Titles are not easy for me.  (Well, Book 3 was.  It practically handed itself to me on a silver platter, which is super rare.)  So after much consultation, thought, doubt and prayer, I found the name I think really fits, sticking with my convention of modifying Bible verses that speak to the character of the book.  In this case, it comes from the following:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

 

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

And with that, Book 2 is officially christened!

 

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Cover by Paganus

 

Look at that!  Finn and Bergamot!  Had to put em in for you, because I know so many of you wanted to see Bergie.  😀  Wait till you meet the other two!

Other news:

I am also going to be experimenting with Kindle and books 2 – 4 will not be released wide, just on Amazon.  Book 1 will remain wide though, so don’t fret that way.  I’m just going to see if the advantages of being in the Kindle Unlimited are worth it.  If it ain’t, I’m going back and putting the books wide again.

The re-editing for the reissue of ALRDW has begun.  Slowly, but surely.  I do not expect it to take as much time as Inheritance Thieves, since it’s already in those final states and now I have a good process to use.

What is changing? The language is being brought up to snuff, the Encyclopedia (glossary for those not in the know) will be updated accordingly) and some technical typos will be fixed.  Many things that will help the ease of reading.  You’ll like it, trust me.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you all.

 

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Beta Read Completion & Other Big News

I know one or two of you have been waiting patiently for news on Book 2 and what it’s name is going to be, when’s the cover reveal and all that.  Well… it’s on the quivering cusp now.  So load up your squee cannons and get ready to fire.

1. Monday morning, the Beta Read ends.  I’ve gotten some good feedback.  The story is generally recieved better than ALRDW, and some VERY eagle eyed picky readers found a ton of errors.  To which I thank them, profusely.  I’m not a good technical writer, but I seem to have a knack for emotion, story and plot.

2. Book 1 is getting a Re-issue!
Yep.  I’m going to be re-issuing Book 1 “A Light Rises in a Dark World”.  Why?  It needs to be brought into line with what the series is going to be moving forward.  I’ve simplified the language, so the number of hard words has been reduced, and it will be re-titled.  The series name is going to be “Akiniwazisaga” going forward.  The subtitle will become “A Light Rises in a Dark World”.

3. The Subtitle is down to a final two candidates.

I will hope to do a reveal of that in the next couple weeks along with the second cover.  Yes, I’m hoping by middle November, I will be able to reveal it, and it’s new titling.

I know I’ve been absent a lot, but life is really in a lot of turmoil right now, so I’m doing all I can to re-edit book 1, get book 2 ready and then deal with my job (yes I still have one cuz book sales don’t pay for it yet.  Maybe after book 4 comes out… oh the dream) and other issues are conspiring to drive me insane.

So that’s what’s coming up.

The goal is still a December release and barring a disaster, we should make it.

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Busy Bee. That R Me.

July has been kinda crazed in many ways for me.  Hence why so few posts.  Books 2 and 3 are done.  I just finished the Story Grid edit of Book 2 yesterday, and the week before that, I was at the Realm Makers Consortium 2018 Conference for 5 days.

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A blast was had, and I learned I neither suck at writing, and I have so much more to learn.  Seriously, the classes were phenomenal (with one exception that for a Christian Speculative Fiction Conference was a seriously sour note… but easy to forgive.  I keep thinking of the Niles and Frasier Crane definition of a perfect meal, where everything is perfect, except for one small flaw to pick at for the rest of the evening.

I will be going back, barring the apocalypse or some other minor but inconvenient tribulation.  :cP

No I don’t have pictures.  I don’t like pictures of myself.  I look like a couch with a goatee and an arm brace.  Who needs that kinda pressure?

That’s been July.  Busy editing, learning and generally finding things to fix in my book.  Hoo boy, it’s going to be an interesting edit.  I’m now scheduling two more passes through the book on my own where I do an out loud read through as well as another pass to get it looking nice and polished before I send it over to my editor.

My editor and I had dinner last night, and we talked about what scene to use for the cover.  Originally I wanted to do a triptych for the next three books, but alas, I do not think it’s going to be.  So I’m going to just be happy that I found a scene that portrays Brother Finn and Bergamot I like.  The other four scenes I seriously considered just all had fundamental flaws for how to portray the book best.  Also, you didn’t get Brother Finn like on the ALRDW cover.  I probably should contract the artist soon, if this is going to be a November release.  Yeah, it’s looking like that’s possible.

Still don’t have a title though.  Just the working title, which is going bubye.  Need something more fitting for the aesthetic.  I may wait till my Beta Readers get back to me.

Ohh!  That reminds me!  Beta Readers!  I’m going to put out an open offer for some people to get involved in the beta reading process.

What does this mean?

Ideally I would like to get between 10 and 20 beta readers.  I know that seems like a lot for some authors, but well, I like getting lots of feedback to consider.  I am writing something I want, but it also needs to satisfy you readers.

It will be for the month of September with a hard deadline of probably the last week of the month.  The date is not settled on yet.  I’m going to be a bit more strict this book, but I would love to get some of my fans involved.  I will also consider creating a Discord channel for us to be able to discuss the book.  Or perhaps we can set up a discussion forum on the blog here, or through Minds.com.  Again, haven’t decided but that will firm up, depending on participation from you guys.

Of course that means you will be rewarded with a free Ebook for your participation if you get in and provide the feedback I need once the book releases.

As a consequence of the conference (say that 3 times fast), I will not be doing a pre-order.  I found out Amazon changed their algorithm and it now screws over rankings for those who do pre-orders.  So if I do, it’s going to be less than 5 days if I do it at all.  So thank Amazon everybody.  Speaking of which, I’m probably going to go Amazon Exclusive for these next three books and see how that improves or hurts my sales.  See what Kindle Unlimited will do for me.

Lastly, I have a hardcover here that I am wondering what to do with.  It was supposed to go with me to Realm Makers, but showed up a few hours after I had to leave.  That means I have no current plans with it but the ideas are simmering.  I’m sure there are people out there who would like an autographed copy of the book.  But what to do for a contest for it?  I was thinking about fan art.  Be a shame to throw a contest and nobody came.  So if you like the idea, best let me know.  Something fun for a run up to Book 2’s release.  So, thoughts?  talk to me now for this is the time.

Well, that’s all for now.  The plan is:
August: editing
September: Beta Read
October: More editing, cover and formatting
November: Final polish and release (Late Nov publish date most likely)

Repeat process for an April Release of Book 3.

Repeat process for a November/December release of Book 4 (if all goes according to plan).

So there you have it.  Hope you like it.  Let me know what you think!

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Spiritual Warfare and Cultural Foundations of Akiniwazi

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I’ve made no bones about this fantasy world of mine being based not on paganism/polytheism/humanism like ohhhh almost all fantasy out there that we’ve generally heard of.  Yes I know there are several Christian authors, and 2 of the biggest fantasy authors based their worlds on Christian allegory.

But there’s that key word.  Allegory.

I’m not trying to use allegory, in part because I want to remain distinct from those two greats and dozens of other lesser known authors.  Instead, I focus my efforts on remaining true to scripture and what I’ve learned from deliverance ministries and the writings of some priests involved in exorcism, former witches and other related sources, writings and videos.  That’s why it’s hard to manage this.  Although I do retain the core of these concepts, I do allow for a little creative license.  Sort of a Dragnet-esque “Change the names to protect the innocent” kinda deal, but the principles are the same throughout.

Of course, that has made it difficult at times because ya gotta be consistent with your setting, even if the special effects go to 11.  Some of the fantastic stuff will have no explanation because that’s how God and the devil do from time to time.  It ain’t supernatural without a good reason, and the Gift of Miracles is a great catch-all for that stuff.

So, you experts out there who can run rings around me, know I’ve made a specific effort to follow this school of thought on the subject.  Y’all may know much more and much better than me, so forgive me my shortcomings.  After all, this is just the “magic system” of the story.  It is not meant to sermonize to people.  If you want to see how that wrecks things, watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi/Solo/Rogue One (or the Ghostbusters reboot).  There’s 4 secular SJW “sermons” before story for ya.

But recently, it has lead me to realize how much work I’ve needed in my life for repentance and deliverance.  Writing is hazardous that way, particularly when you invite God into the process.  On several occasions I’ve been saying “I’ll just take notes, Lord, you tell me what you want, okay?”

For those of you curious about some of the sources I’ve taken inspiration from in how things work in the spiritual realm (with the special effects turned up to 11 and a little creative license taken) you can check out the following authors and ministries.

Derek Prince Ministries.  A rock solid pillar and deliverance centered ministry.  I may not agree with all his suppositions, but I do agree on much of his teaching regarding deliverance.

Tony Evans.  His books and sermons on the activities of demons not to mention the names of God were extremely helpful

Rebecca Brown MD. (sometimes co-authored with her husband Daniel Yoder)  I never understood the concept of generational curses or cursed objects, till reading her work.  Furthermore, her writing with an anonymous witch and satanist clarified a lot of my own personal experiences with the occult from when I was younger and dumber.

Frank and Ida Mae Hammond.  “Pigs in the Parlor” is an excellent book on deliverance and what to watch for.

Some of you may not agree with these teachings, and that’s fine.  Just treat it the same as you would reading a type of philosophy or pagan pantheon you don’t believe in and stick to the entertainment value.  The rest of the religiosity you will find is a combination from several denominations, convoluted on my study of viking cultures and their adherant advancements through the culture of Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and to some extend Finland and the Sami, as well as Viking controlled areas of the Dane law of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Combine this with centuries of separation from their home nations, and you get the polyglot mishmash goop of the Forsamling culture in the fantastic land of Akiniwazi.

Anyhoo… not sure why I felt the need to bring this topic out other than to maybe give those of you new to the series a bit of insight to what’s happening beneath the surface.  Oh!  Speaking of beneath the surface, Book 3 is almost done!  I know I’ve said that before, but I mean it.  Not sure if I have 2,3 or 4 chapters left.  Kinda depends how this one turns out.  My hope is to finish this week.  (I have vacation… woot!)

So here’s the latest autopsy on what’s been written since last I mentioned it:

Book 2 (A Land In Peril*) ->First Draft Done

Pages 211
Words 77122

Book 3 (Into the High Places*)

Pages 259
Words 92707
*working title

Neither of these include the glossary or “Encyclopaedia Akiniwazi” as of yet which may be kinda sizeable, and I may muddle a bit of where the ending is for book 2.  It may include a chapter or two more, but I’m not sure yet.  Meh.  We’ll figure it out as we go, right?

New chapters since last.  Luckily the chapter numbers are now becoming established order and the back-building is ending.

73. The Vultures Begin to Circle

76. The Burden of the Sword

80. A New Threat Is Discovered

82. Predator or Prey

That’s all for now.  Hope for a new post next week with shouts of “Good news, everyone!”

Ta!

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I’ll Pull the Trigger, You Can Lend a Hand

So it’s official.  I’ve got a trilogy emerging in lieu of a book I never expected to have to write to bridge a gap in the original storyline.  It’s going to force me to redo my plans for how to sell my books in the future.

 

Book One: A Light Rises in a Dark World is almost a prequel now in many ways, and I like that, but at the same time, I’m looking at the 240k word trilogy as it’s growing and thinking “When do I get to the original storyline idea again?  This is fun, but… geez!  It’s a lot of fun world building I must admit.  For those who may not know, there are several samples of what is now books 2 & 3 scattered about my posts over the last year.  I think they’re worth a read.

So what does this mean for you, O gentle reader?  It means what shall become Book 2 (Title Pending) will be going into editing this June, and hopefully Book 3 will end up doing the same come July… with Book 4 getting worked on to move the trilogy to completion.  Now Book 4 has one well appointed stage set for it.  It also frees me up in another manner.  Instead of worrying how long the climax was going to be, I am free to run wild.  That is a HUGE load off my mind.  YUGE!  I can also potentially extend to a second act of that book I didn’t expect to write about except as maybe a chapter or two.  So yeah, that’s getting extended and enhanced.

That’s me pulling the trigger and going forth with that decision.  2 books approximately 220 pages long each, 80-85k word count.  Not sure how big Book 4 will be yet, but here’s hoping.  And then what is now becoming Books 5 and maybe 6 which are partially written.  Possibly Book 7 is in there too will begin… or rather restart work in 2019.  This also means that if I play my cards right, I will have Book 2 releasing before the end of the year.  That’s the goal.  We’ll see if I can hold to that.  Depends on certain factors, but confidence is high.  If this all can be accomplished as desired, I would release 3 and 4 in four month cycles after that.  I really need some names for these books.  Sigh….

Okay, so how can you help?  Simple.  I need reviews, comments criticisms and other people talking on my book.  There’s only so much I can do.  If you’re enjoying the first book, please please please, let people know.  Particularly in places where people who read a lot go.  I need reviews on:

Amazon (of course)
Smashwords
Kobo
and Goodreads (really need some more there.)

I’ll just say thank you in advance for any you may leave.  Seriously, this is the best way to let an author know you think their work is worth continuing, and that the series is meaning something to you.  So shout out loud to your neighbors and friends that you enjoyed the book and be the first ones in on the craze before it becomes the next big thing.  Then you can say “I discovered that” and be all smug to your friends.  ;cD

So there it is.  I want to get this out to you guys who have been downloading and supporting.  If support is good enough, who knows where this could go.  Again.  I’ve been peeking, and can see ya downloading.  Thank you for that!

 

P.S…  That means I’m probably going to need beta readers possibly before end of Summer.  heh heh heh.  Yeah, I saw you sit up straight for that one too.  ;c)

Chaos… At Home & Abroad

With all the news going on in the world, it’s been very hard to focus on my writing.  Then again, realizing how big this grew, I’ve been struggling with the scope.  But here are some of the developments going on.

First off, I am going to be attending the Realm Makers Conference in St. Louis this year.  Hopefully I will finish my first draft by then, but we’ll see, right?

Second off, with all the craziness and… shall we call it evil behavior of the information mega corporations, I’m looking for new places to store data and conduct things with social media as I look to divest myself of Facebook, Google and Yahoo.  I am tired of being treated like a cheap commodity and with as much respect.  When this change-over happens, I don’t know.  Thankfully WordPress is owned by Automattic, and therefore I don’t think I will have to look for a blog alternative.  I’m also considering a Discord channel.

Third off, I’m really happy with the growth of book 2.  I recently did a lot of work clarifying the timetable of the chapters, which involved several shifts, and working to make sure characters had time to get from point A to point B and that communication also followed the same rules of physical space.  That’s turned out to be harder than you think.

And lastly, I found someplace that may be a good home for the Encyclopedia Akiniwazi, for free.  I’m still working on it so it’s not ready for release.  It will include the timeline and the atlas, so I hope that there will be a big reveal on that sometime in the near future.

On a plus side, I’ve got “Volume 4 : The Grand Scheme”… That’s the working title… completed in Book 2.  It’s 40 chapters, 223 pages and 81,000 words.  So yep.  A short novel unto itself.

Currently  “Volume 5 : Into The High Places” (again working title) is sitting at 46 chapters but 10 of them have not been written yet so I’m guessing it should end up around 260-270 pages if my average chapter length is in the ballpark, It means this volume might come close to 100k words too.  Uh huh… I know what you’re thinking.  Me too.

As for Volume 6… crap I have no idea.  It’s like I dumped out a 10,000 piece puzzle and the picture on the cover only shows part of the full thing, and none of it edge pieces.  But the scenes I have that will culminate into this whole story… Which BTW was supposed to be a single novel, not it’s own trilogy… Just… I can’t even….

But I’ve also got some new chapters written, so that’s a good sign… they’re just not in any order you’d recognize because I’m having to go back and insert them.  That’s hard to do.  Don’t care what anyone says.  I prefer to write chronologically in the order I expect the chapters to appear.  Helps me from getting confused.

Current Page & Word count

Pages 435
Words 156157

Don’t forget about what I said about 10 more chapters to write on Vol 4 & 5 too for what looks like another 44 pages and 25-30k words.  Book 2 is going to be massive!  Reimar… you caused me such trouble!  Geez!

So some of the new chapter titles are as follows:

A Much Needed Consultation

The Distance of Family, The Intimacy of Enemies

Hooves & Claws & Antlers & Fangs

So as you can see, new chapters are fighting hard.  Several are started but not finished too.  Again, hate writing out of sequence.

And now for another look into the first draft of Book 2.  You’ve been very patient.  As always, mind the loose boards and nails.  Things may change some from the finished product, boilerplate and fine-print insert here.  thppt.  Enjoy!

An Interrupted Meal

The Tavern Off the Pier was a ramshackle place near the town beach. Its main room was dark and smoky with the pipes of the patrons and generous hearth. The dingy gray-brown wood of the posts and rafters made the excellent food hard to believe. Forhors, now Brother Urban sat on a shaky stool at one of the several small round tables alone and finished giving thanks for his food. He then began tearing apart the “Bottle and a Bird” that had just been brought by the serving wench who also looked as run down as the building. The cider was sharp and refreshing, while the chicken was crispy, and dripping with salty fat. Although the day outside was bright and sunny, the wind was still too cold and made eating out of doors uncomfortable. Urban was most thankful for the warm fire that crackled merrily in the large hearth in the middle of the room, attended by the cook who roasted two dozen foul and several cuts of boar and venison on spits.

Licking off his fingers he relished the spicy meat. He did not know how they made it, but after one bite of the crunchy skin, he knew why this unassuming place was so busy. Urban sighed in satisfaction as he kept his own company. The first leg of his trip from Athrvorthfesting had been pleasant, if not a little exciting with the strong winds the knarr had to buck against. It felt good to be on the waves again, but there was so much farther to go, he was right to assume that he would be sick of sailing by the time he reached home. No good would come of to sending a letter ahead. He would reach home at the same time. None the less, he was certain they would be happy with the surprise.

Out through the rippled glass of the diamond paned window several ships jostled for position on the pier, or if they could, they nosed right into the soft beach and lowered the gangplanks to conduct their business. Brother Urban scratched at his new tunic where a seam on the shoulder was not comfortable. It would not do for him to be about in his Forhors robes, and decided to avail himself of the skill of his host’s mother, a talented seamstress, and have new clothes made. It had been so long since he had been out of his office’s vestments, they felt odd to his skin. Even still, he kept some remnants of his office that had been set aside in keeping with the colors of his sect, as to identify himself as a man of God, but not so much as to intimidate the common Forsamling. Ragnarites may be common on the edge of the wilds or large cities, but this was neither. Combine to this the missing weight of his sword on his hip, Brother Urban felt very much out of place.

A crowd of men came in as he enjoyed his meal, raising the pleasant mumble of the tavern to a riotous level. A ship must have just concluded business, and the men set loose to enjoy their wages for a night or two, and sjomenn took up the rest of the tables. Their soot covered faces and arms with freshly washed hands gave their jobs away as plain as could be expected. An off watch boiler crew from one of the steamknarrs at the pier. Brother Urban smiled in return when acknowledged by the passing throng and continued to eat. His trip’s next leg was beginning in a few hours, so he was in no rush.
Then someone outside caught his eye.

Through the same window, a couple stopped. A thin dignified woman, pipe in mouth with a large Skaerslinger man with her. Urban stopped chewing at the sight of the two talking before the Tavern off the Pier. They chatted for a moment, the man nodded, gave her a smile that men reserve only for their loves, and then he walked inside while she hurried off with a ledger under her arm to someplace else.
The Skaerslinger surveyed the room and saw a combination of angry glances towards him which he was immune to, but no places to sit. The big man walked over to the cook working the spits at the hearth.

“How much for a chicken and some roast boar?” He asked, his tone polite.
The cook was intimidated and took a surprised step back as silence now claimed the room.

“These are not for you, savage,” one of the sjomenn said from somewhere in the crowd. Brave enough to give voice to his distaste, but not brave enough to show himself. The Skaerslinger ignored the voice.

“How much for a chicken and some roast boar?” he repeated in the same manner.

“I…” The cook started to say, cleared his throat and tried again with a tone reinforced by murmuring from other sjomenn who had taken interest in what was happening. “They are all sold to those men.” The cook lied as he pointed in the direction of the hostile voices. The blackened boiler crew grumbled but backed up the lie since it meant keeping food from a Skaerslinger’s mouth.

The big man pursed his lips in mild irritation. It was plain that this sort of issue had happened several times before to him.

“Are you sure this is your answer?” there was no threat to the tone, but it was of such a serious nature, the cook looked ready to break even with the crowd behind him. The steamwright came forward and put down a single gold Penning on the thick stone of the raised hearth next to the cook. A half week’s wages for him.

“That should cover our meals and drinks.” His eyes locked onto the Skaerslinger’s who returned the gaze without malice nor fear.

“As you can see, Herr, these are all paid for.”

With a slow nod of acceptance, the Skaerslinger took two steps back and then turned to walk out, head turned ever so slightly as to keep the group of men in his sight just in case they considered violence wise. The door closed behind him and a discourteous murmur replaced the raucous conversation that had existed before.

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Trip It Up and Down

When I don’t feel like I’ve tripped and fallen into the pond, I feel like my feet are stuck in mud with writing. On the other hand, my Alpha Readers are coming back and really enthused with what’s been put out. I can’t see it of course. That’s the curse of being a writer sometimes and makes it more important to take time between writing and reading so you can gain some perspective again.

Book 2 is progressing still, but as a two pronged attack. I’m having to go back 20-40 chapters and rebuild a plotline that I had pulled, and now keeps getting better and better IMHO as I go. But it’s hard to shoehorn it into areas that don’t disrupt the flow of the story, work well with serialization and all the rest that I have going on.

The second prong had stalled with the main plot till I started realizing what a point of contention would be between the characters…. and it’s a naaaaasty one that I hope will have people cheering and angry at the same time. Ahhh ambivalence… you are so fun. As it is, the characters keep talking to me and giving me good things to transcribe for them. They seem to be getting bored with my downtime thanks to life, the universe and everything getting in the way. Oh I should include my own inability to hear them at times which leads to my Guild Wars 2 inspired brain static. Something I hope to avoid this weekend and crank hard on some new chapters.

But. We are up to 73 chapters. Can I get a “Whoa mama!” from the audience? Still aiming for that 1500-3000 sweet spot which gives a wonderful potato chip feel to the chapters. Before you know it, you eat the whole bag.  Or perhaps that’s just me.

Om nom nom.

The downside is that this is causing me writing fatigue. I’m looking at it going, “Come ONNNNN!!!! Get to the finale already!” But the characters have to tell their story the way they have to. It’s foolhardy to try and make them do something they ain’t gonna. I’ll make it through, and it’s giving me ideas of what’s to come in the future.

I should note that there is now consideration on my part and agreed upon by my editor that Book 2 (Title Pending) may turn into a FOUR volume set!  That’s right kids and kidettes.  So much is going on, I may be unable to pack these into only three parts.  If that happens, it’ll still be worth it.  Trust me.

Without further ado, here are the new stats  (I see it’s been a while):

Including the “Encyclopedia Akiniwazi”… formerly the Glossary

Pages 467
Words 156774

New Chapters with their new numbers:

Inserted Chapters:

22. Tugging at a Loose Thread

30. A City Robed in Black

33. Denied That Which Is Necessary

Moving on from the last end point:

66. In the Deep Places of the World

67. Ashamed Before the Crown

68. Lingering Doubts

69. Dashed Illusions

70. If Given the Choice

71. The Importance of a Name

72. At The Ragged Edge of Disaster

73. In Dark Halls, a Light Shines

We’ll give an excerpt next time.  Gotta keep them special dontcha know?

BTW, in case you didn’t quite realize, The pictures I use are often clues to what kind of things I’ve been writing about in the book.  Just a little extra something for when you read the book you can look back and go “ohhhhh!  That’s what he was doing!”

Obviously Daffy isn’t one of them.

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Sometimes You Must Go Back To Go Forward

After a great meeting with my editor, I realized that I had to restore a subplot I cut out of the book.  I figured it was going to end up being in book 3 instead, before I realized that its original intent was going to work.  So… 5 new (old) chapters were put back in the book near the beginning.  In fact, one of them is now the new first chapter.

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But as for moving forward, I had gotten stuck on several points on my last chapter, and it just… blech!  It wasn’t working.  Too overwrought and loaded down with purple prose that was muddying even my understanding of what was going on.  The good news is that now that I have worked through a serious scientific problem, I can also see that this book is living up to my hopes and has the potential to being a real awesome adventure when I discussed my plans with my editor.  She was so good at just letting me vent ideas.  Still not sure on a few simple points, but mmmm boy…. this ending, thanks to the solution brought back by the restored subplot got so much better.

It was a sub-plot that originated from characters from A Light Rises in a Dark World, so some favorites are returning and having an impact on what’s going on.  This also will end up creating more of a tie-in to book 3 that I hoped.

I also have the timeline more squared away.  Having to start writing chapters that will be inserted earlier into the book because I’m writing this chronologically forces that issue.

I’m seeing the ending far more clearly, now, and that makes me happy.  But I have to start thinking of what to title this thing.  Even a working title would be good.

Stats

Pages 407
Words 135970

As you can see, a significant jump in word count too.

New (Restored chapters and locations)

1. The Hunt

3. A Desire For Home

5. Confession & Revelation

7. An Interrupted Meal

8. Breaking Bread With New Friends

And the new chapters since last with their new position:

57: Rewards, Conundrums & Disappointments

58: The Drowned Forest

59: The Valley That Drives Away Evil With Light

60: Temple To An Unknown God

61: The Weight of Sin

I guess it has been a while since I’ve given you a chapter update.  So as a mea culpa and désolé, here’s an excerpt from the new opening chapter

 

The Hunt

 

The beast had come across the ice that winter.  Tracks left in the snowpack frozen by spray from a storm haunted Aske’s mind.  The prints were startling along the beach of Neinnvanbjarg as it had wandered along for a short while, looking for evidence of food, found it, then went into the trees and vanished. Perhaps the beast would just pass on to another island looking for better fare, but that was not to be.  A week later, an team of oxen were killed.  Their kusk escaped with his life by the grace of God.  Something needed to be done now for this beast was there to feast.

Early March had created a world without horizon.  For days on end, the air was warm and thick with fog.  Heavy coats were laid aside, and most timberjacks went about with only light oilskins normally for rain over their autumn clothing.  Aske and his men slogged through the mud and wet snow of the spring melt.  Near the beaches the crunch and hiss of ice shoves were a disquieting din as the winds and waves pushed floes and bergs all the way to the treeline.  Sometimes the piles reached over forty feet high.  But among the trees the sound of dripping water and sighing boughs was all that could be heard.  The birds refused to sing, not even the chickadees or cardinals, for they knew a killer lurked among the pillars of nature’s cathedral.  The beast made it easy to follow by dragging the dead oxen back to its cave in the rotted limestone cliffs that made the northeastern end of the island. Ten of them came with Aske while the rest protected the woodyard and the logging camp.  The track may have been there, but it might be still on the prowl.  None the less, Aske’s knowledge of nature told him to expect a full it  inside.

The plan was simple.  They would go in as many men abreast as possible and when they came across across their quarry, pin it in place with the first rank of spears, then the second rank would stab the trapped creature till it stopped moving.  The hide might be ruined, but this was not about another fur, this was about survival.  Of all the choices for hunting the beast, this was the safest and fastest.

The cave was a small alcove set back a few dozen yards from the beach and elevated in the rock about the height of a man with talus of rotted rock scattered at its base.  The smell of feces came strong on the stirring breeze outside the mouth of the lair.  A deer’s ribcage poked out obscenely from the melting snow telling that the oxen were not this beast’s first kill.  Even in the full light of the foggy day, the shadows inside were deep enough that the men could not see more than a few feet into the short cave.

Aske took the middle of the first rank, was flanked by his two strongest men, and began entering the dark.  The cave was not too deep, maybe a hundred feet or less, but it took a bend to the left, which concealed the deeper chamber of the cave.  Behind him, a rank of men held torches high.  The flames sizzled in the spiderwebs and burned the rock lice.  Unstable slabs of loose rock clunked under their feet and the stink was overwhelming.  The torches were now their only light.  Ahead, soft breathing could be heard.  Would they be so fortunate as to catch their prey still sleeping?

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Feel free to comment and ciao for now!