Okay, NOW the Middle Build is Done

I wasn’t sure what would be the better ending point.  A conversation with my protagonists with a bunch of big revelations, or an interrogation by my villain.  I like my clean cliffhangers that both answer and ask questions.  So, that means the first draft of Volume 4 and 5… aka the first two parts of Book 2 I think are done.

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What changed my mind?  What I wrote kinda sets up a small question that felt better to resolve for that great clean break rather than let carry over and start the last volume on the wrong foot.

I guess it’s my years of RPG experience that made this kind of thinking something I’m sensitive to.  I always liked stopping the game as a new event or surprise came up.  The players always wanted to play it out right then, but I wouldn’t do it because the act of doing so had them talking about it all week long.  I kinda saw it as my way of doing the TV season ending trick but for every week.  Or what the old Dr. Who used to do for every story arc.  You’d get 3-4 show stories, with cliffhangers on every episode till the end.  Kept me coming back for more, that’s for sure.  So I’m doing the same thing here.

But for those fretting about having to wait for months for resolution, here’s the new release plans from now on:

I will release Volume 4 at the same time as I release the print versions of all of Book 2.  That way, you want the whole story at once, there it is… in print.  After that, every 2-4 months, I will release the next Volume.  If I time it right, you will get a new book every year or more, and a new volume every 2-4 months, depending on if I can keep up.

That’s the plan going forward.  BTW, book 3 is as I’ve said before 60% written.  Why?  See previous posts.  😉  Go on, you know you want to check out back posts.  XcD  But also, the events in book 2 require me to add more content to help the two books blend better.

Now, here’s the progress report, since it’s been helping my motivation.

Pages 292 of 349
Words 104555 of 114209

Why the new split?  Because I realize that the “Encyclopedia Akiniwazi” is a significant chunk of the length, so this way you know the story.  Right now, Book 2 is exceeding the length of book 1 in about every respect, and I still have about 25-30% left to go.  That’s about 30 more chapters I’m estimating.  Now 57 pages of encyclopedia is a lot to ask, and every book it grows, but over Thanksgiving I got to visit with a family who is reading the book right now, and they have a bookmark at the glossary.  They use and enjoy it.  Their sons have now taken to insulting each other with some of the names.  Funny stuff to hear them call each other “snotnose” (Hrodinefr) or “chicken fart” (Haensafretr).  They’re young, so it’s extra funny and beats a lot of names they could call each other.

Chapters

50. In Which Occult Knowledge is Revealed

51. A Fool No Longer

 

On one side note, I may be having some difficulty this month in productivity due to some complications with life.  I still have a specific goal in mind, but I’m worried I will not be able to meet it.  We’ll see.

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Gratitude and Progress

So far it’s been a wild week for writing. Six chapters in 6 days including one that freaked me out and made me go “Well, this ain’t for kids anymore.  Nope nope nope!”  Then it’s never been my intent to write YA fiction, but for you hardy, sturdy fangirls and boys of fantasy and good storytelling.  Huzzah!

I think as a “stay-cation” this has turned out far better than expected.  I have another week like this coming up, so I will be getting busy with outlining the final chapters.

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Being the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning here, soup bubbling away on the stove for my post holiday work week and stomach bracing for the onslaught tomorrow in carb laden goodness, (My pancreas curses me, but I think eventual forgiveness will come) I thought I’d bow to peer pressure and say thank you.  To all of you who have bought my book, lent your support and follow this blog, I am grateful.

This is I guess a contrast to the degree of ingratitude I see in the world and how it makes people terminally unhappy to the point in which they desire nothing more than sharing their misery.  I don’t want to be that guy.  I don’t always succeed, but generally no.  It is not my desire to be the monster I sometimes pretend to be in attempts of self depricating humor or currying compliments.  (yes, we guys and writers do it too from time to time.  Human weakness, sue me.)  But in an effort to start the ball rolling in your own reminiscence, here’s what I have to be thankful for.

I am grateful to my alpha readers who have been helping me in my writing, giving me honest critiques and picking me up when the bull throws me and dances on my head for a day or twenty

I am grateful for my job, despite all it’s myriad foibles that drive me crazy.  It keeps me focused and desiring to keep writing if not from a suffering point of view, but from a financial desire PoV.

I am grateful for my health as it is.  I know it is far better than what it could be if I had not started paying attention to it two years back, and although the improvement is slow, I am still glad for what I have.

I am grateful for my friends, the couple I have IRL and the dozens I have online and in my gaming guilds of the Seraphim and Angels of Eternal Destiny.  To that end, I am grateful to have known my buddy on the other side of the world in Guild Wars 2, Flowerypants who passed away this year.  He helped me to realize how fortunate I was for both my life as well as the chance to share deep things around my book in a way I will be forever remembering him.

I am thankful my sister and her family survived Hurricane Harvey and are on their way to full recovery.  Despite all the material loss they suffered (see almost everything) they were all safe, including their cats.  It has been such a warm feeling to see the outpouring of family and friends to pull together and help them in this terrible crisis too.  I mean just staggering.

I am grateful, most of all, for my salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ.  The gifts that he has given me from the night I chose to follow Him, back in 1997.  Well surprise surprise.  It’s been 20 years since I became born again!  I did not realize that till now.  Now that is an odyssey down memory lane.

There are so many more things for me to be thankful for in private, and I hope that most of all I keep remembering to be grateful for them throughout the year, and not just on one day, which when things are going sour is very hard, but the most important time to do it.

So that’s how I feel right now.

Thanks.

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Now, as for what’s been going on with the book.

Pages 339
Words 110739

I’m still suspecting that this book will end up over 150k words, 4-500 pages, and I may just have reached the end of my middle build, or will be in a chapter or two.  Not quite sure yet.  I thought I did, and felt I had a good denouement for what would have been Volume 5 of the series, but now, I am not so sure if I should finish this part of the adventure before considering it such.  Meh, we’ll see.

And the new chapters…

44. Among the Wolves

45. A Dangerous Trade

46. Twelve Fingers

47. Sacrifices

48. Reforging the Iron

49. Hope From Afar

I hope these tantalizing little tidbits are enjoyable for you.  I kinda like dropping the teasers and keeping you in the know as to what the progress looks like.  These have been incredibly intense chapters for me to write, and I’ve been waiting literally months to finally get to this point.  And now that I’m there, I’m taking the deep breath before the plunge, as it were.

Also, I’ve started working on a new map.  Much like what you can find in the first book, you will be able to track a goodly portion of the adventure’s trek through the wilds.  Partially because I think you will enjoy it, but also because I need it to keep my understanding in place to the directions and locations our heroes are visiting.

No teaser draft this time though.  I do that too much and it won’t be special anymore.  😉  You understand.  We’ll see what happens.

Till then, it’s back to the Ondeandkurvfjell for me.

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Whew! Now the Fun Really Starts.

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Survived work till vacation kicked in.

So, I’m doing a speed round of writing.  I got a few chapters plotted out, and they should be very exciting and fly by.  Secondly, I am taking another vacation before Thanksgiving here in the US, so I hope that by the end of the week, I could maybe… MAYBE have reached the end or nearly the end of the middle build of my book… aka Volume 5.  Uh huh… that’s right… Volume 5 of the series.  It all depends on if I can keep the rhythm going.  I want to get a couple more big shockers in to the mix, but I just pulled the triggers on some of Chekov’s Guns I had laying around too.  I am guessing on 10 chapters more and that would be my ideal to complete in 7 days, minus the time spent on Thanksgiving.  Mmmmmmm… turkey.  I fully plan to carb cheat the hell out of that day too.  So afterwards, I’ll have to be very good about getting myself back into ketosis.  Gonna hurt, but soooooo worth it.

So here’s the next question.  You guys interested in hearing anything else rather than what you’re getting? Suggestions for posts/articles… whatever?

P.S. Bengal Spice tea rocks.  Cinna-nummy.

A Fast… By Many Definitions

Fast as a noun and fast as an adjective.

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Much like how I started writing “A Light Rises in a Dark World”, Book 2 is now being written during a fast.  I have sworn off gaming for the next month and a half to focus exclusively on book 2.  There is a good chance I’m over half done, and if I can keep up this pace of a chapter every writing day (which is on average 3.5 days a week, plus a week’s vacation this and next month),  and an output between 1500-3000 words, I will be done before Christmas.  It’s getting thrilling, let me tell you that, despite being a lot bigger and harder to produce, it’s been worth it.

What’s also been thrilling is seeing how book 3 which now I’d call 60% written, thanks to how it came into being the first time is going to be much stronger thanks to all of what I learned about my own setting.  The mystery and mystique of the setting has grown.  The complications and politics have really taken on vast new dimensions and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

The last month of writing has been a real struggle, even after a month and a half writer’s block.  I’m so happy to be moving forward and listening to the story the characters have to tell me, which helps when you start trusting your creations.  But I’m past it now, and hopefully nothing but smooth sailing to come.

To help myself when I’ve been feeling stuck I’ve been going to other comfort writers and listening to classic literature on my phone.  “Around the World in 80 Days,” “The Count of Monte Cristo”, I tried to get into the “Gulag Archepelago”, but nope… not there yet.  I’ve also been looking at good fantasy… aka seeing how JRR did things in “The Hobbit”, because some of the concepts bear some similarity of a travel adventure.  I also like to refer to “On Basilisk Station” by David Weber, because I really enjoy how he handles larger casts and for the most part has an excellent narrative style.  So the two have taught me a few things here and there.  Mostly though I want to stick to reading books that are over 50 years… if not 200 years old because it is more toward the voice I enjoy and gives my writing more of a feeling of timeless feeling.

So maybe I’m deluding myself, I dunno, but I’m having fun doing it so… thppt.

Anyhoo… this is what’s been happening.  The new chapters with current names go as follows:

40.  Oaths, Threats & Honor

41. A Racket in the Treetops

42. Placing a Bit in the Mouth of the Wild  (Its new location which fixes a timeline issue)

43. Quid Pro Quo

 

Chapter 38 has been re-titled to “Fracturing the Keystone”.

Current Stats:

Pages 306
Words 98923

I think this is going to break 450 pages and 150k words.  But we shall see.

Oh… by the way…

And in another case of guilt inspired “you haven’t been posting much lately” fun, here’s another teaser from the chapter 18. “Missing Passengers”.  Enjoy!  (As always, it’s the first draft so… don’t worry.  This is like a construction site, and you’re seeing the foundation and rough framing laid.  Beware of random nails.  ;c)

“Solveig?  Mirjam?” she called softly.  “Are you awake?”

No answer came.

She knocked again, louder.

The door to her stateroom opened and the Minister of the Wardrobe peaked out.

“Ah!  Have you seen the Kronadottirs?”  the Visedronning asked.

“No, my Tign.  I have not seen them.”

“Did you check their stateroom when you came on board?”

“Jah, my Tign, directly after making sure everything was in order for yours.  No one was there.”

“Perhaps they arrived after you did.”

“It is possible, but unlikely for I arrived very shortly before you did and did not see them on the pier nor in my inspection of the ship, my Tign.”

The Visedronning frowned, and opened the door to her daughter’s stateroom while knocking.

“Solveig?  Mirjam?”

The room was empty.  In fact, there was no evidence that they had ever been there.  The beds were empty and still made.  She opened the wardrobe and found their clothing still there.

“The wardrobe was empty when I arrived, so I had the servants quickly fill it with any appropriate changes they might need for the cruise, my Tign,” the minister replied before she could even ask the question.  The concern was quickly rising.

“I watched them go to the ship, so they must be on board.  “Oh this must be Mirjam’s idea of a joke,” she said her brow furrowing as the words left her mouth.  It would be just like that girl to play games on an important day like this, but why would Solveig agree to such a prank?  She was never like this before.

“Search the ship.  Quietly and report back to me here.  Do not enlist anyone else.”

“Immediately, my Tign!” the Minister said and vanished.  He did not run, but seemed to glide rapidly down the hall with a poise most women would be jealous of.

The Visedronning sat on the bed and looked around the room.  For now, it was a rest from having to deal with drunken guests she must humor for the moment.  Solveig did look ill after all.  But why were they both missing?  She rose and opened the dressing table’s jewelry box.  Everything was there.  But the cosmetics box was empty.  That was odd.  Her daughters always kept some minor essentials there in case of emergencies.  All of it was gone, but the jewelry stayed behind.

A soft knock was heard on the door and it opened.

“The Minister said you were in here,” Gregor said as he entered in and closed the door without a sound.

“Jah, and I am taking a moment to get away from the throng.”

“I was able to do the same thanks to the message you sent.”

“I did not send one.”

“Then he must have seen the look on my face and provided me an excuse to get away from that sweaty pack of panderers.  I wonder what it is like to have a friend that does not expect to get something from you?”  The Visekonge wondered out loud.  His wife smiled and walked over to him, draped her arms around his shoulders and gave him a quick intimate kiss.

“Well, I want nothing more from you, so you always have me.”

“Ahhh…”  Gregor smiled at her.  “A sated wife is a blessing indeed.”  He embraced her lovingly.

“Why are we in here other than to escape that herd of steaming social animals?”

“Mirjam is playing one of her tricks again.  I swear to you, my Tign, she will be the death of me some day.”

“But where is Solveig then?”

“I have not the faintest.  Dare I even suspect Mirjam finally started enlisting her help in her pranks?”

“Marianne, you know she loves it when you react so strongly.  This time, let us try to ignore what plot she has in mind and make the best of it.  She will come out sooner or later and expect a big fuss over her jest.  If we give it to her, she will have succeeded.”  Gregor soothed.  Mirjam’s pranks were something that always tickled his fancy, but had to keep secret lest his marriage became a lot more combative and his willful daughter turn her cleverness on him and drive him to distraction too.

Marianne sighed at the wisdom of her husband, but inside, she roiled at not punishing her daughter with something appropriate.

“I will try, my love.  Particularly with the politics what they are.”

“That is my little sapphire,” he said and kissed her on the forehead making her smile.

A quickie glossary

Visedronning –  The Vice Queen.  Highest title for a woman in Akiniwazi.  Married to the Visekonge (Vice King).

Kronadottirs – The Crown Daughters.  Aka, princesses.

Tign – Honorific for the Crown Family only.  Means roughly “Lord, Master, Sire”.

Volume 2 Now On Sale

Now available at Smashwords, Kobo and Amazon!

This is the second volume in the Akiniwazi Saga.
Volumes 1-3 can be found in Book One.

After surviving the storm, Reimar and Brother Finn have terrifying new problems. They are stuck on an isolated island named “No Hope Rock”. The children are turning on each other, an assassin with the power to raise the dead is hunting Brother Finn, and a manitou desires to possess Reimar!

Aided by Herr Aske, a master timberjack, and the mysterious Daniel, the four must unite to stop the evil plans opposing them before it’s too late. Can they get off the island with their minds and souls intact?

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And coming this December!

The conclusion of “A Light Rises in a Dark World”!

 

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Volume 2 Release This Week!

Yes ladies and gentlemen!

Volume 2 of “A Light Rises in a Dark World” is coming out this week!  Available on Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords for $0.99!

 

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Ensemble Casts Suck

No seriously.  They are such a pain to write.  How do you give proper attention to characters when you are stuck with scenes that require seven or more to be participating?!  Ugh!  This is the challenge I’ve been having with my writing.  From my GM-Brain, I just want to follow the plot, but without meaning and character development, it’s worthless, and so many characters need to be addressed.

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There are times I think back to books like “The Stand” where King created himself a cast of what?  A dozen to follow?  I mean how do you write the scene of the meeting of the Boulder Free Zone Committee without going insane or leaving someone out of the mix?  He did it, and did it well.  I feel like a fumbling poseur.  Yes, yes… I know that is endemic among writers.  Possibly a pandemic of impostor syndrome.  Doesn’t change the fact I feel it.

At least I can say it’s moving forward though, despite getting ready to add an eighth member to the party.  So what sounds more medieval for a group of travelers?  Party, Band, Group, team?  Blarg… do I just throw it in the mixmaster and hit frappe?

Plus how do you handle a secret romantic subplot in the midst of it?  Lament lament lament.  anyhooo… new chapter titles that are done… and not necessarily in order because I may have to rearrange some of them for better flow and suspense.

#?  Placing a Bit in the Mouth of the Wild (will be moving)

31. Beyond the Bounds of Law

32. Planning the Coronation (may have to move)

33. Under a Lowering Sky

34. Like Sheep To Uncertain Pasture

35. The Last Farmhold

36. Where A Clandestine Rendezvous Occurs

37. Ascending For Primae

38. Brother Finn Risks His Neck (probable re-title)

39. Palliative Heat & An Ancient Terror (probable re-title)

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On a positive note, the direction this part of the plot has come over the horizon, and weeks of contemplation, worry and irritation are now being put on the page.  Unfortunately, it has revealed another issue that will have to wait till the second draft to address.  More on that in a later post.  I will be summoning my clutch of alpha readers, for a private discussion on the topic of culture and weighing authenticity versus modern fantasy sensibilities.  Yes, the two are suddenly in conflict.

But if you would like to opine on the subject, I shall ask the hypothetical.  If you were reading a historical fantasy book and came across an old custom that was socially distasteful in modern terms (compared to even as far back as Victorian terms) would you prefer the authenticity, or would you rather it be written around as too distracting.  Mind you I’m not talking something totally reprehensible, but we’re talking moderate social taboos.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and more to come soon!  Yes, actually soon.  😉

 

Volume One is Here!

Surprise free book!

Yes, that’s right peoples… Volume One of “A Light Rises in a Dark World” has made it onto the market.  You can get your free copy here, till Amazon matches the price.  Yeah, they no longer do permafree releases.  But Kobo does!  And that should come available after the holiday up in Canada today.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/752542

I will release more direct links as it comes available.

Edit: Here’s the link to Kobo.

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-light-rises-in-a-dark-world-volume-one

 

Till then, price is no longer an excuse to check this bad boy out!  Come on… whatcha got to lose?

 

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A Crisis of Doubt (Bonus Draft Excerpt!)

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I’ve been radio silent for a few weeks now because I’ve been struggling with some things in regards to “A Light Rises in a Dark World”.  I opened myself up to ask others what they thought of it in a professional forum to see what kind of surface reaction I was getting.  Everyone was great with what they told me and the criticisms all honest, having validity and expressed the opinions of those who cared to share.  I appreciate all of them, so don’t think I’m bashing them or unappreciative to what they did.

What this is about is an unintended consequence of doing such a thing that caused me to stumble in my productivity and confidence in my book.

I’ve had a set of good and bad reviews lately, and I had started to doubt my work.  Not the quality of it, but its public visage.  I started to question the cover, the title, the sales copy (oh yeah that’s puppy poo and needs to be reworked, for sure)… but the title?  The cover?  Like I said, a crisis of doubt.

But three other incidents have gotten around the corner.

My editor reminded me I get streaky like this where I’ll go ‘fallow’ (my word) for a few weeks, but bounce back with a lot of productivity.  I just need time to let the stew in my head simmer.  Let me tell you, it’s more complex and time consuming than black roux gumbo can be, and just as fraught with disaster.  So she’s the one that helped me realize I was lying on the floor covered in self doubt.

So while I was mulling about that, my writing buddy and friend, Dave, came along and reminded me that I was looking for reason to doubt myself.  Reasons to tear down everything and dispair.  Something I am still wondering about.  So he helped pick me up and made sure I was standing again.

Then Torfinn, the man that makes the foreign words work right and provider of good suggestions came in, and made some simple apt points about what was said and showed me again the good things that were said to counterbalance out all the negative stuff I was feeling that really may not have been there in the first place, but only in my own doubt.  So in essence, he dusted me off, straightened my tie and got me thinking about what needs to be done next.

So to you three, thank you.

Upshot of all this has yeilded some interesting thoughts in my head.  I realize I’ve been struggling with the “What Next” question.  I know what I want to talk about, and I’m shaping out the characters, but I haven’t found the right way to fit them all together in Book 2.  Until I do, I can’t make myself move forward it seems, but I can cogitate a lot about it.

Which has lead for me to understand the themes for books 1-5 better.  Yes… you heard me right, I’m already thinking 3 books ahead.  Pretty easy when book 3 is half written already, but with what’s going on in book 2 that’s going to take some heavy modification which I’m really salivating about doing… but can’t till I get done with book 2 because I need to understand the world that is being built better.  Every book is worldbuilding in chronological order for me.

Why you may ask?  Because I leave myself open to happy accidents.  It’s how I got the whole third act of book 1.  (Or as it will soon be known as ‘Volume 3’)  I knew where I needed to be, then let the characters and world tell me what was happening.  Of course, I got that done in a much more compressed timeframe than this, but it was nowhere near as complex as what I’m doing now.  The interconnectivity… oh you’ve heard this all before.  I’ll bore you to tears with that some other time.  Anyway.  I’m at 36.5 chapters, I have a new visual image going in my head that helps me understand my map the people and how the story must progress.

It’s going to be fun.

Lastly, I will be releasing Book 1 Volume 1 of “A Light Rises in a Dark World” this month still.  Putting finishing touches on my new cover.  Keep an eye out, for it’s going to be “BAM!  Surprise launch!”

And as a thank you for your patience, here’s another first draft exerpt from Book 2 for you.  Remember… this is a FIRST draft excerpt because y’all are worth it.

Bon appetit!

The Jarl’s Hall was impressive to say the least, Brother Finn thought as he walked up to the large structure.  It was twice as large as the Stallare’s Hall in Athrvorthfestning, but comparable to others he had been to.  What made this one stand out all the more was the incredible decorations at the entrance.  Trophies of animals, and demonspawn stood there or were mounted on the walls.  Carvings of great hunts were etched around the massive pillars while ornate tapestries dripped down from the walls.  The long hearth in the middle was roaring as the clergy from all around the area filed in as a processional to the chanting of the choristers in their midst.  The song finished as the last of the clergy reached their seats.

Jarl Jakob Vilhoaettir sat in the high seat watching the procession filed in and took their seats at the table.  Bishop Aarlig Krakisson stood before the Jarl and the Domari stood before him as the Thing finished assembling.  After the Kyrjka was seated, the Huskarls allowed the Forsamling who wished to be witnesses to enter, sitting on the outer benches by the walls.  Silence was strictly enforced.  Those who dared talk could expect to be escorted to the dungeon without hesitation.

When everyone was seated and the only sounds were the crackling of the hearth and the rain hissing on the roof, the Domari turned to face his master.  His form swallowed up in the all black robes of his office with a golden staff in hand taller than a man by half again.  On its tip, was a figurine of balances resting on top of the seal of the Vilhoaettir.  

“Deres Naade, we are ready,” he said with funeral humor.

Jarl Vilhoaettir nodded, his face a serene mask.

With the bottom of his staff, he pounded the timber floor the traditional seven times.  The knocks brought even greater quiet to the hall.

“Damer and Herrar, we are assembled this day, April the eleventh, in anno Domini One Hundred and Ninety Two Ad Segregationem.  We call forth a special assembly of the Thing that justice may be done!”  The man’s powerful voice cracked off the wooden walls loud as any herald.  

“All come forth in fear and trembling in the presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and before the justice of Den Aerefulle Jakob Fritjovsson Vilhoaettir.  May all those who speak, do so in the Spirit of Truth, and no falsehood be found among the Thing.  Pay heed to this warning, for all may be judged for their actions and words.”

The Domari’s sparkling blue eyes swept over the hall, challenging anyone to disagree.  None did.

Brain Sprain!

So I have been stuck on something for moving Book 2 forward, so instead I focused on getting the “easy” cover done for the Ebook Volumes.

Yeah… well I don’t do those things half way.  It’s my graphic designer past I guess.  I recognize I have some talent, but not enough speed.  But this is something I wanted to do.  Unfortunately, I could not just throw crap on the screen and call it good.

But they’re coming and possibly far better than I thought.  I guess it’s good to be satisfied with happy accidents than anything else.

 

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