Now On To Formatting! (and other news)

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Editing (with the exception of a couple technical whoopsies caught by proof reading ) is done!  I am so relieved.  Both Books 1 and 2 are now set to be formatted, sent to the printer and released.  I am hoping, barring restrictions that this will be complete in April.  A goodish month for me all things considered.

So what comes next?

BOOK 3!  The editing begins!  My goal is mid July, and although I set the deadline, it has some real world outside of myself backup to get it done. That means Beta Readers will be needed again by Early June at the latest, and a cover I hope by the same time.

And once all that is done, I can turn my attention to Book 4… which isn’t written yet, but it’s been building in my head.  I have certain scenes envisioned and now a few new characters, plot twists, questions to answer… not to mention ask!

When will that finish?  I’m not going to predict other than to say 2020.  I know that’s the year I want to start looking at audiobooks, and that will be the goal, but those will probably be pushed back till late 2020, after I finish Book 4 so it can all be done at once.  We’ll see.  This is long range blue skying it right now.

As for other things, Realm Makers 2019 in Saint Louis is fast approaching and I am both full of joyful squee and screams of terror.  Why?  Give away merchandise for attendees and a few choices on merchandising.  I’ve no idea what kind of good memorable give-away I can provide, but I want to do something nice.

What’s that?  You didn’t realize I wanted to do some merch for my books?  Oh yes… yes indeed I do!

What kind of merch?

I hope to do something with teeshirts and my covers and maybe hats with my logo on it.  We’re gonna have to see what I can come up with.  Honestly though I really need help with this stuff.  I’ve been researching companies to do it through, but I can’t afford to play with inventory, online stores, order fulfillment and all that jazz.  Heck, you see how good I am with this blog current!

That said, once I get some shirts designed for me to wear, I do hope to set it up for all of y’all to be able to buy them if you want.  That’s the hope on the clothing.

But nuff said.  There’s also one other dream item I’d love to do, but that would require some real help with someone who has know-how and the ability to help me set up a “Manufacture On Demand” setup.

What is this dream item?  Wellllll….. okay, I’ll tell you, just realize this is in the dreaming with no idea how to pull it off still:  Stuffed Bergamots.  Yes, Actually, I want to do stuffed doggies, same with Hawthorne (you’ll meet him later)  It’d be really fun to do stuffed versions of Brother Finn, Reimar and other characters…. or… something else!  HAH!  But that’s even more blue sky thinking so I’ll keep that in the cooler till it’s ready to start prepping.

So that’s the news right now.  Hope to give a hard date on the release soon.

TTYL

 

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Almost There: Edit, Polish, Format, Publish

Yep.  The big edits are now done.

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I’m getting feedback from my editor on it, and I should have the beta readers copy off to my team by the 21st.  Not bad if you think about it.  Only 2 weeks later than I hoped.  So for Book 3, I will know to budget about 1 chapter a day.  So I should start editing that in December at the latest.

I will say that I had a very painful time with doing the edits.  So many chapters needed serious work.  Reading outloud to yourself is time consuming and often just tough.

So what is my process before beta release?

Incorporate the changes from the editor,  panic and scream about it all.
Use a text reader to listen to the book, catching any minor corrections that come up.
Format.
Send.

What comes after?

While the beta readers are doing their thing, I’ll be trying to finalize the title and contacting the cover artist and scheduling him in.  I honestly still don’t know what I want for either.  This happened on the first book too.  Not till the last month did I have the title, or the right scene picked for the cover.  Hope the artist is still available.

And affordable.

I already know what I want to do for book 3′ and 5’s cover.  LOL

Like to give another thank you for my team of Alpha Readers, you were a great help!  Welcome aboard to all Beta Readers (I still have a spot or two left I can bring in, so… contact me if… y’know… you want in.

So there you go.  A quick little update to keep you informed.

And only 2 weeks behind ideal release?  Hey!  I like this!

I see no reason why it won’t be available for…

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Delays Delays

Okay…

Editing is a beast.  Particularly when you’re doing two edits at once that often require a third comb through.  I vastly overestimated my output.

That said, I’m on chapter 32 of 42.

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I’ve suffered also a “real job” delay in having to cover vacations and so I’m working a long stretch of 12 hour shifts that thanks to the holiday have resulted in an extended visit from Mr. Charlie Foxtrot.  With a small encore next week.

What does all this mean?

The Beta Read will hit a little later.  At best Sept 21st (that’s what I’m praying God allows me to do).  Otherwise, it could be up to the last week of October.  Of course this means that the book will go on sale a little later, but still in time for Christmas, instead of being ready for Black Friday.

So do not dispair!  It’s coming.  It’s happening!  It’s going to be awesome!  You beta readers are going to have a lot of fun and a clean manuscript to pick at.

And for those who are “Johnny-Come Latelys”… you still have a chance to get involved in the Beta Read.  I have a spot or two left I could shoehorn you in.  Best contact me right away through the site though.

Also, there’s been a nice little surprise as I polish these chapters.  The book is a LOT more topical and deep than expected.  Lots of themes that apply to today unexpectedly.  I didn’t consciously set out to write them, but the editing has brought them to the fore.  This has made a much more engaging and… hmmmm…. is controversial the right word?  I dunno.  But you’re gonna go ‘oh wow!’  a few times.

Sooooooo, no pressure.

Except on me.

Who still isn’t sure on the title…

or cover…

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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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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!

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”.

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.  😉

 

News from the Home Front – Aug ed.

When I first thought about self publishing, I considered several models on how to put out my work.  It has become time for me to go forward with one of those ideas.

File under “C” for Cheezburger.

Starting this September, I am going to serialize “A Light Rises in a Dark World” into three volumes.  The first volume will be free, while the second two will be $0.99.  They will have a new, simpler cover, and no maps, but the glossary will still be there for all the novellas.  I will continue to keep the E-book full version out there for the time being at the same price.  If people want the full story in one shot with the artwork and maps it will be there fore now.  Need to give you some value for buying the full book over the volumes, right?

The current plan is to release them from over three months, and then hopefully, we will have book 2 done by the end of the year and those volumes and final books will be available at that time.  Again, these volumes will only be in E-book format.  The hardcover and print will still be full novel length only.

The exact date on when the first free volume will be released is uncertain but my hopes is it will be ready by the second week of September at the latest.

Now… I shall summon the power of my fanbase…  I need reviews.  Moar reviews!  So if you have read the book, and enjoyed it, heck even if you haven’t enjoyed it.  I need your reviews on amazon, or even, email me through the contact page and tell me what you thought so you can tell the world about it.  I’ve gotten some very humbling reviews lately and thank you from the bottom of my heart.  But let people know what you think of the work.

I also have had a few people wanting me to make an audio version of the ALRDW.  I’d love to do that… but unless there is someone out there who has some talent to do it, I don’t see it coming up.  I am not good enough nor equipped well enough to do a professional grade recording, or afford a voice actor and studio time.  So, if this is something you have talent in, perhaps drop me a note and we can talk about it.

So that’s the news on the home front.  Book 2 still moves forward.  We’re solidly into the middle build and it’s getting fun.  Right now I’m reformulating how to explain what happens.  Thinking about what scenes must be in the following chapters as well as consider the repercussions of what I’ve just written.  I can’t wait to share it all with you.