That’s right! I have finished adding back in that plotline and setting up for Book 4, so I’m going to turn my focus over to get you books 2 and 3 as soon as possible.
Many decisions are yet to come, and I look forward to what shows up in the editing process (which is going to take a few months of course) but if I can keep things on schedule, I hope to do a pre-release for Christmas, if not an actual release this year! Nice huh?
So what’s it currently look like right now? Well here’s some stats as it sits:
Akiniwazisaga : Book 2 (Working title – “A Land In Peril”)
Word Count: 81,096
Page Count: 222
*Without Encyclopedia Akiniwazi
Akiniwazisaga : Book 3 (Working title – “Into The High Places”)
Word Count: 101,238
Page Count: 282
*Without Encyclopedia Akiniwazi
Therefore the last chapters added in are:
83. A Fray Lost, A Trap Set
87. An Odyssey Ends
88. A Bittersweet & Complicated Farewell
These last chapters required a lot of extra care and swings to hit them out of the park. Thank God for my Alpha readers giving me great feedback for when the story went awry.
It seems to be the pattern that the closer to the end I get, the slower the process becomes as much consideration is given to how to best end the story, and what would be a good and satisfying end for you fans. I may write these books to soothe my own creative itch, but part of that balm is telling an entertaining and engaging story that brings you back for the next tome. I like happy readers. What can I say?
Now I’ve been trying to find something good that wasn’t going to require you to know a plot twist or give a spoiler. That has been a challenging task to find. So here’s what I decided. Till Book 2 is officially released, this is the last free sample. Just everything else is too entwined and relying on spoilers I don’t want to show yet. So here’s the last freebie, unless something changes. I hope you enjoy.
As always FIRST DRAFT, so lots of exposed nails and rough framing. Things may change significantly in later drafts as I find better ways to tell the same story. (Glossary Provided at the end of the sample.)
25. Ten Lashes
“My back,” Mirjam whispered, voice strained in pain.
“I warned you this was not a good choice on where to hide,” Solveig chided back. Whoever heard of hiding in barrels? Not even in the Sagas were people so foolish.” It was impossible to keep time in the hold, let alone in the two empty barrels the girls hid inside.
“It has worked so far.” Mirjam said, insulted, forgetting that every word said was another chance to be caught too soon.
“It has been only an hour or so since the engines started. I would not say this has worked yet.” Solveig criticized.
“Are you trying to get us caught? Shut up and try to sleep!” Mirjam commanded. Worry that her plan may fail had begun to torment her.
Solveig descended into a sulky silence.
Mirjam’s back had begun to cramp and her feet were now numb. If she could only sleep. A good long nap would help the time go faster, and the longer they could remain hidden, the better chance they had of not being sent back home to be punished. If only she could stretch her legs.
After counting to a thousand several times to the piston stroke of the engine, Mirjam fell asleep.
“Get out here you lousy tambakkji skipgut!” a rough voice shouted. Solveig was grabbed by her shoulders and thrown bodily out of the barrel and struck her head on what she did not know. The world spun and filled with sparks. She lay on the floor holding her head in agony, never before having felt such pain in her life. Only a low groan escaped her lips.
“Get up you lazy, good for nothing!” The man bellowed again and a rough boot struck Solveig in her gut, leaving her to cough. “Hide down here and shirk your duties? The Baatsmann will flay the tender skin right off your back, you hrodinefr! The cook has been looking for you and here I find you hiding and taking a nap. We shall see about what the Kaptein wants to do with the likes of you!”
Solveig’s breath would not come, and now dark spots danced with the sparkles from the blow to her head. The wroth man looked into the barrel again and saw the sea bag in the bottom.
“A thief too? Stealing the Kaptein’s kit? Oh you will pay for that too, boy!” Her captor fished the bag out and slung it over his shoulder
“Get up,” he ordered but she did not respond. Wheezy rasps came from her as she fought to get her breath back. Her stomach hurt and burning lungs came back to life in ragged hitches and coughs. The man who had disgorged her from the barrel hauled her up by her armpit, setting her on her unsteady feet.
“Come on. March!” he ordered. She stumbled hard onto the deck, for her strength was gone and head still swam with the blow. The Sjomann hooked under the armpit, and all but dragged her up the stairs toward the Kaptein’s cabin. As they passed through the hold and into the aftcastle, other sjomenn seeing the lazy skipgut already having received a taste of the punishment to come began laughing at the young boy’s predicament.
“First voyage out, and in trouble before the day is done,” one said shaking his head.
“He will learn the hard way,” another chided.
“You caught the fubrande, Herr Snekker?” still another asked.
“Jah. Caught him snoring in a barrel. Never even took the Kaptein his property, he answered shrugging the sea bag for emphasis. The door to the hold closed.
In the quiet that followed, Mirjam peaked out of her barrel like a mouse looking out of its burrow. No one was there, so she stood, back crackling in the process. She saw Solveig’s barrel overturned, the lid flung to the side. Although she had heard the scuffle, it was only a theory till the truth was seen.
“Oh dear God!” she whispered. “No, no, no, no, no!” The panic grew as she realized the peril her sister… that both of them were in! If the crew did not know them in disguise, they could be killed!
Baatsmann : [BAHTS-mann] Boatswain, head of the deck crew
Fubrande : [foo-BRAHN-deh] An insult; literally means “arse log”, and was also used to describe a piece of wood used below the draft animal’s tail to prevent a certain type of sleigh from slipping to far forward when going downhill.
Herr : [HEHR] Mister. Polite form of address to a man
Herre : [HEH-re] Master or Sir. A polite form of address towards a man of superior position but unknown status or a Huskarl
Hrodinefr : [ROWD-ih-NEH-fur] Snotnose
Sjomenn : [SEEOH-man] Sailor or Seaman
Skipgut : [SKIPS-goot] Cabin boy
Snekker : [SNEK-kur] A carpenter
Tambakkji : [tam-BAHK-yeh] A cheap alloy. Used to describe a person you dislike.
July : Editing Starts
End of July: I will be attending the Realm Makers Consortium Conference in St. Louis. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see some of you there. Always happy to chat.
August: More and more editing
September: Beta Read and contact the cover artist. (Also begin first draft of Book 4!)
October: Editing, final proofing and formatting.
November: Release? (this is the ideal hope)
Answers to some expected questions.
Will there be a pre-order? Yes, but I won’t know details till I’m more firm on when I will be done with editing and ready to format.
Where will the book be offered for sale?
Amazon for all formats (Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook)
Smashwords and Kobo/Rakuten (ebook only)
Will there be an Audiobook? As of now, no. The cost is too high and I’d rather hire someone good to make it. Someone who speaks Norwegian, Swedish or Icelandic so they can get the terms right.
When will Book 3 come out? As the Magic 8-ball sez… “Ask Again Later”.
There you have it. One big update with lots of extras. Allow me a short break to rest up, get my brain straight and then start editing so you can have goodies for Christmas! Huzzah!