Triskaidecaphobia… The Editing Edition

I was told by a friend that Ernest Hemingway once edited the last page of one of his novels over 150 times till he had it right.

Well.  Chapter 13 of the Book 1 reissue has just exacted such torture on me.

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For the love of little green pickles I just could NOT get that chapter to work right.  Every trick and redesign of “Dangerous Hours” refused to play along.  Nay, it revolted against me!   It is an important and I needed to get it right.  It had to sound right as well as look right.  One change lead to a half dozen corrections, then it didn’t sound right so I had to go over it again and again and again.

Oh! for the tranquility of writing the first draft again!  Editing is not my favorite task as a writer, but it is essential.  You, the readers, have entrusted your imaginations to me, and I need to be a good caretaker of that trust.  Unfortunately I now know how writers become alcoholics, I think. I really began to wonder how I let this book out into public like this.

Then I had to remember, this was as good as I could do at the time.  I now have the benefit of over 1200 more pages written to the saga now.  Yes, you heard correction.  That’s 4 more novels worth of stuff.  Not that all of it’s going to release any time soon, but it’s there and growing.

But, after no less than 125 passes through that thirteenth chapter… it’s ready.  Redundancies gone and bad phraseology banished to the tune of 500 words!  Furthermore, when I realized that I could not envision the scene from my own writing, I backtracked and found better ways to explain the images I saw in my own head.  Talk about a gauntlet for my creative soul!

But forward we go.  I’m locking down chapters after my editor, who should be nominated for sainthood for many reasons beyond just tearing my work apart, has done a final pass through.  That means very soon, I will be moving forward and fixing even more stuff.  The struggle will have been worth it in the end.  I am proud of the work again after having severe doubts about my own efforts.

And just so you know, gentle readers, all authors struggle with impostor syndrome.  Even ones like Stephen King who doubt their skill if they did not have their name to get readers.  Don’t believe me?  See Richard Bachmann.  Game, set, match.  It’s a universal for anyone who wants to be good at their craft regardless of what it is.

I also was given some very good advice by fellow author Kerry Nietz who reminded me that I should be careful on the re-edit and to watch that I don’t lose my voice.  A sentiment I do agree with and am now redoubling efforts to preserve the original tone and not let familiarity dry out the work like an overcooked turkey.

So, patience please, and if you can find it in yourself to extend a little grace as I muddle through, I promise to make the wait worth your while.

 

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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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Bringing Things Up To Snuff

Although I wanted to publish book 2 this week, it just wasn’t possible.  Life rose up and demanded full attention for the last two weeks, and put everything farther behind than I wanted.  That means that I will not have the book ready for Christmas.  My deepest apologies to my fans.

But do not despair, for I am just in the final proof reading stage and starting to format the book.  Fixed a lot of surprise issues I didn’t know of before I had to focus completely on my new job.  The Encyclopedia will be much improved, and those improvements will go over to the second part of the delay which is the reformatting of “A Light Rises in a Dark World”.  So this weekend, I will post another update and give y’all a little treat as a thank you for your patience in this process.

But for now, here’s the reissue of ALRDW cover.

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Talk to you real soon with more news as we hit the final sprint!

Happy Allhelgensdag!

Jah, in the world of Akiniwazi, you don’t celebrate Halloween.  That is a day of darkest black infamy.  It is the date the Skaerslinger first made the dead rise from their graves and caused their own zombiapocalypse that was quickly overcome the following day, but not without it’s horrible price.

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So on November 1st, Allhelgensdag (All Saints Day as we know it) is celebrated as a victory over the forces of darkness in a very real way.  The day is one of solemn remembrance that begins a week of feasting, bonfires and culminates in a celebration of life and God’s grace over Forsamling society as they turn forward to face the soon to arrive Season of Ice, aka Winter.

Feasting begins on the Sunday before the holiday, and goes to the Sunday after.  If Nov 1st falls on a Sunday, it is the first day of the celebrations.  It lasts a week, for after the dead began to be raised, the Forsamling dug up every cemetery and burned the bodies in an updated and Christianized version of the traditions from the Gamlehaven (what they call their ancestral homes back in Europe).

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This also marks the beginning of the tradition of cremating the dead instead of burying them.  Many “pyres” are created on that evening where effigies are burned to remember their dead loved ones.  Lamps are kept at the doors of houses to symbolize the Holy Spirit protecting them from the Draugr, as well as ward off the other minions of the Devil.

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The Forsamling mark themselves with ash from the effigy pyres mixed with oil and drawing crosses and other related symbols on their bodies. They also write the names of their loved ones.  Many visit the memorial stones as families. This is done with no particular schedule throughout the week.  On the seventh day of the feast week, a ceremonial washing on the last day of the feast days.

Hope you enjoyed this little piece of culture and society from the Akiniwazisaga.

PS: this is a general overview and a little bit a work in progress, but as it sits, this is the basis for the holiday in my world.

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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First Draft of Books 2 & 3 Complete! FREE EXCERPT

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!

~~~~~

Glossary

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.

What’s next?

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!

 

Reviews by Peter: Guest Post Crosslink

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Dis r nawt hao it gose.  Wai u upseid down?

A few weeks back I met Peter Younghusband on the Realm Makers Forum on Facebook.  We had a few jolly discussions and he invited me to do a guest post for his blog.  Due to a technical glitch, it posted WAY early, much to his embarrassment.  Sorry Peter, It’s a cute story.  So… as I like to say… SURPRISE GUEST POST!

Everything in His timing, I guess.  So with that happening, here’s a link over to the guest post.

Reviews By Peter: Guest Post – Michael Boncher

I would like to point out that he has a pile o pixels devoted to his passion for reading Christian Fiction.  You can spend hours going through book reviews, author commentary on their own work and lots of other goodies for the budding bibliophile in you.

Check him out and give him some love too.

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!

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.

A Huge Weekend Writing

I’m tired!  Whoooeee!

Four new chapters, 7,700 words in two days

And the craziest part, I now reached the point where I expected to start it in the first place!  I mean Jeez La Rue!  I cranked out so much of what I originally thought was only backstory and it’s a cracking good read.  And this is the beginning of the middle build!  So lots more to go.  I’m enjoying doing shorter chapters (most times).  Really keeps me focused better.  But now I have a firm deadline I want to keep, so push push push.

Latest chapters finished? (Working titles subject to change)

#27 “Conditions, Restrictions & Honor”

#28 “Out From The Depths”

#29 “Three Become Six

#30 “The Magnitude of Betrayal is Revealed”

Now, comes some crazy stuff.  I hope that I can get my mind bent around this in time for my next writing session starting Tuesday night… or at least Wednesday.

If not… I’ll work on my project that will be announced soon.  😉

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An image on things to come.