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!

 

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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.

Images from Pexels.com

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!

One More Chapter to Go!

Chapter 9 is now available in the free sample of “A Light Rises in a Dark World“.

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What some of you might not have realized is that this is technically the first novella for free.  Yep.  The first book is technically three novellas packed together.  So why not treat yourself with a freebie and see if the rest is worth it. 🙂

Also, The book is now available for pre-order on Kobo.com.

Lastly, for some reason, ratings and reviews have not been made available yet for the book for some reason, so I don’t know quite what the block is there.  But I suspect it’s because it’s a pre-order.  So if you have your review ready, just hang on and wait for the 17th.  You can probably put it up there then.

As always, thanks for helping out and your enthusiastic support!

 

Sampler Platter #4 “For the Greatest Good, They Leave Home”

Chapter 4 is now posted for your reading pleasure.  Please feel free to drop by and leave comments.

https://www.wattpad.com/361577151-a-dark-light-rises-in-a-dark-world-4-for-the

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Sampler Platter

As a run up to the release of the book, I am offering out a significant teaser.  A new chapter will be released every 2-4 days up to 11 chapters total.  If that isn’t a good incentive to go check it out over on Wattpad, I don’t know what is.  🙂

A Light Rises in a Dark World– Free Sample!

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