How the Writing Is Going: May 23, 2023

About a week and a half ago, Paul announced, “I’m thinking about starting two more series…” Then he clarified that these weren’t new series but simply ones that he hadn’t been writing yet. Remember when he said Stars’ End would be a standalone? Big surprise (not!): it’s going to be a five-book series instead. The other “new” series is the one beginning with Fimbulwinter, which I’ve mentioned here recently.

However… He hasn’t been able to do a lot of writing lately, because he’s so busy with his day job. (That’s the problem with being good at everything: people expect you to do everything, because anyone else who can do it — and most can’t — would take longer and probably not do it as well.) Just when the ad campaign for two of his novels is going quite well (making more from sales than is spent on advertising), thus increasing his motivation to write more, he’s too busy to get much done.

But… He has finished his turn at editing Riders on the Storm and will hand that manuscript back to me this afternoon for a final pass. (This book is due out on August 1.) He has also written a new description for Project Brimstone that better reflects the book as a whole, not only the first part of it.

Now, if he can just find the time to make that timeline graphic for all of his books, showing when and where there’s connection/crossover between series… 

In the early planning stages right now is an anthology of short stories. This, we think, would be a good way to introduce readers to whichever series they’re currently not reading. Some of these short stories will fill in gaps between books within a series, and some may show glimpses into the lives of secondary characters. Nothing carved in stone nor even painted on it, but I think we’ll be able to come up with enough short stories to fill a good-sized book. As of this afternoon, Paul says he intends the anthology to contain around a dozen stories of various lengths. “Solitude” will be one of those stories. So will the prequel we wrote and then decided not to use for “that novel.” Add the story of how Jon Livingston first met Dr. Brygida Hakubi — this story was in my brain when I woke up this morning — and that’ll be three stories containing words by me.

Also… Paul told me that he wrote a bit of Fimbulwinter today. I don’t know if it’s at the ‘share with others’ (others meaning Grace and me) stage yet, but I suppose I’ll find out later this afternoon.


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Dramatic Irony and What to Do With It

Today, blogger/author Nat Russo has a post on dramatic irony. He gives good advice on how to use dramatic irony in one’s own writing, plus how not to use it.

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How the Writing Is Going: May 12, 2023

Paul finished the first draft of Wheel in the Sky this morning. Read about that here.

I’ve finished editing The Sorcerer. (I can almost hear the joke hiding in that sentence…) Next on my to-do list is a second round of editing on Riders on the Storm, as soon as Paul hands it back to me.

Yesterday, Paul told me that wants to write Fimbulwinter, Wooden Ships, and Derelict before publishing any books in that series. Since he wants to publish Fimbulwinter in January, 2025, this is excellent news for me.

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(Cue the Cellos)

A few days ago, I woke up with music in my head: the beginning Rasputina’s cover of “Wish You Were Here.” With it was a “movie trailer” for a movie that doesn’t exist; the movie is based on a novel that hasn’t been (completely) written yet.

A few days before that, I dreamed I was in a movie theater (yeah, weird, right? I don’t go to theaters — too many humans), watching the beginning of a movie based on a novel that has been written. (It’s about ninety percent through the first round of editing right now, BTW.) In this dream, I was looking at the screen, seeing a young man walking to answer the door a short while after ordering a pizza…

The visuals from that dream are vague (I’m mostly aphantasic: I don’t form strong mental images of anything, ever), but the emotions from it are still with me, although somewhat faded. In the dream, I was feeling, This is real — we did it! There it is, on the big screen, the beginning of a story that we’ve been working on since we first met… I was so focused on that feeling that I didn’t even remember to ask my dream-self who had actually made the movie, or who the actors were, or anything like that. I can’t even tell you whether the movie was live-action or animated. (Some amazing things are being done with computer animation these days, including motion capture animation done in real time, and it shouldn’t be long before voice actors aren’t much different from live actors. This is good, because once that’s in common use, actors won’t be limited to playing characters they look like. To some degree, even voice can be changed, if needed…)

Weird, though, that I dreamed about watching a movie based on The Sorcerer, but the movie trailer I was thinking about as I woke up that other morning was for a screen adaptation of “that novel.” (Paul has started referring to it as Derelict, probably to make the title fit thematically with Wooden Ships. *shrug*)

And then… We spent part of this weekend discussing major plot threads (waypoints, Paul said — please note that the word is not capitalized in this usage 🙂 ) for an upcoming series of novels. Set after The Awakening (the first book, working title Fimbulwinter, begins immediately after the end of The Dark Plaza, at least from the perspective of one character), with “that novel” being either the third or fourth book in the series. As of this morning, we’re thinking that maybe the first two (Fimbulwinter and Wooden Ships) could actually be two parts of one novel. And we didn’t decide whether or not to even write about the stuff that happens only two decades before “that novel.” (Paul thinks that part of the story arc is important; I agree. It’s not a matter of, ‘Does this matter?’ or even, ‘Will readers care?’ It’s a matter of, ‘Do we really want to delay Derelict even more?’)

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How the Writing Is Going, According to the Author (April 28, 2023)

From my dear clone-sibling’s blog:

The Endless Realms Book Two: Riders on the Storm is on track for an August 1st release in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover.

I am currently writing The Hand of Providence Book Three: Wheel in the Sky, I’m at about 60%, so it is going well. Readers familiar with my other series will see a friendly face they know.

After Riders on the Storm, the next book released will be Darkness Rising Book One: The Sorcerer, a series which tells the story of Daeren Drake and the events immediately before the Awakening. Readers will be happy to know that the first three books of the series are finished and the next two are plotted out.

Readers may also be happy to know that the editing on The Sorcerer is nearly done.

Also, Paul and I are going to sit down this weekend and finalize the major plot threads for Derelict (current working title for “that novel”), because we have to know what happens in that book before we can figure out Wooden Ships, which is a bridge of sorts between the end of The Hanged Man (book five of Darkness Rising) and Derelict.


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How the Writing and Editing Are Going: April 25, 2023

I am now more than seventy-five percent through editing The Sorcerer. Fortunately, I already know this story; I even read through the entire manuscript not long ago. This means I’m less likely to get caught up in just reading it and forget to correct comma splices and whatnot.

So… What happens from here on out (in this book, at least): Find Lolani. Ask her what she knows about the whereabouts of Dr. Hakubi. Locate Dr. Hakubi and get her out of the mess she’s currently in…

The Sorcerer kinda ends on a cliffhanger, but not the sort that leaves the reader worried about whether the characters will survive. No, the cliffhanger is more of a woah, didn’t see that coming! sort of thing. (Don’t feel bad: the characters didn’t see it coming, either.) But anyway, they don’t get the chance to really talk with Dr. Hakubi until the next book. Good thing the author has already written that, too.

As for the writing

As of yesterday, Paul was around halfway through writing the first draft of Wheel in the Sky. I’m looking forward to reading the latest, about how Agent Oliver reacts to learning more about the consultant who was hired to help solve a string of murders in Taos, and maybe more about that guy Hollis who just showed up and started asking weird questions. 

This book is a major turning point in the series. At first, all appears to be just the usual weirdness (which is plenty weird enough), but the protagonist and her friends slowly become aware of “the bigger picture,” as their author usually refers to it. This was perhaps inevitable, since one of the major characters from The Hand of Providence series is friends with the main character from The Endless Realms. The author is slowly working toward getting the plotlines synced up so they can merge at some point, a book or three from now. (The middle of The Instruments of Faith happens at the same time as the very beginning of Project Brimstone. And yeah, Paul really needs to make that timeline showing how all of his books (and short stories!) relate to one another, and it would be better to do this before there’s so much of the “big picture” that readers are getting lost in it.)



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How the Writing Is Going: April 21, 2023

Yesterday, we worked on… (*fake “ominous” tone*) book promotion. Of course, it’s far too soon to know whether/how much that will affect book sales, but at least we got it started.

Paul continues working on Wheel in the Sky (sequel to The Instruments of Faith), even though he has lots of time before that book can/should be published. Current word count is more than 35K. If he stalls on this one, he says he’ll go back to working on Judgment (and maybe take his own advice: skip ahead and write “the bad part” to get it out of the way, or at least write a detailed “outline” of that part of the story so he doesn’t have to think about it for a while as he writes toward it).

There’s a sort of running joke here: “Paul, I know it’s really hard to do, but you’ve got to be willing to let bad things happen to your characters occasionally.” It’s intended to be ironic/sarcastic: “Conventional wisdom” says writers never want to let bad things happen to their characters (I’m sure this would be news to one “imaginary friend” of one speculative fiction writer originally from northern Ohio) because we want to protect them and only write about good things happening to them… What we want, though, is not the same as what’s good for the story. Consider the state the protagonist of The Remnant is in, the very first time we see him. Consider what had happened to another major character in that series just before the reader ever sees him. (This is directly connected to the part of the prequel series that Paul is not looking forward to writing. And now I have a Lilo and Stitch quote in my head… but not the one you think. 🙂 ) Sometimes, what’s good for the character feels like ‘making bad things happen to them.’ For example, the aftermath of that New Year’s Eve party in The Tower.

(Yes, I did use the first-person plural when talking about writers. I guess I’m sufficiently recovered from… the events that partly inspired “the Utah sequence”… that I am starting to think of myself as a writer again.)

Anyway. Wheel in the Sky, third book in the Hand of Providence series. The author introduced a new character in what he wrote today, and I look forward to reading/hearing that bit.



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August, he said…

I’m currently just fifteen pages from being done copyediting Riders on the Storm (book two of The Endless Realms series).

Unless the author gets impatient and decides to move the publication date again, this novel won’t be out until August. (That will give everyone plenty of time to read The Dark Plaza and to worry about some of the characters.) On the other hand, we already have cover art and such for Riders on the Storm…

This novel may be completely ready for publication before the end of April.

I didn’t intentionally sit down to copyedit seventy percent of a novel this weekend. It just sort of… happened. I was bored, and the manuscript was there, and what else was I supposed to do? It’s not as if I could read the manuscript for Judgment while waiting, because Paul hasn’t finished writing it yet. (I’m not complaining. He wrote three and a half novels last year, and we’re way ahead of schedule. I’m just pointing out that although I know the broad strokes of the rest of this story, I don’t know all the fine details, and I want to know. Now. If not sooner.)

Maybe this is all a clever ploy to get me to write some short stories. Y’know, the old if you want more story, write it yourself thing.




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…and then there were five.

This is what my dear clone-sibling has to say on his blog today:

The Dark Plaza, the final book of The Awakening, is now available in Kindle and paperback, with the hardcover going live sometime this weekend.

I’m very excited to say that all of these novels are now available in hardcover.

To those who may be concerned, Tebrey has a cameo in Riders on the Storm, due out in August, and will return in Star’s End.

Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen to let readers know in advance that they aren’t losing Tebrey. And if they overlook anything important from the very end of The Dark Plaza and mistakenly think he’s gone… *shrug* Not my problem, is it? On the other hand, I do choose to point out that the author isn’t giving reassurances about any other characters that readers may have grown fond of while reading this series. *wicked author’s-clone grin*

(I am currently editing Riders on the Storm — about a quarter of the way through the manuscript, as of yesterday afternoon. It will be ready for publication before August. We’ll see if Paul has the patience to wait until the scheduled release date…)

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My sister-in-law was asked to teach some kids about the Middle Ages and Renaissance…

A local community college has invited Grace (my sister-in-law) to participate in their summer program called Kids’ College. Specifically, she’s been asked if she would be willing to teach a class (or more than one) on something having to do with the Middle Ages/Renaissance. She’s really enthusiastic about doing this, but she doesn’t know what to teach. (This is a problem of having too many options, not of having too few.)

Winona, the woman organizing Kids’ College, mentioned Hnefatafl (often called “Viking chess” because that’s easier to pronounce), since some of the teenagers who’ll be taking these classes already play chess and may be looking for something similar-but-new. (The rules of Hnefatafl are very simple, but game play is anything but simple.)

Winona also suggested calligraphy. I think that one has potential. You may be thinking, Calligraphy? For kids? Are you INSANE?!?? Maybe — almost certainly, for reasons that have nothing to do with teaching — but on the other hand, I’ve taught calligraphy to teenagers. It’s not difficult, if you have access to markers with specially shaped (broad but flat) tips to mimic a basic calligraphy pen nib, so there’s no dripping/spilling ink to deal with. (Also, there’s a neat trick for faking a “giant calligraphy pen” by taping two pencils together — with a spacer between, if you want a really wide “nib” — to outline the “pen lines.” Works great for doing fancy lettering on posters/signs and other large stuff.)

What do you think of a class that covers a little bit of several topics having to do with various cultures in Europe, the Middle East/Northern Africa, and parts of Asia during the Middle Ages and Renaissance? That would allow for all sorts of activities: “Viking chess,” calligraphy, a bit of “DIY heraldry” to make their own “coat of arms” or whatever, maybe some Renaissance-era dancing, and all of it combined with learning about the cultures these things came from. Or is that too much?

What Winona told Grace about schedule for this program: “Kid’s College happens during the months of June and July, but scheduling would be completely up to you depending on what you feel comfortable with doing.  You can have just a single class for an hour or two to having camps that last entire weeks.  You get to pick the hours and days.” So she could do a single, two-hour class on calligraphy (no, really, you do not want to attempt this with only forty-five minutes for the whole thing), or she could do… something a lot more involved. (No one in this house, cats included, does anything by half-measures, so it’ll probably be “something a lot more involved” anyway.)

Grace asked me to help brainstorm, but I’ve run out of ideas.

So now I’m asking you for suggestions. What do you think, O Reader of my blog?

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