Meet Gifford!

One of my favorite characters from The First Empire is Gifford. You’ll meet him in the first book, Rhune, but I really enjoy when we are reacquainted with him in the opening of the second book, Dherg. I thought you might enjoy it, so here goes:


Gifford would never win a footrace. He was late coming to this realization; everyone else knew it the day of his birth. It took years for him to accept that his dead leg wouldn’t revive and his twisted back wouldn’t straighten. He had hoped for a miracle, to be healed, to be normal. It didn’t happen.

His leg and back weren’t the worst of it. Even the dead half of his face, which made it hard to see and a struggle to talk, wasn’t the worst of it. When he was young, he thought ridicule held that distinction. Everyone had called him something, none of them good. Gavin Killian had dubbed him The Goblin, and Myrtis, the brewmaster’s daughter, proclaimed him broken. Of the two, he preferred The Goblin—he’d been infatuated with Myrtis back then. For Gifford, it wasn’t hard to understand why “crush” was used for both a humiliating defeat and adolescent love.

Gifford would never win a footrace. He was late coming to this realization; everyone else knew it the day of his birth. It took years for him to accept that his dead leg wouldn’t revive and his twisted back wouldn’t straighten. He had hoped for a miracle, to be healed, to be normal. It didn’t happen.

His leg and back weren’t the worst of it. Even the dead half of his face, which made it hard to see and a struggle to talk, wasn’t the worst of it. When he was young, he thought ridicule held that distinction. Everyone had called him something, none of them good. Gavin Killian had dubbed him The Goblin, and Myrtis, the brewmaster’s daughter, proclaimed him broken. Of the two, he preferred The Goblin—he’d been infatuated with Myrtis back then. For Gifford, it wasn’t hard to understand why “crush” was used for both a humiliating defeat and adolescent love.

Over the years the names faded. No one called him The Goblin anymore, and if people still thought of him as broken, they didn’t say so—at least not to his face.

After the name calling ended, his nighttime degradations became the worst part of being him. Gifford had as much trouble governing his bladder while asleep as he did controlling his legs and mouth when awake. He woke most mornings smelling rancid in a wet bed. He’d dealt with his bed wetting as he’d learned to live with everything else, by finding a way to adjust. He never drank at night and slept naked on a thin layer of straw. He woke early and replaced old bedding for new before anyone else stirred. There was always a way, always a path forward, even though his roads seemed narrower, rockier, and strewn with more thorns than others.

Gifford didn’t see himself as a victim; he preferred to focus on the positive. While nothing came easy, he found ways to manage. Things that were impossible he concluded as unnecessary. He had everything he truly needed…everything he wanted. Almost. Despite his optimism, it wasn’t possible to ignore there was a worst part of being him, and every time he was with Roan he knew without question what that was.

One more scene!

Near as I can tell I have 4,000 – 6,000 words left to write. Just one more scene that will need a couple of different POV’s so it will take a few days yet, but things are wrapping up nicely. I still have to go over it from start to finish before I can pass it on to Robin. Her birthday is April 8th, and I should be able to hit it by then…for sure.

The Beginning of the End

So I’m now starting the climax which will be the beginning of the end of this series. It’s an exciting time, and the writing is going well. I officially started writing this series on Feb 17 2013, so it’s been two straight years.  I did have about six months “conceptualizing it” so it’s even longer than that…but anyway you cut it, that’s a long time for a project without knowing if anything will come of it.

The offer from Random House, and the other publishers for that matter, took a lot of pressure off my mind.  Not that I was ever “too scared” as I’ve self-published before and could have taken this series that way if that is what was required. Still, it’s nice having that portion over and just concentrate on the writing aspects.

Totally unrelated to this series…I have, in my off time, started doing plotting on the third book in The Riyria Chronicles.  Now that I know the First Empire wont be out until 2016, it’s important to get that book out in 2015 so I’m doing a bit of multi-tasking.  That’s possible because Fhrey  is going so well. It’s a pretty exciting time.

14 down 12 to go!

It’s Wednesday, so I’m off to the pub.  My walks to and from really helps me to work on plot and get ideas.  It’s been cold and snowy here, so not much of that going on as of late.  Instead I annoy my wife by pacing the floors of my office (which is right over her head).  Currently at 76,000 words.  Fourteen chapters down and twelve left to go. Yesterday I wrote a whole chapter in one day.

Definitely over half way now.  Won’t be too much longer.

First Empire Updates!

The second beta ended last week, and I wanted to take a moment to thank all the people who participated in the read. If you’ve not heard from Robin, it is because the contract came in from Del Rey and she is deep in the analysis/negotiation of it.  You have no idea how much that helps me and my writing.  Usually, when dealing with things of this nature all my creativity disappears completely. I get tense, I get grumpy, and I have no desire to write.  Thankfully, having Robin deal with this end of things has allowed me to concentrate on the final book which is going swimmingly!

I use a feature of Scrivener where I type in an expected word count, a date to finish by, and it gives me a word count to meet. I had the date sent to the end of April and it was requiring about 950 words a day.  I kept beating those and the numbers went down and down (a good thing). This weekend I adjusted the date to early April and it has me back up at 1,100 words a day which I’ve been beating regularly, so I think that is a better estimate.

All in all, the mood around the Sullivan household can best be described as “busy but happy.”

More Advance Copy Giveaways of Rhune!

A while ago, I did a giveaway of the early, early editions of Rhune.  I just got the copies in and shipped them out, but I also bought a few more so I could do..you guessed it.  Another giveaway!

So, another batch of some lucky people will be able to read the books before the summer 2016 release date.

The contest is open to people from all countries and there are a number of ways to win.

Most of these are pretty straight-forward, but I should explain “The Dark Room” a bit.  This is a secret and private group on goodreads for fans of my writing. Because it’s secret, it doesn’t show up on your group list, and any posts you make in it don’t appear in your friend feeds.  The fact that it is private means you have to be invited and approved…which I’ll do as part of this giveaway.
So what goes on in the Dark Room?  Well, all kinds of things such as:
  • This is where I pull beta readers from
  • I can leak information that isn’t public yet
  • We can talk about books
  • You can ask me questions
  • I can giveaway stuff not available to the general public
  • Other cool things but you have to join to see them
It’s a really cool group, and I hope you’ll join us there.
Now, about the copies that I’m giving away.  These are NOT the final version of the book.  What we have here is essentially the version that went to the second beta group (with a few fixed typos). There will definitely be changes, such as:
  • Feedback from the second beta test
  • Some things that need to be adjusted once I finish the last book
  • Editorial feedback from my editor at Del Rey
  • Copy edits, line edits, and final proof reading
So yes, the final book will be different, and yes, you will find typos and grammar issues, but it’s still “pretty clean.” For the winners, they’ll be able to see the difference between an interim and the final version that won’t come out until the summer of 2016.  Good luck on winning!