Another Rhune update

I’m continuing to prepare for the fourth and final book, and if I’m on schedule will start writing it on Monday.  Everything is going nicely and I’m making sure that all the various threads come together in what I hope will be a satisfying conclusion. Meanwhile, Robin has been co-coordinating with the beta readers.  Her spreadsheet has 557 entries on it.  Yes you heard that right.  The next step is for everyone who raised a hand to fill out the survey. This is what we’ll be picking the beta readers from. She’s using Mail Chimp to send out notifications, and some messages have gone to spam folders. If you haven’t got your survey invitation, then send a mail to first.empire.beta@gmail.com as she’ll be closing that process soon. She’s also made some progress on the alpha edit of Rhune.  Here is where we stand now:

Rhune

  • Written: Feb 2013 – July 2013 (100% complete)
  • Pre-alpha edit: July 24, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Read: July 29 – 31, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Edit: Aug 2, 2014 (40% complete)
  • Beta #1 Start: Sep 2014 (names gathered, surveys coming in)
  • Beta #2 Start: Jan 2015 (0% complete)

Dherg

  • Written: Aug 2013 – Dec 2013 (100% complete)
  • Pre-alpha edit: Aug 14, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Read: Aug 8  – Aug 14, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Edit: Sep 2014 (0% complete)
  • Beta: To be determined

Rhrist

  • Written:Jan 2014 – June 2014
  • Pre-alpha edit: Aug 14, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Read: Sep 1 – 3, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Edit: Nov 2014 (0% complete)
  • Beta: To be determined

Fhrey

  • Outlining and planning: August 2014 (80% complete)
  • Writing: Sep 2014 – Dec 2014 (0% complete)
  • Pre-alpha edit: Jan 2015 (0% complete)
  • Alpha Read: Feb 1 – 3 2015 (0% complete)
  • Alpha Editing: Feb – Mar 2015 (0% complete)
  • Beta: To be determined

I’ve also started a mailing list for those who are interested in freebies, pre-ordering, contests, and other goodies.  You can sign up here.

It’s official!

Yesterday my wife finished reading the third book in the series and gave her enthusiastic stamp of approval. As pleased as I am with each book I write, I’m never 100% sure whether they are worth seeing the light of day until I get the thumbs-up or thumbs-down from Robin. Some might assume that she, being my wife and all, always gives the thumbs-up, but that is certainly not true. I have several novels and short stories that won’t see the light of day because the Quality Assurance Department here in our house has said, “Nope try again.”

So, Robin is currently putting some minor edits on the first book, and getting ready for the beta readers.  I’ll talk more about the beta process in my next post. But the good news is the series is in as Robin puts it, “Excellent Shape” and that is a huge hurdle to cross.

A long overdue update on The First Empire books

I can’t believe how long it has been since I’ve updated this blog.  I think you’ll be seeing more frequent updates in the near future. If you’ve kept up with the main pages of this site you’ll know that this series went from a trilogy to four books.  Here is where the series stands now:

Rhune

  • Written: Feb 2013 – July 2013 (100% complete)
  • Pre-alpha edit: July 24, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Read: July 29 – 31, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Edit: Aug 2, 2014 (27% complete)
  • Beta #1 Start: Sep 2014 (0% complete)
  • Beta #2 Start: Jan 2015 (0% complete)

Dherg

  • Written: Aug 2013 – Dec 2013 (100% complete)
  • Pre-alpha edit: Aug 14, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Read: Aug 8  – Aug 14, 2014 (100% complete)
  • Alpha Edit: Sep 2014 (0% complete)
  • Beta: To be determined

Rhrist

  • Written:Jan 2014 – June 2014
  • Pre-alpha edit: Aug 14, 2014 (30% complete)
  • Alpha Read: Sep 1 – 3, 2014 (0% complete)
  • Alpha Edit: Nov 2014 (0% complete)
  • Beta: To be determined

Fhrey

  • Writing: Sep 2014 – Dec 2014 (0% complete)
  • Pre-alpha edit: Jan 2015 (0% complete)
  • Alpha Read: Feb 1 – 3 2015 (0% complete)
  • Alpha Editing: Feb – Mar 2015 (0% complete)
  • Beta: To be determined

So as you can see, even though I’ve not been updating i have been busy writing. The alpha reader feedback for the first two books have been very positive and I don’t see much that has to be changed.  For those that are interested in beta testing, I’ll have a post for you soon on that process.

NanoWriMo ends – how did you do?

It’s over! Did you make it?  Did you try? Do you know what I’m talking about? I’m referring to National Writing Month, also known by those in the secret society of writers as NanoWriMo. For those that aren’t familiar, it’s the one month each year where authors are challenged to write 50,000 words. Generally speaking, it doesn’t matter what you write, or how good the result, the idea is just to get writers into the mindset of writing on a regular basis.

For most doing NanoWriMo it’s a challenging proposition. Mainly because most doing so are balancing a day job and “a life” which often includes significant others and sometimes younglings who still need to be fed and cared for even in the month of November. Plus there is the whole start to the holiday thing, which can eat into the time available when you are locked in a chair writing away.

To all those who tried and succeeded…Congratulations. To all those who tried and fell short, well good for you for making the attempt…and there is always next year.  Also, keep in mind that Scrivener (a great program for writing) has special discounts: 50% to all those who win, and 20% off for everyone else.

As for me, I wasn’t “officially” doing NanoWriMo as I was already 13,000 words into my current work in progress when November rolled around and technically you are supposed to start a new project.  But my yesterday word count was 63,580 so I did actually write 50,000 words this month, but I do this full time so that’s not all that unusual. (I try to shoot for 2,000 words a day). What makes these 50,000 words important is they are “finished” as opposed to just brain dumping.  Now that’s not to say that there won’t be editing when the book is all done, but they also aren’t stream of consciousness that is indicative of most NanoWriMo results.  I’ve already been over them several times during the writing and they are at the 90% completed stage that I produce during my first draft.

So although I’ve not updated much recently, progress is continuing. As with any of my writing I won’t know until it’s done whether it will die on the table or live on – but that’s why I write “full series” before  publishing anything.

That’s my update…how did others fare?

First chapter is looking good…

First chapters are really important for me…well they should be for every author, but I place a lot of emphasis on them. Some of my favorite openings have been:

* Theft of Swords: The Crown Conspiracy – the thought of Riyria being robbed and Royce giving the thieves advice for the future just seemed like a great, fun way to start out a book.

* Theft of Swords: Avempartha – I really liked Royce and Hadrian putting the squeeze on “DeWitt” for him setting them up.  I also liked the way that whole conflict resolved itself.

I’m actually thinking that the first chapter of Dherg may be my favorite so far.  I think I’m channeling a bit of “The Jester” by starting this chapter out with a great roller coaster ride…very reminiscent of the opening of Indiana Jones (one of my favorite movies).  So I’m pretty darn happy right now, and am going to get back at it. But just wanted to drop in update people about how book #2 is going. 

Time to start updating again

When last I posted I had just finished the first book of the series.  This was a first draft and I wasn’t even at a stage where I would allow Robin to look at it.  I think the book was suffering on trying to do too much so I spent quite a deal of time determining what I could do to simplify and focus it.  

I ended up removing one of the POV characters and this really did the trick. It also required quite a bit of re-writing and restructuring.  This is what I’ve been working on for the last month or so, and now I’m really happy with the state of book #1.

With that completed, I’ve turned it over to Robin. She’s only read the first section and already has a lot of great feedback (which I quickly incorporated). She has some other things she has to do before she can start digging into it but with that out of the way (for now) I’ve turned my attention to book #2.

Work on it officially started yesterday. I’m not sure I’m going to do a daily word count as I did with the first book but I will have some periodic check-ins with where it is and where it is going.  My hope is to have it done by the end of the year.  

Book #23 is done!

So yesterday I finished writing Rhune.  I’ll have bigger post in my http://www.riyria.com website, but just wanted to officially log this in…book #23.  Yes, I’ve written 23 books, although most of them you’ll never see.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • 11 “practice books” where I was just trying to “learn my craft” and “find my voice”.  Some okay ideas but terrible execution
  • 6 Riyria Revelations: Theft of Swords (The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha), Rise of Empire (Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm, Heir of Novron (Wintertide & Percepliquis)
  • 2 Riyria Chronicles: The Crown Tower (releasing in less than 2 weeks), The Rose and the Thorn (releasing on my birthday – Sep 17)
  • 1 Hollow World – approaching finishing the copy edits on this.
  • 2 books that I’m not sure what to do with:  Need editing at a minimum (Antithesis and A Burden to the Earth)
  • 1 in the New Empire Series

Currently it stands at 122,800 words. Much left to do on this but nothing I’ll be doing anytime soon.  First will require Robin to do the Alpha read, based on her feedback I have a couple major changes that I may or may not need to do.  I pretty much have lined up things nicely or Dherg.  I’ve been burning the candle on all ends: Hollow World, Riyria Chronicles and now this.  So I’ll probably be taking a break and trying to get some things around the house taken care of that have been neglected.