Just in time for Halloween: Meet the Tetlin Witch

Early in this series (book one in fact) there are some mentions to a legendary figure “The Tetlin Witch”  before the series is done you’ll learn the whole story behind her but I thought I would share a little poem from the series because it’s the haunting season after all. I hope you enjoy.

Far beyond the woodland hills, beyond mountains vile,
Hidden in a mist-soaked swamp, upon an awful isle.
She haunts the lapping blackened pools, and creeping ivy ways
And there awaits with hair of black and eyes a dismal gray.

She waits they say for time to end, and her life to be through,
Until that time she waits for me, and also waits for you.
Within a hut beside a pool the Tetlin Witch does dwell,
And watches at the fetid pond, the door that leads to Rel.

And there she sits upon her stool beside the very brink,
And watches as the fated fools down in the darkness sink.
Beware the Tetlin Witch my friend, and never go astray,
Beyond the woodland hills, beyond the light of day.

Or you too may find yourself caught up in the mire,
Sinking, screaming uselessly, helpless til you tire.
Then under the muck, under the water, deeper you will go,
All of you lost, forever gone, the Witch cackling as you go.

Overdue update

Well, it’s been far too long since I’ve updated this site.  I have a pretty good excuse.  In order to avoid any competition between my Riyria books and this series, I had to get the third Royce and Hadrian book  (The Death of Dulgath) out before the end of the year.  Well, that task has been accomplished, and now it’s time to get back to work on this.  So here goes.

  1. 4/28/2015 – The book was “officially” submitted to Del Rey for their editorial commentary
  2. 5/28/2015 – New Naming – I’ll write a blog post on this soon.
  3. 6/11/2015 – Contract “officially” signed.
  4. 7/06/2015 – Preliminary work on cover design.
  5. 8/17/2015 – Official Release date set for first book: June 7, 2016
  6. 8/30/2015 – Cover Artist selected – I’ll write a blog pos on this also.
  7. 8/31/2015 – Copyedit of Chapter 1 performed so it could be included in The Death of Dulgath
  8. 9/15/2015 – Rough sketch of cover received
  9. 9/16/2015 – Editorial feedback on book #1
  10. 9/17/2015 – Pre-order pages go up
  11. 9/25/2015 – Proposed Jacket copy
  12. 9/29/2015 – Jacket copy finalized – I’ll write a blog post on this.
  13. 10/14/2015 – Revised Cover Artwork received
  14. 10/19/2015 – Structural edit begins

I know that last time on the list is actually in the future – tomorrow to be precise. But I’ve put my house in order so that I can start on this tomorrow.  My plans are as follows:

  • Need to re-read Book #1 from start to finish looking for opportunities to add the changes from Del Rey’s structural edits.
  • Need to write three pieces of additional content.
  • Once that goes back to Del Rey I’ll read and edit Book #2
  • Hope to have book #2 ready for beta reading by the end of the year.
  • Hope to have books #3 – #5 fully edited by Summer 2016
  • Start a new writing project Fall 2016

As you can see, things have been moving forward even if I’ve not been posting. Now that I’m “off” The Death of Dulgath, I’m back “on” The First Empire and updates will come more frequently.

What’s going on now?

Okay, so I did indeed get my second pass editing done for Robin’s birthday, and she has now read the whole story. It was the perfect gift for her. Unfortunately she got a less welcome gift…a trip tot he Heart and Cardiac center with sever chest pain, elevated CK levels, a murmur, and an abnormal EKG.

Now that sounds very bad, and it was really frightening, but the good news is after a week and a half of testing it’s been determined there is no permanent damage and no corrective surgery is required.  The cardiologist still can’t explain what happened or why, but he’s given her the green light to return to life as normal, so that is exactly what we are doing.

Okay, so that takes me back to what I’m doing now.  Well, with the series now complete, I’m able to go in and make the changes to book #1 required now that the series is wrapped. I’m on chapter 22 of chapter 28 and the changes have been minor and easy to incorporate. I expect within the next few days I’ll have the “official submission” for Del Rey and it will be out of my hands until I get changes from my editor.

Sounds like time to celebrate, sit back and relax, right?  Well unfortunately no. Usually I “ease up  during spring and summer as fall and winter are my big “production time” for writing. But, there is a snag.

As the contract with Del Rey was going on, it turns out that what I understood as “competing” works and what they considered “competing works” weren’t the same thing.  I don’t need to go into all the details, but the bottom line is that if I can’t get the third Royce and Hadrian book written and released by the end of this year, it will have to wait until 2019!  Considering The Rose and Thorn came out in September 2013 that six years is WAY TO LONG.  So, I’m going to life whatever mountains I have to in order to get it done by the end of the year.

I’m confident I’ll be able to get it done.  The story has been building over the last few years and I’ve never missed a deadline yet.  So, no summer vacation for me this year, but I’m glad to be going back to visit with my two favorite rogues and seeing what adventure they are going to take me on.

And done!!

Yep, I’ve finished the last book of The First Empire – the trilogy that turned into 5 books is now completed.  While the editing process still has to be dealt with, that’s nothing compared to getting the story fully fleshed out.  All told it took me 772 days to write this.  Now I have about 8 days to give it the “once over” before I send it over to Robin for alpha reading.  I’ve already incorporated my notes for things I needed to change as I was writing, but I need to look at book #4 and book #5 as I think some events may shift between these two.

In any case, all of that is minor when held up against the task of getting the endpoint of the story penned and completed. Always exciting to complete a multi-book series!

Writing dearth

Recently I finished “the big climax” and only had  a few little scenes to clean up to be done with the series and I’ve gotten next to nothing done for the last 4 days!  All kinds of things are getting in the way…a AMA that I’m still answering questions for.  A day when I couldn’t concentrate at all, so I went “out” to try to clear my head.  Then I pulled something in my back…reminding me that I’m an old man.  So now that I’m right at the finish line I’m not getting across.  Hopefully this will be remedied soon.

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.