NewBook is done.   Three rounds of revision, wrestled to the mat on space, time, person, place, etc. issues.  From here on out it’s nitpicking time because it’s DONE.

172,125 words, counting chapter titles, datelines (actually places, mostly), 31 chapters (may need some chapters numbered differently, that’s an editorial decision I’d take advice on.)

It’s a book with characters ranging from 12 to (if you count Dragon), umpty-thousand-something.   Mostly in the range of 18-80-something.  (I do not know how old Count Vladi is and I am not asking HIM.)  There were brief cameo appearances by people from that universe I did not expect.    In book time it covers from the Pass to Valdaire opening in spring to not very long after it closes in autumn.   Some people did of age and infirmity and some people die of greed, stupidity, stubborness, rage, fortunes of war, or straight up accidents.  Some people get sick because other people cough and sneeze without covering their noses and mouths and some people die becasuse they look up at the wrong moment.   The early hints of violence in the book are overshadowed by one humonguous week-long (OK, ALMOST week-long) battle toward the end. It has my personal requirements for a great movie (swords, galloping horses, beautiful scenery, great music.)  (You have to listen to the music yourself.  Preferably sung a capella by a Welsh male choir. )

So what else.

It still needs polishing.  I discovered AFTER sending it off to my agent that it’s got one of the chapters in there *twice* in two different versions.  No, that is not professional.  That is SLOPPY.  I’m appalled at myself but it’s been over FOUR FREAKIN’ YEARS since I’ve been able to finish a book and could not wait.

You get a snippet.   Tork and Bikken are a couple of back-country farm boys of a certain disposition familiar to country people.   Although they can be trouble in some situations, in other situations their attitudes can come in handy.


Behind him he heard a yell of outrage, then one of fear and pain.  “Look out!” he yelled.  “Fire!”  Everyone looked around, and Tork ran back to the wagon, straight at the sentry holding a torch.  “Look out!  Danger!  Don’t let it–” and knocked the torch out of the man’s hand, while slugging him in the ear on the other side.  Then he applied the torch to the areas of wagon he’d spilled the fire-start on.

It flared at once.  “NO!” Tork yelled.  “Look out!  It’ll set the tents on fire!  Water! Water!”


Meanwhile back at the tunnel….the sergeant addresses those in the tunnel


“They’ll definitely attack the tower.  We’ll defend it as much as we can without much if any losses; we need every one of you.  But it will go, and then we will be depending on each of you, and every civilian old enough and heavy enough to pack in behind you and push in rhythm when I call the cadence.  Got that?”

They stared at him.  His own men, with the steady, straight look he knew so well, and the volunteers and the others now in the tunnel, with a sort of blank wonder, like cows over a fence staring at something in the next field.

“Just like we practiced,” Regar said.  “It’ll be just like we practiced.  I’ll be there, reminding you.”   It was never just like practice.  It couldn’t be.  There was practice, and there was combat and they were completely different.


Keeping in mind that snippets may or may not end up in the book proper, because any given editor can decide to change something…

R- is now reading the manuscript in its present state which is looking less perfect any time I glance at it.  He’s well into it and says it’s holding together.   DRW has read it, or most of it.  It’s also with LM, and tomorrow I’ll finish reading it aloud to Rancherfriend E.


19 thoughts on “Done-de-done-done

    1. It’s been through some alpha readers and another one’s on it now. So far the response is good. Agent is big step followed by the last nitpicking run, and then…full out “find us a home for this critter!” If none shows up, I’ll take it Indie. Though I wish a certain other contract would come through with the dough first so I could afford some goodies on the production end.

      Now to show it’s not a fluke…get onto the next one and have it take off smoothly as well.

  1. But we do know Vladi’s age, roughly. Here’s the clue (Crown of Renewal, UK page 363, abbreviated), admitted when Vladi was in his cups: “When I was young, a boy, I went to sea as I was bid, and we came to land on the far side [of the eastern ocean]. And there was a man, a magelord he said he was, who questioned the captain closely about a boy who had run away.” (Sekkady, we must presume, shortly after Kieri escaped him, that being why Vladi was confiding to Arcolin.) “That man was demon-ridden too, and I felt fear for the first time.”

    So Vladi was a cabin-boy when, or just before, Kieri became a page to Aliam and Estil, i.e. they are near contemporaries. 80+ now? Never. 60-ish.

    1. Oh, rats. He’s telling different stories about his past. This time he’s claiming that he knew Horngard before M’dierra’s uncle Ilanz got his own land grant at Margay. Ilanz would’ve been in his late 40s, then, and M’dierra was a teenager. She’s now about four years older than Arcolin (??) so at least 60 (??). And anyway, Kieri got older in years, though not in aging, in the meantime…but we don’t talk about chronological age when elven bloodlines are involves because it’s too hard to read. Frex, how old was Kieri when he escaped? He *looked* a certain age to the humans, once he got fed up a little, but was he really that age or something else? His memory’s skewed by the early trauma.

      At any rate, the book’s with my agent now. I finished reading it aloud to my friend and my first-reader for years, Rancherfriend Ellen, this morning. She’s very happy with it. Says “It sounds like one of your books, very much a Paksworld book.” She’s been there from the first draft of the first Paks story.

    2. Sorry, what with Men of Harlech in Paksworld blog, and this, I’m in nit-picking show-off mode. Anyway, here’s what I could have added when I remembered it, a couple of hours after my previous post:

      We have few firm backstory dates in Paksworld, but Estil gave Paks one of them: it was “38 years last fall” since Kieri came to them (looking to be about fourteen, human age, and saying he’d come ashore at Bannerlith earlier the same year). Which makes the Deed end in the 39th winter, Valdi tell his story about Sekkady (?) after 41 winters, and the Valdaire pass open into NewBook 46 winters since then.

      What has to change, has to change, and where Vladi got his earlier story can be a wonder and a mystery. Especially since he’d no recollection of it, sober.

      Anyway, I want to read NewBook, and more after it. With a series title something to do with Dragon, maybe, since all his scenes in Legacy are among my favourites.

  2. Vlad is a bit of an unreliable narrator about himself. I would never bur real estate from him either.
    Only if he pledged his honor!

  3. doesn’t matter if time and ages don’t match between series. let the story flow! I just finished re-reading Oath of Gold and have a question… how do you pronounce Aliam and Caliam? I got sidetracked on that when Paks and the Kings Squires met Aliam son of Caliam son of Aliam. is it A-Lee-um or Al-i-am (emphasis on the ‘I’ or some other variation that hasn’t popped into my head? I’m very much a reader, not a listener so I haven’t even tried audio books, which would probably answer my question… Sending all the good thoughts for that certain other contract to come through with lots and lots of goodies.

    On writing… I’m attempting to tutor the granddaughter of a friend, she’s in her third year of high school, what we call a junior here in Arizona. The original request was for me to help her in Biology, which is my subject. We answered questions on osmosis and tonicity, soaked a small lettuce leaf in salt water to demonstrate loss of turgor, then discussed the difficulties of collaborative learning (she’s a team leader and her grade of 22 / 26 on her notes was affected by the members of her team who only scored 9 of 26 – which is totally unfair to my 1970’s -80’s era independent learning mindset…) Then she asked for help with an analysis of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for her English class. Analyzing fiction isn’t my strong suit, I’d rather just read and get lost in the story, discussion of treatment of mental illness in the late nineteenth century isn’t my favorite way to spend a morning… So I got totally sidetracked telling her about your blog on how you write. We had a great discussion on writing fiction but she didn’t finish the assignment for her class before lunch time when she had to leave. Maybe tomorrow we will figure out how to analyze the short story. I want to send the teacher a few of your short stories! 🙂

    1. AL-ee-am and CAL-ee-am, though the final am often comes out um in my Texas casualness. AL as in Alfred or Al-the-used-car-dealer. For reasons I’ve never quite settled in my mind, Aliam chose to have all his sons’ names end the way his did, so there’s Aliam, Caliam, Seliam (died in Paks I, but there are more Seliams now), Teriam, Fariam. Young Aliam’s built more like his father Cal…taller than his grandfather, less burly. Aliam’s brother, the Sier of the family, is shortish and chunky, like him.

      I don’t know “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and was not fond of the Victorian stuff we were handed in the state curriculum (most of the women writers, with the exception of Jane Austen whom we didn’t read, seemed to be terribly terribly earnest and humorless: George Eliot and the Brontes, esp. Charlotte, still depress me. Silas Marner nearly made me hate English novelists. Then, thank goodness, I found Kipling and Trollope (the old one, not the new one of the same name) and Surtees and my spirits revived. Yes, Trollope got serious sometimes, but the Barchester books are savagely hilarious and even “The Eustace Diamonds” have charm. And Kipling’s “The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat” and Surtees with _Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour_…priceless.

      1. William to me is WILL-yum (TX accent). WILL-ee-um would be calling a dog or horse named William, whose name would instantly become Will or Willy instead because…etc. Aliam is a three-syllable name. AL-ee-am or um.

  4. So very happy to hear that you are writing again. Can’t tell you how many times I have re-read your books. So looking forward to this new one

  5. The Village that Voted the Earth is Flat is one of my long favorites. And, alas, has kept popping into my mind whenever I listen to the news

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