Continuing the Culture Composites series, this will be a short one! And require the use of a rather haphazard map. The target this time is Muria, the hidden homeland of the silver elementals (or Muriae) and their Primordial, Brancir. Muria can be thought of as an autonomous zone within the protectorate of Kerrindryr, existing mostly underground but also encompassing the external area of one particular large mountain — Ratrangas Garta, or Howling Spire. The human city at its base, Thul Rei Tenko, is a part of Kerrindryr but considered under the protection of the Muriae, and is known to have a certain amount of infiltration from the Silver Folk.
Six years later, I return to the Culture Composites series! I’d always planned to make more, I just…never did.
With this installment, we’re only one step away from finishing up all the Risen Phoenix Empire’s vassal provinces and protectorates. Darronwy joins Riddian, Trivestes, Wyndon, Amandon, Corvia, and Haaraka, all located in the Imperial Heartlands (even if they don’t agree that they belong), plus the conquered lands of Illane and Kerrindryr. Beyond the Rift with the latter two, Jernizan is the only free land shown so far, but it won’t be the last. (I swear!)
Since I failed to do a Best Reads for 2018, I am making a point to do one this year! Arghh! It’s probably been clear from my minimal posting that doing blog-related things is at the bottom of my list right now — which I wish wasn’t so, since I’ve enjoyed this. I just haven’t had the brain-space to devote to it. I hope to get back to it once I have the full rough draft of Book 6 hammered out and can stress a bit less.
Anyway! Since I skipped last year, I’ll add a few highlights from it, since some of them (series- or author-wise) do continue onto this year’s list. However, this was also the year where I saw some of my previously-favorite series, both old and new, trail off into things I didn’t like so much. I don’t really want to go into what I didn’t like and why, just to note this background feeling of dissatisfaction with a lot of the authors I used to favor.
I can’t really call them Book 5 updates anymore, when nothing about Book 5 is moving. Sadface. Hopefully soon, though.
September has been trash for progress, due to a few Day Job issues but also a grand fun time with a pool leak. A leak repair guy is out there right now, getting started on what should be a 2-3 day affair, which pretty much smashes my writing week. I know, fragile artist types, but I can’t concentrate when there are other people around. I feel like it’s been that way for the whole month.
Regardless, I’m wrapping up chapter 16 of the Book 6 rough draft now (well, probably Thursday v_v). Hopefully October will be more productive, but there will be at least one Day Job intrusion. Not sure now whether I can finish the draft in this calendar year, but since all my deadlines are self-imposed, I suppose it’s fine. My alpha reader seems to be enjoying the draft well enough, though I have a lot of work to do, both in removing and adding material. Honestly, right now I’m just going through my copious notes and trying to hit all the points brought up by them. Turning all of that into a polished story with the right character and plot beats is the big job.
I hate having to type that title. It means it’s been a year since my previous Book 5 July update. But…that’s just how it is.
Yet again, this is a brief ‘things continue to progress, like snails’ post. The Book 5 cover has moved forward a smidge, but there’s been another technical snag for the artist, which hopefully will be resolved in August. Then we can steam forward?!?!
The Book 6 rough draft continues on schedule. I’ve started Chapter 12 (of still probably 27) and am pleased with how everything is shaking out.
In related (?) news, I did finish a paperdoll I started prooooobably a year ago, of Magus Revek Voorkei, our lovable if tusk-garbled Gejaran spy-slash-ally-slash-scryer’s-first-boyfriend. Seen below modeling Gejara’s typical ‘we like colors and patterns and we don’t care about your eyes!’ casual garb under a light spring coat.
Just a brief update, since I don’t have the news that any of you readers really want to hear. I’ve finished the final draft of Book 5, The Bloodied Army, and am awaiting further notes and/or tweaks from my editor. The cover is, unfortunately, still in the wind; my artist has been having a rough time lately.
However, I plan to take ~a week’s break, then edit a short story (unrelated to the series, but which I’ll post here), then start on Book 6. Hopefully we’ll encounter a block of time in which we can get both the 5 and 6 covers done — since I have the concept for 6 as well. Doesn’t matter too much to me if the two final books come right on each other’s heels. I just wish I could get them out to you all ASAP.
See below, my shabby author’s composite concept of the Book 5 cover, which alas is all I can show at the moment.
So. Book 5’s main draft is done.
Looking at my timeline for this book is pretty embarrassing. According to my notes, I started the rough draft on 11/1/16, finished it on 3/7/18, then immediately started this draft. Which I have just now finished, nine months later.
So much for speeding up my production cycle!
The rough draft clocked in at 439 pages (in my preferred page/font size), which came out to 317k words. Whereas the main draft, this one, ended up as….338 pages and 246k words. I fricking gutted this book.
Book 1’s final final version is 186k words. B2 is 238k words. B3 is 336k words, and B4 is 288k. So if this one stays around this size, I am indeed making a bell-curve of book sizes, which is something I weirdly kind of want? Remains to be seen if B6 will follow that trend or expand into something very different.
I now have to wait for my beta readers to go over the last bit of b5 I’m shipping them, then go through the final draft (possibly chapter by chapter on googledocs with my alpha) and deal with all the new notes this draft generated, then format everything. Also, of course, I need a cover. Cover Artist has been having a rough time recently, so Book 5 might not roll out til mid-late spring at this rate… But that’s just how it is. I’m on no timeline but my own — though I do hate to keep people waiting.
Anyway, thanks for your patience. I’ll try to post more while I have some brain-space available (aka while the betas are doing their thing), but it being holiday time, who knows if I’ll succeed?
So. Hi there. You might not believe it, but I’m alive.
I am also about as useless as a flattened, desiccated gecko.
It has taken what feels like a majillion years to finish editing the second of the three threads that go into Book 5, but finally, that is done. Starting tomorrow, I move onto the main thread.
This is still just the main draft edit — it will have to go through beta readers once I’ve done it all, and then go through me again for the final edit (if not more). At this point, and with my dried-out-dead-thing pacing, Book 5 will most likely be a 2019 release.
But the work goes on, tortoise-like as it may be.
Until I finish the draft, I’ll probably remain quiet. Just wanted to say hi!
Hey look, it’s me again! What? I’ve been silent for a month? Nooo, shhhh, you saw nothing. (Uh…literally.)
I am just now getting around to some of the standard post-book-release info discussions that I used to do immediately. Guess I’ve been in a blogging slump. Book 5 editing continues apace, so consider this a mini-update on that, but as for the Book 4 titles…
Just a quick update here, since I’m about to head off to the Day Job:
The Book 5 Rough Draft is now complete! At 439 pages (in the text file) — comparing it to Book 4’s rough, which was 447 pages, I’m pretty well on target. I want to shrink it down shorter than Book 4 in the final draft, and I feel there’s plenty of space to trim — but I also have to add a few things, as I feel I’ve given short shrift to some story aspects that should have been more important. We’ll see.
Anyway, I’ll be taking a long weekend from the book, but then jumping back in to start editing it.