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Children of Urdis Final 72dpi

The second book in my sword and sorcery fantasy series, Grimwold and Lethos, is now out. It is called The Children of Urdis. You can buy or borrow it on Amazon.com right now. Here’s the US store and here it is in the UK store. It’s also available in all other Amazon stores, but US and UK are the most popular stores for my books.

The story picks right up where the first book, Deadman’s Tide, left off. If you haven’t been following this series you can check out the “fantasy” page at the top of my blog. Better yet, you can download a sample of the first book from Amazon.  Give it a shot! Anyway, The Children of Urdis introduces more of the world’s history and mythology. While not historical fiction, I’ve based the lands of Valahur and Avadur roughly on Norse traditions. You will find not only a good story, but plenty of battles and feats of magic — all that you’d expect from a fast-paced fantasy tale.

So after this release, I’m working on what I plan to be the final book in the series. I’m about 20-25% done with the first draft now. There’s a lot of story threads to tie up in the final book, so I expect it will take me some time to complete the draft. While I’m enjoying writing about a fantasy world right now, I’m getting an itch to return to my historical roots. I’ve been thinking about continuing my Viking saga. No solid story ideas yet, but those will come in time. So keep an eye out here as the year goes on. I’ll be sure to share my plans.

 

Hard At Work

I’ve been quiet these last few months, as is typical of me. There’s only so much time for writing and I save it for the “real stuff.” I have finished writing the second book in the Grimwold and Lethos story. The story is now with beta readers for their feedback. I’ll do whatever corrections or changes that are needed, then send it for editing. It should be available by late June.

I’m already at work on the outline for the third book. I believe I’ll be ending the the story with this next one. Turns out this was a trilogy. How typical of fantasy! As I think of where I’m taking the story, it just makes sense. Plus, not every series has to push ten titles. I think recent trends in fantasy have been to make the books longer and more of them in a series. Certainly not all writers do this, but it just feels like that’s the general shape of things in modern fantasy.

After this fantasy series wraps up, I’m planning to return to the world of the vikings once more. It will have been a year since I completed Ulfrik Ormsson’s Saga, and I would like to revisit that world. Perhaps it will be time to see what Ulfrik’s sons did after his death. There’s still lots of history to cover.

Beyond that, I will continue to explore other genres. An idea for short, action-packed science fiction novels have been swirling through my busy thoughts. Right now it’s all just book titles, characters, and scene fragments. But the idea is taking shape. Maybe you’ll see more on that later. In the meantime, buy my books!

New Book: Deadman’s Tide

Well, who can believe it? At long last I’ve actually published that new fantasy book I’ve been prattling about for the last half year. It’s called Deadman’s Tide. You can buy it now on Amazon.com if you are so inclined. I hope you are.

This book was a unique challenge for me. Every book, even in a well-worn series, is difficult in its own way. However, this particular book presented new challenges to my creativity. How much of the real world would I borrow? How much of the fantasy world’s backstory should I reveal? How do people dress? What do they eat? What’s the weather like? What about governments and religion? The list is endless. In historical fiction you don’t have to ask questions like, is there more than one moon in this world? You have those answers already. Keeping all those details straight, plus many more “world facts”, and nailing the story is not easy.

In any case, if you’ve read this far, maybe you are interested in learning more about this new book. Here’s the blurb I wrote that will hopefully inspire you to check out the book!

An ancient hatred divides the warlike people of Valahur and Avadur. Their war chiefs visit death and destruction upon each other and the rest of the world, neither side prevailing in the constant struggle. Now High Kings have arisen on both sides and they sharpen their swords for war.

 Grimwold of Valahur carries the burden of a bloody past. His young sister depends upon him for everything. Yet Grimwold is dying. He was born to powerful magic unlike any other man. Where it had once led to greatness, it now leads him only to doom. His lifeblood flows away with his power.

Another man from a distant land, driven by visions and madness, travels toward Grimwold. A great destiny will soon be fulfilled.

Here is the thrilling first book in a new fantasy adventure series. Join Grimwold as he discovers his place in a world filled with strange magic and dark secrets. Fight with him as he unleashes the full potential of his power, the deadman’s tide.

Guaranteed Last Post of 2015

Well, it’s not like I’ve been posting much anyway but this is my last post for the year. It may not seem like I enjoy writing here, but that’s not true. I just don’t feel qualified to dispense writing advice, and I don’t think anyone cares to read about my cats or whatever other silliness passes for a blog post. So, I don’t write much here.  Anyway, let’s round up 2015.

A great year for my writing. Yes, that’s a sentence fragment, so maybe not a great year for grammatical writing. In any case, I was hoping to amp up my production this year and I certainly did. I got over 400,000 words written this year, so a little better than 1,000 words per day. I published three novels and just fell short of the fourth one (will be out in early January). Yippee! And I didn’t quit my day job either!

Now that the Ulfrik Ormsson’s Saga is completed, I’ve seen an overall improvement in sales of all books in the series. I think a lot of people are like me, and prefer to wait for a series to be completed before diving in. Fortunately not everyone is that way. So thanks to those who helped support it while it was in development. I’m pleased that so many people seem to have enjoyed the books. Of course, not everyone has but then again no book is for everyone. I see plenty of classics and mega-bestsellers with 1 or 2 star ratings. So I’m in fine company.

As for reading, I did the Goodreads Reading Challenge again this year. I usually take the total from the prior year and add 10%, which resulted in my 2015 goal being 100 books. I was behind for most of the year, but a bunch of short reads helped pull me over the finish line.

I have to say I didn’t have many disappointments in my reading this year. This year continued my worshipful appreciation of all of Jim Butcher’s writing. In addition to finishing the Dresden Files, I finished his Codex Alera series. It was a stereotypical fantasy in a lot of ways (no real “dark lord” per se, though) but was just thoroughly great. Shows what a master can do with old ideas. Haven’t started on his new series — yet.

Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria series blew me away. Just such awesome characters! Larry Corriea rocked my world again with his Hard Magic series. This year’s surprise author for me was Peter Clines. I loved both his weird fiction series and his superheroes/zombie mashup series. I immediately elevated him to favorite author status. Guess I’ll just be reading anything he produces.

There were lots of other great reads too. Bernard Cornwell, THE UNDISPUTED HEAVY-WEIGHT CHAMPION of historical fiction, can’t be omitted. Pierce Brown has me hooked on his Red Rising series. There was this book called The Martian that became a movie or something? And the heavy-hitter, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’m finally getting to it at the very end of this year.

So that’s the year. In 2016 I’ll be flying off in new directions. I’ll get things kicked off in January with a fantasy series that I’ve been mentioning ad nauseum in newsletters and blog posts. After that, it’s wherever the winds of fate take me.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year’s Eve. Good luck and well wishes for 2016!

Brief Update

I guess I never did any of the “last book in the series” fanfare for the Ulfrik Ormsson’s Saga. I published it in August and it has been selling great. I’m finally getting reader feedback via comments and email, so far all positive. This author gig is actually starting to feel like the real thing!

It was hard to end Ulfrik’s story. I’ve been living it for the last three years. I almost didn’t know how to write or think about any other characters. So when I had to face the blank page again I was intimidated by all the white space.

I’m in the final stages of the first book in my next series. As I’ve mentioned previously, it will be a fantasy story. It’s not an epic fantasy like the revered GRRM or Brandon Sanderson tomes. I doubt I could focus long enough to write an 800 page epic! Nope, this will be a much more personal scale. No cast of thousands for this one.  If you enjoyed my Ulfrik series then imagine something similar but in a fantasy setting.

Right now I’m working through the rewrite process. This one’s a challenge because I’m not only creating new characters but also a whole new world to go with them. Once I have all my “first readers” feedback together I’ll know where I need to tighten up the story. I was hoping to get it out this month, and if I’m really good I might. However, expect this one around January 2016.

I hope you’ll follow me into my new series. Thank you all for your support!

Here’s just a quick note for anyone stopping by here to see what I’m up to. I’ve been hard at work writing the final book in my Ulfrik Ormsson’s Saga. It’s with the proof reader now. I’ve got to get a cover designed for this one and then it should be available for purchase in the next few weeks, baring unforeseen circumstances.

The last book was both easy and difficult to write. I knew where the story was going and how it was going to end. All the major movements in the story were already conceived in great detail. Yet I still found it difficult to finish. I’ve been living with all these characters in my head for more than five years now. I just don’t think about these fictional people when I’m writing, but also when I’m away from the keyboard. Maybe I think of them even more when I’m not writing than when I am!  Anyway, saying good-bye to this world and its people was a lot harder to do this time.

While it’s not impossible for me to go back to tales of Viking adventure, I’m setting aside the historical fiction for a while. I do love history and thoroughly enjoy envisioning a time long past, but it is not necessarily my first love. That has always been fantasy fiction, with a capital F cast in mithril. That’s where I’m headed next.  I have this awesome idea for a small farm boy who is secretly a great wizard and long-lost heir to the king, and he goes on this quest to defeat the dark lord of vileness……

Okay, I’m just kidding on the plot! (She’s actually a farm GIRL. Gotcha!)  I will not be rolling out stale tropes and blatant stereotypes. Though right now I’m reading a fantasy series by a famous author that is almost that exact story, and I’m loving it. I suppose even such a worn-out story can be fun in the hands of a good storyteller. Anyway, my story will have a strong Dark Ages feel with unique magic systems, lots of good action, and all the fun you expect out of my books.

So keep watching for the final book in Ulfrik Ormsson’s Saga and if the gods are with me I’ll have a new fantasy series for you before the year is out. Thanks for dropping by!

Good thing I did not make any rash new year resolutions about posting more frequently! Truth is, despite what you see for blog activity, I’ve been busy writing. The resolutions I did make this year were to dedicate more time to the important stuff, which of course includes writing. My productivity has been great, especially considering I barely get an hour or so to write each day. I’ve found extra writing time each day and log a solid word count each week. This has been one of my more successful new year resolutions.

So where does this leave me? Well, with a new book to tell you about! I’ve released book six in the Ulfrik Ormsson’s Saga and it is now available on Amazon.com. I titled it Return of the Ravens. It’s about Ulfrik’s return from the disasters of book five and his struggles to find his place in a world where people thought him long dead. Sounds “touchy-feely” doesn’t it? Well, there’s lots of touching with swords and axes and Vikings feeling around for missing limbs after big battles. But it’s not all about the violence. There’s a story in there too. Promise! So follow the link and download a sample. If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, you won’t be disappointed with this entry.

Right now I’m taking a short break from writing, but have been steadily working on book seven. That will be the last book in this series. I won’t say I’ll never visit the Viking world again. I’ve enjoyed my time there. However, Ulfrik is feeling his age and his boys are growing up. The next generation is ready to assume the mantle of leadership, and Ulfrik’s story is coming to its end. As long as the Three Norns are willing, I should have that book out in August this year.

After concluding the series, it will be time to set my sights on other writing challenges. Historical novels have been fun, but the history side of the equation limits me in more ways than I had expected when I began this series. I’ll be considering the historical novel’s more popular cousin: the fantasy novel. More on that later. Right now, I’ve got to get back to writing!