The Splitting of the Fellowship

So you know how sometimes you say something, maybe as a joke or an off-hand comment that you don’t really mean, but then your words tumble around in your head and lead to ideas or decisions you never really intended? Like, that happens to people besides me, right?


Look, what I’m trying to say here, is remember that post I made a month ago? Talking about how ecstatic I was to finally be making progress in Conduit? And how long the book was getting? And how if I was a smarter man, I’d just split it into two books?

Yeah, that’s exactly what’s happening now. Conduit. Two books.

The good news here is, this basically means I’m done with the first draft of Conduit, and that I should still be on track to put book three (now to be called Dervish) out sometime in early 2022 when I planned to put book two out. Really, it means I can get some of the story earlier to readers than when I had originally planned. Besides which, this is more than a simple split—doing this has given me the breathing room I need to rework a couple troublesome segments of the story, as well as tack on an entire subplot I thought wasn’t going to make the cut (since the book was already waxing longer and longer in my estimates). Now I can keep things punchier, still tell the full story I want, and adjust the timing of events so that the finale should be a bit more satisfying to all. It’s a win-win.

Or that’s the plan, anyway. I’ll be getting the book to beta readers later this month, and assuming they don’t think it’s irredeemable, we should be good to go. If they do… well, it’s probably not too late to go back to my day job. Since, y’know, I never left it in the first place.

Oh, and total word count on book three (Dervish) is already at 20,282, so if nothing else, splitting the two helped freshen me a bit for hammering out the words. Probably won’t progress much past that the next week or two as I edit Conduit, but once we’re past (American) Thanksgiving, I should be back at it.

Many Happy Returns

Finally, finally, FINALLY, I’ve gotten back to getting a full 10k+ words written in a week—and all on my current main project, too! Not on my side hustle that I can’t talk about yet, or my short stories that never go anywhere and end up being sent to the trunk of no return, or written sections that won’t ever make the book’s final cut. Actual. Concrete. Writing. Yay…

Which hasn’t been easy, let me tell you. When my choice of free time in the evening is between writing or watching Squid Game with the wife, it’s not always easy to commit to putting fingers to keyboard. Yet somehow I managed, and have solid progress to show for it.

Now if I can only do it again next week. And the week after that. And the week after that…

Well, the book will get done. I’m rapidly leaving the murky middle of it, the swamp where many writers lose their enthusiasm and vision. I’ve spent far more time treading those waters personally than I ever care to, yet with each new book I tread down, down, down into them again. Why? Sometimes I don’t even remember the reason. Then I start a new project full of life and vigor, and I remember ah yes, that, THAT is the reason why. The trick is holding on to that sensation long enough to reach the end of the project, or at least far enough that I’ve passed the point of no return and must soldier on, regardless.

With this evening’s work, I’m sitting at a solid 76,207 words. Probably this book will be closer to 150k than the 120-135 I originally imagined, but I’ve also packed a lot into it, a whole lot of angst and action that will hopefully be enjoyable to read. A smarter author would cut this thing into two books, but sadly I’m no such thing.

In other news, I realize I haven’t updated my TBR list for a while now. I actually have a few new titles to add to it (as well as many off-list books I’ve been working through on the side), but I’ve decided to just focus on the remaining list, and I’ll update and create this all new in January. That said, I know there are at least three books that aren’t on it that I intend to read before the year is out (Wight’s Reaper, Bancroft’s The Fall of Babel, and a third that I can’t mention name of until it’s officially published).

  1. Beneath a Brass Sky by Eli Steele
  2. Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
  3. A Star-Reckoner’s Lot by Darrel Drake
  4. Blood and Steel by Seymour Zeynalli (DNF)
  5. Six-Gun Tarot by RS Belcher (DNF)
  6. Volsyng by Set Sytes
  7. Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence
  8. Gunmetal Gods by Zamil Akhter
  9. The Brightest Shadow by Sarah Lin
  10. A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
  11. The Lost Dawn by Dan Neil (DNF)
  12. Cowboy Necromancer by Harmon Cooper
  13. Tower Climber by Jacob Tanner
  14. Godchosen by TS Snow (DNF)
  15. Conquerer’s Blood by Zamil Akhter
  16. A Bad Rune at Angel’s Deep by Anthony Lowe
  17. Street Cultivation 2 by Sarah Lin
  18. Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
  19. The Broken Heart of Arelium by Alex Robins
  20. Untolled by JP Valentine
  21. The Black Shriving by Phil Tucker

So five books remaining on this year’s TBR, along with 3 off-list. Eight books? Probably not doable in the 2 1/2 months remaining in the year, but I’m going to take my best stab at it.

Word Update

Progress continues on the rough draft of Conduit, and I’m definitely getting back up to speed here. Latest word count is now at 66,165, which is all the more impressive considering I spent a solid week since my last update lying in bed sick as a dog (non-COVID related, probably just a stomach bug of some sort). I’m still on the mend with that, but my goal is to start trying to hit around 2k words a day. If I can do that, I’ll have this book done by Thanksgiving.

Oh, and I got the hardbacks from Amazon that I alluded to in my last post. They were… okay, I guess. I’ll definitely need to play around with the formatting before they’d be ready for the general public. Might even need to go back to Jin and get him to resize the covers a bit to better suit them. Not entirely sure it’s worth the effort, since print sales of any kind account for less than 1% of the books I sell overall. Still, I like the idea of hardcovers. They’d look good on my personal shelf, if nothing else.

More Words and an Announcement(ish)

Work continues on Conduit, and I’ve now surpassed the 50k mark with 54,173. Still moving kinda slow, especially given this story should flow a little easier than Bulletproof Witch, but progress is progress. That said, I’m projecting an early 2022 release for it now, and if worst comes to worst, if I haven’t finished the first draft by Christmas I’ll be setting it aside so I can get started on book 6.

Adding further confusion, I’ve started work on another project that I’m thinking to post on RoyalRoad later this year. Not much to say about it just yet, other than its a viking-inspired mecha. With cultivation aspects. It sounds weird, I know, but I think it’ll work better in execution.

In other news, I just discovered I’ve finally been greenlit for Amazon’s hardcover program! I’m actually rather excited about this, since I’ve always figured if I’m going to have print editions I might as well have ones that last. Not that the paperbacks from Amazon are flimsy by any measure, but it would be nice to have a book that could also serve as a weapon during the impending zombie apocalypse.

So far I’ve got proofs for BW 1 & 5 submitted, so we’ll know in a few weeks if they translate to hardback nicely enough to warrant offering them to readers. Fatedancer isn’t in the cards, unfortunately, as that particular work surpasses the 550 page limit for hardback by a wide margin, and I don’t really feel like compromising the interior quality. Maybe someday they’ll increase it, but for now, no luck.

Beloved Book Sale!

Hey everyone! Fellow writer Noor Al-Shanti has organized a book sale with the theme that each book is recommended by one of the authors on the list. This is a great chance to grab some books that come with a little more quality assurance! Also, my books are all on this list too, but likely if you’re reading this, you already own them. If not, go check them out, they’re only $0.99 (which includes my book 1-4 collection, but not the latest book 5. Hard to pass up 4 books for less than a dollar)

Check out the link below for the sale!


Just a heads up, I won’t be posting any word counts for a bit here, as I’ve hit a bit of a stumbling block with Conduit and decided to take a little vacation to work on something else (I know, not exactly the definition of a vacation, but whatever). Hopefully within a week or two I’ll be back at it.

In the meantime, I have another story I’m currently developing, one that I’m hoping to start posting on Royal Road later this year. We’ll see if it actually pans out once I start getting into it.

Word Count Check in

After a productive weekend, I’m up to 45,072 words on Conduit! Still not back to writing the weekly quantity I would like (about 10k) in order to meet certain self-imposed deadlines, but at least I’m making forward progress, and I’m past the icky section I didn’t want to write. Generally the more fun, actiony sequences flow a little faster.

Also, I did end up writing a couple thousand words on another project this week. What’s that project? If I told you it was book three of the Ascendant series, you’d probably think I was crazy. I mean, who starts writing book 3 before book 2 is even done. Hahaha…

A Few Words

Current wordcount for Conduit stands at 39,233. That’s about 2k more than this time last week, which… isn’t great, but also I knew I wasn’t going to be producing much with getting Episode 5 ready for publication. Now that the final is submitted and out of my hands, I’m intending to focus on getting the Fatedancer sequel done as quick as possible (since I really want to be writing book 6 of BW soon as I can!)