Welcome to 2017! Sure, I’m a bit late but nevertheless here we are. In a little over six months A Gathering of Ravens will be on store shelves, both physical and virtual. If the past holds true, I should start to see early industry reviews beginning sometime in April. This part of the process is much like sending a beloved child out for tests to determine if she will be lauded as a genius or locked in a basement like some Gothic monster. But, a few very early readers have already spoken over at Goodreads. You can read their reviews here.
So, while I’m waiting for the final verdict my plan is to forge ahead on the next book in the saga of Grimnir. Not a sequel, per se, but rather a whole new stand-alone tale featuring our erstwhile protagonist. It is called Twilight of the Gods; set approximately 200 years after the events detailed in A Gathering of Ravens, a celebrated Crusader returns to the North, charged by the Pope himself with bringing the pagan tribes around Lake Vänern to heel. Unfortunately for him, one such tribe worships the last remaining skraelingr as the worldly avatar of Loki . . .
It’s plotted out, save for the last act, and writing has begun. My target is to have it finished by April. After that, I’ll start plotting out the third book of the Grimnir sequence (tentatively called The Doom of Odin) and have that manuscript finished by November. It is an ambitious plan, for me. I’ve been a “book every two years” sort of writer for as long as I can recall. Now, though, the market has changed. To remain viable I needs must increase my output (or have a hit of such magnitude that I can take my time and no one will complain).
The prescription for two books a year? It boils down to a thousand words a day. A thousand words. That’s an average blog post; a mere two-and-a-half pages (based on my Word settings). Maintain that pace, I’m told by those who regularly write multiple books a year, and I can finish a book in 120 days. Increase the pace and that window shrinks. It looks good on paper; it looks eminently do-able, but in military circles it’s often said that no plan, regardless of how well-thought out, survives contact with the enemy. And my enemy is what Steven Pressfield calls Resistance. That niggling voice in the back of my mind that convinces me I’m not good at this, that I’m not deserving, that I should cut my losses while I can and get out of this business. “Other people are writers,” my Mother told me, upon learning I wanted to take up writing as a career. And this is the form of my destructor.
Luckily, I have an extended network of support, from my wife to my agent and right down to people I interact with online, and they think I can do it. So I will trust them. I will buckle down, apply butt to chair, and get the words down. A thousand a day.