State of the Book (s)

thirty years war

Ernest Crofts- A Scene from the Thirty Years War

If it looks like I’ve been AWOL from this blog (except for weekends), I have. And I have excuses! Lots of ’em, as usual.

First of all, I finished my book! At least, I did a thorough copyedit and shipped it off to six beta readers, where it will now reside while they wade through its four hundred plus pages. I was a tiny bit behind schedule, since I wanted to be done by the end of February, but I had planned on finishing by March 10th or so. I ended up having it done early on the fifth, after a marathon twelve-hour editing session.

Why such insanity? Well, a few days prior to that, I learned that the amazing Mark Lawrence (seriously, I”m reading Prince of Thorns and I’m like woah.) thought up a really cool contest involving book bloggers and indie writers. Problem was, it required a completed manuscript in ebook format and was on a super-tight deadline. But, I like deadlines! So I got to work and got it done. Oh, and I had to have a title to submit it, so I went with Prophet of Ruin. I’m not completely sold on it, but unless I win, I can change it.

And now we wait. I’ve been assigned to Fantasy Book Review, but they have until September 1 to read 25 books and decide which one they like best. Seems reasonable. Now I just have to resist leaving kissing-up-style comments on their blog and stalking the competition.

And honestly? At the risk of sounding over-confident and downright arrogant- I really love what I’ve come up with. It’s not perfect and pretty far from what I originally imagined over the past decade or so, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s a fun read (except for all the tragedy) and is pretty unique. That’s really all I ask. Well, I’d like a lot of people to read it someday, but I’m willing to wait for that.

After taking a couple days off to recuperate from the marathon, while cursing Florida heat (2 out of 3 A/C units in the truck aren’t working), I’m ready to dive back into Valley of the Shadow. I read through the 60K words I have so far, and liked it better than I expected.  I thought I’d have to re-outline and figure out a bunch of stuff, but I don’t think I do. There are  a number of things I haven’t worked out- like the whole ending, and how many and which secondary characters are going to die- but I have faith that I’ll figure it out by the time I get there.

Figuring out diplomatic solutions. Or not.

Figuring out diplomatic solutions. Or not.

Right before I stopped working on it in January- I couldn’t write one book and edit another, as it turns out- I had figured out some complicated stuff (see pic) using my handy little whiteboard, and now I have to get that into prose that makes sense. It gives me something juicy to dive into.

So, my tentative plan is to have draft one of Valley of the Shadow complete around April 15, then put it aside while I draft Hammer of the Gods. I have NO CLUE where that one is going yet, but I’m immersed in biographies of Gustavus Adolphus, Albrecht von Wallenstein and Alexander Leslie, so ideas are flying into my head faster than I can process them. I’ll probably use Camp NaNoWriMo in April to do all of this.

Since it seems that writing mode is less draining than editing, I’ll try to update here more regularly as well.

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9 comments on “State of the Book (s)
  1. calensariel says:

    Super great update, Christina! I’m SO proud of you for getting the manuscript done in time to submit it. (Lord give her patience, and give it to her NOW! Please?) I never did get the full manuscript. Did I miss it in my email?

    • Christina says:

      Thanks for the support- and the prayer. Lack of patience is probably my worst flaw, so this experience will be a character-building exercise.

      I thought I sent it to you, but I was running on empty that day, so who knows. I’ll send it again. I’ve probably made more tweaks to it in the meantime anyway. 🙂

  2. Whitney says:

    But holy heck you finished a book! By the time I make a post like this, someone will have already invented a new day of the week! Great job!

  3. beerobinson says:

    Congrats & good luck! Sounds like a real rush, but well worth it.

    I was reading a biography of Catherine the Great over Christmas break, and I know what you mean about ideas flying into your head! I just got so much inspiration from it, I almost wanted to ditch my current project and dive into another. :’)

    • Christina says:

      Thank you! Yes, I really have to be careful of my history reading these days or I’ll get distracted from the current project.

      Was that the Robert Massie biography of Catherine? I’ve been dying to read that, but I know if I do right now, it’ll really throw me off!

      • beerobinson says:

        It was! An awesome, can’t-put-down read despite its size. I was carrying it with me everywhere while on my break. I have Peter the Great on my shelf, too, but I feel like I should tie up loose ends before I get started with it!

        Since you clearly have good taste: do you recommend any biographers or historians?

        • Christina says:

          Oh man, if I get started on Peter the Great too, I’ll never leave Russia. I just can’t go there right now. I wish I had more room in my head, or at least better compartments. -)

          My recent favorite biographer/historian is Charles Spencer. His biography of Prince Rupert was one of my favorite books of last year. (I reviewed/gushed over it here: I just finished The Battle of Blenheim, also by Spencer and should review it here shortly. But I have to take a break from him also because he seems focused on the time period just slightly beyond the one I need to focus on.

          If I ever get back to the point where I can just read whatever I want to, I pretty much love anything by Robert Massie- Dreadnought is another favorite- and Barbara Tuchman.

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