Book two of The Vault of Heaven is done! Holy I-never-thought-this-frickin’-day-would-come Batman! So, yes, done. Er, kind of. Which is to say, I finished the book months ago. At which time I promptly began the second pass “polish” that you’ve maybe seen me posting about here or there. It’s this non-trival “polish” that I’ve just finished and sent off to my editor.
And while this is a major milestone–read as “Orullian will float back down to the earth sometime after Christmas”–there’s still work ahead, kids. Real work. The editorial process starts its slow-grinding engine now. Nevertheless, I’m feeling like I could wrestle a bear, or climb Everest, or clean my office (which I’ve put off with some self-righteousness ’cause I was a’writin’ the great American novel or somesuch bull).
I’m reminded of a story Stephen King tells in which, after he finished The Stand, he ran to the bathroom and laughed and cried and laughed a cried. See, The Stand is kind of this epic story. He’s quoted as saying that the writing of this book was the only time he left The Gunslinger’s world (The Dark Tower). Anyway, I understand King’s post-Stand feelings. I didn’t get myself into the bathroom to laugh and cry. But the immensity of the emotional release might as well have. This has been one of the most sustained creative endeavors of my life. Lots of blood and sweat went into this one. I’m hoping when readers get this one, those fluids of mine get all over their fingers.
Anyhow, many of you have asked as to length. No, not like that. I run a respectable . . . nevermind. Here’s the thing, I’m not feeling like publishing a word count just now. Seems too much like keeping score. I will say that it clocks in at Epic. By which I mean that, length-wise, it lives in the neighborhood of such tomes as The Way of Kings, Dance with Dragons, and the like. Now please note, that’s a length association. I’m not suggesting anything more than that. I’m just hoping that ballparking it will suffice tome-searchers for now.
Is there a title, some ask. Yes, there is. But strictly speaking, it’s possible it could change. My original title on book one did. That said, I like my current working title on book two. So does my editor. I’m holdin’ on to it since I think it might be fab to have it hit with the cover treatment, whenever that is.
Also, some have asked about a publication date. Simply put: It’s not up to me. I dearly hope they get it out next year. But, we’ll see . . .
The next obvious question is: What’s next? That one’s easy. I have a concept album to finish that’s set in the universe of my series. The music to that is 90% written. My collaborator and I have to ship a few Microsoft games and services (just, y’know, because groceries are nice things to have in the cubboard when you want some Goldfish crackers or peanutbutter), after which we’re gunna go hard at it. We’ll kick that into gear a few weeks hence. (Heh, heh . . . hence.)
I have to tell you, I’m really excited by the concept album. For many reasons. First, it’s no secret that I love music. But beyond that, this tells a kinda cool story around Belamae, the Maesteri you met in The Unremembered. It also ties to something else I’ll talk about in a moment. And second, it’s gonna get me on stage again. Not in any world-arena-signing-breasts sort of way. More in the small-club-tour-and-maybe-German-metal-festival sort of way. And for those of you who’ve never performed music live, I will just repeat what the inimitable Stephen King has said: There’s an immediacy about it that writing will simply never have. Plus, and to crib Patrick Stewart: “Live performance is a real moment of truth.” I love that rush. So, yeah, rock.
I’ve also got six short stories to write, all set in The Vault of Heaven. Gots me a publisher for them, too. I’ll share more on those in the weeks and months ahead. I’m actually really looking forward to writing these, as they tell some seminal stories that I think will make parts of the longer works resonate that much more. Part of my whole master transmedia plan to take over the universe.
Not lastly, I have a big story coming out in Shawn Speakman’s Unfettered anthology. I say big, because it’s about 23K words. Hefty. Thick. Meaty stuff. It deals with the music magic in a way that many of my readers have been asking about. Well, I wrote a chunk of this and gave it to Shawn, a good friend. I’m going to do a whole separate blog post on that at some point–but later, since I’ll need to include spoilers.
And my story, entitled “The Sound of Broken Absolutes,” relates to the concept ablum above in some interesting cross-pollinating ways. See, I just can’t help myself from going all meta on you guys. Again, I’ll post more about this in the months ahead. For now, get yer arse over and order a copy of Unfettered. Honestly, it’s going to have Brooks, Sanderson, Williams, Rothfuss, Brett, and a metric ton of other fantasy heavyweights. Worth every thin dime, it is.
And last, but not least, I’ll start working on a deeper outline of book three. You know, I have to tell you a story there. Literally today, as I finished the last frozen mile of book two, I had several flashes of incredible pieces I needed to write for book three. It sounds kind of . . . I don’t know, maudlin? But you gotta trust the process. I’ve learned that. And while I had a plan for book three. Today, as I closed down this mile marker, I had a big fat wonderful turnpike open up before me for the next volume.
I simply have to clear the decks a little before I tackle it. And as I mentioned, there’s still all the book two editorial fun to wade through. But, well, between the day job and all the preceeding stuffs, there’s no rest for this kid.
And that’s my last thought for you. And please take it in the spirit in which it’s intended. But to reflect on book two at this moment in my life.
I worked my tail off on this book. It’s epic. It goes into territory no one is anticipating and required a lot of me. None of that guarantees, gentle reader, that you’ll like it. Those of you who pick it up will be the judge of that. But I’m satisfied that I put all the heart I had into it. What’s more, I did it while working twelve hour days at the day job. There are times when I’m green with envy at those writers who write full time. And if I’m honest, there are moments of aimless ire at the whole situation.
You see, I get up at 3:30 a.m. to write before a long day at the “salt mines,” as mom used to say. Work ethic? Just something dad taught me. It’s second nature. If the day comes that I’m able to write full time . . . well, I anticipate a rather healthy flow of story for those who care to read it.
So, yeah, I’m a little proud of myself. A smidge because I finished. A smidge more because I did it while holding down a job at ole Microsoft, which as anyone working there can tell you . . . well, I’ll just leave it there.
So, thanks for reading, and . . .