June 1, 2021

This will be a daily update blog, brief and to the point, of final edits on Book Three.

As of today, the final editing is done of the Prologue through Chapter 2.

More updates tomorrow, in the interim, I’ve learned I suck at commas.

Long overdue


Apologies for the delay in updates, but there has not been much to update. We are back in the classroom at my school, and so much of my time and energy is split between teaching and wrangling a small human around my home.

However, I did want to let everyone know that my grandmother, who I previously posted about, recovered from COVID-19 and is doing well. She is awaiting the chance for my son to come visit her, and we are looking forward to that as well.

The book remains in the final editing stages. I have all the alterations that need to happen documented, and I just need to use the “codes” for Shane to know where to put section break artwork and fix italics in the ebook and printer format. For a little inside baseball, we had to come up with a code word for Shane that tells him “here is where the section break art goes.” The trick was it had to be a word that doesn’t actually appear in the book.

We chose KUMQUAT.

Anyways, that is all hopefully happening March 12th and onward, with the goal of wrapping in a week or so. At that point, the text will be in Shane’s capable formatting hands and we’ll get a proof shipped soon after.

As a final note, the general feedback from people reading for content is that this is the best of the series so far. I am thrilled people feel that way, because while I felt the first was a good book and the second a significantly better one, I wasn’t sure how much better it could get. If it feels like everything is building on itself in a positive way, well, then things are going according to plan.

Thanks for reading,


Revisions: Part IV

Book three is done. I have sent it for proofreading and technical corrections.

Next steps are the formatting and production of the physical book, and I need to update the glossary and include the appendices on relevant lore from this text.

Once I have more information I can give a rough date for publication!

Goodbye 2020

In 2011, I made the move to the People’s Republic of China for work. I hadn’t had a lot of success finding a job teaching, I had given up on my dream of writing books, and I was in a ton of student loan debt and scraping out a life in my parent’s basement.

When I got the job offer in Tianjin, China, I did not have enough money to buy the airfare to get me there. Then my grandmother gave me a check for $1000 to help me make it once I was there. It quite literally fed and sheltered me for the first month plus I was in my new home, while I waited for that first paycheck and reimbursement.

In the two years I was there, my now wife, Molly, would come to see me over the holidays. We got engaged the second time she came over. I came back to Maine to start my teaching career in private school with Molly. I’ve written two books. We’ve got a son now.

My grandmother quite literally saved me by getting me to China and helping me eke out that first month. A few days ago we found out she had contracted COVID-19. She is doing alright so far, and the assisted living center she is in did, and is continuing to do, an excellent job caring for her. But this is, quite frankly, just bullshit.

She’s nearly 94 and survived World War II, where my grandfather was a ball-turret gunner on B-17s. She had four kids, and has eight grandchildren, and now three great grandchildren. The woman always, always did whatever she had to do for her family. The reason I say this is bullshit is because we can’t go and do anything for her.

Hopefully she will continue to trend in the right direction and we’ll get up to see her soon. In the meantime, whether you’re at risk or not, whether you worry about the virus or not, just wear your damned mask and socially distance as much as you can. I don’t want anyone else worrying about their family members as we enter 2021.

The book has made a lot of progress and I think I’ll be sending it for copy-editing in a few days, to be followed by formatting and prep for publication. I’ll keep everyone upated.

Please stay safe and happy new year.


Resvisions: Part III

Oh hey! It’s updates and changes I can’t talk about because spoilers!

But yes, more got done today. And I have a path to what happens tomorrow and afterwards. Some of these adjustments are going to be a bit ambiguous. For example, there needs to be enough reminding of who characters are and what they look like without making it so repetitive and boring for the reader. But, of course, there are so many characters! Where to add the details? Where to keep them thin and simple?

The book will have a glossary like the last two, probably expanded. I heard a lot of positive feedback about that and how it helped readers, so it will continue to show up in later books and newer editions of the old ones.

I am extremely close to the point where I think a through read-through of the book with Molly will benefit me a lot. We have already started it, but the later part of the story needed a bunch of alterations. Now that those feel like they are in a strong enough place, I need her ears and ideas on it.

Hopefully you and yours had a great holiday. I’m going back to the grind now.


Revisions: Part II

Today’s not over, but there has been further progress here. One of the things Wes had pointed out was the layout of Alderlast, the capital of the Angladaics, is something that needs to be clarified for the reader. This is especially important because the actual design of the city is part of the plot of a few books, so it really needs to be clear how the layout looks!

I’m sketching a rough version of the city now:

It’s a little fuzzy, but the image does render more clarity about how Alderlast is designed. The eight “slices” of the pie are the Highlord districts, while the “spokes” of the wheel are raised roads that lead from main gates (the sections that splay out like spikes on the wheel) to the Angladaic Palace. Between each district there are two tunnels through the roads, gated with big doors, and smaller staircases allow foot traffic up from the district to the raised roads.

The idea is a city that is supremely difficult to take for an invading force. You could, in theory, push through and level or occupy the palace, but every surrounding district would be against you if you never came down from the elevated roads/walls. And, if you did do that, taking one district would only secure 1/8th of the city, meaning a long and hard fight for the other seven.

Hopefully, polishing this map up and including it in book three will help readers get a clearer idea of what the Angladaic capital looks like.

Additionally, I added about 2000 words to clarify some character motivations and personalities. The next steps are going through some smaller notes on later chapters and then starting from the beginning of the book and adding in reminders here and there of what characters look like, what happened to them in previous books, what certain places or things are and why they matter, and so on.

The goal is to help the reader say, “Oh right, that person/place! Now I remember” instead of “why am I getting reminded of this thing I already know about from before?” The balancing act continues.


Revisions: Part I

As the semester ends and I finally head into a long break, I am working on a steady list of fixes and alterations for book three. Today, the Story Thus Far got revised completely and, I feel, works much better now. I also made adjustments to a character’s internal thoughts and development, which should flesh them out better than in the earlier drafts.

Tomorrow, I plan to tackle the missing details of one major plot thread and begin the slow process of filling in “reminder details” on characters from previous books. As the series is 1) long and 2) has a lot of characters in it, I am now realizing I’ve got to strike a balance between reminding the reader who is who and not bogging them down in arduous descriptive stretches.


Author and Educator