Tag Archives: The White Silver House

10 factoids about Book 5

17 Nov

Here are ten things about The White-Silver House that you may find interesting:

The White-Silver House1. From six to five: When the series The Day Magic Died was first drafted, there were six books. But when I re-read the first drafts, I saw that the original fifth book looked good for about the first 20 percent of the book, then wandered like a confused faerie. When I cut the last 80 chapters, that first 20 percent fit perfectly with Book 6. That grafted draft was the foundation for Book 5, The White-Silver House.

2. From five to six? In the process of creating the final draft, I came to the point where the original fifth book ended. It was, I thought, working really well up to that point, and I knew there were some issues ahead. Also, I was about the half-way point in the book, which is the longest yet. (See the next point.) So I considered splitting it into books five and six again. I decided that would be stringing readers along, so I kept it as one book and kept hammering away at the draft.

3. More to love in Book Five: Book 1, The House in the Old Wood, is 90,000 words. Book 2, Karia’s Path, is almost the same length. Book 3, The Hall of the Prophetess, clocks in at 95,000 words. Then came Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy. That reached 115,000 words. But you have not seen anything yet. Book 5, The White-Silver House, is nearly 135,000 words. (That’s more than a half-million words for the series, by the way.)

4. In the end, I got to the ending: The ending of The White-Silver House, in many ways, differs greatly from the ending I wrote at first. I wrote the original ending when I was about 20,000 words into The House in the Old Wood, and knew I needed to know where I was going if I was ever going to get there. (That’s right. It “only” took me 20,000 words to figure that out.) But when I wrote it, I was anticipating writing one book. Just one. When I hit about 60,000 words, and I had barely started the story, I figured I had three books. When everything shifted on me in the third book, I thought I had five. As noted above, I ended up with six books initially. Needless to say, the ending changed as the story changed. On the other hand, the elements that are probably most important are still there from the first version of the ending. They guided me through a half-million words.

5. In the end, I decided against another ending: I wrote an alternative ending. On the basis of that alternative ending, I outlined a sequel. I bounced the alternative ending off two of my critical readers. (Someday, perhaps, I’ll let others see it. Perhaps.) Their response? No no no no no no. Yes, two people told me six times not to do it. I took their advice.

6. It’s back: Some astute readers have asked me about a particular object that seems very important in The House in the Old Wood, and comes up again a few times in Karia’s Path. But then it disappears. It’s not even mentioned in The Hall of the Prophetess or The Dwarf’s Legacy. (Well, not overtly. There actually is a reference to it in The Dwarf’s Legacy, but it’s veiled.) Now I can tell you, astute readers, it does indeed play a key role. You’ll just have to wait until near the end of The White-Silver House to find out if you’re thinking about what I’m talking about.

7. They’re back: Likewise, two characters who played major roles in the first two books, The House in the Old Wood and Karia’s Path, also disappeared, and for good reason. But in the final analysis, they redeem themselves in The White-Silver House.

8. The problems continued: The fourth book, The Dwarf’s Legacy, took far longer than I expected to complete because I had to replace a major character. That character was involved in almost every part of the book, and this necessitated a serious rewrite. The character played less of a role in the fifth book, The White-Silver House, but I still needed to do more work than I had anticipated in order to complete the changes begun in the fourth book.

9. Wait, how many races are there? The House in the Old Wood introduced readers to three races: Teneka, Dr’Zhak and Inamali. But one more came up in the fourth book, The Dwarf’s Legacy. And book five, The White-Silver House, introduces a fifth race. But they’re actually people you’ve met before – at least, one of them – in the third book, The Hall of the Prophetess. Oh, and by the way, that fourth race that you met in The Dwarf’s Legacy? You may have missed it, but there are references to them in The House in the Old Wood and Karia’s Path – references that you probably won’t be able to connect until you read The White-Silver House.

10. Three years in the making: I started writing my series, The Day Magic Died, in November 2011. So I think there’s some poetry in the fact that I completed the final draft of the final book in November 2014. So basically, in the time that Song of Ice and Fire fans have been waiting for one more book from George RR Martin, I’ve released five books. OK, so the fifth book in my series isn’t actually out yet. Anyone care to bet that The Winds of Winter will be out before The White-Silver House? I didn’t think so. Therefore, Game of Thrones and Song of Ice and Fire fans, I have given you something to read while you wait. And wait. And … well, OK, I won’t rub it in. That is, I won’t rub it in if you buy my books. All of you. Now.

Book 5 release is closer than ever …

13 Nov

The White-Silver HouseThe White-Silver House, the fifth and final book in the series The Day Magic Died, recently hit two important milestones.

Last week I finished the second draft. That incorporated all the additional sequences I had written, as well as all the changes that had to be made because of changes in the first four books since I originally drafted Book 5.

This week, I completed the final draft. That meant going through the second draft looking at consistency, storyline development and character development. I also caught a few typos and some awkward wordings (and one or two places where I had to ask, “What on earth were you trying to write here?”).

Now, the final draft is winging its way to my team of critical readers. Each brings their own strengths to the process, whether that’s expertise in proofreading, an eye for character development, talent with consistency or an understanding of teenage girls like our heroine, Karia.

All this suggests the question: “When will The White-Silver House be released?”

And I have to answer, “I don’t know.”

You see, the book is now in the hands of my critical readers. And I have been guilty in the past of making my critical readers feel rushed. That’s wrong.

It’s wrong, first, because they’re all volunteers, helping me out as their time allows. Rushing them does not express the gratitude I feel for their help.

It’s also wrong because rushing them makes it hard for them to give me the feedback I really need.

And giving them time is especially important on this fifth and final book. This is where so many of the plot lines need to be wrapped up. (And there need to be good reasons if some of them aren’t.) This is the destination that the characters have been evolving toward.

Equally important is the pace of this final book. We started slowly in The House in the Old Wood, and while the action began to pick up at the end, the pace then slowed again, all the way through Book 3, The Hall of the Prophetess. Things began accelerating in Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy, and this continues in Book 5, The White-Silver House, as our story races toward its conclusion.

On top of all that, I’m asking my team of critical readers to take on this task just as the holiday season hits. And you know how busy that can be.

So hang in there, good readers. Book 5, The White-Silver House, is coming. It’s closer than it’s ever been.

In the meantime, would you help me out? If you haven’t already told your friends about the series The Day Magic Died that they avoid you like the plague, would you consider doing so? I hope you’ve been enjoying the journey, and will recommend it to people you know. (And if you haven’t been enjoying the books, please recommend them to people you don’t like.)

Here’s where they can start …

What’s Book 5 about?

23 Oct

The White-Silver HouseYou’ve seen the new and improved first chapter for Book 5, The White-Silver House. But what is the book about? Here’s the back cover text:

From the day magic entered her life, Karia’s goal has been to put an end to magic. But she didn’t know how.

Now she has a plan. She’s started working on it. She knows her next step. And she has a pretty good idea how it ends.

But the next step is not going to be easy – if it’s even possible. And in the end, does she have to die? Is there another way? A way to remove the malignancy from magic? Or a way to neutralize magic, without Karia dying?

Perhaps there are answers in the strange properties of white silver.

With the fifth book coming, it’s a good time to grab any of the other books you haven’t read yet.

New first chapter for Book 5

26 Sep The White-Silver House

Time for an update from Book 5, The White-Silver House.

Each book in the series, The Day Magic Died, has included the first chapter of the next book. So when I released Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy, it included the first chapter of Book 5, The White-Silver House.

Since releasing Book 4, I’ve done some reworking of the opening of Book 5, and as a result, the first chapter has changed substantially. Now that I’ve been through it again and again and again, I’m pretty satisfied that this is very close to the final version.

So here you go … the new first chapter of Book 5, The White-Silver House.

The White-Silver HouseChapter 1:

The moment the camels stopped, Karia lifted herself in the stirrups. A sound escaped her throat; she didn’t mean to say anything, but out came a combination of a sigh and a groan. It felt good to stretch her legs, and to get her weight off her rear – but it also hurt. She was also surprised she was so tired after sitting all afternoon.

All day, she thought. She mounted a camel before dawn to retrieve the Heart of Shri’inik, now in the box strapped securely in front her right leg. Aside from two brief walks, she had been on a camel all day long.

She leaned forward to reach for the waterskin. She found the increasing proximity of her nose the camel unpleasant, to say the least, and retrieved the water as quickly as possible.

She removed the cork and lifted it to drink. She didn’t care that the water was hot now, or that it dribbled down her chin. She was already hot and wet, wet from sweat. And gritty. Her clothes clung to her, but she knew better than to take off a single layer. Her fair skin would burn very quickly.

Ahead of her, she saw the lead rider turn and walk his camel back along the line of camels in front of her. She blinked; even her eyes felt gritty. She poured a little water into her hand and splashed it on her face. Gosh that feels good. She looked up, and saw the rider stopped and talking with someone. She blinked a few more times.

Hikil, she thought. Jur’atya, she reminded herself. After a short conversation – a talk that to Karia appeared short and clipped – he set off again. Each camel followed in turn, except Jur’atya’s. She led her camel to the left of the wash they had been riding through for hours. Though they were flanked by towering rocky hills that were alternately draped in and smothered by sand, Karia had seen only glimpses of shade.

Quickly, before her camel could start again, Karia recapped the waterskin and hung it over the pommel of the saddle again. She took some small comfort in the fact that the camel smelled horrible to her. That meant she didn’t smell as bad. Yet, she thought, as she gingerly lowered her rear back toward the saddle. The camel came up before she was all the way down; she winced.

Trying to take her mind off the soreness, she glanced around for Generality. She had released the faerie and told him to fly along, but keep out of sight for fear of spooking the soldiers. He was doing well; she hadn’t caught so much as a glimpse of him.

She looked ahead, and saw that she was approaching Jur’atya. Karia thought her camel looked skittish, though she was not sure whether that was the beast’s character, or because it was eager to join the others. Jur’atya constantly pulled lightly on the reins. Her mouth moved slightly.

As soon as Karia came alongside her, she let her camel fall in next to Karia’s.

“We climb through the mountains soon,” Jur’atya said, motioning up and to her right. Karia, looking in that direction, saw a rugged, stubby mountain range beyond the dunes. Truth be told, it looked more like a big pile of rocks. If it had been visible before, she had not noticed it. “Tabunaha Pass.”

Tavunaha means broken in Inamali,” Karia said, thinking aloud.

“I know,” Jur’atya said. “The Prophet’s keeper of secrets told me this. The pass is a break in the mountains, but the mountains are also called broken. There are many passes. This is the one most used.”

Karia saw the lead rider turn right and begin climbing up the slope.

“Jur’atya, where are we going?” she asked. “I mean, not just the pass – but where are we headed?”

Jur’atya looked away and did not speak for a moment. “Khadosh’ta’ayakh,” she said.

Karia thought a moment. The words seemed familiar, yet she could not be certain of their meaning. “Skeleton forest?” she asked.

“Or forest of bones,” Jur’atya replied. She looked pale, and her voice quailed. “It’s not the northern dialect; it’s older, so I can’t be sure. But that’s where we’re headed.”

“Sounds like a wonderful place,” Karia said.

“It’s not,” Jur’atya replied. “It is a place of great evil.”

“What do you mean?” Karia asked.

“I do not know,” she answered. “It is a place so feared that men dare not even write down what they know of it. They speak of it only in whispers.”

“Then why are we going there?”

Jur’atya looked down and for a moment did not answer. When she looked up again, there were tears in her eyes. She smiled weakly and softly said, “The Black pursues you, Karia. The Prophet sees this. So perhaps we surprise the Black by showing up on his doorstep.”

A side trip into space

23 Aug

And now here’s something for people who liked my Nascent Payne mystery, The sort-of Murder of Fiona Galloway …

My original writing plan had me finishing up the first Nascent Payne series – The Hunt for the Wallaby – about the same time as I finished my fantasy series, The Day Magic Died.

But several things changed that. I decided to devote more energy to The Day Magic Died. Partially as a result of that, and perhaps because fantasy has a larger market than science fiction/Western/paranormal/romance/hardboiled-detective/humor fiction, and maybe because it’s a very different series, more people gravitated toward The Day Magic Died.

This led me to put even more effort into that series, and the more effort I took to ensure that I was putting out the quality I wanted to, the more time those took.

All this amounted to less time available for the second and third Nascent Payne mysteries, The Man with Two Eyes and The No-Good Book.

But there was another reason.

I was stalled on The Man with Two Eyes. I had made great progress on The No-Good Book, completing about a quarter of the first draft. But I couldn’t seem to get past about the 10 percent point on The Man with Two Eyes.

Until this past week.

This past week, I completed the first draft of the second Nascent Payne mystery. I already have a big list of things I need to address in the second draft, and more will come up as I go back through it. But completing the first draft is a huge step forward.

That’s also good news for people waiting for The White-Silver House, the fifth and final book of my series, The Day Magic Died. It’s good news because, when I stalled out on revising that book, I didn’t stop writing. So now that I’ve spent a little time away from the manuscript again, I can not only go back to it, but go back to it at full speed.

Which I plan to do tonight and Sunday.

If you haven’t checked out the first Nascent Payne mystery, give it a look.

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