Oh, and as with the other covers of The First Empire, the above is just a mock-up to help me visualize and provide inspiration. It's a "placeholder" and I'm sure the final version will be different. So don't get wedded to it.
Generally, I'm one to avoid deadlines, but my wife wanted only one thing for Christmas and I wanted to give it to her. What was it? Well, to read the next book in the series. The book was done, but rough, and I wanted to give it one more pass before she saw it. But...there was a little matter of changes to Book #1 because the first beta read had concluded. So through most of early December I worked on incorporating beta feedback into Rhune, Book #1. The beta readers did a great job, making it so I had a lot of work ahead of me. I got that finished up and sent it back over to Robin for copy editing, allowing me to go back to her gift.
Even though I was pretty fried from the beta changes, I wrote night and day and finished up on December 24th at around 11:00 pm - just in time. She read it nonstop on Christmas and the day after (thank Maribor she took a break to make us dinner and at least acknowledge the kids were around).
Considering how hard I pushed on those two projects, I was looking for a bit of time off and a kind of cool down. After all, I earned it based on how hard I was working. Right? Well, that didn't turn out to be the case. You see, Robin had been over my beta changes and has some changes to the changes. Doh! Also, she and my agent had told the publishers they could get their eyes on book #1 when they got back from the Christmas break. So a new deadline loomed, January 5th.
Hitting that date was important for two reasons. One, we had convinced the publishers to wait until the beta changes were incorporated (they had been hoping to get it in early December, and Robin had the second beta primed for that date.
We felt like we were cramming for finals, all housekeeping duties were pushed onto the kids, who were on Christmas break from college - Merry Christmas kids. They were sent out to fetch food because Robin didn't have the time to cook. We worked long into the night and I raised several coffee companies stock by all the coffee I was downing. The last three days are pretty much a blur.
We were exchanging files back and fourth and working late into the night. Robin gave me her final review of the last chapter around 1:30 am, I got finished with my last pass around 2:30 am. She finally turned over the last chapter to me very late on January 4th and I got done around 2:00 am. Robin woke up at 5:00 am to compile the book and get it sent out. And it's now officially in the hands of others - to see whether they want to release the series or not. We'll keep our finger's crossed.
With all that done, I've been spending some time reorganizing my notes for Book #5, and revising the outline. It's massive. Still, I'm hopeful that I'll be done with by April or May.
One last item on my "honey do" list, I helped Robin with the layout of the print version of Rhune for the limited edition early, early advance copies. Some may recall a lucky few are getting their hands on the book in basically the "beta read" version. I think we'll be doing another round of these as the second beta starts wrapping up. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, the book is at the printer, and once we get the proof reviewed, it should be out to the winners within a few weeks.
So, today I hope to start digging back into Book #5. It's always exciting when writing the final book. I see light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not even a train...I hope.