Quick update time!
Bringing Ragnarok: Book Three is just about done. Part 3 will be fully drafted by end of this week, and I'll do the intensive rewrite and line edits over the next couple weeks.
Then I get to make the final edits to the full manuscript (usually 1-2 weeks) and it'll be ready to publish on Kindle!
And after that... Book Four! Goal: End of December release.
May sound like an aggressive timeline, but I wrote Book Two between August and mid-October 2018, and had edits all done six weeks later. So far, the reader ratings i'm receiving on Book Two are fully in line with Book One (better, which is normal, as people who didn't like Book One probably won't read Book Two), so I don't think quality has suffered from the compressed timeline.
And Book Four won't be as long as Book Two was. Book Three has topped out at around 150,000 words, which is about 10k more than planned, but Book Two left a lot of stuff to unpack - and there will be another time jump between Books. Book One begins on 20 July and ends about a week later, and Book Two begins in September, ending in mid October. Book Three, similarly, begins in December and ends at the end of January.
Book Four will not have as much of a time jump, as Three sets up the flurry of adventures that will constitute much of Book Four.
On that note - while Book Three is numerically the halfway point of the Saga, in terms of wordcount it is more like 60% (unless I wax on too long in Book Five, a distinct possibility) and in terms of the total workload more like 66% - 70%.
I actually began plotting the story out in the middle of my doctoral studies, way back in 2015. Apparently I was ahead of the curve on the whole apocalypse thing - I didn't think the orange idiot was a real threat until after the first couple primaries in 2016, but I've always believed something like him was coming. Many writers have, and during the course of my studies I came across a good deal of convincing evidence that led me to believe the USA would face a serious, very possibly terminal, crisis in the mid 2020s.
In any case, I was actually doing research on plot points and coming up with the general concept well before I began writing anything down. I've always wanted to write fiction, and wrote a fantasy novel about a decade ago. But I'm also kind of a perfectionist in many aspects of my work, and I've always wanted to write on the level of Tolkien or Clavell, with my own dash of Twain and Steinbeck to mitigate the darkness of reality. To do that, I felt like i needed to actually understand people and the world on a scientific level.
Bringing Ragnarok is very much the product of that effort - as will be all the worlds I build after. My next project will be more fully in the sci-fi world, set in a 22nd century where the Neoliberals don't win, and Earth is actually a pretty decent place overall. The rest of the galaxy, now (Earth's colonies and territories included) - very different proposition. And there are epic affairs afoot - some I actually intend to foreshadow late in Bringing Ragnarok, though you probably won't know it until I begin to publish Bivrost Nine.
As for BR, the nature of the Saga structure as well as the sort of narrative harmonics I'm trying to layer in means that Books Four through Six are actually easier to write, because so much has been established there are fewer degrees of freedom to work with in the metaplot. By which I mostly mean that stakes eventually get raised and irreversible moments accumulate that all but force a particular resolution. Not to give anything away, but the focus of much of these books will be exactly that - how to do what little one can to alter the unraveling of events produced by forces that became decisive long before you had any chance to effect the outcome.
So, war, in a nutshell, from the soldier's perspective. Sometimes even officers too.
I will post more on Book Three when I know it is ready to release, sometime mid-August. Around then, I plan to run a Kindle Countdown deal where the price on both Books One & Two will be $0.99 for a few days. I'll post on this site, for anyone who happens to get notifications.
Another note - I will slowly begin publishing appendix-style summaries of characters, histories, and the like in the coming months. There is a lot to keep track of and I've had requests for a kind of guide, so I'll work to put that together. Most of my conception of the Gods and Norse Mythology comes from public sources, which I will link to, and explain my own take.
To reconstruct the personalities and concerns of the Goddesses I've relied heavily on adjacent bodies of myth, but also Tolkien's Silmarillion. He relied heavily on the Norse Myths (nice standalone complex, eh?), and was deeply educated in other European traditions as well, so I consider him a very valuable resource for understanding Freyja, Idunn, and Frygga through the lens of Galadriel, Yavanna, and Varda. With Syf entering the scene too, later on, inspired by Niena.
Helps that I've got most of Christopher Tolkien's 'Making of Middle Earth' series on a shelf, and some of Tolkien's older conceptions of the Valar are very instructive. Americans have done their best to ruin Tolkien by turning his work into a male fantasyland, but if you actually bother to read deeply into his broader work you'll find that women should *always* have had more of a prominent role than Peter Jackson allowed.
Of course, Americans would screw up the women too, I'm sure. I'll never, ever forgive them for how they portrayed Faramir. Eowyn too was 95% less cool than she deserved to be.
ANYWAY. Final note - I've been experimenting with Twitter (gods help me!) this year, trying to understand it.
I really don't like this generation of social media at all, as I'm well aware it is addicting and anxiety-inducing by design, but I value the perspectives I'm able to access - and wouldn't be able to otherwise.
If you happen to be reading this and for some mad reason you *also* use Twitter, feel free to check out my random nonsense. I post as Mimr's Head, only sometimes staying in character. The handle is mimr_s and I am probably as bad at interacting there as with email, but there's a rad bunch of writers and other creatives with military experience whose insights I find *invaluable* in understanding my characters.
Yep, in Book Three, there's a bit more depth coming to Chavez' character - when not playing Post-American warlord, she rather enjoys makeup and nail polish and her ex.
Hey, Samurai in Japan were admonished to always make sure their makeup was applied and their hair done correctly before going into battle. If your enemy might claim your head, you don't want to go out looking like a slob, was the thought.
Nothing wrong with that.
Stay safe out there in this nutty world!