It’s hard for me to believe it’s only been three weeks since my last major update. During that time I wrote ~9,000 words and completed the twelfth proper chapter of Book Three.

To describe this pace as blistering would be an understatement. I haven’t written this quickly since before I had kids. Part of the explanation is that the infrastructure improvement which occupies so much of my free time (lol) during the warmer months has been foreclosed by snow, but, more pertinently, I’ve passed a momentum event horizon. Having already done the grueling work of setup over the past several years, I can now flick the dominoes and watch them fall. It’s exhilarating.

If you’ve read Brandon Sanderson’s “Oathbringer,” you’ll remember that there’s a point about 700 pages in where a plodding plot abruptly transforms into a climax that doesn’t stop till it’s blown out your adrenal glands 200 pages later. Well, the entire second half of Book Three is my version of that. I’ve barely gotten started, and already I’m feeling high. By the time I’m finished I may need medical intervention.

Anyway, I can’t wait for you to read the preceding ~300,000 words in the series so you too can get to this point.

Here’s what my Book Three Part Two outline looks like now:


Good news: I’ve finished the first “proper” chapter (not counting the standard intermission-esque Cadenza) of my third novel’s second half. Whew, that’s a mouthful. Maybe a visual will help. Remember that outline I showed off a couple months ago? Here’s how much of it I’ve gotten through:

So yeah—only nine line-items. Not all that much. And now for the bad news: clocking in at over 11,000 words, this latest chapter is the second-longest in the whole series thus far. At this rate, with sixty line-items remaining, I’m looking at over 60,000 more words before I can wrap this installment.

Fortunately, I don’t think things will continue at this rate. As the action accelerates (and the upcoming action is truly insane) I’ll need less and less establishing detail, and I’ll be able to cut back and forth with greater rapidity. Book Three’s still gonna be my longest to date (it’s already at 97,000 words), but not quite that long.

The title of Chapter 11 is “Welcome to the Party,” and that encapsulates my vibe. This night’s still young, my friends. There’s a wild ride ahead.

Second time’s the charm

I just received word that “To Face the Night,” my entry to the Writers of the Future contest for the 4th quarter of 2022, was awarded an honorable mention! This marks the second WOTF honorable mention for an excerpt from my unpublished epic fantasy tetralogy “Seed of Glory Sown in Sorrow.”

This entry was actually a resubmission. I initially sent it in way back in 2019 as a followup to my first honorable mention, but it didn’t even place. At the time, I did a little writeup on that process HERE. Other than the minor tweaking attendant on general editorial passes, nothing has changed since then. Except, of course, the panel of WOTF judges.

The entry itself is the Overture chapter for A Sea Sought in Song, first novel in the series. Each book begins with an Overture—a rip-roarin’ mini-adventure which introduces and encapsulates the themes explored throughout the remainder of the story. Think of them like the pre-credits sequences in Bond films.

Since the Overtures tend to be pretty self-contained, they’re the only parts of my saga that can be repurposed as contest entries. It was the Overture to Book Two which won me my previous honorable mention. However, since Book Three’s Overture is more tightly integrated with the larger narrative, I’ve now exhausted the saga’s submittable content.

Books One and Two both begin with honorably-mentioned Overtures. The former stars Ilina Lightkeeper, the latter Hugh Conrad. My two main characters, who together bear the narrative on their shoulders, have each been separately honored by the premiere story contest for unpublished genre writers. Seems fitting.

If you’d like to read these honorable entries, just follow the links below.

“To Face the Night” (honorable mention, WOTF 4th quarter 2022)

“The Pull” (honorable mention, WOTF 1st quarter 2019)


Alright, alright, alright, I activated an official Twitter account. Not really sure what to do with it, but although my knee-jerk response to any publisher demanding my social media is to immediately log out of their submission process (I’m selling my book, not my life), I know I’ll be expected to have at least some authorial social presence once I’m finally published.

So here it is: https://twitter.com/ArlamOnline

I’ll probably just post some choice excerpts from the unfolding story from time to time. You know, just a few glimpses of the epicness in store. Maybe worth checking out. Or not. It’s up to you.

But you’ll never know unless you do.


Okay, so this is kind of a big deal. Last night I sat down and made an outline. Crazy, I know.

And by “big deal,” I mean lengthy deal.

What you’re looking at is the remainder of Book Three. Each line represents a separate story beat. Each color represents a separate POV character.

That’s all of it folks. Six chapters of mad-dash bedlam. From where I stand now, all the way to the end. I can’t tell you how empowering it feels to know for certain what’s about to go down. This preparatory step—which is highly unusual for me but quite necessary in this case, as you can see from the structural complexity—will ensure I waste as little time as possible in the trenches.

Now I just need to write it.