by thefourpartland

Yes, we all know how that particular saying ends. And like almost every time it is employed, it’s true. I am not dead, and I have certainly not given up on writing. I just appear to have given up on blog posting for some time, although I can say the holidays and then a long ski trip had something to do with the matter. However, I am now back in the lab, and have a series of projects coming out over the next several months.

Chloddio: The second book of The Four Part Land arrives in April, and follows the exploits of the ex-safety engineer Chloddio as he joins the army, and then finds himself embroiled in subterfuge, revolution, and hidden societies. Around him swirl a cast of characters and soldiers based out of the city of Tri-Hauwcerton, together marking the beginning of the second trilogy set in The Four Part Land. And for those of you wondering what happened to Tarranau, don’t worry, he’ll return in Læccan Waters.

Wolven Kindred: A standalone ebook, Wolven Kindred follows Nietan, a human skirmisher and mercenary, and Ær, his bonded wolven companion, as they seek to rescue their failing mercenary group. Holy berserkers, undead priests, and howling barbarians become unlikely allies and implacable enemies as the Wolven Kindred engage in a desperate hunt for coin, and for their long forgotten honour. Wolven Kindred will appear in March.

Splintered Lands: Volume One: Yes, the first book of the long overdue Splintered Lands series will appear shortly, containing a trio of short stories entitled Into the Swamp, Kingdoms in Conflict, and A Baron’s Return. Together, they detail the arc of the southwestern lands, and the great swamp that dominates that tip of the continent. Lands rise and fall, struggling against the ever-present devastation of the Breaking. And yet somehow, there is hope, if distant and faded. Look for this ebook in April.

Ancient New: An anthology I am the editor of, Ancient New is a Deepwood Publishing book exploring the world of alternate history, of a Victorian Internet and an Aztec empire beyond the stars. Comprised of fifteen short stories written by rising stars from the fantasy and science fiction universe, it will capture the strange beauty of future technology, and the lost nobility of the past, and sweep them together into a tremendous mixture that delights and endears. Ancient New will appear at the end of March.

And if you’re curious what else is on my plate and underway, well, there is Læccan Waters, which sees the return of Tarranau as he heads north over the mountains beyond Tri-Hauwcerton, Splintered Lands: Volume Two, following the exploits of terrible thieves and long forgotten wizards, and an unannounced short project.

Finally, later this week, you should expect to see excerpts from the various stories start to appear, little teasers to whet the appetite before the tales go online.



by thefourpartland

I’ve finished the rewrite. The story now clocks in just a shade under 104,000 words. And it’s a hell of a lot better than it was before this whole process started. For the first time in a while, I’m looking forward to editing it and getting it out the door, because now I think I have a story that’s worth publishing. Of course, I’m sure I’ll turn into a pessimist as soon as I go back for another round of edits, but that’s a long way off.

For now, I’m just going to spend the weekend basking in the fact I’ve ‘finished’ another novel. But before I go, here’s the opening page.

Chloddio’s hammer crashed against the shield of his instructor, a muffled thud as the training weapon impacted solid metal. Chloddio followed with a sweeping strike, coming in high and from the right, aimed at the side of Cavrel’s head. The instructor’s shield rose as he ducked slightly, and the blow glanced away, momentum carrying the warhammer above his helmet. Chloddio threw his strength into reversing the strike, pulling it into a backhand aimed at Cavrel’s skull. A frown spread across the instructor’s features as his weapon came across, the cloth-swathed head slamming into the haft of Chloddio’s weapon, knocking it flying.

“You are a dead man Chloddio. Again. A sweeping side-arm blow with a warhammer? I could have stepped inside and gutted you. I just chose to knock it high and then disarm you. It’s flashier, and it proves a point. Either way, you’re dead. You use great swinging strikes, building from your shoulder. I’m not a rock, and will not meekly stand still while you mine me. Those spikes” Cavrel pointed at the top of Chloddio’s weapon, lying on the dirt. “are not simply for decoration. Use them to thrust or backhand, a change of direction, anything aside from your continual hammering. Subtlety in combat will save your life.”

Cavrel paused, looking at the warhammer on the ground, then back at Chloddio. “Another thing: This is a battle, not a show. You flourish. You wave your weapon above your head as if that will inflict damage. It’s costing you here in the training ring, and it will cost you more when someone doesn’t fight fair and kicks you in the groin. At least you wear armour reasonably well. Means you’ll last a few moments more in a fight, but only a few moments.”

“Gather your gear, put it back in the armoury and go home.” Cavrel sighed. “I’ll get nothing further from you today. Remember to be here by sun-up tomorrow, we’re working on squad tactics and marching.”

“Yes sir. By sun-up.” Picking up his hammer from the ground and shouldering his shield, Chloddio jogged to the armoury, handing the tools of his new trade to the weaponsmith who prepared them each morning. Two assistants helped Chloddio out of the heavy practice armour, thick padding overlaid with metal and stone layers, added weight to make real armour feel light and free.

One of them tapped the cuirass. “You should be more careful with this, you know. It’s getting more costly to repair it or replace it.”

“More costly? Why so?”

“Well, you hear there’s been a mine collapse or two? Seems that with those mines shut down, the price of ore and the ironstone we use to make the armour is going up. Quite a bit.”

Chloddio knew the mine collapses all too well. He had been the lead safety engineer at the first, tasked with examining the tunnels and caverns for collapse, and shoring them up when there was any danger. And he’d failed. A large fall had sealed the entire mine, and killed everyone in it, despite all that he could do. And only two weeks after that failing, another mine had shut down. Owned by a friend of Joestin Hogof, the man who had once employed Chloddio.

“But that’s only two mines. There’s dozens all around Tri-Hauwcerton.”

“You say that, but it turns out most of those other mines don’t produce consistent enough quality for our blacksmiths to buy from them. There’s only six that the quartermaster approves, and two of those six are closed for months. I’m even hearing rumours one of them would be closed permanently, that the collapse fractured an underground river.”

“Which one is that?”

“Can’t tell you. Rumour doesn’t say.”

The recruit shook his head. “Well, its not me you should be worrying about. It’s all those veterans who take delight in knocking me on my ass.”

“You’re the one with the shield sweetie. Use it.”

“It’s not that easy.”

“Kid, I’ve been caring for this armour for twenty years. I know exactly how easy it is. And you just better start learning, otherwise you’ll be going out in armour that’s going to crumble. We’re using up all our repair budget keeping the real suits together. Practice armour’s at the bottom of our list.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll do my best.”

“From the looks of this, you need to do a lot better than that.”

“Enough already. I get ground down by Cavrel as it is.”

“Cavrel, eh? He’ll get you into shape. Either that, or he’ll kill you trying.”

“He can kill me as long as he doesn’t dent the armour, right?”

“You got it, kid.”



by thefourpartland

Chloddio has passed over the 100,000 word mark, as of this morning. Or, I should say, passed it again. The first draft of the novel was 106,000 words long, but after a long round of edits, I cut it back to 68,000 and have been writing new material to better flesh out the story.

It’s been a long process getting to this point, but the story feels a lot better for it. Beforehand, there were stretches of writing that described beautiful scenery, and left the plot mired in a sand trap. Those are all gone (or almost all), and the story is now much tighter, and with a lot more action in it.

The changes are going to necessitate another heavy round of edits, this time to make sure the old material merges in well with the new, but there are already readers going through the material to see if they can catch continuity mistakes. Hopefully, I haven’t written in too many.

So, now that I’ve added in over 30,000 in new material, where does the story go from here? Well, it gets an ending. A new one that suits all the new material. That will take another 10-20,000 of new material, but I’m sure I can do it before the end of April. And boy will that be a good feeling. Even if it means I need to start editing again.



by thefourpartland

Despite the rather long silence on the blog recently, I’m not quite dead, nor have I stopped writing. I’m actually under 13,000 words from the end of Chloddio, which is the next novel in The Four Part Land. The novel in question currently stands around 95,000 words written, and has been going through a fairly intensive editing process. Originally, it was 106,000 words when I finished the first draft. After two editing passes, it was 68,000.

Yes, there was a lot of useless cruft that had to be chopped and removed. Most of it describing the scenery, and day to day life. There was a lot of day to day life, and it was boring and dull. So it’s gone.

Since that second editing pass, I’ve been replotting and adding large segments to the story, and now I’m close to done. Another two weeks or so should bring me to the end of the writing pass, and then I can go back and see how much this draft needs to be edited down and rebuilt. Hopefully, not too much, because I’d like to get the book out this summer.

And, well, the other reason for my silence looked like this:



by thefourpartland

No, I am not dead, despite all appearances to the contrary. I am, I think, quite alive. However, I have been absent from this blog for almost the entirety of December. Some of that was for good reason, some laziness. However, with the coming of the new year, I’m back.

So, I suppose this is a good time to outline a few things about where I stand with books, projects, and all those other bits of writing that I’ve got going on. You may have heard about this Splintered Lands thing I’ve been working on. Well, it’s getting closer. A lot closer. The first book should be out next year, and with luck, so should the second. There’s 3 novels, an anthology, and a novella all coming. They’re written by brilliant authors, and as the time gets closer I’ll be seriously encouraging you to go check them out.

I’ve also got a short story called King Bloodaxe coming soon. Call it a “Viking” fantasy. The story’s done, and off with readers now, and you know it’s a good thing when the first reply back is “where’s the second story?”

Finally, I’m announcing a tentative publishing date for Chloddio, second book in The Four Part Land, of July 21st. It’s currently in rewrites, although I should probably say extensions. I edited the story so fiercely the first couple times that it’s fallen below the word count I’d like to publish as a standalone print novel, so I’m writing new segments to flesh out certain subplots.

For those of you who’ve read Tarranau, this story takes place at almost the same time, and indeed many of the events in one story overlaps with the other. It begins a second trilogy that will follow Chloddio the stonemage as he seeks battle with enemies from the high tundra and the burning desert, until the path ends at the gates of his city.

And now to whet your appetite, I have a little excerpt from the story. At the time of the journey, Chloddio is a freshly recruited soldier, traveling on his first patrol through the lands of Tri-Hauwcerton.

On the seventh morning past the cave, the squad descended to a valley floor, a grey and winding passage that marched west to east. The valley itself swept around in a great crescent, and the ends were hidden from view behind mountains weathered and old. It was a desolate place, with thin grass and low bracken the only plants to be see. Here, even the patrol road shrank away to a faint trace on the ground, as if nothing could make its mark on this landscape.

The patrol swept past, Chloddio eager to be gone from this desolate place. In the high mountains, there had been a savage beauty, primal nature unscarred by the hand of man. Here, though, there was just savagery, for the beauty was stolen by the howling of the winds and the whispers of the grass.

Presently Sergeant Werilc called for the lunch halt, amidst a field of tumbledown boulders that provided some protection from the wind. Knackered, the patrol eagerly set to, and Chloddio sat himself down next to Jankoaen and Verick.

“Are there people this far out into the wilderness?”

Jank shrugged. “There have been, from time to time. Mostly bandits though.”

“Every decade or so, some poor fool who doesn’t like city life and rules decides to come out here and set up a village with his friends and family.” Verick gestured at the landscape around them. “Usually they come running back after the first winter. Those that survived, anyway.”

“There’s people that do that?”

“When you have nothing, the only thing to risk is yourself. And people don’t put too high a price on their own lives when they’re beggared and starving.”

“You know, Jank, you’re just going to depress me and the young lad. Try being cheerful for once.”

“Depressing? Me? You’re the old maid nattering on about those wilding villagers. Earth’s peace, most of those are just legends, told third hand.”

“Better my third hand than your first. Since all you do is make it up as you go along.”

“Enough, ladies.” Sergeant Werilc folded himself into a seating position. “Jankoaen’s right. The last known village north of the Carns died a full decade ago. Even the tax collectors stopped trying, and they hunt down dead people. As for the bandits, well, all of us veterans fought them up here once or twice. But even those were usually further south, trying to poach the ore from the mines. Out here? Nothing. Even the army only comes this way because it’s a shortcut. And because it gives us a little mountain and outdoor training without being too dangerous.”

Jankoaen sniffed the air. “We’re cutting it close this year, Sergeant.”

“I know. Why do you think we march so quickly?” With that the sergeant was on his feet, bellowing for the soldiers to pack their food and get back onto the road.

A clatter in the rocks behind him spun Chloddio about. Standing before him was a man dressed in furs and leathers, and carrying a crude blade. Shouting a warning, the stonemage dove to the side, grabbing at his hammer and shield. The veterans were just as fast to react, as all about the camp scruffy bandits appeared, weapons and armour crude and homemade. Standing atop a rock was the bandit’s leader, and he pointed at their packs with a sword, the blade dulled by age.

“Give us your packs, your tents, your food. Everything.”

“You have got to be kidding me.”



by thefourpartland

Originally, this website was set up to help promote Tarranau and Chloddio, my upcoming novels in The Four Part Land. Since then, it has become much more than that, a forum for the Writer’s Carnival, and for the flash fiction that I write weekly. The Four Part Land itself has become a bit lost in the shuffle, especially since I stopped the short lived podcast series.

I am happy to say that will soon be at an end. The cover art for Tarranau is nearly finished, the story is going through a final copy edit and layout, and it will be sent off for proofs within the month. An ebook edition is also in the works, and will appear the same day as the print copy, both of which should be available well before Christmas. At current rates of progress, I expect an early November release for both formats of Tarranau. For those who want a closer look at the story, the first chapter is online, as is a PDF of the story.

Chloddio, the companion story to Tarranau, is about to begin a second round of edits, and should be available in stores approximately six months after Tarranau. It will detail the rise of a young stonemage, from his role in a mining tragedy to a military officer, as he deals with the conflicts that sweep through his homeland, inciting turmoil and ripping the country apart in civil war.

In addition, the website will undergo a revamping, with a store and a gallery coming soon, as well as a reviews page for when the book goes live. Those interested in reviewing the book, please contact me through the Contact page.

Once again, a hearty thanks to all who have made The Four Part Land such a success to this point.



by thefourpartland

So, for those who are fans of The Four Part Land, there’s some good news on the horizon: I’ve already begun work on the second book in the setting, tentatively titled Unfolding a New Continent. As the name might suggest, it goes into a little more of the background of The Four Part Land, taking a long look at the battles between Bhreac Veryan and Niam Liad that shaped the continent into what it is today. There is also a long novella that introduces another main character and storyline. His name crops up from time to time in the Tarranau story, although only near the end.

As the above paragraph might suggest, it will be a collection of short stories, with the long novella appended to the end, although details beyond that are sketchy, at this point. I’m still focused on getting Tarranau out the door as quickly as possible, but beyond a certain point it is out of my hands.