Finished the rough on New Year's Day, and the first part is back from the editor. After a couple of days of much-needed post-holiday housekeeping/disaster recovery I'm starting the re-write. Don't worry -- I don't plan on anything extensive, promise.
That being said, I'm going to go ahead and set a tentative release date of January 19th -- my 44th birthday. It should be up at or around that date, depending on how quickly the Kindle elves process it.
It's a hefty read. Over 250,000 words. By contrast Spellmonger was only 133,000 words, and Spartacus was 90,000. It's not the biggest novel I've written, I believe -- that would be my Firefly fan novel The Treasure of Lei Fong Wu, under my Browncoat pseudonym, ScrewtheAlliance. But it's the largest completely original work I've done.
How does it compare to Spellmonger, besides being super-sized? The plot is a little more intricate, there are more characters, there's a lot more political intrigue (feudal style) and gigantic battles, class struggle, personal betrayal, gossip, all that good stuff. And sex. Not explicit, but sex. PG-13 on that part. Promise.
The setting is northern Alshar, mostly, theWilderlands directly outside of the blind valley of Boval Vale. It's a heavily-timbered and sparsely peopled backwater of the Duchies, kind of like rural Appalachia or any other recently-settled and poor region with lots of natural resources. The time is a month or so after the events of Spellmonger.
And things are not looking good for Alshar, and its next-door neighbor, Castal. These two westernmost of the Five Duchies are a poorly-organized patchwork of ethnic enclaves and feudal lords. Alshar is ruled by the mediocre Duke Lenguin and Castal is ruled by his brother-in-law, Duke Rard, a power-hungry schemer. While they play feudal politics to further their own ends, the only person who seems to care about the gurvani invasion is Minalan and his warmagi pals, and they're busy dodging agents of the Censorate, which is hunting them down for having irionite. But if someone doesn't organize an army in northern Alshar soon, then it's going to suck for just about everyone. The armies of the Dead God, Sharuel, are on the move, and one fiefdom after another is falling to his hordes as they move east virtually unchallenged.
If Minalan the Spellmonger can't lobby the courts of Alshar and Castal to work together -- and quickly -- the hordes will sweep over the frontiers of both states. (cue dramatic music)
It's also different in that Spellmonger was the second novel I ever wrote. Warmage is my 15th. I might have improved a bit. And I hired a hotshot professor of journalism to edit this time (Hey, Emily!), so less typos and such.
As far as pricing, I'm tossing around ideas. Bigger book, slightly higher price, I'm thinking, probably $3.99 rather than $2.99. But, for a limited time (probably no more than 48 hours) I'm thinking of rewarding my loyal fans (I have fans -- that still slays me) by starting it out at $2.99, same price as Spellmonger. I mean, for that price it would have to suck pretty bad for you not to risk the substantial investment. Early reviews say it doesn't entirely suck, so . . .
Thoughts on this?
Also, would y'all like to see an appendix with dramatis personae, maps, cultural notes, recipes, etc. or do you prefer to just let your imagination fill in the details? I can go either way, but since it's your money, I thought I'd ask.
Lastly, I know I still have a few SYCOPHANTS out there I owe the first chapter to. Expect it presently, and maybe a bonus for your patience.
And thanks to everyone who read my stuff, even if you didn't like it. I appreciate the opportunity to attempt to entertain you.