First draft of Burden’s Edge is complete. Here’s what my floor looks like strewn with notes for book 2.

So I finished the first draft of book 1, Burden’s Edge, from the as-yet upcoming unnamed trilogy that follows our trio’s exploits after The Arinthian Line. It clocked in at around 156,000 words (for comparison, Arcane was 98,000 or so). I’m not going to spoil the plot as it might still change in editing, not to mention I have to write a blurb for it anyhow.

In the meantime, here’s what my floor looks like in preparation for book 2 (untitled). In the upper right-hand corner is a fresh batch of tea; in the lower-right the cat, Buddha. On the small table is a slew of index cards of active characters in Burden’s Edge. These aren’t all my notes; there’s still all those manila folders-worth of plot notes I have factor in. It’s a bit of a process, but it works for me. Anyway, if you were ever wondering what my plotting structure looks like, well, here you are:

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Thank you for your patience; expect Burden’s Edge to come out late this year. And thank you so much for your amazing support of my work, and all of your beautiful letters. The Arinthian Line series has done well enough to allow me to do this full-time for nearly two years now. I only wish I was a faster writer, so that you would not have to wait as long. Though I suppose it could be worse (think of George RR Martin!).

With love,

-Sever

EDIT FOLLOW-UP:

This is what it looks like after an afternoon figuring everything out and putting all notes in the right place. This is how book 2 starts, essentially. (That open binder is full of old notes that have been archived). Note the pile of crumpled notes beside it. Having a glass of wine to celebrate finishing book 1. (Spoiler sheets have been left off photo).

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A peek at the fifth Arinthian book before release

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Legend (The Arinthian Line, book 5)

Imagine a spell that can age you a lifetime in heartbeats, turn loved ones into enemies, and set demons upon your soul…and imagine having to use it to save the kingdom…

Battle-tested Augum, Bridget and Leera prepare for a final confrontation with the increasingly vicious Lord of the Legion. To face him, they must master a hopelessly complex spell they can only learn from their legendary mentor, Anna Atticus Stone. But with a kingdom hurtling toward annihilation, Anna Stone’s health failing, and relationships crumbling under the stress, the trio face the most painful decisions of their lives. For the slim chance of victory, they’ll risk everything on a daring plan—one that, whether it triumphs or fails, will exact a terrible price.


This is it! We are days away from the launch of Legend! It just returned from proofing and has now entered the formatting stage. And to further tickle your imagination, I included a brief excerpt from Chapter 1 below.

Yours in excitement,

Sever


A brief excerpt from Chapter 1:

Rather than a rabbit, it was death that had ensnared itself in one of Augum Stone’s traps.

“Well that’s certainly bigger than a raccoon,” Augum muttered, hands resting on the top of his bow. “Second one in a tenday.”

“Third,” Leera Jones corrected.

Right, one had fallen down a pit trap south of town. A hunter found it impaled and writhing on a spike. Walkers were turning up everywhere now, not just near their village. It was a worrying trend.

With cocked heads, the two of them stared at the creature that had begun wildly flailing the moment it had spotted them through the sparse evergreens.

“Looks freshly raised,” Augum noted. The skin hadn’t turned black yet and the clothes weren’t torn to strips.

Leera nodded slowly. “Doesn’t even look like it’s been buried.”

 “Think it’s a man?” It was hard to tell. Faces changed after being raised. Some go sallow, some widen, some get a stretched waxy look. And that’s when they’re still fresh, like this one. With every passing day, the rot only hastened … as did the smell.

“It’s wearing a dress, Aug.”

“Could be a robe.”

“And the pink hair ribbon?”

He sighed, adjusting his stance on the spongy moss. “I must be tired.” Unnoticed details could get them killed. He had pushed himself in training that morning and probably should have stopped hunting earlier. Except people were starving from the famine and depended on them, for the villagers could not defend themselves against the walkers like the trio could.

He glanced into the sack at his side. Two rabbits and a possum. Not even enough to feed their own household.

Leera elbowed him. “I think she likes you.”

“Gross.”

“Look. Her eyes are saying, ‘Augum, come close so I can munch on your sweet flesh’. I’m actually getting a little jealous.”

Augum stared into the walker’s blood-black eyes, eyes that were hungry and vicious. He gave Leera a skeptical look. “I think you need some sleep too.”

“What, you mean joking about a deadly live corpse isn’t normal?”

He said nothing as the creature furiously swiped at the air, its jaws clacking.

She gave an exasperated sigh that blew strands of hair away from her face. “It’s called gallows humor. You should be used to it by now.”

He was. “Looks about three days old.”

“How can you tell?”

He flicked his fingers idly. “Clothes are soggy from the rain. Lack of bloating. All the hair is there. No bones peeking. And she’s only lost a few teeth so far.”

“Maybe she lost those before she was raised.”

“Mmm.”

The gaunt walker bared its remaining teeth as it strained against the snare, never ceasing its vicious swipes. Yet the rope around its ankle held firm. Augum wasn’t worried. As fast as the walker was, if the rope snapped, he still had a couple heartbeats to obliterate it into smithereens—one heartbeat to focus the First Offensive, and another to smack his wrists together and cast the spell. Less if he was particularly sharp.

Since they began learning the legendary spell Annocronomus Tempusari—otherwise known as Cron—he measured everything in heartbeats. Not that he had successfully cast Cron yet. None of the trio had, not once in the entire four months since their return from the Antioc Classic warlock tournament. Four months of grueling, disheartening and harrowing training. All of them looked forward to seeing what it would be like to reverse time, even if it was for only a few heartbeats. But once success did come, each heartbeat lost in the confines of the spell would result in their bodies aging, and who knew what other side effects. Exactly how much they aged was the great question.

Hence, details were vital.

Leera ran a hand through unkempt raven hair that hung just past her chin. “Don’t waste an arrow.”

“But I’m good at wasting arrows.” Augum massaged his sore left elbow, its slightly crooked bend a permanent reminder of his narrow escape from the Antioc Classic warlock tournament. No healer had been able to repair it properly, but it was a small price to pay considering they now had the divining rod, an artifact that the Lord of the Legion had specially created to track down the scions. He had used that rod to chase Mrs. Stone around Sithesia … until Augum brazenly stole it at the tournament.

“Maybe if you could learn to move on instead of clinging to the past.” Leera nodded at the bow. “You don’t need that thing anyway. You never will again. You’re a warlock. Embrace it. Besides, Bridget’s an arcane archer now.”

Augum hooked the bow over one shoulder. True, his damaged elbow hardly affected anything else. He could continue to set snares, or if he felt the need for hunting, there was always Telekinesis. Perhaps he was being a little stubborn. And yes, Bridget was turning out to be quite the good shot with her summonable earthen bow.

“Besides, you can’t kill it with just an ordinary arrow.”

“I can’t?”

“Nope.”

“You sure?”

“Pretty sure.”

“I don’t know …”

She punched his shoulder. “Sarcastic jerk.”

He gave her a crooked smile. “Fair’s fair.”

She returned the smile. “Oh, fair’s fair?”

“Uh huh.”

She sighed and leaned up against him, watching the walker struggle. “Could have been us.”

“Could have …”

News about book 5

I’m super excited to report that the first draft of LEGEND (The Arinthian Line, book 5) has been completed this morning. It clocks in around 234,000 words (about 15% longer than CLASH).

The next stage is editing, followed by prep and launch. If all goes well, you should have the final installment in The Arinthian Line by Christmas.

It’s been an emotional ride with this book. Years of work came to a head, and somehow, it all resolved in a way that made me feel personally content as someone living in that world five days a week (could you imagine?). Yet in many ways I feel like one of the luckiest people alive; I get to adventure alongside Augum, Bridget and Leera for a living.

If you want to receive an email notice when LEGEND launches, simply click here. I don’t email often, as my subscribers can attest. I’ll still keep you posted though.

Email / msg me anytime, I love hearing from readers. All my best,

Sever

It’s out! Clash (The Arinthian Line, Book 4) #fantasy #bookbuzz #ya

I’m very excited to announce the release of CLASH (The Arinthian Line, Book 4). It’s over 700 pages long in paperback, almost 100 pages larger than Riven. Happy to report that the Thursday soft launch got the book up the charts on Amazon, cracking the top 1000 (out of over 4 million books). As well, CLASH is currently #1 on the Hot New Release list in its genre. Felt good to take screenshots competing against Harry Potter and Golden Compass. The paperback will link to the Amazon store page within a couple days. Only one more to go in the series!


Warlocks Augum, Bridget and Leera are finally able to relax after a grueling ordeal in Bahbell. Now their fugitive mentor has a dangerous new quest–sneak into an ancient library and research an artifact that could devastate the Legion.

Their substitute mentor Leopold Harvus, however, is an obsessive and petty man with a distaste for anything untoward, particularly Augum and Leera’s affections for each other. As their studies suffer from his meddling, one brazen act of rebellion plunges the trio and their quest into mortal peril, for Harvus quickly proves he is not a man to be trifled with.

Books in The Arinthian Line series:

Arcane (The Arinthian Line, Book 1)
Riven (The Arinthian Line, Book 2)
Valor (The Arinthian Line, Book 3)
Clash (The Arinthian Line, Book 4)

Coming soon: Clash (The Arinthian Line, Book 4)

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CLASH (The Arinthian Line, Book 4)

Warlocks Augum, Bridget and Leera are finally able to relax after a grueling ordeal in Bahbell. Their substitute mentor Leopold Harvus, however, isn’t at all like the legendary Anna Atticus Stone. He’s manipulative and petty with a distaste for anything
untoward—particularly Augum and Leera’s affections for each other.

As their studies suffer from his oppressive meddling, Anna Stone—on the run
from the Legion—tasks the trio with a dangerous new quest that could turn the
tide in the war. But when Harvus pushes Augum too far, a brazen act of
rebellion plunges everyone into mortal peril…

Subscribe to receive notice of release.

A letter from Anna Atticus Stone

 A letter from a distant land …
(The following is an excerpt from the coming book four in The Arinthian Line series) 

The trio watched as their infamy steadily grew in the Herald; as armies continued to amass on the Nodian border; as excitement grew for the coming warlock tournament; and yet there still came no news of Mrs. Stone … until the morning of the tenth day, when a grizzled, mud-splattered courier arrived to hand Mr. Okeke a letter at his cabin.Jengo did not even raise his head from eating his porridge. “Another demand from the Legion for tax moneys, Father?”

Mr. Okeke tipped the courier, thanked him, and closed the door. “Not sure,” he said, breaking the wax seal on the weathered yellow parchment. He began pacing as he read. Suddenly, he froze. “It’s from Mrs. Stone—”

The trio bolted from the table, knocking over dishes, scrambling to gather around the parchment.

Leera was breathless. “What’s it say?”

Mr. Okeke cleared his throat and began reading aloud. His slight Sierran accent gave the words a distant slant. “ ‘My dears, I hope this letter finds you as I am very far away in a strange land I have never been to before, with even stranger people. Regretfully, I lost the pearl somewhere in southern Tiberra in a battle. I had forgotten to enchant it so I could find it again. Alas, my memory is not as it once was.’ ”

Bridget placed a hand over her mouth, eyes welling up. Leera laid her head on Bridget’s shoulder while giving Augum’s hand a tight squeeze. It was a difficult letter to listen to. Augum’s heart squeezed. He missed Nana so much.

Mr. Okeke swallowed and continued reading. “ ‘The spell has been an onerous undertaking under the circumstances, especially as I am already quite old. It is taking its toll. I have developed a bit of a cough, and my spectacles have become inadequate. I have eluded the Legion thus far, but there have been many close calls. The tracking party’s prowess has made it impossible for me to visit you at this time. They have proved to be formidable opponents especially well-equipped to thwart me. My days are spent on the road. My feet and bones hurt and I am always tired. I fear I cannot keep this up for much longer. It seems there is never enough time now, for time has become a most precious thing indeed. It seems eons ago since I have laid eyes upon you. I yearn for the simple things most—clean linens, a quiet fire, a good book, a warm meal, pleasant company, and above all, watching you grow before my eyes.’ ”

Haylee gave a sniffle as she drew Leland close. “Oh, Mrs. Stone,” she whispered.

“ ‘How are your studies coming along? I trust you have been working very hard and pushing yourselves. I trust Mr. Harvus has been a good and thoughtful mentor. Have you discovered anything about the artifact in question yet? Perhaps you will have received this letter before your departure.’ ”

Mr. Okeke took a deep breath before reading the last portion. “ ‘I sign off hoping you are all together, that you are warm, safe, in good health and high spirits. Please know that you are in my thoughts often. As for me, my greatest challenge awaits, and that is mastering this formidable spell, and somehow teaching it to you. I only hope to live long enough to accomplish this last act. Remember, my dears, that you are strongest together, that life is precious and short, and that all things must pass. With love and deep affection for you all, AAS.’ ”

Mr. Okeke stared at the parchment before gently folding it up and handing it to Augum, who held the wrinkled letter close, finger tracing over the broken wax seal. For a long time, nobody spoke.

……………………………….

The above is an excerpt from The Arinthian Line, Book 4 (title, cover and blurb preview to be released soon). Expect the book to be released within the coming three weeks or so. I’m working as hard as I can to get it to you as soon as possible though.

I’m extremely proud of this work. It’s my best writing. Augum, Bridget, Leera and the supporting cast grow a tremendous amount in this book. They face new challenges, not just personally, but physically. It’s also the longest book, clocking in at about 190,000 words, which is about 10% longer than Riven. You’re going to get your money’s worth ;)

A grand adventure awaits, my friends, I really cannot wait for you to read it!

Questions? Comments? Just hit reply and email me back here.

All my best to you and those you love,

Sever

P.S. Thank you all so much for your patience. ART team: you’ll hear from me very soon! :)