If you’ve been checking in here regularly, you’ve probably noticed two things.

1.) I haven’t been posting chapters of Thirteen Swords.

2.) I still haven’t been posting chapters of Thirteen Swords.

Largely, this is due to Destiny’s Heir.

I’ve been participating in a writing mentorship with Joe Nassise for the past two months. It has been an excellent experience and has given me more confidence in my writing than I’ve ever had before, in a professional sense. He has been reading Destiny’s Heir in sections, and we’ve been spending a fair amount of time dissecting and polishing my work.

The fact that a professional author said he enjoys my work has been great for confidence.

The downside to all this has been, quite simply, I’ve been focusing all my writing energies on Destiny’s Heir. Given that I work 40 hours a week and spend another 10 hours commuting, and I like to spend some time with my wonderful wife, and I always have plenty to do during a given week (last two weeks included sausage-making and tearing down my furnace to fix it), I have definite limits on the time I can spend hunched over a keyboard typing like a madman.

However, I finished writing Destiny’s Heir on Saturday.

That’s right, it’s finished!

My wonderful wife then devoted ten hours or so of her life to reading and critiquing Destiny’s Heir, resulting in a manuscript with lots of marks on each page. It’s great being married to an English teacher–she edited for grammar, for spelling, for style, and for story consistency. Have I mentioned I love my wife?

All that said, I now have a 1 1/2″ binder sitting on the table with corrections I need to apply to Destiny’s Heir. It’s probably a couple nights of work, and shouldn’t be too painful. And after that, I’m free to start writing again.

As I’m sitting here writing on my lunch break, I’m sketching out story ideas in my head. Some of them revolve around the as-of-yet-unnamed sequel to Destiny’s Heir. Others revolve around Thirteen Swords, which I’ve already outlined once but didn’t like the result.

After finishing Siege, I felt a bit burned out. Frankly, I was emotionally drained from saying goodbye to a large number of characters and friends. I was physically tired from the time I’d put in to wrap the story up the way I wanted. I literally lost sleep thinking about that damned story while I was working on it.

After finishing Destiny’s Heir, however, I’m not feeling that burnout. I’m taking a few days away from serious writing to relax and recuperate, but I’m very much on a writer’s high–satisfaction, pride, and hope are all intermixed.

Even though I missed the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest (as they closed due to hitting the maximum number of submissions), I’m feeling great about writing.

So, what’s next? (Besides extensive editing)

I’m leaning towards Thirteen Swords right now, just for the change in pace. While Destiny’s Heir was written with the idea of a book series, Thirteen Swords is intended to be wholly stand-alone. Unusual for me, I don’t even have a spark in the mind’s eye about what a sequel would look like.

And yes, if Thirteen Swords is my next project, it will still be posted here on WritingUnderDuress. After all, I need to have some way to drive traffic, don’t I?


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