It’s been almost two and a half years since I published The Far Bank of the Rubicon and over two years since I finished the Gravlander serial on GeekDad. I bet most of you have given up on getting the next Pax Imperium novel. Well don’t despair! A draft of the Gravlander novel was completed on December 13th, and I am currently editing furiously.
For those of you who didn’t read the serial, Gravlander covers the years between The Far Bank of the Rubicon and the next book in Jonas’ story, Athena’s Revenge. There’s around a ten year gap between the books, and while I was planning, I realized that Jo Lutnear would have gone from age fourteen to twenty-four in that timeframe. That’s a pretty big chunk of growing up, especially for a kid with a life like Jo’s. Gravlander tells her coming of age story.
If you read the serial, then the novel has a similar crunchy shell on the outside but takes the story in a whole bunch of different directions. The serial ended up around at 24,000 words. My current draft of the novel is about 118,000, with between 10,000 and 20,000 to add. I would bet that only 10,000 words remain from the original.
Here is the working description:
When she was four The Unity Corporation murdered Josephine lutnear’s family in front of her. Having escaped, Josephine became a political refugee and minor celebrity in those parts of the galaxy that opposed corporate rule. At the age of fourteen, The Unity launched a brutal war that destroyed all opposition and forced Josephine to go on the run. Having fled with the Ghost Fleet to wait for a time when rebellion would be ripe, Josephine has used the six years after the end of the war to become one of the youngest doctors in the fleet history, but fleet life hasn’t served her well. She chafes under a military system she did not choose. When the opportunity comes to escape, she eagerly takes an assignment as the medical ambassador to a group of genetic outcasts. Isolated and alone in a culture that has no place for her, Josephine must learn that she can’t become an adult until she understands what it means to be human.
So when will it be out? To be honest, I can’t say. If Gravlander has taught me one thing it’s don’t make promises about deadlines. I thought this story was only going to take me a year. Yeah well… not so much. That said, I am close. My first drafts are usually pretty clean, and I am finishing the last blocking pass right now. After that I want to walk through it and give it a voicing pass, to make the characters distinct and then its on to the final language edits. The other hang up is this, I showed the opening scene to a couple of big hitters in the industry at a writing conference and both of them were impressed. One of them asked to see the manuscript. Also, I’ve have a couple of agents interested in it, so they will definitely have a crack at it. So… there is a small chance that it could be a while. The most likely thing to happen is the agents reject it, and I am right back to self-pub.
However, if you’re desperate to get a look at it, I am going to be asking for a limited number of beta readers in the near future. I already have people asking but I have promised to give everyone on my mailing list a crack at the book. So sign up here to make sure that you get a chance. (You will also get a copy if you supported the Kickstarter. I haven’t forgotten about you.)
So will it be worth the wait? I hope so. The people who have seen bits of it so far think that it shows that I am becoming a far better writer, but I’m not you, so only you can tell me. I will do my best to make the wait as short as possible.