Considering that we’re in the Easter season, the title of this post seems particularly apropos. In addition, a few days ago I finally wrote The End to the draft of Valley of the Shadow. Talk about excitement! I truly felt like breaking out into the “Hallelujah Chorus”! With all the unexpected twists and turns this installment of the series took me on, and all the resulting recalculations I had to make, I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to finally get it done.
Just figuring out where to break the realigned storyline to create a logical ending was an ordeal. The word count was already higher than I wanted by the time I got to the end of December 1777, blowing away my original plan to end right after Monmouth at the end of June 1778 with a temporarily—the operative word here being temporarily—peaceful conclusion for my characters. But I managed to bring it to what feels like a nicely suspenseful ending—albeit another cliffhanger, which I was hoping not to do after the last one!—late in February 1778 without getting to Daughter of Liberty’s final word count of 127,000+, which admittedly is ridiculous!
Now it’s time to slash words. There are places where the narrative gets down into the weeds, and I’m going to try to condense, streamline, and extract details that don’t really have to be there. But first I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks. I want to be able to come back to the story relatively fresh, with a more objective perspective. And I have several friends—God bless you!—reading through it as well to give me their feedback, which will enter into the final edit.
After I have final text I’ll flow it into my page-making software, QuarkXPress, Marisa will add the back and spine to the front cover, and we’ll be ready to go to print. And, of course, my friend John McClure will turn it into the ebook files asap. Before that’s all finished, however, I’ll already be working on research for book 2 of the Northkill Amish Series, The Return. And then back to book 6 of this series, Refiner’s Fire. I’ll tell ya, an author’s work is never done!
By the way, Valley of the Shadow is now available for preorder! For some reason Amazon doesn’t have it discounted, but Christianbook.com has a very nice price. Check it out!