Friday, July 1, 2022

Update on Forge of Freedom

Yesterday I finished the full edit of Forge of Freedom! And now that I have the final page count—523 pages! Yikes!—my designer can finalize the cover’s spine width. As Marisa said, “That’s a big book.” Yes, it is. And I don’t expect to ever do that again! 

Even the back cover is going to be gorgeous, as you can see in the preliminary at the left. The text isn’t correct at this point and will be changed, so ignore that. The image of Muchalls castle in Scotland appeared in previous posts and is in the sidebar at right. It’s the perfect stand-in for the manor house at Jonathan Carleton’s Virginia estate, Thornlea, and Marisa did a fantastic job of enhancing the image so it’s exactly as I envision it!

Forge is long, indeed, but the page count does include the frontmatter and the historical notes, appendix, and glossary at the end. The story itself is just slightly over 500 pages. I knew from the beginning this was going to be a hefty tome since there was a lot of ground to cover, and I really did not want to end up adding an eighth volume. I’m sure readers will be grateful for that!

Because my purpose is to accurately portray God’s working in history through exciting stories, I wanted to at least touch on the main historical events, delving more deeply into the most critical ones. And, of course, there are Jonathan’s and Elizabeth’s personal stories, their life together, and their families that needed to be covered, as well as those of the major secondary characters. Not to mention loose ends to tie up from the previous books. I think I hit the most important ones.

I pray that this final volume will carry readers along, offer insights into the characters that speak to their own lives, and entertain, inspire, and deeply touch the heart. I found encouragement and blessing in the writing of it, and so I commend this story, this series, to you, dear readers. I am beyond grateful for everyone who has written reviews and for those who have encouraged and cheered me on when the work seemed too heavy to carry.

And now proofreading is next. My mapmaker is working on the Battle of York (called Yorktown today). At right is the map mine is based on. I also have several endorsements already, with several more coming. As soon as I have these last bits in hand, I’ll finalize the text for upload to my printer and online sites for the print edition. Christianbook has Forge up for preorder and should be able to send orders out slightly before the official release on October 1. And, of course, it will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble too.

The ebook edition still needs to be created and uploaded as well. It will most likely release about the same day as the print edition. And then there's promo, of course. Lots of promo—my least favorite task. Ugh. I sure do appreciate the power of word of mouth, and I would appreciate it immensely if you would let your contacts who love historical/romance fiction know about the series. And please do post reviews on Amazon and elsewhere! They help so much.

It’s going to be hard to say farewell to the characters I’ve come to know so well through the years I’ve spent researching and writing this series—from 1984 to the present. How I have come to love them! They’ve become so real to me and dear friends, and I hope to you too. I’m already mourning their loss, but it is time for me to move on to new projects, and I’m beginning to think about what comes next.

Here’s the back cover blurb for Forge.

In the final volume of The American Patriot Series, the Americans’ war for independence concludes in triumph—and the renewed fight of the Shawnee for survival in their ancestral lands. From John Paul Jones’s epic battle with HMS Serapis, to the conflagration on the western frontier; a traitor’s bitter betrayal; and the decisive confrontation at Cowpens, events out of Jonathan and Elizabeth Carleton’s control spiral toward a fateful climax at Yorktown. Yet amid war’s harsh trials they discover that, even more than the grand ideal of liberty and the deep intimacy of earthly love, the cry of their hearts is for the true peace and lasting freedom that are found in God alone.