Home Stretch: Horse Runs Strong, Jockey’s Hands Tiring

Posted: August 15th, 2022 under Good News, the writing life.
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In other words, as of this time, 8:41, Monday, August 15, the word count is 126,019.   The yarn is flying off the yarn-winder, the thread off the spool, the story out of my head and onto the computer drive as fast as I can type.  It’s literally coming fast enough that I can’t keep up and am writing well  over 2000 words/day.   (In the last 9 days, if my notes are right, approaching 3000.)   2000 is really all my arthritic hand joints tolerate well, and 9 straight days of 2800+ is…amazing, wonderful, and painful.

If this book is considered as a horse race in the US, think of Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes run.  (Or, OK, just think of the Belmont,period.  Big oval track, big round curves.  Last week I felt I was past the straight part of the backstretch, into the second curve.  Now I know I’m in the home stretch, in the final drive for the end.   Some horses have a final “kick” for the home stretch and some don’t.  This book came out of the gate fast, charged past the stands into the lead, extended itself to the 2000/day and stayed there through much of the backstretch.  Then sped up again.  And again.  And again.

So from what I can see now, I know pretty much where this volume will end, and that there will (God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, or a piece of space debris land on us) be more story in another volume or several to come.

A snippet from yesterday’s writing:   Dowager Lady Marrakai (her husband recently died) and Juris Marrakai, her eldest son, the King of Tsaia’s best friend and now Duke Marrakai, having succeeded to his father’s title. Those who’ve read the Paladin’s Legacy books will remember Juris from early in Oath of Fealty, when a courier arrives with word of the Verrakai family having attacked Kieri on the way to Lyonya, and Mikeli is still the crown prince.

And here he is again, older and still the king’s best friend, having told his mother that his oldest sister Gwenno (two steps down the sibling ladder from him, formerly Dorrin’s squire before Dorrin had to leave to save the world) has joined a merc company.  He expects her to be horrified.


His mother laughed.  “That girl! Woman, I mean.  I knew she’d run away eventually.  Over the mountains seems a bit extreme, but she never was temperate.”  She looked at him, her eyes alight with humor as they hadn’t been since his father died.  “Actually, none of you children has been temperate.”

“Mother!  I’ve been the calm one, the quiet one!”

“Juris, you were an inveterate sneak and probably still are.  You had to know everything. You bored holes in half the walls of this house trying to find out what everyone else was up to.  Do you really think I didn’t know about it?”


For those horrified to find a Marrakai eavesdropping,  it’s a valuable to a king to have a personable friend who is completely reliable (both to eavesdrop and to report it to the king accurately.)   Juris no longer bores holes in walls and he never spies on the king.  If holes need to be bored, he knows who to persuade.



  • Comment by Caryn — August 15, 2022 @ 8:32 pm


    Looking forward to this!

  • Comment by Gus Hinrich — August 15, 2022 @ 8:53 pm


    The book is moving like a tremendous machine!!

  • Comment by Sasha — August 16, 2022 @ 6:18 am


    How Exciting! I’m sending you good energy from across the pond.

    and a tiny little tendril – Will there ever been book 3 of Vatta’s Peace? Please.

    Please stay safe and well.

  • Comment by Gareth — August 16, 2022 @ 6:52 am


    Oh the things we knew the kids did (and sometimes we secretly approved) when they thought they were being sneaky…

  • Comment by Jae Sheddy — August 16, 2022 @ 9:06 am


    I can see a re-read of all the Paks books is in order! 😀

  • Comment by Jace — August 20, 2022 @ 9:03 pm


    I started my latest reread at “Limits “. 1/2 way through “ Crown “. Still picking out stuff l missed the other times through the books.

  • Comment by Moira — September 6, 2022 @ 2:18 pm


    Cheering for Gwenno! No nonsense, give-it-to-me-straight, sensible woman.

    And as Jae said – a complete re-read will be in order. What a hardship! Hah!

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 19, 2022 @ 10:15 pm


    Gwenno is certainly a more…um…independent character than her writer thought when she started. I thought I knew the Gwenno who was Dorrin’s squire, but her experiences in the Bells and in the Royal Guard (where she is at the start of this book) have, um, changed her. Or maybe Dorrin changed her that much. Not surprisingly, I guess, the Gwenno who started as Dorrin’s squire is now 6-7 years older and I certainly changed between 18 and 25. Practical, yes indeed. But that’s not all. I think I may need to tweak her POV sections near the end of the book to make where she is at the end and how she got there clearer to readers. Because I suspect in a future book she’s going to dive very deep indeed and become another extraordinary character, which would be interesting. She’s not Paks. She’s not Dorrin. Her entire background has been different and less difficult, but that does not mean she doesn’t have great potential. (One of those things that’s bothered me about both some other books, and some theories of character formation in nonfictional people…does an “easy” life always mean a shallow person, and does a horrible early life always mean a deep person with released potential? I don’t think so, either way.)

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 28, 2023 @ 10:22 pm


    Glad you’re having fun with them.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 28, 2023 @ 10:35 pm


    Thank you. About Vatta’s Peace…it was planned, but the 2018 concussion just shattered it as I was starting. I did start a third Vatta book but my agent said it just was not working (and though I felt something wrong with it, I had lost the ability to see or understand what was wrong, or any connection to that world. That’s why I came back to Paksenarrion’s world, since it was my first and closest to my heart…and that is working, just slowly. I’ve re-read the first two Vatta’s Peace books, but I can’t feel or see any way forward, and the failed attempt to construct a new book…I just don’t know. Maybe that will also come back, but I’m afraid my ability to write Vatta may be completely gone. I expect I’ll try again when I’ve finished Horngard in a way that is publishable. No promises, and small hope, but there is always the surprise factor.

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