A Progress Report on the Siege Master Series

For those of you who have been awaiting (keenly, I hope) the second Siege Master book, March to Nicaea, I have news—some good, some bittersweet.

First, the bittersweet:

As you know if you read my posts, I had hoped to publish March to Nicaea for Christmas. But I couldn’t get it right. It’s a good story as it is, but my wise and wonderful copy-editor, Suz Baldwin, felt I hadn’t done it justice. And until now, I didn’t know what was wrong or how to make it better.

The problem is the interval between the end of Call to Crusade and the logical start of March to Nicaea, a period of five years in which Baron Godric MacEuan serves good King Malcolm III as a sheriff-at-large for Scotland. As you know if you’ve read Bone-Crusher, there’s a lot of good story potential there, story I didn’t want to rob you of.

But there are also some key events, critical to the series story line, that happen in those years, and whose ramifications drive not only Godric, but also deeply affect important characters you haven’t met yet. Leaving all that out could wreck the entire future story.

To relate that material and still get into the First Crusade—the first third of which March to Nicaea relates—it seemed I either had to condense it at the start of March, or ignore it altogether. Unable to do the latter, I went with the former.

The result? Both Suz and my beta readers told me the first half of the book was “…okay, but so condensed with backstory and historical characters that it was confusing . . .”

. . . .which is their polite way of saying, “the first half sucked.”

Instead, Suz suggested I saw off all the backstory and treat it with a new novella as I had Bone-Crusher. So I decided to experiment and build a double novella, combining this new material and Bone-Crusher, into one novel-sized volume. And as I did that, I discovered both my problem and its solution:

To tell the story properly, I really needed to merge those stories, which meant I needed to write an intervening book.

Now, the good news:

March to Nicaea is actually in revision, and should be ready in Summer 2016.

Its sequel, Crisis in Antioch, is started, but most of it waits in the back of my skull as I fix this first.

And I am now merging, rewriting and expanding the missing story into a new Siege Master novel, tentatively titled Kingsman, now about 75% done. And I’ll publish that first, this Spring.

So, my apologies for another delay. But Dad used to say, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” And you deserve nothing less.