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Update on Book III of The Fire Sacraments (And Why My Readers ROCK THE WORLD)

Hello dear readers. For weeks now, I've been wanting to give you an update on Book III (Siege), the final volume of The Fire Sacraments trilogy. Many of you have written to inquire—and here’s the thing: without exception, these messages have been positive, appreciative, and energy-giving. Seriously, I have the best readers any writer could hope for. You’re amazing. You’re like some sort of Red Cross paratroopers skydiving into combat zones with first aid kits of affirmation. THANK YOU FOR LIFTING ME UP, again and again.

And yet this has been a rotten year for my health. Pain makes for dull reading, so I'll just hit two highlights. Yesterday I learned I need surgery on my left hand. After being told SIX MONTHS AGO that it was just stubborn tendonitis, an MRI at last confirmed that I have ripped cartilage (a TFCC injury, for us hand-agony geeks). That misdiagnosis back in March led to a wasted half year, and likely additional damage as I pushed through lots of physical therapy.

My old friend back pain has cruised into town as well. I’ve had spinal trouble since my late twenties, but in recent years (with LOTS of physical therapy and exercise) it's been worlds better. Until 2023. In late summer my back just went haywire. Ten days of 24-hour pain, and stronger meds than I've ever taken were needed to control it.

I'm also, frankly, broke, which means I'm putting in more hours in the day job than I'd prefer. The upshot is that my writing had to slow way down. And that is killing me, because I desperately, desperately want to put Book III in your hands.

But there is a big silver lining. I never had to stop completely--and except for that worst spell of back pain, not for more than a day or two. Even after surgery next month, they tell me the hand/wrist brace will allow me to type. If I’m good I’ll only have to wear it for six weeks.

And the best news of all is that the writing is going really, really well. Often things are murky when one's drafting an ambitious novel. Most of my efforts begin that way, with the destination a dim light on a hilltop, glimpsed through swamps and fog. That is not the case anymore. Book III has been an immense struggle, but now, everything feels right, and I am thrilled beyond words with how the book is shaping up. This trilogy will be ending on a high note. And knowing that has put the wind in my sails.

To be specific, I've written roughly 70% of the text, which means that I have completed about 80 to 85% of the overall effort of the draft. Admittedly, my speed has decreased in the second-half of this year. But my confidence in the outcome has only grown. You know things are going well when you have to stop yourself from pouncing on your partner and saying, "Do you KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON THE PAGE TODAY? You won't BELIEVE it, sit down, let me TELL YOU…"

That's the impulse I have right now as well. Here's what I can say, though: the book resolves EVERYTHING. The love/hate dynamic between Kandri and Mektu Hinjuman. The fates of Talupéké and Uncle Chindilan, Prince Nirabha and Garatajik. The Prophet and her holy war. The cursed knife and the haunting of Eshett. The White Child. The disappearance of Dr. Ariqina Nawhal. The World Plague and the Quarantine of the continent. The yatra spirit-thieves and their invasion of human minds. The love triangles (one of which is now more of a love pentagram). The spy-vs-spy battles of Lady Kosuda and Eyelash Thruko. And of course the ghastly, gargantuan, magic-infused and merciless siege of Kasralys, city of my dreams.

Thank you again for sticking with me. I'm at work on the book every day. I promise it will be worth the wait.

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