To those who have persevered in their requests for more information on the Age of Magic series and the lull in updates and new novels, I wanted to provide an update. These past few years have been a stressful period of my life. I’ve taken time away from writing and especially publishing, but the Age of Magic is still a finished story (or at least a complex chain of connected major and minor events) in my head that needs to be committed to paper. If not for you all, then for me. So, why haven’t I finished this yet? Why haven’t you gotten what you have been asking for?
About me and where I’m at
When I started the series, I was in a somewhat comfortable position. I was working in academia as a senior scientist, and I had retirement, medical care, and various amenities to distract me. Though my job and the responsibilities of that job were demanding, I had plenty of time to think, and I had a job that was challenging in some ways but not in ways that demanded all of my faculties–especially those related to distributed, complex systems. And that interest in emergent systems and ordered chaos with thousands of interleaving story lines is something that writing books like those in The Primal Patterns series and The Age of Magic helped satiate.
I am a risk taking person. I was presented with some opportunities that would challenge me in ways that my positions in academia did not, and at the time, and really in multiple new opportunities since, I took a chance on people and ideas and business ventures that did and did not work out in ways that I expected. Some of those were failures. Some, especially more recent ones, were successes. The stress of some of these was so all-encompassing, and my empathy for the people I led and the pain of growth and change was such that I was totally distracted and committed to pushing further along those lines.
And as I set about pursuing these opportunities with full gusto, my focus on publishing and serving those of you with interest in these series waned. I’ve changed cities, multiple times. I’ve changed jobs and titles. I now find myself in a new city, Sin City–Las Vegas, with a new mandate and responsibilities which I have pursued like I pursue most things. And I think it’s time, if I can allow myself to retool and refocus on publishing, that I finish this series–the Age of Magic–and the stories of The Red Poet, the Queen’s Consort, The Blood Chief, and the Holy One.
Progress and Anti-Progress
The Red Poet, Book 4, has had more edits from myself than it probably should, and stretched so far out across so many years, that every time I move through it, it feels like I’m further from finishing than I was at the start of the last edit. This is an illusion and one that every writer has experience with. If publishing were my sole source of income or indeed if it had ever been a large part of my income, then I’m sure I would have pushed past it. However, there are other stories in my head, and these compete with my completionist and flawed perfectionist nature, as well as those same tendencies in programming, building, and engineering products and leading dozens of people whose incomes and family well being have relied upon me (for better or worse).
My need to plan out all of the intertwining story lines, morals, and even fables within my series causes hyper focus on edits and details that lengthen the process of publishing. As a hobby and not full time focus, this can be poisonous to progress. I’ve decided to take inspiration from other fantasy authors, much more accomplished and varied in talents than I am, in hopes to move things forward. Namely, I’m going to plan to work through the series, focus less on perfection, and get this series out of my head and into completion, rather than trying to wait for life to calm down or a host of excuses that have completely stopped the editing process at times.
Timeline on getting readers what they want
The Red Poet needs to be done this year. My only question is will I stick to finishing book 5 (The Queen’s Consort) this year. There are things you can do to help. First, you can bug me in email (rexjameson @ gmail) or comments here to make sure that you’re on my mind, and that you want this series done. Second, you can offer to beta read. The latter requires constructive criticism when it’s necessary, so if you offer to do this, you’d have to agree to be blunt when hard truths need to be said about the text. The best beta readers can honestly tell me “this doesn’t seem like something the character would do”. I may disagree with you, but on more than one occasion, beta readers have been right, and I’ve changed the story for them. There are certain decisions, e.g., removing the gruesome death of Clayton from the first book as it seemed unnecessary to the plot and was… well gruesome, that I have gone with and disagree with to this day. However, I listen to beta readers, and everyone benefits from their willingness to disagree with and constructively give feedback to authors like me. I will be reaching out to one or two who have helped in the past, but they may no longer be interested in reading the series. That happens. Perhaps you can help me complete the series in a way that will best serve you all, the readers.