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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Sorcerers and Seers" Delivered to Publisher

Just a quick announcement that the "polishing" phase of Book 11 in the Tennis Shoes Adventure Series, Sorcerers and Seers, has been completed to the point that last night around 3:00 AM I emailed it electronically to the publisher. I guess technically that would mean I finished it early this morning, preventing my wife from getting any sleep for half the night.

What a ride this project has been! Only as I sat down and read this book from start to finish, making only minor changes and improvements, was I able to appreciate the full spectrum of what has been created. Nothing gives me greater pleasure as an artist than to think I am going to publish something ground-breaking. It's hard to believe, but NO ONE has ever presented in a fictional form anything related to the battle at the Hill Cumorah. No doubt because the issues and millieu surrouding this event are so complex that the very idea is daunting to the point that an artist might prefer taking up residence in a padded room and flicking his fingers against his lips while making a babbling sound.

In addition, I was able to discuss details related to Jerusalem and the last week in the life of Christ which no fiction writer has ever tackled. I also hope I've done a lot to shed light on the historical dynamics related to the Jaredites during the time period of King Omer and Akish. Yes, all this stuff is encapsulated inside an adventure novel that deals with time travel and other fantastical concepts, but the core research and history is all there. And I hope it offers readers some mind-expanding concepts and perspectives about the Gospel and the eternities that no one has ever thought about before. The goal, as always, is to draw people closer to the Savior, the Gospel, and the Book of Mormon. Only my readers can confirm for me if such efforts were successful, but this was certainly my goal.

The publisher has not yet begun the process of editing. (I don't even know if they've begun the process of reading it!) It may be that they send me back to the drawing board on an item or two (as frequently happens with all submitted novels) but as of now the publisher's plan is to release the book this fall--September, if I understood them correctly. Things can change, but as of now, that's the intent.

I still have to write an extensive "Cast of Characters" list for this book that will help readers re-acclimate to the Tennis Shoes world if they haven't read any books in the series for a while. And of course I have to undergo the grueling task of casting narrators and reading the book for release in audio form.

The point is, I like this book. Genuinely. Hey, why would anyone expect the author to say anything different, right? But trust me. I know when something doesn't work. And now and then as I was reading my own story I was honestly entertained and able to mentally "remove myself" from the creation process. I can only do that for short snatches of time, but when I found myself drawn into this, I was thoroughly enthralled and cheering for the characters. Get ready for Hamira. She's a Jaredite warrioress, and one of the fiestiest characters I've ever created.

As I said in my last post, there will be a Volume 12. This latest book does indeed leave many plot elements hanging. But certain long-standing plot points are also neatly resolved. All in all, I hope it's an exciting ride that will leave readers breathless and take them to places--physically, emotionally, and spiritually--that they've never been before.

As soon as everything is completed with Sorcerers and Seers as far as the editing and the audio book, etc., I'll dive right into a sequel to Passage to Zarahemla. I'm not quite sure of the title of that one yet. It will either be Escape from Zarahemla or The Warrior From Zarahemla. The project shouldn't take as long as a regular Tennis Shoes novel. My guess is that by the end of the summer I'll dive back into the world of Jim and Apollus and Meagan and Gidgiddonihah and Harry, etc. NO MORE FIVE YEAR BREAKS!

Also, as soon as I know the price of Sorcerers and Seers, I'll make it possible for people to order autographed copies of the novel, either from Heimerrecords.com or just by contacting me directly. I'll also make people aware of publicity events that my publisher might sponsor and anything else that comes my way.

Again, I feel I should express my deepest, sincerest apologies to fans who have waited SO LONG for this book. As well as my eternal gratitude to those who have done so patiently and who remain just as excited as ever to see where the epic will take them next.

So in conclusion . . . the book is here! It's done! And it will soon be in your hands. Thanks again for your fanship and readership.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sorcerers and Seers: First Draft Completed

Yes, today was a landmark day. I just finished the first draft of the novel Tennis Shoes Adventure Series, Book 11: Sorcerers and Seers. Don't get too fixated on whether the word "Sorcerers" comes first or "Seers." My publisher is still toying with that. Maybe they'll insist on another title altogether. Never can tell.

In any case, I just wanted to report that there is no greater feeling for an author than finishing up a book. Especially a book of this caliber and magnitude. The research was dizzying. The plot is mind-boggling. The book's length is actually 30,000 words longer than any book I have ever written. That means that it's 30,000 words longer than Kingdoms and Conquerors. But not so fast. I wouldn't take any initial report of the book's length too seriously. I still have several weeks of polishing on this puppy before I turn it over to the publisher. Usually a book ends up shrinking a bit during that process. But with all the polishing that I've done along the way I wouldn't expect it to shrink too much. This means the book will be one-fifth thicker than my previous "Tennis Shoes" volume. Yeah, so everyone is going to get one-fifth more story and suspense and action than they've gotten from any other TS adventure. Do I expect this to moderate the complaints about leaving characters in various binds and predicaments and not getting the next volume out quickly enough? Absolutely not. My readers are welcome to haunt me to the high heavens. The only thing worse than anxious readers is silent readers who don't care one way or the other. So feel free to complain, to vex, to torment, and to keep me on my toes and writing the next volume as swiftly as possible.

So I already know what everyone is wondering: When will the book be on the shelves? This Fall. That's the best estimate I can give you. And even that's just my best estimate. I gave the publisher all my suggestions for a cover months ago. I'm hoping it will involve a mammoth motiff. I don't care if its an entire mammoth, just the head, or even just a tusk. But mammoths are a fairly important part of this story. So the image seems appropriate. We'll see how the cover artists at Covenant end up executing such a concept. Maybe they'll go a completely different direction. Again, you never can tell.

I just wanted to take a moment at this late hour and revel in a massive feat accomplished. It's been five long years since I've released a "Tennis Shoes" novel. It seems like a lifetime ago. SEVERAL lifetimes ago. I know that many readers have born this burden with incredible patience. Some with not-so-incredible patience. But that's okay too—so long as you haven't given up on me. Many will feel a need to go back and re-read Volume 10 before diving into Volume 11. Maybe you'll feel a need to re-read the whole series! (I know that recently on family trips I've offered that opportunity to my own children, and I've been surprised at how many details I've forgotten!) To aid readers with the challenge of re-acclimating to the story I am including in this newest volume an exhaustive list of characters—at least of the characters who are mentioned in Sorcerers and Seers. That way it'll be easier to keep track of all the crazy Hebrew, Nephite, Roman, and Jaredite names—to say nothing of keeping track of all the modern characters, many of whom have been a big part of the story since the beginning. This quiet time-travel tale has become an epic unlike anything I could have ever imagined. (Okay, it was never that "quiet.)" But the challenge has been so indescribably rewarding. I've had the opportunity to explore subjects that no novelist has ever dared to explore. Did you realize this is the very first attempt ever to dramatize the setting for the battle of Cumorah? And yet I'm most proud of the way I've tackled events surrounding the last week in the life of the Savior. The moment I lose the courage to explore those kinds of things, I suppose it's time to hang up my keyboard (so to speak) and find another career.

Everyone already knows that this is not the end of the series, right? There will definitely be a Volume 12, tentatively entitled Thorns of Glory. So does Volume 11 leave the reader hanging? You betcha. Even the final sentence will drive readers nuts. Hey, it just wouldn't be a "Tennis Shoes" novel if it did anything less. But does Sorcerers and Seers contain some of most intense scenes and sequences I've ever written? Man, I sure hope so. I know many scenes were a bear to design and incorporate. And as for the cliffhanger thing, just remember my promise: I will be diving almost immediately into Volume 12. No five-year breaks. No in-between movie projects. I may spend part of the summer doing a sequel to Passage to Zarahemla, but this will be a breeze compared to the complexities of a Tennis Shoes volume. And there will a few surprises in all of these novels that I hope will thrill readers to the core.

I'm just so happy—SOOOOO happy!—to finally have it done.