The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.
– Linus Pauling
Initially, I was planning to write about spring's hope and how we made it through winter. Still, as I write this, we have a blizzard—a middle of the winter, hardcore, freezing temperatures, snow-blowing blizzard. And the irony is that by the time this newsletter gets to the inboxes of you, Dear Reader, the weather will have turned one more time.
It's an environmental (and emotional) roller coaster.
Yesterday was beautiful. Blue skies. A warm-weather walk in the woods. A barbeque. I could smell spring in my footsteps on the trail.
But not today.
Where's the metaphor? I came across a meme that read, "Winter is like this angry friend who storms out of the room and then keeps coming back yelling '...and another thing!!'"
Fortunately, writing has been quite the opposite of this crazy, cold, gross weather.
I've really been enjoying working on Shepherd's Call with David. Unlike the weather, it has been pleasant and consistent and moving forward without any doors blowing open and someone yelling, "And another thing!!" And we are so close to handing it over to our editor that I can finally feel it!
Like Angie, we are so close to the end of this monster of a book, I can hardly stand it.
This book isn't a monster because of its word count (it'll probably be one of our smaller books, TBH), but because of the time it's taken to complete. Every step of the way, I'd think we finally had a handle on it, and it would be smooth sailing, but it'd fight back and throw us new challenges to wrestle with.
However, the positive of this long, painful journey is that it taught us a new way to work, which will be handy in the next book.
In the past, Angie wrote the first half, and I'd do edits afterwards. We'd then switch places at the halfway point, and I would finish. Now, we'll work together, with Angie leading the charge on the first half and me handling the back-end. This dynamic allows us to bounce ideas off each other, develop the story's direction daily, and keep focused by working and editing together.
Also, we intend to do less outlining and prep on the next one since almost two-thirds of this book was rebuilt as we worked. Over the past two years, characters have taken unexpected road trips that we hadn't initially planned for, villains (and their motivations) have bounced around so much, we hardly remember the correct version, and whole set-pieces have been completely changed or cut. (A non-spoilery example is that the original finale was supposed to occur at a drive-in theatre, which no longer exists.)
What does all this mean for you, our Dear Reader? Well, we're not taking much of a break once we're done with this book. We'll finish up and immediately begin work on the fifth one. We know the general direction we are travelling, so we'll roll right into the final journey of Shepherd & Wolfe. We don't have a specific timeline for when you'll see it, but we definitely want to get it to you much sooner than this last one.
On top of that, we also have the first draft of a Shepherd & Wolfe short story that fits in between Shepherd's Call and Wolfe in Shepherd's Clothing that we'd like to give to you at some point. It still requires plenty of editing, so that will be slotted in at some point, as well.
So expect a busy year from us. It should be a good one.