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Yep, it’s official. I wrote my first 500 pages for Book II: The Saga of Thranduil. Granted, 79 of them are part of the extended version that may actually end up in the original, but 500 pages is 500 pages. I am amazed that I wrote 140 pages in 5 months, to be honest. I am not the word-counting, page-counting type of writer (I’m actually more of a Grammar Viking*), but in May, when I thought I had 80 pages and ended up with 296, I started counting because ink is expensive.

My father suffers from Alzheimer’s and will never know what I started a year ago for him–to prove I could finish something. When I did finish 21 chapters and 360 pages (134,055 words), he was still with me–knowing a little of what I do and refusing to read it because he thought it was in Elvish. Now, he remembers a little bit once and awhile–enough to ask me if I’m getting paid yet (as always). He has no idea the work that went into this–no one ever will. The fact I’ve done so much in so little time seems miraculous until you learn I didn’t sleep much, read volumes of Tolkien, studied four of his languages and diagramed battles based on his work and The Atlas of Middle Earth by by Karen Wynn Fonstad in order to write battles from the point of view of the Elves. I did it all thinking my dad had very little time left with his youngest. It was a labor of love for him and Tolkien.

I still have a way to go, but I’m on an adventure. I actually enjoy the challenge and hard work. I don’t know why, really. I love wondering what Tolkien would do a lot. You get attached to your characters, though. I cried when I took out Thranduil’s wife Êlúriel. She made a comeback when her long lost cousin showed up in Mirkwood and gave Thranduil an innocent kiss–really it was very innocent. My fans wanted to hunt me down–and that was the birth of the extended version where Êlúriel lives and has their daughter, Isílriel who has become so popular, a scene she has with Thranduil got 170 views on Flickr in 24 hours. Baby Legolas got 130 views.

I am the most searched unpublished book on Amazon (that’s creepy). There hasn’t been a day since I announced Book II: The Saga of Thranduil was done (21 chapters and 360 pages) in July. Adding the old Book III to Book II has only giving me more time with Thranduil but even that will end soon as I have 9 chapters left before I complete all 34. I don’t mind the frenzy, but I adore the story far more. The sheer anticipation of what will happen next is the high I live for. I love my growing fan base–especially when they are the die-hard Tolkien fans because they will grill me hard until they satisfied that I know my Middle Earth and Tolkien. I won’t lie–that is my favorite part. Keeps me true to both my story and more importantly, Tolkien.

People want it, but I want to finish it. As always, the closer to the end I get, I’ll procrastinate not because I’m stuck–I already know the end and working out the beginning of Book I–but because I will miss Thranduil. I’ve spent nearly 3000 years with him in 17 months and seen him change so much. It’s a beautiful thing. Moving on through pain is hard but moving on after pleasure is worse. I look forward to Legolas (Book III: The Last Tale of Legolas Lasgalen). There are some looking forward to the return to Doriath.

Once all three books are done, readers will notice a “Sidney Sheldon Other Side of Midnight” overlap to a degree. POVs of all the main characters. I’m almost too excited (I actually wrote 4 pages tonight–and still want to do more, but I’ll rest this night).

There is no doubt there will be 500 more pages and then some. I couldn’t be more excited than the first time I read The Hobbit in seventh grade. I was the only one in class that got the bonus question right–and I remember it to this day (the answer, not the question). The answer was Tom Bombadil.😁–J.

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Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey. ©2012. Warner Brothers Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

*I’m not giving Nazis anymore credit. Vikings. I’m a Grammar Viking. Ooo..WordPress word counts. I’m up to 739 words.

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