Tag Archives: epic

Top Ten Reasons Book 6 of the Norothian Cycle will be available in 2014:

(as opposed to being out before the end of this year)

10.) Stocking supplies in case of blizzard in Phoenix
9.) Iffy wifi connection to space/time
8.) Chicago Bears still alive for playoffs
7.) Wait… I have to shop for Christmas? Isn’t it a religious holiday?
6.) My Muse ran off and joined a circus
5.) Congressional gridlock
4.) My thousand monkeys chained to a thousand typewriters unionized
3.) Spellcheck is down, I’m hoppless withowt it
2.) Excessively long line to see Santa at mall

And the #1 reason Book 6 of the Norothian Cycle will be out next year, not this year:

1.) My Spirit Totem is a Cheetah. This Cheetah.

Happy Holidays to you and yours, see you next year. 😉


Posted by on December 18, 2013 in M. Edward McNally, The Norothian Cycle, Writing


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The Norothian Cycle Book 6… and 7. October update.


I’ve got some short news and some long news, not sure if either rises to the level of good or bad.

The short news is, while I initially thought I could conclude the sixth and last book of the Norothian Cycle by the end of this year, that is not going to happen now. Nothing is wrong, per se, other than while actually writing this book, I’ve come to realize exactly how much remains to be resolved. I honestly don’t think I can wrap up the story to anybody’s satisfaction (least of all my own) in only one more book. Not without making it some quarter-million-plus-word monstrosity that won’t be available for half a year or more later than I hoped.

Ergo, my loose (and I stress “loose”) intention now is still to have Book 6 ready to go around the time I hoped (late this year, or more likely early next). But it is not going to be the last book of the series. There will be a Book 7. I throw myself on the mercy of the court, and hope to thank you for your patience.

Read the rest of this entry »


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The Norothian Cycle Book 6 – July Update

racing turtle
Hi, I’m Eddie McNally, and it has been two months since my last blog post.

Nothing much has happened in the intervening weeks mind you. Writing Book 6 continues to take up most of my time, and while I think I am on pace for a release this year, I have to admit it is really slow going. Readers of The Norothian Cycle may have noticed a preponderance of plotlines unspooling throughout the first five books, and as John the Red is the last installment, all those loose ends have to come together. Also, I feel it would be nice if they came together in a readable fashion – so that takes a bit of doing.

Just as a for instance, here are five ongoing issues from the first five books I’ve already found myself wrestling with, while still on the first part of Book 6. And yes, they all involve characters who might be termed as either “secondary” or even “tertiary.”

Ongoing issues from:

The Sable City – Will Amatesu ever really be able to forgive herself for what she did to Uriako Shikashe’s family?
Death of a Kingdom – Is Karza ever going to get some comeuppance, or is that evil jerk going to keep skating?
The Wind from Miilark – Will Rhianne ever find someone else to love?
Devil TownPagette can’t keep popping up working for different governments without somebody finally putting him in front of a firing squad, can he?
The Channel War – Is there really any cap on Claudja Perforce’s ambition? Read the rest of this entry »


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Norothian Cycle Map: Daul 1395-1398 NC, Book VI update

Daul Timeline

So here’s the thing I’ve found over the course of the 5+ books of The Norothian Cycle – when you’re writing an epic fantasy where the unfolding plot and the actions of the characters have an ongoing effect on the fictional “world,” mapmaking becomes almost a second job (or fifth or sixth job, if you count writing, editing, reading, social media butterfly, blogging, etc.)

As readers are aware, a lot of the action of the novels has unfolded in and around territory that up until 1395-1396 (by the Norothian Calendar) constituted The Kingdom of Daul, various parts of which have come “under new management” more than one time. Thus most of the books have included updated maps which, while geographically the same, cover a number of shifting political and military realities “on the ground.” Now that I am working on Book VI, which is meant to be the capstone of this part of the Norothian Cycle, I bolted this map together to keep things straight in my head for myself, but then thought “Hey, why not blog it?”

So here we go: some words relating to these maps, which may contain a few spoilers for those who haven’t read through Book V (The Channel War), though I will endeavor to keep those plot related without dipping into too many character references. From there, I will tell you where I am now, as Book VI (John the Red) begins to unfold. Read the rest of this entry »


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A question of character. Brother Kendall Heggenauer of Jobe

Did I mention I take requests here? Well, I absolutely do, particularly any questions relating to the Musket & Magic fantasy series The Norothian Cycle. I named this blog after the first book in the series, (The Sable City), mostly as it was meant to be a place for posting “appendices” accompanying the books.  Glossary, additional maps, some short histories of various cultures and nations, that sort of thing.  All that stuff lives here, as my books tend to go on plenty long without them.

So, when a reader (and thanks much for the interest, Dee) wants to know something, this is where I’ll try to answer.  I ran a response post about the deities of the Norothian Ennead a while back, but today the question is about one of the characters, a young priest by the name of Kendall Heggenauer, who worships the First of the Ennead Gods: Jobe, the Builder.

If you’ve dipped on toe in the Norothian Cycle very far, you can probably tell that while I’m a lover of classic, “Epic” and “High” fantasy, I lean a bit more toward trope subversion in my own stuff.  Really, a lot of fantasy being written now does that, though for me personally much of it has gone too far down the “Dark Fantasy” path to hold my interest.  This is of course just subjective opinion, but I tend to feel like if I want to see people treating each other like human garbage, I’ll just watch the news.  When I read (or write) fantasy, it’s largely because I do want a bit of elevation from the sordidness of the everyday. I want to see people struggling against the odds to do the “right thing,” and while the definition of “right” is subjective, for me it is clearly different than “evil.” Thus and ergo, Kendall Heggenauer.

Of the nine-member “party” around which the Norothian Cycle unfolds, Heggenauer is perhaps closest to an archetypal “fantasy” hero. He’s from Exland, the oldest province of the Codian Empire, and Exland is a place with a deep sense of its own history, and some would say an inflated view of its place in the world. It is an old realm of Kings and Queens, knights and damsels, and any number of wars that could have been resolved with a lot less blood by simply talking things through. The Heggenauers are a very old clan in the realm, claiming descent (as most noble Exlanders do) from a quasi-mythical hero named “Hegges,” who founded the early kingdom originally known as Heggesland.

Kendall is the youngest son of the present family, and he is blessed with a build and bearing that promised a fine career in an Order of Knighthood. He’s a big, blond, strapping dude, and when the MC gets a gander of him for the first time: “He was just about the most handsome man Tilda had ever seen in her life.”

So, the question: Why is he a priest?

In terms of the story, Heggenauer joined the clergy of Jobe because he was “called” to the service of that deity while still a young page (apprentice) studying to be a knight. That’s mentioned in passing in the first book, though the form of the “call” is not described. I pictured it basically as divine contact in a series of dreams, which is the same way Heggenauer realizes in book two (Death of a Kingdom) that he can invoke additional blessings (cast more spells), as his works have pleased the god, Jobe.

Now, on a narrative or story-telling level, why did I choose to make the character Heggenauer a priest? Well, as I’m a “pantser” (in that I write by the seat of my pants), I’m never sure if I did choose anything. Stuff just sort of happens between the voices in my head, and the page.  But if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it was because a lot of the characters in the series are still in the process of finding out who they are, every bit as much as they are trying to find a lost heir, save their homeland, or just stay alive. Heggenauer is a priest of the god Jobe, the gentle builder, whose clergy installs sewers and aqueducts in Imperial cities, because that is how they can do the most good for the greatest number of people. But he is also a man who spent all his youth training for war, in order to carry on the family name with dignity and honor. He has, in short, some issues, which is why I find him interesting to write, and I hope interesting to read as well.

Thanks always for reading. 🙂

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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Characters, The Norothian Cycle, Writing


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