2/4: 0 words. It was only a matter of time until things got difficult. It finally hit hard.

If you’ve ever smoked a brisket, you know that there’s a time when the internal temperature of the brisket stops rising. The smoker is at the same 275 degrees that it’s been for the last 8 hours. But the brisket has reached an internal temperature of about 160 degrees and the thermometer has stopped moving. Maybe it lasts 30 minutes or a couple of hours. This is called the stall.

The same thing happens with my writing. Everything is going well, until it’s not. The plot and characters are progressing as they should, surprising me along the way with unexpected developments. Then we hit the stall, and things get hard.

I anticipated it, but I didn’t know when it would it. Finally, the toll of having to research a half dozen different settings that I’ve never been to has taxed me. I knew that was going to be one of the great challenges of Forging Bonds. So much more research than the first two books.

Vulcan Rising was set in my hometown of Birmingham. Seeking Sanctuary was set in Hornberg, Germany, requiring me to get acquainted with only one town and its surrounding areas. But Forging Bonds is an action-adventure that has the characters traipsing all over Italy and Greece. So it’s been a chore.

So I’m going to wrap it in foil, stoke the fire, and push through the stall.

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