Monday, April 13, 2015

Doings at Drakenheath

Iubdan's beard, dear Imps, it has been a busy month! And looking ahead, I see lots more busyness to come. Sometimes it gets a little bit overwhelming, but at least it's always work that I truly enjoy, which definitely makes a difference.

Anyway, here's what's been happening, what's in the process of happening, and what I hope to see happening soon . . .

Draven's Light launches next month! Well, late next month, so it's still a little ways out . . . but still! It's coming soon!

I worked like crazy with the final edits sent in to make certain this volume is truly ready to go. And, after a bit of a scramble, I think it really is ready. I've approved the final version, my copy editor has approved her final version, the interior work is all complete, pre-orders are up . . . Yes. I think we are all set to launch.

Particularly considering this is only a 50,000 word novel, I feel as though I've been sitting on it for a while. I wrote it last February, after all. Still, I hope it will be worth the wait to all of you. I love this story, though it is pretty dark at times. I particularly love the role Akilun plays in this adventure. He's not really had a big role in any of the stories yet, and it's nice to see him get some time and development. Writing this story definitely made me think that someday I'd like to go back and tell more stories about the Brothers Ashiun and their adventures. So much to potentially be explored . . . .

Anyway, we are still looking for a few more influencers (last I checked), so if you'd like to read this story before the launch in late May, click here to check out this opportunity! Influencers make a huge difference in the success of a book launch, so I would definitely appreciate your help.

And I hope to do a fun Facebook chat party launch on May 25, so keep that in mind! Should involve some great discussion, some sneak peeks of Poison Crown, and other insider fun.

Moving on . . .


I have officially finished the second draft of Poison Crown . . . volume I, that is. Which means that I'm actually only halfway through Poison Crown, but I am SIGNIFICANTLY closer to having this first volume ready to launch this coming autumn! Which is a good feeling indeed.

There's still a ton of work left to do on this volume alone. I am hoping to dive into revisions as of next week and get the manuscript tidied up before it's sent off to my editors for a go-over. Revisions aren't extensive . . . some of them are actually pretty cool. One involves an interesting and subtle tie-in to Draven's Light, and that revision I am very excited about! Another revision involves rewriting a burial mound to a funeral pyre, which means some unique changes in the subsequent story. Another revision involves weaving in a bit more foreshadowing for one of the main characters . . . that sort of thing.

One way or the other, the revisions themselves shouldn't take me terribly long to write. But going through the entire manuscript, tightening, trimming, adjusting, and spell-checking will be a bit of a task! This manuscript ended up a little over 160,000 words long. A bit shorter than Golden Daughter, a bit longer than I'd anticipated. I'm curious to see if I can get it down closer to 150,000, but we will see how that goes!

Rohan, being not only the handsomest man in the world but also the sweetest, gave me a right proper celebration for finishing this very difficult draft. The day I texted him at work to tell him it was complete, he came home with a big bunch of stock (my favorite flower . . . I know the name isn't romantic, but they're so pretty and smell like heaven!), a box of my favorite cookies (Trader Joe's Maple Leaf cookies. Have you had them? I thought I was too grown-up for sandwiches cookies, but then these came into my life . . .). Then, to top off the surprise, he pulled out a gorgeous necklace and earrings set which he had purchased a few weeks before in preparation of celebrating this event!

Yeah, he really is the sweetest. (I should finish more manuscripts . . .)

By the by, you may be interested to learn that the covers for both Volume I and Volume II are in development! I am so excited about the concept of these covers and the mockups I have seen from the artist so far. And I'm hoping to be able to launch the cover reveal for Volume I some time in May . . . so let me know, bloggers, if you'd like to participate! You can email me (aestengl@gmail.com), and I'll put you down on the cover reveal list.

Speaking of cover reveals . . .

 We are already gearing up for the THIRD Rooglewood Press Creative Writing Contest! Five Something Something is going to be announced on June 1, and I would love to have you involved in helping me reveal the gorgeous cover and selected fairytale to all the potential participants!

To say I'm excited about this third contest is a ridiculous understatement. I mean, I am SO excited! I personally find the fairytale we've selected so inspiring, I even have tentative ideas for a retelling of my own. Not for the contest, though! No, this is an idea I'm tucking away for a few years down the road . . . part of the Super Secret project . . .

All that to say, I rather think all of you will find this fairytale very challenging and very exciting all at once. I can hardly wait to see what you come up with!

So let me know if you would like to join in this launch. You can email me (aestengl@gmail.com), and I'll put you down on the Five Something Something list.

Speaking of the Fairytale Collections . . .
 
Four out of five of the Five Enchanted Roses authors have sent in their revised stories, and I expect to see the fourth one in just a few days. These were some intense revisions, but so far what I've read has led me to believe all of these authors blew it out of the water.

And don't  get me wrong when I say the revisions were tough! We loved all five of these stories the first time we read them. But all stories require editing. It's the nature of the beast. My own stories go through a process very similar to what we asked of the authors, so I know what I'm talking about. The truth is, revisions refine the gold that is already present. And these stories really are gold.


I hope to share the title pages for each of them soon! The designs for them are almost complete, and I have to say, I might like them even better than the designs for Five Glass Slippers. We went a slightly different direction from last year's title pages . . . similar, but different. You'll see what I mean when the time comes to share!

I mentioned two months ago in a "Doings" post that I had some fun news concerning Five Glass Slippers to share soon as well . . . And I still do, I promise! But we had a slight set-back in the timing for that news, so it'll have to wait a little bit longer. But I might have something to announce by next month, so keep your eyes open for it.

So last week, tucked in between finishing the second draft of Poison Crown and starting the second round of edits on Five Enchanted Roses stories, I had the fun of a cover design commission thrown in. That was unexpected and delightful. I don't ordinarily take cover design commissions these days, but the timing worked out, and it happened to be for a story I had already read a few years back. It was fun working with the author to refine a concept, and I had a blast tapping into my designer/artist  brain for a few days. Not sure when this author plans to do a cover reveal, but I will look forward to sharing the image with all of you then!

What else has been happening? Well, I had a wonderful visit with my family last month. I guess that's getting to be a while ago now! But it really was great. My brother Peter and I played our favorite crazy board game, "Arkham Horror," which involves the slaying of many deadly monsters and probably takes more time to set-up than it takes to actually play. Rohan, as much as he loves me, won't play it with me, so I save it for Peter-visits, and we hunt monsters together to our little hearts' content.

Papa and Mumsy had fun walking around our new neighborhood and enjoying Rohan's epic cooking skills. Then Mum stayed with me for an extra week after the boys left, and we did some fun projects together. Including preparing my new quilt for actual quilting! When I say "new quilt," I should say, "very, very old quilt," however. It was pieced by my great-great-grandmother, Lillian, as a gift for my grandmother when she was a little girl. I have the joy actually finishing it, which is very exciting! I've already made some good progress on it . . . and I imagine I will make even more progress while test-listening to the audio recordings of Five Enchanted Roses later this summer! (I like to have something to do with my hands while audio-testing.)

I don't have a great picture of the quilt,but you can see it behind me here in this photo.It's the cutest pattern of ladies-in-bonnets, holding little parasols. (Don't you love how Milly and I are wearing our matching pink, too?)

Another project Mumsy helped me with was my new author photo! That's right, Imps. I have finally updated from my debut-author-in-her-earl-twenties photo to a grown-up-author-in-her-late-twenties photo. Mum helped me with makeup and hair (and picking out the outfit . . . plus she loaned me a fantastic necklace), and came along to assist with posing as well. And Rohan was my photographer. Want to see how they turned out?

This one was the Top Pick and is now my official author photo.

This one is the "glamor shot," which I'll use for various social media profiles, etc. (And I'm going to pretend that my hair and makeup always look that good. Yes. And I wear stunning gold necklaces and crisp white shirts on a daily basis as well.)

We took a bazillion and one photos, and I really liked how many of them looked. And I'm very glad to have a new photo!

  I must quickly mention before I forget . . . I'm participating in another epic Scavenger Hunt at the end of this week. Details to follow, but know that this will be tremendously fun opportunity for YOU to win 34 books or a Kindle Fire, or other great prizes! So definitely come back on Thursday for all of the details.


Wow, there have been so many other doings! Let's not forget the wonderful Goldstone Wood Fan Art Contest, which was a HUGE success this year! You can view the winners here. And keep scrolling back to see the rest of entries! Honestly, this was such a talented group of artists, I can't begin to express how in awe I am. And so grateful and humbled that they wanted to turn their artistic talents to images of my stories! 

And can I just say that I'm really pleased to see the winner was an image from Goddess Tithe? It may be a short little story, but Hannah Williams absolutely captured the drama and excitement of the tale in her award-winning piece, "Sunan Challenges Risafeth." She definitely earned her title as this year's champion.

Now I must take a moment to acknowledge Handel in the Strand. For those of you who don't recall, I have, in an effort to give my brain something to focus on that is not work-related, taken up practicing the piano again. And I am specifically focusing on this rather difficult piece by Mr. Percy Grainger.
It is actually coming along surprisingly well. Still a mess, absolutely. But coming along. I decided it might make the piece easier to learn if I started by learning both the first and the last page, eventually meeting in the middle . . .

If you would like to hear how it's coming along, Milly and I are offering a little taste! Be forewarned: it's pretty bad. But if you've got your sound turned down to a bearable volume and you're feeling particularly brave, here is the first page . . .


And here is the last page . . .




Yes, all of those crazy facial expressions absolutely make a difference in my ability to play. Absolutely.

So there you have it, dear Imps. I'm pretty sure that's all the doings of this last month. Busy, yes indeed. And yet when I look at what I had HOPED to accomplish this year, I am woefully behind. Ah, well. The best laid plans of mice and men . . . and novelists . . .

What are your doings of this month? Any exciting projects, both current and upcoming? Do tell in the comments!

13 comments:

Hannah said...

Oh, I just love the Doings! So many exciting things happening!

Yes, write more about the Brothers Ashiun. Yes.

I can't wait to know which fairytale is next for the contest; you have me really curious.

The videos of your piano playing are too adorable for words! Your facial expressions are priceless and Milly's accompaniment is darling.

As for me...let's see. I'm trying to give myself new challenges in art. I've finally reached the level where I can start doing some pieces from Tolkien without feeling ashamed. And revisions on Moonscript continue to go well.

All blessings on you and your work! Can't wait for all the excitement!

Jennette Mbewe said...

Wow, you've been and are crazy busy! Life, eh? Love piano! I've always wanted to learn it, that, and violin. ha!

You have no idea how it's killing me not to be able to be an influencer for you. BUT I will buy the print book when it's out and will share about it, review it, and all when I get a chance to read it. I will email you thought regarding the cover reveals. :-)

I have been swallowed up with projects. I am transitioning from my publisher to my own imprint and that has been quite a learning curve. I've been working on getting my previously published short stories and novel transitioned over as well as trying to write a short story and I'm finishing up the edits for book two. I am hoping to send it off for a line edit in June. So busy, busy!

Looking forward to Draven's Light and Poison Crown! Smallman's heir??? Eek! Will we get to see more of the Chronicler? Or does Smallman refer to someone else?

Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination said...

I love your Doings at Drakenheath posts so much! Oh, goodie, all these doings make me SO EXCITED. First of all, I can not wait for Draven's Light and the first volume of Poison Crown. I'm working my way through your series, and it is honestly the best modern fantasy I've ever read. I will never tire of Goldstone Wood! I would love to participate in all of these cover reveals, so I'll email you.

Also, I would love to be an influencer reader. I don't have an Amazon account but maybe I can use my parents' account.

Oh, and I am so excited for the announcement of the new fairytale contest and the cover. I have resolved to enter this year, and I have a whole plan laid out for the writing of my entries. I have some guesses as to what the fairytale might be, but there are so many fairytales out there!

What I'm working on right now is completely rewriting my novel from scratch for Camp NaNoWriMo. Originally, I was frustrated that I had to rewrite it, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

Sarah said...

Ahhh! I'm super excited for all the upcoming awesomeness of Draven's Light and Poison Crown and the 5 Something Somethings contest! I'm torn on whether or not I should sign up to be an influencer- on one hand, I want to read the book and I love spreading the word about awesome books, but on the other hand, I'm currently super busy and don't know if I'll have time to actually review it. Oh dear, decisions, decisions . . .

At the moment, I'm in the midst of Camp NaNo and trying to get my driver's license- the former of which is very fun, the latter of which is alternately tedious (when it's the online driver's ed) and frightening (when it's actually driving on highways and such).

Anonymous said...

Wow! You have a lot on!
Just wondering, what do you mean by participate in the cover reveal of Poison Crown?
Jemma

Allison Ruvidich said...

That piece sounds like all sorts of evil. : D May you slay it, rewrites, and various monsters! I am currently developing and testing the theory that if I rest, I feel better... ; )

Meredith said...

Oh, my, Mrs. Anne Elisabeth. You boggle my mind with these incredible doings! I'm so happy for you that the revisions for Poison Crown's second draft are going so well. I am ecstatic that Draven's Light is coming soon! Have always been intrigued by Akilun's character and am glad he has a prominent role in this novel. So thrilled that your family visited and you had a chance to relax. So intrigued to find out what fairy tale is the focus of this year's contest and am so excited for Five Enchanted Roses. And, may I just say that Mr. Rohan sounds like such a kind and amazing man. When you have support from those you love, that is a tremendous blessing. How wonderful!

I am busy with speaking and singing engagements, reading events for children, (which I absolutely love), church activities and writing. Am working on a Snow White story that's been lots of fun. Also teaching.

I am praying for all your work. And, best luck with your piano practicing, too. You can do it! God bless you.

Meagan Myhren-Bennett said...

Love all the doings news. You're busy.

wisdomcreates said...

There is something so exciting about your "doings" posts. How do you do it all and keep us just as excited about them as you are? :)
It's especially delightful to hear about the progress of 5ER and preparations for the upcoming Five Something Something.
I loved hearing about your family and the work on your great-grandmother's quilt.
Your new author photos look great.
Wow, Handel in the Strand sounds really hard. I am amazed by what you've learned so far on it. Good job! And, of course, give my respects to your vocal accompanyment - the talented Milly. :) She sounds like my dog (although he particularly likes to sing echo parts).
I hope you continue to have fun with all your doings!
<3

Sarah Bailey said...

You are quite a prolific writer! My question is, will these new books have a map? Your world has grown quite extensive, and I hope to see one soon ! if you need help with maps, i have some experience making book maps. Let me know and I can send some samples :)

I'm doing revision on the second book in my legacy incarnate series, and plan on releasing it this summer. I've also been writing awesome fan fiction for my friend's awesome Legends of Destiny fantasy series.

Clara Darling said...

Oh, I'm just so incredibly excited about all the Doings lately!

The Brothers Ashiun are some of my favorite Goldstoners, so I'm so excited we will be able to find out more about them!

Also, I cannot, absolutely canNOT wait to find out what this year's Five Something Something is. I am on pins and needles!

Eeeek!!! I love videos of you playing the piano and Milly singing along! It made my day! :D

Natasha Roxby said...

Oh my, Anne Elisabeth! How do you keep track of all you're doing? I am /so/ excited for the launch of /Draven's Light/! And congratulations on finishing the rough draft for /Poison Crown/! I can hardly wait for it!!! :D So exciting!

And it's so neat that you've taken up playing piano again! I used to take piano lessons... Never made it past the first grade level, but I took piano lessons nonetheless. :P And Milly has a lovely voice. :P

As for my own doings... I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo, am almost 42K into it. I had originally set my goal for 35K, but have since raised it to 45K. I could probably do more, but I have a research paper that's due at the end of this month. -.- And then I'm moving. :P So, lots of doings here!

And I love these Doings at Drakenheath posts. :) I enjoy reading them, even if it does add yet /another/ thing to your already-busy schedule! Thank you!! :)

Shantelle H. said...

I'm SO, SO excited for the cover reveals of Poison Crown: Volume One and Five Something Somethings!! Eep!! Exciting!! :-D

Also can't wait for Draven's Light to come out and to read it!!

Ooh, and the scavenger hunt today!!!! Yay! :-)

I'm currently getting a Cinderella novella of mine ready for publication!! Its being read by beta readers and I'm just so thrilled that its finally happening!! Yay! A cover has been made for it, which I will be revealing on my blog: http://shantellemaryh.blogspot.com/ April 25th...if you're curious, :-)

Thanks for the Doings at Drakenheath post, Anne Elisabeth. I always enjoy reading them! :-) Blessings!