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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I'll put you down on the cover reveal list.
Speaking of cover reveals . . .
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 (email@example.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!
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.)
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 . . .
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!