Friday, July 17, 2015

Doings at Drakenheath

The month of July is more than half over, and I realized I have not yet written up my Doings post! So here I am, dear Imps, and here are the Doings as they currently stand:

The most pressing doing is, of course, Five Enchanted Roses.

The book launches in just a little over a week, and this last week has been mostly spent in all the finalizing details involved in prepping for launch. Which involved a couple of last minute, unexpected tasks that had me and my lead editor scrambling for a few days there! But the issue was resolved and very handily as well, and I have to say . . . I think the end result is a collection of beautiful, varied, and tremendously fun stories. I am so proud of both my team at Rooglewood Press and the authors themselves, who worked very hard over the last several months to make this launch possible! Most of you probably aren't aware of how much work goes on behind the scenes after the contest is over. Because, for the winners, that's really just the first step in the process.

But it's an exciting process, and all five of these authors dove in with so much enthusiasm. I could not have asked for a better collection, not only of stories, but of people. I did not think I would be able to find five authors who would be as much fun to work with as my wonderful Glass Slippers authors were last year! These five, however, rose to the challenge.

And now I can hardly wait to see who I end up working with for Five Magic Spindles!

To celebrate the launch of Five Enchanted Roses on July 27, Rooglewood Press is hosting a Chat Party on Facebook. I know many of you don't have Facebook, but you are welcome to visit the page and read along even if you cannot comment! And you will still be eligible to participate in the giveaway . . . which is quite grand, as you can see from the picture here. Along with a print copy of the final book, the lucky winner will receive a red leather journal from Kaycee Browning, a gorgeous hair clip from Savannah Jezowski, a pressed-rose bookmark from Jenelle Schmidt, a pair of jaguar sunglasses from Dorian Tsukioka, and a gorgeous rose necklace.

So be watching for the giveaway rules! They're quite simple, really, and I'll be posting them here as well as on the event page by July 27. 

 All is still quiet on the Five Magic Spindles front at the moment. We've received the first submission forms, but no stories yet, so I'm guessing everyone is hard at work polishing up submissions. My assorted first-round judges are waiting eagerly, so don't be shy, brave writers! Your audience awaits your tales! Little rumors and story notions float back to me here and there, so I have a vague inkling of some of the submissions due to come in over the next few months. And I have to say, they sound SO exciting! So different from what we've received from previous collections, which is also very exciting. I want each collection to have its own distinct flavor, and I am very eager to put together another set of five stories that stands out from the crowd.

But we will see! It's still very early days for this contest. Hard to believe that a year from now, I will (Lord willing!) be in the midst of launching this whole new collection. Stories which, even now, are being written. An exciting thought . . .

Be certain to check out the contest and rules if you haven't already. It's a great opportunity for new writers who are looking for a first time publishing experience AND for more established writers looking for an exciting way to grow their reading audiences! Take a moment to explore the blogs of such contest winners as Emma Clifton, Stephanie Ricker, and Savannah Jezowksi, who have used their wins as a means to springboard spinoff works, giving readers more of what they loved in the anthologies. Some of the other winners, including Rachel Heffington, Jenelle Schmidt, and Dorian Tsukioka, already had budding indie careers and have used this opportunity to grow their markets. Definitely some smart authors, who might just give you that extra boost of inspiration as you follow their careers (and, of course, read their books)!

Okay, so . . . Poison Crown . . .

This is the big Doing still. The huge, enormous, completely life-swallowing Doing. The Doing that is always so close and yet so far away . . .

Poison Crown is . . . making progress. Faster progress now, as it is the primary task on my plate from now through the next few months. However, as I believe I already mentioned in an earlier post, Volume I will not be launching this autumn as originally intended. The current plan is to see both Volume I and Volume II launch in 2016, hopefully within three months of each other.

Anyway, I'll probably take time to blog more about this development later. But for now, rest assured--I am still working at it like mad! It's simply a much bigger and more difficult project than I could have anticipated, and some unforeseen setbacks happened which, well, set me back.

I truly am sorry, though! I hate missing deadlines. But this was a particularly aggressive deadline, more aggressive than I at first realized. More aggressive than I could have realized until I dove into the project. It is coming, however. And I fully intend to make certain it is worth the wait . . .

I've already got BOTH of the cover designs in, by the way! And they are FANTASTICALLY awesome. I kind of hate having to sit on them for the time being. Eventually . . . eventually I'll get to share . . . and I rather think you'll love them.

In the meanwhile, we all have the Goldstone Wood Fan Fiction Contest to look forward to!

Prize Journal Cover
 If you haven't had a chance to check out the rules yet, you absolutely should. It's going to be quite a fun contest, judging form the submissions already sent in. I did realize that I set a much tighter deadline for this one than I ordinarily do . . . I believe I usually give you two months, but this time really only gave you one. So let me know in the comments if you guys want a little more time! An extra two weeks or something. I am happy to extend that deadline for all of you. If not, that's fine as well. We'll continue as is. As I said, there are some great pieces already submitted.

And the prize this year is particularly fun! The three winners will all receive a beautiful, personalized, hardbound journal . . .

What do you think? Kind of pretty, right?

Another exciting project in the works right now is the audiobook version of Draven's Light! Having been SO impressed by EverRising Productions submission to the Goldstone Wood Music Contest, we went ahead and hired them to produce this audiobook. I received the first chapter from narrator Stephen Shutt earlier this week and have been listening to it as I have time over the last few days. Oh, my goodness! It's going to be so beautiful! I particularly love his voice for Etanun, who sounds very . . . powerful. Perfect, honestly.

I'm very excited to be pursing this project and look forward to launching it for all of you.

We are also on the cusp of the audiobook for Five Enchanted Roses. We sent the final document to our narrator, Becky Doughty, along with the pretty music clip. It's going to be gorgeous! I have a quilt in waiting to work on as I spend several hours proof-listening (as opposed to proof-reading) this book. I anticipate quite an enjoyable time.

My dear friend Esther came to visit me last week, which was fantastic! Esther is currently pursuing her doctorate in French literature, and has been spending this summer studying the Theory of the Sublime. Her conversation is much made up of Racine and Diderot, Rousseau and Sartre, all spoken of with such Enthusiasm (yet another theory she's studying, which is related to the Sublime), that one can hardly spend a day with her without finding oneself desperately eager to pick up and devour Phèdre or Huis Clos or Pensées philosophiques . . . a desire which is, sadly, much hampered by my inability to read French. (Those two years of college French are looooong gone . . .) But that's all right, because Esther can act out the best scenes from the best plays, and communicate her passion so effectively, one is left with at least a TASTE of what joy is to be found in the pursuit of higher education.

And she paid me the highest of compliments by saying I would have fit wonderfully into the literary scene of 16th-Century France! I don't remember the last time I've been so flattered . . .
Speaking of Sublime . . .

Sadly, her husband John (who is also pursuing his doctorate, though he is studying Physics . . . yes, they are one of THOSE couples!) was in Germany for a conference and unable to join us. Thus he missed out on Rohan's most recent culinary masterpiece--the Three-Days-To-Make-It-Lemon-Poppyseed-Raspberry-Curd-Butter-Cream Cake. A sad loss for any soul, and my spirit wept a little for John . . . as I gobbled up another slice . . .

Esther always makes a point to visit me once a year, a kindness this rather hermit-ish writer-type appreciates tremendously! We had a wonderful time, and I ended the visit feeling much refreshed and ready to tackle my work with more vim than I had been experiencing for weeks. (I also ordered English translations of several French literary works she recommended. So my reading is set for the next few months as well!) I look forward to more visits with her and her husband over the years . . . And one of these days, Rohan and I will make it out to Chicago to visit them in return.

Anyway, I think that's enough for the time being. I will speak more of other Doings as time permits, and will try to find time to write up a more detailed post on the progress of Poison Crown. In the meanwhile, I need to go MAKE more progress on Poison Crown . . .

How about you? Are you having a successful summer thus far? Working on any exciting projects, possibly of the "Sleeping Beauty" variety? Summer jobs? Summer camps? Summer travels? Do tell!


Hannah said...

Ooooh, that looks like some divine cake!!!! I weep as well that I missed out.

I can't wait to hear the audiobook for Draven's Light! Stephen has such a talent array of voices, and his Etanun is simply perfect, as you said.

The fan fiction contest! Yeah....I panicked a little at the deadline. I'm usually a swift writer, but that's been difficult this month, and while I *think* I can get it finished by August 1st, it'll will be close. So I wouldn't mind a few more weeks, though I don't know how that sounds to everyone else...

EEK! Both cover designs for Poison Crown! I can't wait!

Writing projects, well well. Like I said, writing has been difficult, but I did get one fan fiction finished and I have rather large plans for rewriting an entirely new draft (same story, just better written).

Blessings on you, dear Anne Elisabeth!

Anastasis Faith said...

Wow! As always, you inspire me with how much you cram into so little time! :) Praying that everything gets done and that it's not too draining! :)

Usually by this time, I have my Five Something Something entry finished...but haven't started it yet. :( Kind of wrapped up with my novel! ;) I have started an entry for the Fan Fiction contest--which, yes, I would LOVE any extra time. :) I have to reread Moonblood carefully, hunting for clues about a certain event... ;)

Other than that, I'm working a lot with brother on our piano tuning business and blogging in my "free time." :)

Praying for you! :)

Tracey Dyck said...

Sounds like a wonderfully full month, as always! I'm amazed at everything you manage to do. And that cake...oh, that cake! If I'd have been there, I doubt there'd be much left for anyone else. XD (Just kidding.)

I can't wait for Five Enchanted Roses! It looks like SUCH a marvellous collection, and I'm curious to see what sort of "feel" it has, compared to last year's book (which was also splendid). Speaking of which, is there a certain feel you and the judges go for from year to year, or does that arise organically from the kind of entries you receive?

My summer thus far has been chock-full of work, writing, blogging, gardening, and family/friend time. I'm in the middle of my Magic Spindles entry (first draft). This story has been so much fun, although it's trying desperately hard to become a full-length novel. XD There's just such a large world I'd love to explore...

Hannah R. said...

How very exciting! I am working on my fan fiction entry, and would love a bit more time. I am still debating whether or not to enter for the Five Magic Spindles....

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

All right, I'll make it official . . . I WILL extend the deadline for the Fan Fiction Contest. I'll check the schedule and post an updated deadline in the next few days. So breathe a little more easily, dear Imps!

@Tracey--As to your question for "feel" of the collections: No, we don't have a set idea in mind. So far the unique mood and tone of each collection has happened organically as we put together each set of five stories. There are always such an assortment of great options sent in, so we spend quite a lot of time trying out different combinations until we get a set that just feels "right" to us. I can never predict exactly what the ultimate look will be . . . I just know it when I see it. :)

I love hearing about everyone's projects! Sounds like all of you are keeping creatively busy!

BrynS said...

A little extra time *breathes again*

Prayers and best wishes for all your other lovely projects:). Etanun's voice...*gives little giggle* since I know all the crazy voices that I made him ditch in favor of a proper one. lol

Esther Brooksmith (wisdomcreates) said...

I have been given three ideas for the 5MS contest. (Gifted to me from whatever place in my brain decides to shower me with story ideas -- I'm sure it has a scientific name...)
They are all three quite different and quite fascinating. The first drafts are written. Edits await me.
But before I throw myself into the edits, I need to figure out what I'm doing. Should I polish all three of them (because they all have an equal chance of winning) or should I narrow down to one (in hopes that the singleness of focus will give me one Great One instead of three Average Ones)? I don't know yet.
My own weighty decisions aside, I am very excited about the possibilities for next year's book. Like you, I have been hearing hints of fabulous entries for this contest and can hardly wait to see the final product!!! It's going to be great!

Sarah Pennington said...

That cake looks fabulous, just saying. And YAY for all the upcoming releases and in-progress projects!
I'm about halfway done with the first draft of my Five Enchanted Spindles story and fairly happy with how it's turning out. Then I'll send in my submission form in August, while I'm editing, and hopefully have the finished submission done in November!
As for the Goldstone Wood Fanfiction Contest: I, personally, would love an extra two weeks if possible! I'm already crunched for time, as I'm going to be volunteering with no internet access from the 24th of July to the 9th of August, and while I have one poem that I can definitely edit and send in before then, all my other projects are either only partway done or not even started yet! Also, maybe a bit selfish, but I don't want to TOTALLY miss the voting . . . So, yes, an extension would be fabulous. But if that's not going to work for you, don't worry about it. :)
BTW, this is the first update I've seen in which there's no mention of the kitties. O_o

E.F.B. said...

Thank you for writing these Doings posts for us, Anne Elisabeth. They are always so interesting and fun! I can't even say how much I look forward to all the things you've mentioned. (And oh my goodness, that cake looks yummy!) Please know that I am praying regularly for God's blessing on you, that you'll have the creative inspiration that you need, and that you won't get overwhelmed by your many obligations.

As for my own doings, I actually am writing a Sleeping Beauty retelling which was spawned because of the contest, but I've decided not to enter it in the contest. It's not that I doubt my ability to write a good story, it's just that I'm new to writing, I'm really, really, really, slow (I'm still in the planning stage) and I haven't a clue how to write on a deadline or keep myself below a certain word-count yet. But I fully intend to get this story written and do something with it someday, even if it takes awhile.

I'm also still working on my original fantasy story, and now that I've finished kitting the two scarves I was making for pay, I've started crocheting a sweater for myself.

Unknown said...

I love the journal cover! And I can't wait for Five Enchanted Roses and Poison Crown!
Recently I joined Camp NaNoWriMo and my siblings had birthdays.

Meredith said...

These doings posts are always so wonderful! I'm super excited about an audio version for Draven's Light, as Mr. Shut's voice is fantastic! He blew me away when I heard both his rendition of Hannah's story and Ever Rising Productions contest entry. So exciting! I'm also thrilled about Five Enchanted Roses audiobook, as Ms. Doughty's narration for Five Glass Slippers was simply superb! Thank you, thank you!!

It's been a hectic, fun and bittersweet summer for me. I did go on a trip to New Orleans, which I enjoyed tremendously. It's nearly time for students and school again, (where does the time go?) I'm working on a Five Magic Spindles entry and am determined to only submit one story this year. I said that last year, too, but this time I am adamant! One story, which, Lord willing, I plan to work on with hammer and tongs, polishing and filling in any plot holes I can find. It's a story that's close to my heart and is not allegorical. I love allegory to pieces but have learned a great deal about it over the last year. It's not an easy genre to write in if you're trying to develop honest characters. So, I thought it was time to try something else. Such fun and such a challenge.

God bless.

Meredith said...

Let me clarify: Allegory's not an easy genre for me to write in. Others are masters at it!! Una and Aethelbald, anyone?

Tracey Dyck said...

@Mrs. Stengl: Thanks for answering my question! :D I know you're busy. That's so neat how five stories come together to create a unique mood. I'd have the hardest time narrowing it down and rearranging... Glad you and the judges are so skilled in that!

Anonymous said...

I can not wait to read the two volumes of Poison Crown and Five Enchanted Roses. I actually just requested that my library buy Five Glass Slippers, and they did, so I shall read it soon. Currently, I am working on completely rewriting the third draft of one of my novels for Camp NaNo. However, when that is done, which it should be soon, the rest of my Camp NaNo will be focused on my Five Magic Spindles entry. I am incredibly excited about drafting and editing this story. I am so happy that you have moved the deadline of the Fanfiction contest! I was planning on working on one, but with that deadline I wasn't sure if I could because of my projects for Camp NaNo. I've never written fanfiction before, but I'd say that The Tales of Goldstone Wood are very worthy of fanfiction, so maybe I'll try my hand at it! Besides, that journal is gorgeous. As for the rest of my summer, I'll be going to a cross country camp, which means TONS of running. I can't wait!

Meagan @ Blooming with Books said...

Ohhhh, so much busy fun to be had. Love the picture of the cake makes me want some.

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