April 2nd Update

I don’t have too much to update people on today. Yesterday, having gotten what feedback I could from the beta readers and finished editing, I sent Spells of Old off to my editor. I should have it back by next Sunday, which will allow me to go through it and make sure I agree with all the changes. Assuming everything goes as planned, Spells of Old may be available late next week. But I can’t make any promises, I’m afraid.

Amusingly, the audiobook of Ancient Ruins may be available in a similar time frame!  It’s difficult to say, as it’ll probably take several days for me to listen through it and make sure everything is correct, following which it can take 10-15 days for the audiobook to go up on the various sites, but we’ll see.

I’ve already written the ‘story so far’ chapter at the beginning of Halls of Power as well. I’m going to be starting work on the book tomorrow, so consider the word count as nothing at the moment. It’s been an interesting week, but I’m about to get started on it, and a very applicable short story to the series as well.

Anyway, that’s everything for now!

15 thoughts on “April 2nd Update

      1. That’s much faster than most authors get out new books, and since I’m a really fast reader this makes me very happy! I can wait a couple more weeks if it means I don’t have to wait till June!

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      2. June was a placeholder date. I can move a pre-order date closer with no hassles, but if I have to move it the other way, I can get banned from pre-ordering for a year. So I went with the safest bet.

        Also, I just want to say that you can’t count on me keeping up this pace on putting out books. I’d like to, but I don’t want to burn out and not be able to write the books.

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  1. I understand that. I’d prefer you were able to write consistently with more time between releases rather than you getting burned out! I’ll just have to reread the books you do get out while I wait.

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    1. Agreed! For what it’s worth, I’ve been filled with a burning /need/ to get Halls of Power out as well, so my current goal is to have it out by my birthday, October 3rd. I think I can get it done sooner, but I’d rather have more time than less.

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  2. I was pleasantly surprised when I read Ancient Ruins earlier, and am excited about Spells of Old. The genre was a new one for me, and it wasn’t at all what I expected. In a good way.

    As an aside, and while I realize it’s obviously too late for Spells of Old, are you currently looking for additional beta readers for the future? I’ve done some work with a few self-published popular science-fiction authors and would love to offer future feedback as it’s something I enjoy. I realize the offer is unsolicited, so feel free to ignore it. You’ll still have a reader in any case :).

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    1. As a new author, I’ve been somewhat gunshy about taking on beta readers. Last time I selected five people to let read the book after the first revision. At the moment I’m planning to slowly build up my collection of beta readers, if any, and possibly begin getting an ARC list built from my mailing list. The latter isn’t huge as of yet, so I very well might make the offer to the entire list before Halls of Power. We’ll see, as I’m nervous about a number of things. So in short… it depends.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the book, though! I’ve been a little down due to reading some critical reviews today. I really should know better than to even read them at this point…

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      1. I completely understand. And finding good readers to send ARCs to can be tough. You want people who are fans of your work, but are dependable and willing to invest a lot of time and effort into it on top of that. I sent a short story out once to a few people I knew, and one of the responses was “It’s great.” Thank goodness for that kind of feedback. You wouldn’t believe how useful it was :).

        In all seriousness, I wouldn’t let critical reviews get to you. Every author I’ve ever talked to gets them, and some can be pretty nasty for no good reason. Those kinds of troll-ish reviews are practically designed to stab you emotionally. Just try to figure out *why* someone didn’t like something in your book, and see if you can glean any kind of insights from them. You won’t please everyone–and shouldn’t even try IMO–but at the very least you can probably use them to narrow down the parameters of your target audience.

        That said, I did take a look at some of the critical Amazon and Goodreads reviews when I first stumbled across the recommendation for Ancient Ruins. Their issues mainly seemed to focus on (1) the number of perspective/POV shifts, and how they increased towards the end; and (2) a few commented on the use of gaming terms with the adventurers plot thread (“bosses”, etc.). Trying to avoid any major spoilers, here are my unsolicited thoughts:

        On the first, I think that’s just part of the nature of introducing a new series. Especially when you’re dealing with a large, complex piece of worldbuilding. You have a lot of characters whose lives are becoming intertwined. I suppose you could have found a way to eliminate some of the perspective shifts with some of the minor characters (Sina, some of the guards like Alissa and Evrial, etc. – there were a couple of short, rapid shifts around 85-90% of the way through), but I don’t think they caused any significant issues. At worst, readers were just invested in Sistina and Phynis and weren’t able to see how other characters–like Lily after her initial purpose of introducing those two–would connect with them later on.

        The only subplot I might have suggested approaching differently was with Serel and Medaea. It’s obviously going to be immensely important later on in the series, but it seemed almost entirely isolated in the first book. Truthfully, I might have suggested splitting it out into a separate short story or novella. Still part of the main storyline, but separated so as to let it develop more fully on its own and answer some of the questions that jumped out at me. Who was Serel? Why did Medaea put herself in the position she was in? And what clues can be given for the outcome of each of those two? But that’s largely just a reflection of my preferences.

        As for the second, it seems like that’s a common aspect of the genre. You completely avoided making it seem like a computer program was just transformed into a book (complete with HUD overlays[0] and notifications being described…eek), and made the idea of dungeons–sentient entities that are largely similar to one another, at least as the basics go–stand on its own instead of just being something that a protagonist has to challenge. So the ‘boss’ label does seem a touch out of place relative to the rest.

        I suppose those concerns could have been resolved by explaining why dungeons develop as they do. Especially considering that we know she’s apparently quite unique. Why does Sistina accept what others label her as, and then do what they/books tell her dungeons do? Is it part of her nature, as natural as breathing is for us? She benefits from adventurers, but could the nature of that relationship have been clarified more overtly?

        Overall, I don’t think you stumbled into video game territory. Words like “boss” and levels have a lot of prior associations, but they were never major points in Ancient Ruins. And if you think about it, the idea of ranking individuals and challenges predates video games by a fair amount and are still prevalent in a lot of different areas.

        That said, I wouldn’t let any bad reviews get to you. Most of the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are positively glowing. There’s a reason why a lot of people are looking forward to Spells of Old :).

        0. http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/28/11801040/have-you-heard-about-litrpg

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      2. Thanks for the pep talk, I needed it. 🙂

        A very good point on the ‘boss’ comment, as I’ve been trying to figure out why people were considering it as having game terms. The levels… I was thinking of it as floors of a building. Ah, well. It is what it is.

        And I try not to let it get to me. I am a lot thinner-skinned than I should be, but that’s how things go. But I should also add… Lily was /originally/ going to be Phynis’ love interest. Then she fell for Ilmas, and I went: “Wait, what?”

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  3. Not a problem, though I don’t think it was much of a needed pep talk. After all, the story stands quite well on its own :).

    It took me a moment or two to piece together the video game comments as well. “Bosses” and “levels” have their baggage of course, but part of it was probably that the genre and Amazon recommendations for similar books (depending on how they came across Ancient Ruins) probably predisposed them to thinking in such terms. A lot of other similar books that I peeked at afterwards seem to be a bit…heavy-handed with the gaming references perspective. Oh well.

    And surprising directions are always great–particularly when you’re writing them, and they surprise you.

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    1. Exactly! It’s why all I had for the entire trilogy was an end-goal for the series, and a broad adventure arc. In fact, the way things are playing out changed events of Halls of Power somewhat even today. One of my anticipated events isn’t going to happen because of in-character plans. I think that’s a good thing, personally. ^_^

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    1. Yes. Spells of Old will be released this month. Likely near the middle of the month. (I have a firm date in mind, but until I get it back, I can’t guarantee it). June 15th was literally as far out as I could set it, since I knew the book would be done sooner but didn’t have an exact date.

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      1. Completely understandable. It’ll be nice to get the book. I’m working on rereading Ancient ruins in preparation for it.

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