Thoughts on Halls of Power

So, it’s been a week since Halls of Power released. At this point, I’ve gotten some feedback from people not among my ARC list or beta readers via reviews (I don’t read them myself to avoid destroying my motivation, I get it from my wife summarizing recent reviews for me), some of it useful, some not. One of the concerns I’d heard was that I intentionally rushed the ending, and I want to address that.

The concern both is and isn’t true. In all honesty, if I’d had an idea of everything that was going to happen ahead of time, I probably would have slowed down some events in Ancient Ruins and Spells of Old and extended the series to four books, but when I wrote Ancient Ruins I didn’t have an overarching outline until very late in the writing. I could have suddenly slowed the story for Halls of Power and extended things, but it would also have killed the pacing in comparison to the rest of the books, and that would likely have killed my own motivation for the project.

Even more than those concerns I had, there’s another part which I wonder is part of why the book may have felt slightly rushed. A part of me wonders if it wasn’t a personal drive to prove to myself that I could finish the trilogy that drove me onward, to pick up the pace constantly. This may have been a detriment in the end, but I’m not sure. I’d rather be honest with everyone reading this, to say that I don’t know.

Now, the ending itself. No, I’m not going to spoil it for those who are worried! The climactic battle turned out much the way I wanted it to. I’m no expert in swordplay or combat, so there was no chance of me ever giving a blow-by-blow description of many things that were involved. Was it a little fast? Probably, because I see incredibly powerful battles as either taking ages, or being over in frighteningly short periods. So that wasn’t a problem to me. It’s the aftermath that was my issue, and I think it was an issue for many other people.

I deliberately kept the ‘aftermath’ section short, essentially the last chapter and the epilogue. The main reason is because something I’ve heard before is that you shouldn’t ‘draw out’ the ending of a story. Once the big evil has been defeated, wind down quickly and let the ‘end credits’ roll. I had tons more I wanted to say, but I didn’t write it because I thought it would be too much, and it may be that I was wrong. Problem is, at this point it’s too late… sort of.

See, at this point I can’t update Halls of Power because I don’t have time to finish an ‘extended ending’, get it edited, and get it to the audiobook producer in time to change things, and I don’t want the audiobook to be inaccurate to the book. Beyond that, I have a set deadline for Born a Queen, and that is far more critical at this moment, as I really don’t want to miss the date. FYI, Amazon could ban me for a year if I screw up.

So here’s what I’m going to do. Once Born a Queen is finished and submitted, I’m going to write up an ‘extended ending’ of Halls of Power, hopefully making it a little… better, for lack of a better term. I’m going to put it up on the site here, and announce it. When I eventually do an Ancient Dreams Omnibus, I’m going to change things here and there to make the books flow more smoothly (funny thing, that I get a better idea of the world as I write the books), and I’ll integrate the extended ending. I’m not going to make people pay for it, by putting it on my site.

I hope all of this makes sense, and thank all of you who have bought and read my books.

17 thoughts on “Thoughts on Halls of Power

  1. I was satisfied by the ending like I said in my review of the ARC version you provided. But I won’t say no to an extended ending! A lot of things could have been said but I understand that you did what you believed you had to. The books are excellent, and to the point, I wish there was just more of them but you promised anthologies so I am going to do with them.

    Thanks for your hard work.

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    1. I truly am glad you enjoyed the ending! One of the things I asked my Alpha Readers about was how quickly the ending seemed to come, but I’m afraid most of them felt it was about right.

      Different people expect different things, and this was a new story type to me. There are many, many things I could’ve done better. If I stop admitting I have room for improvement, there’s something wrong. As it stands, I’m still happy with Halls of Power, I just think it could be improved.

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      1. You should let sleeping dogs lie. You already promised something really appealing and can’t do more. The only thing you can do is making your next series even more good than Sistina’s story and improve on your style of story telling. I’ve read the synopsis of born a queen and it’s already engaging.

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  2. Firstly, best dungeon style story I’ve ever read.

    Amazon kindle version questions,
    The original versions of Ancient Dreams can’t be edited or updated with the potentially new content and then synced with the already purchased versions? or does amazon charge for something like that.

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    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

      As to updating, no, they don’t. But if it isn’t at least a certain percentage of an update (10%, as I recall), they don’t automatically update the book. The problem is more my fault than theirs, though. Due to Whispersync and other things, the book needs to match the audiobook form, and I literally do not have the time to write the new ending, get it properly reviewed and edited, and to the audiobook producer in time to update the recording. This is only aggravated by the October 29th release date for Born a Queen, so I don’t dare slack on that, either.

      *shrugs* It’s a question of time, really. Will I fix it? Yes. Sadly, I just can’t fix it right now.

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    1. I do try. I’m a believer in admitting my mistakes and trying to learn from them, and have… some success with it. For instance, I personally feel I was a bit over-ambitious on the next pre-order, jumping the gun slightly. I’m not going to put up a pre-order quite so early again, I think.

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      1. Pre-orders make a lot of sense from a business perspective. I’m just not going to do it until I’m farther along in a book next time. I got a lot done today, though, so I’m feeling better than I was this morning.

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  3. Well, I am very late for a review of “Halls of Power”, but I still wanted to give my opinion and hope you will read it and consider it for your future stories.

    I liked the first book the most. The second book was very good. The third book had a good conclusion to the story, but also some weaknesses. I also think the last book is the weakest.

    Reasons for that:

    POV:
    I rather like it, when the focus is on a single or only a few characters. In the third book you have too many, changing (unnecessary) POVs. For example Arise. Yes, what happened to her and her sister was bad, but also not really interesting, sorry.

    Happy endings:
    Nothing against a happy end, especially if is it for Sistina and Phynis, but you have exaggerated it too much. Vendis and Slaid, Desa and Isana, Arise got away without a real punishment, Diane is almost free of Wenris. Honestly, it feels like you gave every character of the good side their happy end and even death has no consequences (Daniel, Farris). Like I said, nothing against a happy end, but you made it too sweet.

    Polyamory:
    Except for Diamond, the Jewels are very one-dimensional. It would have been better, if Sistina + Phynis + 2 at most 3 other women. But these women would have been given more time for development and made them characters more interesting (e.g. Desa as part of the relationship).

    PS: Since Tyria is now enslaved by Sistina, does this mean Sistina needs to “take care” of Tyria too?

    PPS: Two good stories with a polyamorous relationship are:
    Good Intentions by Elliot Kay
    (https://www.amazon.com/Good-Intentions-Elliott-Kay-ebook/dp/B0054E8QYE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1505910374&sr=8-6)

    and Daniel Black by E. Wiliam Brown
    (https://www.amazon.com/Fimbulwinter-Daniel-Black-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00KZ41LHM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505910552&sr=8-1&keywords=fimbulwinter)

    In both books are the women more than just wish fulfillment or arm candy for the MC.

    Overall I enjoyed and liked your books. I am also aware that this is your first publication and hence wanted to say that you are very talented and hope you continue to write for a long time.

    Superhero genres are not exactly my favorites, but I will try to read “Born a Queen”. “Through the Fire” is more to my liking, so I will look forward to that.

    Regarding, “you shouldn’t ‘draw out’ the ending of a story”. Lord of the Rings did exactly that and George R.R. Martin has announced he wants to end his series in a similar way. Sometimes, it is probably better to write a bit more about the characters and what happens after the antagonist is defeated, instead of ending it too fast.

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    1. I did read your review just now, and the reason I normally don’t read reviews is because of, oh… one that got deleted on the first book, where the person said he wanted to punch me in the face. Sadly, that tends to be bad for motivational purposes. Now, let’s quickly respond to each of the major points…

      POV
      Agreed. Some characters that I thought would be more important weren’t, but I felt that removing their segments would remove valuable bits of plot. Something I’m keeping in mind for further stories. I’m currently intending to try to keep to two perspectives at most for Through the Fire, and both in the same localized area. Born a Queen was a little more scattershot to begin with, but it’s far more focused than Ancient Dreams as a whole.

      Happy Endings
      Did the characters get happy endings? Yes. Possibly too much, but part of the extended ending that I’ve been working on points out some of the problems. The other thing which I think sometimes gets missed is that I wrote this as something of a romance novel, so that’s something to consider. Honestly, this is the only point I strongly disagree with. The only one that I kind of agree with is for Desa… let’s just say that she didn’t survive the original plot, and leave it at that.

      Polyamory
      Again, agreed. In some ways I wanted to explore the relationship more, with more depth and focus on their personalities and such. Yet in other ways I thought it’d bog down the story. The sheer number of them made this incredibly difficult to decide on, and I totally, 100% agree that they ended up more 1-dimensional than I would like. I’m going to do my best to avoid anything like this in further books. In a lot of ways this was a learning experience.

      Regarding Tyria… no, because the effects on her weren’t keyed in the same way as with the Jewels. Honestly, everything regarding her church deserves something of a novel or novella of its own.

      I’ve also read Good Intentions (one of my favorite recent books) and quite agree. I couldn’t get through the opening chapter of Fimbulwinter, though.

      I intend to write for a long time. In a lot of ways, I think that Ancient Dreams encapsulated my best and worst traits in a series, and pointed out my shortcomings. I’m going to try to correct for them, as it was my first series. I’ve mentioned to others in private, but I know that I have at least eight years of material in my head if I keep publishing at the current rate and don’t come up with more.

      Born a Queen is going to be… odd, in many ways. In some ways I think it’s closer to Slice of Life, and in others its a coming of age book, and still others its a romance novel… and all with a dark shadow looming over at least one character. I don’t really know how to describe it. I know I have at least two books to it, but beyond those two, I may take a break for Through the Fire. I think I mentioned this in my ‘Upcoming Projects’ page. I’ll admit that I think I’m looking forward to Through the Fire more, though both projects are dear to my heart.

      But I think this is my biggest weakness as an author. I have a horrible, horrible time figuring out how to wrap up a story. One of my friends commented on it, and as any of them come to a close, I’m going to keep a close eye on suggestions. Because I know that I have issues with it.

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      1. Thanks for responding.

        Your intention to keep to two perspectives at most for “Through the Fire” makes it even more interesting.

        Looking forward to it and whatever follows. Thanks for your hard work.

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      2. I rather enjoy responding to everyone, in part because I like explaining my thoughts on things.

        Through the Fire will be an interesting trick. I may find myself forced to add a third perspective, but I’m trying to figure out how to get around that point. The story is one I’ve re-started writing no less than four times, and I’m currently suspecting that when I go to ‘edit’ it, it’s going to be the fifth re-write. Still, this time I have a solid idea of how to structure a novel. More importantly, this time I have motivation since I’m not writing it just for myself. That helps more than I can explain.

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