July 25th 2021 Update

I’ve got a bunch of things to tell you about today, so let’s get started!

First of all, I got confirmation this past week that Podium Audiobooks has the audio of Chosen of Chaos available for pre-order on Amazon and Audible, which I linked. The audiobook is narrated by Abby Craden, and will be released on August 24th. I’m looking forward to seeing what they did with it!

Next on my list, Adept of Chaos is up to about 95,000 words, and given the amount of plot I have to cover, I’m going to miss my goal of getting it out in late August or early September. This very easily could be my longest book to date, surpassing Halls of Power, which was about 132,000 words. I’ll let you all know when I have a firm release date, but it’s going to still take some more time.

Speaking of Adept of Chaos, Mario Wibisono completed the artwork for it the other day, and I’m happy to be able to share it! I’m rather happy with the work he does, and have a few more slots lined up with him for replacing a cover for Lilith’s Shadow, and a couple of omnibus volumes.

Last on my list is that I got a character reference sheet of Korima from Through the Fire. The art was illustrated by Denny Ibnu, and here’s their ArtStation Page. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

I hope that you’re all doing well, and that you like the pictures!

9 thoughts on “July 25th 2021 Update

  1. First, off, I get to say, yay! Can’t wait for the audiobook. My eyes can only take so much reading (I almost always reread books before I read the next one in the series. Almost always when I’m split attention too😁). Does that mean, we will be listening to the audiobook through the Audible or Podium?

    Next, love the cover art! I do quite like the artwork he’s designed before. Am I to correctly assume that the artwork you’re commissioning him to replace is Queen’s Move or Queen’s Journey? They’re good, but they just seem like the odd ones out. Actually, since we’re on this. What’s the current status (or ETA) on Queen’s Gambit audiobook?

    Also I was expecting Korima to be …huh… not so full, so to speak (not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just took me off-guard). She’s adorably ferocious looking though

    Also weird question as you’re more of a niche author (nor are you a big media star, to my knowledge), but have you ever been recognized in public by a fan?

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  2. From what Podium’s reps told me, they’re pretty much exclusive through Audible, which allows them to get better royalty rates for the author. Audible distributes to Amazon and iTunes, though, so it should show up there as well, but I may be wrong.

    I’m replacing the cover of Queen’s Move, since he did the cover art for Queen of Diamonds, Queen’s Journey, and Queen’s Gambit. I’ve thought about asking him to do new covers for Born a Queen and Down with the Queen, but haven’t decided yet. It’s a fair amount of money for each cover, after all. I have the slots for doing two omnibus covers that I could swap to that, but I think the omnibi are a better investment right this moment. As for the Queen’s Gambit audiobook, it’s in production now. I can’t give a solid release date yet, but it’s due to be complete at about the time the audiobook of Chosen of Chaos comes out.

    Korima’s is one of the few art pieces where I didn’t have to ask the artist to change anything during the painting process, since they managed to hit what I wanted for Korima pretty much dead on to begin with. I’m looking forward to getting her onto a cover with Ruethwyn…

    As to that, I have not! The closest that I’ve ever come was when people at the store ask me “You know who you remind me of? Cisco from The Flash.”. It amuses me a bit.

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  3. The cover looks amazing! I enjoyed the first book but (as you mentioned) the book missed a goal, I hope the protagonist has this time some destination in mind ^^

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  4. I like the art, especially of Korima, but one thing I wasn’t expecting, and am kinda puzzled about, is why she has two sets of ear?! It makes her Fox ears look fake, like those headband ears that Cosplayers wear…just with a really good job done at hiding the headband, and not a good enough effort put into hiding her ‘real’ ears… Why even have two sets of ears in the first place? It’s not like she has a human and a fox nose or anything else… It just seems really strange to me, at least for an “actual” fox-kin girl, and not a “cosplay” fox-kin girl!

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  5. I’m pretty sure I mentioned her having both sets of ears in the book, but regardless, the reason she has both sets of ears is because of how the kitsune came about in-universe. They were the result of a demigod merging humans and a magical type of fox, so the general approach was to add specific elements to the baseline human form. In the case of the kitsune, they gained tails and an additional set of ears. The main exception to this was that their eyes got adjusted to be more fox-like as well.

    Beyond all of that, I prefer kitsune who have both sets of ears. *shrugs*

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  6. Clearly, I’m going to have to go back and listen to that story again! It has been a while… Though, the fact that I was _listening_ to the story may be a part of it. As nice as audiobooks are, it can be easier to miss minor details that *might* stand out more on the written page. So if you only mentioned it a single time in passing, I might have been so involved in trying to visualize everything else that that detail just slipped past me. Maybe something to consider for the future?! It never hurts to repeat details several times, so long as you wait long enough between each repetition!

    And honestly, something as…unusual…as this, I feel would be worthy of a detailed mention. Like, were I writing about two eared Kitsune, I’d have some character make a big deal about the two sets of ears (perhaps even a throw away random antagonist, if I wanted the discussion to be more ‘heated’), just so that I could repeatedly mention that Korima has both human and fox ears several times in a very short window, as well as giving me an excuse to spend a respectable amount of time describing them and how they look and function. All to make *certain* that the reader is both aware of this unusual detail, and has an accurate picture of it in their mind’s eye.

    As far as your ‘two eared Kitsune’ go, if you like it, that’s fine! I’ll just work on adjusting my mental image… two ears aren’t _bad_, just _strange_… like, which ones would you play with in bed…both? Eh, I’m sure I’ll have it all sorted out in my own mind by the time the next book comes out!

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  7. It’s entirely possibly I didn’t mention it specifically, so it might not be there. I can understand why it might not have stood out if it was there, though.

    In all honesty, it’s one of those things where I have to balance how much I describe things. Sometimes there’s too much description in a book, sometimes too little, and where the line is drawn is different for each reader/listener and author. I’ll likely try to reiterate the comments about her ears somewhere early in the story. Definitely not in the opening, though… it’ll be a little too busy for that. Busy with Korima, Ruethwyn, and company going through Essryl’s graduation exam, that is.

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  8. I know *exactly* what you mean! And it _is_ hard. One thing I try to do (and in giving this I fully realize the irony, since my upcoming advice does apply directly to me and my own comments) is to remember that the “volume” of a voice has little relationship to the overall popularity of it’s opinion. Rather, the energy, repetition, etc. of a person giving their opinion represents their own passion for their position. If anything, it’s the fringe extremists that shout the loudest, for that very reason. So just because you hear one, or even (perhaps especially) several people *voluntarily* giving you their opinion on something about your writing, that doesn’t _necessarily_ mean that that is how the majority of your readers feel about it.

    The key point is the ‘voluntary’ aspect, if you didn’t ask for feedback about X, then they’re telling you about it because they feel passionate about X, which can cause you to wonder if many or all of your readers are also passionate about X. But _passion_ and _popularity_ have no direct causal links between them, so don’t go assuming one just because of the other!

    So hey, maybe I’m the only weirdo that wasn’t aware that Kitsune in this story have two sets of ears! I hope not, as it would bruise my pride in my (supposedly) high reading comprehension…but maybe?!?

    Regardless, I’m just writing to say two things. First, only _really_ trust opinions from polls (and your alpha readers, if you share the same likes and opinions on how a story should be written. Though their job isn’t so much to help you write a more ‘popular’ story, but rather to help prevent you from loosing yourself in an endless, and endlessly unfulfilling, quest to chase after fickle public favor), and use polls as often as you can for anything that feels important to you. Of course, then there’s the whole are of how to craft a good poll… but let’s not dive down that rabbit hole right here and now! ;P

    The second thing is to say that, while you never want to annoy your readers with either details or their repetition, having both is vital to a good story, and if you exercise both with care, you can provide enough details enough times that those with low reading comprehension fully get your story world, and those with high reading comprehension aren’t annoyed at reading the same thing ‘over and over again’. The main way to do that, of course, is to not to just repeat the same thing ‘over and over again’, but come at the subject from a new angle, so that even though your talking about the same thing, it’s presented in a new light, and thus doesn’t feel *boringly* repetitive.

    Korima’s two sets of ears is a good example. After first directly describing her dual ears, you could ‘repeat’ this detail, but in a more sneaky way, by, for example, having Ruethwyn stare at them while she follows behind Korima as they walk through a crowd. Ruethwyn becomes entranced by how Korima’s fox ears swivel towards sounds, while her human ears remain pointed forward. This could then cause Ruethwyn to wonder how the latter sorts out all the sound from two sets of ears, and if Korima has an even better audio perception of her environment than either a human or animal with just one set of ears. And there, just like that, you’ve *very* pointedly reminded the reader that Kitsune have two sets of ears, but done so in a way that feels new and fresh enough that none of your readers will be annoyed, or even notice the repetition of that detail.

    So see, you *totally* could provide a reminder about Korima’s dual ears in the opening of the next book, you would just need to make it relevant to what’s going on (like Korima’s dual hearing helping out at some key moment) in the ‘graduation’. Not that I’m implying you _have to_, or even should, include it then. I’m just saying that if you *want* to, you can!

    Yes, providing sufficient details in a story, and repeating them often enough for all of your readers to get them *is* a challenge, but the way to deal with that is to turn it into a game. A game of “how many different and unique ways can I refer to detail X?” And if you play that game well, keeping in mind how often and how many times a detail ought to be repeated, you can totally win. And when you win, we all do!

    So good luck, and good playing!!! I can’t wait for the next book!!!

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