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Warder Soul

Warder Soul

Oh hey look a cover rough for Warder Soul!

YOU GUYS. YOU GUYS.

Dara and I are deep in working with artist Nicole Cardiff on the cover for the forthcoming Warder Soul. And as of tonight, I am delighted to report that BEHOLD! We have a color rough!

This is going to be developed as Nicole adds a lot more depth and nuance to the coloration. But this is now a real good rough idea of what y’all can expect on the cover of this book. Book’s not remotely close to done yet, but having a cover being developed in conjunction with the actual story is exciting, y’all!

And now I give you Christopher MacSimidh!

Warder Soul Cover Rough

Warder Soul Cover Rough

I may not be the only fantasy novelist in the world with a bouzouki player in an urban fantasy series, but I think I can now make a solid case for being the first one with a bouzouki player on a cover. ๐Ÿ˜€

Warder Soul

Status check on Warder Soul, and a new Here Be Magic post

It was my turn to post up on Here Be Magic again today, and it was only a couple of days ago that I realized this meant I’d be posting on Inauguration Day. Given how the election had kicked my creativity in the teeth and how I’d run out of reasons (at least for the time being) to post about Star Wars, I was genuinely stumped as to what the hell I could actually post about.

But then I realized that I had legitimate things I could say about the necessity of listening to your muse, even if your muse is telling you you need to chuck 20,000 words into the bin and start over. I had to do this with Warder Soul, and I’m pleased to say that so far, I feel a lot better about the results.

Go check out the Here Be Magic post for what I had to say about the benefits of listening to your muse.

And here. For NO PARTICULAR REASON OR ANYTHING TODAY, I felt compelled to share with you all this new version of the first scene in Chapter 1 of Warder Soul. In which my young heroine of color is going to the wedding of her two gay housemates. There are fairies. The fairies are demanding cake. I feel like we could all use a bit of consolatory cake today. (Also vodka, but that’s going to have to wait till I get home from the day job.)

There’s a brief excerpt of the scene in the Here Be Magic post, but if you want to just read all 2,000 or so words, I’ve put up a PDF here. This is a direct export from Scrivener (which, OH HEY, does indeed export nicely to PDF)!

Also: I have officially decided that this story will in fact remain titled Warder Soul, while the story previously known as Queen of Souls is going to be renamed Queen of Ghosts, just so that I don’t have the titles sounding too much like one another. I wanted to keep the Persephone story Queen of (Something), and am a bit chagrined that it took me this long to think of a one-syllable word that could still fit the tenor of the tale. The relevant pages on my site will be updated to reflect this title change shortly.

Also #2: I am very pleased to note as well that I have secured a new cover artist for Warder Soul, since my previous artist, the excellent Kiri Moth, is no longer available. The new artist is Nicole Cardiff and you can see her stuff here. She’s got a sketch in progress already and I hope to be sharing some glimpses with you soon of what Warder Soul‘s cover will look like!

Warder Soul

Seeking recommendations for cover artists

So here I am working on Warder Soul, Book 3 of the Free Court series… but I have a problem, y’all, and my problem is this: my awesome cover artist for Faerie Blood and Bone Walker is no longer available. ๐Ÿ™

Which means I am in the difficult position of needing a new artist! This is made more complicated by these specific problems:

One, a lot of indie cover artists these days appear to focus on doing photo manipulation art instead of line art. I specifically need someone who does line art, in order to match the style of the previous covers.

Two, in my ideal world, a new artist would have already have a style that’s similar to Kiri’s. Because while two different artists may each be individually awesome, I acknowledge that asking artist B to draw like artist A, if artist B doesn’t already have a similar style, is asking a lot of that artist! So I’d like to make a new artist’s life as easy as possible here, and start from a point of “new artist already has a style pretty close to old artist”, if at all possible.

What will make this at least a little easier is that I do not actually need this new artist to worry about doing the actual cover layout. Dara will take care of that for me, as she did for both Faerie Blood and Bone Walker. I just need someone who can do a piece of art for me that’s reasonably close to Kiri’s style, in dimensions similar to what the Book 1 and Book 2 pieces were, so that Dara can take the Book 3 art and do the same layout to it. I already have a pretty good idea of what I want that art to look like, even; I just need somebody who can actually draw it.

So does anybody out there have recommendations for line artists who have an established history of fulfilling commissions in a reasonably timely fashion? Names, contact data, links to DeviantArt pages, other galleries of previous work, etc., would be most appreciated. Also, if you know anybody who might be appropriate and who is actively seeking commissions, please feel free to point them at this post, or at my own contact data.

I do have plenty of time to get this done, at least, since I’ve only barely begun work on the book and it’ll be a while before I finish it. But I do need to actually settle this now, so that any new artist will in fact have time to work on the piece and chat with me about any necessary changes.

Thanks in advance all!

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 9-12 Report: Still writing as I can

This week has, suffice to say, not been good for my word count. But I have attempted to coax at least a bare minimum of words out of my brain every day since the election, on general “because dammit I am not letting this kill my creativity” grounds.

I’ve made it into Chapter Five of the story, though I begin to suspect I may have actually planned it out to be too short. I do have a full outline, and I’m still more or less following that. But if I write everything I’ve planned, the story may come out around 50-55K rather than a full-length novel. I’m not focusing yet on what I want to do about that, because it’ll distract me from actually getting the first draft done. But this will be something I need to review once I have a full draft.

Things I have had to look up in the last few days: doublechecking some pictures of some of the colorful town houses in downtown St. John’s, just to confirm that some of them do in fact have garages; photos of the B&B Dara and I stayed at when we were there in 2012; and a quick doublecheck to make sure that it’s plausible for a male cancer patient to lose his facial hair (because Thomas Hallett, Warder of St. John’s, is undergoing chemo as of the timeframe of this story).

Today, for the first time in days, I have actually managed to make word count. And I can say with no small satisfaction that at least regardless of everything this week has tried to throw at me, today’s writing has let me accomplish fulfilling things.

Christopher has gotten to greet his uncle Thomas and cousin Caitlin in person, and given that his family are in fact Newfoundlanders, he has greeted them properly. Which, as the Newfoundlanders and/or Great Big Sea fans who follow me will know, is of course by saying “What’re you at?”

Also, my first Quebecois character in the Warder universe is now officially on camera. Gabien Desroches–Gabe to Anglophones–is a minor character so far but I’ll be working on establishing him as Caitlin’s beau. He has also uttered a bit of French as part of his dialogue, nothing complicated, just “c’est bon, รงa”. The bigger challenge with writing him properly will not be using actual French–it’ll be how to phrase his word choices to be plausible for a French speaker speaking English. I have at least some small experience with this, what with having been around several French-speaking Quebecois musicians off and on over the last couple of years, and listening to and learning how they tend to phrase things.

Tomorrow I have a fiddle lesson. But I should be able to break 20,000 on the book as long as I get writing time in too. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Day 9 word count: 537
Day 10 word count: 523
Day 11 word count: 328
Day 12 word count: 1,704
Nanowrimo total: 12,409
Full book total: 19,190

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 7-8 Report: Yeah about what I expected

I gave myself proactive amnesty for not getting anything done on Nanowrimo yesterday or the day before. Which, turns out, yeah I needed that. Because I pulled in only 547 words on Monday–I was shooting for my off-Nano word count if I couldn’t hit the full 1,667, and I did at least do that.

Yesterday, though? Not a word. Too distracted by a little political thing going on. Y’all probably were distracted by that too.

I am not convinced I will be able to wrangle any words today either, but given that I am taking today as a mental health retreat day, some words might at least help a bit. At least writing about Kendis and Christopher is a situation I can control.

I am dubious at this point that I will hit the 50,000 mark by the 30th. But I will also give myself the break of reminding myself that the actual important point here is finishing the book, and Nanowrimo is simply a side bonus.

Day 7 word count: 547
Day 8 word count: 0
Nanowrimo total: 9,317
Full book total: 16,098

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 6 Report: Newfoundland! And 15,000 words!

Yesterday was particularly productive on the Nanowrimo front, since I didn’t have to go anywhere, and what usual weekend chores had to be done (laundry, bill paying, updating the checkbook) didn’t really interfere with the serious business of getting words out of my brain.

So I put a real big dent in Chapter 4, and finally pulled off what I’ve been looking very, very forward to writing in this plot: having Kendis and Christopher show up in St. John’s. I have also now brought on camera two more characters very important to this plot: Caitlin Hallett, Christopher’s cousin, who is also the daughter of his uncle Thomas who’s the current Warder of St. John’s; and Gabien Desroches, Warder-born from Quebec, where the Warders are called les Gardiens. I’ve already written a little bit about Caitlin in the novella I have on the back burner right now–the novella in which she’ll meet Gabien for the first time–but this story’s really going to be where these two step up to the plate.

Interesting items of research for yesterday’s efforts: a LOT of peering at Google Maps’ Street View pics for a particular area right near Signal Hill, and any Newfoundland-based readers who follow this blog will know what I mean when I say ‘Johnson Geo Centre’. Some peering through the Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador, looking for an appropriate word Caitlin could use to affectionally refer to Christopher. And considerable browsing of the Snow Clearing section of the official St. John’s website, trying to get an idea of what exactly it’s like in downtown St. John’s when the place gets hit by snow.

Related to that last, I also had a highly interesting chat with friend and reader userinfolethendy on Facebook. She informs me that on a practical day-to-day basis, there’s considerable distance between city policy on snow clearing and what actually happens. Critical to know. Thanks, Lethendy!

(Also: any other Newfoundland-based friends and readers, I will be putting out a call for Newfoundland-based beta readers once this draft is done. I will need you to reality-check my depiction of the city, as well as dialogue for Caitlin and Thomas. Christopher is less of a priority since he’s already an established character, and he’s been away from home for years, so his speech patterns have become rather more Americanized. But it’s highly likely he’ll jump right back into more Newfoundland-based dialogue for the brief time he’s going to have a chance to do so. WHEE!)

Fifteen thousand words reached in the draft! FORTH EORLINGAS! \0/

Day 6 word count: 1,902
Nanowrimo total: 8,770
Full book total: 15,551

Nanowrimo, Warder Soul

Nanowrimo Day 4-5 Report: In which my characters are going to hate me

Day 4 of Nanowrimo ran really short, only 680 words. Which means I’ve now got two days of deficit to make up for. Though again: my real goal here is finishing the book; winning Nano is just cake. Though it’ll still be nice to do that too.

Yesterday I did in fact hit the goal: 1,708 total words! I would have done more, except that Dara and I had to go out for a good chunk of the afternoon and run a bunch of errands. Truly dedicated pursuers of the 50,000 goal might argue BUT BUT BUT WRITING. My counterargument is that Dara really needed new shoes–shoes that wick up water from damp pavement, never mind puddles, are a problem during Seattle’s rainy season–and I’m the one with the REI membership.

Once all the errands and adulting were done, though, I was able to buckle down and get writing. Go me!

I finished Chapter 3, and as of this writing, I’ve also put a serious chunk into Chapter 4. This has gotten me to one of the first big plot points I’m laying down in this book, which was already called out in the outline. What I had not previously anticipated is that I was going to line up Elessir, Kendis, and Christopher right behind Jude for the level of crisis this plot point is going to throw at them.

I’ve already dropped the hint that a big chunk of this book is taking place in St. John’s. But I hadn’t really committed yet to the implications of “St. John’s in February”–which means St. John’s with winter weather. I’d already known this was going to mean likely conditions much colder and snowier than my Seattle-based characters are used to.

But as of last night, with Dara’s encouragement, I went ahead and committed dropping Kendis and Christopher into the middle of a blizzard. Muahahaha. >:D

(Seriously, with all the shit I’m throwing at my principle characters in this book, it’ll be a wonder if they don’t revolt on me and decide to defect to some safer plotline. But then, I’ve always maintained that my job as an author is to make up imaginary people and then make their lives as difficult as possible.)

Research topics of interest through the last couple of days have involved looking up assorted locations on Signal Hill, a couple of different CBC articles about blizzards in St. John’s, and the Wikipedia pages for both ‘blizzard’ and ‘whiteout’. And although this didn’t require looking anything up, I did also recall that my experience with the Worst Commute Ever will actually come in handy for descriptive purposes here.

For giggles and grins, here’s what my Nanowrimo profile’s stats page looked like as of last night!

Nanowrimo Day 5 Stats

Nanowrimo Day 5 Stats

Day 4 word count: 680
Day 5 word count: 1,708
Nanowrimo total: 6,868
Full book total: 13,649