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Queen of Souls

Queen of Souls is now available for beta reading

Okay, this is overdue, but it’s finally done: I’ve gotten as much polishing done as I can on the second draft of Queen of Souls. I have arranged with the editor who worked on the Rebels of Adalonia books for her to do a freelance edit pass on this manuscript, and I’ve agreed to hand this off to her on 4/3.

Which means that if anybody is available for beta reading, I need you NOW!

If you’re up for it, this is what I need from you.

I have a full manuscript file in Microsoft Word .docx format. (By request, I can also save out to .doc or .rtf format, but will stick with .docx unless I hear otherwise.)

If you can beta read the manuscript, I need you do the following things:

  1. Email me directly, PM me, or drop a comment on this post and let me know how I can send you a copy of the file. Let me know if you need .doc or .rtf, as well.
  2. I will send you a copy of the file. Please load this into Word, or into any other word processor you have available that supports Office-style change tracking and comments.
  3. Go down through the file and drop a comment on anything you would like to bring to my attention.
  4. Send the file back to me and I’ll merge it with my master copy, and evaluate which changes I want to take before I hand the file off to my editor.

(In the past, I have let people send me comments in a variety of ways. However, I found this very difficult to organize and keep track of. In the name of speed and of my sanity, I’m asking that if you want to do a serious beta pass on this thing for me, do please use change tracking in Word or a similar editor. It’ll make things a LOT easier for me in the end and I thank you in advance.)

What kinds of reading I need done:

  1. Basic proofreading. If you see a typo, call it out.
  2. If you have any level of geekery about Greek mythology and you see something I screwed up, definitely call that out. I tried to do a lot of checking against as my source of mythological data, but it’s certainly plausible that I might have screwed something up.
  3. Any obvious general continuity errors or things that don’t make any logical sense to you as a reader.

Keep in mind that I am paying to have this book professionally edited, and this is the same editor who did the Rebels books for me–and so I’ll be asking her to do developmental-level edits for me as well as copyedit-level changes. So I don’t need people to go over this manuscript in huge detail, that’s what I’m paying Deb for!

But that said, do as much as you feel like you have time for. If you just want to read over the manuscript and give me an overall thumbs up or thumbs down, even that is valuable too! Just, as I said above, if you do have comments you want to make, again, use change tracking.

As with previous books, I will be giving credit to all beta readers in the Acknowledgements.

Any questions, talk to me!

Queen of Souls

Who wants to beta read Queen of Souls?

Now that I’ve finished my obligations with Carina and the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy, this means I can turn more attention this year to what I’m going to work on next. I have a few remaining obligations for the 2012 Kickstarter backers–I’ve got to finish owed novellas, and I’m still pondering as to whether I’m going to release those individually to the public, or do a collected volume so that I can also print it. More on this in another post.

This post, however, is about what’s likely to be my next novel release at this point–my Greek mythology-based story Queen of Souls.

I had to put it on hold though while I was dealing with the Kickstarter and with the Rebels trilogy. Now, though, since it’s the next actual finished manuscript I’ve got, it’s finally time for this book to pop off the queue.

Tomorrow, I’ll be having a conversation with my agent (words I’m still not used to saying, ha!), and I’ve sent her a copy of the current QoS draft. I’ve offered her first shot at it, to see if she likes it and would like to try to sell it. If she does, what will happen next is that I’ll turn QoS over to her and let her see if she can find it a home.

If she declines to take it on, I will be moving forward with publishing it myself, similar to how I did Faerie Blood and Bone Walker.

Either way, I’m also in talks with the editor I worked with at Carina, to engage her freelance to take on an edit pass through this story. Since I already know I can work with her, and that she’s really good at tightening up my prose, I think QoS will benefit from her eyes on it. I’m already working on doing a light edit pass through the book myself, based on what I’ve learned from my experiences working with Deb on the Rebels books.

But before I turn the book over to Deb for editing (currently roughly scheduled for some time in April), I’m going to want beta reader eyes on it too. This is where y’all come in, Internets!

Who wants to beta read the next draft of Queen of Souls?

Some of you out there have seen the first draft, and I did get in beta commentary for that that I never did finish looking at either. But I think a totally fresh beta pass is called for, especially given that I’ve expanded the beginning of the story. There’s now a Part One, three chapters long, laying down the setup for what’s going on here amongst my Olympians, and to give us a transition from ancient times to the current day. Part Two, starting with Chapter Four, picks up where the original first draft started, with Kori in Pike Place Market.

I’ve also decided that the chapters of this story actually need titles. This is because I really liked the idea of a chapter called “The Horse of the North Wind”–so I figured I’d better go ahead and give titles to all the chapters, too. Chapter titles don’t seem to be in vogue as much anymore, at least not in the books I’ve read over the last few years. But there’s something of an old-school classical feel to having named chapters for me, and that’s an appropriate overall feel to invoke for this story and the mythology involved.

What I will need out of potential beta readers:

  • As always, look for typos. You don’t need to go over the whole manuscript with a fine-toothed comb necessarily–remember, this story IS going to get handed to an editor–but if you feel ambitious and WANT to go over the whole book looking for typos, you have my gratitude in advance.
  • Commentary along the lines of “this chapter ends weirdly because X and Y” or “I’m a Greek mythology geek and you’ve invoked this particular detail wrong/weirdly” or “oh hey you have a continuity error about A and B between this chapter and that chapter” is helpful.
  • If you’re feeling really ambitious, commentary about story structure is also welcome. Though again–that’s usually the kind of commentary I expect to get from an editor, so that’s not required for a beta pass.

It would be easiest on me if people who want to beta for me have access to Microsoft Word, so that they can go through the manuscript file and mark things with Word’s comments feature. Then the file can be handed back to me and I can have Word in revisions mode so that I can whip quickly through proposed revisions. In the past, I’ve done things like let people just send me email about this or that typo, or post comments to me here on my blog on a locked post–but I’ve found that that actually creates extra work for me. This time, I’d like to make it a bit easier on myself so that I can focus more time on the actual revisions.

If you want to beta and you don’t have access to Word, please note also that a quick google indicates to me that revisions comments in both LibreOffice and Pages should come back to me successfully in Word.

If you want in on the beta effort, I will be releasing QoS to beta probably some time in the first week of February. So talk to me! Drop me a comment here, or in email, or on the various social networks.

Looking forward to unleashing this story on you all. 😀

Bone Walker, Queen of Souls, Victory of the Hawk

Victory of the Hawk (and Kickstarter) update

And now, a long overdue update on Victory of the Hawk! AND Kickstarter stuff!

Have been running annoyingly behind on getting this monster done, and managed to miss most of VCON for the second year in a row working on catching up. Got to the point that now I’m within scope for getting this monster’s first draft done by the end of this week, and shortly thereafter, there will be development edits.

How fast I can charge through those will, in turn, impact how fast I can charge through line edits. If all goes well, I could conceivably be done beating on this book by the end of the month. I’d like to be done before I scamper up to Canada again in November, this time for Operation SWING!, in which there will be ridiculous amounts of De Temps Antan!

If I’m done with edits on Victory by then, I’ll be swinging around to finally working on the edits on Bone Walker. When I go up to Canada for the De Temps Antan shows, I’ll be taking the entire week off–and between the two shows, I’ll be holed up in Cumberland working on edits on whatever’s popped next off the queue.

Once I can finally actually free up enough brain for the Bone Walker edits, they should go reasonably quickly since they’re all line-level edits, and I’m not going to be making any structural changes to the book at this point.

When Bone Walker‘s edits are finished, Dara and I will work on layout and on the design of the cover. And when that happens, I’ll have a better idea of when the final ebook and print editions will be deployed. The likely timeframe for this is early 2015, at this point. I’d like to have Bone Walker out before Victory is due to drop in April 2015.

Meanwhile, Dara has been doing a hard push to finish up the Bone Walker soundtrack. She’s very close to finishing the musical bits, although she and I still need to do the recordings for the readings I’ll be doing as accompaniment to the musical tracks. My ability to musically participate in the album has had to fall to the wayside, due to my having to focus on writing actual words, about which I’m sad. But on the other hand, we’ve gotten in excellent people to work with Dara. Especially Alexander James friggin’ Adams, about which I am not sad in the slightest.

When Bone Walker is cleared off my plate, I’ll be turning my attention to finishing up the novellas in the Warder universe, also due to Kickstarter backers. All three of these are still untitled, but to refresh your all’s memories, they are:

  • Origin story for Millicent Wray, who later is Millicent Merriweather, Warder of Seattle
  • Story set in Providence, RI, about a psychic who must help a man solve the murder of his Warder sister
  • Story of a musician who helps a Warder stop the hunt of migrating deep sea creatures

And once all THIS is done, well, we’ll see what happens next. What’s most likely to pop off the queue is the long-overdue Queen of Souls, which needs to be cleaned up so I can try to query it somewhere.

Wish me luck, folks. The rest of this year’s going to be busy, and next year promises to be more of the same!

Bone Walker, Child of Ocean Child of Stars, Mirror's Gate, Queen of Souls, Shards of Recollection, Short Pieces, Valor of the Healer, Vengeance of the Hunter

2011 says HIYA! And also, bring it

So by and large, 2010 went pretty well for me on a personal level–but not quite so much on a writing level. I’d like to change that this year, and that means getting Seriously Back on the Stick. Here are various goals I’m going to aim for this year. Sooner is better, but I’m not going to nail time frames down to these because really, the overall goal boils down to this: Get Back My Writing Discipline. Anything above and beyond that will be cake.

In general order of priority, these are the main goals:

  1. First and foremost: finish the edit pass on Lament of the Dove and get the revised manuscript back to Carina Press. Current status: Chapter 19 of the word count reduction pass.
  2. userinfoupstart_crow has given me an anthology invite, so I need to plan out what I’ll be writing for that. This is higher priority right now than either Bone Walker or Queen of Souls, since it’s a solid invite and will mean Actual Albeit Small Cashy Money, assuming the piece is accepted. More on this as events warrant; right now I don’t even have a story idea, and the antho in question is quite a bit far out yet.
  3. Follow up with Drollerie as to whether Bone Walker will actually be feasible for Drollerie to pursue this year, and if so, what they need from me to make it happen. Either way, I should go ahead and finish it. Current status: still in chapter 11, and I’m about to the point where I need to plan out what’s going to happen for the rest of the book.
  4. Review where I left off with editing Queen of Souls and get that into queryable shape. Current status: still pretty much on Chapter 2 of the second draft.

Everything above and beyond these things is a stretch goal, right now. This includes all of the current notable works in progress, which are:

  1. Shadow of the Rook. Current status: Made it into Chapter 4 before serious edits to Lament made it clear the beginning of Shadow will have to be heavily reworked as well. Therefore, Shadow will remain on hold until Lament‘s edits are done.
  2. Mirror’s Gate. Current status: Chapter 2.
  3. Child of Ocean, Child of Stars. Current status: Interlude between Chapters 3 and 4.
  4. Shards of Recollection. Current status: Chapter 1.
  5. Still-untitled Faerie Blood-universe piece starring Elizabeth the psychic, and Ross the brother of a murdered Warder. It’s still not clear to me whether this piece is going to be a novella or a novel in its own right. Review of it must occur.

And oh yes: I DO still intend to do the last couple of How to Read Ebooks posts, as well as any further ones that occur to me. If anyone has specific requests about ebook-related things you’d like to see me post, please let me know!

Tonight, I can safely say that editing of Lament has happened. I doublechecked Chapter 18 and realized there was another minor scene with Celoren that I could completely nuke–partly because it didn’t really advance the plot much, and partly because removing it also addressed one of the various issues from Carina’s editor. And I’ve headed into Chapter 19, where I’ve re-discovered that I did leave this chapter in a bit of a mess after cleaning up the tail end of 17. Now I get to clean that mess up.

It’s also become clear that I will indeed be swinging back around for a sixth draft once the word count reduction draft is done. It’ll have to be the sixth draft where I go back in and put in significant new content.

And since I’ve made it a couple of pages into Chapter 19, about 20 minutes shy of midnight, I’ll call that today’s writing-related activity. More tomorrow. DAMMIT.

Edited tonight: Quite a bit, actually
Chapter 18 revised total: 3,750
Chapter 19 revised total: 5,815
Lament of the Dove revised total (fifth draft): 105,783

Queen of Souls

Vote for me! Vote for Queen of Souls!

So the fine folks over at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management have a blog I’ve been following for a while, and one of their agents, Mr. Jim McCarthy, is running a little contest. He invited readers to send in the first lines of their manuscripts, and from the hundreds of submissions he received, he chose nine finalists. He’s now put up a poll asking readers to choose their favorite first line, and the winner of the poll gets his attention on the full manuscript.

I’m one of the finalists, with the very first line of my as of yet unqueried Queen of Souls: “The next time Hermes brought her back from the Underworld, Persephone wept tears of rage.”

To wit, YIKES! *^_^*;;

Anybody want to vote for me, the poll is right over here.

There are some other intriguing first lines there too though, so be sure to vote which one is your actual favorite! I won’t hold it against you if you don’t actually vote for me. Though really, do you want to piss off an Olympian? 😉

Either way, as always, thank you in advance for your support!

Bone Walker, Child of Ocean Child of Stars, Mirror's Gate, Queen of Souls, Shards of Recollection, Vengeance of the Hunter

Wow, there sure are a lot of books here

It occurred to me this week that I have six, count ’em, six books in progress in various stages, and as part of the Great Get My Ass Back in Gear Initiative, it might behoove me to do a quick rundown of where all of these books are and what needs to get done with them. Therefore, by way of high-level overview and more or less in order of priority, here we go!

  • Bone Walker. Urban fantasy, the first sequel to Faerie Blood. I’m very close to the end of Chapter 7 on this. I have not yet formally queried it to Drollerie but plan to do so as soon as I have a working draft. Beta readers, be on the lookout for a call in the latter half of the year.
  • Queen of Souls. Urban fantasy, a sequel of sorts to the Hades and Persephone myth. This is the most complete of the lot since the first draft is actually finished, and I am stalled out a little ways into doing the second. I last left off finishing editing the Chapter Formerly Known as Chapter 1, and which is more like Chapter 4 now. I need to pick up again from there, so I can get this thing into queryable shape and get it out the door.
  • Shadow of the Rook. Fantasy, Book 2 of the trilogy The Dove, the Rook, and the Hawk; Book 1 is of course Lament of the Dove, and that’s out getting queried right now. Since this is one big story, I want to have progress done on it in case somebody wants to actually buy the whole shebang. Currently trying to get out of Chapter 2.
  • Mirror’s Gate. Fantasy, set in the same universe as The Dove, the Rook, and the Hawk. Still in Chapter 1 and the story is still taking shape.
  • Child of Ocean, Child of Stars, in which a young telepath discovers things that could completely wreck the budding alliance between humanity and the native species of Nereus. Soft sci-fi. Three chapters and change in.
  • Shards of Recollection, in which a young thief falls in with a smuggler eking out a ragtag existence–and discovers that he’s forgotten some dangerous secrets that could bring a world to war, not the least of which is his own past. Soft sci-fi. Didn’t like the first draft’s initial start, started over, still in Chapter 1 on this too.

With pretty much all of the first drafts in progress, I need to buckle down and do some heavy duty outline work. I’m really kind of daunted realizing I have finished three whole novels (Faerie Blood, Lament, and Queen of Souls), and have FIVE MORE waiting to get done. The two big things that really need to get done are finishing Bone Walker so that my editor can tell me if she wants it, and getting Queen of Souls ready for its escape into the wide world. Anything above and beyond that is gravy, but if I want to make some serious progress by the end of the year, it’s time to start some serious planning.

Wish me luck, folks.

Bone Walker, Mirror's Gate, Queen of Souls

Wrote tonight, more or less

Pried a couple hundred more words out of my brain tonight, some for Bone Walker and some for Mirror’s Gate, mostly for the sake of advancing the pointers on at least a couple of stories. And being able to say that I actually wrote something tonight. This long dry spell is frustrating in the extreme, folks. Intellectually I know that the solution is simply to buckle down and write, but man, trying to re-establish the habit is hard.

We’ll see, though. These two stories remain the two pulling at my brain the most for new words, although Queen of Souls is sternly reminding me that its second draft edits are long overdue to be resumed. I really need to beat that thing into proper queryable shape so I can get it out there.