It’s been a bit hectic lately – most of my home including my office and videoing shooting area is being redesigned (in time for The Story Starter Challenge ‘s return, yay!), two of the backlog of The Common Kingdoms books are having their releases later this year if all goes well (along with two updated releases), and Forged in Magic is taking more time than was anticipated. Here’s the latest run down for those of you interested:
The Common Kingdoms Series
To Part or not to Part?
In May’s update, I talked about the splitting of The Common Kingdoms Series into two parts and scrapped some of the books planned for it. In the months since, I’ve been mulling over if turning it into two connected series is actually a good idea or not. Even though technology catches up with the characters through the importation tax at the border of the Southern Kingdom and Giften Kingdom being all sorted out, it’s still the same main characters, with familiar faces (Cray, Pedi, Alagar, Ramage, Rider and so on). I may instead just take a break from publishing The Common Kingdoms for a year whilst working on the next books in the series, with a focus on publishing my standalones and Forbs Trilogy that year instead.
The 2017 Edition of The Royal Gift
Back from my editor for a new structural edit due to the updates in each chapter and the new ending, The Royal Gift’s 2017 edition is making good progress. It feels that it will become available at the end of September as I’m currently in the stage where I make tweaks to the story on consideration of the report my editor gives me for structural reviews, which also includes line-edits once the tweaking is done. The handy thing with this one, is that because my previous editor and I did structurals and line edits on The Royal Gift’s previous version (the one that’s still available right now), the line-edits are a lot faster to do.
The 2017 Edition of Threat
The only major change with book two from it’s still available version released last October, is the style of writing. Threat is the book I’ve always argued with the most – it’s the pain in the butt in my backlog of completed books, even though it’s also one of those that has been published. This has yet to get any feedback from my current editor but will be getting structural and line-edit runs from us both.
Shotput of Power – The Common Kingdoms Series
One of my favourites in The Common Kingdoms Series, it was this story that whilst rewriting it, my writing style in terms of point of view style, changed. At the moment I’m running through a few structural changes on the suggestion of my editor, and then we’ll both be doing some line-edit runs. I’m really looking forward to sharing this one with you – you get to see The Newer Kingdom, learn about another Weapon of Protection and get to see how Raneth’s and Aldora’s relationship has advanced in the four years they’ve known one another (as this one is set three years after Threat, making Raneth 21 and Aldora 19 [this one starts in January, before her birthday but after Raneth’s]).
For those of you that don’t want to buy Shotput of Power or Antis this year for fear a new version will be released later on, this won’t be happening – the only reason the first two in the series were revisited and updated is because of the change in writing style and the ending of The Royal Gift needing to be stronger. Anyone who bought a previous edition of The Royal Gift or/and Threat can get the new versions for free by contacting me with proof of purchase. In return, I’ll send you the updated version in the same format (so if you bought the previous version on Amazon for your Kindle, it’ll be a Kindle version and I’ll need you to add me to your Kindle’s safe senders list – I’ll talk you through how to do that).
Antis – The Common Kingdoms Series!
My editor’s favourite and definitely one of mine, Antis is where all the fun storyline threads that were carefully left untied in the previous three books (along with quite a few hints actually) get tied together and everything goes deliciously wrong for Aldora, Raneth and Pedibastet (who only makes a brief appearance in Antis, sorry Pedi fans). The editor has done her structural report and I’m just wrapping up my structural changes and should be starting the line-edits this weekend.
Forged in Magic – A Standalone Fantasy-adventure Novel
My goodness, this one is really fun to write! It’s also a little harder at times because I don’t know Zahira and Armand (or their supporting characters, General Jevin and Regent Karena) as well as I do Raneth, Aldora and all of their accompanying cast. I’m now in the third act of the story and have reached chapter fifteen of twenty-one. It’s been interesting to see it all coming together and to get to know Zahira and Armand with every new sentence I write – there’s a chance I’ll be asking readers of this standalone book if they would like me to write more in Zahira’s world, and if they would like to see more of Armand and Zahira, but for now, it’s still planned as a standalone. I hope to be finished writing this story’s first draft by the end of next week, ready for my editor to take a peek at for a structural report.
What I’m Reading
Right now I’m reading a few different books:
Child of the Flames by D.W. Hawkins.
I’m enjoying the story, but I feel that as a reader, I’ve been cheated from the real story. There’s also one other thing Hawkins does that bugs me too, but I’ll cover that in a moment.
So, what do I mean about feeling cheated? Well, I grabbed this one in Kindle’s Young Adult fantasy category, but it’s not meeting any of the tropes – the character it starts off with, a teenage woman, ends up in a coma within the first few chapters, and the reader starts following an old drunk instead, who find the girl and is curious about the magic items she has because his magic pulled him to her, giving him the opportunity to save her. Young adult generally means following a teenage inexperienced character, and Shawna fits that, Dormael doesn’t. Then the reader is robbed of following her story of revenge and vengeance against the people that murdered her family, household and almost killed her too.
That aside, I am enjoying the story – it’s well paced, the world is interesting so far, and the characters are entertaining.
Remember I said about something else that bugs me whilst reading it?
It’s one particular word that is repeated and used in the wrong manner. Normally this wouldn’t bother me (running a successful forum-based RPG for five years helps you to gloss over typos and odd words in most cases), but this time it keeps catching my attention specifically because it’s being used incorrectly; instead of using cuz for friendly shorthand for cousin, Hawkins has opted to use coz (which is slang for because). Easy mistake to make, but an easy one for an editor to pick up. There was also (in the brief part where Shawna was conscious at the beginning of the book), the overuse of the word gorge for the contents of Shawna’s stomach when she wanted to hurl, which though correct, isn’t a word you normally see used in that way all that often, so a little jarring, but correct.
Would I recommend it? So far, yes. Despite the two word issues, there’s nothing wrong with this story if you ignore the category of Young Adult that has been applied in the Kindle store. I’m hoping that Shawna wakes later on to bring her back as a main character.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
I started reading this the weekend it arrived a while back, but had to put it down at chapter ten. This wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying it (it’s very good at making you curious about what will happen and why), but I noticed that the more I read of Caraval, the worse my own writing in my first draft of Forged in Magic became. So I’ve shelved it for the moment so it doesn’t worsen my first draft writing, as I can read it when I do all the final line-edits. If you like a story that pulls you along by hinting at mysteries, then this is probably a fantasy story for you. Right now I can’t recommend it unless you have already looked into it and liked the sound of it.
Abhorsen Series (Re-read & New Books) by Garth Nix
A lot of the books on my TBR pile (both the digital and the paperback one) are new authors I haven’t tried before, thanks to Fairyloot deliciousness and Bookbub recommendations. After noticing what Caraval was doing to my writing, I jumped back into an old favourite from my teens – Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series. Right now I’m on Lirael and will be going on to re-read Abhorsen, followed by my first read-throughs of Goldenhand and Clariel. I may have to get Goldenhand in Kindle however, as the paperback has a font that, though I recognise it from the older books’ chapter titles, strains the eyes when reading paragraphs of it 🙁 Would I recommend these? Heck yeah! Sabriel is the perfect read after or before reading The Royal Gift! And it’s a fun world, with interesting characters and a unique setting. What’s not to like? I have noticed, however, that Garth Nix’s books tend to be enjoyed by those of us born in the 80s or 90s, not so much by those that were born in or after 2000. Perhaps because reading expectations and preferences change over the years in reader audiences.