Just for the record, yes, my latest novel, The Queen of Deceit, did have a scene where a fire-breathing dragon, being flown by a rider in combat against an army, is struck (nonfatally) by what I very specifically say is a bolt from a scorpion. Just please bear in mind that my book came out before this season of Game of Thrones had even begun!
Well this was an extremely pleasant surprise. I was surfing the web the other day and came across this splendid post on a fellow writer’s blog.
It’s hard to get validation or even constructive criticism these days (what a lot of people call reviews) and here I found some, unlooked for, and on my birthday no less! Also got my first Amazon review for The Queen of Deceit, all the way from Great Britain, five stars! I do wonder why Amazon shows American reviews on Great Britain’s site, but does not reciprocate by showing reviews from Great Britain here?
Anyhow, with such obvious good taste going for her, ahem, I intend to take at look at some of her works as soon as I finish the two or three books I am currently in the middle of reading. Check her out at http://jconradfantasy.com/
It’s taken quite a bit longer than the others. Hope you will find it worth the wait. Let me know!
Now the hard part, getting the print copy ready and about a jillion and one things to do with announcements, and social media, and advertising, and paperwork, and so on.
Then I get back to what I like: turning white computer screen windows into book 4.
Getting so close I can taste it. Final editing and proof reading going on. If you liked the first two I think it’s a fair bet you’ll like this one a lot. Things are heating up in Tethera and some of the secrets are starting to leak.
Here is a picture of something pretty similar to a couple of Caradog’s sling catapults. He’s pretty proud of his, even if the initial design was someone else’s. (The Picts, however, are reportedly less than happy with them.)
People have been patient and I appreciate that. What is the status of The Queen of Deception, or is it The Queen of Deceit? (I think she has me befuddled now.) The book is coming to a close with perhaps only three of four not overly long chapters remaining. Alas, I write fast when I write and tend to leave out words, and my brain seems to like to fill them in for me later, so that I don’t notice their absence. So the editing and proof-reading process will take a bit, and will be over only when I think it should be. I know I rushed The Forged Prince and didn’t do anyone any favors.
Fighting my way through fixing its errors since then has been something like pushing through all these ferns, weeds, and mud in the hills of Wales–although perhaps not as sweaty but much less scenic.
When I encountered a slow down during one of the mass battle scenes towards the end of the third and, as yet, unpublished book, I found myself returning to read parts of the first. Whereupon I started catching errors, as well as things I thought could have been done better, grammar and punctuation improvements, and so on. It’s the curse of having become what I hope is a much better writer since I published it.
Then I found myself unhappy with the overall pacing and structure of the book. Suffice it to say, the presentation has changed drastically. I intend to ask Amazon to make the new version available as an optional update for previous purchasers, (new purchasers get the new version) but I’ve also learned this is something Amazon is extremely loath to do. Still and all, I am publishing it, chapter by chapter, on Wattpadd and by the time it finished, or even slightly before, my hope is that the third and penultimate book in this series will be available.
I’m starting to get inquiries. My apologies to those looking for information on book 3, The Queen of Deceit. Rest assured it is still coming but not, I fear, in time for Christmas. Family matters have just occupied too much of my time and, apparently, I’m not one of those writers for whom writing fiction is therapeutic.
After a long hiatus, however, I am back at work on it. Lot’s of twisty details even I have to refresh myself on (well, we are talking about the Queen of Deceit here), but I’m feeling good about what is going on the pages. After busting two self-imposed deadlines, I am leery of setting a third, but please know you can sign up for my mailing list here and I will let you know when we are closer, and when it is actually out. As always, I promise I won’t spam you or share it with anyone else. Also, be sure you never mistake a Fomorii for a Formorian; that would just be silly.
In the meantime, in a feeble attempt to keep you entertained in the interim, here is a tidbit from when I was working on becoming a highly paid comic strip writer. Philo is a super-genius but that does not fit his self-image (he sees himself more as a typical boy) so he alters things a bit and, as a consequence, this makes his reality somewhat unique.
Before actually publishing myself, I always assumed that when an author turned their hand from a series I loved, quite often to something I would never especially care for, it was because they were behaving like those actors on television shows that, having achieved a certain amount of success, began to believe they were destined for greater things–completely abandoning the hand that fed them.
The problem in my case is that, while my first book seemed to find some real fans, as soon as I finished my second book, which was also the second book in the series, I realized it was a better book. To really drive the point home, the reviewers that have read both books make a point of saying the second book is better. Obviously, this is a problem as only people who liked the first book would ever be likely to read the second (and the third is even more problematic).
In line with this, I’ve sold fewer copies of the second book than the first, despite it being the better book.
What could I do?
It being an ebook (and print-on-demand), I have had the luxury of making any number of improvements to the first book. Like a huge skyscraper, however, there are limits on the changes I can make without tearing the whole thing down and building a new one that sits on the same site.
For example, if I were starting it now I would do the industry standard of showing the hero in the present for a time, then drop back several years for a chapter or two that show how the protagonist became the person he is, or developed some of the relationships that figure in the later story. Instead, I initially tried to show him go from zero to hero (more in the Belgariad style than in the animated Hercules style). That was a problem because anything resembling a movie style montage scene in a book tends to look like “telling-not-showing” to the reader. I eventually hacked all that out but it’s really kind of late to go back and change the entire structure of the book.
It’s a conundrum. It certainly encouraged me to shrink the planned series from five books to four. Since I don’t require the revenue to live on (like nearly all writers, I do have a “real” job) I may eventually try another somewhat shorter series. The difference being I would write all three books in advance of publication of the first.
John D. MacDonald did this when he rolled out the first three books of his Travis McGee series. He believed, apparently correctly, that it would give the new series a big boost and get readers more invested in the series right at the outset.
If I did this it would ensure they were all of relatively similar quality and, timed properly, sales of the subsequent books could be boosted by people still being fresh from the first. I know I’m much more likely to finish a series if I can read them at my rate, rather than wait years in between.
Looks almost like a setting for something in Tethera but in actuality it’s the rocks near the base of Niagara Falls. Beautiful and otherworldly for sure! Went there for the weekend and it was all just so amazing. Having never been I was kind of expecting it to be overhyped but it was an experience.
We also got to visit Niagara Falls Comic Con and on the way back home we drove through Wales . . . Wales, New York that is. We are a still a go to see the real Wales in September. After I have a chance to check a few locations for last minute veracity, book three of the Chronicles of Tethera, The Queen of Deceit, should be about ready for me to click the publish button.
Aside from Tom Swift books (which I read alongside the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew in third grade) and Silverberg’s Revolt in Alpha C that I got through the Scholastic books program at school (and recall liking a great deal), I did not start reading a lot of science fiction until the summer after fourth grade.
That was when my dad was in Viet Nam and my mom insisted that, for every two Hardy Boys books I checked out of the library, I had to get and read one book that was something else. When she called me away from the Hardy Boys shelf at the library to check out I panicked and grabbed the nearest book I could find. This turned out to be Danger: Dinosaurs! and I became thoroughly hooked on science fiction.
I don’t believe my mom was too thrilled by this, at least not up until the point that all that reading got me a perfect score on the vocabulary portion of my SAT. For all of that I was still a pretty ignorant kid and snubbed most fantasy (with a few favored exceptions such as Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series, and the first six books of Narnia). This continued until I got hooked on Dungeons & Dragons my freshman year of college at Auburn and then started “researching” source material—it was only another two years before I met Gary Gygax and got him to sign my Dungeon Master’s Guide.
It probably helped that my absolute favorite author at the time, the epitome of hard science fiction writers, Larry Niven, also wrote fantasy. Another two years saw me at a tiny convention in Columbia, Missouri where I got to talk with him and, very briefly, with Jerry Pournelle. Also there was Glen Cook (not as guest of honor but running a used paperback booth!) who was (and remains) one of my favorite writers of fantasy even if it does tend to be darker and grittier than my own. I recall we (by which I mean mostly I) talked a bit about how very cool the scene where all of the Ten Who Were Taken started bursting out of their imprisonment in the wildly frightening Barrow Lands. The passage isn’t very long but the buildup over the course of the book makes it absolute soul-chilling when it finally happens. In his reserved way, he seemed fascinated by my enthusiasm at it and it wasn’t long before I started seeing more of the Black Company books from him (granted, he undoubtedly had a lot of other fans urging him on).
Sidenote: I still love hard science fiction, too, but it’s hard to find these days. Most of what passes itself off as that is actually space opera (a kind of fantasy, with gadgets in place of magic, and aliens in place of elves and giants and trolls and goblins and such). A lot of that space-opera these days is a sub-genre called military sci-fi. I enjoy it, too, but in moderation. The same way I like pizza but don’t want to eat it every day, or even on the majority of them. There is definitely room for more hard science fiction. I’m eager to write one myself, but not until Tethera’s tale is done and (hopefully) done right.