Time for one of my favorite things to do, reveal a new cover! I just got the final version of the Source-Breaker cover art the other day, and I have been so excited to show this off!
This is from the full wraparound cover for the paperback, showing the spine area with the left side of the arch. The back of the cover is just dark because there isn't really anything over in that direction to show. The ebook cover will look like this:
I just love this. I've been having the hardest time visualizing Kaniev (the dude with the sword and the handful of magic), and the artist, Mominur Rahman, and I went over a bunch of different reference photos, different poses of the same model, and this is the final result. When I saw it, I went, Wow, that's Kaniev! Mominur has this knack for capturing my characters perfectly, and it's always exciting to see how he brings them to life.
Here's the short blurb for Source-Breaker (needs work; I'll come up with a better one in time for the release):
Kaniev, a repairman of magical Sources with a series of failures behind him, and Fransisa, a Source priestess who is being displaced by a new Chosen, come up against a wizard conducting dangerous experiments with Source-power that could damage all the world's Sources.
And here's a peek at an early version of the scene where Kaniev and Fransisa first meet: http://www.kyrahalland.com/blog/sneak-peek-source-breaker
I'm hoping for a mid-December release for Source-Breaker. I've become frustrated with how long my revising and editing process takes, so I'm going to try streamlining it without sacrificing quality, and hopefully can get this book out the door in less than another month. To make sure you don't miss out on the release and the special limited-time low introductory price, sign up for my email alerts!
Since the Weird Western StoryBundle and the accompanying blogging blitz ended, I've been trying to get caught up on other work. I'm making progress on both the first draft of Defenders of the Wildings, the follow-up to the Daughter of the Wildings series, and on the revisions of my upcoming release, Source-Breaker (formerly known under the working title The Source-Fixer). I don't have a cover yet for Source-Breaker, though I've ordered one from my cover artist and I'm eagerly waiting to see what he comes up with. My next book after Source-Breaker will be Heir of Tanaris, and I do have the preliminary sketch for the cover art for that, and it's gorgeous! Anyway, to keep you entertained in the meantime, here's a sneak peek from Chapter 1 of Source-Breaker, where Kaniev, our intrepid but struggling repairman of broken magical Sources, meets Fransisa, the priestess in charge at Source Chaitrasse (remember, this is an early version; there's still a lot of editing to go on it):
Somewhere deep inside the building, a bell rang. A moment later, a girl in a white robe opened the door and blinked up at him. "Yes?" she asked in a high, sweet, barely audible voice.
As you can tell, this relationship is off to a wonderful start :P
Watch for the cover reveal and the release of Source-Breaker, a novel of Estelend, coming up later this fall. And to make sure you don't miss out on release news and special limited-time low introductory pricing, sign up for my email alerts.
Sept. 3-4: Don't miss the big 99 cent Science Fiction and Fantasy Sale! This one includes all the big retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, and Smashwords. Tons of books are priced at 99 cents - science fiction, fantasy, sci fi/fantasy romance, dystopian, and even some multi-novel box sets! (selection varies by store) Chosen of Azara is part of the sale, available at all the retailers, so if you haven't read it yet, now's your chance to get this multi-generational tale of magic, adventure, and love for only 99 cents.
Also, The Brilliant Career of Sajur Golu and Other Tales of Azara, a companion volume to Chosen of Azara, is only 99 cents right now (regular price will be $2.99). Available at the following stores:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | OmniLit |
DriveThruFiction | Smashwords
Taking a quick break from the Weird Western StoryBundle to announce that The Brilliant Career of Sajur Golu and Other Tales of Azara is now available. This companion volume to Chosen of Azara contains the following stories:
To give you a taste of what's in this collection, I've posted "Coming Home" over in the Read Right Here section.
The regular price on this collection will be $2.99, but now through Sept. 5 you can get it for only 99 cents at the following stores:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | OmniLit |
DriveThruFiction | Smashwords
Also, Chosen of Azara is only 99 cents through Sept. 5!
Amazon (all international sites) | Barnes & Noble
iTunes | Kobo | OmniLit | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction
Time for another monthly progress report, one week into August.
July was busy with family reunion/vacation and some other stuff, so I didn't get as much writing done as I hoped I would. I did finally figure out the follow-up Wildings series, which now also has a name, Defenders of the Wildings. I solved the story problems (I think); the events of book 1 make the most sense coming in the middle of book 2, which means I'm splitting book 2 in half and putting book 1 in the middle, with much attendant reworking of the two books. The story seems to be working better now, but what it means for the series is that this series won't be structured in nice, neat novel-length episodes like Daughter of the Wildings. I can't tell yet if it's going to be one large, disjointed book (my least favorite option), two short and somewhat less disjointed books, or a series of shorter serial-style episodes. Right now I've got book 1 (now the second episode) rewritten and I'm constructing episode 1 out of the first part of the old book 2. The whole thing is roughly outlined, and I added a concluding episode which wasn't in the original plan, to tie up the story in a more satisfactory fashion. (I also had to do this with Daughter of the Wildings, which first I thought would be five books, then I realized I needed a sixth book.) I'm also getting ideas for another follow-up set of books, called Children of the Wildings, starring, well, I'll let you guess!
I've also been working on edits of Tales of Azara, now titled The Brilliant Career of Sajur Golu and Other Tales of Azara. See my hopefully-not-too-lame cover I made for it above. If you've read Chosen of Azara, you may remember Sajur Golu as the evil, corrupt priest. This collection of short stories contains the story of his rise to the position of High Priest of Source Dar and of the Madrinan Empire, along with other background stories, character vignettes, and alternate points of view of scenes in the book. I'm looking at releasing it sometime before the end of August, in conjunction with the debut of a new cover for Chosen of Azara. Getting a new cover for Chosen of Azara was a very difficult decision; I love the current cover but it just isn't quite right for the genre and while it represents the characters of Sevry and Lucie very well, it doesn't really convey a sense of the story. None of this is the fault of the artist; I love Design by Katt's work and highly recommend her for beautiful photomanipulation covers. Rather, it's the difficulty in finding base photos to work with that are right for the book. Also, with two more novels in the Estelend world scheduled to come out later this year and early next year, I wanted to re-brand the Chosen cover to fit with the others and with The Warrior and the Holy Man, which is also set in Estelend. So I commissioned Mominur Rahman, the artist who did the amazing Daughter of the Wildings covers and also the new covers for Urdaisunia and Warrior and the Holy Man, to do these next three covers. I got the final art for Chosen today, and it's gorgeous. Watch for the cover reveal, coming soon!
So I've hinted at some exciting things coming up, and new cover art is one of them. The others I still can't talk about, but they're really cool. Stay tuned for news!
And finally, since it's Music Monday, here's a video for you. This is "My Therapy" from the album Haven by Kamelot, which is the theme song for my character Davreos from Heir of Tanaris, one of my upcoming Estelend books.
Another Music Monday and a new project means it's time to make a new playlist! Part of the fun of working on a new novel is putting together a playlist for it. I wrote the first draft of The Source-Fixer without really having a playlist in mind, but now as I'm planning the revision, it's started to come together.
The Source-Fixer (this may graduate from working title to actual title) is about two people in the middle of life (Kaniev is forty; Fransisa won't admit to her age but, just between you and me, she's also forty) who lose everything that's given meaning and purpose to their lives up until now, then find new life and hope in a place they never expected. And yes, it's a fantasy-romance (I am who I am), but kind of different. So with that in mind, here are my songs for the book:
For your listening enjoyment, here's the playlist on Spotify. (click link to listen directly on Spotify)
Finally surfacing for air after recovering from getting For the Wildings ready to release and diving into the next projects on the list. It's still hard to believe that Daughter of the Wildings is complete and published (except for the paperback; I've just started working on that). It started as just an experiment about 4 1/2 years ago, then that one book turned into a 5-book series, then 6 books, and turned into a story that I felt absolutely compelled, driven, to publish. There was a time, a little over two years ago, when I was honestly afraid I might not live to finish it, but the problem turned out to be relatively mild and self-correcting and *knock on wood* I hope I won't have any more similar problems for the foreseeable future. I do need to try to get back to the better health habits I was working on before.
Anyway. So, yeah, Daughter of the Wildings, the project of my heart, my obsession for the last few years, is out there now, and it's time to move on to other things. Next up is The Source-Fixer (still trying to think of a different title, and not having much luck). I'm nearly done with the triage phase of the first big revision. This book started out as a project I abandoned many years ago, then I figured out how to finish it and wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo in 2014. Now that I'm reading through it, I'm seeing things I love about it and also some major issues. Nothing unfixable, though.
I've also initiated the process of getting cover art for Source-Fixer and Heir of Tanaris, and a new cover for Chosen of Azara. Since these are all set in the same world, I want to re-brand Chosen with a cover to match the other two books. I love getting new cover art, and I'm so excited to see how these are going to look!
In other news, as a result of my commitment to write 1000 words a day/250,000 words this year, I have a bunch of short stories waiting to be published. I'll be releasing the first collection of five soon (finishing up the final edits on them). Email subscribers will have the opportunity to get the collection for free :)
And also, as part of writing 1000 words a day, I now find myself nearly 7500 words into book 2 of the follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings. I finished the draft of book 1, then was wondering how to get to the next major plot point in the series story arc, and realized what I needed was a range war! So I did some reading up on range wars in the Old West, and book 2 just kind of came together. Daughter of the Wildings may be finished, but I'm not done with the world or the characters quite yet.
Last month I planted some vegetables in my new raised gardening box. Let's check in on how my little green things are doing:
A reminder: if you read For the Wildings, don't forget to go to the link at the end of the book to download a free Silas and Lainie short story, "A Good Example"! The story has major spoilers for the book, so don't read it before you finish For the Wildings :)
Finally, since it's Music Monday, I'll leave you with the video of Insomnia from Kamelot's album Haven.
We're 2/3 of the way through March, so I guess it's time for a mid-month progress report (which started out as a look back/look ahead at the start of each month. Schedules are not really my thing.). I've mainly been working on edits to For the Wildings, the 6th and last book of Daughter of the Wildings, and now, finally, I'm on to the final proofreads. Looking at a release date the week of March 28. To make sure you don't miss the announcement (and the special limited-time introductory price), go on over to the sidebar or to my email signup page and sign up for my email alerts. No spam, and I won't share your info, and you can get information about new releases and special offers, and maybe even a freebie once in a while!
I'm also working on edits to a Silas and Lainie short story, "A Good Example", set the summer after the events of For the Wildings. It'll be available as a free bonus for people who read For the Wildings. You don't want to read it without reading book 6, since it contains major spoilers for the book!
Being up to my eyeballs in edits for this book I really want to get out, I've slacked off a little on writing new words every day. I'm going to have to work a little harder to meet my word count goal for this month, but I did finish the first draft of the first book of the follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings! It's going to be a while before any of this sees the light of day, though.
Coming up next, I'll be starting on revision of The Source-Fixer (working title, though I might end up keeping it since I'm having trouble thinking of something better). This novel is a return to Estelend, the world of Chosen of Azara, where magic comes from Sources, which are natural features like caves, trees, springs, and so on. Kaniev, the main character, has the job of repairing them when things go wrong, but some problems are harder to fix than others!
I've also got a new collection of short stories just about ready to release, probably in April (they're all done and edited, but the final proofread and putting the book together got shuffled to the side while I finish For the Wildings). Email subscribers will have the opportunity to get this for free.
As for reading, again, that's been taking second place to getting the book finished, though I'm still on track for my goal of 30 books for the year. I'll get caught up with the reading roundups again soon.
And, finally, a new project: we got a raised gardening box put in our back yard, and I planted some seeds! Snow peas, mixed lettuce, and broccoli. I'm terrible at growing things, but there's good soil in this box and it's on the watering system so I don't even have to remember to water the plants, so we'll see if this works. Hopefully stuff will start to grow (besides weeds; it seems like weeds are the only things that like to grow around here!), and I'll post photos of the progress. Here's the first one, of my garden right after I planted the seeds:
So, watch for For the Wildings coming soon, and with any luck my next garden picture will have little green sprouty things in it!
So the cold I thought was getting better when I wrote the post on Saturday got worse again yesterday, now today maybe it's a little better again... *sigh* But at least I'm able to sit up and write instead of being sick in bed, so here's a look ahead at my plans and goals for 2016:
For the Wildings, the conclusion of the Daughter of the Wildings series, is first up. It's still going through major revisions, with some editing stages still ahead, but is progressing steadily. I still don't want to give a release date, but will likely be in a couple of months. Now that things are settling down after the holidays and I'm not quite as sick as I was, I should start to be able to spend a little more time on it.
After that, I'll be returning to my Estelend word, the world of Chosen of Azara, The Warrior and the Holy Man, and "A Cure For Nel". This world is built around the idea of physical features in the landscape (caves, springs, trees, water spouts, etc) that are Sources of magical power, and certain people are born with the ability to take in and use that power. The Source-Fixer (crappy working title) and Heir of Tanaris are both complete in first draft and will be my next two published novels, coming out this year (I hope; they both need a lot of work).
Along with getting these three novels ready for publication, I've committed to writing 1000 words of new prose every day, whether short stories, novels, or writing exercises that might turn into a story. Blog and forum posts do NOT count! My writing goal for the year is 250,000 words (allowing for Sundays off and other days when new writing just isn't going to happen, like Christmas and travel days). I almost made it 300,000 words, but while I'm still developing the habit, I don't want to overshoot myself. I may raise my goal to 300k later this year. It takes me about 30-45 minutes to write 1000 words, so it takes some portion of my 3-4 good working hours a day but not too much.
So, with writing 1000 words a day, that's a lot of new stuff. A lot of it is going to be short stories. My plans for those vary - put them in collections for sale, post some of them here, use some of them for freebies for my email subscribers. This is an exciting new direction for me, having more work to release and to be able to give away. And it should help fill in the intervals between novel releases.
In the background, I'm also planning a follow-up series for Daughter of the Wildings. If you've read City of Mages, you might have noticed a whole new source of conflict mentioned in the book, which isn't related to the main conflict of the Daughter of the Wildings series but which I want to explore more fully in another series. Of course, Silas and Lainie will still be the main characters :-) I've got the basic plot idea for the first book and I'm working on the overall story arc for the whole series, but can't give any kind of timetable yet for when to expect it. Hopefully, if the prep work comes together, I can start putting my 1000 words a day towards that project later this year. As with DoW, my plan is to write the whole thing all the way through, so the whole thing is finished and readers won't be left dangling for years wondering when (or if) the next book will ever be written. Should worse come to worst, if nothing else, I (or my heirs) can post any of it that remains unpublished online.
I've also got ideas for a couple of Silas and Lainie short stories :-D and there are a lot of possibilities left open in the books to fill in with more stories.
And I'm still mulling over the sequel to Urdaisunia. The DoW follow-up gets priority, but it's there in the background, humming along in the back of my mind.
And one of these days I'll also get to revising my Very First Novel Ever and its sequel.
So I've got no shortage of stuff to work on; the main issue is prioritizing and managing my limited energy as best I can.
On the reading front, I've set my Goodreads reading challenge to 30 books for this year. (I realized that some of my 62 books last year are my own books that I added, but since I read each of them 5-6-7 times before publishing them, I suppose that counts :-P) One of my specific goals is to finish reading (or make significant progress on) the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, by Steven Erikson. I love these books; Wheel of Time and Song of Ice and Fire just didn't do it for me but Malazan is amazing. And - bonus - the series is complete at 10 books. I've just started reading book 6, The Bonehunters; since these are massive books and very deep and heavy, it's probably optimistic to expect to read 5 of them in a year. But I'm going to try. I'm also planning to get started on the Stormlight Archives series by Brandon Sanderson (another of my favorite authors). And Larry Correia is a new favorite, whose books I'll be reading more of this year. But mostly, as the last few years, most of my reading will be indie authors. I'll keep doing reading roundup posts to share my recommendations.
As for my health, I've taken the concept of "one little word" (where you pick a single word to use as your theme for the year) and selected "nourish" as my word. This year I'll be taking baby steps to nourish myself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Most likely, I'm never going to recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I can do things to help my body make the most of the health and energy it does have and increase them a little. And since a major factor in crashes and relapses is stress, finding ways to relieve/reduce stress and keep myself in better balance will reduce my crashes and increase my good, usable time and energy. Any success I have in this will hopefully manifest itself in greater writing productivity.
That's my plans and goals for the new year; wishing you health, happiness, and progress on your own goals and dreams in 2016!
And now, back to work.
Time for a look at where I've been and where I'm going. For NaNoWriMo in November, I wrote nearly 54,000 words of Heir of Tanaris (the book formerly knows as The Healing Tree; I love it when I finally think of a decent title!). It still isn't finished; I'm guessing the first draft is going to end up around 80,000 words, by far the longest novel I've written in a while. The characters and plot continue to grow and change on me; the synopsis I've posted is already obsolete. I like to plan and outline my books and develop my characters ahead of time, but once I'm immersed in the story and my subconscious takes over, things can go in very different directions. I'm plugging along with finished the draft at a thousand words a day (usually more; that's my minimum). I'm hoping to finish it by the end of December, but with Christmas bearing down quickly, that might not happen.
I'm also working on major revisions to For the Wildings, the 6th and final book of Daughter of the Wildings. It's much longer than the other books in the series and between work on Heir and Christmas stuff, the revision isn't going real fast, but I am making daily progress on it. Still no good idea of when it'll be released.
And those two things are taking pretty much all of my brain power these days. I'm still reading a lot with the little that's left, so I'll do another reading roundup soon.
The plan for 2016: continue writing 1000 words a day on novels, short stories, writing exercises that may or may not turn into stories, whatever. I went a long time without writing anything new, and got rusty on it. Also, after the release of For the Wildings in the first part of the year, the next books on the list for release will be The Source-Fixer (still looking for a decent title for that one) and Heir of Tanaris, and also the Tales from Azara collection. I'll probably post a few of those here for free. Beyond that, my very first novel ever and its sequel are waiting for evaluation and revision, and I'm working out ideas for a follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings and also for a sequel to Urdaisunia.
That should keep me out of trouble for a while.
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