As promised, I have just gone through The Sleeping God and given Shira a personality change. Her aggressive tendencies have been mollified, but not totally eradicated. No more kicks to Pol’s shins, but taps and nudges. She still gets a good poke in from time to time. I made a few other edits to the manuscript, but none of them affected the story. Hopefully, she won’t appear to be so shrewish as some readers pointed out.
If you’ve read the original version of The Sleeping God, please give Shira the benefit of the doubt in The Emperor’s Pet. She is much better behaved.
Now, on to the next book, The Misplaced Prince. I hated to make this a cliffhanger, but Pol is embarking on a new chapter in his life and there wasn’t a better place to delineate his Shinkyan experience from his Daeran than showing up on Daera with Demeron as his nursemaid. More excitement to come!
The Emperor’s Pet has just been submitted to Amazon and is now published. I put in a lot of extra time and changed my post-draft workflow to get it done, and my efforts worked. I probably saved two weeks in the process and have caught up, despite spending some quality time with Demeron last month. You will note my typical excerpt of the next book in the back of The Emperor’s Pet is a little shorter than usual. That’s so I could get this book out earlier.
The excerpt is for Book Six in the Disinherited Prince series and goes by the title The Misplaced Prince. I’m still pretty much in the planning mode, but I did know enough about where the book was headed to write part of the first chapter for the excerpt. Book Six is scheduled for the end of June.
I’ve put in some extra time to get The Emperor’s Pet out before May 1st. It is in one of two final edits and then I’ll be pushing it out of the nest. I have completed the cover and it is, for the first time anywhere…below.
My next book is coming along. I suppose I’m about ten days behind. I had the beginning of the baseball season, the Masters (I like watching golf) and a Neil Diamond concert to distract me this weekend. In addition, my editor is ill, so we will see what happens in the next few days. I should be done with the first draft by the 12th and will immediately head into rewrites.
The story is coming along nicely and I’m at the very end where tension is high. I like writing this part because twists start to pop into my mind. We’ll see how the end goes. I’ve got it mapped out, but sometimes it’s better to write with the flow and ignore parts of my scene outlines.
Publishing Demeron’s tale has put my publishing schedule behind a bit. I knew it would. I’m only halfway through The Emperor’s Pet and have been dealing with a reader revolt over my treatment of Pol and Shira’s relationship in The Sleeping God. My mea culpa is below in another post, but after The Emperor’s Pet is out, I will go back and rewrite The Sleeping God as a second edition with less aggression on the part of Shira.
I’m probably about two weeks behind, so it looks like my next book is targeted for release after the first week in May. I’ll definitely shoot to have The Emperor’s Pet out before Mother’s Day.
After a few reviews and readers pointing out some typos, I decided to put the Disinherited Prince Series under another set of eyes. That’s a gruesome thought if taken literally. It turns out that I read fast and write fast and that technique churns out lots of errors.
One editor was not enough, so all four books plus the Demeron novella have been read again by another editor who takes pride of reading a word at a time. I generally do a markup on a hardcopy proof, but I must have been introducing more mistakes. There were twenty to thirty errors per book, but less for Demeron. Most of those were left out articles (a, an, the). Any words not spelled correctly were the kind not caught by spell checkers (for example, their instead of there)
I am happy to say that the process is over. The books have been corrected. I made no additional writing changes (other than rearranging a few clunky sentences), so I don’t count these as new editions, just cleanup. I did modify the cover titles for A Sip of Magic and The Sleeping God to match the rest of the series.
So, hopefully I’ll turn out better edited books in the future. I always appreciate feedback if readers find errors. I had a review where the reader spotted an abduction that didn’t happen. I reread the book and couldn’t find what they referred to. It’s really hard to spot your own errors, since you generally fix the errors in your mind.
Anyway, I thought you might like to know…
I just published Demeron: A Horse’s Tale. Here is the blurb:
A Disinherited Prince Novella Demeron: A Horse’s Tale Demeron, a Shinkyan stallion who can speak to human magicians, is cut off from his master and must find a way to return hundreds of miles to Deftnis Monastery, his master’s home. To do so, Demeron must travel through the country of his birth, eluding humans who would eagerly take posession of him.
Demeron, A Horse’s Tale is a novella (about 60 pages or 20,000 words) and is intended to be read after Book Three, A Sip of Magic and before Book Five, The Emperor’s Pet of the Disinherited Prince Series
It’s available on Amazon as a kindle book or as a trade paperback. I have put it on Kindle Unlimited, so if you subscribe you can download it. The price is $1.99. The cover is a little brighter than the initial one I posted below.
I have just released Demeron: A Horse’s Tale. It’s a sixty page (20,000 word) novella depicting Demeron’s travels during Book Three: A Sip of Magic. Here is my first version of the cover. It just might be a little dark. What do you think?
I don’t typically try to explain my characters’ motivations and how I wrote them, but it seems I might have gone too far in A Sleeping God. I’ll try to address a number of reader objections without any spoilers.
Let me be clear, Pol and Shira are teenagers. They are both exceptionally smart, talented, and capable people. They are in a relationship that is awkward for both of them. Neither have grown up in a natural environment. Pol struggles to react properly around Shira. Shira, on the other hand, has additional pressures (hang-ups?) that become more apparent towards the end of the book. She covers this awkwardness by pinching, hitting and bumping Pol. It isn’t because she is a shrew, it’s because she is having some real difficulties as she develops a relationship with Pol who is, shall we say, an Imperial male. She expresses that inner conflict through physical means. Note that her behavior doesn’t affect Pol’s feelings, but he is sometimes as lost in their relationship as she is. He just reacts differently.
In my own high school days, I observed the physical behavior first hand and didn’t see it then as abuse, but as part of a girl’s attempt to assert herself in a relationship. Perhaps I went a bit overboard, but when you get an idea, as a writer, you sometimes just go with it. I did.
Her reactions doesn’t make her a bad person. You will note she shows a great deal of affection along with her outbursts of whatever you want to call it. In crafting her personality, I consciously made her a very conflicted girl and a great deal of that comes from her upbringing in a unique matriarchal society in Shinkya. To me, as I wrote her, she remains a sympathetic character. Some readers don’t see it that way, and for them, I apologize.
I’ve had a few comments about the Demeron novella. I finished the draft and have run through the story a few times, just getting it back from my editor last night. I have corrections to make, and then a final perusal by an outside person. It will come out to about 60 pages as planned and will be available on Amazon when I’m done. I’ll keep you posted, but I’m planning on getting this out around the end of March.
I hope to have a cover out in the next week or so.
I’m currently working on The Emperor’s Pet, the fifth Disinherited Prince novel. I’m shooting for the end of April on that one, too, but slipping Demeron in between books four and five might push that novel out a week or two.