Updates, Schmupdates

My reign as Worst Blogger Ever continues!

There has been some fun news recently regarding my books, so I have extra-extra no excuse for not updating this blog.  Shame on me.

The Sekhmet Bed was recently released as an audiobook, and I am beyond thrilled with how it turned out!  It already has a couple of reviews on Audible.com, too, which is fantastic to see.  You can get it here.  Amanda C. Miller, the narrator, has agreed to narrate the rest of the books in the series (and, I hope, all my books forever...I love her narration style and voice acting!)  The Crook and Flail has gone into production and the recording process should be finished around the end of February, with the audiobook coming out not too long afterward.

Speaking of the end of February, The Bull of Min, the final volume in The She-King series, is still on target to be released then.  In fact, I expect to finish the first draft of the book next week, and then it will go through the editing process for six weeks or so.  I'm liking how the book is turning out, although reader beware: it's a short novel.  It's shaping up to be rather "bigger than a breadbox," with the size kind of hard to define.  It's too long to be fairly called a "novella," but significantly shorter than the first three books in the series.  But that's all the length it needs.  I don't feel comfortable padding out a story with unnecessaries just to hit a certain word count; I want to tell the story in a length that feels authentic.  Because it will be shorter and therefore provide fewer hours of entertainment than the other books, it will cost a little less to buy, though I haven't settled on a price yet.

While The Bull of Min enters the editing phase, I'm going to turn my attention to Tidewater, my next historical novel.  It will tell the story of the conflict between the Powhatan Indians and the Jamestown Colony in the early 1600s from four different points of view: Pocahontas and John Smith (of course), as well as Chief Powhatan (Pocahontas's dad) and his brother Opechancanough.  I feel it's an ambitious project for me, and it will be carrying me beyond my comfort zone with my own writing.  I'm going to push myself to tell a larger, more intricate, higher-stakes story, and to bring out a distinctive voice in all four narrative points of view.

Tidewater is going to be a real challenge, but I'm looking forward to tackling it.  The concept has been gnawing at my brain for years now, and it feels good to finally be in the process of turning it into a real novel.  I've already begun taking extensive notes and the approach I'll take has begun to crystallize in my head.

Tidewater will be a long book, probably at least 120,000 words (or around 480-ish pages or more).  By comparison, The Sekhmet Bed, the longest novel I've written to date, is 93,000 words long.  So Tidewater is already shaping up to be a big book.  I do want to tell the story in one volume, however.  If it really grows too long to comfortably contain in a single book, I'll split the story into two, maybe three volumes.  However, if I can keep it a single, stand-alone novel, I will.

Right now, I'm tentatively projecting that Tidewater will be out in April 2014.  However, that's just a guess.  I've got a lot of writing ahead of me, and since I'm still working full-time at a day job, I don't yet know how long it will actually take me to complete the book.  But I'll keep readers updated, for certain!  (Though probably with spotty blog posts...)

Sovereign of Stars is out!


Well, hi there, blog!  Sovereign of Stars was released on October 28th (ebook).  So far it's selling well, and debuted in the #1 position on the Top 100 chart for Middle Eastern Historical Fiction and Ancient Egypt History on Amazon.  Not too shabby!  I announced the release to my mailing list and then promptly forgot to update the blog with the information, so this is just more reinforcement that you should join the mailing list if you want information when it's actually relevant and/or fresh.

Want to read Sovereign of Stars?  Here it is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  It should soon be available directly from Apple's iBookstore and Kobo, too, though apparently I need to tweak something or other in the Smashwords file before it'll appear there.  One of these days...

I gave away free copies of Sovereign of Stars to the first ten readers who posted an honest review of The Crook and Flail when that book was released...I'm doing the same with Sovereign!  The first ten people to review it will get a free copy of The Bull of Min when it comes out in late winter (probably February).  Honest reviews are welcome, so even if you thought it was rotten, share your opinion!  Reviews sell books.  Even bad reviews.  ;)

I've been working away at the audiobook production of The Sekhmet Bed with narrator Amanda Miller.  It is really spectacular!  She's doing such a fantastic job bringing these characters and scenes to life.  It's so cool to get to hear my book in somebody else's voice, and I'm really pleased by how well the story is holding up.  We're shooting to have the audiobook done by the end of November, and it will be available on all the usual audiobook platforms (Audible.com, iTunes, etc.)

In addition to writing The Bull of Min (the FINAL book in the She-King series), I'm furiously outlining Tidewater, which should turn out to be a stand-alone (but probably somewhat lengthy) novel.  If you've already read Sovereign of Stars and checked out the "back matter," as it's called, you already knew that Tidewater will be about Pocahontas and the Jamestown Colony.  Actually, it will be about much more than that: it will also be about the relationship between Powhatan and his brother Opechancanough, about Pocahontas' relationships with her two successive husbands, Kocoum and John Rolfe, and about the many conflicting interests of the Virginia Company.  It's going to be quite a project, but I've been very immersed in the research for several months now, and I've found it to be an engrossing story.  I think it will be fantastic to write, and hopefully enjoyable to read.

As a final bit of research, to make sure I get the feel of the Virginia tidewater region as correct and realistic as I can, Paul and I are hoping to take a trip out to Virginia to hike some nature trails, take pictures, and visit a lot of museums in early 2014.  Much depends on whether he's back in school by that point, though.  If he is, I'll be making the trek by myself!  At least the travel expenses will be a tax write-off.

I'm close to finalizing two other projects: HistorEreader.com (the web site isn't up yet, so don't bother trying to look at it!), which will be a resource to help readers sort through all the various historical fiction offerings out there, and a podcast called Writers On Reading, in which writer friends and I will chat enthusiastically about good books we've recently read.  I hope readers will find both entertaining and useful!

Aside from book news and related tidbits, I've been busily planning what my Christmas tree will look like this year.  I go all out with my trees, with thematic decorations and zillions of lights and TEXTURE and DESIGN and INSANITY.  Martha Stewart's got nothing on me.  I'm counting down the days until I get to put the tree up.  Expect pictures.  lots and lots of pictures.