Check out the new tab at the top of my blog. It is a page for Dawnmaid, the third book in the series. I’d like feedback on the cover image, if you are so inclined. I originally planned to call this book “Birth of the Dawnmaid” but when I put all that on the cover it looked cluttered and busy. (Also several people said it reminded them of “Voyage of the Dawntreader.”) “Dawnmaid” by itself gives more visual punch, I think.

Picking a title for a book is a serious business. You need something original and catchy that encapsulates the meaning of your work in only a few words. A tall order! I was pretty surprised to find that Dawnmaid hadn’t been used by anyone else. (more…)

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Today is the last day I have to get organized and ready for my trip, so it will be a busy one. I probably won’t do much updating while I am gone, other than a few words here and there. I don’t plan to bring my computer with me, although I am buying an ASUS eee while I am in the US. Prices on small consumer goods are double here what they are in the good old US of A.

Publication for Ketha will go ahead as scheduled. Work on editing book 3 continues. Hopefully I will have it ready to go by mid May and it should hit the ewaves by July. Wrote another thousand words for book 4 last night. I have the idea than one of the problems is the fact that a couple of the characters are rather static; they don’t seem to grow or learn anything new during the course of events. So I plan to give that some thought while I am away and perhaps set up some new challenges for them when I get back.

I am still struggling with the ending. I want it to be happy. I HATE books that don’t end happily, after all the characters have been through. But I also want it to feel real. I think back to the Lord of the Rings. Frodo deserved to be happy–he had saved the world, after all. But there was no joy left in life for him. He had suffered too much. My main character, Katkin, is also like that. I don’t think I can just send her home with her true love and expect them to live happily ever after. I have an idea, but I will have to actually write the words before I know whether or not it will work.

I will keep you posted.

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I have reached a point in Beyond the Gyre where the characters have one last chance to relax before the final showdown. I plan to devote an entire chapter (chapter 17) to this latency, also giving the reader time to catch his/her breath. But I am a little worried that I will lose my momentum, so whether this experiment appears in the final draft is up in the air. I have two characters speaking, or rather one speaking and one singing. Each is quoting something else–one a seafaring journal and the other a mythic poem set in a madrigal. I will intercut the two, trying to play off the archetypal elements in each and also include little snippets of the other character’s reactions. If it goes on too long I can always trim it later. (more…)

Pop over to Long and Short and have a look at my article on writing historical fiction. I found out about this site through the EPIC mailing list. In return for my words I will be featured on the Author Spotlight in April, shortly after the release of Ketha’s Daughter. It is great publicity, and writing the article was an enjoyable task. This sort of cross-marketing seems comfortable to me, and I am happy to do it. (more…)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it–EPIC is the Electronically Published Internet Connection

It is an organization for ebook authors and publishers, and supports the industry in general. If you have published one or more books electronically or traditionally, I would encourage you to apply for membership. In addition to the mailing lists, there are also members-only areas of the site, with marketing tips and other information. (more…)

My editor has asked me to write a tag line for book II, Ketha’s Daughter. This is a single sentence that encapsulates the meaning of the book and “hooks” the reader. Twenty-five words or less…

It’s tough.

How do you take a book of 129,000 words and condense it into twenty-five words?

I have already done this exercise once, with Heart of Hythea. So it should be easier the second time around, right? And yet every book has its own special meaning, and I have to find the right twenty-five words for Ketha. (more…)

Though I still continue to struggle with writing new words for book IV, the last few days have been good for cutting some of the material that I already wrote. Yesterday I condensed two chapters into one, by removing a scene that was very similar to another that takes place later in the story. I am happy with the result.

I have to be in the mood to do this. Sometimes I look at various chapters, and everything I see looks relevant and absolutely unassailable. Other times I think it is complete crap, and I want to get rid of it all.

Neither of these times is a good moment to do any serious deleting.

(more…)