If any of you went looking for the print editions of my new novels, you may have had difficulties during certain times…Amazon KDP was extremely delayed and kept encountering issues in which the books disappeared from amazon.com and then reappeared later.
They’re finally settled in, and available for purchase along with the Kindle editions! And if you want both, be sure to buy the print edition first, as you then get a significant discount on the kindle edition!
I’m excited to write this blog post today, because I’ve been hinting around my new writing project for some time, but I’ve not actually made any official announcements.
As many of you know, my life has been extremely crazy and busy lately, between moving, wedding plans, and work going through a busy period, so I knew I was not going to get the 3rd book of Sword of Dragons finished in time for its planned release.
In fact, I’ve not had a chance to really focus on writing the 3rd book at all, I don’t have the time to devote to it. But with all of my conversations with my fiancee about book covers, and all of the research I’ve done online, I knew there was a project I could do that would allow for very short spurts of work on it between the busy times.
The Sword of Dragons novels have all received high praise from those who have read it, but getting people to give it a chance has been a difficult task. All of my market research and discussions with other authors and my fiancee point to several factors, including but not limited to the cover.
As such, I am officially working on the 2nd edition of books 1 and 2 of the Sword of Dragons series!
What does a 2nd edition mean? More than just a new cover. A whole lot more! But let’s start there.
The New Covers
As I talked about in my last blog, I’ve learned that keeping marketing in mine from the get go has been important. This was a key focus for when I started working on new covers for books 1 and 2 while also planning covers for book 3 and for The Orc War Campaigns. I wanted to create a theme that could be carried through all 4 books, as well as be something I could carry into the rest of the series beyond book 3.
My focus on marketing this time around actually was a big help in coming up with the final cover layout for the entire series! I also followed the advice of publishers, editors, and cover artists, and created multiple versions for each novels’ cover, and then worked with several people to decide which one worked best, and even how to make the chosen one for each book better.
This involved sending the version to everyone helping me, as well as following my fiancee’s advice and taking a screenshot of an Amazon page, and editing in the versions of my cover to see which stood out best, and how my improvements to them changed how it popped on Amazon.
The result? 4 very amazing covers! That I can’t reveal just yet.
*ducks* Hey don’t throw things at me! ;) But seriously, I am not yet ready to reveal the covers. What I can tell you is test prints have turned out amazing, and even Christian, the man who made the cover for book 1, agrees that the new cover scheme is well done and works well with my genre.
Where did I get the cover art? That was where a ton of my time was spent: looking for cover art. And I ended up finding a cover artist on some stock photo websites who has done several pieces of dragon artwork that is stylistically similar. This allowed me to find 4 pieces of cover art that are stylistically similar, and I have knowledge that there is plenty more for me to use for future books.
The best part is, being stock art, I can buy the rights to use them on the novel. No legal issues, no ‘I hope they don’t realize I used their art without permission.’ I’ll have followed all proper procedures and will have legally procured the rights.
However, before I did purchase the rights, I took the watermarked, low-res versions of the artwork and made test covers, then printed them out to ensure they would look good. This is a method I intend to use from here on out, to ensure that I don’t spend money on cover art that I end up never using. I am, after all, working on a very limited budget.
Maps Will Finally Be Included!
I’ve heard it from countless readers: maps are a must! So the 2nd edition of books 1 and 2, and all future volumes of Sword of Dragons will include maps. I’ve had physical copies for a while, but haven’t had a chance to get them scanned, and a visit a couple months ago to Office Depot to get them scanned was highly disappointing, resulting in totally useless files.
Thanks to Wayne Adams from VtW Productions, I was able to get high-res scans finished last weekend. This means I now have digital copies to edit and prepare. These will first be made available on the website, http://www.theswordofdragons.com/, but will also be included in the novels. I hope this will be a big help to everyone who reads the novels!
My original plan with the 2nd editions was to do another set of proofreads to catch any spelling or grammar issues. As I started on book 1, it became very clear that my first published novel was in need of some serious TLC beyond copy-edit.
I am not changing the story, but I am fixing up how the story is told. Sometimes this means very few changes, but sometimes this means entire paragraphs are rewritten.
My beta readers have read through the rewrite of chapter 1 and thoroughly enjoy the changes, while noting that even though they have read the original version several times, the changes weren’t distracting. In fact, this is what I am working on right now, and am about 1/3rd through book 1.
Furthermore, Wayne and 2 of his friends have volunteered to perform copyediting on books 1 and 2! So this will further ensure a polished edition :)
But…book 1. Hmm. The Sword of Dragons book 1. Naw, that needs a better title.
Naming Book 1
When I first prepared book 1 for publication, Christian insisted that I should give book 1 its own unique title, different from the series title. I didn’t listen. And now I regret that decision.
So that will be part of the change in the 2nd edition. Book 1 officially has its own title! *drum roll*
Rise of the Forgotten
It fits quite well, not just in a big way, but in many small ways :) Plus, giving book 1 a unique title has allowed me to keep a theme for the covers of all novels. (And yes, I just showed you a sneak-peak of book 1’s cover ;) )
Those are all of the big changes coming in the 2nd edition! “What about book 3” you might ask? Well, that already has a title and a cover! But I still need to finish the actual manuscript. The Orc War Campaigns also has a cover, but again, I need to finish edits on it before it is ready for release.
“When will these be released?” I do not yet have a timeline for that, and I’m hesitant to try to set one at the moment. There’s still too much going on in my life to be able to predictably work on the edits. But I am working as diligently as possible, and I am looking forward to revealing more as time goes on!
I hope with these 2nd editions to please the fans I already have with a nice, polished, worthwhile product, while also attracting new readers!
Plus, it was soooooo needed. A weekend away from everything else, just hanging out with fellow geeks, gaming, drinking, and all around having fun! While yes, it was a LAN party, it was so much more than that. Half of the time, I was upstairs getting to know all of these amazing people, folks I wish I’d met a long time ago.
Fellow Geeks of the World – Unite!
I am not exaggerating – every single one of the persons I met this weekend are truly amazing – full-on geeks who are not afraid to show it, confident and fun-loving. No joke, I found out that there is an actual training academy in the Denver area for learning how to fight with a lightsaber!
From computer engineers to nurses, people from every facet of life came together for the common cause of gaming and enjoying one another’s company. Not to mention twister!
I also discovered the amazingly fun, but oh-so inappropriate game known as Cards Against Humanity. So much fun that we stayed up until about 4AM playing!! (Warning – not a game for kids, or for the easily-offended!)
Plus we had some amazing cooks at the party! Sure there was plenty of junk food – pizza, candy, chips, salsa. Oh but the salsa wasn’t just store-bought, Wayne made some home-made in a crock pot. And then there were home-made cupcakes. And chicken dumplings. Sooooo much good food everywhere!
The Games of Gamefest
Then there was the gaming. Upstairs was an awesome rig setup for Rock Band, so I got to rediscover drumming (and learned I am embarrassingly out of practice!) Downstairs, well, lots and lots of incredible machines chugging away at some fantastic games, almost all of which I had never played before.
Including the new Star Wars Battlefront beta!!
While full of glitches, it IS the beta. The graphics were amazing, and the gameplay was intense! It was also the first time I’d ever played a game that actually required you to download the latest drivers for your video card, they wanted to ensure as few problems as they could.
The downside, though, was that the ability to get into the same game as your group of friends was glitchy, at best. I hope they fix that in the final release!
We also played a fair bit of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, a game I had never played before. I learned very quickly that whatever skills I thought I had in FPS games, they were nothing compared to these veterans!
In fact, if I had to come up with a kill ratio, I’d say it was probably 10 of my deaths to one kill. :-/ But the most important part was that it was a blast, and playing the game with these awesome folks meant that no one was childish about it, and we all had fun, no matter our skill level!
And finally, there was Tribes: Ascend. I had never played Tribes before, but THIS was a fun game. Seriously, check it out, and make sure you look into learning the ski function in it – that’s what sets it apart!
We also played a bit of Left 4 Dead 2, that was so much fun to have a full 4v4 team going! I love playing the monsters in the game, heheh. I also saw others playing Wareframe, which has sparked my curiosity into it.
Then I was introduced to Chris Roberts’s newest upcoming, totally crowd-funded game Star Citizen. This is an incredibly ambitious video game in the works, and the results are already amazing!
Imagine hopping into your ship, heading into battle with some friends. There’s a large enemy ship. Want to capture it? Board it, hop out of your ship, grab your gun, and begin the invasion. I really want to look into it some more, I only saw glimpses, but the details and the mechanics seemed really awesome.
An Exaustingly Relaxing Weekend
Little sleep, lots of fun, and a fair bit of alcohol – this was a totally exhausting weekend. And yet, I’ve come out of it feeling more relaxed than I have in a long, long time. For a couple of days, the past several months of trials and hardships were forgotten, and my nearly-depleted energy levels were refilled.
So kudos out to VtW Productions, to Wayne, and to everyone I met at Gamefest (You owe me a rematch, Lt4ork!! ;) ) Thank you all for an awesome weekend, and I look forward to seeing you all again!
Thanks for reading,
PS: Gamer Geeks ;) (Thanks Tara for posting this image!)
I seem to have trouble finishing blog posts this week. But you know what I didn’t have trouble finishing this week? The first story of the new Sword of Dragons web series!! :D
For those who haven’t heard yet, due to the delay in the release date of book 2 of the Sword of Dragons series, Burning Skies, I am going to be release a series of free-to-read short stories online for all to read!
Bridging the six-month gap between when books 1 and 2 take place, this new series will follow not just Cardin and his friends as they fight against the invading orc horde, but also will follow several new characters as they try to find their place in an ever-changing world.
The Orc Campaigns
Without giving away too much of a spoiler, book 2 picks up at the end of the campaign to hunt down and end the orc threat for good. But that is only at the beginning of book 2. What happened during the war against the orcs? Why did the kingdoms decide to invade the Wastelands and hunt down the orcs?
That question and many more will be answered in this new series. Answers I could not adequately give in book 2, as it immediately sets off in a new direction, story-wise.
And quite surprisingly, several people have asked me to go into more detail about the orcs, their culture, who and what they are. So that is an aspect I actually intend to spend at least one entire short story exploring :)
Also, what of supplies for the war? Weapons and armor? The Blacksmiths of Halarite have quite a job ahead of them to keep the Allies’ war machines going. But how does that work? How does magic work with the weapons and armor?
That was actually a question that came specifically from Wayne from VtW Productions, and is one I am looking forward to exploring a bit in the stories :) (So yes, I actually do pay attention to and respond to comments and questions from readers :D lol.)
Would You Like to Know More?
(Kudos to anyone who gets the Starship Troopers reference there ;) )
I’m debating whether or not to post little character bios for the new characters to the series. Is that something you all would like to see as a prelude? I don’t yet have a date for when I’ll start actually releasing the stories, whether or not I want to finish them all before I post the first one or release them as they finish. So it could be a little while yet before the website is up and the stories posted…
This does mean, of course, that I need to design a website for the stories :)
PS: do you think it’s time for me to redesign this blog webpage?
I’ll come right out and say it: the release of Burning Skies, book 2 of The Sword of Dragons, has been delayed. Originally slated for a Fall 2015 release (October was my goal), the release will now be delayed until a likely Spring 2016 release.
This is unfortunately due to funding issues. The manuscript itself is completed, formatted, and ready to go! And it pains me to have to delay its release. I’ve so looked forward to getting the next chapter in this saga out to all of you, especially after the purely positive feedback I’ve received from everyone who has read The Sword of Dragons.
But unfortunately my recent, unexpected relocation cost too much, and I no longer have the funds to pay the cover artist, Christian Michael, at this time. I will recover and be able to afford the cover in due time, but I am still pulling myself back up from the move.
A Brand New Story on the Horizon
I didn’t want to bring you all only bad news, so I came prepared with some exciting news! As I’ve been hip-deep in development for book 3, I came up with the idea of creating a series of short stories to bridge book’s 2 and 3, to lead up to the events of book 3.
Today, I thought “Why not do the same for book’s 1 and 2?” And immediately, countless story ideas came to mind! :D Well, okay, I needed some prodding from a friend.
Initially my idea was to have the series cover only the major characters and major events. But then my friend (you all know him from my interview, Wayne Adams from VtW Productions!) started telling me how much he loved stories that covered characters, organizations, and events outside of the main story, such as the novels that feature the Harpers from Dragonriders of Pern.
That was when I started coming up with ideas. A way to flesh out more of the universe of The Sword of Dragons, to see more of the characters and places that were only glimpsed in the novel.
For instance, what about Veral Adas, famed blacksmith of Daruun? After all, if there is a renewed campaign against the orcs, weapons and armor will be needed, right? What of other guilds, beyond just the Warriors and the Wizards?
And what about the orcs? I’ve thought about possibly developing them more, so that would be an interesting challenge to develop their society more.
Of course, I’m not one to write a story just for the sake of the story itself. I love when stories intertwine amongst each other, so this isn’t going to be a quick and easy “write this story, write that story, there we go, there’s content.”
The series will require its own development cycle. Certainly shorter than my usual cycle for novels, otherwise it’ll take me forever to get the series out.
This is still a very fresh, new idea, so I’m not even 100% sure what direction I want to take the stories in. But I want to give you all something to hold you over until book 2’s release, and I want that something to be truly meaningful.
So tell your friends, tell your family, the Sword of Dragons universe is about to get a whole lot bigger :D
Thanks for reading!
Trials and triumphs of writing, finding an agent, and publication.