Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
Another week of getting stuff done! I finished and named my “in-between” short story I was using as a warm-up before starting work on The Orgcrist. I’m calling it Tears of the Joyous Mare, and it ended up being almost fifty-five hundred words… far longer than my initial two-thousand word goal!
I’m not angry about its length, however. I like it and the alpha-feedback on Tears is good so far. The central mystery in the story kept my first reader guessing until its third-to-last page, and they enjoyed how it wrapped-up. Here’s another snippet from the draft, featuring a little bit of action with the story’s wizard:
I mailed a copy of Tears of the Joyous Mare off to my second alpha yesterday to get her input. She also has my second draft of The Unicorn Hunters in hand as well, so hopefully, I’ll get a bunch of stuff back at once from her and jump into more edits soon. I’ve already got several folks wanting to beta read The Unicorn Hunters, and I’m hopeful about releasing it on Aethereal Engines next month.
I’m using this week for more imagineering work on The Orgcrist before I start on it, but I’m excited to do so! It’s going to be the fifth story for my first book, the Libram Aetherea collection. The Orgcrist’s framework is still coming together, and there were many parts that were blank spaces. I’m also getting a better feel for the characters I want to cast in the tale, so taking some extra time will be a good move. A lot has changed since I put down my initial outline almost a year ago, and things are getting re-crafted as I put my hands back into it again.
Hopefully, the new outline will be done later this week and I can start writing The Orgcrist Monday morning.
On Saturday I received an amazing piece of art for The Brynesmark in its final-stages from illustrator and friend Kate Whitmore! I can’t wait to share it once it’s finished, it’s just incredible work! Seeing this first piece of artwork virtually complete for Libram Aetherea (which will also be used as the cover of the eBook version of The Brynesmark novelette) gave me a great sense of hope amid goosebumps. I was overcome. “It’s happening!” my brain kept saying. “My book has art!”
If you check out the link to The Brynesmark above, you can see a small but key portion of Kate’s art that I repurposed as the banner for its story page with her permission. Kate and I exchanged a few emails over the weekend, and I was super excited to hear her very enthusiastic art ideas for A Contract in Azure and Indigo. She reads my work in addition to illustrating it, and she really liked Azure! That really made me happy, and her bubbling ideas helped me to look at and analyze how I’ve presented that story so far. I’m going to try a new direction with Azure, and I think that Kate’s art is going to be a fantastic means to do so!
I released the second part of The Old Man of the Elder Trees this weekend, and it’s been very heartwarming to hear how much some have enjoyed the story so far. Its third and final part will be released this upcoming Saturday. I left my readers on a cliffhanger this week… with poor Reed trying his best, but getting smashed in the face with a magic potion. Not only did it turn him into a wolf in the middle of a fray with skeletal tree-men (very bad timing), but it’s also sealed him away from protecting his daughter and the pup of the she-wolf Autumn as the evil Old Man of the Elder Trees moves to sacrifice them!
Can Reed and Autumn find some way to turn things around and save the children? I’m not sure, but here’s a sample of the first page!
The two wolves stared at each other for a long second, ears and tails erect. Then the grey she-wolf saw the huge bulk of Sambucus rise behind the red wolf that the poacher had become.
“Reed! Move!” Autumn shouted as the monster swung down to cleave him in two.
He jerked to the side, and the axe slammed haft-deep through empty tunic cloth into the ground. Clambering backwards, Reed managed to pull his head and forelimbs out of the pinned garment. Sambucus yanked the axe free as the red wolf tried to run and instead fell splay-legged to the ground like a clumsy pup.
Autumn looked to the sword at her paws as the woodsman hefted his axe above a struggling Reed.
The Old Man of the Elder Trees licked his gums and reached for the trapped children as a wolf’s shrill howl pierced the night. “Meh supper’s late, but it ain’t too late!”
Snow growled and Rose backed against the barrier of the ward. Squirming in the red-haired girl’s arms, her mother’s bay faded as she looked the wizard square in his black eyes.
“You won’t hurt Rose!”
“They can’t save yeh, Pup! So shut-up an’ Ah’ll kill yeh painless instead ah hard!”
“No!” The whelp shouted as she kicked out of Rose’s grip.
Leaping with a snarl at the amused face of the Old Man, he stopped mid-laugh as Snow’s form shifted in a mid-air instant.
“Impossible! Yeh’s too young!” he screeched as raking claws swiped his face.
Check out the exciting conclusion this Saturday on Aethereal Engines!
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!