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I Broke It

Don’t worry. I’ve fixed it again.

What I broke was the end of THE VOICE OF PROPHECY. You see, one of my critique partners had what sounded like a really good idea. I tried it. It didn’t work.

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If you’ve seen the blurb:

When the two kinds of magic combine in one person, unexpected things happen.
Sensing the presence of lions is one thing. Any member of the Lion Clan could do that. When Vatar sees the hunt through the eyes of one of the big cats—well, that’s something else altogether. And that’s only the beginning of the unusual manifestations of his magic.

When a mysterious voice only he can hear volunteers ancient wisdom, Vatar knows he’s in trouble. After enduring an Ordeal to prove he isn’t haunted by an Evil Spirit, Vatar thinks he may be possessed after all. Or losing his mind. Or cursed.

He must hide his Talent from his magic-fearing people or face consequences that don’t bear thinking about. But he has to control it in order to keep it secret. And now he’s not sure he can. It’s enough to make him want to give up on magic altogether.

But he’s going to need all his wits—and all the magic he can muster—to defeat those who want to use him and his unique abilities for their own ends.

You know that the main conflict of this story is The Voice. What is it? What can it actually do? And what does it want? Those questions aren’t answered until the very end of the book, though hopefully there’ve been enough clues sprinkled in that the reader knows the answer before my characters overcome their blind spots and preconceptions to figure it out.

The change sounded like a great idea, mostly because it was what the source of The Voice would actually do. But I read through it again yesterday. In the execution it just falls flat. It’s not supposed to be the climax, but I don’t want it to be completely anti-climactic either.

This is where having those online backups helps. I can get back what I had before that change. I won’t be going back completely to the original version. I like some of the things that I added. And I intend to cut some of what was there in the original version. It’ll end up better.

Deadlines

This week I was reminded of a quote I heard a long time ago.

A worried investor once asked J. P. Morgan for investment advice, saying that his portfolio was keeping him up at night. Morgan’s response was “Sell down to the sleeping point.”

Well, that’s what I’m doing with my purely internal deadlines for THE VOICE OF PROPHECY.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I have every confidence that I’ll have it ready by December 15. That’s the important date and it hasn’t changed. But if I was still trying to put this up for pre-order tomorrw, I wouldn’t be sleeping. (And that just might impact my ability to finish it to my satisfaction. I don’t write as fast or as well when I’m tired.)

Partly, this is due to the rules surrounding pre-orders on Amazon. Specifically, you can’t upload new versions within ten days of the release date. That makes the deadline for having everything as perfect as I can make it December 4th, not just to finish revising and polishing the story, but to get all the formatting done, and to have a polished excerpt from Book 3 to include. (Without pre-order, I’d normally be uploading my final version on the 13th or 14th.)

A lot of it is to do with my own tendency to get a little compulsive about deadlines.

Now, I’m still planning to use pre-order and I very likely will have everything done well before the 4th. But, I’ll have a lot better chance of doing that if I’m not making myself crazy with a pre-order deadline. And as soon as I have it ready, I’ll put it up for pre-order.

Lesson: Next time, I need to plan much farther ahead for a pre-order. Amazon only made pre-orders available for self-publishers after I’d already set the release date for THE IGNORED PROPHECY. I just didn’t really have the time to set myself up for it. I’ll be better able to take it into account with the next one.

It’s not that I’m tired of revisions. Well, I am beginning to be just slightly tired of this story, but that’s normal at this phase.

No. It’s because I got to a chapter yesterday and just had to sit back in awe. It was a complete hot mess. And how many times have I been through this story?

Well, to be fair, at least part of the reason it was such a mess was those earlier revisions. I’d cut a lot of stuff surrounding these scenes. But that left me with about five mostly unrelated scenes in a single chapter. They weren’t bad scenes on their own. But they didn’t really fit together very well, either. In fact, they felt a bit like being the ball in a pinball game, bouncing off the bumpers.

So, a couple of those scenes are no more. (Don’t worry. THE VOICE OF PROPHECY is still going to be longer than THE SHAMAN’S CURSE.)

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????What information I need from those scenes will be worked in elsewhere. It’s a bit smoother now, but I’ll want to revisit that chapter before I call the revisions done.

That, and the first five or so chapters. I want to do some judicious pruning there to get to the really good parts sooner.

It’s coming along.

Blurbs

First, let me say that the release of THE VOICE OF PROPHECY is still scheduled for December 15th.

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Second, I know I said that I was targeting November 17th for the pre-order. That may not happen for a couple of reasons.

  1. I’m still assessing what information I can gather about Amazon’s pre-order system. I notice that people who generally know a lot more about how these things work than I do have chosen shorter pre-order periods. There’s a reason for this. (Maybe more than one.) It has to do with the way Amazon helps with the discoverability of some books. This was a huge factor for me with THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, and I don’t want to screw it up with this one.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The thing is, Amazon has several lists. One of them–the Hot New Releases–is only available for thirty days. As far as I can tell, that could expire before the book is ever released if I start the pre-order to early. I’m not sure about that, though. I may have to contact Amazon for a final answer. It wasn’t in their FAQs.
  2. The second reason is more practical. Before I can expect anyone to order it, I need to have a good blurb. And, like everything to do with a sequel, that’s harder than it was for the first book. Trying to balance enough information, potentially for people who didn’t read THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, with an enticing peek at this story. Well, let’s just say I may not have that by the 17th. I’m leaning toward this:

When the two kinds of magic combine, unexpected things happen.

Vatar overcame his tribe’s superstitions to accept his own magic. That doesn’t mean he’s prepared to tell them about it. He’d rather keep that secret forever. Especially when unprecedented things start to happen that even the experts in magic can’t explain.

Even more when a mysterious voice only he can hear starts volunteering information Vatar can’t possible know.

After enduring an Ordeal to prove he wasn’t possessed by an Evil Spirit, Vatar now thinks he may be after all. Or losing his mind. Or cursed. It’s enough to make him want to give up on magic altogether.

But he’s going to need all his wits—and all the magic he can muster—to defeat those who want to use him and his magic for their own ends.

But that’s not right yet. For one thing, the word “magic” is used five times in as many paragraphs. For another, it lacks enough specifics to grab a new reader. And third, some of hte references are probably confusing for someone who hasn’t read the first book.

Oh, and I also have to whip a couple of chapters from the first draft of Book 3 (probably to be titled BEYOND THE PROPHECY) into shape to include as an excerpt.

Yeah, nobody said this part was going to be easy.

Almost

I’m now on the very last chapter (for this round of revisions). That doesn’t mean it’s done. There’s still some work I need to do on it. At least two more passes, actually. More extensive revisions (but only in some parts) and a polishing edit. However, it does mean that I’m confident enough to plan dates.

So. I expect to put THE VOICE OF PROPHECY

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????up for pre-order on November 17. The pre-order price will be $0.99. With a release date of December 15 (when the price will go up).

Now, I have to polish up the blurb:

When the two kinds of magic combine, unexpected things happen.

Vatar overcame his people’s superstitions to accept his own magic. That doesn’t mean he’s prepared to tell them about it. He’d rather keep that secret forever. Especially when unprecedented things start to happen that even the experts in magic can’t explain.

Even more when a mysterious voice only he can hear starts volunteering information Vatar can’t possible know.

After enduring an Ordeal to prove he wasn’t possessed by an Evil Spirit, Vatar now thinks he may be after all. Or losing his mind. Or cursed. It’s enough to make him want to give up on magic altogether.

But he’s going to need all his wits—and all the magic he can muster—to defeat those who want to use him and his magic for their own ends.

I also need to start planning for both launches–pre-order and release. Oh, and finish those revisions by at least December 5.

Other things first:

I’m two-thirds of the way through this round of revisions on THE VOICE OF PROPHECY.

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And I’m starting to form plans for the launch. Actually, there’ll sort of be two launches–one for the pre-order and one for when it goes live. The pre-order price is going to be a good deal (probably $0.99 pre-order only). And I’ll likely plan a few other things around those same times, so stay tuned.

Prequels:

There’s quite a lot of backstory that’s never explicitly addressed in the DUAL MAGICS series, because it’s not needed there. But I know it. And it has the potential for a good story–or three (maybe four). So, there’s a pretty good chance that there might be a prequel series at some point when this series is complete that will explain things like:

  1. Why are the Valson and the Fasallon so similar when they live on opposite sides of this world?
  2. How did the Fasallon come to be the ruling class all along the coast (and up a couple of rivers)?
  3. Why do the Dardani have such a strong distrust of magic?
  4. Why do the Modgud, who are in all other ways like the Dardani (and for a reason), live in isolation on their plateau, barely interacting even with the Dardani?

In other words, what happened in the history of this world to cause all these things? Hint, it all started with one decision.

I don’t know at this point whether the prequels would be novels or shorter–novellas maybe. I’m not going to do anything more about them until this series is complete. But the possibility is out there.

Halfway Home

Revisions on THE VOICE OF PROPHECY are going well.

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In fact, I’m just about at the halfway point. It really is mostly downhill from here. Most of the revisions for this round were in the first third or so of the book. I’ve been picking up speed over the last couple of days after I passed that point.

With any kind of luck, I should be able to finish this round by mid November, maybe sooner. Which means, I’ll feel comfortable (I think) putting it up for pre-order on Amazon. Watch for it.

There’ll be a celebration of some kind at that point.

I also now have a good idea what I need to do to make the tie-in short story, “Modgud Gold”, ready. I think it’s doubtful that I’ll be able to publish that next month as I’d originally hoped. More likely sometime after the first of the year. I already have a good idea what the cover art will be.

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