Saturday, August 1, 2020

August E-Book Sales: 'Banshee' and 'The Book of Lost Princes'

Hello, August! It's my birthday month, hence my choice for the e-books now available for 99 cents. Behold!

was the third book I debuted (simultaneously with a couple of others, I mean) as a gay YA writer back in 2008. It was, I admit, my favorite of those debut titles because it came the closest to the kind of novel I've always been in love with. Historical gothic romances, but this time, the MC is a gay young man who comes to terms with his nature and discovers love for the first time.

Like Icarus in Flight, it was an attempt at hewing close to realistic historical fiction, but unlike Icarus in Flight, there's that element of fantasy woven through, and it's a supernatural element that doesn't get rationalized away (i.e., a figment of Nathaniel's imagination and the effects of the growing rift happening in his family). Natty tries to, of course - desperately, even, but the existence of the ghost and its link to him is never really fully explained with clarity.

The supernatural simply is, and I like that. Natty's coming-of-age in this novel is bittersweet in many ways, but he emerges stronger and happier, and for this final edition of the book, I wrote an epilogue to clearly lay out his happy and love-filled future. Our young man gets his HEA, yes, and since it wasn't so obvious in previous editions of the book, it is now. I made sure of it.

And as for the anthology that's close to my heart, it would be The Book of Lost Princes, a collection of original gay YA fairytale novellas. I absolutely enjoyed the process of writing novellas (still do, really) and while the stories were originally published as individual titles, I figured an anthology would provide readers with a much fuller immersion in the worlds I created. 

The original edition of the anthology contained Benedict, The Weeping Willow, and Grave's End. I was at first hoping to follow that with a second anthology of more original gay YA fairytale novellas when I wrote Ansel of Pryor House, but stuff happened, life happened, and my focus was scattered, so nothing more came after that novella was published.

Now that I have all my rights back, however, I decided to release the anthology with Ansel of Pryor House included, so it won't be homeless. I also dusted off the old, abandoned idea of putting together another anthology like this, but with life turning out the way it did, I'm simply doubling down on two new series and nothing else.

That said, I consider Curiosities to be the grown-up follow-up to The Book of Lost Princes since each novel in the series is heavily folklore-influenced, so at least I'm able to fulfill a part of my promise to myself, anyway.

As always, thank you for buying my books, and I hope you enjoy them and let others know. Reviews are always greatly appreciated.

In other news, I've completed and uploaded the ultimate and final version of Automata. I'm now free to move on with Eidolon while going back and tackling the first round of revisions and edits for Agnes of Haywood Hall. Huzzah, huzzah, and all that jazz.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

'Agnes of Haywood Hall' is Done (Plus Final Weekend Push for July E-Book Sale)

Awesome news - Agnes of Haywood Hall is finished, first draft-wise. I got the book done sooner than planned (originally had it marked for a mid-August completion then end of July), but the lightness and low angst nature of the novel made the writing process go much faster than anticipated.

By the time I'm done with this, it'll be a touch shorter than The Ghosts of St. Grimald Priory, but still inside my ideal length for an epistolary novel, which is shorter compared to my other books (55K-60K). The unexpected early completion of the first draft is also convincing me to follow the three-book-per-year release schedule, which has been a pretty standard one for me as of late.

Originally my plan was to give this book a spring release (April) and then the next Curiosities book a fall release (October). With my work and writing schedule being streamlined (somehow it happened, and I'm able to keep to it), I'm now looking at a winter (February), summer (June), and fall (October) publishing schedule as long as I'm strict with the writing calendar I set up for myself.

It helps greatly having a book completed six months before the actual publication date since it allows me more time to clean it up and then move forward with the next book without feeling the kind of pressure I used to feel getting stuff out there in well under that time frame.

I'm also guessing this lockdown situation plus the overriding grimness of the state of the world is also affecting my progress, i.e., there's no fun stuff to be distracted with (sadly) besides books and streaming films, and my attention's shrunk to the size of my day-to-day activities and nothing more beyond that. So the march forward with any WIP is unrelenting with no space for anything else.

Admittedly, I'm also feeling much more relieved than jubilant the way I used to when I finish a new book, which sucks, but that's how current affairs are affecting me. I used to post a celebratory disco video after the first draft of a novel's done, but not anymore. It's like a determined, razor-sharp focus on what I'm going to do next without any extraneous crap anywhere.

So! Here's the publication schedule for 2021:

February - Agnes of Haywood Hall (Ghosts and Tea #2)
June - Eidolon (Curiosities #3)
October - (still untitled - Ghosts and Tea #3)

The calendar will continue to follow an alternating sequence between the two series I'm focusing on. February of 2022 will see the release of a Curiosities installment, etc.

And to close, this is a final weekend push for the July e-book sales I have going! Both Icarus in Flight and Children of Hyacinth are only 99 cents each. I posted a bit of background stuff on both books over here, so trundle on over and check them out if you're considering purchasing either or both books and want to know a wee bit more about them.

Come August (my birthday month, hey!), two new books will be taking their place.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Charging Down the Home Stretch (Oh, and 'The Old Guard' Rocks!)

Yes, it's been a while, but I've been pretty busy with work and with writing. The good news is that I'm down the home stretch with Agnes of Haywood Hall, and looking at the notes I put together for the final chapters of the book, it's safe to say that I'm on track to keep things well within target.

Twenty-five chapters are my aim for this book, and I'm at twenty-two now, which means I'll be done with the first draft by the end of July or the first weekend of August. So yay! August will be spent revising this book, submitting the final version of Automata, and getting started with the opening chapter(s) of Eidolon.

In other news, I watched The Old Guard the day it dropped, and I can't wait to dive back in and re-watch it. It's one hell of a ride though the plot does follow a familiar one (an origin story and the usual beats involving immortals and those who want to abuse them for money). What raises it well above other stories in the same genre, however, is the way every character is humanized so that viewers can easily root for them.

They're immortal, but they have an expiration date all the same, and I won't say anything more about the movie regarding that for fear of bad spoilers. There's even an overtly portrayed gay relationship with Joe and Nicky, and I was thrilled to learn that the original writer made it very clear that the gay relationship must be explored in the movie as he'd written it. No coy references, no off-camera or blink-and-you'll-miss-it treatment of the men's romance.

It's not given a sordid treatment, either, with Gina Prince-Bythewood infusing the relationship with a tenderness that's apparently her signature (I haven't seen her other films before, and I should rectify that). Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, and Luca Marinelli are badasses in their badass roles, and having Chiwetel Ejiofor there, even in a supporting role, equals a roaring great time. It's violent and bloody without being gratuitous, too. I can handle that shit - not gore for gore's sake.

Strong characterization, a lot of heavy and bittersweet issues that usually dog immortality, great performances by everyone involved - I absolutely loved the movie. And because it's a Netflix original, it won't be pulled from Netflix's lineup, and I can go back and watch the hell out of it over and over again.

A lot of people are hoping that Marvel Studios would snap up Charlize Theron for a superhero movie, but as much as I love the MCU, I don't want to see her be a part of it. I love seeing her be a full-on ass-kicker in smaller, more independent films (or something big but less popular than the Marvel-made films like Mad Max: Fury Road) because she has a very specific presence that lends itself to more daring and less child-friendly fare.

I can't see anyone else but her for Atomic Blonde, for instance. I just can't. So, yes - massive, massive girl crush on Ms. Theron, and I hope to see more of her in the future, action film or otherwise.