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Monday, March 2, 2020

Some Tidbits on 'Automata', 'Dollhouse' Signal Boost, March E-Book Sale, Et Cetera

I know I've been talking non-stop about The Ghosts of St. Grimald Priory lately, so it's time to turn the spotlight to Automata, the second book of the Curiosities series.

Work-in-Progress: Automata

This book has been quietly moving forward, not giving me any trouble at all since the first chapter. It really does help that I already had the main story full thought out while working on Dollhouse, and I'm hoping (yes, I am!) this smooth progress will also pave the way for a fleshed-out story idea for a third installment (already titled Eidolon).

If you've read Dollhouse, this book follows the adventures of Alexej Sauveterre after his disaster at a ball in St. Jude (set in Bohemia). His family immediately pulls him out of the social scene and whisks him over to the family mansion in what would be an AU Venice. Alexej is sickly, so the idea is to help him recover from his heartbreak and restore his health in a familiar but distant part of the world from his real home.

And like St. Jude, San Marco also has its guardians, but they're not wolves. Think Venice, think Carnival, think masquerades, and you'll have it. I'll probably share more down the line, but at the moment, I be holding back, yo. In Dollhouse, it's St. Wenceslaus who summons the guardian wolves down from the Nohtis Mountains whenever a supernatural threat is perceived anywhere in Bohemia. In Automata, it's the winged lion (St. Mark) who calls the city's guardians for the same purpose.

Because Dollhouse also heavily relies on folklore motifs (which is why I tweaked the series description on the Book Page), I'm trying to work a bit harder to weave those seamlessly into the story's patterns, if you will. It's one thing to set the story in a landlocked city surrounded by legendary mountains; it's another entirely when the city's standing alone (at least in the case of San Marco, which is at a greater distance from the mainland compared to Venice). So there's more of a challenge in this case, but it's not impossible by any stretch.

The book's currently halfway finished, and so far I'm pretty happy with the way things are shaping up. I'm targeting November for this novel's publication. If things get too hectic from my end because of the holidays, the date may move to December, which will also nicely cap this year with a January, June, and December release calendar.

This book's concurrently being written with The Ghosts of St. Grimald Priory, and I anticipate them both to be done at around the same time. I'll be focusing on revisions and edits for St. Grimald first since it'll be published in the summer.

New Releases / Current Releases

Dollhouse is available in both e-book and print formats. For the main book page, go here, and the links will take you to different online stores for copies of the e-book. The print book is currently published through Amazon's print program, and the book page for that is over here.

This book is the first volume of a new series, Curiosities, and as I type this, the second book is roughly halfway finished, while a possible third volume is still percolating.

March E-Book Sale: Ambrose

And for the month of March, we have the first book of the Dolores series on sale for 99 cents. Compared to the subsequent books in this series, which are long novellas, Ambrose is a novel. This book introduces readers to the fictional city of Dolores in California, and the series itself is the contemporary version of the Arcana Europa.

So basically it's modern-day California that's also highly influenced by magic in all its forms, and elements from the otherworld affect everyone's lives in some way or another. Leander Caron meets Efrain Thorley, who's a sorcerer-hunter, while staying at a room in an old house owned by a sweet and friendly widow who's painting portraits of her deceased husband, Ambrose. And as it sometimes happens, weird things take place in the old house, and Efrain suspects Leander's in danger the longer he stays there.

Future Releases

Heads up! I'm getting ready to have my rights reverted back to me for the entire Masks series. All books are currently available through JMS Books, LLC, and I hung on to the hybrid publishing model for as long as I could while I got myself fully situated as an indie author. Now I'm ready to welcome those books back to the fold.

The way I have things planned out, I'll be releasing the original trilogy in one omnibus version with no individual books available for Rise of Heroes, Evolution, and Ordinary Champions. Then each subsequent book in the series will be relaunched as individual volumes. I already have a mock-up of the cover art for the original trilogy put together. I'll be posting updates here once the wheels are in motion (along with the new cover art).

Miscellaneous Stuff

Nothing much to report from my end, really, as I'm still "grounded" with my hand being the way it is. I did have a good meeting with the nurse, who changed the dressings but kept the splint, which is bulky, but next week I'll be getting one that'll allow me more movement. Pain's a lot better, though there's still some discomfort and a slight stabbing pain focused on the affected joint, and all of that happens intermittently.

And contrary to what my co-workers might think, I'm hardly on Netflix while waiting out my leave and am reading like a loon. Mostly? I'm taking full advantage of the holiday special that Amazon had on Kindle Unlimited, so I've been borrowing book after book and discovering potential new authors to follow down the line. I did cancel the subscription, and I've got about half a month to go before KU expires for me, so I'm doubling down on my reading.

There are two movies I finally rented on streaming:


Way overdue with Crimson Peak, and I finally get to see it. I'm here for the lush visuals and the atmosphere, plus Del Toro's a fave of mine.


Knives Out - what can I say? I'm a sucker for mysteries - classic whodunits and cozies, especially - and I missed the theatrical release because of work. I doubt if I'll be renting more films as I'm much more inclined to read for relaxation than to watch anything. I'm also way more likely to check out escapist stuff than issue-focused movies. I'd love to see Parasite, for instance, but it's a heavy-hitting movie that I need to be in the right frame of mind for. It is on my watch list, though. I might be able to get into it regardless, but I won't force it.

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