ROW80 Update, and Random Musings

So, this is my first Round of Words update.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot to say. The ROW80 FAQ looks for tangible results, so all that daydreaming I’ve done about where my plot will go doesn’t count, right? 🙂

Seriously, I’ve not done too bad. This week I wrote close to 2500 words–I forgot to get an exact count, but my story was around 1000 a few days ago and is 3500 now–and finished the first rough draft of one part of my project, tentatively titles Succor. I also corrected some plot holes, I think…and in the process, sort of wrote myself into a corner. The ending of my story now makes a bit more sense, but I’ve added what will turn out to be a major plot point in a later part of the project. Mental note to follow up on that.

So, considering that I released two books in the last seven days, I think ~2500 is pretty good. Here’s to keeping up the pace. By my calculations, reaching 32000 in the time I have left is only an average of 470 words a day, so I’m on track.

While we’re on the topic, I thought I’d describe my project a bit more…clearly.

Tapestry is the working title of a nine part project (series) which takes place in the world of Tornum, where my short story The Astrologers, is set–but a few hundred years earlier. The basic setup is this: the Ozym are a hard people who live in a land of deserts, mountains, and little else. They’re rich in wealth, metals and (steampunkish) technology, but are wasting their resources otherwise–they’re a starving people, and need help.

Then there’s the Toral, a more agrarian people steeped in faith, religion, and dogma. They’re a deeply spiritual people, but their Hierophantic religious caste has grown decadent and useless–their religion is more a “matter of course” than anything, though there are those who long for their faith to be affirmed.

The warlike Ozym want what the Toral have–resources–and through the conniving of a young ambitious page of the court, are willing to take it by force. A war is inevitable, but there’s much more at stake than food for the people and religious freedom–and powers at work that neither race suspects.

As I’ve described elsewhere, the project will encompass three phases:

  1. Phase One: four collections of four stories, each centering on a different viewpoint leading up to the conflict. Court of Sand is first, and features the Ozym; Court of Rain follows with the Toral; Court of Slyphs concerns the Four Hierophants, and Court of Tinder leads to the call of war.
  2. Phase Two: four novellas, as yet untitled, each focusing on a different side of the war. The Ozym, Toral and Hierophants all get their own feature again, and the fourth will cover the actual conflict.
  3. Phase Three: A stand-alone–but intricately linked–novel focusing on the journey of a young Toral page-turned-prophet, Tobias Osir, as he struggles to find meaning and salvation for his people. This one is further down the line, but will serve as the basis of the mythology I’ve drawn up for the world of Tornum.

The whole point behind this project–and the reason it’s called Tapestry–that that each segment of the project will link to another in a way that’s more than just chronological. The aforementioned Succor takes place as the Yziman Emperor is discussing terms with the Toral Queen; the second story in Court of Rain will look at it from her point of view. Items that are hinted at in one story will be explored in another, and questions here will be answered elsewhere.

All in all, the story will feature magic, technology, and alchemy while attempting to discuss issues of racism, class disparity, and spirituality. It’s been in my head for a good long time, and I’m loving that I’ve finally found an outlet for it. I expect the entire project to take at least a full year to write, and maybe around 332,000 words.

Fortunately I’ve got the ROW80 community at my back keeping me accountable and providing inspiration!

Last Minute Changes

The Astrologers

Update: It appears that something has gone amiss with either the uploading of the file or the conversion process Kobo puts the book through; when you turn the page all you see is the cover. The file debugged fine, but still isn’t working, so I’m de-listing it until we can fix the issue.

So we’re just over a week away from the release of my first official eBook–save the date on October 23, where you’ll be able to pick it up at the Kobo store and Amazon. I’m working on putting it through Smashwords as well, but that may take a bit longer–they have a different submission process, which we’ll talk about soon.

But! There’s been a slight change in plans.

A friend pointed out that the four stories I intended to put into the collection–one fantasy and three horror/weird fiction–don’t fit together thematically. I’d thought it wouldn’t matter, seeing as The Astrologers (my fantasy tale) would be offered separately anyway as a freebie. But her point was that it muddles the branding, which is a very important thing to consider when making a first impression on a reader.

It reminded me of an article I read recently about JK Rowling, and the release of her most recent book, The Casual Vacancy. The post on MarsDorian.com talked about the unfortunate mistake in branding; people bought it expecting more of the same YA fantasy fun–but got a raunchy book filled with sex, drugs, and profanity. It’s all very well and good for a writer to branch out, says Dorian, but Rowling’s foundation as a YA author was so solid that young people are buying the book without even reading the dust jacket.

Which is all besides the point for me. The point is, selling a fantasy story alongside a few horror stories doesn’t really make sense. So I’m going in another direction.

The Astrologers will be released as early as tomorrow, and will remain a stand-alone short story. Instead of offering the horror stories alongside it, I’ve included a preview of Court of Sand, the first release of my upcoming Tapestry series–which takes place in the same world as The Astrologers, albeit a few centuries earlier. That makes a lot more sense.

(Update: There was apparently a mix-up at the Kobo Store; although I set the release date for October 16, it came out this morning. There’s no sense in taking it down, so you can get it here. Did I mention it’s free?)

But I’m not ditching the other stories!

The Ancestor and Other Stories will be released on October 23, as planned, for $1.99. This is a collection of three stories from the same genre, which makes it more cohesive. I still want to be writing in the horror/weird genre, but separating them from the fantasy books at least allows readers the choice between them, if they don’t like one or the other. Call it diversifying the product.

You’ve heard all about The Astrologers by now, perhaps even read the first draft on this blog. Over the course of this week, we’ll take a look at the stories in The Ancestor in anticipation of the release.

Finally, you may ask: what about the promise of a free copy of The Astrologers and Other Stories if you sign up for my Community List before October 23? You’ll still get them, but they’ll be two separate eBooks. Plus, you’ll receive the complete first draft of Court of Sand as an added bonus within the next couple weeks! But the offer will only last until the official release, so sign up now!

(Since the release of The Astrologers happened a bit earlier than anticipated, those of you who signed up for the list will receive their copy sometime within the next 24 hours).