Where’s The Next One?

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So I figured it was time for a bit of an update on the sequel to Rider’s Revenge.

First, yes, there will be a sequel.  (I think if there weren’t a couple of my friends might disown me for the cliff-hanger at the end of book one that I didn’t realize was a cliff-hanger when I wrote it).

Second, when?

While I was originally shooting for April, life got in the way.  I was lucky enough to write full-time last year, but in November I took on some paid work and that work turned out to be more demanding of my time than expected.  Life.  It happens.

And my perfectionist nature won’t let me put out the book until I like it.  (And my mom does.  Believe it or not she’s my toughest critic, but also biggest supporter.)

So the new goal is to get the book out by the end of June.

Why then?  Because that’s when I have one of those “what am I doing with my life?” birthdays and saying “publishing a book” seems like a pretty good answer to that question.

Sorry for the delay for anyone who was hoping it would be out sooner, but hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.

 

More of a Reader than a Speaker

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Yesterday one of my co-workers suggested that I narrate the audio version of my book.  (I mentioned how I don’t have one out yet because it’d probably run me $2,500 or so to pay for a good narrator and I’m too selfish to go the free revenue share route.)

My immediate reaction was no, because it’s challenging to get the right quality.  And it takes time.  I recorded a short story I have under another pen name about two years ago and have yet to finalize editing on it so that it can actually get published.  Recording it was fine, but going back in and getting rid of any random background noise is the challenge, and it’s a new skillset to master on top of all the others.

But there’s another reason I’d hesitate to record a 90,000-word novel.  And that’s because I’m really more of a reader than a speak.  I’m actually fairly good at talking in public, so it’s not a shyness issue, it’s a pronunciation issue.

See, I know lots of words, but most of the  fancy words I know I learned through reading not speaking.  Which means that my personal pronunciation of those words is probably very, very different from what the dictionary says it should be.

I remember when I was younger that I would read the word facade, but I never connected it to the same word I’d heard people say because my interior pronunciation was so different from the real world version.  (Think fa-kade vs fa-sade, although I’m sure a dictionary would write that differently.)  Took me about five years to realize they were the same word…

It’s rarely an issue.  Honestly, how many times do you really use oeuvre in normal conversation?  Or bon mot? But some of those words do creep their way into my writing.  And I’d hate to have some listener out there happily listening to my story and then cracking up with uncontrollable laughter when I mispronounced patois.

(Random story time.  I used to go to New York often for business.  One night I wanted to order room service.  There was a pasta on the menu called farfalle. Not pronounced far-fall as it turns out.  I asked for it and heard this dead silence on the other end of the line, so I knew I’d pronounced it wrong and the guy was just trying his hardest not to lose it.  I asked him how it was really pronounced, laughed when he pronounced it for me, and then told him I was also about to butcher the name of the glass of wine I wanted to order with it. *shrug*  Perfection really is over-rated.)

I know there’s a variety of pronunciations in the world.  Just have a New Zealander say the word six three times really fast and you’ll see what I mean.  But, really, the world does not need to be subjected to my creative interpretations of words I’ve really only ever read or written.

Writing As Weaving

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So the first draft of the sequel to Rider’s Revenge is done and sitting for a while so I can come back to it fresh, hate everything about it (or maybe just half of it), tear it apart, fix it, and send it out to my betas for a reaction.

It’s hard to write a sequel, because I know that anyone who reads it will be coming from Rider’s Revenge and expect some continuity and a smooth flow from the first story.  Which means I can’t exactly rip the book apart and go off in some completely new direction.  There is an issue that needs to be resolved and that has to be the focus of the book.

While the draft is sitting, it’s by no means fully out of my mind.  I keep thinking about the story lines and how they flow and work with one another.  (SPOILERY TALK FOLLOWS)

Like Badru.  He’s lost everything now.  His entire identity is gone.  And he has to deal with that.

But at the same time K’lrsa is moving forward because she needs to save her family.

And then there’s the politics running through the story.  Just because K’lrsa can see the harm that comes from trading with the Daliphana doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with her.  Some think that the benefits of trade–like medicines and metals–outweigh the decay in their old way of life.

And then there’s Herin and Lodie seeing one another for the first time since Herin sent Lodie away.

And K’lrsa’s mother and brother reacting to her taking off with no word about where she was going or why.  (Turns out maybe it wasn’t as obvious to them what happened…)

All these separate threads have to come together to make a cohesive whole.

Every time I write a novel I think of it as weaving the various story threads together.  If you think of them as different colors, then there has to be a balance between the different threads.  You can’t have a batch of blue in the top left and then never see it again.

But at the same time the colors all have to work together to form something beautiful and worth reading.  So not only must there be balance but they also all have to create a whole that is more than each individual piece.

So as I sit here waiting for enough time to pass until the next draft, I mentally weave the different threads of story together in my head and ask myself if I like what they create.  After a first draft, the answer is almost always no.  But that’s what revision is for.

Rider’s Revenge Now in KU

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For any Kindle Unlimited subscribers out there, Rider’s Revenge will be available through KU for the next three months.  So if you haven’t read it and want to borrow it, now’s your chance.

And if you aren’t a KU member, might be worth checking out.  There are a ton of great speculative fiction books available.  You can see some of them by checking out this promo:81149b3d-38c5-4807-b5aa-a2c03ccca808

She runs them once a month if you want to sign up and see what she comes up with each month.  She’s also running a free first in series promo on Kobo this month.

Both promos includes links if you don’t have the Kobo app or haven’t signed up for KU yet.

Plenty of good books to read while you’re waiting for the sequel to Rider’s Revenge…

Kobo Sale 30% Off

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I am happy to report that Rider’s Revenge is part of the December Kobo 30% off sale going on now through December 7th.  All you have to do is enter the code DEC30 at checkout.

I realize the holidays are a busy time and not everyone reacts to stress by reading voraciously like I do, but you can always pick it up now and read it when things settle down in January…

Just a thought.  🙂

And don’t think that you have to have a Kobo e-reader to take advantage of the deal.  You can download the Kobo app and read from your computer, tablet, or phone.  Here’s the link for that: https://www.kobo.com/apps

And here’s the link to Rider’s Revenge in the U.S. store.

(I would provide the Canadian, Australian, and UK links because my readers in those countries ROCK, but I can’t figure out how to do it.  Every time I get to the Canadian Kobo store it redirects me back to the U.S. store.  Anyone reading this who happens to live in one of those countries will have my eternal gratitude if you provide a link in the comments section.)

Also, in the U.S. at least, Rider’s Revenge is listed on the first page for the December promo under Captivating Sci-Fi and Fantasy so you can just go to the main Kobo page, click on the promo banner, and it’s right there.  Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

This is probably the best price you’ll get on Rider’s Revenge for a while, so pick it up cheap while you can.

Writing A Complex Older Female Character

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I’ll confess something before I start this post: There’s a part of me that hates to talk about my own writing.  It seems so pretentious somehow to try to tell readers what they’re reading.  Sure, I wrote the book, but once it’s written it’s really up to each individual reader how they interpret it and see the world I created.

But I’m going to talk about my writing, because, well, it seems to be the thing you do as a writer with a blog geared towards your readers.

And today’s topic is going to be about writing an older female character who is complicated and nuanced and real.

Now, when I was writing Rider’s Revenge I didn’t think to myself, “I should include a strong older female character because there isn’t enough diverse representation of older female characters in literature and I want to address that.”  Didn’t cross my mind that it was a good thing to do at all.

I’m a pantser as a writer, meaning I’m not even sure what’s going to happen next until the words hit the page.  (Those two big twists at the end of the book?  Had no clue they were coming until they happened.  The one you probably saw coming about halfway through the book?  That one I did know about going in.  Funny how that works.)

So Herin was just there when I reached that point in the story.  (And she’s actually not the only strong older female character, is she?  K’lrsa’s mom and Lodie would qualify as well.)  Without giving away too much of the story Herin is a woman with power in a society that denies all women power.  And she does it despite the fact that she was basically captive for twenty-five years and is missing the first joint on each of her fingers and her thumbs.

Is she a hag or witch like so many older women in literature? (Like this article discusses.)  There’s that aspect to her.  She didn’t reach the position she did by kissing babies and being all lovey-dovey to everyone around her.  And she does have certain unique skills.

But she’s not evil.  She’s not actively trying to harm those around her.  She’s just a woman who knows what matters to her and is willing to do what she must to make that happen or protect what she’s already accomplished.

She’s also more than her ambitions.  She loves very deeply and is loyal to the point of painfulness at times.  (At least I think so.)

Why did I write her that way?  Because that’s how people are.  They aren’t one thing.  They’re complicated and each has their own loves and losses, no matter their age or gender or ethnicity.

I like to think that every character in my novel is nuanced and a real person with multiple facets to their personality, just like all the people I know in my real life.

Did I pull it off?  I don’t know.  Only my readers can answer that question.  And I suspect that for each reader there is some particular aspect of the story that drew them in.  I probably have readers that didn’t even give Herin a second thought.

And that’s okay.  Because at the end of the day I write the story, but it’s the reader who makes the story come alive.

(I told you.  I am horrible at discussing my writing…)

50% Off On Kobo, 3 Days Only

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Looks like Kobo is running a 50% off sale on all of their KWL titles for three days only!  This should include Rider’s Revenge.  (Among 1.3 million other titles.)

So, act fast if you want to get Rider’s Revenge or any of those other titles for half off.  Starts today in the States, tomorrow in Canada, and Friday in the UK.

Click here for promo codes and date details.

What To Say?

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It turns out I am horrible at social media.  I have this blog and a twitter account for Alessandra Clarke, but I honestly don’t know what to say on them.  I spent hundreds of hours with Rider’s Revenge, what interests me about the book at this point is probably not what would interest my readers.

And, after a recent interaction with one of my writer heroes I can also say that how an author perceives a character may be very different from how a reader perceives that same character.

Which is my long-winded way of saying if there is anyone reading this blog who has read Rider’s Revenge and would like to see me talk about something in the book on the blog, please feel free to reach out and let me know.  Otherwise I’ll come up with random things to talk about that may make you shake your head.  Or think, “Was that really part of the book? How did I miss that?”

For example, as I was proofing the book that final time I kept wondering if the book was too feminist.  I’m not even sure what too feminist would even mean, but that’s writerly neurosis for you.  No one has mentioned a thing about it being the least bit feminist yet, so I think I’m actually safe on that score, but can you see now how writers sort of twist themselves up over the most obscure concerns and then can miss something really basic?

That’s me.  So, please, feel free to reach out and ask questions.  My email is aclarkewriter at gmail.  I’d love to hear from you.