Monday, February 3, 2014

Two-Book February

Well, I haven't posted much lately, but there hasn't been much going on in the writing front in the last few weeks. But February is a two-book month, so here we go.

So the good thing is not only do I have two books coming out this month, but they are a couple of the best books I've written.

I've been in the midst of publishing a Young Adult series. It started with Mary of the Aether, which was the first novel I ever published. It came out in the summer of 2012, and for a while it just sort of sat around, selling a few copies here and there.

Last year, some cool things happened with Mary of the Aether when it was put on the recommended reading list for a regional conference called So Many Book, So Little Time. This got the book (and me) some attention for a while. As a result, I did a few writing workshops and special appearances at public schools in the area. That was fun.

The sequel, Mary of Shadows, came out last summer. Now, here's my honest perspective on both of these novels. Mary of Aether was my first novel, and the pacing is a little bit off. I think the characters are distinctive and believable, the setting is memorable, but the tension sort of ebbs and flows instead of building at a steady pace.

I correct this problem in Mary of Shadows, I believe. The tensions mounts consistently throughout, and once you hit about the halfway point of the novel, it's pretty intense all the way to the end.

Perhaps the one drawback of Mary of Shadows is that it has to introduce a lot of concepts and present a lot of information as an essential setup for books three and four. To be more specific, I am world-building and establishing a kind of multiverse as a context for the overall story, as well as establishing concrete rules for all of the magical stuff. None of this is supposed to be reflective of my actual, specific cosmological views. It just gives Mary's reality a sense of consistency.

Anyway, now book three, Mary of Starlight, is out, and all of the information presented in book two starts to pay off. Mary of Starlight is without question the most tightly plotted of the books. It is also quite epic, considering this book series began as just a small-town story with a dash of magic. Book three is quite a bit more intense than book two because it is able to springboard off the previous setup.

That's my feeling, anyway. Now, book four, the concluding volume of the series, which is called Mary of Cosmos, will end the series with massive epic-ness. It comes out in September. It's interesting how this series begins so small and ends so huge.The challenge of getting increasingly epic, of course, is trying not to lose sight of the characters and that small town feel. I think--I hope--I have succeeded in that.

Anyway, Mary of Starlight is the first novel coming out this month. It's already available as an e-book, and the print version should be out in a few weeks.

The second novel coming out in February is called Children of the Mechanism. I won't talk about it too much right now since this blog entry is already huge, but I do believe it is probably the best thing I've ever written. I say that relative only to my own works. I don't know how it stacks up against other writers.

It is, however, quite dark and bleak at times, and the characters go through an exhausting amount of suffering. I hope people will stick with it, though, because I think it's the kind of story that will linger. And, hey, even the editor said the last chapters of the book made her "very emotional."

Anyway, that'll be out in a few weeks, and now I shall end this very long rambling discourse.


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