My Immediate Plans . . . (Including an upcoming release)

It’s about time for things to start getting ridiculously busy for me again. It’s not like things ever stop being busy, considering I have (what feels like) fifty million things to do. Sometimes I stop for a few seconds and sort of take stock on everything I’ve got going on book-wise and it usually results in either me shaking my head at myself or *handface*ing.

Many of you (may) know that I’d completely finished writing two separate series before I started a blog. By the time I released Reave, I’d also finished writing a trilogy on top of that. I’m so glad I did things that way because I now have two different story lines I can release from. (We’re not including the first series I wrote, though I have been putting some major thought into getting that releasable. But I’ll admit I haven’t touched it in a couple years and whether or not I’m even capable of getting it releasable is . . . questionable.) So yeah, I’m glad I did things this way. Things got so hectic after releasing the first book and I just don’t have the time for writing that I used to. (To prove my point, I’m still working on finishing up this new series (8). I started on it in February and this has been the longest length of time it’s taken me to get the first drafts finished of something I work on consistently. Again, I’m not including the first series I wrote because I didn’t have a clue in the world as to what I was doing until it was already done. Whether or not I found a clue after the fact is even debatable.)

It gets a bit (a bit is a major under-exaggeration) overwhelming at times, especially because I function best when focusing on one specific thing until it’s finished before moving on to the next. With so many different things (and ‘projects’) going on at once . . . it gets hard. I’m constantly having my attention jerked from one thing to the other then back again. Almost all of it is due to necessity. I’ll want to work on one thing while needing to work on another. (‘Oh. You want to write? Well, that’s too bad. Don’t you remember that you’re trying to get this released? That means you have to work on this again. And when you’re done with that, you should probably go through the rest of the series one more time. When you’re done with that, you should probably go through this other series. Then there’s cover art, and beta-reading, and making changes, and formatting, etc. etc. etc. When all that is done, you can get back to writing.’ . . . . . ‘That’s going to take months.’ . . . . . ‘Yes, it is.’)

That’s the way it goes . . . roundabout. (Not to mention social stuff.)

Anyway, it’s one of those times again, for the focus-shift.

Book 1 of the trilogy? Well, that’s the focus as of right now. I’d planned on releasing it after the third in the Reave Series. (The plan was: RS1, RS2, RS3, T1, RS4, T2, T3) Plans change. Now, it’s: RS1, RS2, T1, RS3, RS4, T2, T3 . . . That’s also subject to change, but as of now, that’s the plan.

If you keep up with my WITW? page, you might know that releasing T1 (or if you’re going by that, S4, B1) was a priority for me. It’s been in the beta-reading phase for a while now. A few days ago, I contacted my cover artist. (Claudia at Phatpuppyart.) We’re going to start working on the cover here shortly. That’s always so exciting.

I’d planned on having everything ready much sooner than what it is, but as I said about plans . . . Well, they don’t always work out the way you intend. They rarely seem to. So many aspects of publishing are totally out of the author’s control, and that’s something that’s taking me a while to (mentally) grasp hold of. I mean, I have all these books ESSENTIALLY waiting to go, but they still need stuff. Many of them still need to go through the beta-reading phase. I wanted to get ahead of this because scrambling before releases is . . . . . . . . not ideal. I’ve scrambled before both of mine so far and it’s horrible. It’s so stressful. Looks like this is going to be another scrambler.

I’m planning on releasing the first in the trilogy around mid-December. As I said the last time I gave a projected release date . . . please do not hold me to that. That’s when it will be put out if I can manage to get it completely ready by that point. I’m definitely going to need some crossed fingers to manage it, so if you have some fingers to spare and some time to waste by crossing them for me . . . that would be great.

I’ve been asked several times about the next in the Reave Series and when it’s going to be released. I unfortunately don’t have a set enough answer for that to give one. If you read my initial post about the piracy of Reave, then you know a lot of that (it taking a while to release these books that are ready) is due to finances. In order to release that one, there needs to be another photo shoot. I’m planning on having the photo shoots for 2 (possibly 3) covers simultaneously, so it’s going to run on the expensive side. (Books 3 & 4, and a possible stand-alone that I nearly have finished (at least the first draft).) Like certain things with time being out of my hands, having enough funds to cover that is totally out of my hands. I’ve spent quite a while cutting back on as much as I possibly can to manage releasing these books, and there’s really only so much that I can do. I really don’t like saying this sort of stuff on here, but it’s the truth. When it reaches the point that I have a more set answer for this and when the others will be released, this will be the first place I share as much (publicly). I really can’t even tell you how badly I wish I could get that fourth book out. Anyway. I wish I had better news in that regard.

BUT. I am excited about releasing from the trilogy. I’m nervous as all get-out about it, but I really am excited. I might blog more in-depth about this sometime relatively soon, so stay on the lookout for that.

So yeah. I might not be on here too often while I’m trying to get this ready. Not saying I won’t be, only that I might not. It all depends on time and whatever busyness is going on at whichever point in it.

Poor Series 8, getting put on the back burner again. I’ll finish that one up eventually.

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Action vs. Thought: Meet the Reapers

As promised, I’ll be doing an entry today about the assassins living in the world of the Reave series: Reapers. Though the MC is not one, the entire series basically revolves around them – the things they do, the situations they bring about, what they cause, how all of it is dealt with. So, I can just as easily say the series is about assassins as I can say it’s a story of self-discovery. It all just depends on how you look at it and if you’re focusing on the growth of the MC, or the story as a whole.

(At the risk of starting this off in a confusing manner, I’ll say there are two named ‘categories’ I suppose, both of them beginning with the letter R. It can get a bit O.o, but . . . it happens.)

Maybe I should set up the world a little, to put the Reapers and their place in it into perspective. There are ‘cities’ (don’t think skyscrapers, just large places where many people are – it was just the word used). They have different ways of running, though that doesn’t come into play until later, as the MC is only in one and clearly couldn’t know how all of them function. Anyway, the only thing tying all of them together is the existence of Reapers. Every city has them, every city uses them for whatever purposes (clearly fun purposes, right?).

As I said in the last entry (Inspiration: One Word), there are no guns. With Reaper being the word that started it all, it completely started with them. I began getting a clear view of them before I sat down and started writing the MC. There were things I wanted from them, and things I didn’t want. No guns. It’s scary to think a person could shoot you from however far off and you could fall over dead at any moment that way, but scarier (in my opinion) by far when they come for you. I like the thought of having to literally face your own demons – mortality, judgment, consequences, etc. So, in a way, they’re the physical manifestation of a lot of things that may typically only take place inside a person’s head. And I love that – the symbolism and all.

It’s not just about killing with them. They train their entire lives, not only to kill, but to deceive – to infiltrate, adapt, blend, prevail, move on, repeat.

I don’t want to say it, but deception is the basis of the entire series. It’s a terrifying thing, I think, attempting to trust people. I’m not talking ‘I trust you to be somewhere when you say you will be’ . . . I’m talking ‘I trust you with my life’. Because how could you really trust a person with that? And I think a lot of that is getting into whether or not we can ever really trust ourselves, with everything, all the time. I don’t want to get into that because the rambling I could do about it isn’t relevant enough here.

One thing I want to point out is part of the title: Action vs. Thought.

Despite ‘assassins’ (enough said there) . . . action was not the point of it to me. It’s the thought involved – why, what it all does. As much as I’m not immune to the excitement of a good explosion, I don’t like thoughtless violence. I don’t like the thought that violence is inflicted with no personal consequences that follow – the guilt of having to live with it, to attempt accepting it, to try carrying on. You can try escaping the reality that it would – or should – affect a person, even in a book, but I think that’s such a shame. Not to mention how large an injustice it is. I wanted the Reapers to be as real as I could make them – sometimes seemingly heartless, sometimes broken, haunted, but always flawed. We’re all flawed enough, but to do the things they do . . . they would have to be. If you could break someone’s neck and feel absolutely nothing . . . you need some help.

I guess I can add here that some of the Reapers in the series need some help. (In a lot of ways.)

Obviously characters get injured and/or die in the series, despite the focus. Come on now. Assassins. Don’t expect it right out of the gate. I’m sorry, but it’s not a bloodbath from the get-go. Every bit of action, every attack, every injury, every death, every anything like that has a purpose. It’s not there if it isn’t needed, even if it would make it SO MUCH MORE entertaining. And trust me, there are some things along those lines that I WISH I could take out (you have no idea how badly), but . . . I can’t.

Putting my horrible writing aside, the one thing I will always be disappointed with myself in is the Reapers. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t quite get them onto paper the way I saw them in my head. I can explain them from my perspective, of course. I can explain them and cause nightmares (that actually happened, oddly enough), but it’s different when you’re writing through the eyes of another ‘person’. They look at things the way they look at things, see what they see, and you can’t change that without changing the person (character). I couldn’t change the MC any more than I could change you sitting there reading this right now. People are who they are.

Anyway. Moving on.

I personally have an aversion to knives (though I do have some and have played with swords once or twice . . . [I don’t advise that, by the way]), so just the thought of people running around almost covered in them – and knowing how to/being fine with using them – makes my skin crawl. That alone is enough to creep me out a decent amount, but it’s the way they behave that is the most unsettling thing about them. They’re just . . . off.

As much as I love the MC in Reave (I’m firm that she’ll always be my favorite, and I’ve written quite a few), the Reapers will always be at the top of the food-chain when it comes to my favorite things I’ve written. There doesn’t need to be endless action with them. It’s not how they are. They go in, do their jobs, and move on. But I will say that when more of them come out to play later on . . . it gets interesting. Especially when they aren’t playing nice and are just playing. And they’re always playing something, it’s just a matter of whichever way works for whichever situation.

I just love them – trying to figure out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it (I LOVED writing this series). I might be a bit biased about that, but . . . they’re very complex. Nothing is ever simple when they’re involved, and I like it that way. I like things being hidden in books, and having to think. I don’t enjoy things being tied up nice and neat with a pretty little bow. (More on that at a later date.)

It would’ve been a totally different thing if I’d focused on the action with them (which could’ve been possible, I suppose, and I’ll probably do a spin-off for my own amusement at some point), but I would’ve hated it for this. It wouldn’t have done justice to it or to them, or to the uncertainty of life as a whole. Maybe I just like philosophizing about life and wondering why. Who knows? That translated to this series, I think, and it is what it is.

I just hope someone out there appreciates the Reapers for what they are – sneaky little devils. 🙂