I'm currently writing this on day two of my wife's and my stint with Covid, so no preamble this time. We're just going to jump right in.

To Burn All Belief

Last month, my newsletter was written in record time – 18 minutes. This month, I'm happy to report that an entire second draft was written in record time! 30 days!

Somehow, it took me longer to read the first draft than to revise it. 😂 Make it make sense. Hint: you can't.

To put this in context, the second draft of An Ocean of Others took about 7 months to complete. Granted, I was a complete novice back then, and that second draft required a full rewrite of the story. (Trust me when I tell you this, the first draft was BAD. Like...egregiously bad.) So maybe a more apt comparison would be to the third draft – that still took over 3 months.

Suffice to say, we were speeding along this time thanks to encroaching deadlines. With the power of procrastination, I got the book done right on time to be only three months late.

Yeah... I remember when I was supposed to finish this draft and send it off to my editor in August. Didn't happen! But that's okay – it's in her hands now, as well as the hands of six alpha readers. Now I get to sit back and wait for some feedback so I know what needs fixing for the third draft!

That'll be some time yet, so until then...

What's Next?

A grab bag of possibilities, really. First things first, I need a bit of a break to recuperate from the all-out sprint that was October. Catching Covid wasn't exactly the kind of reward I was looking for after finishing, but alas. What can you do?

My brain completely shuts down whenever I don't have anything to work on, so a "break" in this case means "working on some other stuff for a while." Some home improvement and maintenance I've been neglecting. Giving my website an overhaul. Organizing files on my compu....com....zzzz.... Wha–? Oh sorry, I fell asleep on you there, that was so boring.

You're here for the writing updates, not to hear about which color paint I'm going to pick for my hallway bathroom! So here are the writing-related tasks I'm stewing over. I don't know how long until I need to start the third draft of To Burn All Belief, so I'll probably work on a mix of all of these, as they strike my fancy.

Grave of the Waiting Revisions

The sci-fi horror has been on hiatus since May, so I think it's time to get this going again. My plan is to just bulk-revise everything using the same process I did for To Burn All Belief – clearly it's much faster than whatever I was doing before. Once that's done, I'll be releasing several chapters a month until the story is complete!

I also want to get the eBook and paperback ready, but probably won't have time to finish that before I need to switch gears back to the Sibling Suns.

Sibling Suns 3

Look at that sad little progress bar. It's been sitting like that for probably...oh, I dunno. 2 and a half years? Too long, I say!

Now that To Burn All Belief is written, I have a really good idea of where each character's story is going, enough that I'm just about ready to start laying out parts of the outline. Like with Sibling Suns 2, I'll need to sit down and do some worldbuilding for several key aspects of the story (last time it was The Peeker Mounds and Paceeqi culture & religion). Once that's done, I can really get that progress bar moving.

An Ocean of Others Hardcover

This is something that I could have put together relatively quickly, but I've been holding off for a while. Mainly because I don't want this to just be the An Ocean of Others paperback with a hard exterior.

My plans here are to include a revamped interior and exterior format with new art (some of which is already commissioned), new maps, chapter icons, and a revised version of the three short stories in Tales of the Sibling Suns.

Ideally, I want something that feels premium with lots of art but that's priced as a standard hardcover. I'll be taking my time with this to make sure it's quality!

Indie Book Reviews (and Interviews?)

I've been negligent in reviewing the self-published books I've read over the past few months. Reviews are a huge deal for indie authors – they're the best way you can support us and help us introduce our work to new readers. (Incidentally, if you loved An Ocean of Others, consider leaving me an Amazon review!)

But I find reviews pull from the same well of energy as writing first drafts does for me. They're never something I want to just throw together in a few minutes (even though that's perfectly valid, just not my preference for how to write reviews). So, while I've been working on To Burn All Belief, I just haven't been writing reviews – even though I've loved many of the books I read!

Books I owe a review include:
* Eleventh Cycle by Kian Ardalan
* Gunmetal Gods by Zamil Akhtar
* Curse of the Fallen by HC Newell
* Forbidden Realms by HC Newell
* The Fear of Moncroix by Bryan Asher

Now that the book is out of my hands, I can spend some more time on reviews, which I'll be sure to post to my site. You can find them all under the indie-review tag.

Speaking of reviews...

SPFBO9 Semi-Finalist

It was a huge honor to learn that An Ocean of Others was chosen as a semi-finalist in SPFBO9 by the Fantasy Faction judging team!

This is the optimal badge placement.

Here's what they said about the book:

"This is a fast paced story full of adventure, banter, monsters, mysteries, and magic! It’s on the darker side, not a really grim read, but dark and entertaining."

"Our judges were quickly hooked by the wild mix of characters, who had enough nuances and backstory to feel real. The snark and banter was especially entertaining to read and a strong suit of the story!"

"I really enjoyed the ending of this story and especially the scene where the title of this novel comes into play. For a debut author, I think this book is quite commendable."

You can see the rest of their semi-finalist and finalist picks along with some mini-reviews for each on the Fantasy Faction site:

Shafts of golden light drip down into the darkness below. In front of them is a golden burnished plaque with the words: Fantasy-Faction's SPFBO #9 Semi-Final Ranks & Round One Finalist.

That leaves just 10 finalists for Phase 2 of SPFBO9, all of which are so different from one another and bring their own spin on the genre to the table. This mix of books really speaks to the incredible strength and diversity in the indie fantasy publishing community!

Incidentally, I've been playing around with livestreaming on X (née Twitter) – just playing video games in my downtime for now, but I want to use it for more bookish things in the future.

If you've been following SPFBO9 on X, you've probably seen a bunch of authors doing first chapter readthroughs and critiques for all 300 books in the competition. I admire their dedication, for it's something I dearly lack.

Instead, inspired by them, I'll be livestreaming my first chapter readthroughs for each of the 10 finalists. My goal is to give a blind reaction to each story, see if any of them are ones I'd like to continue (highly likely at least a few are), and give some thoughts about their writing – all in good spirit of course.

Maybe it'll be stupid, maybe it'll be fun! Who knows? I hope you'll join me and find out! Maybe you'll be hooked by one of the intros and pick up a copy yourself!

That just leaves one last thing for this month's update. Oh yes.

Nazgul Pics

Your prescribed dose of Nazgul! This month has been a challenge, as we've had to pull him out of daycare. It was just too soon for him to start attending – he started having accidents indoors and barking at, well... literally everyone and everything. All because he picked up on pack behavior at the daycare. Now that he's home with us more often, he's a good boy again.

Oh, who am I kidding? He's always been a good boy. Just a very, very loud good boy.

That does it for this month! I'll see you in December with... maybe a short update for once? Boy, that would be nice, wouldn't it? Maybe I could even not be sick and write it in under 18 minutes instead of in 2 hours. That's a record that could use breaking, I'd say.

But until then, I'll be on (big air quotes now) "break" thanks for reading!