The Long Road To… Chrysanthemum Seal


A year ago, I published the fourth book of The Year of the Dragon, “The Rising Tide“, with a solemn promise to myself and my readers that the book five would be released “soon“.

“Soon” is a relative term. On one hand, some authors churn out novels every other quarter. On the other, GRRM takes five years to finish one of his door-stoppers 😉 Writing and publishing a book is never a fast and easy job, especially since I had to start writing Chrysanthemum Seal from scratch. Still, I didn’t expect it to take a full year, so I feel like I should explain exactly what took us at the Flying Squid so long to get things done.

May 2013 – we spent most of it preparing the Bundle Edition of the first four books, as well as the paperbacks.

June-October 2013 – The long awaited Great Round-Britain Journey in our little blue campervan, Orca! The plan was for me to start writing Book Five on the journey, but the reality got the better of us. There was simply too much to do, between driving around, sight-seeing and writing the blog. By the time we got back, all I had were just a few pages of the very rough draft and some plot ideas.

2013-Participant-Facebook-ProfileOctober-December 2013 – The first really intensive period of writing, including a try at NaNoWriMo in November. I got up to some sixty thousand words by December, at which point I started burning out a bit. The cover was ready in December.

December-February 2014 – This period includes a long trip to Japan, to regenerate and gain inspiration. I manage to get writing again, and the result is the 1st Draft ready in February.

February-March 2014 – I go through three more drafts and revisions. The book changes a lot over this period – the end result is hardly recognizable from what I envisaged back in October! I take part in two collaborative processes, the NovoPulp anthology and the Steamlit Extravaganza.

April 2014 – The final (5th) draft is ready for Easter. A week later, it’s proof-read and formatted. As I write this post, the Amazon-ready mobi file is in the final read-through. With a projected upload to KDP on Wednesday, we’re still good for the May 1st release. The paperback will follow soon after.

What next? Well, I’ve already started writing Book Six. I can’t decide on the title yet, it’s going to be either “Sparrow Strike” or something with Fire… the title has to be dynamic, as we’re finally getting to see (spoiler!) some real war in Yamato. The cover is commissioned for late autumn. I do hope this one will be faster, although, once again, we’re planning a big campervan trip this year, starting May…

 


Incidentally, if you are, or know, a voice artist looking for work over on ACX, I’ve posted “The Year of the Dragon” as project, and I’m awaiting auditions on the royalty-share basis.

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The Paperbacks :)


Me and the Dragon :) I got the proof copies of “The Rising Tide” and “The Year of the Dragon” bundle today from CreateSpace. That means the paperbacks are now available on Amazon.

I only really create these paperbacks for the fun of it, and to have tyotd2physical things as giveaways and gifts. The profits from POD are meagre: a little more than a dollar per copy, despite the price. Still, it’s nice to have a physical object to represent two and a half years of hard work. At 820 pages, the book weighs 3 pounds and is almost 2 inches thick. It’s definitely a THING. I have created a THING.

tide1The Rising Tide paperback looks nice too, of course 🙂 It all grew to a pretty substantial bookshelf, with four small books and one huge one. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m back to writing – time to create some more THINGS 🙂

PS: The Year of the Dragon bundle contains a new map, unavailable in other editions: the Map of Gwynedd.

Map of Gwynedd
Map of Gwynedd

Mid-May news: “The Rising Tide” paperback, $0.99 promo for TYOTD 1-4 [Ended]


A couple of updates for today:

Tide Cover_250– “The Rising Tide”, the fourth volume of The Year of the Dragon saga, is available in paperback from Amazon.

TheYearBUNDLE_250px-3 – The Year of the Dragon, Books 1-4 Special Edition is available TODAY ONLY for the INSANE price of 99 cents. That’s almost TEN TIMES cheaper than it usually is – and what it will be from tomorrow, so hurry up and get it while it’s hot.

That’s all for now 🙂

Hot New Releases :)


I woke up today to some awesome news: Amazon.com, in its wisdom, decided to put both my new books on the Hot New Releases list! They are at the moment #1 and #2 in Alternative History, respectively, ahead of, among others, new Harry Turtledove’s and Naomi Novik’s releases.

This is pretty awesome.

PS: “The Rising Tide” and the deluxe 1-4 bundle will soon be available in paperback, too.

hotnew

The end of the long road… the start of another.


A few bullet points to start with:

  
It’s been nearly three years since I first put fingers to keyboard and started writing what was to be the first volume of “The Year of the Dragon”. It’s been nearly a year since I uploaded it to Amazon’s KDP and published.

Tide Cover_250I have now at last finished and published volume four: “The Rising Tide”. This is not the end of the saga, by far – but it is the end of one story and beginning of another. The threads unraveled by the end of “The Shadow…” tie up here – leaving space for new ones. Indeed, in typical fantasy doorstopper terms, you might say I have just finished the first volume, at some 300,000 words altogether.

Over this not-quite-a-year, I have reached a few landmarks: I’ve sold over 3800 copies of all my books put together. I’ve given away nearly ten times as much through KDP Select. I’ve reached the top 5 on Alternative History list, and top 60 on Epic Fantasy. I have gained 51 reviews on Amazon and 81 ratings on Goodreads for “The Shadow…”. I have almost paid off what it took to create all the books professionally, and am now at last starting to be in the black, which is a landmark and an achievement on its own.


The Shadow Third Cover 250“The Rising Tide” is not the only “new” book of mine available on Amazon this week. There is a new edition of “The Shadow of Black Wings”, with extra revisions and edits and a longer preview of “The Warrior’s Soul” to further entice you to buy the next book – and soften the edge of the cliff-hanger ending 🙂 You can pick it up for free today and tomorrow, and it will be sold at reduced price after that. If you have bought or downloaded it before from Amazon, you should get an updated “pushed” your way within a few weeks.

  


TheYearBUNDLE_250px-3

Finally, if you want the full doorstopper treatment, all four volumes are now available in a 300k words-bundle, priced at just $9.99. The bundle is a deluxe edition, which includes four appendices, a short story and additional graphics. 

As usual, expect all those books in paperback in a few weeks.

  


What now? Finishing the four books does not mean I have time to rest. If anything, things will get even busier from now on. Now I have to write more! And this time I have to start from complete blank: volume five is only a rough idea in my head, not even a sketch. I know what needs to happen, but I haven’t yet written a single word of it. I haven’t been in this situation since August 2010. Exciting – and scary!

I will probably write something shorter in the meantime, as an interlude. What it will be, I haven’t decided yet, although I have a few decent ideas to choose from.

I will still try to keep this blog updated as often as I can. There is a big thing coming up this summer that doesn’t involve writing – at least, not yet – but will keep me just as busy. I’ll let you know next month.

That’s all from me for now. Peace and out 🙂

Yaldā Advent Calendar 2012 – Day 12 – excerpt from “The Rising Tide”


roman-letters_6II

For Day 12 I have something for those of you who wait for Volume 4. Yes, it’s being written! I have just finished draft one, actually, and am now working on draft two. Here’s an excerpt from the current version. Keep in mind that as this is an early draft, the scene may change or even be removed from the finished manuscript. I tried to find something least spoilery 🙂 This will be somewhere at the beginning of the book.

(in other news: I just got all three paperbacks in post. They look really nice together! 🙂
paperbacks


There was fresh blood on Dylan’s boots.
It came from a puddle he had stepped into a street earlier. Or maybe from another, a block away. There was no way to know for certain; all the streets of Shanglin were bathed in blood.
He stepped over a dead body and stumbled over another, lying just beside it. He didn’t look down; not anymore. They all looked the same, anyway: stripped naked, mangled, slashed with swords and burned with gunshots. Only the sizes and genders differed. The conquerors of Shanglin did not discriminate. Old men, children, women… all were piled along the walls and blood-filled gutters. The dead, black window holes of the burnt-out houses stared down at the carnage in silent accusation.
Dylan didn’t bother to count the slain. How many people had lived in Shanglin before the war? Ten thousand? Twenty thousand? How many more gathered here fleeing from the besieging Imperial Army? Only a few hundred women survived, spared for the soldiers’ entertainment. Another hundred may have fled into the marshes. That was all.
There’s always war in Qin, he thought. Not like this.
He climbed the arch of a wide bridge spanning one of the city’s many canals, and passed Qin soldiers guarding the passage. They let him through without a word, or even a bow. Dylan was too numb to take offence, although he did make a mental note of the guards’ behaviour.
Beyond the canal lay the Tianyi Gardens, where the conquering army made their headquarters. Even here there were traces of destruction and fire, though all the dead had been removed from the paths, and blood scoured from the gravel. Rose and camellia bushes were cut down to make place for tents. Soldiers sat on moss-covered boulders and stone benches around ponds, playing ma jiang for bits of Cursed Weed and money. Gold and silver coins, looted from the city’s treasure houses, were strewn all over the grass.
No discipline at all, thought Dylan bitterly. This rabble would never have taken the city without our help.
The Bohan set his staff up in the main lecture hall of the great Library Pavilion, a long, two-storey building with eaves like sickle blades pointing to the skies. Dylan found him studying a large map; several other maps lay scattered around the floor and tables.
“Ah, Commodore Dí Lán!” the Bohan welcomed him with a grin and open arms. “Come, join us. We are planning our next stratagem. What do you think of moving on Chansu?”
“Another siege?” Dylan asked. He dismissed a servant who offered him a cup of tea.
“I know you Dracalish like moving swiftly, but this is how this war will have to be fought for now, until we push those vermin beyond the walls of our cities.”
Vermin.
“Perhaps it would be easier to capture the cities if the defenders were given a chance to survive.”
“You don’t approve of our methods, Commodore.”
“No, I can’t say I do. I will write a report of all that’s happened here to Fan Yu.”
Bohan stood straight, letting go of the map; it rolled up with a rustle.
“These… rats dared to stand against the Mandate of Heaven. They got what they deserved. Besides, they had plenty of time to surrender without bloodshed.”
“Plenty of time? The siege lasted less than a week – thanks to our guns and our dragons.”
And you will want them again for the next battle.
“That was a week too long.”
“Her Majesty will not take kindly to having her troops associated with this massacre.”
The Bohan smirked.
“Do not presume to deceive me, Commodore. I know your orders as well as you do. You are to provide us with any assistance we require, in defence of your country’s trade interests – and provide us you shall. Speaking of which, I will need half a dozen of your dragons to…”
“Enough!” Dylan slapped his hands on the table. The outburst surprised even him. The Bohan raised a sharp eyebrow. “My men are not butchers! You can capture your cities yourself. Huating is safe, and that’s all that matters for our trade interests.”
The Bohan blinked, and then laughed.
“You want to teach me about butchery? You, a Westerner? I know you. You’ve conquered, enslaved, destroyed entire nations all over the world. You’d destroy Qin if you thought this was in your… interests. Oh, but you’re too shrewd for that. You prefer to kill slowly.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Certainly, the Dracaland army never did anything like you did here.”
“No. I don’t suppose so. Not yet, at least. But your Weed trade killed more of my people than any war. And how many died of famine in Bangla because you took their fields to plant the Weed? So don’t you lecture me about butchery, Commodore Dí Lán, unless you want me to get better at it. Play war like the nice soldier you are, and we’ll all be free to go home in no time. Isn’t that what you want?”
Dylan said nothing. He turned on his heels and stomped outside, clenching his teeth and knuckles.
“I will send my requests to your tent, Commodore!” the Bohan cried after him. “I expect a prompt reply!”