Farewell to a Puzzle

His name’s not really Puzzle–not in our world, though I’ve called him that more than a few times. But the blink-and-you’ll-miss-him black and white cat sleeping on Rowan’s bed in chapter two of Bound, the one who’s a little pissed about having his nap disrupted, has a real-world counterpart.

His name’s Charlie. That’s been his name since before we adopted him from the SPCA 12 years ago, and he’s even responded to it a few times.

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YOU. WILL. LOVE. MEEEEEE.

^This basically sums up our relationship.

He doesn’t go out of his way to be mean, and he has sweet moments with one of our other cats. But he’s generally antisocial, has never liked to be touched our cuddled (save for the occasional scratch under the chin). He jumps at things that aren’t there, and I’m not entirely convinced that he doesn’t think we’re all figments of his imagination. Entertaining, yes. Snuggly… not so much.

He’s been my weirdo housemate for a dozen years, basically Sheldon Cooper in feline form: uncertain of how to give or accept affection (even when he kind of wants it), happiest when left alone to enjoy his favourite spot on the couch. He’s been with us through six moves and three provinces, two kids, four dogs and two rats.

And now it’s time to say goodbye.

Charlie’s had a good life, or at least a contented (if somewhat paranoid) one. But he’s sick. I won’t go into details, but we’ve seen the vet, we’ve tried treatments, they’re not working.

I’m taking him for his last vet appointment at noon today (so 10:30 Eastern, if you want to send happy thoughts). He won’t be pleased to be there again, but I’ll stay with him until the end no matter how cranky he gets.

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And it will be hard. No matter what the circumstances, it’s not easy to say goodbye to someone you love.

There’s no lesson here, no big revelation to end the post. Death is hard, even when it’s merciful, even when letting go is the right thing.

He’ll live on, though, in my heart and on those pages.

Rest well, Puss.

puzzle2


WIPpet Wednesday: It’s Love… Really

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, when the WIPpeteers share a quick snippet for a work in progress. It may be raw, it may be first-draftish, but it’s usually entertaining.

I actually have a bit of first draft today from Sworn. Though the book is on its third draft, I’m adding a few scenes to round out subplots and character development and help make the story flow more smoothly… at least, that’s the plan.

Possible spoilers if you haven’t read Torn, but I think I’ve edited out any big bombshells.

Eight paragraphs (2+2+4 for 4/22) from Nox’s POV. She and Aren are trying to figure out a way for her to keep Sorcerers out of her thoughts even though she has no magic to protect herself with. The first attempt didn’t go so well, but they’re having some good bonding moments.

 

“You’re not going to hug me, are you?” I asked.

His hands flexed again, but stayed resting at his sides. “No. Wasn’t thinking of it. Shall we give it another try?”

“Give me a minute.” I imagined a heavy stone wall in my mind, blocking my thoughts and emotions in, presenting a nearly blank facade to Aren. “Go.”

My wall shattered.

“Gods damn it, Aren, go easy.”

“No one else is going to hold back if they attack you. If you’re going to learn this, you’re going to do it properly. There was some resistance there, though. It was a good effort.”

I glared at him, though without real ill-will. “Don’t patronize me, you condescending ass.”

He grinned wider than I’d seen in far too long. “Then don’t complain when I treat you as an equal, you vile, heartless harpy.”

 

I do love good-natured insult wars. Actually, friendly banter is one of my favourite things to write. Sometimes insults give more insight into a relationships than outright declarations of love.

And that’s my deep thought for the day.

For more WIPpet madness, click here! Big thanks to our host KL Schwengel for wrangling all of us every week. If you’d like to join in on your own blog and link back, feel free! Visit the others, say hello, and they’ll try to do the same for you. They’re a good bunch. Really. Just make sure your work in progress snippet relates to today’s date, and you’re good to go.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you’re all having a fantastic week.

 


Coming Soon: Bound A-Z (Help!)

Hey, guys!

I’ve got a crazy few months coming up–revisions, more revisions, edits, moving to a new town (and preparing for that… and recovering from that), and lots of other stuff. To make sure things keep rolling along here in case I need to disappear completely, I’ve got a fun weekly post series planned.

We’re going to do an A-Z blog challenge here, and every post is going to be related to the Bound Trilogy. It might be characters (including insights and facts that haven’t showed up in the books yet), places, ideas, even the mechanics of the stories.

Sounds like fun?

Here’s where you come in:

I have something planned for every letter, but I want to make sure I’m not missing out on something important. What topics would you like to see covered? What (spoiler-free) answers do you want to see in posts about the things you love most?

We might end up with more than one post for each letter, but we’ll figure that out if we need to.

I’ve already got a few suggestions from my Facebook page… now it’s your turn.

The fun starts May 7. See you there!


What’s Taking So Long? (Part 1)

Torn, book two of the Bound trilogy, came out on March 31.

On April second, I got the first message asking when book three was coming out. Others soon followed, all polite and wonderfully enthusiastic.

I’m so glad people are as excited about finishing this story as I am. Putting a book out into the world, especially when expectations are high, is a hard thing to do, and positive reader response is like iced tea on a warmish day in Hell.

I love the enthusiasm and the desire for book three.

I do feel bad about not having hard answers for people, though.

See, I didn’t put a release date for book three in the back of Torn. Not even an approximate guess. I have my reasons for being secretive, but as the messages, e-mails, and Facebook comments come in I’m starting to feel like I owe some kind of an explanation so that people don’t think I’m going to flake on them.

See? All scheduled!

No worries, draft three revisions are scheduled!

The explanation is this: Deadlines set too far in advance have a nasty tendency to bite me in the ass, so I’m not making anything public yet.

Not enough explanation? Read on.

Before Bound came out, back when there were maybe twenty people really waiting for it, I set a deadline. I said it would be out June 2014. I’d heard back from my editor, I knew I had things under control, we were good.

…until my basement flooded and we had to evacuate, and everything was up in the air for a while.

I still got it out on June 23. I said “Winter 2015″ for Torn‘s release, thinking that left me plenty of time. Eight months shouldn’t have been a problem, right? I was already on draft three, ready for first readers, yadda yadda.

I didn’t think about the fact that I didn’t have my editor booked yet, and couldn’t pay him until I had money from book sales in-hand*. Then there were more delays, and edits turned out to be a slightly bigger challenge than I had anticipated.

Cue major stress as I realized how much work I needed to get done to meet my foolish, self-imposed, late-March deadline.

Such stress is not great for the creative mind, or for families who enjoy things like clean laundry and hot meals. I felt like I was constantly juggling family, too many work balls, my mental health, my physical well-being, and social obligations, all at double speed–and truth be told, I totally suck at juggling. My confidence was shot, and I worried I was going to disappoint everyone.

This isn’t a “woe is me” party. I survived, the book is exactly what I hoped it would be, and I learned a lot from the experience.

But I don’t want to go through that again, so I’ve chosen to not make promises this time until after edits are back in August.

Do I have an idea of how long it will take? You bet. Unless we run into horrible delays in the editing process, we should be looking at the same space between Torn and Sworn as there was between Bound and Torn. About 9 months.

Should be.

No promises.

Put the pitchfork down.

I would love to be able to put out a book every three months for you guys and have them be exactly the quality you expect from me, but I can’t do it. I could have a complete but not professionally-edited book out this summer. I could have a rushed-but-okay-I-guess book out in October for sure. I could probably guarantee something satisfying for December…

…but that’s not good enough for me, or for you.

I’m not releasing Sworn until I know that it’s the most epic, kick-ass, beautiful, gut-wrenching, heart-shattering, oh-gods-I-need-to-reread-this-series-right-now conclusion I’m capable of producing.

And that takes time. That takes editors and readers and chances to sit and think things through. It takes middle of the night epiphanies and long, boring drives when I can perfect tiny details to the best of my ability. It means not settling for the first ideas that come to mind, but digging deep into every character, pushing them harder and further, studying the way the threads weave together and figuring out how best to bring out the fullest beauty of the story.

I get one shot at this thing. I’m going to give you guys all I’ve got.

…in the 4.5 whole hours a day I get to work on it.

But we’ll talk about that another time.

 

 

*My editor is worth every penny, but it’s a lot of pennies.

 


WIPpet Wednesday – Parties and Sorrow

*yawns*

*growls*

Sorry. I’m still getting over my post-party crash after the Torn release party on Facebook last week. Big thanks to everyone who came out! I had so much fun chatting with all of you, and loved seeing your responses to posts.

And giving stuff away. I really like doing that, too.

And BIG, HUGE, MASSIVE thanks to those who have picked up the book, read it, reviewed it, sent me lovely messages or posted on my facebook wall, shared tweets and blog posts, or told friends to pick up the series… you’re superstars, and I’m so grateful. You make this possible.

(insert cheesy, tear-filled gratitude montage here)

For anyone who’s not familiar with what we’re doing here today, WIPpet Wednesday is when we (the WIPpeteers) post a short snippet from a work in progress that relates in some way to the date–say, eight lines from chapter four for April eighth, or 12 words for 4+8… that kind of thing. Our math can get a little zany as we try to make a passage fit the date rather than the other way around, but that’s part of the fun!

As Torn is no longer a work in progress, we’ll move on to book three today. I’ve just finished reading through what was my second draft. There are a lot of changes I want to make, big and small, before it goes to alpha readers.

But guys? It’s going to be AMAZING. It’s going to be my favourite of the three by the time it’s released, and you know I love the first two.

TITLE SPOILER AHOY

I’m going to start calling book three by its proper title here. The first intrepid readers have had a week to discover it on their own at the back of Torn. I wanted to leave that as a little surprise just for them, but all good things must come to an end. Stop reading if you want to finish Torn and find it for yourself.

We good?

Okay. So today’s WIPpet Wednesday snippet comes from chapter 35 of Sworn. Two paragraphs (8/4=2) that I think say a lot about what’s to come without giving too much away.

Rowan’s POV.

The thick forest made passage difficult, as did the exhaustion that had already drained my arms, and the black sorrow that threatened to overwhelm my heart.
I couldn’t think about what had happened, and I couldn’t think of anything else.
*waits to hear the anguished cries of our WIPpet host, KL Schwengel*
For more WIPpet fun, click here! You never know what the WIPpeteers will share. Might be magical, bight be silly, or sexy, or terrifying. Enjoy! (and this is an open event, so feel free to jump in on your own blog and link back! The more, the merrier)

Imminent Danger free to download Monday + Tuesday

Kate Sparkes:

Hey, all! Sorry for the silence. I’m trying to focus on getting book three out (since a few people seem a LITTLE eager for it…). In the meantime, here’s a fun, FREE YA Sci-Fi read for you to enjoy!

Originally posted on Michelle Proulx -- The Website:

As we reach the end of Imminent Danger’s first 90 days in KDP Select, I realized that I’ve only used 3 of the 5 free giveaway days! Gasp. Thus, I am pleased to announce that …

Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It

will be free to download on Monday & Tuesday (April 6-7)

Here are assorted links for your clicking convenience:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

It’s actually available on all Amazon sites, so just head over to your Amazon site of choice and it should be there!

If you want to share the news of the free downloads days, you’re awesome. If you don’t want to share the news, you’re still awesome. Either way, thanks for reading, and happy downloading!

* * *

Unrelated media of the day:

Today for your enjoyment I have a series of humorous Tumblr posts.

View original


Another One Flies the Nest

This is it.

This is the last day when Torn gets the spotlight, at least in my office. Starting tomorrow, it’s all about book three (which I will use the proper title for soon, I promise–I just don’t want to spoil it for the first people who discover it at the end of Torn).

Today, though, we celebrate.

We celebrate a little over two years of off-and-on work. The struggle of a skeletal first draft, the joys and pressures of revisions, the triumph of positive responses from alpha readers, and the crushing discovery that edits won’t be as easy as anticipated. The months of struggle to make the book what readers need while remaining true to my own vision for the story as a whole.

The frustrations of the publication process.

Even the things that were stressful or seem negative at the time are worth celebrating, because they’re part of a beautiful process. A new book is a victory.

It’s like raising a baby bird, really. You nurture it, encourage it, feed it, and give it tough love when needed… and in the end, you have to shove it out of the nest and let it fly on its own, knowing you’ve done everything you could to prepare it for this day.

Maybe it’s the painkillers I’m on right now (hello, migraines that helped inspire this whole story!), but I’m a little weepy.

No. No tears. This is happy, exciting, wonderful!

And in case anyone missed the announcement yesterday, we’re having a party to celebrate. A Facebook party, because I don’t expect all of you to come to my house (you’re welcome).

Here’s the link. Drop by any time between now and about mid-afternoon EST on April 1–we’ve got great prizes!

Ooooooh...

Ooooooh…

 

....Aaaaaaahhhh!

….Aaaaaaahhhh!

Come on down and celebrate with us, won’t you? It’s gonna be fuuuuuuun (and you know it’s true, because I used extra letters).

TORN purchase links:


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