Tag Archives: kate sparkes

Sworn Update (and an exciting bonus)

Hey, guys!

I know you’re patiently waiting (okay, some of you not so patiently) for a release date for Sworn. And I’m here to tell you…

That I don’t know yet. *ducks rotten eggs and tomatoes*

I had planned to make the announcement early this month, and to have the book out by Christmas. I planned this based on the fact that I expected it to be back from editing by now. But due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, my editor couldn’t take the book until last week, and I’m not sure when work started. It’s a big book, and I don’t have guarantees on when it will be back.

So first, the bad news:

  • I can’t make promises until it comes back and I see how much work it needs. I’ll never give my readers anything but my best work, and I learned on the last release that setting a release date too early = rush and stress, and I don’t want to risk it turning into a situation where I cut corners to meet a deadline. I’ll tell you that you’ll have a book to cozy up with in the depths of this coming winter (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere), though. The delay won’t be that huge. It might just mean no Sworn in your stocking.

I know. I’m at least as bummed about that as you are. I’m looking at the opportunities here and staying positive, though, and there is a lot to be positive about (grey hairs are pretty, right?).

The good news:

  • My kids are now able to stay at school for lunch, which gives me a little extra work time every day. Once Sworn comes back from my editor, I’ll be working on that and nothing else.
  • Cover art is ready to roll, formatting shouldn’t be a big issue (knock on wood), and I’m in the process of lining up beta readers who can get this thing back to me quickly. That will cut down on my production time, and hopefully get the book into your hands sooner.
  • I’m keeping release plans, including pre-orders, flexible. I won’t do anything that might delay getting the book into your hands.
  • The book is going to be amazing, and absolutely worth the wait. And I will have a release date for you in the next less-than-a-month. Promise.

And one other thing.

I mentioned last week during my WIPpet Wednesday post that this delay has given me time to work on another little project. That project is a prequel novella for the Bound trilogy that takes place a few decades before. It’s the story of a Sorcerer king and the young woman with no magic who nonetheless enchants him, an ill-fated romance if ever there was one. It answers some questions for readers of the trilogy, and will make for an excellent read while you’re waiting for Sworn. I’m in the process of finding an editor for that one.

And the best part? To say thanks for your patience, this book (when it’s ready) will be available FREE just for subscribing to my newsletter. If you’re subscribed, you’ll get it automatically, and new subscribers will get it (and The Binding) as well.

I’ll keep you updated on that one.

Thanks again for your patience. I assure you that the wait is every bit as frustrating for me as it is for you, and I can’t wait to share the conclusion of this story with you.

-Kate


Bound A-Z: Q is for Queen

Hmm. This is awkward.

I had the loveliest image I wanted to share for this topic, relating to future events in the trilogy, but I can’t find the original source to credit them. Since I don’t want to be Stealy McThievypants, we’ll have to do something else.

*shuffles through files* Queen, queen, queen…

We haven’t really heard much from them in the Bound trilogy, have we? We know Severn’s mother is the queen of Tyrea, and that Ulric hardly ever spoke to her again after Severn’s little stunt regarding Aren’s mother. We know she has no magic. Aren explained to Rowan in Bound that Sorcerers and Sorceresses can’t have children together, and the king certainly wanted strong potential heirs. The queen of Tyrea has a strong influence over her son (or she did, once), but she hasn’t showed up on the page.

I do have a little something in the works, though. A prequel novella that takes place a few decades (or a little more) before the start of Bound, and this one set in Belleisle and Tyrea. This one won’t be going up for sale when it’s finished, but will go out to newsletter subscribers as a special bonus to say thanks for supporting my work.*

So just because we’re talking about queens today, and because it’s been so long since I got to participate in WIPpet Wednesdays, here’s a thin slice of description from the rough draft of that novella.

 

A broad pile of ornate fabric and curly brown hair swept into view, an astonishingly corseted lump of woman escorted by a white-haired young man. Jewels twinkled in her hair, crowning a face that was somehow round and pinched all at once, as though a generously endowed and once-beautiful lady had caught the middle part of her face in a slamming door. The rich brocade of her many-layered skirts brushed against the floor with every tiny step she took.

 

It’s not much, I know. Can’t spoil things, though, and I think you guys are going to like this one.

Well, if you like romance and danger and forbidden love and origin stories (sort of) and seeing established characters when they were younger and very different from how we’re used to seeing them.

It’s been a bit of a shock, actually.

So there you have her, the current queen of Tyrea.

Next week: R. Hmm. If only I had a character or two whose name started with R…

*sign-ups are free here, and new subscribers get a free download of The Binding, the existing prequel short story.


P is for Potioner

Alas, we find ourselves at another entry that leaves me struggling to not post spoilers. And man, does this topic develop in the next book.

One of the interesting things about writing a series is how things develop in unexpected ways. I don’t remember when I decided that there were two types of magic in the world I was creating, or when I realized how very different they were. It was one of those things that just seemed to exist, a discovery rather than an idea.

I’m afraid I’m as guilty of underestimating Potioners as some of my characters are, though. You see, when things started out, I thought there were strict divisions. A Sorcerer’s magic is internal, whereas a Potioner uses her perceptions and skills to manipulate magic outside of herself. They were healers, typically. Important people in their way, but nothing on the level of a Sorcerer.

Not real magic.

My characters showed me differently as I wrote their stories. It wasn’t until I drafted The Binding that I realized a Potioner was responsible for Rowan’s condition–I’d assumed it was a magical curse of some sort. But Elisha showed up with her ointments and herbs, and I learned that healing isn’t the only thing a Potioner is capable of.

Emalda introduced me to the range of skills a Potioner might have, but it wasn’t until I slipped into Nox’s mind that I truly understood the experience. I learned what it’s like to feel magic pulsing through a plant, to hear them calling silently, to sense the potential of a thing. I understood then that Potioners are far more than the glorified chefs or chemists that Aren (and so many people like him) take them for. Their magic might not flow through them as it does a Sorcerer, but it’s there.

And now we come to SPOILERTOWN, so I won’t say much. I will tell you that I’ve met another character who changed everything. Actually, she showed me something that was in front of me from the beginning, and I had overlooked it.

You see, there are several levels of skill when you’re a Potioner.

There are those with basic skills, mostly learned from books with a little kick of natural talent thrown in. They may be competent craftsmen, but there’s little art to it. Little of themselves thrown in.

There are the gifted ones, those like Nox and Sara who sense the power and potential in everything around them, who work from instinct as much as from lessons. They are the artists, using their gifts to build on learned skills and create something entirely new. They’re the innovators.

And then there are the truly great ones, who can–

No, I’m not telling.

All I’ll say is that though Nox thinks she’s mastered her art, she still has a lot to learn.


Last Chance to Enter!

Teri Polen’s giveaway (signed paperback copy of bound, mermaid charm, sea glass, and assorted papery swag) is ending soon! She’ll be announcing the winner July 31, which means there’s only a day or so left to enter. This is a fantastic prize from a generous reader, so be sure to enter!

(US and Canada only for this one, but I’ve got something different coming up for everyone else next month)

IMG_2162

 

Click here to enter. Good luck!


L is for Luid

Luid

Luid is the capital city of Tyrea, the home of the king, the cultural and economic centre of the country. It’s home to the greatest stores of human knowledge, to the land’s scholars and researchers and its most promising students. It sits with its face to the country, back facing the ocean, sloping upward from the harbour to the high cliffs where the nobles keep their…

Blah, blah, blah.

That’s what a guidebook would tell you about the city. The pretty things. The not-to-be-missed attractions. It might walk you through the gate quarter, which houses merchants and traders and craftsmen. It might outline various festivals occurring throughout the year, or might advise a visit to the temple of the Goddess, located in the inner city not far from the palace…which no up-to-date guidebook would advise you to visit without notice. Not these days. Not if you want a warm welcome.

The truth is, a city is a being in its own right, and old ones have a habit of keeping secrets. Were you to visit the city on a quick business trip or a relaxing vacation, you wouldn’t see the north end of the city, where the Despair presses against the wall, held back by magic that’s effective enough to keep it from grinding the people’s spirits to dust…most days. You certainly wouldn’t walk down the North End’s filthy streets and see the criminals sent through the gate in that portion of the wall as punishment when a quick execution is too merciful.

No, that’s a secret that the city keeps well, hidden behind twisting streets that seem to direct one’s feet back to more pleasant diversions.

And pleasant diversions abound. The people of Luid, especially the wealthy, want for little. Some say it’s made them lazy, that even those who have magical potential don’t use it as they might. To master any skill requires study and hard work, and most remain content with whatever undeveloped skills they’re born with. Those who do develop it can be dangerous, of course. Perhaps that’s why the king keeps them close by, and keeps them happy.

Every household, every shop, every citizen’s heart holds secrets. Secret fears, secret aspirations, secret desires and shames.

On the surface, everything shines. Clean cobblestone streets, bright shop-fronts, smiling faces.

Just tread carefully, visitor, and you’ll be fine.

 

 


Paperback Giveaway!

Hey, guys!

Just a quick note today, and one some of you might be interested in.

Paperback copies of Torn are finally here! Formatting issues are all cleared up, and they look fantastic. Drool-worthy, even. A little distracting, actually.

*stares at front cover*

Ahem.

Anyway, to celebrate, and to say thanks to readers, I’m doing a signed paperback giveaway for newsletter subscribers! All you’ll have to do is watch for the rafflecopter link in the next newsletter (coming Thursday) and click through to enter. The winner will be chosen at random, and given the option of which book (or Bound audiobook) they want. Open internationally. The only requirement will be that you get the newsletter.

IMG_1237
Not signed up yet? No worries, there’s still time! Follow this link and enter your name and e-mail address. I don’t send out newsletters very often, just when there’s something exciting going on like a cover reveal, release news, giveaways, new project sneak peeks, and other fun stuff.

Good luck to everyone who enters!


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.

 


Anastasia Writes

politics, engineering, parenting, relevant things over coffee.

Beth Camp

Writer of historical fiction and teller of tales . . .

rogerbloomsfield

An Aspiring Author's Adventure

TBN Media

Life, writing, books, dragons- not necessarily in that order. Home of USA Today bestselling Fantasy author Kate Sparkes.

life, love writing

Heartwarming, Authentic, Inspirational Contemporary Christian romance

Allie Potts Writes

Author, Blogger, Designer - Inventor of Worlds

Ultimately Useless Stories

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. ~Lord Byron

The Wordy Rose

"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

Shan Jeniah's Lovely Chaos

Finding Yessings and Blessings in Lifes Messings!

Little Rittwolf's Book Blog

I thought having my own blog would help me....Squirrel!....stay more focused. I could be wrong.

The Sword of Air

Stunning new multitouch iBook by breakthrough author R.J Madigan

CHOUETT

Read it! 📖 Spark it! ✨

Benjamin Wallace Books

Books written by Benjamin Wallace

Denise D. Young

Wild Magic. Wild Stories. Wild Souls.

chestnut book blog

Read. Recommend. Revel.

B E L I E V E 🦋Life is Never Fair

I gather strength from life’s storms -Jonathan L Huie

inkedrainbowreads.wordpress.com/

LGBT Book Reviews, Cover Reveals & More! We are a group designed to help promote and review LGBT et al books. We were created out of seeing a need and wanted to have that need filled. We pride ourseles of having opinionated reviews that are unique and helpful to the author. Welcome to a world of the best LGBT et al books out there!

Dionne Lister - Author

I love sharing my stories, but I wish they wouldn't keep me awake at night.

Avid Reviews

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Reviews For Both Self-Published and Traditionally Published Books

Author Jen Wylie's Blog

Welcome to my mind... Blog for fantasty author Jen Wylie

J.R. RASMUSSEN

new epic fantasy for old-school fans