Tag Archives: release date

COVER REVEAL INCOMING! Wanna help?

Yes, that’s right. It’s almost time.

I’ve finished my first post-editor round of revisions on Sworn, which means I’ll soon have an official release date for you. And what better way to make the announcement than by revealing the gorgeous cover? Ravven has worked her magic again, and it is AMAZING.

Maybe we’ll even throw a sale on Bound in there. Because why not? This has been a hard road for me. I’m not at the end, but pausing to celebrate in a big way will make the rest of the journey even better.*

The cover reveal will be happening FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, though newsletter subscribers will get a super-secret sneak peek the evening before. We’ll have the reveal here, and on my website…

And anywhere else people care to host it. HOORAY, PARTY!!!

If you’re interested in helping out by posting the cover, description, and details on your blog or site, I’d be ever so grateful (and you’ll be on the list for an advance review copy, if you feel so inclined and have time to read before release). Just e-mail me at kate.sparkes (at) live.ca, and we’ll get it done.  I’ll have the post info ready to send out a few days ahead of time.

And if you’d like to do something fun around release time, just let me know and we’ll work something out.

If you don’t have a blog, or if cover reveals don’t fit your theme, no worries! I’d love to just have you drop by to say hello and get the information you need (and gawk/drool, of course). And if you feel like sharing via Twitter or Facebook, that’s a huge help, too.

It’s coming soon, guys… I can almost taste it.

Sworn cover reveal announcement

 

*Meaning another editing pass for small changes and continuity checks, then several weeks with beta readers, then a polishing pass and proofreading. Just for anyone who’s keeping score at home. 😉

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Pain in the Ass. No… Head. Not Ass. Head.

It’s a bad night for the pain.

Tonight it feels like a toothache filling my skull. It comes in waves, crushing and slashing, bringing nausea along to join the party. Light hurts. My children’s voices cut through me, and every movement of the bed makes all of it worse. All I can do is sit here with the lamp on, writing this out on paper to be typed out tomorrow, and try not to yell at the kids, cry, or throw up.

It’s not always like this. This kind of headache only hits me about once a month… at least, this hard. But the fact is that I spend a lot of time almost every day dealing with two problems. Pain is one. Either a milder version of this, or ice picks slamming into my temples, or feeling like I’ve been hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat.

I can deal with pain, though.

It’s the fog that’s really hurting me.

The fog used to only come with true migraines, in the days before and after. It’s a feeling like my skull is stuffed with sawdust instead of brains–a physical sensation, and quite unpleasant. It brings a feeling like tunnel vision, though my vision is actually fine. And it makes me slow. My thoughts come slowly, as do my reactions. I can’t think of words, and sometimes can’t understand questions right away. And working? Writing stories, untangling plot problems, clarifying character motivations, and polishing my work until it shines?

Utterly impossible.

It wasn’t so bad when it happened once in a while. But now the fog is coming down every day. I can’t think. I can’t focus. I’m drifting in a slow, too-bright haze. I’m usually just lost enough that working is impossible, but the thoughts and ideas and potential are so close that it becomes incredibly frustrating.

Until now, I’ve been pushing myself through it. I’ve told people that everything is fine. I’ve made myself work in spite of the pain and the fog, working evenings and weekends to make up for the time I spend in bed when the kids are at school and I should be writing. I put off seeing a doctor because I didn’t have time. Because I had deadlines. Because I’d made promises (or at least dropped hints). I let my life get out of balance because of this one important thing.

A few days ago, I decided that I can’t keep going like this. I’m not doing my best work when I have no joy, when every word is a struggle. And let’s face it. Putting pressure on myself to craft a beautiful story when I can’t remember the word “spoon” is probably just compounding the issue.

This is not me giving up. I’m still working on this story every day, and I’m as excited about it as I’ve ever been. As of last week, I have all of the little moving pieces in place, and just need to put the time and the work (and the focus) in to finish it.

It’s complete in all but the final execution, and far better than I ever imagined.

All I really want to do is work on it (sleep and laundry and exercise and doctor’s appointments be damned). But it’s time for me to accept that I also need to make time to take care of myself. I have to stop beating myself up over deadlines and feeling like a failure over needing a few extra weeks to get this book ready for the world.

So I don’t have a release date for you yet. It will be after Christmas, which breaks my heart. I mean, no one with an ounce of business sense wants to miss Christmas. But you guys deserve my best. I’ve never given you less than that, and I can’t start now. I’m going to find out what’s wrong with me, and I’m going to get better. And this winter, I’m going to give you the book you deserve.

Thank you all so much for your support, for your encouragement and kind words. It all means more to me than I’ll ever be able to say.

I can’t wait to show you how this story ends.


Sworn Update (“Sorry about the footnotes” edition)

I apologize for not keeping you guys updated as frequently as I said I would. Things have been quiet on the blog and my Facebook page, and will continue to be for a few weeks, at least. I’m putting “Bound A-Z” on hold (I’m not sure how many of you are reading the posts, but I will get back to it and finish the series ASAP). I’m not likely to have any other new content here for a while. I know, becoming a hermit is supposed to be a horrible thing for an author these days, but I have other things to do right now that are more important, and I trust my wonderful readers not to forget about me.

You see, edits came back last weekend, and I’m hard at work.

And it IS hard work. I have a great editor who’s willing to rip a story apart to its foundations if necessary, ask hard questions, and to challenge me to put my best work out into the world. He’s very good at his job, and with his help I’m making a good book great.*

You probably would have been happy with what I had before, but my goal isn’t to make you happy. It’s to blow you away, to keep you up into the wee hours of the morning, and to leave you breathless.

So for anyone who’s curious about the editing process, here’s what’s happening:

I’m taking a good portion of my editor’s suggestions. We won’t go into details here (hi, spoilers…), but it involves rewriting a few scenes, revising others, and generally AWESOMEFYING EVERYTHING.

Sorry for using technical language. *cough*

After the changes are made, it will be back to the beginning to make sure everything is cohesive and consistent with those changes, plus making it all purty-like. This is actually a bigger challenge than rewriting because it involves so much mental juggling and razor-sharp focus.

Note: Writing a book is relatively easy. It’s making it great that’s difficult and time-consuming, and I wish more authors acknowledged that. Editing is gory and messy, and in its own way, wonderful.

So that’s what I’m up to. I have a little less than five hours a day, five days a week, to work. Well… most weeks. With Thanksgiving (hi from Canada!) and several professional whatchamacallum days for the kids’ teachers this month when there’s no school, I’m getting less than that.

And then there are the migraine days when I can’t remember what a fork is called and spend my days and am completely unable to make with the words, but that’s another issue entirely.

The point is, I’m working whenever I can on my shaky part-time schedule. I think, I edit, I rewrite scenes, I face big challenges, and I do what I have to to make this the best story possible.

It’s hard. Really hard. It’s scary for reasons I don’t understand yet, and sometimes it makes me want to build a blanket fort and hide. Possibly with cookies. Definitely with colouring books.

But damned if it this thing isn’t already becoming amazing after just three solid days of work, and I’m excited to see just how great it can be.

Yes, there’s still a lot to be done. No, I don’t have a release date yet** (but I’m hoping to announce that and have a cover reveal early next month, if anyone with a blog is interested in helping out).

I’m working hard to make sure that this is worth the wait.

I’ll see you soon.

*For any not-at-editing-yet writer types who are wondering: Yes, it hurts. Yes, every critique is a blow to the ego, though I’m learning to reframe things in my mind. And yes, it is absolutely worth it when the work is done and the story is a hundred times better than it was before. I think I’m a good writer, but I know there’s always room for improvement. And oh, do I want to improve. I used to want to hear that my work was perfect. Now I’d be disappointed in any editor who didn’t call me on every whiff of bullshit and challenge me to do everything better. Good enough just isn’t anymore.

**It will be this winter, and sooner rather than later. It will be less than a year after the release of the last book, which puts me ahead of most big publishers’ series release schedules in spite of the fact that I’m doing everything on my own. In spite of my Canadian tendencies, I’m no longer going to apologize for editing delays or for the fact that I can’t focus on work for the eight, ten, or twelve hours a day that would allow me to whip out two books a year. I’m focusing on quality, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for every reader who supports me in this. You guys are the best, and you deserve my best. I thank you for your understanding and patience, and for not going all Veruca Salt on my ass. ❤


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


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.

 


Consider Yourself Invited

Yep, we’re having a party to celebrate Torn’s ebook release tomorrow, and you’re invited!

release party promo 1

We’ll have chances to win paperback and ebook copies of Torn, as well as other great prizes. Watch for the author AMA (ask me about writing, publishing, the stories or characters, whatever!), a party playlist, a scavenger hunt, flash giveaways, guest authors, and more!

Mmmm... papery and yummy

Mmmm… papery and yummy

Here’s the party link. Events will be posted between 2:00 and 9:00 PM EST on March 31, but will be left open overnight in case anyone wants to drop in and add responses to games/activities. Winners will be selected at random on April 1 (no foolin’).

See you there!

(Please note: March 31 is the official e-book release date. Paperbacks will be available as soon as formatting issues are sorted out. Party prizes will be sent out soon after… and the party is not endorsed/sponsored/etc in any way by Facebook, etc).


COVER REVEAL: Torn (Bound Trilogy Book 2) by Kate Sparkes

At last, the time has come!

I’m not going to tease, or make you wait any longer. I’m pleased as punch, proud as a peacock, and flipped-out as a fairy to present the cover and back-cover blurb for Torn (available now for pre-order through Amazon!)

torn_full

cover art by Ravven (www.ravven.com)

 

Aren Tiernal knows that safety is an illusion, that his cruel and powerful brother will never forgive his betrayal. Still, returning to Tyrea to challenge Severn for the throne would be suicide. It’s not until Severn himself comes to collect what’s owed to him that Aren decides to risk everything in an attempt to bring down the most powerful Sorcerer Tyrea has ever known. The mission seems doomed to fail, but it’s Aren’s only chance to save himself, his country, and the woman who thawed his heart.

Rowan Greenwood has troubles of her own. Though she should be a great Sorceress, years of being closed off from her magic have left her unable to control her incredible power. When a pair of ominous letters arrive from her home country, Rowan has to choose between her new life and a chance at saving her family—and just maybe changing an entire country’s beliefs about the evils of magic.

Torn apart by separate quests, Rowan and Aren will have to discover untapped strengths and confront their darkest fears in order to overthrow a ruler determined to destroy them both.

 –
Coming March 31, 2015. Pre-order here!
And as an “author’s birthday, so why the heck not” celebration, Bound is now on sale on all retailers (Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo) for 99 cents! The sale is only on for a week, so if you or anyone you know has been waiting for this, now would be a great time to grab it.
bound sale 1
Special thanks to everyone who’s helping out with the cover reveal today (yay, you guys!). If you want to stop by and say hello to these wonderful folks, here are the links. Shares and re-blogs are always appreciated!
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