Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Second Olympus - Cover Art!

Once again, Robin Ludwig Design has knocked it out of the park.

For those who want to read the back, you can click on the pic to make it bigger, or here's the text:


The war amongst the Greek gods lasted over three decades and when it was ended, the sun was snuffed from the sky, Artemis sat on the throne, and the muses were murdered.

Without the power to create or invent, the human race languished for generations, trapped within the walled city of Elysia, their lives governed by the steady tick of the great world clock and the watchful eye of their increasingly erratic goddess.

But in the lower wards, far from the shining beacon that is Olympus Tower, a crippled boy named Geoff has grown to manhood, unaware of the legacy contained in his own mysterious bloodline. When his loved ones are threatened, the world will finally wake under the power of the muse, and the insane goddess Artemis will remember the very dangerous power of human imagination.

And just another close up of the front, 'cause I lurve it!

Current plan is to try and have the preorder option processing by tonight, with an eye to an April 21st release date.  Most likely, I will release the print copy a few days prior to that, to make sure that everyone can READ it on the release date.

I'm so excited!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Gooey Sticky Syrup

I suppose by now that it’s pretty clear that I’m not gonna hit the March 24th release date for Second Olympus. Well, it was worth a shot.

The good news is, the cover art is still in progress, and that’s really the only thing I’m waiting on.  Once I get that, I can hit the button and get this ball rolling.  Still hoping to give it a “pre-order” period, even if just for a couple of week.  Still hoping to have this out in April, but no promises, and no set date.

Other than that, I’m just plodding along.  Got that feet stuck in thick syrup feeling, lately.  I’m making progress, but it’s slow and steady, rather than abrupt and thrilling/terrifying.  Truthfully, I’m not sure which is better.  Patience is not one of my favorite things, but neither is abject terror.

Folks are getting antsy about JJD5. Trust me, it’s coming. I pick at the outline now and then when I need a break from MMwD, and this morning, I actually wrote down the first few paragraphs of a chapter just so they’d quit taking up room in my head.  Goal is still to have this one out and available this year, though not sure just when.  Won’t be a summer release like the others, but I feel like that’s not so important in the big scheme of things.

Nothing else going on but life in general. As it happens to all of us.  (well, most of us, I guess. I don’t discriminate against the undead)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Second Olympus - The Playlist

As mentioned before, I had a playlist for this book.  Most of the music was sent to my by a friend, and while it wasn't for the purpose of connecting it to the writing I was doing at the time, it just worked out that way.  Perfectly, in fact.

I wanted to make a Spotify playlist to link here so that you could all listen to it as well, but unfortunately, some of this music is a little obscure, and therefore not available.  I DID manage to find them (most of them, anyway) on Youtube, and so I've made you a Youtube playlist instead.

Again unfortunately, I can't figure out how to get that playlist to display MY notes on the songs to you, so I'll be doing that below.

It's not my intention for you to sync listening to the songs to reading the book.  That would be silly, and impossible.  It is also worth it to note that I very rarely picked a song for its lyrics.  Some of them aren't even in English.  More, I picked it for the sound of it, the mood I felt it conveyed.  Also, don't bother looking at the videos themselves. They were chosen as the best example of the music I could find.

The name of the song & artist are available in the videos above, so down here, I'll just label them by number, and where I believe they fit in the book. I hope that I've left them suitably vague so as not to provide spoilers.  More one of those "when you've read the book, you'll understand" kind of things.  It's also worth noting that I've always believed this to be my "movie book", so it's only fitting that I have songs for the opening & closing credits.  Trust me, in my head, it's EPIC.

1 - Opening Credits
2 - Artemis' Theme
3 - Looking out on Elysia
4 - Heracles' Theme
5 - Taken
6 - Den of Iniquity
7- Hunt with the Black Hound
8 - Demeter's Theme
9 - Across the River
10 - Sanity Stretched Thin
11 - A History of Things Past
12 - Through the Dark
13 - The Airship
14 - Death in Olympus
15 - Closing Credits

More than all the music above, I'm hoping that if you find music that YOU like for this novel as you read, you can mention it in the comments below.  You'll notice that there are certain characters that I never found a theme for, so I'm always on the lookout to update my tunes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Second Olympus

Yesterday, as I was working on my copy editing phase for Second Olympus, I Googled something involving the use of the possessive apostrophe on names ending in S. (I know, wild and crazy stuff, right?) The amusing thing was, the first hit that popped up was a thread on a writers’ forum from 2008. It was my thread, asking the same exact question for the same exact reason on the same exact book.

First off, let’s not talk about my powers of retention. Second, it made me realize that by the time Second Olympus actually releases, it will be 7 years old, and it will have a long road behind it already.

I started writing Second Olympus (then called Muse) back in 2008 after I’d finished the first JJD book (then called Third Strike, since we’re talking trivia). I was querying, trying to find an agent, and I knew I had to keep writing to get my mind off of it. A stray conversation late one night with a friend lead to the idea of Muse, and I got to work.

It was unlike anything I’d been writing, up to that point. I had a trunked epic fantasy under my belt, and JJD1 which was urban fantasy. Muse was…different, which was scary and exhilarating all at once. I stretched myself beyond my own literary box, and in the end, I was really proud of what I’d done. I think I finished it sometime in early 2009, about the same time we sold the JJD series.

Of course, from that point, I got busy with JJD stuff and new projects. Every so often, I’d go back to Muse and revise bits and pieces, send it to new readers, get their thoughts, add my own. My first agent wasn’t super gung-ho about it, I could tell, not because it was badly written, but because he just didn’t see a traditional market for it. And that’s their job, to know those things.

Time went on, years went by. I wound up with a new agent. When she asked about other projects I had, I of course sent her Muse, ‘cause I was still super proud of it. She had the same feelings about it, that traditional publishing probably wasn’t going to be interested. That was the point where I’d just had success getting JJD4 out on my own, and I knew that I could do this. So, with her permission, I moved forward with self-publishing Muse. That actual decision was made…probably July-ish, 2014? (Yes, looking at the date in the picture below, that was exactly when I made that decision)

I did another round of new beta readers, and their suggestions really made the book into what it is at this moment. I came up with a new title, and hopefully on March 24th, 2015, you will all get to read Second Olympus. (See what I did there? Slipped a release date right in like that. Ain’t I sneaky?)

I can’t even count how many rounds of revisions this thing went through. I probably have four different printed copies of this thing floating around my house, and at one point, I just quit printing it out and started making my editing notes on the same draft, just in different colors so I could tell the evolutions apart.

(This picture is the pile of previous drafts of everything. Muse, JJD1-JJD4, Peacemaker, MBG. I have no idea what to do with these. Do I throw them away?)

I should finish the copy edits this week on my lunch breaks, and then this weekend, I’ll get the print copy formatting done. Once I have a firm page count, I can commission the cover art and get this ball truly rolling.

My goal for release is March 24th, like I said above, contingent on cover art and zombie apocalypse, of course. I’ll try to get everything up for pre-order by March 1st if I can (the print copy won’t have a pre-order phase, but I’ll make it available a few days early, like I did with JJD4, so we can all read on the release date). I’ll also try to have limited print copies available for reviewers who want them, so folk definitely need to let me know. (kari.stewart21 (at) gmail.com)

I keep going through these deep highs and lows with this thing. The highs are where I’m SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED to have this book out and available. After all this time, it’s still one of my favorite stories. The lows are where I’m damn certain this is garbage, and that fans of my JJD books aren’t going to like something that’s so very different from what they’re used to from me.

I guess time will tell.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Another Year

If possible, I’m actually getting worse about maintaining this blog.

SO, where am I, and what am I doing?

First off, Snake has done very well since its release. (at least, in my mind) Well enough that I am wholly encouraged about self-publishing more things in the future, not just the JJD books. I fully admit, though, every time I see a sale pop up in my report, I do a little happy dance. That’s never going to get old.

 My intention is to have Muse available in the coming spring (though I’m pondering a title change, I’ll keep you posted). It’s a story I dearly love that I just don’t think is ever going to find a traditional home. I’ll have some fun stuff to go along with it when I get close to releasing it, as it’s one of the few books I have that actually has a soundtrack.

And JJD5 I’m still pondering for fall next year, but considering that I haven’t actually started writing it yet, that’s a moving target. On the upside, I’ve finalized titles for the last two JJD books, so that’s one less thing on my brain. No, I’m not going to tell you yet, because final is only truly final when it’s on the cover.

 “But, what about Ernst?” you cry. “Don’t you love Ernst anymore???” Of course I love Ernst. How can you not love Ernst? But right now, I feel like I need to finish at least ONE series before I worry about the next one. Especially when I still feel like I need to alternate writing for myself (self-published) and writing to try to sell traditionally. On that note, once I get JJD done, and AW (which is only intended to be a trilogy), I’ll be seriously considering self-pubbing my Otherkind series as well. Only have the first book of that done, but there are more in my brain, and since urban fantasy seems to be flagging a little in the traditional market, self-pubbing may be the way to go with that one too.

At the very least, I’m hoping to have those two books out in 2015, then maybe try to get AW2 & JJD6 out in 2016 (gods, it’ll be weird to say goodbye to J & Co.), and then AW3, OK1 in 2017. This is all barring any other book sales I might make between now and then, and since the Lovely Agent is currently shopping something around, it’s entirely possible.

So if I’m not working on JJD5 or AW2 right now, what am I working on? Funny you should ask. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen me use the hashtag #MMwD. I don’t have an actual title for this bizarre thing I’m fiddling with, but in my brain, I’m calling it “Mad Max with Dragons”. You could also call it the bastard love child of “Reign of Fire” and “Book of Eli”. In short, I’m not sure what the hell I’m doing, but the words keep coming, so I’m just rolling with it. I’ve honestly lost the ability to even tell if this thing is any good. In fact, I’m about 90% sure it’s not any good. I’m about 40K words into it, which would be half a novel, but I have a feeling that this is going to be longer than my normal 80K goal.

And that’s my life in a (very large, rather disjointed) nutshell.

Feel free to ask any questions, or point and mock, or berate me on my treatment of magical jackalopes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

Yup.  Me too.  Sorry for the tiny video, but really, no one wants to see this bigger.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Definitive List

All right, now that things have settled a bit, here is the definitive list of places where you can buy A Snake in the Grass.

Print Edition
Barnes & Noble


So...how's it going?  Not too bad.  I've already sold enough to recover my costs, so at the very least, I can seriously consider self-pubbing the next two in the series and not take a loss at it.  And truthfully, if I made even a $1 profit, I was going to continue on.  I need to finish it, for Jesse.

How can you help?  Buy the book, obviously, and tons of you are already doing that.  Tell your friends if you love the series. See if they might love it too.  And leave reviews at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble.  Even if the book wasn't your cuppa, leave a review and say that.  Reviews help drive a lot of the algorithms that make books pop up in the "Hey, if you liked that, you may like THIS" recommendations, which can get JJD in front of people who may never have heard of it before.  

And in the meantime, I will be trying to work on something else.  ANYthing else.  Ugh.  I have an old project, Muse, that I'm revisiting, with an eye to self-pubbing it too in the future.  My lovely agent has given me a wishlist of things she'd love to see, so I'm trying to bang out new ideas there.  And of course, I have JJD5 looming on the horizon.  It needs an outline at the very least.

My problem with all of these choices is that it's too much. How to I focus on one task when...ooh, shiny!  Hopefully, something will settle with me soon, and then I can get my butt in gear.