Twiceborn Endgame cover reveal!

Drum-roll please! It’s finally time to reveal the gorgeous cover for Twiceborn Endgame:

Twiceborn Endgame small

I love it, and I can’t wait to see it sitting side by side with the first two on Amazon. That should only be a couple of weeks away now. It’s still with the editor, but should be back any day now. Hopefully she won’t suggest too many changes, then it’s off to the formatter and we’re into the home stretch. Still have to write the blurb, though. I always put that off until the last minute! Considering how short they are, blurbs are surprisingly difficult to write.

This one will be a doozy, too. There’s so much going on in this book! So many threads to tie off, as it’s the last book in the trilogy. Lots of exciting twists, none of which I want to give away in the blurb, so I’m going to have to give it careful thought. Kate has more hair-raising adventures! And does kick-ass dragon stuff! (Sadly the blurb requires a little more detail than that.)

In other news, the second Fairytale Curse book has a name: The Cauldron’s Gift. It also has a most delicious cover, but I can’t show you that yet, as the book’s not due out for several months yet. I’ve had a stressful but exciting time lately working with the cover designer to come up with something that suited the book and was genre-appropriate. That’s another thing about publishing that’s not as easy as it sounds (though it’s a lot more fun than blurb-writing).

And of course it’s November, that time of year when crazy people all over the world commit to writing a whole novel in just one month. I was still finishing up revisions on Twiceborn Endgame when November started, and then I had a bit of a mental blank for a few days: what on earth would I write about? I was supposed to be writing the third Fairytale Curse book, but the prospect left me unenthused, so I sat down on November 5th and began a random new story instead.

So now I’m pulling my usual November stunt of madly scrambling to dream up enough story to be able to continue writing every day. “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Well, the road is exeptionally foggy, but I’m motoring on, trusting to the process. Hopefully I arrive at the end with a finished draft!

How about you? Are you doing Nanowrimo? How are you going?

I’m not dead

Just dropping in quickly to say I’m not dead (though this whooping cough is making me feel pretty dodgy). I’ve been busy—between coughing bouts—working on the revision of The Twiceborn Queen. (Yes, that “sinus infection” I mentioned a couple of posts ago turned out to be whooping cough, which, alas, is also known as “the hundred-day cough”. I’ve had it since mid-January, so I still have a few more weeks of coughing to go.)

I finished the first, most labour-intensive, revision, and am now halfway through the second one. With a bit of luck I’ll get through the rest of that tomorrow. Then it’s on to smaller-level stuff like smoothing out the prose and hunting down and exterminating overused words.

I’ve already sent it to the beta readers, and will continue to work on it while I’m waiting for their feedback. The deadline to get it to the editor is the 1st of April, so I had to get the beta readers started on it before it was as beautiful as I would have liked. Feedback so far is encouraging.

Nearly there now! I’m hoping to publish in late April or early May. Can’t wait to share it with you guys!

Here’s an extract to whet your appetites:

 “Now you’re back you can check if anything’s been taken,” Tanya said. “The police will want to know.”

“Sure.” I turned the mug over in my hands, wondering which was the lesser of the two evils: ignore the police and risk them chasing me up over the supposed burglary, or file a report and draw Det Hartley’s attention to a burglary complete with random blood stains connected to my already-sullied name.

“I had to come in when I saw a strange car in the driveway,” Tanya said. “I wasn’t sure it was you. Why didn’t you tell me you were coming back? I could have picked you up at the airport.”

“No, no, it was fine. I had Garth.”

“Have you?”

“What?”

“Had Garth.”

I choked. I hoped he hadn’t heard that. Werewolf ears were pretty sharp. “God, Tanya, don’t you ever stop? He’s just a friend.” And thanks very much for putting that idea in my head. As if my dragon libido needed any encouragement to start thinking inappropriate thoughts about my employees.

She pouted. “You always say that. What about that gorgeous hunk of man flesh you work with? What’s he going to think when he sees you running around with this Garth guy?”

“Actually—” I could feel my cheeks warming as the image of a naked Garth persisted. “Actually, Ben and I are, um … together now.”

The Work in Progress Blog Tour: The Twiceborn Queen

I’ve been tagged by the fabulous Ceinwen Langley in  “The Work in Progress Blog Tour”. The rules are simple:

  1. Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.
  2. Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress.
  3. Nominate some other writer(s) to do the same.

Ceinwen sounds very busy with all her projects at the moment! She’s a working scriptwriter (with fifteen Neighbours scripts under her belt) as well as the author of The Edge of the Woods, a YA fantasy which I loved. My review of that is here.

I’m not working on quite so many things at once: basically I have two projects on the go. One is The Twiceborn Queen, the sequel to Twiceborn, which I’m busy revising.

Only … not quite as busy as I should be, because I’ve got distracted planning the revision of the first in a new series. It’s a YA fantasy called The Fairytale Curse, and is a modern take on the fairytale Toads and Diamonds. I’m very excited about it, and OMG you should SEE the beautiful cover it’s going to have—but I’ll tell you about that another time.

Back to The Twiceborn Queen, which I really must get finished very soon. I have eight scenes to go to finish the first (and biggest) round of revision.

There’s no rest for the wicked, they say, and Kate must have been very wicked in a previous life, for no sooner does she achieve her (mainly) happy ending in Twiceborn, but she’s thrown straight back into the fray to face even more difficult challenges. Now she’s not just fighting for survival against the daughters of the dragon queen, but facing the queen herself, with all the might of the empire behind her. Not good odds when you only have a ragtag band of survivors on your side.

And of course, being the sadistic author that I am, I throw all manner of complications in there, just for kicks.

So here’s the beginnings of my first three chapters, still not entirely polished (it’s still a WIP, after all):

Chapter One

They say hindsight is 20:20 vision, but still I can’t help that niggling feeling, the one that whispers that I should have known. Mothers are supposed to have ESP, right? Or at least eyes in the backs of their heads. There must have been some sign that things weren’t right, some little clue to tip me off, if only I’d been paying more attention.

Chapter Two

We spent three more hours at the hospital, answering the questions of every uniform that went past, watching the parade of police and hospital staff coming and going. Photographers and forensics, and whole hordes of other people whose jobs I couldn’t even guess at, made their way into the room, then reappeared, checking me out as they went past as if they couldn’t quite believe what I’d done.

Chapter Three

We headed across the Harbour Bridge, its great steel girders criss-crossing above our heads, their huge size making the cars below look like tiny coloured toys. Five nights ago Valeria had been perched up there like some nightmare bird, even her great size diminished by the mighty bridge.

Up next I’m nominating Pauline M Ross, author of the epic fantasies The Plains of Kallanash and The Fire Mages. I haven’t read The Plains of Kallanash yet, but I plan to remedy that soon. The Fire Mages was great, and I’ll be putting up a review of it shortly.

Finishing

Don’t get excited – I haven’t had a complete personality change and actually finished my crochet blanket already. Although I am still rippling away industriously, so yay me. No, today I thought I’d show you one of my (many) works in progress and talk a little about how long it takes sometimes to get to the finish line, and how much a project can change along the way.

Take this block for example:

Waaaaay back in late 1994 I decided to enrol in a class at the local evening college to learn to quilt. This was one of the first blocks I made, hand-drafted and handpieced, though originally it was bigger and centred. Ugly, isn’t it? File it under “What Was I Thinking?”. In my defence I can only say that the range of fabrics that were available back then were very different from the options we have today. Country style was all the rage, and quilt shops were a sea of mustard yellow, brick red, dark blues and olive greens.

I managed to find a few brighter fabrics, as in this Dresden plate block, another block we learned in class:

But after a couple of blocks I had a problem. Everyone else was using a limited number of fabrics, all carefully co-ordinated, and constructing a traditional sampler quilt out of their class blocks. But I was going wild buying fabrics and trying different combinations in my blocks, so none of them matched. Even then I had the whole “if three colours are good, then thirty must be better” thing going on.

Besides, I’ve never liked sampler quilts. So some of my blocks got turned into cushions, and some of them just sat in the cupboard. For 17 years.

After about a year of lessons I went off into the world, armed with my newfound knowledge, and began to branch out. I started projects I saw in magazines:

This was but one of many blocks in a large country-style quilt. It was a lovely quilt, but I never got much further than this. Country can be beautiful, and I often admire it in other people’s houses, but it’s not really my thing.

The strip of yellow rectangles down the left-hand side in this picture is an off-cut from another UFO (UnFinished Object) I started in a workshop.

Other workshops produced finished quilt tops (though not, you will note, finished quilts):

and more off-cuts that I bundled into the bag with my lonely orphan blocks. The bag got bigger, with more off-cuts and left-over background blocks, such as the tumbler blocks that make up the background of this quilt I made for Drama Duck when she was born:

Hey, look at that! A rare sighting of an Actual Finished Quilt on this blog. Designed it myself, too. Mind you, I say I made it for her “when she was born”: that was certainly the intention, but I think she was three or four by the time it was finished.

And sometimes I made a few blocks just to try an idea, or for a project I then abandoned:

I know, you’re shocked. Me, abandoning a project.

So they went into the bag too.

Every so often I’d pull out the bag and fiddle with the bits and pieces inside. Everything was different sizes, different colours and styles. Nothing went together. I’d move things around then shake my head and stuff it all back into the cupboard.

Then late last year, inspired by the mad riot of clashing colours I saw every time I did a class with

It’s changed a lot along the way as I learned new skills, and started (and sometimes abandoned) new projects. There are pieces in there from quilts I love, pieces that mean something to me, as well as pieces I don’t really like. A lot of history.

So sometimes finishing has to take a long time. You have to allow time to learn the skills you need, time for your tastes (and even the materials available to you) to change, time to change direction half a dozen times. And then you can cobble together a Frankenquilt out of left-overs, experiments and memories.

I can’t call it finished yet, since the quilting’s not done, but the top is complete so, creatively speaking, it’s finished. A new creation out of spare parts. I’m really quite fond of my Frankenquilt, though opinions are divided among the rest of the household. Demon Duck thinks it’s really ugly. Baby Duck just thinks there’s too much quilting and crochet on my blog lately and not enough about important things.

Like him.