Daros ended up coming in 15th out of 377 entries in the first ever Self-Published Science Fiction Competition run by Hugh Howey, missing the finals by a bit. That’s disappointing, but it was a really great ride, and I very much enjoyed getting to know the authors and bloggers as the competition progressed. There were four published reviews from blogger judges, and there may be more coming, because a lot more judges read the book as part of the process. Here are those reviews:
It’s looking like August will be a good month for my very small literary endeavor. It’s looking like I’ll set a new record for Kindle Unlimited page reads, mostly on the strength of Daros. I’m not sure how much of that comes from the very successful free promotion I ran in early August, where I gave away about 3,100 copies of the book, and how much might come from other sources, like discovery on Amazon, participation in SPSFC, a giveaway I’m running on Goodreads, or just word-of-mouth.
Here’s how it looks. Most of it is blue, which is Daros, while the gold and red are Flames Over Frosthelm and The Outcast Crown, respectively. Daros came out in May, but it didn’t really catch fire until August here (where “fire” is relative to my previous success, nothing compared to the big leagues).
Note that it says “All 4 books,” but Traitors Unseen isn’t available on Kindle Unlimited, so it’s not included here.
Amazon rates my books at 550-580 pages for KU purposes, so this represents about 82 full reads, or 47,710 people reading one page each. Impossible to tell, except that some of the bars (particularly red and gold) are about 570 pages, which suggests that people are reading the whole book in a day.
I’ve broken 30,000 pages this month alone, and my previous high month was about 15,000 back in 2019, so that’s another way to put it in perspective. It might all crash in September, but I hope it keeps going.
I’m nearly there with the first draft of my sci fi novel, Daros, begun almost five years ago during chaperoning for marching band camp, then left to sit for four years. I always liked the opening few chapters, so I came back to it again this past August. November and December were a little rough, but I am back on track to get it finished soon.
Contrary to my usual style of not knowing what the hell the characters are going to do next, I’ve got a chapter outline for each of the five remaining chapters, plus the one I wrote tonight. I needed that scaffolding to bring it home safely and to resolve a bunch of plot threads in a way that makes sense and is satisfying. I hope.
“The End” will feel good, but it won’t really be done. Not even close. More like the version of done where you get to start the massive and daunting process of rewrites and edits. But a milestone nonetheless. I’m excited about what it’s become, and I hope others will enjoy it once it’s all knitted better together and polished to a shine. Also, mixed metaphors rule.
I love messing around on Artbreeder.com, and in particular I enjoy playing with their face visualizations. I got a character picture I kind of like for one of my main characters in my Daros book. Her name’s Brecca, and she’s 16, and in pretty far over her head in a tough situation. Not sure this picture is right, and I don’t want to mess with anybody’s ability to imagine the characters for themselves, but it’s fun nonetheless.
UPDATE: Nobody much likes this one but me. Here’s one that I like that seems to garner a little more support:
I’m getting close to finished with the first draft of my sci fi novel (tentative title is Daros), and I’m starting to think about cover design. I’ll get actual artists to handle that for me, but one fun part of that is deciding whether to represent the characters on the cover or not. On the one hand, you can create an appealing cover with some kind of action or character represented. On the other, once you provide a picture of a character, you inhibit people’s ability to imagine them how they want to. That includes complex issues like race.
In a book set on Earth, physical appearance comes with a whole bunch of social baggage (and often prejudice and discrimination) that comes from our current society. In a future space-faring setting that still has humans, a few things seem likely:
racial categories that are present on Earth won’t mean the same things that they do now
the physical characteristics that people present will be more homogenized than on Earth now (we’re already seeing that in the 21st century as migration happens and as love overcomes barriers against cross-boundary partners that were stronger in the past)
people who’ve adapted to life on different worlds will potentially be more different from each other (both physically and culturally) than the historical racial and ethnic categories in Earth’s current population (unless there’s tremendous connectivity, uniformity of media, and easy travel)
If all of that is true, then probably bias and prejudice would still exist, and some of it may be appearance based, but it would be addressed toward people from different planets rather than people from regions or nations.
I’m not sure of any of this, and I would hope that a technologically advanced society would leave a lot of this behind, but it’s interesting to think about.
I’ve been working on a new sci fi novel. The tentative title is Daros, which is the world where a lot of the action takes place so far. In doing so, I’m departing a from the subject matter of my Inquisitors’ Guild books, which have been fantasy adventures, while this is more of a space adventure. I’m hoping people will enjoy this too.
I’m also trying some new things in terms of writing style. I have two perspective characters in the book, both characters struggling with their own challenges but coming from very different places. I’m writing in third person instead of first, which is not hard, but it’s a little different. I’m keeping the perspective tightly fixed on what they can see, hear, and feel, and I only share their thoughts, so that part is similar. But I am jumping back and forth from one to the other, telling each story in pieces, and that is a lot of fun along with being a little harder to craft.
I haven’t figured out if or when they’ll meet. I think they might, eventually, but I need to work out how, and if that’s actually a good idea, and how they’d respond to each other. They share a little bit of personality and initiative, so that might help bridge the gap between them, but that gap is pretty wide.
As of now (October 1), I’m at about 25,000 words, and I’m anticipating this will be in the 80,000 to 100,000 range. I’m hoping to get a first draft done by the end of November, maybe as a NaNoWriMo project, depending on how long the story ends up needing to run. That would put the book out potentially in early to mid 2021. I’ll post more updates as I get farther along.