A big day is coming up for fantasy and science fiction fans! Less than a month from now, Wolrdcon 75 is taking place in Helsinki, and, among other things, the Hugo winners will be announced. This is the first year I’m eligible to vote, and I’m taking it very seriously!
First of all, I’ve decided I’m not going to vote in any category where I’m not familiar with every single one of the nominated works. It just doesn’t seem fair that I vote for a book just because I’ve read it, without giving the others a chance.
So, as soon as I saw the voting deadline was this coming weekend, I knew I couldn’t go through all the novels. Sadly, I rarely get the time to read nowadays – in between working on Men and Monsters, writing a brand new book, a full-time career in an unrelated field, and some family stuff, my reading time is limited to public transport, flights, and, occasionally, reading while walking down the street, with nose stuck in a book, Belle-style. So the “Novels” category was out, but I could still go through the novellas, novelettes, and short stories.
And I’m so happy I decided to do it! All six novellas were by authors I’ve never read before, and now I can’t wait to dive into their other works!
Some overall thoughts on the nominees before I dive into the specific books:
– 5 out of 6 were weird. And I mean it in a good way! Continue reading
Thanks so much to the super sweet RaeAnne for hosting me ❤
Kingdom of Ashes and One Thing Every Writer Should Know
If you are anything like me, then you:
- A) Dream to see your book characters illustrated,
- B) Cannot draw a believable humanoid if your life depended on it.
Luckily, this is where my personal superhero, TheSwanMaindeN, comes in.
When you get an artist to illustrate your characters, you can take different routes. You could describe in detail what exactly you want to see, you could give them complete freedom, or you could go anywhere in between.
When I asked TheSwanMaideN to illustrate my book cover, I gave her a detailed description of what exactly needed to be there. However, when it came to Armida’s portrait, I decided to try something different and to give her only a vague idea about the character. “You are great at drawing hair,” I said, “and even better at drawing dresses. Go for it.”
This was one of my better decisions because – surprise, surprise! – it turns out her imagination is way better than mine. What I got was this:
I’m happy to present this beautiful character portrait by the talented Nadica Boshkovska (aka TheSwanMaideN on DeviantArt):
If you’ve read the free sample, you have already met Tristan. He is the vampire who first finds Myra in the dungeons and accidentally saves her from interrogation and torture. Arrogant and vain, he is viciously disliked by mostly everyone at court. At a first glance, his loyalty to the Prince is his only redeeming quality, but Myra discovers further bits and pieces of his past, secrets and motivations as the story goes along.
I think the portrait does a great job capturing his personality, or at least the face he shows to most of the world. Once again, I’m very grateful to be working with this skilled artist.
I finished the first draft of Kingdom of Ashes back in summer 2014. After that the manuscript has gone through numerous revisions and has evolved beyond recognition. The story kept growing, until one of my editors suggested that there is enough material for two books. After some thinking I decided the story indeed works better split in two, so now you’ll be getting two novels, Kingdom of Ashes, and Men and Monsters. This means I still have a lot of editing to do to make sure you don’t feel like you’re reading half a book, but I believe I can get the books ready for publication early 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Note that Nightfall is still an ongoing series, and I expect 6-7 books total. I know some readers are hesitant to start a new series, out of fear of series fatigue, and would like to know if the first book can be read as a standalone. To be honest with you, Kingdom of Ashes and Men and Monsters together can definitely be read as a standalone, without reading the following books. However, I wouldn’t recommend reading Kingdom of Ashes without Men and Monsters since a few questions are raised in the first book and answered in the second. You can give it a try, but I’m not sure if it will be satisfactory enough. I just wanted to let you know before you decide to jump into the series 😉
I am happy to present the stunning Kingdom of Ashes ebook cover by the talented Nadica Boshkovska (aka TheSwanMaideN on DeviantArt):