If you paged through all the coloring book entries on Tuesday, then you already heard the big news. But for those of you who didn’t, I’m officially announcing that my next release is going to be Decree (The Blades of Acktar #5)
Yes, you read that right. There’s going to be another Blades book. This one is a collection of 4 novellas and 5 or 6 short stories (depending on which ones remain in the collection after editing). Some of the stories will be back story, but most of the stories pick up only a few months after Deliver and follow the characters until about 8 years after Deliver ends.
The best part is that my planned release date is December 18, 2018. Yep. That’s only two months away!
About the book:
The Adventure Continues.
Discover more of The Blades of Acktar in this collection of novellas and short stories.
The Blades as They Should’ve Been
A test and the Gathering of Nobles will decide Leith and Martyn’s futures. Can they fight to become more than the Blades they were? Will Keevan accept what it means to have the man who attempted to kill him as family?
The First Mission
When Martyn visits Surgis, his past seems determined to haunt him. Can he figure out how to forgive, especially when confronted with an enemy in need of his help?
To the Far Great Mountains
A death sends Leith and Martyn far beyond the borders of Acktar. Will they be able to arrest their quarry before they are caught themselves?
From the story of how Leith and Martyn met to Ranson’s search for a life outside of the Blades, these stories will answer plaguing questions and expand the world of Acktar.
I know some of you might have a lot of questions, so I’m going to answer as many of them in this post as possible. If you have any questions I don’t answer, feel free to ask. Though, if it is spoiler-related, be prepared if I might give a rather vague answer.
Why are you releasing these novellas and short stories as one book? Wouldn’t it make more sense to release them as companion novellas?
I thought about releasing the novellas on their own, but in the end, I decided for several reasons that it was best to keep them all as one book because:
1). I could then label it as The Blades of Acktar #5 on Amazon. One thing readers wouldn’t know is that the Kindle Publishing page doesn’t let you set up a book as 4.5 in a series. Thus the companion books don’t show up as linked to the series and it does hurt sales. Destroy, my one companion novella, doesn’t sell as well as the others because it is harder for people to find. Yes, I can put the series name as part of the title and that does help, but if you go on Amazon, The Blades of Acktar is listed as a 4 book series and doesn’t count Destroy.
Think of this book like Ranger’s Apprentice book 11, which is a traditionally published book that did the same thing by collecting a bunch of novellas and short stories into one book to release all of them together.
2). Together, the novellas tell one story. The main theme is Leith and Martyn establishing the new Blades (won’t tell you what they are called because that is kind of a spoiler). So it makes sense to group them together. In many ways, they stand together as one book better than they would as separate novellas.
3). There is a lot of set up in the collections for The Blades of Acktar books 6 and 7. Future bad guys are introduced. The countries around Acktar are introduced. The new Blades are established. A whole bunch of new systems and laws are in place. I don’t want people to skip the novellas as just companion novellas that aren’t important when they are an important stepping stone to the next books.
4). Having a 7 book series in the end just sounds better to me than a 6 book series with a lot of companion novellas. Just personal preference, lol.
Wait, wait, wait. Did I read that right? There are going to be two more books after this one?
Yep, you definitely read that right. I finally gave in to the inevitable and allowed all the various ideas I was getting for Acktar characters to work their way into a cohesive plot.
A lot of that was due to stepping away from Acktar for a while to write Dagger’s Sleep. While I was writing that book, the Acktar characters had a little bit of space to breathe so that when I came back to them, it felt like coming home instead of writing at the edge of being sick of them.
Who are going to be the main characters of Decree? What about books 6 and 7?
Since Decree is a collection of stories, it has multiple point of view characters, including Leith, Martyn, Kayleigh, Ranson, and a few others.
The current plan for books 6 and 7 is that both of them will have Leith, Brandi, and Jamie as point of view characters.
Leith and Martyn are still going to be point of view characters? Won’t all of the characters be older than the young adult age range?
Yes, most of the characters will be in their twenties in the later books. It is one reason I held off writing them as long as I did since I wasn’t sure how it would work to have my young adult characters age out of the young adult range.
But a number of things finally made me realized that, yes, it wasn’t so bad to write a few “older” characters.
1). My books, in many ways, aren’t traditional YA novels. Yes, they sort of have a coming of age story line. Yes, they have a romance. Yes, they have YA age protagonists.
But none of that is the focus of the books. The focus is the adventure. And I can keep that focus even when the protagonists are older. News flash: adventure doesn’t end the moment you turn 20 or when you get married. As someone in my twenties, I happen to know I’ve had MORE adventure and fun times in my twenties than I did as a teen.
2). If Ranger’s Apprentice can successfully pull it off, then hopefully I can too. After all, by book 5 in that series, Will is twenty. He spends half the series older than a traditional YA age range. Yet that doesn’t stop fans from loving the books. If anything, it is the later books that people like the most.
3). As a teen, I read a lot of books about adults. One reason for that was that the YA genre as we know it today didn’t exist. But the other reason was that I wanted an adventure. It didn’t matter if the main character was 15 or 35. I enjoyed the book regardless. By the time I was 16 and 17, I was fully into adult westerns and British naval historical novels, and most of the main characters were in their 20s and 30s, and that didn’t impede my enjoyment of the books at all. Hopefully I’m not the only teen reader who does this!
4). If there are some teen readers like me out there, then I didn’t just read to find characters who were teens like me, but I read up into adult books because in many ways I saw myself as an adult (even if the adults around me didn’t think so). I was the responsible sort of teen who felt like I was adult enough to tackle the world. So I think it is probably good to have books occasionally that show the teen characters growing into adults, getting married, having kids. There are many teens who don’t have examples of healthy marriage relationships to look at, and books can give them that even if the real world can’t.
I noticed the header on this book is slightly different. Please don’t tell me you are changing the covers on the books again!
Yes, if you noticed, the header is slightly different on Decree. This is on purpose and signals the new era in Acktar, so this is the header that will be on books 6 and 7 as well.
I am working with my cover designer for the first 3 books to have the header changed to match the one on Deliver and Destroy.
I am also brainstorming ideas for two book prequel series about King Brian and the founding of Acktar, and the header for that series would be similar, with just the upright sword down the center instead of the crossed knives since the upright sword is the symbol of the kings of Acktar.
Wait? A prequel series too????
Yes, but that’s way in the future. At least 2022 (after book 7 releases), so I don’t have it very planned out yet.
But I really liked the world in Dagger’s Sleep? What does writing more Acktar books mean for the new Beyond the Tales series?
Writing Dagger’s Sleep was a very intense experience since developing that world was a lot of work and making sure the allegory remained Biblically sound shot my stress levels through the roof. After I took a few months break from writing, I found I couldn’t step back into that world right away. The ideas just weren’t fully formed yet. So I started writing a few of the novella ideas I’d had for Acktar, and next thing I knew, I had a book. Oops.
But that doesn’t mean I plan to step away from Beyond the Tales forever. In fact, once I hand Decree off to beta readers, I plan to work on the next book in Beyond the Tales in November. By working on Decree, it helped give me time to brainstorm the next book.
My current plan is to keep going back and forth between the two series so that I (hopefully) won’t get burned out on either one of them as quickly. But I’m going to be flexible depending on which book wants to be written at a given time.
Which Beyond the Tales book are you going to start writing in November?
Stepping away from Beyond the Tales and listening to feedback made me change a few things up with that series. If you look at the back of Dagger’s Sleep, it says that the next book will be Beauty’s Beast. I’ve decided to wait on writing that for now, since it is essentially a spin-off story about the side character of Mirabelle, and instead concentrate on continuing the story with Alex, Daemyn, Rosanna, Berend, and the other characters everyone liked best from Dagger’s Sleep.
Thus the next book in the series is going to be Midnight’s Curse, the Cinderella retelling. I just brainstormed the plot of this book with a friend, and I’m super excited for how it is coming together. Let’s just say there’s going to be plenty of intrigue, Alex manages to get into more trouble (again), and Daemyn and Rosanna have to race to save him.
So what does that mean for a release schedule?
I’m an indie author, so release schedules are always subject to a lot of change. But right now, the plan is to release Decree in December, Midnight’s Curse in spring or summer of 2019, then the next Acktar book at the end of 2019 or early 2020, depending on how long it takes me to write it.
That’s all the questions I can think of right now! I hope you guys are as excited as I am!