New covers, new book, new set up

I have made several changes over the past few days in terms of plans for writing. I know I’ve not been actively writing lately, but I’m getting back into it, and in doing so I found some things I wanted to change up.

The one thing that has bothered me for years is that Larkspur is so short. If you follow me, you’ve probably heard this before. I really didn’t know what I was doing when I wrote Larkspur. My stories were mostly a jumble of scenes without a concrete plot, just slice of life moments (a lot of that is still true). Given that serials were popular at the time, I thought I would just write shorter works and release them quickly… It took me two years to write Larkspur. I think I just stalled a lot. I still do that, actually. I’m a perfectionist with anxiety issues 😛

Larkspur is about 15K words. 60ish pages.

So my plan, to write Delphinium in a month, was dumb. I thought it would be 30K, I had a vague idea of ‘Lizzy and Pierre go to Spadille’ but that’s about it. Then the other arcs and characters started to show up, and I found an overarching idea… and the wordcount got bigger and bigger. And this all took time. Because it took me two years to write 15K, how long was this going to take?!

Seven years. Delphinium, at 127K, 440ish pages, took me seven years.

Serializing it online in chapters helped me though. There were weeks or months I didn’t write, but the idea of posting a new chapter and getting readers always pulled me back. So that’s good. And I am working on it now with Book 3.

Speaking of…

I break up the arcs of my stories into quartets. It just happened that way in one case, and then I tried to keep the same number because I liked it (and it reminded me of Tamora Pierce, who also often writes in quartets and whose stories I love). So Larkspur had 4 books, the next quartet (Quadrille) would also have four, etc. All one series, though. Just changes perhaps in overall theme, or who the main cast is. It also lets me change up the cover scheme.

The problem now is that Larkspur, while being called ‘book 1’ was more of a short story. So while I had ‘four books’ the story really only had 3 books worth of tale.

I thought about combining Larkspur with Delphinium and adding a 4th book, but then I would lose all of my reviews and hard work there. And I would probably have to rewrite both to have them make more sense that way.

I resigned myself to leaving it at 3 novels and a short, and the rest be all novels even though they wouldn’t be quite the same… but as I was looking through my timeline, I realized that book 5, Alliance (the first book in the next quartet), covered 10 years of time. Which I do occasionally have in the even later books, but in this case it felt like too much for that one tome.

I thought then about splitting the book. About taking the first half of Alliance and tacking it onto Consolida, so I would keep my 4 theme. I thought about splitting it and adding an book that was part of neither set, but acted as a bridge between the two quartets. Neither of those appealed to me. There was enough difference that I wanted another book there, but perhaps not as a weird stand-alone when all the other books would be sets of 4.

I then remembered that sometimes books were called Part 0, or Part .5 if there was a short story that introduced things, or a prequel. And Larkspur is very much an intro and perhaps prequel to the rest of all the books. If that was the case.. I could add another book, call the short story a prequel, and still have a set of 4 ‘books’ that would cover the right amount of story!

So I took the previous book 4 (Alliance)and split it where I thought the story would naturally work as two different parts. I turned the first half into the new Book 4, now a part of the Larkspur Quartet, Regalis, or A Necromancer’s Blood. (If you’ve followed me, you may realize that this subtitle was originally Consolida’s before I changed it to “Necromancer’s Love.”)

Larkspur is therefore now Vol 0 of the Larkspur Quartet, while still the first book in The Courting of Life and Death Series so it isn’t lost in the shuffle. I feel like Larkspur pretty much should be read before Delphinium, so I wanted it in the Series page on websites. I’ve updated my covers, made the colors more deep, added the next volume, and renumbered the ‘volume numbers’ for each book under their quartet labeling.

Technically this gives me the original issue of ‘this set has 5 in it and won’t be even with the rest’ but with it being a short story / novella intro, I think that’s ok. Then again… maybe I’ll keep doing that and start all of my quartets with an intro novella? We’ll see.

Oh! And in addition to all this: Larkspur, or A Necromancer’s Romance, is now a perma-free lead in book 🙂 So the story is FREE! It’s updated on all of the sites, except Amazon. I’m still waiting for the free to go through there. Hopefully by tomorrow.

Now to continue writing Book 3, vol. 2 of the Larkspur Quartet, Aconitella, or A Necromancer’s Wife

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