Series, sub-series, arcs, family sagas

The new official series name for my currents books is Stories of Clandestina. All of the series’ sub-series/mini-series/arcs that happen in Clandestina will be part of it.
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I’ve actually had this on the Amazon page for a while, but had it alongside ‘The Larkspur Series’ as well, essentially giving it two series names. Amazon contacted me recently about how this could be a problem and to pick one. So I did.
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But I also needed to show people that, while they should be read in order, there are different ‘parts’ to the series. Arcs, sub-series, etc.
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Using the term ‘series’ again only made it confusing (hence Amazon contacting me). So from now on it’s going to be The Larkspur Quartet that follows Pierre and Lizzy’s earlier adventures in Piques. It shows a sub-section to the series and easily tells you how many books there are in the section.
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After this I have a stand-alone story planned about Ophion meeting Eglė, and then another Quartet that continues to follow Pierre and Lizzy, but with many more characters, and a different central conflict than before. Hence a new ‘sub-series.’
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I decided to go with an overall Series name instead of letting the arcs be their own series because, as a reader, I have read books out of order before. And it’s annoying. Many authors have multiple series in one world and they tend to have a ‘preferred reading order’ but unless you go on the author’s website you won’t find it.
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Tamora Pierce has many great books set in Tortall. They tend to be series split based on the main character. Alanna has her books, then Daine, then Kel, etc.
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I read Daine’s books before I read Alanna’s. I did not know the two went together, or that Alanna’s story was ‘first.’ There was little indication of that. So I had some of Alanna’s story spoiled for me because of references made in Daine’s books to a previous series.
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I’d rather this not happen to my readers unless I purposefully write something out of chronological order.

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The Delphinium Pre-order is up! (Again!)

I am slightly behind schedule for Delphinium. But only slightly! I’ve had one Beta finish up Part 1, and another is almost finished. I’m working on Part 2, which is now 25 chapters long, but everything is settled and in the right place. A few chapters have been split up, a few moved over to Book 3, other chapters combined… but it all feels right and in sync now.

So I went ahead and set up the pre-order. Again.

I gave myself a bit of extra time, and factored in how long it’s taking my betas, and chose the release for December 1st. It gives me a month and a half to finish, a month for my betas, and then a few weeks to sew it all together. If I somehow finish early I can always move it up anyway.

I know I did this last year and things fell apart, but I am in a much better space both mentally, with my day-job, and with how I feel as a writer. And I needed a solid date because it wouldn’t put my ass in gear otherwise.

And so without further ado!:

Delphinium, or A Necromancer’s Home is now up to pre-order for the special price of 99¢! It goes up to $2.99 at release, so grab it while you can.

Personal goal: 102 pre-orders to match with Larkspur’s 102 reviews on Amazon.com. If the reviews go up, I’d hope the pre-orders do as well.


~Victoria

Titles and meaning

I really like titles. Series and book titles hold a lot of meaning, and are very important in how a story grabs you. As I love naming my characters and finding the perfect name for someone, finding the perfect book title can be similarly difficult and fun. Granted, I know many of my titles can be vague or odd sounding (thankfully that kinda works for the fantasy genre) so since I have this blog, I can go ahead and explain! 😛

(I’m sure I’ve explained this before, but searching through this blog I can’t find it. So I either erased it or explained it somewhere else.)

First of all: The Larkspur Series. The first book is called Larkspur. This is a flower that’s both poisonous when consumed and has several meanings in the Language of Flowers. These range from ‘First Love’ (purple), to being fickle (pink). It has also been used in the past to ward off ghosts and other supernatural things. I loved the many meanings and how they related to each other and the realm of Clandestina. I first came across it when I was looking for poisons that Pierre would have also been looking to use. It is also July’s birthflower (like a birthstone, but, well, a flower) and Lizzy was born in my world’s ‘July’ –  Iovilios.

I had a series title in mind, The Courting of Life and Death, but it did not feel as natural. I actually released Larkspur with this as the series title, but changed it soon after. I took the ‘Twilight” and “Game of Thrones” approach and named the series after the first title. (I know the series title is A Song of Ice and Fire, but most people are going to call it ‘Game of Thrones’ nowadays. Which is exactly what I wanted to avoid).

Thus started my ‘one word title’ trend for the books of Clandestina.

To make the title a little clearer, though, I was advised to use a subtitle, and so I went with the slightly older fashion of adding “or” and a short description of the work as an EitherOrTitle (TV tropes link!). In the end it was Larkspur, or A Necromancer’s Romance.

(Yes, I say necromancer even though Pierre is never referred to canonically as a necro-mancer, but a Suitor of Death, or a practitioner of necrocræft. This is further explored and clarified in book 2. -mancy means divination and while it’s a catch-all now for ‘magic’ it is not in Noctuina. But everyone ‘knows’ what a necromancer is so I put it in.)

Here with go with book 2- Delphinium, or A Necromancer’s Home. Again it relates to flowers. The same flower, actually. Larkspur is the common name for the flower, and Delphinium is the genus. To me that means it was larger, more specific, more encompassing. Fitting for a sequel. A Necromancer’s Home was also Necromancer’s Love at first, before the story expanded and was about much more than just Pierre and Lizzy.

(Originally Delphinium was named Spadille, after the capital city in Piques. Spadille, of course, is another name for the Ace of Spades, known as the card of Death).

Book 3 continues on with this: Aconitella, or A Necromancer’s Wife. Aconitella is another scientific name, this time it is a subgenus of Delphinium. Now that we’ve had the common name and the more encompassing genus, we get back to things that are more, say, concentrated. There is not much known about this very subgenus, but the name caught my attention. It seems to be similar to the name Aconitum, wolf’s bane/monkshood, a cousin of the Larkspur, and so I assume the name is taken from the same place, the Greek akónītos, without dust, without struggle.” It is named such because once poisoned you did not have the time to struggle and simply fell down dead. You may not even have realized that you were dying before it’s too late. I liked this idea of falling into danger without realizing it, almost peacefully dying without a struggle because you were captured so thoroughly. In this book Lizzy and Pierre marry at the very start, and Elizabeth finds herself in the middle of something that she was not aware of entirely before. It is one thing to be a friend, or even someone courting a man who loves death, but to be his wife may be to find yourself in too deep.

Book 4, Consolida, or A Necromancer’s Love, involves another subgenus. Consolida. To consolidate is to come together, or to secure something. It also reminded me of console, to help someone work through pain or grief. It felt like a nice fitting end to everything that has been done throughout the series. The subtitle A Necromancer’s Love evens it out- because this love, which was at first only death itself, has become so much more throughout the years that this series will cover.

Of course that’s not the end! As I mentioned in a previous post this is only series 1 of 4 planned out for Clandestina. But I’ll explain those titles in more detail when I get to them

How it’s going (and future plans)

Writing is going well overall. A few beta readers have started to read and comment on part 1 of Delphinium’s beta. Mostly it’s small grammar errors so I’m relieved (thought it would be ripped to shreds). I’ve been slacking some on writing part 2, but mostly I’m still happy to have the first part done. Also I am absolute pants at commas.
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When I do find myself working on part 2 there’s a lot more cutting and moving around than I had thought. Even if I do write I end up with less words then when I started, so that’s a bummer. Kinda glad I didn’t make a hard deadline. I don’t know if it’ll be done by September 12th, but whenever I do finish it, then I will make a real pre-order and let my betas at it. It should still be done this year though, just maybe not by Halloween. I’m not letting myself fall back off the wagon though.
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Thankfully the scenes that didn’t work or make sense there did make sense in book 3, so I have a head-start there and the writing isn’t going into a trash pile.
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… I may have to do one last edit of Delphinium as a whole once the second beta is done. Read it all the way through by myself. If I want fresher eyes I may need to wait a few days or a week to do this.
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(I did have Larkspur kinda-edited, but it was way shorter, and I did not really need to mess with the draft too much overall. This is oh, seven-ish times as long, and way more complicated. So something changed in chapter 3 needs me to then edit chapters 7, 8 and 25).
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Good news though, so far it’s been really liked! ❤
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And here’s some small tidbits.
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Larkspur’s story took place over 8 days (Prima 14th – Prima 23rd 11831)
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Delphinium takes place over 4 months (Prima 29th – Agostis 4th 11831)
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Aconitella, book 3, is plotted for a year and a half. Consolida, book 4, will be three years.
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The first book in the second series in Clandestina (The Quadrille Series) is plotted for 10 years. Books 2, 3, and 4 in that set are a bit shorter, taking place over almost 4, 5, and a bit over 5 years respectfully.
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The *third* series has books that span 5 years, 7 and a half, almost 12, and almost 6 years.
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The 4th series has not yet been entirely plotted time-wise (just book 1, which will be almost 5 years), but will likely also take place over 20ish years.
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So that’s a 90 year span, give or take.
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There is a 5th series that takes place before The Larkspur Series and involves Pierre’s père, Félicien, and his life, so if I’m adding that in, it’ll be a 175 years (he does live in Faery for 60 years after all).
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So that’s… 20 books. Plus a few stand-alones that I have in mind. Let’s go with 25 books 😛
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Not to mention my other realms! This is all about the necrocræft practitioners (and fée) of Clandestina. There’s also the werewolves and ringian of Astrarctia; the dreamers of Ibella; the wizards, dragons, and nymphs of Dracæna; the vampires and hunters of Italaviana; the swan-folk of Cygnorum; the tenebellae of Noctua; the sirens of Illumidens, the magicians of Epeira; the vher of Yilandi; the valkyries of Roseliande; the angels of Daucus…
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Plus the dozens of other realms I have where I just know the name, maybe a small spark of an idea, and limitless possibilities.
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I think I just inspired the hell out of myself. This is 14 years of daydreaming, plotting, planning, working. Half my life has been spent on this world. Now I want, need, to spend the rest of my life writing it all out.
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It would be my greatest wish and pleasure to do successfully and for you all to happily enjoy.
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Now I’m off to do more of that writing ❤
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~ Victoria

I SENT IT!

Chapters 1-14, the first 40% or so of Delphinium, has been sent to my betas!!!

NEW GOAL TIME!
 
Part II of Delphinium will aim to be ~70,000. I have 24 chapters, I like my chapters around 3K. I assume some will go over, others under, and some may combine or cease to exist entirely lowing the wordcount some.
 
I am taking a vacation (once the damn thing’s approved) end of August/start of September. I hope it’ll be approved *grumble*
 
But I can decide that’s my end date to get out part 2 to my betas.
 
So, by September 12th, I will try and get chapters 15 – 38 done. That gives me a daily wordcount of … 1015 words (already have 26.3K written). Very doable really. I did 3K today between worrying, procrastinating, and drinking waaay too much caffeine.
 
Then I have the rest of September for that to be beta’d, me to get it back, stick parts 1 and 2 together, and then pick a day in October to release!
 
This is, as the first one was, written in pencil not blood. Much of it depends on said betas, whether my vacation happens, if I get hit by a bus, or how life decides to mess with me again. But it’s possible, and a pretty reasonable goal.
So it’s my aim for now.
(And yes, I am still under the effects of that lovely lovely caffeine).

Delphinium Schedule (written in pencil, not blood).

I’m aiming to send the Part 1 Beta out to the beta readers on August 1st. That will give me two more ‘weekends’ with how I my work-week is planned out, and makes it reasonable but not ‘I can put this off forever.’

Tonight I’ll finish up chapters 11, 12, and 13, with tomorrow hopefully getting 14 and 15 done, though they still have a lot more writing involved than just the edits in 11-13. 16-21 during the week and that second ‘weekend’ of mine.

August and September will be finishing up Part 2, sending that to betas, doing my own look-over of Part 1 (and then 2) after the betas, with it all being wrapped up and Delphinium being released sometime in October.

I really want to put up a pre-order… but I also know that that might be a bad idea. So instead I’m posting about it here publicly for some accountability without it being the end-all-be-all when Life decides to give me the finger again.

Now back to that last scene in Chapter 11 so I can get to spiffing up 12. 13 is over wordcount so that’s nice, because I don’t think I can stretch 11 and 12 without it feeling forced. It should even out about right though.

 

Where I am with Delphinium

Delphinium is about 80% finished. I have most of it written out, I just need to connect the last pieces together and have it make sense. A few new characters keep popping in here and there as well, so I have to manage how I introduce them and if they get any significant page-time. Also trying to juggle a few new points of view, but I think those will really only be significantly implemented in book 3. For now it’s by far mostly Pierre, Lizzy, and then a few other characters getting a ‘cameo’ scene.

Delphinium has 38 chapters. Part 1 consists of chapters 1-21, and is 90% done. Chapters 1-10 are ready to be sent to betas. I’m fixing up / adding onto chapters 11-21 and when that’s done I’ll send it out to said betas. I thought about sending out 1-10 already, but splitting it into 1/4ths just seemed like too much even for me.

Chapters 22-38 are less done, but still have everything plotted out already. I know where it’s all going, the end, and it wraps up nicely with no major cliffhanger. I’ll get on writing more in those chapters after I send the first half out to be read.

Oh, and the total wordcount will be around 110,000 words (each chapter is going to be about 3000 words, but lengths vary). For comparison Larkspur was only 15,000. I want to make this book the best it can be, and really showcase my writing and the realm of Clandestina in a way that Larkspur only hinted at. Honestly there’s so much I didn’t know about Clandestina or my characters when I was writing Larkspur, much of this is a surprise and an exploration of the world for me as for you.

I thought about putting it up for pre-order again. It just hit me that it’s been a year since I put it up for pre-order the first time. A lot has happened to me in that time, a lot has changed for me, and with my writing and the story. I just found a new character and his family last week even! But I realized that while the pre-order copies sold were awesome and the pressure helped me a bit, it did not pan out well last time. And the last thing I want it to tempt fate and try it again only to have it all go bananas.

So instead I’m making myself accountable by writing this and being open.