New blurbs!

I am beginning to embrace the fact that I write romance. I’m getting an author logo made and decided that my tagline was going to be ‘Macabre Fantasy Romance’ or (when I’m being haughty) Macabre Fantaisie Romantique, as is now in the header 😉

I tended to shy away from this before, insisting it was fantasy *with* romance, and I still think so– but many of my readers go into it and then find there’s more romance than they were prepared for. A lot of reviews mention that this kind of book is not their thing. I was marketing to the usual fantasy peeps, not thinking to aim for the ‘romance’ specific group.

That said, I’m honestly not sure how to feel about this yet. ‘Romance’ seems like such a, well, women’s exclusive genre. I want my stories to be enjoyed by all. I think there’s enough adventure in it to be interesting to guys (I was quite the tomboy growing up and some of that has never left), and Pierre is the main character. His story is his love with Lizzy, but also his cræft and his being the duc. There’s more than just getting those two together.

I can’t deny that I love a romance, though. I love couples. I love couples who are awesome together and not just take the whole damn book to get together. Worse, if there are sequels, need to have stupid issues because of drama. But that’s a rant for another time…

Larkspur was probably too short to really expand on the adventure (even if I managed to get in two murders). Delphinium is much longer (still keeps getting bigger!), and there is a lot more going on. New characters, subplots, more magic…

So I have gone ahead and changed up the blurbs for Larkspur and Delphinium as well to emphases that there is a romance, but also hints to more going on.

Larkspur:

Pierre Salvador is a surgeon and the heir to a duchy, returning to court after years away at University. Now the childhood friend he left behind has grown-up–and is still not wed. But she does not know of his dealings with Mora, the Lady of Death, or what the jealous goddess wants him to do in return for her dark magic.

Note: This series began as a serial, so this book is quite short and does end abruptly with a cliffhanger. The second book grew and before I knew it became a whole novel. This series is therefor no longer a serial, but the first story remains as is.

I also added in the note that Larkspur is short and ends fast. I hope that will at least warn people and cut down on the reviews that take a star or two off for it :/

Delphinium:

Lady Elizabeth Anne does not know about the dark magic her beloved practices, and he has no intent to tell her. As they travel to his childhood home for the summer, Pierre Salvador attempts to balance his newfound love with his murderous cræft.

After they arrive the future Duc de Piques finds there is much to be done, and duties cannot be put off any longer. A fatal illness is spreading throughout his land, he is being claimed by those of Faery, and someone has already tried to take his life.

But it will take much more to kill a lord of death.

So yes, that assassination attempt in Larkspur will be looked into.

And as I mentioned before, I am still writing the second part of Delphinium. My betas have looked over the first part, mostly I’m just total shite at commas, but a few things may need to be tweaked or moved. The second part still keeps getting longer- I’m splitting chapters, then combining them, and running into new sub-plots.

The first ‘half’ was 46.6K  and the second ‘half’ is going to clock in at around 80K or so. Delphinium will therefore be about 126K! (To put this in perspective, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is 107K).

Larkspur was only 15K. So the second book will be about eight and a half times as long as the first one ❤

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

Delphinium beta

I’m almost finished with Part 1 of Delphinium’s Beta Copy! I’ll need to stay up tonight to get it all like I want it, but I’ll be sending it to my betas before I go to sleep. I’ll finish Part 2 in the upcoming two or three weeks and then edit part 1 again as they look over part 2. Finally I’ll wrap that up and put it all together as the final manuscript on Amazon
 
It’s going to end up being around 100,000 words in length (Larkspur is only about 15,000 words. For another comparison it’ll be about the length of Prisoner of Azkaban). I was hoping for a bit more, but scenes got cut or rearranged, and I’m sure more of that will happen with even more editing. But I think it’s going to end up as a great sequel. We’re at 38 pre-orders and think that that we still have time to hit 50.
After release I’ll return to posting here more often, Scenes and worldbuilding stuff included. I’ll also start working on Book 3 and the first book in another series.

Working on Delphinium

We’re up to 19 pre-orders on Delphinium, yay!

And I am working on it every spare moment I can get (and given that I have two other jobs, that can be quite random). Putting it up for pre-order was a great way to get my ass in gear (I think I’ll be doing it with future books from now on), even though a good half of me is still terrified about the release. But I have myself on a tight schedule, with plenty of days set aside for editing and polishing.

So far it’s been fun and good to be writing under this deadline. Delphinium keeps expanding- getting new characters even this late in the game, new points-of-view, more backstory. This is not how Delphinium would have been written even several months ago, much less two-and-a-half years ago when I first wanted to finish it asap after Larkspur. I know it sucks waiting for books, sequels especially, but I truly think this is worth it.

In similar news- I put Larkspur and Delphinium in new categories on Amazon! It seems to be a new category on the site in general, but Gaslamp Fantasy is now something you can find both books in. That’s the 19th century-ish ‘ghosts and spirits’ version of steampunk where it’s more about the supernatural than the tech. It fits perfectly (and is what I tried to evoke when I use the term ‘gothic’ for it).

They also have their own series page now too:

 

You’ll notice the series is “Stories of Clandestina” and not “Larkspur” (it was actually Larkspur for a little bit until I contacted Amazon). I did this on purpose since after ‘The Larkspur Series” there are more books that will be coming out about this realm and really they will all be connected. There are stand-alones set in the past and then future series that move forward. I have two ‘past’ novellas in mind, and two more series set in the future- making it 14 books total.

But right now I’m furiously working on book 2 and we’ll work on books 3-14 after.

 

Excerpt from Delphinium (Happy Valentine’s!)

“So what did you do this last year?” she asked as they began to walk around the clearing. They heard water and made towards the stream.

“Surgery work,” he replied. “We had corpses to practice on, to be able to know what went where, and why, and how.”

“How did you receive corpses?”

“Several people and families generously allowed us to use their loved one’s bodies after death.”

“I can not imagine that is popular. Did you share each.. Body?”
Pierre grimaced. He had not wished to inform Lizzy of this specifically. “Truthfully most were criminals whose deaths were not deemed important enough to give full funerals. At least this way they would be… of use.”

She took this in stride, nodding her head slowly though shuddering.

“A grim year, then.”

“Quite. Though it was not all gloom and horror.”

“Do tell?” While they had walked their hands had linked and she leaned against him as they found the river.

“We were students after all. Pranks were pulled, curfew ignored, alcohol drunk in excess. I was among the oldest so I mainly watched over the younger men.”

“And when you were younger?” Lizzy probed, reading into what Pierre had not said. He did not meet her eyes, staring up at the trees quite pointedly.

“Your brother and I had our fun at times.”

She laughed. They had gotten into enough trouble as children to guess the level of possible mischief Pierre and Piers could do when alone and bored.

“Anything illegal?”

I killed a man, he thought immediately. Several in fact, but one stood out to him in that moment. A prisoner taken straight from his hanging to his slab, so the students could see what was as close to a living body as possible. He had been not quite as dead as they had thought. After seeing the blood flowing and hearing the man let out a moan, even opening his eyes, many of the students turned away and one ran to alert a professor. Pierre had made it seem that he checked for a pulse, but he squeezed the very damaged windpipe. By the time someone with more authority was in the room the man was well and truly dead. It was deemed a delayed hanging. Pierre remained to finish the lesson even though he had been offered a pass at seeing a man die right before his eyes.

“No,” he told her.

“A pity. I hear from Piers that the best moments are those that might get you a night in jail for your troubles.”

“Oh, did he? What tales did he tell his dear little sister?”

“I believe there was a time when the boys in your dorm snuck in strong wine, or went out on the town. Perhaps those were actually in chronological order, it would explain much.”

“I never did such things.”

“Of course not. Though I now shall have to find myself another companion,” she said with a smile and glance to him. “I would like a partner with experience in such things so I have some guidance when I deem to try.”

Before he could answer she dashed ahead to where the stream was in view. He gave chase. At the edge of the bank she did not stop, pulling up her skirts and jumping to a rock that jetted out in the middle. She made it, arms waving to keep her balance and getting one shoe wet, but staying on the rock. With a laugh she turned and curtsied to him.

“And you think yourself safe there, Lizzy dear?” he called.

He took even less care of his attire, jumping straight into the water, mud, and stones. She gasped, looking around for another place to go, but the far side of the bank was, as named, too far.
He reached her then, grabbing her and swinging her in his arms as she shrieked.

“Pierre!”

“Hush or I shall drop you!”

“You would not!”

He pretended to, getting another shriek from her that had him laughing as he carried her back to shore.

“No, my dear, I would not,” he agreed, finally, placing her down in the grass. Not after she had been ill. Another day, perhaps.

They were the same height at the moment and he kissed her before getting out himself and looking down at his ruined clothes. His shoes were wet and the feeling was quite uncomfortable out of the water. He knelt down and began to untie the laces.

Lizzy bit her tongue to keep from asking naughtily if he would also take off his trousers, seeing as they were wet up to the knee.

When barefoot Pierre hopped back into the stream with the shoes in his hands.

“What are you doing?”

“Leaving my shoes,” he called over his shoulder, going back to the rock. He made sure they would not fall into the water before again returning. “They are quite nice shoes, but hardly my only pair. I am sure there are fée around, perhaps the gift would be appreciated. We cannot spare much food or drink.”

Her one shoe was hardly as wet as his had been but she sat and began to undo her laces as well. Without a word he bent down to help her.

“I shall buy you an even lovelier pair when we reach Piques,” he promised as he turned back to place her shoes next to his.

“Oh, you do not—”

“I insist.”


Not exactly a Scene as it’s from Delphinium and not a stand-alone, but I thought it fitting for Valentine’s. You’ll recognize Pierre’s thoughts from the Scene ‘Hanging.’

Mailing List Promo!

Early NaNo is going well. I’ve not hit my wordcount exactly every day, but I am consistently working and excited.

With Delphinium now slated to be out soon I wanted to reward you lovely lot.

As you know Larkspur is set as permanently free. This is in the US Amazon, Kobo, and B&N online stores. Amazon in other regions hasn’t price-matched, but it’s at .99 in those places.

Delphinium will be $2.99 at release, maybe upped to $3.99 at a later point. It is going to be 100K+, so *seven* times longer than Larkspur. You will have gotten your money’s worth 🙂

I know I’ve taken ages with it, I know many of you are waiting for it. And so, to those that have joined, or will join, my mailing list before the release will be getting Delphinium for free. After it’s officially out you’ll have to pay. But for the next two months or so (as I finish and then edit it) anyone who joins the list will get a free copy as soon as it is done.

I am not requiring a review to get this copy, though I’d adore if you left your thoughts. This is my gift to you.

Join this list to get a free ARC copy of Delphinium before its release!

Editing and drafts

I’m having a lot of fun with Scrivener and I’m trying to use it to its full potential. I was the ‘write everything in order, no outline’ gal for a long time. That didn’t get a lot of things done at all. Now I have an outline that’s helping a lot, with estimated wordcounts for each point. Which aren’t meant to be chapters, just a general ‘this happens, and then this’ with a brief summary sketching out my ideas. For Delphinium they’re as vague as “Lizzy ill” and “Duc things” to “Piers and Eglė visit.”

I added my own spin to drafts today too. I never got the ‘first draft’ ‘second draft’ thing. I wrote and edited as I went along, so I could rarely show you what version of a story was what. But finding that I could edit the labels in Scrivener got me thinking and I made up my own system.

  1. Get the wordcount: Each of my 15 outlined points has a wordcount estimate of 2500 words. This will leave me with a book of 75,000 words. In a few cases I’ve already gone over the limit, and I’m sure there are points where I won’t be able to get to the 2500 exactly, but I want to give myself a goal. I can edit a little as I go along, so this isn’t a strict first-draft with no edits, but it is the ‘bleed all over the pages’ stage (this is a metaphor despite my subject matter). I’m also not allowed to sit and fret over one paragraph- that’s for later.
  2. Make it pretty: So I’ve hit 2500 and the words mostly make sense. Some of the scenes sort of stop in the middle, and I need to rewrite the opening paragraph, and this is the step where I’m allowed to put everything in its place and well, make it pretty. I should be able to read it from start to finish without wondering WTF.
  3. Make it functional: This is more nitty-gritty. Check the grammar, double-check the spelling, and triple-check I meant that exact word. Then read through the story from start-to-finish and see if it works as a whole. Maybe I need easier transitions or there was a plot point I dropped and need to get back to.
  4. Beta crit: After it’s Functional in my eyes I’m going to pass it over to my beta-readers/editor etc and let them at it (while starting work on the outline for Aconitella). Then I’ll take all of their comments and help and make adjustments as I see fit. I’ve paid an editor previously to help a bit with Larkspur, and I’m going to use 5 close writer-friends for beta readers for Delphinium.

All that’s left then is some formatting and I can publish my sequel.

Right now I’m still mostly in the ‘Get to the Wordcount’ stage, but a few of the points are at “Make it pretty” and the first point can be moved to “make it functional” soon.