Celestine Princess (Palladia Series #3) has arrived.
I've spoken before about the challenges of putting another book into this series. It's been a rewarding story to write as well. It's live in nine stores and should be available from libraries in about a week. Paperback and ebook were released simultaneously, a break with my usual publishing trend of delays on one or the other. This title is not on a preorder or an Amazon exclusive so it can be read immediately from any store.
Opening lines for the book are below:
"The sun was just dawning and eagles were flying high in the east. The day they came."
To read a complete description, visit Celestine Princess's website page.
After sending out a post with signup for my street team, I thought about something that (slaps forehead) hadn't occurred to me before. Managing 2 separate lists will be tough with everything I'm doing right now. It was interesting to see the reaction I got, but I'm going to just send out general requests to the whole mailing list for now. Sheerly, honestly, because it's easier and I don't want to pour a lot of time into begging for reviews. Lots of authors go all out with swag, reader bundles, little gifts, etc. I'd love to give back to my readers, but I also need, right now, to minimize effort that takes me away from writing.
Once Celestine is up and running, I'll put a review copy somewhere for people to get and then tell you about it. I'm not impatient if books have no reviews after a while (MerrySummer has been published for a year and still has 0.) They'll come when you don't expect them--I've routinely found that to be true of reviews. And basically, of anything. I am already planning my Scotland book. Talked about it last year, I believe, but I'm having trouble remembering. This book will be funnnnnn. So fun.
Now to throw in something personal--here's a pic of our Very Large Zucchini. Our gardening this year resulted in a few jumbo zucchini instead of the usual smaller ones. Seriously, the biggest one weighed 4 pounds, which is simply enormous for a zucchini. I think we unintentionally grew a prizewinner!
And there will be more updates.
Celestine Princess is gradually coming along towards a potential publication date. I’m thinking sometime later this year, but haven’t pinned down an exact month or day on my calendar. Right now it’s all about the cover and while a creative delight (as it has always been to work on this new story) the cover brings out some of the central challenges of this book—blending it seamlessly into the Palladia world when the first two books were written years ago. It’s almost impossible to capture the tone of work that was gestated in the past. Its qualities are fluid echoes of the reality of those years and when time goes by, stories change, emerging like the hunks of ruined stone in murky foggy water around which Bard steers Thorin’s company in The Desolation of Smaug. They look formless, but start to appear, deeply rooted in invisible bedrock below the rippling surface of life.
Different eras produce different stories and while I don’t expect this one to be 100% similar, I do try very hard to meld it with the older Palladia material. I don’t feel I’m quite putting this new story INTO the old ones, like new wine in old wineskins creating rips, tears, stress, and incongruities. The upcoming book is standing apart from them more like an addition onto an older home. It appears new at first—jarring. You can definitely tell this renovation is more recent. But gradually it starts to blend with the older part of the house until it’s all one house and you can barely tell the difference aside from the different wiring tracks for the electricity in different parts of the house. (Speaking from experience of watching our 25-year-old addition to our house age.) A good coat of paint that spreads over the whole house is crucial for sealing it all together visually and that’s what the cover should be. But it’s been awhile since I’ve had this exact pattern of cover done, so it’s like getting back in the groove.
I now have a signup for my street team. Just click to go to the form. There is a lot of information you can read on the form and that information will be reiterated in the welcome email you’ll receive as you sign up. I’m so excited to start launching a formal street team! While I appreciate each of my wonderful readers who left positive reviews before, I stumbled on them randomly through personal networking or specific review requests. I didn’t have an organized team and I felt the lack of it over the years. Although Celestine’s publication is months away, I will also use the street team to get reviews for some of my currently published books. I want the street team to be a well-oiled, functional machine by the time I do get Celestine out there and will be presenting some review requests for the first books in the series before I launch the new book. And don’t worry—I’ll mention this street team again fairly often. Everyone will have a chance to know about it and sign up. :) The team is still embryonic and I'll add new features along the way.
And there will be more updates.
Springtime has come to Texas and it feels even more pleasant because it follows closely on the heels of a devastating winter storm that hit here a short time ago. Our hardy little rosemary plant died during the storm—which was a pity because rosemary is one of the plants I’ve always had success growing. In fact, because of my good memories spent gardening over the years, I named Arielle’s sister Rosemary in Celestine Princess. This character doesn’t appear much as Arielle is separated from her family throughout the book, but choosing this name for someone that the MC cares about is a little personal touch for me.
So we replaced the old rosemary plant with a new one and our plum trees are blossoming beautifully. One of them had a large limb, almost a third of the tree, cut off last year due to a disease, but it seems to be in a great mood in spite of that. The branches are white with flowers. We are also experimenting with growing carrots, which aren’t easy to nurture and we haven’t grown them in my memory. (My mother says she tried to grow them once, but that was before I could remember.) Tending things that take effort to care for and looking at the enduring strength of our tree that has been through so much—imagine if your legs were cut off and then you were subjected to abnormal temperatures!—reminds me of the vicissitudes of characters in fiction and why we respond to those so much. The struggle of life and also its healing are echoed in the stories we read and seen even in the natural world around us.
My current writing effort looks like it is shaping up to be Palladia 4. It’s a little early to tell, but it seems to be getting longer than just a short story. When I first wrote Palladia 3, it felt like a chance to finish out a trilogy that was started years ago and never completed. But by the time the book grew during the writing, the world of Palladia had really gone on a journey and Celestine Princess didn’t feel like the end of a trilogy, but a middle book in a series. Characters from the earlier books, like Katia, had also really grown up. As a guide for Arielle, she represents faith to believe in what is right, and from a teenage outsider who moved into a corrupt city and blew up a building (among other things she and her brother did), she showed a much more mature persona by Palladia 3. Perhaps that’s a natural effect of so many years passing since I wrote books using this world.
This new story will use the culture of Alphea (Mars) as a setting. The Palladia world is largely dystopian in terms of “the Earth won’t look ideal in the future” framework, but it also mentions a colonized solar system and we’ve never visited any of these places that are mentioned. We mostly visit Palladian countries caught in a friction between two cultural groups—a friction that reached a boiling point around Arielle’s adventures in Celestine Princess. But writing a brief area on Luna (the Moon) in that book really sent me into a whole story set off-Earth. I had considered characters taking a trip to Alphea last year, but now I am revisiting the concept after doing Palladia 3 it’s a quite different take from before. The Palladia books each have a different protagonist, but characters and locations from earlier books pop up in later ones and Katia will reappear in this one. Her personality has grown so strong that by now I have this sensation of “these new characters are going to meet her. I wonder what that will be like for them? I think they will be very impressed by how she rises to challenges.” And as for Miss Plummer from Consuela, who has it in for Arielle’s former mentor Mrs. Hoberman . . . well, that argument seems to have flown all the way to Mars and writing it is one of the really fun things about this new book.
And there will be more updates.
Author of Science Fiction, General Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Anthology Fiction
Always looking to better my craft.
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