Well, snow is a part of winter for many of you, depending on where you live. But for me in central Texas, it’s rarely a factor. The last snow that covered the ground enough to make snowballs or a bit of a snowman was 16 years ago. Many winters go by with essentially no snow at all—perhaps a little ice or freezing rain. But this month we got a little miracle. Snow all day on a Sunday, white blanketing the ground and dusting trees with silver. Snowflakes fell on our faces as we made the biggest snowman we’ve ever had (okay, so it was small because we’re not used to making them) and made snow angels. Carved our dog’s name in huge snow letters on the front yard that actually lasted into the next day— P. U. F. F. Snow remained on people’s roofs and snowmen lingered in their yards for a couple of days even though temps were above freezing. It’s been almost 40 years (1982) since we had that much snow!
You should know that This Merry Summertime has review copies on BookSprout. They will be available over the next two weeks. Reviews can be put up anytime once you have downloaded the book, but new download copies will no longer be available after two weeks. I plan to start building a street team this year so I have reviewers lined up for when the third Palladia book releases. I'll give you a head's-up when I have a signup form, as this will give you a chance to advance read and give feedback on my first entirely new, never-before-seen work of fiction in 4 years. But prior to getting a street team together I've got MerrySummer on BookSprout because I can painlessly keep it there whenever convenient and I wouldn't mind getting a few reviews on this book. Feel free to be one of those reviewers--just follow the link to get started.
The Palladia Trilogy is gaining more detail since I want to fit the third Palladia book into the others in a way that develops a solid vision. I don’t want to use ideas that are very similar to the first books, so with #3 on the way I’m going down pretty deep into the subtleties of this future world to draw out a new protagonist who will synchronize well with ones from the earlier books and interact with them. But I have to give her something to do that makes Palladia 3 not only a unique story in itself but also a link that unifies the first two Palladia books together and determines what the overall purpose of the series is. At first, it never seemed that this book would be necessary, but when stories evolve and grow to meet an audience, good things start to happen and now it is beyond essential. I’m excited for it.
Description focus this week: The Test of Devotion. I used to think of this as a rugged story with an American western setting. I thought it was all action. And it also easily came across as dry as dust and mildly unfocused when I described it. From High Noon to The Magnificent Seven to childhood favorites like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and today’s space spinoff The Mandalorian, there’s a western for everyone. But while there are many kinds of western stories, they are not all alike, and turns out mine isn't really a simple action-adventure, although it looked that way when the description was so flat. After I upped the emotion and initial pull of the way the book is presented just a bit, what emerged instead was a focus on compassion and trust. It's a two-way conversation about respect that the characters gain through both their own effort and the changed feelings of those they know. The development of the story changed a while back to make Viajero more of a caring person than he’d been shown initially and since he carries a lot of the book's POV that really paid off in strengthening the overall theme into something about human integrity and reparation of divisive relationships.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Writer
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