beth_bernobich: red mushroom (squee!)
Guys! Guys! Guess what today is!!

(Okay, the title of this post probably gave things away. *g)

In case you haven't read my posts and tweets from the past couples weeks, today is Book Day for the paperback edition of Allegiance, the third novel in my River of Souls series. The series itself isn't over, but this is the last book for Ilse and Raul in this lifetime.

To celebrate this milestone, I wrote a coda story, then ran a Kickstarter to commission artwork for the cover and interior. It was a lot of work, but I am sooooo very happy with the results. The e-book went out to my supporters over the weekend, and the print copies just arrived here. Once I check them over, I shall sign and mail those out.

But this wasn't enough, I decided. I wanted to do something for the day itself. So....

I've spent the last few weeks on a different story, The Ghost Dragon's Daughter, which is set in the same world as Fox & Phoenix, but with an entirely different set of characters. This is my geek girl story, about Jun, Mei, and Lili, and their senior year project, which they call the monstrosity machine. To quote from Delia Sherman's shiny blurb:

"There's magic and mathematics, spirit animals and science, and an intelligent young girl who is finding her path to university and love both longer and rockier than she’d expected."

So one novel, two stories. Both Allegiance and The Ghost Dragon's Daughter are available for purchase even as you read this. Nocturnall comes out in December, but you can pre-order it now.


Aug. 31st, 2014 09:04 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
allegiance... latest news says the paperback version will appear next october.

coda story.... might appear in that same paperback. or not. but there are possibilities under discussion. one concern i have about adding it to the paperback is that it then won't be freely available to those who already bought the e-book or hardcover.

geek girl story.... alas, the very shiny anthology that bought this story got shelved. sooooo, story is currently in a slushpile, awaiting its turn.

edge of the empire... revising because i need to. i first wrote this novel seven years ago. it sold four years ago. i'm a better writer now and i think i can bring the story up a notch or three.

the time roads... six weeks to book day! i have guest blogs posts scheduled for the magical words blog. tynga's reviews will interview me during their paranorm'all hallows eve celebration, plus hold a giveaway for the time roads.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (arrow)
THE TIME ROADS went off to my editor last Sunday, and by Friday, she wrote back with a few minor line edits and one somewhat larger suggestion, which involves changing the order of the first two stories. I think it's a good idea, but we are having a phone conversation this week to make sure the switch doesn't cause any new problems.

Meanwhile, the on-publication check for ALLEGIANCE arrived, which was a very welcome addition to our checking account. *happy writer dance*

So. This weekend. I felt a bit at loose ends without Looming Deadline hanging over me. I spent some time catching up on house chores. I also did a spot of editing on THE TIME ROADS, to tweak and polish a few sections and to address the few issues my editor pointed out. But I also spent some time just plain goofing off. It felt good.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (squee!)
Six years ago, my splendid agent reported a three-book deal from Tor Books for Passion Play and two sequels. I was pretty stoked *.

There have been a few detours and delays along the publishing road **, but today the third book in my River of Souls trilogy is out. Allegiance marks the last book about Ilse and Raul in this lifetime ***. Many thanks to my agent, Vaughne Hansen, to my editor, Claire Eddy, to my friends who read my drafts and offered suggestions, and especially to everyone who bought and read the books.

Today I am celebrating by working on the next novel. ****

Meanwhile, I have a post on Mary Robinette Kowal's "My Favorite Bit".

Tonight is my AMA on Fantasy Reddit. Please join me there.

And in case you missed them, here are my Sunday Essays, where I talk about the world and characters of my River of Souls books and stories.

Where to buy Allegiance:
     Mysterious Galaxy
     Indie Bound
     Book Depository

Previous books in the series:
     Passion Play
     Queen's Hunt

     River of Souls
     Thief of War

   * Massive understatement
  ** Which I bore with all the patience you might expect from a new author
 *** Though not the last story about them, nor the last book set in this world
**** And checking my Amazon rating every ten five minutes few seconds

beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Fractal Star)
Wherein, I write about women characters in Allegiance:

...Ilse has changed a great deal since her story began in Passion Play. She’s older, stronger, and more capable. But she’s not the only woman in the book, and certainly not the only strong woman. I wanted to portray a world where the women lived lives as varied as the men did, and where those women are in the foreground of the story. Where they are villains or heroes, queens or merchants, poets or cooks. Sisters, soldiers, healers, or spies...

(Read more)

beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
Long before I sold Passion Play to Tor Books, I had a novel draft that included pieces of the story that eventually became Allegiance. Back then, the book was part of a much longer story arc, and I happily meandered along, not worrying about tying up plot threads.

Then Passion Play sold.

*wild cheering*

Then my editor told me I had to deliver a Grand Climax within three books. It didn't matter if the series continued, she said, but readers would not be happy if I didn't give them a solid resolution Soon.

*picture me running in circles going eep, eep eep*

She was right, of course.

Which then meant I was writing a trilogy, not an open-ended series.

After revising Passion Play and Queen's Hunt, I launched myself into what would be a completely new version of Allegiance.

And I do mean completely new. By this point, many characters had died or disappeared entirely, most of the plot threads in the original opening were gone, and the second half was completely new territory. None of which was daunting by itself, but all I could think was that I had to nail the plot and the climax and the resolution within 100K words.

I froze.

Then I flailed, producing five or six different openings. All of them were okay, but none of them right. The only thing I did know for certain was how the book and the trilogy should end. But every time I tackled the opening chapters, or the middle chapters, I ended up in a pit of despair and loathing.

I froze again.

Then I did the sensible thing and talked to Delia Sherman, who is wise and kind and used to explaining things to panicked new writers.

"Of course it's hard," she said. "It's the last book of of a trilogy."

Then she went on to explain how trilogies were like rivers. They liked to spread their plots into different channels, exploring new side stories and new characters, which is a fine for books #1 and #2, but with book #3, you need to drive the channels back together before your story empties into the sea, or you run the risk of having your plot disappear into a swamp. And forcing strong currents back together takes effort.

She said all this so calmly, that the gibbering in my brain quieted and I was able to start thinking clearly at long last.

So for my next writing session, I decided to try something new.

I wrote the last set of chapters. (Easily! Quickly!)

Then I wrote a few chapters in and around the middle that I had a clear fix on. (Mostly easily!)

Then I picked away at chapters here and there until I had a draft that ran, more or less, from end to end.

Then I sat down and examined what I had.

It was a mess, but it was a mess with far more structure than I had feared. It still wasn't there yet. At this point, I talked with a number of friends who had read the first two books. The glimmering of a theme appeared, and as I worked through the next draft, I began to get a clear picture of what this book was really about, and how it fit into the larger story of the trilogy, and into the even larger story of the series, written and unwritten.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
As you know, I'm running a giveaway for Allegiance ARCs. (Details are here). Excerpts from the first two books are here and here. This week, as part of my Sunday Essays, I'm offering the opening to Allegiance:


Endings, the poet Tanja Duhr once wrote, were deceptive things. No story truly came to a final stop, no poem described the last of the last—they could not, not until the world and the gods and time had ceased to exist. An ending was a literary device. In truth, the end of one story, or one life, carried the seeds for the next.

The idea of seeds and new beginnings offered Ilse Zhalina little consolation.

It was late summer, the season tipping over into autumn, and dawn wrapped the skies in murky gray. Six weeks had passed since she had abandoned Raul Kosenmark on Hallau Island. Her last glimpse had been of him fighting off an impossible number of enemy soldiers. Ten days ago, Leos of Károví, once called the immortal king, had died, and she had witnessed Lir's jewels re united into a single alien creature, who then disappeared into the magical void. Endings upon endings, to be sure, and some of them she had not yet begun to comprehend. And yet she lived on, she and Valara Baussay.

...Read the rest of chapter one...


Sep. 7th, 2013 12:00 pm
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (red mushroom)
...I'm posting the opening to ALLEGIANCE. Warning: I will only post the first few paragraphs here, with a link to the rest, but even so, there will be spoilers for QUEEN'S HUNT.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (arrow)
First a brief summary of the man.

Lord Markus Khandarr first came to court when Baerne of Angersee was king. He was in his early forties at the time, but already an acknowledged master of magic. Not many people knew about his background, however, and Khandarr preferred it that way. He came from a poor family, and having earned a degree from Duenne's University, he worked his way up from minor mage, to minor functionary at court, finally receiving the courtesy title of Lord. From there, he gained the trust of the king's grandson, Armand of Angersee, and stepped into the role of King's Mage and Senior Councilor when that same young prince inherited the crown.

All that is backstory. It doesn't really tell us about Markus Khandarr the man.

So who is Markus Khandarr?

Read more... )
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (arrow)
So who is Raul Kosenmark anyway?

Just as Ilse was once a minor character, Raul had an even smaller role. In the much earlier draft of Queen's Hunt, Valara Baussay escapes from Osterling with Galena as her guide. Ilse stays behind to confuse the trail, but she sends them to her friend and advisor Raul (no last name) in Tiralien. He provides them with disguises and some proper gear, and sends them on their way. Possibly some snark was involved.

But just as Ilse took over the series once I wrote Passion Play, Raul became much more than a bit player. He's an influential noble and major player in high stakes politics. To Ilse, he is also employer, teacher, friend, and lover.

Read more... )
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (ballet dancers)
It's a Supernatural Solstice at Tynga's Reviews!

I'm on deck today, with a double-giveaway: the winner will receive signed copies of Passion Play and Queen's Hunt. For more details, plus an excerpt from Allegiance, go here:
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
Magic, that rare and dangerous current, and yet the ordinary world was filled with reminders of its presence. Crushed grass, the tang of forests, the rich perfume of new blossomed wildflowers. Was it, as the old scholars insisted, only a matter of setting your gaze in the right direction? And if that were true, why were so many blind to it? (— Queen's Hunt)

When I set out to create the magic system for my River of Souls books, I wanted something different from the rules-and-regs kind of magic, where you memorized spells or gestures. Or the kind where you created magic through special ingredients or with magical implements such as wands. There's nothing wrong with the spellbook and potions kind of magic. I just wasn't interested in using that.

At the same time, I also didn't want magic to be an inborn quality, or gift. Nor did I want the magic to be a force inside the user, something you could run out of, like physical strength. Again, there are some nifty books with these magic systems, but I wanted something else.

So if it's not either of these, what is it, then? )
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (celestial map)
Last week, I talked about the kingdoms and other lands of Erythandra and beyond. This week it's about Ilse's journey through those lands.

When we first meet Ilse, when she still calls herself Therez, she lives in her father's household in the city of Melnek. Melnek is a major port city on the eastern coast of Veraene, close to the border with Károví, so there's a constant flow of ships from other provinces and kingdoms. (And some less official overland connections with smugglers who travel the more dangerous mountains passes.) Her world is the wealthy merchant class, the talk mainly of ships and fees and contracts. Salt tang permeates the air, and the eastern horizon is the open sea.

Therez herself has never lived anywhere but Melnek, but she's heard stories of the larger world since childhood. Her father and grandparents came to Melnek from Duszranjo, an isolated province in western Károví. Her brother, Ehren, spent a year at the university in Duenne, in central Veraene. She too hopes to spend a year with relatives far, far away from her father's household.

So when she runs away, she aims for Duenne. )
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (book fin)
Endings, the poet Tanja Duhr once wrote, were deceptive things. No story truly came to a final stop, no poem described the last of the last—they could not, not until the world and the gods and time had ceased to exist. An ending was a literary device. In truth, the end of one story, or one life, carried the seeds for the next.  —Allegiance, Chapter One

Yesterday, I finished reviewing the galley pages for Allegiance. The last step (for me, the author) before the book is printed and released. This book, too, is an ending, the last volume of Ilse's trilogy. I have other books planned for that world, but other than a short story or two, Allegiance is the last book about Ilse and Raul in this lifetime.

When I first started writing about the world of Erythandra—which was also when I first started writing anything—Ilse wasn't the main character. That would have been Valara, under a different name, and with a far different backstory. Lir's jewels played the same important role, as did Leos Dzavek (also under a different name). Everything else? Was different.

Read more... )

in between

Apr. 15th, 2013 09:33 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
I am currently in between jobs. My last day at Konica was April 9th, which meant I was there to help with the new system launch. My new job  starts April 22nd. I have several very different goals for this period. Some are practical (medical appointments) and some are just plain fun (we spent this past weekend in Provincetown). And some are both at once (writing novel proposals).

Speaking of writing, galleys for ALLEGIANCE are scheduled to show up this week. This is the last step for me before all those words I wrote turn into a real book. I'm pretty excited. Also very nervous. This book is the end of the trilogy, and readers who have followed Ilse and Raul through Passion Play and Queen's Hunt deserve a satisfying payoff. I tried to deliver that. I hope I succeeded. Come October, I get to find out.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (red mushroom)
This past week I accomplished the following:

  1. Finished copyedits for ALLEGIANCE

  2. Got over my cold

  3. Accepted a new job

  4. Bought a new car

Copyedits went back to my publisher on Tuesday—a day late, but I'm glad I took that extra day to go over the introductory scenes one last time.  Galley pages should show up in the next month, iirc. ARCs should go out soon after that.

The new job starts in 4 weeks—that places my last day at Konica after the latest go-live date, and gives me enough time between jobs to handle a few necessary doctor's appointments, not to mention a mini-vacation with Rob. At some point, I also want to finish at least one novel proposal and make progress on the rest.

I'm pretty excited about the new job. It's closer to home, with a pleasant commute that avoids all the highways, and I really like the people there. I will miss my co-workers, but I won't miss the inanity that is Konica Minolta. (They've suddenly announced a hiring freeze, effective April 1st, which means our department will permanently lose the job slots for both me and the project lead who recently quit.)

I'm also excited by the new car. My Audi is a great car, but it's getting old and repairs tend to be expensive. My new car will be a Subaru Legacy, which is more dependable and, frankly, a lot cheaper to maintain. I test drove the car yesterday and was pleased with the whole experience. They're installing a few options for me, and I can pick up the car on Tuesday.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (mad scribe)
When I said last that I was sick, I wasn't kidding. This cold or flu started ten days ago, and it was only yesterday that I woke up without immediately wanting a nap**. Luckily, I'm on the mend, because I have copyedits due....tomorrow. (Eep!)

Before the flu struck, I had read and marked up most of the manuscript, and by working extra long hours yesterday, I now have the end in sight. Here are the stats:

590 pages reviewed (DONE)
474 pages edited (DONE)
116 pages to go

Naturally the 474 pages already edited had the easiest errors to fix. I'm estimating around 10% needed no work at all, and another 40% or so had only a typo or two. The rest needed light editing. Alas, that means the 116 pages left require the most work, so this will be another long, long day. Speaking of which, I better get started.

** The cats, of course, saw nothing unusual about this.


beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Default)

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