Time for some book news. If you’re not familiar with Bookish Bits, this is where I talk about what I’ve been reading and writing or other news of a bookish nature. So pull up a chair, pour a nice cup of tea and let’s talk pages.
If you’ve been following me over on Goodreads, you’ll know that I’ve been reading lots of shorter works this year. I finished read-reading The Chronicles of Narnia earlier this year. Of course those stories never grow old and that was a pure delight.
I also re-read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and enjoyed it even more the second time around as well. Good books truly do get better with age.
One exception to the short books was The Silmarillion.This was the third time I’ve read it, and even more than than others, that book gets better with each read. It may lack the conventional structure of a novel, but it rewards the effort to mine its depths. To those who do not appreciate it, I have nothing but pity. You don’t know what you’re missing.
New lands to discover
I recently finished the rest of The Chronicles of Prydain (books 2-5 specifically). I enjoyed them, but I can’t help but feel that it might have been better as a single novel. The pacing is just far too quick within each book. And the ending was a bit disappointing. The whole Summer Isle thing seemed to come out of the blue. And the final confrontation with the villain was not as epic as I was hoping. Still, I enjoyed the stories on the whole. It is highly unique and the world has a very authentic feel to it. And some of the characters are quite endearing. Gurgi and Doli were perhaps my favorites.
Unbelievably, though I’ve read almost every other C.S. Lewis book I know of, I had yet to read The Four Loves until this year. But, oh, my, was it worth the wait. My response to that book upon finishing was that I instantly wished to pick it back up and read it again. I think I underlined about half the book, so when I do go back and re-read it, I’ll probably end up underlining the other half. This might actually be my favorite Lewis book ever, and that’s saying something.
I also picked up Fahrenheit 451 for the first time. While it was impressive in terms of the poetic language and the concept, it felt half realized and the profanity was gratuitous and detracted from the impact. Also, why are there two h’s in Fahrenheit? English is such a hopeless mess.
By far my favorite new fiction I’ve read this year is Dragon Slave, which I’ve already written a review for. It was such a surprise. Hardly anyone is brave enough to write allegory these days, but after reading it, I was sad not more people make the attempt. Because it’s so beautiful when done right. But this story is not actually traditional allegory since there is overlap between our world and the allegorical one. It’s hard to describe. You’ll just have to read it to see what I mean. I just hope the sequel gets written soon!
New lands to create
After finishing the first draft to my upcoming fantasy release (going under the working title Lay of the Glaives) I got some great feedback from beta-readers and I was really hopeful for a fall release.
But since then things have stalled. Based on the feedback I decided to cut a few scenes and that meant I needed to go back and cut out references to those events. I currently have around ten more chapters to edit, but I hope to finish them by the end of the month.
I’ve been thinking and planning ahead for the launch of the book and I’ve decided two things need to happen before the launch.
- I need to write a short story or novella to give away ahead of the launch
- I need to write the first draft of book two in the series
Sometimes the long road is the best road
The reason for #1 is to spread awareness about the series pre-launch. I plan on giving away the story to people who join or are already signed up for my newsletter. I may even wait until the newsletter grows to a certain size before launching the book.
The reason for #2 is so that I can release book two fairly quickly after book one. When you read book one you’ll understand why. It’s not exactly a cliffhanger, but it is very obvious that the main characters have unfinished business. And I’d rather not have to make readers wait a year to find out what happens next.
All that to say that a 2019 release date is not likely, unless I can write the short story in a month or so. It took me about four months to write book one and that was pushing pretty hard. And with the year half over, I’m thinking launching in the first half of 2020 is more realistic.
A few last bits
During the editing phase I’ve made a few changes to the names of cities, months, and minor characters. One poor messenger who is only in one scene has had his name changed three times. You’d think I wouldn’t fret about such things, but I am a stickler for stuff like that.
Fun fact for readers of The Chronotrace Sequence: Adan’s original name was Juan and he was supposed to be hispanic. You see how being a name stickler pays off? Also, what was I thinking? Ah…rough drafts.
Finally, for those wondering when the real title for the book will ever be revealed, it will be after I’ve found a cover designer. That’s been on the back burner lately, but I’m hopeful I’ll have one lined up by the end of August. After the edits are over, that will be my top priority, even before writing the short story.
So how about you? what have you been reading or writing? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.