News news news!

ronancoverNEWFirst up, Ronan: Ziva Payvan Book 3 has been completed and has officially entered the editing stage! What does this mean?

a) I get so caught up in working that I forget to eat

b) my tendonitis flares up almost every day while scrolling through the massive document

c) most importantly, the book is on schedule for its September release. I still don’t have a definite release date picked, though I’m sure I will by the end of this month.

I’ve already completed my first read-through and have sent it off to first-round beta readers, and I’ve started experimenting with paperback formatting. More on this in a bit!


This past May, I was informed that Dakiti: Ziva Payvan Book 1 had been nominated for Best Science Fiction of 2014 in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards! I’d never even heard of this, but apparently a variety of books were peer-nominated by different authors, publishers, librarians, and editors. That means someone somewhere out there was kind enough to nominate Dakiti, so that’s pretty cool! Each genre category was narrowed down to 14 nominations, and then volunteers went through each of those categories looking at book excerpts, cover art, blurbs, author websites, reviews, and other sources of information on the nominated books to narrow down each category to seven finalists. They basically looked at the books as a reader would and ultimately selected the titles that did the best overall job of making them want to buy.

Well, after all of that, Dakiti is now a finalist, and voting has now been opened to the public! The polls close August 14, and the winners are announced August 16. It would be super awesome if people could vote 🙂 You do need to make an account in the forum in order to view the list of nominees and participate in the voting – I had to make an account to even look at the nominations list back in May – but it’s a fairly painless process (the Captcha at the end can apparently be a little bit tricky but I didn’t have any problems with it). You can VOTE FOR DAKITI HEREperuse the list of finalists for all categories HERE, and check out the polls for those other categories HERE.

Dakiti is currently leading in the sci fi category with 4 votes, while two of the other books each have 1 vote.

Anyway, Ronan was “officially” completed June 28 and had a word count of 153,554. It’s the longest book of the trilogy, but I think it actually took me the least amount of time to write, mostly because I managed to follow my Just Do It routine so well. I first began outlining it in the spring of 2013 (before Nexus was even finished) and wrote about 15k last July/August. But the rest of it has been written since this past January – that means I wrote ~138k in 6 months while going to school full time, writing a Windows-based volleyball stat keeping application, and maintaining a high enough GPA to graduate cum laude with an IT degree (that year I spent in software engineering really screwed up my GPA…). Needless to say, that’s a lot of writing, most of which was done while I was supposed to be working on other things (anyone else find that you’re actually more productive when that’s the case??). I was afraid I’d cry when I was done, but I think I’ve just been too tired and haven’t really been able to comprehend it yet.

I used an in-progress beta reader – I basically sent her chapters as I finished them – so by the time the book was done, it had already gone through one round of editing. She’s reading the whole thing through again, and as I mentioned, it has been sent off to the first new beta reader, who is beyond ecstatic to read it. I’m beyond ecstatic to have someone besides myself read it, because I’ve spent however long with this story stuck in my head and haven’t been able to share all the juicy secrets 😉

Because I am both a visually- and statistically-oriented person, I put together some graphs to show how certain elements in Ronan compare with the other books in the series.

wordcountAs I mentioned, Ronan has the highest word count of the three books. The values for Dakiti and Nexus here include copyright page, acknowledgements, blurbs for the next book, etc. so the stories themselves are a little shorter. Still, when I was messing with the paperback formatting, the difference between Nexus’s and Ronan’s spine width is only something like a hundredth of an inch, so I’m not worried.

chaptersThis graph really blows my mind because a) I’m still not sure how I ended up with an even 100 chapters in Nexus, and b) despite the (massive) difference in word count, Dakiti and Ronan have nearly the same number of chapters. On average, Ronan’s chapters are much longer than what we’ve seen in the other books (I think I decided the average word count per chapter is ~3k). It also has an epilogue that could sort of count as a 63rd chapter.

venn diagramThis shows the character distribution between books. We have 8 characters who are central to the story and appear in all three books. 11 named/speaking characters were exclusive to Dakiti, 7 were exclusive to Nexus, and there are 18 exclusive to Ronan (don’t worry, they’re not hard to keep track of!…at least I don’t think so, but my opinion hardly counts). 6 characters appear in only Nexus and Ronan, while 5 characters from Dakiti return in Ronan. Surprisingly, there weren’t any who were exclusive to only Dakiti and Nexus, unless I’m totally forgetting something…

deathsObviously we have to keep track of character deaths! There should actually be 7 deaths in Ronan – I totally forgot two of the most important ones when I made the graph, probably because so many people die that it got hard to keep track of. Most of them just don’t have names or speaking parts. *whistles innocently*

named vs. POVAnd this is a statistic that I find really interesting. Out of all three books, Ronan has the highest number of named characters (most of whom have speaking parts) but the lowest number of POV characters. Quite a few of those 32 named/speaking characters have been seen in the other books though so it shouldn’t be a huge pain to keep track of them all. I’ve been trying to cut down on POV characters as I’ve worked through the series, and apparently I’ve managed to do exactly that. 12 people was a lot for Dakiti, especially considering how short it is (and the fact that two of those characters only have a single POV scene).

SO, work will continue and I will keep everyone up to date with my progress. Stop by my Facebook page for regular updates.

I mentioned I’d already started experimenting with paperback formatting. Yes, it’s a little early, but when I was editing Nexus, I actually found it really useful to order a single proof copy before editing was actually complete and read the whole story in “real book” form. It helps me be more objective. I ended up kind of defacing the poor thing with all of my highlighter marks and sticky tabs, but it was a lot easier to find potential formatting issues than it was in the PDF or online proof. Plus I reallllly can’t wait to see the physical copy, so the sooner I can get one in my hands, the better. I’ll likely do one more self-beta-read before that though. For that, I typically create a .mobi file and read from my Kindle, then make appropriate changes to the Word document. When I’m staring at a computer screen, I tend to skip over things because there’s so much extra text within viewing range. Pretending I’m reading a real book just makes me so much more thorough.

If I ever go totally off the deep end, paperback formatting will have been the underlying cause
If I ever go totally off the deep end, paperback formatting will have been the underlying cause

*strategically blurred so nobody can see anything*

If you’re looking forward to Ronan, don’t forget to add it on Goodreads! I can’t wait to share it with everyone!

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