So, at some point, this project turned into actual, you know, work. I spent much of last week reading through my last good file for Bitterwood. I've been reformatting as I go along, trying to put in some professional touches to the type so that it will look good on the kindle. I've also been revising the text to erase continuity errors with the later books. I really haven't had any of readers complain about the things I changed my mind on between book one and book two, and part of me feels like I shouldn't be tampering with a work that's already in print. But, on the other hand, another part of me feels like I owe the public the best book I can produce. Anyway, since I'm revising more than I had planned, I'm only half way through the manuscript, when I'd planned on being done by now.
I've also been trying to figure out what to do about the cover. I can't reuse the Solaris covers. Part of me is tempted to go with a very minimalist approach, nothing but text. After all, the people who will be buying it on Amazon are still going to see the Solaris covers on the main page for the book. The image just isn't going to be included in the file. But, I've also been playing around with a theme of using a bloodied arrow on the cover of Bitterwood, a tomahawk on the cover of Dragonforge, and a blunderbuss on the cover of Dragonseed. I'm thinking of doing actual photos of these weapons; the only drawback being I don't know where to get my hands on a real blunderbuss.
The funny thing is that the more work I put into this project, the more ambitious my plans become. I think I'm going to release the three novels one by one, but then collect them all as one file next year, along with short stories I've written in the Bitterwood universe, plus selected essays from my blogs about writing the series. We'll see. If I have Bitterwood up for a year and it only sells a dozen copies, my enthusiasm for the project may wane. And, there's something unsettling about spending so much time working on stuff I've already written. I'm eager to write some new material. My short story inventory has become especially low.
But, one nice thing about looking back at Bitterwood is, this is the first time since it's been published that I've actually read the book. I never read it when it came out; I was too busy plowing ahead with Dragonforge, and too nervous about the book having continuity errors. Fortunately, now that I'm in the thick of the book, I'm pleased to discover it's holding up pretty well. Three years is just the right amount of distance for me to see the book I wrote, rather than the book I remember. I can see mistakes I made, sure, but I'm also able to enjoy the book as a reader, since I no longer remember every twist and turn. And I'm discovering that it's not bad. Not bad at all.
Welcome to my worlds!
I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!