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  • Making my peace

    This year, I wrapped up the Peaceforger trilogy. (It still feels weird to write that…) And I find myself needing to make my peace with the ups and downs of attempting and achieving that.

    Between June 2015—when I wrote the first real draft of Peace Fire, not just a 20k word “summary”—and October 2021, putting the trilogy into the world involved creating:

    • An uncounted number of drafts.
    • Three books (obviously): Peace Fire, Peace Maker, and Peace State.
    • A Radio Edit version for each of the three books.
    • A book trailer for each book, and a cover reveal trailer each for books 2 and 3.
    • A slew of playlists and moodboards.
    • A smattering of other things (including, but not limited to, bookmarks, blogs, and bookplates).

    Is this wrap-up causing some Feelings? Definitely. These characters and their stories have been part of my mental landscape since I was 15, so I’m kind of melancholy that this part of that relationship is over. And it just feels unreal and kind of weird and uncomfortable, because there are lots of ways that moving on will change what fills my head and my hours. But I’m also rocking some celebratory feelings and am proud of myself, especially as I think of all the people who struggle to finish even one book. High five, self!

    Plus, I’m excited to work on my next thing, because it too—at least the “it” that I’m currently working on that I think will be the next thing—has been part of my mental landscape since I was 15. (Not all my friendship choices were bad when I was 15…Heh!)

    So, what is next? I’m glad you asked. Except that I’m also not going to give you too many details yet.

    Currently, if I get no new ideas ever (which I used to fear but now think is unlikely)…

    I’ve got at least 6 more sci-fi novels lined up (1 is near-ish past, 4 are near-ish future, and 1 is faaaaaaaaaaaar future and might become a trilogy). Of them, 3 of the near-ish future ones have been in my head since I was 15 and the faaaaaaaaaaaar future one(s) arguably started putting down roots in my brain when I was maybe as young as 5 or 6. But I promise that they’ve all grown up with me, so they shouldn’t seem like that time your nibling told you long, rambling stories that let you practise your “fixed smile to prevent accidental hurt feelings.”

    I’ve got 2 novels that I’d categorise as fantasy-ish, though both also definitely have some sci-fi to them. Actually, I’d be more likely to categorise one of those as sci-fi with some fantasy to it. Both are present or very-near-future. The idea/full plot for one of those is years old and the ideas and bits for the other just started assaulting my brain this year, though both are rooted in things I’ve loved since I was a kid. (Don’t worry; I was a weird kid who had interests that were beyond my years. And that just means I’ve had extra time to think about how to make good use of those things. Fingers crossed that I actually do make good use…)

    And, of course, I’ve still got ambitions and bits of work going on around my poetry and music, even if life makes it hard for me to do All The Things at once. Not to mention some other creative ideas and projects that have been pushing for my attention. Obviously, I’ll also continue to look for excuses to make videos.

    I just hope I can get enough of these things out of my head and into the world in a good way before the dark future takes me out. Or make peace with being just another artist who never gets to it all…


  • Peace State at last

    Today is the day! Peace State, the final book in the Peaceforgers trilogy, is out today. I hope you will agree with beta readers and find it a satisfying conclusion to the story.

    If you don’t have your copy, you should be able to find it (or have them order a copy for you) wherever books are sold. And, just in case you prefer to buy online and don’t feel like searching, here are some links to the most usual of suspects:

    Barnes & Noble paperback

    Barnes & Noble ebook

    Google Play Books ebook

    Apple Books ebook

    Amazon paperback

    Amazon ebook

    Bookshop.org paperback

    And find the Radio Edit version (ebook only) at Amazon.

    For those who didn’t get enough of it last time, here’s the video I made for the Peace Fire release with a non-comprehensive list of a few free and easy ways to support artists you love.


  • Countdown, cover, and cussing

    Cramming a few posts into one! If you care about the Radio Edit, you’re looking for the Cussing section.

    Countdown

    It’s less than a month until Peace State is out. You’ve still got time to pre-order your own copy! For those of you who want the version that is truly chock-full of swears, here’s a wee link roundup if you’d like to pre-order the ebook at the bigger Usual Suspects:

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peace-state-amber-bird/1140004927

    https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=IDUtEAAAQBAJ

    https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1580924412

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CBHC338

    But I also know it’s being sold through smaller (aka I don’t really know them) outlets, and the paperback should also be available everywhere. Eventually. At the very least, once it’s out, you should be able to ask your fav indie bookshop to order it for you!

    Here’s the trailer, which I’m using to celebrate having passed the one month mark:

    Cover

    And here’s the cover for that version, in case you haven’t seen it.

    Cussing

    You have probably already guess that, like the first two books in this trilogy, Peace State is Really Quite Sweary. Really.

    The short version: Whist there is less swearing in this book than the last, there’s more than in the first book. Which, please believe me, is still more than those of you who don’t like swearing think. But I have also made a Radio Edit version, just for you anti-swearing people, where I’ve removed the cussing but not all the rude words. (Pre-order that version here.)

    The long version…

    Actually, I’m going to refer you back to the swearing post for Peace Fire for all the context and thoughts and such. Here, I’m going to tell you the numbers (whilst using enough censorship that this post stays swear-free). You know, in case you’re skipping the other swearing post and so still underestimate just how swear-y this sequel is.

    A jar labelled "swear jar" and filled with large denominations of money and a credit card

    Let’s pull out ye olde swear jar and calculate the damage. In my 329 pages of story, the following words (or variations thereof) show up the number of times listed here:

    • F-word: 199
    • S-word: 198
    • D-word: 59
    • H-word: 50 (This is after subtracting false positives, because this also returned words like “shell” and “hello”)
    • Rude words related to male genitals: 3 (but only when used in that sense, because, for instance, one can be cocky or be pricked by a needle and that’s not rude)
    • A-word: 79 (Spelled the “usual” way or the variant that includes an R. This is after subtracting false positives, because this also returned words like “parse,” “assume,” “password,” etc. In fact, there were about 165 of those false positives, and I am paranoidly sure I missed something in my edits. Apologies in advance if that’s so.)
    • B-words: 31 of one and 25 of the other (Plus once instance of “bastardized,” which research tells me isn’t a swear, so I left it in.)
    • Because it is of special concern to some of you, whether you read the normal or edited version, I want to note that I did not use the Lord’s name in vain.

    But, as promised when I made the first one happen, Peace State gets a Radio Edit version as well. (And now I’m going to pretty much repeat what was in the first post. If you just re-read that, unless you need to know the other, less-likely to offend US English people words in there, you now know everything! Well, everything covered by this post.)

    I called it the Radio Edit because, as most of you probably know, music is a massive part in my life. When I think about voluntarily censoring something I’ve created, my mind immediately goes to radio edits of songs. Though I could totally use words on the radio that I’ve taken out of the Radio Edit. I could also have way more sexiness on the radio than you’ll find in the Radio Edit.

    Because it’s the culture in which the story takes place (and, yes, what counts as swearing varies based on which English-speaking country you’re in), I did the edit based on US English swearing. It should be good for you non-swearing folks in general, given my experience has been that, overall, US English is the most limiting variation. Unless you have a problem with words like “crap,” “piss,” and “jerk,” in which case I really can’t scale it back enough for you. (I also left in phrases like “the evidence was damning” because there are non-swearing uses of words that US English considers swears in other contexts.)

    Actually, here’s list of words that are something like those mentioned in the last paragraph that are not edited out or were actively used to replace actual swears:

    • BS
    • Bloody
    • Crap
    • Piss
    • Bollocks
    • Screw
    • Sod
    • Wanker
    • Bugger
    • Blasted

    The swearing was not removed by just using the Find and Replace function. (For instance, I did not just replace every f-bomb with the same word.) That would have left a massively inferior book (instead of one that I just feel isn’t as authentic sounding). What actually happened is that I made a list of every swear word I could think of and a few extra-rude words, and then I used Find to locate them. (If I missed anything, please accept my most sincere apologies. The cost of a full line edit and the impact on timelines was not something we could work out.) I then made changes on a case-by-case basis. (Which only confirmed my belief that swear words serve particular purposes and carry their own, unique connotations and nuances. But this edit isn’t about me; it’s about you. So, I did my best for you, all things considered.)

    Because it’s not the way things are normally done and due to the cost (in terms of time, money, and energy), it will only be an ebook. Currently, Amazon is the only place I’ve confirmed it will be available for pre-order. (If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app to your computer or device. That’s what I use!) If you search for Peace State at your preferred ebook supplier, unless the cover is the one you see above (with the Radio Edit stamp on it) and the description notes that it has been edited for swearing, I can’t guarantee that’s what you’re getting. Shop carefully!

    xxx

    Peace State (Radio Edit) is now available for pre-order here