May 19, 2021 - 5:40 PM
These last few weeks have been challenging.
On the personal side of things, my wife’s doctor diagnosed her with pre-eclampsia. This happened around the twenty-sixth week of her pregnancy. She stayed at the hospital for a week, then her doctor allowed her to come home, so long as she remained on what he called “modified bed rest.” My wife is an exceptionally mobile person (the complete opposite of myself, whom I would describe as a lazy homebody). She’s also very outgoing and people-focused (again, the opposite of myself, whom I would describe here as a repugnant recluse). Needless to say, my wife has not loved being on modified bed rest.
And when your spouse goes on modified bed rest, you notice how much she contributed to the betterment of your household. You notice how many of life's burdens she helped you to carry. I’ve been trying to keep up with everything, but with three daughters and a (mostly) bedridden wife, I’ve failed each day in one way or another. Dishes have piled up. Trash has overflown from the can. I've realized why my wife was always wielding that loud, blue device that I’ve come to learn is called a vacuum. It's because dirt accumulates. Who knew?
I used to think I did a pretty good job of sharing the responsibilities of our house, and maybe I did (I've always cooked and done the dishes and laundry as often as my wife), but having to do many of the things she used to do illuminates just how much I took for granted. I reach the end of my days extremely exhausted. I stay up late to acquire that rare hour of personal time that is not infringed upon by the needs and desires of my beautiful children or my lovely blessing of a home. I wake up early to get my oldest daughter off to school. This was one of those tasks that my wife and I used to divide throughout each week; I used to sleep in some days.
I’m not complaining. No, really. Okay, I am. But I’m also eternally grateful for my wife. When she's not on modified bed rest, she does so much for our home and our family. Without her, my poor kids would be in for some serious trouble. I’m not saying I couldn’t step up and do what needed to be done, but I know it would certainly challenge me.
Stepping away from the personal side of things, we move to the writing, which is no doubt why you’re on this site. The three big updates are as follows: Sam White has made a ton of breathtaking progress on my book's cover; I am nearing the end of line edits for The Gatherers and the Illness of the Isle; and one of my beta readers finally finished my book (and she gave a positive review).
Sam White has streamed two sessions for my book (find him on Twitch). In the first, he completed the thumbnail for my book, and he absolutely floored me with his ability to take the miserable sketch I provided him and turn it into a well composed, well colored composition. In the second stream, he added some stunning details that dramatically revitalized the piece. Before that session started, I was already confident the piece would turn out amazing, but his vibrant additions (to both the piece's color and its composition) eradicated any doubt I might have had.
Take a look at the gorgeous thumbnails below (and keep in mind that Sam’s details finalize each piece; if you go to his website, you can imagine the kind of detail this piece will ultimately contain):
As for editing, the process has been going very smoothly. When I wrote The Lovely and Lonely Blue years ago, I did not put it through much of an editing process outside of using Word’s built-in spelling and grammar checkers. Big mistake. This time, I’ve identified several words and phrases that have helped me to find instances of passive voice, telling, and otherwise weak writing. I went through and performed a developmental edit and am nearing the end of my line edits. After that, I’ll get another proof of my novel (with Sam’s finished art on it to see the work in action), and I’ll proofread it one last time.
It’s remarkable. With each round of edits, I can see my work getting stronger and stronger, and it’s a very invigorating feeling.
I’m also going to be having some in-depth conversations with my beta readers. I’ve had a few talks with each of them throughout their journeys, but it will be nice to get a feel for how the whole story landed (or didn’t) with each of them. I don’t anticipate any glaring errors as I’ve heard mostly positive things, but I fully intend to jump in and make any necessary changes (and of course I’ll attempt to balance quality and timeliness, too).
I’ve done a lot more outreach and had some really interesting conversations with people from the writing and fantasy communities on Reddit. I hope to keep meeting people and learning more about what makes these communities the great places they are. As I said before, it’s all about the people.
So long as there are no significant delays, I suspect I’ll be ready to release the book in June. I cannot wait to share this story with people, and I cannot wait to get started on its sequel.
As always, thank you so much for reading this blog and being part of this site.