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Ideas To Book: Old As The Hills

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Welcome to the Idea to Book post for Old As The Hills. There are quite a few unusual things about this book, and I’m excited to get to talk about them. First and perhaps most importantly, this is a book centred on two people in a longterm and loving marriage. It’s not a new romance. Second, it’s one of my books that writes closest to historical events. And third, it’s in conversation with a whole line of esoteric history. That means writing about that period in a way I haven’t done before. 

Old As The Hills takes place in the first year of the Second World War, from November 1939 through August of 1940. It’s immediately followed by Upon A Summer’s Day, which picks up that evening and carries through December 1940.

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Typos are eternal but fixable

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I’ve had a few questions recently about if I want to hear about typos or small formatting errors. Yes, I do! This post explains more about how to let me know about typos. I’m embarking on a larger project to do some tidying in 2024 that includes all the tiny errors that somehow creep in.

Short version: 

If you spot typos or other minor formatting issues in my text, I’d love to hear about it. 

You have your choice in how to let me know. I’ve set up a Google Form with all the information I need to track down the problem. (There’s an option to share your contact info in case I have a question, but only if you like.)

Otherwise, feel free to email me (reply to any newsletter!), use the contact form on this site, or DM me on Discord, and let me know the following:

  • Which book
  • Which chapter or what’s going on in the scene.
  • A short phrase (something identifiable I can search on or skim for) to help me find the right paragraph.
  • What the actual typo or problem is.

Useful to know

I do write in British English. I’ve also made some deliberate choices about spelling and language use when it comes to Albion as a magical community. But it’s my job to make all of that consistent.

If you’re not sure if something’s actually an error, please let me know. I’ll take it from there. 

Longer version: 

My books go through multiple sets of eyes. I do multiple editing passes on my own, including an automated grammar and spelling check. Kiya goes through it multiple times. And then there’s my early readers, who note things as they spot them. (And then me again once or twice.) 

Despite that, typos sneak in anyway. Rereading a few things recently, I swear some have generated in the file while I wasn’t looking.

What that means

First, please do let me know about them if you spot them and you’re willing (as above).

And then second, I’m planning on doing a review for typos (and other small formatting things, making some stylistic choices more consistent, etc.) However, this is a logistically complicated project.

Because of that, I’m putting out a call for typo spotting. However, I expect the fixes (and the uploads) to be a project that takes me a fair chunk of 2024 to complete. 

What does that project look like? 

Reviewing all the books

First, I’ve got to read all of the books again (and at 30 novels and novellas as of last week, that’s a lot by itself.) I also need to do that when I’m at my computer with the final files, not on any other device, so I can see how the file is theoretically displaying on different ereaders.

As part of that, I have to make the actual edits, though finding them is much more work than fixing them. 

Preparing the files

Second, I’ve got to regenerate the final files for upload. While I’m in the files, I’ll likely update backmatter, add later books to the author’s note as relevant, etc. This part is actually fairly easy in the software I use. However each of the major retailers has slightly different preferences so I end up with half a dozen separate files. 

Uploading the new copies

Third – and this is the challenging bit – I’ve got to reupload those books to the various sites I use for distribution. Right now, that’s seven different places. (Kindle, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Kobo, Draft2Digital which handles a bunch of other places, Gumroad, and I’m about to add one more.) 

Each distributor has their own user interface quirks. Most of them involve at least a couple of places in the upload or revision sequence where you click something, wait (sometimes a minute or three) for it to process, and then go on with the next steps. These days, I usually work through two of the sites at a time. I swap tabs between the two while the other is processing. I put a movie on or something else I want to watch, but it’s a particular kind of tedious task I can’t do in vast amounts at one go. 

If all the websites are behaving properly, it’s about 15 minutes a book. That ‘behaving properly’ can be a big assumption though! And obviously, getting the time to upload 30 books (or 10ish hours) can also be a trick, so breaking this into smaller chunks is the way to go.

Because even small page count variations can make a difference for paperback books, I either need to correct just typos (nothing that affects page count) for the paperbacks or decide not to edit. (Revising paperbacks also has some other limits – the distributors I’m using right now allow limited revision uploads in several cases. So I need to figure out how to handle that.) 

Getting the revised copy

The other problem with this is that getting the revised copy to your device can be tricky. Most of the distribution sites won’t push a new version to you unless you go through some steps to request it. (That process varies a bit distributor to distributor or device to device). The changes I’m making don’t count as a new edition – they’re far too minor for that. So you won’t, as a reader, get the new copy unless and until you go through the necessary steps. 

(Usually that’s deleting the file on your ereader and downloading it again, but sometimes that doesn’t work. Mysterious are the ways of the ereader.)

I can’t help directly with that – there’s far too many devices and routes for getting ebooks for me to know all of them! What I can do is let you know (here and on my newsletter) when all those cleanup steps are done and the new files are available. 

If you’ve got questions, get in touch whichever of the ways above works for you, and I’m glad to explain more (or clarify here if it helps others).

Perfect Accord is out!

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Perfect Accord is many things. It’s Charlotte Edgarton’s romance, as her brother prepares for his wedding. It’s about friendship. And it’s about alchemical perfume, making hard choices to take care of our families, doing something different that might work better. All with a dose of mangled Arthuriana for improper purposes, forced proximity, and inventive applications of magic.

In 1923, Charlotte’s family is busy preparing for her brother Gabe’s wedding, and she’s not entirely sure she likes all the changes. When her best friend – and the man she expects to marry – gets pulled into a mysterious and suspicious group, Charlotte won’t let him go off alone. What she finds at the remote manor house doesn’t help. She’s sure they’re up to no good, but she’s not sure how to prove it.

When she finds herself alone in a maze – and then in an alchemist’s cottage kitchen – there are even more challenges to solve and overcome. Curious? Get your copy of Perfect Accord and enjoy!

(This is a fine place to start with my books, but if you like the Edgartons, I have plenty more books featuring them.)

A copy of Perfect Accord by Celia Lake on a tablet. The cover has a man and woman in silhouette. He is offering her perfume, and she is sniffing it on her wrist.

Idea to Book : Nocturnal Quarry

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Today’s Idea to Book is all about Alexander Landry. That’s because Nocturnal Quarry is a character-focused novella about Alexander Landry. While most of my books can be read in any order, this one comes best after at least Best Foot Forward

It also has some pieces in it I deeply loved getting to share. A bit of Boston’s magic, a couple of loose ends of other plots, and a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for starters!

A copy of Nocturnal Quarry lying on a wooden table with a cupe of coffee and some deep purple lilacs. The cover of Nocturnal Quarry has Alexander silhouetted seated in a chair, leaning forward, one leg crossed over the other against a purple background with a map of Manhattan. An astrological chart to the left has the symbols for the Sun, Mercury, and Mars in close conjunction in Leo and Virgo, glowing against the pale grey of the chart.
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Three Books on Sale : FaRoFeb

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I’m excited to be part of FaRoFeb this year. That stands for Fantasy Romance February, and it’s a promotion with a number of moving pieces. There are tons of different events planned, including 250+ books available for $0.99 US on February 1st. (That’s tomorrow, when I’m posting this.) There are also author spotlights, a panel discussion, a giveaway of a book a day between February 1st and Valentines Day on February 14th, and more. 

Find out all the details at the FaRoFeb 2024 site including how to follow FaRoFeb on your social media of choice and how to sign up for the newsletter to get the book giveaways. 

And if you follow FaRoFeb on social media (please do!), you’ll see me spotlighted on February 8th.

Me and my books

Three of my books will be on sale for $0.99 USD (and the equivalent elsewhere) through February 15th as part of FaRoFeb.

They are Sailor’s Jewel, Pastiche, and Eclipse. All three are set in Albion, the magical community of Great Britain that is the setting for all my books. They’re a mix of history, fantasy, romance, and a puzzle or mystery to solve. (In FaRoFeb terms, they fall into the gaslamp category.) 

Read on to learn more about all three books!

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Age, characters, and time passing

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I got a great question on my Patreon post about what I was planning for 2024 over there, and I wanted to answer it somewhere more visible. (This post also contains the answer to “Will Claudio get his own romance?” and if so, when.)

wiedźma_florentyna asked in the comments whether magic extends life expectancy over what we would expect today (and mentions both Mistress of Birds and Richard still actively working at the age of 73.) And then what that means for some of my oldest characters who are bound to die eventually.

Short version: I don’t want to kill any of these characters I love due to old age, so I’m doing my best to avoid that.

The cover of Four Walls and a Heart has a bright red background with a blue door. Two men are silhouetted against the background, one of slighter build in a Victorian wheelchair, missing his lower left leg, the other standing and talking, one hand at his side. Both are wearing hats, and they are intently focused on each other. The cover is mounted in a frame, next to a globe and a cup of coffee.
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Idea to Book: Best Foot Forward

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Welcome to today’s Idea To Book post, this time about Best Foot Forward. This is the book that honestly has the best origin story. Kiya – my friend and editor – left a comment in Eclipse in February 2021 when we were editing it. It said: 

I now sort of want the buddy cop story in which Alexander and Carillon team up to utterly destroy a munitions smuggler.

I left it in the Google Doc when I sent it to my early readers, and every single one of them left comments thoroughly wanting this. My early readers are smart people and they have good ideas, so I started staring at it. I stared at it for over a year, honestly. 

At the time, I hadn’t intended to write past 1929 for a variety of reasons.

I wasn’t sure how to handle a number of the complicated pieces of history (some of which get very close to my own family’s history, as I’ll mention below). And yet, the idea was absolutely compelling. I’m so glad I did – and that I figured out a whole series arc for the Land Mysteries books. The final book, set in 1946-1947, comes out in May. That’s The Magic of Four. 

Best Foot Forward deals with the shifts that happen in Europe as the world heads toward war again, and it’s also about dealing with at least a little of the trauma and loss of the Great War, even if it’s been decades. Read on for more of the details.

Copy of Best Foot Forward lying on a desk with a dip pen, bottle of ink, and paper. The cover has a deep red background with map markings in a dull purple. Two men in silhouette stand, looking up at a point in the top left. An astrology chart with different symbols picked out takes up the left side of the image, with glowing stars curving up to the title.
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Extras in 2024

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Time for an update on extras – both how I think about them and where you can get them. 

Upon A Summer's Day displayed on a tablet in a sunset scene looking out across water to fields beyond, all of it glowing golden and sparkling with magic. The cover of Upon A Summer's Day shows a man in a suit silhouetted over a map of northern Wales in a muted green. He is gesturing, holding his cane in one hand, a cap on his head. Behind him is an astrological chart, with Jupiter and Saturn highlighted in the sign of Taurus.

Extras

Extras are one of the terms for, well, extra bits of writing. Different authors approach them in different ways. It can be bits cut out of the final work, or it can be a treat for readers. It can be things the author had to write to figure out how something in the main novel/novella/whatever went. Often it’s more than one of these at once. 

Some authors never share these. Some of us (hi, that’s me), share more. 

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