TGM: Ah Just Made a Liar o’ Mahself

So my boss gave me ten days off because of my cold. A bit of an unnecessary length of time for recuperation since I’m practically healed now, and I can go back to work on Monday. Oh, it’s tempting, waiting till next Thursday to go hustle my butt back to Berkeley, but I seriously get bored, lounging around the house, even with my running list of chores. Plus since I only work part-time, I don’t get paid for sick days.

As a quickie update regarding my cold, then, thumbs up. :) Two lessons learned from this week-long crapfest…

OTC stuff meant for cold symptoms and so on doesn’t work and is a waste of my money. All those fancy-schmancy, unpronounceable words only got me woozy and irritable in the end.

You know what worked? Ibuprofen and Benadryl. Yep. Just those two. No wimpy-ass, updated decongestants or non-drowsy stuff for me. First generation antihistamines know how to whip your system into shape. True, they make you drowsy, but since I’ve got extra time off, it was a price I was more than willing to pay.

Anyway, on to the main point of this post…

Remember when I said that I wasn’t going to touch The Glass Minstrel for its second edition? Yeah, I lied. While the book didn’t really need another thorough editing work, I still asked to go over the print proofs for surface-level errors, and I found quite a few. Mostly repeated words in a passage and a few long, awkward sentences that needed to be broken up.

The biggest change I made, though, involved THE scene. Jakob’s masturbation scene. It was a controversial passage that Mark, my previous publisher, and I went back and forth over, and I was more than willing to hit delete in case he found it too explicit. We ended up keeping it in the book, but for the second edition, I saw that it was borderline explicit and not really reflective of the books I’ve published with Queerteen Press, so I lightly revised the scene for the new edition.

Oh, sure, the scene’s still there. It has to be. It’s an important one in terms of how Jakob deals with his sexuality and his delusions about Covell (if you’ve read the first edition, you know how and why I say that – I’m trying to avoid spoilers here). But it’s more suggestive than explicit now and certainly more in line with the way Heinrich and Stefan’s sexual encounters are described.

So the proofs are back with my publisher, I’m very pleased with the way things turned out, and I can’t wait to get my copy of the second edition.

To prove further that I made a liar of myself, I decided to do a giveaway for the new edition. It’ll be mid-August, and I’ll keep you all posted. Now if only the pizza delivery guy would just show up… I’m starving.

Cover Art: The Glass Minstrel (2nd Edition) Plus 4th Anniversary Freebies

With the release date coming up next month, The Glass Minstrel emerges in its 2nd edition version (blurb and cover, that is – everything else in the book remains the same). Here’s the cover:

The Glass Minstrel (2nd Ed.)

Updated blurb:

It is the Christmas season in mid-19th century Bavaria. Two fathers, Abelard Bauer and Andreas Schifffer, are brought together through the tragic deaths of their sons. Bauer, a brilliant toymaker, fashions glass Christmas ornaments, and his latest creation is a minstrel with a secret molded into its features.

When Schiffer sees Bauer’s minstrel ornament in the toy shop, he realizes that Bauer is struggling to keep his son’s memory alive through his craft. At first he tries to fault him for this, but then recognizes that he, too, is seeking solace and healing by reading his son’s diary, a journal that reveals, in both painful as well as beautiful detail, the true nature of Heinrich’s relationship with Stefan.

Fifteen-year-old Jakob Diederich is the son of a poor widow. The boy is burdened with his own secret, and he develops an obsession with a traveling Englishman who stays at the inn where Jakob works. The lives of Bauer, Schiffer, and Diederich intersect during the holiday as Schiffer tries to focus on his family in the present, Bauer struggles to reconcile his past, and Jakob copes with an uncertain future.

Echoing the sensibilities of melancholy 19th Century folktales, lyrical prose and rich period detail quietly weave a moving tale of redemption, hope, and haunting, but timeless, themes.

This is the only book whose contents I didn’t touch for the 2nd edition. I reread it when Cheyenne Books announced they were closing their doors, and I’m pretty happy with the contents. The editor I worked with was pretty thorough, helping me go over the text as well as the content itself, and I didn’t see anything that bothered me enough to want to tweak. So the book remains the same, stylistically and content-wise.

It was pretty damned hard, too, looking for an image for the cover that’d work well with the book. A winter scene (not necessarily Christmas) as well as a distinctively European setting (preferably Bavaria, but that was too specific, I guess) turned out to be a challenging combination. This image, happily enough, came up in my search over at Dreamstime, and it’s perfect for what I need. :)

I won’t be doing a giveaway for this book since I’ve already done one a couple of months or so ago. I’ll only be submitting it to different review sites, hoping someone would take it up for a review to help me with the marketing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed here as historical gay YA fiction is a crazy tiny market, and if finding reviewers who’re willing to take on fantasy gay YA is an ongoing challenge, what more with a pure historical, right? ^^;;;

In other news, JMS Books, LLC just turned 4 years old, and they’re celebrating by offering a free e-book download from their site every day of this month till the end of July. :) I’m offering a free copy of The Weeping Willow for you guys. I don’t know when it’ll be posted at the site. You’ll have to keep checking every day. Plus you’ve got a chance to enjoy a month’s worth of free downloads from JMS Books’ backlist, so win-win! \O/

Some Bookish Updates

I also would like to muse about my decaffeination (is that a word? I say it is) sometime as it’s been a pretty – interesting – experience for me. At any rate…

For news on Henning, i.e., my most recent finished book(s), skip past the images. ¬.¬ Otherwise, suffer through…

Wookit! Bookses!

Yay, books! Blood, sweat, and tears in print form!

You know, I’ll defend e-books till my last breath and so on, but there’s still something extremely special about seeing the physical form of all those hours spent hunched over one’s keyboard – shoulders aching, wrists petrifying, veins roaring with caffeine. It’s elating. It’s humbling. It’s insane. I read Banshee because it’s pretty much in its final / forever form, and I only spotted a couple of errors. They were formatting oofas, where a couple of super short phrases were swept up in full italics mode because the rest of the paragraphs were italicized. Still, though, those are minor, and I’m very happy with the way the book turned out.

I’m about to read Wollstone next to see how well the edits turned out, but for the time being, I’m about to dig into The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for a nice change of pace.

And here’s a bittersweet moment:

The last I’ll see of this book in this edition. Queerteen Press will be releasing the 2nd edition this August.

There are ten print books in the box. I’ll definitely be donating some of them to different local LGBT youth offices. Whatever’s left over will probably be put up for giveaways; I’ll have to figure that one out. But, yeah – this is the last time I’ll see this book in the original format. Queerteen Press will be re-releasing the second edition this August (my birthday month!).

And now for news on my next series, which I talked about, ad nauseam, recently. The main book’s been divided into two volumes, the first one ending in a cliff hanger of sorts. It’s basically a two-volume serial type of deal, just like Desmond and Garrick. After some back-and-forth discussions about the books’ titles, my publisher and I’ve agreed to release the series thusly: Henning: The Hunted Prince (Book One) and Henning: Prince of Wintergrave (Book Two).

The release dates for both books are October for Book One and November for Book Two. And that’ll wrap up my 2014 releases, old and new titles. If I get my rights back for The Twilight Gods sometime this year, I’ll ask to have it contracted for a 2015 release date because I need December off. It’s the worst time of the year to be saddled with edits and proofs and stuff, and I’ve learned my lesson the hard way.

I just turned over the Round One Edits (as I call ‘em) for Masks: Ordinary Champions, and now I’ve got breathing room for the rest of the month. I’m going to tinker with a little side project for the time being, but I’ll start work on the seventh Masks book next month – as planned. I’m actually on schedule. What a shocker.

Feeling A Little Too Much Like Rip Van Winkle

Heavens to Hepzibah. Hello, world, I’m still here. If anything, the past week’s been more like a haze-filled trip through some shadowy, web-festooned corner of an undead Narnia.

My previous week perfectly captured in classic cheese.

The year continues to be… a rather interesting one, though I’ll have to admit that March is a vast improvement from January and especially February. I don’t feel as overwhelmed and asphyxiated, though I still have a pretty full plate.

So firstly, a couple of out-of-print announcements (or more like a heads up of):

By March 31st, both Masks: Ordinary Champions and The Glass Minstrel in e-book format will be unavailable for purchase. The Glass Minstrel in print will still be available till the end of June. Good news is that both books are already safely placed with Queerteen Press for publication, and here’s the release calendar for my upcoming titles:

April 6 – Banshee
May 4 – Wollstone
June 1 – Grave’s End
June 30 – The Book of Lost Princes (print)
July 13 – Masks: Evolution
August 10 – The Glass Minstrel

No word yet on the release date for Masks: Ordinary Champions, but you’ll definitely hear from me. Happily enough, the 2nd edition for the entire Masks series will be published within a year from the first book’s release. If you’re just getting into the first book, you won’t have to wait a long time for the rest.

The next book to revert to me after these will be The Twilight Gods. Oh, yikes. Ain’t got no time to play this year, man. At the same time, the experience has been exhilarating in spite of the mental and physical fatigue of slogging through edits after edits after edits. Things will slow down after Curse of Arachnaman since Desmond and Garrick was released a little further out. I’ll go over my plans for that series when the time comes.

In other news, I’ve been dancing everywhere since I found out that Pixar’s working on a sequel to The Incredibles, and Brad Bird’s writing the script. Yes! Happy days are here again! I don’t even want to think how long it’s been since The Incredibles came out, but I know it’s been a dog’s age. I can only guess the next film will show the kids maybe grown up, and I hope Frozone gets a lot more screen time than before, too. That was the only complaint I have against the movie; otherwise, it’s perfect.

California weather continues to depress me. The only good thing about abnormally dry weather is the fact that people hereabouts are encouraged to get out in the sun and be active. I’ve never seen my neck of the woods this busy insofar as walkers, joggers, and cyclists are concerned. It’s great, and it’s been an inspiration. I’ve upped my fitness regimen quite a bit even though I still wish it’d rain. I’ve added running to my usual cycling plan, and it’s yielding great results in the way it complements my time on my bike. Hopefully I’ll remember to bring my camera with me the next time I run or ride. I had my first sighting this year of wild turkeys, and it was glorious. Huge male turkeys in a group strutting about with their tails fanned – that was a lost opportunity. But I’ll do better next time unless my brain again decides to, you know, go on a siesta when it shouldn’t.

Cheyenne Publishing and Masks: Evolution

And the seasons come and go. Firstly, Cheyenne Publishing will be closing their doors on June 1. I’ve got one book published with them: The Glass Minstrel. Once I get my rights back, I’ll be forwarding the file to Queerteen Press for re-release (or for consideration for re-release, anyway – they can still reject it). If it goes through, the book will be given a new cover art and so on.

It’s a bummer, losing Cheyenne. They were the first (that I know of) small press who specialized in historical gay fiction (even historical gay YA). Unfortunately it’s a small market, and historical gay YA is even ten times smaller than that. Contemporary fiction is always super popular, understandably, and judging from my own sales, fantasy still trumps historical. I loved working with Mark. He’s a very low-key and modest guy, and he deserves applause for taking on this market and doing his best offering readers something different from the usual stuff out there.

So you’ve got till then to get a copy of The Glass Minstrel in its original cover.

Secondly, I just got official word that Masks: Evolution is now out of print. So you won’t be able to snag a copy unless it’s a used paperback, but if you’ve just read Rise of Heroes, I suggest holding off till the 2nd edition comes out. It’ll be edited within an inch of its life and given a new cover for its re-release.

I’ll be updating the necessary book pages later after I come home from work.

EDIT: Masks: Evolution (2nd edition) will be out on July 13. And that’s official.