What a difference a week makes. I wrote my March progress update without much to report. I was waiting on the third piece of art from Zara, I had a mental block in writing Chapter 4 of Volume 4 because I wanted to take the time to visualize one of the matches in my head and make sure I wrote it the way I wanted it to go, etc. etc.
Then, less than 24 hours after I posted my progress update for the month, Zara sends me the finished version of Takumi AND the sketch for the 4th piece of art for Vol. 3! I facepalmed because had I waited one more day, I could have had something awesome to show you guys.
But that was a blessing in disguise because I couldn’t let March go by without giving you guys a proper progress update. The key word in these updates is PROGRESS and that means I had to make some in order to talk about it.
So I went to work.
First off, let’s take a look at that sweet Takumi art!
Zara has, once again, outdone himself on the artwork. He nailed the color scheme on the first try and really capture Takumi’s warm personality. His design (outside of the Blaze Auras characters) is one of my favorites in the book so far. Not to downplay Amber, Kaito, Sebastian, and Lynn but Takumi just came out looking so good!
Speaking of Sebastian and Amber. They are taking center stage in art piece #4. Slight spoiler for Volume 3 but Sebastian pays Amber a visit at her house and says something to get on Amber’s bad side. As a result, Amber grabs an anime replica sword and threatens Sebastian with it. The scene was hilarious so I had to select that as one of the art pieces in the volume. I didn’t even know what anime sword to use so I left it up to Zara to select one of his favorite ones. When I got the sketch, I was floored by the fact that he picked the scissor blade from Kill La Kill! I loved that show a lot and I could totally see Amber owning that sword!
With that, check out the sketch for the next art piece!
That does it for the artwork. Let’s talk about the writing! I finally sat down and figured out how I wanted the fight to go in Chapter 4. So I sat down and fleshed it out and in doing so, the thought stream hit me, I got on a writing stride, and I just kept going! So, not only did I finish Chapter 4… I went on and wrote Chapter 5…
And Chapter 6…
and Chapter 7!
Yep! I wrote 3 1/2 chapters during the past week and that means I completed the main content of Volume 4! I, once again, completed my goal of being one volume ahead but the itch didn’t go away like it usually does. Typically, I’ll get one volume ahead and be like “Whew! The deed is done, time to relax, let the art roll in, and work on all of the bonus content for Vol. 3.”
Not this time, though…
Even though I will be taking a bit of a break from writing, while everything was still fresh in my mind, I went ahead and I outlined all seven chapters for Volume 5! Yep, I haven’t even released Volume 3 yet and I already have Volume 5 completely planned out from start to finish!
As a bit of a non-spoiler preview, Volume 5 is another book where things slow down a little bit. Unlike Volume 3 which really slowed down and focused on character development, I’m doing a bit of half and half for Volume 5. I’m doing character development for our main cast of characters all while building on the romance aspect of the series. I know it took nearly 5 volumes to get to the romance part but things are starting to get more and more involved with our characters. I think Volume 5 will be the volume where readers will begin to question who is going to be shipped with who. At least, I hope that’s what happens!
In addition, there’s still more Blaze Auras action to be had in Volume 5 but it’s not all about Blaze Auras this time. For the first time in the series, I’m going to take you into Sebastian’s game of Shadow Wing Online! We know he’s been playing it for four straight volumes now so I figured that Volume 5 will be the best opportunity to try and showcase that game a little bit. It’s my attempt to do even more world building for the overall series but to also expand on the individual worlds that our characters live in. It’s not fair that Amber and co. get to flaunt Blaze Auras in front of everyone. Sebastian and his game need some love, too!
Also, Volume 5 will see a transition into a new antagonist. This series has had Kaito and Jeremiah as antagonists but their stories are unfolding in so many different ways. There must always be a conflict to keep things interesting so I introduced a new antagonist in Volume 4 and decided to build him up a bit more in Volume 5. Plus, it will allow me to touch upon some issues that I feel need more awareness, such as cyberbullying.
I’m saying a bit too much and if I go further, I will ruin my own story haha!
With this also comes a few site updates! Since Takumi’s artwork is complete, a non-spoiler biography of him was added to the Characters page for A.R. Dragonfly. In addition, both Daniel McDevitt and Takumi received cell phone wallpapers that are free to download in the Downloads section. There is also a new Desktop Wallpaper depicting all of the non-Blaze Aura characters that you can download as well. Once Triggabyte and Versaithe are created, I will create another wallpaper dedicated to them!
Last, but certainly not least, a week ago, I announced a giveaway contest for an autographed set of A.R. Dragonfly Vol. 1 + Vol. 2.
Well, I only offered one set because I thought that I had a buyer for the second set that I was originally going to give away. Turns out that they passed on the set so I actually had TWO sets to give away! I had a pretty good turnout as 16 total people entered the contest. Since I didn’t want to get yelled at for handpicking winners, I pulled up MiniWebTool’s random picker and let a computer algorithm do all the dirty work for me. Below are the screenshots of the first two button presses… aka… the winners!
Congratulations to both of them. If you see the Tweets directed at you on Twitter or if you read this blog, know that you have 24 hours to send me a private message on Twitter with your shipping details and I will get the books out to you in the next mail shipment!
For those who entered but didn’t win, I’m sorry that a computer algorithm didn’t pick you but I will have more giveaways in the future so keep an eye out for them. For the two that did win, I truly hope that you enjoy the books and would like to hear your honest feedback if you choose to give it.
There! That sounds more like a Progress Update to me! New art, next volume completed, Vol. 5 planned, and contest winners announced!
What the heck am I going to do for April?
Did I just play myself?