If you follow me on social media, then you might have seen me tease this as being one of the biggest updates that I have done so far. If you don’t follow me on social media…

A) Why not?

B) Seriously, why the hell not!? Get on that this instant! STALK ME!

Twitter: @TheAnimePulse
Facebook: www.facebook.com/joshuajpiedra

So, let’s get right into this update with talking about Volume 5.

Volume 5 has gone through its final editing pass and is now publish-ready! Volume 5 is also now the longest volume in the series and the second-longest light novel I’ve written! Even though the artwork isn’t finished, I went ahead and added blank pages for where it will go. This brings the final total number of pages up to 294… just 26 pages shy of Final Hope Vol. 1 which clocked in at 320!

Of course, the number is cover to cover and encompasses everything, bonus material included. Still, the main body of the story is longer than Vol. 4 and contains some (in my mind) great moments!

This brings us to Volume 6. Since I was in an editing mood, I went ahead and did the first pass of editing on the book. All seven chapters are now in second draft. A grammar check pass and a final read through are all that’s left to complete that volume.

Since the first major editing pass is done, this means that the References bonus chapter for Volume 6 is also done! It also means the art pieces for the book are now conceptualized. Here, I have 10+ art pieces for Volume 6. You might have noticed a + sign at the end of that which may give off the impression that I might be adding more. Well, I am but not in the way that you think. This brings me to one of my announcements!

I had a talk with my artist and he has agreed to make it a reality. Volume 6’s bonus chapter will be a 4-5 page black and white manga adaptation of the opening scene from Volume 1!

Ever since I came up with the story for Final Hope, I had wished that I could have done a manga and while my drawing ability is decent at best (see my DeviantArt if you want proof of that), it’s not at a level where I could comfortably draw a manga at a level that would meet my expectations. Even though A.R. Dragonfly is only getting a single scene done, it’s still exciting to know that I’ll be getting a manga of a story that I created! I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Now… onto Volume 7. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve touched this. I still only have one chapter written and that’s all due in part to Volume 4’s release. As I was on a tear and just plowing through the story, my artist was getting closer and closer to finishing my commissions for Volume 4. I, pretty much, had to stop and take care of any and all loose ends to get Volume 4 finished and make sure Volume 5’s commission requests were good to go. I kind of slacked a bit after that as I focused on Volume 4’s release; however, that month-long break is coming to an end.

As we know, November is NaNoWriMo… a month that challenges writers to complete a book series. Well, I am going to take that challenge and turn it up a notch. I’m not making a promise but I will say that I will try my hardest to not only complete Volume 7 but to also complete Volume 8 as well! Volume 8 is the furthest I have mapped out and while Volumes 9-12 have rough bullet points, I still need to flesh out each volume. It is a challenge but I look forward to tackling it… especially since I have a very clear direction for both of those volumes.

Now that we talked about Volumes 5-8… let’s go back in time a bit and talk about Volumes 1-3.

Needless to say, I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about Volume 4. I’ve had a couple of people tell me how great they felt the story was and even one person said that it was my best showing in the series so far. While I appreciate that greatly, one comment stuck with me the most and that was about the cover of the book. Someone said that compared to the previous volumes, this one felt like a real cover. I had used one of the backgrounds I had made for the Blaze Auras cinematic in the book as the cover since it fit Reaver perfectly; however, doing so generated enough praise that I took a look back at Volume 1-3’s covers and just wondered what I was thinking when I was making them.

Therefore, I decided to keep that positivity in mind when making any and all future covers but it also meant that I decided to change the covers for volumes 1-3! I guess you could call these variant covers but without further delay, here are the new covers for the first three volumes!

I didn’t have enough pre-made backgrounds to try and match Volume 4’s but I did take some recently created art, such as the background for the biography cards, and the cellphone wallpapers and gave these covers a nice face lift. While they’re not perfect in my eyes, I think they are a much better improvement over what I was using previously. This also proves that I take any and all feedback seriously.

It happened with Final Hope as well. After having my books at a couple of conventions, I received some criticism on the cover which lead to me making improvements.

To segue into the next piece, I mentioned using a background for the biography cards for Volume 1’s new cover. That also means that with Takumi’s artwork for Volume 5 having been completed, I was able to complete all of the biography cards! This means that the characters section for A.R. Dragonfly has been updated and now includes all biography cards for all known characters.

I will throw a bit of a teaser and say that there are 4 biography cards that will be added but not until Volume 6… and two of them, which have been created… won’t be immediately added until enough people have had time to read the book.

You can check out the new biography cards here.

Speaking of Takumi’s artwork, might as well show it off for those who don’t follow me on social media (you should have fixed that by now!!)

This is the last piece of artwork that I will be unveiling for a while. The next four pieces of art dip into spoiler territory so I would rather keep those hidden. I will provide generic updates to ensure you things are moving along… such as… I have received the sketch for art piece number 5! No… that’s not an example I’m giving, I really did receive the sketch for that art piece!

This means that once it is completed, Volume 5’s artwork will be half finished! I will have three more pieces after that and then I’ll be able to unveil Art Piece #9 to you all which will be a new promotional piece for Sebastian. He hasn’t had a solo image since Volume 2 so I felt he was overdue for one! After that, I have 1 more spoiler piece and 1 MASSIVE spoiler piece should my artist except the challenge of creating it. I’m hoping he does as it would be phenomenal to have in the book.

Speaking of art, I’ve also been hard at work making art of my own. One of the art pieces I’ve been working on for Volume 5 is a screenshot of a new Blaze Auras zone: The Moonlight Caverns. Previously, I did the Kreptaran Forest, home of the Jungle Stalkers, and The Underhollow, home of the Reavers. Now, I add the Moonlight Caverns to the list of locations that have visual representation.

If you’ve read the History of Nara bonus chapters, this will make a lot more sense as to why this map is in the game. In the meantime, check out the artwork below:

Hmm… or maybe this might make a cool book cover? You never know where I may end up using it!

I think we’ve finally made it to the end of this progress update. As you can see, I’ve been extremely busy over the last month. Add in the fact that I created new cellphone wallpapers from my last update (by the way, the new Takumi art from this post also has a new cellphone wallpaper which is up on the site and available right now!) and what you have is one tired author… but we must press on and press on we will!

Now that I’m in a holding period while I wait for artwork, it’s time to crack those knuckles and get back to writing!

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Ja ne!

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