Happy New Year!

2020 marks my third year as a self-published author! Both volumes of Final Hope were released in 2017 and then A.R. Dragonfly started in 2018 and continues to march on!

A New Art Chapter


Needless to say, the end of 2019 shifted gears in a big way. I brought on a new character artist named Alex Garcia and he has been absolutely tremendous!

As with any new artist in the middle of a series, characters will look a little different but I believe Alex has been able to capture the spirit of all of my characters in an unbelievable way! His coloring is different than what you are used to but I believe that is a good thing. It’s almost a hybrid of American comics and late 90’s anime which brings a vibrant and unique style all while retaining my characters’ familiarity.

One thing I will say about Alex is that he’s fast… so much so that I was given a swift kick in the rear. Here I was three volumes ahead in writing and, all of a sudden, Alex turned on the afterburners and I felt like I was three volumes behind.

I hired Alex back on December 16. In that span from then until today (January 2), Alex did 14 commissions for me! Four for volume six, then he switched and helped me finish out volume five with three commissions, then came back and finished the remaining seven for volume 6!

With that speed, I had to put in some work… and that’s exactly what I’ve done!

Progress in Hyper Speed!

In that same time span, I went in and did the first edit of Volume 7, bringing it into 2nd Draft. After that, I immediately threw it into grammar and spellcheck and got it into Final Draft. All that is left for Volume 7 is the final read through and I can toss it into InDesign and format it.

For Volume 7, I also created the References bonus chapter as well as the art commissions. I have 10 commissions lined up including ones of Dragonfly and Khaine… two characters who haven’t seen any art updates since Volume 2! I know, it’s about time, right?

As for Volume 6… it was already in 2nd Draft for a while but I went through the Grammar pass to get it into Final Draft and then I did the final read through and got that loaded into InDesign. I also did the Preface, Afterword, Bonus Chapter, and Character Biographies. In other words… Volume six is PUBLISH-READY! With all of the art pieces completed, I can drop that bad boy onto the world!

Except that’s not going to happen.

Why?

Because we just published Volume 5! Volume 5 hit the market on December 24 and here I am just 1 week later talking about Volume 6 being ready to go! That is a true testament to Alex’s speed. I’m not naive, though. I know it won’t be like this all the time. My friend Todd from The Outerhaven recommended me to Alex and I know that the two of them are working on a comic series together. When that project starts, Alex will either slow down or stop with my commissions until that’s done and, honestly, I have zero issues with that whatsoever for a few reasons.

The first is the gratitude and respect I am more than willing to show Todd. He’s the reason why I was able to find Alex to begin with. Alex is Todd’s artist first and mine second and it will always stay that way.

Second, any break he takes from my art is a breather for me. I know I am putting undue pressure on myself to keep up with his speed but I had this system with Zara. I would write a volume, edit it into second draft, send the art to Zara, then I would write the second volume, get it into second draft, create the art then sit and wait until Zara was almost finished. When he was almost finished, I would do all of the bonus content, grammar edits, final pass, etc then publish. I would then give Zara the next set of commissions, write the next volume, edit, create the art descriptions and wait.

That was my system and I was comfortable with it. Perhaps a little too comfortable. With Alex, let’s just say that it’s preventing me from being lazy. I could easily just hold off with commissions until I’m ready but that’s not me. I always want to push myself, and besides, if I want to make a living off my books and do this full time, I need to put in the work every single day… not just when I feel like it. Kicking myself into high gear and trying to match Alex’s speed is a way to test myself to see if I can handle that kind of life and, so far, not only am I keeping up but I’m enjoying the hell out of it!

In fact, I was so fired up that I also edited Volume 8 and got that into Final Draft! So far, I have 6 commissions for that volume as I’m still deciding what scenes/characters I want for that book. Of course, with all of the editing done for the next three volumes, I decided to being writing Volume 9!

I have the first chapter and ~2,000 words done for the second chapter. This one is moving right along and I aim to have Volume 9 in First Draft by the end of the second weekend of January.

So, that’s where things stand. In case you haven’t seen Alex’s work from any of my Twitter/Facebook posts, here’s a few pieces that he’s done for me so far.

Meet the Cast Once Again

Sebastian Carmichael
Amber Ryann
Dark Elf (Koroshi)

In Conclusion

This Progress Update is a bit shorter than the last two but I’m sure you can see why. New Artist, New Volume Launch, and Editing, Editing, Editing, and more Editing with a little writing on the side. The editing ate a lot of my time which is why there’s not much to talk about but progress is progress!

I do want to remind everyone that if you are a writer/blogger for a website (be it personal and professional) and are interested in reviewing either Final Hope or A.R. Dragonfly, free PDF review copies are available to you. Just drop me a line through the contact form on the site or at joshpiedra@gmail.com and let me know if you are interested!

With that, thanks for reading and I’ll probably be back with a mid-month update as more art rolls in as well as a time frame as to when I will release Volume 6. Although, when it comes to the art update, there are some pieces that I can only show certain people because to them they will just be another character, to others, they will be a spoiler.

Hmm…

What does that even mean?

To be continued in Volume 6…

Until then,

Ja ne!

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