Welcome to your September Progress Update for all things A.R. Dragonfly and From Ashe!
I say that but this is going to be another short progress update… one that I didn’t intend to be short; however, sometimes life throws you curveballs.
So, first off, I want to say that the final two volumes of A.R. Dragonfly are officially launched. Both physical and digital versions of the book are available on Amazon. You’ve probably read or heard me say it before but I wanted to see my series complete and on my shelf. The only way for me to get physical copies from Amazon is to publish it and make it live. That’s what I did… I just didn’t advertise it.
I began to feel that if both volumes are live, I might as well just make the ebook live… so I did that. Then, when everything was live, I figured that if people want to finish the series, they can. So, I went against my release dates and just advertised that the final two books were out there. I am still sticking to me release dates for autographed copies, though. If you don’t care about some personal scribbles, then you can finish the series right now!
I also did this because of something that happened that caused me to take a break.
In short, I tested positive for COVID-19 after contracting it from a co-worker. While that sounds scary due to the way the virus has been covered on all forms of major media, I can put your minds at ease to let you all know that I am fine. I caught a mild strain of the virus and I’ve only encountered symptoms akin to a minor head cold. In fact, it was so minor, I even questioned whether or not I even had COVID-19.
As of the time of this writing, I am on Day 12 of having the virus and aside from just a light, sporadic cough, I am feeling like my old self again. I am in quarantine and am working remotely out of my home so that I am not spreading the virus. I am also working closely with my doctor to take the necessary steps to get retested to see if I have become negative… that way I can return to work properly.
I’ve only told a few people and kept quiet about my health just in case. I wanted to make sure that what I had was COVID-19 or not and I wanted to make sure that I was in a state where I know I would be fine before making any statements. I didn’t want people to worry about me but at the same time, if something went seriously wrong, I would have updated you all regardless. I just wanted to focus on getting better first and foremost, so that is what I did for the last couple of weeks of August.
A.R. Dragonfly Origins
Before my run-in with COVID-19, I did make some progress on Episode: Amber. I am now officially half way through the book and now that I’m feeling better, I may take another week to fully recuperate and then get back into the swing of things with writing the book! A minor setback but with Origins not due out until January 2021, I have plenty of time to take it easy, rest, get that much-needed break, and recharge.
I mean, I did publish 14 books in just under 3 years. I think I’ve earned a little bit of a breather… COVID or not.
I did; however, come to a disappointing decision with Origins. You all may have seen me on Twitter talking about making a decision about the series. That decision is that I am cutting Origins from 5 volumes down to 2.
Takumi, Lynn, and Sebastian’s volumes are being removed because I told their backstories in the main series and when I reflected on how to expand those stories, I just couldn’t come up with a meaningful way to do so without just making it sound like I’m BSing my way through it. In other words, I didn’t want to add empty content just for the sake of having more content. Besides, Takumi’s backstory is very similar to Kaito’s because the two of them intersect… so that would mean Episode: Takumi would just be repeating what is in Episode: Kaito. Why should I write the same story twice?
Therefore, Takumi’s story will get fleshed out in Episode: Kaito. this will give you three backstories worth of content in two books. With Amber and Kaito being the two main characters of the series, it makes the most sense that they get Origin stories while the others can make do with what they were given in the main series.
I hope you understand my decision!
While I’ve had time to think, I decided that there will be no Origin series for From Ashe. One of the mistakes I made in A.R. is not paying enough attention to character backstories. Therefore, I will do complete and total backstories for characters (if warranted) within the confines of the main series. If that means dedicating a volume or the majority of one to Ashe and another to Renji, then so be it. I want the readers to get as much information about the world and the characters as possible.
One thing that has been happening is that I’m getting more and more reviews on A.R. Dragonfly. I appreciate everyone’s opinion on my series. The latest reviews are quick to point out the flaws of A.R. Dragonfly. Some of my feedback has ranged from the prose needing work, how it’s a bit too repetitive, corny dialogue with some of the characters, people hating Amber rather than relating to her, etc. etc.
All of that is valuable that I take to heart. From Ashe is still in the planning stages and just like I learned from Final Hope and applied those lessons to A.R., I’m taking what I’m learning from A.R. and applying it to From Ashe. So, keep that feedback coming! You’re not going to hurt my feelings if you dislike A.R. Dragonfly. There is a cardinal rule every author must understand and that is your writing will not satisfy 100% of your readers. You will have people who just innately love anything you write and then you will have your critics. The thing that matters the most to me is the constructive criticism. I want people to tell me what’s wrong with my stories. I don’t know what is wrong because in my head, it’s fine. It is the story I wanted to write and the story I would enjoy reading. When I have that mentality, I can’t easily tell what works and what doesn’t. That’s where readers come in.
I’ve said it from the very beginning that I am always open to all kinds of feedback… good and bad. Of course, I love it when someone tells me that they enjoyed my story. As an author, that’s all you could ever ask for. Still, nobody is perfect. No story is perfect. I know that From Ashe will not be perfect. It will have flaws… but if I don’t know the flaws of my past, I cannot do my best to fix them on any future works.
I continue to learn each and every day so if you have tough words for me about my books, send them my way. I want to know so I can continue to improve and meet a quality standard that you feel you should expect from me.
However, I will state that what I will not budge on is if feedback blatantly destroys my vision of what a character or story should be. Will I try and work to make a character or story something more appealing? Sure… but if I intend for something to be a certain way, that’s how I will write it. That part, I won’t sway on. After all… I am the author and I have the right to tell my story in the way that I envision. I can control dialogue quality, prose quality, etc. But don’t expect me to adjust a story or character because your personal opinion of them may not fit your personal desires for what it should be. That’s the only line I will draw in the sand.
Until Next Time
As I said, COVID really made this a short update. Again, I intended to say “Episode Amber is finished!” with this update but that didn’t happen. I wanted to at least be on Episode Kaito by now but health and recharging priorities come first.
I am scratching my writing itch in some ways. I am participating in a writing tournament over at the Orion Writing Studio. It has been fun! Some of the short stories I write for that tournament may end up in From Ashe as some of Ashe’s ideas! Not sure if I will include them all but it’s not off the table as an option! I guess that means, in a way, I am working on From Ashe in fragments here and there, haha.
I do know that once I push through these two Origins stories, I will be focusing 100% of my attention on planning out From Ashe. I don’t intend to start writing this series until 2021… I want to make sure I craft a story I can be proud of all while incorporating the lessons I learned from both Final Hope and A.R. Dragonfly. I really want to take my time with this one. It’s primed to be a really long series… much longer than A.R. I want to do my best to do it even better this time around!
Next update, barring any more unforeseen setbacks, should be a bit longer. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all next time.