It’s a new month. You know what that means. Why dance around the good stuff? Let’s just hop right into it because there is a lot of good stuff to talk about!
A.R. Dragonfly Origins
Today is January 1 which means that we are just three days away from the official launch of A.R. Dragonfly Origins Episode Amber and Episode Kaito! You will get to witness Amber and Kaito’s backstories in an expanded form which will, hopefully, explain how they ended up they way that they did in the main series.
I should note that if you plan on reading these books, it is heavily suggested that you read the main series first as these books are NOT a prequel but rather supplemental or complimentary to the main series. There are some pieces of dialogue in there (especially in Kaito’s) that will spoil some storylines in Volume 8 and beyond so unless you don’t care about spoilers, then you have been warned!
Now… even though I say that the official release is January 4… technically… the physical copy has been available for quite some time. I’ve griped about Amazon before; however, I hate the fact that you have to push your book live in order to get author copies. Since it is print on demand, I can understand not having a pre-order available for physical but to require the book to be live in order to get author copies is completely unnecessary! They should give authors the ability to choose which day it goes live all while allowing the author to get copies for their book launch. I don’t understand what the issue is with hiding the book out of sight from the public until a specific date? Nothing needs to be printed before a release date anyway so it’s not like it’s going to be a massive inconvenience to them.
But… the eBook CAN be pre-ordered and its release date is set for Monday. On the subject of the eBook, Amazon came out with Kindle Create… a free tool which allows you to build an eBook and save it in a Kindle format. This means that Origins will actually look correct on an eReader!
It also means that since this tool came out AFTER I published 14 books… I need to, one day, go back and redo Final Hope and all of A.R. Dragonfly so that their eBook counterparts work better with Kindle devices.
So… with the launch of Origins. A.R. Dragonfly is over and done with, right?
A.R. Dragonfly Illustrations
Between last update and this one, after having a conversation with a friend, I decided that I was going to create a full-color art book for A.R. Dragonfly.
And I did
The book is “created” right now and in… I guess a first draft? I have the size of it settled on, I have all of the artwork selected and inserted into the book. The only thing I have left to do is add commentary and work on the interior design aspects (title pages, table of contents, do I want a background on anything, page numbers, etc. etc.)
I have no idea what the price is going to be for the book, to be honest. It’s going to be about 190 pages of 8.5×11 size and in full color. I am ballparking about $30-$35 based on what Amazon offered as far as information but we will see when it’s time to push it live.
As for art selection, I have all of the character art, I have the backgrounds and full-page spreads I made for the series, logos, never-before-seen sketches, scenes, book covers, and fan art (yes, I have a couple of pieces of it!)
All images will come with some form of commentary but I’m still up in the air for what I want to do at the end of the book. I might do a self Q&A or maybe just write some random stuff. Not exactly sure what I’m going to do there just yet but I have some time as I aim to get this book out into the world next month in February!
I should apologize ahead of time, though. Due to the possible costly nature of a full-color book, I am not currently planning on doing autographed copies for them. You’ll have to get these strictly through Amazon… unless the price is lower than I believe it will be so never say never. It’s one of those “wait and see” things.
Once Origins and Illustrations launches, the focus will be shifting to From Ashe and Reincarnated as a Wolf Girl Assassin. I really want to get back to the latter of the two in my spare time as it was really fun to write the first chapter for it but it will always take a back seat to From Ashe.
Speaking of… last month, I said that the first volume was in First Draft. Well, now it’s in Final Draft! The book had its major editing pass as well as a grammar/spell check; however, I can tell that this one may end up getting a second editing pass as there are some things I still want to change up after reflecting back on a few things. So… I guess we can say that we’ll break my traditional progression scale and call this Third Draft.
There are some repetitive moments with Ashe and she even points out how repetitive they are by stating she feels like a broken record. Repetitiveness is something I was guilty of doing in A.R. Dragonfly as multiple people have pointed out to me so it is something I was very conscious of while editing volume 1. Ashe’s repetitiveness is on purpose but I don’t think her emotions are progressing or are reflected well enough to warrant something that happens later. I want to change that up a little bit.
I also had to pull back on the reins a bit on one storyline as I progressed it a little bit further than I wanted to. Jase got a little bit anxious when it came to his story but now, he can release all that tension as it will be a big focal point in volume 2.
Speaking of… I didn’t meet my goal of having volumes 2-4 outlined by the end of December. That’s because I do know what I want to do with volumes 3 and 4 but I keep asking myself if I want to do them in reverse?
Without spoiling anything, volume three was going to be Ashe’s first writing competition and volume four was going to be Ashe & Renji’s complete backstory… almost like a volume of Origins. It’s going to be a big deal.
The reason why I was wrestling with this idea of flipping 3 and 4 came with the decision to go back to the original volume 1 ending that I had planned on doing. I nixed it initially because I thought that it would cause Renji to develop too quickly as a character and I wanted to spend a lot longer with him and slowly build him up; however, I found a way to make it work. It’s a bit of a trope but it fits and it works and even though I might get some eye rolls over the decision, it’ll give volume 1 that huge hook ending to make you want to read volume 2 but at the same time, preserve Renji’s character a bit.
Even if all the cards are shown in volume 3, Renji doesn’t have to change. Healing doesn’t happen instantly and there can be a slow build to Renji’s defining moment (and there will be one). Once I realized that, I knew that I could show all the cards a bit earlier and still get what I wanted out of Renji as a character before his planned personality shift.
This also meant that it didn’t matter what order I did volumes 3 and 4 in and it caused me to wrestle with the decision. Well, I am happy to say that I thought on it and will be pulling the trigger. The main characters will receive their backstory in volume 3 and the writing competition is getting pushed to volume four. In fact, with what I have planned, I can have the events in three directly affect Ashe and her mindset going into the competition. It creates a smoother flow for things and I think it’s going to work out!
Plus, this makes good on my promise to not keep people waiting until halfway through the series to find out the backstory for a character. I’m going to give it to you guys much sooner and those who already know it (because I shopped around for feedback), will tell you that it’s going to be good!
Cover Reveal & Artwork
If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll know that the cover for From Ashe Vol. 1 is done and has been revealed! If you don’t follow me and/or haven’t seen it yet, here it is!
As you can see… Ashe and Renji look quite different. That is due to the fact that I decided to go with a different art style for this series. Alex and I worked together through an entire weekend to come up with a new coloring style and new overall anime look for the characters.
Just to show you the comparison, here was the original Ashe artwork
As you can see compared to the one on the cover, the skin maintains it’s soft look while the hair and clothes have a more solid shading and highlight look to it. Plus, the overall shape of the characters, especially the face, is more anime-style than anything.
In fact, I don’t know where I’ll use this image but this is the test image Alex and I came up with. I, myself, feel like a broken record because as I was showing this around, I kept saying “ignore the outfit! This is not what Ashe wears! We just dressed her in anything for the sake of nailing down the face and hair!”
But… I realized… this isn’t A.R. Dragonfly and Ashe isn’t Amber. Ashe didn’t buy seven of the same outfit to wear all the time. She actually has a variety of clothes and this could, very well, be one of her outfits!
The original Ashe is how I pictured her at first. When I started writing the story, my vision of Ashe actually changed. It goes to show that you should always write first before conceptualizing your artwork!
Ashe came out way more adorable than I could have imagined but even with her looking that cute, there’s still room for her to look pretty sassy as apparent on the cover!
Also… just a bit of trivia… her new shirt design (from the cover) was supposed to have text but with her angled like that, I felt that it would have been lost but her shirt was supposed to say “5-Star pull.” Given the symbol that’s on her shirt, it would have been an awesome reference to Genshin Impact. It will make it in, though. Just wait!
Also, Alex has been on a roll with the art commissions! Because as such, Aubrey, Jase, and Kelsey have been completed and (as of the time of this writing), I’m waiting on the color version of Mark… Ashe’s direct supervisor at In/Source. He also finished a young Renji for one of the flashback scenes in volume one. Once Mark is done, this will be commission 7 out of 12!
For those who have been created, I have biography cards up in the characters section for From Ashe! Be sure to stop by there and check them out!
Outside of that, I partnered with YouTuber L.C. Gatsu for his OELN Starter Pack and Manga Giveaway contest. There were over 50 entries and the four winners have been announced! I have pledged four copies of A.R. Dragonfly Vol. 1 to those winners so I want to extend a congratulations to all of them and your copies will be mailed out as soon as I get a shipping address to send them to!
If you want to check out the winner announcement video, you can do so below:
A Helping Hand
Also, during the past couple of months, I was involved in a little side project and now that it is out there, I want to offer a heartfelt congratulations to Jio Kurenai and his artist HikariSoul for the launch of Parable of the Renegades Vol. 1!
Jio came to me a while back and wanted some help converting his story into a paperback so he could have the opportunity of physically holding it in his hands. So, I offered to compile his work in InDesign for him and it was a few short weeks ago that we wrapped it all up and now he has his book out there on Amazon for the world to buy!
Even though I was just the guy behind the scenes putting everything together, I could just tell how much heart and soul Jio and HikariSoul put into this book. I urge you all to give them your support by picking up a copy of it!
Until Next Time
That’s going to wrap up this month’s update. Next month, I should, hopefully, have some better information on A.R. Dragonfly Illustration’s release date and (maybe) the pricing of it.
The next steps for me; however, is to do a final editing pass for From Ashe Vol. 1 and begin writing Vol. 2. My new goal is to have the first three volumes written before Vol. 1 launches. That… is going to be a VERY steep order but I will try my best to make it happen.
I know… undue pressure I’m placing on myself and all that. I get it.
We’ll see how it all shapes up, though.
I’ll see you all back here Monday for the launch of Origins!!