Welcome to a new month and that can only mean one thing… your monthly dose where I sit back and talk about how lazy I really am!

This month; however, might prove that I’m not as lazy as you think! Let’s dive into the things that I have accomplished in the past 30-ish days.

From Ashe Vol. 4

Last month, I talked about “The Project” which was redoing all of Final Hope and A.R. Dragonfly as proper Kindle-formatted ebooks, as well as relaunching the series once all of the Kindle Select contracts expire on December 3 (we’re a month away from that!)

This month, I can say that the entirety of From Ashe Vol. 4 is written and in first draft! Before editing, it was about 100 words shy of 61,000. I do have a lot of things that I want to clean up as some characters and events didn’t come out the way I had wanted them to.

Part of that is due to the fact that I had a lot of fun writing this book. So much so that I veered off my planned path a couple of times since things were just naturally connecting without realizing that I forgot how certain things were supposed to go.

However, don’t worry! This is not an A.R. Dragonfly Vol. 7 situation that’s going to cause me to rewrite half of the book. Everything that I wanted to happen, happened… just that some of it could have been told a bit better… or in Mineko’s case, I didn’t know how I really wanted to nail down her character so she came off in a rather generic fashion. After re-reading my notes and seeing her official artwork, I knew how I wanted to portray her. All of the scenarios that I wanted her to be in are there… I just need to change up the dialogue to refine her character more.

Maybe I can use this as an opportunity for some bonus content? Maybe a before & after to see how things were vs how they ended up? I wonder if that would be something that would interest you guys?

With that being said, I set a goal to finish writing the book by October 31. I met that goal a full week earlier than anticipated. I used the extra week to work on the art commission sheet and get that over to Alex. If you’ve been following me on social media, then you know that Alex has been tearing through the commission sheet with reckless abandon and getting the job done!

That’s why this update is coming a couple of days late because I wanted to provide an art update in here and since he was very close to finishing all of the new characters, I felt adding them to the update would be something I hadn’t done in a long time! Of course, this will all be repeat content for those on social media but if you only follow me through my WordPress blog (or you simply missed my posts in your feed), then this will be new content for you!

The next step is to edit the book which has already begun. I’m doing a grammar pass to make sure that my readthrough is smooth. I will then make edits and adjustments followed by another grammar pass to get the book into second draft. I look to accomplish a lot of this during the weekend. Then, I will repeat that process next weekend for the final approval and then get the manuscript over to Amazon for approval so I can order my autographed copies.

That means pre-orders should be going live in the next couple of weeks or so. However, with COVID, paper shortages, and supply chain disruptions… I am anticipating that autographed copies may arrive later than the projected December 1 release date. I should have zero problems hitting that release date for the Amazon storefront itself but signed copies might come a bit later than that. Not saying that is 100% the case… just preparing you all as a precaution based on the current situation in the world.

So, that is where we are right now!

From Ashe Vol. 5

Yep! We are talking about the next volume of From Ashe as well! I made mention that I didn’t know what I was going to do in Vol. 5 until I had finished writing Vol. 4. That comment (made on Twitter with a 280 character limit) was taken as if it meant that I was completely directionless with the fifth volume so I had to clarify in a tweet thread.

To clarify that, I knew what I wanted to do with Volume 5. I knew that it would contain both round two and the finals of the writing tournament. This means that the fifth volume would be sandwiched between two original stories written: “from Ashe.” (Understand the title of the series yet?)

That means I had five chapters of story to work with and while I had a general concept of what to do there, it wasn’t until I wrote and fleshed out the storylines in Vol. 4 that I knew how to 100% continue them in Vol. 5. Like… without spoiling anything, I knew that Kaden was getting introduced in Vol. 4 and that he would be pursuing a romantic interest in that volume. I knew that pursuit would continue in Vol. 5 but it wasn’t until I fleshed out the details in Vol. 4 that I knew what I had to do to continue it in Vol. 5.

Speaking of, I began to jot down some rudimentary bullet points for Vol. 5 to give myself a reminder of the things I wanted to touch on. There was so much stuff happening in Vol. 4 that I, myself, had a little bit of a hard time keeping track of it! If I recall, I have six different storylines running at the same time in Vol. 4 and I needed to remind myself of how all of those carry forward!

Breaking the Release Schedule

This section is going to be a tough one to write because I loved releasing a book every three months. I felt that it was giving my readers a nice, steady stream of content over the course of the year; however, I am afraid that I am going to have to break that starting with Vol. 5.

As you all may recall, I was in the hospital back in late March/early April for a double infection. While my health is fine… my finances are not since I got stuck with a $6,000 hospital bill. On top of that, my PC was giving out after six years and I had to grab a new one. In addition, I had already announced Vol. 4’s release date so instead of delaying it, I scaled back the amount of art from the normal 10-11 images to 7. I have to pay for that art, too so after paying down the hospital bill on top of the PC and now the art, I have about $7,000 of additional debt that needs to get paid.

This is the sole reason why Vol. 5 will not be out on March 1, 2022. It has nothing to do with writing… it has to do with being able to pay for the artwork. I know there are crowdfunding options but, let’s be honest… the majority of the people who are aware of my work are other OELN authors who have their own books and costs to worry about. I’m not about to go put out a campaign and ask for money from them.

But… the best part is… it doesn’t cost anything to sit down and write so while I handle my bills and get back to a more stable financial situation, I will be writing. I have no idea how many books I will write before I get back to that point but be assured, I WILL have content ready and waiting for you guys once I am able to comfortably pay for artwork again.

So, while Vol. 4 is due out on December 1…. Vol. 5 and onward is a big question mark.

Artwork

Speaking of that artwork, Alex has been hard at work so I have a few pieces to show off. Again, repeat stuff if you follow me on social media but if you don’t… enjoy what has been done so far!

The cover for Vol. 4

Kaden Matthews

Kaden is the first of four new characters. I don’t want to go too much into who he is because doing so would reveal some things that happened in Vol. 3 and I know not everyone is caught up on the series. I will say that Kaden is a new employee at In/Source and has a warm and gentle personality. I liken him to From Ashe’s version of Takumi from A.R. Dragonfly.

Noah Allen

Noah is one of the four people chosen for the writing competition (Ashe obviously being one of those four, too). Noah, like Kaden, has a warm and caring personality and is also a bit naive but that’s to be expected since he is only 14. His goal in the tournament is a bit different than most. He only seeks the prize money because he wants to help his brother who is only one year his senior. His brother is very talented with music but has lost his way!

Mineko Hoshikawa

Mineko is competitor number two and is seen as timid and shy. She has a difficult time talking to people and usually uses her writing to express her feelings. While her goal is to win the competition, it slowly becomes a side goal when this 15-year-old river of beautiful stars (a loose translation of her name) takes notice of Noah and develops a crush on him!

Jessica Cunningham

Jessica is the daughter of wealthy real estate mogul Wilfred Cunningham. She was trained how to write by the finest tutors that money can buy and she has no problem letting you know that! Stuck up, snobbish, and an ego the size of Jupiter, Jessica is a gigantic pain to deal with! Her attitude is very offputting but can her top-price training carry her through the competition?

Due to the cutbacks I mentioned above, we are, sadly, going to be missing art for Sebastian Graham and Chase Martinez. Chase was introduced in Vol. 3 and gets revisited here in Vol. 4. While he doesn’t have a huge part to play, I was going to give him official art and part of a scratched scene.

Sebastian, on the other hand, is one of the judges for the competition, and while his role here in Vol. 4 is moderate, he plays a much bigger role down the line which does warrant official art. This was the tough one to cut for budget reasons but I figured that when his role becomes more prominent, I can honor him with some official artwork.

Until Next Time

That’s going to do it for this month’s update. Next month’s may just get skipped because December 1… the day the next update is due… is the release date of Vol. 4 so the obvious update is going to be “Hey, I finished editing the book and it launched!”

Look forward to that!

Speaking of Vol. 4… autographed copies may be running late. I am not saying they will but if you are not aware, there is a pandemic, a paper shortage, and a really weak supply chain in the United States right now. Being a manga review for The Outerhaven, I know a lot of the titles I’ve wanted to review keep getting delayed month after month due to these problems. I am not sure how this will affect Amazon and its ability to print books on demand so I am just giving a warning here and now so that there are no surprises.

Pre-orders for Vol. 4 will probably open up in a couple of weeks so keep your eyes open for that and… yes… along with Vol. 4, if you missed your chance to get an autographed copy of Vol. 1, 2, or 3… you can place an order for one of those as well. There just might be a bit of a savings sale to tempt you into getting my scribbles all over your book!

But until then, I’ll catch you all next time!

Ja ne!

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