People of the world, it’s finally here.
After five (official) drafts, almost five years, two titles, all the sweat and tears, extreme keyboard bashing, lots of swearing, squeezing in moments to write while also being a mother, general anxiety, crying because none of it worked, celebrating because it wasn’t so bad, threatening to toss the computer through the window into the snow because it was obviously the worst manuscript ever known to mankind, then finally, finally, submitting that final draft–it’s done.
A Study of Ash & Smoke has officially been published.
How does it feel? Honestly, as I’m sitting here typing this 23:22 PM, Sunday 19 May, I don’t feel anything. And that despite having received the first email from an online store to let me know congratulations, your title has been published!
I’ve worked hard, if you didn’t get that from that whopper of a paragraph-length sentence above. 😛 This project comes with free fragments of my soul. I’m in there, embedded between the lines.
In fact, woven into those blank spaces is the frustration of a woman who had a story in her heart, but no idea how to write it. The lessons learned from an editor who was patient and kind, and wouldn’t give up on the greatest noob of all. The fear and excitement of someone about to move to a different country, and the utter angst that followed. The concern of a mother who had to figure out raising a small child in said strange country. The fear and excitement when her little family would immigrate for a second time, and do it all again.
You won’t see me crying over the keyboard when your eyes gloss over those blank spaces, but it’s there. It wasn’t all tears, though. I wish the loud whoops could carry onto the page–those moments when shit just went right, and when the scene finally worked. I wish I could capture those moments when I thought holy crap, this isn’t that bad. If blank spaces could talk, they’d tell you a story of their own.
I wouldn’t be here without the team of people who held my hand, the folks who sometimes had to yank pretty hard to get me moving again. I was that stubborn old mule who refused to even open the document, never mind actually work on it. Still, you people carried me. You know who you are. Thank you.
The Skolion folk, you’re seriously the best, most talented group of people ever. Thank you for every Skype session, every chat window, every email, every pep talk, and also for your skills and willingness to share knowledge.
Most of all, Jan and Kayla, thank you. I’ve said this a million times, but I have no idea how you put up with the drama on legs that is Yolandie. I appreciate and love the two of you more than words can express, and I’m in the business of words.
But okay, you’re not here for the soppy.
If you’d like to check out what Ash & Smoke is about, here’s the description.
Plague, deception, and spies in a steampunk setting.
Cara should be the queen of Mordoux, but instead she must pretend to be a boy named Carl.
Her father hunts her, and will kill her if he finds her.
She’s trapped with him beneath the Mantle forcefield that isolates the kingdom of Aelland. The only way to elude him is to hide as a male physician’s apprentice, keeping her telltale royal hair covered beneath medical robes.
But when the enigmatic Nathan Cutter takes over her apprenticeship, her secrets could be exposed.
Nathan knows surgery, not deception, and certainly not the feelings he starts to develop for his new apprentice. Pulled into an ever tighter web of lies, he must decide how much he is willing to give up for a person he hardly knows.
While Cara’s father tries to manipulate the puppet queen he installed in Cara’s place, a terrible plague threatens to rot Aelland from the inside.
Can Cara and the other physicians find a cure? Or is the only solution the fall of the Mantle, and surrender to the emperor who’s claimed the rest of the Seven Kingdoms?
Still not sure? Have a look at these links:
If I’ve convinced you to give the book a try, you can get your hands on the e-book here: A Study of Ash & Smoke Purchase Links.
E-book not for you? If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I got the proof copy of the softcover in the mail last week. The softcover should be available for purchase in the next month or two, I’ll keep you updated. There are plans in place for an audiobook too, so watch this space.
And that’s all I can think of now.
Thank you again to everyone involved, and thanks to those of you who have pre-ordered my book baby. If you do end up reading it, please be a dear and leave a review. I’ll be so thankful if you do.