Above are two possible covers for The Lost Star's Sea. On the left I've used my favorite Gimp art filter, “cartoon”, on the right, the plain version. I like both, but I'm leaning towards the plain version because it better matches my A Summer in Amber cover, which I really like. I am trying to keep my covers similar, to give both my books and my “brand” a distinctive look and feel. Still, there's plenty of time to paint more scenes, so nothing is definite. I actually need to finish the book to need a cover, and that's proving to be a bit of a struggle.
I had to start the last episode of The Lost Star's Sea, “The Shadow of the Dragon Kings” over two times, and only have gotten down 18,000 first draft quality words. I don't expect the rest of the episode to go any faster, since the remaining half is just sketched in at this point.
This is rather unexpected. I thought I had this episode well in hand. I was wrong. This summer I'd come up with a way to tie a lot of the loose story threads and mysteries together without getting too outrageously improbable. That delighted me. However, all that takes a great deal of explanation, which – as originally planned – came at the expense of action and suspense. I've had to rewrite the opening half three times to streamline as much of the explanations as possible. I've also had to come up ideas to end the story with far more action than I'd originally planned. I believe I have ideas that work, but they need to be fleshed out and choreographed. For the time being, I'm going to do a second draft of what I have to smooth out all cutting and pasting I did between the three versions. (And to make sure I have it all straight in my mind.) Hopefully in a week or so, I'll have enough details of the last half of the episode to embark on finishing the book. I do need to make sure it all ends up the same place as the original version, since I don't want to change the ending.
All this is for the best – a better ending and a better story. However, I'm now thinking it will take me at least to the middle of April to finish this episode, which will likely push back proof reading of episodes 2 to May. Even so, things could get done for a late summer release, but if it takes until early fall, oh well. Better a better story little later.