Update: The Darkling

The Darkling is finally ready for updating! πŸ™‚ Here are the links.

Amazon

Smashwords

And, once more, if you need help updating your e-books, here is the link to my previous blog post with information on how to do that.

More than 5,000 words cut from this revision without losing content. So, again, I highly recommend updating your version to this one if possible. You will know you have the new one if the copyright page includes the year 2021.

So, how in the world am I managing to shave 5,000 words off of two books recently? Very carefully. LoL … If I ever hope to turn these things into print copies, I need that word count as low as possible. And you can cut more words than you think and lose nothing by looking for ways to rephrase things. It adds up, and the script is tighter and better for it. It doesn’t mean every instance that could be changed was. If it sounded unnatural for dialog or had a better rhythm prose-wise to keep the extra words, I let those go. The main culprit is plain old wordiness: a “that” deleted here and there, an “I will” condensed to “I’ll,” “going down” replaced by “descending,” and stuff like “was doing” changed to “did” or “the blue color of the sky” changed to “sky’s blue color” or “blue sky.” Sometimes I removed entire sentences or descriptions that I didn’t think would be missed. Sometimes I removed or replaced words that were normalized at the time of the original draft’s writing, but are showing their age now and simply needed updating.

In fact, in light of the Dr. Seuss topic I posted on last week, this might be a good time and place to address the title and cover of The Darkling. Is it racist? Basically, no. And yes. Because various types of prejudice and discrimination (racist, religious, sexist, class, intellect, and others) were the main reason I felt compelled to write these books. And you can’t write about prejudices without looking them in the eye, confronting them, and calling them out for what they are. From beginning to end, these books confront the topic of supremacist doctrines and attitudes.

I’m not going to tackle racism in ancient mythology in this article. That would be a lengthy article in itself. All I will say is that the world was very black and white for a lot of societies in the past, and when you pull something from the past to write about it, you often dig up a lot of baggage that comes with it. It is up to the modern author using these references to decide how that fits with the story they currently want to tell. Dark and light elves have a certain mythology from which they were born in different parts of Europe (and arguably the rest of the world, too). That would be another lengthy article in itself, so suffice to say, it is what it is, and this is my derivative take on it.

As for the term darkling, yes it refers to Trizryn’s skin. As a dark elf, he starts off blue-black like a raven, but his skin gradually fades to a dark, charcoal gray because of his “condition.” But in these books, darkling means so much more. What starts in chapter one with another dark elf telling him he’s not what he thinks he is, winds through the novel to find out why. And that question is fully explained in books 4 and 5 (The Atheling and The Dragonling). Trizryn is more than a dark elf, so his whole identity gets ripped apart and flipped upside down through every book in this series. Darkling is about his loss of one dark elf identity and his journey toward another.

But this title also refers to Aija. All of the titles in this series are double-plays on themes both characters personify in each book. For Aija, this series is a classic “coming of age” story. But in the process, she experiences a gradual “darkening” of her soul as she is thrust into and is forced to survive in a dangerous environment. So, she also loses her identity, but in more of a “hardening” sense as she sheds her naivety. She initially had to lean on Trizryn for help. Now, he must lean on her. And in the end, when all is said and done, her soul will be tested, too.

But there is more still. “Darkling” is a term of endearment that Frostfang, a dragon-god, uses in reference to her dark elf followers. She is borrowing from the term “elfling,” which in my elven culture means “small one” or “child.” And she herself transforms into a dark elf when she shape-shifts from her draconian form. This idea of a “god/immortal” becoming “human/mortal” is pretty universal in world mythology; and while it may be a step down in terms of size or power, the intent is usually one of empathy (being able to understand and relate to someone who is different), rather than being demeaning. (I think we can all agree most elves are physically small compared to most dragons.)

It is also a reference to the fact that these dark elves live in darkness. They are deep elves, dark dwellers, sorcerers with hidden magic … opposed to the elves of light who have a very outward, obvious, exterior appearance, habitat, and magic.

If you want to know more, you’ll just have to read the series for yourself. πŸ™‚ But don’t let the title or graphics mislead you into oversimplifying anything. As of this writing, I have no intention of changing the title. But one thing I am considering changing is the rating. Right now I advertise the Elf Gate books as T for older teens. But maybe it should be MA for mature audiences due to some gore and themes? Those of you who have read it, what do you think? Change the rating? Dark fantasy is a combination of fantasy and horror, after all.

Onward to book 4 update: The Atheling! I’m a little behind schedule due to, well, life … but I’m 5 chapters in, so I plan on having it ready for updates, too, in a few weeks. πŸ™‚

Censorship, Cancel Culture, and Change

Image Source: Happy Color, 2021.

When I was a child, I checked out every Dr. Seuss book in the library, multiple times, and came home with them by the armfuls. So, when Dr. Seuss’s publishing estate announced recently that they were no longer publishing a few books with racist/offensive content, I felt I had to add my two cents on my own SM pages.

I think any discussion on a topic like this should begin with an understanding of a few words. Censorship is defined by words like obscene, politically unacceptable, threat to security, harmful, etc. Censorship is a big deal to me, and not just because I’m a reader and writer. I used to be an assistant librarian. And as a child and teenager, the religious schools I attended censored our reading material, music, and actively taught us to NOT read certain authors who wrote about philosophies they considered “evil.” For example, we were discouraged from reading Thoreau because he was too humanist. My point here is that censorship is not a word anyone in a democratic society should throw around lightly. Censorship is an extreme measure taken only when something promotes harmful content to the reader, or when someone else revokes reading privileges and freedom to choose reading content because they feel threatened by it.

Are these Dr. Seuss books being burned by officials? Is there a law forbidding anyone from owning them? Are people dying because it’s instructing people how to kill themselves or make bombs? No. So let’s get this right, straight from the start: Dr. Seuss books are NOT being censored or banned. If you need a reminder what censorship looks like read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

That’s my first point. My second is this: choice. These books are not being banned and censored because it is the choice of the estate in charge of publishing these books to stop publishing them because they currently promote racism … which is harmful to children of all races because it denigrates non-white races and sends the message that this is okay or funny. So, the estate of Dr. Seuss has made the choice to unpublish and not promote the content. Because the copyright owner of the books is free to do whatever he wants with them, and because it is his choice, this is not banishment or censorship or even “cancel culture.”

So, our second term, cancel culture, occurs when someone is ostracized from social circles as a means of exposing or shaming offensive, harmful content. Cancel culture — or as I like to call it “consequences of being a jackass” — is when free people in a free society choose to shut down someone who doesn’t represent inherently good ideals. It is a good business decision that displays the integrity of the ownership with respect toward their consumers when they correct mistakes, remove harmful images or words, or prohibit hate speech, sexism, racism, or anything like that to thrive using their platform or products. Therefore, business owners do this all the time. Authors do this all the time. I even do it! In revising my Elf Gate series for the publication of the 6th book, I’ve been weeding outdated words or phrases that felt cringey to me now, not because I feel pressured by anyone but because I feel it’s in my and my readers’ best interests to make those changes.

Which brings me to the third definition and concept: let’s talk about change. Change is a fact of life. It’s been said that the only constant in life that you can count on is change. Trying to live in the bedrock of nostalgia will not stop change. Change comes to all living things. Change is part of growth. In fact, if you are not growing and changing, you’re either dead or inanimate. Everything from languages to culture changes with time. Time changes all things. Just because something changes does not mean it’s a victim of cancel culture or censorship! This is just the nature of living things to evolve and change.

Change is the path that the Dr. Seuss publishing estate chose for their books in the future. They are demonstrating what it means to be good role models for inclusion, so that all children can enjoy their books. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about this damaging the “original integrity of the author.” And let me say up front, that is BS. Go back and reread my paragraph on cancel culture and change being a good business model that pretty much everyone does all the time because improving the integrity of the content improves the integrity of the ownership/author and shows respect for the consumer. I know a lot of authors who are stingy about edits because they like their final revision the way it is. But very few authors would prefer a bad public and personal reputation that results from something they could have improved but refused. That’s like saying, “No, don’t edit it at all. Correcting the mistakes would destroy the original integrity of my first draft.”

The books that bear witness to cultural racism from those copyright dates are still out there, still available to someone who really wants them. But they are better off being studied from a historical perspective by older teens or adults, rather than being used as bedtime stories for very young and impressionable children, much the way Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Huck Finn have been sidelined for mature audiences.

If you still think it’s okay for small children to internalize racist images, imagine reading an illustrated version of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess to your 5-year-old tomorrow night. “Oh, look, baby! There’s the woman being raped and the old man being murdered. But it’s just an illustration.” Iron maidens were historically significant during the Inquisition. It doesn’t mean we should continue to use them now. Archive them in a museum, so we can learn from the past without using them here and now to cause further harm. Harmful things of historical significance that caused people a lot of pain need to be remembered to avoid repeating past mistakes, but it needs to be done in a way that gives future generations better role models and tools, so they can learn to do better.

Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” These little individual changes for each of us are how social evolution takes shape. Because when society knows better, we are all held accountable for doing better. And it is time for a change.

Update: Fledgling

Updates for The Fledgling are now available!

Amazon

Smashwords

And if you need help updating your e-books, here again is the link to my previous blog post with information on how to do that.

If possible, I highly recommend downloading the update for this one. I managed to trim about 5,000 words and shifted flashbacks into regular chapter content. The result is a tighter, better reading flow. And less word count is better for print editions, which remain among my future publications goals.

Today, I am 15 chapters into similar revisions on book 3 in the Elf Gate series, The Darkling. So far, I’m still able to clip through about 5 chapters a day. It makes for some long nights, but my once my yardwork for the season begins in a few weeks (::cries::), I don’t know how my second quarter work flow will be affected. So, I’m blitzing through as much work right now as humanly possible.

What else is going on in the Bad Cat Studio?

Art and languages are taking a back seat to editing for now. But I did find a fun way to combine them while studying Korean the other night. LoL … Who knows where this may lead. My language notebooks might end up as art journals if I’m not careful, so I’m intentionally keeping the colour splashes and doodles to a quick minimum. But it did the trick getting the urge to draw and paint out of my system to focus on Korean modifiers and particles. Does this mean the next time I do art, I’ll include Korean lettering? Hm … I’ve just piqued my own interest to try something completely different for my sketchbook.

When you have to decide between art and Korean …

And my other big accomplishment of this week?

Pippy’s Bunny IS the Velveteen Rabbit.

I mended the dog’s first toy bunny … again. I think it’s just about ready to become “real” if the story of the Velveteen Rabbit is anything to go by. Pippy has three of these things because they keep getting left at other people’s homes. But this was the first one I bought for her as a puppy. She’s 4 years old now, and this rabbit looks … Well, it’s definitely seen better days. But I spared a few minutes to mend the tears and insert a new squeaker after the German shepherd found it and was grinding it between his molars. You’d think all of this happened because a cairn terrier mix’s little bunny got mistaken for a tennis ball with ears by a dog four times her size. But Pippy did most of this damage herself. Milan just slobbered it to death and reopened previous stitches.

I’d be tempted to write a children’s book about the adventures this bunny has seen, but it would probably horrify any child reading it. LoL … Actually, I did write and illustrate a children’s story about a dust bunny and a vacuum cleaner for my kids when they were little.

Fun fact: when I was a child and teenager, I wanted to write and illustrate fantasy for children and juvenile literature. In high school that shifted to sci-fi after binging on Andre Norton and Isaac Asimov for a year or so. Then in college, I drifted back to fantasy and moved toward dark fantasy. Dark fantasy is definitely my “settled” genre … for now. But authors shouldn’t be afraid to try out different genres and styles. Creators shouldn’t be afraid to create.

There is a line to be drawn with respect to what is created sometimes. But navigating it is tricky. More thoughts on that in the next blog. πŸ˜‰

Okay, back to work! These Darkling updates won’t publish themselves!

I Can Learn From This

This “kitteh” was done in the app Colorfy last night before bed when I needed a few minutes to de-stress before turning out the light. I was quite happy with it and decided to use it in my blog today, only to discover a few minutes ago that there is a space that I missed. It should be green, but instead it is still white. That’ll teach me to be more thorough with my quality checks, right? Well, yes and no.

Quality and perfection are tough to tell the difference between sometimes. To me, quality means you give 100% of yourself to something doing the best you can with what you have. If you make a mistake and catch it, you have to weigh whether it is worth the effort to correct, or whether it is too little too late and you have to accept that the work is slightly flawed. Perfection, however, means perfect — flawless. But is it humanly possible to be absolutely flawless?

I could have taken the time to fix the flaw in this design, but I chose not to. And sometimes, it’s harder to let go of perfectionism than it is to just learn from the mistake and move on. That’s not an excuse for producing poor work. It means I’ve learned to prioritize how my time is best spent: is it worth the TIME to fix a minor flaw when other more important and bigger tasks await? Sometimes, no.

Instead of worrying about fixing this little white patch, I spent an hour redesigning the home page of this blog. My design wasn’t great, so I didn’t publish it. It didn’t meet my own quality standards. Since I’m not an expert in web design or coding, I have to accept that these will also take time to learn … but that time is not now. Right now, it is more important that I spend my time “perfecting” my books.

But what of that? Is it worth the time and energy to create yet another revision of books that are already several years old? Yes. Because the books are a series — a collection. They are “one” unit of work. So, the quality of each book must constantly be checked against what precedes and follows it. No, I cannot obtain perfection. I am one human, and I alone am responsible for my content. It would be a waste of precious time to attempt to make each book perfect. But I can do the best I can with what resources and skills I have. And that is really all I can do because I don’t have all the time, money, and skill in the world to do more than I’m already doing. Not an excuse. Just a reality check and fact.

Even with my language studies, I’ve learned that the key to succeeding in a new language is to be okay with the fact that I’m going to be terrible at it … until I’m not. No matter how advanced I get, I may always have an accent, often get the grammar wrong, and sometimes confuse vocabulary. But even as a beginner, all I can ever do is use what knowledge I have to do the best that I can. Language learning is a lifelong marathon. And people who are the most proficient with multiple languages know they can’t wait on perfection to use what they’ve learned.

This is a message we need to remind ourselves often. Do the best you can with what you have. You will not produce perfection. You are human. Certain aspects of life are highly subjective anyway, so you could be near perfect in something and someone still won’t like it. But whatever you do, you can produce quality. And you can learn from flaws because it takes courage to own mistakes whether or not you have the time and skill to correct them.

It takes courage to create and show the world what you’ve created, whether it’s a painting, a book, shaping your thoughts in a different tongue, or the life that you’ve created for yourself. It takes courage to be okay with failure and rejection, and find value in that because you know you can learn from it.

Changeling Updates Available

Remember this book from forever ago? (Okay, 2012 was its publishing date, to be exact.) The first book in the series. The book that started it all. It has been through a lot of version updates with each of the 5 books that followed. So, the revision following the publication of Teufling is done and available now.

Smashwords Link

Amazon Link

I have never had problems updating my e-books. But considering the issues that some readers had with updating Teufling’s urgent reformatting and re-release, I can’t promise it will be easier to get Changeling updated. The technical issues with updates lie in the hands of the publishers. But I do have a couple of blog posts that may help.

Amazon Updating

Smashwords Updating

I want my readers to have the best versions of the book, if possible. If you’ve already purchased a copy, there’s no reason why the publishers shouldn’t update them. So if there is anything I can assist with, please leave me a comment or contact me directly.

What has changed? New end matter, updated front matter, new formatting, minor error corrections previously missed, and as many word cuts as I could slice and dice without losing substance.

The Fledgling, book 2 in the series, is currently under the surgical knife, and I’m 15 chapters down. The good thing about updating these older books is that they’ve been through enough updates already that editing them goes pretty quickly once I’m into my work flow. If I can clip about 5 chapters per workday, it only takes a few weeks to finish each one.

And it finally snowed a snow worthy of being called wintery! πŸ˜€ So, looking out my window on work breaks and seeing everything deep in sparkly white powder makes everything seem right with the world … for now at least. I wrote these books with heavy emphasis on the winter season because I love snowy winters, and winters don’t seem wintery without it. (I think I’m part polar bear.) πŸ˜‰

By the way, any abrupt color changes on my blog these days are WordPress’s idea, not mine. (Or maybe it’s their gremlins or changelings. Hmm …) I can’t keep up with their interface changes! >.< Updating the blog’s design is still in the to-do list, but the book revisions come first. Until then, hopefully a few tweaks will keep everything readable.

Hope everyone had a Happy Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day, and I’ll check back in again soon! ❀

Smashwords Update … And Follow-Up

The Tuefling by Melody Daggerhart, copyright 2020.

The wait is finally over for those who purchased The Teufling from Smashwords. It has been approved for the premium catalog, so now I can give you a link and updating instructions. You should be able to download the latest edition for FREE.

Q: Where and how?

  • For Smashwords:
    Generally, you should be given a list of previously published versions. Pick the most recent one. But I did find this advice for people who purchased MOBI file books.
    “Before you try to download a newer version of a MOBI file to your Kindle or Kindle for XX (XX= PC, Mac, Android, etc) app, delete the old MOBI file from your app or device, then try again. 
    I tried to download a MOBI book to my Kindle with the instructions above, but it’s not showing.
    First, make sure you’re placing the file into the Kindle’s “Documents” folder.  In some situations, if you power down the Kindle and restart it, the file transfer will work.”
  • Smashwords link to The Teufling.
  • At the risk of sounding redundant, I’m going to repeat the information from the Amazon update, too. If you need more comprehensive instructions, there is this advice from How-To Geek, and The Book Designer offers some in this article. And I also recently published my own walkthrough for how to update Amazon e-books, here.

Q: How do I know I have the latest version installed?

I checked samples at both Smashwords and Amazon, and the updated versions of The Teufling have a copyright date of 2021 in the front. I’ve also put the link to this blog on a separate page at the back. (It was previously included on the “About the Author” page.)

Q: What’s different in the new version?

The reason I had to revise The Teufling so soon after its release was mainly because of a formatting glitch that removed spaces before and after italicized words. Since I use italics to mark telepathic dialog, as well as marking word emphasis, this is a huge distraction from readability. I considered it an urgent fix. I had to manually revise, word for word, checking for those squished spaces. So, while I was at it, I corrected other missed errors and cut some of the word count. And then I had to reformat the entire thing all over again for both Smashwords and Amazon distribution.

Q: Will the other books in the series be updated?

Yes. But it is a big task to update 5 books, so I can’t say when each version of each book will be done. All I can say is I will do my best to get them all done as soon as possible.

I usually update each previous book with the publication of the last. So, each book will have The Teufling added to the series in formation at the back. The Dragonling will have the preview of The Teufling’s first chapter included. And, as always, I will scan once more for minor errors that were missed and need correcting, as well as seeing if I can trim word count again. Each update will also have to be reformatted from scratch according to the updates done in Teufling.

These updates are top priority for me right now. I will do them in chronological order, after this. So, The Changeling is next. I will announce here when that update is ready.

I’m a reader, too, so I know what it’s like to be frustrated when the formatting or other technical errors obstruct being able to read something recently purchased. I’m going through that right now with a few e-books that won’t transfer to my Kindle since their recent interface “simplification.” So if you have any questions about Teufling updates that were not answered here, please leave them in the comments below. I will try to help.

Thanks so much for your support! ❀

Amazon E-Book Updates Step-by-Step

Here is a step-by-step walkthrough on how to make sure you have/receive any updated versions of e-books purchased through Amazon. There is no cost to the consumer; updates of previously purchased books are free. But Amazon will not offer the updates unless the consumer has set up their device to receive automatic updates, or unless the consumer contacts customer support and asks that the update be “pushed” to their device. (I’ll say more about that in a minute.)

  1. In your Amazon account, go to the ACCOUNT PAGE.
  2. Click on YOUR DEVICES AND CONTENT.

3. On the devices and contents page, click on CHANGE YOUR DIGITAL AND DEVICE SETTINGS. (Alternately, you could also click on MANAGE DEVICES or MANAGE DIGITAL CONTENT pages. They all take you to the same “folder.”)

4. At the top of this folder, you will see tabs for content, devices, preferences, and privacy. Take note of the content tab (#2) because you’ll be needing it soon. For now, click PREFERENCES (#1).

5. Scroll down the preferences page until you see AUTOMATIC BOOK UPDATES. Read the information about synchronization to avoid losing place last read, notes, or highlights you’ve made in the old version. Then make sure this setting is turned ON. This is what enables automatic updates.

Now, go back to the blue-labeled CONTENTS tab. (#2)

6. On the contents page, you will find all of the digital content you have downloaded or purchased. I have starred one book as an example, but you can see another is checked for an update. I spent a few minutes going down my list and updating all of my books that had available updates. Authors commonly update e-books to add back matter when new books are written, to refresh or remove dead links, or to tidy up any errors that were missed in the initial publication. Click on the UPDATE AVAILABLE links for any books that you wish to update.

7. You will get a warning as a final reminder to check your synchronization if you wish to retain your last reading page, notes, and whatever. When you are ready, click UPDATE.

And that’s it. It’s more complicated than it should be, in my opinion, but I understand that they’re doing this to protect readers’ personal data from being accidentally deleted since the new version will replace the old.

A few additional notes …

  • It can take up to 72 hours for new updates to replace the old version in the Kindle store. So, try waiting for that amount of time, then try to update.
  • If this does not update your book, contact Amazon’s customer support and ask them to “push” the new version to your device. Please include the title, author’s name, and any relevant numbers for that version or edition.
  • I’ve heard that even if you delete the old book and repurchase it, Amazon will continue to give you the version you initially purchased unless you change these settings or ask support for the “push” update.
  • New versions of e-books are usually given new copyright dates or are labeled as 1.1 (etc.). New editions usually apply only to changes that significantly change the book’s content (like new chapters) and apply more to print than digital reading material.

I hope this helps, as there seems to be a lot of confusion and frustration out there from authors and readers alike as to exactly HOW this is done. This will eventually change, as technology does. But for now (Feb. 2, 2021), this is how I update my books in Amazon. If you have any questions or comments about updating Amazon e-books, please leave them below, and I will help if I can. ❀

I am still waiting on feedback from Smashwords, so I will share that information when I hear back from them. So, hopefully, you will hear from me again soon. Meanwhile … revisions on The Changeling are underway.

Amazon Update and Waiting …

(Image Source: Unsplash, Jeremy Yap)

If you’re one of my readers waiting for news about the corrected versions of The Teufling, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t posted it yet. I was confident last week that I could be done by Friday. Well, I finished Tuesday, but had to wait for approval from both Amazon and Smashwords. Meanwhile, I typed up the blog post that would offer instructions and links. And then I waited.

Amazon approved of my corrections within hours. Smashwords did, too. But to get in the premium catalog, approval takes 3 days or so. I didn’t want to give someone a link, only to find out something went wrong and have to revoke the link for another later on. So, I waited.

I finally got a message regarding my premium catalog submission on Friday. The script didn’t pass because something was messed up about the table of contents; the links wouldn’t work. It worked in the first version. It was perfectly fine in the first version. But for some reason this one wouldn’t show anything past “Series Information” at the end. For hours, I tried to find out what the problem was and failed. So, I ended up creating one workable link for “Series and Author Information” combined and submitted it again. And I waited.

It’s now lunchtime Monday, and I’m still waiting. So, while Smashwords takes its time getting back to me about premium approval or rejection, I’m going to cut my “update” post in half and offer help to those who bought The Teufling from Amazon.

If you have previously purchased this book via Amazon, you should be able to download the latest edition for FREE.

Q: Where and how?

  • For Amazon (Instructions copied from their website):
    “Receive the most updated version available for your Kindle books including corrections and improvements.
    1. Go to Manage Your Content and Devices.
    2. Search for your Kindle book.
    3. If available, select Update Available, then select Update.
    Tip: To receive automatic book updates as they become available from the publisher or author, enable Automatic Book Update on the Preferences tab in Manage Your Content and Devices.”
  • If you have not purchased this book and would like to, here is the Amazon link to The Teufling.
  • (Edit: Feb. 2, 2021) I have created my own Amazon update walkthrough in a newer blog post here. It has screenshots to show step-by-step how to find and update purchased books.

Q: How do I know I have the latest version installed?

The updated versions of The Teufling have a copyright date of 2021 in the front, and I’ve put the link to this blog on a separate page at the back. (It was previously included on the “About the Author” page.)

Q: What’s different in the new version?

The reason I had to revise The Teufling so soon after its release was mainly because of a formatting glitch that removed spaces before and after italicized words. Since I use italics to mark telepathic dialog, as well as marking word emphasis, this is a huge distraction from readability. I considered it an urgent fix. I had to manually revise, word for word, checking for those squished spaces. So, while I was at it, I corrected other missed errors and cut some of the word count. And then I had to reformat the entire thing all over again for both Smashwords and Amazon distribution.

Q: Will the other books in the series be updated?

Yes. But it is a big task to update 5 books, so I can’t say when each version of each book will be done. All I can say is I will do my best to get them all done as soon as possible.

I usually update each previous book with the publication of the last. So, each book will have The Teufling added to the series in formation at the back. The Dragonling will have the preview of The Teufling’s first chapter included. And, as always, I will scan once more for minor errors that were missed and need correcting, as well as seeing if I can trim word count again. Each update will also have to be reformatted from scratch according to the updates done in Teufling.

These updates are top priority for me right now. I will do them in chronological order, after this. So, The Changeling is next. I will announce here when that update is ready.

As soon as Smashwords gets back to me about premium catalog approval, I will post that information. Until then, grab a cuppa coffee or tea. Make yourself cozy. Listen to some mellow music. … We are both still waiting.

If you have any questions about the updates that were not answered here, please leave them in the comments below. I will try to help.

Thanks so much for your support! ❀

I’m Still Here

Tsuki likes to sleep under blankets. But having no blanket, he decided the old towel I use to dry the dog would do. (Image Source: Mj Daggerhart 2021)

A spontaneous update to say I’m still here. I did take down the corrupted business page on Facebook last night. But there is a 14-day waiting period before it is permanently deleted. So, I’ve marked the date. I will check it again after that. And then I will delete the nameless “account” it is attached to so that I can transfer contact information to a new account. If for some reason they won’t let me do that, honestly, I’m okay with losing the Facebook business page. I have Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts. And paring down my social media might actually help my time management overload. But, it’s too early to make that call right now. First, let’s see if they let me recycle the contact information.

So, how is progress on the revision of Teufling going? Glad you asked. When I finish this blog post, I get to start chapter 43. So, I should finish chapter revisions today, and I can probably tick the to-do-list box for end matter tonight. Allowing a couple of days for final formatting steps for Amazon and Smashwords, I should be able to upload the fixed version of Teufling by the end of next week or sooner. I will offer instructions and links on this blog at that time. No more italics randomly squished between normal text without spaces!

Ahhh … art! (Image source: Mj Daggerhart 2021)

To maintain my focus while attempting to revise 5 chapters a day, I’ve been trying to set aside time for art again. Art is extremely important for my mental health, and I felt better immediately after my 30 minutes back at it this week. The above picture is my “ritual” for preserving art found on mundane objects I have to let go of for some reason. These pajama bottoms have lasted me through many winters and are getting thin in patches, so I finally made the decision to let them go. But not before capturing their spirit of whimsy in my sketchbook with gouache.

Is toil leam GΓ idhlig. (Image source: Mj Daggerhart 2021)

The other thing that I’m doing to stay focused on revisions, believe it or not, is language studies. I’m actively studying 12 languages, so I had to change how I schedule that into my day. But this was a fun find last night. A long time ago in a bookstore far, far away, I got this hare-brained idea to study Scottish Gaelic. Why? I dunno. My heritage is Scottish. My first childhood friends that I remember anything about were Scottish. They brought me lots of Scottish things, and I grew up attached to the place, though I’ve never been there. Gaelic is of absolutely no use to me across the Pond, here in America. But … on a whim, back in 1992, I bought a self-study book and dictionary … just for fun. These books have literally never seen the light of day beyond browsing until last night.

I’ve been using Duolingo to study all my heritage languages and more, so after doing Scottish Gaelic last night, I remembered these books. And in the self-study introduction, the author explains that he dropped most of the accents and apostrophes in words like “cha’n” because “chan” is becoming more and more accepted as the modern format.

I laughed. That meant nothing to me in 1992, because I knew nothing. But now, I know what “chan” means, and that is exactly how Duolingo presents it — no apostrophe. Chan eil sin dona. πŸ˜‰ (That’s not bad.) It only took me forever to get here, but I’m finally learning Scottish Gaelic. And I’m finally making use of these books that begged me to buy them for some weird reason all those years ago. Destiny? Hm … I’ll reserve that answer for if/when I ever go to Scotland.