If you've seen my Twitter feed or Facebook posts in the last week, you'll know Warrior Pledge has been contracted with Dreamspinner Press.
I'm really excited about this release. There are so many elements in this story that are unusual. It has cat shifters - but different to what you usually see in stories. It has dragons - but they're different to the usual dragons. There are characters that have skills that you don't usually see, and not at all in a human being (that I know of). And I've never read a story that has birds like mine. The danger from these carnivorous hunters originated in a story I was told years ago about a young man who had Tetanus.
It took a lot of work to make all the disparate elements work together. I had to chop a few of them out completely to make the story flow as it should. For example, Warrior Pledge was originally written as a sequel to The Planet Whisperer, but it didn't work. So when I rewrote it the last time, I removed anything that could obviously connect it to that story. Sometimes, when you want a story to work, you have to remove something you love about it. Hopefully I'll be able to use those parts somehow in the third book of the series that begins with The Planet Whisperer.
When I was writing Warrior Pledge (the first time), I got to chapter four and realised I needed something to show me where everyone was and where they were heading. I needed to know the lay of the land. So I drew a map. I don't know how good my cartographic skills are, and I have no idea of scale, but it looks pretty.
The original drawing now has notes all over it and the names of some of the places have changed, so I needed to draw another one. That led to me experimenting with water colour painting. My first attempt was an abysmal failure. There wasn't much map-like about it by the time I'd finished. It didn't even fall into the category of 'possibly artistic'. My second attempt was much better.
I tried scanning the good one but the colours are all wrong and when I converted it from pdf (the default result of the scanner) to jpg, I lost half the writing - randomly. Bizarre.
This weekend I'm going to try photographing it to see if I can get a better quality product.