American Faust, Season I Finale
June 20, 2021
It’s been three weeks since Inkshares was to have announced a new title to be placed in production, and there has been no final word. One author, a top contender under consideration, mysteriously dropped out of the contest without explanation; another shared with their readers that their project had not been chosen, that they were thankful for everyone’s support, and would forge on. And I wait to hear the fate of American Faust.
It’s not that I haven’t inquired; since June 1st I’ve written every week, and every week they kindly reply with encouraging words that there is good reason for the delay, that I will hear from them soon. Cleverly they’ve never given me a hint one way or the other what they will say. Instead like a great novel with chapter-ending cliffhangers, they compel me to hang for another week, at which time either the reveal of the story will be uncovered, or I will be faced with yet another week ending cliff hanger…
A few days ago, Inkshares wrote back, not once, but twice. They thanked me for my patience, that the editorial board was still wrestling with what title(s) to choose, and that by the end of next week they will tell me yes or no. I hope they keep to that script. I’ve 89 readers waiting with me to hear and share in my success. I owe it to them all to give by then either fabulously wonderful news, or a refund.
All this is rather beside the point.
The climax of the story is about to come to an end for Inkshares too; they have one last chance to share in the market success of American Faust. Should they pass, the manuscript will immediately be sent off to the printers, galleys produced and corrected, and advance copies distributed to influencers such as GoodReads and Kirkus Review. The cool book cover designed by my daughter will be finalized and a release date to the public set for this fall. And what better date to choose for a story about making a deal with the devil, master of disguises, than October 31st. American Faust will be released for all of my readers and the public on Halloween!
Stay tuned for the final, final episode next week…
Howdy! It’s with great pleasure and excitement that I reveal, at long last, the real cover for Bane of All Things!
But wait, there’s more!
As I have noted before, Bane of All Things is meant to be the first of four books. I have finally landed on a title for the series – A Silence of Worlds. (I will dig into the meaning behind that in a future update.)
Now, about this cover
It’s been a long time coming, this cover reveal – decades, even. I’ve had plenty of ideas over the years of what could be the cover for this story, drifting between a particular tense action scene, or some dramatic posing of my main characters.
When cover designer Tim Barber of Dissect Designs asked me about it a few months back, I sent him a pile of ideas and descriptions. He wanted to avoid the overused fantasy cover concepts that crowd the shelf. But still, it had to be true to the story.
Tim further brainstormed with Inkshares CEO Adam Gomolin and Deputy Publicity Manager Noah Broyles, who will be driving the book’s launch and who has, of course, read it.
“I was basically grilling Noah about what he would see if he was holding the book in his hands,” Tim told me. “He described rocks at the edge of water, a fortress/castle at the edge. Cold, but not snow. An unforgiving place. To me, this is how I pictured what he described. When I showed it to him his reaction was, ‘Yes, that’s it, that’s what I saw.’”
That scene is found in Chapter Three, where our two main characters, Ryn and Josalind, arrive at their destination – Dragon’s Claw Abbey. I asked Noah why he considered this particular image so powerful.
It’s all about atmosphere
“The arrival at Dragon’s Claw Abbey was potent for me in terms of both the striking imagery and what it meant for the characters,” Noah said. “I imagine the reality of being a convict is no more vivid than when you first come in sight of your prison. This place is not only the end of the world as far as civilization is concerned, but also the end of the world for Ryn and Josalind. Or so they think.”
It’s a foggy morning in that scene, not a stormy night, but Tim’s fantastic design captures the scope and atmosphere of the story as a whole. There is a storm coming. What Ryn and Josalind don’t yet realize when they first set eyes on Dragon’s Claw is that it’s already begun.
The awesome Avalon Radys, Inkshares’ Director of Editorial and Publishing Operations, will start sending out ARCs – Advance Reader Copies. These go to reviewers and established authors to build advance buzz and net (hopefully) favourable reviews for Goodreads, Amazon and so on before Release Day. We also want to bag a strong quote from a known name in the fantasy genre to add to the cover.
I can’t wait until November when the final product will be in your hands!
(P.S.: Noah has a novel of his own coming out in September, The House of Dust, a southern gothic horror described by one reviewer as being “full of nightmarish imagery wrapped in elegant prose.”)
Well, the 2020 All Genre Manuscript Contest has officially come to a full close and, unfortunately, Beyond the Masquerade wasn’t chosen. Because of this and the fact that the campaign is nowhere near the pre-order goal, I have decided to end the campaign and reevaluate how I am going to move forward.
Thank you all for your support. It didn’t turn out the way I would have liked but, I believe it was still worth it. I’m still going to keep the book page up through Inkshares to get information and my work out to you all so follow if you want to stay in touch.
Thanks again for all the support and good will.
Kelsey Rae Barthel
Dear Henderson House Supporters,
We hit 100 preorders today! Thank you so much for your support, everyone! To keep the momentum going, I’m going to try to think of some fun ways to promote the book. Would you all be interested in a reading, like I did for my first novel? Should I tease some details about the world, the characters, or the magic system in the book? Let me know if you have any ideas!
June 16 is Bloomsday, the day Leopold Bloom, the hero of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, roams the city of Dublin from dawn until dusk (it’s also the day Joyce married his sweetheart Nora). Many dedicated fans of the novel celebrate it with a bar crawl through the pubs in their cities.
June 1 is Inkshares-day, the day they will decide my book’s fate, the day I hope to celebrate with a toast (if American Faust is not chosen, I will venture forth on my own bar crawl through newly opened bars in New York City!).
If accepted, a release date to the public would eventually be announced, and those of you who generously preordered would at long last have your copy!
Not long ago I shared with an editor my fears about publishing American Faust. It takes place on an estate in the Connecticut countryside once owned by a founding brother of the Revlon fortune, placing it in a world where time stands still.
(side note: the estate was owned by Martin Revson, whose brother Charlie named a perfume after himself. But it is his son Peter Revson, one of few Americans to win a world champion grand prix, who plays a prominent role in American Faust’s story line).
The novel is an ambitious work which mixes historical fact with fantasy. I asked how he thought it might be received by readers and reviewers alike. He shared with me his opinion based on his reading of it:
As to the blending of fantasy and reality:
“In terms of a sense of reality to the Revson estate: you have it in spades. I spent hours Googling all sorts of things after reading the manuscript. In that sense, your allusions (both literary and historical) were fantastically original and worked well. By that, I also mean there’s a blend or a hybridity to the text: what is fact? What is fiction? It’s actually quite clever and, as I read it, I felt it was remarkably done. In answer to your original question: I think you pass the test and your allusions work.
As to being accepted by reviewers:
“I really wouldn’t worry about reviewers. Writers have had an unhappy relationship with reviewers as long as writing has been considered an art form. You’ll perhaps realize that I’m involved in numerous writing projects. Just the other day I had an email from a prominent reader of a book I had helped publish saying they didn’t think it hit the mark. The email made me feel uneasy, but I went back and re-read the book that evening and was only convinced further that the writing was wonderful and the emailer utterly wrong in their assumptions. Anyway, you should have confidence in what you have written. That’s the short of it!”