Sparks' Notes: Weekly Writing Reflections by Author Lindsey Sparks

Episode 31: Revisions, Illustrators, and Tarot Cards, Oh My! (includes chapter 4 of Song of Scarabs and Fallen Stars)

March 08, 2022 Lindsey Sparks, Lindsey Fairleigh Season 1 Episode 31
Sparks' Notes: Weekly Writing Reflections by Author Lindsey Sparks
Episode 31: Revisions, Illustrators, and Tarot Cards, Oh My! (includes chapter 4 of Song of Scarabs and Fallen Stars)
Show Notes Transcript

Hi there! I'm Lindsey Sparks, author of books featuring hidden worlds and twisted myths. Welcome to my weekly author's notes podcast! This episode was recorded on Tuesday, 3/8/2022, and I would love to share some of my reflections from this past week with you.

NOTE: I read chapter 4 of Song of Scarabs and Fallen Stars at the end of the episode. I read chapters 1, 2, and 3 in the previous three episodes (ep28, ep29, and ep30).

CURRENT FREEBIES:
Echo in Time (free ebook through all retailers)
Starter Library for newsletter subscribers (ebooks and audiobooks of my series starters, and more!)

CURRENT WIP:
With ARC readers: Song of Scarabs and Fallen Stars (Fateless Trilogy, book 1)
- SoSaFS preview on my website: https://www.authorlindseysparks.com/preview1
Revising: Blood of the Broken (Atlantis Legacy, book 5)

READING:
Echo in Time by me (for Read By The Author)
The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout (audiobook)

WATCHING:
Billions

HIGH:
Signed contracts with both illustrators!
- Alice Maria Power (secret hardcover cover): https://alicemariapower.com/
- Elyssa Long (Kat's Tarot deck): https://www.printisdead.co.uk/

LOW:
Hair blahs
Heel tendonitis

LAST WEEK'S OBSESSION:
- Blood of the Broken playlist (on Spotify): https://open.spotify.com/playlist/42C7cPBuJIWOZTdvURbOK7?si=d6e5506cb9f5445f
- Atlantis Legacy re-cover research

GOAL(s):
- Get at least seven chapters revised (one a day)
- Finalize my re-cover brief

LOOKING FORWARD TO:
Revising Blood of the Broken

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/lovelyreaders

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Hi there. I'm Lindsey Sparks, author of books that include hidden worlds and twisted myths. Welcome to my weekly authors notes podcast. Today is Tuesday March 8th. And, um, I totally spaced out on recording yesterday. Um, kind of funny because my, my husband was like, oh, do you need me to watch? He was home randomly? And he was like, do you need me to watch child? So you can record anything. And I was like, no, no, I'm good. I don't need to record anything. Um, and didn't even realize it was Monday and it was. Sparks notes day. So my brain, um, anyway, I would love to share some of my reflections from this past week with you as well as chapter four of Song of Scarabs and Fallen Stars at the end. Here we go. Um, first off echo and time is still free through all ebook retailers and all of my series starters and the eBooks of those. So Echo in Time, Ink Witch and Legacy of the Lost, um, the audio books of those ones are available to my newsletter subscribers. And the link to subscribe is in the show notes. If you want to do that to get some free books and audio books, um, my current work in progress is, um, so I still have the two books that have yet to be released, which are song was Gibbs and Paul and stars, which is still with, or which is with advanced readers. And I guess I'll be saying that until it comes out on the 29th. Um, and then I am now officially revising. So going from skeleton draft to flush draft, Which I just came up with that. I thought I was so clever. I just came up with that the other day. Um, skeleton draft I've been using forever, but, um, yeah, flush draft. So that's like when I put the meat on the bones. Um, so that's what I'm doing right now. I just did chapter one yesterday. Um, and I'm excited to. Get going through this book. Um, it gets really fun around, I don't know, one third of the way in it gets like really exciting. Um, it's pretty, it's a pretty fun one. I mean, we're in the, like the end point. This is the, I don't know. I don't really tend to outline my series, like the full series, um, ahead of time. But somehow it still ends up this way where it's kind of like the dark night of the soul moment is in book five. Um, Where it's just like the bottom lowest, low point. So we do get that in this book. Um, but then there's like the dig deep, um, and the coreq and kind of like pull through. Um, and then that opens us up to. The greater solution for the entire series arc, um, which would be coming in book six. Um, so that that's not revealed in this book. Um, but we do get this like really exciting, desperate, um, kind of theme going throughout this one, which I am just fully in love with. Um, so I'm really excited to get back into this book and just flush out all of the, all of the, kind of like story plot points that I put in there. Um, And I'll talk about this when I talk about my obsession, but, um, the man that playlist is just really speaking to me right now. And I think I'm gonna have to just pause maybe this afternoon, um, to just listen through all the songs and get them ordered to the way that I want them and annotate them in my, um, outlining spreadsheet. Pair them up with the scenes that I see them with, because now it's like every time whenever I've been listening to that playlist a lot. Um, well, cause I'm in the, again, which I'll talk about in a second, but I'm at the point with this book where it's really difficult for me to read something written by somebody else. Um, so I'm not listening to an audio book right now. Um, it did start one, but, um, I don't think I'm going to be able to continue it in time done with this. Um, draft. So, yeah. Anyway, I feel like I lost my train of thought, but that's pretty normal for me. I, so I'm revising, um, blood of the broken Atlanta's legacy book five and, um, yeah, I'm feeling really great about this one, but I, I always say that I'm at the point in this book where I'm feeling really grateful. I guess I should say that because it's definitely, there's like a cycle here. Um, okay. I am reading. I mean like raining probably won't actually resume reading this for at least another month. Um, the crown of Gildan bones by Jennifer L Armand trout. So I did finally finish, um, kingdom of flesh and fire, which was book two in the, um, blood Nash series. Um, so yeah, I just, I don't have the Headspace for the. For reading right now. Um, but that's okay. That's okay. If I wanted to, I suppose I could listen to, 'em a discovery of witches, cause that is the book club book for my reader group this month. So, um, and I've, I've listened to, or over. A lot, many, many, many times. Um, so that one, I don't think it would be so invasive. Um, but I'm just really loving this, um, playlist so much right now. Um, and it really helps me to visualize these scenes in extreme detail. Um, so I feel like I'm just going to stick with that for the moment. Um, we are watching billions still, um, season five, although I'm sure gonna, I'm going to tell. Because I believe the new season of masked singer begins on Wednesday and I am just like such a sucker for that silly show. Um, so I'm sure I'll be adding that in next time. Um, but yeah, so we're on season five of billions, which is, I believe the second to last season. Um, I think they're currently in season six right now. So I'm curious to see where this goes, because I feel like I'm, I'm sensing that a character will be leaving. Um, and I'm curious to see if I'm right about that. Um, Okay. So my high, I had a few or just one, but it was multifaceted. Hi this week. Um, I totally forgot. I wanted to switch around low and high so that I got the low out of the way first, but maybe. So my high, this week, I signed contracts with two different illustrators, the same illustrators I've been talking to, but I can finally announce these because I have contracts and they're working on the projects now. So, um, the first one is for the, um, and I don't think I have announced the second one. To this audience, I've only announced it, I think, in a Facebook live, um, to my reader group. So, sorry, my voice is a little crackly cause it's morning. Cause I forgot to record yesterday. Um, you can see my beautiful morning hair and then like pajama Yunus. Um, if you're watching the video. Um, anyway so the illustrators, so the first one is doing the secret, um, secret hardcover cover. So that's. Um, case laminate cover that is on the book itself underneath the dust jacket for the hardcover, um, that we're doing for the series and that I'm planning, I think on doing from now on for all of my books. Sorry. Um, and that is Alice Maria power. She's done, um, illustrations for all the. Book boxes, books, box, Illuma crates, all that stuff. Um, and she's done some stuff for publishers and, and she is just really great. Um, I linked to her website in the show notes, so you can check out her work. I'm really excited. Um, she's supposed to come back with a sketch pretty soon. Um, and then we can move forward into the rest of the process for her. Um, but I think it's going to be stunning. I'm sure. Um, I'm really excited about the scene, um, that we're using for inspiration. It's a. It's a very dark scene, but it's also a very sensual scene, um, without giving too much away. Um, and it's going to be very like blacks and golds and, um, yeah, I'm just very, very excited and it's got, it's supposed to have, um, the set and Tom and I just think it's going to be just a delicious, delicious illustration. Yay. And then, um, The second project, which I am so excited to announce. Um, I just, this is so exciting. I have been wanting to do this for. Pretty much since I started writing the cat walk Chronicles. Um, and I knew, I, I knew this was my number one priority for the 10th anniversary of ink, which so, um, I'm pretty sure that on the 10th anniversary of the first book of each series, I'm just gonna do the whole series release, a whole series and special edition hardcovers. So, I knew that I wanted to do for the 10th anniversary of ink, which I wanted to do cats deck of tarot cards. And lots of people have asked for this as well. Um, and I was like, I was trying to figure out how to do this, um, without spending just like an extreme crap, ton of money. Um, but that seems impossible. So I'm just going to do it with spending an extreme crap ton of money. So I have hired, um, someone who I think is. Perfect for cats style. Um, and I am, she is reading the books right now. Um, and I've gone through all of the books and song of scarves and fallen stars because cat does do a few readings in that one. Um, and I pulled out all of the detailed descriptions that are made for any cards that she mentioned specifically. Um, so we're definitely going to stick true to. The series and the descriptions and the themes and everything. It's, it's going to be 100% cat stack, like fully as if we just pulled it out of like the book itself. So I am so excited for this. We're going to be releasing cards or illustrations, um, like in batches and. Well, okay, let me start that over. We're going to be, um, revealing cards basically as the, so the illustrator is Elisa long, um, of print is dead. And again, that's her company. Um, her website is in the show notes, definitely check out her work. It's gorgeous. It's very like Gothic, um, a little bit morbid and just like stunning. So vibrant. It's just really beautiful, beautiful, beautiful stuff. And so very Kat. Um, but, um, yeah, so we're going to be, she's agreed that it's totally fine to share the in progress work. So I'll be able to like update you guys on the progress as we're working through all 78 cards, we're doing both the major and the minor Arcana, so, or Arcana. Honestly, this is one of those words that I don't ever really say out loud. Arcana. I want to say it's our Canon, I don't know. Anyway. Our condo sounds more like mystical. So who knows? Um, yeah, so, I wouldn't expect to see anything for at least a month while she kind of gets her. Um, creative well filled with everything from this series. Um, but then after that, um, I would, um, look forward to kind of, a steady stream of in progress and finished products, um, of these illustrations. I think it's just going to be stunning and I'm so excited to dive into this. Um, yeah, so, yay. Um, okay. So my lows, um, are like totally silly and very personal and have nothing to do with my. My work. Um, so I've been feeling really, blah, how about my hair has just like a boring brown color. And so I was like, oh, I'm I keep seeing all of these people who have really cool, pretty, um, Rosie purple-ish, um, hair colors on Tik TOK, of course. Um, and the, a bunch of people were mentioning overtone and I was like, okay, I'm going to try this. So I got the like rose gold overtone, um, and it did nothing to my hair. And so then I was like, okay, well, I guess I kind of have brownish hair. It's like, I'm a little, very light brown. Um, and so then I got the rose gold for brown hair and. It did nothing. So I was like, okay, do I keep diving into this overtone hole? Should I like just keep going for darker and darker colors? I don't know. Who knows. I might be trying to purple. Purple or purple for brown hair row. We'll see. Um, I haven't decided yet anyway, and then my other very personal low again, that has not much to do with my books, I guess maybe a little bit. Um, and like my heel is really bugging me. I keep trying to like be healthier for my physical wellbeing, which is in the reason it may be related to my books is that my physical wellbeing can be really helpful for my mental wellbeing. And also walking, um, is what are the best ways for me to like, think through story, basically think through story. So like to really like visualize scenes and by having any kind of like plot issues to like work through those, my other two. My other two methods being, taking a shower and driving my car. So, um, my heel tendinitis issue is I've taken like two walks in the last few weeks and both times the next day, my heel is extremely sore. So, um, thankfully I have a doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks, so I'll mention it to her. Um, and like, Like I said personal things, but they're just kind of bummers um, it's I think when you, this, when you have a, like a job, like this being an author, it's really hard to, um, I think with any job it's really hard to like separate the personal from the professional, but especially with this kind of thing where they're so intertwined. Yeah. So I don't know. I just thought I'd share a little TMI there. Um, okay. So last week's obsession was definitely the, um, I have two here, so, um, the blood of the broken playlist, as I said, I am still totally completely obsessed with it even more so probably than before. And I am fully at the point where I am, when I hear the songs, I am seeing the scenes and I need to start recording, which. In my spreadsheet, which songs go with which scenes. Um, so then I can get them in order in the playlist, which is really helpful for me. Um, and then the other thing I was really obsessed with this week was working on researching, um, For a recovering of the Atlantis legacy books and I'm planning once the sixth book is out next year. Um, so I'm definitely going to give chance, give people a chance to get the matching paperbacks, um, for the books that they already have. Um, cause that would drive me crazy to not be able to do that. But, um, I dunno, maybe like a month ish after the first or after the six book. Releases. Um, I'm probably about then I'm going to just do a big old recover. I mean, I will already have had the covers made, but I'll just update them with the new cover. So, right now I am in the research phase and I need to send the brief to, um, the designer. Who's going to be working on these. I think I need to send them. Next week. Um, so anyway, I'm just midway through that brief. Um, I've done all the research. I've come up with a style that I want my main reason here with recovering. These is that I am feeling very like anti faces on covers. And so moving forward, um, I'm wanting to not have faces on my covers and this is on my outward. She knows this is on my outward facing cover. So this is not secret covers, secret covers that are illustrated. Um, I am very happy to have faces. But I no longer want to have like a face, especially like photo manipulation, like a real person's face from a photo. I don't want to have that on my covers anymore because I don't like, um, implanting that image into reader's minds and like forcing people to see that when that, that person is not who I saw when I was writing anyway. So. It just seems really backward to me to have that, to be implanting, even if it's like, um, like very like subliminal subliminally, but to even be suggesting that this is what this person looks like. Um, I'd rather have you guys base your visualizations of my characters off of the words? Yeah. So anyway, that is going to be in progress. So I'm very excited about that. Um, if you've been following me for any length of time, you know, that I am like a total cover addict and it's a legitimate problem. Um, I love to get new covers on my books and to just like stare at other people's beautiful covers, which is probably why I'm so excited about these illustration projects, especially the taro deck, because I will be having 78 illustrations coming at me over the next year and it is going to be amazing. Um, know. So that is in progress. Um, so my goals for last week were, um, successfully completed. I finished prepping the skeleton draft of what are the broken for the flush draft which I started yesterday. And, um, I did the interior formatting for the print versions of song of scarabs and fallen stars using additive. My screen, just blacked out, got back. Um, and so those are well, okay. So I say that I finished the formatting. I didn't really finish the formatting, but I got the layout done, um, which is what I needed to do. And then, um, my assistant is working on some pretty like, chapter images and a pretty Title page full page image. So hopefully we'll have a really, really pretty interior file to share. Um, maybe next week-ish maybe the week after, um, much later than that we're looking at release. So definitely by then, um, okay. So my goals for this week are to get at least seven chapters revised from blood of the broken and one is already done and I should be doing so that means one a day, basically. Um, and this would normally be my morning, time is normally when I would be doing that. Um, but since I forgot to record this yesterday afternoon, um, I'm doing this instead and I will be cleaning up this audio and posting this. As soon as I'm done. So that's going to eat up my morning, but thankfully my mom is coming, um, today to hang out with the kids so I can get an extra bonus work session in the late morning, which is when I'm in a hopefully get chapter two revised. Um, yeah. So. And then I need to finish my recover brief for the cover designer for legacy of the lost, um, because that is due, I think next week, like I said, um, and I'm really looking forward to just fully diving into blood of the broken and it works really well that I'm doing the cover brief for, um, legacy of the lost right now while I am fully immersed in the. Fictional universe. Um, I think it will be really helpful as opposed to, if I were currently in a fatalist trilogy, that would be more difficult. So I'm pretty sure that is all of my stuff for my updates. So let's go ahead and. Let's go ahead and move into reading, um, the chapter. So we are on chapter four of song of scarabs and fallen stars. And if you have missed the other ones, um, chapters one, two, and three are in the last three episodes of sparks notes at the end and, or like the second half. And then, um, Chapters one and two are currently live, um, on my website, but I don't think you have the I'll I'll put the link for that in the show notes. Chapter four. Left right left right left. Right? The words were a little more than Grimm's, but they kept me going. I staggered onward, my skin scorched and my bloody feet caked with sand. I was going on our six or seven of trudging along the desert road, the smooth white chalk formations jetting out of the sand had gradually given way to darker craggy and limestone. I had long since lost the ability to gauge the passage of time. But the sun clued me in, it had slowly sunk toward the horizon off to the right of the road. And now hovered there, like it was purposely delaying setting what a Dick. I considered it dropping to my knees to crawl for a little while, giving my souls a chance to heal. But if I got down on the ground, I wasn't sure I would be able to get back up. And I had made a promise to myself not to stop until I reached the Oasis. Until I reached water and salvation. The distant sound of children's laughter reached by ears carried by a gentle breeze. The sound lured my gaze up from the rock strewn sand covering the patch of road immediately in front of me. I couldn't recall. The last time I had looked up, it took energy away from walking, from convincing each brutalized foot to lift and touch back down on the course burning sand. When I did look up, I was a little surprised to find the road ahead of me, sloping downward. I felt like I was tracking up a steep incline. I was even more surprised to see tall stone pillars silhouetted by the Tangerine sky squinting. I trudged onward pillars, people, my eyes opened wide and I stumbled forward. I was too weak and clumsy to catch myself and I ended up sprawled on the road, faced in this. I spat out sand and lay there for a few seconds. My forehead resting on my forearm. As I caught my breath, working up the nerve to raise my head, to look, to see if it was a Mirage. If the people were suddenly gone, I wasn't sure I could make myself stand up again to keep going. This was so hard, too hard. I couldn't do. I wretched sob rattled around in my chest, clawing its way up my throat. When I opened my mouth, I released a horse cry. Please be real. Please be real. Please be real. The words were a whispered wish, barely audible. After a few more rugged lungfuls of air, I slowly raised my. The people were still there. Several dozen of them, Robin and white from head to toe, they still looked like stone pillars to my sluggish mind, except stone didn't move. And there was some kind of animal camels. No, the shape was wrong horses, but that made no sense horses didn't do well this far out in the desert, but I didn't really care because they're beyond the cluster of white robed figures was water. Glorious drool inducing water, the small pristine pool of water glittered, Amber and the golden light of the setting sun surrounded by a border of greenery. I swallowed glue like saliva imagining it was cool. Clear water than licked my cracked peeling lips with a tongue like a tacky eraser and pushed myself up to my hands. After a deep fortifying breath, I gingerly placed one foot on the ground and whimpered. It was like stepping on hot coals. I forced myself to transfer my weight to that foot and straighten my legs. As I placed my other foot on the ground, earning a muted cry. I squeezed my eyes shut to sending a cascade of tears streaming down my cheeks. I was so close. So damn. The water was right there. I could not give up. Now, after a deep inhale, I blew out the breath and opened my eyes. I lifted my right foot and took a step. And then I stepped forward with my left foot. Each step brought forth a Starburst of pain and a muffled sob, but I did not stop. As I drew near to the people I saw the animals were donkeys, their backs Laden with woven baskets and hide water skins, something about that seemed off, but I didn't have the mental energy to figure it out. I attempted to arrange my face into a warm, friendly expression. I was just a woman out for a nice peaceful stroll through the desert, but deep down, I knew there was no way to disguise the desperation in my eyes. And then I remembered I was naked and burned to a crisp, and I wondered why I was even trying to pretend that anything about the situation was casual or normal. All stairs were focused on me. As I approached, I tried to see myself through there. I probably looked half done and fully nuts. The white robed figures murmured among themselves, some tilting their heads to the sides. As they watched me a few of the smaller figures, children giggled and ducked behind adults picking out around their robes alone figure stepped forward from the group. And cautiously approached me. I stopped walking. It was all I could do to remain on my feet, to not drop to my knees. And to beg this stranger to take pity on me and fetch me a handful of water. Just one handful. It didn't even need to be clean water. At this point, I would gladly have sloped from a mud puddle. What has happened to you child? The figure asked voice feminine, but seasoned with the gravel of age, it took my shriveled mind eons to process the meaning of her. She stopped a half dozen paces away. And I focused on what I could see of her aged face under her linen cowl. As she studied me concerned deep into the lines in her brown leathery skin. I'm not sure that I told her, but trying every survival instinct in my body, but she needed to know the nudgers would hunt me, being near me, meant danger to her and her. If they were smart, they would run away from me and never looked back confusion, clouded her shrewd eyes. She studied me for a long moment, and then she stunned to me, speechless by dropping to her knees. She bowed her head, holding her hands out, Palm up. Her knuckles were bulbous and gnarled, but her hands were steady. At first. I thought she must have recognized. As tarsi TIF international superstar. She wouldn't have been my first elderly fan, but she may have been my most unexpected. I supposed, I shouldn't have I supposed, I should have been flattered or maybe embarrassed. I didn't deserve such deference, but I didn't have energy for anything beyond lusting after the natural, well, a scant, a hundred yards away. I couldn't even manage a half-hearted effort at covering what I could have my nudity with my hands. The woman spoke without raising her head. You honor us with your presence divine one again, it took me ages to comprehend her words and even longer to discern the reason for the delay. It wasn't because extreme dehydration slowed my mind, or rather not only because of the dehydration, I was having a hard time understanding her because she was speaking a language I hadn't heard since I was a young child, my native. Old Egyptian Among humans, the language had been dead for thousands of years and this old woman was decidedly human nature, rats didn't age, at least not in the traditional physical sense. So how could she possibly be fluent in that ancient language? Only then once my brain code switched to old Egyptian, that I fully processed what she had said specifically, what she had called me, divine one. It was an honorific that humans used for my kind during ancient times, the title hadn't been used in hundreds, possibly thousands of years in any language. This woman hadn't recognized me as tarsi TIFF. She had recognized me as measure rat despite the lingering end of day heat and my extreme dehydration and icy chill cascaded over my skin. I shivered as things that had seemed odd or out of place shifted. And I reoriented myself in the world. I had wondered why. I had wondered why my people would have replaced the art barrier, blocking the tunnel to the Netra Oasis. But now I could see that it hadn't been replaced at all. Rather it had never been removed and the limestone blocks marking the desert road were in such remarkable condition because they had yet to be eroded by eons of sand storms. When I was expelled from our room, I had tumbled through duet for well, felt like an eternity because I hadn't jumped straight from our Rue to the same time and place of my death. I had been dragged back to the distant past to the time and place of my birth. It was impossible. Miraculous, almost unheard of. I had like my beloved step-mom before me unintentionally traveled backward in time. And that's it for chapter four. Okay. So next week I'll be back with chapter five, which is the first Lex chapter in the book. So that's pretty fun. Um, and that's it for this week. So thanks for listening. Um, I'll be back next week to ramble some more until then. Happy reading.