Dragons of Marak, Sand and Smoke’s Sequel, and Writing While Social Distancing

I’ve reached the doldrums of my writing year recently so things are pretty quiet. But I’ll update you with what I have been working on.

While the start of this year was jam-packed for me, I’ve recently been slowing down, as I take things a little more methodically from here on out.

At the start of 2020, I published Middle School Robots. I sent out ARCs, ran a few promotions. I also wrote the first draft of the second book in my upcoming Dragon of Marak series. The series was also called Dragon Monsters Equip until recently, so if you’ve heard me say that in the past it’s the same thing.

I’m not gonna lie, the whole COVID thing kinda set me back. Mostly because it was so shocking. Even for an author like me it disrupted my writing flow. It didn’t inhibit my ability to write, obviously, but it was a struggle at first to keep up the motivation. And a major tool I used before COVID for getting writing done was going out to a coffee shop to do it. Now I can’t do that anymore so I have to find other ways to tune out the distractions at home.

Anyway, I think I’ve mostly figured it out by now. Since publishing Middle School Robots, I’ve shifted gears into a few TV projects, and I’ve also begun a thorough revising of Dragons of Marak book 1. It’s a really good book! Like REALLY good. I’m surprised how much I still love it as I go back and work on it. It’s soothing just to read through it and make some changes.

I recently sent an excerpt from the book to my mailing list. You can sign up for that list at this link: www.rebrand.ly/storiesbycarl. And you’ll receive offers of giveaways, free books, and maybe some more excerpts in the future.

Here’s a little teaser about Dragons of Marak:

Ana Perez comes from wealth and power. But her father, a business tycoon in the land of Marak, hates dragons. That makes things a little complicated when she runs into a water cobra dragon named Cee, and bonds with him. Still, she would not give him up for anything. Marak is a land where the dragons exist in all shapes and sizes. Cee is blue, snake-like, and wet. Others are stony, with turtle shells and dragonfly wings. A few have crimson scales, fur, and long limbs. Some are as large as a carriage, others twice that size, and others as small as a gartner snake. Cee is overconfident, dogged, and charismatic. Ana is smart, good-hearted, and stylish. They form an unbreakable bond. Partners for life. The dragons of Marak can equip to their partners as weapons, armor, or wings. But Cee is more than just an object to Ana. He’s a friend. As she spends time with him, she grows. But there are secrets in Marak. Not everyone sees dragons as friends. Ana’s naive. The wealth and power among her country’s industrialists is a front for small hearts and stubborn men. But Cee’s a rare kind of dragon. And Ana can’t stay blind forever.

So, that’s what I’m engrossed in at the moment.

Even though revisions are taking longer than I expected, I’m planning to start another book soon. I think I will be working on Sand and Smoke‘s sequel. To me, that makes the most sense. And I also have a short that I started work on. It’s a dystopian short, and it’ll definitely be available somewhere when I finish it. If you subscribe to my mailing list, I’ll keep you posted.

But anyway, regarding Sand and Smoke: I always intended for it to be the first book in a trilogy. So I’m thinking that I will make writing the sequel to Sand and Smoke my next big priority.

If you’re a fan of Sand and Smoke, then you might be wondering about how long it will take me to complete the sequel. Well, it’s too early to float any dates, but I will say that the first book took me one year to write, revise, and edit. I started writing it in October of 2018 and published on October 17, 2019. So…maybe the second book will follow a similar timeline? That’s my best guess at this moment in time. But whenever I finish the first draft, I’ll have a much better idea.

In the meantime, there is actually a free short story available, set in the same universe as Sand and Smoke. You can get it by subscribing to my mailing list: www.rebrand.ly/ingridrising. If you’re already subscribed to my list and you don’t have it, just reply to any of the emails I’ve sent you and I’ll send it over!

Another perk of being on my mailing list is that I’m currently planning another giveaway. It’s going to happen this summer sometime, and it’s going to be dragon-themed! I’m sifting through some ideas for amazing dragon books that I want to include. I’m thinking I will include around 3-4 books in the giveaway, and one person who enters will win them all. You’ll be able to enter even if you aren’t on my mailing list…but if you join my list, you’ll get an email as soon as the giveaway starts, and you can also share suggestions for books that you’d like to be included in the giveaway, just by responding to one of my emails.

In the past, I’ve run giveaways successfully for an Amazon gift card, Christopher Paolini’s The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, and a trio of books including The Secret Lake, a Magic Tree House book, and The Infinity Ring. Depending on some factors, this giveaway may be US-only, or I may be able to make it international and include some other countries. I’m hoping and crossing my fingers I will be able to make it international…but the only way I’ve found to do so thus far, without requesting personal information from the winner, is to give away an Amazon gift card instead of the books. So I’ll have to see. Anyway, it’s probably going to happen in June or July, just to let you know.

So yeah, I’ve mentioned my mailing list a lot in this post. But if you’re not sure about subscribing yet, it’s okay too. That’s pretty much it for now!