A November 2020 Update on Sand and Smoke, the Dragon Destiny trilogy, and Dragons of Marak

Hey there! It’s been a while since I’ve provided an update about the books I’m working on. Right now, I’m working on two series–the Dragon Destiny trilogy, of which Sand and Smoke was the first book in the series, and Dragons of Marak, which is going to run a bit more than three books, I’m not sure how long it will run though. They’re both high epic fantasy, and Sand and Smoke is available on Kindle Unlimited for free and for purchase on many sites. It’s an indie novel.

By the way, in case you’re not familiar with who I am, hi. I’m Carl Cota-Robles, an indie author and self-published author on Amazon. I mostly write indie fantasy, but I also write indie children’s books with a sprinkle of science fiction. Feel free to check out my books here: https://carlcotarobles.com/books

Sand and Smoke is an indie high epic fantasy set in a world where dragon riders and cowboys co-exist. The sequel picks up where it left off, following characters like Al Hardin, Maya Samoralt, Joel Forquid, and Li Lok, and it also includes some new characters. The sequel to Sand and Smoke is going to be called Battle and Burning, and it’ll be released September 14, 2021. As of now, I’ve finished the first draft and am going to start revisions either next week or the week after. You can pre-order it. For a limited time before its release, I’ve made it available to pre-order for just $0.99. It will go up to a higher price eventually, though. Here’s the pre-order link: mybook.to/battleandburning

So, regarding my other series Dragons of Marak, it’s in a bit of disarray right now. The last month or so, I had planned to work on drafting book 3 of the series, but I wasn’t able to because I had a number of health issues come up. If you haven’t had to deal with anything like that in your life, you’re definitely lucky in at least one way. Last time I had to deal with something like this was in 2016, but it was different than what I’m going through right now. Back then, it was just a lot of pain, and I think what I needed most was rest. Right now, it’s involving a lot of doctors appointments that seem to be never ending.

So…anyway…those health issues are what has affected my plans for Dragons of Marak. Books 1 and 2 have both been drafted, and book 1 has gone through one thorough round of revisions and is now in the hand of some beta readers (sent out a few weeks before my health issues popped up). I’m hoping to squeeze in the writing of book 3 in between drafts of Battle and Burning, but I’m not sure if it’ll happen. Either way, Battle and Burning should be released by September 14, 2021. Dragons of Marak may take a bit longer than I expected.

There hasn’t been any kind of release date announced for Dragons of Marak, and I don’t have any plans to announce any release dates anytime soon. The series will go nicely with Sand and Smoke, though, because they are both young adult fantasy with dragons. While Dragons of Marak doesn’t have any dragon riders like Sand and Smoke does, it does have dragons and people who partner with dragons. The twist is that the dragons actually have special powers that allow them to equip to people as various weapons like a sword, an axe, a knife, a bow, etc. And while Sand and Smoke is told from multiple points of view, Dragons of Marak has just one point of view, and I plan to stick to that point of view throughout the series (well, right now that’s the plan anyway). There’s also a bit more romance in Dragons of Marak.

Over the next month or so, I’m probably going to be commissioning some art for the Battle and Burning and the Dragon Destiny trilogy. For a while now I’ve been dying to commission some art that’s an accurate portrayal of what a Sun dragon looks like. I go into quite a bit of detail about it in Sand and Smoke, so it’ll be really cool to get an accurate drawing made! If you want to see that art and see what a Sun dragon looks like for real, I’ll share it with you if you subscribe to my mailing list. You can subscribe at this link: www.rebrand.ly/storiesbycarl or at the link at the top of the page.

A bonus to being subscribed to my mailing list is that I let you know whenever I have marked down my books. I do this sometimes as a promotion to try and get a higher rank on Amazon and/or garner some reviews.

This is pretty much it as far as news goes at this point in time. The main new things to go down have been that the sequel to Sand and Smoke finally has a title now–it will be called Battle and Burning–and it has a release date: September 14, 2021. Like Sand and Smoke, it’ll be available on Kindle Unlimited for free and on the same retailers. I’m really excited about the artwork too! Can’t wait to get that process started and to see what a Sun dragon looks like.

As a writer, I constantly have ideas popping up in my head for new books, so there’s definitely been a part of me that is itching to start some other ideas. Most of these are dragon related…ha. Though, Sand and Smoke and Dragons of Marak may be it for series that involve dragons partnering with humans. The other couple of ideas I have floating around in my head involve dragons that are also part human. So it’s a different take on the whole thing, less stereotypical, and I also have some ideas about how to combine dragon-human hybrids with other mainstream genres.

Anyway, I can’t wait to dive into revisions for Battle and Burning! The draft I wrote needs some revising pretty badly, so I’ll probably be at it for a couple months before I send it to beta readers. In my opinion, revising is one of the hardest parts of writing, but I’ve learned some tricks to do it well.

PS: Here’s that link to subscribe to my mailing list again: http://www.rebrand.ly/storiesbycarl

The Six Most Interesting Questions about Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

At BookCon 2019, Bardugo said that for the first season of the TV show, they are going to be combining the first Six of Crows book with the first Shadow and Bone book.

Welcome! This post is part of my Most Interesting Questions series, which means I’ll be answering the most interesting questions I can find or think of on Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. The Six of Crows characters are some of the most lovable in epic fantasy, in my opinion. Leigh Bardugo wrote Shadow and Bone first; it takes place in the same world as Six of Crows, but many people start reading at Six of Crows first. There is a Netflix series coming up. These two books are duology, which means that there are only two books in the series, though there may be a Six of Crows book 3 coming at some point in time, more on that lower down the page.

By the way, if you’re wondering about who I am, I’m an author from Portland, OR. I write epic fantasy and children’s science fiction.

Here are the most interesting questions about the Six of Crows duology:

SixOfCrows

Q #1: As a beginner in fantasy novels is Six of Crows a good read?

A: Yes, it’s a great read for a beginner! It’s a YA novel and the writing is easy to understand. I read it fairly quick, in about a week. It’s also an engaging story, with a cool magic system, and Bardugo does an excellent job of plotting the novel so that the twists and turns feel real and surprising.

Q #2: Who is your favorite point of view to read from in Six of Crows?

A: Definitely Inej or Kaz. I like reading Kaz’s chapters because he’s such a well-rounded character and has a dark side to him that other characters don’t have. He takes everything super seriously, and as the leader of the gang he usually deals with the problems that have the most stakes, so his chapters often feel like the most productive and important. Inej, on the other hand, is interesting simply because she’s the Wraith. She doesn’t have darkness inside her like Kaz does, but she can accomplish things no one else can, and like Kaz, she takes everything seriously. Because she often can’t be replaced on missions, her chapters feel critical.

Q #3: What happened to Nina after Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom?

A: I’m going to try to answer this without giving away spoilers. Nina undergoes some changes in Crooked Kingdom, if you’ve read the book you will know what those changes are. It’s partially explained, but not completely. Presumably, she is going to find out more about that because of where she’s going by the end of the book. It seems like we’d need a third book to really get a conclusion to what happens to Nina, as beyond some surface level stuff, these changes have not really been explained.

Q #4: Is there a third book of Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo?

A: Right now there’s not! It just goes 1. Six of Crows 2. Crooked Kingdom. However, I was at BookCon 2019 and attended a panel where Leigh Bardugo spoke about the books. One of the things she did address was the possibility of a third book. She said that she’s always imagined writing a third book, and would like to, but that her schedule is packed right now with other projects. She said that if we (the fans) are still around in a few years and interested in a third book she would write it. So presumably there will be a third book in a few years, as long as the series’ popularity doesn’t unexpectedly plummet. In the meantime, I’d like to shamelessly plug my own book Sand and SmokeIt’s also an epic fantasy book, but set in a world with dragons, and like Six of Crows it follows a group of criminals, but in it they seek to stop a devastating weapon.

Q #5: Are the main characters in Six of Crows bad people (like Kaz Brekker) or are they normal people in unlucky situations?

A: I think whether or not they’re bad people is subjective. One of the things Bardugo does a great job of is showcasing how bad the world these characters live in is. Compared to the rest of the Barrel, Kaz and his crew are like saints. Compared to most people that you or I encounter on the planet earth, they’re not so great. But I think what still makes them likeable characters is that they were just normal people who found themselves in unlucky situations. And those unlucky situations have led them to become bad. But each of these characters wouldn’t be bad if the world hadn’t been bad to them first.

Q #6: Will Six of Crows be made into a movie?

A: It’s not going to be made into a movie, as far as I’m aware. However, it is in the process of being made into a Netflix TV series. When I was at BookCon 2019, Leigh Bardugo also spoke some about this. She said that she’s been very involved in the process (she’s an executive producer) and she sounded really pleased about who they cast in the lead roles (it sounded like they had already cast the lead roles, though she did not name any names and as far as I’m aware it’s not been made public). She also mentioned they were doing something unique with the TV series. At BookCon 2019, Bardugo said that for the first season of the TV show, they are going to be combining the first Six of Crows book with the first Shadow and Bone book. She sounded very confident that the decision to combine the books into one for the TV show is going to work out great, though I myself am curious to see how it’s going to work given that they take places at different times.

Thanks for reading! Now I invite you to check out more MIQ posts below, or my book Sand and Smoke, which is also an epic fantasy, with lots of action and a ragtag group of criminals, and draws inspiration from Six of Crows in some ways. Sand and Smoke also features a bunch of dragons, and I had a blast researching dragon mythology for the book! It’s going to be a trilogy.