Introduction to “Through Storm and Night” Commentary

This is just the introduction, so no possible spoilers yet.  But you can still be a spectacularly awesome person and help out a little indie author and pick up a copy of her book (or books).  You can find them on Amazon, CreateSpace, Smashwords, or my personal online store.

Through Storm and Night Covers OfficalHello readers!

Welcome back to commentary.  We’ll be starting on the journey through book two tomorrow.  I wanted to write a small introduction before we dive right in, just to kind of set things up.  I hope you will indulge me 🙂

Through Storm and Night marked an evolution in me as a writer.  I had stumbled a lot with Sere from the Green, namely that I had completely mixed up the definitions of “proofreading” and “editing” (still makes me cringe just thinking about it).  I also learned that if one isn’t very careful, you will find indie publishing to be a dog-eat-dog world.  I’ve always been very polite and have always tried to be a friendly individual.  I made the mistake of going on a few message boards to ask if anyone had marketing tips.  And proceeded to get a barrage of abuse.  I had other indie authors tearing me apart for the book’s generic cover, the mistakes I made in the manuscript, and my lower socioeconomic status (I had more than a few writers flat-out tell me that if I couldn’t afford proper art than I shouldn’t be in publishing).

Then I had my first convention ever where I had a truly horrible experience.  A man with a long and storied history of harassing and bullying women targeted me on the last day of the con.  I made the mistake of being a woman, being polite, being new, and having the nerve to call myself an author even though I didn’t have the approval of a traditional publisher.  This man, who at the time worked at a fairly well known traditional publishing house, took it upon himself to put me in my place.  By tossing my book, something I was so proud of, at my head.  And then berating me for about five to ten minutes.

Even though these experiences were beyond frustrating and painful, I was determined to continue the story.  I decided to hold my head high and wear the badge of “indie author” with pride.  I’d learn from my mistakes and push through the setbacks.  Because, seriously, fuck people who say you can’t.

I went to my younger brother, who is the most wonderful human being in the universe, for help with editing and cover design.  My brother majored in English and is ridiculously smart.  He was able to catch inconsistencies that slipped by me.  He’s also not shy about pointing out a story’s weaknesses (and can explain exactly why something doesn’t work).  As if this isn’t enough, my brother is pretty goddamn amazing with computers.  He has designed the covers for books two through four.

The symbol on the front of book two is the symbol of the Big Bad’s corporation.  My brother came up with it after I described it to him.  I almost started crying when I saw it (I’m fairly certain he rolled his eyes).  Yeah, my brother is fucking awesome.  With his help, I whipped the manuscript into shape and started bringing it to conventions.  I kept my head held high and began learning the ropes of marketing.

****

As I think I mentioned earlier, I already had the rough draft of Through Storm and Night when I released Sere from the Green (and I also had the rough draft of the next book in the series, From the Ashes).  The important word in that sentence is “rough.”  It was a damn mess.  Still, I knew what needed to happen in the book and dove right in.  This novel is the continuing evolution of Isis.  It also marks the first appearance of the Big Bad.  A couple new characters come into play (the Deverell brothers, I finally get to talk about them) and a little more of the overall conspiracy/mystery is revealed.

I tried to make this novel a little lighter because I knew I was going to be dealing with heavy subject matter in From the Ashes (the original rough draft was written during a very dark time in my life and when I was revising it, I poured just about all my frustration with the writing world into it.  It was definitely a form of catharsis and as a result, it’s one fucking violent book.  It also happens to be my favorite in the series).

One of my issues with a lot of modern fantasy is how flippantly nihilistic it is.  Personally, I think speculative fiction should always have some sense of hope (even if things are really shitty, there should be a chance things can/will get better).  Fantasy and scifi have this unique ability to show us things as they are and also how they can be.  More authors should take advantage of this.  My series gets really, really dark in places.  Characters die, some rather horribly, but I tried to maintain a sense of hope through it.  Things can get better.  Even in the darkest moments, there is light (or there will be).

****

I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to work this commentary because there are a couple big reveals and a huge massive twist at the end that needs to stay secret.  This is my livelihood after all.  I need writers to keep buying my books 😉

Also, I might have a guest commentator for one chapter.  I’m still ironing out the details, but my readers are so freaking awesome 🙂

Tomorrow, we’ll start with chapter one.  Oooo, I’m really excited 😀

Until then . . .

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About Lauren Jankowski

Lauren Jankowski, an author from Illinois, has been an avid reader and a genre feminist for most of her life. She holds a degree in Women and Genders Studies from Beloit College. In 2015, she founded “Asexual Artists,” a Tumblr and WordPress site dedicated to highlighting the contributions of asexual identifying individuals to the arts. She has been writing fiction since high school, when she noticed a lack of strong women in the popular genre books. When she’s not writing or researching, she enjoys reading (particularly anything relating to ancient myths) or playing with her pets. She participates in activism for asexual visibility and feminist causes. She enjoys speaking about genre feminism, a topic she is quite passionate about, and hopes to bring more strong heroines to literature, including badass asexual women. Her debut novel was "Sere from the Green," the first volume in her ongoing series "The Shape Shifter Chronicles." The sequels, "Through Storm and Night," "From the Ashes," and "Haunted by the Keres" are also available. All books can be purchased through Amazon, CreateSpace, or Smashwords.
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