Update: Aaaah, book releases are stressful!

Okay, so today is the very last day I can make changes to INVICTUS: CAPTIVE before KDP locks its page in preparation for the preorder drop date, which as you know is this coming Friday.

This is fine! It’s been good to go for a week! But last night I decided to simplify the spelling of one word — very last minute, yes — so I did that this morning and then I felt compelled to scan through the entire preview for both the ebook and the paperback version ONE MORE TIME. They both look fine, but I have this terrible feeling that someday I will do something awful, like load the wrong book or something. I always feel compelled to check and then check again and today that’s over because now it’s too late. Pre-release jitters, ugh.

Oh, I hit “publish” on the paperback version about five minutes ago, by the way. KDP says it can take up to 72 hours, but usually it’s faster. I wanted to make sure the paperback drops about the same time as the ebook, and a few days early is fine with me if everything is in order. Which, jitters aside, it is.

I will be so interested in reader reactions! (This is a different kind of stress.) (A kind that lasts much longer.) I will be very particularly interested in reactions from people who read an early version, because I tweaked this one more than usual, not to mention adding extra scenes and chapters. But I’m interested in general because I expect a good many readers who picked this up will have read NO FOREIGN SKY, which is very different from this duology.

No Foreign Sky

  1. Is very fast-paced.
  2. Is not character-centered, though it does the heavy lifting for worldbuilding so I should be able to do more with characters in sequels.
  3. Has aliens, along with wildly different human societies.
  4. Is space opera, with multiple iterations of sharply rising stakes.
  5. Puts almost everything important right out in front of the reader.
  6. Even though some readers didn’t like names such as Kuotaan, the names are short and there are very few unfamiliar words.


  1. Is much, much slower paced, especially at first.
  2. Is character-centered.
  3. Does not have aliens, but does present wildly different human societies.
  4. Is not space opera, I’m pretty sure. (What is space opera? I should do a post about that.)
  5. Hides a whole lot of important stuff from the reader.
  6. The names aren’t difficult, but many of them aren’t familiar — and there are a fair number of unfamiliar words, lots of which are long, such as “vysovashirovasin.”

Every now and then, I indulge my liking for cool words. This is one of those books. In my opinion, English doesn’t offer enough words like “ovoviviparity.” Well, in the non-English-derived language in Invictus, I got to enjoy creating words with lots of v’s and y’s. The language is derived from Russian. There’s a note about this in the book, but I’ll add here that this whole thing with the language in Invictus occurred because I came across the word “ubezhishche,” which means “refuge” in Russian. I really liked this word, the way it looks, the way it sounds in my mind’s ear, so I dropped it into this story and came up with a backstory that justifies the language.

There is, by the way, a glossary in the back. Hopefully readers will notice that as they skim past the table of contents. If you were at risk of missing it, now you know it is there.

But my point is, given the many important differences, how will readers who liked NFS feel about Invictus? I don’t know! Aargh! I guess we’ll find out!

My own level of enthusiasm for this story has gone up and down a bit depending on how much I was struggling with revision at the time, but having just re-read Captive multiple times for small-scale tweaking and proofing, and then just having finished the first round of small-scale tweaking for Crisis last night … I am back to liking this duology quite a bit. That’s a relief.

Also! Thoughts of sequels are drifting through my mind. I’m thinking of doing something with Erec Chatham as a protagonist, Ketsova or Desya as another protagonist — Desya might instead pick up the pov in a different sequel — and someone from the Sokonakoh Empire as a protagonist or important secondary character. Very character-first ideas here. I’ve got no notion about any possible plot. Something arising from complications connected to the Invictus plot, I suppose.


Yes, SILVER CIRCLE is moving forward. You’ll be stunned to know that things are taking longer than expected; eg, we’re on chapter seven and juuuuust getting moving after much more time on the setup than I thought it would take. But it’s fun setup! I think! We’ll see what happens later, but I’m pretty satisfied with it so far. I’ll probably do some trimming, but that’s not something to worry about now. I have little boldfaced notes to myself about things I need to remember later. I’m doing foreshadowing and thinking, ack, what if I just forget the element I’m foreshadowing? Thus, notes.


You know, if you read the novella in the Tuyo World Companion, I’d appreciate it if you’d go drop a brief review on the book’s page. There’s exactly one review so far. If you don’t quite know how to comment on other elements, which is certainly understandable, then just a quick “Hey, the novella is good!” would perhaps reassure readers who aren’t sure they care about the world notes.

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11 thoughts on “Update: Aaaah, book releases are stressful!”

  1. Before I got to the part of your post where you mention the language in Invictus is based on Russian, I searched “vysovashirovasin” because I wasn’t sure if it was a word from a real or fictional language. I got results for a physician with a Russian-sounding last name (Ivashkiv). So according to google, at least, you’re certainly evoking Russian with the words!

  2. Camille, I have a dim memory of looking up other Russian words, stealing them, and tweaking them. I can’t remember if any of the other words I used are actual no-kidding Russian words because I started this story … I don’t know — four years ago? Five? This is the one where I got stuck for years because I didn’t know what anybody’s secret plans actually were and had a terrible time until I figured it out.

    Anyway, once I have a handful of words to play with, it’s fun coming up with other words that have the same feel to them. I used my handy field guide to the mammals of Borneo to come up with names in the Death’s Lady trilogy.

  3. Ok I put in a review! I am looking forward to Invictus quite a bit, but I think all your novels are pretty character oriented. I love the interactions between the suspicious officer and the young girl. (Sorry, I don’t want to mis write down the names)!

  4. Alison, I’m horrible with names, so I never hold that against anyone! You mean Samuel Lockwood and Taya.

    Lockwood is a great character — I mean, interesting, and also in something of a pickle at the end, since there he is on an alien ship, surrounded by aliens, and obviously at least somewhat phobic. But trying to be fair! If I write a sequel, which is likely, then Lockwood is going to step forward and take the pov, while Taya steps back and becomes a secondary character. That’s because Lockwood’s situation is going to be much more interesting. I’m pretty sure the pov characters will be Gerstner, Lockwood, and one of the turun.

    And thank you!

  5. That sounds great! There are a lot of terrific actions and interactions in that book, but my favorite is Lockwood getting schooled by Taya.

  6. I love complicated names and non-English words, as long as they fit together phonologically. I appreciate the fact that the place and personal names in your books always make sense from a linguistic perspective.
    Looking forward to Invictus!

  7. I’ve ordered the Invictus paperback! I had also ordered the Tuyo World Companion paperback on Aug 28, but it was listed as “temporarily out of stock” when I ordered it and it never shipped. I’ve just cancelled the older order and re-ordered it, it’s no longer showing as “out of stock” and says it will get here Wednesday. I’m looking forward to reading both!

    Also my older order that never shipped listed it as “The TUYO World Companion” and my new order calls it “Tuyo World Companion”. I’m not sure if that matters but I figured I’d share it in case it’s helpful.

  8. Yes, Kriti, that was the problem. I realized that KDP was not linking the paperback and ebook because one was called THE and the other didn’t have THE. This took a certain amount of finagling to work out, including unpublishing THE TWC and then re-publishing the paperback as “TWC” no THE and asking KDP to link it to the existing ebook and yadda yadda, the whole thing was a nuisance and you got caught in the middle, sorry! That should be straightened out now and there shouldn’t be further problems.

  9. Ooh, I’m looking forward to reading Invictus!
    My brother will be staying over that week for a short holiday, so I’m not sure how much time to read I’ll have; but certainly as soon as he’s back home.

    Off topic, but tangentially related: Tom Scott just dropped a video about the UK National Library, https://youtu.be/ZNVuIU6UUiM?feature=shared
    and I wondered how this worked for self-published authors.
    Do you have to send a digital copy of all the books you’ve self-published to the USA national library / Library of Congress, and maybe a similar State Library for your state?
    Or even a print-on-demand paper copy that you’ld have to pay for?
    Or is it part of the ISBN process in some way?

    Does Andrea K. Höst send her ebooks to the Australian National Library?
    I do hope so, these books (from both of you) are worth being preserved for future generations.

  10. I am VERY EXCITED for Invictus! The preview at the end of No Foreign Sky got me very excited and now that you’re telling me it’s slower paced with very long words and secrets, I’m like yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!!!

    Ooh thanks for the reminder to review the World Companion! I will do that right now!

  11. Hanneke, I never thought about this until you asked. It looks like there are some hoops to jump through to apply to get your books in the US Library of Congress, but the process is free. You have to send a paper copy and they can turn it down, which does seem reasonable and I wouldn’t be super worried they’d reject TUYO. Maybe I should do it, though I rather hope my books will be around for at least a couple future generations before fading from sight.

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