A new website/blog

Hey all!

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! Just wanted to let you know that I have created a new and improved website/blog : https://beccajfox5.wixsite.com/author

I will no longer be updating this website/blog on WordPress but I’d love to keep my subscribers so, if you have a minute, please click on the link above and subscribe to the new blog for further updates, short stories, poems, musings, and random thoughts. 🙂

Thanks for reading! See you on the other site.

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A Companion Series for Asta and the Barbarians

Back in 2017, while my epic fantasy novel Asta and the Barbarians was in the process of being published by Tirgearr Publishing, I was also taking some creative writing classes at my community college. In my Intermediate Fiction writing class, I was challenged to write a short story every two weeks. It was difficult but also tons of fun to brainstorm and create so many stories in such a short amount of time. Some were always destined to be short stories; others I felt deserved to be expanded upon but it wasn’t the right time.

After Asta and the Barbarians was published, I began working on a romance novel titled I Dare You to Stay With Me which I ended up self-publishing, and then I quickly began preparing my science fiction/fantasy novel The Andromeda’s Ghost to be published through BHC Press. This year, I self-published a book with my sister, a urban fantasy novel titled Death’s Curses. While finishing up with Death’s Curses, I was also communicating with BHC Press because they are in the process of getting The Andromeda’s Captain (book two in The Andromeda Chronicles) ready for publication. And after Death’s Curses was published, I raced through the end of The Andromeda’s Crew (book three in The Andromeda Chronicles) after which I decided to dive headlong into the complex world of book marketing. I’ve been snatching free ebooks, and signing up for free webinars as well as relatively inexpensive marketing classes as I come across them. I’ve been emailing reviewers and organizing advertisements and other promotions for my books. I’ve scheduled cross promotion with other authors through my newsletter and social media accounts. It has been exhausting, but necessary to grow my audience and get my name out there.

With The Andromeda’s Crew in the hands of my beta readers, I can’t do any more work on it. At least, not until I get their feedback. In the meantime (because I don’t know how to be idle) I’ve moved on to the next project on my list, the short stories I created back in 2017! Whenever I had writer’s block while working on projects from 2017 up until now, I would go back to one of those short stories specifically. I shared it here on the blog at one point; back then it was titled A Match Made in the Hollow. Slowly but surely, I’ve built upon it until, just last week, I finished it. It’s not a short story anymore but a 130 page novella titled Jessa and the Lost Goddess.

This is the first installment in a series of novellas which are companions to Asta and the Barbarians. These novellas are set in the same world as Asta and the Barbarians but focus on different characters. All of these characters are chosen for a specific task by one of the Heavenly Masters (gods and goddesses) that were introduced in Asta and the Barbarians. In the last novella of this series, these new characters will meet up with Asta and her friends in order to help them achieve a very specific task. While Asta’s story was set on the Island of Holger, these novellas will be set on the “mainland” which was mentioned often in Asta and the Barbarians but never expanded upon. I’ve had numerous fans ask for a sequel to Asta’s story over the years and I’m so excited to finally be able to do so. I sincerely hope I can live up to your expectations or at least entertain you for a little while. 😉

Tirgearr Publishing produced Asta and the Barbarians so they get first dibs, but they can choose not to publish this series. If that happens, I’m going to self-publish these so no matter what, you will get to read these very soon! I’ve submitted a synopsis and an overview to Tirgearr Publishing and am waiting for their response now.

More news to come!

Ebook Excerpt Readings

Hi everyone!

For those of you who aren’t following me on social media, my ebooks (In the Dark and Asta and the Barbarians) are 50% off through Smashwords for the entire month of July. To get everyone hyped, I’ve been using Instagram Stories to share excerpt readings from these two books. I update my Stories every Thursday morning, alternating from In the Dark to Asta and the Barbarians. I posted the final excerpt reading for In the Dark today and plan to do one more reading of Asta and the Barbarians next Thursday. I’ve also posted two excerpt readings on Youtube so no one has to miss out, but if people like the idea of tuning in every Thursday on Instagram, I’d be more than happy to continue doing readings until I finish Chapter One of each book. My publisher, Tirgearr Publishing, has given me permission to post that much. Let me know in the comments if anyone would be interested in that.

These excerpt readings were actually my publisher’s idea. It’s not something that’s done very often and they wanted to try something new so they suggested it to all of their authors. I was apprehensive at first because I’m camera shy but also a bit self-conscious about how I read. Despite that, I thought I should try. I’ve never gone to a live reading; for one, I never know when and where they’re happening and, once I do find out, it’s always somewhere far away from where I live. I think it would be awesome to be able to watch a video of one of my favorite authors reading an excerpt from their book for FREE so I thought I’d at least give you guys the option.

I hope you get the chance to check out my Instagram Stories or at least watch one of the readings on Youtube. If there’s enough of an interest, I can read from my other books and share them on Instagram too. 🙂 Remember, the Smashwords ebook sale will be over in 9 days so grab a copy of whichever book strikes your fancy while they’re only $2.49!

I Did My Best

My child, you are so precious to me.

You were created because of a dream, one born out of the love your father and I shared. I carried you in my womb for nine months. I experienced physical sickness and pain. I worried about you so much, I ached inside. I prayed that God would protect you from all the hurt and disappointment and grief I experienced in my youth, all the while knowing deep down that pain would be a necessary teacher in your life. I watched you on the screen during every ultrasound, in awe, in humility, in shock. How could I be in charge of this little person, this precious, helpless, impressionable person? Flawed creature that I am, I knew I would make mistakes. And the very thought terrified me. Still, I determined to do my best. Because I love you, my child.

Little One, you are so fragile.

I watched your mother give birth, helpless to ease her pain, unable to shoulder even an ounce of that burden. But I held her hand and I cheered her on when she thought she had given all that she could. And, together, we welcomed you into this harsh, demanding, unforgiving world. We brought you home, rearranged our lives around you. We made a promise as we stood over your sleeping little form. We would do everything in our power to make you feel loved. We would create a safe haven for you, a home you would always want to come back to. We would give you every good thing that was in our power to give and teach you every good thing our parents taught us, maybe more. We were just children ourselves, still learning what it meant to be adults. But we wanted to do our best for you. Because we love you, Little One.

My child, be patient with me.

I know it seems like I say “no” more than I say “yes.” But it’s only because there is so much out there that can hurt you and I’m afraid. I trust God can keep you safe, but I also understand that He will allow certain things to come into your life in order to shape you. Certain things that I would do everything in my power to help you avoid. I see only what’s right in front of you while He sees it all. It’s so hard to guide you down this dark road with only the light from my very dim headlights to show us the way. It’s so hard for me to let go. Sometimes I think I’m doing well, while other times I’m so sure I’m an absolute failure as a mother. But I’m doing my best. Because I love you, my child.

Little One, listen to me.

There’s so much I want to teach you, so much I’ve learned that I’m sure will benefit you. Why do you scoff and turn away? Why do you insist on doing things by yourself? Don’t you trust me? I’m trying to help, to give you the knowledge I wish my father had given me, to ease your way through this life. I’ve looked forward to teaching you since the day you were born. Please, don’t rob me of this. I want you to become a good, smart, resourceful, person and this is the only way I know how. But I can’t help you if you don’t let me. Can’t you see I’m doing my best here? I love you, Little One.

My child, forgive me.

In my exhaustion and desperation, I’ve made poor choices. Our lives are not simple; sometimes our circumstances only serve to bring out the worst in us. And I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. You deserve someone better as a mother but you got stuck with me. Please, don’t shut me out. Every moment we spend together is priceless. I promise I’m still trying my best. I love you, my child.

Little One, understand me.

I never knew fatherhood would be this hard. I struggle to discipline you. I struggle to find common ground. I struggle to express myself in a clear and healthy manner. Only now am I realizing that my father had the same issues I’m having now. He never taught me how to overcome this because he never figured it out himself. But maybe he was just trying his best too. No matter what happens, never doubt that I love you, Little One.

My child, you are amazing.

I know it’s only by the grace of God that you flourish. You have your vices, you have your flaws, but you are also talented and smart and brave. And I’m so proud of you. Soon you’ll be venturing out on your own but I’ll be here for you whenever you need me. It’s still hard for me to let go, I’ll admit. But I’ll do my best to give you the independence you’ve always wanted. Because I love you, my child.

Little One, you’ve come so far.

You became your own person right under my nose. Stand tall but stay humble. There’s much to be thankful to God for. We had some bumps along the way; sometimes I felt like bopping you upside the head, but I’m glad I did my best for you. I love you, Little One.

Mom, Dad, I used to think you were so exasperating.

There was a certain comfort in the circle of your arms but the allure of the outside world was so very strong. I couldn’t wait to break free. But the truth is? I didn’t know what you were going through. I couldn’t understand how you felt. I could only see my side of things and I lashed out at you when I felt wronged. I can’t say how sorry I am for every angry or hurtful thing I said to you. Because I have a kid now and I’m learning that I don’t know anything about this incredibly gratifying, yet equally impossible task that is parenthood. Looking back, I can see that you were only doing your best. Thanks for that.

I love you both.

Death’s Curses Release Date

Editing for Death’s Curses is finished! I’ve gone over my editor’s comments and have applied some minor changes. It’s done! Now, I’m working on all the formatting involved to make the paperback and ebook look and feel like books that were traditionally published. It’s not hard work but it is time-consuming. I have even more respect for all of the wonderful people involved in this part of the publication process.

I’ve set a publication date for June 1st so anyone who is currently in possession of an eARC, please be prepared to post your review during that week. Anyone who posts a review will be receiving a custom made bookmark as a thank-you.

ARCs are still available to anyone interested in a free ebook in exchange for an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads. I have epub, mobi, and PDF versions.

In other news, the ebook and paperback will be marked down for a limited time after publication because it will be participating in the Kindle Storyteller Contest. So, if you’d rather wait until after publication to get a copy of this book, it’ll be on sale until August.

Extra extra! Read all about it

Proud to announce that The Andromeda’s Ghost has been chosen to be featured in BHC Press’s curated list of Discover These Must-Reads!

BHC Press uses Bookshop.org as their online store because of its mission to help independent booksellers. Each purchase at Bookshop benefits independent bookstores. As of today, they have donated over $11 million to local bookstores in the US. They also recently launched in the UK in November of last year and have already donated over $1 million to UK bookstores. There are plans to launch Bookshop in Canada and Australia soon, and Europe following that. Please support local bookstores by shopping at Bookshop.org.

To see the full list of these Must-Reads published through BHC Press, click here.

Edited to add: The Andromeda’s Ghost ebook has been selected to participate in Barnes & Noble’s 2.99 and Under Ebook Sale for the month of May! To celebrate this, BHC Press will mark down the ebook in all their other retailers. What does this mean? It means the ebook for The Andromeda’s Ghost will be on sale for $1.99 from Saturday, May 1st – Saturday, May 29th! If you haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet, next month may be the perfect time!

This week, I heard back from Lucy Felthouse, my editor. She said she’s more than halfway done with her edits on Death’s Curses! This is the same talented lady who edited In the Dark and Asta and the Barbarians for me (published by Tirgearr Publishing) so I know she’s going to do a great job.

Once I receive the manuscript back from her, I’ll look over her edits and make necessary changes. Then it’s formatting time, where I make the manuscript look and feel like a real book. Amazon then creates a print proof for me, a physical copy of the book, that I can review. And once that’s approved, this book will finally be published! I’m aiming for the end of May/beginning of June but I’ll keep you guys posted.

ARCs are still available to anyone interested in a free ebook in exchange for an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads. I have epub, mobi, and PDF versions ready.

Social Media Update

Just wanted to let you all know that I’ve taken a break from Twitter in order to devote more time to connecting with readers through Goodreads. I log on once a week to post on some discussion boards and answer reader questions. If anyone wants to connect, you can find me here.

Writing Highlights for the Month

The major revisions for Death’s Curses are finished! It was just as challenging as I thought it would be, turning this young adult story into an adult one. My publisher said that simply changing the ages of the main characters wouldn’t be enough. The themes of the story are definitely in the adult category but the situations the main characters are in are still, technically, juvenile. Changing some of the situations while also making sure they worked with the overall plot was the main issue. But I think I managed.

After talking with my sister about some of the changes I made, we brainstormed some finer details that could be altered to make the characters sound more grown up. I’m confident that this book will meet the Adult Fiction parameters once we’re done applying these new changes. My sister is looking over my edits, then I’ll give it one more read through, and we’ll be re-submitting to BHC Press. Fingers crossed that it’ll be accepted this time. If not, my sister and I are considering self-publication. More news on that later.

BHC Press has started this new thing called Staff Picks. Staff members take turns choosing their favorite titles from the books the company has already published. They write short blurbs about them and post them on the company’s blog page. I’m proud to announce that The Andromeda’s Ghost has been highlighted twice!

Chelsea (acquisitions and lead editor) said: “Taren Platinum is the perfect protagonist without being too perfect. He has a good heart, but there’s a layer of grit just beneath the surface that’s activated by those who stand in the way of his happily-ever-after and evil-doers who prey on the innocent. Becca Fox has crafted an endearing, incredibly real-feeling cast of characters, all of which are misfits in their own way. I was taken by the relationships formed throughout The Andromeda’s Ghost, from the natural progression of those relationships to the tenderness shared among the loveable and unlikely band of characters as they work together to escape a dire situation on planet Cartiss. In short, it’s impossible not to root for Taren and company while reading The Andromeda’s Ghost–a truly entertaining start to what’s sure to be a great series. Be prepared for an expert cliffhanger, and then join me in impatiently waiting for the next book in Fox’s series!”

Lana (publishing and editing assistant) said: “This is one of my new favorites! The classic forbidden romance meets outer space and aliens in all the right ways. Even with the twist beginning (yes, it’s at the beginning for a change), I loved the story and how it unfolds. I was reminded of the TV show Firefly by Taren’s growing ragtag family. Becca Fox did an amazing job unfurling the worlds of this unique solar system–the alien species, foods, customs, environments, etc. I’m super excited to find out what happens to Taren and the gang!”

If you’d like to read their blog posts and discover new titles to read, just click on each of their names.

In other news, production on the audio book is wrapping up! According to my latest communication with my publisher, they estimate it’ll be done sometime in November or December. Stay tuned because I’ll be letting you all know the precise release date as soon as I know it!

The Arrival of Princess Lydia

On Thursday, August 13th, I came home from work and told my husband, “I have a good feeling about this weekend. This is the weekend baby Lydia will be born.”

I went to sleep Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night with anticipation. I just knew my water was going to break some time in the night, like it did with my first born. I had my overnight bag ready and Lydia’s bag was packed. The only thing we needed to do was install the car seat (which my husband neglected to do, saying that we still had “plenty of time”). As Sunday came to a close and I was still very pregnant, I was overcome with melancholy.

“What’s wrong?” my husband asked as I heaved a big sigh.

“I just really thought she was going to come this weekend,” I replied.

“The weekend’s not over yet,” he said.

At 11PM that night, I was awakened by a slow trickle that I knew wasn’t pee. Despite my excitement, I managed to sound sort of composed as I woke my husband. He leapt out of bed to get me a towel. I proceeded to waddle onto the bathroom tile and make my phone calls while he gathered his things. My grandparents came over to watch our son. My parents in California were alerted; my mom promised to head over first thing in the morning. Then it was off to the hospital.

My experience was much like the first one except that I had to wear a mask the whole time and I felt a lot more pain. The gal who put my IV in dug around for a while, looking for my vein, before she pulled the needle out and tried again. Try as they might (and, boy, did they!) the nurses couldn’t find my cervix or determine which position the baby was in. Thankfully, they were able to find an ultrasound tech who answered that question for us without shoving her whole arm up my woo-ha. Lydia was head down and ready to go but I wasn’t dilated in the slightest. So they put me on that wonderful pitocin to get things started.

The anesthesiologist, as professional and courteous as he was, stabbed the epidural needle into my spine before I was numb. I couldn’t eat anything because the epidural made me nauseous (I had a headache so I washed down some tylenol with a bit of apple juice I couldn’t even keep that down!). After twelve hours of laboring, my epidural seemed to lose its potency. I was given a control that would blink at me when it was okay for me to administer more of the epidural to myself and I was smashing the button at every opportunity. And I still felt every contraction, especially in my lower back. It was pretty miserable. Thank God, it only lasted thirty minutes or so.

Then my OB came in and pronounced me ready to push. That was the best part. All I had to do was give three good pushes and it was over. Kicking and wailing, Lydia Grace Fox made her entrance into the world.

My husband raced out of the hospital to get us some Chipotle as soon as we were left alone. We took turns holding our baby girl while feasting on our long awaited burritos. Eventually, we were moved out of the birthing suite and into a recovery room which was where we stayed for the next three days and two nights.

Feeding was rough. Like her brother before her, Lydia didn’t take to the breast very well. We had to supplement with formula until my milk came in and I could pump enough to satisfy her. (Unlike her brother, Lydia has a healthy appetite.) After countless tests, many doctor and nurse visits, a breast feeding consultation, and a discharge class, we were finally allowed to go home.

My mom stayed for the first week, cooking, cleaning, and helping care for the children so that I or my husband could sleep/eat/shower. My mother-in-law came next, racing to get here from her home in Wisconsin. She’s taken over my mom’s duties these past two weeks. She leaves tomorrow morning. Then the real work will begin. Bennett could always count on one of his grandmas to play with him when Mommy or Daddy were otherwise occupied. I could always count on one of them to run to the grocery store for me or throw in a load of laundry. My husband can help when he’s not working but for those hours when I’m alone…it’s going to be rough.

Thankfully, I do have family and friends in the city who can step in if I need a break. And I know everything will be okay once we develop a routine and once Bennett has gotten more acclimated to having a baby sister. Lydia won’t be up every three hours forever. Life will go back to normal. Until then, we’ll endure. In the midst of the sleep deprivation and constant activity, there are sweet moments. There are times when it still doesn’t feel real. I’m still just a kid myself; how can I be raising kids? It’s scary and wonderful all at the same time.

The Creation of New Sol

To get you all excited about my newest release, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about this new solar system I created.

This being my first attempt at science fiction/fantasy, I started with what I already knew: our solar system. It’s the only one we’ve discovered so far that can sustain organic life. So I created something similar. New Sol consists of a cluster of four stars–Noorah, Fos, Leggero, and Irridiate–with ten planets orbiting around them, eleven if you count the asteroid field where Osmopeth used to be. (Fun fact: I originally added this asteroid field on the off chance I needed a cool chase scene through moving asteroids but I haven’t used it yet. It’s become more of a flavor factor, a mysterious piece of New Sol’s history that I might one day explore.) Six out of the ten planets have their own moons; some have multiple moons just because I thought it would be cool. Playing with vowels and constants, saying gibberish out loud until I’d developed words that sounded “right,” I named these planets and their moons.

The two planets closest to the suns, dubbed Fotia and Huletenya, are uninhabitable. The third planet, Cartiss, is where the bulk of The Andromeda’s Ghost takes place. When I first got the idea to write this book, it was supposed to be a post-apocalyptic type story with a sci-fi twist so Cartiss needed to be “dying” in a sense. I started brainstorming as to different reasons for the planet’s condition and ended up going with terraforming gone wrong. In my novel, humanity is fairly new to this solar system, to surviving in space in general. The concept of terraforming has always sounded extremely complex to me. I imagine there would be lots of room for errors as humanity worked out the kinks. That’s when the “what if”s came into play. I asked myself, “What if tampering with the atmosphere negatively affected the wildlife on Cartiss? What if the human scientists tried to change the animals and plants so that they could survive on their new oxygenated planet? And then what would happen to these genetically modified plants and animals if the terraforming machines malfunctioned or broke down? What would happen to the people who had volunteered to colonize the planet? What would happen to the planet itself?” Answering these questions brought about more questions and I continued down the rabbit hole until the condition of Cartiss was dire enough to suit the story’s needs.

Jurthaan IV is the fourth planet away from New Sol’s main sources of light and energy. It’s the largest planet in this fictitious solar system that can naturally sustain human life so it quickly became humanity’s new home world. Next in the orbiting line is Palnach, the Mireling home world. Then we have Yuraniuu, Statine, and Zirconscope, which are just as mysterious as the asteroid field of Osmopeth. They each have their own unique type of indigenous aliens, atmospheres, and histories but they aren’t expanded upon in The Andromeda’s Ghost. In the third book of the series, we explore them a bit more as Taren and the crew travel farther into their own solar system. The last two planets are Aleediam I and II, so called because they are the same distance away from the suns, have the same orbit around the suns, and are less than two parsecs away from each other. By all logic, they should crash into each other at some point but they haven’t gotten any closer in the hundreds of years that New Sol has existed. I added this as a tribute to the mysteries of space, all of which I believe will be impossible for us to fully comprehend no matter how long we study them. (Seriously, what is dark matter?)

As for populating these planets, I started off slow. It would only stand to reason that so many planets and moons would host a dizzying number of different alien species, but due to the fact that The Andromeda’s Ghost mostly takes place on two planets, I decided to cut myself some slack and limit the types of aliens I introduced in the story. As a reader, I often find it frustrating to keep track of too many new species; this also played into the decision to stick with three or four main species, at least for the first book in the series. Besides, even with the ability to space jump, I figured most aliens would like to stay on their own planets given the different atmospheres of each planet.

I gave Cartiss three main species: the Tilia’Cun, the Danto’Sal, and the Cerotivis. I’d like to say that I came up with the ideas for these aliens all on my own but that would be a lie. I sifted through tons of concept art online to get inspired. Once I found alien types that I liked, I altered certain things about them to make them more my own. Then I took the two earthen animals I thought they resembled the most and combined the scientific names of those animals to create the alien species’ names. This is also how I created and named the interloping aliens on Cartiss, the rare ones that Taren only runs into once or twice in The Andromeda’s Ghost.

For Jurthaan IV, I stuck with one indigenous species: the Folinar. They have unvarying body types and a simple, almost primitive culture, which is why they needed humanity’s help in order to win the first war against their enemies, the Mirelings. Now, the Mirelings are the only type of alien on the planet of Palnach and they are the polar opposites of the Folinar: no two are alike physically and they strive to be as scientifically advanced as possible to gain the upper hand in any combative situation. From the beginning stages of this story’s creation, I knew these two species would be the cause of the main conflict, which is why I gave them more thought and why I made them so different from each other. 

The creation of this solar system and its inhabitants was a lot of fun. It took time and several sessions of just talking things out with my husband or my sister, fellow writer and fiction lover. In the end, I guess you could say it was a group effort. I hope you enjoy reading about New Sol as much as I enjoyed writing about it!


Interested in an excerpt? Click here.

Check out the book’s page at BHC Press for links to purchase. It’s available at all your favorite retailers!

“…interesting, some good nifty gadgets and some very interesting interplanetary politics.” — Amina Ismail Onia, NetGalley Reviewer

“I am always picking up random sci-fi novels hoping they will be great, and I am almost always disappointed. Not this time, though! I loved it. Interesting characters, just enough world building and descriptions that it didn’t bog down, and more action than I expected. I would recommend this book!” — Erika, LibraryThing Reviewer

“Fox has crafted a competent and engaging novel. If the book interests you, it should prove to be an easy and entertaining read.” — PennAdams, LibraryThing Reviewer

“Wow. Where do I start… The world building in my opinion is exceptional and details were well researched. I love the characters. I love the heart warming moments that appear at just the right time.” — Lavender Knight, Goodreads Reviewer

“…a well written, and interesting book.” — Mary’s Book Corner

“…an exciting book with various twists that I didn’t really see coming…a fun sci-fi read with suspense and action that kept me wanting to know what happened next.”
— Kristy Penner, NetGalley Reviewer

“I enjoyed this book. It has potential for a good series. Good writing, storyline, dialog and action. I recommend checking it out.” — John Piper, Goodreads Reviewer

Last Minute June Announcements

 

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The Andromeda’s Ghost is available for pre-order! Links can be found on BHC Press‘ website, along with the most recent reviews. Like audio books better? Well, you’re in luck! Production for the audio book is underway. BHC Press estimates this project will be complete by the end of the summer, in time for a fall release.

Smashwords sale

It’s that time of year again, folks. Tirgearr Publishing is teaming up with Smashwords to make all of their ebooks 50% off for the month of July. Check out my Smashwords profile starting tomorrow for a chance to purchase one of my ebooks for half price.

Death's Curses New (2)

I’m still waiting to hear back from BHC Press concerning the publication of Death’s Curses. They said they’d get back to me four to six weeks after I submitted it so I should be getting an email any day now. Ugh, the waiting kills me! (I made a new graphic for the book in the meantime. Ain’t it pretty? Only took me two hours lol.) There’s a rough draft version available for your perusal on my Inkitt profile page in case anyone is interested in taking a peek.