A new old project only half-baked as yet

Diana Pharaoh FrancisDiana Pharaoh Francis
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Hello everyone!

I’m back today as the writer of a new book. Only it’s not a new book, it’s a reissue of an old book, and despite plans to release it this next month, it will probably be longer, possibly another month or two. The fabulous Bell Bridge books is reissuing all the Crosspointe books and publishing the rest of the series. Where we’re at now is that things are slower than expected and hence I’m not able to show you a fancy new cool cover or anything else. I can’t tell you much at all, which makes me feel like a bit of a fraud to be in this space right now. I’m not linking to it on my website, because the cover will change, and I’m not linking to the sample chapters, because I’m revising stuff and it’s going to be changing some. More on that below and in a future post. Here is a map of the world of Crosspointe. Here’s a map of the island itself.

I can tell you that I’m absolutely thrilled to be re-releasing the series. I love the story of Crosspointe. I wanted to tell a story about people and about a country and about a mythology and life in a strange and exotic place. I wanted each book to be about a set of characters, but have them going on to appear as characters in the next books, building an epic kind of story where multiple stories weave together into a tapestry that tells the story of the world. So each book focuses on different people, but their stories intersect going forward.

Once upon a time in the time long ago, a cataclysmic event happened. The Mother goddess, Chayos, became trapped on an island now known as Crosspointe. The island was on an inland sea. The waters were black as night and ruled by Braken, the god of the sea. He fell in love with Meris, the goddess of the moon and they were lovers. But one day, the stranger god appeared–Hurn–and Meris was torn between the two. Her silvery blood runs through the black waters. It’s called sylveth, and it is wondrously magical and dangerous. It’s touch can turn flotsam into a blood-thirsty monster. Nothing is safe on the sea. The ground beneath rises and falls with no warning. Where reefs were one moment, now there’s a canyon. No currents are stable. From moment to moment, navigation is impossible.

Unless.

Hundreds of years ago, refugees fleeing a war found their way to the island. One of those men was Errol Cipher, the first and most powerful majicar in Crosspointe history. He created the Pale, a boundary protecting the island from sylveth storms. Over the years, Crosspointe has become wealthy, thriving on their special magic. You see, Pilots have a unique ability, using a special compass designed by  majicars, to navigate the Inland Sea. The only Pilots come from Crosspointe, making the island  the dominant trading force on the sea. Every ship must come through Crosspointe and pay customs. Countries all along the seaboard must pay the price to use Crosspointe ships, pilots, and compasses, because overland is far more expensive and time consuming.

The world is under siege by a smart, ravenous horde called the Jutras. They eat up countries, conquering them with speed and precision. One by one, they are taking over the countries around the sea, seeking to conquer the jewel in the crown–Crosspointe.

The first book of the series, The Cipher, focuses on Lucy Trenton. She’s of the royal family, but because the royal family’s money is tied up in lawsuits, every one of them must work. She’s a customs officer, and soon finds herself in serious trouble. She’s attacked by magic, accused of treason and of smuggling, and she becomes a murderer. With little time to spare before she dies or worse, she has to discover who set her up and try to save her country from the real traitors.

What’s fun is that with the reissue of the book, I’ve had a chance to revisit the story and make some changes. it’s been years and eight books since I wrote The Cipher, and I have become a better writer. Now I look at the book with different eyes. Don’t get me wrong; I still adore the story (seriously, I can’t tell you how much I love this story). It’s the same, but what I’ve been able to do is deepen some of the nuances, especially of the characters. I plan to discuss that in a later post.

What I want to do here is to convey how much I enjoy getting a chance to reintroduce the books and to finish the series. It’s hurt my heart a great deal to stop in mid stream, and now I have the blessing to keep going. Many people tell me they are the best books I’ve written, and yet so many readers haven’t discovered them yet. I hope when the reissue happens, that you’ll take a chance.

I’m curious if anyone has questions for me now on the project or Crosspointe. Fire away!.

 The Biography of Me: I didn’t start out to be a writer. I was a storyteller from as far back as I can remember, and a daydreamer of epic stories, but it never occurred to me to write anything down. I read voraciously, but I wasn’t one of those people who said–hey! I could do this! Or even, this

obligatory and updated author photo

obligatory and updated author photo

is so awful I could do better. I marveled at writers and thought of writing as something other people did. I did try my hand at some really horrible poetry in my senior year of high school. It was dramatic and bleak and world-tiltingly awful. When I got to college, I did poorly in my freshman comp class. I wrote in purple prose and use twenty words for what I could say in two. I loved language, but I didn’t really have much control over it. Then I took a creative writing class. It was awful. Total slaughter. I had caught the bug, though, and from there on out, I wrote. Eventually I wrote a really bad romance and finished it. I finished it! I could do that! And then I went to graduate school and another graduate school, got married, had dogs, had kids, went to work professing, and kept writing. Finally I had my first book accepted and I’ve been writing ever since.

As far as the prosaic stuff goes, I like to crochet, bake bread, spoil corgis, eat chocolate, sing to the radio, pretend to play tennis, geocache, crochet, and garden. Though I really hate weeding. I also like to make my hair purple with some frequency. You can find me on twitter as @dianapfrancis and my website at www.dianapfrancis.com or on facebook.

 

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9 comments to A new old project only half-baked as yet

  • sagablessed

    Thanks for sharing. I loved Cipher, so will be happy to see how your new eyes have envisioned it now.
    So here’s my question: how are you going to stop from a complete work-over on this?
    Because that is my problem. I revisit, and pretty much the OM becomes kindling. How can one stop? How do you do it?

  • That’s an awesome question! In this case, I still love the story a lot. I don’t feel compelled to change it so much as deepen it in places and make sure the characters are who I wanted them to be. I’ve decided that I didn’t make Lucy and Marten three dimensional enough (something I plan to talk about in a later post). I’ve also been tightening things and I have an annoying punctuation habit in this book that I’m killing. I think, though, that you have to trust your vision and your storytelling and look for how to strengthen it. That’s easy to say, I know. One thing that helps me is waiting to revise until I’m finished so that I can see the whole story and figure out how to buttress and tinker with it until I can make it better.

  • I love epic fantasy and I haven’t read any in a while, so this is exciting! Diana, can you tell us about how you make decisions between single POV or multi-POV. I know the eventual basic answer is “do what works best for your story” but I’d like to see into someone else’s process. I’ve been writing a single POV YA epic fantasy and for the last few days I’ve been thinking that 1) the adults are more interesting than the YA MC and 2) I want to write in other people’s voices. At the same time, I don’t want to bury my MC. Maybe this isn’t her story, it’s someone else’s? I don’t know. But to go back to my question – when you write epic fantasy, how do you pick a focus POV or POVs?

  • Wonderful to hear you are getting to strengthen and complete this series! I’m so excited for you.
    I so seldom have time to write anymore, that every time I go back to a WIP, I feel like I’m a better writer and have to tinker. Part of that is because I have to read what I’ve already written just to get back to where I was and remember my voice. So, here’s my question:

    How do you recapture the voice of the story after such a long break?

  • Great news that you’re getting to revisit and complete the series! My question is the same as Lyn’s. How do you recapture the voice after such a long break? Also–did you have an ending in mind when you started the series? If so, has it changed over the years?

  • Sarah: That’s a bit of a tough one. For me it starts with who’s story is this? Who is most affected and most interesting to me? In epic fantasy, I frequently work in multi povs. I tend to want to cover more territory–a larger story, which needs people involved in different places and intrigues. Getting various people involved tells a deeper, richer story with more epic scope. Again, I tend to choose the person who is most affected emotionally, who is a pivot in the story–whose change or lack there off will make for issues.

    Lyn: you know with Crosspointe, it’s pretty easy to fall into. Rereading just gets me there, but if not, I’ll watch some Persuasion or Pride and Prejudice to get me to the voice of the time period.

    Sisi: I did have an ending, sort of in a grand sort of way, but not the specifics. I don’t have an ending planned now. I’m rereading and rethinking, now that I have years of perspective. Some new things have been popping up that make me wonder if they will work, but they haven’t floated into place yet.

  • I haven’t had the chance to check out the Crosspointe books, but I’m very intrigued. That’s fantastic that another publisher is willing to take these on and let you continue the series. How many changes do you find you’ve had to make from the original, or are they mostly cosmetic edits?

  • […] did a post up on Magical Words talking about the reissue of The Cipher. Have a read and see what you […]

  • Laura~ I feel they are substantial in deepening the characters, especially in the first half of the book. Plotwise, it’s more to clean up and get rid of some odd syntactical things I apparently like to do.