Introducing Unity – Book 5 in the Celestial Serenade!

Introducing Unity – Book 5 in the Celestial Serenade!

You’d think it would get easier to write these release announcements. In truth, it gets harder and harder to talk about a series without revealing spoilers. As excited as I am to share this story with the world, I don’t want to inadvertently ruin anything for the people who have waited months to learn what happens next.

Time moves so quickly these days, I can hardly believe we’re midway through 2022. And even though I wrote most of the Celestial Serenade several years ago, I can hardly believe that 5 full installments of it are now drifting through the wild.

In some ways, it still feels like yesterday when I sat down to start weaving this crazy tale!

By now, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how much this series taught me about writing and editing, and the reasons why I ended up expanding first each book and later the series as a whole. I don’t want to bore you by going over those details again, but I still want this announcement to feel like more than just an advertisement.

While the wheels in my head were spinning over this milestone, it occurred to me that I haven’t talked much about the mechanical lessons this series has imparted to me. So please allow me to go full writing nerd for the next few minutes.

Naming Schemes

Writers spend a lot of time talking about story structure and how to map it. Titles, on the other hand, are really more of a marketing thing.

It took me a long time to figure out that novel titles end up becoming a part of the series brand. When you look at the covers for a series, you want the general look and feel to match, so you put most of the elements in the same positions or use the same patterns to evoke the overall atmosphere.

But you should also be able to glance at a series’ titles and tell that they are part of a cohesive unit.

If you look at the first 3 titles in the Celestial Serenade, you can tell I didn’t really do that. That’s largely because these titles (The End of All Things, Across the Void, After the Nightmare) were originally just parts of a larger book.

If you look at the trilogy titles (Symphony of the Stars, Song of the Spheres, Soul of the Sun), you can tell I had a grander plan.

The same is true for some of my other series though, ironically, I came up with most of those titles later. For example: Dreamers Do Lie and Life is But a Dream. (Clear theme there.)

Then we have Island of Lost Forevers, Crossroads of Frozen Eternity and Sea of Twisted souls. (In this case, I just tried to match the second two titles to the first one.)

It wasn’t really until I hit the second Celestial Serenade Trilogy that I got the hang of this. Hence: Duality, Unity and Harmony.

Incidentally, the titles for the final three novels are: Smooth Jazz, Careless Electronica and Headstrong Heavy Metal.

Embracing Theme

As you can probably tell, somewhere along the line I decided to really embrace the musical aspect of this composition. Each of the main titles for Song of the Spheres are musical terms, for instance.

But I decided to take this theme one step further. Instead of ‘chapters,’ the parts of Song of the Spheres are referred to as ‘stanzas.’ I also named each of these stanzas after a type of music or a musical instruction you might find on sheet music.

I first got this idea because I played on the band in high school. In isolation, some of the things you read on sheet music make really good titles. The best example is: Dal Segno Al Fine (which means ‘return to the sign then continue to the end’).

In order to make sure each ‘stanza’ in the Song of the Spheres trilogy had a properly evocative musical name, I spent hours poring over musical terms and types. This was made particularly difficult by the fact that pretty much all of them are in Italian and I speak not a word of the language outside the musical terms I learned in school.

Overall, I’m fairly pleased with my efforts. Fully embracing the musical theme for these books gives them a unique quality, even among my own work.

Will I do it again? Probably not to this extent. I mean, I love the idea of a fully themed work. But if I do it again, I’ll probably make sure the theme is in my native language.

Scene Cutting is an Art

I took a writing class awhile back that made some subtle but powerful points about scene and chapter breaks. Most writers tend to organize their scenes in episodic bursts. We think of the beginning of a confrontation and the end of that confrontation all as one unit. So the natural place to put a break is at the end of the confrontation, allowing you to skip to the next important bit of story.

And you should do that. I have often suggested as part of the outlining or drafting process to look for the natural breaks and start your organization there.

But this particular writer took that advice one step further and suggested that it is even better to create mini-cliffhangers within your work by cutting away in the midst of the tension.

If you look at movies and TV, this is exactly how they use tension to manage pacing. Once the main action heats up, it isn’t unusual to cut back and forth between different character teams during the climatic confrontation. Or sometimes with a TV series, a certain plot will fade into the background for an episode, leaving you wondering what’s going on with the characters involved.

I used to be uncomfortable with the idea of cutting away from a character while they were in mortal danger. But the more I’ve played around with the concept, the more I’ve come to realize that there’s a fine art to balancing tension and relief. The Celestial Serenade was the first time I felt I really applied the concept properly.

Of course, all that said, it is important to sometimes lighten the mood and give your characters and readers room to breathe.

I don’t want to say too much more – risk of spoilers and all! So without further adieu…

Unity is Available Now!

Two specters hope for rebirth.
Only one can survive.

While the Caltaran Empire hovered on the brink of collapse, one woman saw the end approaching. Sensing how things might end for her, Alrayia Larath laid her plans in the shadows, hoping the seeds she planted might one day bear fruit. She had no idea the triggering of her program might steal a young woman’s life.

As Gaia’s Caltaran doctors race to stabilize her condition, its source slowly comes to light. But no one knows whether or not the awakening of Alrayia’s old memories will cause damage to Gaia’s mind. She must fight alone to maintain her sanity among the new voices.

While Gaia lies on what might be her death bed, fighting to reconcile with a remnant from the past, Kantis must confront a more tangible shade.

Once a silent hero that provided salvation to the Caltaran Empire, Cerendi now threatens to enslave those he used to serve. United by the shared pain in their past, Kantis resolves to lead his old companion to the light – if he can be reached.

But it quickly becomes clear reasoning with this new enemy will not be as easy as Kantis anticipated. Leaving Kantis to choose whether he will mend the bridges of his past or burn them to cinders.

Grab your copy now!

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