Wednesday, March 05, 2014


I JUST FINISHED A RATHER INTENSE TWENTY-FOUR HOUR PERIOD, where I stayed up until 2:00 a.m last night, and was back at it early again this morning, in order to give the second book in my trilogy, The Tattooed Seer, the once over before sending it off to Lorina Stephens at Five Rivers Publishing. I hadn't given the manuscript much recent attention as I've been working on the first draft of The Tattooed Rose (the third book), for the past six months. That old adage, 'be careful what you wish for' is certainly true. I was wondering where Seer fit into Five Rivers' 2014 publishing schedule and inquired yesterday, only to have Lorina e-mail me back, asking me to send her the manuscript as soon as possible. With luck, the book will be out this August, or possibly this October.

It's amazing the small errors that jump out at you, when you haven't looked at a book for at least half a year. I needed to change several things because of the edits I had made in The Tattooed Witch, (mostly continuity issues). For example, Miriam's father, Ephraim, was originally called Avram, and The Tattooed Seer still reflected that. Other details I had to change: the type of sailing ship upon which Miriam and company embark at the end of Seer; after a lot of research I decided it would be a Spanish nao. There were other niggling details - Oxford commas, Canadian spelling, and so on. I found it very interesting to re-read what I had written so long ago. In spite of the same cast of characters, The Tattooed Seer is a very different book from The Tattooed Witch.

In Witch, Miriam is still relatively new to her world and the dilemmas in which she finds herself; by the end, she takes on a mantle of leadership, but she is mostly untried. The relationships that she experienced in Witch with Joachin and Alonso are still fairly tame as far as relationships go. In The Tattooed Seer, those relationships deepen and become much more mature. Seer is a grittier novel as a result, although 'gritty' is also a description that has been attributed to Witch, (so it may be a matter of degree). In my mind, Seer is the darker of the two books and the themes are much more adult.

As for The Tattooed Rose, the one I'm working on now, it's an entirely different book again - the first half of it is less about relationships and more about survival. Rose has been the hardest book for me to write. The amount of research I've had to do, and must still do, has been huge. I've also had a constant struggle with the plot, mostly because the first half of the book is tense; survival issues often are. I also have three sub-plots to juggle - Miriam's story, Joachin's, and Rana's, but this isn't so different from what I attempted to do with The Tattooed Seer. Although it seems like a lot, I know I can do it and it will all work out.

Anyway, revisiting The Tattooed Seer was a good thing to do and it gave me an unexpected gift. I think it's as good a book as the debut novel, possibly even better. It's also a pleasure to read what you've written, and to surprise yourself by saying, "Wow! I wrote that? That's good!" (As an editor, I can't help being a critic, so in telling you this, I'm not trying to pump myself up. I'm just saying that this is a refreshing change for me. I suffer from a strange disconnect, where I never quite believe I'm capable of actually writing anything well. I know, very weird, despite what others have told me, but there it is.) The other thing that was great was to have this sense of completion. I've found when you're writing a trilogy, you feel as if you're never done. You're in a non-ending writing marathon which is tiring and daunting. Lately, I've had to fight a lot with procrastination.

So, getting The Tattooed Seer ready for Lorina was a great thing for any number of reasons, and the book will be out this summer, hopefully. And a final good thing? I expect to break 50,000 words on The Tattooed Rose by the end of this week, if I can just figure out how to kill off a major secondary character in a non-obvious way. I need some inspiration. Fingers crossed.

- Susan.

(If you haven't read The Tattooed Witch, you can read the first two chapters from my previous post here:

OR, you can read the first four chapters from Amazon here:

And if you decide to support me in my efforts by buying the book, I really appreciate it. The Tattooed Witch is available in both print and e-book. Links for its purchase from Amazon, Kobo, and Five Rivers Publishing can be found on the banner to your right. Thank you, very much!


  1. Congratulations! That's an amazing achievement. Looking forward to reading the whole trilogy!

    You must be looking forward to holding the The Tattooed Seer in your hands, that will be thrilling!

    Good luck with your, er, murder / accidental death / fatal illness of your supporting character.