Hello readers! What a good few months it’s been!
I was never actually planning on making a post mortem post for Spades after it released, instead I was planning on posting a bunch of my world building notes– starting with a list of historical figures and events that inspired things in Wonderland.
That post is still coming, and later today you’ll be able to join me on this blog for campnano as well, but this post? Well, you have to thank my mother for this. She made a comment about a week ago saying that I would probably have to clear things up and it stuck with me, echoing in my head like wind through the basement of haunted house.
And so, we’ll start with the largely none spoilery things here, and then I will put a complimentary spoilers ahead image for those of you who have not read and a handy dandy image to let you know when they’re done in case but you want to comment– but let’s get into Pick a Card.
How many books will be in Pick a Card and when will the next one come out?
There are five books in Pick a Card, and I’ve hinted at the order for a while now in my long strings of emojis. ♣️♦️♠️♥️🃏 The next book is Alice and the Prison of Hearts, and we should start hearing about it towards the middle of April.
With this book, my intention is to get it as close as possible to Alice in the Book of the Joker (I’m workshopping the title), because the ending of Hearts is… Well, it’s not one that I feel readers will really be able to sit on for a long time. With my handy dandy poll, I asked the question who is your favorite, and then saw that alarmingly someone who polled really well was gonna have a…………….. rough time. So, uh, in interest of not being put out to stake– I’m trying to get those two books relatively close together.
Is the Neverland book still a go?
I’m leaning towards no, but we’ll just pop a poll right here:
I obviously love writing books, and I love looking at things through different lenses but, at the end of the day, I want to write things people want to read. If I don’t really think there’s a market for something or that it’s not something that I’m actively seeking out myself in the romantic fantasy sphere (like an Alice in Wonderland retelling that’s a little less gritty and a little more nifty), then I’m not likely to pursue it as a fulltime project. I’ve not seen a really huge interest in Peter Pan retellings like mine lately as I’ve been plotting it out, and Pick a Card’s styling has made it a really high effort series.
This doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for me doing Peterpan or other retellings in the future (Shout out in the comments if you have one you’d like to see me do!), Pick a Card was actually initially one of my side passion projects that grew into something more. This just means that for right now I’m putting it on the back burner as we charge into a longer steamy New Adult academic rivalry romance book, and possibly some other pirates for summer or a milder tone urban fantasy!
What sort of fantasy is Pick a Card? (High, Mid, so forth)
Pick a Card is whimsical fantasy in my words, and takes inspiration from the fantasy stylings of Diana Wynne, Shannon Hale, Erin Morgenstern, and Charlie Holmberg.
It has semi lyrical styling in some portions in reference to the original book and essentially has been approached conceptually/magic system wise like this:
I think this is fun and therefore we’re doing it and I don’t care if it makes sense to you– it’s Wonderland.The magic system summed up
Also math is the highest, most difficult form of magic in Wonderland.
This is because I am bad at it and it seems magical to me.
I’m pretty sure that in the future, I would like to approach all series with the same level of whimsy as I have Pick a Card.
Give us a hint more about the upcoming series, you know, the one after Alice?
Here, take this graphic that I was supposed to post on my instagram and then forgot about.
Isn’t this post going to have spoilers?
Yes, now avert your eyes. I have marked the danger zones accordingly.
Let’s talk THAT scene.
Actually, there’s two that scenes I guess, so direct yourself accordingly to hear about either one.
Let’s talk about sex.
Yes, there was, in fact, a sex scene. A full sex scene. This is because Alice is not, in fact, Young Adult. We’re doing New Adult here, kids.
It actually wasn’t originally going to be included, but then there were the initially technical difficulties and I fought really hard to justify adding it back in before the book was released. I knew from the beginning that Pick a Card was going to have sexual content, thus the audience shift, and I knew how I wanted to approach it– it was never going to be someone who didn’t believe that they were doing and being the best they could for Alice.
The funny thing was that in the original inception of the series, the scene was Claude. Actually– the funny thing is just the original inception of the series in general here. The primary love interest for these first three books was initially going to be Thomas and Kaeden was the antagonist and Alice’s opposite in every way– but then a problem arose. He was too damn cute like that.
I really liked the way that Alice and Kaeden played off each other as opposites for a long time, and I eventually came to the conclusion that they had more to gain standing on the same front for these three books than apart, which made me decide that Thomas, who shares so many of Alice’s traits just wrapped up with a more presentable bow, should have been the antagonist. But even then, Kaeden wasn’t the main love interest for these three books. It was going to be Claude in that iteration, and then Fitz, and then another Card, and then Gilbert reaching for Alice while she was in Wonderland– But god there was just something about that shy boy. The moment I wrote him in the library, my mind was made up, I had to get him screen time however I could– And from there, the rest is history. (And also backstory given in the Prison of Hearts… You’re going to have a great time learning about the Hart family, and why he most certainly should not love Alice.)
OR, less history, now current plot.
I wanted to keep this scene in because I felt like it just showed the readers who much their relationship was developing, raised the stakes a little more, and was different, okay? I liked that they were happy, I liked the laughter, I liked Alice’s dorky little declarations– I felt like it showed something about Alice and Kaeden that I didn’t want to lose; the fact that they’re still a bit young, a little dumb, and growing together. The fact that they’re so happy and fall into doing something like that in just a matter of touches felt, to me, like just a little prickle of the person who Kaeden would want to be and a sliver of the person who Alice probably fears that she’s losing. Also it made me happy sad to write. Which I know is dumb of me but whatever.
You’ll probably get a little more on Kaeden and Alice’s repetitive attempts to get each other to stay and to keep each other’s attention in Kaeden’s prologue in a day or two once it get back from editing. Kaeden’s prologue is also a leap into his thoughts during the first book in preparation for Thomas’s prologue which… my god, it kind of reads like a little manifesto right now, and takes place later on in the books.
You’ll probably also see a bonus prologue from Eleanor’s perspective released sometime between Hearts and Joker (Alice, the Joke’s on You…? Alice, Trumped?, Alice in the Book of Jokes– actually, that one’s kind of good.) Eleanor’s prologue will elaborate a little bit on Reginald and Cornelius’s backstories, and I am currently stabbing myself in the hand not to make it a novella.
Let’s talk about the mirror scene.
Oh yeah, the mirror scene.
I’ve gotten a lot of emails about the mirror scene in the past few days, it’s been a time. I, quite frankly, like the attention.
For a really long time, I knew how every single book was going to end except for Spades. Alice was always going to be trapped, the Jabberwock was always going to be ‘defeated’, but I could not for the life of me figure out how I was going to end Spades to set all of the cards in the right position for Hearts. Like I knew that Alice and Kaeden were going to have a falling out, and Thomas was going to weasel his way back in, but I just couldn’t figure out how.
UNTIL a small part of my brain gave in and remembered the Brother’s Grimm movie from the early 2000s that I was obsessed with as a child– THE ONE THAT TRAUMATIZED ME. (I still have vivid nightmares about it to this day.)
And then I said, what’s worse for one’s mental health than a mirror? Perfect, I’ll give one to the Queen of Hearts.
It’s not the source of her madness, of course, I just hate mirrors and wanted to make one the ultimate villain in Wonderland because I am terrified of them because of that movie. (This is not at all the reason. All of this is a lie. I have no idea why I did what I did, just that I figured I should after having a nightmare about that damn evil queen and her mirror spooking Heath Ledger.)
Anyway, I promise you all will be explained soon and that Kaeden has an actual reason, whether or not it’s good remains to be seen. Until then, enjoy the scene that made me cry and shriek with actual fear as a child– and that I continued to watch over and over again. (I had a crush on Heath Ledger so I’ve seen this movie a lot. Also this post has a weird amount of asides?)
Before we go, let’s talk campnano!
Did you know that while November is national novel writing month, April and July are sorta its dirty, shoeless cousins? They are.
You see, some people write books more than once a year, dear readers, and I’m one of them. So, in the spirit of Nano-ing things, I’m doing a bunch of campnano posts telling you how I come up with my idea this year and showing progress.
Will I be too ashamed to show this book as well like I was with the Troll King’s Bride? Maybe. Hopefully not. I want to release something wild so let’s see.
We’ll be doing the same deal here, with the book hopefully being available on booksirens once I’m done for you to read and review prior to release– as well as a little added bonus here, a bunch of my series starters will be on sale throughout the month of April in the US and UK. These will be timed out randomly and won’t last for more than a week per a book, but you’ll be able to catch titles like the Barren Sea, The Night King, the Complete Chronicles of Whynne Omnibus, and Alice in the Land of Clovers for one dollar during these sales, so you can free up space in your kindle unlimited libraries. I wanted to do this to really further make myself accessible to the people who read my nano blogposts as well as to reward my readers.
During campnano I’ll also be working on other projects and two timing it, but I will have a progress tracker at the bottom of my posts for everyone who wants to keep track of me and walk you through the whole process. In fact, later today you’ll see the first blog post from that, where I’ll be talking about how I decide on ideas for nanowrimo, discussing my various ideas for campnano, and also inform you guys on how my lactose intolerance has ruined my yogurt loving life since last Nano.
This post wasn’t even supposed to end up being posted today, but I lost it in my drafts and thought that it was already up. Whoops.
One thought on “The Future of Pick a Card, and More on Alice in the Palace of Spades — Out now!”
My goodness, I love your work. I can’t wait to read to see what happens in Alice and the prison of hearts.
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