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Announcements Author's Notes (Potential Spoilers Ahead)

My Chameleon Mate Author’s Note

Look what’s just released!!!

Vera

I accidentally launched an escape pod on my miserable honeymoon—with me on it—and crash-landed in the middle of an alien jungle on a forbidden “emerging civilization” planet, breaking about a hundred Cosmic Syndicate laws.

Oh, and I robbed a hot lizard guy with sexy black eyes, the most colorful scales I’ve ever seen, and a powerful prehensile tail that curls up like a cinnamon roll..

Even though I can’t understand anything he’s saying, my new reptilian friend turns out to be as sweet as honey and spicier than the seasoning he used on the meat I stole from his camp, and after he risks his own life to save mine, he decides he wants to keep me.

I’m perfectly okay with that, but I have a feeling my philandering husband will object.

Author’s Note:

This sweet story takes place in the Iriduan Test Subjects universe, but doesn’t feature any of the characters from that series. It is also a shorter, lighter read than the books in that series. You don’t need to have read that series to follow along with this story.

Content Warning can be found here.

Spoilers Ahead!!!

This blog is the Author’s Note for my book, My Chameleon Mate, book one of my Iriduan Universe Love Stories series. I used to include long author’s notes like this in the backs of my books, but realized that not all readers would want to read them, so I decided to make them available on my blog instead for those who are interested.

Please note that this blog does contain spoilers for My Chameleon’s Mate and is best read after reading the book.

My Chameleon Mate was a very special project for me, because it was a much-needed vacation from the more complex, intense, high-pressure work I’ve been writing lately.

After writing Uriale’s Redemption, which had been a long time in the making, had many expectations behind it, and had a villain I needed to redeem (one who was a truly bad guy at times in previous books), I felt wiped out creatively. I had poured so much of myself into that book (and still believe it’s probably the best one I’ve ever written) that I fell into a bit of an after-WIP slump where I was very bummed out and really struggled for about a week just to find my spark again.

I still have two major projects on my schedule for this year, but both of them will be very mentally and emotionally labor-intensive because they deal with existing series and existing characters with fairly complex backgrounds, so I felt like I couldn’t even begin to tackle either project after finishing my last WIP and being left in such a state.

To refocus my creativity, I began to sketch out ideas for a new alien species, and my mind kept latching onto the chameleon because it was a reptile inspiration I hadn’t really explored to its fullest, though I’d used the scale color shifting for Tak from my Into the Dead Fall series. To further inspire myself, I searched for images of chameleons, and found so many incredible ones, including an absolutely gorgeous color photo of the panther chameleon that I found breathtaking in its colors and patterns.

Licensed from Adobe Stock

And that’s how Khamai (KAH-my) was born. (His name is derived from the Greek root words for Chameleon :))

I expanded on Khamai and the Prdayu (Prah-DAY-ewe) as I further researched chameleons and discovered how fascinating they truly are, although I must note that I took many liberties with the details. My Prdayu are not actually intended to be accurate representations of terrestrial chameleons. I know this should be obvious because they are fictional, sapient, bipedal aliens, but every once in a while, I get a comment that I got some detail of biology wrong on my aliens and I need to “do research.” XD

I had so much fun building out Khamai’s biology, culture, and world, and I even had to add a “slurry” from which “nutrients” (in the form of dendrobs this time) were harvested, which was inspired by Abigail from Kingdom of Thirst and her podcast, especially episode 88 about The Scorpion’s Mate, which I found highly entertaining and definitely recommend. (You’ll know the reference if you listen to the podcast. XD)

Khamai’s character design made me realize that I have a thing for quills on lizardmen XD. The Prdayu is the third species I’ve created with spines or “quills” on their heads. The Akrellians and yan-kanat are the other two, but even Tak, who is Histri’i, has a ridge of spiny points on his head.

This is what an Akrellian looks like–this is Tirel from The Warrior’s Mate, done by Sam Griffin.

Also, I really like reptilians. Did I mention that? XD

Of course, Khamai is the first lizard-inspired alien of mine that has two… other assets. 😉 (I had to go back over my reference sketches—oh yes, I have sketches—to double check that, no pun intended) Nahash, my naga hero, is the only other character with that feature. 😀

I know! I’m surprised too! XD

What’s with the fins, you might be wondering? Lemme just say, the SFR genre has been so creative with…ahem, assets, that it’s a real bee-otch to come up with something I don’t think has been done before. My concept sketches get stranger and stranger as I struggle to come up with something new and different. XD So, I added some fins—I’m not gonna get too deep into the inspiration for those (puns! Puns everywhere!!)—and I thought, hey, I haven’t seen this before, let’s do it.

Maybe someday I’ll show that final sketch somewhere. 😀  My newsletter subscribers would be the ones to see it if I did. (I did show it…somewhere. Subscribers to my newsletter can find out where and get a peek.)

And of course, a chameleon-inspired alien species had to have the curly tail. I love the tail. It’s so darned cute!

Khamai’s understanding of his world and his place in it was refreshingly simple, and I loved being inside his head and just enjoying that perspective. To Khamai, magic exists in those things he can’t explain, and because of that, he still can find wonder in what Vera (and those of us who use computers and smartphones every day) finds commonplace and mundane.

Sometimes, I need a reminder that the things I take for granted are truly wondrous.

Vera was a return to writing a younger, less cynical heroine for me, though she’d been no less hurt in her relationships than many of my older characters. I loved her naivety, even as my heart broke for how she was taken advantage of because of it. I also really loved her character arc, and how she grew throughout this story to find confidence in herself. Khamai’s unconditional love and support gave her the right conditions to develop into the self-assured woman she would become by the epilogue.

Vera got herself a haircut. 😀 Art by me.

Again, I needed her uplifting arc, and I felt cheered by her development as I wrote her story. I also needed her little emotional outbursts and all the little flaws and vulnerabilities she displayed. My previous heroine was by no means perfect, but Ellana was much savvier and more competent in survival than Vera is, so I found Vera’s “softness”—I guess would be the most flattering description—to be as refreshing as Khamai’s primitive perspective on life.

I love these two together. They compliment each other, and their love isn’t complicated by any past histories or dark secrets. Their romance was delightful to write, and relaxing, like enjoying a light dessert after a rich, full-course meal.

Cupid was another chance to show emotional development in a species that was intended to be completely emotionless. If you follow me on social media, then you may have learned by now that the grays are my favorite alien “type,” though I love my reptilians too. (It’s a very slim margin between them.)

I love putting the grays into my stories, and I love to explore the idea of them changing over time because of exposure to the many different species they were designed to observe and study, transforming into something their creators never intended. The fact that they are enigmatic is one of the biggest appeals for me, so it’s always intriguing to get inside the head of one of my gray characters.

Cupid and his crew, and his mission to bring Happily-Ever-Afters to humans and extraterrestrials in the Iriduan Universe, will be providing the framework for this series if it continues, allowing me to tell stories that are completely standalone, while still maintaining a strong thread between them.

I have so many ideas for the series, and so many characters I’ve wanted to expand upon that would be a perfect fit for a series like this. I have no idea how this book will be received, and whether there is interest in the series will really be the deciding factor for if I continue to publish it, although I might write stories for it once in a while regardless, just for my own sake, because it did help me sort of “recover” from the more involved storytelling I did in Uriale’s Redemption. I’m sure I’ll be writing more intense projects like that in the future too and will need little breaks.

I’m currently in the process of rereading my Iriduan Test Subjects series to refresh all the details in preparation for The Director’s Mate, which is one of those two projects I mentioned that is still on my schedule for this year. I got especially inspired by Cupid and crew and realized I needed another romance featuring grays in my life. They often play villain or facilitator in Science Fiction Romance, and rarely play hero, so it’s ground that isn’t already well-tread.

I like to wander off the beaten path. 😀

Roz and crew are the perfect group to really explore the worldbuilding I did for the Lusians (think “illusion”, then take off the “I” for pronunciation). Though I touched on the cohorts and how they operate with Gray’s stories (from my Into the Dead Fall series), this will be the first time I’m working with multiple grays in the same cohort, and they are all different, despite being clones. I’m practically rubbing my hands together in anticipation of some interesting reveals with this upcoming book.

That being said, I have no idea when it will be done. It’s important to me to get the details right, so I need to update my series bible and refresh my memory by reading the first eight books before diving in, and my reading speed isn’t what it used to be, especially when I’m also taking notes the whole time.

Kevos’s book from my Children of the Ajda series (which is still only one book, lol) is also up for this year, though I have moved it to after The Director’s Mate. Other projects may slip in between them, or I might write one concurrently, as I have done in the past. It really all just depends on my energy level and motivation. The more excitement my readers and fans have for a series or a book, the more motivation I feel to work on it.

I love to know what my readers want to see next, so tell me in the comments what characters you’d like to see get their own books, because I have ideas for all of them, so knowing which ones fans want helps me to focus my energy. Thank you so much for checking out my author’s note, and (I hope) the book, My Chameleon Mate. As always, I greatly appreciate your encouragement and support!

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Author's Notes (Potential Spoilers Ahead)

Author’s Note for The Scorpion’s Mate

This note was originally published in the back of my book, The Scorpion’s Mate, but I have decided to move all of my longer, more involved author’s notes to my blog instead, so they don’t take up pages in my books that would be better served for a teaser chapter :D.

Still, if you’re a fan of the story, characters, and/or series, you might enjoy reading these notes, so check it out below. Please be aware that some of these notes may include spoilers for the book.

When I decided to break up The Scorpion’s Mate and Into the Dead Fall into separate books instead of offering them as one collection, I wanted to add a little more to each for my readers, and with Into the Dead Fall, I ended up adding significantly more to the story.

However, when I sat down to go through The Scorpion’s Mate, I realized that there wasn’t all that much to add that wouldn’t end up spoiling events in future books of the series.

I know there were some readers who felt frustrated by how little was revealed about the state of the universe and other characters at the end of The Scorpion’s Mate, and I’m sorry about that. Believe me, I would love to share all the secrets! It kills me to dole them out slowly over time, instead of talking about them all at once. On the other hand, I know the best stories are the ones you anticipate, with mysteries yet to discover.

I did add a little more to this book to help explain certain events from Claire’s perspective that will happen in the next book, and I hope you enjoy that small addition.

Other than that, know that The Scorpion’s Mate ended up for the most part unchanged from the original published version, and I think the reason for that is that I told the story as it was meant to be the first time around, and even in writing the sequels, I didn’t see anything I needed to add to the first book except for a few small areas.

For Into the Dead Fall, I’d discovered while writing the sequel that there was part of the story that would’ve fit better into the first book, and I went ahead and added it.

I hope you enjoyed reading The Scorpion’s Mate as much as I did writing it. I love to challenge expectations, and I absolutely adore heroes who fall outside the “norm” for the romance genre. This series pushes boundaries, and I’m aware it won’t be for everyone. I knew the market would be smaller for alien heroes like mine, but I went ahead and shared these stories anyway, because I wanted everyone who was craving something different and unusual to find what they were looking for. I hope—even though these stories are about the kind of creepy crawlies that haunt some people’s nightmares—you might find something to love in these heroes, just as I have.

Because sometimes, monsters really are more fun! 😉

Nemon and Thrax have existed in some form or another for many years in my head now, but always together, working in a partnership—usually as mercenaries. This final version of them pleases me the most, because it captures them in a far more primitive state than I initially intended when I first dreamed them up, but it really worked for their character designs.

Their “friendship” has always been somewhat contentious, but also always a strong one, and in every iteration of their stories, they had each other’s back, despite their personal issues. I loved being able to write their initial meeting as two predators eyeing each other suspiciously who end up having to work together.

In Sammi Griffin’s brilliant art, Nemon is right there lurking. I wonder how many people noticed. ;D

Someday, I’d like to share with my readers excerpts from conversations they had in other versions of their stories, just because I always got a kick out of their attitudes towards each other. Until then, I hope you’ll check out The Kraken’s Mate to learn more about Nemon, and find out if the lonely male finally gets his mate.

 The first eight books in the series are now available exclusively on Amazon, with the ninth book hopefully coming this year (2022), but I can’t make any firm promises yet.

There’s a wider story going on in this series outside of the individual romances, and the sixth book contains a finale that I hope will blow your mind in the best way possible. On the journey to that finale, you’ll discover a new, unique couple with each book in the series and they get their HEA at the end of their book. I hope you’ll join me for this adventure!

And if you loved Thrax and his…unique attributes, you should definitely check out The Clone’s Mate, book eight in the series, because those evil Iriduans are up to no good again, and when they realized they couldn’t recapture Thrax, they decided to clone him.

The Clone’s Mate isn’t directly related to the overarching story of the other books, save for The Scorpion’s Mate, so it could be read out of order without causing too much confusion. It’s RH, unlike The Scorpion’s Mate, and two of those dastardly Iriduans end up ensnared by their own hubris—and another unconventional romance heroine, as does a very intriguing Thrax clone, who is significantly different from his predecessor—except where it counts…his heart. I’m talking about his heart! What were you thinking? XD

Also, although Into the Dead Fall is no longer included with The Scorpion’s Mate as a “bonus” book, I hope you’ll check it out. I’ve added additional story that I felt would explain some things that weren’t in the original version that I included with the initial release version of The Scorpion’s Mate.

Into the Dead Fall is the start of another alien romance series that features plucky human heroines meeting their mates after being sucked into a dimensional portal and transported to a post-apocalyptic alien world. There are five books in that series and the overarching story is complete, though there is a spin-off featuring their offspring called Children of the Dead Fall. 

I have a new book in the works that is nearly ready to publish, and the good news is that it takes place in the Iriduan Test Subjects universe! This new book is the first in a planned series that takes a lighter tone than the ITS series, but still features all the different alien species—and the humans who have now found themselves on a galactic stage after believing they were alone in the universe for so long.

This series will be titled “Iriduan Universe Love Stories” and is very romance-focused, featuring shorter stories (still novel length, around 70k words versus 100k +) with plenty of heat. I’ll be sharing more about book 1, “My Chameleon Mate”, very soon, but I can say that not only is there a whole new species in this series, but also another Lusian cohort getting their three-fingered hands into everything. XD

 After that book is published, I’m looking at jumping back into The Director’s Mate, although first, I am doing a reread of the entire series to make sure everything is fresh in my mind. Roz and crew are so much fun for me to write, and Ava is a true romantic optimist, which is exactly what I feel like I need right now.

The Scorpion’s Mate is the first of my books to reach 1,000 reviews and ratings on Amazon! I’m over the moon with excitement about that! If you’ve ever left any review or rating on this or any of my other books, I thank you so much. It makes a huge difference in visibility for my books, and the positive reviews and ratings really make my day!

For a limited time, I’m celebrating with a giveaway that is Scorpion’s Mate-themed that you can sign up for if you’re a U.S. resident over 18 (I’m sorry I couldn’t do International this time, but I’m exploring options for future giveaways.)

The giveaway ends on July 26th, 2022 at 12AM EST, and if you read this before then, you can sign up here. Full official entry rules can be found here.

I love to hear from my readers! You all are so incredibly awesome with your support and encouragement, and I can’t thank you enough. Your excitement for the worlds and characters I create truly motivates me!

I try to spend a little time on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok each week, but I’m not as active on social media as I probably should be. If I ever miss a post or comment from you to me, I apologize profusely, as it is never intentional, but rather just due to the sometimes overwhelming task of keeping up with social media that caused me to miss it. You can also send me an email at susantrombleyauthor@gmail.com.

I also like to add exclusive content to my newsletters as a thank you to those who sign up. That content could be anything from sneak peeks, to excerpts from unpublished work, to character art (including links to the spicy kind I can’t share on social media ;)), character interviews, or whatever else I think my readers would like to see. I also occasionally add giveaways that are exclusive to my newsletter subscribers.

If you’re interested in receiving these newsletters (one a month, plus any announcements), sign up on my homepage at www.susan-trombley.com.

Thank you so much for checking out this Author’s Note on my blog, and if you’ve read the book, thank you for your support. Let me know in the comments below what characters you’d like to see in future books (for this series or any of my others), since I take fan excitement into consideration when shuffling around my many projects to work on the next one.

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Author's Notes (Potential Spoilers Ahead)

Author’s Note for Uriale’s Redemption

Available now on Amazon in both ebook and print!

Ever since I published The Scorpion’s Mate, I’ve included long, perhaps somewhat rambling, Author’s Notes at the end of each book, in the hopes of giving my readers a little more insight into the inspiration behind the book they just read, some of the themes and intentions, my writing process for that book, and what I might have planned for current characters and future books.

I know that some of my readers and fans will read these notes because they often reply to questions I will ask in them, however, I’m never quite sure whether readers in general are interested in these increasingly longer and more detailed Author’s Notes, and I realized that when I said all that I intended to about a book, I would often end up with pages for an Author’s Note that I’m not even certain the majority of my readers are interested in.

I don’t want to take up pages upon pages of a book with content that doesn’t interest the readers who purchased it, so ultimately, I chose to keep my Author’s Notes much shorter and to the point, basically giving thanks (because seriously, thank you to everyone who reads my books!), and then giving an update on current and future projects in regards to that series, which are all things I would want to know as a reader.

However, I still want to share so much with my fans who are interested in all those things I used to put into my Author’s Notes.

Since I revived my blog with the intention to blog more frequently, I realized I had a perfect solution at hand. I could share those extended Author’s Notes with my fans by posting them as a blog, which will not only go out to my blog subscribers, but will also be available on my website, and indeed, I plan to post the ones I’ve written in the past as well as any new ones for future books, including the Author’s Note that I would have included with my latest book, Uriale’s Redemption, which you’ll find below.

For those who are unfamiliar with my usual Author’s Note rambling, I basically talk about all that I said above, in varying degrees, and sometimes add some more personal details. I am generally a private person, so I don’t share a lot on social media about myself and my life, however, these Author’s Notes sometimes explain a bit more about me in regards to my inspiration and life experiences, as well as my writing process (which sometimes changes, depending on the book), so even if you’re not interested in the book in question, you might find something interesting in these notes.

However, please be aware that there might be spoilers ahead for the associated books.

Author’s Note for Uriale’s Redemption

Sneaky peeky at some incredible artwork I commissioned from Zakuga. 😀

For those who are new to the Shadows in Sanctuary series, you may not be aware that I promised Uriale’s book five years ago…and then failed to deliver, much to my own chagrin.

In fact, it was because of this broken promise, boldly proclaimed in all my Author’s Notes for the previous books in the series, that I stopped giving myself firm deadlines for future books. Now, I will only give a potential release date when the first draft is either finished or nearly there.

In every other case, I keep my release plans very vague. I really hate going back on my promises, because my word is important to me. My fans have given me their time and their trust, and I deeply respect and appreciate that and seek to be worthy of it at every opportunity.

So, since Uriale’s Redemption changed how I do things, why then, didn’t I write it when I promised I would? Or the next year? Or the next? You get the idea, lol.

The truth is that I tried. Multiple times!

I even wrote half the book, then scrapped the entire manuscript, around fifty thousand words, which represents weeks of work for me. Though this isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this (I tell my Scorpion’s Mate saga in that Author’s Note), this time was particularly frustrating, because I had felt confident in the story and had even commissioned a cover in a sadly unrealistically optimistic belief that this would get done in time.

This is the old cover I never got to use. As you can see, it was supposed to be book 4 XD

Alas (I love that word and rarely get to use it, lol), I not only didn’t meet my own self-imposed deadline, I grew skittish at even trying to write Uriale’s book again, and quite frankly, pretty much gave up on my villain-to-hero story, even though it has to be my all-time favorite romance trope. (I did do it in two other series, though, so there’s that :D)

The thing was, I loved Uriale as a character and still wanted him to have his own book. His arrogance made him fascinatingly flawed, and there was a certain degree of tragedy to his back story that I wanted to share, because I like to show motivation in a villain, or at least go into why they declined from what they no doubt saw as a heroic position. Uriale was a perfect chance to do that, and ultimately, I hope that I succeeded in his book. I didn’t want either him or Anata to be written as cardboard-cutout villains, but rather as broken souls, giving in to corruption and hedonism to deal with past pain and trauma.

But back then, I was truly struggling with getting Uriale to cooperate with my plots. He has a strong will and a mind of his own, and he knew exactly what he wanted, but I wasn’t in on the plan. XD

Something just wasn’t working in his story, and it wasn’t until I wrote Carnifex’s story, in Executioner’s Grace, which ended up becoming book 4 instead, that I finally figured out what that was.

Micah.

Uriale’s genetically engineered progeny simply wasn’t old enough prior to Carnifex’s book to be much of a character in his own right, and he and Uriale had to have some kind of reckoning before Uriale could embrace his son and claim him as his own. The fact that Ellana, (whom I had planned for Uriale from book one, but had changed that plan a couple times), was raising Micah now made it possible to bring them all together once and for all. (And oh, how I love the way it turned out!)

While writing Executioner’s Grace, Uriale’s story simply unfolded for me, all of it laid bare for me to get my act together and write the book already. Coupled with fans of the series eagerly begging for Uriale’s book, I knew I needed to buckle down and get it done.

And whew! It was a ride! Writing Uriale’s Redemption hollowed me out, I’m not gonna lie. I was so wrapped up, so fully consumed by the story that when it was done, I crashed like I was coming down from a high, and ended up feeling depressed for about a week after I typed “The End” on the first draft of the manuscript.

I finally came out of my after-finishing slump (I’ve had them before, just not as intense) and dived in to tackle the revisions and edits. Again, I was consumed by the story, getting so wrapped up in it at times that I struggled to pay attention to the task at hand.

I love this story, even though I can admit that I hated writing it! It was such a struggle, such an all-consuming challenge to tell Uriale’s story after all these years, that I wanted to throw my hands up and quit so many times, but I also couldn’t walk away from the story and characters, feeling compelled to return to my manuscript day after day, for nearly two months.

I knew this particular series had a much smaller fanbase than my Iriduan Test Subjects series, so I wasn’t expecting huge returns on those two months of effort, but it was worth it anyway to give my loyal fans, those who love this series, the story they’ve been waiting for all this time.

I seriously appreciate all of you who have contacted me through social media or email to beg for more from this series. I had let it die after Jessabelle’s Beast years ago, and resurrected it only after getting so much encouragement to continue, and given the two books that followed and how proud I am of both of them, I am very grateful that I did so, and I have my fans to thank!

I think Uriale’s Redemption is some of my best work, writing-wise. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, as it is fairly complex and gets a little dark in places, but I could picture this story so clearly, and I felt like waiting five years to write it meant that it got the best of my skills put towards creating it.

I’m still learning and growing as a writer, so I’m not trying to say it’s the most amazing book ever…but, yeah, I am. It’s the most amazing book ever! (At least to me. You gotta love what you create 😉 )

I hope you agree that the book was at least good. In fact, I’m greedy enough to hope that you loved it!

The future of this series is uncertain at the moment. It honestly doesn’t get much attention, though when readers do discover it, they often contact me to tell me how much they love it and how they want more, and for that, I am deeply appreciative! That kind of feedback really inspires me and makes me eager to work on the next book in a series. Though I’m a professional writer, indie as I am, who makes money with these books, they’re still creative works that take a lot out of me, and I’m also emotionally connected to them (I’m only human, I can’t treat a story that took heart and soul to write like a widget from an assembly line), so when I receive awesome messages or emails that praise the series and beg for more, it has a huge impact on me.

I have many more ideas and even outlines for stories in this series, and I would love to write all of them, though realistically speaking, I couldn’t do it in my lifetime, especially since the possibilities only grow with each new book, so I have to focus on what my fans want next.

That being said, let me know in the comments which characters from the series you’d like to get their story! Fan feedback helps me decide what I’ll work on next for a series.

As for what I’m working on at the moment, I was supposed to take a break from writing for a while, because this book wiped me out so much that I felt overwhelmed. However, I started playing around with some concept art sketching of character ideas, and came up with a chameleon hero that I decided should have a story of his own. (I have a TikTok now, and I posted a video of painting this guy there :D)

Loving this character, but he’s so challenging to paint with all those colors!

Since I wanted to make it a lighter read with less complexity than a book like Uriale’s Redemption, it’s been a much more relaxed experience writing this new book, which will also be much shorter. I’m aiming for a light, steamy read that incorporates a ton of romance tropes, particularly SFR, and hopefully puts them all together in a fun, very entertaining way that my fans will enjoy. I’m really leaning in to the tropey-ness on this one. 😀 I love the romance genre, and I love all the associated tropes of it, as well as the science fiction tropes that also occur frequently in this book.

After I finish this WIP, I plan on actually taking that break, XD before I dive into one of the other two books I’ve been planning for this year, Ava’s book, and Kevos’s book.

Thank you so much for reading my Author’s Note for Uriale’s Redemption, and if you read the book, thank you for taking the time to check it out!