Yesterday I finished the final content edit on Sea of Serpents (Sasha Strange #2) and today, between commissions, I’ll be tackling Valley of Dragons. Content edits are, of course, not the final, final edit, but they’re the most important. That’s the place where everything you’ve been putting into the series gels together (or doesn’t). I think it does for Sasha’s story, and I’m extremely pleased with the whole series. There will be one more line edit to check for spelling and grammatical errors, but I’ll be doing that on my Kindle–which, by the by, is a great place to do final line edits. If you have a Kindle, and you write, either professionally or just as a hobby, I strongly urge you to do your final line edit on it. You’ll find all kinds of little things you might otherwise miss on a computer screen.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Sasha and company as I prepare to say goodbye to them and move on to new projects. Sasha was born into the British aristocracy but she’s very much a tomboy, very sheltered and dreamy due to her father’s over-protectiveness. I think of her as a younger version of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, just without the guns or Botox. OK, Lara is more practical than dreamy, but Sasha experiences an interesting learning curve as she’s forced to “grow up” within the pages of the story. Can she be spoiled and bratty? I think so. She only finds her strength as she’s forced into independence and faces a number of difficult trials in order to survive on the Planet of Dinosaurs.
And she has great companions to help her along: Toby, her childhood friend who is crushing on her big time, Lord Sirius Quinn, carrying around all kinds of emotional baggage, and let’s not forget Newton, the prehistoric mammal that attaches himself to Sasha. You’ll also soon meet some new companions in the next book, including Naja, the wise, no-nonsense native girl (because all dinosaur stories must have native girls, it is a rule) and “Dotty,” which I’ll keep as a surprise for you dear readers. Naja was a treasure of a character, lightly based on Caroline Munroe’s character in At the Earth’s Core—actually, I do quite a lot of hat-tipping to that book and movie—Naja prepares the way for Sasha’s “growing up” almost more than any other character. Were it not for Naja, Sasha would never have been able to make the final decision on a lifemate.
And we can’t forget the stars of the story: the dinosaurs! “She” is probably one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever encountered. She came about largely due to the old Land of the Lost television series. While everyone was shuddering at the sight of “Grumpy,” it was “Big Alice” that freaked me out, this rambling, flesh-eating giant haunting the lonely ruins of some dead civilization. I always enjoyed the way Marshall and his family deferred to Alice as if she were something more than just an Allosaurus, the way they talked about her with whispery, wary respect. Thus, “She” became a dreadful, hideous creature almost more goddess than animal, a hellish beast with a vengeance particular to Sasha and Quinn, the ones responsible for destroying her life.
There’s only half a month to go before the release of Sea of Serpents. And have I mentioned? I have a publisher interested in the paperback rights. So go now and immerse yourself in giant dinosaurs, hot native chicks, and high adventure. Don’t make me send She after you!