Today I sent Unicorns Don't Cry off to my wonderful editor, Elaine Jackson for a final proofread.
This one took a lot out of me but in a good ways and sad ways. The final scene in this book is one that I envisioned way back in 2018 when I first started sketching out a story arc for the series. This is a scene where Kyra finally faces off with Terra, the god who took back the world during the Flood Wars some fifty years before. It took 8 books to get there, and that puts a bit of pressure on when writing the scene. In fact, I threw out the entire the first draft of that chapter and rewrote it because I wasn't happy with how it turned out. Then I sulked for a few days. Then I put on my big-girl pants and tried again. I'm really happy with the end result and I hope you will be too.
There were a few other deeply emotional impacts for me with this story. One is the inspiration for the little unicorn on the cover. The other is how art imitates life sometimes. I'll come to those in upcoming newsletters.
I also really enjoyed creating new creatures to populate the Inbetween. Some of them are just short encounters, like this cute little sunflower being in the snippet below.
Snippet - Unicorns Don't Cry
My keening reached deep into the forest. Its magic pierced through layers of spring growth and winter rot. It scuttled along the forest floor and crept through the newly budding branches high above. Sitting in a small clearing, I let the feedback wash over me. I was a bloodhound, but instead of scents, I filtered magic.
Beside me, a single sunflower grew out of the loamy soil. About as tall as me while I sat, its head was heavy with seeds and bowed low. Yellow petals twitched. The head tipped sideways revealing two round eyes and a puckered mouth.
“Got anyfing to eats?” The green leaves reached out like a begging hand.
“No. Shush. I’m listening.”
“Listening to whatsis?” The creature asked.
“To the forest.”
“Ain’t nofing there. Whatsis in your pack? Food maybe, yes?”
“Food maybe no. Now shush.”
The sunflower head leaned sideways to snuffle at my pack.
“You lied! I smell whatsis good stuff in there!”
“Fine.” I opened the pack and reached in. My hand brushed against the rough husk of the shar-lil before I found my emergency rations. I pulled out the square of dense molasses cake Dutch had made the night before. Leafy hands reached for it, but I held the wax-paper wrapped cake out of reach.
“You can have it if you promise to keep quiet.”
“Quiet as a whatsis.” The sunflower head bobbed. I handed over the cake.
“Thank you, missus.” The creature pulled root-like feet from the earth, first one then the other, and ponderously stalked off.
I sighed. If a talking sunflower was the worst thing I found in the Inbetween today, it was a good day.
Reading OrderAre you new to the Valkyrie Bestiary Series? Or do you want to re-read Kyra's adventures before the new release? If so, you might be wondering what is the best reading order for the series. It seems simple because, hey, the books are numbered 1 through 8, right? Yes, but…there are 3 prequel novellas and 2 companions books. So where do they fit in?
My suggestion would be this:
The full length novels of the Valkyrie Bestiary should be read in order because there are definite character and story arcs to follow. The shorter novellas and novelettes add details to Kyra's backstory, and don't need to be read in any order to be enjoyed. However, readers may appreciate the novellas more after being immersed in Kyra's world. I would suggest reading books 1-3 before starting the prequels.
Here is a handy chart to better understand. And if you're a purist and would prefer to read the stories in chronological order, visit the Valkyrie Bestiary Reading Order Page for the chronological list.
Book NewsNow pre-ordering: Unicorns Don't Cry, Valkyrie Bestiary Book 8. Release date is October 19, 2023. Get your ebook now at special pre-release pricing.
New audiobook: Ghouls Don't Scamper, Valkyrie Bestiary Book 6 is now available in audiobook. Order now or listen to a sample at kimmcdougall.com/ghouls-dont-scamper.
Become an ARC Reader: I'm looking to grow my street team for both ebooks and audiobooks. If you enjoy reviewing books, you might be perfect for the team. There are some restrictions, so please fill out the appropriate forms. Join the ebook ARC Team HERE. Join the audiobook ARC Team HERE.
Valkyrie Bestiary Cage FightsThe Battle is on to determine the Supreme Valkyrie Beast! Every week on the Valkyrie Bestiary Discussion Group on Facebook, you get to decide the winner in a creature match up.
So far, Grim, the Grimalkin beat out Princess, the Hell Hound in the Heavy Weight Division. Readers agree, that Grim's night sun jaguar had the edge. And the pooka beat out the brownie in the Light Weight Division (but only because he was high on chocolate).
These winners will go onto the quarter finals. Once we have a final match up, we'll use it as an excuse to have a party and give away some prizes!
Join us in the Discussion Group for this week's contenders in the Adorable Weight Division.
Week 3 (Sep 8): Adorable Weight Division—Ultimate Inbetween Cutie-Patootie Round 1
Jacoby (fire dervish) vs Kale (yggie)
Everyone remembers Jacoby, Kyra’s dervish apprentice, but Kale, the yggie, won hearts in Book 6, Ghouls Don’t Scamper. Both battled it out on the page for Kyra’s praise, now you get to decide the real winner in this match-up. Defend your answer in the comments.
Book Fairs & EventsI'm starting to line up in-person events for the fall. I have the first one booked for September 17, 2023: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice, Craft & Vendor Market. 10am-4pm Petawawa Civic Centre ~ Arena Floor, 16 Civic Centre Rd, Petawawa. Check out the Book Fairs page for updates.
The red shifter line wants my blood, but the red prince desires my heart.
Ashe has lived an isolated, quiet life taking care of her twin sisters within their cabin in the woods. They are arctic wolf shifters, the rarest, and most sought after lineage in the paranormal world. While their family was once the ruling alpha pack, an uprising exiled them and landed them in the Great Woods. Shortly after, their parents vanished, leaving Ashe to care for her sisters and to ensure they're never found.
Yet her naïve sisters refuse to be kept isolated, enrolling themselves and Ashe into the High Fae Academy for gifted supernaturals without her knowledge. Now, Ashe must navigate the politics of the academy shifter packs all while dealing with mean girls, sinfully sexy males, and her inner demons.
Will Ashe be successful in protecting all that she holds dear?