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Monday, April 25, 2011

Secret of the Sands - How it Came to Be...

We get a lot of questions about how the story of Secret of the Sands came to be, it's been really, really cool to see how interested people are in its creation, how fascinated they are by the story, and the meaning behind it. It's come up so often, that I thought I would share more about it. It's probably a lot longer journey than most people realize. Although we've been asked about it numerous times in interviews and fan letters, I've never talked about the story's creation in this much detail before. Now that we're getting closer to the finished version of its sequel, Destiny of the Sands, I have found myself reflecting often about the process of bringing Secret of the Sands to life. I wanted to share with you a bit more of what that journey was like, and reveal for the first time, just how long it took to get to the finished version, and how much work really went into it. As I've said many times before, I am immensely proud of the story. Writing it was one of the most fun and meaningful things I've done in my life. I dedicated myself fully to its creation and to supporting it thereafter. I hope this post gives you greater insight into Secret of the Sands

As I've mentioned before, the story idea itself came from a program on the Discovery Channel, where archaeologists were debating the actual age of the Sphinx and discussing how it could be many thousands of years older than the history texts state. We had already decided to write an epic story, and once I saw that - boom! - I knew we had our story. My co-author & I had both been fascinated by ancient Egypt our whole lives, so writing about it was so natural, so welcome, so fun, it was irresistible!


The finished story was actually over 200,000 words in length - yeah, that's an extra almost 100,000 words (more than enough for another novel & then some!), than the finished version, which clocked in at about 114,000 words. Crazy big! Secret of the Sands is still a bit on the long side as far as novels go. I will confess to being the culprit of that - I can write & write & write…not all of it "keepers" of course, not by a loooong shot! Volume has never been a problem for me, in anything written. Makes for a lot (& I mean A LOT!) of extra editing, lol! I inadvertently created a lot of extra work for us - oi!, but then, we always have a lot of stuff to choose from, so there are pros and cons. Who knows, maybe one day we'll release the "director's cut" - an extended version of the story, showing much more of what happened between the scenes than remained in the final story. Everything is still there, who knows where the extras may pop up… ;)

More than that? It took us around six years to write (we were doing it part-time, on weekends, and at first, we'd only meet every few weeks). More than that? There is a companion document that contained our research on numerous aspects of the story, story notes/author commentary, character background information, story background, timelines, detailed chapter outlines/story arcs, alternate endings, deleted scenes, prequel sections, detailed descriptions of the religion & of the ancient society, of weapons, mythology, etc. That document itself is alone 153,000 words long - oh yeah, we put our work into it!

A little side note on Rai - I'm a perfectionist, and a little OCD, so I will keep writing & writing & writing, trying to perfect the story, then afterwards, when it comes to editing, I edit & edit & edit before and after it goes to other people to edit. (I had to stop myself from writing a mini-book & taking weeks just for this blog post! I'm terrible!)

So, Secret of the Sands is an archaeology adventure, a historical fantasy tale, but there's a lot more to it than meets the eye… :)

I hope you've found this interesting, every writer's journey is different, and personal, and unique. This is where we started. This is how it happened. Now we are in the process of finalizing the sequel, Destiny of the Sands, which was started a few years ago. Are we slow? Yup! Is that good? Nope. Do I intend to speed things up from here on in? Yup! But, having said that, I am still going to ensure the absolute best version of the sequel goes out to our readers. I've also got three more solo novels feeling terribly neglected that are going to want attention again soon. As soon as Destiny is up & running, I'll be focusing on them. Rest assured though, before anything is released, an incredible amount of effort goes into it. I love what I do and care deeply about our readers - I want to give you the best possible experience for what we are offering, so that when you choose to spend some time with these books, it will be time well spent…

I wanted to write this to give our readers more insight into how this all came to be. Your interest has meant so much to me. As we get closer to the release date for the sequel, I will begin a newsletter to keep everyone posted on ETAs, etc. If you've written in to us, you will automatically be included in the distribution list. I will share more insights & experiences, too, as we go. I may add to this post eventually as well, with future posts, on the creation of these stories, as well as more about the meaning behind them.

Happy reading always!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Top 5 Marketing Tips for Authors


I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I wanted to share (albeit a little late, been terribly swamped lately!) my guest post on Tony Eldridge's blog, Book Marketing Strategies and Tips for Authors. Tony is a great guy, very smart, and a super-talented author (check out The Samson Effect!) to boot, so I was honored to be asked to be a guest poster there.

Here is the link to my post:

Top 5 Marketing Tips for Authors, by Rai Aren

I hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to share any comments you have as well. I very much enjoy supporting & encouraging my fellow authors... :)

While, I'm on that subject, here is the link to Tony's book, it's a great read!


Rai Aren, co-author of the award-winning mystery novel Secret of the Sands - only $2.99 on kindle!