Labyrinth of Flame revision update: Between the need to address some behind-the-scenes business stuff plus running into a few scenes that needed a LOT of work, I didn't make as much forward progress in revision as I was hoping for in April. That said, I'm nearly at 80K now, closing in on the halfway point, so progress was still made. Also, the book now has a back-cover description, which I've put up on Labyrinth's Goodreads page and my website. (Description is very spoilery for previous book Tainted City, but hopefully not very spoilery for Labyrinth!)
Haha, and in the classic authorial rite of passage, I noticed that the book already has two ratings, even though I'm not done writing it. A 4-star, and a 1-star. The 4-star actually cracks me up the most. Most times you see people either rating unreleased books as 5-star ("OMG I can't wait!") or 1-star ("The existence of further books in this series offends me.") But when I see 2-4 star advance ratings, I can't help but wonder...does it mean, "I'm sort of excited about this book, but not really"? Or did the person just poke the wrong part of their phone touchscreen? Ah, the mysteries of authorhood that will never be answered....
And now, onward to the books I'm excited about in May:
1. Jeff Salyards's Veil of the Deserters (ebook release May 19, print release June 3)
I thought the first novel in Jeff Salyards's Bloodsounders Arc (Scourge of the Betrayer) was pretty darn great; needless to say, when offered the chance to read an ARC version of Veil, I didn't hesitate. I liked it just as much (maybe even more) than the Scourge, so I happily blurbed it: "Veil of the Deserters builds upon the promise of Scourge of the Betrayer, continuing Salyards's unique blend of gritty realism, brutal action, and thoughtful introspection even as the story deepens with a host of intriguing revelations. If you've any taste for military fantasy, read these books." I mean that last line, by the way, so don't miss out. I myself will be heading for the bookstore to snag a hardback copy when release day comes.
2. Douglas Hulick's Sworn in Steel, release date May 6
This one I haven't read yet, but I've been waiting eagerly for it ever since finishing Hulick's debut novel Among Thieves way back in 2011. I'm a sucker for a sardonic, streetwise first-person protagonist of dubious morality, and Hulick's protagonist Drothe is that in spades. Can't wait to read his next adventure at long last!
3. Stephanie Saulter's Gemsigns, release date May 6
I've seen some glowing reviews of this one from bloggers whose taste often aligns with mine, so my interest is piqued. Looking forward to reading Saulter's take on genetically engineered humans and the ethics thereof.
4. Merrie Haskell's The Castle Behind Thorns, release date May 27
I've heard great things about this middle grade reworking of Sleeping Beauty; I'll be interested to see how it compares to Helen Lowe's excellent Thornspell. I love it when authors can take a seemingly familiar story and put their own unique spin on it such that the tale speaks in a whole different way to the reader.
Others releasing in May that I'm adding to the TBR pile: Trudi Canavan's Thief's Magic, Michael J. Martinez's The Enceladus Crisis, Brian McClellan's The Crimson Campaign, and Will McIntosh's Defenders.