Author Q&A: What Are You Excited About for Book 3?


Have you heard the news?!

If you follow me on social media or you’ve signed up for my newsletter, you may have seen that the manuscript for Book III in the Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms series is officially complete!

I think that calls for a celebration with a Q&A! (Don’t worry… I’ll keep the spoilers to a minimum!)

It’s no secret that Axel is going to be on the cover of BOTE. A few months ago, I shared a teaser showing a darkened image of the cover in progress, revealing the red eye.

Even though Cato is the protagonist of the series, I try to choose the most relevant Alpha ghost for each cover. In the first book, many of the Alpha ghosts had their powers neutralized for most of the story except the twins, Kit, and RC. I decided to select one of those four characters since their eyes would be glowing. I chose Reese (although it could double as Finn without his hat) since the twins were the ones most severely impacted by being Outside.

Many people thought Cato was on the cover of AFH, but I knew I wanted Cato to be on the sequel’s cover so I could showcase Phantom on the back to correlate with the title. Cato’s left eye (the one featured on the cover) is green, not blue. Cato also has black hair, while Finn and Reese have brown hair.

Based on Book III’s title and Axel’s actions in the final battle against the Shadow Guard in Book II, he was the most logical choice for Blood of the Enemy. Axel has officially crossed the point of no return, and his struggle to keep his inner monster in check after losing control will be an important theme in BOTE.

Recently, to celebrate the end of the writing stage and beginning of the editing phase (and getting one step closer to the novel’s 2022 release), I launched three new brand-new hoodie designs featuring the three books. If there were any doubts about who will be on the cover, the red eye for the BOTE design is a dead giveaway! The left sleeve reads “War of the Realms” and the right reads “Chronicles of Avilésor.”

You can shop for these new hoodies in my Spring store.

Who will be on the cover of Book IV? Yes, I know who it’s going to be, and no, I’m not going to tell you yet!

Will We Get Answers In Book 3?

Yes, and I appreciate your patience!

Book I set the stage and established the worlds and characters. Most of Cato’s journey was spent blindly stumbling through one situation after another trying to survive in a world he’d mostly forgotten.

Although he does still suffer from amnesia in Book II, pieces of his past start to come together as he interacts with familiar people in his hometown. PM ended with a bombshell that’s going to throw the door wide open to finally answer a lot of questions (and not just about Cato). Get ready to learn:

  • Why Cato and his blood-family have different accounts of events (and who is telling the truth)
  • How RC got the scar on his eye and why he ran away from home
  • Where Kit lived Before
  • What happened to Ash in the AGC
  • Why Cato has two Divinities while all other kálos have only one
  • Worldbuilding and insights into ghost culture in Avilésor
  • Lots more, but I don’t want to spoil all the surprises!

What’s One Scene You’re Especially Excited About?

Book III isn’t quite as battle-heavy as Book II was. After the climatic clash between the Alpha ghosts and the Shadow Guard, there’s a temporary calm before the next storm while Azar restrategizes.

That being said, there is one battle that was a lot of fun to write, and it pits Cato against Captain Hassing. I think I enjoyed that scene because it really took off and steered me in a direction I wasn’t anticipating. Since Hassing was missing from the big battle, it gives him a chance to finally show off his true power and demonstrate how he earned his high rank as Captain of the Guard.

As I was writing the scene, Cato ended up in a position that wasn’t planned, but it took off and made me rethink how the battle was going to play out. It’s always fun when I’m swept along with the characters and reacting to the circumstances just like they are. The change caused a drastic impact that required additional follow-up scenes to get back on track, and that domino effect created an opportunity to take readers deeper into Avilésor than I was planning at this stage.

What Are the Next Steps Before Publication?

Not all authors do this, but I like to run my manuscripts through multiple rounds of editing. Round 1 is on me. I’ve printed out the manuscript so I can sit down with a pen and mark it up. Although I like to write on my laptop, I prefer to edit with pen and paper. I’m able to catch a lot more errors in print than I can on the computer screen.

Round 2 is the beta readers and copy editor. I have five beta readers selected for this manuscript. For this round, I like to have a variety of volunteers with different backgrounds. This phase isn’t just about grammar—I’m also getting feedback on the story as a whole, including plot holes, extraneous scenes that can be cut or trimmed, and inconsistencies. For that reason, I like to have a mix of professionals (including a former English teacher) and regular readers who don’t necessarily have a background in English but know a good story when they read one.

Round 3 is the line editor. Once I’ve incorporated the suggestions from my beta readers and copy editor, I’ll pass the manuscript along to my line editor. She goes through the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb to catch any remaining errors and make recommendations based on current traditional publishing practices.

During the second and third rounds of editing while I wait for the manuscript to be returned to me, I’ll be busy working on the cover and any other corresponding graphics needed for the book. I’ll also be setting up the print layout files.

Once the editing is done, I’ll finalize the print layouts for the hardcover and paperback, upload the information to my printer/distributor, and place orders for proof copies. I review each proof copy to make sure the margins and formatting are correct, and I’ll read through the novel yet again to check for any typos or errors that slipped through (somehow, there are always a few, no matter how many times I proofread).

The file then goes to the ebook formatter to clean it up and save it as an epub file. From there, it’s time for the book launch!

Don’t Miss This Special Announcement!

HEADS UP! There are spoilers at the beginning of BOTE! Don’t read the sneak peek unless you have finished Phantom’s Mask!

You can read the prologue and first chapter here on this website:

For access to the second and third chapters, subscribe to my Patreon community. (Note: only my Kálos and Alpha tiers can unlock the chapters. Human-level patrons do not have access. Please review the list of perks for each membership level before subscribing, as there are different perks at different price points.)

Support from my patrons helps to fund the upcoming books (including audiobooks), plus other business-related expenses like hosting this website and covering vendor fees at events.

Patrons also get rewards for their support! Those who subscribe to the Alpha tier, for example, will receive a free autographed copy of BOTE and future books when they’re released. All patrons will have their name listed in the book acknowledgements. Thank you for being on this journey with me!

Are you excited for Blood of the Enemy?

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I'm an award-winning fantasy author, artist, and photographer from La Porte, Indiana. My poetry, short fiction, and memoir works have been featured in various anthologies and journals since 2005, and several of my poems are available in the Indiana Poetry Archives. The first three novels in my Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms series have received awards from Literary Titan.

After some time working as a freelance writer, I was shocked by how many website articles are actually written by paid "ghost writers" but published under the byline of a different author. It was a jolt seeing my articles presented as if they were written by a high-profile CEO or an industry expert with decades of experience. I'll be honest; it felt slimy and dishonest. I had none of the credentials readers assumed the author of the article actually had. Ghost writing is a perfectly legal, astonishingly common practice, and now, AI has entered the playing field to further muddy the waters. It's hard to trust who (or what) actually wrote the content you'll read online these days.

That's not the case here at On The Cobblestone Road. I do not and never will pay a ghost writer, then slap my name on their work as if I'd written it. This website is 100% authentic. No outsourcing. No ghost writing. No AI-generated content. It's just me... as it should be.

If you would like to support my work, check out the Support The Creator page for more information. Thank you for finding my website! 🖤