Confession: I’ve lost track of time. Are we really halfway through September? Am I 31 years old now? And, um, are Windchaser and Windfall really releasing sooner than I initially thought? (LIKE, SOONER THAN DECEMBER?!) I apologize for not keeping yall updated on the different stages we’ve gone through in getting these books ready for commercial publication! So, let’s see…

We hit the final proof stage and I wanted to pull my hair out and set it on FIRE. (Sometimes I still feel that way.) It’s been a little obnoxious making sure every last detail is fixed before the books go to print. Not sure how my editor and layout designers feel, but I think we’re about ready to sign off on everything by Monday. (Fingers crossed! Hair safely intact!)

Every Phantom Island book comes with a free audiobook download! (When you buy a book, the very last page has a special code you can use to redeem your free audiobook and directions on how to do it.) The decision had to be made – do I let someone else record the audiobooks? Or do it myself? It becomes a bit more of a novelty when the author does it – plus, the author knows how their book should be read. But I wasn’t sure I had the right voice for it. (I think I sound like an obnoxious teenage girl half the time.) However, when I asked for opinions from my students at school and my friends on Facebook, I was bombarded with “DO IT YOURSELF!!” advice. Even my principal encouraged me to seize the opportunity and read them myself – which was the final bit of support that I needed to just go through with it. (Especially since I will be missing 4 days total from school to do this.) And, well, the story is told from a teenage girl’s perspective, so… becoming the voice of Whitnee has actually been a bit of fun for me.

Reserved parking space… for me?! 🙂

I have spent Thursday and Friday from 7:00am until 5:00pm in the recording studio at Tate and I’m actually having fun reading. I worry I’m reading too fast, but they assure me it’s okay if I do. As the author, I’m able to put more inflection and emotion into the reading, so it probably balances out. (Please don’t make fun of me when these things release! I feel like an idiot half the time, but if my students enjoy when I read to them, maybe you will too! Otherwise, just don’t listen to it. Ha.) I finished recording Windchaser on Friday and started Windfall. I’m scheduled to go in on Monday and Tuesday to finish Windfall. It’s exhausting on the voice. And sometimes my throat gurgles or my stomach growls really loud and I have to restart a sentence. Sometimes I stumble on words – which usually results in a “dangit!” or a “crap!” and a restart. A few times I didn’t like the way I said a line of dialogue and would go back and say it a different way until I liked it. I sure am thankful for media editing!

Visit to Tate:
Visiting Tate and getting to spend 4 days there recording has really been an awesome experience! There is a sense of family there – and the staff is full of young, fun, and talented individuals! I’ve been hanging out in the multimedia department where the recording studio is. They call it “the cave” and it stays dark (with only small lamps in places) as they all work on their computers, editing book trailers, music videos, audio files, and other creative stuff. Then you go through a door to the editing room where about 15-20 editors sit in total silence, reading and editing on their computers in natural lighting. (Again, no overhead lights.) It’s pretty funny the contrast between the two rooms – gotta love the differences in the jobs and the personalities! The next room is where the illustrators work and this room has colorful walls and lots of framed illustrations up everywhere. As you keep moving, you get to the cover design and layout room – and you actually feel like you might be allowed to talk in there. Haha.

Mrs. Judy Abell – a total peacemaking Hydro!!

Across the street is the main building where the director offices are. The receptionist at the front is actually a blast from my past – Judy Abell – who used to work in our children’s ministry where I grew up in San Antonio. I hadn’t seen her in YEARS (even though her daughter, Candace, and I keep up on Facebook), so it was a wonderful surprise (and a small world) when I signed contracts with Tate and my official welcome call came from Judy. She was like, “Is this Krissi Dallas, whose maiden name was Inman? I thought I recognized that name when it came across my desk!!” What a confirmation for me to hear a familiar voice, who I have always trusted and respected, assure me that I was with an awesome publisher who was going to take really good care of me!

Janey Hayes (my Acquisitions Editor) and Dr. Richard Tate (Founder)

While visiting Tate, I got to meet my Acquisitions Editor, Janey, who is always such a blessing to talk to. Not only is she very professional and good at her job, but she is also one of the most encouraging people I know in this business. With Janey, I always feel like she really believes in me and wants to see me succeed. I also met Jessie, my Conceptual Editor, who probably has one of the most important jobs in this series. I love how her Geodorian personality balances out mine. I can’t say enough how thankful I am that God gave me the right person to help me improve my writing. My cover designer, Kristen, is probably the one my personality seems to connect with the most – but she’s an Aerodorian too, so no surprise there! Again, I am astounded with how well Kristen caught my vision for this series and ran with it. Her level of creativity and individual attention to quality has made the whole design process fun!! I didn’t get to meet Lindsay, my layout designer for Windchaser, because she’s on bed rest with her full-term pregnancy. (Good luck, Lindsay!) But I did get to meet April, who did the layout on Windfall, and she was simply adorable in her blue sweater and blue knit beanie. We think April might be a Pyradorian, but we’ll wait until she reads the book to say for sure… I did get to meet some of the REAL Tate family – as in Dr. Richard Tate (Founder and Chairman of Tate Publishing & Enterprises) and his daughter, Trinity. What a sweet family with a lot of charisma and personality. It’s easy to feel comfortable around them immediately.

Kristen, April, me, and Jessie (Love these girls!!)

What’s next:
Finish audiobooks.
Move into marketing.
Release books.

Simple, right? Haha. The REALLY cool thing about all of this is seeing how God is already weaving connections for me and bringing opportunities my way. I have about four schools that have already expressed interest in bringing me in for an author visit this year and I haven’t even really been promoting that yet. I’ve even got two book release event locations – one in San Antonio and one in Springtown – that want to be part of the kickoff tour. It’s crazy how things are happening. This thing could really explode (in a good way)… with such a support system, you just never know.

But for now, I will sit and eat my birthday cupcakes, wear my birthday princess crown, and try to retain what sanity I have left before these books are out there again…