Where Did This Story Come From Anyway?
Condemned Courier started out as a short story idea and went through the fewest changes on the way to a novel. Elves and humans had an uneasy peace, but one of the Elven noblemen wasn't content with that. A courier on a mission got wind of a plan to overthrow the Elvish king, assume power, and restart a genocidal war against the humans. The courier stole a copy of the plans and high-tailed it back home to deliver the message while being pursued by assassins through the human territory.
I never got around to writing it because at the time, every third book I saw was about Elves. That's cool and all, but getting a signal above the noise is hard enough.
Then, I got wind of JukePop Serials. JukePop was an ongoing contest. Writers uploaded chapters in a serial and readers helped direct the story. Writers collected votes and the top 30 (out of about 150ish) got a prize. I submitted my first episode for review and was accepted. For the next 40 weeks, I uploaded a new segment every other week. I did pretty well until the site changed the rules slightly and the site organization rather a lot. I wrapped up the story quick as I could.
I use the idea for Condemned Courier, but I tweaked it so instead of Elves, there were Aelstrians, anthropomorphic bird folk. The artwork on this page was the cover for the JukePop Serials version.
After the tale finished its run on JukePop, it was picked up by PDMI Publishing but never made it to the top of the queue. When PDMI went under, Lumen Anime accepted it. The serial was turned into a novel with an expanded beginning and a few tweaks along the way that took some implied plot elements in the serial and turned them into actual subplots in the novel.
It also acquired a new cover art by Matt Ostrom. My kenku art is cool and all, but it wasn't a viable cover for