News & Events

The Last Falcon Paperback is Finally Here!!

The paperback proof of The Last Falcon arrived via UPS yesterday!! It was definitely a surreal moment…opening up that box and finally seeing my novel in the format I had always imagined it to be. No longer just a file on my Kindle, but something I can actually hold in my hands and read the same way I used to read books when I was younger. And something I can also proudly display on my shelf! :)

I chose Createspace to publish the paperback and the process was fairly easy and didn't take nearly as long as I thought it might. I had been putting off getting started until I had reviews back from Kirkus and Clarion (hoping they might be favorable enough that I could snip a quote or two for the cover) and I finally received the response from Clarion on Thursday (4 out of 5 stars!!). I then spent most of the next two days formatting the manuscript and entire cover for the book's 5 x 8 trim before finally uploading everything to Createspace on Saturday. 

I had a minor issue with the ISBN number. I had gone through all the hoops up here in Canada to obtain one myself (and noted it on the copyright page), only to discover during the upload to Createspace that I still had one active there. They had assigned one to The Last Falcon when I originally hired them to do the cover and interior formatting, but when I decided to cancel and do everything myself, the ISBN still remained active. I went ahead and used it, but forgot to make the change on the copyright page and thankfully Createspace caught the error and pointed it out. After making the change and reloading the manuscript, the book was finally approved Sunday night and I immediately ordered the proof. I chose expedited delivery and it was here in less than two days. Good thing I spotted the UPS truck from my office window though…the driver didn't ring the doorbell and who knows how long that precious little box might have sat out on the front step before I noticed it!!

I approved the proof this morning, and according to Createspace it should be available on Amazon in the next 5-7 business days. I had originally listed the release date as October 1st on Goodreads (and elsewhere) and will be changing those dates as soon as I can (although the giveaway on Goodreads will still remain open until October 1st). I have also set up my own Createspace estore and the paperback version of The Last Falcon is available for purchase via that channel as of now.

The Last Falcon Receives an Editorial Recommendation from Kirkus Reviews!

The Last Falcon received a great review from Kirkus Reviews a couple of weeks ago, and I just found out today that it was also awarded an "editorial recommendation." Now, this isn't the same as a "Kirkus Starred Review" and apparently is more of an internal designation rather than something they actually list on the review itself, but from what I'm told it's given to books they consider within the top 20-25% of those they review. Some of these "editorial recommendation" books are also selected to appear in their bi-monthly magazine … and The Last Falcon has been selected!!

The Last Falcon (and full review) will apparently appear in the Indie section of the September 1st issue … stay tuned to see a snapshot of it here!!

The Last Falcon - "Similar Book" to Game of Thrones!!

WOW!! I just discovered that Kirkus Reviews has listed The Last Falcon as a "similar book" to A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (you can see it online HERE, but I've screen-captured it below just in case it gets bumped by another book). I was already over-the-moon to see them list Harry Potter, Eragon, and The Golden Compass as similar books under my own review, and now I'm even more so!!

Hands-On Peregrine Falcon Research at The Raptors

One of the trickiest "design" issues I faced while creating the story world for my Cael Stone series was figuring out how the inhabitants communicate over long distances. Cell phones are obviously out of the question in a fantasy story and I knew I needed something besides simple messengers on horseback. The sheer size of the world I wanted to play in was just too big! So I tossed around a number of ideas -- even before the story itself had really settled in my mind. I considered some sort of magical stones or crystals (or other objects). I also thought about giving my race of humans dominant magical gifts -- one of which would be the ability to communicate telepathically (or some other way) over long distances. But none of these ideas really stuck with me and just seemed awkward to work a story around. 

I also thought about the use of birds -- just like how we here in the real world had once commonly used pigeons to deliver messages. J.K. Rowling used owls in the Harry Potter books to deliver the mail (and new broomsticks), and George R.R. Martin has been using ravens in his Song of Ice and Fire series. That was when I remembered a book I had read as a kid and that had always stood out for me as one of my favorites. A book called My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. It tells the story of a young boy named Sam who runs away from home to go live in the mountains and how he captures a young peregrine falcon and trains him to help hunt for food. And although I did give it a lot of thought, this was the one that finally stuck: I wanted to use peregrines for the messenger role in my world.

I didn't originally intend for the falcons to have the role that they do in the first two books of my series, but that's just the way the story came to me once I made the decision to use them and sat down to start writing. Perhaps my rereading My Side of the Mountain at some point during this time and remembering how much I'd loved the story inspired the greater significance -- especially for Adena's brother, Jared.

As I read more about them (so I could hopefully write about them in a realistic way) I was surprised to learn that their primary food source is actually pigeons and other small birds (I had always assumed it was mostly rodents). And that peregrines are considered the fastest creatures on the planet (with dive speeds over 200 mph!). I also read that pigeons were used to carry important messages during the first and second World Wars and that falcons were used to bring them down. There was even an animated movie based on this (Valiant, 2005) and I've now added it to my list of movies to watch!

Anyway … I figured reading about peregrines would only get me so far and that it would be much better to get some hands-on experience. I wish I had done it sooner, but finally got around to it yesterday. And what a great time! My husband and I traveled to Duncan, a small town on Vancouver Island, and spent a couple of hours at a bird of prey discovery center called The Raptors. They have a variety of raptors -- including eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, and vultures -- and all are available for close-up viewing. They also conduct daily flying demonstrations as well as hands-on "raptor experiences" (like the one we had) and longer courses over several days. I got to hang out with a beautiful two year-old peregrine named Adonis and can definitely say the photos do not do him justice … a truly amazing creature and a truly amazing day! Gave me just the boost I needed to get back to work on the second book in my series!

© Colleen Ruttan 2020