The Joy of A Royal Masquerade

The photo shoot wasn’t going as perfectly as I had hoped.  Due to a scheduling conflict, I was setting up my props during the brightest point of the day instead of the golden hour.  The ground was soggy from yesterday’s rain and soaking through my picnic blanket.  I was hot and flustered after running in and out of the house so many times.  I had something else I had to do once I was finished and the delay was making me anxious.


I had reached the “let’s get this over with” stage.

But something happened as I started setting up my props.  Being outside and feeling the sun has always ministered to me.  It grounds me and makes me feel more peaceful.  I felt myself slowing down, looking around at my surroundings and as I did, something shifted inside me.

I was aware of the smooth gloss of the book cover in my hands, the decadent colors of the macarons, the delicate translucence of my tea cup.  The wind ruffled the daffodils I tucked into a vase and ruffled my hair, reminding me to play.  To laugh.

I looked at the stack of paperback copies of A Royal Masquerade and something odd happened.

I felt happy as I looked at them.

That’s odd? you ask.  Why should that be an odd sensation?  This is your book you’re talking about!

Let me explain.

A Royal Masquerade was plagued with problems from the beginning.  It was originally conceived as a short story and then blossomed into a novella that was 10,000 words longer than The Reluctant Godfather.  It was written and edited while I was struggling with a lot of physical pain, not to mention a crippling attack of writer’s stage fright.  Confusion reigned during the beta reading stage.  My vision for this book wasn’t as clear to my early readers as I had hoped it would be.  I began to doubt the story and my vision.  Formatting and cover design turned into a nightmare of technical snarls and hiccups.  I had so many problems with Amazon printing my book incorrectly I grew disgusted and nearly decided not to have a paperback edition at all.

“Stressed” might be putting it mildly.

As I squinted through camera and fretted about lighting and damp pants, I realized I was doing the same thing I had been doing off-and-on for several months.  I was over-obsessing about details that, ultimately, didn’t really matter.  And, in the process, I was losing track of the most significant aspect.  I was photographing a paperback edition of my second book!  I published!  I persevered through all of the problems!  A Royal Masquerade has run its course and can now rest in the pasture.  And I can rest too.

Sitting there, peering through the camera lens, I suddenly realized something.  I had gotten my joy back.

I had been looking at my writing experience through the wrong lens – the settings on my internal camera had been all wrong as I focused on the bumps instead of the road itself.

A Royal Masquerade didn’t just teach me things about writing, but it helped me take a vital step forward in learning the life lesson of training myself not to get stressed about things that don’t matter.  After a series of annoying episodes, there was one incident where I very nearly blew my top – but then I found myself doing something I had really struggled to do before.

I let it go.

I pushed aside the emotional response, I dumped all the frustration and I focused on how to turn a defect into an asset.

This was a massive epiphany for me – for I have the dreadful habit of taking on unnecessary burdens, of wasting emotions and energy and mental space by overreacting negatively to life’s hiccups.  But this difficult publishing process forced me to exercise the Stop-Over-Reacting Muscle and the Let-It-Go Mindset . . . and the exercise paid off.  Those difficulties were actually a positive thing when viewed the right way.

A Royal Masquerade taught me several things as a writer, but also as a person.  It was an instrument during a time where I was finally learning to let things go more quickly – and I did.

I was perhaps even more excited about that than in publishing my novella!  In the long run, A Royal Masquerade will fade to nothing, but our spirits are eternal.  It was far more valuable to me to learn this particular lesson than to have smooth sailing through the publication process.

I admire my paperback copies of A Royal MasqueradeI am truly excited about this novel, and finally, I am proud of it.

The Reluctant Godfather will always be my first baby and hold a special place in my heart.  It has reached many milestones that The Royal Masquerade hasn’t yet reached.  For instance, being chosen for the book of the month for a book club or being placed into my library’s local author room.

A Royal Masquerade might reach those milestones too, in time, but it will never be for the first time ever again.  Firsts can only happen once, and those delights belongs solely to The Reluctant Godfather.

Nevertheless, A Royal Masquerade holds a powerful place in my heart in many ways.




  1. I repeated the process.  After publishing for the first time, I wrote another story, edited it, and published.  I’m not a flash in the pan author!  I wrote, edited, published and then repeated the process.  Publishing wasn’t a one-time-event that I did for fun.  This was life-long commitment, a series of building blocks that I approach daily with dedication and growing skill as I learn how to become a baker of books.

  2. I broke through writers block and kept plugging away despite not being inspired. ( I could still use a little inspiration, if anyone has any to spare. *wink*)

  3. I gained experience in self-editing between The Reluctant Godfather and A Royal Masquerade. When I got The Reluctant Godfather back from my editor, it took me several months to edit it.  When I got A Royal Masquerade back, there were fewer edits and I was able to resolve everything within a few weeks, even though it was longer and more complicated.  Another words, I produced a cleaner product for my editor to polish and had self-edited more carefully before submitting it to her.

  4. I had to be a lot more creative with this book then I did with The Reluctant Godfather. The story beats in The Goose Girl are not as frequent or as clear as they are in Cinderella.  It is quite a confusing tale and a lot more reason and sense had to be injected to it.  Because there are not as many specific plot points, I had to come up with a lot more story and plot out of my own head.  Plotting is the bane of my writing existence – and yet, I did it!  I plotted the book!

  5. The world of Ambia and the rules of magic were slightly expanded, setting the ground work for even more expansion later on in the series.

  6. I really believe that my writing improved between The Reluctant Godfather and A Royal Masquerade I was pleased with The Reluctant Godfather, but when I look at the next book, I can see how my writing has become stronger.

  7. I had a unusual vision for the book and I stuck with it.  Inspired by screwball comedies of the 1930s and 40s (my favorite!) and theater (another favorite), I decided to approach the plotting with a unique twist by flipping the plot and subplot to create a madcap and intimate focus with the larger plot unfolding in the background.  Well . . . it makes more sense if you just pop over here and have a decko at my Author’s Note.

  8. I got to dive deeper into my characters and set several arcs into motion – and I think they’re off to a good start.  *grins*

Are there still some elements about A Royal Masquerade I would like to improve? Yes.  I don’t think any author would ever turn down the chance to poke their story a little further into submission.

Are there still some things that I would like tweaked about the design?  Yes.

Am I a tad annoyed that my picture-taking and Instagram skills stink?  Oh yes!

But you know what?  It’s okay!  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Sitting out there in the sun, looking down at my book, I felt at peace with A Royal Masquerade and content with the work I had put into it.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be good.

And I know it’s good.  I don’t say that to boast! – but with the clarity of a ever-growing craftsman who has learned to differentiate poor and good product after years of practice.  Not to mention seventeen years of ruthlessly self-critiquing my work.  I feel that A Royal Masquerade is a good story, and perhaps a better one than The Reluctant Godfather.  I am satisfied.  This story makes me laugh, these characters warm my heart, and this story holds me to the very last page.  A Royal Masquerade was an adventure, and I’m grateful for all the joys it has brought me.



The macarons were getting warm from so much sunlight.  Dampness is still seeping into my leggings, but it doesn’t bother me any more.

I had taken dozens of photos.

It was time to stop.

Time to stop over-obsessing, time to stop worrying, time to embrace the best of whatever I had managed to capture.

A Royal Masquerade is finished – and my own masquerade is finished as well.  I no longer have to pretend to be pleased or scrap up satisfaction for my book – because I finally have it.

It was time to have my own private tea party.  And I did.

I sat on the picnic blanket and drank cold tea and ate too many macarons and looked at my book and was simply grateful – deeply grateful – God allowed me to write this book at all and helped me reach the finishing line.  He has used A Royal Masquerade to bless me in so many ways!Hopefully, it will bless its readers, too.

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12 thoughts on “The Joy of A Royal Masquerade

  1. I love this, I love your book, and I love you, my dear Alli! I’m so glad you found the happy behind all that stress. <3

  2. Awww! This post. <3 Thank you for being so honest and real about your own personal journey through the writing and publishing process of A Royal Masquerade. I don't think I'll ever get over admiring the paperbacks of your two novellas; they are so perfect for the stories.

    My younger sister was really excited when my paperbacks came too (she's asked a couple of times if A Royal Masquerade had come out yet in paperback), and after she finished reading it she did something she rarely ever does–she actually came up to me with the book with a huge grin on her face and started talking to me about her favorite parts. (One of her favorite lines was between Burdnee and Valyns "I just love scented paper too!" 😀

    Hearing Lake's younger sister fangirl over The Reluctant Godfather and say that she loved the retelling more then the story itself was super special to me. Like, yep, that's my friend there, and, boy, can she write. 😉

    I love the unique and quirky vision you had with this book, and you SO achieved it; I completely fell in love with this story and the whole way it was developed. *hugs* It was such an honor to beta read for you, Allison.

  3. Thank you for reading it, Karis! <3 And thank you for not only being my friend, but for being a part of A Royol Masquerade – I can see and feel you in the story, as I do for everyone that helped me along the way, and it makes it sparkle. <3

    They’re so pretty! I love seeming them side by side.

    AWWWWWWWWWWW!!! *BEAMS* Your little sister – that makes me so happy!! HAHA – I had fun in the rewrites with Valyns! 😛

    OH WOW, I’m going to cry!! I’m so flattered and so humbled that she loved it so much! *sniffs*

    And you’re too sweet and special! Thank you for your kind words and heart, Karis. Your whole comment has made me so happy!! You’re a treasure!

    1. It was such an honor and a true delight for me that I was able to be a small part of the process. 🙂 A Royal Masquerade holds such a special place in my heart now, and I CANNOT wait to read more about everyone in your later books. (I’m also really excited to see the re-telling twists I know I can expect.)

      My younger sister read a little bit over my shoulder as I was beta reading, and so she had a couple of spoilers and was quite eager to actually read it whole. (And that same line always cracks me up too–Valyns’s character is such a hoot, especially coming from Burndee’s POV.)

      I reacted the same way when Lynn (Lake’s little sister) said that. Just, wow! I love it when my friends fall in love with the same stories I do and especially when they’re a friend’s work.

      Awww… Thanks, Allison! <3 You know I feel the same way about you and really appreicate all the love ans support you've poured into my life through our friendship.

      1. AW, thank you, Karis! That means so much to me! <3 <3 <3 i can't wait either!! 😛

        Haha – aww! How sweet! *beams* *grins* I'm so glad you enjoyed him!

        Thank you! That means a lot. Same here!!!

        *SNIFF* You're the best!!! <3 <3 It's my joy – you're a gift and such a wonderful friend!

  4. Both the Reluctant Godfather and A Royal Masquerade blessed me, my sister and my mom. We LOVED those books and we tell people to go read then all the time. And you definitely captured the 1930s comedy and theater vibe.
    If I ever need a pick me up, these are my go to. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and the process while making these masterpieces! I know it’s not easy to get vulnerable like that. You’re inspiring!

    1. Ohh, Hannah!! *tearing up* I can’t even tell you how much your comment moved me and how happy it made me. To think that my novellas might be a faithful pick me up for someone is all I could ever wish for as a writer! I’m so glad that you enjoy them!

      Thank you so much for reading my comments and for your kind comment! You absolutely made my day and touched my heart! <3

  5. I can’t even express how happy this makes me. And how uncannily similar our inner journeys have been lately! At the end of 2018 and beginning of January, I was feeling drained. It’s like I had no drive to do ANYTHING, and had to fight for everything. But over the course of the last month or so, I’ve been finding…joy in my work. I don’t really even know how it happened, but all the tasks I have to do where, before, felt like chores weighing me down, now make me happy. I WANT to write again and blog and take on other projects. And it’s been FUN.

    I love your camera analogy. Because it IS all through the filter, or mindset, we look at things. Yes, this creative life is hard, there are going to be setbacks and (very) difficult days. But we get to do what we LOVE. It is such a blessing. And I am beyond thrilled you found the joy in it again.

    Also, A Royal Masquerade is in paperback now! *SQUEALS*

    Praying for you, sweet girl. I do hope that joy continues to be overflowing. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. It blesses me every single time. <3

    1. Thank you, Christine!!!

      I know, it is uncanny how similar our paths are right now! I am SO happy and excited that you are rediscovering your joy! Your enthusiasm and cheer are an inspiration and a gift to those around you, and I wish from the bottom of my heart that that gift would bless YOU as well! <3

      Everything you said, it's very true – we are blessed, and we just have to look at the setbacks differently.

      *squeals with you* YES, IT'S SO PRETTY!!

      AWWWWW. *HUGS* THANK YOU, CHRISTINE!! You are such a blessing to my heart and spirit! And thank you for your prayers. Know that I pray for you and have all these wishes for you as well, my friend! <3 <3 <3

  6. I LOVE the message of your post- letting go and not stressing over details is a lesson I keep having to learn over and over and over and… Well, you get the point. 😉 And now I really want to read your second book! Yay! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Julianne!! <3 I know, it's not something we learn once, but have to keep reminding ourselves and flexing those muscles! I hear you - hehe! 🙂

      AW, thank you! I hope you enjoy both of them! 🙂

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