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Why I Expanded An Unforgiving Desert into a Full-Length Novel

If you’ve been following my work, you know that An Unforgiving Desert started as a novella in the Summon the Stars anthology. It was a thrilling, compact story about Skylar Kawabata and Kalvin's survival in a relentless desert. However, after its initial release, I felt there was so much more to their story that needed to be told. So, this year, I finally decided to expand it into a full-length novel, and I want to share with you the reasons behind this decision and what you can expect from the expanded version.

The First Book in the Series: A Strategic Move

One of the main reasons I expanded An Unforgiving Desert was to make it the first book in The Amagi Series. The first book in a series is always the easiest to advertise and attract new readers. It sets the stage for everything that follows, introducing the world, the characters, and the overarching themes. By expanding this novella into a novel, I could ensure that it serves as a strong foundation for the series, drawing readers in and making them eager to continue the journey with Skylar and Kalvin.

Navigating Amazon’s Guidelines

Another significant reason for this expansion was the challenge I faced with Amazon's guidelines. Many readers were not picking up An Unforgiving Desert because Amazon would not allow me to list it as ‘book zero' in the series. Additionally, Amazon discourages mixing books of different lengths within a series, which made it difficult for readers to understand where this novella fit into the larger narrative. By expanding it into a full-length novel, I could align it with the rest of the series, making it easier for readers to follow and enjoy the entire story arc.

Deepening Skylar and Kalvin’s Relationship

Finally, I wanted to take this opportunity to go deeper into Skylar and Kalvin’s characters and their evolving relationship. The original novella provided a glimpse into their dynamic, but I felt there was so much more to explore. In the expanded version, you'll find additional backstory on Skylar’s training, her family dynamics, and her initial interactions with Kalvin. These new scenes add layers to their personalities, motivations, and the challenges they face. Their journey through the desert becomes even more intense and emotionally charged as they navigate treacherous sandstorms, tricky quicksand, and the looming threat of deadly predators.

Enhancing the Reading Experience

Expanding An Unforgiving Desert allowed me to enhance the overall reading experience. I included more survival scenes in the desert, showcasing Skylar and Kalvin’s resourcefulness and resilience. Their animosity gradually transforms into a reluctant partnership — and maybe something more. By adding these elements, I aimed to provide a richer, more engaging story that readers can fully immerse themselves in.

Transparency in the Creative Process

I also want to be transparent about the creative process behind this expansion. In planning and executing the new elements of the book, I utilized AI to help brainstorm and organize my ideas. This technology provided valuable insights and suggestions, enabling me to refine the narrative and bring fresh perspectives to the story. While the core of An Unforgiving Desert remains true to its original form, these enhancements aim to offer a more complete and captivating experience for both new readers and those who enjoyed the novella.

Looking Ahead

As I look ahead, I'm excited about the possibilities this expanded novel brings to The Amagi series. It serves as a strong introduction to Skylar and Kalvin’s world, setting the stage for future adventures and deeper explorations of their characters. I hope this expanded version resonates with you and that you find it as thrilling and engaging as I intended it to be.

Previous readers, you should be able to download the updated version from your Amazon Content Library. If you were an ARC reader or bought your copy from a different store, please use the contact form to let me know and I will hook you up with the new version.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Your support and feedback mean the world to me. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to dive into the expanded An Unforgiving Desert and experience the full story of Skylar and Kalvin’s adventure. Happy reading!

S. J. Pajonas