As Celia and I sat at the booth of the Montana MADE fair, selling books 1 and 2 from The Elementalists to hundreds of strangers, we had a moment of quiet where she put her forehead on her hands and said, “I’m too tired!” 

Ephie & Celia Risho at Montana MADE fairs in 2021

It was true. Every single time we told yet another interested visitor about our series, our inspiration, and our back story, it wore us down. By 2pm her thirteen-year-old stamina was starting to fail, and it showed with a lack of energy speaking to people. 

“Want a mocha?” I asked. 

“I suppose.” 

Celia doesn’t drink coffee. So, when I brought back the steaming hot drink and she took her first sip, her eyes lit up. 

“Do you like it?”

She grinned. “I’ll drink it.” 

The next person who came by she was so excited she talked faster than an auctioneer, and was standing and pointing out the fun aspects of the sea serpent from the illustration in book 2 hanging from the wall of our ten foot booth. Suddenly, sales picked up, and in the in-between times, she wanted to work on book 3.

“Let’s go over the satyr scene again,” she said.

The satyr in question is a top chef. One of the best. And one way or another, he makes his way into the lives of the elementalists, to bring many delicious scenes to the story, including one where they’re trying to keep a low profile but he can’t help himself but go to the back of the inn and take over the kitchen to improve the lackluster stew. 

Book 3, Secret of the Kraken, definitely has a lot more humor in it than the first two. It was Celia’s idea. As she’s grown older, the books are maturing with her—to my great delight, and also to our first proof readers, who say it’s the best one yet. 

Our goal was to have the first draft complete before 2022. And—through sheer determination—we finished it at 10pm on December 31st! We’re now working on the third draft, with great feedback from our amazing editor Ann. And our illustrator Olena Bushana has completed over a dozen of the inside drawings.

Did she try to capture the great satyr chef in an illustration? Yes, we definitely wanted to do it. But in the end, our imaginations went far beyond what we could capture, so we opted for another fun scene instead. 

At one point, Olena replied to me, “Are you sure you want yet another illustration with dragons in it? That will be three.”

To which I replied, “Well, there are a lot more dragons in this book than ever before!” 

So, yes, friends, the next book in the series is shaping up and we are aiming for a June release date. We’d do a month sooner but we have to work within the schedule of our busy cover artist Stephan. As Celia insists, “It has to be him! He’s amazing and all the covers have to match.”

And so it shall be.