Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meeting Flannery

Today is the day!  The first episode of my November Snow Epilogue short story series is now available on Amazon.  For $0.99, catch up with Luka and see how he is handling life after She Marches Through Fire.  (Hint: not great)  Are you as excited to meet Flannery as he is?

I have two more stories in the series written and ready to go in the coming weeks.  I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.  Happy Reading!

Author Kim Cox

Today, it is my absolute pleasure to host a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club, Kim Cox.  I thoroughly enjoy her writing, and if you're a fan of romance, you ought to give her work a try.

Today, Kim is sharing with us her thoughts on being an indie author, as opposed to a traditionally published writer.

Doesn’t everyone dream of finding an agent and a publisher handle all the details? Don’t know. I did once. So how did I end up where I am now, an Indie Author?

I did everything I thought an aspiring author was supposed to do. I joined clubs, all the RWAs that I could join, and I went to virtual meetings. I joined critique groups. I even worked for a few clubs and groups as treasurer, contest coordinator, etc. I entered a few contest to get feedback.

I wrote a romantic suspense book and rewrote it until I felt it was publishable. I researched what to do next, and I purchased Writer’s Digest’s book, Writer’s Market which lists agents and publishers, their addresses, and their guidelines.

I queried a publisher that I liked, that had authors I loved to read. They requested a synopsis and the first three chapters within a month. After, I received a rejection but it told me what didn’t work for them. So I rewrote the book and sent a query to Harlequin Intrigue.

Harlequin sent for the synopsis and first three chapters. Then they sent for the whole manuscript. I thought this could be it. I tried to work on other writing, even started writing another book. I wrote some articles for a website and some short stories while waiting to hear if they’d publish my book. Eighteen months later, I received their rejection letter.

I was devastated. Because it was taking so long to hear something, I just knew they would accept my baby as one of their own. I had heard from a source that it had gotten to the last round before deciding to publish. While the rejection letter was a good one, it didn’t tell me why Harlequin decided to pass on it.

One of the clubs I belonged to had a workshop where an ex-editor was the guest speaker. I attended. During the workshop, she said she would give a FREE edit a manuscript to the first three aspiring authors to send her an email. I was one of those.

She told me why my manuscript was most-likely turned down for publication. I followed her advice and rewrote the book again, but I didn’t want to wait over a year to find out if it would be accepted or not.

By this time, small online publishers were starting to open their doors and publishing books in a new format, ebooks. Hey guys, this was before Amazon became to being. Anyway, I thought it was a great idea, and I knew a few authors who’d already gone that route. I did some research and found a publisher who had a good reputation.

One thing I loved, things moved very quickly. There weren’t the months or even years of waiting for an answer about publication. It was almost instantaneous when compared to my experience thus far. Did I say I loved it? I loved the speed.

You heard me say, I found a publisher who had a good reputation, right? Well, they did, up and until after I signed the contract. Then I started hearing stuff about non-payment to their authors, editors, cover artist, etc. Many were leaving the company. But I took the "wait and see" attitude. Some of the authors I knew still stood by them, and so I would too for the time being.

At that time, my contract said I had to keep my book with them for one year of publishing and that’s what I did. I know I sold quite a few when the book first released but my book had to make $100 in royalties before I receive any money from them. Not sure if it did or not but I never saw a dime.

During the next exodus, many of those authors and editors who'd stood by them the first time left, and the ones I knew well started their own publishing company. So as soon as my year was up, I left too.

My second online publisher, Amber Quill Press, was great. They knew exactly what not to do from the old company which went out of business within the next couple of years. I’d had a couple of other online publishers too but none as good as Amber Quill. But I had lost faith in making any money. I had a few sales here and there over the years but not much. Sales became almost nonexistent.

By this time Amazon was selling electronic and print books. I talked to other authors I knew who'd gone the self-publishing route. Then I read everything I could get on the subject. Something happened. I was excited about writing again. I pulled my books from one publisher and eventually from Amber Quill. I had to wait a while to get my rights back though. A few months before my rights were returned from Amber Quill, they announced they were closing business like so many before them already had.

So that’s how I became an Indie Author and I love it. I love the control over pricing and sales, and I love the creative and technical process of creating covers and formatting my own books. The promotion, though, I don’t love so much but that’s something I'd had to do with a small publisher anyway. From what I hear, unless you’re and author who already has a big-name, you’re not promoted by the publisher very much anyway.

On my own, I've sold more books than I ever have. I have also spent more money even with doing almost everything myself, mostly on editing and promotion. Keep in mind that finding a good editor is a must, and you should research for the one who is right for you, because there are those out there who say they’re editors who aren’t that great. So be careful.

I understand that there are authors who just don’t want to deal with all the other stuff that comes with self-publishing. There are companies who offer these services for authors, designing covers and formatting books. Some prices are reasonable and some aren’t. Some are reputable and some aren’t. So look around and make the right connections.

Like in all things, if you’re paying for a service, research and talk to others who have already used the services.

Thanks for your insights, Kim!  Did her story resonate with you?  What thoughts do you have to share about your own publishing experiences?

Kim is hosting a giveaway, where FIVE lucky winners will receive one of the following prizes: (1) ebook copy of "ALL THIS TIME" and a $10 Amazon Gift Card or (4) ebook copy of ALL THIS TIME. To enter Kim's giveaway, simply leave a comment anywhere along the tour!

This tour is sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sale on Fantasy by Herb Mallette

As a huge fan of Herb Mallette's Charms and Witches, I was stoked to find out that his Delvonian Series is on sale this week.  The first three are reduced in price, and the last one is free!  I'm sharing the blurbs below to give you a taste for the series.  Happy reading!

The Last Tragedy

When two of the world's greatest adventurers disappear, it falls to their heirs - Jake Warbler and the half-sprite Noxie - to retrace their steps and confront whatever evil took them. The only clues point to a literary enigma from the depths of antiquity: the Last Tragedy of Coeldoetta of Jueln. Missing and unread since the fall of long-ago empires, the Tragedy has doomed a thousand previous seekers. Can Jake and Noxie unearth this legendary play after so many others have failed? Or will they fall victim along the way to the same bloody-minded cult that vanquished their missing elders?

Note: I'm told this one can be read out of order.

Avelia Warbler wakes from two years of magical healing with a price on her head and the minions of a bloodthirsty cult dogging her heels. The world has changed while she slept, and that sleep has changed her as well. Now a sixty-year-old woman in a twenty-year-old body, she must dodge assassins, bounty hunters, and the ghosts of her own past on her way to a sorcerous labyrinth of recollection where the face of her greatest enemy lies hidden.

The Sharp Edge of Memory is the first novel in a trilogy (The Aveliad), as well as the second novel of the Delvonian Tales. It is preceded by The Last Tragedy, but can be read independently.

To save her family from a bloodthirsty, sorcerous cult, Avelia Warbler must kidnap the most powerful woman in the world: The Identity of Cimone, who dwells in a castle beyond mortal approach. But when Avelia calls in all her markers for support, only Shoje Keindan shows up -- a master thief of extraordinary skill who is also madly in love with her. Can she manage to steal the cult’s high priestess when her only ally is bent on stealing her heart?

The might of an empire has been roused against Avelia Warbler as the cult of Cimone pulls a thousand strings to regain its kidnapped priestess. While her love and a cadre of loyal friends work to foil these pursuits, Avelia must attempt a harder journey still -- a search for some enchantment, if such exists, that can break the will of the most evil woman alive. For if the Identity cannot be made to reveal her secrets, then the cult she leads will inevitably swallow the world in darkness . . .

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Work in Progress: Naval Battle

The action is heating up in my YA high fantasy work in progress. Here is a peek at a little magical naval battle I'm sketching out.

The first drops of rain splattered onto Shiloh’s face. The swells grew higher, and the ship began to rock. Shiloh’s stomach lurched in time with it.

“You know Kirkland’s spell of revelation?” Hatch asked.

“Yes, sir,” she replied.

“I'll calm the seas. You look for their vessel,” Hatch ordered.

She looked up to the crow’s nest. She knew it would take her an age to climb up there, but it would give her the best view in all directions. She sighed, hating to reveal one of her new tricks so soon, but there was nothing for it.

Holding her wand aloft, she bent her knees deeply and called out a spell in Estan as she leapt. A moment later, she landed lightly in the crow’s nest. Looking down, she saw Hatch throw back his head and laugh, then turned her attention to her task.

She began on the starboard side, aiming her magic in a line that began just off the deck rail and extended into the distance several hundred yards. When nothing appeared, she turned about ten degrees and repeated the process. It was exhausting work, sustaining the magic for so long. At least Hatch had been successful at calming the water, so her precarious perch ceased its, frankly, terrifying lurching.

Luck was with her, and a small, swift vessel appeared out of thin air. Quickly, she bound it, lest it disappear anew. The ship shuddered as cannons began firing beneath her, now that they had a target.

She pulled up the hood of her cloak, but her hair had already been soaked by the pelting rain. She turned her mind to setting a ward, assuming the fire would be returned. The water between the dueling vessels was lit by the curses now flying back and forth, as every sorcerer on board took aim at their attacker. She could make out Lord Mosspeak himself throwing curses off the starboard bow, his burgundy hat perched precariously on his head.

Remembering her riding instructor's advice, she cast the ward she had modified to dissipate energy. The ship the barely rocked when her shield lit up with the impact of incoming curses and cannonballs. Whoever was casting wards for their opposition had not been so thoughtful. She watched the smaller vessel rock so far over on its side that its mast nearly touched the water. She felt a twinge of pity as she watched men tumbling helplessly into the water.

Trusting her ward would hold, she continued to probe for another vessel. When she found it, it was just off the port bow, casting hooks to board while all were distracted fighting off the attacker on the starboard side.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Release: Brother's Keeper by Jolie Mason

Jolie Mason turns up the heat in the second offering in the Brother Assassins series.  Brother's Keeper follows assassin Bry's efforts to protect a whistle-blowing journalist named Cari as their society begins to implode around them.  Complicating matters is a heartbreaking deception Bry undertook to protect both Cari and her family.

Mason's tale is engaging as always, with a fun mix of excitement and romance.  The sex is a little more explicit this time than in some of her previous work, but it is still tasteful.  The emotions are heartfelt and touchingly rendered, and the characters are sketched beautifully.  The action is suspenseful and crisp.

Brother's Keeper can be enjoyed without having read Brother Mine (Brother Assassins Book 1), but I would recommend you grab that one first.  The emotional impact of the events will be far greater if you understand the back story.

If sci-fi romance is a new genre for you, Jolie Mason is the author to start with.  Happy reading!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Luka's Dawn, Episode 1 Available for Pre-order

The first story in my short story series about our favorite vampire villain is set to drop on Amazon on June 27th!  You can pre-order it for $0.99.  Or you can sign up for my newsletter and download it for FREE on June 22nd.  You know you can't resist reading it five days early.

I intend to publish three of these stories this summer, releasing them about every two weeks.  My subscribers will be getting the first crack at them, so don't miss out!

Luka's Dawn, Episode 1 picks up between the end of the final chapter of She Marches Through Fire and that novel's Epilogue.  So if you haven't gotten around to reading  November Snow Book 3, you'd better get cracking.  And if you have finished She Marches and haven't reviewed it yet, I would be most grateful if you would take a moment and drop by wherever you purchased it to do so.  Even one sentence makes a big difference.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Luka's Dawn

Wednesday is traditionally "Work in Progress Day" in the indie publishing world. Today, I'm sharing with you an excerpt from a short story series I'm working on, November Snow Epilogue Stories.  Major SPOILER ALERT for those who have not yet finished She Marches Through Fire!

These tales focus on Luka's life after the loss of November at the end of November Snow Book 3. Here's a peek at Luka's Dawn, Episode 1.

“When was the last time you ate?” Raina asked her brother.

Luka shrugged. “I haven’t the slightest idea.”

“That fairy, Briar, put a hex on you to bind you from killing or enthralling people. But you can still feed on them. And you can hunt, enthrall, and kill animals, no problem,” she reminded him, for the thousandth time. “There’s moose and deer. Bears, if you need to get some feelings out. Wolves.”

“I am well aware of the particulars of my magical leash, dear sister, as well as of the menu,” he replied coldly. “I’m not hungry.”

“You need to eat to heal, Luka. You know that,” she scolded.

He looked up from the page he was reading. For once, he appreciated his much despised father. At least the old bastard had thoroughly stocked his hideaway with books. Luka and Raina had been there four months, and he hadn’t yet run out of ways to hide from his own thoughts.

“I don’t care,” he replied.

“Obviously not. But I do,” she countered. “And November would.”

“Then maybe she shouldn’t have gone and gotten herself killed for people who didn’t deserve her sacrifice,” he spat, shocked at his own vehemence. He reached up to his mouth and felt fangs there.

“Anger is a normal part of grief, you know,” Raina pointed out patiently, taking a seat across from him.

“You don’t seem angry,” he retorted.

“I just took all mine out on a bear,” she replied. “And, for the record, I’m not hungry, either. But I’m also not going to act like a baby and starve myself for spite. You’re extra annoying when you’re haven’t fed. Go eat.”

He rolled his eyes and sighed. “Fine. Only to please you, dear sister,” he acquiesced, setting aside his volume. Only to shut you up, dear sister, he groused silently.