Unveiling: Diana

It’s been up on Instafreebie for a couple of weeks, just to get links sorted out for various promo sites where it was going to live this month, but today was the first day I sent out notice that Diana is up and available for download.  I don’t think that it’s going to be available as long as Rage has been, but Rage officially retired today and I’m (still) working toward getting it available on Amazon.

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So.  Someone reminded me how important the story of Justin was to Samantha’s history, and it was kind of a shock how much I’d overlooked it.  Here, not so much.

Diana is my favorite part of the 4-part Book of Carter, because… this is when he gets Diana.  Much like Kha’Shing, this is a sword with a personality and an aura that you just can’t escape, though Diana is a much more muted creature.  It’s a story that is core to Carter’s development into the man that we meet in the Sam & Sam books, and it’s the one, I think, where I hit the most surprises.  Carter has, at every turn, surprised me with his struggle with his identity, with his brash disregard for anyone but himself and then his sudden bursts of insight and humanity.  He has always been one of my favorite characters (In my head, he’s always played by Lee Pace…  He is more personified than any other character in the Anadidd’na universe.) but he had a mystique to him that was part of the distance Samantha had from who he was at his core.  She knows a lot about him – more than anyone else – and she trusts him with everything, but he has managed to keep her away from his most core self, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to find, when I went plumbing those deeps.  He’s more than I’d hoped for, and the events that surround his trip to hell to get Diana are unexpectedly different than what I thought they would be.

So.  The last book is Departure, and that should be available in February.  When it goes up, I’ll take Justin down.  I’m expecting to continue generating bonus content and free short work – once the Book of Carter content finishes scrolling through, watch for a ‘FREE’ section up top, here, to keep track of what’s available.

Happy reading!

2017: a sneak peak!

I got so much done in 2016.  Despite a lot of other things going on that I had to work around, the backlog of work that I have ready to publish is huge, and I’m so excited to get some of it out in 2017.

I do a calendar every so often, just to try to keep a grip on what I’ve got going on, and I put in a special effort this December to work through what I’ve got coming up in 2017, and I wanted to give you a peek at everything I am going to try to do in 2017.  So here goes.

If you are on my mailing list, you’ve been getting notices that I’ve got work available on Instafreebie that is only available to newsletter subscribers (new or existing).  There is my Isobel sample, a unique short story in Isobel’s world that will continue to be available, and there was the Christmas short story that is still available but that is going to come down around the middle of next week, but the rest of the stories that have been cycling through Instafreebie have been novellas from The Book of Carter.

I’m really, really excited about these, because there’s so much of Samantha’s story with Carter that I only got to tell by reference, in the Sam & Sam main series, and these were really important stories for Samantha.  And, well, Carter is a character I was terrified to write, because he’s got his own agenda all day, every day, but they’ve been a whirlwind of fun, sort of getting dragged along behind as Carter does his thing.  I’m actually planning at least one more Book of Carter novella, in early 2017, that right now I expect will stay up on Instafreebie as an exclusive bonus for mailing list subscribers, but the rest of them are going to come down one by one and get published to Amazon.  I’m still working through the final (non-Instafreebie) covers, which is what’s delaying this today, but I’ll get them sorted out, and they’ll start showing up on Amazon through January, February, and March, culminating in a Book of Carter release sometime before the end of April.  Stay tuned for cover reveals as they get finalized.

Working my way through to the end of the year, I’m planning a Portal Jumpers release, a Sam & Sam release, a His Dark Mistress release, and a Sam & Sam companion release.  Like Isobel, there are a lot of other characters in the Sam & Sam universe that I think deserve to have their own stories told, and this one is one I didn’t really see coming.  Becca is special to me because she has created a set of images for the year that are really just showing up everywhere for me.  It’s like when someone you know gets a new car, and then all of a sudden you start noticing just how many of that car there are out there.  Becca’s world has started showing up in unexpected places for me, and I’ve bought art, toys, and clothes because they remind me of her.  I’ll release more information about her as we get closer to her actual release in the middle of next year, and I’ll have a cover reveal for that probably in April, if my guiding winds stay true.

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This is a clue.  He’s also gorgeous.  That is all.

On the writing side, I’ve got eyes bigger than my stomach, I suspect, but I’ve got a lot of things that I want to do, so I’ve basically just planned… all of them.  A standalone novel, a Portal Jumpers Adventure (a Portal Jumpers novel with the same main characters, but not connected to the main arcs going on in the Portal Jumpers series – so long as you’ve read the first two, I think you should be able to read a Portal Jumpers Adventure any time, and it should make sense), a Sam & Sam novel, a Sam & Sam companion novel…  More if I can do it.  This was a very productive year, as I mentioned, and I’m setting my sights on even more in 2017, trying to simply improve my work output for every month, compared to the previous year.  It’s a strategy that I have to use carefully, to make sure that I don’t let my goals become such rock-face mountains that I just don’t even try to climb them, but the path I see for 2017 feels very do-able right now.

The trick, for me, to accomplishing huge things is flexibility.  Set big goals, revisit them often, and adjust as my priorities, interests, and availability change, and then try (try, oh, try) to see the shortcomings as successes, because the goals were so high in the first place.  In a positive mindset, it works.  There are definitely days that it doesn’t.  That said, the magic of flexibility is being able to take new information into account, as I get it.

Information like reader feedback.

There are a few kinds of reader feedback.  The most obvious is dollars, and with all the love in my heart for my most avid readers, if they aren’t loving the stuff that is selling well, I’m going to prioritize the things that sell well, and try to find spare moments to advance the work that they are clamoring for.  This does happen.  That said, having readers who are really excited about new work and upcoming releases is more motivating than anything else I know of, so if you don’t see your favorite characters represented on either my release or my writing schedule, speak up!  I’d love to hear it.  I’ve packed out both the release and production schedules for 2017, but I didn’t mention everything I’m planning in the list above, because they’re things I’m a lot more flexible on.  It’s easy to swap out one book for another, at this stage, if I find that the one I’ve chosen isn’t the one my readers are most excited about.

You can use the contact me button up above any time you like, for anything that you want to tell me about.  Sincerely, I love hearing from readers (and other people in the industry – hello, other writers!), and I answer most of the e-mails I get.

Hope your year-end planning has been as encouraging as mine, and I’ll see you in 2017!

The List

So.

I told my newsletter that I’d written a Christmas short that was only going to be available for the 12 days leading up to Christmas.  I had no intention of advertising it outside of my newsletter because it was going to be available for such a short period of time, and at 6 pages, it’s just for a smile, anyway.

And then InstaFreebie asked to promote it.  The week of the 28th.  And I can’t turn that down.

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So The List is going to be up through the end of the month (sorry to my mailing list for letting IF make a liar of me), and, because it’s a Christmas short, it doesn’t match anything else I have out.  So you don’t need to sign up to my mailing list to get a copy.  Presumably, if you’re hanging out here, you already have a pretty good feel for whether or not you like my fiction, but I’m not going to try to tell anyone that if they like The List, they’ll like a lot of my existing novels.  Maybe.  But sitting at a bar at the north end of nowhere just doesn’t relate well enough to demon hunting for me to think it’s realistic.

Anyway.  Grab a copy if you like.  Don’t like InstaFreebie?  Feel free to contact me directly and get one.

Merry Christmas!

 

Justin!

My blog is a little behind my newsletter today.  One of them has to go out first, and the newsletter won.  I announced that Justin was available at InstaFreebie (it is!).

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Yay!

As with all of the prequels right now, they aren’t available to buy yet (they will be soon… I’ll talk more about this in a minute) so the only people who get to read them are the ones on my mailing list.  InstaFreebie requires that you sign up in order to get your copy.

Bonus, y’all.

But what surprised me was an e-mail I got from one of the readers I know best, who said she was really excited about this one.  And all of a sudden, I remembered how important this story is.  All of the prequels are *really* important.  That’s why I had to write them.  Carter and Samantha have all of this history, and all of these really important things that happened to them, and those were stories that I needed to get written down.

But Justin.

Justin is a big deal.  And I’d kinda forgotten that amidst all of the other stuff that I’m doing right now.

Now, this isn’t for sale yet.  It has an InstaFreebie exclusive cover, and it will probably not go on sale until the middle of January at least.  It’s possible it doesn’t make it to Amazon until February.  But it’s also only on InstaFreebie for a limited time.  So grab your copy.

Eventually, there are going to be four books in The Book of Carter: Rage, Justin, Diana, and Departure.  Once they’re all available, I’ll bundle them together and do a smidgen of editing to remove the constant explanations of who and what things are (translating angeltongue over and over again, among other things) and put them out in The Book of Carter.  Miss one of the first four?  Want to review the full set?  Let me know.  I’ll start putting together a review list for the book and get you a copy before it goes up for sale.

I’ll eventually do a full blog on it, but the long and short of reviewing for me is this: reviews are necessary for me to be successful.  Good or bad, I need them.  I will not require that you write a review in exchange for *anything*, a review copy or anything else.  I will not tell you that you should like, or review as though you like, anything I write, but I would kindly ask, if you *hate* everything I write… why are you here?  No.  My writing doesn’t fit everyone, and I have no issue with that.  Not all of my writing fits everyone, even if all of the rest of it did.  That’s okay.  The point of a review is for you to flag down other people who are thinking about reading something I’ve written and going: hey, this is what you need to know to make a good decision about whether or not to read this.

It’s not about me or my writing.  It’s about helping me and the people who would genuinely enjoy my work find each other.

So.  Contact me or comment here if you want a review copy, and I’ll get you on the list.

Yay, Justin!

Isobel – the book!

So this post is way late.  I was going to put this up Nov1, but Isobel wasn’t quite ready and then NaNo got the best of me and I ended up waiting for my Dec1 post.  And now it’s the third and I’ve been so involved in writing that I’m just getting to it.

So my apologies to her.

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Isobel went live in the middle of November.  This is a book in the Sam & Sam universe, but Isobel is not in on that, quite yet.  She’ll show up in Sam & Sam #7, but her history was one I wanted to get figured out before she turned up.

Because Isobel is complicated. Continue reading “Isobel – the book!”

Read MY book, not THEIRS

Amazon says that Urban Fantasy writers are my competitors.

That I can’t review their products, because obviously I’m biased because I sell a competing product.

That I would be bonkers to give my readers a list of 100 books by other authors that are all $1 or less.

Which I do.  Gladly.

Find a book you love.  Find an author you love.  Dude.  Find an author you love more than me.  All of these things are great.

Because Bella Forest is not my competitor.

The Avengers are.

I, Zombie is.

Facebook is.

Because you work.  You have a family.  You have a household that must be vacuumed and mowed and painted.  You have no more than X hours any given day that you use to entertain yourself, and the things that you spend those hours on (and to a lesser degree, the things that you spend those dollars on) are the things that edge out reading one of my books, not the fact that you know about a bunch of authors whose stuff is kind of like mine and you can’t wait to read.

If you read, and if you find that when you read, you find things that you really, really enjoy, books stand a chance of winning out over Arrow and Deadpool.  If you never really enjoy reading, and if you tend to roam around and never find a group of authors whose work you love, you’re going to quit reading.  And then it doesn’t matter how much you love my work, you’re going to get caught up in NCIS reruns and you’re going to get a rewards card at the AMC and you’re going to miss my next release.  And then you’re going to forget about me entirely.

I think that the indie writer revolution has made books newly competitive in an era of Netflix and 3-D movies, because there are *so many*.  It means that you have to know where to find the ones that you like, but so many indie authors are publishing two, three, four, or even more books a year.  As you find writers you love, odds get better and better that they’re going to have a lot of books to read, and you are going to keep looking for books.  In the meantime, I’m going to write and release more, and it’s my hope that as you continue to meet authors you love, I stay up high enough on the list that you’ll keep reading my stuff, too.

But these aren’t my competitors.

They’re my co-conspirators, and we’re trying to get you so addicted to our work that you never, ever leave.

Mailing lists – why?

I’d been planning on doing this blog for about a month, now, because next month I’m a part of a number of different promotions aimed at increasing my mailing list.

Does that feel like icky marketing stuff to you?

Because it did to me for quite a while – give me all your information so I can pester you with buy links! – and I’m coming around on this being a lot more than that, and nothing like as scammy and sell-y as I thought it was.

Stick with me on that.

The reason the timing is… interesting… is the ‘pocalypse going on among a bunch of the Amazon-exclusive authors right now. I’m not going to talk a lot about it, because it’s business-y and it’s highly data-driven, and… well, a lot of the authors involved are kind of struggling not to sound whiny, despite some very sound data running around to support them. I try very hard to keep my positive voice on, when I’m in public, because the internet is forever, but you can’t blame them, when they’re seeing a business model potentially impode on them.

And that’s the part that’s relevant, here. Continue reading “Mailing lists – why?”

#ProjectNovember

My writing calendar revolves around November.

Four years ago, I promised myself I was going to try to make a career out of writing, and that journey began at NaNo (National Novel Writing Month, in November).  While a lot of people quite legitimately feel like NaNo falls in the middle of what is already the most stressful season of the year for meeting obligations and finding time to get things done, I find it reinvigorating to repurpose a dark, cold season into the peak of the writing year.  The first few years, I intentionally took off the entire month of October, in order to be sitting on a pile of creative energy, come midnight, October 31st (not to mention a pile of leftover candy with its own kind of energy).  That hasn’t worked out for scheduling reasons, lately, but it’s still day 1 of my writing calendar, with a sense of new, with all of the shortcomings and the lots-of-work from the previous year wiped away.

November.

This is also when I take a close look at what I got done last year and what I plan on getting done next year, because anything that I don’t have on a glide path to finished by November isn’t going to get done in 2016 – it’s going to have to be next year’s project, anyway.  And this has been… an interesting year.

For reasons that aren’t worth listing out, here, I had a large break in publishing called ‘2015’.  I didn’t publish anything between Warrior, which came out Dec 30, 2014, and HDM: Miami, which was May, 2016.  (It’s worth noting that I didn’t stop writing, through this period.  I had two successful NaNos, and a few other really strong writing-challenge months, so the work is written.  I just have to get it *done*.)  They say that a gap in publishing that big is a momentum killer, but I didn’t have any momentum to speak of, anyway, so I figure it didn’t make all that big a difference to me.  Regardless, when I looked at this year, back at NaNo2015, I wanted to get books out, again, but that particular muscle had atrophied quite a lot, and it took five months to get the HDM novel organized and put out.  From there, things have rolled a bit more smoothly, but without really seeing the results I was hoping for.

So I made a deal with myself.  Writing year 2016-2017 is *the one*.  Everything I have been promising myself I was going to get around to, everything I’ve been meaning to try, all of the identified causes I have for not being as successful as I want to be – I’m going after them.  And that starts with a blitz of content all targeting – November 2016.

The things that are already done for #ProjectNovember:

-New cover for the original His Dark Mistress novel.  (The old one was a formative attempt at proving to myself that I’ve got no idea what I’m doing, designing a novel.  I’d love to say that that lesson is officially learned, but…  Quite frankly, I’m probably going to continue trying.)

-Publish and release Dragonsword.  My favorite book of the ones I’ve written to date, I’ve been sad to see it languish as much as it has, so far, and I hope that as I get further into #ProjectNovember, some of the readers who really enjoyed Sam & Sam will find that they enjoy it as much as I do.

-Release the Sam & Sam box set.  The first four books are really one story.  It has three natural breaks in it, which are where the four books come from, but this is how they were always meant to be.  I don’t know if I’ll do another Sam & Sam box set with any of the other books I have planned; perhaps a box set of Sam & Sam companions, as they come into existence, but probably not with the linear (numbered) Sam & Sam novels.  They just don’t go together the way the first four did.

-Various behind-the-scenes advertising and promotional work.  I find this a bit tawdry to discuss here, so I won’t.  Suffice to say, I haven’t done it before, and they say that in order for readers to know that your work exists, you have to tell them.  I find it difficult to argue with the inescapability of this logic.

Things that are yet to come before November:

-Sam & Sam paperbacks.  Yes.  This is happening.  The covers are done, it’s just a question of getting the layout finished, which takes time, and JJ is already underwater with the amount of stuff I’m asking him to do.  Like, you know, publish two books and a box set in two months, and a bunch of other things.  The first four books plus Dragonsword will all be ready in paperback by the end of October, though, or I promise to beat him.

-Isobel.  Oh, Isobel.  Isobel has been digging a hole in JJ’s brain for years, and he asked me to pry her out and pin her to a story, so that’s what I did.  She lives in the Anadidd’na universe – not that she knows it.  She’s the first of the Sam & Sam companion stories, and is an odd format, compared to the others.  I’ll be posting a short story (or at least, part of one, depending on how things go) to my blog here to help get a feel for how Isobel goes.  The cover is done, the editing is mostly done.  Isobel should be up by the very end of the month.

-More advertising and promotion.  I should note, here, that if you want to find out about all of the big groups of discounted books I join up with, be sure to sign up for my mailing list.  There are going to be more of these, going forward.  They’re a great way to find other authors who are writing the same kind of stuff I write, at great prices.

-Potentially the first Book of Carter novella.  In all, there will be four novellas, and my plan is to release them quickly across the end of this year and the beginning of next year, and then combine them all into a single book.  The first one is called Rage.

November.  The writing year starts in November.  And I’m going to do everything I can to make it a big one.

Wish me luck.

Rangers boxset!

So, things keep stacking up.  I’ll have a blog on it in a day or two explaining where I’m headed, but this is here so I wanted to get it posted:

Rangers Origin, books 1-4 is now available on Amazon at a 30% discount to the price of the four books individually.

All the demonic hack ‘n slash, none of the going-to-get-the-next-book.  Score one for the good guys!  Buy your copy here.

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