Archive for April, 2014

I’m just going to announce a few things today:


???????????????????????????????????????“Becoming Lioness” is now free everywhere (yes, even Amazon). It contains an excerpt from THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, which will come out sometime this summer.

Red Wyreth Cover Small“Wyreth’s Flame”, with a substantial excerpt from THE BARD’S GIFT, is free everywhere but Amazon. If you’d like to help with that, feel free to report the lower price at Apple (or Barnes and Noble). The link is just below the product details on Amazon’s product page.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10567743And, finally, a bunch of great authors are doing a Mother’s Day Book Bash next week (May 5th thru the 12th). Among the other titles that will be a great bargain that week, my Chimeria Omnibus, containing both BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER, will be only 99 cents that week. There’ll be a bunch of other fun things during the week, too–excerpts, deleted scenes, character interviews. So come join the fun on Facebook.

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By far the longest part of writing is revisions. First drafts are allowed to be bad. Some would even say they’re supposed to be bad. Really, the first draft is just to get the story down. My rule on first drafts is never look back. There is only one direction–forward. If I go down a rabbit trail, well, I just cut that part in the next draft. There are going to be things I have to cut. There are going to be things I have to add–settings and emotions I skipped over in the first draft, foreshadowing of things I discovered as I went along. Sometimes, there are just going to be things I got wrong.

Sometimes, in the process, I create even more problems.

I’m currently working on what I hope will be the last revision of MAGIC AND POWER (working title). This one has taken a more circuitous path than usual. When I started it, I expected it to be a novella. Yeah. Right. It’s 95,000 words now and likely to get a bit longer. Not a novella. Some reworking was necessary when I realized that. The conflict that will sustain a novella isn’t necessarily big enough to make a novel work. So the political background of the love story had to grow and take a bigger role in the story.

I intended it to be a love story between just two characters–until a third character popped up and turned out to be a better match. My first love triangle. And, on the first and second pass, I botched it. Knowing which character was going to win in the end, I didn’t make the other enough of a possibility. In this revision, I need to make that character a plausible love interest–better, stronger, less desperate.

Not content with that, in the process of creating a little more tension with the other love interest, I messed him up too. I want him to have some goals and methods that are annoying to the main character, so that their attraction to each other is derailed a few times before things work out for them. I took it too far. Now he comes off as pushing too hard.

Sometimes the writing process is two steps forward and one step back. Oh well, as long as the momentum is still forward.

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There’s one thing I’ve already started for the launch of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE this summer.

I put out a new version of “Becoming Lioness”, which is a short story set in the same world and sharing some characters with THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. In fact, “Becoming Lioness” is a somewhat stripped down (to make a tighter short story) version of something that will happen in the fourth (as yet untitled) book in the series. Which makes “Becoming Lioness” a perfect way to introduce readers to the series.

I changed the cover just a little. Actually, I just added a subtitle–A Dual Magics Story–to tie it in to the series.

???????????????????????????????????????The main change though is what comes after the end of the short story. The original edition of “Becoming Lioness” had an excerpt from BLOOD WILL TELL at the back. (Actually, the only review this story has gotten on Goodreads came from a reader who didn’t seem to notice the “Bonus Material” header. Her review was that the story was disjointed because it changed to a different character and a different story in the middle and then just ended. Yeah, that was the first chapter of a different book. Sometimes it’s really hard not to respond to bad reviews.)

The new version has the first two chapters of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE at the back. The plan is to make this story perma free. Experience with “Wyreth’s Flame” suggests that this is going to take a while to accomplish on Amazon, so an early start may not be a bad thing.


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This is something I haven’t been very good at so far. In fact, up ’til now, I’ve usually published first and then scrambled to do something later. That doesn’t work so well. I need to do better.

As I look forward to the launch of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, book one of the DUAL MAGICS series, sometime this summer, it’s time to start thinking about this.

In Vatar’s world, there are two separate kinds of magic. In the semi-nomadic plains tribe, one kind of magic is acquired through initiation into one of the clans. In the coastal cities, an entirely different kind of magic is inherited through certain closely-guarded bloodlines. No one has ever been in possession of both kinds of magic. Until now.

Apart from polishing the manuscript, which I’m working on right now, the cover is the next thing I need to work on.

A lot of authors use a cover reveal to start generating interest. My cover art is still in process. I haven’t come up with a single image that really resonates for this story. It’s complicated because DUAL MAGICS will be a four-book series, eventually, and I’d really like to have some consistency in the covers. Some images that would work well for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE won’t extend to the other books in the series.

I also need to plan far enough ahead to have at least a few reviews soon after the story goes live. Maybe a blog tour. (This time, hopefully, my computer won’t go down in the middle of it.) Who knows? I might even try a Facebook Launch Party.

It’s a lot of work, and definitely something I need to get better at, soon.

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One of the most important ways to sell books is reviews–honest reviews, not those unethical purchased reviews. In our digital age, they’re the word-of-mouth advertising that has always been the most valuable. Social confirmation that someone else read this and like it. Or hated it. Sometimes even those reviews can help.

But reviews can be hard to get. Even people who love a book just may not log on to Amazon or Goodreads to tell the world about it.

I’m trying something new (for me) with THE BARD’S GIFT.

TheBardsGiftCoverSmallIt’s up on Story Cartel now. For the next three weeks, you can download it for free in return for an honest review. Try it now. What have you got to lose?

I did get a very nice review of “Wyreth’s Flame” on Smashwords.

I’m also still working on getting “Wyreth’s Flame” free on Amazon. (It’s currently $0.99 there.)  To accomplish that, I need people to report lower prices on Barnes and Noble and the Apple iBookstore. There’s a really easy link right below the product details. This ebook also includes a hefty excerpt from THE BARD’S GIFT.

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I’ve been a little bit stuck on my rewrite of THE IGNORED PROPHECY. Now, partly that’s been due to some real-life issues that are mostly beyond my immediate control. I’m working on the things I can change eventually, but everything just takes more time than I’d like. And, in the meantime, things are just going to be hard.

Among the things I have to learn to do better is marketing. It never was my best subject or something I’m very comfortable with. But it is a fact of life for a writer and if I don’t learn to do it at least adequately I’ll never make this work. I’m taking a flying leap on Story Cartel, hoping for some reviews of THE BARD’S GIFT. We’ll see how that works out.

I’m also still working on getting “Wyreth’s Flame” free on Amazon.

Red Wyreth Cover SmallIf anyone would like to help out by reporting the lower prices (free) on Barnes and Noble and Apple iBookstore, I’d appreciate it.

Now, this is bound to impact on my writing, but it wasn’t all that was going on and it took me a while to figure it out. I’m doing a rewrite of some of my earliest writing, going through chapter by chapter and trying to bring that story up to my current writing level. I underestimated how hard this was going to be. And what was holding me back was that I wasn’t satisfied with the result.

The first few chapters are pretty solid (aside from the problems inherent in starting a sequel), but I just wasn’t going deep enough in subsequent chapters. I’m going back to fix that. It just is a fact of life that every chapter is going to require more than one pass. I’d always known that. Where I went wrong was in thinking I could go straight through the manuscript (the way I do a second or third draft) and then do the next pass. That’s just not working. I have to do multiple passes on each chapter until I’m happy enough with the result to move on. Then, I’ll likely have to do still more revision passes, probably on the whole manuscript. Nobody said this was going to be easy, but I think the story is worth it.

Moral of the story: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.


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Red Wyreth Cover Small

It’s here!

Sometimes the gift of the right story to tell at the right time is a blessing. Sometimes it’s a curse. But the Norse gods don’t leave Astrid much choice, either way.
On the eve of a desperate battle, with her father lying mortally wounded, the gods give her a story about the first dragon to learn to breathe fire. As usual, the story doesn’t come with instructions. It’s up to Astrid to decide if the story is meant to calm the frightened children or encourage the dispirited men. Or if she just might be able to do both with the same story. All their lives may depend on her skill with a story.

Wyreth’s Flame is available on both Amazon and Smashwords. It’s free on Smashwords. I’ll have to wait until it gets out to Barnes and Noble before I can start the process of making it free on Amazon, too. In the meantime, it’s only $0.99.

You can add it to your to-read list on Goodreads too.

There’s a healthy extract of The Bard’s Gift (twelve chapters) included in the ebook.


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