Hello all! First, I should mention that I’ve entered a book in the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO). For those unfamiliar with this contest, it’s basically an indie book fantasy contest where the judges are ten sites that review fantasy books. Mark Lawrence has posted a bunch of information about this year’s contest on his blog. I entered Enchanted Legacy and I’m excited to see how it will do.
Since there are quite a few redditors from the Fantasy subreddit who follow the contest closely, I’ve decided to give away 2,000 digital copies of Enchanted Legacy for those interested in reading along with the bloggers. You don’t need to sign up for my mailing list to get this title free, just go to Bookfunnel and download the version you’d like. First come first served, so grab one while you can. A bunch of the other authors involved in the contest are also running deals on their books. One of the best ways to find these deals is to search for SPFBO on twitter.
But wait! That’s not all the news I have. I’ve been busily writing the last couple of months and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve got with you. I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated everyone on what I’m currently working on. I’m right in the middle of a new fantasy series. At the moment, I’m thinking four books – I’ve written the first couple and am working on the third. Some of you may be asking why I haven’t started publishing the first one yet. Part of the reason is because I want to make sure the continuity is solid, solid as a rock (apologies but this song is stuck in my head). The story is a bit complex – I’ll tell you more about it in my next posting – and it’s really important to me that I stick the landing on it. In return for your patience, I’ll be giving the first book to all my subscribers absolutely free. I’ll still be running an advance review team for it (those folks will get the first book a month early), but everyone on my mailing list will get the finished book when it’s ready as a thank you for your support. I know that’s not much to go on, so here’s a little teaser for everyone. It’s only been edited lightly and hasn’t yet been to my editor. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy the prologue to this new story.
The sea was calm in the pre-dawn light. Roscoe’s line was still, as it had been all morning. He tugged it every so often, hoping his bait hadn’t drowned. Fish weren’t as interested in dead bait. When he felt no resistance on the line he spat into the water. The foam floated on the surface longer than it should have, but Roscoe hardly noticed.
“I think this is a bust, Father. Your new secret fishing spot isn’t playing out,” he said, sighing.
Roscoe’s father was minding three lines. Not one had moved in the last hour. A single silver fish – too small, but it was the first catch of the day, and it was bad luck to throw back the first catch – swam in circles in the wooden bucket on the deck of his boat. He turned to look at his son.
Roscoe hadn’t been blessed with his father’s darker skin. His was pale and constantly red from his work on the water. Freckles so numerous they blotted out his skin dotted Roscoe’s shoulders. Gerald would swear Maggie had lain with another man if Roscoe didn’t share his brown hair, eyes and wide nose.
“It’s a fine spot,” he said, tugging at one of his lines to check the bait. “The fish just ain’t biting today. I told you, I scouted the area last week. I noticed a warm current. This time of year, that should draw the fish like nothing else. And the current comes right through here.”
Roscoe looked down into the water doubtfully. He leaned over the boat’s edge, hooking his foot under the rudder to keep his balance. He sunk his hand into the unusually calm waters then wrinkled his brow.
“You said warm. But this is bath water. This won’t draw fish in so much as cook them. No wonder they aren’t biting.”
Gerald made a scolding noise and walked over to Roscoe, pulling him back aboard.
“Don’t exaggerate, Rossie. This is the sea. It ain’t as warm as a bath. Can’t be. It’s impossible.”
“Feel it yourself if you don’t believe me.”
Gerald rolled his eyes. If he needed to stick his arm in to prove it to his son, he would. But he’d cuff Roscoe right after for goading him into doing it. Roscoe moved out of the way so his father could position himself safely. Once he’d anchored his feet, he stretched out to reach the water. He wasn’t as tall as his son, so he teetered on the edge of the boat, barely hanging on.
He dipped his hand in the seawater for a few seconds before a puzzled expression crossed his face. Roscoe wasn’t wrong. Even stranger yet, the water grew warmer the deeper he plunged his arm. He stretched further into the depths.
“You’re gonna fall in, pa.”
“Be quiet, boy. I’m trying—”
Gerald’s foot lost its purchase and he tumbled into the water. Roscoe crossed his arms and grinned.
His grin fell after his father remained below the surface for longer than a minute. He gripped the side of the boat and peered into the depths.
For an agonizing ten seconds, there was nothing. No sound, no ripple, no sight of his father. Roscoe began pulling off his boots to dive in when a scream erupted from the other side of the boat.
Roscoe ran to the opposite edge of the boat to see his father struggling to stay above water. Steam was rising from his skin and wet clothes. He was screaming non-stop.
Roscoe reached down and pulled his father aboard. His skin was hot to the touch.
“Get them off me. It burns! Get them off me!”
Gerald was pawing ineffectually at his clothes. Roscoe helped him out of his vest and pulled away aghast. Gerald’s skin was blistering as if he’d been boiled.
Gerald didn’t speak. His breath came in pants as he pulled off his trousers. The pain was unbelievable. The cold air seemed to seep right past his skin to his muscle. It was no longer a gentle caress on a warm day – the breeze was made of knives. He needed a doctor, and there was something dreadfully wrong with the sea. He grimaced and looked up at Roscoe to tell him to begin rowing to shore.
But Roscoe was staring out at the water in horror. Despite his pain, Gerald managed to pull himself up to the edge of his boat. As he looked out over the water, an odd sensation hit him. He was hungry. The sea smelled of stew. All around the boat, the water began to churn. Fish, seaweed, clams, crabs, and all sorts of other sea life floated to the surface. All dead.
Then the sea began to bubble.
“Get away from the edge boy!” Gerald rasped. “Get to your oar!”
Roscoe stumbled to his seat. With colossal effort, Gerald pulled himself to his own oar. The pain was incredible, but his body was powered by pure adrenaline. He lurched clumsily into a rhythm as he began pushing and pulling his oar, but the boat was going in circles instead of away from the bubbling sea. Steam began to billow around the boat.
“With me boy!” Gerald called out. “Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.”
With Roscoe now rowing in time with his father, the boat slowly made its way towards the shore. Gerald looked out over the sea. He could see where the boiling stopped not too far away. They could make it. If they kept going, they could make it.
His skin screamed at him every time he took a stroke. It felt like someone was using a cheese grater on him with every slight movement, but he couldn’t stop. He knew he couldn’t stop. He didn’t know what was happening, but he knew death would come for them if he stopped.
The boat began to sway violently. Boiling water sloshed over the side. Gerald pulled his feet back in time, but he heard a scream of pain from Roscoe.
“Hold on boy! You have to row! Hold on! Stroke! Stroke! Stroke!”
Then a swell of water tipped the boat into the air. For a fraction of a second, Gerald felt like he was weightless. He could see the water far below him, his boat on a wave that put him almost perpendicular to the flat surface of the sea. A creak from the boat broke the spell, and the boat began to slide down the wall of water.
Gerald couldn’t tell if Roscoe had heard him – a guttural scream was his only reply. The boat plunged downward. Miraculously, it managed to keep upright. Water sloshed over them, washing them in fresh waves of pain and heat, but they made it to the bottom of the wave alive.
Gerald turned around, expecting to see more waves following. His eyes widened and he stood. They hadn’t slid down the side of a wave. Roscoe joined his father. His pale skin was even redder than it had been before, blisters covering his arm.
“Pa… is that…”
Gerald dropped his oar. There was no point now. The dragon circled. Its girth made it look as if it was moving in slow motion. It screamed and the water around them vibrated like the skin of a drum. Roscoe flinched, but Gerald remained still. He took his son’s hand.
“I thought they were all dead,” Roscoe whispered.
These were the last words he spoke.
The dragon whirled and spotted them in the water. It opened its sulfurous maw and roared. The water around the boat turned to steam instantly – the boat and its occupants, to ash. For a few seconds, the ash kept its shape – a small fishing boat, two long oars, even the fishing poles. In the center of the boat were two humans holding hands. Then the wave of hot air that followed the gout of flame burst over the water and the ashes scattered, leaving nothing but a grey cloud behind.
This is going to be a pretty pug heavy post, so before I get to that, just a few tiny updates. Today, I’m r/fantasy’s Author of the Day. You can check that out here if you want to stop by and say hello.
Also, I’m well into the second book of the new fantasy series I’m working on. I’m thinking I might share a chapter or two of the first one with you guys soon, so keep an eye on the blog for news of that. It’s an epic fantasy series that will be at least three books long, possibly four. I’m still working through how long the story will take to tell. It’s hard to say at this point. Right now I don’t have a title yet, so in my newsletters you’ll see it as Dawn of Dragons/Day of Dragons. I have several ideas for the title that are far more descriptive of the overall story, but I can’t settle on one yet. As you can guess from the temporary title, the series features dragons in a major way. And yes, I am working on The 11 as well. Don’t fret!
Without further ado, the pug that was promised.
I keep meaning to share a little something with everyone and time just keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping… anyhoo. This last Christmas my brother gave me a tiny glass pug. I think it’s too cute. So here, in all it’s glory, is the tiny, peanut shaped pug.
Since my actual pug is also pretty peanut shaped, I think this is a perfect representation of a pug. She tells me otherwise.
Alright, alright, alright! You might notice a little change around here. Last January (2017) I had decided I was going to go all in on my writing career. I’d been writing and publishing books for a few years before that, but I hadn’t been doing it full time or investing a lot of money into it. One of the things you learn as an independent author is that writing is exactly like a small business — you have to put money into it. Sure, there are lucky authors who manage to snag success just by publishing, but success stories like Hugh Howey’s are becoming a lot less common, in part because there’s just more competition out there for reader’s attention. That meant I had to treat my career as an investment.
One of the first things I did was invest in a web presence. I paid for hosting services, registered a domain name and purchased a few themes to customize my website. It looked passable, but I was never thrilled with it, partly because the themes you could purchase had odd restrictions (don’t get me started on static image sizes that nowhere in any documentation was it written what the ideal sizes needed to be) and were extremely inflexible. Add to that the support for the themes wasn’t the greatest. An update to a theme I was using caused me to be unable to add new content to my website for over a month.
Now, I should add, there won’t be technical support in the traditional sense. If authors who want a site like mine say, “it would be nice if …” and it’s something I think is a solid idea, I’ll pass it along and see if it can be easily done. I’ll write up some basic documentation and I’m going to add some free images and theme settings to get people started so they can get an idea of how flexible this theme is and what they can do with it. Authors who are interested would also have to purchase a plugin called Advanced Custom Fields Pro – I got this for about $22. My developer is in no way associated with that company or plugin, he just uses it as a boilerplate element of all of his custom WordPress themes and plugins.
Eventually it will be downloadable from my site, but it you’re interested in jumping on board during the beta, just fire off an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the theme.
Now, onto other news — my new book, Enchanted Legacy, is coming out in less than two weeks! You can pre-order Enchanted Legacy now for $0.99 and, if you’d like to, you can read the first three chapters here. No sign-up is required to read the first three chapters. You might see a few minor editing issues — those have been fixed for the final version.
Enchanted Legacy is a standalone portal fantasy. If you’re unfamiliar with the term portal fantasy, think of books like Through the Looking Glass, Outlander or Stardust.
Enchanted Legacy follows a young woman named Fiona. Fiona is a modern woman living in our world. Her grandmother, the woman who raised her, unexpectedly dies and leaves behind a mysterious letter with a vague request — ride her grandmother’s horse where it takes her and aid her ancestors.
What Fiona thought was merely the mending of a family rift turns out to be something much more magical and dangerous. She is transported to a world where creatures from myth and legend are real. She soon finds she’s inherited so much more than just a quest. She’s inherited a legacy – one she’s not so sure she’s worthy of.
I’ll leave the price at $0.99 for the first week of release. So far my ARC readers have been sending me rave reviews. I’m super excited to release this book. It has some of my favorite characters from anything I’ve ever written. This is also the book I’m planning to enter into SPFBO this year — I’m mentioning that now because I’m really hoping to bring out another fantasy this year, the first in a short series, but more on that later 🙂 .
I hope everyone is having a productive, happy and healthy year so far. I’ll blog again soon when Enchanted Legacy is released!
Independent authors know how difficult it can be to find readers who will enjoy your books. You can advertise to a thousand people (or more) and only find one person interested in your book. The search for readers who would connect to your work can be frustrating, even at the best of times. I try to remind myself, that even though there are authors that seem ubiquitous and universally loved, like Stephen King, in truth, they aren’t. While I really enjoy a lot of King’s works, most of my family has no interest – which makes me a little sad when we have family gatherings, because I really want to talk about the new adaptation of IT.
If even someone as well-known as Stephen King can’t get everyone to try his books, how am I, and independent author with a small fan base, going to reach new readers? It’s a conundrum that all indie authors face, and there are a plethora of services competing for the limited funds indie authors have with the promise of helping readers connect with authors. Enter Voracious Readers Only.
This is part of my Indie Book Review series. For more information about this series and what my background is, go here to the first indie book review. Indie Reviews are tagged as such on my blog. Without further ado, here is my review of Rage of Dragons!
Rage of Dragons – Book One of The Burning
I first found this book while perusing the fantasy subreddit. The author, Evan Winter, had just released it and was excited to show the cover off. It is a fantastic cover. He described the book as Game of Thrones meets Dune/Gladiator. While I don’t really feel this is an accurate description (the Gladiator part is about right), it nevertheless had me curious. I picked up the book and decided to give it a read. I’m glad I did.
Rage of Dragons opens up like a lot of epic fantasy, with an event that happened years before the story and with people who will not be characters in the main story, but will lay the groundwork for the setting. The prologue begins with a battle, which in many ways will never end. The battle quickly immerses the reader in the world of The Burning: there are dragons – which shouldn’t surprise anyone with that cover; there is magic; and there is an endless war between two nations.
There’s a lot to process even in the prologue. Names, ranks in the military, titles of leaders – all will be thrown at you in the prologue, but don’t fret if it’s a little confusing. You’ll have more time with all the titles and ranks as the story progresses. (more…)
First off, after some hiccups with the process, The Arbiter is now available everywhere! Going forward, all my fantasy books will start wide. For now, my sci fi titles will remain on Amazon exclusively, but that should also change starting next year.
If you haven’t had a chance to pick up The Arbiter yet, I have it on sale for $0.99 all week this week. Here’s a universal book link to all the stores that currently carry The Arbiter: https://books2read.com/u/m0xvNY
You might notice this has a different cover than the one you’re used to. After a lot of testing and polling, this is the design that won out among authors and readers alike, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it as well.
In addition, if you aren’t a member of my newsletter, you might be interested to know that Molly’s Tale, a prequel to The Arbiter, is free to members of my list. That’s also the only way you can get it. If you’re interested in that, you can grab it here from Bookfunnel:
I’m so sorry it’s been so long since readers have heard from me. I’ve been away because a family member passed recently. I’ll be updating everyone on my publishing schedule as I resume all the things that were put on hold while I took time to be with my family. I have a couple of posts I’m going to work on over the holidays for you, one a new Indie Review of a book I’m excited to tell you about, and another for indie authors about a service I’ve recently used that I found rather helpful for finding new readers. I’m also close to finishing my giveaway for the Of Gods & Mortals trilogy, so look for that to be announced soon. Have a terrific week, readers!
There’s a moment in Stranger Things, Netflix’s brilliant, creepy, nostalgic gem of a show, where I knew it was going to be one of my favorite things ever – something so wonderful that I’d be able to watch it time and time again without feeling bored. No, it wasn’t the title sequence, a thing so immediately recognizable as 80s that I dubbed it the most 80s thing ever as soon as I saw it. No, it wasn’t the music, which was undeniably awesome and synthy and made me want to buy the score before it was even available. It was a sheet. Yes. The sheet in this picture. (more…)
This is part of my Indie Book Review series. For more information about this series and what my background is, go here to the first indie book review. Indie Reviews are tagged as such on my blog. Without further ado, here is my review of Beneath the Silver Rose!
Beneath the Silver Rose – Book 1 of the Shadyia Ascendant series
Beneath the Silver Rose is a strong start to what promises to be an exciting series full of mystery and action. Shadyia is a courtesan, but she’s not just any courtesan. She’s feisty, loyal and tough. The book opens with a terrible choice for Shadyia, either she allows a noble to humiliate and beat her as a petty revenge toward a rival noble who enjoys Shadyia’s company, or she strikes him down and endangers the lives of all the sisters she lives and works with. What she chooses to do in this moment will have lasting repercussions throughout the entire first novel in the series, repercussions that effect not only those who work in the Silver Rose, Shadyia’s place of employment, but also other players in a far more deadly game for power.
When I was getting close to releasing The 13, one of my readers asked what inspired that story. I’ve gotten a lot of comments about the names of the ships – the Nimoy is a favorite – and where the idea came from. The answer is a lot of places.
When I went to college, I thought I was going to be a doctor. I took all the classes: the five credit hour chemistry that met every day of the week including a three-hour lab slot, the biology course in the giant lecture hall where I personally believe they were doing something meta and trying to make you feel like an insignificant individual cell in a giant living organism, the calculus courses – because we all know that there’s a lot of calculus involved in determining an illness ;). I did all of it for a year before I had to stop and take stock of what I really wanted. (more…)
Just a quick note to say we’re on track for releasing The 12 on September 6th. I’m already starting to get comments back from ARC readers and everything looks pretty great so far! I’m super excited to bring you the next book!
In other news, you’ll start seeing more of my books on other outlets, like B&N, this weekend. This is a bit of a trial run for me. I’ve had most of my stuff exclusively on Amazon for a while now, in part because exclusivity is required to be a part of the Amazon Select program. For those who don’t know, (more…)