Archive for October, 2012

Monday, October 29th, 2012
Hitting 50,000 and Still Going

I’m almost done with The Dark King. I think I might be able to wrap the story up by Halloween. (One of my favorite holidays.) Seems somehow fitting. I honestly ADORE this story and these characters. I decided to experiment with this book. By that I mean, I’ve incorporated a lot of the writing/craft lessons I’ve been working on and I went back to writing the way that I used to write long ago.

When I first started writing, I used to edit as I wrote. I did that with this book. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to need more editing, but it did seem to help my overall writing process tremendously. I WILL be continuing to write this way. It’s made the whole process far more enjoyable (though I’m sure these characters helped on that front because they’re so deliciously naughty). I am not sure what the final word count will be on this book, but I’m guessing around 54K to 56K. I still have three and a half scenes/chapters to write. I will be sorry to leave these particular characters behind, but I’m glad that I have told their story. 🙂

Once this book is finished, I have to go through the edits on Ghost Hunter Chronicles: Solomon’s Seals. I plan to put the book out in paperback, when I’m done. After that, I’m going to re-edit my young adult book, so that I can send it off to a professional editor. It, too will be put in paperback when it’s finished.

As for writing projects, I’m going to get back to writing a YA I started several months ago. I also plan to finish Moonlight Kin 2: Aidan’s Mate, so I can release it sometime in the first quarter.

Currently, I am trying to decide whether I’ll submit a project for the Clarion West group. No guarantees that I’d be selected, even if I do. The teachers next year are truly some of the best genre writers around. I’d love to soak up their knowledge. It’s a heavy time commitment, but I think it would be worth it.

I have a dentist appointment, so I need to get some word count in before I go. My guess is my next post will be an announcement that AQ5 is finished. Stay tuned. 🙂

Friday, October 26th, 2012
Casual Observations and One Quick Review

I’ve seen a lot of authors in the past year and a half offer their books for free. It’s a wonderful marketing tool…or at least it used to be. They’ve all had varying degrees of success by doing so. Up until Phantom Warriors: Riot, I had never put a book up for free for more than a few days, so I didn’t have enough time to determine what if any difference doing so made. Well actually that’s not true. The last time I put a book up for free it didn’t help my sales at all. That changed with Phantom Warriors: Riot. Even though Riot has only been free for a week and change at Amazon, I’ve seen some startling differences in my stats–not all of them good.

On the positive side, the free ‘price’ seems to have brought in a lot of reviews. Which is wonderful and incredibly helpful on sites like Amazon. For a while, the free price also jumped my rankings up on the ‘free bestseller’ list. (I believe I reached number 29.) That particular ride was fairly short-lived, though I am still listed on one or two smaller bestseller lists within Amazon. I was also listed on two smaller bestseller lists when the book was priced at .99. There has been a slight bump in my overall sales this month. I’m sure that both the free price and the .99 price helped my sales.

Now for the bad observations. I noticed that it seems to be much harder for me to maintain the smaller bestseller lists now that I’ve taken the price from .99 to free. I’ve also noticed that when Riot was .99 almost all of my books appeared in the ‘Customers Who Also Bought This Item’ section. Now that Riot is free, all my books have disappeared from that particular (and very helpful) section of the Amazon store. Not a good thing, considering all my paid content still lists mainly my books.

I do know that Amazon has been making a lot of MAJOR changes to their site and that these changes have resulted in disappearing lists, ranking mistakes, etc. They’re working on the problem, but no idea when it’ll be done. Due to what I have observed, I’ve decided to raise the price of Riot back to .99 as of November 5th. I will keep it at that price through the end of the year, then price match the book with the rest of my Phantom Warriors series in Jan. 2013.

I’d be curious what other authors have experienced when they moved from low priced to free. Love to hear all about it.

Now onto my quick movie review. Last night dh and I went to see Cloud Atlas. I had thought the previews were a little confusing so I was less enthusiastic to see it than dh. I admit that the first fifteen to thirty minutes of the movie were VERY confusing. One of the characters was ‘narrating’ in the form of writing a book and begged the audience to bear with the confusing beginning that the story would all make sense in the end.

I can’t say that, that was actually the case, but it did become more interesting as it went along. Basically, the story followed about ten characters throughout several time periods. You’re introduced to each character at a different period of time. As the story progresses, you see how these same characters lives have been entangled. Sometimes in a good way. Sometimes in a bad way. The pattern continues to be repeated. The only connecting thread that runs throughout is LOVE. I suppose ultimately that’s the message/theme of the film. It just uses reincarnation to provide it.

Cloud Atlas is not a movie that’s going to appeal to everybody. It’s complicated. It demands your attention. It’s long (2.5 hrs). It’s ambitious. It’s confusing. It’s impressive that they managed to get it to make sense at all given the amount of story-lines. Dh loved it. I’m still not sure what I think about the film. It’s THAT kind of movie. If you’re patient, love intertwining story-lines, and believe that love can transcend time, then I highly recommend going to see the movie. If you don’t have patience for odd dialogue (at times) or non-linear storytelling, then you are NOT going to enjoy this film.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
There and Back Again

Sorry for the silence. Between writing and a wonderful visit with my mom, I have been SWAMPED. I didn’t manage to do any writing while my mom was here, but we had a great time. So that’s all that matters to me. 🙂 Of course, now I have to make up for the self-imposed downtime. I have between 10 to 15K left to write on Atlantean’s Quest 5: The Dark King. Unless I have a brain fart, I should finish by the end of this month. I have to send the book off for critiques and edits once its done, but I believe we’re still on track for the first week of December release. Let me rephrase that: THIS BOOK WILL BE OUT THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER COME hell HECK OR HIGH WATER! 🙂

I’m not sure about you guys, but I cannot believe how fast the holidays are speeding toward us. I feel like I’ve blinked and we’ve gone from February to October. That’s seriously messed up. I don’t even want to think about X-mas shopping. Sigh.

Like all of you, I’ll have obligations over the next few months, including an appearance at TusCon 39 in Tucson, AZ from Nov. 9-11. If you’re in the area, pop by and say hello. Until then, I have a book to finish. I’ll post here the second the first draft is done. In the meantime, I’m waiting for Lucas by D.B. Reynolds to release. I want it lined up after I finish Jacqueline Carey’s latest book, Dark Currents. I don’t know either of these authors, but they are awesome.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
Finally FREE

Just saw that Phantom Warriors: Riot is finally free on Amazon. Don’t know how long it will last, so grab it while you can.

I’ve passed the 40K mark on AQ 5: The Dark King. My mom is in town for a visit (YAY!), so I won’t get to finish it until she’s gone. I probably have another 10 to 13K to go. In other words, it’ll take as long as it takes. The book will still be out by the first week of December. 🙂 And yes, I’m still loving this story and these characters. I cannot wait to share them with you all. 😀

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

A couple of days ago I sent off the first 27K of The Dark King to my critique partner. I admit that I was nervous to hear what she thought about the first half of the book. I have a few ‘questionable’ scenes in this novel and I wanted to make sure that they came off right.

I’ve learned over the years that my ‘personal’ taste doesn’t exactly gel with readers’ tastes. It was a very hard lesson to learn, but one I keep in mind while I’m writing. It doesn’t make me change my stories (I’m too ornery to do that.;), but it does make me brace for readers’ reactions. The best examples of this are my books: RED and PHANTOM WARRIORS: BACCHUS.

I knew RED was going to have a love/hate relationship with a bulk of the readers. I could tell when I was writing it that a lot of readers were going to have a STRONG reaction to certain scenes. And I was right. When I wrote RED, it not only was my first full-length single title, it was also a story that I NEEDED to tell. I was so frustrated and disillusioned during that time period that I needed an outlet to express those emotions. It’s why the killer is written in first person. I ‘related’ to the killer more than any other character in that book at the time I was writing the novel. I have absolutely no regrets about the choices I made while writing RED, but I can’t promise that when I re-edit it next year and re-release it that there won’t be new story elements included. I’ve thought of a lot of things I wanted to add to that book over the years and now I have the chance. 😉

In a different way, PHANTOM WARRIORS: BACCHUS does the same thing. I knew given that he was from the BLOOD CLAN and reptilian in nature that he’d hit a lot of readers the WRONG way. Couple that with questionable behavior and a few edgy, sexually explicit scenes at a kennel and you have a recipe for strong reader reactions. The one thing I did change in BACCHUS’ story when I re-edited it was the suicide that originally took place in the story. I’d just had a dear friend kill himself and it didn’t seem right to keep that particular storyline intact. I chose to make the circumstances surrounding the death a motor vehicle accident instead. Stephen King is fond of saying that writers need to tell the truth, but in this instance I took the coward’s way out because frankly the truth hurt too much. Still does. As for the other elements in that story, I wrote it years ago for Ellora’s Cave. I thought I owed it to the readers who’d originally picked up the book and liked it to keep it as true to form as possible.

Now back to the topic at hand, (yes, I actually had one *ggg) I heard from my critique partner last night and she LOVED what she read of the book. As always, she had a lot of wonderful suggestions that will make the story stronger, but she thought the writing was terrific (huge relief since I’ve been working on my craft) and that Hades, The Dark King was to die for. YAY!!! This made my night. Now I just have to finish the rest of the book. :-O

Friday, October 5th, 2012
Atlantean’s Quest and Phantom Warriors Merge

I’ve received a lot of reader letters lately asking if there will be anymore Phantom Warriors or Atlantean stories. It made me realize that I’ve been a little unclear about Atlantean’s Quest 5: The Dark King. My next release AQ5 is a combination of the two worlds. The Dark King is half Phantom and half Atlantean. He rules the planet with King Eros, whom we met in Atlantean’s Quest 1: The Arrival.

Hades, The Dark King, has Atlantean traits, but definitely takes after his Phantom father. This book will show what it’s like to live on planet Zaron under Hades’ rule. It also shows several of the women (and heroes) from the previous books, both Atlantean and Phantom. I’m never going to say never, but right now it’s my intention to make this the last book for BOTH series. It’s why I’m working so hard to give the Atlantean and Phantom worlds a proper send off. I think it’s important to end on a high note. This is one of those books that I love so much that it doesn’t matter if anyone else on the planet agrees with me. Truth! I will NEVER regret writing it. (Actually, I’ve never had regrets about anything I’ve written, so that last sentence probably doesn’t mean as much as it should. 😉

I just wanted to clear that up, since I understand how the title could be slightly deceiving. 🙂

I’ve added an excerpt for MOONLIGHT KIN 2: AIDAN’S MATE. The blurb will be coming soon. The book will be out in the first quarter of next year.

On a personal note, I weighed in today and found out I was down another three pounds. For me, this is record breaking weight-loss. I’ve never lost that much in a week. I am grateful, since the previous week showed no loss. This brings my total weight loss to 14.5 lbs. I still have a long, Long, LONG way to go, but at least things are moving in the right direction. Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
Changing Prices & Making Progress

The other day I decided to go through all the distribution channels and update the prices so that they were almost all exactly the same. (I say almost all because Apple has a .99 minimum price point that I can’t do anything about.) I wanted something that was fair across the board and based more on word count. I lowered the prices on a few books and raised them on others. I’m trying to be fair to readers and myself. I did a lot of research before I set the new prices. I looked at Harlequin, Samhain, and Ellora’s Cave prices versus their book length. It was quite eye-opening. The prices are all over the place, but what I found was that a few of my longer books were underpriced. I adjusted the prices on those books, but did NOT raise them to match the above publishers. If I did that, almost all of my books would be in the $4.24 range. Not that I don’t think that they’re worth it ;), but I preferred to keep them under four dollars. (All except my UF, which is 93K. It’s now priced at $4.99.) I have no idea if the price change will hurt my sales in the long run. Only time will tell, but for now I’m going to keep things as they are. I didn’t raise the price of Phantom Warriors: Riot. I still want it to be a ‘thank you’ to my readers. I really do appreciate your support. 🙂

Yesterday, I was working on THE DARK KING and the story took a left at Albuquerque and kept going. I wrote over 4500 words. Today, I had to go in and see if I could salvage my outline. Fortunately, even with the dramatic changes, I was able to lay out the story and keep most of my outline. I’m almost to the halfway point. It’s so close that I can taste it. I think the book is going to end up being 50K+. Not super long, but it should be a satisfying read. (Fair warning: There is a M/M scene and the hero shags another woman before he hooks up with the heroine.)

The book is taking longer than I thought it would to write. Personally, I blame Hades. He is a handful…and then some. 😉 Yum! Anyway, I’m really enjoying the story. It’s becoming quite an adventure. I am breaking a lot of ‘romance taboos’. Given the characters, it can’t be helped. The release date is still scheduled for December. If that changes, I’ll let you know.

Went to see Loopers the other day. Personally, I liked it. I know it’s been getting a bad wrap for its time-travel elements, but I thought it was a decent sci-fi story. Well I’d better get back to work.