Working on Delphinium

We’re up to 19 pre-orders on Delphinium, yay!

And I am working on it every spare moment I can get (and given that I have two other jobs, that can be quite random). Putting it up for pre-order was a great way to get my ass in gear (I think I’ll be doing it with future books from now on), even though a good half of me is still terrified about the release. But I have myself on a tight schedule, with plenty of days set aside for editing and polishing.

So far it’s been fun and good to be writing under this deadline. Delphinium keeps expanding- getting new characters even this late in the game, new points-of-view, more backstory. This is not how Delphinium would have been written even several months ago, much less two-and-a-half years ago when I first wanted to finish it asap after Larkspur. I know it sucks waiting for books, sequels especially, but I truly think this is worth it.

In similar news- I put Larkspur and Delphinium in new categories on Amazon! It seems to be a new category on the site in general, but Gaslamp Fantasy is now something you can find both books in. That’s the 19th century-ish ‘ghosts and spirits’ version of steampunk where it’s more about the supernatural than the tech. It fits perfectly (and is what I tried to evoke when I use the term ‘gothic’ for it).

They also have their own series page now too:

 

You’ll notice the series is “Stories of Clandestina” and not “Larkspur” (it was actually Larkspur for a little bit until I contacted Amazon). I did this on purpose since after ‘The Larkspur Series” there are more books that will be coming out about this realm and really they will all be connected. There are stand-alones set in the past and then future series that move forward. I have two ‘past’ novellas in mind, and two more series set in the future- making it 14 books total.

But right now I’m furiously working on book 2 and we’ll work on books 3-14 after.

 

Mailing Lists, InstaFreebie, and marketing

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all!

I’ve been having a wonderful Christmas season. And the best present I’ve gotten (beside the lovely notebook and galaxy-themed earrings) are my new subscribers!

I currently have 430 subscribers on my email list. 430! And we haven’t even gotten to the several give-aways I’ve signed up to do in January. I’m amazed and so so happy 🙂

It begins with InstaFreebie, a site where you can upload your book, and anyone with the link can download it to their email. There’s a fair bit of customization- how many downloads you allow, the file types, or whether or not they can join your newsletter. For one of the paying plans you can make it mandatory to sign up for your newsletter before you can download it.

I was a little hesitant about this, not wanting to force anyone on the newsletter if they just wanted to read Larkspur– but if it was presented as an option, it was just a little checkmark underneath the space to type in your email. And you and I both know that no one ever checks the little checkmark. Other authors also told me to make it mandatory- after all, there’s an unsubscribe button, so folk can always leave if they really don’t want to  stay.

So I went ahead and made it mandatory, then signed up for every insta-freebie give-away group thingy I could find. One or two now in late December, and like 5 in January-February.

Best decision ever. Last week I had 26 subscribers and never sent an email. Now I have a few hundred, might get to a few thousand, and plan to send stuff out on a monthly or so basis. Info, tidbits, other books in similar genres that look awesome. Should be super fun!

(Oh, and I’m still doing newsletter swaps! I had to retweak some of the wording on the google form, but that will be back soon as well).

I think I’m going to go and make instafreebie a more permanent part of my marketing and mailing list. I’m going to take down the sendinblue sign-up page up in the menu and in the book, and make the instafreebie link the main one to get to my newsletter. Also going to bump Larkspur back up  to 99cents on the ebook sites. And then I need to write a few more shorter works to offer as alternatives on insta-freebie if folk don’t want Larkspur and would rather something else.

Plus Delphinium, and the wiki, and The Wolf Within, and learning how to use my drawing tablet to make ever better covers

EDIT: I lied. Just bumped up Larkspur on B&N and Kobo. I’ll email Amazon about it when they change their prices. From now on my books will only be free through Instafreebie and my newsletter (which now has a nifty page up in the menu). You can, of course, always just sign up, get the book, and unsubscribe  😉

Not writing alone

Writing is lonely. There’s a reason we crave reviews and thoughts from our readers- while it’s all in our own heads and on our computers it’s not as real as when others get at it. It’s more than affirmation that the work is good, it’s just the plain enthusiasm and shared love. It’s the same reason you find subreddits or forums for your favorite shows and talk about it- it’s community.

I just finished listening to episode #129 of the self-publishing podcast (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y8-IjSWMgM) and they talk about reasons for writing. I find myself identifying strongly with Dave- who says he likes writing, likes having written, but doesn’t like having to write. It’s a weird thought process where I know I like doing what I’m doing, and I even like doing it as I’m doing it… but making myself start is like pulling teeth.

They then go and theorize how/why Dave is like this. They mention a situation that happened to me- kids at school reading what I wrote and passing it around wanting more. It’s such an amazing feeling to get the praise and desire for your work from others. I looked forward to writing and handing it off to friends, knowing that even a teacher or two got a hold of the work and liked it. I went to different classes as fast as I could so I could sit and talk to friends about characters and story- both mine and theirs if they were writers too. It was a little personal fandom and it was so fun.

Now I’m in my mid-20s, out of college, with little to no social circle to speak of. So I write my work and I like it, I’m proud of it, but who do I have to share this with? I’ve tried to find ‘writer-friends’ online but it doesn’t seem to work that well anymore. Writers just end up talking about their own work, wanting to push it to others. I get that, hell I’ve done the exact same- but it’s more of a business/work deal than a sharing-with-friends.

Oh there’s lots of general encouraging writer-stuff everywhere, but who is going to be excited that I worked through a plot problem? That I found out the specific name I gave a character has a deeper meaning that ties into the story?

For instance: I learned that ‘Spade’, the Italian suit that corresponds to our Spades, means literally Swords (plural). It’s also a feminine noun (most languages give a gender to things while English does not). Given that the Italian suits in Clandestina signify the Margrave station (which I used instead of the French Marquis on purpose because it signifies border-lands, and it has ‘grave’ in the name) I took this more literally. So in Piques there isn’t just the Margrave Spade and his wife, but several women who are known as the Ladies of Swords.

It’s a small thing, and while the characters play important parts, figuring out that background and working from it is trivia-y. But it’s cool! It’s something a fan would smile about. It’s something I want to tell people and get a ‘Oh, awesome!’ reply, instead of adding it into the book to read like an etymology lesson.

I had this idea last evening that I would start talking about my work, writing short scenes that may or may not end up in the books proper, talk inspiration and background information on my blog. The scenes I might put up on deviantART as well. I don’t know if this sort of thing will ruin or enhance the books, I’d hope the latter. People do seem to like spoilers and trailers for that reason- getting a taste is tempting.

I’m still not entirely sure I’ll do it, but it does seem like a good way to start up the friendly-community chatter that I used to like. Maybe someone’ll will Like something, or comment, and connections will grow from there.

Stories and writing

Writing, I think, is one of the best ways to convey a story. I’ve often been bothered that my words may not portray what I want them to, especially not in a way that might happen if I drew, or made movies/games, or had some visual medium to play with. But there is just so much more to words and our imagination.

First of all, a book is overflowing with details and extras that just can’t be seen through other media. It’s why George R R Martin decided to write A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) the way he did- he wanted to stuff in as much epic scope as possible so that it would be unfilmable (he was annoyed at being limited with what he could write for TV at the time). And while HBO is making a great effort, we all know there are scenes and characters who just feel different or wrong because we can’t see into their heads.

Also, I personally at least, get tired after a few hours of watching TV. Even marathoning a great show on Netflix weighs you down after a bit. Sure, you may occasionally pull an all-nighter to watch a whole anime series without pause- I’ve done it three times* (for those interested, the anime were Ef~ A Tale of Memories, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Your Lie in April) but it isn’t common. Games? Similar- I started playing Fallout 3 (yes 3) a few days ago and the story and worldbuilding are amazing.

But getting hooked on a book and essentially ignoring the entire world until I finish it- now that happens to me a lot. I’m only taking a break from a book right now to write this out and then it’s back to my kindle app. Sorry, even Vault 101 isn’t enough to get me to put aside the story for an extended period of time.

That isn’t to say visuals aren’t important. I sketch sometimes and I’m trying to get better at drawing so that I can show how certain characters or places look. But there’s just something about words.

And the words! Words are important. They aren’t just a means for me to describe a fictional world that you then read about and see in your own mind- though that is in itself magic and telepathy. Add in how books make us feel, want, and connect with beings that never were and you can add witchcraft to that too.

Words to me have a feel, a taste. Good dense writing just seems to require moving my lips and tongue along with what my mind is processing. There’s a rhythm as well to good prose that I hope I manage in my own work.

I suppose that’s the point of this post. To remind myself that writing and books are important as a medium. Sometimes I see amazing art and feel like I write because I can’t do another art better. I do truly love visual media and part of me wonders if my stories would be better as anime, or films, or comics. I sometimes forget that I just plain love words.

 

*Now that I’m thinking, I’m pretty sure I marathoned Elfen Lied and Future Diary essentially without pause as well. Pink haired protagonists for the win.

 

 

 

Black Friday Book Sale!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m getting ready to start making all the delicious food, but thought I’d tell y’all of a sale tomorrow. A bunch of authors from KBoards got together, swapped summaries and covers, and are going to promote each other on their blogs/facebook/twitter this Friday! So if you’re looking for some new books to pass the time this weekend pop by tomorrow and pick up some new novels 🙂

Delphinium ramble

I’m either 1/3rd or a 1/4th of the way through Delphinium, depending on if it stretches the wordcount I had originally planned. While all of Larkspur is 15K, Delphinium is currently 10K+ and with still a lot to go. 30K might become 35K, or even 40K if I really get into it.

While I’m glad I wrote and released Larkspur, it really is a ‘prologue.’ My original plan for writing was to release small 10K-15K snippets, out of sync, to slowly build a world from many different angles. And while I had done something like that years ago on deviantART (yeah, yeah, we all had that phase), it is not a writing-plan to use with publishing. Ideally I would put Larkspur and Delphinium together, but as it is Larkspur will stay and be perma-free to entice folk to the rest of the books (when more are out). While I will have some 99cent or perma-free shorter stories, I plan to write longer actual-books from now on (though they may still be relatively short while I get the hang of things).

So the rest of the series is more plotted, with a real beginning-middle-end. At least in my head. On paper it might get a little wonky (it’s amazing what I learn about this world even after all these years) but that’s at least half the fun.

Snippet time! Not giving any context, took out the names too 🙂

“He grabbed —–’s throat until the other stopped struggling, barely moving but still on the edges of consciousness. The dagger then found his lungs, and any remaining movement and life in him began to drain away. The blade was pulled out only to enter again. In all —– had five deep wounds in his chest. None were yet fatal.”

Rambling

I’m not sick. Not yet. But my brother is, and as he seemed to have caught it from work, there’s a high chance that it’s contagious.. and I’m totally going to get sick too. I’m the one with the poor immune system who always finds herself ill. Blah. Hopefully it’ll get me after Delphinium is out, but I can type and feel like shit at the same time if I gotta. Going to hate it if this pushes the release date back further. I am so unprofessional 😦 (But as the Wachowski’s new film just got pushed back several months, at least I know it isn’t only the newbs who cock up).

Aside from that things aren’t bad. I bought a dozen indie books today from various writers in /r/fantasy, that was fun. I have tea, and I’m trying to stay up and write a fair amount. I keep getting ideas for other stories. And the plot points for this that I had in place keep moving around. But hey- I’m a writer, and this is my thing. Last minute tea-binge and sleep-deprived typing that’s mostly me and sometimes my muse. Love it ❤