Changes

I started doing the indie promos on my blog because my newsletter was pitiful. I thought I’d be able to get more eyes here. And for a few weeks my blog still had a larger reach, but now my newsletter far surpasses this blog. So I am going to take down the indie promos soon and no longer have them here. I will try and post more frequently though.

If you guys do want to see promos for new free or discounted indie stuff then by all means you can join the newsletter 🙂 Or, again, go ahead and join if you want insider info before everyone else.

I have also gotten a ‘real job’ for the first time in my life. I did some volunteer stuff, helped out the family business, etc, but never had a real ‘you get a check every week’ job. Now I do. Maybe even two, actually, and both are part-time so it becomes just the one full-time job. Or something.

I think this is actually going to help me with writing too. Because right now, while looking for a job, I’ve had all this extra time. It was easy to fall into bad habits- marathon some Netflix, go read a book, play a game- anything but writing. Not that I didn’t write at all, but I would fall into worldbuilding and map-making, and not actually that much ‘sit down on my ass and finish this chapter.’

Being quite busy the last few days with all these job shenanigans I’ve found I want to make the time to write. I’ve had ideas for Scenes and backstories and extras that are all half-finished right now, but actually started. Hopefully (I say that a lot, don’t I) this will work out well.

Also I need to figure out chapter names for Delphinium. Larkspur was short enough that it didn’t really have chapters, but the rest of the books will. I’m debating whether one-word chapter titles or just numbering them would be better.

So yeah, a lot going on right now, and I’m starting to embrace the chaos.

26 to 3000 subscribers in two months

I’m going to hit 3000 subscribers to my newsletter today. I’m at ~2900 and expecting a few hundred from a promo in an email soon So I thought I would share how I did it.

First of all join InstaFreebie: https://instafreebie.com?invite_code=acE1gC9YIa
It’s a site where you set up your book for download via email. People get a mobi, epub, or pdf sent to them in exchange for their email. This is great for writers and readers of all kinds.

The second thing you do it go to Pricing and click the Plus Plan. You get 30 days free from Instafreebie to try it out so it’s entirely worth it. With the Plus plan (it’s $20 a month after the first month) you can make it mandatory to join your mailing list in exchange for a book (as opposed to there being a little check to opt-in, and we all know no one ever clicks the little check when signing up for things). I was a little hesitant about this at first, but well, they can always unsubscribe later on if they just wanted the book (mention this in your newsletter! Some folk will mark as spam no matter what though).

The link you want to give out has the word ‘free’ in it- https://www.instafreebie.com/free/ NOT https://www.instafreebie.com/book/

Third: Use Facebook. Yes, I’m serious. There are a ton of facebook groups and pages for authors working together to exchange newsletters, promos, and to help each other out.

There’s InstaFreebie Promos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/instafreebiepromos/?ref=br_rs

FreebieFriday on Instafreebie: https://www.facebook.com/groups/578910405624973/?ref=br_rs

InstaFreebie Push: https://www.facebook.com/groups/674062869429630/?ref=br_rs

InstaFreebie Share Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/instafreebiebooksharegroup/?ref=br_rs

And there are also groups devoted to specific genres.

Then join as many promos as you are qualified to join. Some are free, for others you may need to pay in, many are divided by genre. These are mostly everyone-pitches-in promos, so all those that joined in all spread the word to their newsletter/mailing list/blog/social media.

You can also join Newsletter Swap: http://newsletterswap.com/ and set up your book there, asking others to send your book out to their people (if you’re still growing your list, it isn’t mandatory to actually swap). It lets you put in any store link you want, including Instafreebie.

You’ll collect the emails on InstaFreebie (unless you use Mailchimp, integration with MC is also part of the $20 plan). You can download them as a CSV. They’re broken up into Subscribers and Unverified (need to download them as separate CSV files), the latter being that IF couldn’t send them your book. I put both into my list and find that most of the ‘unverified emails’ do work.

(The Pro plan at $50 a month isn’t worth it, imo. You get to use more pen-names, and change the color of the ‘Claim’ button).

Doing this I went from 26 subscribers in December to almost 3000 today. I have about a1/3rd open rate, and I’ve grown a team of 50 ARC and beta readers 

(Oh, and if you want to join my mailing list, pop over to this page and grab a copy of Larkspur! https://vmjaskiernia.com/newsletter-and-free-books/ )

Happy list building!

2017 plans

Ok, Larkspur is officially back at 99¢ on all platforms. This is after having the best month ever for free downloads- I’m at 1465 downloads on Amazon alone (not counting the B&N/Kobo downloads, or the ~700 insta-freebie downloads). That’s an astounding number of people potentially reading my work. I’m actually a little intimidated, but super excited for (hopefully) some new reviews in the coming weeks.
I thought since Larkspur will now be free from Instafreebie in return for signing up to my newsletter, I’d better make it a buck everywhere else. I’m also planning on a few stand-alone stories that will be on the instafreebie mailing list page for free, but cost money on Amazon and everywhere else.
Now will that be worth it? Am I going to go from over 20 downloads a day to nothing because of the cost of a candy-bar? I don’t know. Likely it’ll drop significantly. Maybe I should have waited until this freebie rush ended, but maybe it’ll be better with all the eyes on it?

It’s been really fun though. I’m loving taking a forward approach with marketing and getting new eyes on my stuff.

As 2016 is wrapping up I’m working on big plans for 2017. Delphinium will be out, and those on my newsletter will get an Advanced Reader Copy (it’ll be the same edition I send to my beta readers, so there may be small issues and some changes between it and the final edition, but nothing super major), and I want those stand-alone books done too. I want to sketch out and get a good chunk of The Wolf Within done, not to mention start (and finish?) Aconitella, the third book in The Larkspur Series.
Yes, I know it’s a lot of work, far more than I’ve managed to do before, but I’m feeling good. A lot of my symptoms and issues with depression and OCD are getting under control. I changed my diet, I’m (trying to) remember my meds.. I know I’ll still have bad days, maybe a bad week here or there, but if I feel as good as I do today, I think I can make writing more of a proper full-time ‘sit down and work’ thing.
So yes- Happy New Year to all, I hope you meet your goals and plans. I’m being a  bit ambitious, but if I even get half of what I want done I’ll be pleased. And I hope you all will be too.

So many promos! Now back to me :)

I thought I’d check in and ramble about myself and my work for a little bit to break up the other indie folk.

That said this cross-promotion thing is amazing. All the great writers that I’m showing off are also showing off Larkspur. In October I had 160+ downloads, 101 in November, and in December I have 425 so far, and it’s only the 4th! I’m sure I have a few more promos set up for December too, and I’m not-so-secretly hoping to break 1000.

I have most of the major scenes for Delphinium written and pretty polished, now I’m just trying to tie them all together coherently. Sometimes I explain something in a chapter only to find that I wrote something similar already, so that all has to be fixed and redone. Some of the chapters take place over a day and others might be several weeks and I need to summarize, or expand, and make it flow right. I’m feeling really good about this story though- I have fewer “this sucks, what the hell am I even doing” days than I used to have. The story itself, by the way, takes place over 4 months and almost a week. I am gradually scaling up the time for each book, Aconitella should take place over a year and a half, and a few of the vaguely plotted stories for after the Larkspur series may cover five to ten years. I am working with a lot of time, generations here, so going week by week might not be the best idea in the world.

The Wolf Within has been put aside so I can wrap up Delphinium, but it will be written alongside Aconitella. I want to try dealing with more than one world at once, outside of Scenes. And even with Scenes I tend to fall back into the realm I’m working on at the moment. I’ve not been able to stick to another realm long enough for a good coherent Scene in a while (sorry about that).

I do have a pretty finished opening page to The Wolf Within though, so I’ll go ahead and share that here! 🙂

The pups were coming out of the den. They were less than a moon old and had only opened their eyes a few days past, but the alpha-mother was letting them come to meet the rest of the pack. Their alpha-father stood at the opening of the den, tail wagging his entire body as he made himself wait for his mate and puppies to appear. It was their first litter.
The other two wolves of the pack stood further back, not part of the family and not wishing to intrude, though keeping away from new puppies had proved too difficult to overcome entirely.

Alpha-mother came out first and greeted her mate. An uncertain whining was heard from the den and she yipped, telling her little ones that it was safe. Alpha-father had had enough waiting and stuck his head into the den, sniffing and licking the bundles of fur. He grabbed one by the scruff and pulled him out, setting him down before covering him again in licks.

The other two siblings ran out then and all descended on their father, licking at the corners on his mouth and pressing to him, showing him deference and love.

“Come,” the alpha-mother said to the two sitting off to the side. She nudged one of the puppies, a solid black one, in their direction if her beckoning had not been enough. “You are pack too.”

The elder, a golden wolf with suspiciously blue eyes, looked to the younger white wolf before taking a step forward.

The black puppy moved to him, tail low but swishing, shy and trying not to show her fear. The golden wolf dipped his head and licked her in greeting, and she nuzzled him back.

“Smell different.” The pup sneezed and stood back to look at the other pack members, then back to his mother. “Wolf-not-wolf.”

“Man-wolf,” his father explained. “Pack.”

The golden wolf laid down to be less intimidating and all the pups decided it would be a grand idea to tackle him at once.

Finally the black pup went over to the white wolf and sniffed her curiously. She was different than the golden wolf still, and reminded her of her parents in how she sat.

“Alpha-not-wolf?” she asked.

Her father walked over and bent his head, exposing his neck. “Man-wolf queen. She is the alpha of all the alphas. Wolf and man-wolf.”

The queen nudged alpha-father to stand and snorted in annoyance. “I am still young, and a guest of your father’s. I am not here as his alpha.”

Hope everyone is having a great Christmas season! ❤

Early NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month. From the 1st of November to the 3oth the goal is to write 50-thousand words, or 1667 words a day.

I know a bunch of writers and several of them have already decided they are doing NaNo. I half-heartedly have tried in years past (last year trying to finish Delphinium..), but I didn’t last more than a few days. Now said friends have roped me into it and I’m not allowed to escape.

(Thanks, kalez ❤ :P)

This year I will again try and finish Delphinium for NaNo. It isn’t technically within the rules, as the story isn’t new and a good chunk is written already, but blah- don’t care.

Reasons I think I might get it to work:

1 – My friends will hound me about it, I’m sure.

2 – I’ve been doing a lot better lately with productivity and feeling good about myself. I started the keto diet in the middle of summer and it’s doing wonders

3 – I am fed up with not having Delphinium out. I owe you this story. I owe the almost 100 people who have written reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, who loved Larkspur, and are still waiting. I owe the people I know through Facebook who are both my friends and readers. I owe Pierre and Lizzy.

I am making a minor tweak though-I’m starting October 17th. I have more than 50K words left and if I want to squish in the (more or less) correct number of words a day I need more time. So I’m just going ahead and adding in the last two weeks of October. Let’s call it fée-time and pretend it can work that way.

Seeing as it’s after midnight already and I’m not too tired I guess I’ll start now.

 

Wolves

It should not be this hard to find decent public domain pictures/paintings of wolves.

I’m working on a new project, a secondary book that I won’t really start until after Delphinium is done, but will let me take my mind into another place when I need it. I know I tried the ‘other project’ thing before with Incubo, and while that’s still on the table it fell through as my next-in-line book (it worked better as a stand alone that comes after a series, rather than the start to a new series).

Anyway, I had time to think and plot last night and went quite deep into the land of Astrarctia, where ‘Wolf Girl’ takes place. While the name has changed over the years it was my first mediaeval world that wasn’t totally a rip-off (just mostly). Inisaira was one of my first characters ever. If Clandestina is how I learned to write well (with lots of roleplaying online, Pierre was a role-play character I had intended not to have as a book-character way back when), this world is how I learned to worldbuild and write in the first place.

I’m quite glad I can consider it back on the table and with a ‘next’ marker placed on it. Already working out the timeline and the vague ideas for book 1.

I think I will also make another section here on the blog sorting out my intended projects, naming the ones I have named, and giving short summaries about what is what.

Saiva and her language

I meant for this to be a quick post about language, but it seems to have devolved into a little bit of everything.


I write my books in English. And like many fantasy authors this is my variant of ‘the common tongue’ that, for one reason or another, everyone on earth can understand. It makes things easier and it’s a trope that’s well known.

That said, I do not ignore other languages. Clandestina is a mix of countries, but mainly influenced by France and England. You see this from the main character’s name, Pierre, to the occasional French term or phrase thrown in. It is flavoring, and at the same time it sets up how the world works.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’re going to need some of the mythological background here too.

Saiva is the personification of Nothing. She is the pair and partner of Amôru, Everything Good- The One God (lower-g gods/goddesses are mentioned sometimes in world, but they’re not technically gods in the same way, usually just kyrioi or similar). Their son, Sebelas, is the personification of Good, and is ruling until sin can be extinguished from the world and his father can return.

If Amôru is comparable to the Judeo-Christian God, and Sebelas is Jesus, Saiva is a mix of the Holy Mother of God and Buddha.

She is not evil. She is not the opposite of Amôru. If Amôru is the charity of sharing food, Saiva’s is the feeling of thanks and warmth afterwards. If Amôru is a great tree, Saiva is the soil after the tree has been cut down waiting for another plant. She is what is left, ‘a good nothing’ after a good takes place. She is also seen as universal- the common denominator between all people and creatures. While Amôru may have specific laws that certain bestia may not break, and others can, she is the same to all.

So when referencing this common tongue anywhere in Noctuina, it is called Saiva’s Tongue. She isn’t necessary the creator of it (though she might be, I’m not sure about the mythology of it yet), but it represents her.

That isn’t the only language in the world though. Each realm is inspired by a number of varying real-life cultures, with one being the main influence usually. This culture tends to bring its language with it into the realm, being said realm’s tongue, and a more intimate and personal way of speaking. When a character in Clandestina switches to French they mean it far more than if it was in English. Promises turn into swears, vows might be preferred in the realm’s language, emphasis is placed on the words.

Terms sometimes too appear in different languages. Words in general have meaning, especially in Noctuina, so names are not passed on without a thought, and terms are specific (but like I said before, not everyone gets this right all the time– calling a kyria a goddess, for instance).

Pierre is a duc. This does not just mean I wanted to write duke in French to make it look foreign. It also means that, in his duchy, he is the authority of all bestia residing there. So a fée (or a vampire, or a werewolf, or any other bestia) who lives in his domain will have to answer to Pierre.

[Side note: Aimé is referred to as a prince, but the spelling is the same in French and English. It is pronounced differently though.  I do mean it to be the French term though].

If he was merely a duke, a vampire or a fée might be able to disobey the laws of his land, as long as they complied with the laws of their own people.

Of course the world is never simple, and there are many instances where the law can be seen one way or another based on how you interpret it. A visiting fée to Pierre’s land might be able to argue they belong to their Queen, not him, because they are only there for a short time. And a human in Faery might have very few rights indeed, no matter their status outside of that plane.