Rough Draft Done – Thirteen Forgotten Worlds (Seam Wardens Book 1)

So, it has been a long time since I updated my website. Like, a really long time. Holy cow! Well, the excuse I have is that I have been hard at work on a new book, the first in a new series. It is tentatively titled The Thirteen Forgotten Worlds (Seam Wardens Book 1).

I haven’t written an official blurb/summary for the book, so I am just going to give a rambling description so you can get an idea about it. This book has less of a fantasy feel and more Science Fiction, but the lines are pretty blurry.

The Seams are those places where the boundaries between our world and the other connected worlds are the thinnest. We interact with beings from these other worlds all the time, but few people know because the majority of humans cannot remember the Seams or interactions with beings from the Seams. Only a small percentage of the population can remember. Those people are recruited to be Seam Wardens. The Seam Wardens guard those boundaries, regulate movement between the worlds, and monitor those creatures from other worlds that have relocated here.

This book follows Pierce, who has just graduated from High School and has a scholarship lined up for college. He has the ability to be a Seam Warden and his past has been intertwined with the Seams more than he ever suspected. This is the story of his recruitment and training as a Seam Warden Cadet.

The rough draft is done, but I still need to send it through some beta readers and get their feedback, do a final edit, and get a cover made. Once the book is closer to being done, I will put some sample chapters up on the website. I hope to have it up on Amazon sometime in the next few months. I hesitate to put out a date yet because these things always go slower than I anticipate.

I have a few beta readers already lined up, but could use a couple more. If you would like to be a beta reader, use the contact form at the top of the page to let me know. I am looking for people who could read it and give me feedback within two weeks of receiving it. I would send a Microsoft Word document and have you use the track changes feature to get your feedback and comments.

I’m excited to finally get this book out and share it with my readers!

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Apple, BN, and Kobo, Oh My!

 

UPDATE: After trying the experiment, I have decided to pull them off of the extended distribution and keep them exclusive to amazon. This allows me to participate in Kindle Unlimited which has changed and is now worth my being in again.

 

 

I finally pulled the trigger and have opted for a wider distribution of the Havoc Chronicles. they are now available on multiple platforms. So all of those who prefer the Nook Store, or iBooks, or Kobo, have the ability to buy the books on the platform of your choice.

One of the great things about this is that I am able to set Threads That Bind to be free for as long as I like. Changing the price from free back to paid may be a challenge, but for the time being, I am going to leave Threads That Bind as free so new readers can get a good sample before deciding to jump into the full series.

Threads That Bind (The Havoc Chronicles Book 1)

Price: FREE

Threads the Bind Cover Art

 

 

 

 

 

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Unbound (The Havoc Chronicles Book 2)

Price: $3.99

Unbound Cover

 

 

 

 

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Bonds That Break (The Havoc Chronicles Book 3)

Price $3.99

Bonds That Break Cover

 

 

 

 

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Bonds That Break Print Edition +updates

Bonds That Break CoverIt took a while, but I now have Bonds that Break available in print format. It weighs in at 456 pages – the longest of the three books. You can order it on Amazon for $12.10 right now.

Also, lest you think I have been slacking, I wanted to let you know that I am close to halfway through my next novel. I’ll post more about it in a few days and even put up a preview chapter at some point.

I think you guys are going to like it. :)

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RIP Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I just heard that Zilpha Keatley Snyder passed away last week. I read many of her books growing up and loved them dearly. They were thought-provoking and always laced with a fantastical element to them. I must have read The Egypt Game a couple of dozen times growing up and consider it one of my all-time favorite children’s books.

It saddens me that books like this have faded from popularity as the years pass by. It isn’t fast-paced. There are no fight scenes. It is a story of friendship and children using their imagination.  I tried reading this to my children years ago, and it was too slow for them. Now that they are a little older, I think I may give it a try again and see if they have the patience for a brilliant story that may be somewhat different from their usual fare.

Farewell Mrs. Snyder. You will be missed, but your influence lives on in all of us who have read and loved your works.

 

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Book Sale

Unbound CoverFor the first time since publishing The Havoc Chronicles, I am going to discount Unbound. I am doing a Kindle Count Down deal from October 1-5th. If you haven’t yet had a chance to pick it up, you can now get it for $0.99 through October 5th.

To get the word out I am going to do a BookBub ad. If you are not familiar with BookBub, they are a fantastic place to find great free and discounted books. You sign up on their website and tell them the genres you like, and they will send you an email with 3-5 books in it each day. They are very picky about what books they accept, so you know you are getting good quality. I highly recommend them.

I’ve been wary of discounting and promoting Unbound since it really is the continuation of Threads That Bind and doesn’t make complete sense without reading the first book. I haven’t wanted someone to buy it on sale, try to read it first, and then have a bad experience. To help alleviate that, I am also discounting Threads That Bind to $0.99 for the same time frame. So, now readers can pick up both books for $1.98 – which is less than the $3.99 price that Unbound typically sells for and much less than the $6.98 both books typically cost.

So if you have been waiting to pick up Unbound or you want to recommend the books to family or friends, now is the time. Any help you can give to spread the word is much appreciated!

 

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Inspiration

For those of you who are writers – or want to be writers – I found this quote attributed to Jack London. I did some investigating and found that the exact wording he used was somewhat different, but the meaning was still there so I am going keep this pithier/modernized version.

Inspiration

 

Now go out and write. :)

 

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5-Star Reviews

I’ve heard the advice many times – “Don’t read your reviews.” I understand it. I really do. Writers have to live in a constant balance of being both arrogant enough to think that anyone wants to read the stuff we make up in our heads and humble enough to continue to learn and develop.

For many writers, reading reviews can mess up that balance. Especially since writers tend to be an emotionally fragile group as a whole. They tend to discount the good reviews and obsess over the negative ones.

I admit, I do read my Amazon reviews. But I also don’t obsess over the bad ones. I check periodically and see what new reviews have happened. Today when I checked, I discovered that I now have 101 5-Star Reviews for Threads That Bind on the Amazon.com store.

Achievement Unlocked:  Triple digit 5-Star Reviews for a single book!

I’m pretty excited to hit that milestone. So, thanks to all my readers who made it happen! You guys are the best!

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Welcome New Readers

I just had a very successful free giveaway of Threads That Bind (It got to #9 free in the Kindle store) and I gave away more than 16K copies. I am seeing a lot of new traffic on the site, and so I wanted to give a quick shout-out to all of you.

For those of you wanting to read more, you can find links to the first chapters of Book 2 (Unbound) and Book 3 (Bonds That Break) in the links up top. They are password protected but the passwords are readily available to anyone who wants to read them. For Unbound the password is – get this – Unbound. Crazy, huh? And for Book 3 (Bonds That Break) the password is an impossible to guess Bonds.

Anyway, feel free to take a read and see if you like what you have read. If you do, you can find the other books on Amazon. You have three options to read them:

Option 1:  Buy them. They are only $3.99 each which I think it a pretty reasonable price for a fun read. Plus you get to have them forever and read them on any device that has the kindle app on it.

Option 2: Borrow them from the Kindle Owners Lending Library. If you have Amazon prime, you can borrow up to one book from the KOLL each month. My books are eligible and if you have Amazon Prime you can read them for free. The only downside is you can only read them on actual Kindles. iPhones or iPads with a kindle app won’t work.

Option 3: This is new. For $9.99 a month you can subscribe to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. It allows you to read any book in their 600K book KU library. You can download up to 10 at a time and (unlike KOLL) you can read them on any device with a kindle app and are not restricted to reading on an actual Kindle. While you can only have 10 books checked out at a time, you can read as many books from the KU library as you want in a month. Right now, Amazon is giving away a free month of KU, so that is another good way to read the books if you are on a limited budget.

I suppose there is a fourth way – use your google-fu and find a pirated version. I’m sure they are out there, but it kind of rips me off as the author since I don’t get paid for those. It takes a lot of hours and investment to write and publish a good book. Plus those sites are typically kind of sketchy and you can get malware and viruses from things you download there. Try at your own risk.

Also, if you would like to be the first to know when new books come out, don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list. The link is in the side bar. I will send out announcements for any new books or any significant news to the people on the mailing list first.

Anyway, welcome new readers to the Havoc Chronicles family!

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Kindle Unlimited

So Amazon has started something new called Kindle Unlimited. It is a subscription based e-book service. You pay $9.99 a month and you can read unlimited books from the KU library and have up to 10 on your device at a time. It even includes the kindle apps, which will not let you do the prime lending library. Right now anything that is enrolled in the Kindle Select program, plus some big name authors that have special deals with Amazon like JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins are included. This is both exciting and scary for writers.

I’m an Indie writer. I write and publish my books on my own. I typically do a giveaway of Threads That Bind every couple of months to get exposure and hope that it results in people liking the book enough to download the next books in the series. (Incidentally, the next giveaway is tomorrow, the 19th – 21st). So far that strategy has worked pretty well for me. I would love to have millions of people reading about Madison and Rhys, but right now I will settle for tens of thousands.

KU is a great deal for voracious readers. If you haven’t seen it, you might want to take a look. (And while you are there download my books and read through at least 10% so I get paid. :) ). What makes this scary for writers is that we don’t know how much we get paid for each download. For the KU Amazon establishes a pool of money that gets divided up each month based on the number of time someone downloads your book (and reads at least 10%). How much each download is worth depends on the total number of borrows. I am hoping that it stays at around $2.00 – which is close to what I get for each book that is purchased by a reader through the normal method. If it stays around $2.00/borrow I will keep my books in select, but if it drops down much below that I will have to consider if keeping them in select is still in my best interest. The down side is that I lose the ability to do free days. I would have to go to a model of .99 for the first book or something like that.

The times, they are a-changing. If you do give KU a try (they have a free month trial going on right now) and let me know what you think of it. I would love to hear some readers’ reactions.

P.S.

If you have already read – or will be reading soon – my books, and you haven’t left a review on Amazon, I would once again tell you how much it helps me when people leave reviews.  You guys are the best fans a writer could ask for. I appreciate every review, every word of mouth recommendation, and every social media share that goes on. It is because of people like you that I can write – and I hope to one day do it full time so I can tell you more stories.

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First Person vs. Third Person

Until I wrote the Havoc Chronicles, all the stories I had written had been in 3rd person. For those of you who are not writers, this is where the book is written with he/she/it. The narrator is typically outside of the story looking in, but may have the ability to explain the thoughts and motivations of some or all of the characters.

For example:

Jack pulled off his shoe and hurled it at the giant space cow. The shoe bounced off the cow’s enormous backside and fell harmlessly to the ground. Jack took several steps backward as the massive bovine slowly turned to see the source of the pitiful attack. When it saw Jack, the cow let out an ear-splitting  “Moooo!” and charged toward him.

First person is where the narrator is speaking about something that happened (or is currently happening) to them (I/my/me).

For example:

I pulled off my shoe and hurled it at the giant space cow. The shoe bounced off the cow’s enormous backside and fell harmlessly to the ground. I took several steps backward as the massive bovine slowly turned to see the source of the pitiful attack. When it saw me, the cow let out an ear-splitting  “Moooo!” and charged toward me.

There are a lot of books written in third person. I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but from what I see, it is by far the most common POV for books throughout history. That being said, in the YA genre, first person has become very popular. When I wrote Threads That Bind, I wanted to give first person a try.

So I did.

And I loved it!

It worked great for the Havoc Chronicles. I was able to get Madison’s voice down, and I really felt like I could connect with her character. It was much easier to hear her voice when I wrote in third person.

The down side of first person is that it is much more difficult to get information that the main character doesn’t know – what the bad guy’s motivation is, what characters are doing when the main character isn’t around, thoughts and feelings of the other characters. That kind of stuff.

So for my next book I decided to go back to 3rd person and…

…it hasn’t worked out so well for me. I’ve had a hard time connecting with the main character and getting a feel for his voice. After having written in first person, third person just felt kind of clinical and stale to me. I know it can be done well, but I really struggled with it. I found myself repeatedly slipping back to first person and having to go back and change it. So, rather than fight it any longer, I am just going to go with it and write the book in first person.

I’ve been trying that for a few days and am finding the joy in writing again. Sometime, you just have to go with you heart instead of your head.

Posted in Random Musings, Writing Tips | 4 Comments