Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cover Reveal--A Curse of Ash and Iron

I'm participating in a cover reveal for Broad Universe member Christine Norris' book A Curse of Ash and Iron. There's also a giveaway, which you can enter here.

Here's the blurb and other information:

Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.

When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn't believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.

Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.

But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell before midnight on New Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press (www.curiosityquills.com )

Release date: May 21, 2015

Author website: www.christine-norris.com
Author Twitter: @cnorrisauthor
Book Trailer link: http://youtu.be/x1HcaJt2Owg

And here's the cover:


Monday, January 26, 2015

Increasing Visibilty of Women Authors

Well, it's a bit soon to discuss the 2015 A-Z Blogging Challenge, but I've decided to join it this year. I've been thinking more about visibility of authors, particularly women authors and indie authors. For example, this post, which was shared on the Broad Universe Facebook page, discusses the struggles of a traditionally published female SF/fantasy writer and how more difficult it is to gain attention and sales as a woman writer. That said, I don't think the solution is to adopt a male pseudonym. I am who I am, and I write about what moves me. It may not resonate with every single person in the world--not that that's possible--but I write to reach the people, however few or many, who can grok what I have to say. That can't happen if I hide a fundamental part of my identity. And why should women hide who we are? While I don't track author gender, I probably read more women authors than men, and there are some highly skilled women authors out there. Women create great aliens and worlds, come up with witty dialogue, rock their science and action scenes, and evoke emotion.  Some women writers are more well-known than others, but they all deserve an audience.

Accordingly, I will dedicate my blogging during the month of April 2015 to featuring women authors of science fiction and fantasy. I already have my schedule and list of names drawn up, and there's so much awesomeness out there I couldn't limit myself to twenty-six authors. As of now, I have nearly sixty authors on my schedule, though this may change between now and April. I just have to decide on the format for each author before I start preparing my posts.

In an ideal world, writers would be judged on their merits, not their identities. If this world will not come about from the top down, we must build it from the bottom up, author by author, book by book, reader by reader. Let's build it together.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Seasons' Beginnings Now in Extended Distribution

The title pretty much says it all. You can find Seasons' Beginnings on iBooks, Nook, Page Foundry, and Scribd. Kobo is still in process, but it shouldn't take long via Draft2Digital. For some reason, the cover doesn't show up at B&N, but it does everywhere else. I haven't had a chance to publish this yet on Google, but once I do, I'll add more links to my website.

I'm done with the current round of edits for Scattered Seasons (Book Two of the Season Avatars) and am starting to send it out to my beta readers. Once I straighten out a few business-related things, I'll contact the Book Cover Diva to prepare the cover. I'm tentatively planning to publish it in April--perhaps for my birthday. I definitely want it out by WisCon in May.

Even though I haven't finished the outline yet for Chaos Season (Book Three of the Season Avatars) yet, I have started the rough draft. I plan this to be a five-part series, with the remaining books to be titled Fifth Season and Summon the Seasons. So if you don't mind, I'll keep this post short so I can write. Enjoy your day!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kindle Maintenance

I had a mini-crisis last week when my Kindle officially reached overload. My son had eye surgery last Thursday to correct his exotropia. (He seems to be recovering well, but we'll have a better sense of how successful the surgery was at his follow-up appointment.) During post-op recovery, I needed to read his favorite book (Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan) out loud to distract him, but I'd forgotten to bring the paper version along and had to buy the eBook on the spot. However, it got stuck downloading onto my Kindle. Luckily, I was able to download it through the Kindle app on my smartphone, and I ended up reading the entire book to Alex that afternoon/evening. Tonight, after deleting several books off of my Kindle, I finally managed to get the book downloaded onto my Kindle, well after I'd downloaded other books. This particular book is graphic-heavy, so that's not surprising it would be so difficult to download.

Anyway, I had over 1600 items crammed onto my Kindle at one point, but by deleting many of the books I've already read, I'm down to 1340. It feels a little strange deleting them, but most of them are backed up to the Cloud anyway, so I can download them again if necessary. Hopefully reducing the load will make my Kindle more responsive as well. (It can "hang" while I'm trying to access or leave collections.)

The most difficult part of Kindle maintenance is sorting unread samples and books into the appropriate To Read collections. (I have four of these collections broken down by genre.) The current software on my Paperwhite doesn't allow me to see collections and unsorted items simultaneously. (I was able to do that until an upgrade last May, and I'm still annoyed at losing that feature.) I would really love a feature that would allow you to send a sample or book directly to a specific collection, not just a particular device.

As I was going through my collections, I came across several authors I had read but forgotten about. I know it's possible to sign up for notices from Amazon when favorite authors release new books, but it would be helpful to make this process easier, as it doesn't always seem to work. 

If you use a eReader, what features do you wish it had? Are there any quirks about it that you think could be improved?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Going to Google

I was a bit reluctant to publish my books on Google Play because I'd heard it was complicated and that they tend to discount unexpectedly, which can create havoc on Amazon if they price match when you don't want them to. However, I found a great checklist that guides you through the process. It's not that hard, but to me, it's strange how much Google uses ISBNs to identify books. You start the process by entering an ISBN, and you have to use the ISBN as part of the file name(s).

 Lyon's Legacy is live on Google Play, and Twinned Universes went live this morning. Unfortunately, I do have to price my books higher on Google to get around the random discounting. Lyon's Legacy is $0.99 on Google (I don't think they discount this price), and Twinned Universes is $3.49 but discounted to $2.65. EDIT: After raising the Google price to $3.99, they discounted TU to $3.03. That seems reasonably close to Amazon's price of $2.99, and I will say Google was very fast about updating the price.

As for my other books, Seasons' Beginnings will be coming out of Select next week, and I plan to distribute it via Draft 2 Digital and Google Play. The sequel, Scattered Seasons, will also get wide distribution. I might even put my poetry book on Google Play because, hey, why not?

Do you buy books on your phone? If you do, do you use an e-reader app or buy from Google Play?

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