Monday, September 29, 2014

Letters to Psyche Part of Kindle Unlimited!

As an experiment, I've made my fantasy short story "Letters to Psyche" part of Kindle Unlimted for a few months. This means that if you're part of KU, you can read it for free! Here's the blurb:

When the Greek god Cupid visits Verona, he foresees no problems uniting the Montague and Capulet families. But when Elisabeth Capulet and Giovanni Montague's love ends in tragedy, Elisabeth places a powerful curse not on just the families, but Cupid himself. Unable to visit his wife Psyche, he sends her letters detailing his efforts to undo the curse. Can the two of them save another generation of lovers, or will Cupid and Psyche be forever parted?

Even if you're not part of KU, the story is still only $0.99. I haven't decided yet if I'll run a free promotion of this story when it's in Select, but if I do, I'll post the dates here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Launches

This post was supposed to go live this morning, but accidentally got marked as a draft. I apologize for the delay.

I've ordered the proof copy of Seasons' Beginnings. Once that arrives, I can go through the book one final time, mark and correct any errors, and upload the corrected files to Createspace and KDP. Because of the ten-day delay for pre-orders, the eBook version won't be available right away. I may hold off on making the paper version available until October 21 (the official release date), though if there's interest, I might release it sooner.

With traditional publishing, books normally only get a big push around their release date, since if they don't sell through in six weeks, they're considered sunk. Luckily, as an indie, I can give the book time to find its audience--though it would be nice to have that happen sooner rather than later.

Since I have some breathing space, I'm mulling over potential marketing ideas for SB. Some possibilities include a Goodreads giveaway, seeking reviews through Story Cartel or Net Gallery, and/or a blog tour.  I haven't had much luck with these ideas with my previous books, though since SB is in a different genre, it might fare differently. I know giveaways are popular with readers, but they don't seem to do much for actual sales. (What I do need are reviews, ideally good ones, so I can promote SB in bargain book e-mails. Hopefully, eBookSoda will accept a new release even if it doesn't have a lot of reviews. Other sites may take longer to get into.) Whatever I decide on will be announced here.

Of course, the most important part of the book launch is the celebration. For me, this means taking my family out to dinner. If I develop a local fan base, some day I plan to throw a release party at a local chocolate lounge. Perhaps I'll reserve that for when I finish the Catalyst Chronicles or the Season Avatars series.

Readers, how do you learn about new books, and what makes you decide to try one? Writers, what are your favorite marketing methods? 

Monday, September 22, 2014

More Details About the IWM Flash Fiction Contest

Here's the official announcement for the flash fiction contest I mentioned last week. I will be awarding a copy of either Twinned Universes or Seasons' Beginnings (winner's choice) to my favorite story.

Hey, writers! Want to challenge yourself and win a free book? Indie Writers Monthly is holding a flash fiction contest!

We're going to put out a special issue of horror stories and horror writing just in time for Halloween, and we need YOU to help us, because we do not have enough horror stories to fill out a whole special issue.

So we want your 200-word-or-less horror stories submitted to us by September 30, 2014.  You can submit them via attachment or in the body of the email to litaplaceforstories[at]  Any subject, so long as it's scary -- try to avoid excessive gore or sex, if you can.

The top five stories will each get a free ebook from one of the Indie Writer Monthly authors!  That's a $3.99 value, which is like... how much is that per word?  Where is my calculator?  Somebody get Stephen Hawking on the phone!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Indie Writers Monthly Flash Fiction Challenge

October will arrive before we know it, and with it, the next issue of Indie Writers Monthly. The theme will be horror, and we are thinking of running a flash fiction challenge. Unfortunately, the important details, such as maximum word length and deadline, haven't been decided yet. I'm mentioning it now to let you start thinking about the story. I'll post an update as soon as I have one. The prize will be one (or more; again, this hasn't been determined) of our stories.

Speaking of stories, today's the last day to get Twinned Universes for $0.99. Don't miss the opportunity! You can get it here.

Monday, September 15, 2014


One of my beta readers recently suggested that I tell part of the story of Seasons' Beginnings in flashback. Right now, Part I of the story is an expanded version of a short story I had on my old website; Part II occurs a year later and deals with the aftermath of Part I, easing the way to the next book in this series. Originally, I did not put a sharp break between these sections, and I think it's confusing some readers, hence the suggestion.

I've been mulling over the flashback idea, debating if I want to use it. It fits with the magic system of this story and would ease the transition between Parts I and II (though if I don't use the flashbacks, I will label the two parts to warn the readers what to expect). However, it is a bit late to make such a major change to the story, and I fear the flashbacks, while helping some readers, may confuse others. I really haven't come up with a good place or places to put the flashback. Probably what I need to do instead is be clearer about the time break and explain how the world has changed between the two parts. I may use a flashback in later books of the series, though.

 As a reader, how do you feel about flashback in stories? Do you like them, hate them, judge them on an individual basis? What books do you think are good or bad examples of flashbacks?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Twinned Universes on Sale for $0.99 From 9/10/14--9/17/14

Quick update on the computer situation: the new hard drive arrived last night. I'm still not sure if I'll install it myself or have someone else do it. I may use PCMover to set up the new hard drive.

Nine years ago, Eugene and I got married. Happy Anniversary, sweetie! May all our days together be as sweet as our wedding cake--with far fewer calories, though.

To celebrate, I'm putting Twinned Universes on sale for one week. Normal price is $2.99, but from today through next Wednesday it'll be $0.99 on Amazon. If you haven't grabbed it yet, now's a good time to do so.

Paul Harrison always wanted to play Hamlet, but he never expected he’d live the role first.
In the aftermath of a family tragedy on 21st century Earth, Paul discovers he’s the clone of Sean Lyon, his great-great-grandfather and a famous TwenCen musician. Suspecting his mother’s death was no accident, Paul comes up with a plan to trick the answers out of the great-uncle who had him cloned. But in order to make his plan work, Paul needs help from Sean himself—and Sean’s time is running out in the TwenCen universe next door. Although Paul’s family lives on the spaceship that travels between the universes, he’s never been allowed on TwenCen Earth. Now, with the help of his friends, his disguise-creating holoprojectors, and a quantum quirk, Paul must make his way to Sean while evading other time travelers who fear he’ll change the history of the TwenCen universe. If Paul is to achieve justice, he must not only risk his own life, but the wormhole connecting the universes. “To be or not to be” was a simple question in comparison....

Monday, September 08, 2014

Preparing for Computer Failure

On Saturday, my laptop started giving me messages no one wants to read. It's telling me my hard drive is about to crash.

This may seem like a total disaster about to happen, but I already have some preparations in place. In addition to my laptop, I also have a netbook, so I won't be without a computer. (I bought the netbook earlier this year to make writing on the go even easier.) My most important files (at least, the files I'm currently working on) are on a flash drive so I can use them on either computer. I use Mozy to backup my computers twice a day, so I should be able to recover all my other files. I'm also going to back up my laptop to an external hard drive to see if that will help me with the operating system and e-mail. Another thing I will do is sort through my messages and organize them so I can back them up to Gmail.

When I realized my hard drive is dying, my first instinct was to shop around for a new laptop. After comparing specs and prices, I decided I'd rather just replace the hard drive. I ordered a new one from Amazon and should get it this week. Now I have to decide if I'm going to try to replace the hard drive myself or find someone to do it for me. There are YouTube videos that demonstrate how to replace the laptop, but if I can't find one that matches my computer exactly, it might be safer to find an expert.

As for what to do after I get the new hard drive installed, first I'll have to figure out if I can reinstall my old operating system or if I have to upgrade. I'm not sure if Mozy will allow me to reinstall programs, so that may be another issue. At least this unexpected purge may leave me with fewer programs taking up space on my computer.

Have any of you had to deal with a crashed hard drive? Do you have any other tips for me? Conversely, if you haven't had this issue before, are you backing up your data regularly?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Indie Writers Monthly--Double and Negative

The latest issue of Indie Writers Monthly is out; you can download it at the link. It's currently $0.99 and will be free from 9/4 to 9/8. You can also get the May issue for free during this time.

The first part of the September issue is brand new material. The focus is on negatives. Here you'll learn how to deal with negative reviews, what best-selling books got panned by the critics, a new way to look at failure, and more. There's also an interview with one of the authors featured in our time travel anthology.

The second half of the issue may look familiar, as it's our very first issue. It's no longer available on its own, but you can still get it here. If you didn't read the March issue, I'm the featured author and have an excerpt from Twinned Universes. There's also the first part of Briane Pagel's series on how to write a story, book reviews, an essay I wrote on luck vs. perseverance, and more.

Don't forget we are open to submissions by other authors. We're not a paying zine yet, but if you're interested in the glory and exposure (or just exposure and a free ad for one of your works), please e-mail our editor, Briane Pagel. His e-mail address is litaplaceforstoriesATgmailDOTcom.

Enjoy the issue!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Meet the Character Blog Tour--Kron Evenhanded

Happy Labor Day, everyone, and thanks for spending part of it here. I'd like to thank Laurel Anne Hill for inviting me to join the Meet the Character Blog Tour. I'm featuring Kron Evenhanded, hero of my upcoming fantasy novel Seasons' Beginnings.

1.) What is the name of your character?

As stated above, his name is Kron Evenhanded. He received his last name because he's equi-manual (my term for being ambidextrous) and because he has a reputation for being fair.

2.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Fictional. I don't think there were too many historical persons who could enchant objects.
3.) When and where is the story set?

The story is mostly set in the city-state of Vistichia, at a time equivalent to the Bronze Age.

4.) What should we know about him/her?

As I mentioned above, Kron is an artificer, able to enchant man-made objects to do whatever he wants. He came into his powers as a youth, but he received further training at the Magic Institute.

5.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

Another magician named Salth and her young son, Sal-thaath. Their magic is more powerful and more generalized than Kron's, but they seek more power, even at the expense of ordinary people--like a pretty young woman named Bella.

6.) What is the personal goal of the character? 

As the story opens, Kron is traveling back to his native country of Delns. After falling in love with Bella, Kron must decide whether to stay in Vistichia and help defend it against Salth and Sal-thaath or find out what happened to his family back home.

7.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?  

It's called Seasons' Beginnings, and you can learn more about it on Goodreads or Amazon.

8.) When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?

October 21, 2014. (It's already available for pre-order.) I'm currently waiting to hear back from my betas so I can finish editing the book and order the proof copy.

Next week, the Meet the Character Blog Tour continues with Briane Pagel.

Briane Pagel recently figured out that the secret is this: you eat a few of the black jellybeans first, and then some of the other colors, because that really makes the flavors pop.  This is the kind of genius (?) you'll find on display at his blog "Thinking The Lions," where he also posts pictures of his kids standing in front of art, talks about why he hates people (but probably not you!) and offers other random thoughts.  He also writes for Indie Writers Monthly blog and magazine, and will publish your stories and poems and pay you for them.

Thinking The Lions:
lit, a place for stories:

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