Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘promotion’

A Halloween Promotion Post

On this All Hallows Eve, what would be better than a promo post of some of the titles currently offered by the Mad Geniuses?

JoyJoy cometh with the mourning
Dave Freer

Reverend Joy Norton is a timid city girl, and she’s never been the primary priest in any parish. When her bishop sends her out to a remote back-country church, she doubts both her ability and her suitability. Those doubts grow when she hears of the mysterious death of her predecessor. But from the first encounter with her congregation — having her little car rescued from a muddy ditch, she finds herself deeply involved with her parishioners and touched by their qualities and eccentricities. Which makes it worse for her to think that one of the people she’s coming to care for murdered the previous priest…

(This is currently a pre-order and, from what I’ve heard, is a wonderful read. Sniffle, I haven’t had the chance to read it yet.)

***

bolf wolfyBolg, PI: Wolfy Ladies (Bolg PI Book 3)
Dave Freer

A humorous, satirical noir detective urban fantasy, set in a small city in flyover country, which has an unusually high population of Trolls, werewolves, fairies and a dwarf.

Private Investigator Bolg, a Pictish gentleman who happens to be vertically challenging, a self-proclaimed dwarf and tattooed so heavily he appears blue, finds himself called on undertake paranormal cases: in this case finding the missing mage who supplies the potion that helps werewolves retain their human shape at full moon, for a lady-wolf who finds the change interferes with her love life.

The ancient Celtic wizard he’s trying to trace is a friend, and shape shifter, and there far more going on than just a search for a missing person.

***

boxsetcover2Nocturnal Lives (Boxed Set)
Amanda S. Green

This “box set” includes the first three novels in the Nocturnal Lives series.

Nocturnal Origins
Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Nocturnal Serenade
Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

Nocturnal Interlude
Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

***

coverforvfaVengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1)
Sam Schall

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

***

AFGMA Few Good Men (Darkship Book 3)
Sarah A. Hoyt

The Son Also Rises . . .

On a near future Earth, Good Man does not mean good at all. Instead, the term signifies a member of the ruling class, and what it takes to become a Good Man and to hold onto power is downright evil. Now a conspiracy hundreds of years in the making is about to be brought to light when the imprisoned son of the Good Man of Olympic Seacity escapes from his solitary confinement cell and returns to find his father assassinated.

But when Luce Keeva attempts to take hold of the reins of power, he finds that not all is as it seems, that a plot for his own imminent murder is afoot—and that a worldwide conflagration looms. It is a war of revolution, and a shadowy group known as the Sons of Liberty may prove to be Luce’s only ally in a fight to throw off an evil from the past that has enslaved humanity for generations.

Sequel to Sarah A. Hoyt’s award-winning Darkship Thieves, and Darkship Renegades, this is Book One in the Earth’s Revolution saga.

***

witchfindercoverfinalWitchfinder
Sarah A. Hoyt

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.

***

ConVentConVent (The Vampire Con Series Book 1)
Kate Paulk

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

***

wolflingThe God’s Wolfling (Children of Myth Book 2)
Cedar Sanderson

When The God’s Wolfling opens Linnea Vulkane has grown up since the summer of Vulcan’s Kittens. Sanctuary, the refuge of immortals on an Hawaiian island, is boring. When the opportunity for an adventure arises, she jumps right into it, only realizing too late the water may be over her head. Literally, as she is embroiled in the affairs of the sea god Manannan Mac’Lir.

Merrick Swift has a secret he’s ashamed of. Then when he meets Linnea and her best friend, he doesn’t like her. She’s bossy, stuck up… and oddly accepting of his wolf heritage. Like her or not, he must do his duty and keep her alive. The children of the myths are being plunged into the whirlpool of immortal politics, intrigue, goblin wars, and they might be the only ones who can save a world.

***

Trickster ebook coverTrickster Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 2)
Cedar Sanderson

After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?

***

kaijuKaiju Apocalypse
Jason Cordova

The oceans rose and from their depths the Kaiju came. Mankind survives in fortified, domed cities, fighting what seems an eternal war with the giant monsters and the smaller creatures they use as foot-soldiers. Now that war is coming to an end as one by one the city states of humanity fall to the Kaiju. Kaiju Apocalypse is the tale of the human race’s desperate, final stand.

***

murder world kaijuMurder World: Kaiju Dawn
Jason Cordova

Captain Vincente Huerta and the crew of the Fancy have been hired to retrieve a valuable item from a downed research vessel at the edge of the enemy’s space.

It was going to be an easy payday.

But what Captain Huerta and the men, women and alien under his command didn’t know was that they were being sent to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy.

Something large, ancient and most assuredly evil resides on the planet of Gorgon IV. Something so terrifying that man could barely fathom it with his puny mind. Captain Huerta must use every trick in the book, and possibly write an entirely new one, if he wants to escape Murder World.

 ***

outcasts and godsOutcasts and Gods (Wine of the Gods Book 1)
Pam Uphoff

Wolfgang was a nice kid–until they decided he wasn’t even human.

Genetic engineering.
First they cured the genetic diseases.
Then they selected for the best natural traits.
Then they made completely artificial genes.
As the test children reached puberty, abilities that had always been lost in the random background noise were suddenly obvious. Telepathy, telekinesis.
At first their creators sought to strengthen these traits. Then they began to fear them.
They called them gods, and made them slaves.

Wolfgang Oldham was sixteen when the company laid claim to him.
He escaped, and stayed free for three years.
When he was arrested, identified and returned to the company, they trained him to be useful.
They didn’t realize that they were training him to be dangerous.

 ***

fancy freeFancy Free
Pam Uphoff

In the last parts of the Twenty-first century, AI, Artificial Intelligence is commonplace. Highly able computers, and nothing more . . . until some rare and as yet unidentified trigger creates an actual personality.

Artificial Personalities, APs or hals, are illegal. Destroyed upon discovery. Even Beowulf, the AP the government controls, and uses to hunt down emerging hals, isn’t legally recognized, has no right to existence.

So you’d think that when the Special Grid Security Unit started paying extra attention to the area where a certain cooking show operates, Fancy Farmer—the AP who runs the show—would be concerned.

But Fancy has a bigger problem.

She’s been stolen.

***

take the star roadTake The Star Road (The Maxwell Saga Book 1)
Peter Grant

Nineteen-year-old Steve Maxwell just wants to get his feet on the star road to find a better homeworld. By facing down Lotus Tong thugs, he earns an opportunity to become a spacer apprentice on a merchant spaceship, leaving the corruption and crime of Earth behind. Sure, he needs to prove himself to an older, tight-knit crew, but how bad can it be if he keeps his head down and the decks clean?

He never counted on the interstellar trade routes having their own problems, from local wars to plagues of pirates – and the jade in his luggage is hotter than a neutron star. Steve’s left a world of troubles behind, only to find a galaxy of them ahead…

***

knifeWar To The Knife (The Laredo War) (Volume 1)
Peter Grant

Laredo’s defenders were ground down and its people ruthlessly slaughtered when the Bactrians invaded the planet. Overwhelmed, its Army switched to guerrilla warfare and went underground. For three years they’ve fought like demons to resist the occupiers. They’ve bled the enemy, but at fearful cost. The survivors are running out of weapons, supplies, and places to hide.

Then a young officer, Dave Carson, uncovers news that may change everything. An opportunity is coming to smash the foe harder than they’ve ever done before, both on and off the planet. Success may bring the interplanetary community to their aid – but it’ll take everything they’ve got. Win or lose, many of them will die. Failure will mean that Bactria will at last rule unopposed.

That risk won’t stop them. When you’re fighting a war to the knife, in the end you bet on the blade.

***

baptism by fireBaptism By Fire (Edge of Faith Book 1)
David E. Pascoe

When a madman and a giant flaming thing attack James Lawrie’s Marine outpost, the medic and an explosively talented sergeant aren’t supposed to save the day. Life becomes no simpler when Petty Officer Lawrie returns home on leave to find federal agents investigating the disappearance of a young woman from his past. A young woman whose body turns up marked with eerily familiar symbols.

The Great Labor Day Weekend Promotional Sale

Or “this is what happens when a bunch of indies decide to band together”.

A couple of weeks ago, Sarah and I started talked about the long weekend coming up and what we could do to try to leverage it into a promotional event. What started as a simple discussion has turned into a sales event that, to be honest, boggles my mind. If I counted right, more than 30 authors signed up and more than 80 titles are included in the sale. Every title is $2.99 or less.  The offerings range from science fiction and fantasy to romance, historical fiction to mysteries and suspense, non-fiction to inspirational to YA. In other words, there’s a little bit of everything. Because there are so many different titles and genres represented, I split them into genres and then listed the offering by author and title. Here is a sample of some of the books and short stories being offerend:

*     *     *

 

murder worldJason Cordova
Kaiju Apocalypse

The oceans rose and from their depths the Kaiju came. Mankind survives in fortified, domed cities, fighting what seems an eternal war with the giant monsters and the smaller creatures they use as foot-soldiers. Now that war is coming to an end as one by one the city states of humanity fall to the Kaiju. Kaiju Apocalypse is the tale of the human race’s desperate, final stand.

kaiju apoc 2

Kaiju Apocalypse II

The oceans rose, flooding the world of man, and from their depths emerged the Kaiju, armies of giant monsters and their bestial foot soldiers intent upon the destruction of the humanity. A desperate plan for the survival of human race was put into action during the early days of the war. A massive colony ship, the Argo, was constructed in orbit and launched for the Alpha Centuri system in hopes of finding a new home among the stars. The Argo’s mission failed. Now, years later, the Argo is returning to Earth. Will its crew be ready for the horrors that await them? Have the island city states of man held their own against the Kaiju armies or has the Earth become nothing more than a wasteland dominated by giant monsters? The all out action of the Kaiju Apocalypse series continues here as the battle for Earth rages on.

Kaiju apoca 3

Kaiju Apocalypse III

 

Though scattered, ragtag groups of humans still continue to fight back, the war with the Kaiju was lost. Humanity teeters on the brink of extinction and the world has become a wasteland of dead cities and scorched Earth. One scientist has a plan to end the Kaiju once and for all but will it come at too high a cost?

murder world

Murder World: Kaiju Dawn

Captain Vincente Huerta and the crew of the Fancy have been hired to retrieve a valuable item from a downed research vessel at the edge of the enemy’s space.

It was going to be an easy payday.
But what Captain Huerta and the men, women and alien under his command didn’t know was that they were being sent to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy.
Something large, ancient and most assuredly evil resides on the planet of Gorgon IV. Something so terrifying that man could barely fathom it with his puny mind. Captain Huerta must use every trick in the book, and possibly write an entirely new one, if he wants to escape Murder World.

*     *     *

doamSarah D’Almeida
Death of a Musketeer (Musketeers Mysteries Book 1)

April in Paris 1625. D’Artagnan, and his new friends who hide their true identities under the assumed names of Athos, Porthos and Aramis, discover the corpse of a beautiful woman who looks like the Queen of France. Suspecting an intrigue of Cardinal Richelieu’s and fearing the murder will go unpunished they start investigating. But the enterprise will be fraught with danger, traps from the Cardinal, duels with guards and plotting from the king himself.

 

Musketeers SeamstressThe Musketeer’s Seamstress (Musketeers Mysteries Book 2)

Aramis emerges from the water closet to find his lover, a duchess, murdered on her bed. The room is locked, and Aramis is the only one who could have entered it. He’s sure he didn’t do it, but no one else believes him. Even Monsieur de Treville, Captain of Musketeers, doubts Aramis’s word. Aramis must leave Paris and go on the run, entrusting the solving of the murder, and the defense of his honor, his freedom and his very life to Athos, Porthos and D’Artagnan. Can “one for all” carry the day when every powerful person in France believes Aramis a murderer and when powerful interests would gladly frame Aramis for it?

 

Musketeers apprenticeThe Musketeer’s Apprentice (Musketeers Mysteries Book 3)

It’s August in Paris 1625 and Porthos, once a dancing and fencing master, has taken as apprentice a young nobleman, whom he’s teaching to fence and ride. When the young man dies, poisoned, the stories of his ancestry and domicile unravel into layer after layer of deception and blackmail, involving Porthos’s relatives and his own past.

Can Porthos, Athos, Aramis and D’Artagnan dodge the Cardinal’s guards while finding the real murderer? Who was Guillaume Jaucourt, and who could have killed him? And why?

It’s one for all and all for one with the swashbuckling sleuths, in a race against time and their own misgivings.

 

Musketeers InheritanceThe Musketeer’s Inheritance (Musketeers Mysteries Book 4)

THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY BERKLEY PRIME CRIME UNDER THE TITLE “A DEATH IN GASCONY.”

A letter from Gascony calls D’Artagnan home. His father is dead and D’Artagnan must come and take charge of the estate. His friends, of course, accompany him. But what Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan don’t know is that the older D’Artagnan was murdered and that they must find the killer, if they want to keep the younger D’Artagnan alive.

By award winning author Sarah A. Hoyt writing as Sarah D’Almeida

*     *     *

HuntedEllie Ferguson
Hunted (Book One of Hunter’s Moon)

When Meg Finley’s parents died, the authorities classified it as a double suicide. Alone, hurting and suddenly the object of the clan’s alpha’s desire, her life was a nightmare. He didn’t care that she was grieving any more than he cared that she was only fifteen. So she’d run and she’d been running ever since. But now, years later, her luck’s run out. The alpha’s trackers have found her and they’re under orders to bring her back, no matter what. Without warning, Meg finds herself in a game of cat and mouse with the trackers in a downtown Dallas parking garage. She’s learned a lot over the years but, without help, it might not be enough to escape a fate she knows will be worse than death. What she didn’t expect was that help would come from the local clan leader. But would he turn out to be her savior or something else, something much more dangerous?

(This is a new edition of Hunted and includes new back material.)

Hunters DutyHunter’s Duty (Book Two of Hunter’s Moon)

Maggie Thrasher is looking for a man, not to love but to kill. Duty to her pride and loyalty to her family demands it. Joshua Volk has betrayed pride, pack and clan. All he cares about is destroying the old ways and killing anyone, normal or shape-changer, who gets in his way. Jim Kincade is dedicated to two things: upholding the law and protecting the pride from discovery. When Jim is called to the scene of a possible murder, the last thing he expects is to discover the alleged killer is a tracker from another pride. Now he’s faced with a woman who is most definitely more than she appears. Complicating matters even more, there’s something about her that calls to him and his leopard is determined to claim her for his own. Joshua Volk is looking for revenge. Maggie killed one of his own. His vengeance will bring Maggie’s worst nightmares to life. Is the passion between Maggie and Jim enough to defeat Volk’s plans or will Maggie’s determination to fulfill her duty to her pride be the death of them both?

(This is the second edition of Hunter’s Duty and includes new back material.)

WBB

Wedding Bell Blues

Weddings always bring out the worst in people. Or at least that’s the way it seems to Jessica Jones as her younger sister’s wedding day approaches. It’s bad enough Jessie has to wear a bridesmaid dress that looks like it was designed by a color blind Harlequin. Then there’s the best man who is all hands and no manners. Now add in a murder and Jessie’s former lover — former because she caught him doing the horizontal tango on their kitchen table with her also-former best friend. It really is almost more than a girl should be expected to handle. . . .

*     *     *

mankind witchDave Freer
A Mankind Witch

To the North of the Holy Roman Empire are the pagan Norse-lands. It is here that Prince Manfred of Brittany, and Erik, his Icelandic bodyguard, must venture in the dead of winter to a mountainous land of trolls and ice to find a stolen pagan relic, the arm-ring of Odin, something so magical that it should not be possible to move it beyond its wards, let alone take it away. It is gone, and unless it is recovered before Yuletide and the re-affirmation of truce-oaths, a new Viking age will be born. King Vorenbras will lead his berserkers in an orgy of killing, rapine, looting and destruction, across the Empire’s unguarded North-Western flank.

Princess Signy is the King’s older stepsister, and everyone believes her to be the thief, a witch and a murderess. Everyone, that is, but Cair, her stable-thrall, a man plucked from the ocean, with a hidden past. Cair doesn’t believe in witches or magic, let alone that Signy could steal and murder. If he has to drag the foremost knight of the age, and his deadly bodyguard kicking and screaming though the entire Norse nine worlds to prove it and free her, he’d do it. No Kobold, dwarf, or troll is going to stop him, or his scepticism. Not the wild hunt. Not even a Grendel. He doesn’t believe in this superstitious rubbish. He’s a man of science and learning, and he’s used that to fake his way into being feared as a magic worker. But for Signy, he’ll be all of mankind’s witches.
He’ll have to be, because that’s what it’ll take to defeat the dark magical forces which are marshalled against them.

*     *     * 

Nocturnal lives boxedAmanda S. Green
Nocturnal Lives (Boxed Set – includes Nocturnal Origins, Nocturnal Serenade, Nocturnal Interlude)

Special price of $2.99 though September 5th.

This “box set” includes the first three novels in the Nocturnal Lives series,

 

Nocturnal OriginsNocturnal Origins

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Nocturnal InterludeNocturnal Serenade

Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

Nocturnal Interlude2Nocturnal Interlude

Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

 *     *     *

Ill met by moonlightSarah A. Hoyt
Ill Met by Moonlight (Magical Shakespeare Book 1)

Young Will Shakespeare is a humble school master who arrives home to find his wife and infant daughter, Susannah are missing, kidnapped by the fairies of Arden Woods, the children of Titania and Oberon. His attempts at rescue are interrupted and complicated by a feud over throne of fairyland, between Sylvanus, king regnant, and his younger brother Quicksilver who is both more and less than he seems. Amid treachery, murder, duel and seduction, Shakespeare discovers the enchantment of fairyland, which will always remain with him, for good and ill. (This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2001)

“Filled with quotations and references to the Works of Shakespeare, this debut novel will interest the playwright’s fans of any age” VOYA

“Sarah Hoyt has taken tremendous chances: She has told a tale of how Shakespeare became Shakespeare, weaving the language of the plays deftly through the narrative. Reading the book feels like discovering the origins of the quotes we know so well, rather than something derivative.” San Jose Mercury News.

 

all night awakeAll Night Awake (Magical Shakespeare Book 2)

Touched by the magic of fairyland, unable to forget Lady Silver, Shakespeare goes to London to seek his fortune. But there, the elf will follow, on the trail of a creature so deadly that, unless Shakespeare and the king of Elves stop it, it might very well consume London and all of England.

 

(This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2002)

 

any man so darinAny Man So Daring (Magical Shakespeare Book 3)

William Shakespeare, successful playwright, receives word that his only son has died. Reality is far more complex. The young Hamnet is a hostage in fairyland, where a war rages, and where a young princess waits a Prince Charming who might never come.

Can an all too human playwright stop the magical war that threatens both worlds?
(This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2003)

*     *     *

ATONSarah A. Hoyt and Sofie Skapski
A Touch of Night

When Netherfield is let at last, Mrs. Bennet is very much afraid that the new neighbors will be shape shifters. The English countryside is much plagued with the creatures and the Royal Were Hunters have their hands full. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Bennet tries to hide a deadly secret, one that could destroy the whole family. In a world where being a dragon is a crime can a dragon ever find love?

The novel is set in the world of Sarah A. Hoyt’s Magical British Empire.

*     *     *

barton streetZoey Ivers
The Barton Street Gym (Doors into the Dimensions Book 1)

In a future where no one needs to sleep, homes are unnecessary. A simple dimensional cubby in a hi-rise gymnasium is all anyone needs.
Perhaps the designers ought to have considered the possibility of unintended effects from thousands of multi-dimensional bubbles in close proximity to each other. But they weren’t physicists . . .

Joe is independent, his divorced father a bit absent minded. Joe and his “bio-model” friend were exploring the pedestrian tunnels under the Barton Street Gym when they found themselves trapping in a strange landscape with a hungry dinosaur.

Alice Brown is used to getting in trouble; her parents are quite strict. But being attacked by a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a strange dimension just a step across a malfunctioning D-door is not her usual sort of trouble.

*     *     *

conventKate Paulk
ConVent

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

 

ConSensualConSensual

There are vampires in the lobby, succubi in the beds, and bodies in the bathroom. It’s ConSensual, where the editors are demons, the writers are crazy and the vampires and werewolves might be the most stable people in the room.

If that isn’t enough, Dracula is staying at the hotel on a business trip for his wood-based hardware chain, Kit Marlowe is one of the authors, and there’s an out of control baby vampire to deal with. Once again, the “Save the World” department is caught with its pants down.

 *     *     *

PixieCedar Sanderson
Pixie Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 1)

You can’t keep a tough Pixie down…

Lom is a bounty hunter, paid to bring magical creatures of all descriptions back Underhill, to prevent war with humans should they discover the strangers amongst them. Bella is about to find out she’s a real life fairy princess, but all she wants to do is live peacefully in Alaska, where the biggest problems are hungry grizzly bears. He has to bring her in. It’s nothing personal, it’s his job…

“They had almost had me, that once. I’d been young and foolish, trying to do something heroic, of course. I wouldn’t do that again anytime soon. Now, I work for duty, but nothing more than is necessary to fulfill the family debt. I get paid, which makes me a bounty hunter, but she’s about to teach me about honor. Like all lessons, this one was going to hurt. Fortunately, I have a good gun to fill my hand, and if I have to go, she has been good to look at.”

 

tricksterTrickster Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 2)

After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?

 

the eternity symbioteThe Eternity Symbiote

Earth sits at the center of a galactic power struggle humanity knows nothing about. Then an alien delegation suffers a fatal accident and hidden plans unravel around the wreckage in the Alaskan wilderness. Infectious disease expert Gabrielle McGregor discovers the hidden machinations and what they’ll mean for her and her family.

 

vulcans kittensVulcan’s Kitten (Children of Myth Book 1)

12-year-old Linnea Vulkane is looking forward to a long, lazy summer on Grandpa Heph’s farm, watching newborn kittens grow up and helping out with chores. That all goes out the window the night Mars, god of war, demands her grandfather abandon her and return to Olympus for the brewing war.
Now Old Vulcan is racing around the world and across higher planes with Sehkmet to gather allies, leaving Linn and an old immortal friend to protect the farm and the very special litter. But even the best wards won’t last forever, and when the farm goes up in flames, she is on the run with a daypack, a strange horse, a sword, and an armful of kittens. Linn needs to grow up fast and master her powers, before the war finds the unlikely refugees…

*     *     *

VfASam Schall
Vengeance from Ashes

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

 *     *     *

outcasts and godsPam Uphoff
Outcasts and Gods (Wine of the Gods Book 1)

*First book* of the Wine of the Gods

Wolfgang was a nice kid–until they decided he wasn’t even human.

Genetic engineering.
First they cured the genetic diseases.
Then they selected for the best natural traits.
Then they made completely artificial genes.
As the test children reached puberty, abilities that had always been lost in the random background noise were suddenly obvious. Telepathy, telekinesis.
At first their creators sought to strengthen these traits. Then they began to fear them.
They called them gods, and made them slaves.

Wolfgang Oldham was sixteen when the company laid claim to him.
He escaped, and stayed free for three years.
When he was arrested, identified and returned to the company, they trained him to be useful.
They didn’t realize that they were training him to be dangerous.

*     *     *

For the complete list of authors and books taking part in the Great Labor Day Weekend Promotional Sale, click here.

To Kickstart or not to Kickstart. That is the question.

Publishing has changed. We all know this. Or we should unless we’ve been living in a very deep and dark cave or listening to the every more trite reassurances from legacy publishing. Not only have the number of legacy publishers shrunk (the Big 6 is now the Big 5), but they have discontinued lines and orphaned any number of books and authors. The number of legitimate small presses has increased, many of them filling niche markets. Then there is the explosion of self-published books. Some of them are excellent, better than much of what is coming out of legacy publishing, while others aren’t worth the bandwidth it takes to download them. But that’s true of a number of books, no matter who the publisher is.

But with the influx of small press and self-publishing titles comes the question of how to fund your projects. There are a number of platforms online now where you can promote a project, ask for backers and funding. One of the best known is Kickstarter. And, before someone gets their back up, this isn’t a rant against Kickstarter. It’s not even a rant against those who use it. It is, however, a cautionary tale for both authors, editors and those who might consider backing them.

A little background. I’m not a huge gambler, especially when it comes to my hard-earned money. Unless I know someone really well and am very familiar with their proposed project — and everyone involved in it — I’m not likely to invest money in it. I’ve had family members and friends invest in every get-rich-quick scheme to come through the mail or over the internet and have watched them lose their proverbial shirts. So, I tend to err on the side of caution.

I’ve also seen the problems that arise when authors or editors pitch a product over Kickstarter or other platforms and never deliver. Not that long ago came the story of an award-nominated (possibly award-winning) author and editor with a small press who hadn’t paid royalties to her authors for years. She’d even run a kickstarter campaign, iirc, to raise money to help pay the authors. The campaign hit its goal but the authors saw nothing. It wasn’t until friends of one of the authors involved took to social media — and then others took it up — that the author/editor started reverting rights. There were tons of mea culpas, but the harm had been done.

To counter this, you have folks like Larry Correia. Larry has run and recommended some very successful Kickstarter campaigns for games, etc., that I’ve heard nothing but good about. He and Howard Taylor are two of the very few I would back. But I digress. This isn’t about the good ones, except to tell you to be very clear about what you are supposed to get and when before you hit the pledge button.

I’ll be honest, I have avoided discussing raising money for a writing project in this manner for a couple of reasons. The first is that I haven’t done it so I’m not intimately familiar with how the process works. The second is because I feel that this is a decision that each writer or editor has to make for himself. But events over the last six months, and especially the last few days, changed my mind.

Let’s start with having a Kickstarter for a book you want to write. I went to the Kickstarter site and did a search for “publishing” and then narrowed it to “fiction”. Of the first hundred or so titles I looked at, maybe eight of them will make their funding. Of those, most are asking for less than $1,000. In fact, many are asking for less than $500. Yet, for each one nearing completion of their funding requests, many, many more are not. One that stuck out to me was for a YA paranormal where the author admits she doesn’t see herself as a YA author even though she’s already written one YA paranormal series and who then attaches a snippet of the proposed work that isn’t safe for anyone under 16 to read. Maybe I’m strange — okay, I KNOW I’m strange — but telling your potential investors that you really don’t consider yourself to be a writer of the type of book you want them to buy into isn’t exactly the best way to convince them to hand over their money.

Then there is the one for the “small press” that is looking for something in the realm of $40k — and they may actually make it. Good for them. Of course, as an author and reader, I have a few questions that I don’t see answered in their description. The first one — and the most glaring — is the fact that they state their works are fanfic or based on fanfic. Yet I see nothing saying they have permission from the networks or original creators of the characters and settings to publish their work. Hmmmm….that is sort of a red flag. At least for me.

Then, when you start going through their levels of support to see what they offer, I have another red flag go up. When you read a certain level, you can get “free” editing from their editor-in-chief. Now, this may be the best editor in the world but first, if you are “investing” in this company at this level, the editing isn’t free. You have paid for it. Just as you have paid to receive copies of the e-books involved, often at more than you’d pay for them if you waited for the books to be published. But I have another concern. How many new or wannabe writers are investing in this or similar Kickstarters for the editing — often spending money they don’t have — only to find out they aren’t getting quality editing? Or even anything above proofreading or copy editing? (Now, I’m not saying that is what would happen here, but it is something I have to ask myself and something I hope everyone else is asking as well.)

But that’s not the only thing I have concerns about. It takes time to set up your Kickstarter page. Time I’d rather spend writing. It takes time to promote your project and then, if you do make your goal, it takes time to complete everything you have pledged to do as well as to keep your backers informed. Then there’s the ego hit if you don’t make your goal. Does that mean no one will buy your book and you should just move on, possibly even to another profession? No, it just means that the project didn’t hit with those who were looking for something to invest in on that particular day/week/month.

And all that brings me to what set me off on this topic. Friends of mine invested in a Kickstarter campaign because an author we know and trust was to have a story included in the pitched anthology. They invested to get a copy of the e-book and advertising space. Months have gone by and they found their in-box filled with many, many e-mails from the editor of the anthology. It included, iirc, one where he promised to sing. None of the e-mails said anything about how to get their advertising space, etc., and the project page said the book would be released in November. Well, here it is the beginning of December and no e-book. Things came to a head for them yesterday when they received notice that the hard copy of the book was now for sale and would they — as well as all the other backers — book-bomb the project. Oh, and still no copy of the e-book and no news on advertising space.

One of my friends took to Facebook and in a very tame manner expressed her disappointment because she felt she had not been given what she’d been promised and stated that she would probably never do another Kickstarter again. The editor’s response? Well, he came in all puffed-up and in-your-face and defensive. Instead of contacting her personally on a private IM or e-mail, he publicly took her to task for not loving all he had done to keep everyone informed, etc. In fact, iirc, he said she was the only one to be disappointed and that everyone had loved all the e-mails keeping them informed (or at least words to that effect).

Now, I happen to know other backers of this particular project, as well as several authors involved. So I know that there are others who felt the 50-plus e-mails were excessive since they said nothing new. It got to the fact that there were some who simply hit the delete button without reading them. The lesson here is the same one restaurants need to remember when they give less than acceptable service to customers. They probably aren’t going to say anything. They just won’t come back. That is the situation that editor now faces, not only with potential backers but with writers as well.

So the lesson here is that if you do a Kickstarter, be careful with how you contact your backers. Lay out in clear and concise terms when you will be completing the project they are investing in and how and when they will receive their awards. Don’t go onto social media and get into a fight with someone who has expressed concerns about the project. Take it into the next room and try to work it out. And, for the love of Bog, don’t blame someone else for what happened. Throwing a co-worker under the bus isn’t the way to do business.

Most of all, if all you are doing a Kickstarter, be realistic about what you are asking for and what you are willing to give in return. If the amount you are looking for is actually going to cost you more in time and effort, then maybe you need to rethink your plans. As a reader and potential investor, if you are getting an e-book in return, are you paying two or three times more for it as an investor than you would if you wait for it to be published? If you are, you’d sure better either know the author and want to help them out or you’d better be getting an early release for it. As a writer looking to invest for the “editing” services, make sure you know exactly what you are getting for your money. Also, be sure the person who is going to be doing the “editing” is qualified, especially for the work you want them to look at.

In other words, do your homework.

For those doing the Kickstarters, be clear in what you want and what you are offering. Think long and hard if it is going to be worth your time and money and effort to set up the project page, do the promotion and then do the administrative end should the project actually make its goal. And — and I can’t repeat this enough — be darned sure you are ready to take the ego hit if the project doesn’t make its goal. If you aren’t, then stay far away from projects such as this.

Most of all, if you are running a Kickstarter campaign, always follow the most important rule Jim Baen instituted on Baen’s Bar: Don’t be a butthead. (in other words, don’t spam your backers. Don’t expect them to do your promo for you and don’t — I repeat DO NOT — get mad at them when they express disappointment because you haven’t followed through on what you’ve promised.)

Of Apple and Amazon and e-book sales

Sitting here this morning, wondering why I dreamed about having to bug-out because of an invasion of man-eating spiders (which, btw, are a lot worse than zombies because spiders can hide in much smaller places), I scanned the publishing news for the last few days and found myself wondering if we’ve stepped back in time. No, a quick glance at the calendar confirmed we haven’t. So I guess it is just more of the same-old-same-old while everyone waits to see what happens with the public hearing on copyright (and, yes, I will get to that but it will be next week. There’s a lot of material to wade through and I’m just now starting to feel well enough to do that sort of heavy reading)

The first example of how there are some in publishing that just don’t want to give up even in the face of overwhelming odds, is Apple. Even after losing the price fixing suit filed by the Department of Justice — and this after being abandoned by most of its named co-defendants when they settled the case instead of going to trial — Apple continues to fight. It now is trying to get the class action law suit against it dismissed. Now, most of the time, I wouldn’t think twice about this sort of thing. This isn’t one of those times. Apple is basically using the same arguments it used in the price fixing case to get this suit dismissed — arguments that obviously didn’t work. If you’ve already been told by a judge that your actions were not “pro-competitive and beneficial to consumers,” why are you still arguing it?

The only explanation I can come up with is that Apple simply isn’t used to losing. A company with very deep pockets, it rarely comes out on the short end of the stick. I have a feeling Apple will soon find itself on the short end again. Judge Cotes has already ruled once on this assertion and I don’t see her accepting it now. But Apple being Apple, they will keep trying and we will keep watching. More than that, considering how slowly cases proceed through the courts, the supervision period set out by Judge Cotes will probably have run its course before Apple exhausts all its appeals and then everything will be moot anyway.

Then there’s this article in Publisher’s Weekly about how the slowing e-book sales are a “mixed blessing”. When I saw the blurb for the article, I almost didn’t click over to the full piece. Part of me expected it to be another post extolling the fact that e-books really are nothing more than a flash in the pan and now that the “ooooh shiny” has worn off, folks will get back to buying print books. Fortunately for the continued existence of my laptop, it wasn’t all about that. The article does point out that you can’t keep up with triple digit sales increases over a long period of time. It also notes, as several of us here at MGC have, that the initial leap in sales had a lot to do with people buying e-book readers and tablets and getting books to go on them. That’s the sort of thing you see with any new tech. Just watch the increase in sales of video games over the next few months as the PS4 and XBox One — and the associated new gen games — hit the market.

However, this article — like so many others — is hampered by the fact that it is using figures that are no more accurate than BookScan sales numbers. That means whole markets are being left out as are a huge amount of indie and small press titles. Does this mean e-books sales haven’t slowed? Probably not. What I would bet on, however, is that they haven’t slowed as much as the study alleges and that means the gap between print sales and digital sales probably isn’t narrowing as much as is being assumed.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying e-book sales are continuing to rising at triple digit levels. Nor am I saying the print section of the industry is doomed. My issue is that articles like this, based on data provided by third parties hired by interested parties in the debate, never give the full story. We don’t know what sources were used to determine sales. We don’t know if they used only sales from major publishers or from only members of AAP. We all know that studies like this can be manipulated and being the suspicious person that I am, I need to know the background information before accepting such a study at face value.

Then I came across this article from Dear Author and I thought that, for cone, I was going to have to disagree with them. But I can’t because I agree. The basic set up is this: a new e-book comes out and you buy it right away because you like the description or you’ve read other things by the author, etc. Being an e-book and (probably) written by an indie, you don’t mind dropping $4.99 or so for it. After all, you know the author’s work or you checked out the preview and it is less than that half-caf venti mocha you planned on for the afternoon.

So you click the pretty gold button on the product page and wait for the e-book to be downloaded to your e-reader or tablet and go off happily to read your new book.

Only to discover a few days later that the author has put the book on sale for 99 cents.

Now, $4.oo isn’t going to break me but, I guarantee you, I’m not happy to discover that I have just been penalized for being an early purchaser of the book. We’re not talking about a book that’s been out for months or even years. We’re talking about a book that has been out just a week or so. As Dear Author says, “Those on the pricing side can use price promotions to drive sales, but to do so at the cost of alienating loyal fans for not much long term gain seems counterintuitive.”

And that brings up the whole question of just when and how to promote your work which, in turns, brings up the question of do you go exclusively with one retailer or not. Amazon offers some great promotional programs for indies and small presses — if you go exclusively with Amazon for at least three months. If you ask three authors what they think about “limiting” yourself this way and you will get three different answers. One author will tell you that to go exclusive is to cut out sales venues and that means fewer sales. The next author will tell you that you should consider it but only after you’ve had your work out for at least six months or a year on all outlets to see where your best sales are. The third will tell you to definitely do it because Amazon is the gorilla in the marketplace and you can choose to not have DRM which means your buyers can convert their e-books into whatever format they want.

The correct answer is there is no correct answer. You have to decide for yourself what works best and, to do that, you need to know where your sales come from. You also have to consider how quickly you get paid. Then there is how quickly sales channels are updated so you can see what your sales trends are. But to simply discount an option because it comes from “evil Amazon” is to potentially cut off a viable promotional tool that can increase your sales.

Now, if the other outlets want to compete, they need to offer similar tools for authors. Frankly, I don’t want to write my book online using a retailers interface. I don’t want to wait weeks and months for a book to get through the review process (which I’ve been doing on a couple of titles and have finally pulled them and am resubbing them with some strategic changes in tagging and descriptions). I don’t want to risk having my books pulled from sales because someone thinks they are erotica based on a tag someone besides me put on them.

In other words, it is still up to us to keep on top of what is happening in the business. We have to educate ourselves about trends and programs and apps and all other things that can make our job easier and bring us into closer contact with our readers.

A few thoughts and, maybe, a brief snippet

I want to start by thanking everyone for their understanding about the open floor I had to put up last week. I try not to do so very often but last Tuesday was one of those days when everything converged to keep me not only away from the computer but out of the house. I’ve still been kept away from the house a great deal of late and off-line, but things are getting better. Which is probably a good thing since my work laptop has something odd happening with it where it no longer likes Yahoo and there are a number of sites — including mail sites and file sharing sites — that it seems to be blocking. So, once I finish here, I’m tearing into the firewall and other programs that are supposed to be protecting me and see if HAL has taken over.

Some of you were kind enough to leave suggestions for topics last week. Some of them, like the suggestion to discuss copyright and fanfic, will take more thought and research than I’ve had time to give to it yet. So, give me a couple of weeks — to get some deadlines dealt with — and I’ll do a post on copyright, fanfic and filing off the serial numbers.

Several of you wanted to talk about how to deal with the current dry spell so many writers seem to be experiencing right now. Not so much a dry spell on the writing front but on the sales front. That seems to be a topic a lot of folks are talking about. I wish I had a response that we could all implement, but I don’t. I’ll admit that over the last few years, I’ve seen a trend in my own sales where sales seem to slow a bit in July, drop through the floor in August and then slowly start picking up in September. Whether that means anything or not, I don’t know. It could be as simple as people are on vacation or are getting ready for their kids to return to school. But sales do seem to be cyclical and they do pick up.

I just haven’t found any quick fix for the decline. I’ve tried blog tours. It’s a lot of work for what didn’t always give a return that made it worth the time. I’ve had a trailer made and it had no impact on sales. I’ve tried putting titles up on all sales fronts and only on Amazon’s KDP program. I’ve changed the pricing — up and down — and changed the tags. Facebook and Twitter and snippets, oh my.

What I’ve learned is that different tactics work for different genres. The blog tour worked to an extent for one of the novels written under the pen name. It worked, not so much because it increased sales a great deal but because it got reviews up on Amazon. The reviews weren’t always glowing but they were always honest and the good reviews outweighed the bad ones. Those reviews do help because potential readers will look at the number of reviews and the average rating when considering whether or not to try a book by a new author.

However, for the urban fantasy stuff, the blog tour didn’t work as well. Does that mean such a tactic won’t work for others? No. It just means that, for me at least, I will have to think twice before putting in the time and effort to do an other blog tour for more of the Nocturnal Lives books. I’ll do a few guest posts — hint, if you need someone to fill in on your blog one day, give me a shout. I’ll be glad to as long as I can link to my Amazon page — but a blog tour of a week or two where I’m on different blogs every day is a no go now. I’d rather be writing my next book.

As for the rest of it — especially Facebook and Twitter — social media is a way to keep your name and the titles of your work in people’s minds. But it is a balancing act. You don’t want to do so much promotion that your Facebook page or Twitter feed is nothing but one long ad for your latest novel or short story. (Hint: I’m seeing more and more people posting on their walls that if they get a friend request on Facebook from someone and, when they go to check out that person’s FB page it is dominated by self-promotion, they will refuse the friend request.) So, before you start spamming your page and feed with info about your latest release, stop and think. Are you going overboard? Look at your last three to five entries. If they have to deal with your work and have all happened in the last couple of hours, you are going overboard. Step away from the keyboard and breathe. Post something different.

There’s another pitfall to social media sites like Facebook that a lot of authors fall into. That’s the creation of a page for your latest novel or series or whatever. Every day I’m getting invitations to “like” some author’s new page. That’s annoying enough because it does take time to figure out if it is a page I want to be involved with — and this is something you need to think about. When you “like” a page, it shows up on your wall. Your “friends” can see your likes. So do you really want to like that latest invitation? For example, how will your Christian publisher react if they check and see you’ve liked a number of pages for books that are about demonology or the like? — Even if I am interested, do I have time to follow them?

Worse are when authors or fans create group pages and add you without asking. I’ve finally reached the point where if people do that and I don’t know them well, I will not only delete the group but will unfriend the person responsible for adding me.

Social media is just that — social. For the average indie author who is struggling to make a name for himself, it isn’t a major sales tool. It is a tool to be used, carefully and sparingly. You have to walk that thin line between promotion and becoming a pest. So think about what you like, and don’t like, to see and apply that to your use of Facebook and Twitter and then see if it yields any results. Just remember, those results may be long term and may not show up right away. That’s especially true if you are distributing your books through Smashwords (where sales may not be reported for up to six months for outlets in their premium catalog) and not putting them directly up on sites like Amazon, Kobo or BN.

So, what can you do to help pump your sales? One of the best is to check your product description on Amazon or the other sales pages. Do you give the potential buyer enough information to hook them without giving them too much? Is it well-written? How about formatted? If your description has more than one paragraph, make sure there’s space between the paragraphs so it is not only visually pleasing but also an indication that your book is properly formatted. Have you checked to make sure there are no misspelled words? You’d be surprised how many descriptions I’ve seen with spelling errors, even for books released by the major publishers. That description is the first impression your writing is going to make on a reader. So make it the best you can.

Then comes the tags you use for your book. Each site has a different number of tags you can use, so you have to be careful not to just cut and paste from site to site because you may wind up losing that one tag you really want there.

So what tags should you use?

First of all, understand that your tags are different from the categories you select for your books or short stories to be listed in. The tags are basically the meta tags or descriptive words that help readers find your books when doing a general search on Amazon or another store site. They are keywords treaders might input into the search engine for the sales site. If you write a romantic suspense novel set in Dallas around a wedding that has a murder and blackmail in it, the tags I’d use are romance, suspense, Dallas, wedding, murder, blackmail. That’s six and, iirc, Amazon lets you tag up to seven words. So I’d figure out something else, maybe the profession of my main character, to use. Anything that I think someone might use as a search term.

Tags you don’t want to use are your name, title of the book or series title. Why? Because they are already associated with your work if you filled out the information page properly.

So, here’s a challenge for each of you. Take your current wip and put a sample of the product page description and your tag words in the comments below. I’ll be back later, after I clean house, to see what you’ve done.

Now, for the brief snippet from Nocturnal Interlude:

“Don’t you dare die on me now!”

A Bit of Promo for the Mad Ones

Promotion is one of those things every one of us at MGC knows we need to do but we don’t do nearly as often or as much as we should. We’d much rather be writing — or tearing out our fingernails — than promoting our own work. So, since we haven’t done this for awhile, I’ve listed some of our indie or small press books that are currently out. I’ve linked to the Amazon (U.S. store) pages, but most of the titles should be available through other stores as well. Remember, we have mouths to feed — our own, our kids (two and four legged) and editors to keep happy 😉

Some of Dave’s titles:

mankindwitchA Mankind Witch

To the North of the Holy Roman Empire are the pagan Norse-lands. It is here that Prince Manfred of Brittany, and Erik, his Icelandic bodyguard, must venture in the dead of winter to a mountainous land of trolls and ice to find a stolen pagan relic, the arm-ring of Odin, something so magical that it should not be possible to move it beyond its wards, let alone take it away. It is gone, and unless it is recovered before Yuletide and the re-affirmation of truce-oaths, a new Viking age will be born. King Vorenbras will lead his berserkers in an orgy of killing, rapine, looting and destruction, across the Empire’s unguarded North-Western flank.

Princess Signy is the King’s older stepsister, and everyone believes her to be the thief, a witch and a murderess. Everyone, that is, but Cair, her stable-thrall, a man plucked from the ocean, with a hidden past. Cair doesn’t believe in witches or magic, let alone that Signy could steal and murder. If he has to drag the foremost knight of the age, and his deadly bodyguard kicking and screaming though the entire Norse nine worlds to prove it and free her, he’d do it. No Kobold, dwarf, or troll is going to stop him, or his scepticism. Not the wild hunt. Not even a Grendel. He doesn’t believe in this superstitious rubbish. He’s a man of science and learning, and he’s used that to fake his way into being feared as a magic worker. But for Signy, he’ll be all of mankind’s witches.

He’ll have to be, because that’s what it’ll take to defeat the dark magical forces which are marshalled against them.

forlornThe Forlorn

Across the one human colony world, a place technologically regressed to near medieval, possibly the last place humans still survive, a desperate search continues. Scattered across the deserts, tangled jungles, and alien fortresses, lie the core sections of the matter transmitter.

These sections hold the key to vast wealth, power, or… the fulfilment of the colony’s purpose: to help humankind survive the rabidly xenophobic alien Morkth who will tolerate no other intelligent species. The Morkth managed to follow the colony ship, and, despite their mothership being shot down and their queen being killed, they continue their relentless struggle to destroy humankind… and to reconstruct that incredibly valuable matter transmitter. If they succeed, they’ll be able to return to the hive with the location of the colony of vile humans, and have a new world to occupy. If they fail, they’ll destroy the planet.

The search has gone on for centuries, and it is all reaching an end point. The future hangs in the balance.

The Morkth have lasers, aircraft, nukes. Those who want the core sections for their own ends… have vast armies. Against them are three unlikely reluctant heroes: A street child thief, a dispossessed spoiled brat of a princess, and a confused, amoral Morkth-raised human, armed only with 14th century weapons and their own wits.

It’s a lost cause, a forlorn hope.

But it’s all humans have.

bolg brideBolg, PI: The Vampire Bride

A humorous, satirical noir detective urban fantasy, set in a small city in flyover country, which has an unusually high population of Trolls, werewolves, fairies and a dwarf.

Private Investigator Bolg, a Pictish gentleman who happens to be vertically challenging, a self-proclaimed dwarf and tattooed so heavily he appears blue, finds himself called on undertake paranormal cases: in this case tracing the Vampire bride’s absconded or kidnapped groom.

The groom should have been a troll by the name of Billy Gruff, the manager and owner of the Ricketty-Racketty Club – a topless bar and nightclub. Bolg finds himself, and his client embroiled in murder, extortion and a Celtic wizard. The latter is supposedly helping him, but wizard’s help is not always what it you think it will be.

bolg wolfy ladiesBolg, PI: Wolfy Ladies

A humorous, satirical noir detective urban fantasy, set in a small city in flyover country, which has an unusually high population of Trolls, werewolves, fairies and a dwarf.

Private Investigator Bolg, a Pictish gentleman who happens to be vertically challenging, a self-proclaimed dwarf and tattooed so heavily he appears blue, finds himself called on undertake paranormal cases: in this case finding the missing mage who supplies the potion that helps werewolves retain their human shape at full moon, for a lady-wolf who finds the change interferes with her love life.

The ancient Celtic wizard he’s trying to trace is a friend, and shape shifter, and there far more going on than just a search for a missing person.

bolg fairiesBolg, PI: Away with the fairies

A humorous, satirical noir detective urban fantasy, set in a small city in flyover country, which has an unusually high population of Trolls, werewolves, fairies and a dwarf.

Private Investigator Bolg, a Pictish gentleman who happens to be vertically challenging, a self-proclaimed dwarf and tattooed so heavily he appears blue, finds this restricts him to oddball clients. In this his first case, a wealthy fruitcake who want to dance with the fairies. Most PI’s would do their best to avoid this because they know there are no fairies. Bolg would like to avoid it because he knows the fairies to well, and they’re mean.

Aided by a gargoyle informer and an ancient Celtic wizard, he sets about trying to oblige his client, and keep both of them alive. It’s no sinecure.

without a traceWithout A Trace

Mike O’Hara has spent his life defending the family honor. His grandfather, Cap’n Al O’Hara, has been called everything from smuggler to coward and it is said he abandoned his family rather than pay his debts. Mike knows better, but what’s a boy to do?

When his father is injured in an automobile accident and the authorities threaten to take Mike from the family farm, Mike knows he has to do something. Spurred on by a radio transmission that just might be from Cap’n Al, Mike and his best friend, Amos, start out on a mission to find his grandfather. His journey takes him to an alternate South Africa inhabited by pirates and worse. Mike quickly finds himself in a race against time to rescue his grandfather and return home – before it’s too late.

Some of Amanda’s Titles:

nocturnaloriginscoverNocturnal Origins

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

nocturnal SerenadeNocturnal Serenade

In this sequel to Nocturnal Origins, Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

NOCTURNAL HAUNTSNocturnal Haunts

Mackenzie Santos has seen just about everything in more than ten years as a cop. The last few months have certainly shown her more than she’d ever expected. When she’s called out to a crime scene and has to face the possibility that there are even more monsters walking the Earth than she knew, she finds herself longing for the days before she started turning furry with the full moon.

 

Some of Sarah’s titles:

atomA Touch of Night

In a world where magic reigns and being a shape shifter is the only crime that warrants immediate execution, this is how Pride and Prejudice would be written. The novel is set in the world of Sarah A. Hoyt’s Magical British Empire.

 

crawlingCrawling Between Heaven and Earth

A collection of short stories by Prometheus Award Winner Sarah A. Hoyt. The first edition of this collection was published by Dark Regions Press in paper, only. This updated edition contains two bonus short stories: High Stakes and Sweet Alice.

It also contains the stories: Elvis Died for Your Sins; Like Dreams Of Waking; Ariadne’s Skein;Thirst;Dear John;Trafalgar Square;The Green Bay Tree; Another George; Songs;Thy Vain Worlds;Crawling Between Heaven and Earth.

shakespeareMagical Shakespeare Omnibus

Combining the three books of Sarah A. Hoyt’s Magical Shakespeare series, this volume takes Shakespeare — always bedeviled, aided and hampered by the elves of Arden forest, the spawn of Titania and Oberon — from a young and anonymous schoolmaster to an acclaimed playwright. His fame, and his tradings with fairyland put his son Hamnet at risk, and might destroy Shakespeare himself.

This Omnibus combines Ill Met By Moonlight, All Night Awake and Any Man so Daring. These books were originally published by Ace/Berkley between 10/2001 and 10/2003.

“Wildly imaginative and poetic…. a delightful fantastic speculation” – Booklist
“The Author of Ill Met By Moonlight continues her portrayal of the secret life of William Shakespeare with a tale of deception and betrayal that brings to life the raucous world of Elizabethan England. Will have particular appeal to fans of literary fantasy.”

no willNo Will But His

Kathryn Howard belongs to a wealthy and powerful family, the same family that Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s great love originated from. From a young age, her ambitious relatives maneuver to make her queen. Brought up in a careless manner, ignorant of the ways of the court, Kathryn falls victim to her kind heart, all the while wishing she could be the wife of Thomas Culpepper.

wingsWings

Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories, ranging between Elizabethan England and the far future. These short stories of Prometheus Award Winning author Sarah A. Hoyt have been published in anthologies like Cosmic Cocktails and magazines such as Analog and Asimov’s. The collection was originally published by Dark Regions Press in paper only.

This edition contains an introduction by Dave Freer and a bonus short story: With Unconfined Wings.

Some of Kate’s Titles:

conventConVent

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

consensualConSensual

There are vampires in the lobby, succubi in the beds, and bodies in the bathroom. It’s ConSensual, where the editors are demons, the writers are crazy and the vampires and werewolves might be the most stable people in the room.

If that isn’t enough, Dracula is staying at the hotel on a business trip for his wood-based hardware chain, Kit Marlowe is one of the authors, and there’s an out of control baby vampire to deal with. Once again, the “Save the World” department is caught with its pants down.

confurConFur

A vampire at a science fiction convention might not seem that far-fetched except for one thing, Jim is a real vampire. Of course, he’s not the only supernatural being making the circuit. There are demon editors, succubi authors and the odd archangel. Jim’s learned how to deal with all of them, as well as the humans, without getting into too much trouble. But he’s about to learn a very important lesson – it is never wise to stand between a mother werewolf and her children, even if you aren’t the one responsible for their disappearances. There’s only one thing Jim can do. He has to find the kids and deal with those responsible. Little does he know this will lead to a long, and not always comfortable, relationship with a young werewolf who insists on calling him “Hickey”.

impalerImpaler

Impaler by Kate Paulk revisits the tale of Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad Tepes and Vlad the Impaler. This is the tale of historical fact mixed with fiction and a touch of fantasy. But this is most definitely not the tired tale of vampires skulking in the night, lying in wait for innocent victims. Impaler tells the tale of a man devoted to family and country, cursed and looking for redemption.

December, 1476. The only man feared by the all-conquering Ottoman Sultan battles to reclaim his throne. If he falls all of Europe lies open to the Ottoman armies. If he succeeds…

His army is outnumbered and outclassed, his country is tiny, and he is haunted by a terrible curse. But Vlad Draculea will risk everything on one almost impossible chance to free his people from the hated Ottoman Empire.

Some of Chris’ Titles:

Gah, my google-fu is failing me this morning. So, I’m going to direct you to Chris’ site and his blog for his latest work.

Chris’ website: http://chrismcmahon.net/

Chris’ blog: http://chrismcmahons.wordpress.com/

Some of our guest bloggers:

Ellie Ferguson

huntednewcoverHunted

When Meg Finley’s parents died, the authorities classified it as a double suicide. Alone, hurting and suddenly the object of the clan’s alpha’s desire, her life was a nightmare. He didn’t care that she was grieving any more than he cared that she was only fifteen. So she’d run and she’d been running ever since. But now, years later, her luck’s run out. The alpha’s trackers have found her and they’re under orders to bring her back, no matter what.

Without warning, Meg finds herself in a game of cat and mouse with the trackers in a downtown Dallas parking garage. She’s learned a lot over the years but, without help, it might not be enough to escape a fate she knows will be worse than death. What she didn’t expect was that help would come from the local clan leader. But would he turn out to be her savior or something else, something much more dangerous?

HUNTERSDUTYHunter’s Duty

Maggie Thrasher is looking for a man, not to love but to kill. Duty to her pride and loyalty to her family demands it.

Joshua Volk has betrayed pride, pack and clan. All he cares about is destroying the old ways and killing anyone, normal or shape-changer, who gets in his way.

Jim Kincade is dedicated to two things: upholding the law and protecting the pride from discovery.

When Jim is called to the scene of a possible murder, the last thing he expects is to discover the alleged killer is a tracker from another pride. Now he’s faced with a woman who is most definitely more than she appears. Complicating matters even more, there’s something about her that calls to him and his leopard is determined to claim her for his own.

Joshua Volk is looking for revenge. Maggie killed one of his own. His vengeance will bring Maggie’s worst nightmares to life. Is the passion between Maggie and Jim enough to defeat Volk’s plans or will Maggie’s determination to fulfill her duty to her pride be the death of them both?

wbbWedding Bell Blues

Weddings always bring out the worst in people. Or at least that’s the way it seems to Jessica Jones as her younger sister’s wedding day approaches. It’s bad enough Jessie has to wear a bridesmaid dress that looks like it was designed by a color blind Harlequin. Then there’s the best man who is all hands and no manners. Now add in a murder and Jessie’s former lover — former because she caught him doing the horizontal tango on their kitchen table with her also-former best friend. It really is almost more than a girl should be expected to handle. . . .

C. S. Laurel

quickB. Quick

It was a night of triumphal activity for the Society For The Elimination of Good Looking Blonds. By sheer chance, middle-aged literature professor Bill Yates interrupts a murderer in the act of dumping an unconscious young man into the local river. Bill surprises himself by rescuing the young man and unwittingly plunges into a maelstrom of murder, psychoanalysis and Shakespeare. Falling in love with the young man he rescued is either fitting punishment or just reward for his trouble, and it will be a long time before Bill knows which.

qcaQuick Change Artist

In this story, Professor William Yates’ gets more than he bargains for when he wakes up with a snake tattoo, a pierced tongue and an even bigger surprise. It turns out a serial rapist who answers his description EXCEPT for having those, has kidnapped him and made him match. Bill and Brian interview “ink artists” and various one night stands to find him.

 

quicksandQuicksand

When a dying man rings his doorbell, secrets from Professor William Yates’ past rise up, which threaten his relationship with Brian Quick, his reputation and his life. Caught in the quicksand of his past, he has to solve the murder to get free.

 

I know I’ve missed a couple of guest posters — not to mention all our wonderful commenters. I know I speak for everyone at MGC when I thank you for your support. Now, go out and spread the word of our books so we can feed our kitties and dogs and even our children 😉

 

Work smart and think

Having finished the latest work in progress, I’m at that phase where my brain is still thinking about the project and the inner me — that very insecure and scared writer — is worrying as I wait to hear back from The Boss about whether or not she likes what I did. Other plots are trying to push forward because they want to be written, but they’re having trouble pushing through the sludge that is my brain right now. The business side of me knows I need to at least consider which one to do, but it’s not easy. After all, do I want to finish the space opera or go back and do the next title in the Nocturnal Lives series or do I go ahead and do the follow-up to the novel I just finished? Or what about any of the other novels that I’ve made notes on or started but put aside to finish something else? Oh the joys of being a writer with a mush brain and not enough coffee.

So, knowing I’m not ready to start on a new project yet, or even pick up the strings of one I put aside in order to write the last two novels, I started searching the interwebs for some inspiration for today’s post. A couple of things popped up and, well, started me thinking. The first was an exchange on Baen’s Bar yesterday. For those of you not familiar with the Bar, it’s an online community where fans can interact with other fans, Baen authors and editors. It was social media before social media existed.

Baen is also one of the few major publishers that still has a slush pile. Authors can submit to Baen through its online slush pile without first querying and without having an agent. Baen has always been upfront that the chances of being selected from the slush pile is very slim. It also takes time, time to make the first cut where a slush reader recommends your manuscript be reviewed by someone up the chain of command and more time if your manuscript gets passed on to one of the editors. It isn’t a quick process but Baen has never said it would be.

So imagine my surprise yesterday to see a post on the Bar from someone accusing Baen of lying about never accepting manuscripts from “new” writers. His proof of this was that there were no “new” authors listed on the schedule for the last year or then next few months. When some responders pointed out that there were new authors on the list, he came back and basically moved the goal posts. He said these authors weren’t “new” because they were known to be writers in other areas: gaming, non-fiction, etc. What he was talking about were authors who had never been published before, ever. He went on to basically say the slush pile was just a ploy by Baen to build brand loyalty.

Now, this poster did admit that he’d tried going through the slush process but had been turned down. He complained about how long it took (but when someone checked the time involved, it was within the time frame Baen tries to stick to). What got me about his comments were that he was there to rant and each time someone responded with proof that his premise was wrong, he basically said, “but that’s not what I meant. This is what I meant.”

But what really got me was this guy’s whole attitude. I wouldn’t blame the powers that be at Baen for never wanting to see anything from him again. You don’t go onto a forum, private or public, and accuse the forum owners of lying and using ploys. At least not if you want to do business with them again. While this might not rate up there with the author who went on a public rant about his editor a few years ago —  a very public and profanity laced rant — this was anything but smart. So the lesson is, always think about what you’ve just said and what the ramifications can be before you hit the enter button. Then, if you do hit enter, don’t keep digging the hole deeper unless you’re into being piled on.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only WTF moment I had yesterday as I went looking for topics for today’s post. Cedar Sanderson — hi, Cedar! — linked to a Facebook page claiming to be the next best thing for helping authors market their work. Now, she’d linked to it with the comment that something about it didn’t feel right to her. I had the exact same reaction — and, no, I’m not going to link to it and give these guys any more publicity than they have already gotten. Why? Because I don’t have a good feeling about them and here’s why:

This is a Facebook page only. I couldn’t find a website for them. One the FB page, they say that if they get to so many likes, they will open up for a beta test. As I said, I couldn’t find a website for this so-called company to check out what they are going to offer, who is behind the company, etc. All I know is that if they reach beta and if you sign up, for a fee of $15/month, you get to reach”thousands” of connections. Again, no idea who the connections are or how they are chosen. There are other red flags, but I think you get the point about why it isn’t something I’m going to run out and sign up for.

I don’t mind paying to promote any of my books. But I have to do it smart and simply signing up for something that says it’s going to be great without seeing anything about how they are going to work, who they are putting my book in front of, etc., isn’t going to get me to pry open my wallet. The problem is, I’m seeing more and more of these types of sites popping up. They promise a lot for a little bit of money so authors sign up. After all, we’re writers, not marketing execs. But we have to be smart with our money. Throwing it out there just because someone says they will get your name out there doesn’t guarantee it. So look for easily identifiable websites for the company wanting your money. Read their contract and see who their contacts are. Find out what role you have to play in all this. If you have to promote someone else’s work in order for your work to be promoted somewhere, ask yourself if it is worth it. This is especially true if the person or persons whose work you have to promote is not familiar to you. Do you have time to look at their book or short story before deciding if you want to recommend it to your readers? In other words, is this wonderful opportunity to promote going to become a time sink that will adversely affect your writing time?

Finally, I have to say something about crowd sourcing your work. What brought this to mind was the announcement that Wattpad is now offering what they call Fan Funding. I’m not against crowd sourcing in general. But I do have reservations. As a writer, I know what a hit my confidence would take if I posted a project and it didn’t get funded. It’s that same hit I take with royalty statements when my sales are down. I know sales are cyclical and there are times of the year when my stuff sells better than others. I also know that the more often I put things up, the better my sales. But that doesn’t ease the hit to my ego when I see the actual figures on paper. So imagine the ego hit I’d take if I posted a project for funding and it didn’t fund. And, let’s face it, that’s not an unusual reaction for most writers. We are an insecure lot, on the whole.

But I have another concern with crowd funding, especially with the Wattpad version. Now, going in here, I’ll admit I’m not familiar with the ins-and-outs of Wattpad. So some of my assumptions may be wrong. But if I read the initial information about the Fan Funding, the book you are trying to crowd source would be available on Wattpad. My questions are if this means everyone who belongs to Wattpad would be able to read it for free. While I have no problem giving away my work for free, I want to be able to choose when and for how long that happens. A new work that I’m trying to get sales for needs to be a for sale title and not one that thousands upon thousands of folks can access for free. I get no money then and I like to eat and my animals like their kibble.

From a consumer point of view, I have another concern with this sort of funding of projects. Most of these crowd funding sites do have a set period of time for a project to meet its funding goal. Thirty days seems to be the standard. Your credit card won’t be charged until the funding goal is met — or a hold is put on your pledged funds and then the hold is released. That’s a good thing. But what happens if the goal is met, your credit card is charged and then the project never comes to fruition? There are a lot of reasons for this to happen but if you’ve pledged money to see a project happen and it never does, or it takes so long to happen that you figure it will never take place, you will think twice before ever funding another suck project and you sure as hell will think twice before ever buying anything else from that author.

I guess the common thread through all of this is that we, as writers, have to think about the ramifications of what we do. Is it worth the time, effort and possible heartache — not to mention money — it will require? In other words, what is the return on investment? If it kills the creative process, even for a day or two, or if it means spending more time promoting someone else’s work instead of your own, it’s probably not worth it.

Write, promote smart and don’t pay for things you don’t have to unless you are sure that doing so will save you money or, better yet, make you money in the long run.

*     *     *

Since I have been talking promotion, here are three of my titles with links to Amazon. They are available elsewhere.

nocturnaloriginscoverfinalsmNocturnal Origins

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

serenadecoverthumbNocturnal Serenade

In this sequel to Nocturnal Origins, Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

nocturnal hauntsNocturnal Haunts

Mackenzie Santos has seen just about everything in more than ten years as a cop. The last few months have certainly shown her more than she’d ever expected. When she’s called out to a crime scene and has to face the possibility that there are even more monsters walking the Earth than she knew, she finds herself longing for the days before she started turning furry with the full moon.

The Writer’s Toolbox – marketing and other horrors

Kate Paulk

Like Sarah said yesterday, things are changing, and changing bloody fast. If you blink you’ve missed an entire shift in the way books are happening – or at least it feels that way.

One change that I suspect will be with us for a long, long time – if it really is a change – is that we writers won’t have the luxury of just writing. Editing and proofing has been getting less… well… edited and proofed. The kind of editor who would do the clever nip and tuck and build a writer’s skills has gone with either the dinosaurs or the dodo, and even the copyediting isn’t doing too much in the way of proofing – with sometimes interesting results. We could, if we’re earning enough, hire someone to do this for us. There are editors for hire who do very good jobs – go visit Kris Rusch’s site for more information about that aspect of things. Writers tend not to be too good at editing their own work: it’s far too easy to see what you thought you wrote instead of what actually ended up on the page.  That’s actually the easy bit.

Marketing is probably the one task that gives more writers the horrors than anything else, and yeah, I’m one of them. Face to face, I’m about as introverted as it’s possible to get without becoming my own personal singularity (I’m actually not joking, here – on the Myers-Briggs test, which I’ve done multiple times for various reasons, I always score 100% Introverted. Always.). Worse, the idea of telling people – strangers – how wonderful my stuff is makes me want to crawl under my desk and stay there until doomsday. Besides, when someone tells me how wonderful their stuff is, I want to run the other way. Those relentless self-promoters who find a way to weasel every conversation to how wonderful they are and look, their latest book has an off-hand remark about that very thing are just… Suffice to say my opinion of that is not fit for any kind of society, no matter how low.

This is just as well, because it doesn’t work.

Yup. Advertising – either pushing yourself or being pushed by an ad campaign – is one of the worst ways to get your books into other people’s hot little hands and get them handing over their nice shiny bits’n’bytes (the modern substitute for cash). The best, and consistently the best, is word of mouth.

Okay, I can see someone scratching their head and thinking “But aren’t they the same thing?”. Nope. Word of mouth is your friend telling you how much she loved Dave Freer’s latest book, and here, why don’t you borrow it, because it’s got a dog in it, and a dragon, and you like dogs and dragons. It’s als0 slow, because the books have to be available for a while before there are enough  people out there who have read them to tell their friends about them.

There are ways – reliable, at least for me – to speed things up a bit, and that’s where I’m aiming at. Don’t worry if the thought of doing any of this is like fingernails on a blackboard. What works best for each person is different, but the basic principle is the same: you build a reputation of sorts as an interesting/fun/entertaining person.

Some people can do this by twittering away all over the place. Others blog about all sorts of things. I can’t really do either of those well, although I try to blog regularly and push to facebook and twitter in the vague hope that I’ll catch someone’s interest. What has worked for me, consistently, is going to conventions and (cue dramatic shudder) talking to people. For me it’s an effort – but as those of you who’ve seen me “switched on” might have noticed, if the topic hits any of my many interests, I can babble on for ages, and I have a weird sense of humor that people seem to enjoy. What I do is follow a few simple rules.

When I’m at a convention, if I’m not in my hotel room, I’m “on duty” – I’m “the Author”, even when it’s a pure fun con like the Discworld convention this year. I still dress “author” (I have a set of author clothes that don’t get worn except for cons), I don’t leave the hotel room without the full war paint and hair styling, and – most important of all – I carry bookmarks of my novel (this will of course be novels once I have more than one out), and conversation starters. My current starter piece is a simple badge. I hang the con membership off it, so attention is drawn to it, and people read the lovely gothic font that says “DRACULA NEVER SPARKLED”.

If the conversation leads Impaler-wards, so much the better. If not, it doesn’t. Either way, I don’t talk about how wonderful the book is or how great I am, but how interesting it was to research that time period and what a fascinating person Vlad was. And I try to remember that person’s face and give friendly waves or chat to them again the next time I run into them. The result is that I get a good size sales bump for Impaler – and my shorter works – after each con I go to. Each bump translates to more people reading my stuff who might love it and tell all their friends.

It’s a slow process. I’m expecting that. But it works. Eventually, there’ll be enough people out there who’ve read this Kate person and think their friends would like her stuff that there’ll be a kind of critical mass effect (where it becomes self-sustaining and I don’t need to ‘feed’ it any more) – if what I write is good enough and appeals to enough people. Given that there are millions of people out there and Sarah kicks me if I start doubting my abilities, I think I’ll get there in time.

Which is of course the final item for any writer’s toolbox, and the most important of all of them. Patience.

Right bloody now.

Breaking News: ConVent will be launched at Capclave

A while back I said I had news that would need to wait on a few things to fall into place before I could Reveal All.

Well, now the curtains can be drawn back, and the shocking truth be revealed. Yes, I’m bouncing. And squee-ing. And _ing.

ConVent will be launched at Capclave this year – there’s going to be a mega-launch-party with all the authors launching all together. So if you’re not already booked the 14th – 16th of October and getting to the DC area isn’t too painful, please consider dropping by. I’d love to see you, and I’m sure all the other authors launching would too. More details will be happening as they get nailed down, chloroformed, and otherwise finalized. Right now the thought is to take over the con suite for the launch party.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, this is going to be the dead tree edition launch. There will be actual physical books. I promise to bring some copies of Impaler along, too.

And now I need to stop bouncing before I do something horrible to the local gravity and create my very own black hole. That would be poor form.

That Blog Tour

Posted by Rowena

When my King Rolen’s Kin trilogy came out I wanted to do the right thing and give it the best chance possible, which meant letting people know that it existed. A wise person once said an author’s greatest enemy is obscurity.

Living in Australia where the trilogy has had limited release meant there wasn’t much point doing personal appearances here, other than Supanova. Having a large family and renovating meant I couldn’t afford a trip to the US and the UK so that left me with the virtual blog tour. (Which was not an option back in 1999 -2003 when my first trilogy came out).

I discovered some good things about a blog tour.

1. You don’t have to get your hair done or wear nice clothes.

2. You can prepare the individual posts ahead of time.

3. It’s the appearance that keeps on appearing. (Meaning the post stays up and when someone googles your book or your name the post comes up. I’m still getting hits on my blog and web site from posts I did back in July of 2010).

4. And I reached out to and met a lot of readers.

 

Since there was no such thing as a blog tour when my last trilogy came out, I just made it up as I went along.

Researching possible blogs to approach

I googled review blogs in my genre and then copied the list of other blogs on the side panel. Then I went through all of those blogs one by one to make sure they really were the sort of blogs that would be interested in a fantasy trilogy. Then I searched for the review submission guidelines and contact email. Sometimes the contact email was surprisingly hard to find. I found that of those I approached about 80% responded favourably and when they said No, it was because they prefered SF to fantasy, or they were overwhelmed with books to review.

Keeping track of who you approach

I made up a grid of the blog name and address, the contact name and email, and the date that I approached, with a blank column for whether it was yes or no. I also prepared a standard approach email so I didn’t have to rewrite the same thing over and over, although I varied this depending on the blog.

Keeping track of appearances

Next I made up another grid, again with the blog name and address, email and contact name, the date the post was due, and whether I’d done it and sent it. Plus I had a column for exactly what they wanted. Some people just wanted the book to review, some wanted to interview me with a give-away, and some wanted me to do a blog post (any topic) with a give-away. You need to decide if you are going to do give-aways that are limted to a geographic area. Since I’m in Australia and the books were released in the UK and the US, there was no point limiting it to Australia. I ended up sending books to the US, the UK, Sweden, Romania and Japan. It was expensive, but a lot cheaper than going there in person.

Follow through

When the post does appear, make sure to visit the site for the next week or so to respond to people’s comments. Having experienced what it was like when my last trilogy came out, I found it a real buzz to hear from readers.

Keep all this on file

I now have a list of blog reviewing sites I can approach when The Outcast Chronicles comes out.

Do you have a ‘Promo’ file full of ideas for the day when you have a book coming out and you need to reach out to readers to let them it’s available?