Changes Are on the Way (and so is free stuff)

Hello Shiny People!

Yes, as the title indicates, changes are on the way to my website, my book availability, and my mailing list. What’s brought all this about? Well, besides my constant quest to hone and improve the business side of my writing, a bunch of “events” are happening all at once in my writing world.

First: Break Time!

Yeah right. Last week I finished up the last major overhaul of Domna (yay!!). This means I get to finally ignore this book for a few weeks. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean I get to rest on my laurels (I don’t even know if I have a laurel). This “break time” is a time for launch preparation, including getting around to writing those pesky book descriptions (for all six parts, no less) I’ve been putting off, and getting the manuscript in order for loading and printing.

Second: I’m FREE!

On Monday, my exclusivity term with Amazon ended for all the books in my Osteria Chronicles series. While I learned a few things and made a gob of sales in the KDP Select program, I can’t say it was for me. There were too many times I cringed at the thought of being trapped by their terms and conditions. And I’m super excited to have control over my books once again (more on that coming soon).

However, don’t go rushing out to shop just just yet. I’m in the process of updating the interior of the series to include some of the changes you’ll see below, planning out a pricing strategy (freebies are on the way!), and deciding which retailers I want to load to directly. In other words, this is turning into a project that’s eating up a painful amount of brain power and time.

Third: Back to (Virtual) School

I’m normally someone who, when I want to learn something, I hit the library books and teach myself. I feel I’ve learned a lot over the past year of my self-publishing re-education, but I’ve also been feeling that I need more. So, I took the (financially painful) plunge and signed up for a self-publishing course by Mark Dawson and the Self Publishing Formula team (I’ll let you know how that goes once I’m done).

While most of the information is stuff I already know, having it presented in an orderly fashion is really helping organize my own brain…and generating a huge to-do list. That to-do list is where many of the changes are taking place. I’m currently revamping my mailing list to include a more enticing giveaway (which I can do now that I’m free from Amazon’s tyranny) and a better introductory sequence of emails. As mentioned, I’m also updating the interior of my books. And later this week I’ll be trying to cobble together a new website.

There’s also plenty of book work on my plate with exciting stuff like metadata, key words, and other behind-the-scenes stuff. Ugh.

Fourth: Let’s Toss Some More Work Onto the Pile

I also got an unexpected assignment from Horticulture Magazine last week (my fourth article with them!!). When the editor mentioned the due date, I thought she meant October 2019 (since she was making the production calendar for 2019), but in fact, she meant October 2018. Ah well, at least the article will pay for my class, right!?

To Sum Up….

Expect changes soon. Things aren’t quite ready for The Big Reveal, but I’ll hopefully have everything in place next week. And I may even be able to squeeze in a nap at some point, No, who am I kidding.

Oh, And About That Free Stuff…

I’m doing a little experiment with the launch of Domna. I normally share a chapter or two of a new book, but this time around I’m going to share the entire first part of this six-part serialized novel. That’s right, starting in a couple weeks, I’ll be posting one Domna chapter a week as I crawl toward my Launch Day of 9 January 2019.

So, stay tuned for all the exciting changes and, of course, the FREE stuff!!!

How about you? Any big changes lately? Ever take an online course? See you Saturday with Finn McSpool’s next installment of his Irish adventure! And I’ll be back next week with (hopefully) some of those new features!! See you then!

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The Books, Beasties, and Bronze Tarts of Dublin

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for bearing with the brief blog hiatus last week. Now, on with the show because, as promised a couple weeks ago, it’s time for Finn and I to set sail from Inishmore and dart off to Dublin.

By the way, you may be wondering how I managed to keep Finn McSpool from throwing a tantrum over being denied his weekly moment of glory on the Blogosphere last Saturday. Let me just sum it up in three words: sensory deprivation chamber. It worked so well, he still thinks it’s last week and that we’re right on schedule for our first day in Dublin. Oh, and by “sensory deprivation chamber” I mean “my desk drawer.”

Leaving Inishmore

As the picture below will show, we woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the early morning ferry from Inishmore back to Ros a Mhil where we would catch the shuttle that would take us to Galway where we would then catch the bus that would whisk us straight across the country to Dublin.

Our final Aran Island sunrise.

Thankfully, the Evil One had cleared out of Galway so there were far fewer hormonal pre-teens lurking around town, but in a few days we would learn we hadn’t fully escaped the Sheeran curse.

Hello Dublin!

The first order of business in Dublin wasn’t, as you might expect, grabbing a pint. It was finding our home away from home. Thankfully, the owner met us on an easy-to-find street corner because he then guided us along many twists and turns and, I do believe a few wormholes into alternate universes, to get to our little cottage.

After the long bus ride, Finn was eager to check in, as you can see….

Finn, we do have a key.

Now, Mr Husband and I, despite our bargain hunting ways, have stayed in some pretty cool vacation rentals, but this place took the prize for adorableness (is that a word?). The rental was one in a cluster of little red brick cottages that used to be the homes of the workers for Guinness Brewery. I can’t imagine raising a family in the wee space, but for a couple people and a Beastie, it was great. There was even a little garden and patio!

Meeting Finn’s Maker

After cramming some laundry into the washing machine, it was time to head a couple blocks over to meet up with the famous Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties.

But wait, there were all those twists and turns and wormholes, and all these red cottages look the same. Worried we’d never find our way back, I took a picture of what our little cul-de-sac looked like so we could find our way back (I suppose a trail of bread crumbs could have worked, but Finn might have eaten them all).

After being super helpful in assisting me with picking a place to stay, Helen was eager to see our disgustingly cute cottage. So, we did exactly what they tell you NOT to do and invited a stranger from the Internet into our (temporary) home.

Um, Finn, I’m not sure that’s how a door knocker works.

Helen turned out to not be an axe murderer (well, not on this day), and, as you’ll remember, soon after she arrived I was glad we’d gotten a place with two rooms because our Beastie numbers increased two hundred percent!!

Time for Sightseeing

Besides being an amazing maker of all things Beastie (seriously, check out her most recent work, it’s crazy amazing!), Helen happens to be a knower of all things Dublin (yes, knower is now a word) and has special powers to get frazzled Americans into a book lover’s dream location.

But before we headed to this book-filled wonderland, we got a whirlwind tour of our neighborhood full of tidbits of information and the sights of Dublin including the saucy statue of Molly Malone, known more correctly as The Tart with the Cart. Finn did his best to mimic her stoic, gazing-far-off-in-the-distance look.

molly malone, dublin, ireland

Then he found a more comfortable perch. The statue is now known as The Buxom Beauty with a Beastie, or The Finn-Infested Floozy. Take your pick.

molly malone, dublin, ireland

And Onto Those Books

As an alumnus of Trinity College (sooooo jealous!!), Helen has magic powers: she can get people into the Trinity College Library for free. Mr Husband and I later discovered another way to get into the library for free, but unless you’re quite fast and can play it cool, I don’t recommend it.

The library houses the illuminated manuscript, The Book of Kells, but to be honest unless you happen to be there on a day an amazing page is on display, it’s a tiny bit disappointing (if you’re interested in fancy books, I’ll share a better option with you in a couple weeks). For me though, the highlight was the library itself.

trinity college library, dublin, ireland

Honey, I’m home!

You’ve probably seen gobs of pictures of the Trinity College Library’s Long Room, which consists of two tall stories of books, books, and more books . Of course, with our own private tour guide, we learned the library used to only be one story, but they needed more room for more books and so threw another story onto the library.

trinity college library, dublin, ireland

Finn considered moving in here for the week.

Fun tidbit: When we got back to the cottage we noticed a picture on the wall that showed the interior of the library before the second story was added! I have to say the remodel was an impressive improvement.

Critters!!

I thought we’d left all signs of critters behind on Inishmore, but Helen informed us that there were stables near our humble abode and not to be surprised if we see kids racing in pony-drawn carts on weekend evenings. She wasn’t wrong. One evening we did see a few rascals trotting their cart and pony down a nearby thoroughfare, and sights like this weren’t uncommon…

The only traffic noise we heard from the cottage was the sound of horses’ hooves!

And that is Dublin Day One! What do you think? Next week, Finn will be back with a tour of some ancient wonders and I’ll be back next Wednesday with a little bit of writing-related housekeeping, updates, and an announcement. Hope to see you then!!

Oh, and please please PLEASE be sure to take a minute to vote in Round Two of my book cover survey, if you haven’t done so already. The results are painfully close so every vote matters!!!

Book Cover Survey….VOTE NOW!!!!

A Little World History

Hey Everyone! I’m back!!

Well, sort of back. I did manage to charge through all my editing on my little break last week, but since most of Part Six of Domna was all freshly written in the last draft, it required another (ugh) read through over the weekend due to some confusingly wonky bits I came across during last week’s edits. Today I’m plowing through those changes and that means I’m going to race my way through this blog post.

So, let’s cut the preamble and get on with….

A Bit of World History

Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with Fertile Crescents or Attila the Hun or Manifest Destiny. Instead, this is a little bit of the world history I’ve thrown into Domna (Domna being my upcoming serialized novel whose first part is coming out in January, in case you’re just tuning in).

As you know, Domna takes place in Osteria, my fantasy world that’s set in a future Pacific Northwest in which the people have rebuilt from The Disaster. The Disaster obliterated any technology, wiped the population down to next to nothing, and left little more than scattered tribes of people in its wake.

Still, people tend to be resilient and these little tribes eventually began to rebuild. And in their rebuilding, they took on the cultures and customs of an Ancient Greco-Roman world.

Osterian Beastie?

The Greek gods, seeing this little world that looked a whole lot like the land of their own former glory days, decided to call it home. (Hey, we do have a Mount Olympus in the Pacific Northwest, so this was bound to happen one day.)

Now, in the Osteria Chronicles, things have gotten pretty advanced, relatively speaking. There’s some technology that’s been developed, a rudimentary rail system, and the gods are major influencers on daily life. There’s also twelve separate city-states (poli) each with its own patron god.

That’s not the world of Domna.

Domna is set perhaps three or four generations before The Trials of Hercules (Book One of the Osteria Chronicles) begins. The world is still very much like it would have been in Ancient Rome (and the story is actually based on Roman history, as you can see in this post). There’s a good road system, but no rail. There’s no technology, although the Athenians are starting to unearth some of the Pre-Disaster goodies that will allow them to start down a more technologically advanced path.

I’m not sure if this is the editing assistance I want.

The world itself is also different. Portaceae City is the capital of all of Osteria. Over time, Portaceae has been able to grow strong enough to expand its empire (much like Rome expanded to become the Roman Empire). At the point in which the story of Domna starts, the poli are not independent city-states, but part of the Osterian realm ruled by Portaceae City. And Portaceae is still acquiring and settling more land.

However, not all the poli are happy about this, especially Portaceae’s rival city, Seattica. There’s continual threats for the city-states to split from Portaceae and become independent, and this is a constant source of strife to the rulers of Portaceae who want to keep Portaceae as the most powerful city in Osteria. Because, you know, that’s what rulers like to do.

Sorry, no god of wine in this book…I’m keeping him for myself!

While the gods in Domna do have some influence in people’s lives, they don’t play as strong a role in this story as they do in the Osteria Chronicles. Most of the people of Osteria do worship the gods (the Twelve), but there are a few cults that are vying for influence in Osteria and this doesn’t sit well with some less tolerant folks in the story.

Basically, whereas the Osteria Chronicles series is mainly based around humans dealing with the gods’ petty ways, Domna deals more with human and political intrigue, which can be just as petty at times. But don’t worry, there’s still centaurs!

Florence, Firenze, Italy, Italia, Piazza della Repubblica, Loggia

No centaurs were harmed in the making of this book…well, not many.

If you haven’t read the Osteria Chronicles, don’t worry. Domna is a completely independent story to that series. However, if you have read some of the Osteria Chronicles series, you’ll have fun noticing some familiar locations and perhaps a few familiar creatures that play a role in The Trials of Hercules.

Okay, I’ve got to get cracking my way through another nine chapters’ worth of edits. Thanks for stopping by and if you have any thoughts on the world of Domna, do toss them in the comment box below!

I’ll be back next week with some random updates, including a little announcement. And you’ll be glad to know that Finn McSpool will finally return on Saturday with a marvelous first day in Dublin. See you then!!!

Oh, and please please PLEASE be sure to take a minute to vote in Round Two of my book cover survey, if you haven’t done so already. The results are painfully close so every vote matters!!!

Book Cover Survey….VOTE NOW!!!!

Excuses, Excuses, Exc– Oh Look, Wine!

Dear Three People Who Actually Read This Blog,

Please brace yourself for some difficult news. Are you ready? No, I mean, really ready because this could be potentially devastating and ruin the rest of your week. Okay, good, I see you’ve grabbed hold of a glass of wine to help console yourself. Here we go…

I’m taking the rest of the week off from blogging. That’s right. No writing news. No Finn McSpool. No Traffic Donkeys.

Begging your froggy forgiveness.

See, I’m thisclose to being done with the latest round of edits of Domna, and since this is the last draft in which I need to sort out any major issues (the remaining drafts will just be proofing and style polishing), I’m eager to get them done and over with. Continue reading

Learning to Count and Giant Beehives: Final Day on Inishmore

You don’t go to Ireland expecting fabulous weather, but our first full day on Inishmore (which you can read about here and here) brought AMAZING weather. So amazing that Mr Husband managed to get a sunburn on his cheeks to match the saddle sores on his, um, well, other cheeks.

Unfortunately, our weather luck didn’t hold and we woke up the next day — our last full day on the island — to clouds and rain. Not the weather conditions you want to see when your main mode of transportation is a bicycle.

Still, I wasn’t exactly eager to get back in the saddle. In addition to my own pair of raw lower cheeks, I was now sporting a knee was showing off the full effects of Killer’s attack. Continue reading