Clearing the Hurdle of Book Four, aka “Bonds is DONE!”

That’s right The Bonds of Osteria: Book Four of the Osteria Chronicles is DONE!! Okay, not “done” done, but done enough to celebrate with all kinds of happy dancing and hoppy libations because it was a major struggle getting to this point.

The Troubles

I wrote the bare bones of Bonds as I was reworking The Maze last year. I’d basically taken each story line in Bonds and wrote them out as individual stories just to figure out what needed to go into The Maze and what needed to wait until Bonds. While this gave me a really nice starting point when it came time to starting Bonds, it also spelled gobs of trouble.

The first major issue was plot gaps big enough to fit Trump’s “239”-pound behind into. I knew X needed to happen and I had it happening, but the logic of getting X to happen ended up with me just plunking something in that didn’t make fit smoothly or logically into the rest of the narrative. I’ve included one of these examples in a deleted scene below.

Nightmare number two was the timeline. Bonds has at least six story lines all weaving together and one story line (the one that involves Bellerophon) is very dependent on the one that involves Perseus. Unfortunately, Perseus’s storyline was taking far too long to wrap up which would have really left Bellerophon in the lurch. I also had people taking way too long to travel when the main guts of the story happens in a rather short time frame.

The other serious problem was having characters’ story lines just falling off. For example, Jason (who you’ll remember from The Voyage) has a task he needed to do. Well, I had him just doing the task and then you never heard from him again. That’s no way to write a story. Resolution, man! I need resolution!!!

Killing Off My Darlings

Not so much killing, but more like a horror-movie homicidal maniac was left with a fully gassed up chainsaw in a room of teens on a backwoods getaway.

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Orvieto, Italy, Italia, Umbria,

The Amazon Angst

This month has been all about debating with myself over one single aspect of my writing/publishing future: whether or not to try out KDP Select. While I do like what I’m hearing and reading lately about the potential exposure this program can create for my books, do I really want to feed the monster that is Amazon.com?

Orvieto, Italy, Italia, Umbria,

Some monsters survive just fine on a steady diet of wine.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Amazon. They’re really the ones who made self-publishing possible beyond begging your friends and family to buy the stack of print books you had made. Amazon also carries tons (literally) of products, some of which I need but can’t find at local stores.

However, unlike the friendly and funny monsters created over at Crawcrafts Beasties, Amazon is turning into a scary and belligerent monster. And just as this monster has gobbled up some physical bookstores, it’s also threatening to smash the villages of e-bookstores and make slaves of formally-independent authors.

Warning: I’ve been doing A LOT of thinking about this, so this is an extraordinarily long post.  Continue reading

Finn McSpool’s Book-Shopping-Rabble-Rousing Outing

What happens when you try to take a monster on a nice outing to shop for some new reading material at Portland’s Powells Books? It turns into him being declared leader of a very, VERY strange mob.

It all started out innocently enough. Through my library’s summer reading program I’d won a gift card for Powells, which is basically Portland’s book mecca and a book addict’s dream. Since Finn McSpool, Mr Husband, and I never made our usual excursion downtown before Christmas, we decided to make a day of it on New Year’s Eve.

Once downtown we realized you simply can’t shop for books on an empty stomach so we hiked a couple miles over to Northwest for a treat. The bakery we intended to go to was wall-to-wall people – I think a few guests were having to sit in the ovens and display cases – so we squeezed our way back out to resume our quest for nibbles. Finn, being a proud IrishBeast was soon tugging at my coat sleeve gleefully shouting, “Here! Here! Let’s go here!”

–Finn, it’s not even noon.

–But that means it’s 8pm in Ireland! It’s well beyond drinking time. Continue reading

One Book Cover to Rule Them All

Happy (Third Day of the) New Year!

Today is the day I finally get to present the results of my book cover experiment and hope the research committee doesn’t get too disgruntled over my findings.

But first, I want to give a HUGE thanks to Helen (the Queen of Monster Making, Carrie Rubin (thriller writer extraordinaire), and Weekes (fabulous musician and soon-to-be actress) who helped with the experiment by retweeting (or trying to retweet) my book sale announcements. There’s a lot of noise on social media and I’ve got a quiet voice that rarely gets heard, so every little bit helps and is super appreciated!!

A Little Recap

As you may remember, I need new covers for my historical fantasy series, The Osteria Chronicles. At first I left it up to my blog readers to pick between a gob of covers. Unfortunately, you pesky voters turned my lovely survey into a five-way tie. Out of six covers. Sigh.

After a certain event in November 2016, it’s not that I’m not used to disappointing election results, but at least in this case I had another route up my sleeve to save the day.

Instagram to the rescue!

I posted the “winning” covers with the statement that the two with the most likes would move onto the next round. Thankfully, this time there were two clear winners who went onto the Smashwords Smash Up Round during which Cover 1 went up for four days and Cover 2 went up for four days. The cover that earned the book the most downloads would be declared winner and champion.

 

What’s This All About?

Ooh, do you like this teasing I’m doing to get to the results? It’s writing practice for increasing tension and anticipation.

This cover competition isn’t just a way for me to waste time designing cover after cover – although that is fun. It’s part of my plan to relaunch the first three books in the Osteria Chronicles and to move forward with a more cohesive look to the series when I release the final three books.

This relaunch will include not only a whole new look for the books, but also… Continue reading

Limited Time Offer!!

Oh, sorry about that super sleazy salesman title, but I’ve been listening to hours upon hours of marketing podcasts and yesterday’s listening binge ended with the sage advice, “Putting ‘Limited Time Offer’ at the top of any sale is the best way to boost interest.” I mean, no one likes to miss out, right?

But it’s true. We’re nearing the final days of my own limited time offer. So if you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, you better get your cyber-shopping fingers moving by 30 November because time’s a tickin’ to  pick up both The Maze  and The Trials of Hercules for only 99 cents each…that’s over 65% off the retail price!! Continue reading