Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Not really new for whoever has been following this blog since she was already interviewed here waaay back in 2011  and  then again in 2015 for her wonderful series… And even her characters were interviewed on this very blog! Anyhow, for those of you who don’t know Mighty Jo, let me present you Amaranthine creator Joleene Naylor!

Where do you live and write from?

I live – and sometimes write – in the midst of chaos; a Victorian house that we’re very slowly redoing. We have three rooms finished, the rest are in various states of stacked boxes, displaced furniture, and partially stripped wallpaper, with copious amounts of dust bunnies and a few skulking cats.

Why do you write?

I’d love to say that I write because I have a story to tell, but honestly I write for two reasons. 1) It’s fun. 2) I have people who want to read what I’m writing. If the day comes when those no longer apply, I’ll quit and find something else to do. Maybe glut on anime.

When did you start writing?

I started writing stories before I could spell. My first “book” was a fully illustrated masterpiece about a girl who gets a phone call and goes roller skating. I didn’t do too bad for a three year old, though I hadn’t grasped vowels, so the spelling is pretty creative.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write the paranormal Amaranthine universe. Though it’s vampires, I lean on a lot of fantasy-style tropes – including epic quests, evil wizard-like figures, and sort-of magical abilities – because fantasy is my favorite genre.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I see so many authors with great answers to this question. They want to help people, or save the world, or change someone’s life. Me? I just want to entertain people. Nothing is more amazing to me than when someone tells me they were thinking about my characters.

As far as what I’m doing to achieve it, I’m trying to relax and not get caught up in the numbers game. Author communities put so much emphasis on sales numbers, on making money, on getting votes, on having a 1,000 member email list, on and on, by saying that we have to do these things in order to be “legitimate” authors. There was a time when I happily said, “Sure, I’m a hobby author, and I don’t care.” But, after listening to the same routine for years, it got to me. My sales aren’t good enough. I’m not making enough money. No one votes for me (or nominates me) in contests. I have a very small email list. Those kind of thoughts sap all the fun out of the craft, and make you not care whether you’re entertaining anyone or not – why should you care when they can’t even click a vote button? That’s why I decided to back off novel writing for a year and reevaluate if I want to keep at it. To fill in the gap, I’m writing serial short stories for a blog group. The blog group is fun, and if I write – and publish – shorts from the Amaranthine Universe I can use them to stay relevant, just in case I want to keep at this writing gig (a year vacation can make an author’s sales disappear, and mine were pretty low already). I’ve been at it for five months, and I’m starting to remember why I liked writing. Since the stories are free, there’s no sales numbers for me to worry about. Dropping out of most authors’ groups has also helped a lot, not to mention I refuse to read any “You MUST do THIS!” articles. I’m once again happy to be a “hobby writer”, and am planning some longer works in the future.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Usually I’m an improviser, though I’ve outlined a couple of times. As for speed, I’m sloooooow. It takes me a year to get a novel done.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

I have two books in the bundle: Shades of Gray and Legacy of Ghosts.

Shades of Gray introduces us to Katelina. When her friend with benefits is murdered, she’s dragged into the world of vampires. Dodging an angry coven, she falls under the protection of Jorick. But what happens when her knight in shining armor turns out to be one of the monsters?

Legacy of Ghosts picks up where Shades of Gray ends. Healing from their previous battles, Katelina is afraid to go home covered in bandages, so she agrees to go to Jorick’s house to heal. If only they’d get left to recuperate in peace, instead of getting dragged into another war…

Tell us about your latest book

I’m working on a year of short stories right now, with at least two free shorts released every month. Currently I’m writing Tales of the Executioners, short stories about the elite police officers of the vampire world. You can find all the details – including links to all retailers – on my website http://joleenenaylor.com/freebies/tote.php

Any other projects in the pipeline?

When my short story year is up, my next novel will star Micah and Loren on a road trip to California. Then I have a trilogy planned that takes place sixteen, or so, years after the original Amaranthine story ends, and stars Paylin and Jayleth. I also have plans for a gothic-style novella, and a half idea for a standalone mystery with Jamie and Verchiel. We’ll have to see about that one, though.

Barb’s note: I totally agree on the point of being a hobbyist writer so one doesn’t have to care about sales numbers and MustDo – it’s probably where I’m going too (keep writing but not publishing). As for the projects after the sabbatic year… erm… Jo… Sorino and his pet human (no spoilers) pleez? (Yes, I’m a fan of Amaranthine, my favorite being Verchiel, followed by Jorick)

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To read sample chapters and more, visit my website!
http://www.JoleeneNaylor.com
*For more info on how YOU can get YOUR book featured * on my blog, please
see:  http://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/author-excerpts/
*First time author?* Check out The Self Published Authors’ Lounge<http://selfpubauthors.wordpress.com/>for tips and advice!
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Writer Wednesday


So, as you can see, we have nice paperbacks, except the last one (the new one) still has some problems. So I’ll fix those (in the interior) and then I’ll send it live, long before the ebook goes live. At least on November 2 both will be available for your reading pleasure! 😉

I also uploaded another ebook, Axelle ap Kiaran, and I wasn’t very happy with it until Mighty Editor returned it, saying it was her favorite so far! You can never guess what actually is good or not – what you love, people may hate and what you hate, people may love. Writers are still the worst judges of their work! 😉

I should do a paperback of that one too, but since pricing has changed in the past five years, I’m postponing to next year all POD changes and experiments. I have also updated (read: lowered) some ebook prices to match the new suggested prices – only 13 titles out of 160, thank God! 😀

I wish things didn’t change so fast and that they settled for a while! I have new projects, printed projects for next year, and I really don’t know what I’m supposed to price anything anymore! 😦 The sale went meh, I hope the bundle sales will go better. There’s one coming up for Sci-fi July, so stay tuned.

Speaking of bundles, it’s the bundles month. I’m in 4 new bundles (including the one I curated about Vampires of the World) and two more in November. New year, I will curate more, but I’d love to catch up on some reading before then! I’m still on my first curated bundle that came out last May and will go away Dec. 1st…

I’m still a little behind in writing the new stories, but I hope to catch up soon. I have another marketing weekend coming up, but I think that for November the bundle will be enough of a discount without looking for other titles to discount. And in December we’ll see. Since this marketing stuff takes so much of my energy, I don’t know for how long I’ll keep going! 😉

If you’re interested, there’s another Storybundle offer of NaNoWriMo books. Considering that I still have a few to read from past bundles, I think I’ll pass, but I’ll order one of those in paper – or better, I’ve put it on my Christmas Wishlist, so they’d gift me something useful! 😉

I prefer reading non-fiction on paper anyway, because it’s easier to refer to things that searching on my Kindle. I love KK, but only for fiction and bundles of fiction. Comics and non-fiction are still in paper for me.

Back to finishing the next story! And the Fantasy Online Workshop! I wish I could afford another offline workshop, but I’m aiming for 2020, when hopefully things have either calmed down or blown up completely! 😉 Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


Wrapped up a few things this week. The June and July novels are now complete and almost ready to be published. One is already available for pre-order, but by the time it will go live, it will have a bonus story, currently with the proofreader. And I made a book trailer for the whole series while I was at it! 😉

The other will go to the editor next week, therefore it should come out in the first half of October. It’s a Silvery Earth novel, and after that there will be a small collection about the southern kingdoms for Tori, then the whole collection of their fall for whoever is still unfamiliar with the southern kingdoms of Silvery Earth. I guess I should update the Silvery Earth series book trailer, LOL!

Now, the usual suspects may have noticed I haven’t requested their feedback on my latest novels… besides Tori when I needed her opinion on a certain character, that is! 😉 I am no longer looking for beta-readers (although I did have a first reader for the two novels above, since it was part of the challenge), but sometimes I might still need a fact-checker (right, Shafali? I’ll keep bothering you till the end of time!) for cultures I’m unfamiliar with.

So, no more betas – maybe I can leave one of those Goodreads group! 😉 It’s probably quite rude on my part to go posting on their forum the new Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post on beta-readers. They’re so well-meaning, then don’t understand the problem! But that’s another reason why I’m glad I no longer have an offline writers group.

Often I did like Dean, submitted pieces that I had already sent out, and they wondered why I had submitted them if I didn’t want their feedback? Maybe I should sent them the link to the article… 😉 Or maybe they’ll read it on my Facebook feed, who knows… 😀

If you have set up a Google Alert on your name, you might sometimes receive alerts that mention your book listed on what you think is a pirate site. Might be, but might also be a phishing site! So, for the good of both writers and readers, who get scammed by these people, here’s how to get rid of them! 🙂

“Should I give up writing?” never occurred to me. I may give up publishing, as I’ve said before, but definitely not writing. I’m not going to divorce Mr Writing any time soon! 😉 And great comments too, from people who think just like me. I write therefore I am. I must make priority lists because of the popcorn kittens bouncing in my head screaming “Pick me! Oh, pick me!”… 😉

Anyway, indie published or not, it’s a long term investment… forget the everything right NOW! And write what you love. You don’t like blogging? Then don’t. You hate social media? Don’t do them. I don’t do book signings. I struggle with panels. We all have a weak spot (mine is… people!)…

And I did it again! I’m on KWL blog this week also… how will I handle this popularity? 😉 Have a great week! 😀

Writer Wednesday


Aaand… here we go!

Star Minds Next Generation

It’s available for pre-order on all retailers and will come out soon! So you’ll have both fantasy and sci-fi for your summer reading! 😉 I’m very happy with the authors in this bundle – this time I have met most of them personally.

You have a great variety – from my Goodreads friends Steph Bennion and Ubiquitous Bubba, who were interviewed on this blog for Wyrd Worlds, some workshop buddies I met on the Oregon Coast (Rebecca Bates, Michael Lucas, Russ Crossley, Blaze Ward, Robert Jeschonek), to the man who made us meet (Dean Wesley Smith – the kind of writer I want to be when I grow up) and a few more that I found browsing the awesome content marketplace at BundleRabbit.

So I’m still riding the fantasy bundle, reading all the other books, and already I’m starting a new journey, a trek to the stars with these wonderful fellows. I made a book trailer for it and it will come out on Independence Day (which, by the way, is the birthday of my Australian friend, maybe she’d like one as a gift? 😉 ), so stay tuned…

The indie community is really great. Because there’s no such thing as a self-published author – that’s so 20th century thinking! 😉 And also this small post on negotiation is a good way to remind us that traditional publishing is still tricky. And if we want to tackle the audio market independently it’s getting easier every year. Now Draft2Digital offers audiobooks as an alternative to ACX…

It’s really a great time to be an author. Final wordcount for this month in July, but know that I finished and sent out the first novel of the challenge. Onward to the vampires novel that must be finished by the end of July… have a great week! 🙂

 

Writer Wednesday


Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens are running an online auction to raise money for 4 organisations working to evacuate LGBT men from Chechnya. Items include signed paperbacks, original characters, original stories, author services and more. The auction began on Friday, May 5 and ends at noon CDT Saturday, May 13th. I didn’t sign up on time (I know, shame on me…) but the auction is now live until Saturday. Go check it.

On the writing front, on Saturday I threw away half of what I had written because the story needed to go in a different direction. I was at 9100 words and 4600 were mercilessly cut and pasted in a new document called “deleted scenes” – I might add it as extra to the ebook when it’s published or give it as reward on Patreon, again when the story is published, probably after the summer.

Murder your darlings, they say. I cut those words because I had found a better way to rise the stakes for the main character and so half of the story had to go. It’s part of my new way of writing, cycling to add stuff back since I’m typing directly on Laptop and don’t need to get to the end before adding stuff in the middle like I did when I was writing longhand.

Anyhow, I did manage to write 3700 new words on Saturday, 6700 on Sunday and wrap the story on Monday at 17600 words, so I’m not complaining! 😉 Now on to the next story! 😀

My Facebook page has 299 “likes” (the screenshot is from 1 like ago)… who is going to be #300? I might reward you if you’re that lucky person… Since the friends I have invited can’t be bothered to accept the invite, it’s up to you, Stranger, to be the One… Or you could be the first patron on Patreon… I should reward you as well… One ebook of your choice, the preferred format, anywhere in the world! 😉

Have a great week!

 

Writer Wednesday


And we have another Vampires Through the Centuries story out! Check out Indestructible, with the cover of awesome Shafali Anand! Some retailers might not show it yet, since I uploaded it after I set up the pre-order button. I had to manually add it on Amazon after release and the Smashwords Premium Catalog doesn’t immediately update a book when I make changes to it. The fastest one was Kobo! 😉

And since I want to try to participate in a Kobo promo this month, I decided to re-publish the Books of the Immortals Box Set. It is now available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes&Noble and Apple at 4.99$ for the time being. I had to reformat it completely, which took me a couple of hours to go through the mammoth 1000+pages document.

So, final April wordcount was a little over 30K. This month I need to write 4 stories about the fall of the southern kingdoms, then in June I’ve taken up the Novel Challenge, so I’ll be busy with novels for the summer months! 🙂 I need to write Shashank’s book anyway, and if I can write it in a month, the better. I also want to redraft a sci-fi novella which I might have for Worldcon.

Some writerly links: how you should really really really stay away from agents and start learning some business. I’m not business-oriented either, but when I read those stories I just want to scream in frustration. It’s another reason to be indie, but then, I’m a control freak! 😉

I didn’t know about the Smarter Artist Summit, but I may attend in the future, now that I know it exists! 😉 It sounds like a great networking opportunity… And I’ve been to Milan for the Kobo/Mondadori contest, so I’ve been at the ceremony and met the Kobo team. They’re all quite nice, especially the Kobo Europe ladies.

Now back to writing! Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


And while I wait for feedback on the latest Vampires Through the Centuries, I’m keeping myself very busy catching those typo faeries on the next title and preparing for a weekend of POD formatting and another upload. I’m also trying an Amazon ad through the Easter weekend, we’ll see how it goes! 😉

So, it’s official, this wonderful box set of 12 novels at 12$ will come out May 26! Soon you’ll get to meet the other authors who trusted me with this adventure! I am extremely grateful to Chuck at Bundle Rabbit for making this possible.

This should soon be available for pre-order on all retailers. My novel is The Path of Water (Quests Book 1), but even if you have already read it, there are 11 more in this lot! Don’t miss it! 🙂

So, bundles are all over. If you don’t want to sign up for Bundle Rabbit as an author and don’t think you can write a novel yet, you may want to try the Great Bundle Workshop! Any story that you’ll write for this will go in a bundle, so what’s the risk? Read the questions answered too…

I’m going to see how the above bundle goes, and I might get hit by bundle fever – with novels! 😉 Here you have a post on newsletters and discoverability, and one on piracy and TakeDown notices and how they can hurt your visibility.

And you know you can write at any age, right? And if you can spare a $ a month for me, please hop to my Patreon page. I won’t bite and there are plenty of nice surprises there. Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


And you have a new Star Minds Third Generation ebook out – with the cover by Mighty Techie Bro. Now, he’s an excellent artist, but he doesn’t have time to work on commissions, so, I went to his DeviantART page and picked some of his old works… and wrote the stories accordingly! 😉

So, that’s more or less how Shan-leo’s daughter was “born”… First she’s a rainbow-haired teen, then she becomes the tough gal he drew (hence my illustration of the character). And when I asked my brother if I could have a higher resolution file for the ebook cover, he decided to work on it… so there you have it – old Iso-bel Aya (my actual inspiration) and the new one! 🙂

There are places, no matter how alien, where you immediately feel at home. And there are places where you’ll never feel at home, no matter how familiar they look or can become.

Iso-bel Aya Shermac is Shan-leo’s daughter, a Sire telepath who grows from rainbow-haired teen visiting Earth of year 2046 to a Sylvanian Accademy graduate who can fight like a man.

Probably the start of a new sub-series in the Star Minds universe.

The other digital painting of his I used as inspiration will be used only on Patreon for now. The first short story offered to the 5$ tier is Starship Pilot with his illustration Ready for Take-off. So, if you’d like to read it before it comes out in the volume Star Minds Third Generation Snippets, you can become a patron of yours truly and many other creators (like my cover artists Cristina Fabris and Sir Wendigo, or writers and artists from all over the place) by hopping to Patreon.

Now I better finish that vampire novella so I can send it to a trusted beta for fact-checking and then to Mighty Editor for a prompt release in a month! 🙂

Some interesting writerly links… 5 tips on how to make your writing process feel like gaming (which I don’t need, but I know some of you get stuck from time to time) I need something that helps me pick a project and stick to it to the end, LOL! Not that I have trouble being prolific… 😉

Some writing tools with all the answers – the English Through the Ages book sounds very interesting. I have heard the screenwriting ones ten years ago and I do have the Emotion Thesaurus, except I forget to consult it when I write! 😉 Anyway, you might find these useful, so I thought I’d point you to the post.

Bestseller Lists and Other Dreams by Kris Rusch which takes you to Marie Force’s That Day I decided to Stop Chasing the Bestseller Lists (shared also on Kobo’s newsletter)… My aim was never to be on one of those bestseller lists, probably because I’m not American, but I’ve seen scores of (indie)authors stopping altogether because they never hit any list.

As a reader, I couldn’t care less if you hit a bestseller list or not. I have read many indie writers and many best-selling writers, and I have loved many of the first and hated many of the latter. So, you know…

I’m nowhere near bestseller status as a writer, still struggling to find my readers and true fans, but that hasn’t stopped me from keeping writing and publishing.

I never tried Kickstarter because I know you need to be moderately “famous” to get enough people pledging for your projects, and I’m not sure Patreon will work for me, but I’m trying it anyway. Then I will try book bundles and writing more short stories to submit to traditional short markets.

But I will keep my indie output steady – as steady as I can, I might not hit the 25 titles a year I kept until last year, but expect a couple of new titles a month anyway – because I treasure my current 5 readers *waves at them*! 🙂 The blog isn’t really working as a marketing tool, the Facebook page isn’t bringing in any sales, so I’m trying new stuff.

When I’m tired of experimenting, I’ll just quit the marketing hassle and publish stuff without bothering much. That’s what I do with the Italian titles – and they sell more than the English ones for the lack of competition, so… 😉 Have a great week! 😀

 

Random Friday


I’ll do another Art Friday – sort of – with the Fairy Tales Revisited! So, it’s three stories:

Colors (Snow White retold as m/m romance)

Cinder Boy (Cinderella, as above)

Beautiful (Sleeping Beauty, idem)

I did the single covers and then I asked two talented artists to draw them for the collections.

So, you have Nerian (male Snow White), Rohan (Cinder Boy) and Rithvik by Barb.

And then you have Nerian and Riander by the awesome Sir Wendigo.

male_lovers_vol2And Rithvik awakened by Kerrien by the wonderful Rossana Beretta.

fariy-tales-dtfI might tackle a few more fairy tales – Little Red Riding Hood? Beauty and the Beast? There’s a lot to take from! – but not right now. All these stories are ACE friendly, so if you’re looking for wild sex, forget it! 😉

Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


Body Switches is only 4.99$, only on Kobo, and only for today! Go get it now, if you haven’t already! This is my bestselling title on Amazon and I’m excited it will be brought to the attention of Kobo readers! 🙂 Stay tuned for more Kobo promotions…

Also, I have adjusted the prices on Kobo. Australian and Canadian users should find lower prices. UK and NZ readers will find them only on the higher priced books. I have 99 books under the main pen name (and 99 sales, let’s see which gets to 100 first!), it will take me some time to adjust all the prices to the local currencies! I will do it with Amazon too – but some currencies I really have no idea of how much I should ask…

About Amazon, here’s some advice for KDP authors. Since my readers don’t like to leave reviews (my above mentioned bestseller has 0 reviews…) and I’ve tried Select/KU with one title and it didn’t work for me, I don’t feel particularly threatened. But then, you never know! 😉

Now I’ve put out two new titles for the whole month at the same time, since I’ll be traveling for a week. And since they’re related, I thought I might as well publish them together. So there you have Tales of the Northern Kingdoms volume 1 and volume 2 – print version in September.

Covers are by Silvano Beltramo and volume 1 has the Quests Book 1 protagonists, except he drew them when I hadn’t actually written the story and had done only b&w sketches of the characters, so there… not perfect, but still quite good! 😉 And volume 2 features Prince Splendor and Billinda.

As for how I divided the stories… well, volume 1 has the new ones, the ones I wrote between the end of last year and this year, while volume 2 has the older stories rewritten… see if you spot any difference in my writing between the two! 🙂

Bundles bundles bundles! Non-fiction writing bundle: Gonzo Writing Book Bundle! Eight books. Normally $20.00, but with coupon code DRAGONPUNCHER, you’ll knock that cost down 25%, to $15.00. Sale runs until Monday, 8/15.

Or you can take the Speed and/or Productivity workshop to become like me (I certainly don’t need at least those two, LOL!). Fiction bundle: the Sci-Fi May Day bundle is still there for a little longer. 10 sci-fi novels for under 10$ – go grab them!

Next week a guest will take over… Talk to you again on the 24th! Have a great two weeks! 🙂

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