Contest: Fantasy mug!

Do you like fantasy?

Do you drink out of mugs?

Have you read one of my stories, but didn’t leave a review?

If you said “yes” to all of those, have I got a deal for you! In only one month, I’ll be drawing the winner for a mug! You don’t have to buy anything, just review the story you’ve already read on Amazon.com, and you’ll be entered to win.

If you have reviewed everything of mine that you’ve read, I offer the low-cost alternative of picking up a short story and leaving a review. You can peruse my stories to pick the one you think looks the most interesting over on Amazon.

The contest is open to people worldwide! Amazon has a policy of removing reviews from family members, so as long as you’re not family, you qualify for the draw on April 11th!

Why am I doing this? Reviews signal to others the quality of the stories, so if they see a bunch of reviews, and the story is well rated, people are more likely to give a book a try from an unknown author. So if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read and haven’t left a review, please do!

Good luck!

Boxing Day Contest and Sale

Earlier this week I said there would be a contest announced this week, and here it is.

If you leave a review on Amazon.com (yes, the US site, although you can leave reviews at the store for the country you live in, as well, but .com is the most useful) between now and my birthday (April 11th), you will be entered into a draw for one of my fantasy mugs. If you’ve already reviewed everything I’ve written, you’re already entered. Note, this doesn’t require the purchase of a new book. If you’ve already read something of mine, you can review it if you haven’t already, and be entered into the contest. Note that these need to be honest reviews… this isn’t fishing for 5-star reviews. Any review, from 1 to 5 stars will be given equal weighting in the contest (although probably someone who thinks my books deserve 1 star wouldn’t really want the mug).

Click to see larger image

But wait! There’s another way to get an entry! Do you have a physical copy of A Noble’s Quest, A Wizard’s Gambitor Demon Invasion? If not, they’ve all been reduced to about as low a price as CreateSpace will allow, so there’s never been a better time to pick them up! Take a selfie with one of my books, post it to the social media site of your choice, and tag me in it to make sure I see it (I don’t check Facebook or Twitter much, and Google Plus doesn’t necessarily show you everything you want to see, so tagging me is essential).

Want another chance to win? Share this blog post (tag me on Google Plus, Facebook, or Twitter), and that’s worth an entry, too!

Anyone who leaves a new review and posts a selfie and shares the contest will get a bonus entry, for a total of four entries into the draw.

The mug has art from my three novels, without the text. It’s a $15 value (plus shipping). This contest is open to anyone in any country. Happy reading!


Today’s the big day! All six of my ebook titles are available on Amazon for just 99 cents each!

I’ll provide a short blurb about each book. Five of these titles are related to my main epic fantasy series that takes place on my world, Illuma, and I’ll list them in the order I recommend reading them in. The sixth is a stand alone short story that is unrelated to Illuma.

A Noble’s Quest (The Empire’s Foundation Book 1) (originally $3.99 (75% off!))This story starts with Thomas and Sarentha, two lumberjacks, who get into a fatal fight at work and are forced to flee. Luckily for them, there’s a mysterious nobleman who’s looking for some expendable hired help. After they prove themselves to be moderately competent, the nobleman teams them up with his niece Eliza, who leads them around the empire and beyond doing odd jobs to uncover a terrifying truth.

1100 BGW (Before Gods’ War) This is a short story that was published by HDWPBooks in their Theme-thology: New Myths collection. It also hit #1 in the Free 30-minute SFF category on Amazon earlier this year.

Amurtag, a simple minotaur farmer, has been called to a meeting. Although she doesn’t know why she and the others have been summoned, the minotaur’s new leader soon reveals himself. When she voices her doubts, she is taken aside to speak with him and learn more about his vision for their people.

Demon Invasion (originally $1.50 (33% off!)) This novella illuminates the back story of the antagonist from my second novel. I liked him so much that I wanted to go back and show readers where he came from, and what his motivations are. A band of demons find a way to escape their fiery realm and run amok around Illuma, a lush, fertile world. Although they are mighty and tear many settlements apart, they soon discover that some of the lesser races have built up great power over the centuries since the demons were forced to flee to their fiery realm.

A Wizard’s Gambit (Empire’s Foundation Book 2) (originally $4.99 (80% off!)) Thomas, Sarentha, and Eliza believe their empire is entering a new golden age. After they are given new roles of responsibility, events unfold that threaten to topple all they’ve worked for. Outside forces attack the empire, and an undead plague spreads in the capital. It will be up to the fledgling heroes to uncover their lost history if they are to survive.

Dawn: A dwarven creation story This set of short stories look at important points in the history of Illuma. From a party of dwarves seeking to discover the fate of their holiest mountains, to a deceptive rogue attempting to uncover the Chamber of Creation, these short stories are action packed, and give fans a deeper understanding of historical events and magical items that appear in the novels.

Macimanito Môswa This short story won honourable mention in the L Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future 4th quarter, this year.

Hannah, a single mother of two, is driving through Northwestern Ontario at night when a demon-possessed moose crosses her path. Does she have what it takes to keep her children safe in the middle of nowhere when her vehicle breaks down?

 

Halloween Giveaway

spooktacular

I’ve posted a couple times about this event in passing, but as it’s coming up soon, I figured it’s time for a front-and-centre approach.

Over 100 authors are taking part in the Spooktacular Authors Giveaway, where you can win copies of books and anything else that the authors are willing to give as prizes. Additionally, there’s a grand prize of $100 USD PayPal cash. All you have to do to get entries is follow authors on their preferred platforms (as long as those platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and/or mailing lists. No G+ love 🙁 ).

I’m giving away three stories to two lucky winners, including my soon-to-be-released short story, Macimanito Môswa, about a demon-possessed moose that terrorizes a suburbanite mother of two in the isolated wilds of Northwestern Ontario.


 After a period of crippling self-doubt, I’ve come out the other side and started writing again. While not up to my usual weekly goal, it’s a step in the right direction. I think Trai’s cat might be my favourite character. Why? Find out by supporting me on Patreon! Just $2 gets you behind-the-scenes access, and this month’s sneak peek is all about the black cat named Eclipse.

Overloaded October

This is going to be an insane month. You might be saying, “Yeah! Thanksgiving and Halloween is a lot!” That’s true. But there’s more!

October 8th my dad’s coming to visit, then on the 9th we’re heading over to my uncle’s place for a big Thanksgiving dinner. I always love seeing family at Thanksgiving!


bookbash

October 16th from 1-4pm is Book Bash at the Red Papaya Restaurant! I’m going to be helping with setup, and have my novella Demon Invasion on hand (along with A Noble’s Quest (The Empire’s Foundation Book 1) and A Wizard’s Gambit (Empire’s Foundation Book 2)).


October 23rd I’ll be hosting an official meeting as Genre Fiction Coordinator. The plan is to meet every two months and talk with other authors about a variety of topics. We’ll be meeting at the Red Brick Cafe at 1pm if you’d like to join our discussion on conventions.


October 30th there’s a pre-Halloween party for the kids, followed the next day by Halloween.

spooktacular

In addition to Halloween, there’s a draw taking place. There’s a grand prize of $100 Paypal cash, and lots of individual author prizes. I have three titles being given away to two lucky winners: 1100 BGW (Before Gods’ War)Demon Invasion, and Macimanito Môswa.

If you’d like to try your luck, just check out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

30k

This week I crossed the 30,000 word mark in A King’s Decree. In this book I consciously did something that I haven’t done in previous books: I slowed down. After the action and intrigue of the first story arc, I let the implications simmer for a bit. I fleshed out the scene, added new and interesting characters, and now I’ll move on to the next round of craziness.

I’ve learned quite a lot from writing my first trilogy, and one thing I’ve discovered about my writing style is that I don’t slow down much. It’s go, go, go, go, go! Events don’t have a lot of time to sink in, for either the reader or the characters. Even with that fast, relentless pace, my books were getting quite long. I don’t plan on slowing down so much that reading becomes tedious – I hate that sort of thing – but I want people to picture what’s in my mind, or at least a reasonably close facsimile. I want the reader to see the emotions running through the characters as they absorb what’s happened to them.

I know I’m not a perfect writer. I doubt I’ll write a “best seller.” But it’s important to me to grow and learn with each book that I write. So to those of you who are along for the ride, thanks for your faith in me. It means a lot!


I’d like to do a One Month Follow-up on the crazy promotion where hundreds of copies of Demon Invasion were downloaded. The idea behind a “free” promo is the hope that you’ll find new readers. You’d think that you’d see an uptick in sales on other works if such a promo were to work.

Alas:

sales

Pretty slow month.

As you can see, the following month was slow. Slower than normal. It’s been a while since I’ve only had one sale, and one KU reader.

Maybe a month isn’t long enough? Maybe my books have been added to “To be read” lists, and people just have a lot of books to read, because they found a lot of authors they like through free promos?

Or maybe people who look for big free promotions aren’t buying books, because they only want to read for free.

I don’t know. I can’t let the slow sales drag me down, because…


Two people in one day said they’re enjoying my books. Just so we’re clear, that’s a record, and really exciting!

One has just started reading A Noble’s Quest (The Empire’s Foundation Book 1) and had this to say: 

The other is getting into A Wizard’s Gambit (Empire’s Foundation Book 2), and had some great advice:

I’m a fan of +Ryan Toxopeus, both on here and his stories. I think he tells good stories and I like his characters and his ideas.

Now the “but.”Last night I read two particular scenes, one a fight between two men who like the same woman and a dragon, and another scene the protagonist is in the house of a super-wealthy under cover dragon who has run off and his mansion has been looted.

See what I just told you? I was told that too. When I read his stories I never forget I’m being told a story, a story I like, but I have the feel of being told a story. I don’t get the immersion I look for in a novel.

For those not familiar with “Show, don’t tell,” it’s a rule that says it’s best to show the reader what’s going on, so they can see it in their minds, instead of being straightforward about it. An example:

Carlotte was nervous.

Carlotte’s heart raced, and she wiped at sweat on her brow.

In both cases, the reader knows that Carlotte is, indeed, nervous. But in the second one, you never actually said it. The reader sees the symptoms of discomfort and sweating and puts the pieces together. It makes the writing longer, but helps the reader become more immersed in the writing.

This is something I know I need to work on. When I wrote A Noble’s Quest, I had never even heard the term “Show, don’t tell.” While writing the second book, I still wasn’t really sure I had a grasp of the concept (and seeing Rich’s feedback, I know I still have more work to do on mastering this). I wonder if perhaps A Hero’s Birth is as long as it is because I’m finally showing the reader more. Yes, there are times you can tell, I think. You don’t always want to show everything, because it can make the writing cumbersome. But if you show the important bits, and the parts where it makes sense to slow down and let the scene unfold, the reader will love you for it.

So that’s my next writer’s goal. Show more, at least where it makes sense.

I sometimes think I’ll go back and rework my first books with all the knowledge I’ve gained. Maybe some day I will, but for now I want to keep my forward momentum.


I read an article that made me concerned that A Hero’s Birth might be too long. After some discussion about the length of the book, I realized it’s better as it is. I really wasn’t looking forward to coming up with another title for what would have been book 4, not to mention paying for more cover art. The ending of book 3 would have been weaker than I would have liked, too. But a 700 page book isn’t obscene, in the land of fantasy books.

Last but not least, I got more work done on the “bonus” material for A Hero’s Birth.

Promotion success

Success is one of those tricky concepts, where different people have different ideas. For some people it’s all about making money. I don’t understand those people. Money is okay, but aside from covering the basics, it doesn’t bring happiness. Look at Trump. That guy’s the most miserable douchebag I’ve ever seen.

I digress…

From Aug 3rd – 7th, my new novella Demon Invasion was free of charge. This coincided with a promotion through Patty Jansen’s website, where over 100 authors made their genre fiction books available for free.

I want to share with you how the promotion went, and this post is going to be long and full of pictures, because I want to dissect it and try to figure out what worked. This isn’t an entirely altruistic sharing, because I’d like to know what worked so I can duplicate this success in the future.

Day 1

If you’re not familiar with it, Amazon allows you to run promotions with their “Promote and advertise button” which is located in your “Bookshelf” (see Fig. 1).

promo1

Fig 1. Promote and advertise button shown beside each book listed in your Bookshelf.

On the next page, look in the Run a Price Promotion section and select the Free Book Promotion. You can choose a span of 5 days to make your book free, and Amazon will promote your free book for all to see on a page that is dedicated to books that are in the Free Book Promotion. Without any advertising, I got 18 downloads for Demon Invasion on the first day with JUST Amazon promoting the book, and one post from me on Google Plus, which got a handful of +1’s. The last I saw, it was rated #56. People would have to dig to find it, if they were looking at top downloads in the free section.

Day 2

Demon Invasion broke the Top 40, and found another 14 readers. Again, no advertising. One post on G+. At this point, I started really liking the Amazon promotion, so I decided to try using the same free promotion on my short story 1100 Before Gods’ War, and my short story collection Dawn: A dwarven creation story. It was too late to add them for that day, so I figured I’d run each one for three days, Friday – Sunday.

My reason for wanting to have all three of these free at the same time was to tease apart different effects, to see what makes a real difference in downloads. All three books look very different from each other:

The cover for 1100 Before Gods’ War is my favourite of the bunch. Harvey Bunda created it from scratch, and I love the detail. I’ve had several people comment that they love the art.

You can probably guess that I did the cover for Dawn myself. It looks amateurish (I’m seriously considering getting a “real” cover for it). I’ve had no sales on Amazon for this collection, which doesn’t surprise me, given the cover.

The flames for the Demon Invasion cover came from my cousin’s place, when she had us over for a bonfire. I snapped the photo, and Harvey manipulated it to accentuate the fiery horns on the top, define the lower face, and add eyes. I did the text myself. I’ve had both positive and negative feedback on this one.

So Friday would be the first day with all three available, with no promotion through Patty Jansen’s website.

Day 3

Downloads increased more than triple, but I confounded the test by being impulsive. I posted that all three were available on Google Plus and Facebook, and when I had over 100 views on the post on Facebook in short order, Facebook asked me to promote the post. For just $7 they would make sure 500+ people saw the post over three days. I figured that was low risk and went ahead with it. That first day, 113 people saw the post through the promotion.

What’s more, a friend on Google Plus saw my post about paying Facebook and wanted to prove that Google Plus was better. So he shared my pinned post about my writing, which got shared around a few times. How many of the 78 downloads were due to Facebook, Google Plus, or Amazon? I’m not sure. Assuming Amazon did the same 14-18, that leaves 60-64 downloads unaccounted for. Facebook tells you when someone clicks on a link in your post, and by the end of Sunday night, there were only 2 clicks. Did people Google the books because of the post, and not click through directly? Maybe … thus the confound. I just don’t know. But it’s possible that as Demon Invasion rose up in the ranks on Friday, it got into the top 20, and more people saw it when searching for free e-books to read.

But perhaps the most telling evidence for success came from …

Day 4

Patty’s Promo started on Saturday, and that’s when things went bananas (see Fig. 2).

promo2

Fig 2. Bananas

130+ e-books got marked down to “Free” and all the authors blitzed the Internet. To participate in one of Patty’s Promos, you’re expected to hit all the avenues you have access to: social media (Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc), mailing lists, blog posts, Thunderclaps, carrier pigeons, smoke signals …

When I took part in one of these free promos back in January, 1100 Before Gods’ War hit #1… with 52 downloads on one day. So you can see why I was getting excited with the 78 downloads on Friday. I can’t begin to tell you how my brain exploded on Saturday when I saw the downloads climbing. I would update the graph, go type a message, come back, and have 5+ more downloads. It was insane. I didn’t hit #1 in my category for Demon Invasion (Fantasy Adventure Fiction), but it hovered around #2 for a long time. If it did hit #1, I missed it, as I wasn’t available to check compulsively like I might normally do. Even so, I don’t really care. With 750+ downloads (some people getting 2 or 3 ebooks – more on that in a second), I’m ecstatic. And from the sounds of it, other authors in the promotion are experiencing the same sorts of numbers.

That is extremely telling. If left to my own devices, I never would have hit that spike on Saturday. I think the free promotion through Amazon, social media sharing, and the Facebook ad might have continued to keep my numbers up a bit, but nothing like what kind of traffic I got thanks to Patty’s Promo.

It’s ‘uge! (Sorry. Last Trump reference. I swear.)

Day 5

At this point, I didn’t care what happened. I knew there was no way I could compete with Saturday’s numbers. Demon Invasion was sitting at #4, 1100 Before Gods’ War was #7, and Dawn was somewhere in the 30’s. Even with the smaller number of downloads, Demon Invasion continued to be around #400 OVERALL in the free Kindle category. As another author pointed out, that’s amazing when considering I’m a self-pub author going up against all the other authors in the world, pro and otherwise.

I did a bunch of work around the house, and just let the promotion do what it had to do.

It still did great (see Fig 3).

Wow. Much download.

Fig 3. Wow. Much download.

Facebook Ad Breakdown

I experienced “buyers remorse” the instant I accepted to pay for a Facebook ad. I’ve heard over and over again that ads don’t work for unknown authors. However, the $7 cost sounded low risk, and I’ll try just about anything once.

Fig. 4. What I got for $7.

Fig. 4. What I got for $7.

So what exactly did I receive for my small risk? Small returns (see Fig. 4). Two people clicked links in the post, one person liked my writing page because of the post, and some people who saw it liked it, but apparently not enough to click the links, for a total of 16 engagements. The “People Reached” number looks impressive, but that just means that people saw it and continued to scroll on by without paying it too much attention.

But then, how many ads do you click on in FB? For me, the answer is None. I think most people are the same, not trusting FB security features.

Verdict: I won’t use Facebook ads again. I get way more page likes by signing up with Claudette Melanson’s seasonal giveaways, which only costs $3. By having two people who enter the contest win my ebooks, that’s the equivalent number of clicks.

Fun Facts

  1. Overall, I had 830 free downloads over a 5-day period. I’ll bet that’s more downloads than I’ve had in my entire 5 years of being self-published.
  2. 777 of those (93.6%) were for Demon Invasion.
  3. 87.8% of downloads came through Amazon.com.
  4. I had downloads from co.uk, .de, .fr, .in, .ca, .com.br, and .com.au. The ones in bold I had never had downloads from before. I hope the German, French, Indian, and Brazilian readers enjoy my work! (and the rest of you, too, of course)

Take home messages

Fig 4. a) Pretty even number of downloads for 1100 BGW and Dawn. b) A sale post-promo!

Fig 5. a) Pretty even number of downloads for 1100 BGW and Dawn. b) A sale post-promo!

  1. Free promotions through Amazon will get you some downloads, all by themselves. If your numbers are flat, maybe this will get you some “exposure.” Don’t count on it. Some people only read what they can find for free.
  2. Free trumps cover art (see Fig 5, a). Across all markets, there were roughly equal downloads of 1100 BGW and Dawn. The only reason Dawn didn’t rise higher up in the charts is because it was in a tougher category (1100 BGW’s main category is Greek & Roman Mythology, Dawn’s is Teen & Young Adult (Not sure why. Maybe because I set the age range from 14 – 18+? None of my other books have an age range on them. I’ve deleted that to see if it changes.)). These two weren’t in any promos, so the only way people were finding them were through Amazon’s free promotion website and social media. As you can see, their download numbers are much, much lower than Demon Invasion.
  3. Multi-author sales are the fastest way to find people. Now, bear in mind that other authors were reporting the same numbers as me. This means that some people were downloading a lot of free material. They might never even get to reading Demon Invasion. That’s not helpful. But some people WILL read it. And with 830 downloads, I think it’s fair to say that I’ll reach a fair number of new readers, and that’s exciting!
  4. I had zero sales during the promotion, but it looks like one person paid for Demon Invasion after the promotion ended (see Fig. 5, b). My novels, A Noble’s Quest (The Empire’s Foundation Book 1), and A Wizard’s Gambit (Empire’s Foundation Book 2), haven’t seen any movement yet after the promo. But like I mentioned in the previous point, people are going to have a lot of reading to work through, so I might not see any upward movement on my books for a while. I only hope that people enjoy the freebies enough to look for my other stuff.

If you think multi-author sales are the way to go, I highly recommend trying out Patty Jansen’s Promo. She alternates between 99 cents and Free, from month to month. The Free does FAR better than the 99 cents, in terms of downloads, but even the 99 cents ones are okay. If I find 10 readers for a book, that’s still 10 more people than I would have found on my own.

What do you think?

Are there other similar promotions out there that you’ve used? What sort of success did you find with them?

Thanks for reading, and I hope this has helped some of you!

 

Demons and minotaurs are invading e-readers everywhere!

DemonInvasion

 

It’s my last promo for a while. I think I’ve done one for all my books this year (maybe A Noble’s Quest (The Empire’s Foundation Book 1) twice), so I think it’s time to cool off for a while, and wait for the release of my third novel, A Hero’s Birth. I gave away so many copies of Demon Invasion that I’ve been shocked at how many more have found readers over the last few days through Patty’s Promo.

And then I went kind of crazy, about mid-week. Seeing downloads starting on Demon Invasion with only the free Amazon promotion going, I thought, “Why not make a weekend of it?” So all of a sudden 1100 BGW (Before Gods’ War) and Dawn: A dwarven creation story are free to download this weekend, too.

And while I’m giving away short stories and novellas, why not pay for the privilege of doing so? I’d posted the three links on my Facebook fan page and it shot up to over 100 views pretty fast. Facebook asked me to promote it for just $7, and I said, “Why the hell not? $7 is affordable!” and downloads started coming in at an accelerated pace.


And then John Lewis over on G+ says, “Don’t advertise with FB! G+ is better!” and shares my pinned post about my writing.

I’ve got this feeling like it’s all snowballing out of control, as the free downloads pile up. Will one of the stories hit #1 on Amazon’s free category again? I don’t know. But it’s fun just throwing a bunch of stuff together and seeing how it takes on a life of its own. Who knows? Maybe people will read these freebies and give the novels a try, so the ad will pay for itself.

Demon Invasion has been sitting around #2 for Fantasy Adventure Fiction all day, and I’m so amazed to see the downloads continuing to come in at a steady and alarming pace.

Thank you everyone who’s shared my posts. You guys are awesome, and this wouldn’t happen without you.


I signed up for Amazon Associates, so I’ll be adding a code to my links to my own books, and books I review on my website. If people purchase anything through my website, I’ll get a very small kickback, which may or may not pay for this website. I have no idea if people actually buy books from the links I provide, but just in case, why not make a few cents off it (at no additional cost to you, of course!).

I’ve also set up an aStore with my books, and links to other indie author books that I’ve really enjoyed (rated 4 or 5 stars). I set up a widget on the side that shows the books with help from my website provider, Brian Racey.


 Cover art!

Macimanito Môswa

Click to enlarge

Once again, Harvey has created some wonderful art for me. I’ve submitted Macimanito Môswa (Cree for Demon Moose) to a literary festival in an attempt to win a contest (and add $250 CDN to my editing/cover art fund), and also submitted it to a magazine to see if I can find a traditional publishing home for it. I’ll hear back from both some time in the next couple months, but after I hear back, I plan to self-publish the title, since neither group has an exclusivity clause.

The cover captures perfectly the spooky nature of the story.


 And finally (these weekly diary entries have been getting awfully long, lately), I hit my 3000 word goal for new writing on A King’s Decree. It’s coming along nicely, and I’m really happy with how much I’m screwing with the characters’ heads already. I’ve only just finished Chapter 3! So many more mind games to play.

A Wizard’s Gambit, 99 cents

I have no problem dropping the price on book 1 in a series, or on short stories or novellas, in order to generate interest in the rest of the series. I’ve had A Noble’s Quest down to 99 cents a few times, 1100 BGW hit #1 on SFF 30-minute reads when it was free back in January, and I’ll be entering Demon Invasion into the free giveaway next month.

But this month I’m trying something different, and don’t expect this to happen again for a long, long time.

A Wizard’s Gambit, book 2 in my Empire’s Foundation trilogy, is part of Patty’s Promo, priced at just 99 cents. If you’ve read A Noble’s Quest, and plan on continuing with the series but haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet, now’s the time!

Once again, there are tons of authors involved, so take a look and see if anything catches your fancy.


This week I hosted a Writer’s Hangout here in Guelph on behalf of Vocamus Press. Six genre fiction writers got together, and we had a good time talking about all sorts of writing-related topics.

I also got feedback on my demon moose short story, and have printed off the copies and mailed them out for the contest. I hope it does well! I could use the $250 top prize to start saving for book 4 costs. The coordinator for the contest let me know I can publish it if I want, so I’m going to look into doing that. Not sure if I’ll self-publish or look for a magazine to submit it to. The wait times for magazines always irritate me, so I’ll probably just self-pub.


The Indie Pride Day event on Facebook was a bust. Other than getting two new people to like my fan page on FB (Thanks!) nothing happened. A handful of likes on my posts, and some of those were fly-by 5 likes in under a minute, so it wasn’t like they were reading the posts. Zero entries in my giveaway. Although they had said authors would get 20-minutes to post on the site if they were on the list, there was no actual policing of the event to make sure other people didn’t post during your time. In the end, it was just authors posting about their work to other authors, and that never really works. I won’t be bothering doing that event again.

Collection Giveaway!

If you’ve been following Indie Pride Day, you know that I’ve been taking part in the event over on Facebook with a series of posts.

Now is your chance to win A Noble’s Quest, A Wizard’s Gambit, Demon Invasion, 1100 Before Gods’ War, and Dawn: A dwarven creation story.

All you have to do is e-mail your answers to the following questions to me at ryan@prcreative.ca. One person who answers all the questions correctly will get the entire collection. Everyone who answers correctly will win a copy of my #1 short story, 1100 Before Gods’ War.

Answers can be found from my posts for Indie Pride Day on Facebook.

  1. What is the name of my epic fantasy trilogy?
  2. Who are the three main characters in A Noble’s Quest?
  3. What sort of lich is in A Wizard’s Gambit?
  4. Name one demon from Demon Invasion

Just in time

On the heels of launching my fantasy novella Demon InvasionI received the edits from Karen Conlin for A Hero’s Birth!

The novella came out pretty much as expected. I gave away 30 copies of it straight away, and that’s about it. A couple people borrowed it from Amazon’s KU library, and it’s been pretty quiet otherwise. The author’s proof from CreateSpace has shipped, but I’m already pretty sure I’ll be making a change to it. They e-mailed me to tell me that the cover has a blank spine because it’s under 101 pages (it’s 100!!!). I put in half the prologue for A Wizard’s Gambit as a teaser, so I think I’ll add the other half since it’s from Glezxnodin’s POV and boost the size of the novella by a few pages. I just like the idea of the spine having text on it so someone looking at their shelf will know what it is, y’know?

I’ve been making good speed through Karen’s editing notes. Even when she only writes “nope,” it’s helpful because it’s drawing my attention to problems that I know how to fix, but miss on my own re-reading. Things like my eyes glossing over hoard instead of horde, or mismatched subjects and modifiers. When she points them out, they’re so obvious… three carts wide shouldn’t be describing Eliza, but the cave entrance. I’m seeing a pattern to the mistake that might help me catch it when I do it. I start the sentence with a description first without actually mentioning what is being described. Usually that was in the previous sentence, so my brain skips ahead to assume that the description makes sense, but when you read the actual words I’ve written, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point where I can keep all these rules straight in my head while I’m writing, but I feel like I’m getting better with each successive work. So I have to focus on being happy with improving myself, even if I’m nowhere near “good.”

Highlights while going through her notes have been:

“your orcs aren’t standard fantasy orcs, clearly”

Nope! I rather like my orcs. I hope readers grow to like them, too. Maybe even the goblins…

“Now there’s a visual. Really like the mix of action and humor you’ve created.”

I was taken aback the first time I saw a review where the reader said they were surprised at the humour throughout the book. I was surprised, too! While certainly not a comedy, I do try to lighten the mood along the way to balance out the more serious issues. My favourite way of doing this is through dialogue with characters who are long-time friends, but sometimes I’ll think of a visual that amuses me.

“Now HERE we have a good reason for the description. She’s out to distract the men.”

Less is more. I really need to drill that idea into my head. The reader doesn’t need to know the colour and style of clothing all the characters are wearing. The reader doesn’t care about the hair/eye colour of this one-off, throwaway character. So it’s helpful to see the examples where I’ve done it right, and what sets it apart. I don’t want my books to be clunky.

“This whole situation delights the tar outta me. So. META.”

This is one of those situations where I wrote something, and want to create a game out of it. The League was a lot of fun to create for the book, and an homage to time spent at the table playing games. However, this portion never actually happened around the table. Honestly, the only part of the book that happened at all is part of Thomas’ story arc, but at the table Sarentha went with him. I don’t remember where Eliza was, or what she was doing during this time. That’s the problem with writing books 10 years after you played the game… some details grow fuzzy. But on the bright side, it gives me more artistic license to create new stuff, and I’m tickled to hear that this went over so well.

“LMAO”

When an editor who works as hard as Karen reads my writing and laughs really hard at something, I feel so happy. I can’t imagine how much she’s read, so to come up with something that warrants a comment like this is wonderful! And speaking of wonderful…

“this whole last scene is WONDERFUL”

That is about the opposite reaction my wife had to it. She cringed through so much of it! I’m glad to see someone other than me appreciates it.

And then two chapters later I cut an entire scene. It added nothing, and didn’t ring quite true. So it’s gone. This is why we have editors.

On the bright side, I powered through all Karen’s editing notes this week. I’m going to go through one more time doing key-word searches for terms that I tend to overuse, and scratch out names of throwaway characters. It makes sense that naming everyone takes up a reader’s mental energies because a name implies importance to the story. So anyone who shows up once will have their name axed (unless they showed up in a previous book, or will show up in a future one).


Author's proof!

Author’s proof!

This week I’ll be reading for ChiSeries. If you’re in the Guelph area, it’s at the Red Brick Cafe at 8pm, and I’ll be reading the first two scenes from Demon Invasion. CreateSpace worked fast to get me my author’s proof, so I’m going to use that to read from, instead of my e-reader.

The novella looks great. I wasn’t sure how it’d be in a 5″x8″ format, but it’s actually pretty nice. I don’t know if it’d be worth the extra work to do a pocketbook. However, I adde the rest of the prologue to the book to get it over the 101 page mark. Having a spine without the author’s or book’s name on it looks weird.