Thursday, July 30, 2015

Scattered Seeds Presales Discount

The Scattered Seeds ebook is now available for presales at a discounted price of $1.89 at iTunes and Barnes and Noble . I will hopefully have a link for Kobo by the weekend.

Right now Amazon is only allowing presales 4 weeks out for self-pubbed books. I will have that set up in late August.

The print book will be coming out at the same time as the ebook.

Scattered Seeds is off to the 3rd reader. I am not anticipating any big changes at this point. There will be some tweaking and tightening, I'm sure. Maybe a new scene or two that didn't manage to get out of my head and onto the paper. A bridge here, some smoothing there and it will be ready for line edits.

While it is off with the reader, I am free to turn my attention to the next project. And I need to brainstorm a better working title because it doesn't quite work...

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cover Reveal for Scattered Seeds

TA DA!

Please stop by Nonlocal Science Fiction to see what they have to say about this series! And to see the wonderful cover for Scattered Seeds.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cover Reveal Soon!

Monday, July 27th, the cover for Scattered Seeds will be revealed on Nonlocal Science Fiction .

I am very excited about this wonderful cover that Alex Storer has done. As usual, his amazing artwork really captures the feel behind the story.

At the same time, Scattered Seeds will also be going up on Smashwords for ebook pre-sales at a discounted price of $1.89. I am still aiming for a release date of September 18. On the 19th the price will go up to $3.99.

I will have all those links available on Monday.

Amazon will only allow a 4 week lead on pre-sales. I will set that up the end of August for ebook sales.

Please stop by on Monday to check it out and reserve your copy.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Taste of Lethal Seasons

Today I am posting an excerpt from Lethal Seasons, book one of A Changed World series.

Gale force winds rammed into Nick forcing him back into the train station. Rain slashed at him raking his skin like cold claws. Drenched in a second, half blind against the wind, he staggered into the building. The door slammed behind him, rattling under the assault of dangerous weather.
“Told ya.” Frank shook his head in exaggerated dismay. “Shoulda listened.” He stood far enough from the door to remain dry. The only note of untidiness about him was a stray curl of hair standing up from the wind Nick had let in. His blue National Train Authority uniform was spotless.
“Should have known you to be right,” Nick agreed. He dropped his pack and bedroll to wipe his face. “Looks like I’m stuck here for the night.”
Frank gave him a condescending nod. “The forecast was for category three winds ‘til past midnight. What’s got you in such a hurry to get back?”
Nick shrugged his uneasiness away. This trip had been different for a couple of reasons, but nothing he wanted to share with Frank. “Just want to sleep in my own bed,” he said honestly.
“Can’t blame you for that. Good trip?”
“Making progress.”
“Good to hear.” Frank’s response was professionally cheerful. He didn’t ask intrusive questions and was always satisfied with vague answers. “Got to check on the 8:27. I think it’s coming late.” He bobbed his head in a slight bow, turned on his heel and strode off to the control booth.
Nick grabbed his gear and headed for the shelter cubbies. High Meadow was one of the older style stations, built just as the world was coming to grips with climate change. It was barely far enough underground to remain in operation. Despite the thick walls and storm proofing, Nick could hear the howl of the wind and the pounding of the rain. But no thunder. He breathed a sigh of relief. Probably no tornados tonight. He considered using one of the ether booths to send a message to Angus, but was too tired to retrace his steps. Angus probably wouldn’t see the message until tomorrow anyway, and Nick would be there by then.
An older woman, thin as a rail, in an NTA uniform came up toward him on the stairs to the lower level. The tailored blue jacket and slacks hung on her bones, a size too big. Another symptom of the changed world. The downsizing of the population left a lot of resources behind, but not enough people to run the factories that would make new ones. So the people left had to make do with what was at hand. Nick didn’t recognize her. He knew most of the people that manned High Meadow. She moved with a slight hitch to her walk, climbing the stairs slowly, arthritis maybe.
“Evening,” he said politely.
She cast a measuring glance over him. Her eyes lingered a moment on the bedroll, then took in his two-day old scruff and wet clothes. It took a minute for her to complete her scrutiny. She startled at his green eyes, her gaze going directly to his neck to check for a tattoo.
“Evening.” She climbed past him a bit quicker.
He got that reaction sometimes. People wondering if he was human. Green eyes and dark brown hair wasn’t that odd of a combination. He’d stopped saying that his mother had had green eyes. Maybe if he’d had her red hair, it wouldn’t look out of place. The woman’s fear that he might be a biobot made him wonder if she’d seen any. It made him want to tell her that they could look normal, too. Before Zero Year, all the biobots he’d seen could have passed as human. That’s why they started tattooing them in the first place. But in all his travels over the past ten years, he’d never encountered one. They might have been wiped out by the virus after all.
The shelter level was well lit. A long corridor of shiny white walls and glossy black enamel doors with black and white tiled floors stretched out before him. Each cubby was self-contained, lights, potable water, toilet, sleeping space. Although originally designed to be used in a disaster, Nick had seen several stations that had permanent residents. Knowing the rooms by the stairs were the ones used most often, he went halfway down the long corridor and chose one with a picture of an acorn on the door. Pictures now, not numbers, marked the cubbies, which probably meant the illiteracy level was rising.
The cell-sized room was immaculate and smelled of antiseptic. The NTA people were very thorough. Proud to have jobs in a world that had no industries left. He tossed his bedroll on the shiny metal shelf that passed for a bed, hoping the waterproofing held. It was a relief to be still for a minute. He'd been travelling for six days and the ultra-fast trains took a toll. He peeled off his wet clothing and dried off with the towel he carried in his pack. The clothes probably wouldn’t dry tonight, but he draped them on the row of coat hooks that lined one wall anyway.
He sat on the shelf with a groan. He'd been gone longer than planned. There’d been some unexpected complications. Things that he wasn’t sure he wanted to talk to Angus about. Nick had been gathering information for Angus’s history book for the past three years. It gave him a purpose. A reason to go out into the world and talk to people. He was a man that needed those things—purpose, reason, order. Without them he was too easily lost in regrets and sorrow for all the people he’d lost. Whenever the ghosts and darkness came calling, he got out his pack and bedroll and went searching for new communities. The world had shattered, and Angus was trying to knit it back together with cobwebs and good intentions. It was a cause he could easily support.
 
Click on the Lethal Seasons tab above for all the ebook and print retailers.
 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Starting on The Monster




I wrote the first couple pages of the Space Opera!

I call it The Monster because it was my first, badly written, meandering novel with a cast of a thousand. You needed a spreadsheet to remember who was related to who and a map to figure out where people were. But it had a compelling story. Everyone who read it managed to wade through all the unrelated complexities to find out what happened. They encouraged me to keep working on it because they cared about the characters.

What my patient and kind readers didn't say was that I didn't have the skill to handle a story of that magnitude. It was huge in every sense of the word. A real doorstop. And way too complex for a first novel. After three rewrites I finally put it aside. I knew I needed to learn more about story telling first.

Scattered Seeds is my fifth novel and the second in a trilogy. I think I am finally ready to take on The Monster. As I look back through my maps and spreadsheets, I am amazed at the amount of planning already done. I will be able to put that all to good use, once I get things plotted out.

The main problem with The Monster was that I couldn't figure out how to fix it. Not until I critiqued someone else's manuscript. This was a mystery and totally unrelated, but had a similar problem. The writer was telling everyone's story at the same time. That might be an interesting take to experiment with, but it makes for very confusing storytelling. All those layers tend to water down every story making nothing stand out.

In retrospect, I had buried the lead. I was so concerned with how my main characters had gotten to where they were, that the most interesting part of the story was relegated to subplot. As I started thinking about what shape this story should take, I realized I was dreading the build up. And in taking a clear look at what that entailed, I decided it was all unnecessary. Cut to the chase. Yeah, these two guys have a lot of baggage. No, we don't need to know all about that now. In fact, I think that might not surface until book three. And considering the amount of material I have on that, it will take a big book to deal with it all.

I had always envisioned a series for this world. However, I've gotten tired of reading series that take forever to accomplish the goal (I'm looking at you Robert Jordan). I prefer a series like the Dresden Files where something is presented and dealt with in each book with a few elements arcing into others. They aren't truly stand-alones, because each one builds on the previous one. Nor are they cliff hangers for the most part. Another skill to study.

I know that some people won't even start a series until it is fully written. How do you feel about that?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Scattered Seeds Update

Alex Storer is working on the cover for Scattered Seeds. He sent the latest version over the other day and it's gotten me all excited. I can't wait to share it with everyone. Alex has done the covers for all of my novels now, so you are probably aware of how talented he is.

The story went off to the second reader. I had to rough up a couple of smooth spots and put a twist in a boring section. The rewrite from the first reader's notes took me longer than expected. I got a little stuck in writing the new scenes. Then something clicked and I couldn't write fast enough. I love it when that happens.

So far I am still on track for a September release of Scattered Seeds. I am hoping that it won't come back from the second reader with too much red pen. There could be a new gaping plot hole that I built with the new scenes. Or the remains of one that the first reader pointed out that I didn't stitch together well enough. This year I have allotted myself a little more tweaking time between readers. Just in case.

I'm supposed to be brainstorming the outline for my new space opera series, but instead I am working on my gardening books.

I have a couple of the Sow It - Grow It - Serve It books half done. I will be publishing them as soon as they are completed. They cover planting, maintaining, harvesting and cooking a single vegetable with lots of  how-to photos from my garden and kitchen.

Swiss Chard is available now as an ebook at Amazon and in multiple formats at Smashwords.


Here's a lovely picture of a female pattypan squash blossom that is about to bloom. You can see another squash that's formed just below it. That will be for dinner sometime next week.

And that is what is keeping me busy right now. How's your summer going?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Marketing Go-Round

There's so much information out there.

Buy this, sign up for that, learn about this, post your book here, videos, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, websites...ugh.

So I buy a couple of books on marketing which sometimes are retreads of each other. And I dig through advertisers to figure out which ones might work for me. I spend a little of my tiny marketing budget to purchase an ad or two. But other people are saying it takes 4, no 5, no really 10 books before you should worry about advertising.

In the mean time, only a handful of people have bought my books. And even fewer have reviewed them.

Sigh.

And then the new meme is connecting with the reader. Send out newsletters. Chat with your readers on your blog. Research people who have bought books like yours and reach out to them. (Sounds like cyber stalking to me) More research, more time spent digging through different sites looking for that golden needle in a haystack.

So expect to see some changes in the blogs and other places. I am sorting through a lot of new information trying to figure out what is the least painful for me.

Do people really like to be in contact with their favorite authors? Tell me how you feel about that.