One Year Anniversary

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Cover art by @asa_argeus

This weekend marks the one year anniversary of my debut novella Emma’s Story. It’s only a year, but it feels like a very long time ago, and for sure I’ve come a long way since that day.

I’ve published four more books, with a fifth one due out in two weeks. I’ve quit my day job to focus on my writing, and – I believe – I’ve grown a lot as a writer. Perhaps most of all, I’m much more confident in my stories.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have doubts. They’re just not quite as a bad they used to be.

Emma’s Story is where it started though, and the story will probably always be extra special to me. Three years in the making, countless revisions (well, seven or eight or so), and a large number of changes back and forth, while at the same time trying to figure out how to tell a story in the first place.

It did eventually get done though, and a year ago, I published it.

One thing I’ve been asked is if there will be a sequel. The story ends with a few questions unanswered, and people are curious to know what happens next.

The answer is that I don’t plan on writing a sequel to Emma’s Story any time soon. It would be fun to get back to her and write about what happened next, but there are a lot of things I still need to figure out myself first.

That said, I’m going to be rewriting an old, never published, novel called Enar’s Vacation, and in doing so, I’ll have an opportunity to reveal what really happened to Emma after Emma’s Story ended.

I don’t yet have a specific time frame for when Enar’s Vacation will be out, but hopefully I’ll be started on it before the end of the year.

Finally, if you’ve read all this far, you’ve probably also read Emma’s Story already, but perhaps you know someone who hasn’t. This weekend, to celebrate the anniversary of the book, it’s on sale for $0.99/£0.99 on Amazon – here. Please let your friends know.

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Painting of Emma’s horse Ussilago, by @memu_

I’m also running an ad campaign on facebook over the weekend, and hopefully it’ll lead to some more people discovering the book. The horse in the image probably wasn’t intended to be Ussilago, but a friend of mine linked it to me, and it kind of works. The artist was kind enough to let me use her image.

One Year Anniversary

Panic!

LD2 - Skullv2So…

Due to reasons that probably aren’t any of my business, my cover artist had to cancel the art for the cover of my next book. I’ve got no hard feelings, but it put me in a bit of a tight spot. I learned about this yesterday (27th), and I have up until the the 29th to make the final changes to the book before it goes live.

I’ve got some experience working with layout software, but I have no confidence what so ever in my visual artistry skills. I know how the tools work, but not how to use them – if you catch my drift. I did put something together though, and it’ll have to do for now.

Once things calm down a little (“things” in this case meaning “me”). I’ll have a sit down and think things over. It’s annoying when things don’t work out as planned, but with a little bit of luck I’ll be better off with a new start – or something. Go me.


EDIT: Seems like I misread something. Instead of the deadline being tonight, it’s tomorrow night. Means if you have any feedback, let me know.

Panic!

Book Published: Lost Dogs #1

Lost Dogs - Ebook cover - aligned - v2
“Werewolf wrestler gets told he has to lose the last fight of his career or he won’t get any retirement money. There are complications.”

Today is the day. The ebook version of Lost Dogs #1: Last Fight of the Old Hound, is now available for purchase, here.

It’s a big deal for me, and it’s been a long time coming, so I’m quite excited now it’s finally here. Excited, and a little bit nervous.

I feel good about the book when I read it, and I have read it quite a few times. I just hope it’s good enough people will want to read the next part too, and the part after that, and so on. There will be a lot of parts.

On that note, I’m off to work on Part 4…

Book Published: Lost Dogs #1

Cover Reveal – Lost Dogs #1

Lost Dogs - Ebook cover - alignedHere we go, I finally have the cover image for my next book: Lost Dogs #1: Last Fight of the Old Hound.

Big thanks to Jess for the art. I’m really happy with how it turned out in the end.

As I’m looking at it now it strikes me as odd that I didn’t include the secondary title of the book on the front of cover. It’s not that I forgot about it (seriously, I didn’t). It just didn’t seem all that important.

It’s a series, and the name of the series feels more important than the names of the individual parts. As I recall, many TV series has a name for each episode, but few of them stick with me for longer than they appear on the screen. Then again, maybe that’s just me?

It also seemed like it might be tricky fitting that many words onto the cover. I’m sure I could have, and I actually tried (a little), but I didn’t work out (and I gave up pretty quickly). Instead it just says “Part 1” now, and like I mentioned, the title is written on the spine, and it says inside as well. It’ll be grand, as they say here in Cork.

Lost Dogs #1 - Back Cover
With a little bit of good will, the blurry shape in the background looks kind of like a human heart, doesn’t it?

I used the same image, but significantly faded, for the back cover too. What mostly stressed me out about that was the blurb – again.

I thought I had a good blurb this time. I shared it in a previous post. Then, today, as I sat looking at it, I begun to feel like there was something off about it, and I began tinkering, and tinkering, and tinkering…

The idea is the same, and the first part is very similar, but the second part has been expanded upon. It’s a little bit clearer what the story is about, which is probably a good thing. Hopefully potential readers will find it interesting enough they’ll want to have a closer look.

Hopefully they’ll find it interesting enough to read the whole thing, and the next part, and the next one after that, and so on. This first book is a self contained story, but it’s also the start of something much bigger. After all, it does say Part 1, and I have a lot more parts planned.

So, when can you read the story?

Well, I pressed the Publish button for the paperback version about an hour and a half ago, and it’s currently in review. The review period can take up to 72 hours, meaning you should be able to order the book on Sunday by the latest. That is, if you want the paperback version. I’ll make sure to share the link once it’s available.

The e-book version is still scheduled for release on the 5th of July. You can pre-order it here (UK), or here (US).

 

Cover Reveal – Lost Dogs #1

Last Fight of the Old Hound

Copy of Lost Dogs #1 - PreviewThe first book in the Lost Dogs series is now available for pre-order. It’s called Last Fight of the Old Hound, and you can pre-order it here (US) or here (UK). The cover image is a temporary one, and the real cover will be revealed once it’s done – in about two weeks.

Also, if you’re interested in checking out a sample of the story, you can download the first four chapters for free, here.

I’m going to try and not rant too much about this release, but rather focus my energy on making sure the next few parts come out in time. I’m still excited to publish a book, but all the advice I’ve heard about advertising suggests that the best way to promote a book is to write a sequel.

Once I have a few books out I’ll start looking into promoting the first one more carefully, and then I’ll have to start figuring advertising and suchlike.

For now though, there’s just the one book. Next one to be released Soon<tm>.

Last Fight of the Old Hound

Getting Closer

It’s not quite time yet, but it’s also not far off. The deadline I set myself for my next book is June first. By then I want it to be ready enough that I can start the publishing process.

I’m pretty sure I’ll make it.

I have a few test readers still reading the story and they’ve promised to have it done by June 1. If they’re not done, it’s not the end of the world. I’m confident the story is in a good enough shape I can publish it without making any major changes, and I should be able to iron out the majority of the spelling mistakes myself.

Sure, I’ll miss some, but for now I can live with that. The goal isn’t perfect – it’s good enough.

Also, June first isn’t when I’m publishing. The paperback will be out in mid-June, and the ebook in early July. Even then, I still have time to fix things. This book is the first part of a longer series, and I won’t start advertising it until the third part is out, which will be in September some time if all goes to plan. By then, I expect to have tracked down and located all of the spelling errors I missed on my own.

After that, further errors will have to be fixed as they are discovered. That’s part of the beauty with ebooks. If there’s a spelling error I can correct it and upload a new version of the book. Supposedly, everyone who’ve bought it will get the new version pushed to them, but I’m not sure how well that really works in practice. Perhaps they need to request it – or there may some other requirement before it gets done.

Anyway – it’s not much further, and soon Lost Dogs #1 will be available. I’m starting to get excited.

Getting Closer

New Releases – A Pleasant Surprise

TLDR: My book Emma’s Story is included in P.D. Workman’s list of new releases – here. Please check it out. :)


Up until about an hour ago I’d had a pretty bad day.

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The sky this morning was a lot nicer than most of the rest of the day would turn out to be – most…

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately, and this morning was no different – gloomy and miserable. Not a good start, but I was well enough to work so off I went.

Then, once I got to the office, the left side of my neck and the shoulder began acting up – aching real bad, and stabbing pains as soon as I moved carelessly. I managed to get hold of my physiotherapist, and I got an appointment for  lunch. I would have made it back in time for work after, but I decided to take the rest of the day off to recover.

I got myself squeezed and pinched and needled, and I might have been hurting worse after the therapist was done with me. They’ve done good work in the past though, and I trust them. I’ll be fine.

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Sometimes, it’s a dull grey world out there.

Then, I opened my e-mail…That doesn’t mean I wasn’t grumpy and annoyed to having to go through the pain and not being able to write, or work, or anything really. I went home and watched a movie.

An acquaintance of mine, author P.D. Workman, had included my book Emma’s Story in her list of interesting new releases – here. I’d asked her about it months ago, before my book was even released, and in all the excitement of the release it had slipped my mind and I’d completely forgotten about it.

This was not a paid promotion. I’m on the list because I asked, and because P.D. was kind enough to include me. That kind of thing means a lot to me, so please do check her page out.

The mail, and my book’s appearance on the list, completely turned my miserable day around. Sure, my shoulder still aches, but I’m smiling as I’m typing this.

Front Cover - OnlineWhat’s more, I feel like my book is in good company. I went through the list, and I got the impression the majority of the books are pretty “serious” in nature – stories that deal with difficult questions about the hows and whys of life and of growing up.

I’m happy to be a part of it.

Emma’s Story may be fantasy with a bit of a fairy tale feel to it, but it’s also a story about expectations, trust, and the difficult decisions we all have to make now and then.

P.D.’s new release Two Teardrops is about a young woman dealing with some pretty serious issues in her life. I haven’t read it, but I’m inclined to give it a try. The book seems harder and darker than mine, but I get the feeling the themes run along similar lines. If you already read and enjoyed Emma’s Story, I have a hunch you may enjoy Two Teardrops too.

Well, start with the first part in the series: Tattooed Teardrops.

I added it to my reading list on Goodreads (here), and hopefully I’ll get to it before too long. I’ve got the feeling it might give me some good insights for my character Alene in the Lost Dogs series.

New Releases – A Pleasant Surprise

How I Published My Book

My latest article for Mythic Scribes is now live. It’s about what I did to launch and promote my book Emma’s Story, and you can read it here.

IMAG1396.jpgIt’s a fairly long piece that touches upon most of the various aspects of launching the book: selecting a date and setting up preorders, advertising and promotion, formatting for ebook and paperback. The article doesn’t go into great detail on any of it, but rather tries to give an overview of all the different things involved in self-publishing a book – and even then I had to leave some things out.

I’m always a little bit nervous when a new article is going to go live. There are expectations. Mythic Scribes isn’t some little personal blog for just me and my closest friends and family (hi mom). It’s a big site with an active community and tons of daily visitors. I don’t have any exact numbers to share, but the numbers are sky high compared to what I’m getting on this page. On a good day I get double-digit number visitors on this blog.

Front Cover - OnlineRegardless of the actual numbers, the point is that a lot of people will see my articles and read them. Hopefully they will find them useful, and usually I get good feedback, but I still worry. Mostly, my main concern is that I’ll get something significantly wrong, or that I’ll unknowingly express some really controversial viewpoint and cause an uproar.

So far that’s not happened, and it probably won’t. I’m a lot less nervous about it than I used to be, but that little nagging worry is still there. Ideally it won’t ever go away completely. If it does, it’ll mean I’ve lost the respect for what I’m doing, and then I shouldn’t be doing it anymore.

What I’m really going for here is that on Sundays when the articles go live I keep refreshing the site to see if it’s there yet or not. So too this time around, and when it finally happened I was met by a really nice and heartwarming surprise. Our site admin, BD, had found my Instagram account, dug out some of the pictures I’d taken of my book, and added them to the article.

Discovering this made me really happy. It’s that warm feeling of when someone goes that extra mile to do something nice for you even though they don’t have to and you don’t expect it. It’s amazing, and it was great way to start my weekend (I’m off Monday’s and Tuesdays).

Also, price hike

One comment I got on the article was that the price on the paperback version is too low. It’s cheap enough people might think there’s something wrong with the story. This obviously isn’t what I want, so I’ll be increasing the price to 6.99 in about a week.

How I Published My Book

A Village Is Blind Under The Stars

My father, who enjoys messing around with brushes and colours, made this painting of a scene from my book Emma’s Story:

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A single light burns at the top of the hill.
A village is blind under the stars.

The cover image of Emma’s Story was painted by a friend of mine. You can read more about it here.

After I got the cover and showed it off, it struck me that it would be fun to have some more images from the story to share. It’d also be really fascinating to see how others imagined it.

I’m not sure how many of my friends who read the book are into painting, but I know my dad is (he counts as a friend too), so I asked him. Turns out he was more than happy to help out, and you can see the result above.

What amazed me was that I was able to tell right away which scene it was he’d painted. All of the details add up, and it’s actually really close to how I imagined it myself. Most likely this is what I’ll see next time I read that part.

I hope those of you who’ve already read it will be able to recognize the scene though, but perhaps the caption gave it away?

The scene is from very near the end of the book, so to avoid giving away any spoilers I won’t be going into details about it – other than what you can see for yourself.


In other news, I’ve brought the price of the ebook version of Emma’s Story up to the full retail price ($2.99, £2.49, €2.99)  instead of the cheaper launch price. Sales dropped off after the first week, and I figured everyone I know who wanted the book would have gotten it by now.

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It’s cheaper than a coffee and a brownie too.

I’m unlikely to do any more promotion of the book for the time being, and anyone who finds it will have heard about it through word of mouth. My thinking is that if you get a recommendation from someone you probably won’t be too fussed about whether the book is 0.99 or 2.99.

Sure, it’s three times the price, but it’s still cheaper than a pint of beer, and it’ll take you longer to read – and hopefully it’ll bring you more enjoyment too.

A Village Is Blind Under The Stars

Book In Hand

Just a quick post to show off that the print copies of my book I ordered finally arrived:

I’ve seen pictures of the book myself, and I received a proof copy shortly after the paperback first went live, but this is the first time I hold the finished book in my hand.

It feels pretty good.

A few of these will go to my friend who painted the cover. I’ll keep one for myself, and the rest will probably be sold at the cafe where I wrote the book. I even have a special deal worked out with the owner of the cafe, but I’ll show that off on Monday when I know for sure it’s all going through as planned.

EDIT: I’m apparently crap at self-promotion. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon: Emma’s Story.

Book In Hand