Monday, April 30, 2012

And now we talk of business.

On May 9th, the second book of the Super series, Fire With Fire, will go live. (And I'm very close to being able to do the cover reveal, which has me so excited; the model, Audrey as photographer, and Tanner as graphic designer have produced an amazing work of art on very few resources.) On May 13th, Super will exit the KDP Select program. After considerable thought on the matter, I've decided not to reenroll it. The results of the experiment, while favorable, have not been favorable enough to salve my lingering unease about making my books available through only one retailer. A friend of mine recently wanted to purchase SM Reine's Death's Hand based upon my glowing review of it and was utterly crestfallen to discover that she couldn't have it because she uses a Nook; I don't want to do that to readers of my own books. So, as of May 14th, Super will be available once more via Smashwords, Apple, Diesel, and Kobo.

You'll notice that I'm leaving a significant retailer out there. Yes, after dithering and pondering for the two months and change that Super has been enrolled in KDP Select, I've decided not to distribute to Barnes and Noble any longer. This wasn't a decision I came to lightly, and nor is it connected to the Amazon vs. Barnes and Noble ideological slap-fights that have been making their way about the web. As far as I'm concerned, Amazon and B&N are equally amoral. B&N, however, have established a way of doing business with regard to ebooks that actively costs me money. It takes them weeks to adjust prices (whereas Smashwords does it instantly, Amazon does it in a matter of three-four hours, and Apple, Kobo, and Diesel make their adjustments within one-two business days, which I consider reasonable given that I'm playing telephone with Smashwords to pass along the message), which simply does not make sense in the digital age. As a result of this lolly-gagging and Amazon's policy of price matching, I lost a significant chunk of money through B&N keeping Super at a lower promotional price long after the promotion had ended. This may seem as though it's also shanking Nook users, but B&N is also notorious about not making indie books searchable (I can attest to this), so I don't think that I'll be losing much in the way of sales. My books will go back to being available as .epubs on Smashwords, which was the only place save for Amazon where I experienced notable sales prior to KDP Select.

And here's what else the return to Smashwords means: my books will be truly open to international readers in ways that I cannot do with Amazon. I've always admired Smashwords for not geo-locking and for providing books in so many different formats; their Meatgrinder is also the cleanest, easiest conversion software I've encountered yet, and I'm very happy about working with them again. I will continue to roll books into KDP Select and then out again in order to promote the next release, but I'll be sure to issue plenty of advance notice each time.

In other news, I'm starting a new day job tomorrow, so my writing time is all over the map, but I'm currently editing Leech, with Siren doing its requisite drawer-time as a first draft. Meanwhile, Bulletproof's outline is stalled out at about three-quarters of the way through, as the end game kicks into high gear in that book and I've had trouble getting into gear on it until I finally cried uncle and started outlining the final book, Legend at the same time. Clearly, I lack a lot of things (a sense of balance, many would say), but a work ethic is not one of them.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

On the Dearth of Bisexual Literature, a great guest post at the Lesbrary.

Link here.

Check out the comments section, too, there are some great books being recommended in there.

I can absolutely empathize with Walkley's frustrations here; I've had a bitch of a time figuring out how to market Super as a book with a bisexual lead that's not erotica. (Actually, since sex wouldn't fit into Super's plot and I wanted to make sure that the queer couple isn't treated any differently than the straight couples, there's a "no one gets laid onscreen" rule for the duration of this series. So, um, spoiler alert.)

I'm not entirely sure how the best way to correct this issue of very narrow expectations when it comes to literature featuring queer protagonists, save to talk up the books that break the mold as much as possible. So check out the link, and check out the Lesbrary in general, they have some of the best f/f book reviewers around.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

REVIEW: Dragon Warrior by Shea MacLeod

Uh...I am not digging the new Blogger terribly much, so this may be tweaked if it comes out wonky on me.

Description: A man without a past.
A woman without a future.
A world destroyed by monsters.
All that's left is hope.
In Rain Mauri's post-apocalyptic world there are no shades of gray when it comes to survival. Until she meets a Dragon Warrior and discovers nothing is as simple as it seems.
Together, Rain and the Dragon Warrior must uncover the truth behind the nightmare their world has become. Their quest will put them in the crosshairs of a ruthless enemy, but with her determination and his skill, they might just save their race from destruction. If they can save each other first.

My Thoughts: At 45,000 words, this book squeaks in just under novel sized. It's also the start of a series. Both of these things factor into my fairly complicated feelings on Dragon Warrior. I enjoyed the world-building, Rain, and Micah together and separately, but overwhelmingly I wanted the book to slow down and chew its food a little more. Without going too deeply into spoilers, some major events went down before the beginning of the book (quite apart from the basic apocalypse-starting hijinks), including a potentially intriguing villain. Telling that story via flashback, and in such compressed format, left me feeling more hungry than fulfilled at the end. I enjoyed the book, and will probably buy the second if another sale comes along, but...ack. Still have the feeling that there was a wasted opportunity here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fire With Fire, Chapters One through Three

Hi, guys! As I've been babbling about basically nonstop for the past month or so, Fire With Fire, the second book of the Super series, will go on sale May 9th. (And in the meantime, you can purchase the first book, Super for just $2.99 right now!) I am incredibly excited about this book; writing dialogue for J is one of my favorite parts of working on this series. You'll see why as soon as she opens her mouth. Here are the first three chapters, enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

REVIEW: Death's Hand by SM Reine

Description: Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it--until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn't stand to see one more dead body. Now they've been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world's best killing teams.

After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed. Some enemies aren't willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead...

My Thoughts: Okay, let's get this out of the way right quick: this book is great fun, and you should buy it. I mean it. I'll wait.

If you want to be all needy and get details or whatever, Reine has created a pretty standard urban fantasy world, complete with badass, emotionally damaged heroine and the mentor with which she may or may not have UST, depending upon how you squint at it. It's the way that Reine dances about through this world that makes it special, however. Let's face it, a character who has as many reasons to angst and brood as Elise does probably...won't. Her thought processes are going to be so different from those of a person without trauma that normal human responses won't even occur to her. That's what Reine does with Elise, while at the same time moving the plot along at a breakneck clip, casting wonderful and diverse side characters, and keeping Elise sympathetic even as she's a very strange, often frightening person. Again: buy this book.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CL Raven's Se7en Challenge!

So, a fantastically fun tweeper, Anya Breton, has challenged me to a fun blog game. Here are the rules:

Go to page 7 or 77 of your manuscript or WIP. Go to the 7th line down then copy and paste the next 7 lines into your blog. Then tag 7 other people and ask them to do the same.

From my upcoming book, Fire With Fire, premiering May 9th:

J didn't often get the urge to apologize, but she had a hunch that Christian wouldn't have been nearly as eager for Ophelia's help if he had known who she was bringing with her by proxy.

"Browne," Ophelia mused. Her fingers stilled on the keys, at least for the moment. "Nothing particularly promising at first glance. He grew up poor in a neighborhood like this one, rose to prominence first on an athletic scholarship, then academics after he injured his knee in his second year of college." The man frozen on Ophelia's screen was younger than the one from Browne's office, though he still carried with him the patrician air of money a lot older than one generation. It was amazing how a good haircut changed a man.

AND NOW! I solemnly tag Lenore Wolf, Angela Goff, Kathy Lynn Hall, Chris Smith, C.C. Cole, Tiffany King, and Zoe E. Whitten. Have fun, guys!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In order to build anticipation, apparently, you need to be present.

Which is a completely unfair rule, so consider this my lodged formal protest.

Anyway, I haven't been around much to promote the upcoming release of Fire With Fire mostly because I've been busy getting it ready for said release on May 9th. It's going well; I do not anticipate any problems getting it done with as much as two weeks to spare. I'm a bit of a lunatic Type A, though, so I won't relax until it's ready to go and contingency plans A through H have been notarized. *shrug* I no longer try to fight my basic nature. I've also been wrapping up the first draft of Siren, Naomi's book, which I am frustrated to say has not been going so well. I anticipated Leech being the one to kick my ass the most, since Mindy and I have virtually nothing in common other than that we're both Texan, but that one was a peach. (Leading me to wonder if I have some unpleasant surprises waiting for me once I crack it open to edit, eek.) Ah, well, there's nothing to be done now but push through, knowing that it'll be months before I have to face it again in editing.

Now, in news of the book that's actually coming out in a month rather than the two who are six months and a year out, respectively, I have a date to shoot the cover! April 14th, and the woman who has agreed to be the model (and will also be portraying Naomi on Siren's cover, because she's a wiz at changing her appearance and wants the chance to glue things to her face) is fairly well-known in my area for being an incredible makeup artist in addition to being staggeringly beautiful herself. She has brought so much artistic insight into portraying J's look that I can hardly stand how excited I am. Truly one of those rare kismet situations. In addition to doing the cover reveal over the next two weeks, I'll be posting the first three chapters of Fire With Fire to whet your appetites for the whole thing. Stay tuned, and don't forget that Super is available for $2.99 in the sidebar right now and will be available free as a very special promotion May 9th-13th!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Check-In Post

Words Written, Year to Date:

And then Sea Change, the paranormal romance that I bugged everyone on Twitter about for a solid month:

No, really, the first draft came in at exactly 65000 words. A little weird, actually.

As for Fire With Fire, most of my beta readers have checked in, and they've been pretty uniform in their suggestions. I'm one of those weirdos who actually doesn't mind editing; it's kind of like picking at a scab, oddly soothing.