Paperback TLG maybe late next week, plus musings

Probably interesting only to myself, given sales reports, but I’m waiting on a paperback proof copy of The Lion of God to show up next Wednesday; if the proof is satisfactory, the paperback edition (6″x9″ trade paperback) will go on sale on Amazon for $7.97.

Interjection before I start to pontificate:  The paperback version will have the corrected errata mentioned in this post.  I am also going to update the Kindle version today, so if the errata bother you, you’ll be able to re-download it at some point later this weekend, that is, assuming the review process goes quickly on a holiday weekend.

Before anyone thinks I’m overpricing what they may consider a half-crap debut novel, I get a whopping 34 cents of that.  And the minimum cover price would be worse if I clicked the “Expanded Distribution” box — close to $12 when I experimented last night.  Those are Amazon’s minimums (well, the minimum for standard distribution is actually $7.40, a price point at which I get $0.00 royalty).

I honestly don’t know how anyone makes a living at this shit.  I’m personally damned hard-pressed to spend $10 for a book (frankly, I’ll only do that to buy the latest in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, which I’ve been reading since the first book came out in 1994, and maybe a couple of other things), but so many “pro” releases — even in Kindle, with what really amount to tiny production costs, most of which are on the author’s side — are $9.99 these days.

When I sell The Lion of God as a Kindle download, I get (for my $2.99 cover price, which is the minimum if you want in on the 70% royalty scheme, which has certain benefits the 35% scheme doesn’t) a $2.03 royalty.  This makes sense, because it costs Amazon a pittance to make the book available as a download (dirty little secret:  This is how they can afford KU).  Unless you use their crappy cover designer, ALL production costs are ultimately borne by the author (and even their cover designer doesn’t cost them much, since it’s extremely limited).

I would estimate in covers alone I have close to $3,000 invested.  $1,600 of that was to buy a new computer that could handle a high-resolution DAZ3D render in a couple of hours vs. a couple of days — but that computer was bought with at least one other use in mind, so the cost is “distributed”, as it were.  Could I buy covers, like, find a cover artist whose work I admire and commission them?  Sure.  Do I want to deal with an artist?  No.  I have an artist friend who does covers (he has made some absolutely gorgeous retro Star Trek covers and even “movie posters” for TOS episodes) and evinced little or no interest in making mine, though to his credit he did mentor me through the process of getting DAZ3D up and running, and we continue to share tidbits back and forth as I get better with the program — and he admits he’s glad I got into it because my questions stimulated him to get off his butt and work with it again.

The bottom line of all of this is, unless something happens and I suddenly start selling hundreds of copies of my books a year, I will never get my investment back.  But I don’t care.  It’s a hobby, not a job.  I already have a job and I want to retire from it in about five years 🙂  I didn’t write at all for 20+ years because writing was already my day job, and it wasn’t fun to jump from writing technical materials all day to writing fiction at night, which is known as taking a “busman’s holiday.”

As it turned out, our idiot governor shutting down half the state (and our equally idiot mayor shutting down the rest of the city) because of the WuFlu meant I had a lot of time on my hands starting in March that used to be taken up with going out to dinner with friends and participating in fraternal activities.  Not to mention vacation travel, and going to see the kids and grandkids in Fort Wayne once a month.

So you got what I did to break the monotony.  My contribution to “what if?”

Thanks for indulging my imagination. 🙂

A Fox in the Henhouse is published

Believe it or not, the Seasons story mentioned in the last post appears to have been a head fake, because another character bulled her way in from the Timelines universe and said, “MY TURN!”

And it’s really a novella (same number of pages — 72 —  as A Midsummer Night’s Hunt, according to Amazon), but it falls into a series I’ve decided to call “Timelines Short Stories,” so there.

Delaney Wolff Fox is a spy. A cute spy. A deadly spy.

A spy you want at your back when stuff gets real.

From a palatial office in Johannesburg, to a fancy whisky bar in Sydney, Australia, to a beautiful private beach in southwest Florida, to the great and wild city of New Orleans, Captain Delaney Fox, United States Space Force Marines (Intelligence Division) finds herself beset by assassins at every turn, while first saving an alien government’s valuable artifact from the South African cartel that’s stolen it, and then being assigned to guard said artifact while it completes a world tour, on loan from that same alien government.

But like the proverbial fox in the proverbial henhouse, you can count on Delaney to complete the mission and come out with the prize, intact and in hand – even if the “farmer” isn’t all that keen about her doing so.

Free to read on Kindle Unlimited, or $1.49 to buy.

Direct Link

Thank you!

This is really just November 8-9…

Especially to the person who bought the copy of A Midsummer Night’s Hunt 🙂

I hope the books have been enjoyable.  Please do at least rate or post a review.  Thanks again!

And after you read the freebies…

Two requests:

  • If you liked the ones you read, please offer a short review on Amazon.  It would be nice to have some actually-positive reviews for Lion, if you thought it was worth your time, rather than just one dude who read 70 pages of it and said, “Bah, too political.”
  • And please don’t forget there are a couple of other e-books available. Both are Kindle-only, available either to buy for the low, low prices of only 99 cents, or to read for free via Kindle Unlimited.

I’m sitting here right now working on the sequel to The Lion of God, so that will be along at some point.  I was hoping around Christmas, but the general craziness around here has been such that it probably won’t be till after New Year’s.  Which may be good, because the faster we get out of this fucked-up year, the better…

The sequel to Saving The Spring:

Direct link to A Midsummer Night’s Hunt

and a prequel to The Lion of God:

Direct link

Two books, free, this weekend (7-8 Nov)

Saving the Spring and The Lion of God are both on Kindle Free Book promotions this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, November 7 and 8).  Admittedly, 99 cents and $2.99 isn’t a lot of money, but “free” is still better than 99 cents or $2.99.

If you’re looking for something to read, well, you could do worse. 😀

Direct link to Saving The Spring

Direct link to The Lion of God

A Midsummer Night’s Hunt (Seasons #2) is published

A little while ago I pushed the button on the second Seasons story.  If it’s not up already (the KDP page currently says “LIVE“), it should show up “soon” for Amazon Kindle for purchase (99 cents) and Kindle Unlimited.

At the same time, I re-uploaded Saving the Spring again with a couple of typo corrections KDP brought to my attention.  (It didn’t used to do that; must be a new feature.)

A Midsummer Night’s Hunt is a longer story (my Kindle says it clocks at about an hour and a half to read) and is really more of a novelette than a short story.  Indeed, it runs right up to the ceiling of novelette length and bangs on the pipes of being a novel.  But it’s not a novel.

It’s also written in third person rather than being Jack’s first-person recounting of the tale.  That worked for the first story, I don’t think it would work for this story.

And there are illustrations!  Yes, I went apeshit with DAZ3D Studio and there are seven (7) full-color images in addition to the cover.

And it’s still only 99 cents (or, of course, free to read on KU)!  Such a deal.

Direct link

Saving the Spring update

If you notice in your Kindle content management page that there is an update to Saving the Spring, it’s only an update to place the story into the Seasons series as #1.  I had no plans to make a series out of my fantasy short story, so it wasn’t originally published that way.  It hasn’t yet updated as of 9PM tonight, so it will probably be a day or two before that happens.  Literally the only changes made were to add “Seasons #1” to the cover and the title page, and add a couple of notes to the copyright page.  No change was made to the text of the story.  [Update, next day:  Apparently I did not make enough changes to warrant Amazon putting up an “Update Available” link in the content manager, so there you have it.]

This is, of course, preparatory to the release of the second story, A Midsummer Night’s Hunt, “soon”.  I’m aiming for the end of September.  If I can just get the last scene written, that will happen.  It’s that close.  The last time I wrote about it, the story was 8,475 words long.  It’s now nearly twice that, 16,273 words and probably about a thousand words to go.  There are also several color illustrations (!) which even look good on a greyscale 10th gen. Kindle Oasis.  In fact, if I can get Joelle’s dForce-enabled dress to stop exploding when I simulate it in DAZ3D, I might have another one done here shortly.

If you liked Saving the Spring, you will find A Midsummer Night’s Hunt a little different; third person rather than Jack doing the narrative, all four of the Asgardians more involved in the story, a couple more fight scenes, and chupacabra.  So far Odin hasn’t made an appearance, but Hugin and Munin have, and Geri and Freki may make a cameo near the end since Sarah likes them so much.  (For her, they’re like the pet dogs she never had.)  Oh…do I have a picture of that?  Sure I do.

Woof!

(Where’s the scythe?  That gets discussed.)

Anyway, I hope you like the story when it’s done.  It’ll still be 99 cents to buy or free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Words keep piling up

I’m 8500 words into the second “Seasons” short story I talked about down below.  It’s kind of slow going because it didn’t all pop into my head in a single shot like the first one did.

When it comes to writing, I’m a horrific pantser.  Which, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, means “seat of the pants writer”.  I don’t plot; I write stuff that comes into my head and then I link it together.  If something I wrote doesn’t work, it gets tossed.  Stuff gets changed on the fly.  There’s no crying in pantser writing.

Now, this isn’t really a problem if you’re writing a short story, or maybe even a novella, but without a plot outline, writing a novel with a complicated plot and multiple characters can become a real pain.  I found that out when I wrote The Lion of God…or more to the point, when I was editing The Lion of God.  The initial draft had plot holes you could drive a truck through.  The draft I actually published may still have plot holes; I know it has mistakes that I’ve documented in another post.  I’m being more careful with the sequel but I still don’t have a formal plot outline for it.  It’s just all in my head and it’s still jelling.  And there are a few snippets of later parts of the story that have outpaced the first three chapters that are materially finished.  Actually….I’ve already written the ending.  Pants.  Definitely pants.

For what it’s worth, I do have a timeline for The Lion of God.  Because even I can’t keep track of what happened when, across two timelines and sixty years of linear time in both of them.

Saving the Spring, on the other hand, was pretty much a “sit down and write it out in order” proposition.  There was one section I didn’t write in sequence (the fight between Jack, Rufus, and Joelle, and Loki’s constructs).  I wasn’t sure how to write it when I got to it, but the muse was pushing me to keep going.  Since I knew what happened after the fight, I just jumped over it and came back later.

When I wrote The Reason, I knew where I was going from the start, because I’d already thought it out as backstory for The Lion of God.  So that got finished pretty quickly; I spent more time polishing it (and researching after the fact — and let me warn you, unless you have a strong stomach, do not go researching fractures of the femur) than I did writing it.

Now we come to A Midsummer Night’s Hunt.

It’s being written in order, mostly.  The story from start to 8,475 words is all one piece, without any sections marked “fill in later”.  There’s a lot more Sarah in this one than in the other one, and that’s good; I like writing her.  Valkyries turn out to be fun to write.  Joelle, as I tried to suggest in the first story, still needs a little “seasoning” before she’ll be a good warrior; well, go look up the Norse goddess Nanna, and other than jumping on her husband’s funeral fire boat with him, tell me what she actually did in Asgard.  Rufus is still a big, bluff, red-headed Nordic man-at-arms who happens to be the god Baldur (the aforementioned husband of Nanna, who bought it when Loki managed to sneak a dart made from mistletoe into the hands of Baldur’s blind brother Hodr, at a time when folks were shooting and tossing all kinds of stuff at Baldur, who was immune to anything except…well, you get it).  Jack, now that he’s got his memories back, is the oldest of the bunch, and the natural leader of the group.

It’s no secret, really, that they’re hunting chupacabra in New Mexico.  And I know why, and how that’s going to turn out, and (vaguely) how I’m going to get from where I am to there in another, hmm, 4,000 words or so.

Or maybe 5,000.  Or 6,000.  Whatever.  Sooner or later (hopefully sooner, so I can get back to The Lion and The Lizard), it will be finished.

And then you’ll find out why Joelle’s Queen of Spring outfit is always perfectly clean, and why she never gets wounded in battle.  It frankly puzzled me, till just the other night when I figured it out.

Þǫkk fyrir lesturinn!

Sarah/Sigrdrifa, character studies

Done in DAZ, of course.  In the new story, she has, so far, worn the two outfits on the right.  In fairness, of course, they interchange when she shifts forms.

The left outfit, well, we’ll see if it has a place in this story.  (The truth is, I’ve had that dress in the inventory for a while because it was on sale, and hadn’t used it so far.)  But our Valkyrja cleans up nice, doesn’t she?

I should probably stop screwing around with DAZ and write…