#2 ORIA’S GAMBIT August 16
#2 ORIA’S GAMBIT August 16
A well-kept secret about the reality of signing with an agent, one way to assess whether your agent is really working for you, and other thoughts on building the ability to produce work. Also, LONEN’S WAR is out in audio!
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.
Sheer ambrosia today is Tuesday August Second so it’s 8 2 2022 a good set of numbers. My birthday is coming up ah later this month in twenty days so that will be another set of eights and twos though I don’t know if I’ll get to podcasts that day I’ll um, be visiting my mother man stepdad in Tucson. So I don’t know maybe we can convince my mom to do a birthday podcast with me and we could just I don’t know reminisce about my birth. Probably we don’t want that. Let’s rethink. So anyway, today is exciting because the. Audio book of Lonen’s War releases today. Very exciting. Ah this is book one of the sorceer’s moon’s books of which there are None um sorceress moons was the none series I did. Totally indie that I did plan to self-publish from the beginning and did it indie all along that as opposed to some of the others where it was like a series that started in trab traad pub. That I continued in indie or it’s a lot of noises out there. Don’t know what that was um or one that I’d gotten the rights back and self-pubished so to. Ah, sorcers moons first came out in 2016 which is amazing right? Six years ago now and I started that when I first left the day job was kicked out of the nest in a fall of 2015 because my team was downsized and I decided to try to. Make it as a full-time writer without a day job. That’s my definition. Um, there are people who disagree with me but um, and I think it’s because being a full-time writer has a certain cachet and so people want to lay claim to it. But. Yeah, that’s what it is for me is if ah I have no other day job.
Ah, so ah, but Scribd Scr I bd scribb bought the audio rights for Sorcerous Moons which my lovely agent negotiated for me for those of you who are wondering how that works. For your indie pub books. You don’t have to have an agent to negotiate for you. But it’s great that my agent does want to do that for me and then she does get the percentage which is you know that’s fine. Ah she made a lot of changes to the contract. The negotiations took a long time. Ah, which I knew she was actively working on because she would send me updates as opposed to a previous agent who claimed to be spending a lot of time in negotiations when actually that meant he just wasn’t getting to it and it was sitting ah on his desk. If he had one not that I’m bitter. He claimed to spend a lot of time on negotiations on the contracts for a particular pair of books and I’ve compared it to the contracts that my previous agent. Ah. Put through that I know she did not do a lot of negotiating and I don’t see any difference so that’s one way that you know how do you know? I’m not a Broadway singer. But if I were. I would want to play Cinderella in any of her incarnations. That’s probably not true I like Amy Adams so so there’s a little bit of a stream of consciousness riffing for you. Ah, anyway, Lonen’s War out today. Dave started releasing the audiobook at the same time I have polled Sorcerous moons ah out of KU Lonen’s Reign book 6 will remain in KU until like September sixth because for some reason that never got uploaded into k u correctly, so it’s lagging behind the others but gradually the other books in the series are coming out of k u and I am putting them back up wide. So Lonen’s War is now wide again everywhere. So oh and I even had my phone out so I could show you the script listing here. It oh big flashing glare from the.
Rising sun if you’re on video but there’s the cover for Lonen’s War audio pretty cool and ah I’ve scribbed as an app on my phone and I really like it which I know is sounds like much right? because yo here I am. Like oh look listen to my audio book. Ah, but that’s exactly how I sound to but um, one cool thing that Scribd when they bought the rights to do audio for this series is they gave me a free subscription to scrib for like a year which. Let me tell you people none of my other audio book trad publishers have done that they in fact, some of my other books they would even give me a copy of my own frickin book on audio and I ended up having to buy it. Just so I could listen to it and know what my book sounded like on audio It’s such a huge mess. It’s stupid. Um, we all know we don’t really love audible and this is one of the big reasons. Why but scribbed is interesting because you can um. Read ebooks on here as well as listen to audiobooks and it’s a nice It’s a really nice app and they have a lot of stuff on here. I’m not a big audiobook listener but sometimes because I can listen. For free. Well, it’s actually is for free since I didn’t have to pay for my so so my subscription that I can try books out on audio that I’m not sure if I want to to buy and rate and then sometimes if I like them on audio i’ll. Stand by them and read them on kindmda or whatever. So anyway, I will put those links up in the show notes please check out the audio book if you’ve already read sorceress moons um, tell your friends who like to listen to fantasy romance on audio. Ah, Lonen’s War is a slow burn princess in a tower. One of the things that I learned as an aside at a polyon is that the readers who ask you to tell them about your books. They really want to hear the tropes and I am not. Always good at saying tropes. Ah I found that I was not good at explaining what dark wizard was about dark wizard did not sell as well in person as it does online. It was really interesting to see the difference of what things sold well in person as opposed to online. Ah.
But I did not do a good job of communicating what the dark wizard books were about for whatever reason. But I think it’s tropes I need to figure out what the tropes are for that book and series. Yeah, ah. But Lonen’s War. Do I even know my tropes I mean it’s enemies to lovers and he is attacking her city. He comes from the barbarians and she is literally a princess. Who is psychically fragile and so must live up in the tower away from all of the psychic energy of the city and because of this she’s like the only member of the royal family left alive when the barbarians win and. She ends up and lonan is a younger son but he is also ends up being the only one left alive of his family and so the 2 end up negotiating with each other to stop the violence to find a peace. Which of course inevitably involves them getting married right? Um, but that doesn’t happen till later. It is a slow burn I’ve seen I think it’s still like the top review on Amazon is this one person is like they don’t even touch each other. For the first book and it’s true but oria can’t be touched because of the um of her psychic abilities. She um, it’s it’s agonizing for her to be touched by somebody so they figure out very creative ways. To overcome that although much of that happens in book two after the wedding night. Um I’ve considered consolidating those and making them into a trilogy. You could put books 1 and 2 together and I mean it would work. 1 and 2 3 and 4 5 and 6 but I just left them as the separate books. So I do have um the audio books are they’re putting them out as a staggered release and let’s see if I can tell you. I think um, today’s August second I think the second one’s coming out. She gave me a tentative list. she said it might not happen um exactly on that she said it might change that’s it August Sixteenth is book 2 so they’re putting them out.
I think they’re looking at every two weeks so yeah by the time um the sixth book comes out and audio it will come out. It’ll be white. It’ll be out of k you so um. Have to kind of keep up with those things.
One thing I talked about with agent Sarah when we had lunch at Apollycon was I might just have the agency take over publishing the ah 7 contemporary bdsm books that I got back from Carina Press ah that would mean that the agency gets 15% of those books but would also mean that I don’t have to deal with them I’m trying to decide. Um, it would be good for me to do them myself. Algorithm wise I do get more money It’s also more work and. It’s no longer squarely on brand for me. So I don’t know if it would help with my other list. You know. Um, so still remaining on my notes that I took on the plane. 1 thing I was thinking about is how we learn how to work how we learn how to produce work and i. Got to have lunch with a newbie author at Apollycon. She’s an agency sister Tiff Holloman and she is not yet published so she signed with my same agent. Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost literary right before pandemic hit and excuse me that first book just didn’t so which happens sometimes um, actually happens more than people realize. And Tiff and I had lunch in part I think because she she did say that Sarah suggested that she make contact with me just because here I am I am the advice giver and ah, you know and I said you know I know it’s really frustrating when. The book that you signed an agent with doesn’t sell because there is a tendency to think when you’re a newbie author that once you get your agent that you haven’t made and I know so many people that it just doesn’t work out that way for whatever reason the book doesn’t sell. The agent doesn’t turn out I don’t know to be someone who actually does any work which is not the case with Sarah Sarah is awesome but
Sorry I’m starting to go down the mental path of like that first agent that didn’t like to work. Ah, if he had liked to work. He could have done a lot but he was just um I don’t know fatally and eternally distracted. So anyway, um, we talked about that Dave Tiff has written another book and they’re going out on submission with that so fingers crossed with her for her on that. Ah, really lovely. Go. She’s a lawyer works for the federal government. In Dc so she was local and so she came to the con to see how it was but then ah you know into meet with Sarah and so it was really nice that we got to have lunch with each other and one of the things we talked about was productivity. Ah, which of course is something people ask me about a lot and I talk about a lot on this podcast and I do a fair amount of author coaching on the topic because that’s always a question right? is how do we be productive. How do we get the work done and so I was giving her advice on writing in the morning. Before she goes to work. It’s ah yo that for me writing every day at the same time every day was the thing that worked and it’s the thing is is as I believe that is a guaranteed process. A lot of people feel like that’s not possible and I understand ah but. If you do that if you get in the habit of writing every day at the same time every day and it doesn’t have to be for very long that you will build a writing habit and that’s the most important thing that you need to reliably produce work. And she was lighting up as I was talking about this because she’s saying you know when I get home at the end of the day and after I’ve put the kid to bed and all of that and I said yeah, you’re done. You’re you’re out of juice and that’s why I write in the morning because that’s when I have the juice different people. Have different processes and some people have more juice late at night but if you have a day job if you have children if you have lots of day responsibilities then it’s not reasonable to expect your creative self to have much juice. At the end of the day after you’ve already done everything for everybody else, some people might but most of us know me I’m I’m kind of brain fried after these days. Ah after about five or six o’clock at night I am just I’m done and that’s when I want to read books.
Or watch shows and that was ah that’s where I’m at. I was thinking about talking about something ah that I just watched but or several things that I watched but I think I’ll save that and finish this thought. So anyway, one of the things I was thinking about was how no one ever taught me how to study. I did get the advice to write every day at the same time every day for more than one author and I resisted it for a very long time I did not want to do that. It felt incredibly difficult for me and part of the reason that I started doing it in the morning was it was the only time. That I could find where I could actually reliably write at the same time every day so I started getting up at four thirty or five and I was not a morning person so that I could write 2 hours before I went to work and then from there my day got progressively crazier. So. That was the one thing I could count on and as I told Tiff some of the stuff I wrote back then like hopeful monsters is one oh I’ll link to hopeful monsters if you all want to read that little story. Um, some of those things are seriously psychedelic and it’s because I was sleep deprived. And she was saying well I don’t know if I could go to bed early enough to be able to get up that early and I said I tell you what? at least the way it worked for me was if I made myself get up that early eventually I shifted and I was going to sleep early which is why I go to sleep around 9 because I wake up at 5 and that works for me. So anyway I was just thinking about in college my transition from high school to college and how in high school I just almost never studied I was fortunate enough to um. I’m an auditory learner so I could sit in class and listen and as long as the teacher had said it at some point I could put it down on the test I’m also good at absorbing from reading and I like to read so I would read the the assignments. Ah but I never worked very hard because I didn’t have to. And the classes I would have had to work in. Um I did not do great in and I was thinking about my transition to college because I went to a private liberal arts University Washington University in St Louis which I loved but I struggled in some of the classes because.
I needed to study and I didn’t know how and looking back mosquito if I had implemented that schedule then which of course never occurred to me but that first semester. I took a calculus class that started at seven thirty in the morning because I had already in high school been used to getting up that early. We had an ap biology class that I think school started at like 8 or 8:05 and the ap biology class had all um. Voted and agreed because we were hopeless overachievers to start class at seven thirty so that we could do some dissections and the sun is coming to get me here but I’m almost done. Ah, so I did that calculus class at 7:30 4 days a week and and I liked getting up and going to that class early but I didn’t work on learning the equations and so forth outside of class. Ah so it was not not. Not great and I felt like it was because I wasn’t good at it. But it’s simply that I couldn’t just absorb it and regurgitate it. So I wish if I were going back and I don’t often have something to say to my younger self but i. Wish that it had occurred to me or that someone had suggested it to me. Ah, if I had just in college and grad school gotten up early and studied did my. Um I could always do the readings I always did the readings. But if I just like run the math problems worked the various things biochemistry and so forth if I had just done that stuff for like 2 hours every morning I would have um. Probably would have done much much better than I did and I didn’t do abysmally but I didn’t do it brilliantly either. So there’s something to be said for that learning how to work incrementally incrementally which I know I’m a big fan of that. It took me a long time to figure it out and it was because I wanted to write novels and I had deadlines it was only after I had a traditional deal. Um, actually I ended up with several at once and I started to panic about being able to meet those deadlines.
That that was when I got really ritualized with my goals and deliberate about writing for a couple hours every morning and I still did it for a very long time up until I left the day job that was a nice circular. Discussion which I don’t often do wrap around to the beginning again. Um, and then I continued it after I got laid off because I already had the habit built so thoughts thoughts um, please share about the Lonen’s War audio book or and that’s wide now. Be nice to this series has new covers. So let’s um, we’ll be lovely to see it get a little resurgence and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.
I need that kick today today is – say it with me – friday!
Ah, ah, April Twenty ninth for all intents and purposes. Not for all intensive purposes which is how some students hear it the end of April I mean we get tomorrow. But. If today is actually your Friday and your last work day of the week that’s pretty much sand of april.
Um, so amazing huh First third of 2022 over has it been fast for you or slow. Um a lot of people. It seems like been having. You know, not a great year so far even though things are better. You know we’re opening up from pandemic and everything um people still coping coping with all the things right? So let’s see. Things are good here. We have a little bit of haze from the fires a little bit of smoke haze and very cold tumbling wind this morning I tried to go out to the grape arbor and it was um, yeah too too chilly too. Um. With the high walls around the garden. It’s usually more protected but not this morning so I am being a weeny and being inside.
I’m trying to think of what do I have to tell you I think I’m a little tired today I kind of hit tired yesterday afternoon I’ve hit 10000 words for the week that the guy should turn this off. Okay, um, um, it. 67500 on this book and yeah I’ve done over 10000 words this week a little bit more 11000 if you count a couple of blog. Posty type things that I’ve done. Um, so yeah, so the question is it’s not really a question. Ah I I’ve been doing slightly more than 2500 each day just by like 50 words to get myself back on trap track. To finish on May thirteenth is a day I want to be done drafting so that I can then spend the week of May sixteenth doing a full revision and the following week doing a proof I’m doing something different this time did I mention this. I am I’m going to do my own proofing. Usually I pay a proof reader. It’s funny as time goes on I stop paying so many editors and turning into these authors that I speak out a guest saying that everybody needs an editor. But. Do think everybody needs an editor except now I think I don’t um, I’ve stopped paying a developmental editor partly because it’s expensive. It added several weeks into the drafting time and. I didn’t feel like I was getting that much out of it I didn’t feel like um, the editors I was paying to give me content edits were really changing all that much about the story or the things that they were changing I wasn’t convinced that it was making them. All that much better which is kind of a funny place to be but if I have doubts I have my crip partners or beta readers read and since everybody uses those words. Interchangeably I think it’s just out of fashion to say crit partner ah nobody seems to use that word anymore. I think maybe it’s the the shit sandwich thing you know nobody wants to use the word criticism anymore. Um shake my cane shake my wand.
Oh and it chimed. ah ah ah yeah so whoever having someone read to give me content subsantive feedback on the book. Um, probably I should do that. I do everyone’s while but it’s when I have doubts so I had gone to having someone proofread the book whos also would give me copy edits and 1 thing I found in doing my big reread of the Heirs of magic. Books because I read the prequel novella and the first 3 in order to write this book for and I kept finding mistakes and I know that there’s you know mistakes are always going to get through but I was trying to decide. I mean I write pretty clean copy I’m I’m fortunate that way that I’m a good speller and I know the punctuation and grammar rules you know and I always say that I don’t know Commas I think comma rules are arbitrary. So I was thinking oh and then one other thing happened is that now I have all 3 Bonds of Magic books in Audio Grey Magic is still waiting to go live but my audiobook narrator. Sent me lists of like errors and typos that she found because reading it out loud. She catches those things and my proof reader was adding five days into the process which and she was doing a great job. You know. Really nothing against her I know that things are always going to slip through but on this book I thought I would experiment and see because I know I want to make sure to catch everything to wind up this series and possibly in this world I don’t know if all right in this world again. Um. Yeah we’ll see but I’m I’m feeling like maybe that’s enough for this world for the moment anyway. So if I spend a week revising this book and then I thought well if I did my own proofing if I spend four days the week of May Twenty third reading the book out loud then I should be able to catch all the typos I can look up any of the formatting our grammatical stuff that I’m not entirely certain of and save myself some money and also give myself that final.
Chance to go through because I find things like those word echoes on those awkward phrasings. So this is my experiment I’m going to see if that extra pass of reading aloud um will add anything. To my revision process. So um, let’s see seems like I something happened on Thursday yesterday that I wanted to tell you about hold on who else. I suppose anything that happened Wednesday I would have talked about yesterday I did notice looking at my calendar I was trying to figure out what all I’ve been doing the last few days who knows playing on the streets obviously but shout out to agent Sarah it is her birthday today. Happy birthday Sarah! Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency who works her butt off for her clients and I say this? um I think it’s easy for people to say that. Ah, you know and it’s authors develop certain lingo that then other authors imitate wanting to sound like real authors you know and they’re like oh my amazing agent I remember that when I was a newbie writer. Ah like this one gal I followed was always talking about. And should always put it in capital letters. Amazing agent I don’t remember Anastasia it wasn’t that I don’t remember who it was and you know she would just gush. You know oh spoke with amazing agent and this was in the newer days of Twitter when I felt like we had more conversations. Got to know people. It could be people still do that. But I’ve ended up backing away from Twitter so much and now that Elon Musk wants to turn it into a free for all of we all are we gonna be leaving Twitter.
I’ve been seeing some think pieces on what it means for a billionaire to own a social media marketplace like Twitter or Facebook and how that shapes the world question is what are we gonna do about it. Somebody posted the other day about um that the Eu has passed a law. It’s like in the first stage it hasn’t been ah, fully executed like whatever their version of like then you know, starting in the senate and having to go to the house or vice versa. So it’s not a thing yet but they did pass the resolution to make the law or what have you ah to force companies like Amazon and Facebook and so forth to reveal their algorithms and to make them egalitarian and people were saying oh they were excited. Celebrating saying you know Amazon might finally have to reveal their algorithm to us you know like how are they you know promoting some books and not others and I thought I didn’t want to reign on their happy parade. But I was thinking. It’s just never gonna happen Amazon. These companies are never going to ris feel there there I’ll go the rhythms they’re gonna consider it proprietary information. They won’t do it I I could be wrong. It’s happened put it on the calendar. So anyway, um, how did I get there.
Sometimes I wish I could replay this thing so I could find my train of thought again sorry I’m a little fuzzy brained today. So let’s see algorithms legalities. Is it gone forever. It might be you guys are shouting at me I also wish that I could hear you tell me what was I thinking about something I was gonna tell you and then I figured out know that Sarah’s birthday I guess yeah, that was it. Agents ah see I can rewind mentally kind of um, but anyway the scout that I used to follow you know and people would always be like oh my amazing agent this and and following her particular journey which I’ve always hated my journey to publication. Ah, we don’t hear that nearly so much anymore probably because there’s so much self- publishing but especially back then because we’re talking more than ten years ago now right? That’s amazing. You know like 2009 is when I joined Twitter. Things were very much about tribe publishing you know and so people would be like posting their milestones so that you like we could follow their journey from pre-published to astonishingly successful the problem with chronicling your journey to publication like that is that. Not everybody made it there and that certainly happened with this gal and I could see her being going back and forth with her agent where she would like revise her book that her agent had signed her on and the agent still didn’t like it and she would talk about oh well, she was going to have to gut it again, but amazing agent Anastasia had given her. You know all of these great notes and she was going to do it again and and I mean this went on for a long time and I was thinking and she’d never even gone on submission and even then being well I wasn’t entirely a baby writer because I’d been in the nonfiction circles for a long time. So I knew how publishing worked and was like she just. And I keep you revising forever chasing some goal some intangible it wasn’t clear to me like what this agent wanted her to do and then eventually she ended up parting waste with the agent you know and she reported this faithfully too. We’ve parted ways because we’re just not a great fit and like and this agent never took her book out on submission. So it was a live and learn kind of thing. Maybe that was beneficial to me that she chronicled her journey to not publishing I don’t think she ever got a book published.
Anyway, um, was her agent really amazing was she as delighted as she wanted her chronicle to portray probably not but my agent Sarah is a hell of a worker. She is. Communicative ambitious she takes amazing care of her clients. Ah she is a delightful person in every way and I know that you know like I’m not always an easy client to work with.
Neither is Grace Draven for that matter. Also one of Sarah’s clients because we are very definitive about what we need as far as making money and what we put into our self- publishing careers which isn’t always easy for an agent because and there are some agents out there who are like no I don’t want you to so. Publish and Sarah doesn’t ask that of us she she works with us and I I appreciate her I appreciate you Sarah if you listen to this? Um, yeah, you really are an amazing agent. So um, the other exciting thing is that Lonen’s War is out today in Kindle Unlimited with the new covers I probably have to figure out how to brand things. As far as the metadata for Kindle Unlimited readers but because right now the ranking is really really super low. Ah you know and it’s interesting because and I’ve said this often right that I feel like the kindle unlimited ecosystem is just a really different set of readers. And I see this all the time I see these? um you know, authors celebrating other author who are like Kindle un limited famous that I’ve never heard of and the reader is recommending these books and series and they’re just these circles almost don’t overlap anymore. I grew irritated with some of the science fiction and fantasy people the other day and I won’t say why sorry I’m not going to spill that tea but there are circles of snobbery in this business and people forget that. Their particular circle is not the only one in the universe and they take that because they’ve they have never heard of an author that therefore what they’re doing is not worthwhile and it’s not true. That’s not true. So. This is like so far the most abysmal release that I’ve had in a really long time. But I think it’s because I’m so unknown to this Kindle unlimited audience. So I’m looking on it as a challenge to to pick it up I was ah. Venting to some of my writer friends hi gals. Thank you I appreciate you yesterday because one of my longtime readers and I mentioned this I think on yesterday’s podcast does not like the new covers for sorcer moons and and it it kind of got me down and and one of the gals said you know not to let it.
Diminish my joy and an assistant Carien said that said the same thing assistant Carien is always ah, awesome. Awesome assistant andastasia ah, um, but yeah, this girl. Who is my reader said well that she missed the pretty covers and said um, finished up with saying she said it was only weapons and she wouldn’t pick these up in a store and I was like oh okay, well first of all I mean the first covers are always going to be there. Guys they’re they’re out there if you love the first covers. Great um, but also I’m not trying to tell this series to the people who already read it right? I’m trying to communicate the genre to this new group of readers. And for the record it is not only weapons on the covers. It is. There’s lots of other elements on the covers and and Carien was resistant to me changing it at first too and now even she is saying that she loves the look of the new series. It’s it’s much more cohesive than it used to be and. I’m looking forward to yeah to just to reach these new readers. Ah, it’s it’s exciting. So um, yeah, lones were out today if you’re in kindle unlimited if you know people enkindle unlimited please share. Um. I I want to want to reach those fantasy romance readers slow burn romance lots of epic fantasy and warrior stuff in it which this was another thing when we were discussing it when this gal said you know gone were the the girls and the horses. And the dragons and that it was only weapons and that it looked like masculine fantasy and I thought why are we correlating weapons with masculine fantasy because I mean and this is someone who’s read all of my books I have female warriors right? You know I invented an entire martial arts system for ah well for Ursula and then ah Kaja and Jenna/Ivariel all follow it. Jepp follow follows it and Jack does too now. They’re all part of that. System and it’s part of the marsh I I not part of I imagined it reimagined it from mar martial art systems that I trained in and I have weapons in my office and and I’m a girlie girl. So um, yeah i.
I don’t like the idea that that warrior stuff is correlated only with masculine fantasy. So anyway, off I go to get my final 2500 for the week I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Um I hope I get to get out in the garden this weekend. That’s my my big goal for it and I will talk to you all on Monday take care bye bye.
I’m having trouble I like hit my coffee cup with the mouse here. This is the blooper reel all right by.
This week at the SFF Seven we’re discussing Cover Trends. We’re asking “What was, is, and will be “hot” in cover art/style for your sub-genre? If you have a say in your covers, will you chase the trend or will you stick with the image in your mind?”
These were among the first book covers I ever commissioned and I particularly adore the cover for book one, LONEN’S WAR. It does come straight from a scene in the book – a pivotal scene that was, in part, the genesis image for the story – and the artist (Louisa Gallie) exactly nailed what I had in mind.
I will always be grateful for Louisa’s gorgeous art and I will always love this cover.
But, recently, people have been pointing out that these covers no longer convey what kind of story these books tell. The fantasy romance genre has moved on. If I want to tell readers that this IS the kind of thing they’re looking for, then I should consider updating to match current trends.
So I did!
Behold: The new cover for LONEN’S WAR!
I contracted with BZN Studio Designs to design new covers for all six books. Right now the series isn’t available, but once I have all six covers, I’ll re-launch the series with some fanfare. I’m super excited to see how they do with the new covers. I’ve heard some people (including my own assistant!) say scathingly that these look like all the other covers out there in this subgenre, and there’s truth to that.
AND THAT’S THE POINT.
The content is what makes the stories unique. The covers are doing the job they’re supposed to do. Caught your eye, did it? I hope so! And I’m hoping you also know exactly what kind of story you’ll get.
LA GUERRE DE LONEN, the French translation of LONEN’S WAR, the first in my six-book fantasy romance series, Sorcerous Moons, is live! I’m eager to see how my University French holds up to attempting a read.
Finally, SEASONS OF SORCERY is on sale for only $2.49! (Down from $6.99.) Great time to grab a copy of this amazing Fantasy Anthology.
Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is A Little Love For Your Backlist: Promo/Blurb from one of your previously published books. Come on over for mine.
I received a very interesting set of questions on Facebook from a reader who just finished reading WARRIOR OF THE WORLD. They’re such good questions that they deserve a thoughtful answer, so I decided to do that here. I hope she doesn’t mind!
…one of the things that I feel like you do extremely well is create empathy for both “sides” of a war/ disagreement/conflict. In art, as in life I see most often empathy/sympathy being created with blame/making the other side the “bad guy”, etc. You seem to…skip that part? So this is a two part question:
1. Do you find yourself able to do that within your own life? (like are you less of a blamer, more of a solution finder – I’m working so so so hard on that with my kids and am interested in the HOW of it)
2. And two, HOW do you do it, first within yourself, and then secondarily, how do you WRITE it so that I, as a reader, don’t find myself coming down overly hard on one side – how do you make the gray the overwhelming tone, rather than the black and white?
So, here are my answers, plus a few more thoughts.
Looking at the story in WARRIOR OF THE WORLD, part of what I wanted to get was the female perspective on war. I think a whole lot of war – both in real life and in fiction – tends to be driven by male aggression. It’s not across the board, but I think it’s a strong driver, particularly in this century when so many wars have been driven by political ambitions and corporations wanting to monopolize resources. The war pending in this book is about controlling scarce resources, with those on the lean end wanting to attack those with plenty. The women in the book point out that just because one arm of a society is aggressive, however, doesn’t mean that everyone in that culture feels the same. A large part of any society gets dragged along with whatever the leaders decide – and often those being dragged along are women, children, the elderly, and those unable or unwilling to be warriors, for whatever reason. I think this was maybe different in other wars. I like to imagine the women of the American Revolutionary War and Civil War were much more involved because those were conflicts that directly impacted daily living and quality of life.
Now, men often criticize women writers for focusing on what they perceive as minutiae. Naturally, however, the person who sits down at table to consume a meal has a very different perspective than the person responsible for putting three nutritious meals on that table every day. This doesn’t have to fall out along gender lines, but it often does, particularly in the last century. When you have pretty much one gender in another country fighting a war and the other back at home, then you know which one is thinking about the daily minutiae of living. So, in this story, I wanted to deliberately draw that out and have the women of the family say, “Hey, who are you raging at? Do you think the babies and eldsters want to attack you?” They’re taking that position of recognizing the other’s story.
This is something that’s important to me as a person and as a writer, which is part of why I love the trope of enemies-to-lovers. That’s part of why I put LONEN’S WAR at the top, though I also explored similar themes in THE MARK OF THE TALA. That LONEN’S WAR cover encapsulates a great deal of that theme for me – of confronting the supposedly monstrous enemy and coming to not only understand them, but to love them. That whole Sorcerous Moons series is about two warring cultures coming together in part by learning each other’s stories.
How’s that for a long answer?
Wow – today is a busy day! First off, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has partnered with Storybundle to produce the 2019 Fantasy Story bundle. Our theme is “kick-ass heroines” and there are tons – with all varieties of ass-kicking abilities – for your reading pleasure. It includes my own THE ARROWS OF THE HEART and 15 other books!
Here’s the scoop:
Welcome to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Fantasy StoryBundle of 2019! We’re pleased to be working with StoryBundle to bring you some amazing stories this year, both from bestselling authors and bright stars on the rise.
It was a real pleasure reading the submissions from SFWA members this year and, as every year, we had a rough time narrowing the selection to just a few books. We think you’ll be delighted as there is something for everyone in this great bundle.
SFWA is over 50 years old and its membership consists of professional writers and publishing professionals from around the globe. It administers the Nebula Awards each year, and so very much more. Check out the SFWA website at sfwa.org for information on genre writing, the field, and other services.
If you want to know more about other SFWA offerings, sign up for our quarterly newsletter, which features new and backlist releases from our members in the area of fiction, games, and other offerings.
Some of the highlights in this bundle are:
• The Arrows of the Heart by Jeffe Kennedy. What do you do when your boyfriend is an animal? Really. An animal.
• The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, Books 1-3 by Annie Bellet. Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer, a mostly-human woman is finally safe – if she can resist using her magic. Or can she?
• The Dragon Blood Collection, Books 1-3 by Lindsay Buroker. A dashing Pilot, a comely Sorcerous and smart mouthed Soulsword all come together in a world intent on killing them.
• Radiance by Grace Draven. A marriage between alien kingdoms – and two “spares” who find beauty in each other, and that heroism comes in many forms.
• Ashwin by Kit Rocha. Can a genetically manipulated soldier be a hero? A healer finds a way to love a man without feelings—and fight for brightness in a dark world.
• The Raven and the Reindeer by Ursula Vernon. An enthralling remix of a classic fairy tale, with a practical heroine who follows her heart to a very different ending.
The SFWA Fantasy bundle only runs for three weeks, so don’t hesitate. It’s a great deal with a ton of terrific fiction just waiting for you click the button. We had a great time reading every book in this bundle. So should you.
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular books, plus SEVEN more!
This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.
Also, if you get my newsletter, you’ve already seen that we revealed the cover of ORIA’S ENCHANTMENT, the long-anticipated (read: took forever for me to get to it) next installment in the Sorcerous Moons series. There’s no preorders for this one, but it should go live by Monday, January 28, 2019. We’ll send a newsletter out as soon as we know at least the Amazon link is live. If you haven’t subscribed, you can here. Or just watch my social media and I’ll try to post those retailer links as I have them.
And now, for the cover, see below!
Finally, I’ve mentioned elsewhere, but maybe not here, that the Sorcerous Moons books will be translated into French! And today my French Publisher, Alter Real, revealed the cover for the translation of LONEN’S WAR, which has very neatly become LA GUERRE DE LONEN. And the cover is super cool.
Check it out below
Finally, there’s a fab giveaway that Rebel Base Books is running to celebrate the recent release of WARRIOR OF THE WORLD, the third and final book in the Chronicles of Dasnaria trilogy. It includes a fantastic bookend I’d love to have for myself. Check it out here.
It’s starting to be spring here. One of the things I love about the early blossoms like these crocus is how they push up from the bracken, surprising me with their sudden spots of color.
I’ve been writing a new character, the first scientist heroine I’ve had since Gwynn in Covenant of Thorns. This one is working as a scientist for her profession, and it’s interesting to get back in that head of a person who meticulously observes and understands nature. I used to be that person, back when I was working on my PhD in Zoology & Physiology. Now I’m thinking about stuff like form and function again, and how organisms fit into an ecosystem. I’ve even been pulling my books on natural history off the shelf to bring those parts of my brain out of the coma they’ve been in all these years. It’s like I’m turning on the lights in a wing of the castle I closed off long ago. The chimneys are belching smoke, lots of dusting to do – but I also rediscovering a lot of great stuff I forget was stored in there.
This is the collaboration I’ve been working on. I’ve been pretty close to the vest about it, but it’s looking like this will happen! My collaborator is Jim Sorenson, who comes from a graphic novel/Transformers/GI Joe background. He lives in Albuquerque (an hour away) with his wife, who is a kick-ass trauma surgeon. Jim brings a whole other element of storytelling to the table, plus he’s experienced in working as part of a team, so he’s incredibly indulgent of my process. He’s also *really* good at observing world rules, so he’s become my walking story bible. I’ve often said I didn’t think I could collaborate with someone else on a book – because I like things MY WAY – but this has been a terrific experience. And fun!
It’s also been a stretch for me, creatively and craft-wise. It reminds me of when I went from writing short – essays and short stories – to writing novels, and I felt like I had to learn to write all over again. This has been a bit like that, learning to develop a story with another brain in the mix.
So, we pitched an idea to Agent Sarah, and we’ve been working it up with her feedback. Jim has now signed with her, too, so we can run all the legalities of the collaboration through the agency. We just finished up another draft and sent it to her to read. That’s one of the “future project balls” I’ve been juggling that I mentioned in my Sunday post at the SFF Seven. Fingers crossed we can go on submission with it soon!