16 May

Theme!

If the word “theme” gives you flashbacks to high school lit class and your withered soul is croaking “Kiiiiill meeeee,” relax. This is not about guessing the intention of some writer who’s been dead for 400 years (or, more accurately, guessing what the teacher’s guide guesses was the intention of some writer who’s been dead for 400 years). There will not be a test. Theme is but a tool in the writer’s toolbox, as a hammer is in a carpenter’s. The person reading the book or sitting in the chair can sense the stability of the structure without ever thinking about the tools used to achieve it. Only the craftsman needs to know how it was accomplished.

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10 May

Someone Asked: Grimdark Edition

Mailbag questions:

Q1: Why did it take 18 months to write Silent Song?

A1: Because 2017 was a trash fire.

I spent much of the year trying to save the world. It was late September before I backed away from that pursuit because it wasn’t doing a damn bit of good in the grand scheme of things and my personal biz was suffering while I exhausted myself playing superhero. I wasn’t able to focus on writing until the last quarter of the year, and it shows in the production timeline.

I completely missed March due to a medication side effect that made me sleep 20 hours a day (and my 4 upright hours weren’t even consecutive), so not one word was written then. In all fairness, few other verbs occurred during that month.

I wrote 100,000 words of porn because that’s quick, thought-free money. (That’s not a dig against erotica or erotic romance writers. I used PORN for a reason.) That writing took away from novel writing, but the novel couldn’t be written and published in 5,000-word chunks every week or so and I have bills to pay, so the porn won the battle for my time.

Although I had a rough draft of the novel by the end of May, which is typical for me, it was a really, really fucked-up rough draft that obviously ignored its fomenting problems in favor of being able to say it was finished. (Have I mentioned I don’t do well with deadlines?) It had to be rewritten basically from scratch. So really, May→May = 1 year, right on schedule.

In summary, 2017 was a bad year all around, and I will conveniently erase it from my memory, along with much of my childhood.

The next book shouldn’t take that long because I’ve learned valuable lessons about how far my time and below-average energy reserves don’t stretch and will limit my extracurricular activities accordingly.

Q2: Why isn’t Silent Song in KU?

A2: Because Saturn is leaving my something-or-other and making me take principled stands that are going to ruin my life. (The horrorscope said “change your life for the better,” but it obviously doesn’t know how publishing works.)

I know romance power readers love KU. If you’re reading a book a day for $10/month, I understand the allure.

On the publisher side of the Amazon middleman, however, an alarming number of people, even when they think they’re cheerleading for KU, talk about the program like they’re in an abusive marriage—“they hit me again,” “I’m being punished for what someone else did,” “I can’t afford to leave,” “it will be just as bad with anyone else,” “the odds of dying are greater if I leave.” There are definite benefits to being in that relationship, but the drawbacks finally outweighed the benefits for me, and I reached the point where I would rather die than stay. At the moment, comparing current launch numbers to previous releases, it looks like I’m going to get that wish! Fortunately, I have a sweet write-for-hire gig that has nothing to do with Amazon and can almost afford to have my romance career murdered. It’s worth it to be out of the daily uproar about what new fuckery is happening on that side of the fence.

I regret losing readers who borrow rather than buy, but freedom comes at a cost and principles demand sacrifice.

At least I had the decency not to start a series in KU and then take it away from you before it was finished!

03 May

Paperback in the pipeline

I got the second batch of paperback proofs today, with the brightness and contrast adjustments. These don’t look like they took a bath in black ink, so I approved them. Paperback should start to pop up at online retailers within a few days. I’ll update the Books page and the Silent Song page with links as I find them.

The shiny finish of the cover isn’t doing it any favors for photography purposes (it’s not this washed-out in real life), but you get the idea about the lack of definition in the initial printing versus the new.

I went through the trouble of getting a mantitty cover, so I demand to see abs, dammit!

24 Apr

Silent Song Preorder and Release Date

Silent Song CoverSilent Song is as good as it’s going to get and has been uploaded to sellers to be released on May 1. This is not tentative—the sellers have the final file, not a placeholder. It’s a done deal. The short preorder period is only to allow for technical difficulties that always seem to occur at one store or another to hold up the full release process.

If you’d like to preorder now, here are links to the major sellers:

Amazon  |  Apple  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

If you don’t trust me (no hard feelings—who among us has not been burned?) and prefer to wait, the New Release and Nothing Else Newsletter will be going out on May 1 to remind your inbox.

As my “thank you” to you for being interested in my books, the early adopter price will be $2.99 until May 15; thereafter, the price will increase to $4.99.

If you’re just browsing and need more information, here’s the book’s page with its description and a long excerpt.

I’m saying this a lot lately, but I mean it every time: Thank you for your patience. I know this book took an unreasonably long time to produce, and I appreciate everyone who stuck around to give it a try.

18 Apr

Progress Report: It’s all over but the screaming

We’re whizzing toward preorder time!

Editor Angie has done what she can. I have addressed her recommendations.

The sad placeholder text on the cover has been replaced.

Silent Song Cover

We tried a dozen “realistic” options for the claw-mark tattoo, and the cheap “suggestion” looks less obnoxious, so that’s how it will stay.

I’m looking at the book file like a reader will be looking at it soon.

Silent Song loaded on my Kindle.

The copyeditor will get it tomorrow, but first I have to do the writerly equivalent of tidying up before the maid comes so she can concentrate on the really messy parts.

The plan is to have preorder set up by close of business Friday. If I somehow miss the preorder cutoff for a May 1 release, I’ll release it immediately rather than make you wait longer for such a stupid reason. WE HAVE ALL WAITED LONG ENOUGH!

ETA 4/19: Proofreading is done. Amazon is loaded.

Preorder for Silent Song set up for Amazon

If I fuck it up, they’ll revoke my preorder privileges for a year, so I wouldn’t have gone forward if I wasn’t absolutely 100% ready to go. They have THE FINAL FILE, not a placeholder.

I’ll format for the other vendors and upload to them tomorrow. I’d like to get it done NOW, but I’ve put in a 14-hour day and I’m about to drop.

ETA 4/19, Later: Okay, I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, so it’s all done and trickling through the system. Links will go up as they become available!

Amazon  |  Google  |  Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Apple

I’ll work on the paperback tomorrow.

ETA 4/20: One of these days, I’ll remember to design a paperback cover FIRST and chop it down to an ebook cover because it is always SUCH a drag trying to make a wraparound cover out of the front only.

Silent Song print cover

Now that I look at it here, my name on the spine is too big. If I shrink that, I can move everything toward the center.

This whole finishing stretch is like that. Stare at the text or the graphics for 12 hours and think it’s fine. Look at it on another device and immediately find 10 things wrong with it.

ETA 4/22: Ebooks are where they belong. Paperback is formatted and awaiting approval so I can order proof copies. Copyright is filed. New-release-and-nothing-else newsletter is scheduled to go out on release day, May 1. I have a couple of ads to design, and then I can stuff this book in a box, forget everything about it, and start cluttering up my desk with something new.

ETA 4/27: The print proof arrived, and the cover is blacker than a politician‘s heart. I knew there were color issues between screen (illuminated) and print (opaque flat), but it hasn’t been a problem with bright-colored covers. I upped the brightness by 20% and the contrast by 10% and sent the cover file back for review.

If you want a paperback, sorry about the extra delay. I just don’t want anybody getting a book as ugly as the one I got. Fingers crossed this round of adjustments is the last.