Gratitude And The Self-Publisher

It’s a funny thing, this self-publishing business. You start out with reasonably realistic expectations–‘I’ll probably only sell a book per month at first’, and ‘It’ll take a long time to build that email list’–and you put your head down and work at the thing.

You sell your book-per-month, and you feel grateful. You’re excited that there’s someone out there every month who wants to read your book. Then it’s four books a month. After that, it’s four books per week. At first you feel delighted: your sales are growing! But the next month, when it’s still only the four books per week, a subtle sense of disappointment begins to creep in. You begin to forget that once you were happy with a book per month.

Soon you’re averaging a sale per day. Giddy excitement! Life has never seemed so good! You may not be one of the best sellers out there–or even one of the best Indie sellers–but you’re not doing too bad for yourself. And your sales are still growing, albiet slowly. Maybe you have a promotion or two. Suddenly there are spikes of twenty to one hundred sales over a day or two, and it feels great! Then you get back to the humdrum sale-per-day after the promotion ends, and suddenly it feels a bit flat…

What’s the problem here? There is no problem. Your sales are fine. Your career is fine. It’s still growing, and it’s still miles ahead of the reasonable expectations you had when you started this thing. And yet, that subtle sense of disappointment still tends to creep in when you’re not watching out for it. You have to remind yourself that a sale-and-a-bit per day is miles ahead of where you reasonably expected to be a few months ago. There are still many miles to go and many readers to reach before you find your audience.

What does this have to do with you, you may be asking? (Apart from my use of the 2nd person for the blog post, that is). To you I reply: Precisely nothing. It’s more of a reminder to myself. But for all the other indie authors out there who sometimes feel glum and disappointed at the amount of books they’re selling (or not selling, as the case may be), try looking back to your beginning as an author.  I bet you’re doing better now than you were then. And you’ve probably done the same thing I have: you’ve become so used to a higher rate of sales that you’ve ceased to be grateful for what you’ve got. Take a moment to remember what it was like when you were starting out. It helps to put things in perspective.

And maybe don’t check your sales every day. That’ll help, too.

A Week Of Ups And Downs

WARNING!! THIS POST CONTAINS MULTIPLE GRATUITOUS LINKS.

Last week was a bit of a wild week. Wolfskin was on blog tour, I started a new WIP (Blackfoot), and Spindle started a month-long stint in Netgalley (not, it has to be said, with particularly glowing reviews). Then, toward the end of the week, Angst! and Drama! But more about that later.

Wolfskin got some really lovely reviews from C.J. Anaya, Jax of Bea’s Book Nook, Sage of Coffee & All Things Random, Maghon of Happy Tails & Tales, Mariela of Just Us Books, and Ashley of Book Nerd’s Paradise. I was given more than a few delightful comments upon the beautiful cover (thanks Joleene!) and overall Wolfskin‘s reception was very positive.WOLFSKIN - 2000

Meanwhile, over on Goodreads and Netgalley, I was discovering just how tough of a crowd Netgalley reviewers are. From them, I learned that a reviewer can love a book and its characters, and want to read the others in the series, and still rate the book at three stars. Whew! That’s when I knew I was in for it 😀 From them I also received my first one-star review! I’m not quite sure whether to be happy I’ve got it now and don’t need to be always dreading it, or whether to be shattered that it’s on my newest book, Spindle. Regardless, the not-so-wonderful reviews have somehow managed to rid me of (most of) my fear of the review process. Some people are just not going to like my book. Some people will rate low. It’s something I don’t need to be afraid of. And the reviews have my no means been all bad: the three-star reviews have been thoughtful and well-written, and there were four stars in there as well.

Back at Wolfskin‘s blog tour, I was being interviewed on not one, not two, but four blogs! Basically, if there is anything you want to know about me and my books (from favourite books to thoughts on fairytales to preference for chocolate or icecream) you can find it out on any of these lovely websites: A.F.E. Smith’s Reflections of Reality, Sandra Fairbrother’s Blog, Kimber Leigh Writes, and Jess Watkins’ A Book Addict’s Bookshelves.

I was also fortunate enough to have a guest post on Mythical Books (From Fantasy to Fairytales) and another on Bookwyrming Thoughts (Villains I’d like to know more about).

Over on Netgalley, Spindle was still jostling for position with Terry Pratchett’s World of Poo on page 11 of Most Requested in Science Fiction/Fantasy.

And then #Plot Twist I got An Email.

It said something like: “Hi. I thought you might like to know that someone is suggesting that you buy reviews” and included a link to an author’s Goodreads blog.

Well. Naturally, I followed the link. And found that the author of the blog had posted a letter they received after doing what I had done earlier- approaching some of Amazon’s Top 100 Reviewers for reviews. This letter purported to be from one of the same reviewers I had approached, and in the plainest of terms, it told the author that he would be glad to review his/her work- for a price. Namely 1 review for $XX, 2 for $XXX, etc. All apparently for his charity of choice.

Cue me feeling physically sick to my stomach. You see, the email I received from the same reviewer had said that he would be glad to review me. It was only after that, that he said he had a charity he would love donations for, and would I mind checking it out. He stated in no uncertain terms that it would not affect his review. I checked out the charity, found it to be for a good cause (library for kids) and trusting that Amazon wouldn’t allow dodgy business under their aegis, I donated (as I do to many other causes).

It was VERY different from the email this other author had received. And that’s when things became rather nasty. This other author then listed ALL THE AUTHORS who had been reviewed by the Top 100 reviewer (myself included) with the very broad suggestion that we had all paid for our reviews, and that the Top 100 reviewer had a reason to make sure we all succeeded.

Cue me throwing up in the bathroom.

One author, playing judge, jury, and executioner with my writing career. Thanks for that, mate. I appreciate it.

I don’t know whether this reviewer is taking money for reviews. I know I didn’t pay for any of my reviews. I left a message on the blog post, but by morning the whole thing had vanished from Goodreads. I still don’t know whether this reviewer was running a scam (it looks AWFULLY like it) but I do know that I was left feeling as though I’d been made a fool of. More, that I’d been tarred with a brush that I didn’t deserve, and that could kill my career before it even started.

I can’t even get the reviews removed, which means I’ll always be connected to it. Please, please guys- be careful what you say about your fellow authors. You don’t know that it’s true, and you don’t know the damage you can do.

It makes me appreciate all the wonderful authors out there that support and help one another (and me!) Toward the end of the week I had the lovely surprise of finding that the talented and much-celebrated A.F.E. Smith had been so kind as to mention my murder-mystery fairytale Masque in her list of Top 5 books containing Fantasy & Murder. A.F.E. has been on her own blog tour with her newly-released Fantasy Novel Darkhaven, and has been busily promoting other SFF authors in her blog tour like the delightful lady she is. Cheers, A.F.E!

A big thanks to all the others out there who have encouraged and shared and cheered, too. Thanks especially to: Kate Stradling, Ingrid Seymour, CJ Anaya, J. Ellen Ross, J.J. Sherwood, and Karataratacus. You guys have been fun and encouraging and so generous with your shares! I appreciate you all!

And thanks to everyone who shared this week of ups and downs with me (especially Sis and the Hubby, who put up with all the whining and pouting and upchuck). It’s been a somehow wonderful week. Also thanks for putting up with a 1000 word blog post 😀

All The Lovely Stuff

When I first decided that I was going to go with self-publishing rather than traditional publishing, there was no doubt in my mind that it was going to be a long, hard slog. I knew that I’d have to work very hard for potentially very little reward, and that success – if it came – would most likely come slowly.

I was prepared for the exasperatingly finnicky adjustments and bug fixes of preparing different formats for different platforms. I was prepared for the necessity of promoting myself (not an easy thing for an introvert). I was even prepared for the arduous gauntlet of GST, ABNs, EINs, ITINs, and every other taxation-related acronym. I knew I’d have to do a fair bit of leg work to get my books into the local bookstores, and that this would involve a lot of stammering, ums, and daft half-sentences that would lead the most patient store owner to wonder how an idiot ever managed to publish a book.

I knew, in fact, that there was a very good possibility that I would publish to very little reception, and that I might never write to an audience of more than three or four people (not counting mum and sis). I figured I could live with that, because let’s face it, I write because I love writing. Getting paid for it would be a plus, but it’s not the reason I write. Becoming famous would be awesome, but it’s not the reason I write.

I was pretty well prepared for most of what I’ve had to do. A few things have taken me by surprise: been harder or easier to do than I expected, etc. But I find that I neglected to think of one thing.

It didn’t actually occur to me that someone, having loved what I wrote, would write, email, tweet, or contact me in some way, to tell me how much they’d loved it. It seems a bit stupid of me not to have thought of it. But the first email I received, telling me that the writer loved Masque and that they were waiting eagerly for my next book, was a complete surprise. The second left me stunned and a little dizzy, and inclined to stare into the middle distance with a fatuous beam on my face. Then there were the lovely tweets, comments, and emails that followed.

So to everyone who has contacted me in some way to tell me how much they enjoyed my book/story/excerpt, etc: Thank you! You’re part of The Lovely Stuff about being an author. When you tell me that Thing you particularly enjoyed about my book, it delights me to know that someone noticed that Thing. Odds are, I worked very hard to make it right.

It can sometimes feel like I’m shouting into an immense void, and the occasional human touch from across the internet is very much appreciated. Thank you for reaching out and becoming a part of my life.

Jim Carrey in The Mask, sourced from http://giphy.com/search/thank-you/2

Jim Carrey in The Mask, sourced from http://giphy.com/search/thank-you/2

Last Edits And Other Means Of Torture

There’s this feeling you get after finishing a story. It’s something like: “Yes! I’m done now! It’s finished!”

It’s completely wrong. Your brain is lying to you because it knows just how much work there is still to go. In comparison to what you’ve still got to do, writing the MS was the easiest thing in the world.

I’m talking about edits. First edits, second edits, third edits- heck, anywhere from first to fiftieth edits. You painstakingly go over the MS from top to bottom, start to finish; hunting down every wrong word, misplaced comma, unnecessary adverb, missing preposition, and incorrect spelling. You sit back, exhausted from your Herculean efforts, and reward yourself with a cup of earl grey tea and as many biscuits (cookies, for the Americans out there) that you can scoff. Congrats! You’re done.

Except you’re not. There’s still Last Edits to go. (Why, yes, those are the Capital Letters Of Doom).

Let me show you what Last Edits look like.

MS #3MS #2MS #1

Admittedly, these are the most extreme of my Last Edit pages. Some of the pages have no red pen at all, just glorious black and white. Some have a scribbled-out word or two, with notes to remind me about continuity for one thing or another.

I usually leave a MS for at least a few months after edits before I begin Last Edits. It makes me more inclined to notice things I wouldn’t necessarily have noticed otherwise, and if I’ve been working on another MS, it’s the closest thing to a fresh look that’s possible. Last Edits are a chance to get an overview of the whole MS: what the pacing is doing, how the register is behaving as a whole, and if the continuity of well, everything, is smooth and painless.

The problem is, when you sit down to do Last Edits, you can’t turn the line editor off, either. (Well, can’t. Bully for you if you can.) So I end up doing little bits of line edit as I go. It’s excruciatingly painstaking.

And it’s worth every minute. (I can say this because I have less than 30 pages to go on my Last Edits of Wolfskin. When I was halfway through all you’d get from me were growls and snarls.) You may have to replenish your red pen supply by the time you’re finished, though.

Congrats! Your Last Edits are done!

Oh, did I mention the proof copy that’s going to arrive in the mail any day now? Yeah, you’re gonna find a lot more missing words in that one, too.

Enjoy it, won’t you?

Wolfskin Excerpt

Wolfskin is on its final edits and will be published May 1st, 2015! It’s set in the same world as Masque but is a standalone novel with separate characters. I will hopefully be doing a blog tour a month or two after publication, but in the mean-time, here’s a short excerpt for you to get a feel for the book.

Enjoy!

 

When I stepped from the thread to the path leading to Akiva’s front gate, there was a woman between me and it.

She was so beautiful. I’m not sure why I expected her to be otherwise. Her hair was black and glossy, and hung loose to her waist in a sleek, rippling sheet that mingled with royal purple satins and silks that were as sleek as her hair. Her eyes, framed by impossibly long, dusky eyelashes, were of an equally impossible shade of violet. I saw them and my herbs scattered themselves on the path, dropping heedlessly from my nerveless fingers. Those twin violets gleamed with the same darkness I had seen in Bastian’s eyes the first time I met him.  

Horned hedgepigs! I thought, swallowing. It could only be Cassandra.

She looked me up and down with those brilliant, purple eyes while I regretted fervently that I hadn’t been a moment quicker, and then said: “You’re not pretty.”

Her voice was bell-like in consideration; and, like every other part of her, breathtakingly beautiful.

“I know,” I said. Even if I had been as beautiful as Gwendolen, I couldn’t have hoped to compare with Cassandra. I eyed her unblinkingly, wondering why it mattered to her.

“You’re not pretty,” she repeated; a statement, not a question. “I didn’t expect that. He must be desperate.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” I said, scowling. I was coldly frightened, and that made me angry. Black, tarry magic was stirring around her, creating nasty pockets of corruption in the air that made me feel ill: it was vastly more powerful than anything I had ever seen.

She looked at me contemptuously through the haze. “Beauty is all that matters to him, stupid child. You can only lose.”

“Bastian isn’t here,” said Akiva’s voice suddenly and startlingly. I tore my eyes away from Cassandra’s and saw her, knobbly and infinitely welcome, leaning on a stick behind the enchantress. For a horrible moment it had felt like I was drowning in the brilliant lavender of Cassandra’s eyes.

Akiva hobbled past her and put a hand on my shoulder. I felt a sense of her power, welling up deep inside her, warm and comforting. I think I was still looking up at her with wide eyes when she said quietly: “Go into the house, Rose.”

As I closed the gate with cold fingers, I heard Akiva reiterate: “The wolf isn’t here.”

“I can smell him all over her!” hissed Cassandra.

There was a silence suggesting that Akiva was shrugging; then her old, firm voice said: “I sent him away: he knows what I think about him. Today was goodbye.”

Their voices faded with distance, but as I loitered on the garden path I saw the warm glow of an astonishing and formidable power rising to meet and match Cassandra’s. I recognized it as Akiva’s, hale and hearty, and stronger than I could ever have imagined. After that I hurried to get into the safety of the cottage, feeling the hairs prickle on the back of my neck, because I knew that it was no longer safe for me to be out in the open. Once inside, I plumped myself down in Akiva’s chair, absently staring into the fire and contemplating the extraordinary power I had just witnessed. For the first time in the excitement of my new magical prowess, I felt thoroughly humbled and weak. My own power, puny in comparison to that shown so effortlessly by both Cassandra and Akiva, was pitiful past thinking about. I was suddenly very thankful for Akiva’s protection. In the coldness of the moment, I knew there was no chance that I could ever hope to fight against Cassandra and win.

Wolfskin is available for preorder on Amazon and Kobo, due for release May 1st, 2015.

Fun Stuff Around The House: Chest Of Drawers

I’m coming to the end of my 2 weeks of holidays. It’s been a great time, I’ve been amazingly productive (writing-wise, anyway), and I’ve managed to keep the house (relatively) clean. I’ve gone out, stayed in, read books, written lots; vacuumed, washed-up, polished, dusted, and consumed an immense amount of tea, pinapple lollies and muffins (English muffins, if you’re American and don’t know the right words to stuff 😀 )

Now I’m painting a small chest of drawers. It’s coming along nicely. I have an overabundance of stripy stockings and colourful socks (that’s a lie: a person can never have too many stripy stockings and tights) that were having difficulty squeezing into the drawers of my tiny bedside table. So when I was in the 2nd hand store the other day and saw a diminutive chest of drawers for only forty bucks, I snatched it up. (Not literally: sis and I carried it out. Then there were a couple guys who offered to carry it for us, and since I believe in encouraging chivalry whenever I meet it, we said thank-you nicely and let them do it. They seemed to have more difficulty than we did, but it was nice of ’em, anyways.)

I’m a fan of the ‘distressed’ look furniture, which was just as well, since there were a few chunks taken out. No need to hit this baby with chains and hammers! No, it is a superior piece of furniture that came pre-distressed. All I really needed to complete it were a few sample pots of paint.

I matched up my colours at the Mitre 10 down the road, then brought everything back home and went to work. I sanded her down, took all the knobs off, and took all the drawers out. That’s when I discovered that I am in fact getting old and that my back didn’t appreciate the hour or so I spent half-hunched, sanding away madly.

cod 1cod 4       cod 5

The next day it was time for the first coat of paint. Sanctuary Point (a kind of sage green) went on just right. Two coats made it look just lovely. I’m using it as a base coat so that when I put the Almond Sugar (a kind of eggshell off-white) coats on, I’ll be able to sand through it in places and have a combination of the two. My back still didn’t love the work, but really, biggest challenge at this stage was keeping the flies and dog-hairs out of the paint pot and off my freshly painted work.

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Dido, my mini foxie, was helping out. Her task is to supply all the 'cute' I need.

Dido, my mini foxie, was helping out. Her task is to supply all the ‘cute’ I need.

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Today, I added a coat of Almond Sugar to the main frame and the door knobs. Then I decided it was time for breakfast and promptly gave up for the day. So, my grand project lives to see another day. I’ll post more pics when it’s complete.

And since no glut of pictures is complete without a picture of what I had for breakfast, here you go:

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be settling in for the rest of the holidays with my laptop (the better to write), my cuppa (the better to drink), and my stack of books (just plain better):

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Cover Reveal: Wolfskin

I’m particularly excited about the cover for my next book. I love all the covers that Joleene Naylor has done for me, but I particularly love the colours in this one. (Why, yes: I am a joyless, crabbed little being who loves mossy greens and greys and browns.)

Below you can read a blurb for Wolfskin: an excerpt of the same will make its way to you when I get the chance. Wolfskin is set in the same world as the rest of the Two Monarchies Sequence, but has none of the same characters. Let me know in the comments what you think of the cover. Thusly: behold!

Preorder Available from Amazon and Kobo

Preorder Available from Amazon and Kobo

‘If you want adventure, you have to march right up to it and kick it in the shins . . .’

At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest.  She thinks it will be all enchantment and excitement, and not so much fuss about baths.  The reality is much more sober and practical- that is, until she meets a mysterious wolf in the forest and is tricked into stepping off the path . . .

In young, naive Rose, Bastian sees a way of escape.  Cursed to remain in the shape of a wolf after running afoul of a powerful enchantress, he has lived many decades under a spell, and now he is both desperate and ruthless.  But by breaking part of Bastian’s curse, Rose has caught the attention of Cassandra, the enchantress who cursed him: and Cassandra is by no means ready to forgive and forget.

Meanwhile, wardens have been disappearing from the forest, one by one.  Rose is certain that Cassandra is behind the disappearances, but can she and Bastian get to the bottom of the matter before Akiva disappears as well?  And are Bastian’s motives entirely to be trusted?

Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest.

Excerpt From ‘Masque’

As Masque will be officially published tomorrow, I thought it was high time that I shared a sample of it here. Unlike Spindle, I haven’t used the very first pages: instead, I’ve cut an excerpt from somewhere in the middle of chapter one. Do enjoy, and don’t forget to order Masque tonight! It’s available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Kobo, Createspace, and selected bookstores, and the preorder function is still on.

Normal service will resume in a few days. Until then, enjoy!

Excerpt from Masque Chapter One.

The library was pleasantly quiet when I wandered idly back through it. Someone had lit a fire in the grate, and orangey shadows flickered over the walls, pearlescent and warm. A comfortable-looking settee was set back a little from the fire, big and plush and just right for reading in, and somehow I found myself sitting down.  It was comfortable, and before I knew what I was doing I had slipped out of my dancing shoes and tucked my feet beneath me as I did at home on a rainy day. I was stretching back luxuriously with a guilty thought that I shouldn’t stay too long from the ballroom, when I realised with something of a shock that I was not alone. Green eyes gazed at me from an identical chair opposite mine, and a familiar green waistcoat glowed rich emerald in the firelight: it was the man I had danced with.

“I do beg your pardon,” I said, startled. It seemed ridiculous to bleat that I hadn’t seen him there, since he filled the chair very obviously, his long legs stretched out in front of him; but I really hadn’t seen him. “Shall I leave?”

The man stiffened, his head jerking back a little as if he were also startled, but he said quietly: “Not at all.”

His voice was velvet like his waistcoat, deep with slightly rough edges, but now that I had a chance to really look at him, I found that there was something unnerving in his face.

To give myself time to ruminate on the sense of unease, I said: “I’m sorry if I startled you.”

He cocked his head and leaned a little forward. “Most people don’t notice me when I don’t want to be noticed.” He said it more with interest than annoyance.

“I see,” I said quietly; and I did see. I saw two things: one, that this man was a magic user, and that was why I hadn’t seen him at first; and two, that my feeling of unease came from the fact that he was wearing a mask beneath a mask. The lips of it moved, but stiffly, and with imperfect synchronicity. What sort of a man wore a mask beneath a mask?

I said: “Lord Pecus, I believe?”

He laughed at that; a low, warm laugh as enthralling as his voice, and removed the green velvet mask. “You have the advantage, my lady.”

“Lady Isabella Farrah,” I said, inclining my head grandly, just as if I wasn’t curled up in a regrettably informal way. I offered him my hand, and he kissed it in the old fashioned way, cold porcelain against flesh. “I believe we have a mutual friend: Lady Quorn.”

He looked at me piercingly, and I added with mendacious helpfulness: “The one who stumbles.” I was enjoying myself immensely. I thought I saw a gleam of answering humour in Lord Pecus’s eyes, but it was difficult to tell through the magical mask.

“I think I would like to see your face,” he said thoughtfully. “Would it stretch politeness too far to ask you to remove your mask?”

“After you, my lord.”

I thought he laughed at me, but again it was hard to tell. “I don’t think I understand you, my lady.”

I looked at him steadily for a moment, my chin propped up in my palm. “Forgive me if I seem rude, but I think you understand me very well.”

He sat forward again, leaning his forearms on his knees. His bulk was so considerable that this maneuver put his face only inches from mine, and I found his eyes uncomfortably piercing. “Very well, my lady. Remove your mask, and I will remove mine.”

I was burning with curiosity that was tempered by a touch of self-satisfaction that I was about to accomplish something that even Delysia had not been able to accomplish, but I untied my mask with fingers that were steady enough.

“Well, my lord?”

“Charming,” he said softly, deliberately misunderstanding. I found myself blushing for the first time in many years. It was annoying to know that he’d intended as much. “How old are you, Lady Farrah?”

“Very nearly thirty, my lord,” I told him composedly, ignoring the rudeness of the question. “And a confirmed old maid, so you’ve no need to waste your compliments on me.”

“What brings you to the Ambassadorial Ball?”

“The proposed militia merger, my lord; and I believe you’re stalling.”

He gave me a slow, considering smile, and I wondered if the face beneath the mask was smiling also. “Is that so? Are you sure you want to see my face?”

Courtesy compelled me to say, albeit with reluctance: “Not if you’re unwilling, my lord.”

Lord Pecus sat silent for a moment as if in thought, his mask unreadable.

“Hm. I don’t believe I am,” he said at last, as if he had surprised himself. “Try not to scream, my lady.”

If he had said it with the slightest theatricality, I would have laughed and gone back to the ballroom, content not to know what his face really looked like. But he said it unemotionally, a plain warning; and I had to take myself firmly to task for the quickly accelerating beat of my heart as he removed the charms that kept his mask in place. I settled my chin a little more firmly in my palm and waited, watching the process with some interest. I had not much talent for magic, and my knowledge was almost as slight: my training had mostly to do with international policy and diplomatic processes.

At last he seemed to be done. He raised both hands to remove the mask – beautiful hands, strong and bare of rings – and it came away cleanly. For a moment I thought he had yet another mask beneath: firelight played on tawny brown hair – no, fur!- in a face that looked like the worst parts of wolf and bear mixed. I blinked once, realising in that instant that it was his face, his real face, and no mask. His mask must be magic indeed to have hidden that snout under the pretence of a plain common-or-garden human nose.

“I see,” I said into the silent warmth of the room. I dropped my hand back to the arm of the chair and let a small sigh escape. “That explains a good deal.”

Anticipation (Also, Happy ‘Straya Day)

The day is almost here! Masque will be officially available this Sunday! But in the meantime, I’ve released the paperback early for people like me, who can’t wait. So if you were just waiting to order Masque, you need wait no longer! The paperback will, in fact, probably be with you before the Kindle and Kobo editions are quite released.

You can order the paperback of Masque from Amazon and Createspace, and the Kindle and Kobo versions are available for preorder, awaiting Feb 1st. If you want a refresher on what Masque is all about, read on!

Otherwise, have a great ‘Straya Day!

(And, as always, if you want to get your mitts on a review copy of Masque, get in contact through the contact page.)

MASQUE - 2000

Masque (The Two Monarchies Sequence)

Beauty met the Beast and there was . . . Bloody murder?

It’s the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, and Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is feeling pleasantly scintillated.

In the library is Lord Pecus, a charming gentleman whose double mask hides a beastly face, and who has decided that Isabella is the very person to break the Pecus curse.

In the ball-room is young Lord Topher, who is rapidly falling in love with an older woman.

And in the card-room, lying in a pool of his own blood, is the body of one of Isabella’s oldest friends: Raoul, Civet’s Head Guardsman. The papers sewn into his sash seem to suggest espionage gone wrong, but Isabella is not so certain.

Lord Pecus, as Commander of the Watch, is of the opinion that Isabella should keep out of the investigation and out of danger. Isabella is of the opinion that it is her murder to investigate, and that what a certain Beast-Lord doesn’t know won’t hurt him. . . .

Will Isabella find the murderer before Lord Pecus does, or will she end her investigation as a bloody spatter on the parlour floor?

Laziness And Self-Publishing, And Stuff

I’m lazy.

That’s one of the first things I learned about myself as I was growing up. You know the kid that goes to the toilet before it’s supposed to do the washing up and just never comes out? Yeah, that was me. (It’s still me, except I’ve figured out better ways to skive off work than shutting myself in the loo with a book.)

So one of the things about self-publishing that’s hit me hard is the amount of work. To be honest, it wouldn’t be that bad if it wasn’t for the full-time (and by full-time I mean 40-55hrs a week) job. There’s just so much stuff to do. Yanno, stuff stuff. It’s not even real writing stuff. It’s stuff like hanging out on Twitter to connect with people (and getting carried away ‘cos suddenly you’ve met this awesome person who’s at the same place you are, and writes these really fantastic stories), or figuring how to promote your book/s, or trying to discover exactly how Goodreads works. (I mean, seriously, I JUST figured out how to Twitter!)

And that’s before you consider the hours of writing per day, sandwiched into my lunch break, or before work, or after work. Then when I get home, there’s the housework to do.

I’m lazy.

I don’t want to have to do all that. Only it’s so satisfying when it comes out right, and the book’s published, and you can get on with the next book. It’s satisfying to see the follower count for my blog go up. It’s satisfying to find out that having a Twitter Follow-Me! box is worth the time and effort to install. And it’s really satisfying when someone else downloads one of your books.

Still, I’m pretty pleased with my foray into self-publishing so far. I’m loving the level of control I have over my own book. I’m loving the fact that I can publish on my own schedule. And I’m loving all the fantastic people I’m meeting along the way.

I’m lazy, but there are some things that are worth working for.