12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas 2019!

It’s that time of year again! I’m thrilled to be a part of this blog tour with 9 other fabulous authors, and I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know them and their books. Also part of the tour is a giveaway for an Amazon Fire tablet and a $50 Amazon eGift Card, perfect for stocking up on holiday reads!

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours

12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas We’re excited to be sharing books from ten fantasy authors with you this holiday season! Each day a different author and book or series will be featured. There is also a fabulous giveaway! If you’re a fantasy fan, join us on this tour! Tour Schedule (Posts go live on the day they’re scheduled.) December 1st: Launch December 2nd: Rebecca Belliston – Heart of Red, Blood of Blue December 3rd: Morgan L. Busse – Flight of the Raven December 4th: Jes Drew – Tales of Parallel Worlds December 5th: Ronie Kendig – Brand of Light December 6th: Alisha Klapheke – Fate of Dragons December 7th: Jessica Leake – Through the White Wood December 8th: Belle Malory – Electric Skies December 9th: Melissa McShane – Burning Bright December 10th: Jennifer Silverwood – Blackbriar Cove December 11th: Melissa Wright – Shadow and Stone December 12th: Grand Finale Books on Tour

Blogs Participating ACME Teen Books – Kids and Teens Too! Andi’s Book Reviews Angel’s Guilty Pleasures Baroness’ Book Trove Beauty in the Binding Better than Rubies Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks, and Characters Christy’s Cozy Corners Daughter of Increase FaithLaneAuthor Hallie Reads Heidi Reads… J. L. Mbewe Jessica Belmont Jorie Loves A Story Library Lady’s Kid Lit Locks, Hooks and Books My Life Loves and Passion Nicole’s Book Musings Paper Ink & Lizard Paulette’s Papers Reading Is My SuperPower Remembrancy The Rustic Reading Gal Wishful Endings Tour Giveaway 1 winner will receive an Amazon Fire Tablet and a $50 Amazon eGift Card Open internationally (as long as winner is eligible to receive prizes) Ends December 16, 2019 ENTER HERE

The long journey to THE BOOK OF MAYHEM

Today (April 16) is release day for book three of The Last Oracle series, The Book of Mayhem (previously titled The Book of Death, more on this name change later). It comes nearly ten months after the second book in the series, The Book of Peril. This is a really long time between releases for me, and led to people wondering why the delay. Here’s the story.

Last year, I was having trouble with the company that published some of my books (the Extraordinaries series and The Last Oracle specifically). Royalties were late, emails I sent were ignored, and I was gradually becoming more concerned about the state of the publisher. In July or August, I submitted two books for them to accept or reject: The View From Castle Always and The Book of Death. While I waited on their decision, my relationship with them continued to deteriorate. I ultimately decided not to publish Castle Always with them, but agreed to review the new contract they claimed would resolve many of the issues.

Unfortunately, the contract didn’t satisfy me, as it contained no clauses that would hold the publisher’s feet to the fire when it came to meeting deadlines. So I told them I would not be publishing The Book of Death through them, but would release it under my own publishing imprint.

But I had a lot of other books I was dealing with, in particular the new Company of Strangers series, and I was still writing The Last Oracle series, and releasing the third book in a series under a new imprint is complicated. You have to make sure people understand it’s still the same series, even though the cover art and design are different, and I didn’t have a new cover artist lined up. (Cover design is not my specialty. I do the covers for Company of Strangers, but those are based on a template a very talented designer produced for me.)

In October, I reconnected with a friend who is also an award-winning cover designer, and having seen her work, I knew I wanted her to take over for The Last Oracle. I’d also decided if things with the publisher weren’t resolved by November 1, I would start proceedings to get the rights back for the five books they’d published. The plan was to start designing the cover for The Book of Death in mid-January, and to rebrand the first two books to match right after that. This was important because The Last Oracle is nine books long (they’re all written!) and I needed to confirm that this designer was on board for the whole series.

November 1 came and went with no change to the problems I had. A few weeks later I started nagging the publisher about rights reversion. I knew several authors had already received theirs, which reassured and worried me: reassured because that suggested they weren’t likely to fight me on it, worried because it confirmed my suspicions that the company was circling the drain and I needed to get out fast.

It took them two months to respond and send me the rights reversion letter. I’m still tangled up with them in terms of back royalties and the insanely complicated situation with the audio rights, but I had control of the two series and I could move forward.

I received the rights reversion around the same time the cover design process started. At this point, I was planning on a late February release for The Book of Death. The designer and I were both so excited–she’s a fan of the series and loved the idea of being involved in its creation. We talked initial plans and she went to work.

And then I didn’t hear from her for a month.

When she finally got back to me, I understood why it had taken so long. We’d originally wanted to do a design without a model on the cover–finding suitable poses for NINE BOOKS is incredibly hard, and I prefer the abstract style anyway, like the US covers for Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series. But the designer takes her work very seriously, and before she started designing, she did research on contemporary fantasy. And what she found was that most covers in that genre feature a model on the cover.

This was a major bump in the road, because the designer wasn’t as experienced with working with human figures, but we were both willing to give it a try. I pushed the release date back a month, and waited again.

This time, when she got back to me, she was discouraged. None of the designs she’d tried worked well, and it was looking like she might not be able to do it at all.

But I really liked her work, and the idea of finding someone else to do the covers–someone who would be around for all nine–was wearying. So we made some new decisions. She would go back to the original idea of an abstract design with a central image, and if she couldn’t make it work within a certain time period, we’d call it quits. I pushed the release date back again and settled in to wait.

But it turned out this was the right decision. She came up with the new design almost immediately, along with rough sketches for the first two books (for branding purposes). The problem was, the cover for The Book of Death looked like a horror novel. It was beautiful, and it was clearly the right approach, but everyone I showed it to agreed it said “horror” instead of “contemporary fantasy.” Which is when I realized the problem wasn’t the design, it was the title. The Book of Death was never not going to sound like horror no matter what we did to the design.

With the new title, The Book of Mayhem, slapped into place, the final cover turned out perfect. The designer used the thorny branch as the focal image (when you read the book, you’ll see why it’s appropriate) and that was it. I had a cover.

At that point, I had to choose whether to release the third book immediately, or wait until I could relaunch the series. When I looked at the calendar and realized how long it had been since The Book of Peril, the choice was clear. And today, the payoff from the ending of The Book of Peril is finally available to readers. I hope The Book of Mayhem is worth the wait.

Hearts and Swords BIG Promotion!

 

 

 

 

 

I’m part of the Hearts and Swords ebook sale at Miranda Honfleur’s site May 11-13. Most books are either 99 cents or free on Kindle Unlimited. This is a great opportunity to buy romantic fantasy books and maybe find a new favorite. Check it out!

News, news, and more news

Here’s some updates on upcoming releases and ongoing projects:

  • I’m no longer offering the Convergence trilogy for free, but the first book, The Summoned Mage, is available for FREE at all major online retailers. Links are on the page here.
  • The next Crown of Tremontane novel is the first book in the Willow North trilogy, Pretender to the Crown. It will be published September 19 and is now available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, the Apple store, and others.
  • The next Extraordinaries novel, Abounding Might, will be published October 3. This one will be available through Amazon only (this is something my publisher does, sorry!).
  • The first book in my new series The Last Oracle, The Book of Secrets, will be out in mid-January. This is a contemporary fantasy about a young woman who takes a job at a bookstore and discovers it’s hiding a world of secrets.
  • I’ve started writing a new series! The book, titled Company of Strangers, is old-fashioned adventure fantasy with wizards, warriors, thieves, and strange magic. 400 years after wars both magical and mundane devastated the world, men and women called scrappers take jobs to locate ancient relics and explore lost ruins. The young wizard Sienne, trying to escape her past, takes a job with a team that is anything but unified. But what they find is far more than an ordinary ruin, and forces them to work together or face death. I’m afraid I’m the only one who will like this, but I’m having fun writing it!
  • And in other news, Burning Bright is a semifinalist in the 2017 Kindle Book Awards!

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Experiment

So I’m still figuring out this whole online presence thing. Everyone has their opinions about it–how often to tweet, what to say on your blog, how to work a Pinterest page (that one mystifies me still). But my problem is a little more fundamental–I’m having trouble with getting my blog to update at all.

I like my web site provider. It’s really easy to build a web site, they have lots of nice themes, and it’s overall been a very simple process to learn how to do everything and link to where people can buy my books. Good experience, if a little spendy. But then I ran into two problems.

One is the issue of putting up free downloads–short fiction, etc.–for people to read. My husband the Plot Whisperer insisted that they be something people could actually download instead of having to read them on the computer screen. I had to admit he was right. But the site provider didn’t have any way to upload files like that; it was read online or nothing. So we went through all manner of gymnastics to get it to work, and the truth is, if I can’t do it myself, it’s not going to happen. And this was so far beyond my abilities it might as well not exist. So that was the first thing.

The second thing was that the blog wasn’t pushing updates through quickly or, in some cases, at all. And when it did, it truncated the posts in news readers so they cut off sometimes mid-word. That was unattractive and annoying.

So this is me trying different blog software to see what happens. It’s already solved the one problem of not being able to put up downloads–that was easy, as easy as the other one was hard. Let’s see what happens with this post.