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I finally put the wraps on the first draft of The Bone Flower Goddess, the final book in The Bone Flower Trilogy, and to celebrate, I’ve posted an excerpt for fans. Beware: if you haven’t read Bone Flower Queen yet, I don’t recommend reading the excerpt, for it’s spoilerish for that book.

DanceofDestinyI don’t have a concrete release date yet, but I’m aiming for early 2016. It still needs to go through my beta readers and a rewrite before heading to my editor, but it’s a big step to finally finish that first draft. I’m aiming to make this book as good as the others and a satisfying wrap-up to the trilogy, so I’m grateful for your patience while I work to make it the best book I can.

In the meantime, readers can look forward to a new installment in my Aztec West series before the end of the year. It’s another novella, this one a direct prequel to “The Hearts of Men”, and it’s called The Dance of Destiny. It also has a preliminary cover (which is still in need of some work on the light and dark contrast)! Stayed tuned for more information.

If you subscribe to the ebook service Oyster, you can now read all of my work (except “Death’s Good Dog”) on there for free. The titles are also available on Scribd, but I just learned yesterday that Scribd is dumping almost all of its romance listings, so it’s quite possible that Fugitives of Fate will no longer be available there (the purge was supposed to happen yesterday, but FoF is still there today, so keep your fingers crossed that it will make the cut.)

DeathsGoodDogIn light of Scribd’s move, I don’t really think that the subscription services are going to be viable options for much longer. I’ve never “sold” anything through any of them, so the loss of my romance title there really isn’t a big deal to me, but then I haven’t had any luck with any subscription service, not even Kindle Unlimited, which brings me to the second part of this blog post. I had decided that I would put my new Aztec West novellas into Kindle Unlimited to give it a try, but this first month has been nothing but a wasteland. No borrows at all, let alone reads. For me, this is definitely not worth three months of exclusivity with Amazon, particularly when my overall sales with Amazon aren’t that strong to begin with. I’m going to see if I can leave KDP Select early and get DGD out on wider distribution, and I won’t be enrolling future works in the program either. If they won’t let me out early, then DGD will go wide on August 27th, and my plan is to release the next installment around that same time. I’ll keep readers apprised.

From now until June 23rd, I’ve reduced the e-book prices on both The Bone Flower Throne and Fugitives of Fate down to $.99. They are both available at a wide variety of retailers, so if you click on the book covers, that will take you to a page where you can quickly access the link to your desired retailer.

Bone Flower redo 3Gods, Blood, Magic

A darkness has taken control of Culhuacan, one of the Toltec’s most powerful kingdoms. The bloodthirsty sorcerer god Smoking Mirror has sent her patron god—the benevolent Feathered Serpent–into exile, but the Feathered Serpent is determined not only to regain his sacred city, but also to end human sacrifice all together.

Princess Quetzalpetlatl barely escaped Culhuacan with her life, but when the Feathered Serpent tasks her with helping his mortal son Topiltzin fulfill his divine mandate, she eagerly embraces her destiny. Finally she can avenge her father’s murder at the hands of the Smoking Mirror’s high priest, and return home.

Yet the price for involving herself in a war among the gods is high, paid in blood and loss. But for Topiltzin—who’s more than just a brother to her—she’s willing to do anything. Even sacrifice her own heart.

Tenochtitlan, Mexico 1526—but not as history remembers it…

Driven by fiery visions of the end of the world, Aztec Emperor Cuauhtemoc averted the Spanish Conquest, and now he seeks to end the inter-tribal fighting that would have condemned the empire. When he discovers a woman from his visions working in his palace, he knows he must win her trust: only the infamous La Malinche can help him turn his enemies into allies.

Malinali has spent her whole life in slavery, passed from one abusive master to the next, and to her, Cuauhtemoc is no different than the other noblemen who’ve made her years miserable. Cuauhtemoc, however, is a determined man, and with time and work, her suspicion turns into trust, and trust grows into love.

But is love enough to truly change destiny? Especially when the shadow of unraveled history threatens to turn them into the enemies they were meant to be?

Both books make excellent summer reading getaways, so get your copy now!

bfqprelim7I’ve finally finished the revamp of the cover for The Bone Flower Queen, and I’m also almost done with the cover for The Bone Flower Goddess, but will hold off on revealing that one until it’s closer to release date. Right now the new covers are only on the ebook versions, but I’m getting ready to update the paperback covers on both books, so if you’re wanting to snag up copies with the old covers, now’s the time to do it.

It took me a really long time to come to the final concept for this particular book. It went through numerous iterations, and one of my early attempts will actually be the cover for The Bone Flower Goddess. I originally had an idea to do masks on the cover–seemingly easy to do and thematically relevant–but only one of the masks actually turned out looking good. Eventually I abandoned that concept and went back to the drawing board. I also messed around repeatedly with the cover for The Bone Flower Throne, until I had an overall look I really liked (I ended up really not liking the one I posted in the earlier blog post and decided to go even simpler.).

Bone Flower redo 3I still wasn’t sure about what my central object would be, but after several hours of false starts, I finally came up with the idea of the obsidian mirror. I was still wrangling with the jaguar issue though; everything I’d done so far looked a little too realistic and not necessarily “Aztec” or “Toltec”. Eventually I did a line drawing of an actual Aztec jaguar statue, and am pretty pleased with how it turned out. Aside from the smoke, all of the art on the cover is original, drawn in Gimp. I like getting to stretch my creative muscles like this. Self publishing has been very good for my internal artist, which I’d put away for so long….

I’d hoped to revamp the paperback’s sizing, convert it down to 5.25X8, but having discovered that it would require an entirely new ISBN for both books, I’ve decided I’m going to stick with the 6X9 format and just update the covers. I also have plans for a paperback omnibus edition that I’ll sell only at conventions, but CreateSpace’s page limits might make that impractical. We’ll see. At the very least, there will be an omnibus ebook version, which means a fourth cover (Yay!).

 

Today the ebook version of my first alternate history romance, Fugitives of Fate, comes out.

Driven by fiery visions of the end of the world, Aztec Emperor Cuauhtemoc averted the Spanish Conquest, and now he seeks to end the inter-tribal fighting that would have condemned the empire. When he discovers a woman from his visions working in his palace, he knows he must win her trust: only the infamous La Malinche can help him turn his enemies into allies.

Malinali has spent her whole life in slavery, passed from one abusive master to the next, and to her, Cuauhtemoc is no different than the other noblemen who’ve made her years miserable. Cuauhtemoc, however, is a determined man, and with time and work, her suspicion turns into trust, and trust grows into love.

But is love enough to truly change destiny? Especially when the shadow of unraveled history threatens to turn them into the enemies they were meant to be?

I’ve been waiting a really long time for today to finally arrive. Quite a long time ago, when I was in the midst of writing lots of stuff for my One World alternate history series, I started what I thought was going to be a short story but it soon turned into a novella, and to my surprise, it turned out to be a genre romance. I knew nothing about writing or selling romance, for I was firmly grounded in the speculative fiction scene, and I didn’t think there was a market for it; I’d never read anything like it in any of the magazines I usually read, and it was a novella–that dreaded length that no one in spec fic publishing would touch unless the author was a big name. So I set it aside and sort of forgot about it for several years while I worked on other projects.

It was actually just after the WorldCon in Chicago that I went home and, on a whim, opened the file and gave it a read. And to my surprise, I really, really liked the basic storyline, and thought it would make an excellent novel. I knew little about romance as a genre though, so I started reading historical romances, to learn the ropes, and joined RWA, which I’d heard really excellent things about from other SF authors, and started attending the local chapter meetings. Eventually I sat down to rewrite the story from the ground up, cutting out the more in-your-face speculative elements while keeping others that were absolutely necessary to the universe (folks who have read my One World short fiction know what I’m talking about), and in 23 days, I had a novel-length manuscript finished. It was the fastest I’ve ever written a novel draft

But my usual problems surfaced: my agent didn’t want to take it on because she didn’t think there was a market for it, and though eventually, I did get some interest from a traditional publisher on it, they wanted me to change it so fundamentally, it would be like starting over from scratch.

I didn’t spend a whole lot of time shopping this around to traditional publishers; I was busy working on Bone Flower, and so this always got put to the side, and I was making the move into self-publishing and starting to feel more and more comfortable with it. In the end, I decided to move on with it on my own, so I could keep creative control and tell the story I wanted to tell rather than trying to box it into traditional genre niches. I figured that the best I could hope for was a small press, and from experience, there isn’t much they can do that I couldn’t do on my own, so why not keep the control and put the book’s fate in my own hands?

So, it’s available everywhere now, and early reviews are looking quite favorable. I even got a very nice blurb from my favorite romance author, Jeannie Lin:

“Fugitives of Fate creatively reimagines the lives of two legendary figures, bringing life and humanity to a glorious empire that we only hear about in terms of its demise. I was thoroughly fascinated and enthralled.”

Click here to find links to your favorite vendor. It’s also available in trade paperback.