Archive for the ‘Writing Progress’ Category

Bone Flower Goddess – Cover Reveal

Posted on:

I’m pleased to announce that the final book in my Aztec epic fantasy series, The Bone Flower Goddess, is at the editor for the final proofread and will be out for sale early in March. I’m not setting a firm release date, because I want to put it on sale as soon as I have it finished, but it will be out by March 15th, in both ebook and paperback. Read more about the book below.

BoneFlowerGoddess2Death is her gift.

Discovering the truth about her forgotten past sets Quetzalpetlatl—former Queen of Tollan and High Priestess of Quetzalcoatl—on a new journey, to rebuild her life from the ashes of the Feathered Serpent’s deception. Her top priority is to rescue her son from the underworld, but the Lord of the Dead will only resurrect him in exchange for the most powerful of the gods: Quetzalcoatl himself.

For such a dangerous mission, Quetzalpetlatl needs help. She finds allies among the gods, but the only one willing—and powerful enough—to take on the Feathered Serpent is the one god who’s responsible for so much of her personal pain these last thirty-five years. The Smoking Mirror holds the key to everything she’s ever longed for…if she’s willing to give him the one thing he’s sought for countless bundles of year.

But with Tollan’s throne and the future of the Tolteca empire at stake, is the price one that humanity can afford to pay?

OmnibusWith the trilogy complete, I’m also collecting all three books into an unabridged omnibus edition. The ebook edition will go live at the same time that Goddess goes up, and it will be sold at a discount over buying all three of the books in digital. I am making a paperback version as well, but at this point am only planning to sell it at conventions because of pricing issues  related to the sheer size of the book. You can read the blurb for it here.

Also, going forward, I’m planning on investigating options for an audio book version of the trilogy.

 

Bone Flower Goddess 1st Draft Completed

Posted on:

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.

New Covers for Bone Flower

Posted on:

BFT_ebookcovOne of the many advantages of being an indie author is that you can change strategies midstream, and do it rather easily and painlessly. If something isn’t working, you can reevaluate and make changes, and don’t have to convince a publisher to go along with you.

After much soul-searching and frustration, I’ve decided that things aren’t working with my Bone Flower books. Sales are poor, and even when I ran a .99 promo, I made very few sales, nowhere near enough to even recoup the costs of the promotion itself (and we’re not even talking BookBub size prices. We’re talking $5 at the cheapest, and $45 at the most expensive.). I don’t have a ton of reviews, but enough for me to feel confident that the story is not the issue. That leaves other factors to play around with. Maybe my blurb is all wrong (and yes, I’m toying around with a new blurb, but not seriously yet). Maybe my price-point is wrong (I already lowered both books by $2 in their ebook form, matching the pricing of similar books in my genre. Amazon still thinks I need to drop them another dollar, but I’m not convinced there yet). Or maybe my cover is giving the reader the wrong impression about my book (bingo!)

My editor at Panverse discussed this with me back when sales were struggling and we kept getting puzzling reviews from folks who thought the book was supposed to be young adult. We hadn’t advertised it as young adult; we advertised it as history fantasy and historical romance. I’ve been asked over and over what age group I would recommend the book to, and 99% of the time, it’s the parent of a 12 or 13 year old asking. We both pondered about where they were getting this impression, and eventually we started wondering if it was the cover.

Throne’s cover is absolutely gorgeous. I love it with all my heart, and I love the cover for Queen as well. They are beautiful pieces of art, and people always compliment them, but when I tell them that the book is in the vein of Game of Thrones when it comes to content, they are surprised. “Yeah, I didn’t get that impression at all from the cover.” I sold quite a few books at AnomalyCon a couple weeks ago, but I do wonder how many epic fantasy fans–my target audience–looked at the covers and moved on to the next table because they saw YA fantasy and said, “Not my thing.” And all but one of those sales went to women; the man who bought a copy was a new friend who’d spent all weekend listening to me talk about it on panels we were on together. Statically, men are the core audience when it comes to epic fantasy, and I’m having a really hard time reaching them.

So as much as it pains me to set aside the beautiful covers, I have to think about marketing and genre, otherwise I’m going to continue to languish in sales obscurity. I need covers that shout “Epic fantasy!”, so that I can at least make epic fantasy readers pick up the book and turn it over to read the blurb, or see the cover in search results on Amazon and decide to click it and read the blurb and reviews. And that means new covers. *sniffle*

Bone Flower redo 1After examining quite a few covers on Amazon, I decided the easiest style was an object focus, like GoT or Lord of the Rings. I’m already considerably in the hole on both books, so I needed to do this on the cheap, and those were styles I felt confident I could mimic with my own skills in Gimp. I’ve been working on it for several weeks, toying with different concepts, and abandoning some, but I think I’ve finally nailed down the basic overall look. I might do some more tweaking in the future (going to a textured background rather than a stylized image, for example) but for now I’m testing out the new cover style with Throne, and will run some promos in the near future, to see if there’s any improvement in sales. If the new cover is working, I’ll go through the process of revamping the paperbacks as well.

I’m still in the process of figuring out the covers for both Queen and the final book (which I’m just over 50k into), so I’m holding off on those until I see how things go with Throne over the next month or so as I do promotion.

Bone Flower Update

Posted on:

BFT_ebookcovI’ve finished republishing Bone Flower Throne to all digital markets. The paperback is available as well, but currently only at Amazon. Hopefully it will trickle out to BN in the next week or two. Many of the Panverse digital editions are still available for sale, and you should feel free to buy either one (I make a royalty regardless), but folks should know that the new edition includes some color interior art that are quite beautiful on the tablets. However, the larger file size does make it run slower on older devices, like the 2nd gen Kindles. I am looking into ways to decrease the file’s size and will update it if and when I do, but for now, those with older devices might want to grab up the Panverse edition while it’s still available (it’s not available on Kindle anymore). Visit the novel’s page for quick links to everywhere you can buy.

BFQ Cover Mock 50 percentAs for Bone Flower Queen, I intend to do the final read-through and copyedit on that next week and have the paper version available on Amazon by mid-month. Digital versions will be available on or after January 5th (BN is closed from Jan 1-4, so there might be a backlog on the 5th, though I intend to have the final version submitted before Christmas). In the meantime, you can pre-order the ebook versions at Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and BN, and they will be automatically delivered to your device on release day. Thank you everyone who has already pre-ordered! Also, if you purchase a paperback edition through Amazon, you get a free digital copy when they become available!

In the meantime, it’s high time I get back to work on the final book in the trilogy. I have a little over 15k already written, and my hope is to have that one out much sooner than a year from now.

Summer Update

Posted on:

So I’ve been very quiet lately over here, mostly because there’s not all that much to report. I turned in The Bone Flower Queen to my editor last month and am waiting on his edit letter, and I also finally finished up Fugitives of Fate and took the plunge, submitting it to two different publishers. This time I’m not bothering with trying to get an agent; I did attempt to do so last year, but there wasn’t any interest whatsoever in my first round of queries. There are a few digital-first romance publishers that I think would be open to my unusual setting, but they don’t pay high advances–if any at all–so it seems a waste of time to try to convince an agent to take me on at this point. Regardless of how it turns out with these publishers, this book will eventually be published, even if I decide to go it alone by self publishing; the book is good, but will likely be held back by the fact that it’s not your usual historical romance setting. I have no intention of letting it languish unpublished.

On the writing front, I’m current between projects while I wait to hear back from my editor on my synopsis of the final book of The Bone Flower Trilogy. I’ve been keeping busy in the meantime with reading and critiquing friends’ novels; I had two to do this month, and I’ve started on the second and hope to have it done in a few days. I’m also giving thought to my next alternate history romance novel. I may end up outlining that one after I finishing critiquing. I’m looking forward to getting back to some actual writing soon.

In case you haven’t been here to the website in a while, I’ve made some updates that might interest fans. I’ve posted a copy of my Big Idea essay–in which I talk about the core idea behind The Bone Flower Trilogy–and I’ve added a 50-question quiz to test your knowledge of The Bone Flower Throne. Most exciting though, I’ve added a page for The Bone Flower Queen, which includes an excerpt for readers, and you can browse the book’s Pinterest page. I’m looking into making a reader’s guide for BFT, but haven’t made a whole lot of progress on it at this point.

Artists, if you’ve been inspired to make art from The Bone Flower Throne (or any of my works, really), I’d love to see it! You can contact me via the contact page here, or you can drop me a note over on Facebook (though be aware that I might not see your message for a while since Facebook likes to drop stuff into the Other inbox and I often don’t look at that for weeks on end).