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Posts Tagged ‘The Bone Flower Throne’

Book Birthday! Bone Flower Goddess Out Today!

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The wait is finally over! The Bone Flower Goddess, the final book in the Bone Flower Trilogy, is out today.

Death is her gift.

BoneFlowerGoddess2Discovering 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?

Visit the book page for links to buy from your favorite vendor!

And, with the trilogy now complete, an omnibus edition is also available, at a discount to buying all three books separately.

Who is Quetzalpetlatl?

OmnibusIn Mesoamerican lore, she is mentioned only as the woman the gods used to bring down the legendary priest-king Topiltzin-Quetzalcoatl—Mexico’s King Arthur.

But now her story is told at last.

Born the only legitimate daughter of the king of Culhuacan in the Valley of Mexico, Quetzalpetlatl was destined to be the obedient wife of the future king. But when her mother becomes pregnant with the god Quetzalcoatl’s son, Topiltzin, she’s thrust into the middle of a war among the gods, played out on earth through the humans who worship them.

Faith leads her to become the High Priestess of Quetzalcoatl, but ambition wins back her stolen throne, and, together with Topiltzin, she founds the legendary city of Tollan and ends human sacrifice.

But that is only the beginning of her journey—one that started eons ago in a walled garden guarded by dark magic, and was set in motion by the mysterious beckoning whisper of a stranger from beyond the stone walls….

Visit the book page for links to your favorite vendors!

And, as if that wasn’t enough, The Bone Flower Throne is now free, free, free!

Gods, Blood, Magic

Bone Flower redo 3A 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.

Visit the book page for links to buy. (Note: I’m still trying to figure out how to get Amazon to price match beyond the US store, so it’s still at regular price in all the other AMZ stores.)

New Vendor and a Decision Regarding Kindle Unlimited

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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.

Summer Sale

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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!

New Bone Flower Queen Cover

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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!).

 

New Covers for Bone Flower

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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.