Tag Archives: self-publishing

My First Five Years of Publishing


As I mentioned last time, my 5-year publishing anniversary came and went last month. Feb. 11, to be exact, the day I published Urdaisunia. Here it is with its original cover, which I made with a piece of stock art in Photoshop Elements 5. Not too bad, considering the knowledge and resources I had at the time.

Since then:

  • I’ve published 12 novels, 4 story collections, and 2 boxed sets each containing three of my novels, for a total of 18 titles.
  • I’ve been through about 29 different covers and cover variations (including having a pro put new lettering on cover art I was already using).
  • My bestselling book over the last five years was Beneath the Canyons, followed by The Lost Book of Anggird, Urdaisunia, and Chosen of Azara.
  • The store where I’ve sold the most is Amazon.com (not surprisingly), followed by Smashwords, AmazonUK, AmazonAU, and Apple.

In the last five years, I’ve met some amazingly kind, helpful, and talented people. (You can see links to some of their websites in the sidebar.) Technically, I suppose authors are in competition with each other, but the indie author community is the most cooperative and supportive competition I’ve ever seen, with so many people willing to share resources and tips, band together in marketing, and help each other along.

Sales-wise, I’m not where I hoped I would be at this point. But I’ve been correcting some things that might have been holding me back, and making new plans for moving forward.

Some things I’ve learned in the last 5 years:

  • It’s hard to build a career on standalone novels. I love my standalone books, but from here on out, new projects need to fit into a series (preferably a trilogy, a nice, manageable series length) and/or into a world I’ve already written in.
  • My books are not Romance. They do have strong romantic storylines that mostly follow genre conventions for Romance, but the emphasis is more on the fantasy storyline than the romance, which, I’ve learned the hard way, makes them less appealing to the Romance audience. So that led to some futile marketing efforts, and some covers that, while wonderful, were wrong for my books’ genre and real readership. But I learned something, so it’s all good πŸ™‚
  • My books are also very much not Paranormal Romance. When I first started out, I couldn’t really find anyone else writing the same genre mix of fantasy and romance that I write. Paranormal Romance seemed to come closest, so I got in with that group and again learned the hard way that my books don’t fit. Paranormal Romance has its own requirements and expectations – real world, mostly contemporary setting, and magical creatures like vampires, shapeshifters, or angels, none of which my books have.
  • While the common wisdom is that most fantasy readers don’t like romance in their books, there are some who are hungry for well-done romantic storylines. Fortunately, there are now more authors who are writing high/epic fantasy with strong romantic storylines, so hopefully that readership will continue to grow!
  • Typos get together and make baby typos when no one is looking.
  • It’s too easy to spend all day fiddling around with “publishing tasks” when what I really need to be doing is working on the next book πŸ˜›
  • It’s also too easy to spend all my money on books by the amazing authors I’ve met!
  • Contrary to the above, promoting books to other authors is a wasted effort.
  • Coding my ebooks by hand, while cool and kind of satisfying, also gets old and tedious. I resisted formatting by converting a Word doc for a long time, but I’ve finally given in, using Draft2Digital’s awesome formatting tool, and boy does that make life easier.
  • While I’m competent to do my own lettering on my covers, it doesn’t come close to what a real book designer can do!
  • I’ve also learned how to make international re-directing Kobo and iTunes links, to make things easier for my international readers on those stores. Just click and the link will take you to the right store for where you live! My Amazon links are also international re-directing links. (At least, this is the theory. Anyone from places outside the US want to click them and tell me if they really work?)

What lies ahead?

  • Trilogies: Defenders of the Wildings (in the revision and editing stages), and one set in the Islands of the Wildings world (planning), and I’ve got my very first novel ever and its sequel printed out and waiting to be revised and for a third book to go with them to make that into a trilogy.
  • I also have some thoughts on revisiting some of my older projects, to see if I can bring out more of their potential.
  • I’m learning ways to make my email newsletters even more useful and engaging.
  • Most importantly, what lies ahead is (hopefully) many more years of writing stories I love, the way I want to write them, and sharing them with readers who I hope will enjoy them as much as I do πŸ™‚

Source-Breaker Now Available


I’m happy to announce that Source-Breaker, the newest novel in the Tehovir world, is now available as an ebook at all the stores I sell through. The paperback edition will be coming in the next few weeks. The regular ebook price will be $3.99, but right now it’s at the introductory price of only 99 cents, and will go on 99 cent promo a few times over the next few months. It’s available at:

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay | Smashwords | DriveThruFiction

This was a fun book to write. It’s a little more light-hearted than a lot of my work (though still with a good dose of angst and some serious themes). Unlike a lot of fantasy which is coming-of-age stories, in this novel I decided to feature two characters who are facing midlife crises. Kaniev is all of a sudden a failure at the trade he’s worked in for 27 years, and Fransisa has had her expectations of career advancement pulled out from under her in favor of a much younger Chosen. I also enjoyed telling the story of the villain, Ardavos, and his mistress Sivael. I’ve written some backstories for Kaniev, Fransisa, and Ardavos and Sivael; they need a little editing, and then I’ll make those available.

So now it’s on to the next book, Heir of Tanaris, also set in the Tehovir world. Unlike my usual habit of working on two projects at once, I’m going to focus exclusively on Heir, at least until I get the revised draft out to the beta readers, and see if I can start getting stuff done faster. I want to get to the revision of Defenders of the Wildings, so I’ll start on that while the beta readers are having at Heir. I love all my books, but Heir of Tanaris is one of those that just won’t leave me alone and it’s a story I feel deeply compelled to tell. I’ve already got the cover art for it, which is absolutely gorgeous, and I’m hoping to release it early this summer. Watch for the cover reveal and more information coming up this spring!

In other news, if you’ve noticed the disappearance of the OmniLit links from the site, OmniLit and its parent site All Romance eBooks suddenly closed in December, owing a lot of money to a lot of authors. (They offered a really insulting settlement of 10 cents on the dollar, ostensibly to help them avoid having to file bankruptcy.) I didn’t sell much there, so I’m not losing more than a few dollars, but some authors are losing thousands. Anyway, as a result, I’ve decided to replace the old OmniLit links with the GooglePlay links for my books. GooglePlay is a relatively large, um, player in the ebook world, and I should have been promoting my books there more. If you use Android and the GooglePlay store, now it’ll be easier for you to find my books there.

If you did buy any of my books at OmniLit/ARe and are now unable to access them (readers were given about four days in the middle of the holiday travel season to download and back up their purchased books; I’m hearing of readers who lost hundreds or thousands of books in their ARe libraries), contact me with some sort of proof of purchase and I’ll set you up with replacement copies.

The ARe debacle has also emphasized how important it is for authors to not become too dependent on one company. Which is why I’m trying to cast my GooglePlay net more widely, and I’m also looking into setting up to sell books from my own site. I know which service I’m going to use if I do this (PayHip); now it’s a matter of sorting out tax licenses and stuff. I do know that if I have to get a city business license in addition to a state sales tax license, I’m not going to do it because the two licenses together will cost more than I anticipate making in sales from my website. πŸ˜›

Anyway. So I’m adding new links to the site, and getting the Tehovir section more put together, with information and reading order on the books and things like that. Watch for more Source-Breaker book extras coming up; I’ve got interviews scheduled with Fransisa, Ardavos, and Sivael, and I’ll be revisiting the notorious Billionaires, Bad Boys, and Bondage blog post series with a look at how Kaniev fits into those popular romance tropes; that should be fun.

February 2015 Look Back; What’s Ahead in March

PictureTime for another monthly review and look ahead. The main thing in February was the release of Bad Hunting, Book 2 of Daughter of the Wildings. It had a great launch, and the series has picked up new readers! Which I’m really happy about. I also wrote a guest post on fantasy-westerns for The Speculative Fiction Showcase, a blog that promotes science fiction, fantasy, and related genres by independent authors.

The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been tough, but I’m managing to establish more or less regular work hours and also to stick with an exercise routine that’s within my capabilities. Both of these seem to be helping my productivity quite a bit, especially the regular work hours.

On the A-Z reading challenge, I got sidetracked on H, reading the entire Tormay Trilogy, by Christopher Bunn, that started with The Hawk and His Boy. Highly recommended. Now I’m on I. The only “I” book on my Kindle that I already owned is a contemporary political thriller, which sounded pretty good but it turned out to be a lot more political than I’m in the mood for. So I bought a book I had a sample of, Iron Flower, by Billy Wong, book 2 of the Legend of the Iron Flower series.

In March, the main thing I’m working on, of course, is revisions and edits on The Rancher’s Daughter, Daughter of the Wildings Book 3. This one doesn’t seem to need as much work as some of the others, but it seems like I say that about every book. πŸ˜› It does seem to be true this time, though. I’m saying a release date in May, though I’d love to be able to release it in April. We’ll see how things go.

There are a lot of other projects waiting in the wings for me to get to them. Preparing Tales of Azara for release, revision of The Source-Fixer, writing The Healing Tree (working title), planning the sequel to Urdaisunia, looking at my very first novel and its sequel to see if they can be revised to release-able quality (I think so, but it’ll take some work), planning a follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings… Right now I’m totally focused on Daughter of the Wildings, but I’m hoping that as I get more into the routine of the work hours I set and find other ways to be more productive, I can choose a secondary project to work on.

There are some publisher chores I need to get to, as well. Reworking the Books page on my site to make it more streamlined and comprehensive now that I have eight titles out and more on the way; looking at some additional sales platforms; redoing the promotional matter in my books. The to-do list never ends!

So, that’s what’s keeping me out of trouble this month.

In the meantime, through March 7, all my books are 50% off (except A Cure For Nel, which is free!) during Read an eBook Week on Smashwords! Use the coupon code on the book page to get the sale price at checkout.

“Bad Hunting” Formatting Day!

PictureYes, it’s finally here, the day I turn the manuscript of yet another novel into a lovely ebook, the last step before releasing it into the world. The first time I did this process, it took 2 weeks; I’ve now got it down to a day or two, depending on length of the book (lots of chapters take more time to do). This isn’t counting the paperback version; I do that in my spare time after the ebook release.

So I’m taking a quick break between preparing the html file and running it through the ebook generating program (I use Sigil) to announce that Bad Hunting will be available in just a few more days at a wide variety of ebook sellers. There’ll be some special promotions in connection with the release; to make sure you don’t miss out, sign up for my email alerts. (I only send these out when I have a new release or special offer to announce; no spamming!)

Also, this was cool, I had a guest post yesterday at the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a blog devoted to indie fantasy, science fiction, and related genres.

One other bit of business, Facebook has become pretty much useless for announcing my blog posts, book news, buy links, and special offers. If you want to keep up with what I’m doing, there are several other ways you can do this: follow me on Twitter (not my platform of choice, but I do tweet my blog posts and release news) and/or on Google+, bookmark my main site, and/or subscribe to one of my blogs: main site, Blogspot, or WordPress (same content, just different platforms and options for following).

Time for lunch, then back to work!

Going Wide With The Warrior and the Holy Man

PictureFor the last six months, I’ve been doing an experiment with having some books exclusive on Amazon, in the Select program for indie authors. The perks of going exclusively with Amazon are that you can have your choice between running a “Countdown” sale or free giveaway days on your book, and also your book is put into the Kindle Unlimited subscription program. The idea behind these is getting more exposure for your work.

I found the results of the experiment, for me, underwhelming. I did have some successful free giveaways, getting copies of those two books into several hundred readers’ hands. But the long-term benefits are uncertain, and the days when a free giveaway on Amazon would give a long-lasting rankings and visibility boost seem to be long gone. As for Kindle Unlimited, some authors have seen their incomes soar with the program, others have seen drastic drops. The deal with Kindle Unlimited, as far as how authors get paid, is that an equal share is paid out of a monthly pool of money for each borrow, with a short story that would normally cost 99 cents to buy and a 500,000 word epic priced at $9.99 getting the same amount. When I put those two books into Kindle Unlimited, the share was around $2 per borrow. Which wasn’t a whole lot less than I would get on a sale of those books, priced at $2.99 and $3.99. However, within a few months, the per-borrow share dropped drastically, to under $1.40. This meant that on borrows of my $3.99 book, I was making about half of what I would make on a sale. That’s a pretty big reduction, unless you’re getting tons of borrows (and exposure), which this book wasn’t. So I came to the decision that the benefits of being in Kindle Unlimited (and the corresponding drop in payment) weren’t worth giving up the wider exposure of being on other sales platforms.

The upshot of all this is that The Warrior and the Holy Man, which came out of Select a few days ago, is now available at iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, DriveThruFiction, and OmniLit, and it’ll be coming soon to Barnes & Noble (it’s been submitted; just waiting for the people there to do whatever it is they do to make it go live). Beneath the Canyons finishes its 90-day term in Select early next week, and will be going wide as well. The release of Bad Hunting has been delayed because I lost about a month of work time between the run-up to Thanksgiving and the start of the new year, but it works out because it should be coming out a couple weeks after Beneath the Canyons goes wide and will be available on all my current sales channels, hopefully giving both books a nice visibility boost.

I’m also looking into adding some new channels, including Google Play (tricky because they do a lot of discounting, which Amazon then price-matches, even to the point of making a book free when you don’t want it to be free), and setting up direct sales from my site. Also tricky because of the wild and wacky world of sales taxes and VAT, but there are some shopping cart sites I’m looking into that handle the tax stuff. Right now, getting Bad Hunting ready for release and getting back on track on my writing schedule is the first priority, but I hope to be able to get these expanded sales channels set up before too long.

Independence for Authors

I don’t usually blog about other blog posts, especially not posts directed more at writers than at readers, but this is too good to pass up.

Right now, Amazon, which really opened up the possibilities for independent authors with its invention of the Kindle (the first really usable e-reader) and Kindle Direct Publishing (Smashwords also gets credit for starting the independent author revolution, but it was Amazon that brought it mainstream) is involved in difficult negotiations with one of the Big 5 publishers (Hachette). The news media (which in large part is owned by the same giant international comglomerates that own the Big 5 publishers) has been in an anti-Amazon frenzy, spouting out ridiculous claims about how Amazon means the end of literature and ideas and civilization and life the universe and EVERYTHING!!!

Passive Guy is an IP (intellectual property) and contracts lawyer with a special interest in independent writing and publishing and in the disruptive technology and business practices that make this revolution possible. His blog is a must-read for independent authors. Here is part of his response to the frenzy:

As independent authors arise, empowered by Amazon’s democratic commons of ideas, PG says we’re looking at a renaissance of American literature, an upheaval that is shoving the suits out and putting authors back in charge of the art they create.

Despite the dying spasms of Big Publishing, the wall between writers and readers is coming down. Uncontrolled and unmediated ideas are being released into the wild, giving readers the opportunity to decide which will flourish.

Whether the path out of corporate serfdom comes via Amazon or someone else, authors who have discovered the freedom that comes with owning and controlling the fruits of their labors are not going back to the plantation.

You can read the whole thing, along with quotes from the article that inspired this response, here:

For readers, the independent author revolution means more books, less expensive books, a wider variety of books – not just what the sales departments at the publishing companies decide they can market, access to previously out-of-print books whose authors have gotten their rights back (often at great time, expense, and stress), continuation of series that were cancelled by publishers, easier and more convenient access to books in a variety of formats, and closer interaction with authors. Big publishing does not see readers as their customers; their customers are the book distributors and the big chain bookstores. The independent author revolution is good for readers, good for authors, good for everyone except those with a vested interest in preserving the old, bloated, exclusionary, wasteful way of doing things.

Looking Ahead at 2014

Picture I’ve been thinking about this post since reading Dean Wesley Smith’s post on setting writing goals for 2014. This year got off to a rocky start for me; I had an abnormal EKG a week before Christmas, which was kind of alarming, and I’ve been dealing with tests and a lot of anxiety since then. Everything is still inconclusive so far, but right now it looks like we’re not dealing with anything immediately dangerous; most likely it’s nothing serious, or we’ve caught something more long-term serious in the early stages.

Getting this glimpse of my own mortality had the contradictory effects of making it hard to make future plans and goals (who can make plans for the future when they’re afraid they’re going to drop dead at any moment?) (seriously, I’m a terrible hypochondriac) and making me really zero in on what I want to accomplish in my life. The main thing I realized, besides wondering who would make the Christmas fudge and homemade dinner rolls at our house if I wasn’t around (getting alarming health news right before Christmas really sucks) is that I would be extremely bummed out were I to shuffle off the mortal coil before getting Daughter of the Wildings out. I’ve instructed my husband that should something happen to me, DoW is to be made available however seems best at the time – put up for sale, or just posted for free, or whatever. The problem is, as it is right now, still in rough draft, it kind of sucks. It’s not terrible, but there are parts that make me cringe or that are just wrong, and I really don’t want it to go out into the world this way.

So, with that as my focus, and now that I’m not quite so convinced that I’m going to drop dead at any moment *knock on wood*, here are my plans and goals for the coming year.

Although Sarya’s Song is the next book scheduled to come out, I’m going to be spending most of my work hours on the initial revision of Daughter of the Wildlings. DoW is a huge project, nearly 300,000 words, and if I’m going to get it released on any kind of schedule, it needs to take priority. This shuffling of priorities will mean that the release of Sarya’s Song may be delayed a bit. I’m hoping for a February release, but it may take until March.

My target for releasing the first DoW book, Beneath the Canyons, is June, though that may be a bit optimistic. The plan is to get all six books to where once I start releasing the series, a new book can come out about every other month.

Once Sarya’s Song is out and DoW is well under way towards being released, there are a couple of different areas I’m thinking I’ll turn my attention to. One is a couple of partially-written novels set in Estelend, the world of Chosen of Azara. I also had a reviewer say they wished Chosen was a trilogy instead of one book, because they wanted more backstory on some of the characters and events. Rewriting Chosen as a trilogy isn’t going to happen – I just don’t feel it that way – but I’d like to do a set of stories giving some of the backstory the reviewer mentioned they’d like to know more about. Maybe I’ll make this a Camp NaNo project in April or July. And the very first novel I ever wrote, Prince of the Trozdozh, and its sequel are sitting on my hard drive, calling out to me. I think they’re probably salvageable, so I want to run them through my revision process and see it they really are something I can release to the public.

As far as production goals, right now I can’t really set a word count goal. By the end of the year I aim to have released 5 novels (Sarya’s Song and the first four Daughter of the Wildings novels) and at least one short story collection (the Chosen of Azara companion stories). I had five releases in 2013, so six releases in 2014 sounds like a good progression.

And, onward. Happy New Year, everyone! May it be happy and productive and with a minimum of unpleasant surprises.

Progress Update: Lost Book, Sarya, and DoW5


Been working hard; time for a progress update.

The Lost Book of Anggird is on the final line/copy editing round. I’m about 1/3 of the way through. After that comes the proofread and formatting, and I anticipate being able to release it sometime during the later part of October. Watch for previews and book extras as the release date draws near!

The first major revision of Sarya’s Song is a little more than halfway done. I’ll start scaring up some test readers for it soon, and plan to be able to send it out to them later in September. It’s hard to say for sure this far back, but I’m probably looking at a February release for that one.

The draft of Book 5 of Daughter of the Wildings is getting close to finished. I should be able to wrap that up this week, then get right to work on Book 6. As I’ve said before, the plan with this series is to get all the books written, then revise them all as one unit to get the storyline and everything consistent throughout. When I first wrote Beneath the Canyons, I didn’t intend for it to turn into a series; I’d always thought of myself as a writer of stand-alone novels. But at the end of that book, even though the storyline was resolved, Silas and Lainie were in worse trouble than they started out in, so of course the story had to continue! The series has developed in some ways I wasn’t expecting – some things I thought were important early on have turned out not to be so important (so far, at least – we’ll see how things go in Book 6), while other things I didn’t think were important have turned out to be major parts of the overall series storyline. So, there’s still a lot of work to do there. Can’t say for sure, but I’m hoping to start releasing the series in Spring 2014. At that point all the books will be written and will have been through the first major revision and the test readers, so I’m hoping for no more than a couple of months in between releases of each book in the series.

(And yes, if you’re counting, I’m working on three novels at once right now. I think I’m probably out of my mind.)

Also, I just got a look at a preliminary version of the cover for Daughter of the Wildings Book 3, which is now titled The Rancher’s Daughter. Thrilling, I know, but it has more layers of meaning than it looks like. I reserve the right to change it if I think of something better. This cover is going to be super cool.

While I’m on the subject, I want to say that of all the fun, awesome, cool things about being an independent author, working with my two amazing cover artists has been one of the funnest, awesomest, coolest things of all! Design by Katt and me-illuminated (Mominur Rahman) have both been great to work with, and I highly recommend them to other authors looking for custom cover art.

And a reminder, to be informed of new releases and if I have a sale or free coupon or something, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter! I’m too lazy and too busy to spam; you’ll only get emails when I release a new book or am having a special on my books.

Lucie, Character Growth, and Learning Curves


Something I read recently has led me to musing on Lucie’s character development in Chosen of Azara. Lucie was kind of a risky character to write, and very difficult to get right (assuming I got her right). In fantasy, young noblewomen who go off on adventures are usually spunky and rebellious and seize eagerly at the chance to run off somewhere and do exciting and dangerous things. But with Lucie, I wanted to do something different – something that is pretty much the complete opposite of almost every fantasy heroine I’ve ever heard of.

Lucie is pretty happy with the way things are and the life she has. She does have a bit of a free-spirited streak that pushes the bounds of convention and propriety, but she is willing (though somewhat reluctantly so) to accept the reasons why one day she will need to give up the things she enjoys doing. She also has the occasional complaint about her fiance, Estefan, but she understands that in her society, marriage is about a lot more than the whims of the heart. In spite of her “eccentricities,” she wants to do what’s right and proper and expected of her and to be a credit to her family. She wants the handsome husband, the beautiful house, the fashionable clothes, the social standing. She is looking forward to devoting her life to raising her children and managing her household.

And then the dream, the things she wants and that she’s always been taught that she should want, starts to fall apart at the same time that she’s presented with an alternative that, according to everything she’s been raised to believe, is unthinkable, that would cost her her family, her friends, her reputation, and everything that’s important to her. Lucie finds herself in a quandary: cling to what she believes is right and important, for the sake of her and her family’s name and reputation and her own security, or throw everything away and take a leap into the unknown. Either option requires more courage and resolve than Lucie possesses at the beginning of her story, and a major part of Lucie’s story is watching her find the courage to do what her heart insists is, in the end, the right thing to do.

I knew I was taking a chance of turning off readers with a character who seems weak, who wants to be proper and conventional, who is not only indecisive but outright offended when the handsome stranger says, “Throw everything away and come on my quest with me,” and who wants to cling to the life she has even as it becomes increasingly clear that that life is detrimental to her. But it’s a common source of conflict and growth in the real world: the person who hates their boring cubicle job but is afraid to quit because then how will they pay the bills? Or the person who hangs on to the same circle of friends they’ve known since junior high even though those friends aren’t progressing beyond a junior-high mentality and the person wants bigger and better things out of life but they’re afraid to leave those friends behind because what if they never make any new friends? Or the woman who can’t bring herself to leave a bad relationship because what will she do once she’s out on her own?

We see spunky, rebellious, and strong-willed all the time in fantasy. With Lucie, I wanted to start with a character who is the opposite of that and show her growth into, not necessarily spunky and rebellious, but strong-willed and courageous enough to do what her heart is telling her is the right thing to do, no matter the pressures on her from other people or the consequences to herself.

So that’s the character growth part of this post. As for learning curves, that’s my part.

The great thing about being an independent author is that you’re in charge of every aspect of your book, from what you write about in the first place to the final presentation. It’s amazing to have that much control, but also involves learning a lot of new things. And one of those things is book covers.

Book covers (though with ebooks what you’re talking about is an image that represents the book on a website or on your ereader) are a hugely important tool for drawing attention to a book. They need to be eye-catching, attractive, and convey a good sense of what the book is about. For authors who publish with traditional publishing companies, the art/marketing departments take care of all that, and sometimes they do a good job and sometimes they don’t. (Caution: any and all of those links may be NSFW. Brain bleach available in aisle 2.) Either way, the author generally has little if any input into or approval over what goes on the front of their book.

Independent authors have the opposite problem: It’s all up to us. We have to think of the concept and then license or commission the appropriate images. And it isn’t easy to think of a single image to represent your whole book. One character? Multiple characters? Just a landscape? An object? A literal representation of a scene in the book or something more general? It’s mind-boggling if you aren’t used to doing this, and sometimes it takes trial and error.

With Chosen of Azara, I wanted something representing one or more of the characters (I very much prefer book covers with pictures of the characters), and something representing the cove of Azara or another aspect of the magic in the book. I fiddled around with pictures of various crystals and necklaces, trying to get the magical talisman that is an important object in the book, but that didn’t go anywhere. Finally I settled on a picture of someone who sort of looked like Lucie, and a picture of a rocky ocean cove, and tried putting them together, with results I wasn’t entirely happy with.

When I went looking for a cover artist for the Daughter of the Wildings series, I came across Design by Katt and fell in love with her fantasy portraits of women. I knew I’d found just the artist I needed to turn my Chosen of Azara cover concept into something wonderful. And she did – she took my original images and concept and did a gorgeous job with them. Her rendition of Lucie captures Lucie perfectly.

It’s a gorgeous cover and I love it, but I started feeling like maybe my concept doesn’t really represent what Chosen of Azara is really about. Lucie is only one main character of three in the book, and the main main character is actually Sevry. So I started thinking he should be on the cover. As well, just having Lucie on the cover doesn’t convey the dark, angsty, romantic, adult (as in grownup, not as in porno) nature of the book – it looks more like a Young Adult book, or maybe fantasy with a chick-lit-ish twist. So, reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that my original concept was a misfire.

In the meantime, as I saw more of Katt’s work and as she did the lucious cover of Sarya’s Song, I came to realize what a really skilled and talented artist can do with photomanipulation and digital painting. It was okay if I couldn’t find a photo of two people who look exactly like my characters – the main things to look for were the basic physical type and the positioning. Everything else, hair color, hairstyle, even clothing and facial expression, can be altered. So I went browsing for stock images for a new cover and almost instantly came across the PERFECT picture to become Sevry and Lucie. I ran it by Katt and she roughed out an idea of what can be done with it, and oh my, it’s going to be amazing! She’s working on it even as I write this. πŸ˜€

So watch this space for the new cover for Chosen of Azara. Once I’ve revealed it here, I’ll start uploading it to the various retailers where the book is available. The old cover isn’t going away, though; it will still be around on the site, because I do think it’s the perfect picture of Lucie.

Quick Update: Chosen of Azara


I finished the proofread on Chosen of Azara yesterday, and the formatting is (so far; knock on wood) going well. Yesterday afternoon and evening and this morning I got done what it took me a week to do last time. It helps that I have my stylesheet and templates already set up – I’m using the same stylesheet for each book so that my books will have a consistent look and feel to them – and that I decided not to try wrestling with constructing the entire ebook by hand (see “command-line programs are not my friend” under this post). Last time, I wrote out a general workflow, which is making this easier, but this time I’m making sure to write down all the tips, tricks, and shortcuts that will make the formatting go even faster on future books. Not making any promises, but I anticipate Chosen of Azara going live on Amazon by early next week, with other stores to follow as I get those formats done.

In the meantime, if you’re anxious to get a peek at Chosen of Azara, or want to read some before you decide if you want to buy it, you can read a sample here on my site. It consists of the first scene or two from each of the three sections of the book (instead of just the first 10-20% which is what you get when you download the free sample from ebook stores), with spoilery bits removed. Check it out, and meet Juzeva, Sevry and Lucie!

I’ll make an official announcement when Chosen of Azara becomes available for purchase, and will add buy links as they go live. Stay tuned!