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September 2014 Wrap-up and October Overview

Beneath the CanyonsSeptember was all about finishing the first major revision of Daughter of the Wildings and working on the second revision of book 1, Beneath the Canyons. So far it’s going well; I’m using a modified version of Holly Lisle’s Seven-Day Crash Revision to fix what needs to be fixed and get it fixed fast. I should finish this revision on Tuesday (the 7th), then it’s on to the last few editing rounds to fine-tune the writing and fix up mistakes. After that it’s time to format and release the book! I’m hoping to be able to release a new book in the series about every two months. If my current pace holds, that should be doable.

The official release date for Beneath the Canyons is November 10, though, barring any unforeseen problems, it could be as soon as the end of October. I’ve made the decision to put Beneath the Canyons exclusively on Amazon for the first 90 days.* I like to have my books available at all the major ebook outlets, but the truth is that my sales at the other stores just aren’t enough to make up for the benefits and exposure I lose by not putting books in the 90-day exclusive Select program at Amazon. Once that 90-day stint is up, Canyons will go up at all the other stores, with the rest of the books to follow. (If book 2 is out before Canyons comes out of the Select program, it’ll just go up on Amazon but not in Select, until Canyons‘s 90 days in Select are up. Then I’ll put them both up at the other stores.) For up-to-date release information and special offers, be sure to sign up for my email alerts.

In other September news, I finished the Clean Out Your eReader Summer Vacation challenge with 21 books, more than twice my original goal! Somehow, though, the number of books on my Kindle seems to have grown, not shrunk. So I’ve set myself a new, fun challenge – to read a book (that I already own on my Kindle) starting with every letter from A to Z (ok, X and Z might be kind of hard). Let’s say, hm, by the end of the year. I’ll do occasional Reading Round-up posts with the books from this challenge.

I didn’t make a lot of progress planning my next novel, but last night (late) my muse came out to play and I got a lot of good work done on developing some new story ideas. Check the Still to Come page for information on my upcoming projects! With National Novel Writing Month coming up in November, I’d like to have one of these ideas ready to write.

And, onward.

*Don’t have a Kindle? Never fear! You can download the free Kindle reading app for PC, Mac, Android, and iPad/iPod/iPhone; read in the Amazon Cloud Reader, or, since my Kindle ebooks are sold without digital rights management (DRM), you can download free Calibre ebook management software to convert them into epub format for your Nook, Kobo, Sony, or iDevice.

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July 2014 Review, and Coming Up in August

The Warrior and the Holy ManMishka Jenkins at A Writer’s Life for Me does a monthly roundup/overview (check out the post for July/August), which I decided is a great idea to keep myself on track and keep my readers (Hi!) informed of what I’m doing and what’s coming up.

In July, if you missed it on the post before this, The Warrior and the Holy Man got a great new cover by Mominur Rahman. Currently, The Warrior and the Holy Man is available exclusively at Amazon, $2.99 for the ebook or, if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership (U.S. only) or Amazon Prime, you can read it for free! I will also be scheduling some free days. (Hint: there’s one coming up soon!)Don’t have a Kindle? Never fear! You can download the free Kindle reading app for PC, Mac, Android, and iPad/iPod/iPhone; read in the Amazon Cloud Reader, or, since all my ebooks are DRM-free, you can download free Calibre ebook management software to convert my Kindle books into epub format for your Nook, Kobo, Sony, or iDevice.

Camp NaNoWriMo Winner 2014I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and met my goal of 12,000 words! Not a very big goal, but on top of doing heavy revisions on Daughter of the Wildings, it was enough to keep me busy. I’m working on Tales of Azara, a collection of short stories, character sketches, and vignettes to go along with Chosen of Azara. Even though I met my Camp goal, the project still isn’t finished, so I’m going to continue working on it in August.

I also finished the revision of To the Gap, book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings, and sent it out to the test readers. Response to the series from the test readers has been pretty positive so far 🙂

And finally, I’ve read thirteen books so far for the Clean Out Your eReader Summer Vacation challenge, which beats my original goal of ten books read, and there’s still a month to go! Watch my main COYER post for my reading list and links to reviews.

 

For the WildingsSo, on to August. Job one is to finish this first major revision of Daughter of the Wildings. I’m nearly through with City of Mages, book 5, and then should be able to finish up For the Wildings by the end of the month, keeping to my three scenes a day quota. I’ve allowed a few extra days to finish, since we’re hitting the road for a few days later this month to take our younger son to Northern Arizona University for his freshman year there. I’ll take my writing with me, but probably won’t be able to get in a full day’s work on any of those days. Still, the goal for finishing this revision is August 30.

Another goal is to write 500 words a day of new fiction, for a total of 11,500 words (minus Sundays and a few days for travel). I want to finish Tales of Azara, and in the meantime start planning… whatever the next project is going to be. Probably another novel/novella set in Estelend (the world of Chosen of Azara) so I can start on that next. Once this heavy-duty revision of Daughter of the Wildings is done, I may be able to increase my daily word count goal.

I’m also aiming to read at least five more books on the COYER challenge, for a total of twenty.

And finally, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a novel for free on the site. Starting today, you can read The Lost Book of Anggird! I’ll post a chapter three times a week, and leave the first several chapters up for a couple of weeks to give anyone who’s interested time to start, and then continue with up to 6 chapters available at a time (plus the first chapter, which is always free on the site).


Couple Interview: Rashali and Eruz

Welcome to Love and Magic Week here on Welcome To My Worlds! I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day and my 1-year publishing anniversary with some fun events. First off, two of my fantasy-romance novels, Urdaisunia and Chosen of Azara are on sale for $0.99 (US) at Amazon and Smashwords until Feb. 16:Urdaisunia:
Amazon | Smashwords (coupon code QF65D)
Chosen of Azara:
Amazon | Smashwords (coupon code ZU89J)
(Also on sale at Amazon international sites; prices vary.)There’s also some couple character interviews coming up, some romance and magic-themed sneak peeks (including from my forthcoming novel Sarya’s Song and the Daughter of the Wildings series, possibly a guest blog or two, a playlist of love songs for the couples in my novels, and don’t miss the giveaway up at the top of the blog to win a signed paperback copy of Urdaisunia, Chosen of Azara, or The Lost Book of Anggird!

Here’s the first couple interview for Love and Magic Week: Rashali and Eruz from Urdaisunia:

Picture1. How did you meet?

Rashali: I was preoccupied, walking back to my village after getting water from the river, and I started across the road without seeing him, and he rode his horse right into me.
Eruz: Actually, it was you who walked into Teshkarizaz. I tried to pull around you, but couldn’t.

2. What was the first thing you noticed about the other person?

R: All I noticed was that he was a Sazar warrior and nobleman. That was all I needed to know about him, that he was the enemy.
E: Her eyes, full of fear and sorrow but also full of pride.

3. Did you know when you met that you would end up together?

Both: No.
R: The thought of an Urdai and a Sazar together was.. It was unimaginable.
E: Impossible.

4. What do you like best about the other person?

E: Rashali speaks honestly to me, and sees me as a person rather than as just a provider of wealth and prestige, as my former wives did.
R: He’s a good, brave, honorable man who is committed to doing what’s right no matter how hard it is or the consequences to himself.

5. What is something you enjoy doing together? (Besides the obvious!)

E: We like to discuss the best ways to serve our land and both the Urdai and the Sazar people.
R: We also enjoy walking together in the Jewel of Zir, the great garden behind the palace. It’s a very special place to us.

6. How has the other person changed you?

R: Because of Eruz, I have learned to see the Sazars not as faceless enemies but as real people who in truth want the same things anyone else does, a place to call home, safety, a way to provide for their families.
E: Rashali gave me the courage to act on the things I believed, instead of just thinking about them.

7. What are the biggest differences between you? How important are these differences?

R: He is Sazar, I am Urdai; that is the greatest difference. To an Urdai, the idea of being with a Sazar is… disgusting. And the Sazars feel the same way about the Urdai. As though the Urdai are somehow less than human. Also, he was born a prince, heir to the Sazar throne; I was born a peasant, and became a rebel against the Sazars. At first, these differences seemed insurmountable to me, but we eventually overcame them in the face of greater challenges to us and to our land.
E: The differences never mattered very much to me. For me, the barriers between us were more a matter of what was expected of me as heir to the throne. I was expected to choose my wives from a certain class of women – Sazar women, of course – and to adhere to certain ideals about the superiority of the Sazar people.

8. What do the two of you have in common?

R: I lost a young daughter to plague. Eruz has a daughter, about the same age that mine was, so he understands my love for my daughter and my grief. And I understand his love for his daughter.
E: We both also love our land, Urdaisunia. Rashali’s people have lived here for thousands of years, while my people only came here seventy years ago. But it’s home to both of us, and we both want it to thrive again and become the great land that it once was.

9. What does your family think of your partner, and what do you think of your partner’s family?

R: Although Eruz is a Sazar, my sister (the only surviving member of my family, along with her two surviving children and her new husband) is very happy for me, that I’ve found love again after losing my husband Tigun. As for Eruz’s family, I’ve no use for them. They’ve been cruel and hateful to him. Except for his daughter, of course. She’s adorable, and I love her like my own.
E: My father and brothers were horrified at the idea of me being with an Urdai woman. To them, such a thing is as bad as treason. I don’t know Rashali’s sister and her family very well, but they seem like good people and I’m glad they’re willing to accept me.

10. What role does magic play in your relationship?

E: The first time Rashali truly softened towards me was when I did a small magic trick, making a flower bud come into full blown. Her reaction was unforgettable.
R: It was one of the most wonderful things I’d ever seen. The Sazars worship Kuz, the god of sorcerers, more than the Urdai do, and I’d never seen anything like it. I was amazed that this man who was an enemy could do something so beautiful.

11. What are your plans for the future?

R: To raise Eruz’s children from his prior marriages, and have children of our own.
E: And to see Urdaisunia restored to a great land, a comfortable and prosperous home for all those who live there, Sazar and Urdai alike.

12. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” How is this true for the two of you?

E: We overcame more than seventy years of hatred and prejudice between our people and the vast gulf between peasant and prince in order to be together. We hope that our relationship is a symbol of what the land and people of Urdaisunia can achieve.
R: If an entire land can be saved through love, then we hope that is what we are able to do.

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.


November: NaNoWriMo and More

Picture It’s been almost a week since my last post, a couple of weeks since releasing The Lost Book of Anggird, and I’m still a little ways out from my next major release, which will be Sarya’s Song. So how am I entertaining myself (and trying to stay out of trouble) in the meantime?

First of all, it’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or just NaNo). Last year I wrote the draft of Sarya’s Song (finally finishing it after a number of false starts), but this year I’ve returned to my tradition of pounding out a fanfiction during November. I got off to a good start, then took a few days off to finish the draft of Book 6 of Daughter of the Wildings, then just couldn’t get motivated to work on the novel I was doing for NaNo. So on Nov. 8, I decided to set aside the novel I’d started and work on an idea I’d been toying with for a few years. Starting over again from zero words more than a week into November means a lot of catching up to do. I set a minimum quota of 2500 words a day, and I’m almost caught up. Things are looking good for my 5th win in a row! (Note for those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, the object is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. It’s a self-challenge rather than a contest where you’re competing against other people, and everyone who verifies that they wrote 50,000 words or more is a winner.)

Also, as I mentioned, I finished the 6th book of Daughter of the Wildings, which means that the whole series now exists in complete form. The whole series is printed out and sitting in a very large binder, resting for a while until I’m ready to start the revision. So, for those of you who hate waiting years between books of a series, and who wonder if a slow-publishing series is ever going to be finished at all, take heart – Daughter of the Wildings is complete, if still something of a mess. I’m even giving my family instructions that should something happen to prevent me from editing and publishing the whole thing, they’re to just put whatever hasn’t been published yet online. Not that I plan on anything happening to me, but you never know. (My husband is a wills and estate planning lawyer. That sort of thing kind of rubs off on you when you live with it.)

A couple of stories I wrote last March during my pre-Camp NaNo challenge have still been waiting around to be edited. “The Tale of Haveshi Yellowcrow” and “The Tale of Latan the Scholar” (original titles, I know) are linked together and are also loosely related to Chosen of Azara; Haveshi and Latan are mentioned in passing (and not by name) in the novel. I decided it’s time to get these fixed up and published, so I’m working on the revision of those after I finish my NaNo quota each day. With some luck and a lot of hard work, they should be ready in a week or so. I’m thinking I’ll post them on the site for free for a short time, then put them in the Kindle Select program for 90 days.

I’ll start on the next revision of Sarya’s Song once I’m done with the Haveshi and Latan stories.

Finally, The Lost Book of Anggird has been getting some very nice reviews. I installed the Goodreads reviews widget for it on the book page, so you can read the complete reviews there, or check out highlights on the Lost Book reviews page.


Daughter of the Wildings Series Overview Posted

Picture

I finished the draft of Book 4 of Daughter of the Wildings the other day, at around 41,500 words – a good bit longer than I thought it would be. Since I tend to “write short,” I’m sure it’ll end up longer after revisions. I’d had the ending of that book in mind for a long time, even before I knew exactly what that installment would be about; I knew where I wanted it to hit on the overall series story arc. It was fun to finally write that scene. I’ve also had the first few scenes of Book 5 worked out for just as long, and now I’m developing the rest of that book. Should be ready to start writing soon. The series has developed in some surprising ways since I wrote Book 1, which I didn’t even intend to be the first book of a series; I’ve always written stand-alones, and it was supposed to also be a stand-alone, but it didn’t work out that way! Anyway, I’m kind of pleased and surprised by how well all the different story threads are pulling together in my planning, and it seems like every day I get a new insight into how everything in the series works together.

Of course, these are things I didn’t have in mind when I wrote the first couple of books. So once the draft of Book 5 is done, the plan is to revise the entire series as a single unit, as though it was all one book, to go back and make sure all those different bits of story are the way they should be early on. That’s an advantage of writing the whole series before you start to revise or release any of it; you can let the story develop how it wants to and then after you get to the end you can go back and make the earlier parts match up with the later parts, why certain things happened, what’s going on in the background, and things that turned out to be important that you didn’t think were all that important at the time. I’ll go back to the beginning and bring it all together so the whole series is solid and consistent and hangs together.

Now that I’m planning Book 5 and have a pretty good idea of what actually happens in it, I’ve written quick blurbs or teasers for every book in the series, so you, my readers, can get an idea of what’s in store. For now, it’s on the Still to Come page, but I hope to soon be able to get Daughter of the Wildings set up on its own book page.


New Short Story; April Wrap-up and May Projects

The second of the three weird short-shorts I wrote in March is now available on the site: Mistress of the Mirror. The story prompt for this one was: a poor woman with a mirror runs afoul of an assassin. It will be available for free here on my site until I have enough stories to do another collection, at which time it’ll come down and the collection will go into the Amazon KDP Select program for a while.

I schedule my writing projects by the month, so the beginning of the month is a good time to look back and forward. I successfully completed my April goals, writing the first draft of Book 3 of Daughter of the Wildings and doing the major revision of Chosen of Azara. In May I’ll be doing the fine-tuning on Chosen of Azara. Depending on how that goes, I may even be able to get to the final copyediting and proofreading edits, the last stage before formatting the book and releasing it for sale. I’ll also be doing the next revision on The Lost Book of Anggird based on the feedback I’ve gotten from my test readers. Response to that book has been very positive, but my readers have also given me some great suggestions to make it even better.

So, busy busy. I love it when things move right along on schedule. And now that Camp NaNo is over and I won’t be reporting on my word count from that, I’ll blog about some more interesting things.


New Short Story Posted, and Camp NaNo Report: Day 24

One of the short-short stories I wrote in March is now edited and posted. Paint It Black is about an artist who is paralyzed by her fear of the dark. It’s maybe a little strange. And yes, I know that’s the title of a Rolling Stones song. You can’t copyright titles, and it’s also the name of a band and a novel. This story originally had a different title that came from the prompt I used to write it, but as I wrote and edited, I kept thinking that Paint It Black would be the perfect title. So I changed it. Also, that song would make great background music while you read the story. It’s free to read on the site until I have enough other stories for another collection (with these short-shorts, I’ll probably put five in a collection), at which time it’ll come down and go up for sale on Amazon in the KDP Select program.

Today my Camp NaNo Cabin held a word war, so I did extra writing, 2,532 words, to bring my total to 25,879/30,000. Poor Silas is having a very very bad day, but it might start to get better soon.