The Sunless World series wraps up with the release of FLARE. Follow Rafe and Isabella as they seek to thwart Karzov’s sinister and audacious plot and put aright a world on the brink of destruction.
Over a dozen blogs have already shared this awesome cover today. Many thanks to the hosts who kindly offered to do so. Now it’s my turn!
Without further ado, here’s the cover for Flare, Book Two of The Sunless World, an epic fantasy series with a steampunk flavor.
Isn’t she awesome?
Rafe and Isabella are back
The mages of old saved their world, but left it in eternal darkness. Now it’s time to bring back the light.
After two years of training his magical gifts, Rafe returns home to a land wracked by war. Desperate states struggle to protect their resources of luminous quartz. Magic pulses and earthquakes devastate a world on the brink of extinction.
Rafe’s old enemy Karzov has gathered a band of prodigies obedient to his will. He seeks the power of the ancient mages for an audacious and sinister purpose. It’s up to Rafe and his ally, Isabella, to stop him—and undo the mistakes of the past to put their world right again.
Flare will be out in September 2016, for sure! (But I’m really hoping to make it August *crosses fingers*).
It’s been a while since I did a State of the Writing update.
Flare, Book 2 of The Sunless World series, has been handed over for proofreading and formatting. This is the last planned book in the series, though I have left a smidgen of an opening in case there is demand for more.
I’m planning a cover reveal for July 20th–but it won’t be on this blog. A number of other authors and readers have kindly offered to host a cover reveal on their blogs, so I’ll direct you to theirs on that day. It’s a fabulous cover featuring Isabella, and I can’t WAIT to share it with the wider world!
(My mailing list has already gotten an exclusive first look at it. So, if you want to be in the loop for the future, go ahead and sign up now!)
Now I’m in the middle of editing Ghostlight, Book One of a completely different project. Whereas The Sunless World is a steampunk-flavored epic fantasy series, Ghostlight is a paranormal fantasy set in a Regency-inspired world. Think magic in a Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer setting and you won’t be too far off!
Allow me to share a snippet:
Arabella gave a merry laugh as she glided in behind him. “I should dearly love to see it. Perhaps I can breathe down his neck till he relents. That sort of thing always unnerves people in books.”
“I shouldn’t encourage you to haunt people, but I’ll make an exception this time.” Trey peered into an interior so gloomy, it looked like the place sunlight went to die.
It was also spectacularly cluttered, rather like the drawing room of an aristocratic emigree goblin family. He knocked against a table with slender gilt legs. The china on it rattled alarmingly and a cloud of dust flew up. Trey sneezed.
“Bless you,” said Arabella. She was already halfway across the room, examining a display cabinet entirely full of cross china cats.
Trey turned his head and found himself staring at a bedraggled stuffed owl with glass eyes. “I know how you feel,” he told it. “I’m the same way in the mornings.” The owl didn’t respond.
Fellow writers, what are you working on now? Any upcoming or recent releases? Please share!
Before I scampered off on an Alaskan cruise at the beginning of June (yes! I was in Alaska! It was cold! But awesome!), I ran a 5-day free promotion on Quartz.
And along the way I learned some things (as I always do).
I decided to run this promotion on a whim. Quartz’s term in Kindle Select was coming to an end, and I hadn’t used any of my promotional days. I decided on the free days over the Kindle Countdown Deal because I’ve never done a free promo before. I figured, eh, why not?
So I picked my five days to end just before I left on vacation. Since I was throwing this together quickly, I opted not to put any money into paid advertising. Instead I relied on a combination of my social media reach, Facebook groups, and free services to get the word out.
It worked pretty well. Quartz was able to get to #2 on the Free Steampunk list on Amazon and as high as #22 on the Free Epic Fantasy list. That meant it stayed on the first page of one sub-category and the second of another for most of the promotion.
Partial proof below:
So, what did I learn from this?
A promotion does not have a natural downward trend like I assumed. I had booked the majority of the promotional sites for the first three days (though some ran for all five). The first day had a lot of downloads, the next day fewer, the third fewer still. I expected Days 4 and 5 to drop even lower, but to my surprise both exceeded Day 2’s downloads.
Takeaway is to expect the middle of the promotion will have the biggest slump. The sooner a deal is going away, the more likely people are to jump on it.
Facebook is actually a pretty good promotional tool. Yes, I know Facebook ads are a big thing, but since I was doing this with a budget of $0, all I did was post about the deal to relevant FB book groups. I’ll be upfront and say that I was skeptical that this would have any effect whatsoever, but tracking my links showed that many more clicks originated from FB than Twitter.
I should really look into FB ads some day.
The more I market, the easier it gets. You don’t get good at marketing unless you actually get out there and do it. The more I post about my books, the easier it gets to come up with taglines and catchy blurbs. After running a promotion, I feel like I have a better handle on what makes my book appealing and how to convey it succinctly.
And that, to me, is just as valuable as ranking high on an Amazon list, because it’s something I can put to use again.
What are the best no-cost promotional tools and strategies you’ve found?
Today, I’m delighted to host a new release post for MG fantasy author, Alina Sayre, for The Illuminator Rising, Book Three of The Voyages of the Legend.
I read the first book of the series, The Illuminator’s Gift, on a recent vacation, and was captivated by a world of coral archipelagos, airborne islands, and flying ships.
Ellie is an orphan who has always wanted to belong. Returned by three families and almost thirteen, she’s fast running out of chances. It seems she’s doomed to a bleak future working in a factory until she’s offered the opportunity to join a rescue fleet that serves a Christ-like king. Taken up into a flying ship crewed by a cast of colorful characters, Ellie discovers that her artistic gifts have a greater purpose than she’d ever imagined.
Sayre paints an enchanting world with a deft brush and lovely prose. Ellie herself is a sympathetic character whose growth is slow but sure. The plot moves along at a good clip. And while I had issues with some of the captain’s decisions, overall I was charmed by this middle-grade fantasy and delighted by one plot twist that I saw coming but was still happy when it happened!
Synopsis of The Illuminator Rising, Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend:
Driven from their home island of Rhynlyr, Ellie and her friends must solve a riddle to find the survivors of the Vestigia Roi. But instead of a safe haven, they discover a hopeless band of refugees paralyzed by fear. Strengthened by new allies and new gifts, the crew of the Legend faces dangers like never before. Can they escape being shot out of the sky, falling over the Edge of the world, or being engulfed by urken armies long enough to rally the Vestigia Roi? And can they rekindle a fire from the ashes of the One Kingdom before Draaken takes over the world?
“…a thrilling read…[Sayre] has a flair for being able to capture the interest of a reader and hold onto it.”
–Readers’ Favorite, 5-star review
Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and has been in love with words ever since. Now she gets to work with them every day as an author, educator, editor, and speaker. Her first novel, The Illuminator’s Gift, won a silver medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and all three books in The Voyages of the Legend series have received 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite. When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys hiking, crazy socks, and reading under blankets. She does not enjoy algebra or wasabi. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.
Hello readers! Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for
Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles #2)
by Intisar Khanani
Fantasy lovers, this one’s for you! Love magic, look no further!
And you definitely need to check out the awesome giveaway found below.
Happy Book Birthday Intisar!
Let’s celebrate everyone!!
In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.
Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.
If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.
Title: Memories of Ash
Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles, Book Two
Author: Intisar Khanani
Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Publisher: Purple Monkey Press
“It needs a meal,” the mage says, voice rasping, “and it won’t be me.” He yanks me off balance. I cry out, jerking away from him and lashing out with my glowstone. I manage to smack him hard across the face, but then his boot comes between my feet. For a sickening moment I teeter on the edge of the stairs.
I barely register the words ringing in my mind before the mage shoves me, hard. I swallow a scream, throwing my arms up to shield my head as I fall. I slam down the stairs, bouncing toward the mass of tentacles.
Feet first—get your feet first!
I follow the shouted advice mindlessly, twisting my body as I come to a stop amidst a tangle of three or four great tentacles.
Someone is talking inside my head, and it’s not me. Somehow, that’s almost worse than lying surrounded by the talons of a nightmare monster. Almost.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.
When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.
Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar’s current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, an epic series following a street thief with a propensity to play hero when people need saving, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
I’m running a promotion for Quartz, Book One of THE SUNLESS WORLD series, through May 31st. From now until then, you can download it for FREE from Amazon.
Forgotten what Quartz is all about? I’d be delighted to refresh your memory!
To save their world, the mages of old plunged it into eternal night. Now veins of luminous quartz provide light to a dying world, and desperate states vie to control them.
Rafe Grenfeld, junior diplomat and spy, has just learned that the legendary Tower of Light–the biggest quartz pillar of all–actually exists. The quest for the Tower is going to be difficult enough. But then lost magic, soul suckers, a maniacal foe, and an unpredictable ally with her own agenda show up…
If you like epic fantasy with a steampunk flavor, get your copy of Quartz today!
If you’re willing, please donate a tweet or a FB share to help spread the word of this sale. Thanks to the downloads that have already happened, Quartz is at #3 in Free Steampunk Books on Amazon. I’d love to keep it visible on the first page for as long as possible!
Thanks, and for those in the US, enjoy the long weekend!
Number of Novels: 21
Release: August 2, 2016
Synopsis: Get ready to be swept off into lands filled with magic, mystery, action, adventure and romance with these 21 full-length fantasy novels! 22 NY Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors have banded together to bring you this amazing boxed set, but like all good things, it’s only available for a limited time! Grab this collection today before it’s gone for good!
Preorder it now at your favorite e-tailer!
Trust me, with 21 novels from twenty-two New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors, you’re getting more than enough bang for your buck. Just don’t start this set late at night if you value your sleep, because I guarantee you’ll be up WAY past your bedtime! This incredible boxed set is only going to be around at $0.99 for a limited time, so make sure you grab your copy today!
Have a seat and grab a cuppa. This might get long and rambling.
It’s finally March and time to (as I promised myself) put my mind to dealing with the Short Story Dilemma.
I enjoy writing short stories. I like the instant gratification factor of them. They’re great for trying new things or for writing those kinds of ideas where a little goes a long way (unlikeable protagonists for one!).
I started my self-publishing journey with collections of short stories.
So why the dilemma?
Simply put, short stories, either singly or in collections, don’t sell well compared to longer formats. And with the anthology categories on e-tailers increasingly filled by boxed sets of novel-length work… well, short stories aren’t looking very viable to me anymore. They’re also a lot harder to promote, since so many ad sites and promotional opportunities have length requirements.
In fact, my shorts sell so poorly, I’m 90% certain that I’ll be taking them off sale at the end of the month. I’ve lowered the prices of all three collections to 99 cents across the board. There are two broken fairy tale collections, Shattered and Entangled, and one of five fantasy short stories, Singing for the Enemy and Other Stories.
Go ahead and check them out. I’ll wait.
Going forward, I’ve come up with a few options for what I can do with these and any future short stories:
- Sell my collections from my site. This will take me some time to figure out, because TAXES. I’m not keen on collecting VAT or sales tax, so I need to poke around and see what places like Gumroad and Payhip have to offer on those fronts.
- Blog short stories. I’d keep them up for a limited time. At one story a month, it would take me years to get through my backlog.
- Patreon. I haven’t fully thought this out yet, but I was thinking of making short stories available as stretch goals were unlocked. Say, one story per quarter at the $25 mark, one story every two months at the $50 mark, one story per month at $100? And anything above that would go to fun things like chibis of popular characters.
That’s all I have so far. Thoughts? Any other options? I’d love to hear your ideas!
February was another good month for me. My goal was 20K words, but I got over 28K. And I finished the first draft of Ghostlight, complete at almost 49K words. I expect I’ll add more to it when I edit, and bump its wordcount to over 50K.
The big March goal is to get 25K words on the sequel, working title Ghouldark.
That should keep me busy!
How about you? How are your projects going?