Tag Archives: Beyond the Waters of the World

Publication news and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy. With this:

Looking Through Lace

And this:

Beyond the Waters of the World

And this:

Birthday
Six years old!

Sheesh. Hard to believe I’ve been a grandmother so long. I’m not that old! Or maybe I am, given the way my face is falling and my knee refuses to play along when I attempt the warrior pose when doing yoga …

But anyway, back to writing. I’ve gotten an awful lot done in the weeks I’ve been absent from my blog. Not only have I formatted and published the e-book boxed set of Looking Through Lace, I’ve published the POD version of the second book, Beyond the Waters of the World, and I’m halfway there on putting together the CreateSpace boxed set for both novellas. (I didn’t do the covers this time — that’s all the work of my fabulous new cover artist, Lou Harper.)

At the same time, my word counts haven’t been all that shabby either: 4300 last week, and 5500 the week before. I’m heading into the home stretch on two projects I’m working on simultaneously right now, Ygerna, and Dragon Touched, an Urban Fantasy set largely in the Woodstock neighborhood of Portland where my daughter lives. I started it on a whim during a recent Nanowrimo, wanting to see if the writing would go easier if I didn’t constantly have to research everything (or leave notes to myself to research this or that when I had the time).

It did and it does. Leaving notes to myself in the Pendragon Chronicles series doesn’t always work, since the fantasy is heavily based on what little we know of the Dark Age history of 5th and 6th Century Britain. Many times I can’t just wing it — I have to check my research notes, to make sure I’m using the right person in the right era.

Writing contemporary Urban Fantasy, I can wing it. I’ve wandered those streets, and if I don’t remember certain details, a place marker is enough. It’s not the same as not knowing who might have possibly been where in a certain decade, or what they might have worn, or who might have been their enemies or allies.

Sigh. Too bad I like history so much and have to keep using it in my fantasy …

Even though I’m jumping back and forth between two WIPs at the moment, I’m sticking with Ygerna for WIPpet Wednesday. The way I’m going now, I should be done with the rough draft of Dragon Touched in a couple of weeks, which means you might never see it again. 🙂 So here I give you 9 paragraphs, 2 + 7 for the day of the month. This comes shortly after the last excerpt, while the political discussion is still ongoing:

Vortimer pursed his lips. “I assure you, my father has the interests of Britain at heart.”
On the other side of the table, Bican’s sister Elen leaned her chin in her hand. “What if the Saxon warriors he has hired do not much care for British interests?”
Elen was something of a riddle to Ygerna. Despite her striking appearance, with her curly dark hair and intense hazel eyes, she was unmarried, although she was already into her twenties. But as daughter of King Aldroenus of Armorica, she must have had any number of princes and kings interested in marrying her.
Servants came by, setting plates of sweet custard in front of each of the guests, and interrupting the political discussion. Ygerna could tell Vortimer was relieved. His father might be High King, but he’d been elected to the position by the regional rulers of Britain, who could just as easily choose a new military leader if they were dissatisfied with Vortigern. It would be wise of him to take such grievances seriously.
Gurles leaned close, his spoon in his custard and his gaze at the head of the table. “What did the Pendragon want with you earlier?”
“Want with me?”
“When he walked back with you from the church. He certainly seems to want something now.”
Ygerna glanced at the head of the table. Uthyr was seated in a place of honor near the newly wedded couple — and he was practically staring at her.
Flustered, she laid her spoon aside. “We were only talking. About the weather.”

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

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New cover for Beyond the Waters of the World

My cover artist, Lou Harper, has finished the cover for the second book of Looking Through Lace, Beyond the Waters of the World.

Beyond the Waters of the World

So what do folks think? I haven’t finalized yet, so some tweaking could still be done if anyone has any suggestions. Do let me know in the comments! And thanks in advance. 🙂

Two free science fiction books

This week, I’m giving away books again, science fiction stories and a novella this time.

The Future, Imperfect

The Future, Imperfect is a collection of near future, dystopian short stories by Ruth Nestvold. Environmental changes — slow in some regions, catastrophic in others — have had a major effect on our world, not for the better. While water wars and pandemics have devastated the Mediterranean region, and a major earthquake and the resulting destruction of nuclear power plants and sensitive research facilities have made much of California a wasteland, corporate-sponsored enclaves defend themselves from the have-nots. What can any one individual do to make a difference is such a world? These are the stories both of those who tried and those who failed.

Five of the short stories in this collection were previously published in such venues as Asimov’s and Futurismic. “Exit Without Saving” also appeared in Rich Horton’s “Science Fiction 2007: The Best of the Year.” “Killfile” is an original publication.

It will be FREE through Friday, Jan. 23.

Beyond the Waters of the World

The Allied Interstellar Community first contact team on the planet Kailazh is faced with even more challenges than most. But dealing with an alien culture is not only difficult for those who arrive on a foreign world. What of the inhabitants of the planet, who now have to deal with realities so strange to their way of thinking, it will have an impact on everything they believe?

Kislan is a factor in his family’s shipping company, a man who has seen many ships arrive at the docks of Edaru from many different cities, who deals with foreign goods from all over the known world. But the ship that arrives from the stars brings more than exotic innovations, it brings ideas that will change his life.

And it brings the beautiful ambassador from the stars, Toni Donato.

Beyond the Waters of the World is the second book in the Looking Through Lace series. It will be free today and tomorrow, Jan. 20.

If you don’t have them yet and are so inclined, grab yourself a copy or two!

Changing your book’s categories (and why you should); plus an update

As I’m sure many people know, the categories offered when you publish a book through Kindle Direct Publishing don’t always match the Kindle store categories. Books published via KDP fall under two different types of categories — KDP uses BISAC codes to categorize books, but Amazon uses a broader classification. When you choose your two categories in the KDP Bookshelf, the book is mapped to the closest classification under the “eBook” category on Amazon.

The problem is, those default categories are (naturally) some of the most popular categories in the Kindle store — which means you’re competing with a lot more other books for those important top 100 category slots. Getting into the top 100 lists is an important way to keep from descending into oblivion and boost sales.

Take a look at this screenshot for the categories in Science Fiction in the Kindle store:

Now look at the numbers behind each category. When I first published Looking Through Lace as an ebook, I chose the categories “Adventure” and “Short stories” (ok, it’s officially a novella according to the SFWA definition, but close enough). What I didn’t know then, I had chosen the two categories with the most books in SF — and thus, the two categories least likely to get my book noticed.

Some time ago, I changed one of the categories for Yseult from epic fantasy to Arthurian — and it’s been selling fairly regularly ever since. Arthurian fantasy is a niche category, and it doesn’t take many sales for my books to remain in the top 10. And that in turn gives them exposure.

I hadn’t looked into changing categories for any of my other books until recently, though. And that was when I saw how unwise I had been regarding the categories for Looking Through Lace. By that time, I had also published the second novella in the series, Beyond the Waters of the World. I wanted to change both to “Series” and “Space Opera.” Space opera is available from the KDP Bookshelf, but not Series.

If you want your book to appear in any of the categories in the Kindle store for which there is no corresponding match in the KDP Bookshelf, here’s a nifty link you can use.

Hit “Contact us” at the bottom of the page, and you will get a screen that asks you for the following information:

Please fill in the following information:
ASIN or name of book:
Category to delete (optional):
New category (select two):

When filling in the categories, you need to list the complete path. So mine looked like this:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Series
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Space Opera

Does it help? Looking Through Lace and Beyond the Waters of the World are not breaking any records, but they’ve been selling about a copy a day each since I did the category change combined with a freebie run. Before that, they were selling maybe 20 copies a month for both titles combined. On the second day of the freebie for Beyond the Waters of the World it had the following ranking:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #931 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Series
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Space Opera

And it managed to drag Looking Through Lace with it, which ended up here:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#51 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Series

So I would highly recommend taking a look at the numbers in your genre, and if your book fits in a category with less competition, consider changing it. Of course, if you’re already selling hundreds of copies a day, stay where you are. This advice is for the few copies a day crowd, like me. 🙂

* * *

In writing news, I’ve managed to get more done on Island of Glass in two days than I did all last week. Word count 13,700, coming into the home stretch for the first draft of the expanded version. *g* I’ve also been doing some brainstorming for the second novella of the series, tentatively entitled Facets of Glass. With all the promotional work I’ve been doing lately, I’m good with that.

Speaking of promos, don’t forget to check out the Dollar Daze 99c promo and giveaway that I mentioned in my last post!

A bedtime story, courtesy of my granddaughter

I had grandma duties yesterday, so much of what on other days of the week is usually my writing time was taken up with running after an energetic almost-three-year-old. (She will be three next week.) After I picked her up from daycare, she claimed she was tired and said we should take a nap together. I knew pretty well from the outset how that was going to go, but I didn’t mind the opportunity to lie down for a bit either. I’m a notorious night owl, and I’ve been staying up much too late recently.

So into bed we go, do everything the way Mira wants us to, getting sufficient stuffed animals, covering up, etc., and then she informs me, “And now we need a story.” (“Und jetzt brauchen wir eine Geschichte.”)

“Oh,” says Oma (that’s me, in German), “Are you going to tell me a bedtime story?” (Speaking in English — I try to speak as much English with her as possible.)

Ja.” So she settles in, sitting upright next to my head. “Es war einmal …”

Here the story she told me, from memory, translated into English, with a rough approximation of creative grammar.:

“Once upon a time there was a princess. The princess had a horse. She rided to the castle on her horse. It was the castle of the prince.”

Oma: “Was the prince asleep?”

Mira: “No, no, Oma, only the princess sleeps!” [Editorial intrusion: sigh.]

“The princess wanted to visit the prince. They were friends. But then the evil witch comes and turns him into a frog.”

Oma: “Did she kiss him and turn him back into a prince?”

Mira: “Let me tell the story, Oma!

“The princess didn’t want to kiss a frog. But then the evil witch came again and turned the princess into a frog. And then they ran away. When they got away from the witch, they kissed. And then she was a princess again.

“And then they went on vacation.”

And then they went on vacation (Image copyright by blessings, licensed through Shutterstock).
And then they went on vacation (Image copyright by blessings, licensed through Shutterstock).

* * *

My progress on City of Glass has slowed a bit. It has come to my attention that the longest story in my new collection From Earth to Mars has a few typos. It seems that by mistake I didn’t include the edited version that was published in Giganotosaurus; instead, I must have used an earlier version. I read through the collection before publishing, but somehow I didn’t notice the mistake.

Anyway, I am temporarily unpublishing the collection and going through everything one more time. It’s still available, but please don’t buy it until I republish! This is rather embarrassing, and I hope those who already bought the collection will forgive me. Once I have the new version ready, drop me an email, and I’ll send you a copy.

So that’s mostly what I’ve been doing the last couple of days. City of Glass is at just under 11,000 words now, and I’ll get back to it once I have From Earth to Mars uploaded again.

Also, in case you missed it during previous promos, Beyond the Waters of the World is free today and tomorrow. Be my guest, and if you are so inclined, pass the word along. 🙂

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and making great progress!

First sales on Kobo and B&N; and some more free books

As of yesterday, my first books are now live on Kobo:

Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur on Kobo

Never Ever After: Three Short Stories on Kobo

And, amazingly enough, I have already made my first sales on both Kobo and B&N. A whopping one book each, but hey — Never Ever After has only sold about a dozen copies total in the last few months on Amazon. Ever since I got the review stating that the writing was like that of a middle-schooler, the sales of that little collection have dried up completely. *shrug* So don’t let anyone tell you a single one star review won’t affect your sales — from this side of the bench, it sure looks like it does.

Also, both of my “Looking Through Lace” books are free today, the original novella that was published in Asimov’s many years ago, as well as the continuation of the story, Beyond the Waters of the World. BTWW is only free today, but Looking Through Lace will be free for a few more days. Pick them up if you don’t have them yet and are so inclined!

So some successes there, but I have to admit to an Epic Fail regarding Fast Draft. Until now, I haven’t even come close to the 20 pages a day, nor have I achieved the “magic” that is supposed to come with high productivity. I guess that’s a given, since I never got to the high productivity to start with. Perhaps it was a mistake to try something like that with both a hospital visit scheduled and the holidays (and the attendant stress) coming up. I think some time in the new year I will try a week of fast writing on my own, perhaps trying to implement Rachel Aaron’s method.

Anyway, back to wrapping presents for me. 🙂

An interview, some words, and more goal sorting

Yesterday, Randomize Me posted an interview with me, revolving around my (at the time of the interview) most recent publication, Beyond the Waters of the World. Check it out! 🙂

Since my last post, I’ve gotten about 2,000 more words done on Chameleon in the Mirror. That’s not quite where I would have wanted to be, but on the other hand, I spent most of my writing time today reading up on pre-Arthurian legends, taking notes, and deciding on the project I’ll tackle for NaNoWriMo this year. I’m shooting now for a prequel in The Pendragon Chronicles series, my version of Arthur’s conception, which isn’t particularly romantic, since it revolves around rape. I took my inspiration from some early stories of Uther and Igraine, most of which emphasize Uther’s lust for Igraine and his determination to have her by any means. Didn’t seem too far-fetched to me to make out of that a story of abuse, rather than the standard masquerade-seduction story (which I never bought in the the first place *g*). Hey, how would you feel if someone used magic to masquerade as your spouse, sleep with you, and kill your spouse in combat while you were having sex with the impostor? Would you then marry the asshole on the spot? I didn’t think so . 🙂

Anyway, contemplating the above psychological idiocies led me to some of the implied details in Yseult. Which I hope to explore in more detail in my version of the story of Ygerna.

Results of ENT bargain listing for “Looking Through Lace”

About the time I was almost ready to publish Beyond the Waters of the World, Book 2 in the Looking Through Lace series, an email drifted into my inbox from the wonderful folks at Ereader News Today, announcing a new promotion opportunity, a listing for 99c Bargain Kindle Books. It was very timely, because I intended to lower the price of the first novella in the series for a limited time, to help stir up interest in the second book. So I signed up.

The bargain list with Looking Through Lace went up yesterday, and so far I’m very happy with the results, especially since I didn’t do a lot of extra promotion. Since the listing went live, I’ve sold over 90 books, and Looking Through Lace went from a ranking of 175,000 to 1,368 at it’s highest. Slipping now again, but it’s still #1,747 in the paid Kindle store, #1 in Science Fiction Short Stories, and #24 in Science Fiction Adventure.

It’s definitely worthwhile to experiment with new ways of marketing ebooks. And since the cost for this ENT promotion is a percentage of the profits, you really can’t go wrong or end up losing money, as you can with some other kinds of ads. You do, however, have to lower your price to 99c, at least temporarily, so the biggest cost for many writers would be in lost revenues, especially if the book is normally at a price point that earns 70% royalties.

I’ll be experimenting with a fixed-price ad soon. It will be interesting to see how that one goes compared to the ENT bargain book placement.

Announcing “Beyond the Waters of the World” (“Looking Through Lace” Book 2)

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally finished and published Beyond the Waters of the World, Book 2 of Looking Through Lace:

Beyond the Waters of the World on Amazon

Coming up with the description was a bit difficult, because I don’t want to provide any spoilers regarding the events of the first book. I would love some feedback on it, if anyone is so inclined:

The Allied Interstellar Community first contact team on the planet Kailazh is faced with even more challenges than most. But dealing with an alien culture is not only difficult for those who arrive on a foreign world. What of the inhabitants of the planet, who now have to deal with realities so strange to their way of thinking, it will have an impact on everything they believe?

Kislan is a factor in his family’s shipping company, a man who has seen many ships arrive at the docks of Edaru from many different cities, who deals with foreign goods from all over the known world. But the ship that arrives from the stars brings more than exotic innovations, it brings ideas that will change his life.

And it brings the beautiful ambassador from the stars, Toni Donato.

Beyond the Waters of the World is a science fiction novella of approximately 23,000 words, or about 60 pages. It is the second book in the Looking Through Lace series.

Even though the book is already published, it’s still causing me a fair amount of work. I’ve contacted potential reviewers, listed the book on Goodreads, started editing the back matter on my other books to include this one, and other marketing tasks. Nonetheless, I have managed to get back to Chameleon in a Mirror, and have gotten another 2,000 words done.

On the sales front, Yseult and Shadow of Stone are still doing quite well after the recent successful promotion. So far this month, the two books in The Pendragon Chronicles alone have sold 48 copies and had 60 borrows. That’s a very good run for me, seeing as we’re only five days into the month. 🙂

And before I forget, a reminder: The Future, Imperfect, a collection of dystopian short stories, is FREE today and tomorrow, Sept. 5-6. If you don’t already have it, be my guest and grab yourself a copy! And if you are so inclined, please pass the word along!

Hitting the Jackpot with Yseult and Shadow of Stone (The Pendragon Chronicles)

This past week, I had two freebies running for my Arthurian novels Yseult and Shadow of Stone. For both, I followed the schedule I set up several months ago in my post “Promoting Ebooks with KDP Select”. Yseult had a respectable run, garnering over 2,000 downloads in one day.

The day after, the two day freebie run for Shadow of Stone started, book two in The Pendragon Chronicles. And then sales started taking off — for Yseult. Not only did Pixel of Ink pick up Shadow of Stone for its freebie run, they also linked to Yseult in their description of the book. The result was like having the best free advertising slot possible. Within a day, Yseult garnered over 100 sales, the first time I’ve ever sold that many books in one day! The day after it sold another 40 copies. It almost broke the top 1,000 in the Paid Kindle store, (it might have broken it, but if it did, it was while I was sleeping. *g*) and it made it up to #8 in historical fantasy in the Paid Kindle store. During its freebie run, Shadow of Stone was downloaded over 7,000 times and climbed to #38 overall in the Free Kindle store. As I write this, both books are now in the top 10,000 (paid), the top 100 in Historical Fantasy, and #1 and #2 in Arthurian Fantasy. What is probably even more important for sales in the coming days, Yseult is on the second page in popularity rankings in Historical Fantasy, and Shadow of Stone is on the third.

While sales have slowed down quite a bit from my own personal record-breaking run while Shadow of Stone was free, yesterday I broke another personal record and had over 30 borrows in one day. I don’t make as much on borrows for the 3.99 titles as I do for sales (although for the titles under 2.99 I actually make more). But in recent months, the average Amazon paid for borrows has been around $2.00, so that is definitely income too.

It was a very good week for sales. Not so good for the writing. Besides marketing and promotion, I was also getting Beyond the Waters of the World ready for publication — one more read-through, formatting, writing the blurb, that kind of thing. I’ll be looking for some feedback on the blurb, but that’s the subject for another post. 🙂