Tag Archives: ebook

Island of Glass now live!

I’m happy to announce the publication of my YA novella, Island of Glass! Until the middle of November, it is still available for the introductory price of only 99c, after which it will go up to $2.99.

Island of Glass

Seventeen-year-old Chiara Dragoni is a master glassmaker of Venice, a position that is both a privilege — and a trap. For the glassmakers of Murano are forbidden to ever leave the islands of the Venetian lagoon.

When Chiara’s uncle is caught on the mainland and thrown into the dungeon of the Doge’s Palace, she must use all her talents, including magic, to help free him. But the gift she creates for the prince of Venice has unintended consequences, and now Chiara must decide whether to give up everything — and everyone — she knows and loves in order to save her dream.

Set in an alternate historical Venice with alchemists, witches and magic, the story uses familiar motifs from the beloved fairy tale “Cinderella” to tell a tale with a very different message.

Available on Amazon.

Chameleon in a Mirror now available for Kindle!

My big update of the week is that I finally managed to get another book published! I uploaded Chameleon in a Mirror to KDP yesterday, and today it is live!

I want to thank all my beta readers and critique partners over the years for all their help. Feedback is so essential! I may not always take the advice I get, but I do address problems — I might resolve them in a different way than is suggested in the critiques, though. 🙂

I also have a question for you all. The only “time travel” category on Amazon that I could find is in the romance genre. CIAM has a strong romance subplot, but it’s not HEA, which romance readers expect. On the other hand, The Time Traveler’s Wife is also listed in the same category, and that’s not HEA either. Do you guys think it’s a mistake for me to list it under romance? I’m a little afraid I will end up with negative reviews for not making Billie give up everything she’s ever known for the sake of a married man. What do you guys think?

For now, the book is only available on Amazon. I’m still considering entering it in KDP Select for a while and trying a Countdown Deal with it to get more exposure before I publish it elsewhere. (But not free. I don’t believe in free anymore, with the exception of permafree.) My sales on other platforms are pretty pathetic, though, so I wouldn’t be giving much up, if anything. Amazon is where I make most of my money. If you are an ereader owner, where to you buy your ebooks?

Also, if anyone would like a review copy, please let me know!

As to my other goals, they’ve largely been on hold while I was concentrating on getting this book out. I did, however, get another short story submitted to a traditional market. That’s three so far this round! Not what I was aiming for, but still. I also continue to make progress on the translation. Now that CIAM is published, I will have to do a big push on that.

This is like a stone off my chest, I have to admit. The book may sell squat, but it’s a big item I can cross off my to-do list, and it makes me feel so much better. 🙂

Hope everyone else is happy with their progress!

A new book for a new year: From Earth to Mars and Beyond

Happy new year, everyone!

To celebrate 2013, I got my new collection of stories, From Earth to Mars and Beyond, finished and uploaded to Amazon:

This one won’t be going into KDP Select, since several of the stories are available online, and that would violate the rules of Select. We’ll see what success I have marketing it without. I don’t have the new book up in other stores yet, but I will try to do that in the next few days.

As I already mentioned over on Facebook, I’ve been a bit frustrated recently by reviews from readers who apparently never read the description before they read the book, (e.g. complaining about the ending of Yseult, even though the description makes it obvious it’s a tragedy; or people complaining about the length of short stories in a short story collection). So to let off some steam, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek blurb for this collection, and I actually ended up using it:

From Earth to Mars and Beyond is a collection eight previously published science fiction stories by award-winning author Ruth Nestvold. But reader be warned: The stories in this collection do not depict an ideal future world. Most of these stories do not end happily, and many of them are on the bleak side. Main characters die. If you only like happy endings, this is not the book for you.

On the positive side, “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide,” was nominated for a Nebula Award. “Troy and the Aliens” may not portray a particularly rosy view of the earth as we know it, but for a change, no one dies, and several characters get the chance to drive fast on the Autobahn. “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Monkey,” based on a poem by Wallace Stevens, is blessedly short, and shouldn’t cause the reader too much pain. And at least there’s a story about whores in space, “The Far Side of the Moon.” Enjoy the interstellar darkness!

What do folks think? Should I keep it or go with a description more positive and conventional?

Wishing everyone a happy and successful 2013!

Experimenting with Fast Draft — and another free ebook

Since my progress this month during Nanowrimo has been less than stellar, when I heard that Candace Havens was doing her Fast Draft and Revision Hell course again (this time entitled “The Book in a Month Club”), I jumped at the chance. I’ve read about this course on other folks’ blogs before, and I’ve really wanted to give it a shot, but it seemed that every time it was offered, I had conflicts. I have conflicts this time too, but I decided to go for it anyway.

The basic idea is to send the internal editor for a hike and write twenty pages a day. That sounds like quite a challenge, since an exceptional day for me is when I write six pages. I’m a trained literary critic, with a Ph.D. in English Literature, and my internal critic can be a pretty stubborn gal. But this time, I bribed her with a trip to Thailand, which has got to be nicer than Central Europe right now. She’s still dropping me nagging notes on occasion, but until now, the writing is going quite well. The first day, Monday, I wrote six pages, the second day eight, and today I’m shooting for ten. I realize that’s still very far removed from twenty, but anyone who reads this blog on a semi-regular basis knows that I’m all about writers not beating themselves up. There are enough people out there will to do that for us. If we can’t learn to be our own best cheering squad, facing all the rejection and negative feedback is going to be pretty tough.

Anyway, back to Fast Draft. My accepting attitude of my own limitations as a writer (and a human being *g*) doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to take on new challenges, even if they sound absolutely impossible. But I’m also in favor of being realistic about those challenges. If I can get a single twenty page day out of this exercise, I will thrilled. It’s all about learning new habits, after all, and even one 20-page day will be something completely new for me. I did get close once, while I was writing Yseult. It was a showdown scene near the end of the book, full of tension and emotion, and it practically wrote itself. By the end of the day, when I checked my word count, I was amazed to realize that I had produced 18 pages, without even really trying.

It has never happened again. 🙂

So I’m trying to learn how to make it happen a little more often. One of the other gals in the Fast Draft loop pointed us in the direction of a great blog post, “How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day.” (That, btw, is twice the wordcount I’m shooting for with Fast Draft! *g*) In that post, Rachel points out that one of the tricks of writing more is Enthusiasm. Duh, right? But how often do we find ourselves working on a scene we think has to be there because we need that transition, or we have to introduce that character, or we read somewhere that our protagonist has to cross the first threshold — and we’re just bored with the whole thing? I don’t know about you, but I know that I’ve ended up during the rewriting phase trashing a lot of those scenes.

The lovely lesson is, if it doesn’t excite you, or you can’t find a way to make it excite you, don’t write it. 🙂

Rachel says a lot more wonderful, wise stuff, and I strongly recommend that everyone head over there and read the post. I may even buy the corresponding ebook, myself.

Also, Shadow of Stone is free today and tomorrow, November 28-29. If you don’t have it yet, and you like historical fantasy, head on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy! I will probably be taking it out of KDP Select after this run. Before Christmas, I need to take some time out from Fast Draft and get a couple of my books up for B&N and Kobo. Not to mention finally formatting them for hard copy, sigh. I love the independence of ebooks, but I’m not a big fan of all the extra work …

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.

Two free ebooks today, Yseult and Never Ever After

Just a reminder that two of my ebooks are free today, August 28.

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

For the price of a truce, Yseult is sent to a world where magic is dying – to marry the father of the man she loves.

Marcus’s son Drystan would have saved her from a loveless marriage, but with her relatives being held hostage, Yseult cannot endanger them and must go through with the wedding. The tragic love story of Yseult and Drystan plays out against the backdrop of a violent world threatening to descend into the Dark Ages – only Arthur’s battles to push back the Saxon hordes can save what is left of civilization. With her background, Yseult could act as a bridge between the old age and the new – but will the price be too high?

Yseult is a retelling of the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde, a story older than Romeo and Juliet or Lancelot and Guinevere; an Arthurian romance with roots going back far into the realm of legend and the undying tales of King Arthur.

Also, a fantasy collection, Never Ever After, containing three previously published short stories.

– “A Serca Tale” is a retelling of the old Irish legend “The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Gráinne.”
– “King Orfeigh”: A young Irish king has lost his wife to the king of Faerie. Is there any way he can win her back?
– “Happily Ever Awhile”: Everyone knows the story of the filthy girl who married the prince by not bleeding into a glass slipper. But what happened to Ellie after the happy ending?

And Yseult was featured on Free Kindle Books and Tips today!

Yseult free for Kindle today!

I’m having another freebie of Yseult, so if you don’t have the book yet, and you enjoy Arthurian fiction and / or High Mud Fantasy (the official genre), please grab yourself a copy!

Yseult was also featured on Free Kindle Books and Tips today, so you might want to head on over there and see what else Michael has to offer! And check out the list of The Best Free Kindle Books and Snickslist — they list Yseult today too. 🙂

If you feel so inclined, please pass the word along. A great day to all!

Interview, free book, and hand-painted shoes

A bit of a potpourri today. First: Marshall Payne has started up his interview series with speculative fiction writers again, and today he posted an interview with me. You can read it here.

Also, Looking Through Lace is available FREE today and tomorrow, for perhaps the last time. I’ve opted to take it out of KDP Select so that I can try uploading it (and a few other things) to the Kobo store, which just came out of beta for indie authors. That means I will also republish with Smashwords, although the sales there are negligible. Anyway, pass the word along!

Finally, on a very different note, I wanted to point people in the direction of an amazingly original business idea that my niece Emma has come up with: hand-painted shoes.

E Design

Don’t they look stunning? Way to go, Emma!

Could group promos be the wave of the future for indies?

As folks who occasionally stop by this blog may have noticed, I participated in a group promo for fantasy ebooks last week, Summer Solstice Free Fantasy. 23 authors who hang out on the Kindle Boards got together and offered a total of 29 books for free on June 20-21.

Chris Tarwater, husband and promotions manager for his wife Tristan Tarwater, had the idea for the promo and did most of the organization, including putting together the site and having a banner made. For those of us interested in participating, there were a few requirements:

– The book or books to be in the promotion had to be Fantasy
– Books with no ratings were fine
– If the book did have ratings, it had to be at least 4 star avg.
– Book(s) had to be available for free on June 20-21

Chris’s plan for the group promo included:

– Group advertising
– Cross promotion on Facebook, Twitter, blogs
– Submit to the usual suspects (a lot of the “usual suspects” can be found in my post on Promoting Ebooks with KDP Select)

Chris submitted the group promo as a whole to the various sites that list freebies, while each of us participating submitted our books individually. He also organized ads for the promo, which we contributed to as a group, making the cost much more manageable. It was actually the first time I’ve paid for advertising for my ebooks. 🙂

But what gives a group promo like this a dynamic that goes far beyond a little extra advertising is all the people participating. There were a number of things that helped:

– We created an Amazon list with all of the books free on Amazon (some of the books were only free on Smashwords), and about a dozen of us added a free promo blurb to the beginning of our book descriptions shortly before the promo went live. That way, anyone who nabbed one of my books, frex, via an individual listing, would be made aware of the group promo and perhaps be inclined to call up the list and see who else was participating. In this way, when any of us got picked up by POI, ENT, or Digital Book Today, it might also result in extra downloads for those who hadn’t made those lists.

– Those of us with special connections or strategies promoted the group as a whole rather than just our own individual books — which can also be a much bigger draw. For my own part, my German connections resulted in a noticeable number of hits to the group page. I had recently been contacted by Daniela from the German reader site “Verlorene Werke” about a guest blog (my novel Yseult originally appeared in German translation as Flamme und Harfe, so I have a few readers in Germany). When I sent her the article, I also told her about the group promotion, and she posted about it here.

– While not all of us were actively promoting, there were enough people with different friends / followers / subscribers / whatever who were passing the word along through various channels that we as a group were able to reach a much wider audience than we would have as individuals.

During the promo, I gave away a total of over 15,000 books on Amazon.com, plus a few here and there on other Amazon sites. That was over four books, two of which were free three days and two for only two. (Some of us extended the promotion for an extra day to try and take additional advantage of our run.)

Since the (extended) promo ended on June 22, I’ve sold 105 ebooks and had 6 borrows. (My total for the month is 222 / 25.) Yseult and Shadow of Stone are both on the third page in the popularity rankings for historical fantasy. While this still doesn’t come near the results of my very first ever freebie promo back in January, it’s the best I’ve done since Amazon changed their algorithms in March. May was a total washout for me, so I am very happy with the results and will definitely participate in (and maybe even organize!) group promos in the future.