Tag Archives: freebie

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and another free ebook!

For Christmas, I’m giving away my novel Shadow of Stone. It was featured today on Michael Gallagher’s “Free Kindle Books and Tips” and it’s getting off to a pretty good start. If you miss it today, it will also be free tomorrow.

The holiday giveaways continue tomorrow with my short story collection Dragon Time, which will be free Dec. 26-27.

I got something of a Christmas present myself yesterday, a new review of Yseult on Amazon. It was extremely detailed and well-founded, went into the Arthurian retelling in detail, and it compared my writing to Diana Paxson. What a kick! I absolutely loved The White Raven, which I only read after starting my own version of the legend. I have to admit, I was very relieved that our retellings of Tristan and Iseult were quite different — I could continue writing my book in good conscience. 🙂

Wishing everyone an excellent holiday season!

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. 🙂

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 …

Latest free run for Yseult and some thoughts on KDP Select

My sales this month have been pretty pathetic, and that after awesome months in August, September and October. Partly it might be due to the fact that I was gone for over two weeks, plus frazzled before and jetlagged after. My online presence diminished to near-invisibility, and I can’t help but think that played a role in my diminishing sales.

Another thing that’s hurting me (and others) is that free runs are becoming increasingly ineffective for boosting sales. There have been a number of discussion threads about this on the Kindle Boards, but what it comes down to is that with the glut of free ebooks from all the authors in KDP Select, readers aren’t grabbing everything that looks remotely interesting anymore. Add to that a change in algorithms on the part of Amazon, in which books given away free count a lot less towards popularity and bestseller status than they had previously.

Fewer books given away + unfavorable algorithms = limited sales after free run

Take my most recent freebie, for example, my fantasy collection Dragon Time. Short story collections are notoriously hard to sell, but when it was free in February for two days, I gave away over 3,000 books. In the weeks following, I then sold over 100 copies. The last free run it had in October, I only managed to give away about 350 copies. Since then, it’s sold one copy and been borrowed once. With results like that, KDP Select is useless as a marketing tool. As a result, I have decided (once again) to slowly start pulling my books from KDP Select and try getting them up in other stores. The last time I did that, with Yseult in May, it was a disaster. Smashwords took forever to publish it, and when it did, it wasn’t approved for extended distribution. After six weeks and seven whole sales, I took it back down again and returned to KDP Select.

The plan this time is to go directly to B&N and Kobo, the stores that account for most sales outside of Amazon. Those stores also allow the author to upload epub files, which I can generate with Scrivener, rather than the elaborately formatted doc files Smashwords requires.

That said, I’m having a surprisingly good free run with Yseult this time. As I write this, it is at #106 in the free Kindle store, and doing very well in it’s categories:

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Arthurian
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Historical
#5 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy

And that all without getting picked up by the “biggies” Ereader News Today and Pixel of Ink. But I’ve been featured on a lot of smaller blogs, one of which, XTME, has led me to mark my best showing on Amazon.de to date.

#22 on Amazon.de

I also want to thank all these other wonderful folks for helping me get the word about about Yseult. Perhaps some of it will help sales pick up in the last part of the month:

Kindle Books and Tips
The KindleBoards Blog
Free Ebooks Daily
Kindle Buffet
eReaderiQ
FreebooksHub.com
Daily Free Ebooks
e-Literati (another German site)

The need to do a bit of promotion has sidetracked my Nanowrimo project a bit, my Pendragon prequel. Ygerna is presently at 12,092 words. I know that for a “novel in a month” that’s a pretty poor showing, but I’m not too worried about it. It’s coming along well, and I’m having fun with it — that’s the main thing.

“The Next Big Thing,” upcoming freebies, and hiatus announcement

I was tagged today in a blog hop, “The Next Big Thing”:

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This particular blog hop was started as an opportunity to learn about the work of independent authors, one blog at a time. If you would like the chance to promote your book in this way, please let me know in the comments! I need to tag five other writers next week when it’s my turn (assuming I even get around to posting, but more on that later.) You can see the questions on Renata Barcelos’s blog, the writing buddy who tagged me. Thanks, Renata! 🙂

Anyway, I’m flying to the States on Friday, and for 2 1/2 weeks, I’ll be driving up and down I5 and flying to Atlanta, visiting friends and family who I see far too infrequently. For that reason, I’m putting regular goals, both writing and social media, on hold until I get back, giving myself permission to get Very Little Writing Done during that time. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to tell folks I haven’t seen for so long, “Okay, I have to go write now.” So my plan is to just not worry about it and dive into NaNo a couple days late. I will be taking my lovely little eeePC with me, which I will load with my text directory and all my current writing projects, and I will continue to brainstorm Ygerna, the prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles that I want to write during NaNo. But I would much rather be grateful for any writing I manage to do during my visit, than end up kicking myself for not getting any writing done.

I have a number of free promos coming up while I’m gone. Since I might not have a chance to announce them shortly before they happen, I’ll just list them all now. If any of the books sound interesting to you, put them on your calendar!

FREE books in October:

Oct. 22-23: Beyond the Waters of the World (Looking Through Lace, Book 2)

Oct. 23-25: “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” (Tales From Far Beyond North)
This promo is part of Halloween Free Horror, which includes 24 books of horror, dark fantasy and Halloween themes.

Oct. 29-30: “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” again. I figured the best time to promote a Halloween-themed story is during October, so I might as well use up my free days all at once. 🙂

Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Dragon Time and Other Stories, containing my witch story “To Act the Witch”: Brilliana is a famous actress for the Duke’s Theatre, yes — but she is also a Witch. And it is up to her to save the Age of Magic.
This is in connection with the Witchy Books Halloween Promo. You can access a Listmania list of all the books that will be offered, either free or on sale, here.

That’s it from me for at least a week. Y’all play nice now while I’m gone! *g*

New Facebook author page, time-tracking, and another freebie (Shadow of Stone)

I’ve been putting this off for a while, but now I’ve finally gone ahead and set up a Facebook page specifically for the author me. If anyone is inclined to like it, that would help me a lot for promo opportunities through Facebook. Thanks!

Also, please note that Shadow of Stone is free today and tomorrow. So if you missed it during the last free run, please be my guest and grab yourself a copy!

In writing news: I was inspired by a blog post from the lovely and talented Gene Lempp a couple of days ago to start tracking my writing hours. While I’m a total Excel wuss and quickly gave up on creating a spreadsheet, I did start a list in the free form database I use, where I also keep track of book sales. It’s early days yet to tell if it will really help me keep on track, but right now it does seem to be making me more conscientious about how I spend my time. Just knowing I have to fill something in is a big incentive not to fritter, as I like to call it. (Who wants to write the entry: “7:30-8:30 – Frittering around on the Internet”?)

While my word count count on Chameleon in a Mirror hasn’t increased using this method, it’s stayed the same while writing completely new scenes. To me, that feels like an increase in productivity. A couple more days, and I should have this new draft of the novel done. Then once through, and off to my critique partner. 🙂

Hope everyone is having a productive week!

Codex Writers Ebook Bash, Sept. 26-27!

Just a reminder that my writer’s group, Codex, is having it’s first free ebook promo tomorrow and the day after, Sept. 26-27. We have sixteen books by eight different neo-pro, multi-published authors to choose from, so it’s definitely worth checking out! Here’s a list of the books on Amazon.

A detailed listing of the titles that will be free:

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.

A historical fantasy novel by Ruth Nestvold, Book I of The Pendragon Chronicles.

Tiger Lily

Lily isn’t supposed to hunt in the Daimyo’s woods. She’s not supposed to talk to nobility or sing forbidden Jindo songs. But Lily was born in the year of the Tiger, and isn’t like other village girls. One day she stumbles on the Daimyo’s son, Ashikaga, wounded in the woods. When the Pretender Emperor’s soldiers arrive to threaten Ashikaga, Lily sings a forbidden song. The song wakes a powerful spirit – as well as Ashikaga’s interest. The prickly lord has hidden secrets of his own. He will stop at nothing to defeat the Pretender. Lily just wants to take care of her sisters. But as the Pretender’s forces near, Lily may have to defy the spirits themselves in order to keep safe all that she loves.

A historical fantasy novel by K. Bird Lincoln.

Dragon Time and Other Stories

A collection of four previously published fantasy tales by Ruth Nestvold: “Dragon Time,” “Wooing Ai Kyarem,” “To Act the Witch,” and “Princes and Priscilla.”
Dragon Time: In Unterdrachenberg, time has stopped. After the death of his queen, the dragon king is mad with grief. Only a human woman can enter the dragon’s lair to fix time — a magic that is forbidden to women. Katja is the grand-daughter of a clockmaker, and she has watched her grandfather work with time for many years. But can she fix it on her own? More importantly, is she brave enough to try?

A fantasy short story collection by Ruth Nestvold.

Watcher’s Web

With “webs” of power that she can use to control animals, Jessica has never been normal but when stray power causes a plane in which she’s travelling to crash in an alien world is it an accident? The more she discovers about the world, the more she doubts it. She is a survivor from an ancient race that once travelled the stars. Her ancestors were powerful and dangerous, and it seems at least two people want her: the man who invades her mind, and the man who’s desperate to help her get back home. Now all she has to do is decide which of them is right.

A social science fiction novel by Patty Jansen.

The Future, Imperfect: Six Dystopian Short Stories

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.

A collection of near future, dystopian short stories by Ruth Nestvold.

The Far Horizon

Of all the things ten-year-old Cory Wilson expects to do when he moves to Midway Space Station, saving aliens from humans isn’t one. An important conference between humans and aliens is about to start at the station and Cory overhears some men planning to plant a bomb at the conference. Because the terrorists hide their messages in computer games, no one believes Cory, not even his father, the station director. Kids at school think he’s crazy, some even think aliens should be bombed. The conference starts, the aliens have brought a very important person, and Cory’s teacher, one of the terrorists, locks Cory in the classroom. Can he get out in time? If he does, will anyone listen?

An adventure science fiction novel for 10-13yo readers and their parents by Patty Jansen.

The Godless Land

“The land of Molkoro once had a god, a mighty panther god,” the sailor said. “At the time the ettins arrived from beyond the sea in their black-sailed ships, the people of the jungle worshiped the great Jhub-El. He was a mighty god, but he had one weakness: Trust.”
Pietro, a young man, has never killed: something rare for the corrupt city of Peregoth and totally alien to the tropics of Molkoro, where circumstances will soon take him. In the sweltering jungle, his purity has become a commodity to the ettin invaders and their lord, the dark Vexor. But how long can his innocence last in a godless land?
A short story by AJ Cooper

Looking For Daddy

Three weeks ago, Daddy left town with the other volunteer firefighters to fight the fires in the city and Tom and Mother have looked after the farm. Radios, phones and TV have fallen silent, trains have stopped coming and the main road has remained empty. Whatever has silenced the rest of the world is creeping into town. Roads start talking and zombies want to tell everyone how they died. To find Daddy, Tom needs to follow a map he has found in a vagrant camp site. Problem is, it leads him straight to the place where all the trouble started.

A bizarro horror novella by Patty Jansen.

Scattered Among Strange Worlds

A collection of two thought-provoking science fiction short stories from the pen of British Science Fiction Association award-winner and Nebula and Hugo Award finalist Aliette de Bodard. Scattered Among Strange Worlds tackles issues of emigration, diaspora and loss of cultural values; and the threads of family that bind us strongly, even across the void of space…

A science fiction collection by Aliette de Bodard.

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Seven haunted and talented half-breeds, not knowing who they are or what they can do, grow up in a city full of fallen angels. Only Old Abe knows them all, helping them and hiding them from their glorious and terrifying parents who call them abominations.

A homeless musician, a blind painter, a boy who can photograph angels, a fiery cellist, a tarot card reader–all lovers, children, or grandchildren of fallen angels, and just a few of Abe’s charges. Fallen angels with wings of fire, wings of stone, wings of night, of dawn, of mirrors, of music–they walk invisibly through the city, just a few of Abe’s enemies.

At first the half-breeds are unaware of each other, seven unique people muddling through their troubled, intertwined lives alone. Until a young man, raised by angels, finds them all and they begin to spill their secrets. Because only by coming together will the half-breeds be able to save Abe from those of the fallen who wish to kill him for his audacity.

An urban fantasy novel by Maya Lassiter.

Camilla is excited to be beginning her first tour of duty as a crew leader even though she is expecting a routine three months on the GT Donald Ademu, a gravity tractor ship assigned to change the trajectory of an asteroid. An unexpected development — the discovery of an improvised bomb on their ship — jeopardizes the lives of Camilla and her crew as well as the many other people their mission is intended to protect. With no outside help available in the time they have to work,
Camilla and the two other crew members on-board race to find a solution which will protect both them and their mission in “Gravity’s Pull.”

A science fiction short story by Michael Haynes.

Obligations of a Cobalt Hue

Teldine is an isolated mountain kingdom that has been magically protected from ancient enemies for one thousand years by an impenetrable fog wall. Inside the wall, Champions of the Cobaltine Flower keep the peace. But as the fog wall thins, a Champion is killed and the king is murdered. The remaining Champions work together as intrigue, betrayal, and foreign influences threaten the tiny realm.

An epic fantasy novel by Amber D. Sistla and Book One of the Cobaltine Chronicles.

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!

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!

A short update & this week’s freebies

I continue to be spending an above-average amount of time cooking (canning and freezing, that is), so the word count is down from normal. In the last week, I managed to get another 4,000 words on Chameleon in a Mirror written. Besides that, I did some more work with my daughter on covers, responding to suggestions on Beyond the Waters of the World and In the Middle of Nowhere with Company. Pickled some jalapenos and made more barbecue sauce, tomato consomme and stewed tomatoes. So despite the fact that fewer words were made, it still feels like it was a productive week.

I also scheduled some more freebies to use up my promotion days on a couple of my books. Tomorrow, August 28, Yseult and Never, Ever After will be free for one day. (I’ll be taking NEA out of KDP Select after that. I finally need to start marketing elsewhere!) Shadow of Stone will be free for two days, August 29-30. Please be my guest if you are interested in reading any of those books, and pass the word along if you feel so inclined!