Tag Archives: Yseult

Starting Out as an Indie Author: Where to promote permafree books

Starting out as an indie author

I’ve talked before about how permafree can be used as a marketing strategy for ebooks. Permafree is indie author shorthand for permanently free. Many sales venues allow you to set the price of your book to free; others do not, most notably Amazon. But it is still possible to make a book free there, either through price-matching, or by writing Amazon directly, listing the other sites where your book is free, and pointing out the promotional advantage of having the book free. As an example, here is the email I sent which finally resulted in Yseult: Two Women going free:

Hello,

I’ve been trying for some time to get my ebook “Yseult, Part I: Two Women” price-matched using the link “tell us about a lower price,” but until now I’ve had no luck, which is why I am contacting you directly. The ebook is free on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Google Play and elsewhere. I would be grateful if you could price match it for me on all Amazon sites. I am making Part I free to encourage sales of other books in the series which will be on sale with Amazon. Part 2 is already on Amazon and I intend to launch Part 3 & 4 once Part 1 is free.

Details below. If you need any further information, please let me know. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Sincerely,
Ruth Nestvold

Title: Yseult, Part I: Two Women, ASIN: B00NFPE1T8

Free on the following sites (among others):

iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id917430003

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yseult-part-i-ruth-nestvold/1120330113?ean=2940046328080&itm=1&usri=2940046328080

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ruth_Nestvold_Yseult_Part_1_Two_Women?id=yip_BAAAQBAJ

Yseult, Part 1: Two Women

That letter finally did the job. 🙂

Permafree works in a number of ways. With permafree, for example, you can upload the complete book chapter by chapter to Wattpad, potentially gaining new readers — and without worrying about losing money, since the book is free anyway. You can also upload a “preview” file on Goodreads that contains the complete text of your permafree, as I have done.

In my recent experience, permafree is most effective if it ends on a cliffhanger. This goes totally against my own preferences and beliefs, as well as all the reader complaints about serial novels and cliffhangers, but sales figures don’t lie. Yseult: Two Women has resulted in increased sales — including Books II, III and IV, which I didn’t actually intend to sell, hoping readers would add up the price of the individual parts and just go for the complete novel if they were interested enough to keep reading. But last month, my profits from the individual books of Yseult were almost equal to that of the complete book containing all four parts. Go figure.

In previous posts, I’ve listed places to promote a temporary free promo, as well as a 99c sale for ebooks. But since not all sites that will promote a free run will take permafree titles, I decided for my own sake, as well as yours, to compile a list of those sites are open to permafree titles (or that at least do not specifically exclude them).

Free:

Reading Deals – Books should be a minimum of 50 pages long and have at least 5 reviews and a 4 star average. $29 for a guaranteed listing.
http://readingdeals.com/submit-ebook

Ask David: http://askdavid.com/free-ebook-promotion

ContentMo – Free Ads for Free Books: http://contentmo.com/submit-your-free-ebook-promo/

Read Free.ly: http://www.readfree.ly/ourservices/

Frugal Freebies: http://www.frugal-freebies.com/p/submit-freebie.html

eBookLister – Rating of 3.5 or higher with a minimum of 5 reviews. (Note: If you’ve submitted a freebie for the same book before, you get an error message stating that your listing will be corrected.) http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php

Digital Book Today – Free and paid; books must be at least 100 pages long and have at least 18 reviews with a rating of 4 or higher. No erotica.

FreeBookSy – Free and paid.

Choosy Bookworm – Free and paid. Book must be at least 70 pages long & have at least 8 reviews with a 4+ average.

Free Books

Awesomegang – $10 for a guaranteed listing. http://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/

Indie Book of the Day – http://indiebookoftheday.com/authors/free-on-kindle-listing/

Book Angel – Book must be PG-13! http://bookangel.co.uk/submit-your-book/

SF Signal Free Fiction Tip Line (For science fiction and fantasy) https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1RpB9C2_urRBU6AigCZwFuxuhhjNTt5qKX0Yzlnw09VA/viewform

Paid:

BKnights on Fiverr – $5.50 (a “fiver” plus processing fee). https://www.fiverr.com/bknights

Sweet Free Books – $7. At least 5 reviews and a 3.5 rating. http://sweetfreebooks.com/advertise/

Booklover’s Heaven – $5. Requires at least 10 reviews and a rating of 4 or higher.

Digital Book Today ($20 for a one month listing. No erotica.) http://digitalbooktoday.com/purchase-ad-perma-free-books-page/

Ereader News Today (ENT. Books must be at least 125 pages. Prices starting at $30, according to genre. No erotica.) http://ereadernewstoday.com/requirements/

BookRaid – Pricing per click, starting at 5c, with a minimum threshold of $2 — so at less than 40 clicks, the listing is free. Maximum charge $10. For fiction, the book must be at least 120 pages long. It cannot have been promoted in the last 8 weeks.
https://bookraid.com/

Freebooksy (Prices starting at $40, according to genre.) http://freebooksy.com/for-the-authors/

Book Basset – $7.99 per day. Requires at least 10 reviews with a rating of 3.5 or higher. Will only feature a book once every six months. No erotica or specifically adult content. http://www.bookbasset.com/authors/submissions/guaranteed-freebie/

Books Butterfly (Prices start at $50 per 500 guaranteed downloads) http://www.booksbutterfly.com/order/freebookslots/

One Hundred Free Books – Listings start at $75. http://ohfb.com/author-free-kindle-book-submission.html

I am always on the lookout for more ways of getting the word out about permafree books, so if anyone has any tips, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

If you found this blog post helpful, perhaps you would be interested in the book, Starting Out as an Indie Author! You can learn more here.

First quarter goals for 2015

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has started it off better than me — I’ve been sick with a very irritating head cold. It seems to be slowly letting up now, though. I certainly hope so. I find it very hard to concentrate when my head is full of gunk.

Anyway, on to the first order of the year — stating my goals for this round! A number I will have to carry over from last year, but I did make a big dent in my publishing goals in the last days of 2014: I got Mars: A Traveler’s Guide, and Yseult, Part III: Two Men and a Woman published!

Mars

Yseult Part III

(BTW, the Mars story is free everywhere but on Amazon — I still have to get it price-matched.)

On to my updated goals!

Writing:

– Write an average of 4000 words a week.

– Finish Facets of Glass

– Write 5 new short stories

Blog:

– Write a report of the Villa Diodati workshop (finally!)

– Write a new installment of “Starting out as an indie author” every other week

– Update my book page (LONG overdue!)

Writing business:

– Write New Year newsletter for my subscribers

– Schedule upcoming promotions for my books

– List books with Babelcube & Noisetrade

– Publish last episode of Yseult

– Publish “The Shadow Artist” as ebook

– Publish Chameleon in a Mirror to Createspace

– Find reviewers for CIAM and Island of Glass

I hope everyone who reads this had a good time bringing in the new year and it turns out to be a very successful 2015 for all of you!

“Yseult, Part I: Two Women” now finally free on Amazon

As I mentioned a while back, in September I embarked on an experiment: splitting my almost 200,000 word monster book Yseult into episodes and making the first one free.

The problem was, Amazon wasn’t cooperating. The book was free on iTunes, B&N, Google Play, you name it — but no matter how many times I clicked on “tell us about a lower price” and how many people I asked to tattle on me, the price refused to budge, sitting there stubbornly at 99c. I published the first two episodes within days of each other, but when I had so much trouble making the first book free, I didn’t bother putting together the last two.

Yesterday, I finally got fed up at how long it was taking for Amazon to price match, and I wrote them directly.

And lo and behold, it worked!

I don’t know if it is also free in other countries or only in the US (my experience has been that it takes much longer for other Amazon stores to catch up). But at least if you’re in the US, and you have not yet read my (first) doorstopper, you can now get Part I for free. Here the details:

Yseult, Part I

Yseult, Part I: Two Women

Yseult the Wise and Yseult the Fair, mother and daughter, are members of the proud race of the Feadh Ree, the Old Race in Eriu. New ways and a new religion are coming to their land, and despite all their magic, they may be powerless to stop it.

“Yseult: Two Women” is the first of four parts from the bestselling historical fantasy novel “Yseult: A Tale of love in the Age of King Arthur,” a retelling of the tragic love story of Tristan and Yseult. Yseult is a princess of Ireland, a land on the fringes of Europe, a land that had never been conquered by Rome. What would her life have been like in that pagan land before the advent of Christianity?

This book is a re-imagining of Yseult’s youth, never part of the legends — until now.

BTW, even if you already have read the complete novel, you’ll be doing me a favor if you download anyway. It will help the book rank higher. 🙂

Third quarter stock-taking, a Glassmakers excerpt, and a request

It’s that time of year again, time to take a look at the original list of goals and analyze how things went. I’m pretty pleased with this quarter. Here’s the breakdown:

Writing

My original goal was to get 2500 words a week written. At the moment I am regularly producing more than 4000 a week, a definite improvement from my original goal. Another writing goal was to write a detailed outline of Facets of Glass — I am now over 11,000 words into the writing of the actual novella. Of course, I also had a number of goals where I made no progress. For example, I still find it hard to work on any of my collaborations with Jay Lake, so those goals remained untouched this round. Nor did I finish any new short stories. But with the serious progress I’ve made on Facets of Glass and several other longer projects, I’m quite happy with the way things have gone this round, writing-wise. I’m also having so much more FUN than I’ve had in a long time!

I met my blog goals as well. I wrote the blog posts about my research trip to Britain this summer, and I have written several installments of my new series “Starting out as an indie author.”

Writing Business

My batting average on the business side wasn’t quite as good, but I also had quite a few goals. The things I got off of my “writing business” list:

– Started splitting Yseult into episodes and publishing individually
– Got Amazon to price match “The Leaving Sweater” for free
– Edited blog, added ebook as incentive to join mailing list
– Found some reviewers for Chameleon in a Mirror
– Uploaded Island of Glass to Amazon for pre-order and set a publishing date.

This is where I need your help! Island of Glass is now scheduled for publication on Oct. 28, so I’d love some volunteers to help me get the word out. That includes any of the following options:

– Participate in the cover reveal on October 14
– Do an interview with me on your blog
– Have a guest post from me on your blog

Also, if anyone is interested in an advance copy of the novella to review, please let me know! That’s one of the hardest things about new releases, getting the reviews needed to be able to promote it on other sites. (I’m not aggressive enough about this, which was why CIAM was reviewless for months.)

Naturally I’m not asking you to do all these things — I’m grateful for any help at all that I can get. I got some inspiration from Amy here and would like to return the favor too. 🙂 I’d be happy to feature all of you on my blog in upcoming weeks — with the caveat that interviews and guest posts should be about indie publishing, given the slant of my blog. But if you’re not an indie writer, I’ll still be happy to post a plug to your book.

If you can help, please let me know either in the comments below, in email, or on Facebook. Thanks!

On to WIPpet Wednesday. For the first time, I’m going to post an excerpt from the second book in The Glassmakers Trilogy, Facets of Glass. Today’s date, the 24th, gives me 2+4 = 6 short paragraphs, which I hope will pique your interest:

Dowager Princess Zilia of House Foscari gazed at the apple of glass that had come with the invitation from Prague. It had little resemblance to the typical art of Bohemian glass, usually thick goblets decorated with deep cuts that reflected the light like the facets of diamonds, or somewhat finer works enhanced by detailed engravings.
This apple was different. She admired the nonchalant artistry, the combination of realism and artifice, the delicacy of the glass — as thin as the cristallo of Murano. The kind of glass that had not been seen anywhere in the world before, other than from the glassmakers in the service of Venice.
The Bohemian glassworks had never before produced glass as thin and delicate as this. Nor had they ever worked in colored glass in this way, at least not to Zilia’s knowledge.
She held the apple, one half red, one half green, up to the light, examining the way the colors flowed into each other almost as naturally as a real apple. The brown stem and green leaves at the top completed the illusion. She turned the apple in her hands, only to discover a small hole, around which had been placed brown residue like that from a worm.
Zilia stared at the wormhole of glass, and all she could think of were a pair of glass slippers with their carelessly tied ribbons. Shoes of glass so strong and so fine, they had captured the heart of her son, Prince Vittore.
Those slippers had been made by a young maestra from Murano, Chiara Dragoni — who had disappeared over a year ago in the lagoon of Venice.

Glass Apple by Bill Brooks on Flickr
Glass Apple (c) Bill Brooks on Flickr, cc license

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

Starting Out as an Indie Author: Getting Your Books into Google Play

Starting out as an indie author

In an earlier post in this series, I mentioned that since I’d heard so many horror stories about Google Play randomly cutting prices of indie books, and Amazon subsequently following suit — with serious consequences for the incomes of the writers involved — I decided not to try to sell my books through that venue.

But then I learned (on Kboards of course) that the stories I’d heard, while true, could be avoided with creative pricing. Apparently Google discounts all books in pretty much the same way. But while the percentages hover around a 23% discount, the discounts jump around a bit, and don’t apply to the lowest price points (supposedly). Luckily, the smart folks on the Internet have figured out what you have to do to get your book priced the way you want it. This in turn will keep Amazon happy and they won’t discount your book below the 70% royalty sweet spot of 2.99.

Here is a compilation of some of the suggestions I’ve found around the Internet for how to price your book on Google Play to make it end up the price you want:

Desired price / Price you need to enter on Google Play:

99c / 99c
1.49 / 1.49 (Apparently Google does not discount these)
1.99 / 2.54
2.99 / 3.93
3.99 / 5.18
4.99 / 6.48
5.99 / 7.78

I don’t know if all of these are actually 100% correct; you might need to experiment a bit within the price range to get the results you want.

Becoming a “partner” on Google Play

You cannot publish with Google Play without a Gmail account, so if you don’t have that yet, it’s the first thing you need to do. Once you’ve signed up, you can go here to get started publishing:

https://play.google.com/books/publish/

The Google Play dashboard is much less intuitive than Amazon, B&N, Draft2Digital and Kobo, the sales sites I have primarily used until now. On the left you have the following options: book catalog, analytics & reports, promotions, payment center, and account settings. Today I will only be going into “book catalog” and “payment center” since that is what you need in order to publish a book. (The “account settings” automatically gets populated with your Google account info and any publisher info you add when you sign in.) You do the actual publishing from “book catalog”:

Google Play

But although it is farther down in the list, I suggest starting with the item “payment center”: if you don’t, your book will not be published. The fist couple of times I tried to publish Part I of my serialized version of Yseult, I kept getting the error message “PRICE MISSING OR NOT APPLICABLE” which didn’t make a lot of sense to me, since Google allows you to set the price to free. Finally, I googled the error message and found out that Google Play would not allow me to publish until I entered my payment info. So maybe that should be first in line … ?

Anyway, in the payment center, click “Payment Profiles” and enter your bank account info. GP does not allow PayPal, unfortunately. If your bank is in the US, for Sales Territories select “WORLD – US/USD” and under “CURRENCY CONVERSION” TURNED ON.

Once you’ve saved your payment information, you can go to “Book Catalog” and actually publish your book. Click on the “Add book” button. If you already have an ISBN for your book, enter it here, otherwise check the box that you don’t. The “Book details” pane opens, which should be largely self-explanatory. One thing that bears mentioning, however, is that for GP you have to enter you bio for EVERY BOOK. Interesting, huh? The leading search engine in the world can’t find the biographical info for for a single author account …

Once you’ve entered the book details, in the next pane you upload your ebook and cover. The book itself can be either EPUB or PDF. In order to save yourself grief and repeated uploads, if you are uploading an Epub file, I suggest testing it with EPUB Validator first:

http://validator.idpf.org/

The next pane is for pricing. No dropdown menu for the currency, unfortunately, so if you’re in the States, enter USD manually. The box after “for” should be WORLD. For the price, see the list above. 🙂

The “Settings” pane is for metadata. The format is of course “digital” and for the subject, enter keywords that will get your book into the appropriate categories, such as “fantasy” and “historical.” The form then makes suggestions that you can choose from. For most of the other options, you’re fine with the defaults, at least as far as I could determine.

The final pane is for publishing, where you can decide whether to publish only to Google Books or also to Google Play as well. Seems a no-brainer to me to choose both. 🙂

I have only just started publishing with Google Play, so I can’t say yet whether all the work will actually be worth it. But it was fun finding the free book with my smartphone and downloading it. If you have Google Play, please do so as well! There don’t seem to be any Nestvolds other than me in the GP store, so the free book should be pretty easy to find.

Once I’ve been on Google Play longer, have published a few more things, and understand the system better, I will post more.

Other posts in this series:

Starting out as an indie author: preparing your manuscript for ebook retailers

Starting out as an indie author: Using distributors for getting into online bookstores

Starting out as an indie author: Smashwords, Draft2Digital, and Xinxii (Using distributors, part 2)

Starting out as an indie author: The costs of self-publishing

Starting out as an indie author: Why editing is important — and who can skip the expense after all

Starting out as an indie author: Creating your own covers

Starting out as an indie author: Interview with Kate Sparkes

On splitting up a big book: Turning Yseult into episodes

As many of you following this blog know, I started my career as an indie author after I got the rights back to the original English of my novel Yseult, which was published in German as Flamme und Harfe by Random House Germany in 2009.

Flamme und Harfe, Ruth Nestvold

I published the English original in January 2012 on my own with this cover from the talented Derek Murphy of CreativIndie Covers:

Yseult, Ruth Nestvold

Since the original publisher of Yseult / Flamme und Harfe, Random House Germany, told me they were interested in a sequel (which they decided they were not interested in after all), when I published Yseult, I already had the next doorstopper waiting in the wings, Shadow of Stone, which I published in June of 2012.

That too sold quite well, and I began to imagine that I was on my way to a wonderful career as an indie author.

Halt.

Readers started wanting to know when the next “installment” would be available. Of books that were both close to 200,000 words, or over 500 pages long. Unfortunately, I don’t write fast enough to produce novels of that size every year, and I lost readers.

I started writing a prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles, Ygerna, hoping to make it free and attract more readers that way, but I soon noticed that the story of Arthur’s mother was too complicated for me to finish off in a couple ten thousand words, and it ended up on the back burner. I do have a free short story from the second novel available, Gawain and Ragnell, and that has helped my sales somewhat, giving potential readers a taste of the world of The Pendragon Chronicles. So I know for a fact that permafree can help your sales.

Then at some point I started noticing something new happening in ebook publishing: it seemed as if a lot of the most successful indie authors were publishing their ebooks in episodes or as serials, in chunks from between 50 to 200 pages. Like with a TV show, each episode might bring a single plot thread to a conclusion, but there was also often some kind of cliffhanger to make sure the reader came back for the next installment. An added advantage of the episode format is that the author can make the first “book” of the novel free in order to entice readers to give it a try.

Slowly an experiment started to take shape in my mind. I had these two Big Fat Fantasies, after all, together close to 400,000 words. But in the era of ebooks, when the reader can’t judge a book by how heavy it is in her hand, books seem to be getting shorter. And while the true short story has yet to make a comeback, readers appear to be increasingly accepting of novella-length books. (This is all totally subjective and unscientific, so don’t quote me on it.)

Anyway, as a result of these observations, I have decided to launch an experiment. I am going to take the four books of Yseult apart — which, btw, is how I organized the novel long before the advent of ebooks — and offer them separately. I will try to make the first book free on Amazon as quickly as possible. Here is the pricing structure I’m considering for the serial version:

Part I: FREE
Part II: 99c (my take, 30c)
Part III: 2.99 (my take $2)
Part IV: 2.99 (my take $2)

My goal is not to make more money than with the complete novel, although that is what would happen if readers were only to buy the individual parts. But when I do this, I do not intend to unpublish Yseult. That will still be available for 4.99 for anyone who is enjoying the series enough to want to buy the novel. Mostly I’m just hoping that with parts 1 & 2 at free and 99c respectively, a few more readers will try out the series.

So recently I’ve been working on a template for the covers of the individual episodes. I wanted to use the cover of Yseult as a basis, to make sure that no one bought any of the episodes thinking it was a new story in The Pendragon Chronicles. At the same time, the covers should be distinctive enough to stand out from each other. Given those considerations, here’s the template I came up with for the series:

Yseult template

And here’s my first attempt at a single title:

Yseult-Part-1

My thought is to use different colors beneath the “celtic fringe” *g* on the left / west side of the cover as a visual signal of the differences between the books. And now, as I write this, it occurs to me that the color for the first book, which takes place in Ireland / Eriu, should be a dark green rather than the dark purple I have now. *g*

Anyway, I welcome any thoughts / feedback you have in the comments below!

I might land flat on my face with this experiment, but I’m not out of much more than a couple days worth of work making the new covers, formatting the individual sections, and uploading them to the various venues. Wish me luck. 🙂 And do please let me know what you think!

Yseult available used for only $999.11!

That’s right, you understood correctly: you can currently get my novel Yseult on Amazon used for under $1000!!! Since who knows how long this incredible deal will be available, I took a screen shot:

Yseult for under $1000!

I have no idea how this amazing inflation happened, but I’m assuming it has to do with someone’s price bots going stir crazy. At least it gave me quite a laugh last night. And as of today, the price is still there. So go ahead, see for yourself if you don’t believe me.*

Given those kinds of prices, the Smashwords “Read an E-Book Week” is even more of a deal!

Smashwords

On Smashwords this week, you can get 25% off the list price of Yseult with the coupon “REW25”. And you can get the same deal on Looking Through Lace. You can even get my short story collection Never Ever After FREE with the coupon “RW100”!

/End mini marketing blitz. 🙂

*Of course, as soon as I posted this, the price plummeted. *pout* Now you can get my novel for only $41.02. 😦

Travel theme: Ancient – Ireland

Fellow WIPpeteer Xina posted about a challenge the other day regarding ancient ruins. Since I love to travel, and one of the main things I like to do when traveling is visit old rocks (as I like to call them), I have a lot of travel photos of things ancient. I decided to share some pictures from a research trip to Ireland for my novel Yseult almost a decade ago.

First off, a picture from the ancient Celtic site, the Hill of Tara:

Tara

A couple of shots from the prehistoric burial grounds at Newgrange:

Newgrange

Newgrange

Megalithic monument from the Burren:

Burren

The early Christian site of Glendalough:

Glendalough

Ah, yes, it’s time for me to plan another trip to ancient monuments. 🙂

Formatting Shadow of Stone for CreateSpace, & and an excerpt for #WIPpet Wedneday

The last couple of days, I’ve been spending most of my “writing” time putting together the PDF file of Shadow of Stone for the paperback version. I’ve been meaning to do this for much too long, but now with Christmas coming up, I really need to get it done. And the last couple of days before the craziness of Nano sets in seem to be a perfect opportunity.

The reason I keep putting off getting my books ready for paperback is all the work involved. Although I have to admit, Shadow of Stone ended up being a lot easier than Yseult, requiring maybe 10 hours of work, rather than 20 or 30 (I don’t really remember anymore, I just know it was a lot.) I also had to make a black and white version of the color map I have in the ebook:

Britain in ~500 AD

That was complicated by the fact that my ancient version of Photoshop decided to go on strike the first go ’round, refusing to save my changes and claiming I didn’t have enough RAM. Hmph. It did work on the second try after closing pretty much all my other programs — and my computer is not all that old or that wimpy. My version of Photoshop is a lot older. Moody software.

But for the actual formatting of the interior, I took a shortcut which helped a lot. Instead of starting from scratch with a doc file exported from Scrivener, I started with the version of Yseult already formatted for print and poured the chapters one by one into that file, replacing the text of Yseult. That had the big advantage that the chapter headers etc. were already formatted. It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself:

So since my last post, the only thing I’ve worked on is Shadow of Stone, which is not strictly a WIP. But since I did find a couple of random typos that had slipped past all my beta readers and the editor I hired and the extra editing passes I did myself, AND it happens to be what’s open on my desktop right now, it’s the book you’re going to get an excerpt from, dagnabbit! Here’s how my math works this time around: since we have 10-30-13, I’m splitting it up 103-013 and giving your 13 lines from page 103. In this scene, Arthur and his advisers have just suggested to Cador and Yseult that they wed for political reasons, to strengthen the kingdom of Dumnonia in southern Britain:

“Would you have any objections to such a match, Cador?” Arthur asked.
Only that it is what I have dreamt of since I started dreaming of such things. Only that if Yseult were my wife, she might no longer be my friend. Only that she has a lover who is also my friend. Only that having a dream so close within my reach scares me more than an army of Saxons on the other side of a valley.
“No,” he said. “The thought has crossed my mind that Kustennin would be the best choice as my heir – if it were possible. But I have no interest in pressuring Yseult into a marriage she does not want.”
“Think on it,” Arthur said, rolling up the map. “And now I suspect the two of you may want to discuss the idea alone. Myrddin, Modrun?”
The Queen of Gower turned to Yseult, practically ignoring Cador. “I cannot claim that my instinct is always right in these matters,” Modrun said. “But I suspect the two of you could be happy together.”
“Perhaps even happier than most,” Myrddin said with a smile.
With that, the Dux Bellorum and his advisors departed, leaving Cador and Yseult to their silence and their thoughts. His gaze caught on one of the ceremonial swords decorating the walls of the hall, a mosaic of bright stones in its hilt. As stunning and useless as Arthur’s suggestion. Yseult would never agree to marry him, he knew.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂

Cover edits for Chameleon in a Mirror — and some bad publicity for Yseult

Before I get on to my updates, I need a little hand-holding here. One of the covers that my cover artist proposed for Yseult — and which was never used — has showed up on the site “WTF Bad Fantasy Covers” with the following comment:

Nice to see that peroxide blonde dates back so far!

(I’m guessing this is based on Tristan and Isolde. The best part of the doomed romance poetry about them is that the dying Tristan literally hugs Isolde to death. She did ask him to, though, so it’s romantic, or something, IDK.) *

I have no idea where the person running the site got that cover. I posted it back in the day, just because I was curious how people would react. (I liked the sword, but I didn’t like the mascara, and most of my readers here and on Facebook agreed.) Everyone who reads this blog probably knows that the cover of Yseult looks very different. It actually even got some praise when the book was published from ebook guru Joel Friedlander, who said, “Another strong and evocative cover from Derek Murphy.”

Here’s the real cover:

It’s a drag to get slammed for something you didn’t even do, and I’m feeling kind of down. 😦

While I’m on the topic of covers, I played with the cover for Chameleon in a Mirror yesterday, trying to integrate some of the suggestions I got here and on Facebook. This is the result:

Chameleon in a Mirror cover

What do you guys think?

I’d like to get the book finished in time for Christmas, and I’m looking for some beta readers who would be interested in a 100,000 word time travel based on the life of Aphra Behn. Here’s the blurb:

A time travel based on literary history, CIAM is set in the colorful and turbulent times of the English Restoration. The protagonist, Billie Armstrong, has long wanted to rewrite literary history to give Aphra Behn, the first professional woman writer in England, the prominence she deserves. But when Billie accidentally activates the magical properties of a baroque mirror, she gets more than she bargained for. What develops is an unwilling masquerade in a tale of license, love and literature, a high-spirited Restoration romp, as Billie does her best to survive in a strange era and ensure Aphra’s literary survival in the future.

If you would like to volunteer, either drop me a note or let me know in the comments. I’d be happy to trade critiques too. 🙂

Part of my progress for the week was working on the CIAM cover. I also wrote about 3200 new words of A Wasted Land, the next Pendragon Chronicles book. A big translation job has been keeping me very busy, though, so I haven’t had as much time to write as I would like. I really have to cut back on the “frittering” if I want to get a few more things off my to-do list!

* Update: Lauralynn pointed out to me that they have now posted a disclaimer and another cover for Yseult, which they claim is the one that actually got used. Well, not quite. If you click on the link and look closely at the second cover, you should easily spot a lot of details that are different. It was one of Derek’s early designs for the cover we finally ended up with. Ce la vie!