If you want to catch my literary fiction book Bellevere House at a discount price, it’s on sale for $0.99 right now as part of a big chick-lit reading bundle. Find a variety of books from light reading like mystery and romance to literary, fantasy epics, and historical fiction. As the giveaway's title suggests, it's a big bash of books at sale prices. Prices vary based on author’s choice, but you’re sure to find some good steals here. Click here to visit!
Halfway through the 4th Palladia book, I took a break to go back into Celestine Princess and start some minimal editing--finding some overly long paragraphs to be trimmed and some dialogue to be clarified. All basic stuff for a second look at a book before getting it on to the next phase. The more I write Palladia books, the more of them keep coming. It seems there’s always more to the story when it comes to this projection of the future 300 years from now. And over time, the “always more we need to explore” aspect has spread beyond Palladia into my other sci-fi and fantasy work.
Aside from Ryan and Essie, my other SFF books are unrelated novella and novelette collections, since I got a lot of short fiction ideas early in my writing journey. That was all well and good until a small glitch between The Birthday Present and Palladia set up a domino effect. TBP had always been this individual futuristic story spinning on its own orbit. It had more links to the seemingly unrelated Millhaven Castle than to anything else and since it was out of print for years, there was even less reason to worry about it. But as Palladia grew and grew, I realized it was important that the timelines between these two visions of the future not clash.
It’s fine for different authors to describe wildly different concepts of a future that’s been invented for their fiction—one, for instance, shows the world as collapsing into dust-piles and nonstop thievery as a result of an ecological disaster, while another author instead shows the exact distance in the future (say, 100 years) as so high-tech that robots have replaced people and everyone is extraordinarily wealthy except for some unfortunate rebels that the robots don’t like. But works by the SAME author should not contradict each other. Whatever history of a fantasy world or of the future you are constructing, it still has to be logical even if it’s imaginary.
I’d already set The Birthday Present 1000 years in the future, long after Palladia. But if it was set 1000 years after our time, Aure would be ruling at the time of the Palladia stories and I’ve yet to write one where he’s anywhere in sight. So instead, a marginal tweak of just a few numbers set The Birthday Present 1000 years after the time of Palladia—1300 after our time. Why does this matter? Well, once I made the change for the sake of consistency, I realized I needed to write more about this dimly seen farther future. Palladia has four books now to detail its era, but the TBP era has scant coverage. And, of course, I noticed another thing right away.
What happened in those 1000 years between Palladia and The Birthday Present/MC? So not only do we really need another book about the characters who appear in The Birthday Present so we can see more of the “Aure’s Dominion” era, there are all sorts of gaps between the two eras. And yes, there now are two “eras” for a lengthy future scenario instead of a couple of unrelated sci-fi books because lining up them up also linked them by default. I will say I am very much looking forward to finding out if all of my sci-fi and fantasy books are going to reveal hidden cracks and gullies like this. 😊
And there will be more updates.
First off, I’d like to let you know about another great StoryOrigin giveaway. It’s in one of my favorite categories—All-Genre, with a bent towards Young Adult and family-friendly. Although genre-specific events are great for getting people who are interested in that genre, all-genre events are perfect for any books that don’t fit neatly into just one genre label. For instance, This Merry Summertime, the book in this giveaway, contains a mix of historical, fantasy, and contemporary under its celebration of “Family, Fantasy, and Young Women” subtitle. So any of those genres might cancel the others out for a genre-specific event, but all-genre is right up its alley and the fact the giveaway is clean and family-friendly is an added perk. It’s a big giveaway—74 books & 54 authors—so you’re sure to find something you like in this diverse newsletter builder event. Click here to see all the books!
Finished the first draft of Palladia 3 this week! I’ve got to say, I haven’t written a story like this before. But what I’ve liked about working on each one of my books is they don’t duplicate each other, so readers get to explore a different scenario every time. That keeps things fresh because if authors have created for a long time, as I have, they run the risk of lapsing into staleness, repetitions of previous books, and a dearth of new ideas. But that hasn’t happened, at least so far, to me as this book was an emotionally intensive story to write with one of the weirdest plot premises I’ve ever used. I've put the manuscript aside for a few weeks so I can go back into it with fresh eyes later on and get it ready for beta readers, and I’ll write a full description when I dive back into the story a short time from now.
But just to let you know what it’s about, the story built to a climactic encounter with the villain in which Arielle, inspired by Katia and challenged by Consuela, faced her inner weaknesses and learned to rise past a situation that ate away at her self-esteem and made her bitter. The action takes place in Dorilantz, a country that neighbors Palladia and Belaria but was not visited in the first two books, which has an oppressive regime that still persecutes the EC. When Arielle is chosen for a symbolic ritual called The Princess is Not Pretty, in which she is put on a stage and mocked every day as a way for the two people groups in her country to come to terms, she pretty much gets really frustrated about it. But in choosing the right—yet not natural-feeling decision—to think outside her immediate emotions, she ends up making the world a better place and coming to terms with what she was afraid of.
And the title will be: Celestine Princess. The logic for this naming is simple. The first two Palladia books have titles that begin with the letter C and cover art that shows one girl as the central concept of each book. It keeps the series branding consistent to use these for the third book—title starts with “C” and the emphasis is on the female MC of that book. The title for Consuela also names the MC outright, but City of the Invaders does not mention Katia’s name in the title. So I include Arielle’s identity as the MC in the title (like Consuela) but not her actual name (like Invaders.) I wasn’t sure until the end chapter if this would be the book’s title, but I found it went very well with the book’s ending after all.
Fitting the two girls from the first books into this one in a way that felt believable was one of the big challenges of writing this, but as I worked along towards the conclusion, I did discover that both Katia and Consuela were necessary to represent and portray Arielle’s journey. So I was very pleased about that! When I return to working on the book in a few weeks, I’ll start putting together a street team and that means beta readers. I’m so eager to get some of you reading this book and to hear your thoughts. 😊 Really excited. So stay tuned for that a little while down the road. Meanwhile, I’ve already jumped into a new Palladia story that came into my mind the minute I’d finished typing on Celestine Princess. I’m not yet sure of the length of this story—whether it will be a fourth Palladia book or a short novella/skit to offer as a perma-free download. But I’m working briskly away at it right now.
And there will be more updates.
This month Ryan and Essie is available for free as part of a giveaway of children’s and young adult books. You'll find lots of books about young people of all ages from preschool to high school. This is the first time in years that I’ve made Ryan and Essie free except for review copies—and it will be the last time for the foreseeable future. So now is your chance to get a rare free copy of this book. Follow this link to see it in addition to books by many other authors.
I have given away some books over the last few months because I have a specific goal in mind—to get readers who came because they were interested in these books that I made free. That sounds obvious, but it’s really important. I spoke once before about some of my books receiving disproportionate attention. You might think “well, weren’t those more popular, isn’t that good?” But actually, I felt the situation was a little trickier than that. I have only so much I plan to spend on marketing, so I need to know which books are likely to be smart investments. I didn't know for certain that the books receiving more attention were really the viable ones. Perhaps some of the smaller books had a quiet audience I wasn't hearing about. So while I of course wanted to sell my books, I also felt it was crucial to learn how big a draw each book would actually be if it was easily available (free, for instance) and presented to readers in a way that would draw attention (as free always does.)
I've gone through the majority of the books now using this method. There were no winners and losers, just truthfulness. I didn’t find a book to be inferior or less valid just because it drew smaller initial downloads, if it attracted more active subscribers and fewer freeloaders who never opened even one email. Some books with seemingly successful giveaway campaigns actually gave me a lot of unengaged readers who opened and then quickly stopped reading my messages, which left me with a guess as to how they were doing with the book they downloaded. Then there were promotions in the middle, with some of both. The numbers game wasn’t about aiming for lots of downloads. It was about trying to find a trajectory for both the more talked-about and the less-noticed books on my publication list. And I learned a lot of fantastic things.
Using various books as entry points helped my newsletter to become more balanced. I felt as if I had “voices” for most of my books now whereas that had been lacking before. And yes, some of the ones that had always received more attention continued to get it. But I certainly haven’t committed to free as a promotion strategy instead of sales. In fact, as I also ran paid promotions throughout last year, the books started to develop some interesting demographics based on both free and paid events that helped give me concepts like “people would download this for free, but not buy it,” “this has a small, but sincerely dedicated audience,” “this book is JUST small,” “this one is surprisingly popular,” and so on. I put Ryan and Essie through a sale last year, but haven’t cross-matched it with a free event, which is why I’m doing one now. It needs full representation on my list.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
I write stories about human emotions--about the journey of life. Every step of it can be meaningfully great or simply terrible and you can only reach the end after experiencing many kinds of things that make you grow. Emotional travels are the travels of life and the road of living is not one planned out in notebooks or organized in Scrivener. It is felt in love, hope, and fear and developed through an understanding of why humans go through these. And, on top of that, my stories are adventure stories. History, fantasy, and daily modern situations are all adventures as long as you don't know for sure what's going to happen when you wake up each day. Because that would be like repeating the same day over and over again and who wants to do that?
Join the bimonthly newsletter and get the 6 Book Chapter Sampler as a signup gift. This Mini-Book has excerpts from 6 different books, plus a teaser for the upcoming Celestine Princess (Coming 2021.) All of these books contain characters that will appear in a soon-to-be-released newsletter exclusive story. Click on the book image below to get started.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.