The Tally Master, Paper Edition

The Tally Master is now out in trade paperback!

I find the book to be beautiful, and for several days after I received my copy, I kept it on the coffee table in the living room, so that I could pick it up and admire it every time I passed nearby. Now it’s on a bookshelf, but I keep taking it down to look it over – gorgeous cover, beautifully framed frontispiece, wonderful map, and so on – wanting to prove to myself all over again that it really does exist. 😉

I’ve enrolled the book in Amazon’s Matchbook program, which means that if you purchase the paperback first, you can then buy the ebook edition at a discount. As a reader myself, I’ve found that for certain books I want the paper edition sitting on my bookshelf, while I tote a convenient digital reading copy on my e-reader when I’m out and about. Perhaps some of you might own to a similar preference.

As I type this, the paperback Tally is available at Amazon, CreateSpace, or Barnes & Noble. Over the next 8 weeks (or so), it will wend its way through the distribution chain to reach bookstores such as the Book Depository and Powell’s.

* * *

Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.

The citadel of a troll warlord—haunt of the desperate and violent—proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.

Now master of the metals that flow to the citadel’s weapon forges, Gael rules his tally room unchallenged, until he discovers a theft within its vaults.

Gael loves the quiet certainty of black ink tally marks on smooth parchment, but his search for the thief leads to a maze of unexpected answers, putting his hard-won sanctuary—and his life—at risk.

Set in the Bronze Age of J.M. Ney-Grimm’s North-lands, The Tally Master brings mystery and secrets to epic fantasy in a suspenseful tale of betrayal and redemption.

* * *

Order the trade paperback online from Amazon, CreateSpace, or Barnes & Noble.

You may also order it from your local bookstore:
ISBN-10: 1546516530
ISBN-13: 978-1546516538.

Of course, The Tally Master continues to be available as an ebook from Amazon.

 

Share

Caught in Amber Is Everywhere!

The paperback edition of Caught in Amber has been available in many online stores for over a year. But until a few days ago, the ebook edition was limited to Amazon. Now that has changed, which makes me very happy.

Caught in Amber can be found all over the place! 😀

Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo
Overdrive I Playster I Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

* * *

When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it.

Amber cover 300Beauty from all the ages graces the castle – medieval towers, renaissance columns, and gothic vaults – but underneath the loveliness a lurking evil stirs.

Fae hates the loneliness and the sense of hidden malice oppressing her. Even more, she hates the feeling that just around some receding corner of lost memory lies the answer to her predicament – an answer just out of reach.

An answer essential to surviving this castle’s dangers – both subtle and not so subtle.

Somewhere in her forgotten past lies the key.

A mythic tale of family and betrayal told with all the twists and moments of sheer joy that J.M. Ney-Grimm brings to epic fantasy.

* * *

Caught in Amber has been the most popular of my titles on Amazon, so if you get ebooks from Barnes & Noble or Kobo or one of the other many online stores, give it a look. Perhaps your new favorite awaits you. 😉

Caught in Amber as an ebook:
Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo
Overdrive I Playster I Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

Caught in Amber as a trade paperback:
Amazon I B&N I Book Depository I Fishpond I Mysterious Galaxy Books I Powell’s Books

 

Share

Winter Glory Is Everywhere!

When Winter Glory released late in 2015, I placed it in Amazon’s Select program, thus making the novella available to subscribers in Kindle Unlimited.

I intended that placement to be temporary, lasting only 3 months, or maybe 6 months at most. Then my life got complicated, and Winter Glory stayed in Select far longer than I’d envisioned.

But now the story is available in every etailer to which I have access. This makes me very happy! I want every reader anywhere in the world to be able to read my books. I haven’t achieved that goal. Yet. But I’m a whole lot closer. 😉

Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo I OverDrive I Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

Glory feature cover 300In the cold, forested North-lands – redolent with the aroma of pine, shrouded in snow, and prowled by ice tigers and trolls – Ivvar seeks only to meet his newborn great granddaughter.

Someone else has the same plan.

Traversing the wilderness toward the infant’s home camp, Ivvar must face the woman he once cherished and an ancient scourge of the chilly woodlands in a complicated dance of love and death.

Ivvar’s second chance at happiness – and his life – hang in the balance.
 
 

Winter Glory as an ebook:
Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo I OverDrive I Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

Winter Glory continues to be available as a trade paperback:
Amazon I B&N I Book Depository I Fishpond I Mysterious Galaxy Books I Powell’s Books

If you obtain your ebooks from Barnes and Noble or any of the etailers listed above, do check out Winter Glory. It’s a favorite with a number of my readers. My apologies for the long delay in making it available to you!

 

Share

Released! The Tally Master

The Tally Master is now available for purchase as an ebook on Amazon. I’m excited that all of you finally get to read it!

Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.

The citadel of a troll warlord—haunt of the desperate and violent—proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.

Now master of the metals that flow to the citadel’s weapon forges, Gael rules his tally room unchallenged, until he discovers a theft within its vaults.

Gael loves the quiet certainty of black ink tally marks on smooth parchment, but his search for the thief leads to a maze of unexpected answers, putting his hard-won sanctuary—and his life—at risk.

Set in the Bronze Age of J.M. Ney-Grimm’s North-lands, The Tally Master brings mystery and secrets to epic fantasy in a suspenseful tale of betrayal and redemption.

The Tally Master is available as an ebook. Amazon

The paperback edition is coming soon! 😀

 

Share

Cover Reveal: The Tally Master

The Tally Master is very, very close to being ready for its release. I’m excited about it!

The manuscript is fully proofread and formatted. I have roughly a dozen more line edits to make. And then I’ll need to get those edits proofed.

Next the file must go through Jutoh. I’m guessing that will take about three days, mainly because this book possesses a number of graphic images that I want to include, and I am not yet thoroughly familiar with handling images in ebook files.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to release the book sometime next week!

Which means that it is time to show you the cover, created by Milo at Deranged Doctor Design. 😀

Coming soon!

For some fun tidbits about the world of The Tally Master, see:
Map of the North-lands in the Bronze Age
What Does the Tally Master Tally?
Mapping Ancient Rome onto Belzetarn
Gael’s Tally Chamber

 

Share

Broad Distribution: Assessing 2016

The e-book editions of Hunting Wild and Serpent’s Foe are now both available for purchase at Apple and B&N, as well as several other e-tailers. Check them out!

Hunting Wild cover image, 150 pxHunting Wild

Young Remeya worships the forbidden horned god. A worship made taboo half a millennium ago. Performed still in secret by a few. Quietly tolerated by the king. Epic fantasy in which old beliefs and old loyalties clash with hidden magic in the Middle Ages of J.M. Ney-Grimm’s god-touched North-lands.

Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo I OverDrive
Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

 

Serpent’s Foe

Once she stalked the duat by Ra’s side, carrying his light in her eyes and battling the monsters that assailed them. Now, tormented by confusion and her own fury, she longs to regain the unique powers which – inexplicably – elude her in captivity. In this mythic tale of pride and revelation, a fight beyond death delivers one last chance at redemption.

Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo I OverDrive
Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

 

I’m excited that these stories are now more widely distributed. I’d meant to make them so much sooner. I had the end of January 2016 in mind! There’s a tale behind why I didn’t come close to that date. Naturally…I’m going to share it with you. 😀

Going back to the beginning…

In November 2015, I released 5 titles all on the same day: Hunting Wild, Serpent’s Foe, Winter Glory, Fate’s Door, and Caught in Amber. I’d decided to try several marketing strategies, all at once.

The Liliana Nirvana Technique: releasing 5 titles within a very short span of time
Promotional Release Price: 99 cents per title
Promotional Advertising: multiple ads – with eBookSoda, BKnights, and GenrePulse – capped off by a run of Amazon free days
Amazon Select: releasing the titles into the Select program, so as to make them available for Amazon’s subscription program, Kindle Unlimited

The Results

In the sort term, looked at within narrow parameters, these strategies worked well. I sold nearly five times as many books in the last two months of 2015 as I normally would have.

In the long term, from a business person’s point of view, the strategies were a failure.

Sure, I sold more books, but because they were priced at 99 cents, the advertising cost more than the money brought in by the sales. I lost money.

Even worse, once the advertising blitz was over and the prices returned to normal, there was no significant change in the rate at which I sold books.

For most of 2015, up through October, I’d sold roughly 15 books per month. By April 2016, I was selling 18 books per month, and I knew where the extra sales were coming from: not my big promotional push.

Losing money in the short term in order to have more readers discover my work over the next year might have been a good move. But losing money to maintain the the same rate of sales? Not so much.

Every Reader Counts

Now, I continue to be delighted with the fact that new-to-me readers continue to discover my books. Marie Force recently wrote about the importance of one’s readers, as did Kris Rusch. Dean Wesley Smith has always said: (paraphrased) remember that there’s a real person behind every sale, a reader who has decided to spend several hours enjoying your story. That means something. That’s real.

I do remember that, every single time someone buys a book of mine, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

However, I won’t be releasing five books all at once again. I won’t be releasing books priced at 99 cents again. I won’t be purchasing ads that lose me money again. And I’ve been slowly pulling those 2015 titles out of Amazon Select.

The Best Laid Plans

I’d intended to keep the stories in Select for only 90 days, or 6 months at most, but two things derailed my plans.

The first was the rip in my left retina that occurred in January 2016. The cryopexy repair was incredibly painful, as was its immediate aftermath. I was barely capable of anything. I couldn’t even sleep much. I certainly couldn’t tackle publishing tasks.

Once the pain subsided, I had to hold my head at an awkward angle, 24/7, for months. I still wasn’t doing much!

When the ordeal was over, I dove into writing. It had been a long time since I’d written fiction, and I was missing it dreadfully.

I also pulled Serpent’s Foe out of Amazon Select, making it available on Kobo and Smashwords. I set up an account with Draft2Digital, another distributor like Smashwords that could reach two new e-tailers that I’d heard good things about: 24Symbols and Tolino.

The Second Hitch

Draft2Digital proved to be my second sticking point.

Many indies speak positively about Draft2Digital. Indeed, I hope to join their number. They like the customer service. They like the modern and up-to-date website and author dashboard. They like the monthly payment schedule. They like the ease with which one can upload files. A few even speak of an increase in sales that occurred when they started using D2D.

I’d wanted to try D2D myself for nearly a year. I figured it would be good to “test the tires” with a short story, and uploaded Serpent’s Foe, planning to distribute the story to Apple and B&N through D2D.

The hitch I encountered was how D2D creates e-book files from uploaded Word files. They want each book uploaded as three separate files: front matter, the story, and back matter. When I uploaded all three of those parts as one file, the resulting e-book was not structured and formatted properly.

Furthermore, the table of contents had the quirk that I, as a reader, hate: no vertical space between the chapters, so that I’m always tapping the chapter just before the one I want or else the chapter just after the one I want.

I realized, of course, that dividing Serpent’s Foe into three files would be a relatively simple matter. That would have solved the structural problems with the e-book. But the only way to solve the TOC problem would be to build the e-book file myself, using one of the software programs designed for that: Scrivener, Vellum, or Jutoh.

Pursuing Jutoh

I had already looked into all three of these programs, and I knew I wanted to learn how to use Jutoh. But I also knew that if I were to purchase Jutoh on the spot and dive into learning how to use it, my writing on The Tally Master would come to a complete halt.

I’d already spent many months not writing, first due to all the publishing tasks required to release 5 titles simultaneously, and then because of my torn retina. It would have broken my heart to stop again. Plus, without the writing, I have nothing to publish. My writing has to come first.

So I wrote, loving my characters, loving my story, and loving being immersed in the creative process again at long last.

Learning Jutoh would keep. So would distributing my books through Draft2Digital. And, since I intended to distribute to Apple and B&N through Draft2Digital, broader distribution of my most recent five titles would also have to keep. I didn’t want to distribute them through Smashwords only to pull them down a few months later in order to go through Draft2Digital.

That was then, June 2016.

But now – now! – I’ve seized my moment.

Pursuing Broad Distribution

Just last week I’d finished all my work on the appendices for The Tally Master, but my second reader was not yet ready with her detailed story feedback. I cannot do my final round of revisions until I hear from her. I had a gap in my workflow!

I filled that gap with learning Jutoh.

I must say that I’m delighted with the program. It took me a full day to really understand all the controls and how to use them; another full day to create the e-book files for Serpent’s Foe (mobi for Amazon and ePub for everyone else).

Now Serpent’s Foe is structured exactly as I want it to be, including the table of contents. It uploaded smoothly to Draft2Digital and maintained its formatting. It’s available at 5 of the 6 e-tailers to which I have D2D distributing. I’m sure it will soon go live at the sixth, 24Symbols. (ETA: It’s live now.)

Since my second reader was still reading and making notes, I dove into putting Hunting Wild through Jutoh. I wanted to cement my mastery. Hunting Wild is longer than Serpent’s Foe, and thus took longer to format, but it too came out beautifully. And it too is now available at 5 of the 6 D2D e-tailers.

I’m on my way to broader distribution with all of my books! I like it!

Take a moment and consider the horrible possibility that a Nook devotée couldn’t get Hunting Wild at B&N, or an iPad aficionado couldn’t get Serpent’s Foe from iTunes. Now they can! And soon Winter Glory, Fate’s Door, and Caught in Amber will be available there as well.

Limiting Participation in Amazon Select

I’ve never liked the idea of being entirely dependent on one e-tailer, but that is exactly what Amazon’s Select program requires: any book available on Kindle Unlimited cannot be offered by any e-tailer save Amazon. For that reason, I’ve only dabbled in Select in the past, trying it for 90 days to see if it might boost my discoverability. When no such boost arrived, I pulled the book with which I was testing the waters.

One might argue that only a longer trial would open Select’s benefits. Well, now I’ve made that trial, and it doesn’t. Not for me, at least.

In the future, I plan to use Select for short intervals – just 90 days – because I have some readers with very tight book budgets, who won’t be able to read my books unless they appear at least once in Kindle Unlimited. But after a new release spends its brief time in Select, I’ll send it wide, so that my readers who patronize Apple, B&N, Kobo, and other stores can snag their copy.

Hunting Wild cover image, 150 px

Hunting Wild Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo I OverDrive I Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

Serpent’s Foe Amazon I B&N I Inktera I iTunes I Kobo I OverDrive I Scribd I Smashwords I 24Symbols

 

Share

Why the Long Hiatus in Blog Posts?

My plan, as of November 2016, was to focus on the revisions needed for The Tally Master and the work needed for the holidays. Blogging could wait until the beginning of January.

Part of that plan went forward just fine. I think my kids had fun, I loved the time with my parents, and everyone seemed to enjoy bonding during the last weeks of December. Additionally, I made steady progress on my revisions and turned The Tally Master over to my second reader on January 7.

So far, so good.

The very next day I received the phone call that let me know my mother was dangerously ill in the hospital. I dropped everything and went up for a week to support her and my father. She got better! Was able to go home. I went home, too, arriving just in time to handle a crisis involving one child and school. That took some sorting out, but I did sort it out, and had almost finished with it when I received a phone call that my mother had been admitted to the hospital again, even more seriously ill this time.

I couldn’t drop the crisis at home – my child needed me – but the instant I got it resolved, I dashed up to Maryland again and stayed for another week. And my mother got better! It seemed almost miraculous, and I was so grateful. She was admitted to a rehab this time, and I returned home myself. To discover that my left retina had torn!

Aaaaah!

You may recall that my left retina tore last year in January. The recovery from the earlier repair procedure had been grueling. This time I was lucky. The tear was much smaller and more contained. The ophthalmologist was able to repair it very quickly with just laser, and the aftermath did not require holding my head at a specific angle 24/7 for months.

But I must admit that all of the above really took it out of me!

I haven’t been entirely preoccupied with personal emergencies, however. Many weeks I was. But I’ve also been working hard on the appendices for The Tally Master, as well as communicating with the designer I hired to create the cover.

Yes, I actually hired a cover designer instead of doing the cover design myself! And I’ve learned something.

I’m skilled at using Photoshop. I’m talented at graphic design. The covers I create are attractive and professionally done. But my covers are not adequately conveying the mood and feeling of my stories to many of my potential readers.

How do I know this?

The instant I saw the rough draft for the cover of The Tally Master it fairly leapt to my eye, because this cover did convey the mood and the feeling, and the contrast with – say, Fate’s Door – was dramatic.

I’m still thinking about what I’ll do about covers going forward. I want to see how the commissioned cover affects my sales before I make any firm decisions. But I am leaning toward hiring out cover design for my novels, at least, although I may continue to create the covers for my shorter works myself.

So… while I await feedback from my second reader, I have lots of things to share with you here: cool stuff about the setting of The Tally Master, the new cover, and some new things I’ve been doing on the cooking and nutrition front. I can’t wait! 😀

 

Share

Fate’s Door in Paperback!

I’m enjoying this moment. Just for now, every single one of my published stories is available both as an ebook and as a trade paperback.

Fate's Door paperback edition

For the last 6 months, every title except one could be obtained in either format. But now Fate’s Door has joined the pack.

I keep aiming to close the gap of time that typically opens between the release of an ebook and its release in paperback. I’ve made some progress. Troll-magic was published as an ebook in December 2011, but its paperback edition didn’t arrive until December 2012.

Four of my latest books – Caught in Amber, Winter Glory, Hunting Wild, and Serpent’s Foe – were actually released with the paperback edition preceding the ebook edition by 3 days! I’d intended Fate’s Door to enjoy a similar dual release, but it was not to be. You’ll know why, if you’ve read the saga of its cover. 😀

Over the last 4 years, it seems I’ve always had one or two books that were not available as paperbacks, so it feels great to see all of them in that format today.

Fate's Door cover 300 pxSecrets, like troubles, come in threes. When you possess one of either, two more arrive to keep it company. Nerine, a sea nymph of the ancient world, knows too much about both. Love and coming of age in a mythic Mediterranean where the gods and goddesses of old shape history.

Fate’s Door as a trade paperback: Amazon I B&N I Book Depository
Fishpond I Mysterious Galaxy Books

Fate’s Door as an ebook: Amazon

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Share

Book Cover for Fate’s Door

Last month, when I shared my step-by-step process for creating the book cover for my novel Fate’s Door, I concluded by saying that I was not quite satisfied with the gold texture that appeared in the title and byline.

Since that post, I’ve found a texture I love. Take a look!

Fate ebook cover 600 px

If you’d like to see the full account of my search for the right gold, read the Edited to Add section at the very bottom of the post: Building Fate’s Cover.

Fate’s Door is available as an ebook. Amazon

Fate’s Door is available as trade paperback.
Amazon I B&N I Fishpond I Mysterious Galaxy Books

 

Share

5 New Books!

5 New Titles

I read about the Liliana Nirvana technique more than a year ago, in August 2014, on the blog of SF author Hugh Howey.

The technique is simply described: release 5 new books on the same day or one after the other with little delay in between. The idea is to boost your visibility to readers. Howey said this about it: “You hit bookstore shelves with a handful of titles at once, and they prop each other up. They direct attention toward each other. They amplify your signal.”

I decided to try it, and I’ve been working continuously toward my own 5-title release since that day.

Now – more than 14 months later – my 5 new stories are finally available on Amazon! I’m thrilled, because I hit a patch in the middle of my preparations when I began to wonder if I’d ever pull it off.

I’ve priced each title at 99 cents for release week to give my most assiduous readers a chance at a deal. I’ll raise the prices on the longer works when the initial spate of sales slows.

Here they are for your reading pleasure. 😀

Hunting Wild200 pxYoung Remeya worships the forbidden horned god. A worship made taboo half a millennium ago. Performed still in secret by a few. Quietly tolerated by the king. Epic fantasy in which old beliefs and old loyalties clash with hidden magic in the Middle Ages of the god-touched North-lands.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback at Amazon
 
 
 
 
 

Serpent web cover 200Once she stalked the duat by Ra’s side, carrying his light in her eyes and battling the monsters that assailed them. Now, tormented by confusion and her own fury, she longs to regain the unique powers which – inexplicably – elude her in captivity. In this mythic tale of pride and revelation, a fight beyond death delivers one last chance at redemption.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback at Amazon
 
 
 
 

Glory web cover 200Caught in a cold and snow-shrouded wilderness, far from home, Ivvar confronts the woman he once cherished and an ancient scourge of the chilly woodlands in a complicated dance of love and death. Ivvar’s second chance at happiness – and his life – hang in the balance.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback at Amazon
 
 
 
 
 

Fate's Door, web cover 200Secrets, like troubles, come in threes. Nerine, a sea nymph of the ancient world, knows too much about both. Love and coming of age in a mythic Mediterranean where the gods and goddesses of old shape history.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback coming soon!
 
 
 
 
 

Amber cover 200When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it. A mythic tale of family and betrayal told with all the twists and moments of sheer joy that belong in epic fantasy.

Ebook at Amazon

Paperback at Amazon
 
 
 
 
 
 

Share