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! 😀

 

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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

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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

 

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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
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Cover Reveal: Fate’s Door

Fate landing cov 350Secrets, 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.

Each morning, in the chill before the sun’s rising, Nerine and the three Fates stand under the mighty branches of the World Tree, gazing into the depths of the root-girdled Well of Destiny, watching the dooms that must come to pass that day.

Nerine then chooses the threads that mirror the water’s visions for the Fates to weave their portents into history.

But when the dawn’s visions show Nerine’s lover, shipwrecked and drowning, all her renounced yearning for him rises anew. Surely – as handmaiden to the Fates themselves – she might tilt the odds to give her beloved a chance.

But how?

If she chooses illicitly for the Fates’ loom – green ribbands? a handkerchief? – will either save him?

Alas, her vision-laden intuition tells her no.

Ribband garlands merely drag her lover deep in entangling seaweed, while her handkerchief entombs him in the wreck’s sail. Each forbidden choice brings him closer to death.

Is betrayal of herself the only way to prevail?

Somehow – this day, this morning, this time – Nerine must subvert destiny or lose the companion of her heart forever.

Coming soon!

For the beginning of the story, see:
Fate’s Door: The Well of Destiny

 

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Fate’s Door: Manuscript Complete!

I know there are a few of you – who especially like stories based on mythology and involving the ancient Greek pantheon – eagerly awaiting my novel Fate’s Door.

Origin of Symmetry by SplodgusMaximus

I finished the manuscript Monday, July 27!

That was an exciting moment for me, because I’ve been dreaming of this particular story since 2013, when I wrote its beginning, and then actually writing the novel since the beginning of this year.

Hmm. I just checked when the manuscript file was created, and my computer says December 16, 2014. So, I must have started work slightly before January.

Whatever the details, I’ve poured my heart and soul into it, and reaching “The End” felt great.

Some of you have told me that you really like the ancient Mediterranean world as a setting, and fully half the book takes place there. The other half of Fate’s Door ranges across Europe and north into Scandinavia, where the story starts.

I did a lot of research for Fate’s Door. It’s fantasy, but fantasy blended with the Hellenistic world of the 4th century BC. Wherever my sea nymph heroine interacts with the people and civilizations of the time, I want my facts to be as accurate as I could make them. Thus research.

I enjoyed my research. Who knew that the ancient Greeks did not have horseshoes? Not me! (See the blog post before this one.) Or that ancient Greek weddings took three full days and were only valid if the father or guardian of the bride had first shaken hands on a betrothal with the groom or his father?

I couldn’t resist compiling some of the information I uncovered into appendices for the back of the book. None of the information is necessary to the reader reading Fate’s Door. But I figure that any of you who enjoy appendices (the way I do) might be pleased to dip into the material after you finish the story. The appendices are not extensive. They merely explain a bit more about some of the terms used by the natives of the time period, as well as setting my story events within the context of the larger history.

I’ve been working on the cover for the book and hope to show it to you soon.

The manuscript itself is with my first reader. Her interim report – at roughly two-thirds of the way through – was that she was enjoying the story a lot. I’m sure she’ll have some great feedback. I’ll make revisions based on what she has to say and then send the revised manuscript to my second reader, who will undoubtedly offer equally valuable insights. (These two early readers of mine are fantastic! I am so fortunate to have them.)

I suspect my hopes for a September release were unrealistic, but October looks good.

5 new titles banner

I’ll continue to update you as Fate’s Door (and my other four upcoming titles) move through the process that transforms a complete manuscript into a book ready for readers to enjoy. 😀

The links from above:
Beginning of Fate’s Door
Horse Sandals
A Love for Appendices
Unrealistic September Hopes

 

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5 Titles Aimed for September

When I visit the blogs of my favorite living authors – Lois McMaster Bujold and Robin McKinley – the number one thing I’m looking for is news of their next books.

Is she working on one? What is it about? When will it be in stores so that I can buy it? And read it!

5 new titles banner with Fate's Door

I don’t know if any of my readers feel as passionately about my stories as I do about Bujold’s stories and McKinley’s. Comparing feelings doesn’t really lead far, does it?

It’s sort of like the children’s book Guess How Much I Love You.

I love this book more than the distance to the moon. I love it more than the distance to the moon . . . and back! No, Pluto! Alpha Centauri! And so on.

But I know I do have a few fans who are probably wondering when my next title will appear. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve released anything new.

To those of you wondering and waiting, rest assured that I have been writing. A lot! And all this writing has been piling up into books.

Where are the books?

I have two that are ready to release. I always intended to release Serpent’s Foe, which appeared in Quantum Zoo, solo – for readers who don’t care for anthologies.

Serpent’s Foe is ready for release: cover complete, story file formatted.

Winter Glory is also ready for release: cover complete and story file formatted for upload.

In fact, not only are the ebook editions ready, but the trade paperback editions are also ready.

What am I waiting for?

I’d really like to increase my visibility. A number of readers have contacted me or written reviews saying they were delighted to have found my books. A recurring phrase is: “hidden gem.”

Naturally I love the idea that my books are gems. But I’m not so keen about the “hidden” part. I’d like to have more readers.

Almost a year ago, I read about something called the “Liliana Nirvana technique” on a blog written by SF author Hugh Howey.

The technique is simple: release five books on the same day.

Why? Because your visibility will soar. With five titles appearing on the “New Releases” lists, browsing readers will see your name more than once and be more likely to remember you, to check out your books, and to consider reading them.

If this were just a theory, I’d be skeptical. But quite a few writers have tried the technique with excellent results.

Honestly, I’m still skeptical.

But I’ve not gotten to where I am by staying with the tried and true. New ideas and new ways – and sometimes old ways that are so old they’re new – have always attracted me.

So I’m going to give the Liliana Nirvana technique a try.

Sept 2015However, the wait for my five new titles shouldn’t be much longer. September is looking good for their publication.

Hunting Wild is with my proofreader. When it comes back from her, I’ll correct the typos and format the file. It’s a few hours work at most. And the cover is already complete.

Caught in Amber is with my third beta reader. Normally, my books go through only two beta readers, but I made so many revisions to Amber I wanted a third reader’s eyes on it to be sure I got it right. The cover for Caught in Amber is already complete.

I’m still writing the fifth book – Fate’s Door – but I’m closing in on the end. The last fifth of the novel, in fact. The word count currently stands at 80,000!

I’m a writer who picks up steam through a book. I start out slow, achieve a respectable speed through the middle, and then barrel through the end like an express train.

I expect to finish Fate’s Door by the end of May. Then the manuscript goes to my first reader, then my second reader, and then (after my revisions) to my proofreader.

So what exactly will come your way in September? Here’s the list:

Amber web cov 200Caught in Amber • When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it.

Beauty from all the ages – medieval, renaissance, and gothic – graces her surroundings, but underneath the loveliness a lurking evil stirs.

Fae must recover her memories and discern the true nature of the challenge before her, while she confronts the castle’s dangers – both subtle and not so subtle.

Somewhere in her forgotten past lies the key to her freedom.

 

Serpent’s Foe • Bastet, divine protectress of the gods themselves, lies defeated in a cage.

Trapped in beast form, imprisoned behind bars, and confused by nightmares, she struggles to regain her sanity.

Yet clarity of mind is only the beginning of her fight for freedom. In the dimness of the ancient Egyptian duat – where Ra journeys from sundown to sunup – a potent enemy lurks.

When strength battles compassion, what guise must victory assume?

 

Fate's Door, web cover 200Fate’s Door • Secrets, 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.

Each morning, in the chill before the sun’s rising, Nerine and the three Fates stand under the mighty branches of the World Tree, gazing into the depths of the root-girdled Well of Destiny, watching the dooms that must come to pass that day.

But when the dawn’s visions show Nerine’s lover, shipwrecked and drowning, all her renounced yearning for him rises anew.

Somehow – this day, this morning, this time – Nerine must subvert destiny or lose the companion of her heart forever.

 

Glory web cover 200Winter Glory • In the cold, forested North-lands – prowled by trolls and ice tigers, redolent with the aroma of pine, and shrouded in snow – 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 leviathan 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.

 

Hunting Wild200 pxHunting Wild • When a king begs a boon, can you refuse him? Young Remeya – fosterling and maid-in-waiting to King Xavo’s sister – thinks you cannot.

Her king requests that she retrieve a dread secret from the well on the grassy hillside of his castle’s outer bailey, and she complies. From the moment her sovereign grips the unwholesome treasure in his hand, the coherence of his mind, his court, and his kingdom start to unravel.

 
 
 

* * *

So…get ready to binge on a handful of new stories in the fall! 😀

 

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Cover Preview: Winter Glory

I’m writing a lot, and exciting things are happening with my work in progress, Fate’s Door. I can’t wait to share the story with you. I’m hoping for a May release – fingers crossed – but I won’t rush the story telling. If it takes me longer to finish, that release may slide to June. 😉

I’ve also been working on book covers for the stories that are complete and approaching release to my readers.

Winter Glory came back from my proofreader (thank you, Wendy, fantastic work!) about a week ago. The interior of the book is now all ready, and today I finished the cover! Naturally, I want to show you what it looks like.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I’ll share how I built it in a future post.

Glory feature cover 300

In the cold, forested North-lands – prowled by trolls and ice tigers, redolent with the aroma of pine, and shrouded in snow – 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 leviathan 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.

Coming soon!

 

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New Paperbacks! Rainbow’s Lodestone and Star-drake

I had a lot of trouble getting CreateSpace to honor the margins specified in my files for the paperback editions of Rainbow’s Lodestone and Star-drake. Then – margins sorted – the next proof copies featured the colors all wrong. It was all so discouraging, that I allowed months to elapse between wrestling bouts with the two books. Finally, in November 2014, nearly nine months after I started, the two books were ready to be approved and released!

Take a look!

Rainbow POD photo

A lost birthright and unending agony.

On a whim, the rainbow’s child falls to earth, where a cruel adversary takes advantage of her innocence. Can she reclaim her thunder-swept heavens? Must she dwindle and die?

This transcendent short story set in the troll-ridden North-lands explores how inner freedom creates outer opportunities.

Earth trumps heaven until ancient music plays.

Rainbow’s Lodestone as a paperback:
Amazon.com I Amazon DE I Amazon ES I Amazon UK I CreateSpace

PRAISE FOR RAINBOW’S LODESTONE AND STAR-DRAKE

“…almost “Tolkienesque”…the stories feel like they’re happening on the Earth we know, but long before our recorded history… Despite the fact that it deals with a grim act of mischief, [Rainbow’s Lodestone is] a delightful read. The enchanting thing about it is the personification of the Rainbow, and the general attitude she has towards her fate in the story… All in all, these are wonderful stories… Ney-Grimm’s unique blend of Nordic fantasy and fairy tale mentality is a refreshing take on the genre, and [her] poetic style of writing (whichever tone she uses) adds a special sheen to the work. I read a lot of fiction, and I can honestly say I’ve not come across anything quite like this.” – James J. Parsons, Speaking to the Eyes

* * *

Star-drake POD photo

Gefnen – troll-herald and hound for Koschey the Deathless – hunts life across the moors of the far north.

Not deer, not pheasant, not meat for the table. His master eats choicer fruits.

When the piercing scent of youth tingles his senses, Gefnen focuses his chase. The prey – a boy – lacks guardians strong enough to best a troll. Swift triumph awaits.

But other seekers tilt the chances of this game. Spirit of storm, poignant memories of a sea-prince, and something more ancient than memory or the wind shape the looming tumult.

Gefnen hunts victory, but a darker victory hunts him.

Star-drake as a paperback:
Amazon.com I Amazon DE I Amazon ES I Amazon UK I CreateSpace

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Cover Preview: Hunting Wild

I’ve been writing up a storm lately.

I finished a revision draft for Hunting Wild (a North-lands Story) at the end of the summer and sent it off to my first reader. I completed a first draft of Winter Glory (in the Kaunis Clan Saga) at the end of October, and sent that off for beta reading. Now I am hard at work on Caught in Amber, about halfway through.

All the writing has been immensely satisfying, but I continue to work on the publishing tasks that go along with being an indie publisher.

I’m working on a cover for Serpent’s Foe. The story is included in the anthology Quantum Zoo, but I plan to release it solo as well (which means it needs a cover). Some readers prefer their short stories in anthologies and collections. Others like to pick them up one by one, choosing only the exact ones they want. (The single versus the album.) I like to please every variety of reader. 😀

I’ve also been working on the cover for Hunting Wild, and that’s what I wanted to show you today. I had a lot of fun making it, and I think the result is pretty cool. One of these weeks I’ll do a “building cover” post to show you what went on behind the scenes. It was pretty involved!

Hunting Wild 300 pxHere’s a little bit about the story.

When a king begs a boon, can you refuse him?

Young Remeya – fosterling and maid-in-waiting to King Xavo’s sister – thinks you cannot.

Her king requests that she retrieve a dread secret from the well on the grassy hillside of his castle’s outer bailey, and she complies.

From the moment her sovereign grips the unwholesome treasure in his hand, the coherence of his mind, his court, and his kingdom start to unravel.

Remeya claims the task of setting wrong to right, but the king’s madness erodes every good thing remaining, even while her own determination brings neither sound strategy nor success.

Only when King Xavo condemns his sister to death does Remeya consider a most unlikely resource.

Coming soon!

For more on cover creation:
Creating Livli’s Cover
Building Star-drake’s Cover
Cover Creation: Perilous Chance

 

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