Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘digital publishing dragon fantasy’ Category

I have an exciting blog interview planned but it’s not ready yet. I am waiting for some answers to come in. In the meantime, I thought I’d post something about what is happening with me.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress lately due to an external issue. This has been hard on me. I’ve had to take sick leave from my PhD and I’ve had awful stress and anxiety symptoms and I find it hard to concentrate. High stress and anxiety increase my overall pain levels so it can be rather debilitating. I haven’t been able to read much at all, or invest in watching a movie or write fiction. I do walk a lot and I’m losing weight.

We live in an ableist society and so we are brought up thinking that we should be able to do everything and when we are not we get over critical of ourselves and also stress about how people view us. For me, I hate labels. I was sent to a psychiatrist last year to assess my stress and anxiety after a panic attack at work. I wasn’t sent to the psychiatrist until about four or five months after the attack. By then I’d been on meds and had two different lots of counselling and was feeling much better. I didn’t want to have a label and so was pleased that the psychiatrist said I wasn’t suffering from any psychiatric disorder. Even though this attack was brought on by an injury at work that I was having trouble adjusting to and workplace shenanigans. But shrug.

I believe my inherent ableism affects my outlook on my physical disabilities as well. The RSI and arthritic conditions limit me. I hate to be limited. I am a doer. I am an ablelist. It is part of who I am. There is so much I can’t do now and I hate it. I try not to think about it. No wonder I’m stressed. So I hate to acknowledge that these things make me less than I want to be. I know I should just suck it up right. I’m getting older. Well I’m 56 not 76!

But here I am again. Sigh. Having symptoms and it sucks.

My approach to Indie publishing has been to publish books that have been previously published and that I have the rights back to and books that I’ve already written that made it to acquisitions but weren’t bought by publishers. (This doesn’t include the book that is/was with my agent as we still have hopes). Last November, I wrote the short novel, Opi Battles the Space Pirates because that was just fun. However, while I’m not actively writing new stories, there is a bit of work in getting the books back out there and the new ones published.

The rights to Shatterwing and Skywatcher have been returned to me. This meeans they are no longer available. Before they can be relaunched they need to be proofread. Shatterwing is done and I’m just waiting on the map and the new cover. Skywatcher is still in progress in proofreading. My approach to this was work from hard copy that way I can use my tilt board and make it as ergonomic as possible. However, it’s still hard work! Concentration people!

My apologies to Dion who bought Shatterwing and then found he couldn’t buy Skywatcher as Pan Mac took it down. He wrote to me to say : Wing dust! It ended in a cliffhanger. In my defence, I had asked for the books to come down in May 2017 so I could have time to prepare but something went missing in the communication and I had no notice of when they would or did come down. They just disappeared from the Internet.

As per above, concentrating has been hard. Deathwings copy edit is done. I was a good way into it before the external stress causing business came back and overwhelmed me. But as I was nearly done, I managed a few more hours. Deathwings is now with the proofreader.

The new covers are in progress too. And I have Russell K looking at the maps. I’ve outsourced as much as I can. I have three weeks to finish revising Bloodstorm before it’s due at the editor. I think that’s doable, even if I only do an hour per day. However, if I don’t make the deadline, it will take longer to get Bloodstorm out.  No great dramas, except for readers because a lot happens in Bloodstorm.

For more of the Dragon Wine series, you guys will have to wait. I have a PhD to do. Although if this external stress thing doesn’t resolve I will probably go part time on the PhD for a little while.

The Silverlands series. Argenterra and Oathbound are published. I have to do a little bit of stuff to get the print file of Oathbound ready. I also need to pay someone to do the formatting for the Smashwords edition of Oathbound. I can do it, but it’s a bit difficult on the physical side of things. (Oh I hate admitting that–it’s the ableist in me!).

The edit of Ungiven Land is in progress. I may have a bit of work to do when it comes back to me later in the month. I had a chat to the copy editor this afternoon. Apparently I’ve developed new bad writing habits and may have my work cut out for me. My editor wanted to know if it was okay if she picked me up on things, suggested new scenes etc. I said go for it.

That’s what I want. That’s what an edit is for. Make me sweat. I want a better book.

This week I heard that I have the rights to The Sorcerer’s Spell back. That’s a sexy paranormal novel that is published under the Dani Kristoff name. That needs the same treatment. New cover, proofreading, new ISBNs etc. I have a half started sequel somewhere. If I’m to work on that then it will be dictation software! If I can concentrate. A lot depends on what happens over the next few weeks and months. However, finally I might get a male torso on the cover! A first for me.

There is administrative stuff that is done and heaps not done. Just registering ISBNs and Catalogue in Print stuff takes time and energy. I wished I earned enough to pay an assistant! Hahahahahaha!

Fun is over. Back to work.

And just for fun I’ll put a cover image of Argenterra here. It’s new low price is USD 2.99. I also revamped the blurb for this.

Sophy is not looking for a talisman: she is the talisman!

Sophy is snatched from our world during a ghost tour. Landing in the lush world of Argenterra, she’s the odd one out. She can’t use the land’s native magic, the given, even though her friend Aria, and everyone else, can.
Worse still, she’s a faded version of herself and doesn’t fit it at all.

Abandoned by Aria who marries a handsome prince, Sophy travels the land with Oakheart, the high king’s ambassador, to explore the mystery of why there is a crystal leaf growing inside her.

Then the accidents start to happen and she realises a dark force wants her: alive or maybe just dead…Argenterra with subtitle

For more information on The Silverlands Series and buy links, click here. Have you got your copy of Argenterra yet?

Also if you are interested in signing up for my Newsletter. Click here.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

So Argenterra, my YA/adult crossover fantasy is out there in the world. Fly baby, fly.

I have paid for some advertising,  and stuff, but essentially the only copies that have sold so far were friends buying the pre order. I’m very grateful to them! Thanks guys.

I have sent out a couple of review copies. All reviews help! I am waiting to see what the reviewers think. If you want to review it, please let me know.

It’s early days so I’m not going to stress about sales. From past experiences it goes in ups and downs. Discoverability is the biggest challenge with ebooks or small press or Indie publishing. The book is not sitting on a shelf in a book store waving hello to you as you walk in. (As an aside the print book is discounted to book stores at 40% and can be ordered via Ingrams.) For buy links click  here or see My Books Tab.

IMG_6085

Cover by Les Petersen

What I did want to say is that Argenterra is first in a series and I’m committed to putting the three books out. There should be a cliff hanger warning too! For that reason I’ve included the first chapter of book two at the end of book one.

As a self/Indie publisher I can make the commitment to publish the whole series. I may not put them all out in hard copy print, but we’ll see what demand is like. I’m currently revising/polishing book 2, The Crystal Gate. It’s written but I haven’t looked at the draft since 2009. My writing has changed a bit since then. I need to have it beta read, edited before I can layout etc. The proofing and stuff can take a couple of weeks too. I’m hoping to finish the revision by the end of May.

Book Three is partially drafted at 50,000 words. At the time I was writing it, I figured it wasn’t worth finishing a trilogy that hadn’t sold. Now the publishing world is completely different. Now it’s my trilogy and I’m in control so I will get it done and out there.Drafting book three to 135,000 words may take until much later in the year.

Control is so underrated.

As Dragon Wine was put out by Momentum, I had no say in the book being split in two, which people complained about. And as the books didn’t sell sufficiently well, they declined to publish the next book in the series.  A nice blow after working on it for ten years! Thousands were downloaded for free, but unfortunately that didn’t translate to sales. However, the next book is drafted and I will try to get it out later in the year. It’s a bit hard when I don’t have the rights to the first book and given it’s lack lustre performance and it’s very dark nature I can’t quite make up my mind what to do. It’s hard not to get disheartened and lose faith in your work. Alas, Momentum is no more, but Pan Mac have the rights. The Dragon Wine series is quite complex and dark. I may have to lighten it a bit before I publish the next installment. If I publish it.

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

My previous post may have sounded a bit down on traditional publishers. It wasn’t meant to be. It’s just that the crisis in publishing is affecting everyone in the industry and it makes life difficult, particularly here in Australia. I have an agent trying sell a book to traditional publishers.It’s a good book-hasn’t sold but I’m not giving up yet on that. I’ve only half written the sequel to that.  I have more books written that I’d like to see get traditional publishing deals. It’s just tough out there and it takes a lot of time. With 15 years worth of writing behind me, I have a little bit of a back list of unpublished novels. I’m also working on new ones. I may be hyper active. Here’s hoping the PhD will keep me busy, too busy to write anything else but the PhD novel.

Read Full Post »

Now that Shatterwing and Skywatcher are out there, I was thinking that there are things that I’ve written in the Margra setting that will never see the light of day. Maybe they were never meant to, but  I thought I’d share with you a scene from Salinda’s past. This was how she found Plu, the dragon as a hatching. You will also meet Mez, who had already passed on by the time of Shatterwing. It’s unedited and I wrote it about 2009, so six years ago.

Deleted scene, Salida finds Plu

Salinda ran, her bare feet throwing up dust as she left the curved perimeter of the prison vineyard. The lure of freedom beyond the dragon hatcheries compelled her forward. No guard would dare to follow her, fearing death on the plains or in the treacherous geothermal wastelands. Salinda knew that there was a way through for her. Had to be.

Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Mez, her elderly helpmate, dart out of a vine row and begin loping after her. Salinda groaned and increased her pace. Why did the old man follow her? What business was it of his whether she went or stayed?

Ahead rose the pockmarked ridge where the dragons laid their eggs in crevices, seeking the warm, sulphurous mineral deposits to nurture their young. If she made it past that, then there was a chance.

Putting her head down, she strove for a burst of speed, until the shadow of the ridge fell on her. Then she lifted her head to assess the rock face, choosing the best way to ascend. Veering to the left, she leapt onto a large boulder, gripping it with her toes. She made it up over the top and then scrambled up a section of red-brown dirt, grasping at protruding roots and clumps of vegetation to assist her climb. Dirt rained down on her head and shoulders, with some landing in her mouth. She spat out the grit and continued upwards, using a rock as a foothold to push her up to another level.

Mez called out. Looking down she saw that he had stumbled at the base of the boulder, his chest heaving. Maybe now he would cease dogging her steps but she doubted he would. Concentrating on each hand and foot hold, she continued to climb. Above her head, she felt a long flat stone. Hopefully it was a ledge where she could take a breather.

Then Salinda felt it, a disturbance in the air behind her. She stilled. Over her raspy breathing, she heard the sound of wing beat.

Her gaze slid to the right and then to the left. She was careful not to make any sudden movements. In her peripheral vision, she caught sight of the dragon. Exposed on the ridge face, Salinda assessed her options. To escape she could drop to the ground, risking possible death and certain disablement as the fall would snap bones and crush internal organs. The dragon was likely to devour her in one swallow but there was a chance she could avoid the encounter. A very slim one.

With her hands over her head, she further assessed the lip of the ledge. The dragon screeched as she heaved her body onto it. Frozen for a moment, she dangled there. The dragon did not strike so she moved, leaping to her feet and swinging round to face the dragon in a crouch, in time to see the dragon pull up, exposing the smooth scales of its under belly. A small reprieve. The rock face narrowed above her forming a cleft, making it difficult for the dragon, a female, to snatch her easily. It was clear though that on the next pass she would gain footing and take her.

The dragon’s approach mesmerised her as it swooped back, dark green and purple head slanting towards her, grey claws outstretched to grasp the rock face. Salinda took a step back, hoping for the comfort of the wall behind her. Her feet dislodged fist-sized rocks, which she nudged out of the way. The beast came at her—pointed snout, lower jaw ratcheting wide, preparing to rend. Instinctively, Salinda raised her arms over her head and stepped back again. The hot, rank breath of the dragon made her recoil. She stepped into nothing—a hole and slipped down, loose scree and stones assisting her slide.

Salinda landed hard, the impact forcing the air out of her lungs and leaving her with arms and legs splayed. She had fallen into some sort of fissure or cave. The dragon’s frustrated cry vibrated the air around her as it clawed at the rocks and soil around the opening.

Salinda dragged in a painful breath, fearing she had broken a rib. Foul dragon’s breath poured from the snout hammering at the opening, as it moved closer and closer. Helpless, Salinda lay there watching the entrance enlarge, as chunks of rock tumbled to the ground and sand hissed into piles. Then she heard another sound, muffled and faint—a man’s voice calling out a chant of some kind. A wave of dizziness hit her and she lost consciousness.

When she came to it was silent in the cave and her hair was crusty with dust. After spitting blood, she realised that she had bitten her tongue and wiped her lips with the back of her hand. Her limbs were stiff and sore but the pain in her side had eased somewhat. She could move. Light pierced through various cracks overhead and she could see it was a short climb to the opening of the shallow cave. Wiping sweat and dust from her forehead, she froze. There was a sound in the cave—a scratching, pecking sound.

Crawling on all fours, Salinda scouted around the nooks and crannies, searching for the source. She found the shell first, broken bits of grey, speckled with green and purple. Tumbling about was a newly-hatched dragon, shell still sticking to its head. It was an ugly thing, thin wings adhering to its gooey hide, knobbly, dark-purple head, surrounding an over sized snout.

Her first thought was to find a rock and smash its brains out. It would save the world from another human-eating dragon. She watched as it fumbled about helplessly, then it gazed at her with black, glossy eyes and mewed. A dragon had almost taken her. Her life had been spared and, to repay in kind, she would spare this creature’s life. Instead of greeting it with violence, she stroked the hatchling, removing the fragment of shell at the same time. It made a sound in its throat plu, plu, plu. Salinda grinned.

A rock tumbled down to the cave floor. Salinda looked up to see Mez struggling through the opening. “Salinda?”

Salinda frowned, then let her anger melt away. She knew the old man cared for her in his odd way, but couldn’t help resenting his interference. “Down here. I’m safe.” Her voice carried a tone of resignation that she could not disguise.

Mez gathered his dirty robe around his skinny legs as he made his way to her. Sweat made his face shine amidst the patches of dirt. “Well, my girl. That was a close call. Ready to come back now?”

Salinda tried to stare him down, but after a moment, she looked away and nestled the hatchling in her dress. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, she rubbed a thumb over the scar on her ankle. The scar caused by a year in chains.

“I’m leaving this place. And before you begin lecturing me…I don’t care if I die trying.”

Mez looked around him and sat down on a rock, resting his arms on his knees he assumed his lecturing pose. “Then you will die for certain and sixteen years is too early to die for nothing.”

“It’s not for nothing and I said I don’t care. Anything is better than internment here. You may choose to end your days here fermenting wine, but I have better things to do.”

Mez looked around the cave. “Say you made it across the plains and back to Sartell or wherever you wish to go. Say you win your revolution. It means nothing.”

“Nothing?”

Mez chuckled in that horrible knowing way. “Your revolution is pointless and I’ll tell you why.”

Salinda continued to stroke the hatchling, which apparently Mez had not yet noticed.

His eyebrows cinched together. “I hope you know me well enough to hear the truth in what I say. We are a dying people, so it matters little which government is in power or which rebel group wins through.”

Salinda clenched her right hand. In her left hand, she held the hatchling, who chose that moment to mew. Mez lifted a fluffy white eyebrow, but did not comment on the noise. “You would say anything to keep me here.”

Mez chuckled. “Not anything.” Then he shrugged. “Well…perhaps everything and nothing.”

“You say we are dying?”

Mez’s brown eyes hinted at sadness. “Yes, all of us. We have always been dying. When Ruel moon split and fell to Margra, all should have perished. Yet some survived. Whether this is by accident or design I am not sure.”

Salinda did not like what she was hearing. “You speak in contradictions. I feel perfectly alive.”

Mez leaned closer. “Of course you do. What did I give you for breakfast this morning, mmm? The first of the new season’s Dragon Wine.”

Salinda rubbed her forehead, dislodging dust. “So I drank wine. So what, all the prisoners got some. Even the lowliest person in the poorest village receives some dregs of wine.”

“That’s it exactly. Everyone everywhere drinks Dragon Wine.”

Salinda’s head was pounding. All this talk of wine was making her thirsty. “You’re not going to tell me that by growing grapes we keep everyone alive are you?”

“Yes. I am. We live through the grace of dragons, through the medium of Dragon Wine. By tending these grapes and making wine you, me, we make a real difference. The wine keeps us alive by virtue of the power of the dragons. That I know.”

Salinda screwed up her face. “No. No. That’s not possible. That’s not even logical. Dragons kill humans. Humans kill dragons. Why would they help us survive? It makes no sense.”

Again Mez smiled. “I did not say they do it willingly. It is a by-product of their existence. A secret known to a few. A dangerous secret, too. For he who controls Dragon Wine has the power of life and death over everyone.”

The hatchling was growing restless. Salinda pulled it out, stroking its head softly.

“A hatchling?” Mez whistled softly as he leaned in for a closer inspection. “You are full of surprises today.”

“It must have fallen through one of the cracks.”

Mez chuckled. “Newly hatched I’d say. Risky keeping it alive, but it appears to have imprinted itself on you. Perhaps, you have found a friend for life, one that may come in handy in future. Mmm…I suppose we could tend it for a little while and then reintegrate it into the nest. Any longer than that and we could not conceal it.”

He felt in his pockets and pulled out some old bread. The hatchling caught it deftly and swallowed it in one bite. Salinda smiled at it. Holding it calmed her.

“So this is not a creature of death but of life?” she asked holding the hatching out as it squirmed in her hands.
Mez nodded. “You did right to let it live.”

Salinda let a breath out slowly and looked at the aftermath of the dragon’s attack on the cave opening.

“That was you I heard before, wasn’t it?”

Mez raised an eyebrow and feigned innocence. “Me? What do you mean?”

“You spoke to the dragon, made it go away.”

“Now you are being fanciful.” He stood up and turned around as if to make his way out of the cave, but there was something there in Mez’s eyes, something that made her breath catch.

“No, I’m not. It makes sense. That she dragon almost had me. One more moment and I was dead. It had almost breached the entrance.”

“Salinda.” With his back to her, he shrugged his shoulders.

“No. I want the truth, old man.”

“Yes, it was me.” He turned back to her. “I speak dragon tongue. Though they are not words as such, they are sounds that shape images the dragons understand.”

Salinda had been reasonably well-educated and had never heard of anyone speaking to dragons. With her gaze locked with Mez’s, she stroked the hatchling again and lifted it high. “I’m going to call him Plu.”

Mez hesitated. “Yes, why not? Te Pluan Nuresh, which equates to Plu that fell from the nest.”

Plu nuzzled her palm, seeking more food. She liked the sound the hatchling made when she stroked it.

“All right then,” she said. “What do baby dragons eat?”

Mez smiled. “Meat mostly. You’ll have to sacrifice your ration for a while. You are coming back with me?”

“Yes, for a little while. I’m not slaving here until I drop and I’m not giving up my ideas about revolution…but there is more to you than I thought, old man.”

Shatterwing and Dragon Wine available in ebook and print.

DragonwineLinks from the publisher’s website here.  Book depository have them both in print too.

Read Full Post »