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Posts Tagged ‘Argenterra’

I look at myself lately and I think I’m doing a lot of fiction writing recently, or I seem to be. Fair enough I’ve just come out of a holiday break where I took two weeks off from the Phd. This week I have been head down on the Phd and I put some time in last week too. I have my big moment to prepare for-The dreaded confirmation seminar that I talked about yesterday.

So what am I doing writing fiction or appearing to write fiction?

Last year I finished drafting a trilogy. My first completed one if truth be known. Book two was mostly written so I was tidying up, revising etc. Some parts were rewritten after beta reader comments. Book three was a 50,000 word basket case so technically I did write that book like last year almost from scratch (130,000 approx.). Book two is with the editor. Book three I’m going to revise after beta reader comments (next week actually) and then put in the edit queue. Right now I’ve finished revising Dragonwine Book 3 and it’s waiting for its slot for its editor and currently I’m restructuring book 4, which required some revising, rewriting as I went. I still have a bit to do, but the restructure is complete (I cheated I put the last bit in this morning). Oh and I wrote a 50,000 word novel in November for NaNoWriMo-which needs to be revised (when?!!!).

Now I don’t want to give the impression that I’m slacking off on the PhD because I’m not. Nor do I want to give the impression that I’m some kind of writing machine. I’m not that either. While I’m not too much a stickler for routine, I have been aiming to do an hour a day while working on Dragonwine Book 4. It’s written, I’m just plaiting the narrative threads together different to how I originally drafted it. It was a draft and it’s drafty. Man I don’t think I’ve read book 4 for seven years or more. I’m also revising, polishing as I go. It will need another run through too.

I’m spending my day on the PhD writing this damn proposal and researching and running my surveys and hassling writers etc. I’ve been going home and vegging in front of Netflix for hours (the heat mainly)  and then I put my hour in on the MS before I go to bed. I’m not usually so good at doing this. I’m marking this on my calendar this year so I can gauge how consistent I am. Technically, I could put more time into writing when I get home. I don’t want to overdo it on the computer due to RSI and arthritis issues so I’m pretty good at sticking to the hour. I’ve been at the computer at Uni most of the day too.

When I’m mostly reading, I can spend more time writing fiction. Reading takes place not at the computer you see. Sometimes it happens in bed or on the deck. I usually take a day off on Friday’s to write fiction (and do housework) and that gives me a good go at things. As Matthew is busy writing at the moment I’ve also spent some weekends, say Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon on task. Two Dweebs in adjacent offices pounding on keyboards!

I also have a backlist of works that I can either revise, write sequels for etc. I have to prioritise! So I don’t consider them to be new writing as such.

As well as the PhD this year I want to start on Dragonwine book 5 & 6 to finish this trilogy too. I don’t even have notes for this so it will be all new work! Approximately 170,000 words I estimate. However, I also have to draft my PhD novel and that takes priority. Lucky I touch type!

I probably look like I’m doing a sweep out of my brain, getting these stories out of there and onto paper. I also see it as me refining my creative practice. Finishing a trilogy presents many challenges and each time I work on one I’m learning about my craft. I can’t write as much as I want or work on as many things as I would like while doing the PhD.  That constriction will last for about two more years, but I can manage to do some stuff, particularly if the damn thing is already drafted. I also need a part time job because I have no support for my living expenses. I’ve thought about this and writing is my part time job. I hope in 2017 it will bring in some dollars but I am hoping that I will continue to progress as a writer as well as learn more through my PhD.

What is really doing my head in is the edits. They are coming! Over 400,000 words of edits. And I’ve set myself up for four book edits in the first part of the year. That work load I will have to be careful of. Then as they are going to be self/indie published, I have the dreaded laying out to do, proofing etc, which takes time but isn’t too hard. Covers to source? Egads. 2017 is going to busy.

The message is I guess is that even an hour a day can get you somewhere.

Below are the covers for the Silverlands Trilogy. The only set of covers that I’m organized for. Damn.

three-books

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I say this quite a bit these days. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I want to learn so much, do many more things that I can see that I won’t do all of them. It’s not possible. I would need many lifetimes to do that. Even then the world is ever changing. Is that what living forever is like? No wonder I love reading and writing science fiction and fantasy and paranormal romance. Within fiction there are no boundaries.

I thought I’d having something interesting to say. This last week with the PhD has been about admin and also trying to work out how I can talk about the fiction I’m reading. I have to learn to be more academic, pick a position and analyse with that mind set. That’s hard. Not too hard, but requires some mind bending. I can no longer just be enthusiastic! Also, there’s that paper I’m working on…

I finished the revision of The Crystal Gate and sent it to beta readers. I fear I have some more hard work ahead of me to make this novel all that it could be. A kick up the bum from beta readers usually galvanizes me, particularly when they tell me things I know I think is a problem but I’m not listening to the little voice that told me so. I thought I would rip into The Ungiven Land straight up…but alas…I’m a slacktard. There’s 50,000 words sitting there and I haven’t even read them through let alone drafted more words. I guess I’ve been resting my brain…maybe…actually I’ve finally finished listening to The Magician (Raymond E Feist). This was an Eighties’ classic that I’d never caught at the time. It’s high fantasy, elves, dwarves, dragons etc, but it  has something else too which caught my interest. My main problem is that I didn’t like the narrator. I can’t pinpoint why. It made the 35 hours of listening a bit hard, not impossible though. It was Audible and my first time really not enjoying the experience amazingly.

On the Argenterra front. I ran a Goodreads giveaway for the print book. I have no idea how that translates into book sales, but I think not many. However, five more people are following me on Goodreads. Waves! Thank you. Hundreds of people have added Argenterra as a ‘want to read’. I’ve sent three books out, one to Canada that should arrive quite soon and two in the UK, which Amazon says will take a few weeks to organise. Book  Depository haven’t got Argenterra listed yet as it can take 6 weeks for them to get it up. Maybe if the readers are generous they’ll do a review. Totally worth it for the possible reviews and exposure.I thought it would be nice if 500 people entered the Goodreads giveway and 866 people did and that’s awesome.

I joined Kindle Boards. Lots of advice and information there. It is possible that if you spend too long there you might grow a beard and find the world has moved on a hundred years.

Other bits of procrastination this week includes seeing X-Men Apocalypse. I really enjoyed that despite missing Days of Future Past. It was massive in scope. I liked the action and I also liked that it stopped for the emotional stops. I ate more chocolate this week than in the last year I’m sure. I re-watched North and South  (BBC 1975) starring Patrick Stewart’s hair. It was a nice way to pass a wet weekend with my niece visiting.

Now back to the PhD.

 

 

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It’s been a busy week. I’ve been working on an academic paper, my first. It was hard and it’s probably crap but I will have to wait to find out.  Other PdD candidates have told me the first is the hardest so thankfully I’m not alone in this.

Westcoast book reviews published the first review of Argenterra. And it was fab.

I’m happy that is positive of course, but I also appreciate the thoughtful comments and that the reviewer, Liz, totally got the book and loved the world of Argenterra.

Here is what she said about the given, Argenterra’s native magic.

“Argenterra’s magic, the given, permeates everyone and everything in the land. It’s used in everything from building and cooking to healing and holding the people to their oaths. I liked how the given not only weaves through the lives of the characters but through the story itself. The given has its own history, champions and enemies. The given lives through the story as a character in its own right, complete with unique relationships with other characters and a life changing challenge.”

The link to the full review is here.

Also the print run of Argenterra has arrived for my Sydney Supanova! I’m all set. I’ve also set up a give away on Goodreads, for Australia, USA, UK, NZ and for some unknown reason Romania! (ineptitude I suspect).

The link to the give away is here

The print book is beautiful! Les Petersen’s cover look fab in the flesh, or the print.

And in case that lovely review inspired you to try Argenterra. Below are the buy links.

Out now!

Argenterra, Silverlands Book 1.

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Cover by Les Petersen

Buy links.

Amazon.com Here

Amazon.com.au Here

Kobo Here

ibooks Here

Print (Amazon.com) Here.

Print elsewhere. Available from Createspace and Ingram Sparks.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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People say it’s easy self-publishing a book, or Indie Publishing as they say these days. It’s not all sunshine a roses and I’m not talking about sales here. I’m talking about getting the files ready and loaded etc.

The proofreading, file formatting and instruction reading and following are very left brain that leave me without a right brain cell to aspire to creativity. I’ve been caught in that vortex for weeks it seems. The difficulty is not in the amount of advice out there or the assistance other Indie publishers provide because that’s so fab. It’s just the tediousness of it. It’s like doing ten tax returns in a row. It’s killing me with my left brain. I can now understand why people pay others to do all that crap for them. They may end up making no money out of their publication (most, I think) but at least they have held onto their creative soul.

I have to go back to the reason why I’m doing this. Argenterra got to acquisitions in Australia but then it didn’t fit the young adult niche here. (just one part of the story) The Australian market is a small.Even the digital publishers are getting thin on the ground. I’ve submitted Argenterra over the years and well I run foul over arguments about whether it is young adult etc.  I always thought it wasn’t, but then on reading it maybe it’s young adult or young adult cross over. Last year I was chatting to Keri Arthur and she recommend I Indie publish. I’ve had titles epublished with traditional publishers and why not try hybrid. I talked to her about the Silverlands Trilogy of which Argenterra is the first. I could get two books up quickly and then polish off the third book. I’m not expecting to do anything earth shattering here, but it is certainly an eye opener. The amount of control you have as an Indie publisher is like a drug. You get to make all the decisions but you have to do the work.

There are various ways to get your book out there these days. When I had a small press it wasn’t so easy. There was no Amazon.com.au and people without US bank accounts couldn’t list their books on Amazon.com. Ebooks were not a thing. It was PDF and maybe just the beginning of ebooks in the world. Having that small press experience has been good, but not having the tools I used to have was pretty ordinary. I used to own Creative Suite now I’m reduced to Word.

It’s hard. I whinge a lot you may have noticed.

I’m not even talking about the stigma of self-publishing here or the difficulties in promoting a book.

The process for formatting an ebook is pretty straightforward. But anything that requires discipline and attention to detail can be tedious for me. I can do it but I don’t/can’t do creative stuff round the same time.I had a author friend proofread for me after I laid out the book. In Word this entails formatting with titles so that you can do a table of contents. For an ebook you don’t have to worry about page numbers or headers or footers. I used Calibre to covert my epub. But for Amazon, you only need to the Word file. Most of the other places do the conversion from Word for you too.

It was formatting the print version that life became more complicated. Headers and footers and page numbers. I did a proofread and found a few little things which I changed in the ebook too. Unfortunately, using preorder on Amazon meant I couldn’t change the file. Eep! Lesson number one. Do your own proof before uploading the file. I was able to do it after it became live. Second is don’t underestimate how long it can take to proofread your book properly. (I printed the book out to do my proofs) Then research, ask around what is the best way forward. I chose Createspace for US Amazon.com and Ingram Sparks for rest of the world. (I’ll put a link below as to why). Then I got into problems with the paging. I was either missing a page or having two blanks when trying to get the odd number pages to fall on the right hand side. That took a whole night to fix. Needless to say that I have matured emotionally over the last two weeks. (I you believe that then you’ll believe anything.)

The cover was another issue. I had a pro cover done but it was not the wrap required for a print version and the file sent to me was a PDF and you need specialist software to put the cover together. Having exhausted my $ I had to beg help from the lovely Rebekah Turner. We had to do two covers-one for Createspace and one for Ingram Sparks. But I’ve been told you can use the Createspace one for Ingrams. If I had brains I could have used Publisher I suppose.

Today everything is loaded. Because I wanted Createspace to do the Amazon.com I loaded the book there first and then did Ingrams once it was showing on the Amazon listing. This is because Ingram will list it on Amazon if it’s not there already. (See blog link below to understand why.)

Listing the ebook. I could have used Smashwords, but I wanted to some control over key accounts; Amazon, ibooks, Kobo. Amazon was the easiest even with the tax declarations. Kobo was pretty simple and ibooks was complicated. First thing to know about ibooks is that you need a Mac to upload your content. That information would have been useful and would have saved me three nights of wrangling. I’ve used Ingram to distribute the ebook elsewhere.

Many thanks to Patty Jansen for answering near hysterical emails with aplomb. Also thanks to Ainslie Paton for help with book blurb (a whole day back and forth), Rebekah Turner for cover wrangling and Aiki Flinthart for proofreading, moral support and information.

Why am I doing this? Why don’t I forget about this book or this series?

The publishing industry is in a state of flux, particularly here in Australia. I don’t believe we can rely on the book industry to be the gate keepers they once were. Publishers are not loyal to their authors anymore. If you’re not a best seller then you’re out. Heaps of mid-listers have lost their publishers, not because they aren’t good writers with great books, but because they aren’t making the big $$$. Being a new author is even harder. Your book doesn’t sell the expected number your chance is gone. If you don’t have the sales then it’s darn hard to get another publisher.

Why Argenterra? I love this story. I’ve almost written a trilogy and what a waste it if never sees the light of day. I’ve revised and rewritten this story many times because I believed in it. Now it’s time for me to see if others like it too. I love the characters in this book. Sophy and Oakheart are my personal faves but there’s Lillia too.

After 15 years, I’m going to give self-publishing a try.

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Cover by Les Petersen

Here is the link I mentioned above. Here

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I feel naughty! I’ve put a book up on Amazon for pre-order (other retailers to come). I feel nervous, excited and liberated too.

It’s been an interesting experience, one of commitment and camaraderie. I had to commit to working on the whole series this year. I had to pay for an edit and a cover. Anything to do with spending money when I’m now retired is a BIG commitment. Then there has been the camaraderie, the network of writer friends who have or who are embarking on Indie publishing. So much assistance and advice freely given. It’s been wonderful. Thank you all.

Cover by Les Petersen

Cover by Les Petersen (lespetersen.com.au)

The cover does have a YA feel but that’s deliberate because it does have YA leanings for sure. Fish out of water, coming of age etc. It’s also about romance, though I’m told it’s not fantasy romance. This is mainly because there are three different relationships. I can’t spoil it though! After fifteen years, it’s amazing to see it out there. Only me and maybe a couple of old friends knew the early version– the rank beginner Donna. It wasn’t my first novel ever. I’ve not had that much commitment to Relic (SF romance, Feminist SF) my first novel attempt, which I haven’t given up on completely. (I was just advised to wait until I was a better writer as it was a worthy project). Argenterra was my first fantasy ever. My first Indie published book.

Now for the outtakes….Sophy and Aria. Their names used to be Sapphire and Misty. However, while on a Writers’ Retreat, my very first, Russell Kirkpatrick and Paul Ewins said those names sounded like unicorn names. It was funny at the time but I did change the name. I always had trouble with Sapphire as a name. People found it odd. I couldn’t understand that because I knew a Sapphire. So Sophy and Aria it is.

Here is the pre-order link.

 

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I get so annoyed at myself. I have these great ideas for blog posts and then it’s so hard to get to the computer and all those wonderful ideas leak out of my head. Pfft! Gone.

Originally I thought I’d be writing a post a day on the PhD and wouldn’t that be fun. But hey, the PhD makes me busier than I was before so no way. I could write a post a day on the PhD but then you’d all explode in flames!

The Phd research (feminism in popular romance fiction ) so interesting in almost all aspects. The difficult part is settling in to a new place, new regime and a new focus. I’m loving the reading, the mind expanding study of feminism and philosophy (for the methodology), the ideas for my creative work and the reading of romances. I wish I could fit much more into my day. It’s addictive. The physical body and mind though has to have a break. I can assure you I’m pretty good at taking breaks.

I took a week off to go to Contact in Brisbane over Easter. I was even on a panel or two, I had a table for hats for a day, sold a few and hung out with people. Met new people too. The Hotel Jen in Brisbane was amazing. I ate at the hotel because the menu and prices were so good. The room was lovely and the service good. The Contact program was well designed. The downside was that not that many people came. Not as many as you’d expect to a national convention. For that I feel bad for the Brisbane organisers. They deserved better support.

Here is some pics from Contact. I really wasn’t drinking all the time.

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Me, Deb Kelly and Keri Arthur.

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That’s us again.

My good friend, Glenda Larke, asked me to give her acceptance speech if she won an award. Well she did! She won the inaugural Sara Douglass award for a series. Here’s the trophy. I nearly cried I was so happy for her.

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A pic of my hat table.

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Sitting around to say good bye. with Keri Arthur and Louise Katz and Gillian Polack at the back.

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Random pic of Brisbane. I went to by swimmers for my trip to the Gold Coast.

Now I’m back at Uni and working pretty hard. In fact, I’m on lunch break, getting ready to attend a workshop on being a better PhD researcher! This makes me laugh, but I’m doing it anyway.

In other news, I’m publishing a book. Argenterra, Silverlands book 1. It’s a story I’ve worked on since about six months after I started writing. This book has been with me to Envision in Brisbane back in 2003. I was planning to throw it in the bin, but my tutor Louise Cusack said not to do that. It’s grown so much since then as I have as a writer so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s the first fantasy I wrote. It’s light and bright but had some darkness there too. I’m doing the Indie publishing thing. So I’ve had a cover done by the brilliant Les Petersen, an edit done and a great proof too. It will soon be ready to go. Just need to get the blurb right. Lucky, there are great writer friends out there who help. So stay tuned. The ebook will be out by the end of the month with POD for June and Supanova in Sydney!

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On a more personal note, it’s odd but the busier I am the more productive I tend to be. I’ve been suffering a bit with the spine, but I’ve been taking the meds and today I’m feeling the best I have in two weeks. Yay! Yesterday, in a bid to keep fit and take a break during the day, I walked down the road to the pool, where I walked in the water for half an hour and came back. It was such a lovely day that I was happy and content.

 

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