Still alive, and writing

The work on “The Raven’s Children”, the fifth book in Gwydion’s story, continues slowly.  For those that might be interested, the plot for this particular section has always been a bit vague in my head, and wrestling it into submission has been even more difficult than I expected.  Then there’s the problem of several other stories in Glencairck wanting some attention, and a story that is not even fantasy but science fiction fighting for a slice of my time, and, well…

I will get it all done.  I have the first book of Taliesin nearly ready to go, but I am loathe to release it before I finish the fifth and sixth books of Gwydion.  And there is also a sequel to Cricket’s Song that is well begun, and less than half done.

Did I mention that I have a non-writing job that also takes up quite a bit of my time?  And a family?

My hero and mentor, the formidable Sarah Hoyt, can write 10,000 words on a good day.  Right now I think that would be a good month for me.  Which is why you shouldn’t compare yourselves to others, boys and girls, or hold yourself to their standards.

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My new marketing strategy

This is the post where I summon the great demon Vox Day to drive traffic and get exposure for my books.

Gnardo Polo

I have noticed this happening in the last year or so, but this article at Breitbart London sums it up nicely: you can use SJW outrage to get your work out there, talked about, and (most importantly) bought.  There’s nothing like fresh, crisp bills in your pocket to make you smile, and keep the creditors at bay.

So here’s the deal: in my books, the villains are often women.  They are certainly some of the cruelest characters I’ve written.  I have no ethnic diversity, unless you count some magical creatures in the diversity tally, but no one has dark skin, or yellow skin, or is transgendered, or homosexual.  Basically I write about a fairly insular white society.  Similar to Iron Age Celts.

Oh, and the main character in A Bard Without a Star?  He was completely inspired by Vox Day.

Which may or may not be true.  But…

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The road to being a published author

I finished writing Cricket’s Song in 1997.  It was the first time I had finished anything longer than a short story, and I was happy that I had done it.

But I had no idea what to do next.

I read the how-to books, and I looked through Writer’s Market, and everyone said about the same thing: submit the first three chapters, and hope you get plucked from the slush pile.  Sure there were strategies for getting noticed, but if you didn’t have any connections, it was kind of a crap shoot.  Even with connections, you had to hit up the right editor, on the right day, when he was looking for a book like the one you wrote.  It was very intimidating, but I printed up some submissions, crossed my fingers, and sent them out.

And then waited.

I got one response, from Baen: a note that said they liked the writing, but it was too bucolic for them.  After I looked up “bucolic” (of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life), I realized that I hadn’t even considered that the different publishers would have different styles, and I basically threw up my hands and quit trying.  I kept writing (it’s a bit of a compulsion), but I didn’t think about doing anything with what I wrote.

And then I found the Beautiful (but Evil) Space Princess Sarah Hoyt.

I didn’t even find her blog looking for stuff about writing.  No, the link I followed talked about raising her two intelligent boys in the public school system, and what that system tried to do to her family–and how she fought back (hint: never mess with a space princess).  But as I continued reading, she talked about publishing independently.  And when I contacted her, she encouraged me directly.

So now I have some stuff up on Amazon, and even though I don’t sell much, that’s not the point.  The point is that I can order a copy of my own book (at the author’s rate, no less), and give it to my mom.  That’s beyond cool.

And if I can figure out the marketing angle, maybe I can get more people to read what I’ve written.  That would be pretty sweet, too.

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The Ensaddening

I posted on my other site about the whole Sad Puppies affair.  It’s amusing to watch, but in the end, much ado about a trophy.  Man, do some people need external validation, or what?

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The question was asked, how does Cricket’s Song and A Bard Without a Star relate to each other?  Is Bard a sequel to Song?

Well, it’s more like prequel.  Bard takes place about 200 years before Cricket is born.  Gwydion is one of the three great bards that Cricket learns about, the other two being Amergin (who defeats the evil bard Cathbar), and Taliesin (who founds the bardic order).

I intend to write the stories of all three.  Plus a true sequel to Cricket’s Song, and the stories of some of the kings (King Arthur and Brian Boru), and some of the heroes (CuChulainn and Finn MacCumhal).  And who knows what else.

Since I’m basing a lot of my world on Irish and Welsh mythology, there’s lots of material for both inspiration and modification.  I know some will not like the liberties I take with some stories, and I apologize.  But Glencairck is not Ireland or Wales, and I did that because I’m not doing a straight retelling.  I am forging my own history, my own world, and my own characters.  I may use some other mythological characters as a basis, but it is generally just a starting point, and a shorthand for some traits for those that recognize the material.  But then they tend to go running off in directions that I didn’t even know existed, and so I follow along and take notes.  The stories are there, and now I have to give them shape and form.

And that takes a while.

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A Bard Without a Star

I’ve got a new book out, A Bard Without a Star.  It’s only available in ebook right now, but I hope to have the dead tree version available later this week.

So something interesting happened.  I figured while I waited for the dead tree version to come out (I’m waiting to make sure the proof looks right), I’d run a free promotion on the ebook.  Amazon allows it to be offered for free for five days every three months, and it can be a good way to get some exposure.  But I don’t do much marketing yet, I usually just put a post or two on Facebook and call it good.  I’ve done okay with this method, but nothing like what happened this time.

March 17

In case it’s hard to see, that’s a screen shot from this morning.  I’m in the top ten on three different lists.  True, it’s the lists of free Kindle books, but still.  I’ve given away more of this book than any other before it.

I’m not sure what is going on, but I have my suspicions.  I know that a couple of my friends shared my Facebook post, and that got the ball rolling.  And although my single review is really great (I think Pat is becoming a True Fan), I’m the only book on the lists with so few reviews.  Some have hundreds.

No, I think it’s a matter of exposure, and momentum.  By being on the first page, I think people see it and decide to take a chance.  It’s free, right?  What have they got to lose?  And although the lists are obscure, they’re not so buried that people who are interested in that kind of fiction won’t look at them.  Whether or not this translates into hard sales of my other work, we’ll just have to wait and see.

And many thanks to anyone who has taken time to read it so far.  There’s more coming in Gwydion’s story, plus much more set in Glencairck.

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Wizard’s Heir free for the next five days

I’m doing a promotion on Wizard’s Heir for the next five days, in anticipation of releasing A Bard Without a Star, which will contain the three e-books Wizard’s Heir, The Two Tanists, and The Bardic Academy.  Let me know what you think, both good and bad.  A review on Amazon is always appreciated, too.

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