Another One Bites the Dust

If you spend any time within the self-publishing areas online, then you likely know that Pronoun has shut down.

If you don’t, let me explain a little.

Pronoun was similar to Smashwords and Draft2Digital in that it took your ebook and distributed it to a range of markets. It gave authors 70% of the royalties, even on $0.99 books, which made it very appealing. It also created very nice looking books with only a little know-how and trial and error. As well, you got a snazzy looking author page for each pen name, and a page for each book that would link to all the places your book was for sale. And it let you onto Google Play, a coveted but hard to break into market.

Personally, I kind of loved it.

I haven’t liked Smashwords for a long time, for the simple reason that I’m an aesthetics snob. I can create what I think are better-looking epubs using my copy of Scrivener, and doing poetry on Smashwords? Forget about it.

My books are still on Smashwords, but I have been considering removing them from any of the extra markets they’ve been sent to there and just keeping them on the site itself.

So I really liked Pronoun. It was starting to gain traction as a distributor among authors; more people were talking about it recently, and it seems likely it was about to really take off.

Sadly, the owners shut it down.

Pronoun was bought by Macmillan Publishers a while ago. At first I thought, hey, maybe this will mean this indie author company will get some oomph from the big guys that bought it up! This could be good for us!

I was obviously wrong.

Continue reading “Another One Bites the Dust”

The Fear of Long Books

This is something I’ve noticed lately in my time spent in various author places online. There is an almost pathological fear of long books.

I see post after post from people worrying about their word count, that their book is “too long.” I see post after post of people saying “Keep your book short because all long books are unedited pieces of crap and you don’t want to bore your reader!” (Paraphrased.) Many of these posts I see are referring to books in my genre — SFF.

The word counts I’m seeing this about? 150K. 130K. 100K.

*looks at 250K first novel that was extensively edited and also pretty well-received*

It’s really weird to claim that all long books are “unedited”. It’s like there’s this assumption that you can’t POSSIBLY need that many words to tell a story; that if it’s that long, it means you couldn’t cut what was unnecessary.

Sure, there ARE longer works that haven’t been cut down as much as they should have (though to be honest, this usually happens a bit into a trad-pubbed series, when no one dares tell a popular author “No” anymore — see: George Lucas & the prequels). I’m not saying that it never happens; I just think it’s weird to assume it’s ALL that ever happens.

Continue reading “The Fear of Long Books”

Six years of blogging

I’ve never really done anything for my “blogaversary” but I figure after six years of blogging at this blog — whether it was called Bacon & Whiskey or Amoeba Kat Musings or whatever name it might have in the future — maybe a little celebration is in order.

This is how I celebrate.
This is how I celebrate.

Some people do full on blog parties for their blogging anniversaries. I truly admire that. I would attempt it, but I know I don’t have it in me to do it right. Better I leave it to the pros.

Instead, I’m just going to make an effort to post here more often between today and the anniversary. I don’t know if I’ll manage every day, but I will try very hard. There might be a lot of pictures of food (Thanksgiving is coming up!).

So, anytime between now and October 19th, if you leave a comment on one of my posts here (remember, comments close after 2 days), I’ll enter you into a draw. (This includes this post. No pressure on comment content. So long as it’s not spam or harassment, it counts.) The winner of the draw will receive an ebook. I haven’t decided which one yet, but it’ll either be by me or Kaimana Wolff.

I’ll announce the winner on the 19th and contact you via email about your prize (so make sure you use a valid email when commenting). I wish you all luck.

One other thing: I’m going to try something over the next few days. Thanksgiving is coming up so I’m going to try to end each blog post with something I’m grateful for. My original idea was to do several posts, each dedicated to a thing I’m grateful for, but I think this is more workable.

So.

Today, I am grateful for my ability to stick to this blog for so long.

-Katje

Cover Reveal: The Jade Star of Athering

The gods demand blood, as Athering and Ixtepan stand pitched against each other in war. Dusty prophecies foretell the coming of one who will save Ixtepan and end the bloodshed: Sho-qoot-Bak. Who is she? And will she embrace her destiny before the world is ripped asunder?

It’s finally here — cover reveal day! I’m super excited to share with you all the cover for my latest book, The Jade Star of Athering. The gorgeous artwork is by Juan Garcia from Otavalo, Ecuador, and he was gracious enough to allow me to use the painting for my book cover. I’m very grateful to him.

Following the cover is a synopsis and preorder information. I’ve also dropped the price of Bellica to $1.99, and the preorder price for The Jade Star of Athering is the same. After release day, the price of Jade Star will go up to $2.99. Bellica will stay at $1.99.

EbookCover2xtrasmall

The Jade Star of Athering

Book 2 in The Third Age

The gods demand blood, as Athering and Ixtepan stand pitched against each other in war. Dusty prophecies foretell the coming of one who will save Ixtepan and end the bloodshed: Sho-qoot-Bak. Who is she? And will she embrace her destiny before the world is ripped asunder?

Bellica Agate has spent her life seeking privacy–as much peace as a bellica’s life can grant her. She has no desire to look beyond her roles as leader of the Thirteenth Regiment, protector of Athering, and spouse of a good man.

Yet old legends and prophecies haunt Agate’s every step. The voice of a goddess whispers in her ear: You cannot escape what you were born to do. Once Athering is pitted against its southern neighbor, war threatens everything Agate has ever known. She must come face to face with her past to save the future.

Every step of the perilous journey moves Agate closer to the truth she’s been running from, all her life: the gods demand blood. Hers.

Preorder Information

Currently the preorder is available at Gumroad and Kindle. I’m working on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo, but they might take a bit longer. I’ll be sending a short notice via the newsletter when they’re available, so if you want to be in the know first, you should sign up.

That’s it for now! I hope you like the cover. I know I do.

-Katje

I forgot the bra. Bad Katje.

I’m delaying the release of Stranger Skies in paperback by a month. It was supposed to be out by Halloween, but my editor has found a bunch of things that got missed in the last round of edits, so those need to be fixed before we can release a paperback.

Of course, that means I must also fix the ebooks. That will be happening as soon as I have the full list of edits to be made; I will then be sitting down and doing the print book and all the ebooks in one go. (Read: how to work yourself to death over a few days.)

If you’ve already bought the ebook, then you should get a notice when the updated version is available.

If I’d had the same selling experience since release as I did with Bellica I wouldn’t be concerned about this, but I’ve actually sold four copies of Stranger Skies since releasing it 11 days ago (and one sold via pre-order). Apparently that marketing thing can work.

Hopefully the edits aren’t too major and you won’t notice a thing.

Later today expect to see a vlog of me reading Fifty Shades of Grey and drinking whiskey. No bra on my head. I forgot. I was very tired. Next time.

Pre-order of Stranger Skies now available

Art by Autumn Skye Morrison.

Hey, so, if you didn’t win the giveaway, you can now pre-order the actual book from Gumroad!

Click here to pre-order.

I am also working on setting up a pre-order for the ebook bundle via another service so people without credit cards can get it, but it’s turning out to be a bit more complicated than I thought. It may, indeed, not happen for this book. Sorry, but I’m really swamped, and apparently not technically savvy enough to figure this particular thing out.

On the plus side, as soon as the release date rolls around (October 4th), you’ll be able to get a copy of the book from Kobo, Amazon, the Kat and Wolff e-junkie store, and Tomely! (And Gumroad, of course, and maybe some other places!)

If you do have a credit card, though, you want to get the pre-order — because I’ll be sending you a little something extra along with the ebook bundle. If you pre-order, you’ll also get a full copy of the story “The Murine Invasions” from Kaimana Wolff‘s How to Keep a Human.

The regular Stranger Skies ebook will have a small teaser for How to Keep a Human at the back, but it won’t be a complete story.

Why am I including a story from Wolff’s book? Because the main character of Stranger Skies is based off a character in Wolff’s book, and both stories take place in the loose universe (the universe of the True Woods). I talked to Kaimana about doing some cross-promotion with our stories and she thought it was a great idea, so if you pre-order you get a copy of “The Murine Invasions”.

(The copy will be sent to all pre-order customers separately from the main file you’ll get from Gumroad, and it’ll happen after book release.)

And now, I am getting back to work on the big publishing order we’re putting out.

Winners of the giveaway, check your emails if you haven’t already!

Stranger Skies cover reveal (and giveaway)!

It’s here! I’m so excited. I’ve wanted to show off my cover for Stranger Skies for a WHILE now, but had to force myself to wait til today.

This was not easy okay.

After the cover, there’s the cover-copy/synopsis/blurb thing, an excerpt, and a giveaway to win an advance reading copy ebook! Plenty of options for entry, and I’m giving away more than one copy.

Release date: October 4th. Pre-orders will be available around the 20th.

Art by Autumn Skye Morrison.
Art by Autumn Skye Morrison.

A goddess’ fall from grace leaves her on an alien world, devoid of her followers, trapped in a mortal body. Should she strive to regain her godhood or accept her mortality and find love?

Silva, Queen of Wolves, Lady of the True Woods, seeks her only friend Etan, who, along with other deities of the Council of Divinity, has gone missing for reasons unknown. Her search traps her on a world where the wolves have lost faith in her; she becomes a mortal woman whose remaining powers could brand her as a witch.

Through the chaos of war and the turmoil in her own heart, Silva can’t escape a persistent feeling: that her fall was not an accident.

ExcerptHeart’s Blood Tavern had indoor plumbing which, according to Scoas, made it a rare building in the town. The toilets were composting toilets, however, and so the scent of human waste combined with peat overwhelmed Silva’s sensitive nose. She entered the stall and did her business quickly, trying to ignore the pong of the room. There was one sink and a small mirror of that same polished stone — while she washed her hands, she noticed she was more fleshed out than she had been the day before. Minae food worked quickly.

She turned to leave, and then stopped dead, horror making her veins run ice cold. Above the door was another animal head as ‘decor’.

Its muzzle was posed open in a silent snarl, its ears were flat back on its head, and it was made to look vicious around the eye’s epicanthic folds — but this was all a lie. She reached her hand up to touch the soft fur, but it was too high up, and she couldn’t reach.

She’d found her first Minae wolf.

The scent of fear and death hit her then; it had been masked before, but now that she gazed upon the source it was so clear she reeled. She ran back into the stall and vomited what was left of that morning’s breakfast.

This wolf had died in fear and pain, and she hadn’t been here to help.

She hadn’t been able to help so many of her children on Terra, too. The mortal humans had shot them from planes, poisoned them, hunted them near to extinction. The only thing that had saved them from that fate had been constant fighting — from Silva herself, and her one or two human followers. Mortals who lived with wolf-hybrids and knew about her existence, and who wanted to help save her children. Silva had petitioned the Twins to save her cubs, and they had finally listened and moved all the wolves off-planet. She didn’t think they would have had it not been for the strengthening arguments of a few other gods who had a soft spot for wolves — the Morrigan, Hecate, and Odin were the big three who had argued on Silva’s side. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever properly expressed her gratitude to those deities.

On Tau Ceti, the wolves had been placed far enough away from human settlements so as to be relatively safe. But when humans expanded outwards, as they invariably did?

If she never got home, the Cetian wolves might meet the same fate. And this time she wouldn’t be around to stop them from going extinct completely.

She shook with helplessness and fear. There was nothing she could do. She was trapped here in mortal form, and her children might all die. The thought made her sick again.

When finally she exited the bathroom, after having rinsed her mouth thoroughly, she felt scrubbed out, hollowed, empty. A gourd left in the rain after All Hallows Eve; burned on the inside, destined for the compost heap to rot away in ignominy.

She tried to hide her distress when she got back to the table. Their food had arrived by that point, and a man she’d never seen before stood beside the table and chatted with Scoas and Natai, and occasionally giving Brinna a predatory smile. Brinna seemed less than pleased with the man’s attentions, but she was unfailingly polite.

Silva instantly disliked the man. He smelled wrong, and his bearing positively screamed his arrogance.

Scoas noticed Silva’s return, then, and made introductions before Silva could escape.

The man’s name was Kaz, and he gave Silva an exceptionally oily smile. He was a hunter — the best in Heartpin, apparently. “You must have seen my prize trophy,” he said to her, folding his arms over his chest. Silva politely raised her eyebrows even as her stomach churned with dread. “The wolf’s head hanging in the privy. Got that bastard over a year ago. Scoas bought the pelt.”

Silva felt like fainting. She barely heard what Scoas said: “It’s a very nice pelt, too; we simply love it.”

“There’s a secret to get the best pelts, Scoas my man,” Kaz said, winking at Scoas. “Would you like to know it?”

“Excuse me,” Silva said, brushing past Kaz and heading for the door. She knew the secret for the best pelts, and if she heard Kaz tell them exactly how he’d tortured the young wolf whose head hung in the bathroom, she might kill him right there in the tavern.

~~~~~~~~~~~

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‘White Birds’ cover reveal

Hello, gentle readers!

My mom, Kaimana Wolff, has a new book coming out on March 27th. It’s called White Birds: Dreams for Dancers. Today, I get to reveal to you…the cover!

Well, both covers; the ebook cover is slightly different from the print cover.

As well, here’s the synopsis from the back of the book!

“In times of great trouble, great dreams come.”

Jane has spent years trying to forget such dreams. Her dreams are not pleasant; yet beautiful in their way. When such dreams keep coming, she decides it is time to pay attention to the dance she in which she finds herself.

Each dream is heralded by the image of a white bird, symbolic of the dissociative state resorted to by many victims of abuse.

These brief stories are poetic interpretations of some of life’s worst moments, tracing a heroic journey while revealing the arts of the warrior.

Ebook cover for White Birds by Kaimana Wolff.
Cover for the ebook edition.
Print cover for White Birds by Kaimana Wolff.
Cover for the print edition.

As you can see, there are subtle differences. The big thing with ebook covers is to make sure they’re legible, so the font size is quite a bit bigger.

In case you can’t tell, I designed both covers. The painting is by the late Gerry Laffra, my Opa and mom’s step-dad. Gerry did many paintings of wildlife, as well as a lovely portrait of my dog, Blue. The apartment is still decorated with his work, and ages ago he gave my mom this painting to use as a book cover.

I’m pretty proud of my work here. I think it’s clean, simple, and engaging. What do you think?

For more about White Birds, visit Kaimana’s blog. She’ll be posting a bit about the book there this week.

In related news, both of us are getting ready to head out to Spring Mysteries Festival on Easter weekend, but we need your help. There are some pretty awesome rewards for helping us out, so tell all your friends, too.

-Katje

After the Fear Blog Tour — an excerpt and giveaway!

Today I’m hosting Rosanne Rivers on her blog tour in honor of the release of her new book, After the Fear! This means you get to read an excerpt and enter to win a copy of the book. Exciting, right? I know I’m excited. After the Fear looks like it’s right up my alley, and as soon as my current fiction-fast is done with I’m going to be reading it.

So, without further ado….

After the Fear, by Rosanne Rivers

You have not attended a Demonstration this month.

In Sola’s city, everyone obeys the rules. Stay away from the trigger cameras and regularly update your Debtbook, and you just might survive. But having to watch the way criminals are dealt with—murdered by Demonstrators in the Stadium—is a law Sola tries to avoid. When a charming Demonstrator kisses her at a party, however, she’s thrust into the Stadium and forced into the very role she despises.

Armed with only natural resourcefulness and a caring nature, Sola narrowly survives her first bout. Her small success means she’s whisked off to a training camp, where she discovers a world beyond the trigger cameras and monitoring—a world where falling in love with a killer doesn’t seem so terrible.

Yet life as a Demonstrator has no peace. Sola must train her way through twenty-five more Demonstrations before she can return home to her father. At the end of each battle, only one survivor remains.

Sola could face anyone in the Stadium . . . even a loved one.

 

An Excerpt:

Coral takes up nearly all of my thoughts on the walk home. One moment I’m annoyed with myself for hurting her, the next I’m annoyed with her for tainting the memory of my first kiss. By the time I scan into the flat, I’ve decided I’m actually annoyed with Dylan for turning me into the kind of girl who over thinks everything.

That’s weird. Dad’s briefcase is in the living room. He’s meant to be at work.

‘Dad?’

I peek into his room, then mine. Nothing. A faraway digger makes me jump, and I let out a half breath/half laugh to myself. I always creep myself out so easily. I’m actually relieved to hear a noise from the kitchen, because a noise that’s definitely someone is better than a creak which could be someone.

‘Why didn’t you answer me?’ I ask, rushing into the last room of the flat.

Three people crowd my kitchen. I bounce back from the threshold, as if I’ve hit an invisible wall. Mr Winters stands by the door, tall and gangly with his hands held behind his back. His grey face almost matches his white coat. The other two are surly-looking men I don’t recognise, but their Liaison uniforms unite all of them against me. One eyes me greedily, his arm resting on my kitchen counter.

A sticky bubble forms at the back of my throat. Mr Winters holds a finger up to silence me, although I hadn’t even opened my mouth to speak. He motions toward the digiscreen with a flick of his bony hand.

It’s fixed on my Debtbook profile. My picture grins into the room. There’s a new status underneath my name, but I can’t read it. I glance at Mr Winters and something catches the light in his hand. From in between his curled fingers protrudes the long stem of a needle.

Everything slows, although I know it happens quickly.

I back away and hit the screen. The black dots of text shuffle and sharpen. Mr Winters moves behind me. I read the words.

Sola Herrington has been chosen to help pay the Nation’s Debt.

***

About Rosanne Rivers

Rosanne lives in Birmingham, UK and considers it one of her favourite cities, second only to Rome. She delights in writing for children and young adults and hopes to bring readers to an unfamiliar yet alluring setting. Rosanne was inspired to write when she read the Harry Potter books, and at age fourteen, she wrote romance fanfiction on just about every pairing you could dream up from the HP series. She currently lives with her partner and two bunny rabbits and is working on a post-apocalyptic adventure book for middle grade readers.

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A very Grumpy Cat winner!

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Drumroll please!

The winner of Bacon and Whiskey’s 12 Days of Grumpy Cat Giveaway, the prize of which is two lovely ebooks by two lovely authors, is….

Jack!

Check your inbox.

Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who played. I hope you enjoy my blog and I hope you stick around. This was my first giveaway, and I had a lot of fun doing it.

(How I chose the winner: I numbered each comment in sequential order, then I went to Random.org and had their number generator generate a number between 1 and the total number of comments. The winning number corresponded to one of Jack’s comments.)

There will be more giveaways in the future, when I can devise other fun things to do around various holidays. (Also, if you sign up for my newsletter, which goes out about 4 times a year, you will have more chances for free stuff as well as early peeks at books I’m writing.)

Happy New Beer Year!