Tag Archives: Publishing

New Release: Here’s How We Survive: The (Love) Stories for 2020

One year. Four dozen stories.

115,000 words.

Here’s How We Survive: The (Love) Stories for 2020

When I first conceived of this project, way back in late 2019 (around November, I think), I had no idea what 2020 would bring.

Then again, none of us did.

All I knew was that I had any number of previously published stories that weren’t doing anything and several on my hard drive that had never found a home.

With a little creative scheduling, I figured it would be fairly easy to write enough new stories to fill in any blanks.

Then 2020 actually happened.

I wondered what I’d gotten myself into and feared that somewhere along the way, I’d get derailed. So I took it one story and one week at a time.

It was both easier and harder than I thought it would be. In some ways, it became my anchor for 2020. I could always edit a post, create images in Photoshop, or excavate stories from my hard drive.

(Note: if you’re fairly new to writing, it may seem strange that you can forget about writing stories. I’m here to tell you: it really does happen.)

A couple of times, I came this close to not having any stories scheduled. At others, I had so many in the queue, there wasn’t enough room on the WordPress dashboard to display them all.

Once, I became exceedingly confused and published a story on Thursday, realized my mistake, and unpublished it until the next day. This was post-COVID, so we can simply blame lingering coronavirus brain fog for that.

I learned a number of practical lessons, things like it’s good to have several posts in reserve in case you sprain your ankle or that scheduling each story/post will take much longer than you think it will.

The project–and 2020–gave me the chance to reflect on my writing in a way I’m not sure I would have otherwise. As the saying goes:

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten.

Or, in this case, fifteen. That’s the breadth of the stories in this collection. It’s not the sum total of my entire writing career, but it’s a significant portion of it. I chose not to include some earlier stories (and, actually, some later ones too). They’re not necessarily bad. They were published, after all–one even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. They simply didn’t fit the collection.

So now I’ll turn my attention not only to 2021 but beyond. Sure, there are many things I’d like to accomplish this coming year, but I’m going to keep my eye on the next decade as well.

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Mini-release Monday: Dragon Whispers

Dragon Whispers: Six Tales of Dragon Adventure and Lore

Here be dragons … six of them.

Often mercurial, preternaturally perceptive, always inscrutable.

What if you had to barter for your village while tied to a stake? Or if the one thing you always wanted—a dragon of your own—was forever denied? Where might a midnight chase through a stately hotel lead?

From adversary to lover to devoted friend, from epic to urban fantasy—follow six heroines as they encounter six very different dragons. They’ll barter and bargain, chase and be chased, and in the end, learn the true meaning of dragon’s bane.

Dragon Whispers gathers together the dragon stories from The (Love) Stories for 2020 project:

  • Aleag the Great
  • Knight at the Royal Arms
  • Fire and Ivy
  • Dragon’s End
  • Heart Whisper
  • Dragon’s Bane

Let the adventure begin!

Don’t buy this book!

All right, you certainly can buy this book. I’m not going to stop you.

However, all the stories in it have (or will) appear as part of The (Love) Stories for 2020 project. So you can absolutely read them for free as well (Aleag the Great and Heart Whisper are scheduled for November). Plus, I’ll be releasing a compilation of all the 2020 stories at the end of the year.

So why release this (somewhat) slender compilation and then tell people not to buy it? Reverse psychology?

No, actually, I have a couple of reasons for doing this. As I was working on the project, I discovered I had dragon stories—in my head and on my hard drive—enough to create their own compilation.

These themed compilations sell surprisingly well for me–in markets you can’t really see. Library pay-per-checkout, print library sales, print sales via Ingram, and subscription services like Kobo Plus and Scrib. I have books that don’t sell on any of the e-retailer sites (and have the Amazon rank to prove it, ha!) but sell in print.

Unfortunately, it’s a murky thing. I can’t tell where these books are selling (most of the time), so my only recourse is more = better.

Also, it’s been more than a year since I’ve released something new. It’s always good to practice the steps since things change all the time.

But most of all, it was fun. I enjoy the production side of things almost as much as the writing. And maybe it’s a result of 2020, but it feels good to make something and put it out into the world.

So, sure, go buy the book if you wish, but if you’re in a reviewing sort of mood, I’d love some of those as well. Drop me a line, and I’ll send you an electronic copy.

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Free Fiction Friday: Crying Wolf

This month, it’s all about fairy tale retellings. First up, a retelling of … well, you can probably guess.

Sending you over to Daily Science Fiction today for my story Crying Wolf.

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Weekly writing check-in: the Amazon bait and switch

So, I discovered that the US Amazon store was selling the print version of The Complete Coffee and Ghosts for $6.88.

Usually, it’s $24.99.

I know. Totally insane. The price stayed like that for a few days, so this morning I took a chance and alerted my newsletter subscribers to the deal.

You know what happens next, right?

Amazon jacked the price back up to $24.99. Because, of course, they did.

No doubt people clicking through from the email triggered some algorithm or other. Even I missed picking up a couple of copies. I was going to grab some for a giveaway or little free libraries.

But all is not lost. The Kindle version is still on sale for $6.88. It’s not the fire sale of earlier, but it’s not bad.

In less frustrating news, I submitted a story this week, played around with some time travel ideas (story ideas, not actual time travel), and of course, saw The Way Home published over at Long and Short Reviews.

So, minus the Amazon debacle, not a bad week.

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Weekly writing check-in: 2018 in review

I am charging through the read-through of The Trouble with Necromancers. Once that’s done, and I do a quick check for grammar and typos, I’ll send it out for editing.

That makes now a good time to review 2018.

2018, by the numbers:

2018 was a strange year, for so many reasons. For me, one of the main ones was losing my good friend and writing BFF, Darcy Vance (you can read my tribute to her here). She died about a year ago, and navigating my creative life without her has been difficult. For a bit, I thought I would stop writing altogether.

I didn’t, obviously. Darcy wouldn’t want me to. Still, this year was full of me trying to find my way again, on my own.

Writing. Eh. Not as much as I wanted to or would have liked. That being said, I started the year with an unfinished, very thin draft of The Trouble with Necromancers, and I ended up with something I think/hope works as a series starter, along with ~six books planned.

I switched gears early in the year. I was thinking of focusing on a fairy tale series, but the world building wasn’t there. I switched to a contemporary story because that would be “easier” (ha, ha). What I think happened is I learned a lot about building a series and world from scratch.

I do plan to return to the fairy tale series, but probably not this year. (Then again, when it comes to writing, I never say never.)

I also wrote a novella (soon to be a full-fledged novel) in the Tea & Sorcery series. I also had the chance to write a story that takes place in one of my favorite series. The author extended the invitation, so essentially, it was fan fiction. It was also a lot of fun to do (and necessitated rereading the entire series, of course). I’ll let you know if/when it’s published.

Submissions. I sent out 25 submissions this year. I didn’t write any new stories for the short fiction market, so most of those were either stories I haven’t sold yet or reprints.

I made two sales:

I’m still waiting on a handful of 2018 submissions as well.

Books. I published one book, Straying from the Path. This is my fairy tale compilation, and I was so certain I’d follow it up with more fairy tales. And … someday I will.

What I did do this year is rebrand all my offerings. In doing so, I managed to snag a BookBub Featured Deal for Coffee & Ghosts 1: Must Love Ghosts. That was a big deal. That was a very big deal.

I’m pleased I took the time and effort to re-do all the covers. It really made a difference in the next category.

Money. I’m from the midwest. We don’t talk about money, at least not willingly. But in full transparency mode, how is this indie publish thing working out for me?

Pretty okay. This is the second year in a row that I’ve made five figures. Not living-wage five figures, mind you. Still. Enough that this is certainly worth my while. Plus? It’s fun.

But this whole money thing brings me to my goals for 2019:

More books, new books, new formats (audio, large print, and so on). But especially new series and new things for people to read. That’s really been my goal all along: things for people to read.

Let’s see if I’m up to the task in 2019.

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with the bundle of ghosts

So, this week, I released the bundle of season three of Coffee & Ghosts, because some people like their coffee and ghosts all in one place. I’m still doing the print layout for it, but that should be ready in a week or two.

And … I started in on a new story. For now I’m calling it How Goldie Lost Her Locks, and it’s about how … Goldie lost her locks. I’m also outlining another one that I think I’ll call An Army of Toads. And if you’re thinking to yourself: hm, those sound like reimaged fairy tales, you might be right.

Otherwise, I filled the week helping my daughter with her Girl Scout cookie sales … lots and lots of cookies sales and lots and lots of cookies.

Writing Work:

  • Planning/researching new series
  • Draft writing ~ 5,000 words!

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • None

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

ghost-series-3Coffee & Ghosts 3: The Complete Third Season is now available for those of you who like your coffee & ghosts in one place.

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Fabulous Fantasy and Science Fiction Special

Another fabulous promotion courtesy of author Patty Jansen. If you need to fill up on books to beat the winter blues, this is just the thing. All books (and some boxed sets!) are 99 cents. But hurry! This weekend only!

sffjanuarypromo

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Now Available: Nothing but the Ghosts

nothing-but-the-ghosts

When it comes to both coffee and ghosts, Katy Lindstrom is an expert, but her most recent otherworldly encounter has left her housebound and weak.

After Katy uncovers some long-held family secrets, she finds herself entangled in past and present—and on a mission to find the truth. To unravel past mysteries, she’ll need to bargain with a powerful entity and face retribution from the necromancer community.

Where Katy must go, Malcolm can’t follow. This time around, she’ll need to make the ultimate sacrifice. This time, to save Malcolm, Springside, and everything she loves, Katy will need to give them up forever.

Available on all vendors for a special launch price of 99 cents. Start 2017 with Nothing but the Ghosts.


New to Coffee & Ghosts? Read the pilot episode for free (or listen to the audio version from The Drabblecast). Or jump right in with Season One (on sale for 99 cents–but hurry) and Two.

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Now Available: A Few Good Ghosts

a-few-good-ghosts

Katy Lindstrom is pretty handy with a cup of coffee and a Tupperware container—it’s what she uses to capture even the most elusive ghosts.

But when a powerful necromancer unleashes a new type of ghost in Springside and traps Katy and her friend Belinda inside the Springside Pancake House, it’s not the ghost, but the cracks in their friendship that may do the most harm.

Katy can’t eradicate this ghost and repair her friendship—not without Malcolm’s help, not without some Kona blend, not all on her own.

She has her wits and her budding skills as a necromancer, but before Katy can secure her future, she’ll have to visit her past.

And what she finds there changes everything.

Available on all vendors for a special launch price of 99 cents. You never know when you’ll need a few good ghosts during the holiday season.


New to Coffee & Ghosts? Read the pilot episode for free (or listen to the audio version from The Drabblecast). Or jump right in with Season One and Two.

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Now Available: Ghosts and Consequences!

ghosts-and-consequences

It’s here! Just in time for Halloween!

Season Three of Coffee & Ghosts starts now!

Ghosts and Consequences

Reluctant necromancer Katy Lindstrom is worried about mixing business with pleasure. All she wants is a few hours alone with her more-than-a-business-partner, Malcolm Armand.

Before they can sort through their feelings over a cup of Kona blend, another necromancer lands on Katy’s doorstep.

Malcolm’s father.

He brings with him tales of old betrayals and fresh lies. But a bigger danger lurks in Springside—a powerful ghost sent to destroy Malcolm’s brother.

Exorcising this particular ghost won’t be easy, especially since it has whispered tales of its own, ones that sound eerily familiar, ones that link Katy’s family to Malcolm’s.

Even if Katy and Malcolm can eradicate this ghost, one thing is clear:

Falling in love is the last thing they should do.

New to Coffee & Ghosts? Read the pilot episode for free (or listen to the audio version from The Drabblecast). Or jump right in with Season One and Two–now available on all vendors.

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