Discovering New Fantasy Authors

photo

Part of marketing is not only connecting with your readers but connecting with other authors. To that end I have discovered a new exciting fantasy author and asked her if I could do an interview. She graciously said, “yes” so here it is for your enjoyment.

Interview with D. Wallace PeachDiana

 SWM: I have recently read a new fantasy author that I find exciting and different. She recently interviews me at http:www.mythsofthemirror and now I want to return the favor. As a science fiction author, I wanted to know what made her decide to write and why fantasy? So I asked her.

DWP: Hi Sheron. Thanks for inviting me to gab about books and writing – something I never get tired of doing!

When I was a teenager, I actually tried my hand at a book. I wrote eighty pages with an old manual typewriter and gobs of White-Out. As often happens to our dreams, life got in the way, and it wasn’t until much later that writing reemerged as a possibility. My husband and I were living in Vermont when he took a yearlong job in Connecticut on our way to Oregon. By then the kids were grown and I had two successful careers behind me. I used that interim year to try two things I’d only dreamed of: I flipped a house and wrote a book. Well, one house-flip was plenty, but I’m working on book #9.

Why fantasy? I’ve had a special affection for the genre since reading Tolkien as a teenager. Add to that, I’m a lazy person and thought that fantasy would save me the hassle of research. I had the terrific idea that if I didn’t know something, I could just make it up. Needless to say, I was clueless. I spend hours researching the minutest details in order to bring my worlds to life.

SWM: What kind of fantasies do you write?

sunweilderDWP: You won’t find elves, dwarves, and quests for magic amulets in my books (at least not at this point). I’m still experimenting with the genre, and each book is different from its predecessor. Myths of the Mirror is quite gentle in nature where The Bone Wall is a gritty, post-apocalyptic ordeal. I’m now finishing a book that overlaps “traditional” fantasy and urban fantasy.

I like writing stories with twists, unexpected elements, and complex plots. I’ve dabbled in magical time-travel and human-animal melding. About half of my books are stand-alone reads. The Dragon Soul Trilogy will be out this summer, and I’m working on the first draft of a tetralogy. My readers never know what’s coming next!

SWM: Describe your style of writing. Both how you write (daily activity) and the types of words.

DWP: I like rich, deeply-drawn characters, and though I work hard at developing compelling plots, it’s the characters who ultimately bring them to life and give them a sense of reality. When I write, I fully enter my characters’ heads and hearts. I “live” their emotional trauma and physical stress, and the real world fades away. To write with this intensity, I need big chunks of time, 6-10 hour stretches, 4-5 days per week.

Types of words? I love finding the perfect word and putting words together in interesting ways. I’m captivated not only by the meanings of words, but the sound. Even down to the number of syllables. (Yes, I get a little nutty). I read my writing aloud several times in the course of editing to get the flow of the language just right. There are paragraphs that I’ll revise 20 to 30 times before I’m satisfied.

SWM: You just published The Bone Wall. Tell us a little about it.bonewall

 DWP: Basically the book is an exploration of what the world will be like 300 years after greedy corporations completely wreck it. The story plays with the idea of “brokenness:” physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually. It asks whether healing is possible, and if so, what will that look like? How far do we need to fall before we risk the climb? Bone walls are the tangible, psychological, and metaphorical graveyards we build when we act without compassion.

The story follows identical twins, Rimma and Angel, who have grown up in a domed community called Heaven. When their dome fails, the remnants of a “broken world” sweep in to plunder and rape. Thrust into a savage and unfamiliar existence, Rimma and Angel take radically different approaches to survival. While Angel chooses hope, forming relationships and strengthening the communities around her, her sister, Rimma, remains blinded by vengeance and unwilling to adapt. Though their choices pull them apart, unbreakable magic prevents them from leading separate lives, until…

SWM: You’ve made a switch from traditional publishing to self-publishing. Why?

 DWP: I wanted more control. Working with a publisher was a great way to get my feet wet, and I don’t regret it for a moment. I needed the help, and at the same time learned quite a bit about the craft through the editing process. But traditional publishing is a slow endeavor, and I can get books to print faster if I’m not in someone else’s queue. I also wanted more control over promotions and pricing, which is key to building readership. It’s an experiment that I’m thoroughly enjoying.myths of mirror

 SWM: How can we find information about you and your books?

 DWP: That’s easy. I love chatting with readers and writers, so never be shy about contacting me.

All of my books are available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=d.+wallace+peach

Excerpts and links are on my website, Myths of the Mirror: http://mythsofthemirror.com/books-by-d-wallace-peach/

Follow my blog to learn about new books and promotions!: http://mythsofthemirror.com/

I’m on Goodreads as well. Here’s my Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068749.D_Wallace_Peach

That about does it. Thanks again, Sheron, for the interview. This was fun, and I look forward to hearing from your sci-fi/fantasy fans!

1 Comment

Filed under ebook marketing, environmental issues in science fiction, fantasy, Indie Publishing, Indie Science Fiction Authors, Marketing and selling novels, Post Apocalyptic, Self-publishing, time travel

Ebook Marketing and Talking Starship Crew Members

IMG_9518Sometimes I can control time.

It’s a Talent I have.

I told myself I needed to wake up at 12:00 a.m. so that I can take my next set of pain pills. As most of you know, I did a little stair sliding recently and broke a shoulder bone..the humerus. So I’m not as funny as I used to be.

Not recommended at all! Very painful. I need my meds.

In pitch dark, my eyes blink open to see the digital clock click over to exactly 12:00 a.m. Time for my meds.

How did I do that?

And it happens on a regular basis.

With all of time swirling around me, how can I pluck out the exact moment that I need to wake up?

Do humans connect more subconsciously with the universe than we realize? Will we ever be able to use this connection? Do we already use this connection in some way? Or is it just a random event?

As you might know, I’m exploring ebook marketing programs. For me, the KDP Select platform has been successful. My numbers are still coming in, and last month I did very little with any marketing.

Remember the stair sliding/wall smashing bit?

In April I intend to do a guest blog over at my friend Diana’s website and interview her on my blog here. She has several intriguing fantasy novels published that I want to mention.

EarthriseThis week I went to my Kindle shelf to select Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth to review. I have signed up at various sites that offer free and discounted books. on a daily basis. To a certain extent, these sites curate books by price, genre, popularity (number of five star reviews) and other factors often selected by the customer.

This is a dramatic shift in how books are bought.

I am conflicted about this trend. I recognize the desperate need for a way to select out the better books from the overwhelming tsunami of books being currently published and shoved out to a bewildered public. I also see the need for Amazon to have competition. However, my email box is getting jammed with advertising by Bookbub, Freebooksy, Sweetfreebooks, ebooks daily and other such services that now proliferate the web. Okay, so I signed up and can unsubscribe if I want. But, cleaning out the various email boxes is becoming another boring time sink.

Surprising is the growth of my sales via Kindle Unlimited and The Kindle Library for Prime members. Based on the Netflix model of a monthly fee, my sales in that arena have skyrocketed. This a a double-edged sword in that Amazon doesn’t set a fixed amount for the sales, but sales are dependent on how many books are sold and how much Amazon puts in the coffer that month. The question for the author is: would this book have sold the usual way if not in the program or was the book an incremental sale? The income from this kind of sale is not considered a royalty, and the net profit to the author is set at the whim of Amazon.

And yet, it is an increasingly popular way readers are now buying books…especially the voracious reader. If your book was not there sitting on the KindleUnlimited shelf ready to be plucked off for someone’s Kindle library, would another book be the one chosen instead of yours? Would that sale have gone to another author? Let’s face it, after 10% of the book is read, Amazon pays you whether the reader finishes the book or not. Those nickels add up, and no initial fee is required from you, the author. Neither program costs a dime, except in the opportunity cost of sales on other sites due to Amazon’s requirement of 90 days exclusivity.

It was while scanning my email and discounted book sites that my eye caught Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth for $.99. Normally I don’t read science fiction where the aliens are talking animals or the aliens so alien that it is hard to relate to them. But the blurb sounded interesting, I got a deal on it, and soon found myself enjoying the story so much that I couldn’t put it down.Rosepoint

The story concerns Reese Eddings, a feisty, independent, black female who comes from a maternal culture that expects their women to return home and procreate. Instead, Reese scrapes together her funds, one being a mysterious loan from a very wealthy benefactor, the other from family resources, to gather enough to buy a broken down ship and pay her micro crew their salary. For several years she struggles this way, her nose barely above water.

She manages to assemble a fascinating and diverse crew onto her ship, Earthrise. The ship is run more like a family than a business enterprise. Irine and Sascha are Harat Shar, twin felinoids from the pelted universe. Think lusty cats that can fly space ships. Also on board is Kis’eh’t who is a Glaseahn and carries a centaurean body shape that includes two sturdy black arms, four black and white legs, feathered ears, a flicking tail and two small leathered wings. Kis’eh’t’s calm personality and strength come in handy slinging cargo around.

Image 3Next, Breyer is a Phoenix or a large birdlike creature with metallic plumage and hidden talents and abilities. Finally, there is Allakazam, the Flitzbe, that strongly resembles a Star Trek Tribble and communicates through touch, color, and internal emotions. It carries healing abilities.

Contemplating the need to crawl back to her family for yet more money in order to survive has given Reese an ulcer and digestive problems that she tries to solve by escaping into a good Eldritch and human romance story.

And then, after all those years, her long ago wealthy benefactor resurfaces and calls in the loan. Reese won’t have to pay back the money, however, but rather rescue an Eldritch prince out of the clutches of drug smuggling pirates.

Hogarth deftly has this ragtag crew bumble into the pirate’s den and attempt a daring, edge-of-your-seat rescue. Upon meeting him, Reese denies any feelings for the unusual and unbelievably handsome Eldritch prince, Hirianthial. The ship returns to Harat Shar for much needed repairs where Hirianthial would be better served if he listened to Reese and did the opposite of what she claims she wants. Meaning well, crew member Sascha recognizes the growing bond between their captain and the intriguing Eldritch and tries to give the bewildered prince some romantic advice, whether he wants it or not. A few stumbling blocks hinder the process. Eldritch cannot stand to be touched or touch others as he becomes overwhelmed by the memories and emotions of the other. Also, Hirianthial is at least five hundred years old, give or take a few. And, he knows something about the pirates that they are desperate to cover up. They will do anything to recapture him and search out the Earthrise with a vengeance. Then Fleet learns of Reese’s connection to the pirates and gets into the act, entreating Reese to act as bait so they can swoop in and close down the drug ring.

Think C.J. Cherryh’s Chanur series to get a feel for the book. I found myself drawn into Reese’s escalating problems. A delightful book, I’m looking forward to how Reese will figure out how to survive it all.

2 Comments

Filed under Alien and human bonding, alien life forms, Alien worlds, Aliens in Science Fiction, C. J. Cherryh, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, gene modification, Indie authors, Indie Publishing, Marketing and selling novels, Paranormal Romance, science fiction, science fiction series, Science fiction thriller, Self-publishing, Space opera, space ship, space travel, The future of publishing

Ooops!

IMG_0174Humans live with the ridiculous expectation that we have some control over our lives..and there are events we can depend on happening..the sun rising…taxes coming due…
We have to expect our life has a certain dependability from day to day or we’d never get out of bed.
The moon remains in orbit, so all we need to focus on are the small details…what to wear,,,what to make for dinner.
At the back of our mind is the knowledge that our existence is chancy, but we don’t dwell in that place. We have to move on and cook dinner.
I can still feel the slight slide of one stockinged foot as it lost traction on the lower step in a beautiful house I’ve lived in for over twenty years, traversing that very step several times per day.
A slight wobble, a small sliding step, a loss of balance and I crashed into the corner of the hallway and kitchen, picking a particularly destructive angle of wall. A spread of possibilities flashed through my mind, chilling in consequences. I remember thinking, “This is not good” and wondering how I had acquired that much momentum in such a short space.
When I could wiggle my fingers and form a sentence, my worst fears abated. Then, I tried to move. Screaming, claw the ceiling pain, left Rosie Projectmy body shivering on the hard cold floor.
Now I need a new shoulder, as if you can just pick it off the grocery shelf.
In a second, my life has changed dramatically.
Human lives are like that..pearls of seconds strung on a necklace that forms a life…and sometimes you’re not in control.
But we have to get up in the morning; we have to move forward.
And there is that great solace…if I start to babble, I can always blame it on the meds.

My operation is Thursday. I hope to offer a surprising suggestion in a week or so. I have to eliminate the Rosie Project as it is neither science fiction nor fantasy…but just an interesting fun read and recommended.

8 Comments

Filed under Autism

Fantasy vs. Science fiction

photoMy writing group has a mix of both science fiction and fantasy writers, and I’m coming to some conclusions on how these two genres differ in regards to writing styles.

One differences is the extent of world building. Sure I put a map in my second book, but I just finished Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance tome, and he has not only an extensive map but extensive illustrations of the flora and fauna in his world, the fashion of his world, and the social hierarchy. Science fiction writers paint a world and then get on with the action; fantasy writers dally in the landscape and admire the scenery more.

Fantasy seems to be more character driven while science fiction is more plot driven. The reader doesn’t get too deep into the complex psychology of the Splinkx, whereas in Fool’s Assassin, the complex emotions of FitzWilliam is a focus for the story and provides the impact at the end.

And the science fiction writers like their high tech gadgets and cutting edge science almost as much as fantasy writers like their magic. Sometimes the two are very similar. (see sidebar quote)

In my series, there is time travel. Poof you’re here; poof, you’re there. Sorta magical.

Both may involve large battles. However, in Lord of the Rings, the battle is mostly on the ground while in in Star Wars or Star Trek, the battles are usually out in space with lots of lasers and gunships.

The enemy tends to be ugly in both genres. Whether it’s Klingons or Orcs, it’s not a pretty face. Our allies, however, are attractive. Legolas and Aragon make me drool, although we should skip the characters of George R. R. Martin as he is changing this trope a bit . Princess Leia and Hans Solo are also easy on the eyes…but the occasional hairy Wooki does pop up. And some of our friendlier aliens often exhibit odd behaviors.

In writing group, the fantasy people are always telling me to put more description in my story while I’m always asking them to stop admiring the scenery, the dress, character behavior and get on with the action and storyline.

This interplay makes for better writing on both sides of the aisle. Still, as a writer, you must recognize your genre and the style that your reader expects, and accommodate that expectation to a certain extent.

I recently read a blog by Tara Sparling and even though it is dated, the numbers are interesting. It’s data on the best selling books of 2012 with charts and graphs. Check it out here: http://tarasparlingwrites.com/2013/08/21/2012-bestselling-book-data-visualised/ 

Words of RadianceThis week I finished Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. (Huff. Huff) The over one thousand pages looked overwhelming, but they were actually easier to do than I expected– although it entailed a few really late nights. Way of Kings is the first in this series and I reviewed that last year and really liked it. Brandon Sanderson is a favorite of mine.

If you like chunky epics with detailed world building, you will love this one. The characters are compelling and the magic, as ever with Sanderson, is interesting. There are three major point of view characters: the doctor’s son betrayed into slavery and clawing his way back, the king’s uncle and stalwart hero who battles both in the trenches and in the  evil court, and the abused beautiful young girl who searches for the strength to become a powerful woman. Each has a story and each interact with the others. The stories start slow, but build beautifully.Way of Kings

Sanderson writes with passion and a good storyline. That combination always makes an excellent read and is worth being a little sleep deprived at times.

4 Comments

Filed under alien life forms, award winning scifi, ebook marketing, fantasy, fantasy series, magic, Marketing and selling novels, New York Times Best Sellers, Tor's Reader's Choice, Writing Critique groups

Ebook Marketing

IMG_9503Spring is coming!

I feel like dancing.

For whatever reasons, my most recent marketing program exceeded expectations. Many authors had been grumbling that free doesn’t work as well anymore…that ebook libraries are bursting at the seams with free books…And my previous marketing attempt seemed to indicate that might be true.

But if I still see an interesting free book, I grab it.

I’m just that cheap.

And if I like it, and there’s more by that author, I’m willing to pay a certain price for that reading experience. (See previous blogs)

Several readers did just that, buying up my whole series in some cases.

The key is finding a way to get your name in front of readers so they can sample your writing…get to know you.

There are a variety of “free and discounted” book websites that charge the author for displaying his/her book. The cost to the reader is giving out his email address. That’s all.

The cost to the author varies depending on the effectiveness of the website with Bookbub leading the pack. However, there’s a price to pay for the author and hurdles to leap because of their popularity. I did find that the cheaper sites are most often less effective. You get what you pay for. So you have to find a balance.

Why was this program more effective?

I think timing played an important role. Lucky for me, I didn’t realize that a winter storm was coming in to strand a large number of people in their homes where they had more time to read.

Having said that, a lot of the books sold were out of the U.S.A. Sold three in India for crying out loud. And to my Canadian readers… many, many thanks!

Readers in the U.K. are the second largest market (after U.S.A.) but also Germany, France, and Japan sold.

Also, I saw my numbers spike when I advertised on Freebooksy. An earlier website was cheaper, but sold very little even though they put out a lot of tweets. The tweets didn’t translate into sales. So that was interesting.

If you have a compelling cover and a blurb that intrigues readers; it’s key.

So, I am a supporter of Amazon and their marketing efforts because I would probably be selling a lot less without their various programs.

Win. Win.

Five Element AnthologySpeaking of winning…

Recently several writers in my group have won awards for their short stories. They are quite good at it. So in a moment of insa…enthusiasm, we decided to all write a short story. Then, some wise wit suggested each member offer an element to include in the story. We went around the table. I sagely suggested putting in an alien; others suggested a spaceship, a ghost, a conflict with a boss, and then Chelsea grinned and added a fireplace poker.

Yikes!

That’s just like her!

Now short stories are not my strength, but I actually had fun writing mine. Be forewarned, there is a strong humorous component in it. As a result we came up with seven amazing stories that we have put in an anthology called the Five Elements Anthology.

All the profits will go to the Willamette Writers literacy program Books for Kids. It’s priced at an affordable 99 cents. To do this, we had our Willamette Writers member be the publisher and collect the royalties. We are not allowed to funnel funds directly to the Association, so at a given amount, Ted will send a check to the Association in our name. It was important that we communicated with the Willamette Writers and clear the idea with them first. They have been most enthusiastic and already have mentioned the anthology in their newsletter.

You can easily get the anthology on Amazon. Just scroll down a bit since Five Elements is a popular name. You’ll see my name and the rest of the group on the dynamite front cover.

We’ve sold two already in England along with a number in good old U.S.A.

Writing a short story was so much fun, I might try another one and offer it as a special for my website readers. Stay tuned.

Leave a comment

Filed under alien life forms, Aliens in Science Fiction, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, fantasy, Indie authors, Indie Publishing, Indie Science Fiction Authors, Marketing and selling novels, Science Fiction Anthology, science fiction series, Self-publishing, Wizards and magic

Ebook Marketing: Science Fiction

photo Fame is fleeting.

But so sweet in the moment.

Yesterday Caught in Time made #1 in Amazon’s Free Kindle>science fiction>space opera bestseller list.

Oh the glory.

Today…now that my promotion is over, I’m swimming in the deep ocean of paid Kindle eBooks. Sigh. Like I said…fleeting. But wonderful, nonetheless.

However, sales for books in the rest of the series have picked up briskly and I’m hoping readers will explore further the Alysian Universe. Later books are more adult, and I hope the YA flavor of the earlier ones won’t deter readers.

So read on, you all. Select a book from the series, huddle under the covers, and let those cold winds blow outside while you explore another world and keep warm. Undercity

Does the series idea work? I just finished reading Catherine Asaro’s latest novel, Under City and renewed my love for her stories. She is beginning a new detective series with a female protagonist, Major Bhaajan, former military officer with Imperial Space Command, now a hard bitten P.I. She takes on a case that unearths her poverty stricken past and turns up old loves and old enemies. A prince of the royal family has disappeared and her job is to find him. The trail leads downward where she not only has to save the prince, but possibly a whole way of life hidden underground.

Asaro brings deep emotions and romance to science fiction. Once a ballet dancer and also a producer of a jazz album, Asaro carries heavy credentials in the smart department with a M.A. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Harvard. This stretch of hard science combined with artistic talent is reflected in her writing. Two time Nebula Award winner, her series in the Skolian Universe is one of my favorites. Lightning Strike

While this new series slides down the social scale, diving underneath the city of Cries to a place where survival is a day by day struggle, several royal members from past books make cameo appearances. The new reader takes scant notice, but for her fans, the chords from past novels are plucked and resonate in memory.The City of Cries Of course, I recommend Under City if you are an Asaro fan.

One of the reasons I like science fiction is that I like to wonder what the future might bring. If you’re like me…then this article on Kurtzweil’s predictions for the next twenty-five years might pique your interest. It’s my nod to you hard science guys who have been so patient lately while I’ve dallied in fantasy. http://www.inquisitr.com/1805304/ray-kurzweil-predicts-some-fantastic-things-coming-in-the-next-25-years/

2 Comments

Filed under alien life forms, Alien worlds, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, Cutting Edge Science ideas, Indie Publishing, Marketing and selling novels, Science Fiction Detective Story, Science fiction world building, Space opera

Romance in Science Fiction for Valentine’s Day

photoLove is in the air. Valentine’s Day is here. Today is dedicated to recognizing the special people in our life and telling them that we love and appreciate them.

Too often we’re too busy to mention how important they are to us.

So take some time today and let them know.

You probably have it already on your agenda.

You know I’m working on marketing, so I want to make sure that you’re aware that my time travel romance, Caught in Time, will be offered free on Amazon today February 14th through the 18th.

Caught in Time Cover1.1 2Travel back in time to a medieval period…on an alien planet. Rowyna Grae is a regendered clone from the last dying time traveler and is sent into the past to kill a king who is considered the origin of those with special abilities called, Talents.

However, instead, she falls in love with him while dealing with no running water, lack of heat, a barbaric people, betrayal at the royal court, and a looming war.

Think Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court…only Rowyna Grae is no simple Connecticut Yankee and King Telluria’s court can get complicated to a young woman from the future.

Enjoy yourself. It’s FREE for a limited time only.

Currently, I am watching the Brigham Young University series by Brandon Sanderson and really am enjoying his lectures. I gave a link on a former blog. I am thinking of reading Words of Radiance since I have read and reviewed the first book of this epic fantasy, Way of Kings, already and liked it. Unfortunately, it’s over a thousand pages long. I can’t do that in a week. But I’ll probably try.Way of Kings

MistbornWord is that sequels to his Alloy of Law series will also be out later this year. So heads up there. The earlier Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson is a favorite of mine and many other fantasy readers. If you haven’t read it, you might give it a glance.

Since I’m constantly in edit mode nowadays, I bought Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Brown. I usually use an editor, but it helps to edit myself first before I hand it off. One of my favorite bloggers just came out with a long list of books to help the struggling writer of today and that is where I discovered this title. Check out http://www.veronicasicoe.com/blog/2015/02/writing-advice-books-list/ and her latest blog for ideas and comments.

Then, don’t forget to hug someone significant and tell them that you love them.

XXXXX

 

4 Comments

Filed under Alien worlds, alloy magic, Best selling science fiction, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, fantasy, fantasy series, Indie authors, Indie Science Fiction Authors, magic, Marketing and selling novels, Mistborn series, science fiction, science fiction series, Self-publishing