The Quest Continues

This one is for the writers in the audience, or anyone wondering how I go about crafting my stories. (Note the word crafting—it makes it sound like I know what I’m doing. Ah, the power of language.) To be honest, this post is more of an update on my ongoing quest to streamline my process. Back in September, I wrote a post about my attempt to refine the way I write. I’ve been a seat-of-my-pants (aka organic) writer all my life. As I mentioned before, I credit this to my early approach when I wrote just for fun and just for me. I wrote until I reached the end, slapped the handwritten pages into a ring binder, and moved on to the next book. No planning, no plotting, and no editing. Pure entertainment. (Yes, I’m wild and crazy like that. Who needs a night out on the town? Give me a pen and paper, and I’ll make my own fun.) Well, things are different now. Readers expect me to turn new books out in a timely fashion. Not only new books, but books that make sense. (Readers are so demanding!) So, when I started The Alchemist’s Flame, I decided to give outlining a try. I spent a couple of weeks filling out index cards and mapping the book scene by scene. I managed to get eighteen of my anticipated twenty-four chapters down. Good enough. I grabbed my keyboard and started in. By chapter two, it was clear I would need to tweak my outline. By chapter six, I’d blown it away. I went back and redid the outline—more than once—but I gradually came to realize that the story didn’t open up for me until I started to write the actual scenes. The characters had to talk to one another, and react to things before I could see where the story was truly going. Several of the key scenes in the finished book didn’t even exist in the outline. My conclusion: perhaps I’m not the kind of writer who can map out every scene before typing the first word. Bummer. It sounded so cool to work out all the kinks before I started the actual...

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Reader Appreciation

First, let me say… The Alchemist’s Flame has had a great release week! It jumped up as high as #5 on Amazon’s dark fantasy list, and into the 40s on the much more competitive paranormal & urban list. And this is all because of my awesome fans! I haven’t done any advertising, yet. (I’m adding excerpts to the other books and wanted to wait until that was done.) To further illustrate the awesomeness of my fans, I even had a couple of folks tell me that they would wait until the book went off sale to buy it. What a sweet thought, but as I told them, I’m doing this for you. However, this did get me thinking about ways a person could help their favorite authors—if they’re so inclined. As an independent author, one of the biggest obstacles I face is visibility. I don’t have a big publishing house backing me. I’m on my own—which for the most part is pretty darn cool, but I could use some help getting the word out. Here are a few ideas… Tell a friend. Word of mouth is huge. Which has more credibility: a random email from a retailer or a friend’s praise of a new book she just read? Yeah, I thought so. And in today’s world of social media, we’re not limited to face-to-face conversations. Leave a review. Social proof is a big deal. Think about the way people shop online. I always scope out the reviews when I’m thinking about purchasing an item I haven’t bought before. That’s especially true for a new author. An intriguing blurb and a good overall rating go a long way in reassuring me that I’m not about to waste my time or money. And a review doesn’t have to include plot summaries and in-depth analysis, a couple sentences about why the reader enjoyed the book is what interests me when reading reviews about new books. Actually, I prefer not to have the plot spoiled. Interact. I’m back to social media on this one. By interact, I mean like or follow your favorite authors’ pages and/or profiles. Share, comment on, or just like relevant posts. An example of...

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New Release in the Final Formula Series

Release Day!  (Okay, it’s more like Release Night for me.)  The Alchemist’s Flame, book 3 in my Final Formula Series, has been uploaded in all the usual places.  It’s already live on Smashwords and Amazon, but look for it to show up everywhere in the next few days. (I hope.) Also, I have a special release week sale.  For the rest of the week, The Alchemist’s Flame will be only $2.99!  Don’t miss out.  After this weekend, it goes up to its regular price of $4.99. If you would like to read the first three chapters, you can find it here: The Alchemist’s Flame Excerpt. Thanks for giving my books a try.  I hope you enjoy this new installment!   Update – The new book is now available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and...

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The Alchemist’s Flame

Cover Reveal and Excerpt It’s time for another cover reveal! Here is the blurb and cover for the third full-length novel in the Final Formula Series… Now that the local hospital is using her burn salve, master alchemist Addie Daulton has become a celebrity. The positive press will go a long way in helping her redeem alchemy’s reputation, but Addie wishes the media would stop calling her the Flame Lord’s alchemist. She doesn’t need his sanction to validate her skills. Besides, having the name of the city’s premier Element tied to hers makes it hard to carry out her clandestine activities—like spying on the leader of the necromancer community. If she’s not careful, she could kick off a war between Old Magic and New. The risk proves worth it when she discovers that her former colleague and current nemesis, Neil Dunstan, is working with the Deacon himself. If that wasn’t bad enough, she learns that Neil has resurrected a grim and made it his own. A grim that once destroyed a family of Elements. And this month, every Element in the world is gathering right here in Cincinnati. With the date of the gathering fast approaching, Addie must figure out what Neil plans to do and stop him, or Old Magic will win the war before it even begins. Read the first three chapters here: The Alchemist’s Flame...

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Title Reveal and Sale

The wait is nearly over.  FF3 will be released soon.  I don’t have a date yet, but the book is currently with my editor, Shelley Holloway, and cover artist, Streetlight Graphics.  So it won’t be long now! The title of this new story is…  The Alchemist’s Flame. I’ll post again when I have a date and/or a cover to reveal.  Meanwhile, I have a sale going on. If you’ve fallen behind on The Final Formula story, now is your chance to catch up.  For a limited time, the last title in the series, The Necromancer’s Betrayal, is on sale for just $0.99–a savings of $2.  I should mention that in story time, The Alchemist’s Flame starts just a few hours after The Necromancer’s Betrayal ends. I’ve taken a different approach to The Final Formula series by alternating between novels in Addie’s POV and novellas in James’s POV.  James has a story to tell, and it will have a big impact on the overall series.  I know some folks aren’t fans of shorter works, so I try to bring readers up to speed in the beginning of each novel.  But I think it’s much more fun to watch the story unfold, then to be told what happened.  Just saying.  😉 Look for the novellas to get longer as the series progresses (The Necromancer’s Betrayal is twice as long as The Element of Death).  I hope you enjoy this slightly different approach to publishing a series.  Another perk of alternating shorter works with longer works is that I can release something new more frequently.  At least, that’s the plan. The Necromancer’s Betrayal is available at: Amazon | Smashwords |Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple Note – I have dropped the price on all retailers, but some are slower than others to update.  If your favorite retailer hasn’t changed the price, please check back later.  Some sites can take as long as 72 hours to make changes. Thanks for...

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