New Releases List

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rolling Back the Clock

With The Blessed and the Damned in copy edits and the first draft of Destroying Angel in the rewrite phase, I've begun some tentative brainstorming on the next book. The exciting news is that Thomas & Mercer is happy enough with sales on the first three books and with the writing in book #4 that they're talking about offering a contract extension. While I'm excited about the chance to spend another two or three books exploring the stories of Blister Creek, I'm far enough ahead of my release schedule that I've got time to cleanse my palate with something completely different.

I've got a few ideas, but the one that is drawing me is another WWII thriller. I've never been as immersed in a project as when I was writing The Red Rooster, and would love to return to the world of Occupied France. Of course, writing in such a well-known historical setting requires tons of research, and I found the writing here much slower than with other books. I can't simply turn off the internet, for one, because every few pages I find myself needing to consult maps of Paris or look up the recipe for some dish. If you're not careful, you can fall down that rabbit hole and never emerge. And at the end of the day, you still need to produce your pages.

I don't have a plot yet, but I have the beginnings of a plot, and a few characters are stirring in the imagination. My plan is to brainstorm for a half hour or so per day and within a couple of weeks I should know if there's anything there. Assuming there is--and I'm feeling optimistic--I'll probably try to get Destroying Angel to my agent and my beta readers by the end of April and start the first draft of the new book on May 1.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Kindle Daily Deal/Gold Box Promo

A couple of weeks ago I got exciting news that the first three books of The Righteous would be featured in on Amazon's Kindle Daily Deal. A few days before, they told me it would also be included in the Gold Box promo as well.

Sunday, March 18, the day of the promo, the three books shot into the top 10, eventually settling at #2, #3, and #4 in the overall Kindle store. The only book that remained ahead of them was The Hunger Games, which has not only held #1 in a vice-like grip for months, but was enjoying all the promo in the weekend before the movie release.

Three days later the books are still in the top 10, with The Righteous at #7, Mighty and Strong at #9, and The Wicked at #10. The only books ahead of them are Hunger Games books and the books from the 50 Shades of Grey erotica trilogy, which are getting a lot of press at the moment.

Obviously, I'm delighted to be getting my books in front of many new readers. The only fly in the ointment is that whenever you put yourself in front of thousands of new people who otherwise aren't your natural audience, you're bound to find a higher ratio of unhappy readers. I've avoided looking at new reviews for now and keep my head down working on the next book.

I've found this blog post very helpful. As they say, you can't please everyone.

In the meanwhile, if you've read and enjoyed the books and have been debating whether or not to write a review, this might be a good time to write one.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Blessed and the Damned Available for Pre-order

In preparation for the big marketing push that Thomas & Mercer is doing this weekend, you can now pre-order book #4 of The Righteous series. I love the cover for this. The mixture of bright colors and shadow give it a sinister air.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Writing Interview Excerpt

I have a guest interview running in a few weeks on another site where I talk about my path to success and give some advice to aspiring writers. Here is a snippet from the advice section.

1. Produce. Don’t dink around for five years with the same novel. Set daily word count goals and meet them. At 1,000 words a day, you’ll have the rough draft of a novel in 3-4 months. Give yourself two months to polish it to the best of your ability, then move on to the next project.

2. Study. You can’t be a writer if you’re not also a reader. Find good stuff and figure out how they do it. That’s the most obvious way to study. The second is to read as many books on writing as you can get your hands on. I find that doing this while I’m in the middle of first draft work helps me see how to apply this advice to my own work.

3. Keep perspective. You’re a writer, dammit. It doesn’t matter if the world scoffs, if every third person and their dog walker is working on a novel. You are going to keep writing because that is who you are, and that is what you do. In the early days our reach exceeds our grasp. We know what is good and we want it, but we don’t yet have the tools to produce at that level. The good news is that over time your reach grows.

4. Persist. If you’re a writer, you have to keep going. There is no other choice. Remember that a year from now you’ll be a year older than you are now. You’ll either have another novel or two under your belt or you will have finally got your paladin to level 80 on World of Warcraft. Which is more important to you?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Blessed and the Damned is Almost in the Bag

I just sent back the edits of book #4 of The Righteous series to my edit for a second round of editing. Based on my experience with the first three books, the second round should go quickly, with only a handful of changes. It will then go to Thomas & Mercer's proofreaders. I've had two different proofreaders. They are both very good, but one might be a little bit more stylistically flexible.

I've had three readers so far, including my editor, my beta reader, and my agent. All three told me independently that it's the best book of the series. I sensed this while writing the first draft, and again during the rewrites, when I would sometimes catch myself going back to read favorite passages and get sucked back into the story.

Meanwhile, I crossed the 70,000 word threshold of the first draft of book #5, Destroying Angel. I've slowed down a bit in March, having to turn my attention to edits of The Blessed and the Damned, but am at that point where I want to sit and crank out the last seventy or eighty pages.

I thought I'd be burned out on this series, especially since I only started The Wicked twelve months ago, which, given my estimated completion date of #5, means I'll have written three books in the series in fourteen months. But I'm not. The main story arc is coming to an end with book #5, but I've roughly sketched out a second arc of three books.

I'm only under contract for five, but the first releases are doing well, so I'm hopeful they'll be interested.

But with two books in production, I'll take a break to work on something else. I have a third book in the Devil's Deep series I want to write, another WWII thriller that is eating away at me, and another fantasy novel for my Dark Citadel series.

I think I'm more excited about writing than I've ever been.