Tag Archives: The White Silver House

About that gap in posting …

24 Sep

Sometimes this is what writing feels like. (Photo courtesy of Bundesarchive)

Yes, I’m back.

I did not just stop posting. And I certainly didn’t give up on writing. I’ve been writing and editing for something like a thousand years (at least it feels that way sometimes), so I’m not about to stop now. But for about three months, I wasn’t posting, I wasn’t writing fiction, and none of my books were available.

What happened?

Let me start at the beginning.

It was brought to my attention that at least one “scene” in The Hall of the Prophetess crossed a line I did not want to cross. I was trying to show the strength of Karia’s character. Whether I succeeded or not, I went too far.

Of course, the scene did not occur in a vacuum. I needed to re-evaluate the whole of the third book of the series The Day Magic Died. And of course, that meant I needed to think through the entire series. In addition, I wanted to re-evaluate my other series as well, the Nascent Payne mysteries.

So I withdrew all my books from sale. (I guess that’s one good thing about independent publishing – I get to make decisions like that.) Then I started through the books one at a time.

Books 1 and 2, The House in the Old Wood and Karia’s Path, were pretty much the way I wanted them. Oh, I found just a couple of things like this, from Chapter 52 of The House in the Old Wood:

No matter how much padding there is, it’s not possible to sleep in the back of a moving wagon. And Karia’s parents did not have a lot of padding. (I’m not sure how much good it would have done to pad her parents.)

But after fixing literally two or three goofs like that, those two books seemed ready to be re-released.

Then I hit Book 3, The Hall of the Prophetess. Oh my. Besides the issue I mentioned earlier, I found myriad problems. I mean, the spelling, grammar and punctuation were good. But beyond that? Ugh.

However, rolling on through Book 4, The Dwarf’s Legacy, and the unreleased draft of Book 5, The White-Silver House, my discouragement turned to encouragement. I now knew why I was having such trouble completing the fifth and final book.

I really messed up in Book 3.

And I learned an important lesson:

Don’t rush.

I rushed to complete Book 3 and get it out, so I could promote the series by offering Book 1 free just before a Christmas season. It worked in the short run: I saw my greatest sales in the next couple of months.

But Book 3, I now see, is where the wheels came off. Many of the problems with Book 5 stem from decisions I rushed in Book 3. For example:

  • In the first draft of Book 3, two of the important characters, Ni’ika and Tika, were basically the same person. I rushed to differentiate them, and they shifted more toward caricature than character. That error becomes quite an issue in Book 5 (though I can’t really elaborate without spoilers – sorry!).
  • The central dialog in Book 3 takes place between Ni’ika and Karia, and in the first draft, it was too clear. It did not make sense that Ni’ika, a woman who looks down on other races, would know the language of those other races well. I rewrote her dialog … and made it an absolute chore to read. In my fourth decade as a writer and editor, I know that if readers hit something that’s hard to read, they stop. And somehow, in my rush, I forgot. It’s bad enough that this derails readers. But it also obscures some of the important things Ni’ika says in Book 3, and that can damage how readers understand Book 5. (Yeah, sorry, I can’t explain that either.)
  • My mischaracterization of those two key people in Book 3, Ni’ika and Tika, makes it difficult to create a believable relationship arc for Karia with each of them. That’s not evident in Book 3, and in my rush I missed that. But it became quite problematic by Book 5. (Slight spoiler there, but you probably missed it, so I won’t say anything.)

However, perhaps the most important mistake had little to do with characters and everything to do with the storyline. The story turns in Book 3, and it should set us on course for Book 5. But it’s ever so slightly off course. At first – and in fact, all the way through Book 4 – that wasn’t much of a problem.

But finishing a series this long is sort of like steering a ship across the ocean. A difference of one or two degrees makes a big difference where you end up. And I was in such a rush to get Book 3 out, I released it before I knew precisely where Book 5 was going.

I’ve mentioned before that I wrote the ending of the series before I completed the first book, so I’d know where I was taking you. And I’ve told you the ending changed over time. I rewrote it several times as the story twisted and turned.

Yet in my rush to get Book 3 released, I wrapped up the writing and editing before I went back to the ending. By the time I got to the actual ending in Book 5, there were some fissures in the storyline. And now I see where those cracks and gaps began: in Book 3.

So what does all of this mean?

It means I need to take Book 3 apart and put it back together again. Then I’ll need to make sure Book 4 reflects the changes in Book 3. And after that, I can work through the fifth and final book.

That’s going to take some time. But in the end, the series will be far better because of it.

Still in the works

12 Mar

The White-Silver HouseTwo books are still in editing.

In late November, I completed the final drafts of The White-Silver House, which is the fifth and final book of the fantasy series, The Day Magic Died. Soon afterward, I also completed The Man with Two Eyes, the second Nascent Payne mystery.

I turned those over to my team of critical readers for their input. I have not received input from even half of them yet.

I don’t blame them, however. For one thing, they’re all volunteers. They’re doing this to help me.

It’s also important to note that four of the five had major life changes in the last few months: an unexpected move; a new child; new jobs; etc.

The Man with Two EyesSo I am trying to prod them without being a pest – which is a tough balancing act when you’re already sort of a pest like I am. I’ll keep you posted …

Not yet

9 Mar

I’m not dead.


I didn’t quit writing.

It’s just, well, the decision to wait until I had a milestone to report to you, was not a good decision.

The White-Silver House, Book 5 of the series, The Day Magic Died, is still in progress. So is the second Nascent Payne mystery, The Man with Two Eyes. More on those soon.

I’m also working on several other books, which I’ll also tell you more about, soon.

For now, I just want to say … I’m back.

Four things you may not know about Amazon

26 Nov

I wanted to clarify some things about ebooks and Amazon. And hopefully that’s what this post will do. If things get confusing, blame Amazon for using the same words to mean completely different things …

You can share ebooks

The House in the Old Wood

Share my books — please!

I have mentioned this before, but Amazon has recently enhanced this ability to share ebooks.

If you buy an ebook, or get it free, you can often share it. Just like a regular book. Authors get nothing when you do this, but go ahead and share it anyway. Why? If an author is still trying to build an audience, like me, you’re helping our chances in the long run when you share a book. If an author already has an audience, and by that I mean they’re selling a lot of books, they won’t miss a little revenue. In fact, most authors are not in this for the money (which is a very good thing). They’re in this for the reader. So share away. More information from Amazon.

Some authors and publishers do not opt into this system. That’s fine. I think it’s their loss – and I think it demonstrates what they think of readers – but that’s their right.

By the way, Amazon calls this “Lending for Kindle.” Clearly, they were trying to avoid any confusion whatsoever when they allowed Amazon Prime users to borrow books, and named that the “Kindle Owners Lending Library,” right?

Oh, and the recent enhancement? Now you can share books with another person (and up to four “child accounts”) as part of the Kindle Family Library. (Not to be confused with the Kindle Owners Lending Library, because that’s something completely different, or Lending for Kindle, which, despite the completely different name, is similar. Ugh.) This is better than sharing a book by lending it; under Lending for Kindle you lend a book for 14 days, and during that time you can’t read it. But the Family Library is unlimited. Find out more.

Want an ebook? Get a massive discount

Karia's Path

Get the ebook for less

If you buy the paperback version of a book from Amazon, you can usually get the Kindle version for almost nothing – free to $2.99. It’s called Kindle Matchbook. All of my books are eligible for Kindle Matchbook, at 99 cents. So if you bought a paperback, and then you get a Kindle, say, for Christmas, you can make that switch inexpensively.

Look for the Kindle Matchbook note next the book cover, near the pricing information at the top of an Amazon listing. (I should note here that Kindle Matchbook is a clever name, but it seems odd that Amazon did not use the word “lending” or “library” when they named this feature.)

Authors get paid when you “borrow,” too

The Hall of the Prophetess

Borrow away!

Sort of. There’s a healthy caveat with this one, depending on which service you use to borrow a book.

Remember, authors get nothing when you are loaned a book through Lending for Kindle or Kindle Family Library.

But Kindle owners using Amazon Prime get one “free” borrow every month. (That’s called the Kindle Owners Lending Library. And that’s completely different from the Kindle Family Library, and from Lending for Kindle. Gosh, somebody buy Amazon a thesaurus, please.) If you use KOLL for one of my books, I get paid when you download it.

And if you’re using Kindle Unlimited, you get unlimited downloads. Since people could, in theory, download thousands of books, Amazon doesn’t pay authors on download. It pays when people have read 10 percent of the book. So under Kindle Unlimited, authors get paid when you actually start reading the book. (Why they didn’t name it the Kindle Unlimited Library, I don’t know.)

What my “sort of” does not mean is that authors get “sort of” paid. If a Kindle book price is reasonable, the amount authors get from each sale is not far off what they receive for each “borrow.” When Kindle Unlimited resulted in a massive increase in “borrows,” Amazon put more – and then more – money into the pot that authors split for borrows.

You can follow authors

The Dwarf's Legacy

Get notified about what comes next!

Here’s an easy way to be certain you don’t miss out when an author releases a new book. And it has nothing to do with lending or libraries.

  1. Go to their Amazon Author page. Not all authors have one, but if they do, there are at least two ways to get to it. One way is to go to the Amazon listing for one of their books and “hover” your mouse over it. If they have an Author page, you’ll see a popup (eventually) that says, among other things, “Visit Amazon’s [Author Name] page.” Click on that. Or search for their name on Amazon. Usually the second result will be their author page.
  2. Look on the left, just below their photo. There should be a yellow bar that says, “Add Favorite.” Click on it. Now you’ll be notified if they release another book.

With The White-Silver House and The Man with Two Eyes on the way, you may want to do that at my Amazon Author page.


Five (or ten) ways to help an author succeed

24 Nov
Karia's Path

Book 2: Only five reviews, and none marked “helpful” … You can help …

If you’ve found an author whose books you like, you probably want to read more books by them. And if you want to read more books by them, you may need to help them succeed. But how? It’s actually quite easy to help, and not that hard to do a little extra …

1. Show your friends. It’s great to tell your friends about an author you’ve found or a book you’ve read. Please keep doing that! But if you really want an author to succeed, you might want to take it a step farther, and show your friends why you like the books or author. You can do that by sharing your books with them. You know how to do that with a paperback. But did you know you can also share most independently published ebooks? That’s because authors like me want you to be able to share our work. We’re hoping to build a bigger audience. So go ahead. Of course, you can also buy the books for your friends. That’s great, and greatly appreciated. Just don’t feel like you have to.

2. Like the author’s Facebook page and/or follow their Twitter feed, and share/like/comment/retweet. Many authors – including me – have a blog and a presence on Facebook, and perhaps a Twitter feed or other social media. You can help us by liking posts, sharing them, commenting, retweeting, etc. Those actions all make the posts more visible. Want to really help by taking it a step farther? Go to their Facebook page or blog, and seek out posts you would want to share. Do it regularly. Probably not every hour. Perhaps not even daily. But once a week or so would help. Here’s the Facebook page for my series, The Day Magic Died.

The sort-of Murder of Fiona Galloway

Just one review so far, and I know three whole people have read it!

3. Review their books. I encourage you to write a helpful review – one that potential readers will find useful. Reviews on Amazon are great, but some people don’t trust them. Goodreads is another great place to post reviews. You probably should not post the same thing in both places, but you can follow the same helpful guidelines. If you really want to help, go the extra mile by reviewing more of their books. Like many authors, I am getting several reviews on the first book of my series, but few on the rest. Have you read them? Then please review them. Here are links so you can review Karia’s Path, The Hall of the Prophetess, The Dwarf’s Legacy, and my first Nascent Payne mystery, The sort-of Murder of Fiona Galloway.

4. “Vote up” helpful reviews. Amazon displays “the most helpful” reviews first. How does Amazon know which are the most helpful? By the number of people who have voted to designate a review helpful or unhelpful. Please take note that Amazon is not asking you if you like a review or if you agree with it. They’re asking if it’s helpful. So I’m not asking you to mark favorable reviews as helpful or unfavorable reviews as unhelpful. Simply look at the reviews for an author’s books, and if one or more of them provide enough information to help you make a good decision on whether to purchase, mark it or them as helpful. Want to do more? Mark reviews you don’t think are helpful as unhelpful. (I should add … please do not abuse this system to “vote up” good reviews and “vote down” bad ones. Or vice-versa, as another author did to me. Too bad this power is not given just to grown-ups.) You can use the links above to see reviews for my books, and find the buttons to mark them helpful or unhelpful.

5. Contact the author. So maybe you just want to say you liked the book. Or you have questions. Perhaps you spotted a typo that needs to be fixed. Authors love to hear from readers. Most authors hear from readers far less than you might think. And most authors are far more open to constructive criticism than you might think, too. That, by the way, is how you can really help. If you spot what you think is a problem in a book or a series, and you really want to help, speak up. Here’s a way to contact me.

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