Moonstone and Sunstone of the Warstone Quartet Are On Sale

After hundreds of Moonstone | Magic That Binds sales in six weeks, it has gotten a 4.4 rating out of 5.0 stars on Goodreads.  A couple of one-star reviews have dragged down the Amazon rating a bit. I’ll not comment on those…

Sunstone | Dishonor’s Bane is also selling at a good clip.

What I’m somewhat gratified to see is that readers are picking up my other books.  Not as many are buying the others, but I’m grateful that the other stories are getting a read.

Thanks if you’ve picked up any of my books.

Bloodstone and Darkstone Covers Revealed!

The final covers for Bloodstone and Darkstone, books 3 and 4 of the Warstone Quartet are finished.

BloodstoneCvrBloodstone, which is primarily about a princess and a wizard, has a velvet background and crossed swords in the stone. One of the swords is bright and polished that represents youth and the other is worn and dented representing a lot of experience.

Darkstone, a coming of age story for the antagonist and the rousing conclusion has a skull (evil reborn) in the darkstone which lays on top of a Ropponi sword blade. The background is rocky dirt that represents Ayrtan, the dead continent, where the final confrontation takes place.DarkstoneCvr

 

 

What I Thought Was Writer’s Block Wasn’t

My next series is called the Mechanisms of Magic.  It isn’t a medieval fantasy, but not quite steampunk.  Anyway, I got about 40,000 words into the draft and the story just didn’t jell.  I thought I might be suffering a bit of writer’s block.brick_wall

I did a bit of surfing on writing and came across a YouTube video on the Seven Point Story Structure presented by Dan Wells, a paranormal/horror author.  Eureka!  I found that my story had run out of structure and had lost its way.  I fiddled with all three of the stories planned in the series, using the technique, and found that I had a better handle on where the story headed.

As it turned out, there was a similar presentation on a variant of that structure at LTUE last week. So, I get to tweak the storylines yet again, since the variant offers a bit more latitude and I got a better understanding of how to use the technique to outline the stories.  I can still do the scene outlines that I have been using to get my stories going, but those now have more purpose.  The key element that I missed was the basic relationship of the main character to the story.  The first part of the book should be about the main character reacting to the book’s primary issue.  The midpoint is the event that converts the main character from being reactive to proactive.  Along with the proactivity, the stakes in the try/fail cycles go up all the way to the end (Resolution).

My plots have generally been a bit more organic.  I have the elements in the plots, but they aren’t as clear cut.  Now with the structure, the primary plotting should be more crisp.  It’s not a formula, but a structure.  Where the plot twists and turns is still up to the author and the try/fail cycles are all created to match the particular story you are working on.

Sunstone – Early February, Bloodstone – Early March

I am making progress with getting Sunstone and Bloodstone out. Sunstone is ready to go.  Got the final proof today.  Perhaps there might be the first chapter of Bloodstone inserted at the back.  Still thinking about that.

I’ve just about got the cover of Bloodstone finalized.  I’ve got a couple edit runs to go and that one
BloodstoneCvr will be ready.  I’m afraid I’ll need it because Darkstone is likely to get a very thorough examination.

Anyway, here is the Bloodstone cover.  I like it and I don’t think there will be much change before the third book in the Warstone Quartet is finished. The Bloodstone is a teardrop (or a blood drop, if you will) shape.  Of the two swords, one is polished and represents youth and the other is well worn and represents age.

Guy to Attend LTUE

I livlogo-footere in Utah.  There are a few writing conferences in the state during the year and I go to them on a sporadic basis.  This year, I’m scheduled to attend all three days of LTUE (Light, The Universe and Everything), which is held in Provo, Utah.  It used to be sponsored by Brigham Young University, but the last few years they have held the event off campus, so I don’t know if it still is.

The conference is February 12, 13, and 14 (Valentine’s Day).  There are usually some very good sessions.  If you run across me, say hello.

Work In Progress

Now that the Warstone Quartet is going with the January publishing of Moonstone, I had intended to issue a book every month or two.  However, I’ll probably accelerate that a bit.  Sunstone | Dishonor’s Bane is already at the editor’s proofing stage.  The cover is complete and shown here.

SunstoneCvrMedThat means a probable February release for Sunstone.  Bloodstone will follow after that, but it will likely need a few more writing passes than Sunstone. I would estimate a release towards the end of March.

My latest fresh novel is one I had started for NaNoWriMo, Mechanisms of Magic.  I’m still in the draft mode for that book.  I’d like to turn it into a three book series, but we will see.  I’ve got the first book plotted out and that looks more like the plot of a standalone.  I’ll know more by the end of January.

The Warstone Quartet has proven to be a lengthy undertaking.  The first draft of Moonstone was completed in December of 2013.  So it took a year to get published.  However, I also published five books (including my three anthologies) between the first draft and the Jan, 2015 publish date and that included drafting the three other books of the quartet.

I still am considering doing some short story work.  It’s good for generating novel ideas as well as good writing practice.  My goal for 2015 is one decent story per quarter.

I’ve also got some revival work (sequels to previously written books) for The Power Bearer and another installment of The Nile City Adventurers series (I stopped at the first story and there are four planned.)

My Current Job Stream for Publication

So I had problems getting Quest of the Wizardess turned into an epub.  It turns out that the recommended method for creating an acceptable document for Smashwords doesn’t work with simple epub conversion tools.  The primary problem is creating a table of contents using bookmarks and hyperlinks.

I ended up buying a epub creation and editing tool called Jutoh.  It was recommended at a writers conference I attended last fall (IndieReconLive).  I had to pick apart all of the bookmarks and blast through all of the hyperlinking.  Along the way, I eliminated drop caps, which also got in the way.  After I did all of that work, I was rewarded with a clean epub file which I was able to upload to iBooks.

printpressSince I do my own publishing through CasiePress, I’ve had to learn to create job streams to accommodate various input engines. So now, I create in Scrivener.  I export that to MS Word and use their spelling and grammar checker.  Then I export that into InDesign for the creation of my print file for Createspace.

For ebook distribution, I’ll now export back to MS Word (Jutoh likes .docx files) and reformat for ebooks.  That becomes my gold standard for input into Jutoh.  For Smashwords and Amazon, I’ll create a separate file that has the bookmark/hyperlink table of contents and input .doc files.  For Kobo, Barnes & Noble and iBook, I’ll create an epub in Jutoh and submit that.

Lots of work, but I do that to have better control over my distribution.

Editing continues on Moonstone

I ended up in a stall getting Quest of the Wizardess out.  It needed a few more edit passes.  I tried to generate an acceptable epub for iBooks, but failed.  So I’ve got it out on every outlet except iBooks.  That will come in January after I get some epub editing software.

I have a proof copy of Moonstone in my aged, wrinkled hands and am over halfway through.  It looks like it will emerge into the world in the first few weeks of January.  Then it’s on to Sunstone.  It’s been a while since I have touched the draft, so it will be fun to edit.