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Preview: Abbie's Blog

Abbie's Blog - Abigail Hilton





Last Build Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2017 19:57:45 +0000

 



Does anyone still read this?

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 20:07:51 +0000

Hello, anyone who's still reading my blog!

The last time I posted here was April, and I have published and written a ton of stuff since then. I'm active on Facebook (both my author page and the group) and on Patreon (I release free posts as well as paid, so that free followers can stay up to date). People on my mailing list also get all the latest news.

It is my impression that nearly everyone who wants to hear what I'm doing follows me in one of those 3 places. It's hard enough to remember to post news in all 3 places. Since it's my impression that very few people read my blog, it as fallen by the wayside. More and more, I think of my blog as a place to put posts that are too big and cumbersome for Facebook (and then direct Facebook traffic here) and/or evergreen posts that I want to find easily later (such as year-in-review).

I certainly don't want to leave anyone out of the loop. If you follow me only on my blog, please let me here from you. If you thought the last thing I released was Jager Thunder, speak up! Otherwise, I'm going to assume that this is mostly a redundant source of information for people. 

I've written and published more this year than in any year since I've been keeping records and I hope 2018 will be even bigger. I'm putting more time into writing. That's one of the reasons I've restricted my digital activities to places where most of my fans are located.

Again, if this blog is how you follow me, if you have no idea what I've released otherwise, comment or send me an email so that I know you exist.

Best,
~Abbie




Jager Thunder is Available in eBook and Paper

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:58:14 +0000

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eBook - My Site

eBook - Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Smashwords

Paper - Amazon

Paper - Create Space

Audio - coming soon

While the crew of the Scarlet Albatross struggles to survive her harrowing voyage, Gerard is busy keeping his promise to his father. He and Silveo return to Holovarus for a brief farewell visit. However, chaos is threatening to overwhelm the Great Islands, and even little Holovarus will not be spared. Gerard’s father and brother are facing difficult decisions, and they need help. Gerard feels torn between his old kingdom and his new family. The situation only grows more complicated when the crew of the Scarlet Albatross limps into port, bringing old enemies and a child Silveo didn’t know existed.

Jager Thunder is a sequel to both The Scarlet Albatross and The Guild of the Cowry Catchers.

_____________________________

Guys, I've released a lot of new stuff lately, and I haven't mentioned it all on the blog. I just updated my "New Releases" section, so click on over there for more info. If you're a Hunters Unlucky fan, you'll want to check out "Awake." If you enjoy Rish Outfield's narrations, you owe it to yourself to hear his audio versions of the Eve and Malachi Books. And the short story collection When We Were Young is a great want to revisit your favorite characters from Cowry Catchers and Albatross. 




Guess What's on Pre-Order...

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 05:10:58 +0000

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Now on Amazon pre-order!

While the crew of the Scarlet Albatross struggles to survive her harrowing voyage, Gerard is busy keeping his promise to his father. He and Silveo return to Holovarus for a brief farewell visit. However, chaos is threatening to overwhelm the Great Islands, and even little Holovarus will not be spared. Gerard’s father and brother are facing difficult decisions, and they need help. Gerard feels torn between his old kingdom and his new family. The situation only grows more complicated when the crew of the Scarlet Albatross limps into port, bringing old enemies and a child Silveo didn’t know existed.

Jager Thunder is a sequel to both The Scarlet Albatross and The Guild of the Cowry Catchers. You may still be able to enjoy Jager if you’ve read only Albatross. However, the story will mean more if you have read Cowry Catchers as well.

_________________________

I'm really excited to finally bring you this book! It goes live on April 11. If you pre-order, it'll land on your Kindle the instant it goes live. Here are the answers to some questions you might ask:

When will the audio book be available?

Probably July for Audible.com. Rish and Lauren (the same voice actors who performed Albatross) will be recording Jager. Patreon donors at the $3+ level will start seeing episodes by May, possibly even April. I plan to release the book on Patreon as the audio gets finished.

When will the paper book be available?

Possibly by the time the ebook goes live! We'll see.

I loved Cowry Catchers, and I want more Gerard and Silveo. Do I really need to read The Scarlet Albatross to read Jager?

Hey, you can read my books any way you like. However, if you want the second half of Jager to make the most sense, yes, you need to read Albatross. You'll like it. Trust me.

Will the ebook be available outside Amazon?

Yes! I will be putting it up on Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, BN, and my own store the day it goes live on Amazon (it might take a day or two to go live in those other places). Sorry, this means it won't be in Kindle Unlimited (if it's there, it can't be anywhere else).

I'm planning all kinds of fun stuff in the run-up to Jager Thunder, so stay tuned. 

 




The Signed Paper Bookstore is Open Until March 1st

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 01:44:51 +0000

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The signed paper bookstore is open again! I'll close it and ship these orders around March 1st.

New titles include The Scarlet Albatross, When We Were Young, and the Professionals Comic (signed by me, not Rah this time. Sorry. She lives very far away). My usual disclaimer: signed books are the most expensive way to buy my books. The cheapest way is on Amazon. I ship everything priority mail with insurance.




Awake - a Hunters Unlucky Story

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:28:28 +0000

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Keesha is woken from his winter torpor by a surprising visitor to the Dreaming Sea. His old enemy, Arcove, has a problem, and he needs Keesha's help.

"Awake" is a cross-over story between the novel Hunters Unlucky and the Prophet of Panamindorah series. You should probably read Hunters before reading "Awake," but you don't need to have read Prophet.

You can purchase the text and audio bundle on my website for $2.99 (payments through Paypal or Stripe). The zip file includes the ebook in Mobi, ePub, and PDF, as well as the audio in MP3. The audio version is professionally narrated by Rish Outfield (same narrated as the Hunters audio book, so all the characters have their voices!). It is about an hour long.

You can also get all these things and more by subscribing to my Patreon at the $3 level - https://www.patreon.com/posts/8076526

Important: This is a temporary release! When I submit the audio version to Audible.com in a few weeks, it'll get pulled from my site and Patreon. This is an opportunity for people who don't use Audible to get the story.




What I'm Up To in Feb, 2017

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:24:20 +0000

This is my monthly summary of everything I've done and everything I'm doing.Currently in Audio ProductionWhen We Were Young - Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 3 - Rish Outfield, Lauren Harris, and Renee Chambliss all recorded (or are recording) the pro versions for this collection. Those versions are being released in the Patreon Podcast feed right now. These are only in the feed temporarily, so if you wanted to hear them on the podcast, donate at the $3 level and grab them. Otherwise, they'll be on Audible in the next month or so."Awake" - a novellette about Keesha (and Arcove, Roup, Sauny, Valla, Teek, and more) - Rish is recording this, and I will offer it separately before its associated collection is released. The pro version will also be in the Patreon podcast feed for a short time.PROJECTS CURRENTLY OUT TO BETA READERSJager Thunder (Refugees Book 2) - This book will get its final polish edit as soon as I'm done writing Secret Project 2.IN THE WRITING QUEUESecret Project Book 2 (I've got 50,000 words on this book, and I'm thinking it will wrap up somewhere before 80K).February short story for Patreon, which will be about Mouse from Cowry Catchers. If that sounds familiar, it's because the Patreon donors voted on him for Jan, but I didn't want to lose momentum on Secret Project 2 to write that story. Instead, I gave them "Hungry," a story about Roup and Arcove, including an audio reading for donors at all levels.2 short stories commissioned by friends as Art Trades - one featuring the Scarlet Albatross (and Silas and Gus) and one featuring Valla from Hunters Unlucky.3rd Refugees book (tentative name: The Cormorant)BOOKS AVAILABLE IN EBOOK AND PAPER FROM AMAZON AND AUDIO FROM AUDIBLE.COM.The Prophet of Panamindorah Trilogy - A foundling boy on earth realizes that he's from another world and tries to return, only to discover that hundreds of years have passed in his world of origin. Can he unravel the mysteries surrounding his disappearance?This was my first series set in the world of Panamindorah. It's YA, but many adults have enjoyed it. This is a good introduction to the world of Panamindorah, but you'll see that my story-telling improved in Cowry Catchers. This series is my earliest writing that is currently in print. You can still get these books as a podcast if you poke around.The Guild of the Cowry Catchers 5-Book Series - Gerard Holovar and his minstrel wife, Thessalyn, tumble from a position of power in his father's court to a precarious life of exile. Gerard manages to distinguish himself in the Temple Sea Watch, only to attract the jealous ire of his charismatic commanding officer, Silveo Lamire. However, their mutual boss, the High Priestess, insists that Gerard and Silveo cooperate to destroy a ring of pirates called the Guild of the Cowry Catchers. The pirates seem likely to make a swift end of Gerard...if Silveo doesn't do it first.Cowry Catchers was finished in 2008, and I still consider it my flagship series. Like Prophet, these books are set in the world of Panamindorah, but in a distant time and place. They're darker and grittier than Prophet and include queer characters and occasional sex. I produced this series in fullcast audio. The podcast is still available, but the Audible.com version has been remastered and sounds better.The Cowry Catchers Art Book - This is available only in hardcover and PDF. It's Sarah Cloutier's illustrations from the original ebooks and podcast release, plus original concept art, some new illustrations, a character line-up, and paper dolls. This is a very pretty book.The Refugees Trilogy (The Scarlet Albatross Book One) - Anaroo is an airship slave, destined to spend her days winding the great springs of the Scarlet Albatross. When a storm threatens to sink the ship, Anaroo and her fellow fauns seize the opportunity to escape. However, the airship nearly sank for a reason—violent unrest among the island kingd[...]



New Sneak Peek of Jager Thunder

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000

*pst* I've posted a new excerpt from the next book involving the Cowry Catchers cast. This one involves the meeting of two major characters, but I won't spoil it for you. ;)




The Podcast and two Digital Wallpapers

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 03:33:16 +0000

Hey, folks, two quick things:

My Words of Abigail Hilton podcast on iTunes and elsewhere is going away. I podcast every week on Patreon. My chatter and my new fiction is available there. If you're a listener of the old podcast, I don't want you to be blindsided. I posted an episode about it, but if you wait for weeks or months to listen, it might be gone by the time you get around to it. So here's your heads up. Listen to the podcast for more details. Grab anything you want out of that feed before it disappears.

On a brighter note, 2 digital wallpapers created in 2015 and 2016 for the Patreon are now for sale in my online store. One features Roup and Silveo, the other Lu, Basil, and Gwain. They're $1.99 each. Check 'em out!

~Abbie

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Welcome 2017

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 03:24:29 +0000

2016 was a rough year for my country and for the world. Anyone who knows me in real life knows how I feel about that.However, for me artistically and personally, it was a pretty great year! I paid off my anesthesia school loan this December after a sustained push beginning in July of 2015. I still have about $16,000 of my nursing school loan, but the interest rate is much lower, and my monthly payments are about $200. My monthly payments with the anesthesia school loan were over $2,000. That will make a monumental difference in my finances, which I haven't yet begun to feel, since I only just paid it off.In addition, this is the second year in a row that I've made a profit on my writing business. Not a huge profit, but still. I made more than I spent.I wrote more this year than I have since I started keeping detailed records in 2013. (I've been finishing novels for over two decades, but I didn't start keeping an excel spreadsheet until 4 years ago). My average word count in 2016 was right at 500 words per day. I wrote a total of 183,194 words in the year. The maximum I wrote in one day was 6,722.For comparison, my best previous year on the spreadsheet was 2014, where I averaged 332 words per day, a total of 121,490, and a daily max of 4,910.I wrote a short story every single month this year for the Patreon donors, plus one extra for a friend, totaling 70,000+ words - well over a novel's worth of stories! I've never written that many short stories in a single year before. I didn't know I could do it. I also wrote Eve and Malachi Books 3 and 4 (not yet released), which basically constitute 2 more short stories (so 15??). Plus a play for my family. Geez.In addition, I finished 2 novels this year: Jager Thunder (Refugees Book 2) - a 150,000 word mid-epic installment that I've been chipping away at since Nov of 2014.Secret Project - a 58,000 word fantasy erotic romance that I wrote in a joyful frenzy, most of it in 3 weeks in Oct and Nov. This book has a name and a marketing plan. It'll be released under a pen name, but it won't be a secret. I'll announce it here in a few months.So that's the stuff I wrote, but most of it hasn't been released outside of Patreon. My releases this year were:The Scarlet Albatross - ebook in Feb, audio book in April, paper book in Dec.When We Were Young - Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 3, which includes 9 of the stories written this year - ebook and paper book in Dec.In addition, I released "Taking Tricks" as a stand-alone novelette in ebook and audio book in June. That one is also in the above collection.Things I will certainly finish in 2017:The official audio version of When We Were Young (now in production)The ebook, paper book, and audio book of Jager Thunder (finished draft is now in final edits)The ebook, paper book, and audio book of Secret Project (finished draft is now in early edits)The finished draft of Secret Project Book 2 (I'm already 8,000 words into this).12 stories for the Patreon, plus 2 more for friends.Another short story collection.Things I will probably finished in 2017:The Cormorant (Refugees Book 3 - final book in this trilogy) - I'll get started on this for sure. I do not know whether I'll finish it.Eve and Malachi Books 5 and 6.The production and release of Eve and Malachi 3-6 and accompanying kickstarter and/or art sale to raise money for the illustrations.Things I might start (not all of them, maybe some of them):Secret Project Book 3That mystery involving Chance in Danda-layA Cinderella retelling I keep noodling onAn urban fantasy that wants to be a middle grade book, but I don't know.That zombie story I keep threatening to write.There is also an excellent chance that I will move in 2017. I have a 6-week assignment in New Mexico at the beginning of the year. After that, I'd like to go back to doing assignments of more than 2-3 weeks a[...]



Monthly Review of What I'm up To

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 02:24:01 +0000

You'd think this was my New Year's Post, right? But it's not. This is my monthly summary of everything - the old stuff, the new stuff, and what I'm currently working on. Some of the old stuff will be new to some of you.WHAT I RELEASED IN THE LAST 30 DAYSPaperback edition When We Were Young - Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 3 (containing 9 stories, all written in 2016)Paperback edition of The Scarlet Albatross"Awake" - a novellette about Keesha on Patreon (you can read it for a dollar)PROJECTS CURRENTLY OUT TO BETA READERSJager Thunder (Refugees Book 2)Secret Project Book 1NEXT UP IN THE WRITING QUEUESecret Project Book 2 (I just started this; I'm 5500 words in!)January short story for Patreon, which will be about Mouse from Cowry Catchers2 short stories commissioned by friends as Art Trades - one featuring the Scarlet Albatross (and Silas and Gus) and one featuring Valla from Hunters Unlucky.3rd Refugees book (tentative name: The Cormorant)BOOKS AVAILABLE IN EBOOK AND PAPER FROM AMAZON AND AUDIO FROM AUDIBLE.COM.The Prophet of Panamindorah Trilogy - A foundling boy on earth realizes that he's from another world and tries to return, only to discover that hundreds of years have passed in his world of origin. Can he unravel the mysteries surrounding his disappearance?This was my first series set in the world of Panamindorah. It's YA, but many adults have enjoyed it. This is a good introduction to the world of Panamindorah, but you'll see that my story-telling improved in Cowry Catchers. This series is my earliest writing that is currently in print. You can still get these books as a podcast if you poke around.The Guild of the Cowry Catchers 5-Book Series - Gerard Holovar and his minstrel wife, Thessalyn, tumble from a position of power in his father's court to a precarious life of exile. Gerard manages to distinguish himself in the Temple Sea Watch, only to attract the jealous ire of his charismatic commanding officer, Silveo Lamire. However, their mutual boss, the High Priestess, insists that Gerard and Silveo cooperate to destroy a ring of pirates called the Guild of the Cowry Catchers. The pirates seem likely to make a swift end of Gerard...if Silveo doesn't do it first.Cowry Catchers was finished in 2008, and I still consider it my flagship series. Like Prophet, these books are set in the world of Panamindorah, but in a distant time and place. They're darker and grittier than Prophet and include queer characters and occasional sex. I produced this series in fullcast audio. The podcast is still available, but the Audible.com version has been remastered and sounds better.The Cowry Catchers Art Book - This is available only in hardcover and PDF. It's Sarah Cloutier's illustrations from the original ebooks and podcast release, plus original concept art, some new illustrations, a character line-up, and paper dolls. This is a very pretty book.The Refugees Trilogy (The Scarlet Albatross Book One) - Anaroo is an airship slave, destined to spend her days winding the great springs of the Scarlet Albatross. When a storm threatens to sink the ship, Anaroo and her fellow fauns seize the opportunity to escape. However, the airship nearly sank for a reason—violent unrest among the island kingdoms below. The world is changing and the surviving inhabitants of the Scarlet Albatross will need to cooperate to survive.The Scarlet Albatross begins a few days after the end of Cowry Catchers. It introduces a new set of characters who have numerous ties to the cast of Cowry Catchers. In the second book, Jager Thunder, the Cowry Catchers cast runs headlong into the Albatross cast.If you want to see Gerard and Silveo again, this is the series for you! The Scarlet Albatross also makes a great entry point into Panamindorah. However, I recommend you read The Guild of the Cowry Catcher[...]



Paper Albatross and new Short Stories eBook are here!

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 18:52:33 +0000

eBookPaper Book - this just became available today! You can get it in time for ChristmastAudio Book eBook - My SiteeBook - AmazoneBook - SmashwordsPaper - coming soonAudio - coming soonEverybody was young once. Even the most confident people were once uncertain, the most ferocious were once frightened, and the most competent were once naive. We all met our best friends somewhere and not always under the best conditions.In this collection of short stories from the world of Panamindorah, Silveo meets Basil, Silas meets Percy, Anaroo meets Gwain, Gus meets Silas, and Gerard prepares to meet Thessalyn. Dakar and Theseus are tiny children, caught up in the machinations of others; Glossy makes impossibly difficult decisions for herself and her child; and Marlie struggles with the ghosts of her past and present. All of them will find their places in the world, often far from where they started. For the moment, however, they are doing everything for the first time.These stories will make the most sense if you have read The Guild of the Cowry Catchers series and The Scarlet Albatross. However, if you haven’t read one or both of those stories, you’ll still understand most of what’s going on. The titles in this collection are: Harbor Wave, Dark Heart, Quarantine, Taking Tricks, Anaroo of the Defiance, Letter of Reference, Chimera, Fire From Heaven, and Ghosts.This collection is the length of a novel, guys! All these stories were written this year for the Patreon, and this is the first time most of them have been available outside that platform. A paper version will be along in January, and the official Audible version should be out in February. In the meantime, my own live audio recordings of these stories are still available on Patreon.[...]



Where I've Been and Where I'm Going

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:48:15 +0000

I've spoken to multiple fans recently who are confused about what I've released or where to keep track of it. I've encountered enthusiastic fans who are, nevertheless, surprised to learn that I've done anything since Cowry Catchers. People who follow me on various social media platforms miss this or that announcement because I either didn't get around to posting it there or the post just flew by in their media stream.This is frustrating. It's frustrating for me and for you guys. One part of me says: "How can anybody who enjoyed Cowry Catchers not know about Albatross? Or Hunters? Or the comic? Or the Patreon? Or even my Worlds Podcast?" But the fact is that many people who enjoyed my work in 2009 or 2010 or 2011 have missed one or more of those things. I don't mean they've decided not to consume them; I mean they literally don't know those books and projects exist!Starting this coming year, I'm going to try to do a better job of keeping people up to speed on what I have available. It's one thing to say, "I enjoyed Cowry Catchers, but Hunters doesn't sound like my thing and I'm not going to read it. It's another thing to say, 'You have an entire other epic in another world with it's own fans? How did I not know about this?'"That's on me. Somehow I've go to fix it.So I'm going to try to do a post once a month that summarizes everything - the old stuff, the new stuff, and what I'm currently working on. I will post or link this information on my website, on my Facebook Author Page (possibly on my personal page), on Twitter, and to my mailing list. I might post it to my Patreon, too, but I feel like those are my super-fans who are all up to speed.Some of the old stuff will be new to some of you. Some of the new stuff that I feel like I've been talking about for months will hit somebody's eyeballs for the first time. Plenty of people will miss these posts, but if I do them once a month, I think most fans will see at least a few of them.So, here goes for December.What I'm Working Onpaper version of The Scarlet Albatrossedits for When We Were Young - Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 3 (containing 10 stories, all written this year)edits for Jager Thunder (Refugees Book 2)first clean-up edit of Secret Project (for more info, listen to the Worlds podcast or be on the Patreon)Next Up in the Writing Queuethe December short story, which is looking more and more like Keesha2nd Secret Project Book3rd Refugees book (tentative name: The Cormorant)Books available in ebook and paper from Amazon and audio from Audible.com.The Prophet of Panamindorah Trilogy - A foundling boy on earth realizes that he's from another world and tries to return, only to discover that hundreds of years have passed in his world of origin. Can he unravel the mysteries surrounding his disappearance?This was my first series set in the world of Panamindorah. It's YA, but many adults have enjoyed it. This is a good introduction to the world of Panamindorah, but you'll see that my story-telling improved in Cowry Catchers. This series is my earliest writing that is currently in print. You can still get these books as a podcast if you poke around.The Guild of the Cowry Catchers 5-Book Series - Gerard Holovar and his minstrel wife, Thessalyn, tumble from a position of power in his father's court to a precarious life of exile. Gerard manages to distinguish himself in the Temple Sea Watch, only to attract the jealous ire of his charismatic commanding officer, Silveo Lamire. However, their mutual boss, the High Priestess, insists that Gerard and Silveo cooperate to destroy a ring of pirates called the Guild of the Cowry Catchers. The pirates seem likely to make a swift end of Gerard...if Silveo doesn't do it first.Cowry Catchers was finished in 2008, and I still conside[...]



Taking Tricks - a Story About Silas

Wed, 15 Jun 2016 19:32:51 +0000

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Silas Ackleby is an 18-year-old airship sailor, currently sleeping in the woods as he waits for the airships to begin their spring hiring. He's had a run-in with a pickpocket, leaving him with barely enough coin to gamble for his breakfast. Fortunately, Silas rarely loses a card game. He's displeased, however, to find that the only game going involves a partner, chosen by random drawing. He's even more displeased when his partner turns out to be a wealthy student from the airship academy named Percival Bellwater. Silas is ready to strangle Percy within moments of meeting him, but Percy is less feckless than Silas originally assumes. He sweeps Silas up into a day of whirlwind plots that involve much higher stakes than breakfast. Their adventures and misadventures will change the course of Silas's life. 

“Taking Tricks” is a prequel story for The Scarlet Albatross novel. You can enjoy this story even if you have not read Albatross, but the story will mean more if you’ve read or listened to that book. "Taking Tricks" is available as a text and audio bundle (MP3, Mobi, ePub, and PDF). The audio is about an hour long and narrated by Rish Outfield. 

There are currently 2 ways to get this story. You can purchase the bundle for $2.99 from my online store. Or you can contribute to the Patreon.

Other stories available to Patreon donors include: 

  • "Dark Heart" (a story about Dakar's childhood with Morchella) 
  • "Quarantine" (the story of how Basil and Silveo met)
  • "Harbor Wave" (the story of what Gerard was doing the day he met Thessalyn)
  • "Fire From Heaven" (a story from Thesesus's cub-hood among the jagers)
  • "Chimera" (this month's story about Glossy, available by the end of the month)

$1  per month gets you all the stories in text and a vote on the next character. $3 per month gets the audio. Most of these stories will remain exclusive to Patreon until the end of the year. However, "Taking Tricks" makes such a good companion to The Scarlet Albatross that I decided to offer it separately. If you've enjoyed that book, you'll enjoy this story.




The Quest for the Perfect Covers

Tue, 07 Jun 2016 21:44:16 +0000

Since the beginning of the year, I have been trying to decide how to re-do my adult fantasy book covers. I know that the Cowry Catchers covers are routinely mistaken for children’s books. That is the single biggest problem. Beyond that, I want the Refugees trilogy branded the same way as the Cowry Catchers series. They need to look like they go together.That’s 8 books – 5 Cowry Catchers and 3 Refugees, and there will be more series involving these characters. We’re talking about a lot of money here. Getting it wrong could be disastrously expensive. Getting it right will be expensive enough. Rah had done some advertising art of Silveo’s face last year, and it definitely generated clicks. It also looks a little sexy, a little queer, a little dangerous – all things I want on these covers. So I asked her to do the same thing for Anaroo, with the idea of putting a different portrait on each cover. I also had Rah do a full body illustration of Anaroo, since this is more common in Fantasy, and I tested the two cover images head-to-head with Facebook ads. (I also tested various crops of all these, but explaining all that would make this post even longer. These are the full images, not the best crops.) The face won, so that is what we used on the launch of The Scarlet Albatross. However, it was my impression that a lot of people were either lukewarm about the cover or still mistaking it for a younger YA novel. I wasn’t satisfied, so I kept working on other options.I talked to some high-end artists who do oil painting covers for Tor and Baen. You can hire those guys. All you need is money. But those covers cost around $4000. Multiply that by 8. That’s a lot of money. Those covers would have to increase sales exponentially to be worth their price tag. I am skeptical. I think they would increase sales, but not by that much. And I really can’t afford to just eat that loss. If the books didn’t make back the money, I’d be hurting financially.So then I looked at design companies that use stock art and cost less because they don’t employ original paintings. These covers cost about half as much as the ones I'm currently buying from Rah. I started talking to one company recommended by another author I trust. Her books with their covers sell very well. While the company uses stock art, all covers are original, not pre-fab.The design company has been very generous and will not charge me unless I choose to use one of their designs. They also told me I could test the covers with Facebook ads, share them on FB with my readers, share them with my friends, with my mailing list, whatever it took to make a good decision. So, I’m going to share them here along with my research.******I'm removing this image out of respect for the design company. They did tell me I could share the images to get an opinion, but I want to give them plenty of room to use the design elsewhere, since I did not end up buying it.***** This is the first design they came up with. I tested it with Facebook ads against the current Albatross cover. The results were inconclusive. Almost exactly the same number of people clicked on either image and this was across multiple audiences on multiple days. These two covers seem to be equally eye-catching to readers unfamiliar wit[...]



The Scarlet Albatross Audio Book is Here!

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 02:25:53 +0000

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You can now purchase The Scarlet Albatross audio book from Audible.com or iTunes. This is Book 1 in the Refugees trilogy, which is the next series involving the Cowry Catchers characters. If you want to keep reading about Gerard and Silveo, this book is for you! The Scarlet Albatross is narrated by Lauren Harris and Rish Outfield, and they are the next-best thing to a fullcast.

If you've already read or listened to Albatross,  you might enjoy the related short story, "Taking Tricks," narrated by Rish. This is a story about Silas as a teenager, when he was still gambling for his breakfast. The text/audio bundle is available exclusively in my store or through Patreon, where I'm creating monthly short stories for donors.

Last week, I finished Jager Thunder, which is Book 2 in the Refugees series. This is a big, complex book, in which the entire casts of Cowry Catchers and Albatross collide amidst massive social and political upheaval. I'm embarrassed to say that I've been working on this book for a year and a half, which is a long time for me. However, I think you'll enjoy the results.

Right now, Jager is resting, and I'm working on the next Patreon short story, which is about Gerard. A big thank you to all the Cowry Catchers fans who have waited patiently for the next story involving these characters and their world. Welcome back, and welcome aboard!




The Scarlet Albatross eBook is Here!

Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:22:18 +0000

Anaroo is an airship slave, destined to spend her days running on a treadmill, winding the great springs of the Scarlet Albatross. When a storm threatens to sink the ship, Anaroo and her fellow slaves seize the opportunity to escape. Now, at last, she can go home.However, the airship nearly sank for a reason—violent unrest among the island kingdoms below. The world is changing and the surviving inhabitants of the Scarlet Albatross will need to cooperate to survive. Anaroo and the slaves form an uneasy truce with the strange collection of ship’s officers and passengers, none of whom are what they seem.Together, the mismatched crew will take the Scarlet Albatross on the most harrowing flight of her career—through storms, pirates, bloodshed, and war. In the end, none of them may be able to go home.The Refugees series is related to the Guild of the Cowry Catchers series and occurs immediately after the events in those books. However, Albatross is a suitable entry point into the world of Panamindorah. You can enjoy this book even if you’ve never read any other Panamindorah novels.eBookAmazoniBooksSmashwordsBNKoboMy Website (zipped Mobi, ePub, and PDF)Paper BookComing SoonAudio BookYou can get the audio early, as we create it, by subscribing at the $10/mo level on Patron. As of this posting, about half of the book has been released there. The regular audio book will be available from Audible.com in about two months. Chapter 1. Blood in the ScuppersI am Anaroo of Kwarla-conch and the Defiance. I will destroy those who chained me. I will return to Maijha Minor. I will find my way home. Anaroo began the mantra even before she opened her eyes on the dim, pitching world.Panic. Anaroo sat still and breathed. She’d taught herself to do this—not to cry out, or flail, or begin asking stupid questions of anyone near her. She was huddled against a wooden wall, straw beneath, scratchy woolen blanket tucked up to her chin, otherwise naked. A lantern cast barred shadows across her blanket, and male voices muttered somewhere beyond it. A cell. A dungeon? No, that wasn’t right.The broken patchwork of her memory seethed, throwing up useless connections. That drumming was not rain on jungle leaves. It was…rain on deck? On sails?I am Anaroo. I am Anaroo. I will not forget my name. Not again. Never again.She moved and was instantly conscious of the leather and metal collar. Slave collar. She wanted to tear it off. She was dimly aware of having tried to do so many times before.One wall of the cell was nothing but bars. Two grishnards stood in the corridor outside, unlocking the door. The room gave a sickening pitch, and one of them staggered. The closed waste bucket, bolted to the corner of the cell, made an unpleasant sloshing noise. I’m on a ship. But that didn’t seem quite right.Airship! Not the first airship, either. The second? Third?“Easy, Stripes. There’s a good girl. Easy now.”They are talking to me, she realized with a flash of shame and anger. She started to say something, then snapped her mouth shut. Sometimes, when Anaroo reached for one word, an entirely different word emerged. But I am getting better. Didn’t I speak to Needles a few days ago? The faun with the purple feathers? And he answered me, so I must have made sense. I am getting better. Each time she woke, the pieces fell into place a little faster.[...]



New Stories for 2016 and a Summary of Perks from 2015

Tue, 12 Jan 2016 19:08:15 +0000

I'm doing short stories again! One for each month this year for the Patreon donors. I've already released the first one. It's about Dakar. You can read it and upcoming stories for $1 per month, and you can vote on which character I'll write about next (the next survey is already up). You can listen to the audio of the stories for $3 per month.My Patreon has been going since May, and it has accumulated quite a few rewards that you may not be aware of. Even donors might have missed some of these. Patreon's stream can be a little confusing, especially as you go further back it time. Here's a list and quick links.$1+ DonorsChibi of Arcove and Roup teaching their cubs to huntChibi of Storm, Tollee, and VallaWallpaper of Roup and Silveo examining hieroglyphsLeopaard and Silveo chibi from the comicPortrait of SilveoText of  new Dakar Short Story, "Dark Heart"$3+ DonorsAudio for "Dark Heart" short story$5+ Donor s Jager Thunder Excerpt 1 - Mishael and GerardJager Thunder Excerpt 2 - Mishael and GerardJager Thunder Excerpt 3 - Tzu, Mouse, etc.Scarlet Albatross Excerpt and DiagramsJager Thunder Excerpt 4 - Gwain being a badassJager Thunder Excerpt 5 - Gerard and Dakar$10+ Donors The Scarlet Albatross eBook Advanced Reader's CopyCowry Catchers Comic Issue 0$20 DonorsFriends of Panamindorah Chibis These rewards stay in the feed until I take them down, so if you donate at these levels, you get all that stuff, plus upcoming rewards. If you are a donor and haven't been receiving emails about these rewards, check your spam settings. You might be missing out.That's it for now. The Scarlet Albatross ebook will be coming as soon as I get the last of the cover art. We've got around 18 of 60 chapters of the audio book complete. I'm 120,000 words into Jager Thunder with probably another 30K to go. The paper version of the Comic Issue 0 will be along any day now. The digital version is already available.  [...]



Store Opened for Signed Paper Books Until Jan 25th

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 19:25:40 +0000

This is just a quick note to say that I'm opening the store for signed paper books Jan 11-25. Art Books will be signed by both me and Rah. If you're new to the store, be sure and read the FAQ.




Welcome 2016

Sun, 03 Jan 2016 03:18:02 +0000

I love New Year. Christmas was my favorite Holiday as a kid, but New Year is my favorite as an adult. Partially, this is because my friends throw a fabulous Art Trade party, which has become a decades-long tradition that brings old friends back into town from across the country. I bring signed books and I go home with paintings and pottery, a belly full of great food and drink, and wonderful memories.But even beyond my friends’ amazing house party, I just love the new year and what it represents. I love all the Year-in-Review blog posts and podcasts. I love hearing people’s goals and how they plan to achieve them.For the past four years, I have set aside the first 2 weeks of January to do a detailed personal cleaning, inventory, and re-calibration. I guard those two weeks jealously, sometimes turning down lucrative work.During this time, I go through everything I own and evaluate whether I should keep it. I ask myself three questions:Do I love it?Is it beautiful?Have I used it in the last year?If the answer is “no” to all 3, I need to get rid of it via either Goodwill or the garbage. This process does a lot of things for me besides eliminate clutter. It reminds me of good times, because I actually look at all my keepsakes and pictures once a year. Even if I all I do is take something out of a box, evaluate it, and say, “Yes, I’m keeping this useless class jacket,” it brings back fond memories. It also reminds me what I own and where it’s located. “Oh, yeah, I own a drill! Better not buy another one.” I can’t tell you how many rolls of tape, scissors, and Band-Aids I've saved myself from re-purchasing.I also extend this process to computer files, external hard-drives, and cloud storage. I delete lots of excess Dropbox folders around this time of year. Again, I often find things I’d forgotten about.I’m not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions if by “resolution,” you mean “a new habit I’m planning to acquire from a standing start.” However, I’m definitely a believer in reevaluating habits and processes that may have drifted off-course. I’m a believer in trying to do better something that I’m already doing. I’m a person who focuses intensely on projects, and sometimes it’s important to step back, look at the big picture, and adjust my trajectory.2015 was not a great year for me, but no year is all bad, so I’ll start with the positive.What I accomplished in 2015 I learned to cook! I’ve been a foodie pretty much since I lived in Asia at 21, but I was mostly a connoisseur of good restaurants. I felt frustrated and bored with the small number of things I knew how to cook. The constant struggle to come up with ideas felt exhausting, and I hate going to the grocery store.So, I subscribed to a food service called Plated. I got my first box on 12/30/14 and cooked my first meal right about New Year’s Day, 2015. I loved it. I’ve continued to order weekly boxes whenever I’m in a position to cook them. I have made gourmet meals in hotels and hospital lodging with camping equipment. I’ve built up a folder of recipes that I enjoy repeating, and I continue to learn new things.I attended the Smokey Mountain Writer's retreat, made friends with Katie Bryski, and then Lauren and I invited her to our yearly get-together in Orlando. We went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, recorded hilarious podcasts, and got excellent story feedback. I hope we do it again!I didn’t do any big international trips this year, but I did work for two months in Fort Defiance – an extremely isolated location[...]



Signed Book Orders Are Open for 2 Weeks!

Tue, 13 Oct 2015 23:48:09 +0000

Hey, I know it seems early to be thinking about Christmas, but if you want an artbook signed by both Rah and me as a present for someone, you need to order it now. I've just opened the store for orders of signed paper books Oct 13 - Oct 27. They will ship around Nov 23. 

I may leave the store open for a few weeks longer, but only for stuff signed by me. I can't get anything signed by Rah after that point.

I hope you're having a great Fall!