Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Category: publishing (Page 1 of 24)

On Bergdahl and writing and other things

This is going to be a quick post. I’ll be back this afternoon with a more substantial entry. However, I do have posts up at Victory Girls and Mad Genius Club this morning. At VG, I talk about the delay of Bowe Bergdahl’s sentencing and how he is still grasping at any straw he can find to avoid taking responsibility and paying the consequences for deserting his post. My MGC post is about the misconceptions a number of traditionally published authors still have about indie authors AND about readers. I’d appreciate it if you wander over and take a look at both posts.

As for the rest of it, yesterday was very productive. I have the opening chapters of Light Magic figured out, complete with plot changes and a change in the male lead. Finally, the book feels right. I will probably spend this morning and part of the afternoon finishing the note-taking, etc., before sitting down to actual start the rewrite. But, the daily output yesterday, not counting blogging, was close to 10k words. I’m not going to argue with it.

Now I’m off to get back to work. I’ll be back later today with another post. Until then, have a great day!

A question, a reminder and a share

I’m late today due to real life interference. Now, finally, I’m able to sit down and try to get to work. But first things first. Today’s post is going to be short — at least by my standards. I have a question or two, a reminder and a share. Then I have to get back to writing.

First, the questions.

As you guys know, I hate doing the whole promotion bit. I’d rather be writing. It just feels weird climbing to the top of the proverbial mountain to shout about my work. But, it is one of the realities of life as an indie writer. One of the things I’ve been putting off is doing a newsletter. So here are the questions.

  1. Would you be interested in a newsletter? No, it wouldn’t be daily or even weekly, at least not on a regular basis. I would use it to announce upcoming release dates, send out snippets that don’t get posted here, that sort of thing. Most communication would still be done via this blog and Twitter/Facebook.
  2. Next question: Would you be more likely to sign up for the newsletter if you got a freebie with it? (I’m thinking short story set in one of my series’ universes)
    1. Would a one-time sign-up freebie be enough?
    2. Or would you prefer something on a regular basis?

Now for the reminder, actually two reminders.

Vengeance from Ashes (special edition with exclusive content) is now live on Amazon. You can order the digital version here or the print version here. This version has approximately 20k additional words included that were not part of the original version. It is only available on Amazon. It is also part of the Kindle Unlimited program there.

The second reminder has to do with the original version of Vengeance from Ashes. You can order it through the following outlets with more to come: KoboPlayster, Tolino (link not yet available) InkteraBarnes & Noble, and iTunes. This is the same edition that had been available on Amazon.

Finally, the share. I have a new post up over at Victory Girls today. I have an issue anytime someone says a certain group of people are above criticism. Unless they’re perfect — and no one is — then they don’t rise to the level where some constructive criticism can’t help them. In this case, Joy Behar opened her mouth (I know, big surprise) and actually said we shouldn’t criticize comedians. That led to Chelsea Handler and that, eventually, to some recent media gaffes as well. So, I committed blog. Go take a look.

Release date

It’s finally here. The official release date for the special edition of Vengeance from Ashes. This edition has approximately 20,000 words of next material. As I’ve noted before, the new material helps expand and round out the plot without changing it. It also help sets the stage better, in my opinion, for the subsequent books in the series. This edition will only be available on Amazon and is enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program.

UPDATED to show new purchase link for B&N.  (0830 CST)

UPDATED to show new purchase link for iTunes (1420 CST)

For those of you who would prefer the original edition, it is now live on the following platforms:

It will soon be available from Overdrive.

 

Release Day is Almost Here!

Tomorrow is the official release date for the special edition of e-book version of Vengeance from Ashes. (The print version is already available.) I’m extremely proud of this book, in both its versions. This new version contains new material that has never before been available, approximately 20k words of it.

Here’s a quick snippet from early into the book:

***

Without a word, he deactivated the security field and stepped inside. The first indication Shaw gave that she was even aware of his presence was a startled glance in his direction when he didn’t reactivate the field. Then the mask was back in place and she went back to her sit-ups.

He waited until she finished her set before speaking.

“All right, Ash, you’ve put up a good front, just as I taught you. But you can drop it now. Believe me when I say the guards are looking at a video loop of you exercising and me standing outside the cell watching.” He waited, wondering how much time would pass before she responded.

Ashlyn Shaw slowly stood and then dropped onto the edge of her bunk. Her eyes were wary, her mouth tight. Santiago felt his own mouth harden as he saw the scar marring her left cheek and another bisecting her right eyebrow. She looked pale, as if she had not been in the sun for a very long time. Worse, she was thin, too thin, even if she had managed to maintain muscle tone through her exercise regimen. It was no wonder Tremayne had called him.

“What do you want, Major?” Shaw’s voice seemed harsher than he remembered, almost as if she’d been screaming for a long while and had strained it.

“I just had an interesting call from Miranda Tremayne.” Before she could say anything, he shook his head. “No, she didn’t tell me what you talked about and I didn’t ask. But she did ask me to look into what has been happening on Tarsus for the last two years. Since I was already doing so, I told her I thought it was time she and I shared information. But now I want – no, I need – to ask you some questions.”

“Sorry, Major. I’ll tell you exactly what I told her. Until I know my people are safely away from Tarsus and have received full pardons, I’m not talking. If you can’t accept that, then you might as well just send me back so I can finish out my sentence.”

Santiago drew a breath, held it for a long moment and then blew it out. Her response didn’t surprise him but it did frustrate him. There were too many possible reasons for her reluctance to talk and none of them were good. So he had to find a way break her silence, at least enough to give him a clue about where to start looking for answers.

“Kid, I know something’s going on. Anyone taking a look at you would. But I need to know what it is so I can put an end to it.” He’d always been honest with her and he wasn’t going to stop now. “I need you to listen to me, Ash. I’ve known you for a long time. I helped train you, make you into the Marine you are–”

Her lips peeled back in an almost feral snarl and her eyes flashed dangerously. For one moment, she looked as if she might say something. Before she could, Santiago held up a hand to prevent her from interrupting. He understood at least a little of what she must feel. The court-martial had stripped her of her rank and had ended her career. He doubted she’d allowed herself to even consider the possibility she might one day be able to rejoin her beloved Corps.

“You are a Marine now and forever, kid. Don’t forget that. Don’t you ever forget that. It’s in your blood. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

“I’ve reviewed your reports from before your court-martial. I’ve seen your correspondence with Admiral Tremayne, Rear Admiral Sorkowski and Major O’Brien. I’ve also seen the original copy of your orders. I know you did your best to keep your people from being caught in the backlash caused by those orders. I have also discovered evidence proving Sorkowski had those orders altered after the fact. Further, I can prove O’Brien knew and didn’t say anything. I know they did it to cover their own sorry asses. I know and can prove they were responsible for the loss of most of your unit as well as the civilian deaths that were the result of your orders as well as enemy reprisals. I can also prove you not only warned Sorkowski and O’Brien about what could happen but that you also officially objected to your orders as being unlawful – not to mention stupid – and how you forwarded copies of your objections to Admiral Tremayne and others. Finally, I can show how those messages were delayed or miscoded so they wouldn’t be admissible at your trial. In other words, Captain, I can prove you were set up.”

Shaw’s head snapped up, anger flashing in her eyes. Santiago nodded slightly. He understood. She’d sworn over and over again that the copy of the orders that had been introduced at her court-martial hadn’t been the orders she’d received. Now there was proof of that and more.

“Then why in hell haven’t my people been brought back here and cleared?” Her hands gripped the edge of her bunk so tightly her knuckles shone white.

“I just found the information last night, Ash, and I have to make sure I can prove its validity.” God, didn’t she know how badly he wanted to do exactly what she asked? He wanted to clear all of them. Their convictions were a black eye to the Corps and to the military as a whole. He’d like nothing better than to be able to correct the miscarriage of justice. “That’s why I need you to talk to me.”

He hoped thought she might actually relax enough to answer his questions. Instead, she shook her head, her expression closing again.

“Damn it, Ash, I’ve been looking into what happened since before your court-martial. But Sorkowski isn’t stupid. He covered their tracks well. It’s taken time to break through and find evidence corroborating your claims.” Frustrated, he waited, watching for any sign she believed him. What was it going to take to get through to her?

“Major, whether you want to admit it or not, you already have what you need. If you need more, check my personal files. If the admiral – sorry, senator – doesn’t have them, my parents will. But that’s all I will say, at least until my people are freed.”

“I’m doing my best, but it would be a hell of a lot easier if you’d help me.” He took a step forward, stopping when she shook her head. “Ash, please.”

For a moment it looked like she might change her mind. Then she pushed off her bunk and moved as far away from him as she could. When she turned and looked at him, the anger reflected on her expression rocked him.

“You want to know what’s happening at Tarsus, Major?” Her words were clipped, her voice harsh. “Take a look at the prison records. Compare the stats for the current leadership there to earlier administrations. How many people are sentenced there and how many actually manage to survive their sentences? Of those who do, how many are still sane?

“If that’s not enough to answer your questions, then look at me. Take a good look, damn it!” She waved a hand at her scarred face. Before he could say anything, she grabbed the left sleeve of her jumpsuit and pulled. The sound of the shoulder seam ripping filled the cell. She dragged the material off her arm and tossed it onto the floor.

“Look at this, Major. Look at what they did and know it is only a small example of what they’ve done to all of us.”

Santiago’s stomach churned and bile rose in his throat. The skin of her bicep had been torn away from the underlying muscle and it looked as if it had been left to heal without proper medical treatment. Rough, discolored scar tissue hid the definition of the underlying muscle. Worse, he knew what had been on her arm where now there was only ugly scarring. His own right hand reached up to touch his left arm and the Devil Dog tattoo he proudly bore. Every member of the Devil Dogs, past and present, had one. Shaw had as well – at least until someone had so cruelly removed it.

“Do you want to see more?” she demanded, tears pooling in her eyes. All he could do was shake his head. “Now think about this. Every day I’m here is another day those bastards are figuring out new ways to torment my people. I was warned before I left Tarsus not to say anything. If you’ve lied to me, if there is someone listening in on what I’ve said, my people are dead. If that happens, I promise you’ll die a very slow and painful death.”

***

The original version of the book will be removed from sale on Amazon later today. For those of you who have already purchased it, don’t worry. It will remain in your library. I did check with Amazon about that and they assured me that would be the case.

And now, it’s time to get to work. Until later!

It’s here!

Those of you who follow my weekly posts on Mad Genius Club know I tried something new with the print edition of Vengeance from Ashes (special edition with exclusive material). Instead of going with Createspace or one of the other POD platforms available for indie authors, I tried out the new KDP Print option. I did so with a great deal of trepidation. I don’t like change and I really don’t like not having the option of getting a hard copy proof before turning a print edition loose in the wild. Still, I’d heard both good and bad and, well, it wasn’t going to cost me anything to give it a try.

I’ll admit, two things really helped make my mind up. The first was the ease of setting up everything. Basically, all I had to do was have the pdf version of the interior and cover files ready to go. All the information I input for the e-book edition was automatically imported for the print version. No having to go back and forth between pages to make sure everything matched. So that was the first thing going in its favor.

The second and most important factor is price. Doing the print version through the KDP dashboard allowed me to set the price for the book lower than I would have been able to if I went through Createspace or some of the other POD platforms. That means I can price my book more competitively with print books from traditional publishers. That is important.

As for timing, the files were accepted and approved by KDP for the print version in about the same amount of time as I’ve had to wait before with Createspace. However, the time between order and delivery were much quicker. Because I ordered directly from the Amazon product page, and because I have a Prime membership, I received the book 2 days after I ordered it and did not have to pay shipping. That is much quicker than I’d had to wait for a proof to be delivered from Createspace.

Now, this is where the math gets a bit convoluted. Using Createspace, I could order proofs or author copies at a discounted amount. If I remember correctly, the last time I ordered author copies for a book with approximately the same page count as the special edition of Vengeance, it cost $4.99 (give or take a few cents). Then shipping was added on top of that. All totaled, it cost , for a single volume, approximately $9.00 (It was a few cents under that but I don’t remember how much). Because I was ordering author copies at the discounted rate, those copies did not count toward my author ranking, sales ranking nor did I receive any royalties for the sales.

I ordered the book for $10.99. Because I’m a Prime member, I didn’t have any shipping costs added on. I also earned $1.74 in royalties for the purchase. That means my total out-of-pocket for the single copy I ordered was $9.25. That is within the margin I was willing to pay when considering what I had been paying Createspace, especially when the sales actually count for ranking purposes. So far, so good.

A friend of mine who is a very successful indie writer let me know that he has been contacted by Amazon and he does have the option of order proof copies of his print books. My guess is that this is an update to the program they are slowly rolling out. To order a proof, your book must still be in “draft” status and you will pay the printing cost for your book ($4.86 in the case of Vengeance) plus shipping. All Amazon shipping options are available EXCEPT Prime shipping. So, the speed with which you want the proof will impact your overall cost. You can also order up to five copies of your book per proof order.

When that option is available for me, I’ll report on what the final pricing breakdown is.

So, as the title of this post says, I received my copy of Vengeance yesterday. Other than being a bit miffed because the book had not been packed properly — the box we too big and one corner was crimped as a result of it moving around while in transit — it looks good. Here’s a picture.

VfA special edition

For the print edition, click here.

To pre-order the e-book edition (release date next Tuesday), click here.

A Snippet, a Reminder and More

We’ll start with the reminder first. Vengeance from Ashes (special edition with exclusive content) is currently available for pre-order. Release date is Oct. 17th. This new edition expands on the original edition without changing the overall story arc. Work is progressing on the special edition of Duty from Ashes, as well as Honor from Ashes. They will be released in December and January.

Now for the “more”. Actually, it is a request. Indie authors get most of our PR by word-of-mouth. The best comes from reviews. So, if you’ve read my books — or books by any indie author — please consider leaving a review. It doesn’t have to be long or in-depth. Just a paragraph or two is enough. And they do help. Not only do potential readers look to see if a book has been reviewed and what other readers think, Amazon looks at how many reviews a book has when it comes to their own advertising metrics.

Finally, for the snippet. This is the second snippet from Light Magic. This novel is set in the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe and many of the characters already introduced are returning, as well as a few new characters showing up. This is the unedited version. That means things can and probably will change between now and publication. You can find the first snippet here.

***

I rode past the green and white sign proclaiming “Welcome to Beautiful Mossy Creek” and almost instantly wondered if I’d somehow managed to step back in time. Downtown could have been lifted straight out of the 1950’s – heck, even earlier for all I knew. Small shops with colorful awnings and sandwich board signs on the sidewalks lined Main Street. More than a few of the shop windows contained signs supporting the high school football team in its quest to become the regional champion. Parked along the street and in the surface lot across the street from the courthouse were everything from battered farm trucks to, I kid you not, a Lamborghini.

Next to the courthouse stood Peggy’s Café. I slowed, looking for a parking spot. I’d been on the road since well before dawn. My stomach growled, reminding me I hadn’t eaten. If that wasn’t reason enough to try the café, the fact I needed more coffee was. Besides, if the café was like those in other small towns I’d visited over the years, someone would know where I could find this Serena Duchamp. Who knows, they might even tell me something about the woman and why my mother thought it so important I make the trip to see her.

Or, more likely from the stares I’d gotten since pulling into town, they’d clam up and not say a word. Maybe riding in on my Harley SuperLow and dressed in black leathers hadn’t been the smartest thing I to do. Not that I cared. I was here only because my mother told me to come. It was, in a way, an attempt to fulfill her dying wish. I didn’t have to understand it or like it. I’d do it and, hopefully, be able to leave without delay.

I found a spot not far from the café and backed in. As I did, I glanced around. Early as it was, people hurried up and down the sidewalk, some to work and others in the direction of the café. Some even glanced my way and nodded in greeting. Others actually wished me a good morning. That was certainly more than I’d ever gotten in Maxon’s Mill, not that it meant anything.

Or did it?

Read More

Vengeance from Ashes update and more

As I announced last night, the digital edition of Vengeance from Ashes (special edition with exclusive content) is now available for pre-order. Release date is a week from today. The print version is in the pipeline and I will have a hard copy in my hands Thursday to give it a final look. Fingers crossed everything went all right with the setup. The print version order page is being promulgated. It still needs the product information and to be linked to the e-book page. That will probably take a couple of days.

I’ve detailed my mental gymnastics in deciding to release this version over at Mad Genius Club this morning. Check it out.

So that brings me to the release dates for the expanded editions for the rest of the series. Duty from Ashes, currently available only on Amazon, will see the expanded edition released on Amazon on 12/19. The expanded version of Honor from Ashes will be released on Amazon on Jan. 16, 2018. The original versions of those books will be released on the other major platforms approximately 1 week after the expanded versions go on sale.

That leaves Victory from Ashes (working title) to be published. I am currently looking at bringing it out March 13, 2018. The prequel novella/novel (Duty Bound) will, hopefully, come out before then but I am not going to hold up the special editions or Victory for it since it is still gelling in my mind.

In the meantime, I’m going to start doing some promos for my other work, including posting snippets here. But that will be for later. Right now, I have much to do and still haven’t had enough coffee.

Coffee…..

Yummmmm…..

Later!

 

Vengeance from Ashes (expanded edition) available for pre-order

The title pretty much says it all. Vengeance from Ashes (expanded edition) is now available for pre-order. The print version will be available very shortly. The official release date for the e-book is October 17th.

This version of the book contains approximately 20k words of additional content. It is, in many ways, the “director’s cut” of the book. I will be removing the original version of the book from Amazon over the next few days. For those of you who have already purchased it, don’t worry. It will still be in your library. I made sure to verify that with Amazon. The original version will be released on the other major platforms sometime later this month.

Here’s the blurb:

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

This special edition contains exclusive material (approximately 20,000 words) not available in other editions of the novel.

 

 

I really should know better

I did it. I knew when I wrote Friday’s post, I was tempting my luck. I should know better than to throw down the metaphorical challenge gauntlet where my muse is concerned. But I did it and now Myrtle the Evil Muse is going to make me pay for it.

Long story short, when I started considering releasing the expanded edition of Vengeance from Ashes and the other books in the Honor and Duty series, I didn’t know what to do about the short stories that act as prequels to the series. Friday, after blogging, I started thinking about whether or not I should release them into the wild. That started me thinking about whether or not a prequel novel should be written. There have been requests for one, specifically one that deals with the events that led to Ashlyn being court-martialed.

That’s where Myrtle the Evil Muse stepped in. The individual short stories will be taken off of the KU program and released into the wild. But, they will also become the basis for a prequel novel. I’m still working on the actual plot and mechanics of how to do it. I do have the title — Honor Bound. Of course, that might change as things progress, but that’s what I’m working with right now.

So, that gets added to the list of books to be written.

As for the rest of it, I’m working on updating all my e-books (mainly formatting updates as well as updating key words) as I update print files and get them ready for release. Some covers will be changing as well. Then I need to talk with someone about doing audio books for at least the science fiction novels.

In other words, I’m practicing what I preach and looking at my writing as a business. More on that as it progresses. For now, I have a couple of contract obligations to deal with this morning and then it’s back to writing.

In the meantime, we are counting down to the release of the expanded edition of Vengeance from Ashes. Eight days to go!

Wow! What just happened?

This week has been odd, to say the least. Real life impacted writer life and writer life impacted social life. Quit laughing. I do have a social life — sort of. Add in a migraine, deadlines that have been blown in the real life sector and, well, you get an idea of what the week has been like.

So imagine my surprise when I sat down this morning and realized how much I’ve gotten accomplished on top of all that. I’ve managed to blog, not only here but at Mad Genius Club and Victory Girls, even if not with the regularity I’d like. But blogs happened. Considering the distractions of the week, that’s an accomplishment.

But what has really surprised me is how much work I’ve managed to put in. It’s been done in fits and starts and at times when I don’t usually write. But it has happened and with better results than I anticipated. I finalized the files for the release of the special, expanded edition of Vengeance from Ashes. I have to check the cover file one more time before setting it up for a print release. Assuming everything goes according to plan, the e-book version will be released on the 17th of this month and the print book shortly thereafter (if not on the same day).

The special, expanded edition of Duty from Ashes, the second book in the series, started taking shape this week as well. Some notes have been made and a few corrections to the original file have been entered. Now comes the hard work, work that I usually do during the evening when the family is watching TV.

But there’s more. I finished the rough draft for Light Magic, another novel set in the Eerie Side of the Creek universe. I love this novel, even if it did fight me tooth and nail in the beginning. I’m going to put it aside for a couple of weeks as I work on another project. Then I’ll come back and finish it up. If all goes according to plan, it will be out end of November.

As for the rest of it, I finally figured out the full plot arc for the final book (?) in the Sword of the Gods series. In some ways, it will be much darker than the previous two books (Sword of Arelion and Dagger of Elanna) but it needs to be. Not dark in the GRRM way of things where everyone, or almost everyone, dies, but dark in that folks will die or worse. And, to be honest, it is the “worse” aspect that excites and scares me as a writer.

I’ve also had a scene stuck in my head from the Nocturnal Lives series that is so far out there, I know it is just Myrtle the Evil Muse playing with me. What else could explain a scene where Mac is waiting even more nervously than anyone else for Pat to give birth? She’s not worried that anything will happen to her friend or the baby. No, she’s worried because she doesn’t know whether the proper gift for a new shifter baby should be diapers or kitty litter. Yes, I told you, my muse is evil and she loves to torment me with these things. Whether a story comes out of it or not, I don’t know. And, to be honest, I’m not sure I want to know. Shudder.

Finally, and in some ways most important, I have the plot for the next Honor & Duty book as well as at least one short story in that universe. I’ll be making notes on them over the next few days. Writing should start on them next month some time. There will also be a Christmas story in the Eerie Side of the Creek universe, released in December. So busy times ahead.

Assuming Myrtle doesn’t decide to hijack me yet again — glares inward at the cackling muse. For now, it’s back to work. I have a contract job to take care of and them some real life obligations to deal with before I can sit down to write today. But first, more coffee!

Later!

 

 

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