Nocturnal Lives

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

Tag: publishing schedule

One more day

Oh, crap! Now I’m going to have that tune running around in my head all day. It’s not that I don’t like Les Miz, but that’s not what this post is about. Worse, I know what my evil muse is like. She will take a song about the French Revolution and decide I need to write something “worthy” of that people’s revolution. Nope, not on the charts. Not right now, at any rate.

Anyway, tomorrow is the day for Nocturnal Rebellion to be released. I can’t wait. I really hope you guys enjoy it. While this ends one story arc for Mac and company, there will be other stories. Mac’s too loud to just fade away. Besides, I like her and her friends.

Here’s the blurb:

All she wanted was a simple murder case, one uncomplicated by shapeshifters or interfering IAB investigators. What she got instead was much, much more.

Now three cops are dead and Mac’s world will never be the same again. It is up to her to find the culprits and bring them to justice. But what justice? That of cops and attorneys and criminal courts or that of the shapeshifters where there would be no record and a quick execution of punishment, whatever that might be?

As she walks that fine line, Mac walks another tightrope as well. Shapeshifter politics are new to her and, as she has learned, more complicated than anything she ever encountered as a cop. One misstep can lead to not only her death but the deaths of those she cares for. Like it or not, she has no choice because she has learned there are other things just as inevitable as death and taxes. Sooner or later, the world will learn that shapeshifters aren’t just things of legend and bad Hollywood movies. If that happens before they are ready, Mac and those like her will learn the hard way what happens when humanity learns monsters are real and living next door.

In the meantime, I’m back to work today. Next up is an entry in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series. I haven’t figured out if this is a short story or novella, mainly because this one ambushed me not long ago with an opening that won’t let go. The main character is Amy Duchamp, Lexie’s best friend and Miss Serena’s granddaughter. We first met Amy in Skeletons in the Closet.

My gut feeling is this will be the next installment in the Skeletons story arc. At least that’s the way it feels right now. Anyway, here’s what hit me and what isn’t letting go:

“I still say you should have named it Bell, Book and Candle.”

I grimaced. We’d had this discussion before. “Absolutely not. No self-respecting witch would ever name her bookstore after that movie!”

The only problem was I was more than a self-respecting witch. I was a self-respecting witch with bills to pay and who liked really nice shoes. Maybe Lexie was right. Not that I’d ever tell her. . . .

Many of the cast of characters — and I do mean characters — from Skeletons in the Closet, Witchfire Burning and Slay Bells Ring will be making appearances. And, yeah, Lexie’s mom still has her undead problem and her mother-in-law problem. I’m not sure if she will ever learn her lesson.


Update and a few thoughts

It’s done and with many thanks to Sarah A. Hoyt for the cover design. Now that I have it in hand, I’ll finish up the edits and get Rebellion up for pre-order Monday or Tuesday of next week. Pre-order will be for a shorter period than I usually do and those who pre-order will get a discount on pricing. I’ll announce when I set it up.

I love this book. It was harder to write in a number of ways than the other books. Not because it basically ends the current story arc, although that was part of it, but because of what I put some of the characters through. No one gets through this book unscathed in one way or another. But let’s be honest, you can’t go through life without taking a few knocks or stumbling some here and there.

I also started the real work of pulling together the special edition of Vengeance from Ashes yesterday. The storyline for the book and the series remains the same. The special editions will simply add material — a scene or chapter here and there. Think of it as the director’s cut of a movie. It’s fun not only because I’ve learned a great deal as I’ve written these books but because I get to go back in and add some material that will bring more depth not only to the characters but to the overall plot.

I’m also starting the real work of turning the very rough draft of Victory from Ashes (still not sure about that title) into something publishable. I have the cover for that book, sans tagline, in hand but I want to talk with Sarah about tweaking a part of it before the book comes out. As with Rebellion, Victory will wrap up at least a major part of the current story arc for the Honor and Duty Series. Also like Rebellion, it won’t mean the end of the series or characters, at least not all the characters. You never know who will die in a war and that is what Ashlyn and company face now. In order to keep the series interesting to me and to you, it is time to move on to the next phase of the story and see what happens next.

Now I’m off to find more coffee and hopefully wake up enough to get to work. Remember that Nocturnal Origins, the first book in the Nocturnal Lives series is currently on sale for $0.99.

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.


Witchfire Burning is now live!

Witchfire Burning (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 1) is now live.

Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.

Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.

Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.

And the family home is more than a little sentient.

Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?

Witchfire Burning is the start of a new series. However, it takes place in the same town as Slay Bells Ring and some of the same characters are present in both. Both have a little bit of mystery and a little bit of romance. Witchfire adds in an urban fantasy note as well. While it wasn’t a book I had planned when I sat down at the beginning of they year to figure out my publication schedule, it’s one that decided it needed to be written and I had a blast doing it. I hope you guys all enjoy reading about Quinn and company as much as I enjoyed writing about them. Also, for those who prefer print versions, it should be available in approximately two weeks. I’ll make an announcement when that version is ready.

An update, a reminder and a link or two

NaNoWriMo is underway and, as usual, I’m late getting started. Between life, dealing with car and home repairs and finishing up the edits on Duty from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 2), there hasn’t been much time to write. Yes, I have snuck in a few minutes here and there, but not nearly enough. So, now it is time to buckle down and get with the program because another one of the little complications that have hit this month is a good one. A good one with a deadline fast approaching. I’ve been asked to submit a romantic suspense/Christmas novella. A novella due in less than a month. So….

That started me thinking that I really needed to sit down and plan what I need to get done between now and mid-January, if not sooner. Let’s just say that as I pulled it all together, I began to doubt my sanity even more than I usually do. To give you an idea, here’s the general gist of what I have to do:

  • Make one last pass through Duty from Ashes by the 10th. Upload the final digital file and set it to go live November 21st. Set up the interior pdf file as well as the wraparound cover pdf file for the print release of the book.
  • Make a new editorial pass through Wedding Bell Blues, update the file — including the digital edition cover — and upload the new edition.
  • Write, edit, create cover and prepare for digital release the short novel Monday Morning Blues (like Wedding Bell Blues, it is written under the pen name Ellie Ferguson and is a mix of romance, suspense and humor). Due date for this is December 1.
  • Write, edit, create cover and prepare for digital and print release Nocturnal Challenge, book 4 of the Nocturnal Lives series. Due date for this is February 2015.
  • As if that’s not enough to drive me completely insane, I have to write Honor from Ashes, book 3 of Honor and Duty, for an early summer release.
  • Oh, and then there is Skeletons in the Closet, another one of those stories that just won’t let you go. I’m not sure what is going to happen with it, other than it will probably drive me crazy before I get it written.
  • I also need to do a “boxed set” of the Hunter’s Home series — Hunted (Hunter’s Moon Book 1), Hunter’s Duty (Hunter’s Moon Book 2) and Hunter’s Home (Hunter’s Moon Book 3) — in preparation of a new UF/PNR related series. I hope to have the first book of that new series out next summer.

And folks wonder why I have no life.

Anyway, to give you an idea of the story that I thought had died but has now come back to demand my undivided attention, here is the opening to Skeletons in the Closet:

In the beginning . . . .

All my life, my mama’s tried to raise me to be a proper lady.  No, that’s not quite right.  She’s tried to raise me to be a proper SOUTHERN lady, full of refinement and grace, dressed in lace and delicate pastels.  To hear her talk, it’s been a futile effort that’s caused her more than her fair share of gray hair.  And, where the lace and pastels are concerned, she’s right.  Still, she’s managed to get me to say, “yes, ma’am,” and “no, sir”.  For the most part, I’m respectful of my elders, even when they don’t deserve it.  I even wear clean underwear whenever I leave the house – usually without any extraneous holes in it – because Mama is convinced some rampaging bus will find me and strike me down, necessitating a trip to the emergency room.

I swear, I think it’s her life’s dream that it will actually happen.  You see, in her world, a trip to the ER has only one ending.  The handsome, rich and oh-so-conveniently single doctor who saves my life will fall madly in love with me.  What she seems to forget is that in a bus vs. me battle, the bus will always win.  So, unless the doctor is also a re-animator, he’d be falling for a corpse and, well, ewwwwww!

Besides, having somehow managed to survive a close encounter of the nearly fatal kind, the last thing I’d be interested in is finding a man to settle down and raise a passel of kids with.  Not that it would deter Mama one little bit.  Hell, she’d probably arrive at the ER with her minister firmly in tow, a marriage license burning a hole in her hand bag, all ready to fill in the blanks and make me a married woman.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, my mama rarely lets reality interfere with her plans.

Don’t get me wrong.  I can deal with Mama’s plans and manipulations.  I’ve spent a lifetime figuring out how.  All I have to do is make sure I look both ways before crossing the street.  Of course, the odds of a bus hitting me here in Misty Creek are about as good as the odds of Hell freezing over.  So I figure I’m safe – at least for the time being.

Knock on wood.

Because sure as my name’s Lexie Smithson, the minute I get married and move out, Mama will be packing her bags to join me.  It won’t matter if I want her to or not.  All she’d care about is finally being able to get away from Papa and the rest of the family.  It wouldn’t even matter that I’m the least favorite of her kids.  Like I said, reality rarely interferes with my mama’s plans.

Of course, I am an ungrateful and unobliging child.  I’ve no more found a bus to hit me than I’ve been able to keep the family skeletons in the closet.  The former I have no control over and the latter, well, I swear I don’t mean to let them out.  At least not usually.  It’s just that they make so much noise, what with all their moaning and the rattling of their bones.  Sometimes I just can’t help it.

It doesn’t help that it always seems to happen at the worst possible time.  Like when Mama’s women’s group was meeting in our parlor last Sunday after church.  Mama had just served the iced tea and lemon pound cake.  She’d even managed to make the house smell more like a garden than a funeral parlor.  Everything had been as close to perfect as was ever possible in our place.

Then Aunt Minnie decided she just had to join in on the fun.

Now I ask you, was it my fault she wanted to be a part of the meeting?  She’d been a member of that women’s group since the very first meeting more than twenty years ago.  Everyone there knew her.  Just as Mama knew she was there – how could you forget?  Besides, all Aunt Minnie had wanted was to find out what the no-account scoundrel of an ex-husband of her had been doing with the new church secretary.  Really.

I swear, those women sure did over-react when Aunt Minnie rattled in and sat on the settee next to Miss Pearl.  You’d have thought Miss Pearl had seen a ghost the way she shrieked and then fainted dead away.  Okay, maybe Aunt Minnie smelled a bit.  But we’d buried her in her best Sunday-go-to-meeting dress and it was just as pretty that afternoon as it had been at her funeral six months ago.  Mr. Perez, the local undertaker, had even been by just the day before to give Aunt Minnie one of her treatments.  So she looked pretty much like she had before she passed.  Sure, her skin sagged a bit more than it used to and she had a slightly yellow tinge, but that was all.  Really.

Besides, old Missus McIntyre was wearing enough lilac scent to cover the smell.

I’m here to tell you, those ladies scattered like dandelion parachutes in a strong wind.  It took me more than an hour to calm poor Aunt Minnie and coax her back into her closet.  I don’t know if she’ll ever come out again and that’s a darned shame.  She always was the best at gossiping and, honestly, there’s not much else to do in this backwater town on a cold Sunday afternoon – or just about any other time, come to think of it.

Now Mama, well, she was beside herself with frustration, indignation and mortification.  Even as she swept up the last of the lemon pound cake from the carpet where Mary Beth Tully dropped it on her mad dash for freedom, she blamed me.  Mama swears I do things like this solely to embarrass her.  I’m the ungrateful child, you see, not perfect like my sister Patty and certainly not important like my brother Brett, also known as Bubba – which he just happens to be.

No, I’m too much like my granny, the bane of my mama’s existence even now, ten years after she drew her last breath.  Mind you, Granny might have passed but, like Aunt Minnie, she didn’t pass on.

Maybe I ought to explain.  My family’s never been what you might call “normal”.  We’ve had more than our fair share of oddballs and loners and crazy cat ladies.  Most families in Misty Creek do.  But things took a decidedly sharp turn to the left of weird the day Perfect Patty came home complaining about how Old Lady Serena had given her the evil eye.

Nothing’s been the same since.

 *   *   *

As for the link, I’m blogging over at Mad Genius Club today. Check it out.

How often to publish (and a snippet)

This morning I saw a quote from Kevin J. Anderson of Facebook which, roughly paraphrased was “some authors write one book a year . . . I wonder what they are doing the other eleven months.” Now, before you get your backs up, KJA noted in his comment that it is perfectly okay to write one book a year. And it is. Each book will take as long as it takes. But his comment reminded me of something I think we all need to remember —  the changes in publishing mean we, as authors, don’t have to slow our process down so we ONLY write one book a year.

Before indie publishing and small press publishing exploded with the advent of Amazon’s KDP platform (followed by the others, of course), the accepted road to publishing was the traditional one. You wrote your book, sent it off to find an agent and, if you were lucky enough to find an agent, then it would eventually be sent off to find a publisher. That was a long process and you were encouraged to keep writing. But traditional publishing was limited by the number of slots they had each month. So they didn’t want their authors writing a book a month. This was especially true once those same publishers started putting non-compete clauses in their contracts which severely limited where and when an author could shop around works not already committed to a publishing house.

Of course, there are some houses that did push to have their authors write series so the books could come out every two or three months. The problem many of those mid-list authors suddenly found themselves faced with wasn’t that they were having to rush to get the books out. Far from it, in fact. No, the publishers chose to “brand” the series with covers that looked so much alike, book to book, that the bookstore buyers thought they already had the book in stock when, in fact, they were looking at a new book in the series. So, sales dropped, print runs were cut and, eventually, series were killed much too soon.

Then there was the wonderful decision by a certain publisher to brand all its erotica novels so their covers looked like one of the Fifty Shades of Grey books. Talk about confusing. Talk about authors being upset because books scheduled to come out were delayed while covers were changed. Talk about the casual reader being confused and thinking they already had the book because the cover looked too much like every other book on the shelf.

Indie and small press publishing has changed the landscape. It is easy now to convert your word processing file into an ebook. With some programs, it’s as easy as a click of a button. Add a cover (hopefully after you’ve had someone who knows what they’re doing edit and someone else proof the book) and you’re ready to go. Prepping the book for POD isn’t much more difficult. So, how often should an author publish a book now?

That’s the question I’m struggling with right now. I can write a book every six weeks or so — give or take a week depending on how much real life interferes. But what my question is how much time should elapse between the release of different books in a series. I know some authors put series books out once a month. Others do it quarterly. Others, well, whenever they finish the book.

In other words, there is no golden rule or magic answer.

The way I’m looking at it right now, is every three months. The thought process behind this is simple: it takes time for word of a book to get out beyond the immediate circle of those who receive the first blast on social media, etc. Then you need to give the readers a chance to actually read the book and get reviews up. If you haven’t started at a lower price for the first book, when the second book in the series comes out, you probably want to consider lowering the price for the first book. So you don’t want to upset those readers who bought the book at full price when it first came out. That means giving time for the drop in price to make sense. There are other considerations as well.

At least in my mind.

So, Duty from Ashes will come out in about three months. I’m already working on it. In the meantime, I’ll be finishing Monday Morning Blues. Hunter’s Home, the third volume of the Hunter’s Moon series will come out next week. Once Duty from Ashes is out, I’ll begin writing the next of the Nocturnal Lives series.

In the meantime, here’s a tease from Duty from Ashes and, no, it isn’t the beginning.

*     *     *

From where he sat in the ready room just off the bridge, Bradford Hughes felt his mouth tighten as his revulsion grew. He hated this assignment and wished with all his heart there had been a way to turn it down. But he couldn’t without destroying his career if not his life. No one turned down a request from the Protectorate, especially not when such a request came from the Intelligence Czar himself.

Understanding why the Protectorate placed such importance in the successful completion of the mission didn’t make it any easier to stomach. Instead, it simply reinforced his revulsion. He knew too well what the success of this mission would mean and it tore at him, at his sense of discipline, order and honor.

It wasn’t that he was naïve. He willingly accepted the fact that people died during war. A lot of people died. Too many of them were innocents, pawns in the fight between political, social or religious enemies. God knew he had caused more than his fair share of deaths over the course of his military career.

But that knowledge didn’t help. Not now because this wasn’t war. Not yet at any rate and their target held countless innocents who were completely unaware of the disaster looming just beyond their detection range.

Breathing deeply, forcing down this moment of weakness as brutally as those below would soon be crushed, Hughes once more focused on the scene from the bridge. His screen allowed him to monitor not only all bridge stations but also their approach. Soon, orbital sensors would pick up exactly what he wanted them to. They would see a simple convoy of merchant ships. Planetary and orbital defense outposts had no way of knowing that the ID’s stripped from the lead ships had been cloned off vessels long since destroyed. Nor did those poor souls manning the sensor arrays know of the attack force coming in directly behind the merchants, a force primed to overrun the planet before any real defense could be mounted.

In short, they had no idea that before the day was done, life as they knew it would cruelly cease to exist.

“Captain, maintain formation and current speed until we are just inside our effective weapons envelop. Then order your ships to Plan Alpha. I repeat. Plan Alpha. Your lead fighter squadrons are to take the orbital defense arrays off-line by whatever means necessary. The rest of your command is to concentrate on planetary defense and communications installations,” he said softly into his com-link, confident only the ship’s commander, the putative head of this so-called fleet, could hear him.

That had been another reason he had hesitated accepting this assignment. For ten years he had commanded his own ship and then his own squadron. Then the request from the Commissioner of Intelligence Services, more often known as the Intelligence Czar because of his iron-fisted way of dealing with those foolish enough to oppose him, came across his desk. Hughes hadn’t hesitated to agree to the proposed meeting. After all, he had done nothing Alexander Watchman could construe as a threat. Surely the meeting was simply to discuss the intelligence information gathered during Hughes’ latest mission.

How wrong he had been. For more than three hours he listened in growing disbelief as Watchman and his aide laid out their plans. Plans they had obviously spent years bringing to fruition. Now Watchman wanted him to carry out those plans. Part of Hughes wanted desperately to refuse. After all, they were asking him to commit nothing short of treason, to violate oaths he had freely and willingly given.

Then, much to his surprise, Watchman proceeded to convince him of the rightness of it all. His mission was critical to the preservation of his homeland. So treason wasn’t a factor. He would be acting as a patriot and, if the mission succeeded, he would go down in history as one of the planet’s greatest heroes.

It was all very heady stuff for someone who had always wanted to make a difference.

But none of that truly prepared him for what was to come. Onboard Anubis, flagship of this motley fleet, only the captain, Roman Dorescu, and one or two others knew who truly called the shots. To everyone else, Hughes was merely an advisor who might arrange for newer, more deadly weapons and ships if he liked what he saw. While this let Hughes observe how his new allies operated, the knowledge of what they were about to do left him with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, a feeling he simply could not shake.

Soon, very soon, this system would fall. Its leaders, a group of men and women dedicated to protecting the welfare of those they had sworn to serve, would surrender. They would do so assuming their attackers would follow the rules of civilized warfare. Then they would learn just how wrong they had been in that assumption.

Warfare isn’t civilized and never will be. Not with animals like the Callusians involved.

Hughes shoved away from the desk and climbed to his feet, his mouth tight as images of what would come filled his mind. How in the world had he let himself be talked into accepting this mission?

Those poor souls dirt-side will suffer things worse than their darkest nightmares. Death will be a welcome release. Unfortunately, it will be denied to too many of them but that’s the price they must pay for us to be successful.

At least the devastation would point all eyes to the Callusians. No one would think to look any further. After all, they had terrorized this sector of space for years. Each new wave of attacks had become progressively more violent. Nothing about this mission would cause those civilized worlds to look beyond their horror to see how the Callusians, and them, were being manipulated.

And that was how it had to be for Hughes to successfully complete his mission.

It was also why he would let these savages have their way, up to a point, once the attack began. Their landing parties would revel in the chance to rape and torture just as they would delight in destroying anything and everything in their path. The visual records they would make to capture their “glorious triumph” would very soon find their way into the hands of the enemy, confirming to one and all that Cassius Prime was yet another victim to fall to the Blood.

The plan was as close to perfect as was possible. All that was left was the execution. But he had long ago learned not to trust plans that seemed to have so little that could go wrong. They almost always blew up in someone’s face. He just hoped this time it wasn’t his. Then, as the comm unit beeped softly, signaling an incoming message from Dorescu, he fought back a curse. Was the plan already hitting unforeseen snags?  By all that is holy, don’t let there be a problem.


“We are picking up readings of a ship entering the system. Preliminary ID is that of a Fuerconese light cruiser,” Dorescu replied, a slight edge of contempt touching his voice.

Hughes stared at the com-unit in disbelief. So much planning and hard work would be for naught if that cruiser managed to squawk out a warning. But did they dare split off any of their units to deal with this new threat before getting the attack under way?  Damn them for putting him into a situation where there was no right answer.

He had no choice, not really. He simply could not run the risk that the cruiser would recognize his little “group” for what it was. If the planetary defense systems came on-line, their chance of taking the planet quickly dramatically decreased. Worse, if the cruiser was a lead unit for the enemy, there could be a larger, meaner fleet out there waiting to destroy his ships. No, he had to risk it in order to keep the cruiser from warning anyone about what was about to happen.

“All right, Captain,” he said calmly as he returned to the desk. “Dispatch three units plus fighters to intercept and destroy the cruiser. Inform your commanders they are to issue no challenge. Their duty is simple. Destroy the cruiser before it can get a message off to alert system defense or anyone else.”

“Understood. Consider it done,” Dorescu replied with undisguised glee.

Hughes listened closely as the captain relayed the order. Then he leaned back with a wary, heartfelt sigh.

No, not so easy after all.

*     *     *

Vengeance From Ashes (new)Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty) (written under the pen name Sam Schall) is the first in the Honor and Duty series.

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.


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén