I guess this could be called the “OMG and WTF were they thinking edition?”. The OMG part of it is good news. The other is pretty self-explanatory. So, I guess I ought to get started. Let’s the the WTF part out of the way first.
As you know, I’m a gamer. It is my way of relaxing and destressing. I started gaming years ago, when my son was young. He wanted to game and I was one of those parents who didn’t automatically say yes or no. At least not usually. Instead, on movies, books, games, etc., I did my best to educate myself. So the two of us started gaming together. As he got older, he challenged me to keep at it, often doing co-op with me or suggesting games he thought I might like. Among those–thank you, son–were Halo, Borderlands and Mass Effect. Now we recommend games to one another.
Let’s face it. The pandemic hit the gaming industry hard. Just like it did so many others. Games have been delayed and are still being delayed. Too many are being released before they are really read (I’m looking at you, Outriders). But most developers are working to fix their problems. But with gaming we see the age-old issue most computer programmers have known about from the very beginning. Programmers and designers are pushed into putting out code ASAP. The QA people tell them to fix something. The bean counters tell them to push it out if it isn’t a major issue and then issue a patch.
And, frustrating as that is, it isn’t the cause of the WTF of this morning.
That comes from an opinion piece I saw about the upcoming Far Cry 6 game. I’ll admit right off the bat, I’m kind of a late-comer to the series. My son convinced me to try it on Far Cry 4. He’d tried before then but I hadn’t listened. I had a lot of fun with Far Cry 4 and 5. I know there are those who didn’t like Far Cry: New Dawn, but I did. Yeah, it wasn’t really a full game. But I enjoyed how changed things up some and let us revisit some characters we already knew from FC 5.
Now Far Cry 6 is on the horizon. This will be, to the best of my knowledge, the first FC game where the playable character is fully voiced. The preview game play and videos look promising. So why am I in a WTF? mood about it?
Simple. I read an article yesterday telling everyone they should only play as the female version of Danni. We need to make a statement to Ubisoft, you see. The company, according to the article, has a questionable history with non-male employees. So we must band together and show them girls rule–or something like that.
I guess we should be thankful they weren’t calling for a ban.
FC 6 isn’t the first game in the series to let you choose whether to play as a male or female character. You could do so in FC 5 and FCND. Ubisoft has other games where you can choose male or female as well, games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. In both of those games, the female characters if fully voiced, just as is the male character.
Other game developers have male and female leads as well. Probably one of the best well-known for this is the Mass Effect trilogy. FemShep has been a fam favorite for years, due largely in part to the voice acting skills of Jennifer Hale. While I’ve played as MaleShep a couple of times, I usually end up playing FemShep.
With AC: Odyssey, I did two playthroughs initially. One as Alexios and one as Kassandra. Subsequent playthroughs have been as Kassandra. Not because she’s female but because I liked the way the voice actor did her better than the male counterpart. For AC: Valhalla, I’ve played and liked both male and female versions of Aivor.
What I don’t do is play a character based on their sex or sexual orientation. If it is a voiced character, I want it to be well-acted so I can connect with the character. Otherwise, I want the character creator to be such that I can create a character I like.
But I don’t choose a character to make a political or social statement. That is not why I play games and I resent like hell someone telling me I should do so.
Okay, mini-rant off. Let’s get on to the good news.
I’ve had a full month now of going wide with my books. Okay, that’s not quite accurate. I still have four (?) novels left to put out wide. Then there is the fact some of them were put out during the course of this month. But, taking all that into consideration, the numbers have surprised me some.
Looking at my sales numbers on Amazon for this year, with the exception of when I’ve put out a new title, sales have held pretty consistently month-to-month. This month, by taking books out of KU, I knew I’d lose some income from Amazon. What I didn’t anticipate was that I would see an increase in sales through the ‘Zon. More on the KU numbers in a bit.
But it was my sales through the other channels that surprised me. To start, I have done no promotion of the titles going wide except for blogging about it, making posts on FB, etc., and my newsletter (have you signed up yet?). Even so, the number of books sold this past month on BN, Apple and Kobo outstripped Amazon by 13% or so. I don’t have numbers yet from the other marketplaces. So that more than makes up for the loss of KU page reads.
Most of those sales have come from BN. Apple comes in a distant second with Kobo behind it. I can remember when I used to go months without a sale on any of those channels.
So, at least for the moment, it looks like this experiment is working. But it is still early days. I’m going to space out the release of the next three books into the wild. I’ll put Hunted up this week. Tracked will go up a week to ten days after and Prey will follow at about the same timeline. That will hopefully keep the traction going until Victory from Ashes is ready for release.
That leaves, if I remember correctly, only one novel left on KU and a couple of short stories. I’ll move one of the short stories over when it ages off. Christmas Magic is part of the Eerie Side of the Tracks series and should be available everywhere the rest of the series is. The remaining novel is Wedding Bell Blues. It is a one-off novel and I’m not sure I want to take it out of KU.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not having second thoughts. It’s just that I know my muse. I call her evil for a reason. For those of you who don’t know the story behind WBB, here’s the short version. Back in the very early days of my career as a writer, Sarah Hoyt and I went to the RWA convention in San Francisco. WBB was born there. By the time we left, I had the book basically written. It’s a romantic suspense novel and unlike anything I’d done before then.
To say Myrtle the Evil Muse jumped me with it is putting it mildly.
And I can see her deciding it would be a good thing to revisit the novel and put out more like it.
Nope. Nope and hell nope. I don’t have time.
But I am afraid if I go through the steps of preparing WBB for wide distribution, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. So that whimpering and whining you hear right now is me, knowing I may be cutting off a revenue stream in an attempt to prevent my evil muse from getting evil ideas in her metaphorical head.
For now, let me leave you with reminders of what I have up for preorder right now:
Release date: Sept. 7th
War is hell. No battle plan survives the opening salvo. When the enemy is set on the total destruction of your homeworld, how far will you go to protect it and those you love?
This war has already cost Col. Ashlyn Shaw too much. She has lost friends and family to an enemy that doesn’t know the meaning of honor. Marines under her command have died doing their duty. Her enemies at home conspired and brought her up on charges, sending her and members of her command to the Tarsus military penal colony. But they didn’t win then and she won’t let them win now. She is a Marine, a Devil Dog, and they can’t take that away from her.
Ashlyn is determined to do all she can to protect her homeworld and end the war. She will lead her Marines against the enemy, knowing that if they fail, Fuercon will fall. But will it be enough and will those who have conspired behind the scenes to destroy her and all she stands for finally be brought to justice?
Duty and honor. Corps and family. That is what matters. It is all that matters.
Release date: Nov. 16th
Mossy Creek, TX is not your normal town. For more than a century, it’s been a haven to Others, people with special “talents”. Magic and shapeshifting are normal there. Others and Normals co-exist as friends, neighbors, lovers and family. But all that is in danger of being destroyed as an untold evil comes to town, determined to destroy not only those sworn to protect the town and all who live there but the very town itself.
Mossy Creek’s wayward children have returned, one by one, to town. Annie Grissom Caldwell, Quinn O’Donnell, and Meg Sheridan are back and determined to do all they can to stand between their town and the oncoming danger. Dr. Jax Powell, the Rogue, leads them and, in her role as one of the town’s Guardians, will do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe. But another of their group, Maddy Reyes, may very well hold the key to victory.
But can they trust her?
Do they dare?
Release date: Dec. 14th
Some say monsters aren’t real. Others say the only monsters are those people who aren’t fully human: the witches and shapeshifters, elves and dwarves, and all the others who one day stepped out of the realm of fairy tales and into “real life”. Morgan Walsh knows the truth. Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, and some of the worst are human.
She didn’t start out life as Morgan Walsh. Once upon a time, her name was Adriana Grace Hensen. Everything, including her name, changed the day she turned thirteen. That day she learned several lessons she’d never forget. The first was that monsters were real. The second was that her parents were two of the worst “monsters” alive. The third was that those you trust the most can and will turn on you.
Morgan’s parents betrayed her because she wasn’t “human”. Now she’s back with one goal in mind: vengeance.
Never, ever conspire against a Fire Elemental, especially one with other “talents” as well. When you do, you’d best be prepared to get burned.
There you have it. I kvetch, a “whew”, and a promo. Now it’s time for me to find more coffee–there is never enough coffee–and food. Until later!