Snippets and Freebies

I recently set a target of forty reviews on Amazon between my first two books. When we reached the goal, I would post a deleted chapter from book 2 for free on my website. We crossed the rating threshold in December, and I diligently added the document to my book page for your reading pleasure.

I have been thinking of doing something similar for when I hit the fifty review/rating milestone for Hidden Memory. It is currently sitting at thirty-two ratings, and I hope they keep trickling in as they have in the days since the December promotion. I’m not making promises since I don’t have anything prepared, but get me to forty-five, and the tune might change.

The whole thing has me thinking about snippets and freebies in general. I love when my favorite authors have extras on their websites and share teaser snippets. Especially when they have fun, dynamic characters about whom I love reading more into their lives. Usually, this is for the more lighthearted fare I read. I find those extra bits when looking for the next book, Google the author to find out when it is coming out, and stumble through their website.

Many who read my blog followed before I published for the first time, following my author journey, so I wonder if snippets are a draw here. Do others enjoy those freebies as much as I do? How enticing are snippets shared in a blog if you don’t already have a rabid following? Would a potential additional scene or short story related to a book you loved entice you to leave a written review rather than a rating? Do you miss my sci-fi short story installments here?

I have not received an immense amount of engagement on the blog historically, so let me know if there is something you have particularly enjoyed reading in the last couple of years. Maybe I can even figure out how to do a survey for the blog’s two-year birthday coming up! For now, back to editing this draft of Hidden Promise so I can get it to my beta readers!

Wish me luck on my path to 50 reviews/ratings, and have a great weekend!

Series (drafts) Complete!

I still have the epilogue to write, but I have officially completed the first draft of the last book in the Hidden Series! For NaNoWriMo, I wanted to finish this draft and write over 32k words. This officially accomplishes both goals three days ahead of schedule.

Book four will now be set aside for a while so I can do a revision of Hidden Promise based on my alpha feedback. It took about three months for me to do this for Hidden Sanctuary, and I’m targeting having it for my alpha readers in April, my editor in May, and it is due out in June. The timing cuts it pretty close, so I will work to cut two or three weeks off of these deadlines.

Book Four: Then and Now

One of the greatest challenges with this one was that I could not really use any of my original writing. Years ago, I finished a draft of the complete series. I knew where the story was going and many of the stops it would make along the way. Most of the characters were at least rough outlines in my mind. I had over 72k words already written for this portion of the story.

Then, I built it out, starting with Hidden Memory. The world grew. The characters grew. I did it again with Hidden Sanctuary. With Hidden Promise, I had only scratched the surface of the fairy lands and people initially. So, I delved deeper and gave them more.

By the time I returned to the point of the final book, there were too many changes. People were not where they had been. The importance of some places and events shifted. It would have been more effort to squeeze the previous writing into the new form than to write it all from scratch. In the end, I used the former writing as an outline, trashed the writing itself, and the draft ends up at around 107k words.

If I can swing it, the series finale will be available before June 2024. This means going through all of the reviews and revisions. As always, if I can release early, I will.

Interested?

If you are interested in joining the team, know I have openings for ARC readers. The first two books are free on KU. Start with those and leave reviews. If you are still interested, reach out to me, and I can add you to the team for Hidden Promise coming out in 2023.

Happy holidays to all!

Ship in the Void – Pt. 5

Welcome back to the ship! If this is your first time here, I recommend starting with part 1 and continuing from there. You can find all of these posts on the Dream Journal page.

The story continues…

“Why ‘Juicy?'”

I looked over my shoulder and smiled at the current owner of the name in question.

“Few units choose call names,” I replied. “What makes this one so bad?”

Sighing, Juicy followed me through another door into a wide hallway. The lift was to my right. To mix things up, I intended to walk down to the ship docking bay at the far end, accessed from this central floor, before we made our way through the rooms on the opposite side.

“It reminds me of that underwear company that came back in style when I was younger.”

I had to wrack my brain for a minute before what he was talking about came back to me. Laughing out, I stopped and put a hand on his arm.
“The ones with the words across the butt?”

“Yep.”

For a moment, the image of Juicy with the word “juicy” written across his backside flashed in my mind. A grin split my face. When Juicy saw it, he pursed his lips, rolled his eyes, and shook his head at me.

With a final laugh, I started walking again. “While hilarious,” I said, “That is not the origin of the ‘juicy’ name. The original unit commander had a thing for old movies. It’s from some monster movie from back in the day and means you are new like a freshly made corpse.”

He stopped and stared at me, blinking in confusion. “A fresh corpse?”

“Yeah,” I paused. “You’re still juicy.”

“That… I’m not sure that’s any better.”

I laughed again, but before I could form a response, the floor tilted beneath our feet. My head slammed against the floor as gravity shifted, sending us sliding down the hall, picking up speed as it continued to shift from horizontal to vertical.

“Bitsa!” Juicy yelled as he clawed at the carpeted floor.

Activating my boots had no impact. Instead of generating a charged connection with the floor, I continued my slide down. That meant the structure no longer carried a charge.

The automated doors in this hallway were flush with the walls, meaning there was nothing to grab to stop our descent. At the end was either a long fall through the force field and out into space or to the bottom floor far below. It depended on the direction of the pull once we left this hallway.

“Bitsa, the boots aren’t connecting!”

But the gloves might! I thought.

“Gloves!” I called out. We had less than 30 seconds, “use your gloves!” Even as I said it, I grabbed mine off my belt and put them on.

“I left them in the room,” there was terror in Juicy’s voice. “Bitsa, my gloves are back in the room!”

Ten seconds. I rolled closer to him. “Grab my hand! Juicy, grab my hand and hang on!”

Hands grasped wrists. As we shot off the ledge, I activated my gloves through the HUD and slapped my free hand down on the floor. The built-in sticky property activated at full power, and our combined weight tore my arm away from my body. I couldn’t tell if the suit was the only thing holding me together.

A scream ripped from my throat and tears fell. “Mother firecracker,” I whisper-moaned as we dangled there. “Juicy, stop moving.”

He looked up at me. “Are you okay, Bitsa?”
“No,” I said through clenched teeth. “I’m going to either puke or pass out, so you need to hold on.”

I activated the comms. “Mayday, Mayday. Bitsa and Juicy in need of immediate assistance in Lima dock. I repeat, immediate assistance needed in Lima dock.”

“Bitsa,” Flash’s response came nearly on top of my words. “Party Bus and Block Head are inbound. what is your situation?”

“We experienced—” I paused to breathe through a dizzy spell, “a sudden gravity shift 90 degrees. Entire structure of the hall—is not charged. Boots are no-go. I repeat, boots are no-go.”

“Are you injured?” Flash asked from far away as I closed my eyes. “Bitsa, Juicy, are you injured?”

“Bitsa is injured,” I heard Juicy say. “We are hanging over the docking bay by Bitsa’s glove.”

“Copy, Juicy. Magic Hands is also heading your way. Full-gear and anchors everyone. Take no chances.”

I faded in and out.

“Bitsa, I’m slipping.” The words held no meaning through the pain. “Bitsa.”
Juicy flailed, sending a fresh wave of searing agony through me.

“Juicy,” I mumbled, unsure if he could understand me.

“Bitsa, I’m slipping.”

I could feel his hands sliding down my wrist, over my hand.

“Can you pull up and grab my waist?”

“I don’t know.”

“Let’s try, Juicy. I’ll help.” I clamped my fingers around his larger hand as best I could without shaking him loose. “Now, Juicy!”

I screamed as I pulled up on my lower arm while Juicy curled up from below. He needed to be higher, but he was too heavy for me to lift. Darkness tunneled my vision at the edges. It wasn’t going to work.
His hand brushed my hip as I blacked out.

To be continued…

Available for Preorder!

My book officially drops onto e-readers in just over ten weeks and is available for preorder now! I hit the submit button on Amazon this morning and was so nervous that something would go wrong. They say it can take up to 72 hours before it is live for preorder, so I was bracing for a long wait. I can’t even tell you how much I have been grinning since getting the notification that it went through just fine, but you can probably imagine. 

Before I delve into some publication sharing, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me get this far. The interest and support of family and friends helped me push past the fear and imposter syndrome and make it to this stage. The professional support for artists, editors, and readers is crucial to realizing a vision. I tried to name all of the direct contributors in the back of the book, and I know I missed some of you. Please consider this for you as well as the additional thanks I’m sure to write when the book is published and available. 

Hitting Submit

I know there are some fellow authors following me or looking in on these, so I also want to share some of the steps I have been taking recently to get to this point. While I am not going to say the Amazon publishing tools are perfect, I have found them all relatively easy to work with. A lot of these steps I set up and started playing around with a few months ago just in case I had any issues understanding what was happening. 

First, I set up a KDP account separate from my personal Amazon account. I’m not sure exactly what might happen if I mixed them, but I made sure they were separate just in case. One that was set up, I went to my “Bookshelf” and started setting up Hidden Memory in the tool as a draft. I wanted to see how it looked and what options there were. I’m still not sure about the categories I selected, but I can adjust those by contacting Amazon later, so those are not a deal-breaker for moving forward. (They could be critical to sales, so do not discount the importance of categories.)

I also decided to use the Kindle Create tool to turn my Word doc into an ebook format. There are pros and cons to this. I will probably use it again, but I will keep in mind the limitations. 

Pros: 

  • Following the instructions, it read and formatted the file well.
  • It includes tools for frontmatter and backmatter (see this blog post for great links) which were simple and useful.
  • It allows nice preview of the document in multiple formats. 

Cons: 

  • The KPF files are not able to be used on other tools. This is impactful because I plan on using BookFunnel for ARCs (post probably next week on this). 
    • The frontmatter/backmatter does not translate.

I shifted to Calibre for BookFunnel to create a mobi. KDP no longer accepts mobi files, so it is something to keep in mind.

Once my book was published, I was able to create my Amazon author page, and I also submitted for a Goodreads author page. The latter is still pending, so TBD on how that works. My next steps are a Bookbub author page, a BookFunnel account, and gathering ARC readers to submit early reviews. I plan on getting to some paid advertising next month or closer to the release date to generate some additional interest, but I have no idea what that looks like yet. There is always something more to learn and do.

I hope you are having a great weekend. Go Sounders! Go Mariners!