New Release! Strength of Conviction Now Available

LoHI_JT_SoC_cover_webStrength of Conviction, the second volume in the Judgement’s Tale saga, is available now on Amazon. The tale of Solemn Judgement, Treaman, Anteris, Gareth and the other heroes you first met in Games of Chance now continues.

As an added bonus, starting September 29th through October 1st, Part One Games of Chance will be  completely free. If you haven’t started on the saga, here’s a great opportunity to get all caught up for less than three bucks. I hope you’ll take a moment to pass along this news to someone you know, but I don’t, who likes epic and heroic fantasy.

In the first volume you got acquainted with the good and bad guys; most crucially, a gentle Sage named Cedrith was thrown into Solemn Judgement’s path, probably saving him and the city of Conar from ruin. Now in the second book, you will see the Woodsman Treaman and his encounter with a deadly dragon; Anteris the scribe’s apprentice finds out more about the stiff-necked preacher named Alaetar; and Solemn Judgement seems unable to avoid deeper and deeper trouble even though he’s living in a library! Meet the four-year old Riddy who comes to fear and love The Ash Man. Puzzle through the secrets Conar’s nobles keep, where one knight prays in place at the cathedral while another rides away never to return.

Strength of Conviction

As the central kingdom of the Lands of Hope languishes without rule or reason under a worsening pall of chaos, most Children of Hope stand by and do nothing. The few who would dare are outcasts and strangers, either too high up, or too far inside, or still too young to help. Worse, all their scattered mysteries seem unconnected.

Treaman the Woodsman struggles to guide his companions through ensorcelled wildlands to safety. The poorest knight in the city prays by Conar’s statue for weeks without ceasing, as though his life LoH_kg_2_map A5depends on it. The young scribe Anteris copies histories for his master by day, dreams of adventure till sunset, and searches the stars by night for the riddle of his future. A noble Conarian heir seeks to join a lost legendary Order, putting his duty before his life. A gentle Elvish sage confronts the greatest of puzzles, the closed door barring the way to friendship with his greatest, and most dangerous pupil.

For Solemn Judgement, the Man in Grey, is learning that names are indeed important when he shows… Strength of Conviction.

Upcoming SPUN YARNS Collections

I thought I’d do a bit of blatant self-promotion this week :D

Each of my writing personae has a collection of short stories scheduled for release within the next month! Here’s what you should be watching for:

Tales of Tomorrow

Tales of Tomorrow by Debbie Mumford will feature four science fiction stories. From first contact to interstellar travel, these tales will carry you into the great beyond!

Ghosts and Ghoulies

Scheduled for an early October release, Deb Logan’s Ghosts and Ghoulies, a collection of five haunting tales for younger readers, will be available just in time for Halloween! And a second collection is already in the works for Halloween 2015!

Fantasy Classics, Part Three

So have you read the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander? Written back in the 1960s, this is a five book series that features Taran as the main character. Taran starts out as an Assistant Pig-Keeper to the wizard Dallben, and becomes one of the greatest heroes the land of Prydain has ever known. The Book of Three starts this excellent series, then continues with The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and ends with The High King.

In the first book Taran starts searching for a special run away pig and meets up with four characters which become his companions-in-arms in the adventures of their battle against the forces of evil. Each book has its own climax, but in the final book, The High King, the outcome will decide the fate of Prydain forever. Taran begins in The Book of Three as a naive boy and ends as a strong young man in The High King.

It is unusual for books in a series to become stronger as the series continues, but that is just what happens in the Prydain Chronicles.   The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal which is for the most distinguished contribution (of the year) to American literature for children.

This series was written for children, but is absorbing reading for adults, also. All is not sweetness and light in these books.  Danger and evil  are abroad in the world, but love, compassion and friendship exist also. So have you read the Prydain Chronicles? If you like fantasy, you should!

Fantasy Classics Part One

Fantasy Classics Part Two

New Release: The Day Music Died

Today, I published the short story (20 pages, 99ct) “The Day Music Died.” I’m sure you can guess where the inspiration came from. ;-)

About the book:
When Dan’s mother, a gifted piano player, dies, his father puts away his cello for good and drowns his sorrow in alcohol. Now, Dan wants to join the local school band, but his choice draws the attention of those who have been hunting him since his birth. Will the stranger he meets at a rave be able to help him?

I have always wanted to write a story that incorporates music but found my skills lacking. Only recently, I decided my writing had improved enough to give it a try. I know it’s not perfect, but it is as good as I can make it at the moment, and my beta readers liked it well enough. Find out for yourself. Get a copy on Amazon (the other shops will take much longer to go life).

Interview with L. Blankenship- Disciple V

As followers of the Independent Bookworm may know, we occasionally snare an unsuspecting indie author, luring them to the unspeakable horrors of our donjon for interrogation. It’s always made me a bit suspicious to see how willing some of them were. But I never expected a volunteer.

This time, we find a very no-nonsense victim in Louise Blankenship, already sitting in the chair and tapping her foot to get started. Worse yet, the subject was the theology of her world, from which the fifth book is now out! Talking about other people’s gods is always a bit off-putting, you know, takes away half my rap from the start. But I nerved myself up while heating the irons and decided to give it my best shot. So brace yourself for a cut above, you might say, as we explore the deities of the world of Disciple.

Q1: I gather your world is governed or influenced by two gods. Are they, in any way, um, a couple? Related, perhaps? Is this the eternal-war deal or did they both decide to go out to the same world at the Deity Speed-Date Night on Match.com?

A: Mother Love and Father Duty have one of those long-term marriages where they disagree a lot and seem to be at cross purposes but they respect each other far too much to actually fight. Things always seem to work out in the end. I don’t think that they met each other so much as the universe required both of them to exist.

In the world’s mythology, the Mother and Father are the human forms of the alpha ram and ewe that lead the “flock” of the world’s population. Their teachings are on how to be good flock members during one’s life.

This flock is overseen by the Shepherd, who is at various times Life and Death, Luck and Fate, the judger of all the sheep. He’s a mysterious higher power that isn’t exactly approachable, so people focus more on Mother Love and Father Duty.

Q2: Even the gods are married? Sheesh, you think if you lived in heaven you could avoid the “honey-do” lists… No polite way to put this one. How “real” are they? Do the people of your world see manifestations of their deities on a regular basis? Miracles, much? Or do your characters have to do more than see to believe? Are there many unbelievers in your world, or just a lot of salt-pillars standing around in odd places…

A: The saints are chosen by Mother Love and Father Duty to lead a particular portion (kingdom) of the Flock. Saints are very real and very powerful, no question about that, which tends to blur out the fact that the Mother and Father don’t seem to act overtly in the world. Not on their own, at least. The saints take care of that and can invoke the Mother and Father, or even the Shepherd, as needed.

There are other takes on the same mythology: in the kingdom of Caercoed, which is strongly matriarchal, it’s Mother Strength and Father Care. Same roles, just gender-switched.

And in Arcea, the Empress banned the Mother, Father, and Shepherd outright. The Empress has the armies and power to back up that sort of blasphemy, though.

Q3: You’ve made reference to miraculous magic by the “saints”. Can you describe a bit more about that? Are miracles well understood, reliable, easy? Or is something about them difficult, exhausting, iffy? About how many saints are there walking around at the time the story happens?

A: The saints do not talk much about how they do what they do — they’re all in direct competition with each other over scarce magical resources (the kir founts, where raw magic wells up out of the earth) and it’s dangerous for the enemy to know what you’re capable of. Keep your aces up your sleeve is the common wisdom.

Large-scale magic requires strength, focus, and practice, and in addition it’s dangerous because it draws attention. Few people are born with the innate talent for that level of kir-magery, and fewer survive the process of training and ascending to full sainthood.

Saint Qadeem thinks there might be a hundred saints in the world at any given time, but it’s difficult to say because firstly saints are immortal, and secondly they can hide among the general population easily — so long as they don’t do anything to attract attention.

Q4: The comedian Henny Youngman said it best: “I tried once to be an atheist, but I had to give it up. They have no holidays!” So what do folks in your world do to celebrate their faith? Is there a custom or day that really expresses what they believe?

A: The four big holidays of the year are the two Solstices and the two Equinoxes. At the Equinoxes there are smaller parties and everyone is encouraged to “balance” one’s accounts of debts owed. These can be debts of money or honor. If you need forgiveness for something, or you want to honor a loving relationship, this is the time to do it.

The Solstices are a chance to throw a big party and mark the turning of the season from one deity to the other. Winter and spring are Mother Love’s seasons: the flock should be supportive of each other to survive the weather and see to the spring planting. Summer and autumn are Father Duty’s seasons: time to serve the kingdom in wartime or public works projects, and then get the harvest in.

Traditionally, it’s bad luck to see moonrise on Winter Solstice without getting a kiss. That plays into the plot of Disciple, Part V… none of the main characters are getting kissed after what happened at the end of Part IV.

Thanks Louise, the world of Disciple sounds beautifully detailed and justified in matters of faith. We shall forbear to punish you further… just in case. Here’s the info you need to get started on the world of Disciple.

Disciple, Part V

Disciple-picKate faces winter with a broken heart: betrayed by one lover, the other lost to her.

Kiefan will not give up on the alliance his kingdom desperately needs — even though the Caer queen refuses to speak to him.

Anders, alone and despairing, faces the Empress’s seductive offers of power and privilege.

Each of them must carry the ongoing war in their own way, whether cold, alone, or backed into a corner. Each must patch together a broken heart as best they can. Duty will throw them together soon enough and they must be ready.

 

On sale now!

Amazon • B&N • Other retailers

 

Read Disciple, Part I for FREE

AmazonB&NOther retailers

 

Disciple, Part VI

ends the series early next year!

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Pre-Order functionality for Indies

For a long time, one of the advantages of traditional publishing was the ability to get pre-orders. The soon-to-be-published book would be visible in online shops with a possibility to order a copy which would then be shipped upon publication. Trad-Pubs then had considerable time to promote their upcoming release. The good thing is that all pre-orders would count as sales on the day of publication, making the book much more visible to potential readers. So far, Indies didn’t have many shops where they could garner pre-orders, and of those that did offer it, not many made much sense to use.

Now, amazon announced a pre-order option for Indies. If that will benefit authors and small publishers remains to be seen. One thing is for certain. We’ll have to get better at scheduling our releases. It doesn’t make much sense to offer a book for pre-order if it’s all proofed, has a cover and is ready to go. But it will be interesting for ongoing series where readers often want to know when the next volume will be available. Of course that means that if you set a publication date, you’ll have to stick with it. There’s nothing worse then an unplanned delay.

I, for one, am really curious to see how well pre-orders will do once I know how to use them well. How about you? If you’re a reader, are you the kind of person who uses pre-orders? If you’re a writer, will you try out this feature and what do you expect from it?

What Makes a Story Unique / Original?

I’ve been doing some research / study on originality in fiction. Remembering the conventional wisdom that there are only so many plots in the world, and all of them have been done many times…and by the masters, how do contemporary writers have a hope of writing original, unique works?

One persistent response is “voice”, that elusive element that marks your work as your own. Something that an individual writer often can’t recognize in their own work, but that others read and say, “Oh. Of course. That’s a Deb Logan story.”

But more than voice, where does originality reside? Is it in a gimmick? Some little detail that no one else has thought of that an author can build their plot (which has been done before…and by the masters) around?

I decided to look at three of my favorite series and see what insights I could gain. Each of these three has a distinct gimmick…but is that the answer to their uniqueness? Let’s see.

  1. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – Colfer built an entire series of eight middle grade fantasy novels around an imaginative bit of word play: leprechaun = LEP Recon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance). I love that … wish I’d thought of it first *lol* I heard Colfer speak once and he revealed another bit about why this series is so original: he based the main character, Artemis Fowl—who begins the series as a 12-year-old criminal mastermind—on his older brother, thereby pulling in Colfer’s own emotional history. It’s a delightful series with a great character arc leavened with lots of age-appropriate humor.
  1. Storm Front by Jim Butcher – The first book of Butcher’s Dresden Files series introduces us to Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, a contemporary wizard living and working in Chicago. It’s the little touches that really make Harry unique – the fact that he advertises in the yellow pages under “W for Wizard”; his sidekick and helper, Bob, is a disembodied spirit who lives in a skull and loves romance novels; his cat, with the nondescript name of Mister; and eventually his dog, Mouse, a gentle giant with magic of his own – a Tibetan Temple dog (Foo dog). All through this series Butcher creates memorable and unique characters, giving them a life of their own while breaking traditional stereotypes. (His vampires are truly terrifying…and completely original.)
  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – this series could be described as time-travel romance, but you’d be limiting its scope. Diana’s gimmick is that Claire Randall, a nurse who has just survived WWII, is sucked back in time through a circle of Scottish standing stones. Doesn’t sound all that original, but her characterization is amazing. Diana writes really LONG novels, and there are eight in this series (so far) all centering on the passionate love of ONE couple: Claire and Jamie. I don’t know many writers capable of keeping me interested in the life and love of a single couple over that many words, but she pulls it off. Plus, her main characters jump from being in their late 20’s in the first book, to nearing 50 in the 2nd, and the relationship remains just as intense.

Interesting. A good gimmick is great to start the ideas flowing (LEP-Recon; Wizard for hire; time-travel), but what makes the story original ultimately is the depth of characterization and the author’s own emotional history woven into those characters. All of these books have characters that I love as well as characters that I love to hate.

Each of these writers has created characters so real, that I feel like I know them … and not just the heroes. Even the secondary characters have personalities so distinct that I can recognize them from dialogue alone.

Which leads me to conclude that originality, uniqueness, memorability, isn’t a function of the gimmick or the plot as much as it is a by-product of characters so real they leap off the page and drag you into their lives, loves, and adventures.

What do you think? What makes your favorite books memorable for you?

Audiobooks- Will and Karin Chat on the other way to your readers

I’m chatting with Karin Gastreich about a-books. This is one of those decorous corners of the self-pub world, like coming across a hidden niche in a mansion, with lovely furniture that just makes you want to sit and take it in. Were you as charmed by the idea as I was when it first came up- and hey, whenabouts did it come up in your career as an author, right away or recently?
Karin_Rita_GastreichWell, I signed on with a small press, Hadley Rille Books, and in that initial contract they asked for the audio rights. So right from the beginning, the idea was in my head, thanks (or no thanks) to my editor. But it took a while to make that dream happen.
I’m curious: What charms you about the thought of an audiobook?
I could try to lie, but- it’s the sound of my own voice! I can’t think about a-books as anything other than self-narrated. I’m an old acting ham from way back. My first effort, The Ring and the Flag, drew me because I knew I could convey some of my passion for the tale with the spoken word.
Yes, me too! I love acting and reading out loud. As a consummate narcissist, I especially love reading my own stories.

You couldn’t possibly be as egotistical as me!  What’s more, reading my own writing out loud is a best practice for finding odd constructions, run-on sentences, repeated words. I find that talking out my chapters is half the rehearsal I need to record it later anyway. Will 1
Yup. I totally agree. There’s no better way to edit.

Where do you come in on the Fear of Being Heard Scale? Would you contemplate narrating your own stories? Can anyone else do them better?

I would have loved to have done the audio edition of EOLYN. In fact, my editor, after hearing me read a few times, suggested that very option. But I don’t have the time to read a full book, or the means to record it properly. So I think I knew from the beginning that we would have to find another narrator.Darla_Middlebrook

Can anyone else do them better? Well, I would say Darla Middlebrook probably did a better job with EOLYN than I could have. She has a gift for voices that I don’t share; and I think she understands pacing for an audiobook better than I do.

Hold the phone, what do you mean by “pacing”?

Well, basically just the rhythm with which one reads the story. It’s one thing to listen to a 10-minute read; another to listen to a 14-hour read. People need time to digest all the details when listening to a book; they can’t flip back through the pages to double check on something they forgot. The narrator needs to respect that, to keep an even pace that’s not too fast or too slow.
Oh, and there’s something else that I suspect might be important. Darla connected to the story as a reader; I will never get past connecting to the story as an author. Darla probably saw elements in my work that I am blind to, and so was able to capture and interpret these elements in ways that I could not have.

Hey that’s right, she does count as a reader! Heavy.

Yes, and I’m really glad that in addition to narrating the book, Darla also liked it! She is doing the audio edition of the companion novel, HIGH MAGA, which should be out sometime this fall.

Will 5I will confess, marketing a-books has been a puzzle for me. I posted my one complete tale to Podiobooks at first, and later decided to also try Scribl, where people can get the e-or-a-book and the price is crowdsourced. I can’t help but feel it’s out of the way there, though; I link to it and mention it, but… any great insight come your way about how to push the tale in people’s ears?

Marketing is tough. I’m just getting started with the audio edition of EOLYN, and am still exploring possible channels. A lot of what’s out there (book blogs, forums like Goodreads, etc.) is very much geared toward the ebook or print market.
One interesting thing has happened since the release of EOLYN in audio. HRB coordinated production through the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). As a result, Audible (i.e., Amazon) sets the list price. When the audio book was released and I first saw the price tag, I thought “No one is going to pay that!” Why would they, when the ebook is so much cheaper?

I think I’d have the same problem, separating the price in my head. A tale’s a tale, surely?
But to my surprise, people are buying the audiobook, not in hordes, but consistently since its release. I’m hoping that as I pick up on my marketing effort, that will increase. I suspect that the market for audio books is not nearly as saturated as the market for ebooks, so it’s probably a little easier to get noticed.

Agree, and it sounds like your publisher did good work for you there.

I would say that it’s probably a good idea to establish a track record for your work before releasing an audio edition. Let the reviews of the ebook (and print) editions build up a little. The more buzz you already have once you go audio, the better.

Whoa, print, I’ve heard about books written on paper. So the platform can never be wide enough, I guess that’s fair to say. And you’re right, I keep hearing (!) about folks who want good audio materials for things like the daily commute. It just seems to make so much sense, especially if you have a book with good chapter-breaks.I did get some notice and nice feedback on the audio first chapter of Games of Chance I used on the blog tour. An audio-file as a blog post might be a nice way to sample a tale. Have you done that?

Yes, I have posted some audio recordings of my readings on the blog. There is a page that carries readers to those links, and it’s one of the most visited pages. I think people really like to hear an author read his or her work.

You mean, besides ourselves? Yes, I’ve heard that too. But let’s assume we’re getting a narrator. Tell me a bit about who you looked for, why you picked Darla; did you chat with her before she started recording, for example?
Eolyn_Audio_Cover_compressedWhen HRB decided to do the a-book, they solicited auditions through the ACX platform. Interested narrators, after reading the book blurb, recorded and posted their auditions, which consisted of an excerpt provided by the publisher.
Darla was one of the first people to audition. Since HRB is a small press, my editor asked me to listen to the potential narrators. (Not sure if a large press would have given me that option.) I knew nothing about this back then, so really I was going on instinct. Darla has a rich voice, and it simply “felt” like the right choice. My editor agreed, so the decision was made. During the auditions, I had no direct interactions with potential narrators; HRB took care of that.
One thing I’ve figured out since then: When choosing an excerpt for an audition, pick a scene the has a lot of voices, male and female, preferably of different ages. That will give you a very good feel for the versatility of your narrator.
What have you heard about the pitfalls here?

Well there are many pitfalls in making an a-book. I’ve had a great experience with Darla Middlebrook, but some of my fellow authors have run into problems with audio productions. Narrators occasionally defect from the project, or the final recording is not satisfactory for any number of reasons, or the name pronunciation or voices are all off. It took us about 4 months to produce EOLYN with everything running smoothly, but I have colleagues who started their audio production at the same time I did and still do not have a final product in sight.
I guess one advantage of doing your own audio recording is that you depend on no one else but you. What has been your experience, recording stories in your own studio?

My studio, that’s a laugh. I rustled up a microphone that had come free with some game or other, made in the Philippines back before Marcos stepped down. And I stuck it in the crack of a music stand, and put that into my PC (using Audible, which is free and great) facing into my daughter’s closet (so the clothes would help deaden the echo). I read the entire novella into my PC like that, three times- I mean multiple takes of each paragraph, going back and scrubbing the project and coming back to re-record three times. I have no idea how many hours I spent- so much pop, crackle, what sounded like background noise, and an irregular bub-bub-bubb sound like I was gently bouncing the mike. Argh!
But I got through it, and after some significant heavy-handed engineering I think the end product sounds quite good. Have to say I was really unsure if I’d go ahead on those terms though. Suddenly, a friend simply sent me a microphone- a really good one.

Good friend, or good microphone?

Yes! Both. I was stunned. That’s what I used to read off the first audio chapter of Games of Chance- in like half an hour, no pops, no sounds, nothing. And a stand, with one of those foam circles to catch your spit- I feel like Peebo Bryson recording the end-music for a Disney movie.
That’s awesome. For any author who has the equipment, talent, and time, I’d say go for it. Record your stories and put them out there. For the rest of us who are a little hesitant to take on this particular challenge alone, ACX is a great alternative for making our work available to a wider audience.

Thanks Karin, really good chat. Everybody, get down with the links below especially the trailer and the rafflecopter at the bottom. And let’s “hear” from you in the comments!

EOLYN http://edition
Karin Rita Gastreich (author)
Darla Middlebrook (narrator)

Sole heiress to a forbidden craft, Eolyn lives in a world where women of her kind are tortured and burned. When she meets Akmael, destined to assume the throne of this violent realm, she embarks upon a path of adventure, friendship, betrayal and war. Bound by magic, driven apart by destiny, Eolyn and the Mage King confront each other in an epic struggle that will determine the fate of a millennial tradition of magic.

“Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes will satisfy fans of traditional epic fantasy, with a romantic thread.” – Publishers Weekly

“Magnificently written.” –Kindle Book Review

Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Eolyn/dp/B00KROCQCY/

Link to YouTube Preview: http://youtu.be/ymFTCvi8wew

 

About the Author:

KARIN RITA GASTREICH lives in Kansas City and Costa Rica. An ecologist by trade, her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. Karin’s first fantasy novel, EOLYN, was released by Hadley Rille Books in 2011. The companion novel, HIGH MAGA, is also available from Hadley Rille Books. Karin’s short stories have appeared in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and A Visitor to Sandahl. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency. Follow Karin’s adventures into fantastic worlds, both real and imagined, at http://eolynchronicles.blogspot.com and at http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com.

Author web links:

Blog for Eolyn: http://eolynchronicles.blogspot.com
Blog Heroines of Fantasy: http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Eolyn/110814625640244
Twitter: @EolynChronicles

About the Narrator:

With experience of 34+ years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, more than 20 years as a stage & film actor and over 20 years as a trained singer with knowledge and insight into the mechanics of the voice and speech, Darla Middlebrook brings a wealth of experience to bear to develop character voices (male, female, mature, extremely elderly, creepy, bright exotic, etc) with an impressive emotional range.

Currently, Darla is one of many voice actors who narrates podcasts for AIRS-LA (an audio internet service for individuals with visual challenges) in addition to narrating audio books. She is able to produce retail quality audio books from her home studio in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – Canada.

Narrator Web Links:

Website: http://www.darlasvoice.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/damiddlebrook
Twitter: @GypsyCatVoice

Html Code for the Rafflecopter Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Old is New Again: Serialized Novels

Serialized novels have become a popular way to publish stories in the past few years. Some of the advantages of publishing as a serial include readers getting new parts of the story on a regular basis as it’s being written, instead of having to wait a long time for the whole novel to be finished; and authors can get feedback (and sometimes money) for their writing while they’re still working. But serial novels aren’t a new invention that happened on the internet.

In the 19th century, most novels in the U.S., Britain, and across Europe were actually published serially. Famous works like Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin were published with a new chapter every week or month in magazines and newspapers. When the story was complete, all of the parts would be collected in a single volume, which is how we read these novels today. But when they first appeared, readers would wait for the story in installments, which could be spread out over an entire year.

This method of publishing fell out of fashion with the invention of broadcast radio and television. Today, we think of episodes in a television series as multi-part stories, but written fiction comes out in books once every year or two. Only a handful of novels were published as serials during the 20th century.

But when the internet made it easy for anyone to publish their stories, serialized fiction made a come back. It started with amateur writers posting stories on their own websites, forums, and newsgroups. Then sites sprang up for writers to share free stories more easily, like Fanfiction.net. Now there are too many of these communities to name, where thousands of free stories are shared, talked about, and rated by readers and writers.

With widespread ebooks distribution, professional authors gained the ability to sell these serials online. Unlike printing where there are limitations on the length of stories that can be economically printed and distributed, digital works can easily be shorter (or longer) than the limited range of traditional novels. Now serialized novels, or series of connected novellas or episodes, are gaining popular readership in stores like Amazon and Smashwords.

After seeing how well serials work for other authors, I’m starting to experiment with serials. Last year, I posted a novel, Witch Hunt, on Wattpad for free at the rate of one chapter a day for NaNoWriMo. I did get some feedback as I wrote, but I found that most readers couldn’t keep up with that pace, and I’ve seen that most successful authors on Wattpad write at the rate of one or two chapters a week. I revised that novel and put it on sale—and surprisingly, even after I gave it away for free first, there are still readers willing to buy it!

miscreation-ep1Then this summer, Holly Lisle challenged writers on her How To Think Sideways site to write and publish a monthly serial as part of her How To Write A Series course. Following her advice, I’ve started a series of novellas using characters from my established Wyld Magic universe. The first episode, The Voyage of the Miscreation #1: “ The Voyage Begins,” was published last week. I’m excited to see how the series turns out as more episodes come out. Hopefully, I can engage readers who look forward to getting a piece of the story every month.

Have you ever read a serialized novel? How did you feel about having to wait for the next part of the story to come out? What rate do you think is good for new parts to come out?

Information about the history of serial novels from Wikipedia.

 

friends?

Games of ChanceI’m currently setting up an eMail list for Will Hahn (the first volume of his Magnus Opus “Judgement’s Tale” has done quite well this month (much better than we had hoped for), and we’d like to keep that going even when the book becomes less visible on amazon). As I did so, I wondered for a split second why I was putting so much time and effort into Will’s campaign. I could be spending the same amount of time on my own campaign or on writing more books, right?

Wrong, oh, sooooo wrong! Will is my FRIEND and that’s more important than anything in the world. When I went to primary school I had only two friends; one went to a different school, and the other one more or less dumped me on day two. At middle school I found one friend, and it worked for a while, but then she moved and that was the end of it. I never made many new friends after that except for one during my time at university and one during my PhD in Bavaria. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of people I got along with fine. They just weren’t the people I consider friends.

Friends are there for me when I need them. Friends will let me know, sometimes quite brutally, when I’m wrong. They’ll call me or write eMails when I don’t have the time to read/listen, and I’ll be happy they do. Friends keep me on track. Having a good friend is better than reading a good book (which is my most favorite pastime aside from family life). For years now I had accepted the fact that the three friends I have in Germany would be the only ones for the rest of my life. I count myself lucky to have them to this day even though they live quite far away (nods to Kerstin, Anke, and Walter).

But when I sat there going through the tedious process of setting up a list and a website (not done yet), I was very surprised when I counted the friends I made online. Of course, the topmost one is Will, but there are many more. I realized how very happy I am when I can connect with other writers, readers or people who are really interested in some obscure thing or other I’m thinking about.

So this post is to let all of you (and I’m sure you know who you are) know that I’m deeply grateful that you’re here. In my world, there’s nothing better than my friends (except for my husband who’s a friend too and my kids). I’ll always be there for you as long as I’m alive.

How about your friends? Tell me in the comments about those special ones you’d like to have the world know about. Are they readers? What do they do that you love them so much? I’m curious…

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