A while back I wrote a little bit about writers doing research. Writer Christina “DZA” Marie invited me over to her place to flesh that idea out a bit more, with a particular focus on fantasy writers doing research. It’s a thing!
The old saw is that you shouldn’t just a book by its cover. That’s a good rule of thumb when you’re dealing with people or if your presented with new ideas, but when it comes to actual books it’s kind of silly. Truth is a cover can often be someone’s first impression of a book and it can say several things about its contents, from the level of professionalism involved to the genre to particular aspects of the story or characters a reader might find intriguing.
Take, for example, the cover of The Water Road:
That cover, I hope, tells you several things. Most notably, that this is the first book in a trilogy, so it’s part of an epic story. The background image and script mark it as fantasy, but the crossed muskets mark it as a different kind of fantasy – this isn’t your traditional sword and sorcery story. Without reading word one, you’ve got some idea of what to expect going in.
I don’t always pay that much attention to covers as a reader, since I do most of my reading via Audible listening and I rarely have the full-sized book in my hand. Not that covers never make a difference – one of my recent reads, Johannes Cabal: Necromancer, I got purely because the cover on the shelf at the bookstore drew me in (it was darkly funny – highly recommended). So, anyway, the blurb usually controls, as it did for Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz. Here’s the first half:
Autonomous features a rakish female pharmaceutical pirate named Jack who traverses the world in her own submarine. A notorious anti-patent scientist who has styled herself as a Robin Hood heroine fighting to bring cheap drugs to the poor, Jack’s latest drug is leaving a trail of lethal overdoses across what used to be North America—a drug that compels people to become addicted to their work.
Pretty cool, huh? I loved the idea of a rogue drug maker slipping through the high seas like a 21st-century Captain Nemo. But here’s the cover for Autonomous:
Does that really match the blurb? It doesn’t and, turns out, for good reason. Autonomous (which is pretty good – I recommend it) really isn’t about Jack so much as it is the beings in her orbit, particularly the robots and other enhanced beings. The book is really about their place in the world and what it means to really be free (or not). Hence the title. Hence the mechanical arm in chains. Hence some of my disappointment with the book itself.
Which is to say that covers can be tricky things. We, as authors, want people to judge our books by them – judge them as worthy of picking up, of clicking on, of reading. But they’re also a first impression, something you only get one chance to make. The right cover is a high wire act, one that most of us aren’t comfortable performing without a net.
Very happy to announce that how, instead of buying three separate books to digest the entire story of Antrey, Strefer, and The Water Road, you can now get them in one convenient package. Presenting The Complete Water Road Trilogy box set:
This version is only available in eBook format. And for April, it’s on sale for just 99 cents! Get one in your preferred format at the links below.
Happy New Year, everybody!
I figured now was as good a time as ever, and this as good a place as any, to set out some goals for the 2018 writing year. I’ve done the same in the past in private and it’s a good way to crystallize my plans, even if they don’t all come off in the end. So, what’s on the agenda for this year?
The Water Road Box Set
Now that The Water Road trilogy is complete, it only makes sense to put together an omnibus version that combines all three books in one convenient package.
The plan is to make the box set a Kindle exclusive, thus returning The Water Road trilogy to Kindle Unlimited. The individual books would still be available from Amazon and all other outlets.
Last year I decided to try and do some interviews with other writers. I’ve done a few and thought they were fun and interesting and wanted to see if I could repay the favor. I wound up doing 19 interviews with all kinds of writers from all over the world. It was such a rewarding experience that I’m going to do more this year. I’ve already got about a half dozen people lined up.
More Short Stories
I’ve got a couple of finished short stories that need to find homes, so I’ll keep trying to shop those around. I’ve also got a pretty decent backlog of short story ideas, so while I’m polishing longer works I’m planning to knock out a few new short stories. Someday, down the road, there will be enough to make releasing a second collection of short stories a reality. It will include a couple of stories set in the universe of The Water Road.
Speaking of collections, look for The Last Ereph and Other Stories to get a spiffy new cover (done by someone who is not me) sometime this year, too.
Orb of Triska Polishing
Last year, you’ll recall, I finished the first draft of a novel in a new series, The Orb of Triska. My main job for 2018 will be getting that polished up and finished. Once that happens, I’m not quite sure what the next step will be. I may get it ready for publishing, with an eye toward releasing it in 2019. I may sit on it until another book or two (of the planned seven) is done. Or I may shop it around to see if any agents/publishers are interested. A lot will depend on when it’s “done” and how I’m feeling about it then.
Write The Scepter of Maril
Regardless of what becomes of The Orb of Triska one goal for later in the year is to start work on the second book in the Empire Falls series, The Scepter of Maril. If all goes well, it should be my NaNo project for 2018.
I think that about covers it. If you’re wondering about a certain other project I’ve talked about before – I’ll have some info about that in a couple of days.
To celebrate the successful end of NaNoWriMo, and in an attempt to spread a little bit of holiday cheer, I’ve lowered prices on all my books to 99 cents across all platorms for the entire month of December!
Get ‘em for a friend, get ‘em for yourself!
If you’re a fan of science fiction and fantasy and are looking for your next favorite read, head right on over here:
That’s right, 100 books, just 99 cents each. Many (including The Water Road) are available across multiple platforms, including Kindle, Nook, and iBooks. There’s something for every taste, from space opera and steampunk to epic fantasy and horror. There’s even a collection of sci-fi and fantasy for younger readers.
This deal only lasts until the end of this weekend – so get over there and get clicking!
Ring in the holiday weekend with a boatload of great sci-fi and fantasy books, all priced at just 99 cents!
This includes The Water Road (naturally) which, remember, is now available from many different vendors.
Well have I got some news for you, dear readers.
For the past couple of years the eBook versions of all my books have been available exclusively through Amazon (including via Kindle Unlimited). I’ve decided to try something different and expand my reach a bit, so I’m happy to announce that starting right now, everything – The Water Road trilogy, Moore Hollow, even The Last Ereph and Other Stories – is now available all across the Internet at places like Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Scribd.
So if you’re a non-Kindle eBook fan, here’s where to get everything:
In addition, if you buy any of my books in paperback, you’ll get a Kindle version absolutely free!
As for the inspiration for the title of this post – take it away Nick!
Today’s the big day – after several delays (sorry about that), the saga of The Water Road trilogy is complete:
The Bay of Sins is now available from Amazon in both eBook and paperback form! For just 99 cents!
In fact, for the next few days, in celebration of the trilogy being complete, you can get each volume for just 99 cents.
The one that started it all, The Water Road:
The follow up that tackles the costs of war, The Endless Hills:
Each just 99 cents! They’re not likely to be this price again for a very long time.
Next week – final thoughts on an 8-year journey.
All this month my abode of Putnam County is having “Tastes and Talents: A month featuring Putnam’s finest food, art, and music!” I’m happy to say that I’m a part of this, with a reading next Wednesday at the Putnam County Public library.*
I’ll be reading a few different things, maybe, just possibly, including a new short story I’ve been working on. I’ll also be giving away a few books as part of the world’s easiest fantasy/sci-fi trivia game. This will also be my first appearance once The Bay of Sins comes out, so I’ll have the complete The Water Road trilogy with me for sale.
And if that’s not enough – there be cupcakes! Serendipity Cupcake Boutique will be providing some tasty treats. So even if you don’t enjoy what you hear, you’ll enjoy what you eat. Can’t beat that, can you?
* Don’t let Google fool you – the library is behind Liberty Square on Route 34 (as you head toward Winfield), not down past the new elementary school out toward Hurricane.