What did I do differently?

What did I do differently this time compared to the first time I published a book?

Well, I’m not using KU for Phantom and Rook. While it was a good idea at the time for TEM, and it obviously works for lots of people, I hated the exclusive thing. Now I can offer my ebooks to libraries and a LOT more distributors using Draft2digital, their setup is so much friendlier and it feels better getting away from Amazon.  Obviously the ebooks will be listed there, but everything for me is right on D2D.

I comissoned a cover (in the works) from Bear Pettigrew, a fantastic artist. While I’m happy with my self made covers (for a series I hurried to get out there), I KNOW that my books would have done better if I had someone else do the cover.

Speaking of time, I have spent a little under a year on this book. Much more feasible than doing it in three months. Again, everyone works different, but I really needed that time to let it sit between edits.

Also, I got the ball rolling on an audiobook narrator much sooner, and again, I moved away from exclusively Amazon. I love the narrators I worked with on the Iverbourne books and was very lucky to collaborate with them using royalty share, but I like the idea of this book being *mine* to distribute where I want (libraries included).

Not to mention I was able to snag an AWESOME narrator who is a favorite of mine.

And my pre-orders are much cooler 😎
Three maps, wax seal, all the prints, bookmarks, Misfits pin, signed book and stickers. The Game announcements will be included in print as well.

ARCs were sent out earlier, I was much more selective this time and I’m not sending EVERYONE HARDBACKS. So, so, SO much money and I never heard from people again. I’m guilty of taking two months to read an ARC at times when my brain is mush, so this way no one is pressured.

In short, I spent ALOT more time and money. Like, alot alot. It’s terrifying, but that’s how much I believe in this story, these characters, my writing. What works for me may not work for you, but if I can say one thing, is take your time. Invest when you can and do your best with what you have at the time, because your story deserves to be told.

Fists and Boots and Elbows and Knees

WIP Wednesday from Phantom and Rook (cw: fictional violence)

    I grin wildly at Leon despite the warmth pouring from my nose and the pain riding my body. “You’re the problem, Leon. Not me. Quit being a coward and take me right fucking now then, prove it that you don’t want me, because you know what? I. Don’t. Believe. You.”

    Leon’s hard, furious expression doesn’t change when we charge each other at the same time.

    I remember now.

    We didn’t use magic.

    We used fists and boots and elbows and knees.

    We beat each other to an inch of our lives, slinging blood into the water where it intermingled with the tears of one unnamed friend and the blood of another.

    I lost a tooth, that’s when that happened, and I broke his arm. Snapped it right in fucking half.

    But then  … oh yes, then he cheated.

    He restrained me with dark and frigid magick, power I didn’t learn to overcome until fifty years later when we met again, for the last time.

    The world was closing in and I thought I heard boots pounding against the earth, but I gave up. I decided if the way I was meant to go was at my lover’s hands at the end of a hard fought battle, then so be it. Tragic, but romantic.

    But then, the sun overtook him and there was so much blue as the world caught fire.

WIP Wednesday: Phantom and Rook

Arlo is trying to murder me.
We sit together on a bench, Kitt sits beside me and Quentin is on the other side of Arlo. The massive picnic table is blanketed in red and white plaid, fully crowded as Caspian and Tobias bring over the last of the food from the grill.
Our thighs are touching.
He’s one of those people who tells stories with their hands, which frequently brush against my back as he waves in the chilled air behind me, or alongside my forearm when his fingers settle on the miniscule bit of plaid between us.
He’s smiling, and his eyes shine in this light like I’ve never seen before, gold and emerald specks quite literally dance in irises and he catches me staring for a few seconds too long multiple times.
To be fair, I’ve caught him staring at me, too.
His leather jacket is gone, resting on the bench between his hip and mine, revealing thick arms adorned with ink here and there. I’ve noticed when someone asks him a question, his fingers tend to find the dragon along his forearm. He’ll briefly sweep over it in one direction, then the other, and that’s all, but he doesn’t ever look at it as he does. Maybe he doesn’t realize he’s doing it at all.
The stars are a gorgeous backdrop for the strands of warm lights criss-crossing through Caspian and Tobias’ yard, the night perfectly illuminated for the group of friends I’ve come to know as the ‘Misfits.’ Caspian’s scowl has lessened, but he doesn’t make it a point to talk to me. Quentin is quiet as well, but he doesn’t seem to outright dislike me.
Although, his face brightens like the first spring day after a treacherous winter when Arlo asks him how his day was.
I listen to those around me chat with content, answering when I’m spoken to but otherwise watch the dynamics unfold with curiosity. Arlo makes sure to give each of his friends attention, but Kitt, Caspian and Quentin especially thrive under it. Lindsey and Kitt have no problem flaunting their relationship, while Caspian and Tobias keep close to each other and hold hands, but not much else.
Their children often find their way into Arlo’s lap, and Caspian looks upon Arlo with such fondness I find myself more … jealous, (yes alright I’ll admit it) of him than Quentin. Those looks from Caspian cause Arlo to flush or distract himself with conversation, whereas the plain adoration from Quentin is lost upon Arlo, or it seems that way. He talks to Quentin like he does to every one of his friends.
“So, Thatch, have you ever visited during the festival before?” Kitt asks, distracting me from watching Arlo wrestle Marlena off his shoulders.
I turn, facing her and Lindsey. “Regrettably, no. But from what I’ve seen thus far, it seems like a grand time, although I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.”
Gowan giggles from her seat across from us, as does the gladiola fae she brought with her tonight. Both fae are in full bloom, which I find fascinating. Deep yellow dandelions decorate Gowan’s grassy skin, while soft white gladiolas drift past Iris’ mossy shoulders, her long blue hair curling between the flower heads, leaves and stems with hidden roots.
“All the fuss?” Arlo starts, to which Caspian and Kitt simultaneously groan.
“Now you’ve done it.” Lindsey agrees, leaning on Kitt’s shoulder and watching me with a conspiratol grin that matches Gowan’s.
“Alright, alright. Let’s eat before Lolo pitches a fit.” Caspian says, passing around the platter closest to him.
I raise a brow at Arlo. “Lolo?”
Arlo glares at me after he passes Marlena off to Tobias. “Don’t even. I’m mad at you.”
“What!”
He nods solemnly. “This is unacceptable.”
I look to Kitt and she puts up her hands. “Arlo is very passionate about the Scarlet Illusionist.”
“You’re the one who runs a museum with not one, but two exhibits dedicated to them.”
She rolls her eyes. “Whatever.”
I chuckle. “Is that the fellow I saw on the banners last night? I must say, whoever designed their outfit is quite … decadent.”
“See!” Quentin cries, pointing a potato covered serving spoon at Lindsey, much to Arlo’s approval.
The elf scoffs, flipping blonde over her shoulder. “Well I think it’s just right.”
I put my hands up. “I didn’t mean any offense! I mean, it’s just–”
Lindsey laughs. “It’s alright, we live to pick on each other. If you’re going to be around that one, you better get used to it.” She gestures to Arlo and the autumn breeze nips at my overheated neck.
“Yes, well, thank you for the advice.”

✍️✍️✍️

While I’m more active on Tumblr with my excerpts, I’m going to start posting some work in progress shorts over here. For today, we have pining, and lots of it.A

Also, sneek peek of a piece I commissioned from the lovely Henni Eklund, one of the artists who worked on the Iverbourne tarot cards.

Writing Outside Today