A mixed bag of news

I promised myself I would start giving you all more updates between book releases, whether it is about writing, publishing, or other topics you might want to hear.  Lately, I’ve been really bad about doing that, but I know some of you like to hear my updates  (thanks to those readers who told me as much!).  Below, I’ve got news on how the Dancing with Flames release has gone, upcoming plans relating to the next Dragon’s Breath novel, a current ebook discount, author interview news, and a reading recommendation.

Dancing with Flames update

First, I’ll cover how the Dancing with Flames release has gone.  The second book in the Dragon’s Breath series has received some great reviews and all the feedback has been very positive.  It’s my favorite book I’ve written so far, and I’m grateful that those who have read it have really liked it.  The one downside I’ve found with this release is that the eleven-month gap between the first and second novel really hurt sales and borrows.

The first novel, Stalked by Flames, has a total of about 9 thousand ebook sales and nearly 5 million pages read through Kindle Unlimited borrows (Amazon considers it a 502 page novel for KU purposes so you can do the math on how many people picked it up and read it).  Those are great stats for a book that didn’t get a sequel until recently.

Unfortunately, due to personal troubles last fall and winter, I had a major gap in publishing anything new.  This caused me to lose a great deal of visibility on Amazon and it’s been very hard to regain it.  With all the independent authors who are able to release books every 2-3 months (sometimes less than that), the publishing market has gotten very competitive and waiting too long to publish will hurt an author these days.  I’m truly grateful for the many loyal readers who have eagerly picked up the next novel because I know there are a lot of choices out there, especially in urban fantasy.  Your support and enthusiasm for my writing means a lot to me.

It has now been one month since I released Dancing with Flames and the initial stats are not nearly as high as they were for the first novel.  Current sales stand just shy of 2 thousand and page reads are at about 1.2 million.  The majority of the feedback on the first novel was positive, so I don’t think it was necessarily the quality of book as much as too much time between releases.  I’m hearing more and more people say they like to binge read through series and it’s tough to wait long between novels.  I totally get that.  If I could have released book 2 faster, I would have, but under the personal circumstances I was facing it just wasn’t possible. My hope is that things will improve as more readers discover I’ve moved forward with the series.

I have gotten into a solid writing rhythm that allows me to work faster than I did before.  Nothing that sacrifices quality, but I did work out a system that is more organized.  Hence, how Dancing with Flames got released three months after Darkness Wanes.  If anyone is curious about what I did differently this time around, let me know.  I’d definitely consider writing a post about it.  I was actually surprised at how much more efficient the new system made my writing, and I was able to do a more complex plot than usual because of the method I used.  It’s really too bad I didn’t figure out this strategy sooner because I absolutely love it.

For book three of the Dragon’s Breath series (Forged by Flames), I need a month more than the last novel, but that is because I have more on the ground research to do.  I’m actually going to be going out of town on Monday and doing a bit of traveling for a few days (and I just got back from a separate trip on Friday).  It’s not hard to check on things when the story mostly stays within the confines of Norman, OK because I live in the same area as the characters, but for this next installment I need specific details to incorporate into the book and have to see a few places up close.  I won’t spoil things more than that, though.  Those of you who have read Dancing with Flames are already aware there’s a journey ahead for some of the main characters.

Stalked by Flames discount sale

In other news, Amazon has reduced the price of Stalked by Flames to $0.99 in Australia (I’m not sure if that includes any taxes).  It is part of a winter promotion they’re doing in that part of the world and it will continue until August 22nd.  If you live down there and haven’t purchased your copy of the first Dragon’s Breath novel, this is your chance to get it at a low price.  It is also still discounted in Europe for those over there through to the end of August as part of a summer promotion sale.  I wish I could tell U.S. readers there was a discount on Stalked by Flames here too, but so far Amazon has not informed me of one.  If that changes, I’ll be sure to announce it.

Author Interviews

As some of you may have noticed, I have been posting interviews each Friday with Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance authors.  So far, I’ve done three that you can check out if you haven’t done so already.  They include:

Christine Pope
Colleen Gleason
Dannika Dark

You can click on their names above to go to their individual interviews.  They aren’t the standard ones where I ask the same old questions like how they got started writing or where they get their ideas.  These are a little more personal and include subjects such as their pets, favorite TV shows, whether they’d run down the street naked for a million dollars, etc.  I wanted them to be a little more fun and hope you enjoy them.  The next author to be interviewed this coming Friday is Hailey Edwards.  I can’t wait to share her answers to my questions with you!

These interviews will continue until November just before Thanksgiving.  I’ve filled nearly all the slots between now and then with some really awesome authors, many of which you will recognize, so stay tuned.

Book Recommendation

I managed to knock out a few novels from my TBR list after releasing Dancing with Flames.  There are about a hundred more to go because the list never actually gets shorter, but I have no idea when I’ll get to more of them.  I do very little reading once I buckle down on writing because I don’t want to risk another author’s voice affecting mine.  Most of the books I read recently were good, but there was one I wanted to make special note of for anyone who enjoys sci-fi/alien romance.  It is “On a Rogue Planet” by Anna Hackett.

On a Rogue Planet by Anna Hackett

I do not know this author, and I’ve never heard of her before picking this book up.  I actually discovered the novel while digging through Goodreads lists because I was itching for something like it, and I’m really glad I gave it a chance.  It’s so hard to find a good sci-fi romance that has a solid story, creative world-building, and some sexy scenes without going overboard on the naughty bits.  “On a Rogue Planet” had just the right balance.

This is actually the third novel in the author’s series, but I skipped the others because this was the one that grabbed my attention.  I had no trouble following along and believe it can be read as a standalone.  Having said that, I’ll definitely be reading more books by Anna Hackett in the future.  If you’re into that genre, you might give her work a try.  I confirmed this novel is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.  Since reader opinions are subjective, be sure to download a sample and/or check reviews before purchasing so you know if the book is right for you.  I can only tell you I enjoyed it a lot.

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That’s all I’ve got for you all now, but if you’ve got any questions/comments, feel free to ask them below.

Indie urban fantasy series I recommend…

I know many of you are waiting patiently for Darkness Divides to come out on April 20th.  As an update, it’s coming along well and I’ll be posting the first two chapters this weekend.  So be on the lookout!

In the meantime, I thought I’d give you all a list of other urban fantasy authors who I follow.  Most of you are probably already aware of the big traditionally published names in the genre such as Jeaniene Frost, Ilona Andrews, Karen Marie Moning, Chloe Neill, Patricia Briggs, plus many more.  This is to highlight the indies who I’ve found to be just as enjoyable.

Keep in mind that your mileage may vary as no two people have exactly the same tastes, but these are ones I’ve found to be good and think you might too if you haven’t discovered them already.  All covers are linked to the book’s Amazon purchase page.  I’ve also included some brief thoughts on my impression of each author’s books.

 

 

Blood Wager coverConnie Suttle– If you haven’t read the book that begins her Blood Destiny series and sets up the ones that follow it, check out Blood Wager first.  The key thing to know with her work is that it has a lot of emotional twists, action, and expands to include sci-fi elements as the series progresses.  The romance in her work isn’t of the traditional variety, but I love the uniqueness of her writing.  Her “voice” is very different from other writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Demon Bound book coverDebra Dunbar– For those who enjoy a wicked sense of humor, this is a great series to try.  The main character is a demon imp who gets into a lot of trouble, but as you get to know her you’ll find she’s surprisingly relatable.  There are light romantic elements and a rather hunky love interest or two, but nothing too hot and steamy for those who prefer those elements toned down.  Do expect some naughtiness, though.  This series has five books out so far and Debra recently released two spin-off novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleight of Hand book coverMark Henwick– His series is strong on action and suspense, while being lighter on the romantic elements (though you should expect some explicit content).  The thing I think readers love the most about his writing is how fast-paced it is  and that he includes investigative elements as well as a female character who has a military background.  This series has three books out so far, plus a prequel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Dates coverTracey Sinclair– I stumbled upon this author after seeing a review of one of her books from a blogger who also follows my series.  The cover is a bit different from most UF, but I promise this series is great!  The setting is in London, so with this one you get out of the United States so you can enjoy something a little different.  There is some nice humor and the romance will keep you intrigued.  If you like heroines who are always trying to do the right thing despite not being all that powerful, you should enjoy this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elemental Magic coverAngela Wallace– She has a nice UF series that features elementals (users of earth, air, water, fire).  Her novels are lighter than the ones I mentioned above, making them a great change of pace from the standard darker fare.  There’s more mystery to her books too and they have sweet romantic elements (nothing hot and heavy).  The main character stays the same for the first two books before switching to a different one with the third.  She should be releasing the fourth novel soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

shadowpath_coverP.L. Blair– She has a UF series featuring two main characters.  A human female and an elf male.  They are detectives who have been partnered together to investigate supernatural cases.  The criminals in this series are rather unique and the lore this author uses keeps me fascinated.  The romance doesn’t pick up until much later in the series and the author keeps things fairly clean, but I must admit I was ready for it when it came!  Expect the books to focus on the plot and have some nice action sequences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments section.  I know there are a lot of other good ones out there and that I didn’t name them all.  If you can tell us a little about why you like any particular author/series, that would be helpful too!