Some nuts and bolts

First of all, Carrie over at Carrie’s Urban Fantasy Corner wrote a review of the first three books of Demonic Café. It’s a neat review, even though she has some serious criticisms of Sam’s behavior (wait…don’t we all?) I hope she keeps up with the blog because there’s a serious lack of this kind of thing online. Urban fantasy usually gets gobbled up into a larger fantasy category, which is then dominated by Epic fantasy. So definitely check the blog out today!

Next, the first three books of the series are now available on non-Kindle ereaders; the fourth book will also be available shortly, I just need to wait a few more days before its Amazon-exclusivity period ends. This means that the books are no longer enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, which is only for Amazon exclusives. I’ll miss being a part of that program, but there’s such a big world out there that I didn’t feel like being tethered to Amazon was the best choice for my series anymore. Now all the people who own Nooks and Kobos and all that other good stuff can have some demon-enhanced reading material.

Lastly, Book Five is coming along. I thought I was going to take a break after Book Four and work on some other stories, but the DC characters are very impatient and kept telling me to write their series. Yes, I hallucinate getting lectures from my own characters, what’s the problem?

Hope you’re all safe and sound and enjoying the wrap-up of summer. I’m hoping to get in one beach trip before the weather changes; wish me luck.

Yet More Free Books

Despite the fact that you all clearly love my books and keep your Kindles under your pillows, I realize that it’s within the realm of possibility that you MIGHT want to read a book by somebody else now and then; crazy, I know.

If you are one of these disloyal interlopers who want to read books by OTHER AUTHORS, there’s a neat little promotion going on right now with lots of urban fantasy and PNR books available. All of the books on this page are currently free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription; they may not stay that way, so if you see something that intrigues you, don’t hesitate:

Price Drop on all Demons

I feel like one of those guys in a late-night infomercial. “Blow-Out prices! EVERYTHING MUST GO! YOU WON’T BELIEVE THESE PRICES!” That doesn’t really apply here, since even if I wanted to sell out of ebooks, I couldn’t (since there are technically an infinite number), but that’s kind of the mood I’m going for. I just dropped a bunch of prices, and now I feel pretty pumped.

My first book, The Problem with Black Magic first in the Demonic Cafe series, is now $.99. All other DC books are $2.99. I don’t know if these prices are going to stick, so if you’ve been planning to try out the series (or if you just need something to read when you need a break from your relatives over the holidays!), now is a good time. Of course, the books are all free to read for those with Kindle Unlimited subscriptions.

Free Parody Story

Penguin of Fortune, my urban fantasy parody story, is free this weekend in the Kindle store:

I had a blast writing this back in the day, and I look forward to writing a sequel. I’ve held off on doing another one for a while because I just haven’t had a good idea for what to do next, but I think paranormal romance is ripe for some parody….

Free Book

My first book– also the first book in my Demonic Cafe series– is free today in the Kindle store:

This is the last free promotion day I have scheduled for the year, so if you’ve been thinking on giving this series a try, this is your opportunity. The first book is a pretty quick tale of supernatural suspense, so give it a go if you like exciting quick reads, magic, and scrupulous attention to beverages;)

The Hollows Fan Art

Over on Goodreads, Kim Harrison is leading a read-along of her The Hollows urban fantasy series, leading up to the release of a new book in 2020. The Hollows is one of my favorite series, and undeniably a big inspiration on my own fiction.

For a while I had a love-hate relationship with it because as much as I enjoyed the books, some things about the story just didn’t make sense to me. My husband found it amusing how I would rant and rave about the things I didn’t like about the series, yet would devour each new book in one or two sittings. What I’ve eventually come to realize is that I like the series so much that the few parts I don’t like really bug me, and that’s okay. Now the love-hate angle is fading and I just love it outright.

I started drawing some fanart for the series and found it a lot of fun. I know, I know, I should be drawing my own characters, but sometimes it’s fun to take a break from your own world and visit someone else’s. Besides, I used the portrait of Trent and Jenks to test out the drawing capabilities of my Surface Pro, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. So that’s totally productive, right?

Take a gander at this here fanart. If you don’t know who any of these people are, try reading The Hollows; if you like urban fantasy, chances are you’ll really enjoy it.

Rachel, as she’s first described in Dead Witch Walking, complete with a tiny Jenks. Jenks is too big here though.
More Rachel and Jenks. This would be fun to color.
My first attempt at Trent, complete with Confused Mink Rachel. I think Confused Mink Rachel should become a meme. I’d like to do a more finished version of this, which would require looking up a model for Trent’s suit. I still can’t draw suits well without a reference :'(
Trent and Jenks! I think I finally got the size of Jenks right…well, close anyway. This is the image I used to test out my Surface Pro 6. So far I’m really happy with it as a drawing tablet.

Bonus Story Audio Version

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed yesterday that a bonus story just went live: Demonic Café: Extra Hot. It’s really more a collection of vignettes than a story per se, but it does feature Sam and Cassie’s first meeting.

I also recorded an audio version of the main story. This is a test: I’m not sure if this is the set-up I’m going to use to record my audio going forward. I’m not sure if the vocal quality is good enough; it’s fairly clear, but there’s a kind of graininess to it that I can’t seem to counteract. Maybe this is as good as I can get without investing in a $200 microphone, or maybe I just need to optimize my recording room some more. In any case, I’d love to hear feedback about how the audio sounds.

Yearning for Australia

The above is a photo my Uncle Mary took in Brisbane’s West End neighborhood. In the second book of my romance novella series, which I’m working on now, Daniel and Nora visit Australia. I’ve been trying to figure out where a certain character might live in the city, and my aunt and uncle have been generous enough to send me their thoughts and photos.

I purposely picked Brisbane as a location because it’s one of the few places outside the East Coast of the US that I’ve actually visited; however, my visit was practically a lifetime ago. I visited in the mid-90s, as a child. Any city would have changed in nearly 25 years, but from what I understand, Brisbane has changed more than most. When I visited there wasn’t much to do in the city proper; most of the attractions my family took me to see were on the Gold Coast, or over the border in New South Wales. Now, Brisbane is a full-fledged international city, filled with all the coffee shops, festivals and art galleries you could want.

Now I wish I could go back to Australia again, and I guess that’s the danger of writing this series. It’s supposed to be about experiencing, through fiction, the joy of exploring a place you haven’t been (or in this case, a place you visited so long ago that it’s changed completely), but I can’t help but want to visit in reality the more I research. It’s not completely out of the question that I could visit Australia again, but I’d have to conquer my fear of flying…not impossible, but hard to grapple with.

The thought of that 16-hour flight makes me want to hide under my bed and never leave, but then I think about the look on my little girl’s face at the sight of kangaroos, and I think maybe…maybe….

Rescued From Retail 2: Brisbane will hopefully be out by November. I’m trying to have a trilogy of them out before the end of 2019, but we’ll see how it goes. I may post more about Australia as I fantasize about going there do more research.

Little Demonic Comics

I’ve been posting these little Demonic Cafe comics to Instagram, just for fun. I found a tiny little sketchbook with pre-drawn panel borders, and it was too cute not to use for something. I was thinking that if I did enough of these, eventually I could compile them into some kind of little book, but in some ways, making it project-oriented could defeat the purpose; I like the idea of them just being fun little doodles.

It’s a challenge to draw in such a tiny sketchbook (the shot of the pencil in the third image gives you an idea of the scale), but in some ways I think that’s better; makes me stop obsessing and just get the basic idea down. I look forward to doing more of these, during those little gaps of time when I need a break from writing but I feel like doing something quasi-productive.

Getting into Audio

My new little mic
Isn’t it cute?

Above you can see a picture of my new microphone, complete with POP filter. I’ve been meaning to start producing audio books for some time, and I’ve finally got the equipment to do it. I need to produce paperback editions of my books too, which should probably take priority, but buying the microphone was more fun, lol.

There are several reasons why I’d like to record the audio versions of my books myself. Number one is cost: getting a professional narrator to read your work is very expensive, and I just don’t make that kind of money from my books yet. Of course, having audio versions available is one way to make more money, so it’s a bit of a Catch-22 scenario.

Number two is fun. I’ve always enjoyed acting, but in recent years, I’ve really had no outlet for it. I’ve also enjoyed editing podcasts in the past, so I have some of the necessary skills for audiobook production.

Three is quality. I have no illusions that I can produce a better audio book than a troop of professional voice actors, but I do have certain advantages. For the Demonic Cafe books in particular, I think I could do a good job as the voice of Cassie– possibly better than a narrator who is completely new to the characters and the world. I might be completely wrong about that, but it seems like it’s a good reason to at least try.

So far, I’m having a tough time of it. Even though I have audio experience, trying to get good audio for a book is pretty tough. The level of quality that’s considered okay for podcasting is decidedly not good enough for audio books, and having a better mic is only one small part of the process. I’m probably going to have to set up a place in my house to record, because trying to do it in my office just isn’t working: there’s too much of an echo, not to mention background noise. I still think it’s doable, but it’s going to take some real work to get decent sound quality.

Part of me thinks this is all a waste and that this is time that would be better spent writing, but eh…I can’t write for ten hours a day, you know? Some indie writers work with the mindset of trying to churn out as many words per day as possible (10K per day! 20K per day!) and while I can see the merit of that to an extent, I’m not on that train yet. For me personally, I think spending a couple of hours writing then switching over to something else would be healthier for my brain anyway.

So I’m going to be spending the fall trying to get my audiobook production up and running, in addition to hopefully finishing a couple of novellas I have in progress. I’m even thinking of posting sample chapters to this blog (via Soundcloud), so I can possibly get some feedback on my audio before I upload it in finished format. Who knows; if you’re diligent, maybe you can download an entire book in the form of sample files and not bother with having to pay for it on Audible! Here I am, out here with my microphone under a blanket, saving you money.