Into the Publishing Minefield

I’ve been trying to garner some interest in ‘Fortune’s Thief’, and having failed to find an agent, I’ve been contacting independent publishers to see whether anyone would be interested in publishing it.

So far, I have had two contract offers, but I won’t be accepting either of them.  I had no idea when I started sending out my manuscript that it would be such a minefield.

The first offer I had was from a publisher whose employees are illiterate.  The email accompanying the contract, and subsequent correspondence was so badly written I had to read it three times before I could understand what they were trying to say.  They were also planning to put it out exactly as I’d sent it to them, with no editorial input or modifications whatsoever.  I’ve checked it the best I can, and had a few friends review it, but I have absolutely no doubt that it would benefit greatly from some professional editing.  Having read up about these guys on the Absolute Write Authors Beware section, they’re definitely one to avoid.

So I sent it off to a second publisher and had a grammatically correct response on nice headed paper, asking for a printed manuscript. Then followed three weeks of watching the doormat, wondering when a letter was going to land. In the interim, however, I looked them up on my new favourite forum page (Absolute Write Authors Beware) and found that many people were reporting bad experiences with them.  These guys appear professional, but are in essence a vanity press and will charge authors for publishing, so when I had the contracts arrive today, I wasn’t in the least surprised to find that they wanted £2,300 to publish my book.  If they had been up-front about it, and indicated on their website that contribution-based publishing was one of their possible routes, I wouldn’t have wasted my time or theirs in submitting to them.

I’m now going back to a third publisher, who expressed interest about the same time I heard from the second publisher to see whether we can still work together, and what their terms will be.

More news from the minefield as it breaks…

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Fellowship of Fantasy Writers Blog Tour January 2015

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I’ve joined up with a group of like-minded writers and we’re doing a blog tour in the new year.  I’ll be guest posting on the following blogs in January. I’d better get writing!

05/01/2015: Royal Blood Chronicles
06/01/2015: Blog of Author J Lenni Dorner
07/01/2015: Jean Lauzier
08/01/2015: Magical Moments with JoElle
09/01/2015: JuQuan Williams
10/01/2015: Lee Dunning
11/01/2015: Maeve La Fay
12/01/2015: Renee Writes
13/01/2015: RJ Mirabal
14/01/2015: Appalachian Round Table: Brooks Blog
15/01/2015: Author Sarah Daltry
17/01/2015: V. M. Sang
18/01/2015: Charlotte Henley Babb
19/01/2015: C.B. Mac Gillavry
20/01/2015: Paws 4 Thought
21/01/2015: Danielle Ross

Seventh Star Press 99c Cyber Monday Sale

Seventh Star Press will be having a great Cyber Monday Sale that will coincide with a big contest, Feel the Fire III.

The sale will feature titles by all Seventh Star Press authors at 99 cents on Kindle, as well as all anthologies.  The sale will be for one day only, Cyber Monday, December 1, 2014.

Click here to read more.

The sale will feature 3 anthologies with my stories in:

Tales of the unseelie courtA Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court: http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC

the end was not the end - coverThe End Was Not the End: http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Was-Not-Post-Apocalyptic-ebook/dp/B00C3ZWA58

perfect-flaw-cover-webversionPerfect Flaw: http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Flaw-Robin-Blankenship-ebook/dp/B00BWTKXZK

Dragonbride by Raani York

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Today I’m pleased to be able to share news about the release of Dragonbride, a fantasy novel by author Rani York.

Synopsis:

Shalima, “Daughter of the Light”, was born under special circumstances. She was raised by her aunts instead of her mother because she needed to be prepared to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Scriptures, which told that she was the only Magician on Earth.

Her aunts carefully prepared her for her obligations and her sacred duty. She will have to get married to the Holy Golden Dragon, the King of the Dragons, a huge Earth Dragon with magical talents. She cannot believe that she is the “Chosen One”, who has to protect the Dragon Species, all of Nature and finally the Earth. But when she turned into a teenager it seemed that the Old Scriptures were right.

Not only does she have to fulfill her duty by getting married to the Dragon – she will also have to go on a deadly mission to save the world from an unspeakable evil. A mission there is very little hope her party will ever return from.

Here’s an except from the book to whet your appetites:

The mountains possessed a dark but seductive beauty, and they lay in wait for the ones who came through the Fire Hell. The powdered white peaks of the sparkling black mountain-world watched for them with longing.

The Diamond Mountains gave the illusion of being much closer than they really were, and many a pilgrim had been lured to his death by the promise of riches hidden on their slopes. These mountains were so named because of the rough gems strewn about the black volcanic soil. When the sun shone overhead the gems made the mountains sparkle and shimmer brightly, and at night they made the moonlit mountains glow with a soft silver light.

People, blinded by both their greed and the tantalizing glittering of the sunlit earth, imagined that there was immeasurable wealth lying there on the ground, just waiting to be picked. However, the mountains never betrayed the secrets they held. None who had ever walked those slopes could find the diamonds hidden within the black soil, for the mountains protected themselves.

Although healthy forest still grew in the foothills, the undergrowth became sparser just a few hundred feet up, and then the treeline ended. Where stunted trees would normally grow the forest just stopped, as if some unseen hand had cut it short. All that remained were dangerously sharp, dry rocks. Just below the snowline, the rocks disappeared, and the glittering black soil took their place.

Moreover, at the summit it seemed as if the Creator of All Things had dusted the peaks of the fissured mountain range with powdered sugar, for they were covered with a deceptively soft-looking, yet extremely sharp-edged eternal snow.

The mountains never betrayed their secrets…

And if a wanderer were to climb those peaks, going up to the Fire Hell and searching to quench his thirst at a splashing mountain spring, he would find no cool, refreshing water. Instead, these living mountains would seek to frighten him by shrouding the ground with a mysterious fog that made it impossible to see where he was putting his feet. Pilgrims sometimes drowned in the sulfurous pools of water hidden within the hellish rocks when the fog appeared, and if they left the main trails, they would know true fear, for they would be led down treacherous sidepaths that seemed to take them somewhere, yet actually led them nowhere but to their doom.

The mountains never betrayed their secrets…

Though many thought they would find the cool relief of the shadows by early evening, the ascent would continue for another three torturous days. During those three days, their throats would scream for water, and their eyes would tear up in the swirling sand. Blown up by the hot desert winds, the sand burned as it fell upon a traveler’s face and skin. Eventually their limbs would become heavy, and they would barely be able to move; thus, the wanderers would be forced to crawl on, farther and farther, until sheer luck eventually brought them to civilization… to people.

In a canyon between two hills below the mountain range there was a village. It had no official name, but the people living there called it Alpcateçu, which meant Oasis of the Mountains. Anyone who wanted to climb the mountains had to pass through the village. A few taverns and inns surrounded the village fountain, where a market was sometimes held.

Some houses and huts had been built in the wide hills and even at the edge of the forest… and in one such place, hidden within the woods, almost four hundred feet past the deepest thicket and connected to the village only by a sidepath lay the place in which I had been born.

Buyer’s links:

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragonbride-raani-york/1120408609?ean=2940046196030

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/Dragonbride

CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/4861497

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dragonbride/id923113409?mt=11

Amazon.com: Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Dragonbride-The-Dragon-Chronicles-Volume/dp/1500232106/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1412454206&sr=8-2&keywords=Dragonbride

Amazon.com: Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Dragonbride-Dragon-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00O6COSRE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412454206&sr=8-1&keywords=Dragonbride

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/479647

Blio: https://www.blio.com/blio/actions/searchHandler.do?userType=MLB&tabID=BOOKS&itemNum=ITEM%3a1&key=0015761529&nextPage=booksDetails&parentNum=12848

Oyster Bookshttps://www.oysterbooks.com/book/FyRea3UNcipM7cfVKaxLhk/dragonbride#

About Rani:

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Raani York has been a high volume writer for years. She has published articles, letters, short stories, poems, continuation stories and descriptions of all kind. She also writes novels, some of which can found on her website http://www.raaniyork.com/ .

Raani has been educated in Switzerland and in the U.S. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She also obtained diplomas in Graphic Design, Color Studies and won a prize as a Logo Designer. She speaks four languages and several dialects.

Raani York works and lives in Switzerland and the U.S. and travels often.

Next to her writing and her cats, Raani likes reading, blogging, Martial Arts, skiing, horseback riding, sky diving and enjoys playing the classical piano.

I Found a Book I Didn’t Know I’d Written…

Now there’s something you don’t hear every day!

When I got back into writing about ten years ago, I wrote a lot, particularly when I should have been doing something else. I woke up at the weekend thinking about a vampire-based story I wrote around that time, and I decided to dig it out and dust it off.  I had half a mind to see whether Kindle allowed publishing of single short stories, or novellas, and if so, what the word count should be.

I had a quick scout around on Amazon and found that there were various stories of various lengths on sale.  Great, I thought. So I went to check how long my story was, and it turns out that the main body of text, when added to a shorter accompanying story that I wrote, came out at a whopping 90,000 words.

I had NO idea.

So I’m currently editing the two together, which is both massively exciting and horribly painful! They were written from completely opposing points of view, and one was written in the first person, so there’s some serious chopping and changing to be done here.  Cue many headaches! On the plus side, I’m really excited about working on it again. More on my dodgy medieval fantasy vampire romance (?) as it develops.

Deedee Davies Anthologies

 

Fortune’s Thief Cover Reveal

 

I’ve been working on the final draft of my novel in the last few weeks, and have sent off a few more prospective queries to publishers today.  I’ll wait and see whether I get any interest, but if I don’t, I’m going to start preparing for the self-publishing route.

On the assumption that I will end up self-publishing, I’ve made myself a cover.  This is how I envisage Al Salazar, one of the principal characters in the book.

Fortune's Thief Cover

In other news, I have (I think) managed to condense 90,000 words into the following. If anyone has any thoughts or feedback on it, I’d be most grateful!

When Tal Sarokan deserts from a mercenary band to look for a better life, little does he know that his departure will bring an end to his friends’ supernatural good fortune.

Al Salazar, the charismatic leader of the mercenaries, has stolen a stone from the Well of Fate and is using it to control his destiny, and that of his band, the Sarandani. When the mercenaries start dying, Al Salazar must somehow find Tal and convince him to return – by any means necessary. Meanwhile, the Keeper of the Well has set plans in motion to force Al Salazar to return the fate-stone through the subtle manipulation of his enemies. In time, Al Salazar learns that controlling one’s own destiny comes at a price, and that every man’s luck runs out in the end.

And with that, I think it’s time for bed!

Jackie Gamber and H. David Blalock Round 2 Interview Questions

Today, I’m thrilled to be continuing the interview questions started over on The Rage Circus Vs the Soulless Void for TCM’s Trilogy Virtual Tour.  Jackie Gamber and H. David Blalock have kindly answered my questions on their writing habits and inspiration.

First, over to Jackie Gamber:

Sela by Jackie Gamber

DD. Which writers inspired – or continue to inspire you – to write?

JG: I’m a huge Ray Bradbury fan. I have a specific memory, while reading “Fahrenheit 451” of thinking, “I want to write like this. I want to do this.” It took me years to work up the courage to give it a try, but Bradbury’s influence definitely had a hand in it.

DD: Do you have a special time of day that you prefer to write?

JG: I love to write first thing in the morning. In fact, I’d say I’m driven to the laptop, most occasions, before I’m even fully awake. I often wake up already thinking and puzzling, and bursting to figure stuff out.

DD: Do you have any tips on overcoming writer’s block?

JG: I can share my personal experience with writers’ block as something very real. I know there is raging debate over whether or not it exists, because some writers never experience it; but to me, that’s like saying no broken bones exist because “I’ve never broken one.” I have experienced it more as a cork, as though words are all bottled up behind it, and I can’t seem to access them. I find it to be a symptom of something else, something amiss in my personal life, whether it be physical, emotional, or mental. I’ve learned to take it as a sign to something deeper. When I address that issue, the words flow again.

DD: Are you an e-book person, or do you prefer to own a hard copy?

JG: I’m totally both. I love e-books for the immediacy of it; when I’m in the mood for a new read, I can shop and have it in my hands in moments. That, my friends, is a miracle. But I have bookshelves full of hard copies, too. I like to run my hands over them, smell them. I can see them everyday, they become part of my environment, and I believe they feed my mind with possibilities, even when they are sitting still.

Author Links:
Jackie Gamber
Website: www.jackiegamber.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jackie-Gamber-Story-Artist/334783969938507
Twitter: @jackiegamber


 

Traitor Angel

DD: Which writers inspired – or continue to inspire you – to write?

HDB: I have always admired the work of the writers of the first part of the 20th century. People like Lovecraft, Howard, Bradbury, Norton, even Asimov. It was the psychological impact of their writings more than the plots that affected me. It’s been said there are really only a few story lines and all fiction is merely variations on those themes. How those writers took those common themes and presented them in a way that evoked a nearly visceral impact inspired me to want to join that company.

DD: Do you have a special time of day that you prefer to write?

HDB: I write as often and whenever I can. My favorite time, though, is while it rains. I like to sit on my porch and listen to the rain and wind. There’s a certain music to that which makes it easier to hear the muse. Not sure exactly why.

DD: Do you have any tips on overcoming writer’s block?

HDB: I find that working on more than one project at a time makes it easier to avoid writer’s block. When you’re writing several stories if you find yourself stuck you can always set that one aside for a bit and work on another. A little time away from the blocked story does wonders to cure the problem.

DD:. Are you an e-book person, or do you prefer to own a hard copy?

HDB: Personally, I prefer the feel of a real book. I understand the appeal and convenience of the e-book in a society addicted to its portable computers and smart phones. Nevertheless, the tactile satisfaction of the weight of the book, the smell of the page, the knowledge it won’t disappear with battery failure or break if dropped, all those things make me prefer hard copy.

H. David Blalock
Website: http://thrankeep.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Writer.HDavidBlalock
Twitter: @Hdavidblalock


 

Special Trilogy Virtual Tour
Authors:
Jackie Gamber and H. David Blalock
Featured Books:
Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series
H. David Blalock’s Angelkiller Triad

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JackieGamberBWAbout Jackie Gamber: As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea Store.com, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.

 

GamberBookOne_RedheartCoverJackie Gamber’s Redheart Book Synopsis: Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side. Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land.
As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship. Riza Diantus is a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village, and when she finds herself in peril, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. Yet to do so means he must confront his past, and embrace a future he stopped believing in.
A tale of friendship, courage, and ultimate destiny, Redheart invites readers to a wondrous journey through the Leland Dragon Series.

 

HDavidBlalockBWAbout H. David Blalock: Born in San Antonio, Texas, David spent the majority of his formative years in Jacksonville, Florida. At the age of 16, his family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where David finished school and entered employment with the Department of Defense as a Powerhouse Electrician.
Hiring into the FAA, he returned with his wife and two daughters to the States and settled briefly in Gulfport, MS. A few years later, he moved to Memphis, TN, as an Air Traffic Controller for the Memphis ARTCC. There he remained until his retirement.
David’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, webzines, and writer’s sites. His work continues to appear on a regular basis through multiple publishing houses.

 

BlalockBookOne_AngelkillerCoverH, David Blalock’s Angelkiller Book Synopsis: Why do bad things happen to good people? Simple. In the ancient war between the Angels of Light and Darkness, the Dark won. Now it is the job of an undercover force simply known as The Army to rectify that.

Using every tool available, The Army has worked to liberate our world from The Enemy for thousands of years, slowly and painfully lifting Mankind out of the dark. On the front of the great Conflict are the Angelkillers, veterans of the fight with centuries of experience.

Jonah Mason is an Angelkiller, and his cell is targeted as part of plot to unseat a very powerful Minion of The Enemy. Mason and his troop are drawn into a battle that stretches from real-time to virtual reality and back. The Conflict is about to expand into cyberspace, and if Mason is unable to stop it, The Enemy will have gained dominion over yet another realm

Tour Schedule and Activities

9/8 SpecMusicMuse Review
9/8 The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void Multi-Blogger Interview Part 1
9/8 Horror Tree Guest Post (Blalock)
9/8 Elizabeth Delana Rosa ~Book Lover & Creator of Worlds~  Guest Post (Gamber)
9/9 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (About Gamber)
9/9 I Smell Sheep Interactive Thread with Jackie and Dave
9/9 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post (Blalock)
9/10 The Southern Belle from Hell Art of the Angelkiller Triad (Blalock)
9/10 Bee’s Knees Review Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 Blog of Sheila Deeth Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies Multi-Blogger Interview Part 2
9/10 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More Jackie Gamber Interviews H. David Blalock
9/11 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More H. David Blalock Interviews Jackie Gamber
9/11 Workaday Reads Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Vampires, Witches, & Me, Oh My! Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Trip Through My Mind Multi-Blogger Interview Part 3
9/12 Beauty In Ruins Guest Post (Blalock)
9/13 Jess Resides Here Review
9/14 Willow’s Author Love Guest Post (Blalock)
9/14 Fantastical Musings Multi-Blogger Interview Part 4
9/14 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (Gamber)

Amazon Links for Redheart, the First Book of Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series:

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Redheart-Leland-Dragon-Jackie-Gamber-ebook/dp/B004VFNJIA
Print Version: http://www.amazon.com/Redheart-Leland-Dragon-Jackie-Gamber/dp/0983108676

Amazon Links for Angelkiller, the First Book of H. David Blalock’s Angelkiller Triad:

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Angelkiller-Triad-Book-1-ebook/dp/B006CR84AI
Print Version: http://www.amazon.com/Angelkiller-H-David-Blalock/dp/0983740232