Now Available: ‘Children of Hyacinth’ (Plus E-Book Giveaways)

And here’s my newest baby, everyone! 😀 Children of Hyacinth is now ready for purchase, and here be the links:

Amazon (e-book) | Amazon (print) | Createspace (print) | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

I’m also doing a guest blog over at The Novel Approach, and I’ve got two e-books up for grabs. Go over to this page, read an excerpt from the book, jump into the fray with Rafflecopter, and that’s it! Good luck, and if you purchase the book, thank you, and I hope you enjoy it.

‘Children of Hyacinth’ Release Date, Blurb, and Other Fun Stuff

Okay, my little darlings, more updates on the upcoming book. I’m down to the final stages of last-minute tweaks, formatting, uploading, listing, etc. Children of Hyacinth will be released on March 20 (Monday), and I’ve already uploaded the book to different places. At the moment, I’m waiting for confirmation from B&N, Apple, and Kobo, but Amazon already has the book listed, and it’s over here.

I’m waiting for the book to be formatted for Smashwords and will update my “Published Books” page once I’ve got all the links together.

The print book is already formatted and uploaded, and I’m waiting for Createspace to accept the final book for sale.

Oh, and the promised book blurb:

Iulian Dalca is a twenty-one-year-old musical prodigy with big dreams. He’s also blessed with a hint of light magic in his blood, a gift that’s apparently unique to prodigies and whose purpose appears to be the developing of an extremely strong connection between artist and audience during a performance. Unknown to most, the gift of light magic also allows him a surprisingly powerful and inexplicable psychic link to someone who remains invisible, a person he’s never met in the real world. It’s a connection that strengthens over time, a symbiotic bond whose purpose remains a closely guarded secret among the goddesses believed to have created it.

Cosmin Vasile is an eighteen-year-old young man living in obscurity and poverty in a rural village in the Wallachian countryside. Gifted in song, he spends his time adding to his parents’ meager income by weaving and gathering wool for sale, singing rustic songs he knows by heart as he works. He’s also plagued by mysteriously restless sleep lasting a week and occurring once a year since he turned eleven, though he remembers nothing of the dreams or nightmares that may have caused the disturbance.

Then out of the blue on two separate occasions, a once-in-a-lifetime chance at fulfilling their dearest dreams suddenly comes along, and youthful hope takes flight…

Only to tumble headlong down a nightmarish pit of old magic twisted for a darker purpose, where lines separating reality and decades-long madness blur. Haunting portraits of long gone students, a cursed mirror hiding a terrifying world of corruption and death, a monstrous satyr lurking in the shadows of the mirror’s world – time and hope for escape disappear as Iulian and Cosmin suddenly discover the awful price of being marked as the Muses’ rare, favored children.

As to price, I’ve set the e-book at $2.99 and the print book at $9.00. Easy peasy and cheap. And as a bit of a quickie explanation, I never offer sales for my self-published books because they’re already crazy cheap to begin with. $4.99 for a long novel (100K+ words), $2.99 for a standard novel (50K to 100K), and 99 cents for anything under.

I want my books to be low-risk, particularly to those who’ve never read my stuff. My preferred genre is unpopular (historical fantasy). My writing style is unpopular. But that’s how I roll, it’s my comfort zone, and I’m loving the hell out of the experience of shedding this much blood, sweat, and tears over a book of any length.

I just want the reading experience to be as painless as possible, and with any luck, I’ll find new readers along the way.

So there you have it! I’m already preparing myself for the next novel, and I’ll be yakking endlessly about it soon enough.

Cover Art: ‘Children of Hyacinth’

And here it is!

I wanted just patterns on the cover, not specific images. My aim was to go for something reminiscent of heavy Victorian patterns in wallpaper or fabric – the kind that makes you think of old, faded, and even threadbare suede, for instance. Or slightly discolored wallpaper and dark, weathered wainscoting.

And as a bit of a heads up – unlike the previous books in this AU 19th century Europe non-series, there are NO sex scenes in this one. None. Nada. Zip. It wasn’t necessary then, and it isn’t necessary now (during revisions and edits, I mean). So, yeah.

As with the other books, though, it IS a fairy tale to some extent, which means HEA and a marriage. Because I said so. 😀

The blurb will be posted once I’m done with the edits.

It Has a Title, My Darlings, and I’m Obsessed With Obsession, Apparently

And so, as always, my WordPress blog is behind Twitter on updates, necessitating another round of thinky-thoughts on whether or not this is worth keeping. Dunno. I’ll continue to sit on it till the days comes for me to renew my WP upgrades and so on.

Anyhoo…

My AU 19th century Romanian novel is complete, the first-ish draft currently at 57K words. It’s “first-ish” only because I revise and edit along the way, so who knows what official draft the current incarnation really is.

It also has a title: Children of Hyacinth. Because I said so. >_> Just kidding. There is, of course, a reason behind that, and you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is. Har.

A young Joshua Bell. I used this image of him as inspiration for Iulian Dalca.

So watch this space for more updates on release dates, cover art, etc. You know the drill.

I’ve also started to think about the next book, which I hope to begin work on in April, maybe even overlapping the release of Children of Hyacinth. I at first thought about writing something more lighthearted, seeing as how all of the books I’ve written that’re set in this progressive AU 19th century Europe are pretty dark. Children of Hyacinth is just as dark as the others, and I wondered if I should lighten things up a bit with the next one, which will take place in Scandinavia (maybe Norway?).

The more I think about this series of non-related books, though, the more I realize a connecting thread to some extent, and that’s the theme of obsession. I appear to be hung up (obsessed!) with it, apparently. It’s pretty obvious with Guardian Angel and The Flowers of St. Aloysius and a little more subtle in Hell-Knights. Children of Hyacinth follows the same levels of obsession as the first two books.

This song:

Encapsulates the theme of obsession the way I want to explore it in a future book. Dark, obsessive, creepy “love”. Definitely not the sort of subject to pursue in a lighthearted historical fantasy romance. So for the rom-com-ish story idea I have, I’ll have to shelve it for the time being. The story idea for the Germany novel I plan for the end of the year is definitely, DEFINITELY dark.

Unsurprisingly, the more I take the general plot apart, the more obvious the obsession subject becomes in that Germany-centric novel.

So, yeah – we’ll be dipping into another dark, gothic romance novel for the summer. Then who knows? When 2018 rolls around, I might be doing a complete 180 and will be drowning you all in comedy.

Pondering a Crap Ton O’ Stuff (Oh, and ‘Hell-Knights’)

Two-month break from blogging seemingly over, yay. Guarantee of more consistent future updates still iffy, bleargh. I’ve been on Twitter pretty religiously insofar as maintaining an online presence is concerned. Funny how I used to criticize Twitter as a never-ending cocktail party, and now I depend on it heavily for updates and just plain conversation with others (writers and otherwise).

So many upheavals in the past year led to my blogging attempts grinding to a halt. Andy and I finally took the plunge and moved out of our condo, and we’re temporarily staying with his mom while our old unit’s being fixed up for listing. This week we’re hoping the repairs, upgrades, etc., will be done, and then it’s waiting for a buyer to bite.

Since all of the craziness happened in the last two months of 2016, during the holidays, to boot, when my schedule at work got pretty damned intense, it’s safe to say my writing’s suffered from it. I’ve lagged on my progress, sadly, and when I at first hoped for a mid-February release, we’re now looking at early March or mid-March at the latest. Hell, that’s only if I’m lucky enough to keep this sluggish (and constantly interrupted) pace.

With our new, temporary living situation, writing time’s been hacked to the bone, and I’ve been scrambling to carve out as much time as I could here and there, and the end result is extremely spotty progress. And not to mention lots of blocks because the flow of my brainstorming is severely hampered. I’ve lost sight of so many plot threads and have gone back and did a major overhaul on the story, and I’m still struggling.

Part the first: regarding the next book

My original goal was to publish a long novella of around 45K words. After the overhaul, the goal post moved again to somewhere under 60K. Happily enough, as I’ve got only nine projected chapters left to write as I type this blog post, the final word count is definitely pointing in that direction.

The book’s title will be changed, as usual, seeing as how using “camera obscura” is a wee bit – uh – obscure in terms of reference. I’ve managed to work in elements of religion and mythology in the text, both of which figure quite largely in the AU 19th century I’ve established so far. The defining force in this book, which focuses on Romania, is music.

As of now, I’ve yet to settle on a final title, but I’m getting there. I’ve also got lots of new leads for a book cover. All good things to those who wait, though, and I’ll be able to treat you with the unveiling just before the book’s release. At this point, considering how far I’ve already lagged in completing this novel, I’m not going to do a pre-release listing unless I see a good reason for it.

Part the second: regarding planned future releases

When I first thought of publishing a long novella, I was hoping for a quarterly release of books in that length for 2017. Unfortunately the universe had different plans for me, so I’m back to three books every four months or thereabouts. Pretty much the same release schedule (in terms of month, not specific dates) as 2016.

So the first book of 2017 will be out in mid- to late March (Guardian Angel came out early March of last year). The next book (set in Scandinavia somewhere) will be in July (The Flowers of St. Aloysius was released in July of 2016). The third book (set in Germany) will be in November (Hell-Knights came out in November of 2016).

I won’t be projecting into 2018. One thing at a time, folks. I’m already overwhelmed by real life issues at the moment. But that’s the schedule I’m hoping to keep. I do have plans for career changes for this year, and if that pans out as hoped, I’ll have plenty more time to devote to writing.

Though I remain cryptic as to the nature of that career change, wish me luck. It would be fantastic is things go swimmingly.

Part the third: regarding the fate of Hell-Knights and a multi-format distributor of my books

Welp – I’m sure everyone by now has heard of the implosion of All-Romance E-Books. They didn’t owe me much, so I was lucky enough to be one of those authors who could walk away from the craptastic “deal” they offered as compensation for lost royalties without suffering a pretty bad financial blow.

Unfortunately it also means going back to the drawing board in finding online distributors of my self-published books from this point on. Preferably distributors who offer several digital formats of books. And that meant going back to Smashwords despite my irritation when it comes to their dreaded Meatgrinder conversion system.

At any rate, I shouldn’t complain as Smashwords has been around for a long time now, and they’ve been pretty solid as a company. Ever since All Romance E-Books went full kablooey, my sales over at Smashwords enjoyed a surge once I reinstated Primavera, Guardian Angel, and The Flowers of St. Aloysius.

So now – at long last, I might add – I finally have Hell-Knights listed over there, and here’s the link to the book page. So there you have it. I do apologize for taking this long to get my shit together, everyone. Unfortunately, as it usually happens when life throws you a curve ball, when it rains, it damn well pours.

Anyhoo, that’s it. For now. It’s a long update, but it’s also way overdue. So ta for now, my darlings, and I’ll see you again with a celebratory post regarding my current WIP soon.