Tag Archives: trilogy

Welcome Marcia Meara with The Emissary #Series

Welcome Marcia Meara to Entertaining Stories. Marcia is one of my partners over at Story Empire. She’s hosted my book tours, and it’s time to repay the favor. She’s here to tell us about her Emissary Series, specifically book three of the series. Make her feel welcome, and please use those sharing buttons on your way out today.

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Thanks so much for having me here today, Craig. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be visiting you and sharing a bit about my newest release, The Emissary 3: Love Hurts. This is the final novella in the trilogy, and I hope your friends and followers will enjoy the excerpt I’m going to share. I know this one will make the post a wee bit longer than I’ve kept them on this tour, but as the final stop, I wanted to introduce folks to Azrael in a more personal way. The scene takes place in a hospital room where Jake has just broken one of Azrael’s most important rules. He used his emissarial power to convince an ill-tempered nurse not to throw them out of the room where they’ve been keeping watch over someone of importance to his adopted son, Dodger. He fully expected the archangel to be angry, but he’s still caught off guard when the Boss shows up—unannounced, as usual. Hope you’ll enjoy the interplay between the three main characters in this series. Here goes:

A Sleeping Patient, Two Scared Emissaries,

And a Ginormous, White-Winged Archangel,

Crowded into One Tension-Filled Hospital Room.

JAKE SCRAMBLED TO his feet, but it was Dodger whose urgent whisper addressed the scowling angel.

“Azrael, please don’t be upset! He was only tryin’ to help me.”

The angel’s expression didn’t change. “I am aware of what he was trying to do, young emissary. What I fail to comprehend is why he used his power on the nurse instead of on you.” His fierce gaze swung to Jake. “Did you not even consider that option?”

“Not for a single second. Play mind games with my son? Only if his life were in danger would I ever consider something like that.”

Azrael’s eyes glowed brighter and his frown grew deeper, but Jake plowed ahead. “It wouldn’t have solved the problem, anyway. Maybe Dodger would have calmed down, but we’d still have been forced to leave this young lady alone, and neither of us was prepared to do that.”

For a moment, the angel said nothing, then to Jake’s surprise, he nodded. “Yes. I can see that would not have worked for either of you. But what you did was unacceptable. Such a thing is against every precept of the emissary program. You have been granted powers no human has ever had before, but you must never forget that with them comes great responsibility. You may not nudge people simply because you would like your wishes accommodated. I am sure you see the wisdom of enforcing this rule, do you not?”

Jake’s heart sank. “Enforcing? So I’m to be punished for this infraction.”

Dodger’s anger level skyrocketed at least ten degrees. “Not fair, man! Jake’s a great emissary. He never messes up, and you need to cut him some slack this time.”

Azrael’s eyebrows shot up. “I beg to differ. I do not need to do any such thing. I have a job before me, just as you do, and rule enforcement is part of it. Let us not forget that I am, as you both like to remind me, the Boss. Enforcing the rules is not only my job, it is my sacred responsibility. Are we quite clear on that?”

Jake’s shoulders slumped and even Dodger nodded, finally cowed by the nearly visible emanations of power radiating from the archangel.

“What was that? I am sorry. I do not believe I heard an actual response from either of you.”

“Yes, Azrael,” they said in near unison.

“We understand,” Jake added. “And I’m sorry I upset you. I accept whatever punishment you think suitable, and whatever advice you’d like to add.”

The angel looked back and forth between them a moment longer, then nodded. “That is more like it. I shall commence with your punishment.”

Jake took an involuntary step back, remembering the huge sword the angel had wielded when they first met.

Instead of an instrument useful for all manner of smiting, Azrael reached inside his robe and withdrew a book bound in white leather. He opened the cover, flipping through a few pagesuntil he found what he was looking for.

“Ah-ha. Here we are.” He pulled a long, white quill out of the air, made a notation inside the book, then snapped the covers shut. “Done.”

For a moment, Jake was too surprised to speak. The same was not true of Dodger.

“Wait.” The boy cocked his head to the side. “That’s it?”

“Do not be cavalier young emissary. Each one of you has a book like this, wherein a permanent record, both good and bad, is detailed for all time. This is Jake’s, and I assure you, it is no small matter for him to acquire a black mark beside his name. Henceforth, I would highly recommend you both follow the rules you have been given. The day will come when a tally will be made.”

Though the archangel had drawn himself up to his full and imposing height to deliver this proclamation, his glowy eyes no longer gleamed in righteous indignation. A corner of the angel’s mouth lifted slightly as he slid the white book back inside his robes, and Jake knew he’d gotten off lucky.

Buy Link for TE3

Buy The Emissary 3: Love Hurts HERE

Blurb:

The archangel created his emissaries to help mortals avoid choices that would doom them for eternity. He hadn’t planned on the youngest member of his team falling in love with one.

~~~

Azrael’s emissarial program was growing daily, but it still met with stubborn opposition from many on the Council of Angels. Dodger’s request to be allowed to experience what falling in love was all about didn’t help matters, but Azrael thought the boy was onto something. He agreed emissaries who’d shared a loving relationship during their mortal lives would have a deeper understanding of human emotions and motivations, thus enhancing the skills they needed to do their jobs.

With that in mind, Azrael gave Dodger one chance to search for true love. He then laid down a daunting set of stringent rules and guidelines that could not be broken under any circumstances lest dire happenings occur. But while the angel sincerely hoped Dodger would find a way to make this endeavor work, he feared an avalanche of unintended consequences could be in store for his youngest emissary.

Sometimes even angels hate to be right.

~~~

Will Azrael ever tire of popping up behind Jake just to see his first emissary fall out of his chair in shock? Will sharp-eyed motel owners ever notice a big red and white semi mysteriously appearing and disappearing from their parking lots overnight? And will Dodger be able to track down the mystery girl who caught his eye two weeks earlier to see if she’s really The One?

To find the answers to these and other angelic or emissarial questions, come along on one last adventure with Jake, Dodger, and that ginormous, glowy-eyed archangel, Azrael. They’re waiting for you!

Bio:

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years and four big, spoiled cats.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish her first book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?

Contact & Buy Links

CONTACT MARCIA HERE

marciameara16@gmail.com

The Write Stuff

Pinterest

Twitter: @marciameara

Find Marcia’s Books Here:

MARCIA’S AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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The weekend warrior

I work during the week, so I have to get my word count on my days off. I’m blessed to have a flex schedule that provides me with an extra day off each week, but it moves around. Sometimes my word counts seem high when I write about them, but if you spread it over a whole week they aren’t any more extraordinary than anyone else.

Today was a slow start for me. I slept in, spent some time for social media, and wasn’t generally feeling it. I also wanted to enjoy my coffee and Old What’s Her Face is off today. I decided to wait until she took the dogs for her coffee, then play ball with them.

It was about 9:00 before I got started. This is the middle volume of a trilogy, so my ending needs to have a complete disaster, while preserving that glimmer of hope they can deal with in the final volume. Yeah, it’s kind of formulaic and I own that. If it works, it works.

My writing turned out to be about a chapter and a half of solid action, and I slightly “told” small bits of it to keep the burner on high for the whole thing. If you think about a city being invaded by an enemy, you need to skip some of the running and hiding and stay with the action. I also included multiple points of view, because it’s a geographically large event.

Even after all that, I still haven’t finished the story. I need to write what is called a sequel to deal with all the things that happened. Staci Troilo is writing an excellent series about that process over at Story Empire.

The crew is in another new location right now. A bit of world building fits in with the flavor of the story. If I’m good, I’ll have one of those inspirational speeches that can lead us into the final volume. I know what remains to include in the story, and where it winds up, but I’m still trying to get there. I’m relatively certain I’ll finish it before I go back to work on Tuesday.

My short story critiques are all back, so I have to deal with those, too. This story needs some work, but it exists and that’s the hard part. Tweaks and repairs aren’t so difficult, and it is a short story.

I’m pretty happy with this Lanternfish tale, but Sundays are hard to get much done. I have other things I regularly do on Sundays. That might be the best day to deal with my short story. Monday will provide a great opportunity to wrap up HMS Lanternfish.

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Vacation day

This is one of the busiest weeks of the year for us at work. With everything pretty much settled now, I decided to take today off.

I didn’t have any specific goals other than not having to get up and commute. This week began with a return to Daylight Savings Time, included a full moon, and ends with Friday the 13th. None of those are particularly troubling. In fact, I published Viral Blues the last time Friday the 13th rolled around.

The news is depressing with all the viral scares going around. I was looking forward to baseball season, so that’s kind of disappointing. I understand why they’re making all these changes, but I don’t have to like it.

Fortunately for me, there is the writing thing. I need to address some critiques I have back, but I don’t have them all. With that in mind, I decided to add more words. It wasn’t a banner day, but 1600 new words are more than I had when I got up this morning. I kind of like them, but always reassess when my next writing day begins.

The tour for Grinders is ongoing, and I needed to deliver some materials for that. I think it’s time well spent. No sense publishing these things if I don’t try to make people aware of them. This tour hasn’t been any more productive than any of the others, but there is one noticeable difference. I’m enjoying it more. By only having two posts per week, I don’t feel rushed and harried to cover all the comments and such. Comments have been great, too. There seem to be more of them this time.

This could actually be a good thing in the long run. I buy books by earmarking them in my head, then getting to them when I have some time. I don’t always remember all the things I was interested in, and sometimes a reminder will send me running to Amazon. Perhaps, by spreading the posts out, I can have those little reminders online for those who are more like me.

Two years ago, I decided that writing my next book was my best source of promotion. It seems to be working to a degree. My backlist is getting more action than it ever has. It isn’t a lot, but it’s noticeable. More publications means I’m out there more frequently than ever before. Phase two of this idea will be some “specials” when my series books are ready to come out. It’s possible I might weave in a free day for one of the older titles, too. That’s all speculation. My main goal is to get the next Lanternfish book ready to set sail.

Those 1600 word might be all I accomplish this weekend. There could be a few more, but the story has moved to a point where I’m not stressing about it. If I can’t get it finished before Summer, I may just release it in the middle of Summer. I never have great luck with Summer releases, but I’ve been told the middle of a trilogy is a tough sell anyway. They usually don’t move until the series concludes.

I’m open to suggestions on that point. Let me hear from you in the comments. I’d like to learn your release day and promo secrets.

Oh, Public Service Announcement: Hiding in the closet with a copy of Grinders is a great way to spend the weekend and will not expose you to Corona Virus. It’s an E-book, so you can’t substitute it for toilet paper, but you won’t want to after you get into it.

On one of my last posts I tossed a photo of Otto out there to draw interest. Frankie demanded equal time, so here she is on one of the rare times when she pauses in her playing.

Being good, temporarily.

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2020 Business Plan

I just recapped 2019 (Link) and consider it a success. It wasn’t exactly profitable, but I learned some things and was able to publish three titles last year.

One of the main things is that I can write more than one story at a time. I call the secondary one my side project and chip away at it when my main project bogs down. I’ve been known to park my brain for weeks dwelling on a plot issue, then hit the keyboard after I’ve worked it all out. It’s worse while working on my trilogy.

By having a side project, those lost weeks are pointed elsewhere, and somehow the main problem works itself out anyway. My side project jumps ahead, and when it’s time for it to emerge from its cocoon as the main project, I may be 50K words into it.

It’s kind of like how I keep multiple storyboards going. I always have something ready to start.

I intend to keep doing this in 2020. I don’t have a side project right now, but once HMS Lanternfish hits somewhere around 50K words, I’m going to start another one.

I finally wrote that cyberpunk story I’ve been bringing up for years. It needs a cover, a final read through, and formatting, but it’s very close. I enjoyed taking modern problems and poking them with a stick to see how our world might look in a hundred years. It’s called Grinders, and will be coming your way in early 2020.

With an incredible stroke of luck, I could release it for Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Rat, a big part of the story goes down at the parade in San Francisco, where it is also the Year of the Rat, and a couple of rats play an important role in the story. Yours Truly is also Year of the Rat. That’s some serious juju right there, and I’d like to publish it then.

I don’t think it’s a deal killer if I don’t hit that target, the best laid plans of rats and men, etc.

Grinders is my stand-alone title for 2020. Sequels will eat up the rest of the time. I can’t seem to give up stand-alone work, and it’s something I really enjoy.

As far as sequels are concerned, I need to produce the next Lanternfish tale in 2020. I’m working diligently on it, and would love to have it available before the schools get out. My track record at that deadline is horrible. I don’t seem to have any luck with summer releases, so I dream of having it ready before then.

Another loose target is the Halloween season. I have this earmarked for the next story about Lizzie and The Hat. They are finally going to face actual vampires. This won’t be anything like you’ve seen before, and will take place mostly in the country music environment. They’re going to have to stalk their enemy across rodeo dances, county fairs, and such. There are some fun scenes already planned out, and Lizzie is going to tire quickly of this kind of music.

There is also a new character that I can’t wait to bring into the tale. I see him as a possible recurring character. If you’re old enough, you remember how James Garner always seemed to have that one smarmy guy show up in his work. My new character will fill that role, and could fit into future stories. Besides, he has a speech impediment that The Hat will make fun of. That brings out Lizzie’s “social justice warrior” and adds a few fun interactions.

This story will be the side project once I nudge Lanternfish along a bit. After it moves into the main slot, I might start another side project. This one would be a post-apocalyptic story with many earmarks of a western. I will also return to first person POV in this one.

This is an ambitious year, but I think I can make it happen. I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve after last year. First is that Grinders is already written, much like the first Lanternfish book was. Second is that stories about Lizzie and The Hat are generally short novels. If it works, the post-apocalyptic thing could be ready prior to 2021.

I have one problem that I’m trying to sort out. Maybe you can help me with that. I’m convinced that my best promotional effort is to publish the next book. Being a self publisher is a numbers game. I’ve been around long enough to see people fade after a book or two. I’m not one of those people.

Readers could take authors more seriously with a number of titles under their belt. That’s pure theory, and they would have to be good stories. I feel like I’ve reached that level, and could attract new readers by having a decent catalog of titles.

The problem arises in timing of those releases. I ran into a problem of releasing two books sixty days apart. Viral Blues did well enough, but I think Serang suffered because of this. This is a complex problem, but here are some of the factors to consider.

• I have a personal phobia of the summer months for a new release. I’ve never done well during summer, but that limits me to the nine other months. That becomes a book every three months during the sweet spot.

• Promotional fatigue is a real thing. It hits my blog followers, online circle, and it hits me, too. I will need to identify many more sites to promote my work. I don’t want to wear out my regular group of hosts. I like my hosts and regulars. I want to balance being a friend, offering my space to them, and being able to promote my own projects on occasion.

• Lanternfish is a trilogy. I don’t expect much fanfare for the second book other than from those who loved the first one. In my imagination, book two may sell better after the trilogy concludes. With this thought, could a summer release for book two serve just as well? That would help spread things out around the year. Am I selling the second book of a trilogy short?

• Could a blog tour with two or more books on the same tour have any benefit? This would cut down the number of promo posts, but each title would have to share stops along the tour. Is there a way to use pre-release sales in this scheme? You can have one book right now, and the other will be delivered in 60 days?

• Does the crack dealer method still work? Meaning does a giveaway for book one help move sales for book two or three? It used to work, but has that also changed?

Personally, I don’t like the idea of giving my work away. If $2.99 is going to break someone’s budget, they’d be better of paying the power bill. I have to admit, there might be a strategic advantage to some freebies. There used to be one, but things change so fast I don’t know anymore.

As far as titles that could serve as the gateway drug to my writing, The Playground kind of leads to Viral Blues. The Hat leads to Viral Blues and any other book in the series. Serang and Voyage of the Lanternfish could serve the same purpose for the Lanternfish trilogy. Honestly, 2020 might be too soon for this concept, but I’m open to suggestions if you have them.

I want to keep blogging two to three times per week. Yeah, it’s a place to talk about my work, but it serves its own purpose, too. I like chatting with you guys. I’m not afraid to talk about my writing efforts, but sometimes you get bulldogs, sourdough bread, camping trips and other things that add a bit of quality to life.

Otto is helping Dad today.

Story Empire has been a good thing for me, too. It challenges me to come up with appropriate topics, and while I don’t always pull it off, I come fairly close to the mark. I don’t know how much more I have to share there, but there are always new writers coming along, so revamping some things might be possible. That usually takes me a couple of times per month, so I’ll be seeing many of you over there during 2020.

These are ambitious goals, but they are within reach. I might not hit all of them, but I intend to give it my best effort. I hope you guys will come along for the ride. Do you ever make a business plan for the year?

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2019, I’m calling it a success

I always try to do a year end assessment this time of year, then follow it up with a business plan in the new year. This is the assessment post.

My goals for 2019 were to step back from social media a bit and to explore sequels in my stories. In this, I was successful. I used to make custom tweets and make time to share them, make the occasional post on all the other formats out there, but honestly, they accomplish nothing. I keep these formats, and this blog auto-feeds to them, but the main goal is to point people here.

Currently, social media is for my own entertainment, but I try to share favors. Meaning, if someone tweets about my books, I try to follow and share their pinned tweet. I like finding out about all the baseball trades, bulldog pictures, and simple stuff on Facebook, but that’s about all it’s good for. I joined a big group event on Facebook that was promoted like an online trade show. It was a total failure, and I won’t make that mistake again.

I stopped paying for Facebook ads and Amazon ads last year. They never really did much, and the last few times they did nothing. My promotional efforts these days are in the form of blog tours, and a promotion company. Even then, I don’t always hire the promo firm.

When I released The Hat, the promo company really paid off. I got a bunch of early reviews, and sales were great. Things really tapered off after that. I used them for Viral Blues this year, and got one review from the NetGalley portion of the bundle.

As far as exploring sequels and series work, I count it as a major success. Success means different things to different people, so some explanation is in order. I’ll include covers and links, but I’m skipping the blurbs. This isn’t about promo, but assessment.

The first thing I published was Voyage of the Lanternfish. This is a crazy pirate fantasy with magic, monsters, and gunpowder. I’ve heard the term Flintlock Fantasy thrown around, and that might be a reasonable description.

It’s important to note this is not a sequel to anything. It’s the original book in what is destined to become a series. I published it on New Year’s Day, so it counts as 2019.

This book sold fairly well, and the comments I got on it led me to the trilogy idea. Reviews are lagging, so I’m a bit concerned.

Something else came up in a lot of the discussion. Two characters clicked with people, and they came up a lot. One isn’t so much a character as a collection of root monsters. I count them as one, because they function in swarm capacity during the action scenes. In my mind, they were just a bit of silliness to fill in the corners while Lanternfish was on a long sea voyage. Kind of like how Scrat fills out the edges of the Ice Age films. However, people loved them. I even had one ask for a root monster stand-alone book.

I don’t see that happening, because some of my over-the-top characters are better in small doses. A little is wonderful, too much can lead to brain damage.

Once I decided this could fit the classic trilogy format, I panicked a little. It would take at least a year to produce the next volume, and likely more than that. How am I going to keep fans interested during that time? This is where the other standout character came into play.

Lanternfish is set in a fantasy environment, mostly because I want to avoid comparison with Pirates of the Caribbean. There are some parallels to real world places, and it isn’t hard to understand that Serang is from pseudo-China. Her character, and this part of the world, made it easy to write her story.

Serang was raised by monks, then fled the country to become a pirate – kind of. This is a stand alone title, but it supports the Lanternfish environment. My hope is that Lanternfish fans will learn more about Serang by reading her book, and that it will tide them over until HMS Lanternfish is ready in 2020.

There is also a chance that people will read Serang first, then follow her into the Lanternfish stories.

Honestly, I dropped the ball on promotion of Serang. I released her story about 60 days after Viral Blues, and did an extensive tour for it. (More on that later.) When Serang published, I worried about my regulars suffering from tour fatigue. I took her on tour, but cut it short as a business decision. I also did not use the promo company for her story.

As of this writing, she only has four reviews on Amazon. This is partially because Amazon won’t let some people post reviews. They can still post on BookBub and Goodreads, and she’s doing better there. It seems odd to me, because these people review a mountain of books. It isn’t like they’re all shills for C. S. Boyack, but there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

I think she deserves better, and all of the reviews have been glowing.

The third book was a true sequel. My first one. It’s called Viral Blues, and is the follow up story to The Hat. The Hat sold incredibly well, and is the best reviewed book I have. Because of this, I thought Viral Blues would do better than it did. I paid the promo company for this story, and pushed the hell out of it around the Halloween season. It did well, but maybe I expected too much.

Lizzie and The Hat are back, but so are a bunch of old favorite characters. I’ve gotten some nice comments about Lisa Burton returning to a story, and admit she’s kind of a scene stealer at times. I’ve also gotten some great comments on Clovis. Both of these characters came with existing fans, so it was fun putting them in a new tale. Lizzie and The Hat carry the story, but it’s kind of like a superhero team-up.

I doubt there will ever be another story like Viral Blues, but it was a blast to create it. Lizzie and The Hat will go on, but it will be in their own adventures. These stories are paranormal with a lot of dark humor and snark.

I don’t want to jump ahead to my Business Plan, but I have some fun ideas for Lizzie and The Hat.

My goals for the two series are different. When it comes to Lanternfish, a trilogy almost demands prerequisite reading to carry on with the story. Stories about The Hat, can be read as stand-alone volumes with more available if you enjoyed the one you picked.

My Story Empire friends helped me scratch out some branding ideas for the series. With Lanternfish, there is no mistaking that figurehead. If it appears on all the covers, that should be good enough. When it comes to The Hat, I commissioned a small badge I can include on all the subsequent tales. It’s Lizzie playing her upright bass. It’s just a small icon that will let readers know it’s part of the series.

When it comes to the other parts of writing, some things changed. With three publications, they almost had to. Writing all those tour posts takes time, even if they are excerpts. All of my tour posts are unique, so I don’t wear people out when I run out a new story.

***

I didn’t return to blog posts about the writing cabin until late Autumn. This was a mistake. It’s easier to blog about what I’ve been doing than it is to fictionalize the same information and converse with Lisa. However, my stats clearly demonstrate that readers prefer interaction with Lisa.

I didn’t post as many Idea Mill posts this year, and they performed well. I need to step it up on that front. All of us need ideas for our stories, and sharing the oddball things I stumble across is kind of fun.

I also skipped Macabre Macaroni this year. I was neck deep in promotion for Viral Blues during October, and didn’t have time to write scary micro-fiction for the blog. Honestly, it passed without much notice. It’s one of those things people love when it appears, but don’t seem to miss if it doesn’t. No idea what to think about this.

Lisa Burton Radio slipped a bit, too, but that was on purpose.  Here’s a bit of my thought process. Feel free to disagree with me, but I’m just being frank. As an author, I know how hard it is to find good free promotion. Even then, there is only so much you can do. Talk about your main character, maybe your antagonist, plot. Sometimes share an excerpt.

I created something unique, in that Lisa interviews the character of your choice. It’s different enough to draw attention, and they are always popular posts. I started out asking people to give me a chance. I even advertised on various sites to get guests. I wound up posting weekly without much gap for two years. We moved some books, too.

However, there is a downside. They take a lot of work to put together. This is a collaborative effort, and it eats into my time. Many times, the guest author never even shows up, or publishes one comment to the group in passing. These posts work when the author pushes the hell out of them. I have one guest who still tweets out his older post from a year ago. That’s how it’s done.

Lisa Burton Radio is still available upon request. I’m not begging for guests any more. It’s a choice slot, and you get out what you put into it. I’m using the time I gained to write my next book. If you’re interested, Lisa will be happy to talk with your character.

To close the year out, I did something I swore I’d never do again. I held some Amazon free days for one of my books. The Playground is an older title, but several characters from this book made an appearance in Viral Blues. It also has a loose Christmas theme behind it. Honestly, we moved a crap-ton of books. My stats even showed it reaching single digits on one of the categories. I could call it a best seller at 100, so at number 9 I was kind of impressed. What I’d like to see as fallout are people following Clovis and/or Gina over to Viral Blues. A few reviews would be nice, too.

It isn’t lost on me that Serang, Voyage of the Lanternfish, and The Hat could make timely free books when the sequels are ready for publication. Watching the fallout from my Playground promo closely to figure this out.

Obviously, there is more to life than my author career, but this is a writing blog. My life has health issues, pets, relationships, and a 40 hour-per-week job, too. This post is an assessment of my 2019 success and fumbles as an author. My goal has always been to entertain people for a few hours. It’s even the name of the blog. With that in mind, I think 2019 goes in the win column.

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Fun on Matacucu

I closed my iPad and looked across the desk at Lisa in her pirate garb.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I’ve written myself into a bind and need time to think. I managed 1200 words, but it pales in comparison to yesterday.”

“You changed the slaves into natives that practice head-binding. That was kind of cool.”

“Yeah, not a lot of explanation, but it adds to my world building. Do you know people practiced the shaping of infant skulls all over the world, but had no way of communicating with each other about it? It’s kind of amazing they would come up with the same bizarre practice in different cultures like that.”

“Yes, I have full Internet access and looked some of it up for you, remember?”

“Yeah, thanks. I need to do some serious thinking here.”

“How long do you think it will take?”

“No telling, but it makes sense. I passed 30,000, so this is the middle slog. You know how I love the middle slog.”

“What’s the issue, maybe I can help.”

“The pirates captured a treasure ship. They decided to divide the weight between the two ships, and take the galleon with them. She’s a pretty worthless ship and not much more than a merchantman.”

“So, basically, more troubles.”

“Yeah that’s kind of a theme in fiction. They worked through some dangerous waters and are within sight of Matacucu. I need them to approach the temple of the exploding monks, but I don’t want them to learn too much from this stop.”

“Okay…”

“I don’t know exactly what my landing party is going to do there. I want to build my con-man characters up a bit. Readers are due for a real fight scene, because the galleon didn’t put up much of a fight.”

“What if they learn nothing at all, then wind up in a fight. Your con-man maybe picked up on some valuable information they can discuss later. You can shoot your way out of the harbor and keep it mildly adventurous.”

“That could work, but I need to think about it. I’ve also teased the exploding monks for 30,000 words, and it’s time to see what they are capable of. Readers have earned that now. The only problem is it has to be devastating and horrible.”

“Then write it that way. What’s the big deal?”

“It almost needs to be bad enough to kill off a character we’ve gotten to know. Maybe even a root monster or two.”

Flattop climbed my desk drawers and stood between us. “You would kill modders?”

I clasped my hand over my eyes and lowered my face. “I don’t know. There are lots of you guys and not all of you have names. Then there is a new one people haven’t gotten attached to yet. That’s the problem. Readers love you guys far beyond anything I expected.”

“Modders are helpful.”

“You are, but at last count, I think there were nineteen of you. That’s adding on Shrimp, the new guy.”

“We might get by with only seventy-two.”

“What!” Lisa said.

“They don’t understand numbers. I think he’s trying to be helpful.”

“You’re going to have to figure it out,” Lisa said. “You can do some writing tomorrow, but then you aren’t off again until Wednesday.”

“I know, and there is a big monster just over the horizon. He might even be a god. They’re going to flee from him as much as anything else. I know they’re going to wind up elsewhere and gain some better intelligence on the monks. That’s going to be a big section.”

“I thought the second volume of a trilogy was supposed to be the shortest one.”

“It is, but it’s not looking that way here. After Matacucu, they wind up on Bungo Bungo. That’s a big section. Then they have to wind up in pseudo-Japan, which I haven’t even named yet. That’s another big section. Then they have to fight with their own admiralty, implant some spy’s and a special army into the war, then gain their minor victory amidst tragedy.”

“This isn’t looking like the 90,000 word piece you had planned.”

“I know, and that’s why I need to stop and think. I’m committed to bring this in as three volumes, even if they’re big ones.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to get a haircut.”

“I could fix you up right here. Maybe a nice pompadour?”

“Thanks, but no thanks. I think I’ll go see Chuck the barber.”

“Chicken.”

“You know it.”

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Writing on my flex day

It may sound like work, but don’t buy into that. I write for relaxation, and I got plenty in today.

I planned on hitting it hard because I have company coming this weekend. This time, I don’t even regret losing the writing time. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house and do something else.

This morning started like every other one. I intended to sleep in, but at 5:00 my bladder reminded me that it was still present. Since the dogs are used to getting up at 4:30 they wanted breakfast. — of to the races.

Coffee and food later, and I did my social media surfing. Everything except for blogs. Those take longer, so I held them for early afternoon.

I opened a new document and started writing. A mysterious ship named the Blackwall sailed into the harbor at Tusconi searching for the owner of the largely abandoned Lanternfish.

It took me some effort to put together the gap in time for my characters and reveal bits about this period of their lives. A big part of it involved moving the pieces around to deal with Bonnie Philson, now Cuttler.

James spent an entire novel rescuing her, and I can’t just abandon her to start this yarn at sea. She also doesn’t fit the mold as a pirate, so it took some effort.

I still haven’t hit all the characters yet, and only mentioned a few of them without any page time. This is a large cast, so I can’t just shove them all in the first chapter. Character soup is something I can’t stand. Besides, in theory someone could start here without reading Voyage of the Lanternfish. They deserve to get walked in.

I ended the day at just shy of 7000 words. That’s a good day for me, and while I have hit higher marks, I haven’t done it many times.

It occurred to me that because of this book, which I am calling HMS Lanternfish, I am currently working on four different books right now.

I received my corny graphics for Viral Blues, and manipulated them into the manuscript. Since this is a sequel to The Hat, I wanted to keep the same style.

I made cover sheets for Serang and Viral Blues last weekend, plus, I have one I’m dabbling with that I haven’t even mentioned in public yet.

The main focus for 2019 has always been subsequent titles. My group convinced me to try series work, so that’s where I’m going. Lanternfish will be a trilogy eventually, with Serang as a supporting tale. Lizzie and The Hat will be an ongoing series that won’t have prerequisite stories before you can enjoy them.

Me, being me, I can’t just give up on stand alone titles. The one I’m dabbling with is a bit of science fiction. I learned I can draft more than one story at a time if they are different enough. Somewhere between Lanternfish and science fiction they ought to be different enough. The advantage is that when the well runs dry on one story, the other one lets me get new words down.

I still have to figure out blog tour posts and get all of that moving. My target is to have Viral Blues out in time for the Halloween season.

Look over yonder, in the sidebar.

If you haven’t picked up Voyage of the Lanternfish, it makes for a great summer book. There will be more coming, so those of you who want to explore more of this world can do that.

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The Style & Profile Series #RRBC

As a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, I get to host blog tours for them and for 4-Wills Publishing. Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Kim Cox and her Style & Profile series. You guys make her feel welcome, and those sharing buttons are there so you can easily help Kim spread the word.

***

About the Main Characters: Style & Profile Series

This is for the books published and planned so far: ALL THIS TIME (book 1), BEFORE WE WED (book 2), and FOR THE DEFENSE (book 3)

JENNY MORGAN – In book one, Jenny is a serious workaholic who is the CEO and owner of Morgan Fashions after her father retires. She’s divorced, never dates, and stays away from relationships. She becomes best friends with her employees, Sarah Martin and Lynsi Patterson. In book two, she’s a great friend to the main characters Sarah Martin and Jon Clayton.

TREVOR DRAKE – In book one, he’s Jenny’s best friend and co-worker and thought to be not very ambitious and a womanizer. In truth, he only has eyes for Jenny but he likes to have a good time and doesn’t take life very serious. He sets out to prove himself as reliable to Jenny and her father. In book two, he’s Jon Clayton’s best friend and his best man.

SARAH MARTIN – In book one, Sarah is Trevor Drake’s administrative assistant who aspires to be an associate editor at the magazine. She’s taking classes to become more of a candidate for the next opening. She wears a lot of flashy jewelry and tight clothes to work. Men find her sexy. She’s the type that if bad luck happens, it finds her but she’s always happy anyway. Due to Jenny’s jealousy and Sarah’s car problems, Trevor introduces Sarah to his good friend and mechanic, Jon Clayton. They hit it off and start dating. In book two, BEFORE WE WED, Sarah’s dreams are starting to come true, she’s been promoted to managing editor and she’s marrying Jon Clayton but bad luck finds her again.

JON CLAYTON – He comes late into book one as the mechanic who falls for Sarah Martin. Sarah had a lot of car trouble and Jon has his own auto shop, Clayton’s Auto. In book two, BEFORE WE WED, he’s going to marry Sarah but when bad luck strikes, it’s after him too. He’s arrested before they complete their vows. He has a son from a previous marriage that he loves very much. Before his arrest, he shares custody with his ex-wife. To marry Sarah and to see his son again, he needs to be cleared of the charges.

LYNSI PATTERSON – In book one, ALL THIS TIME, she’s Jenny Morgan’s administrative assistant. She’s smart, dependable, conscientious, and Jenny’s right hand. In book two, BEFORE WE WED, she’s moved into the position of associate editor at Style & Profile, the new men’s magazine. She’s still the one who gets the job done, including finding Jon a lawyer, Jaxon Montgomery (Jax) who becomes her love interest. In book three, FOR THE DEFENSE, she and Jax are dating but life gets in the way when Jax decides to defend a woman who was convicted of murder. Someone doesn’t want her to go free.

JAXON MONTGOMERY – He’s a lawyer with the reputation for representing the wrongly accused and wrongly convicted. In book two, BEFORE WE WED, he represents Jon Clayton and starts to fall for Lynsi. In book three, FOR THE DEFENSE, he represents a woman who was convicted of a murder many years ago. There are people who want the truth to stay hidden and will do anything to make sure it does.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Just as Sarah Martin and Jon Clayton say their vows, the police crash the wedding to arrest the groom. Jon is terrified and Sarah is heartbroken. Thankfully, their friends support them emotionally and help find Jon an excellent attorney.

When evidence of John’s guilt is found, he swears he’s innocent. But how can he prove it? As if an arrest and pending trial aren’t bad enough, his ex-wife refuses to let him near their seven-year-old son, and has their shared custody agreement rescinded as part of his bail agreement. But when Jon Jon is injured, Jon breaks the agreement and his bail is revoked.

Sarah sees strange men in Jon’s business one night. One follows her home and attacks her. When Jon finds out, he pushes her way to protect her, but it doesn’t deter her loyalty to him or the attacker’s determination to killer her. Will the enemy get to her?

Is Jon truly innocent, and does he have no idea how the damaging evidence found its way into his business? Are there more sinister people involved? Will Sarah find the evidence she needs to clear him, or will she find out he’s fooled them all? If someone else is framing Jon, who is it and what are their motives?

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Tf4l8v_youE?ecver=2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An author of Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal, and Romance, Kim Cox lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her chainsaw artist husband, their West Highland White Terriers, (Scooter and Harley) and an adopted Yorkie/Maltese mix (Candi). She’s also a mother and grandmother.

Kim is published in novels, short stories and articles. Her published works consist of Romantic Suspense Novels, a Paranormal Mystery series, and short stories.

Besides writing, cover design, and publishing, Kim presently works a full-time position outside the home as MIS Specialist for a Workforce Development company.

She is a graduate of Writer’s Digest’s Writing to Sell Fiction and NRI’s Fiction Writing, and has associate degrees in the fields of Office Systems Technology and Web Technologies.

Go to Kim’s Readers List and visit her at the following sites:

Website: http://www.kimcoxauthor.com

Blogs: Kim’s Musings, Kim’s Author Support Page

Social Media locations:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimcoxauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimCoxAuthor

Google: https://plus.google.com/+KimCoxAuthor/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimcox

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimwrtr/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimwrtr

* * *

Kim is hosting a giveaway, where FIVE lucky winners will receive one of the following prizes: (1) ebook copy of “ALL THIS TIME” and a $10 Amazon Gift Card or (4) ebook copy of ALL THIS TIME. To enter the contest, please leave a comment anywhere along the tour.

 

The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.

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The Goblin Trilogy, on Lisa Burton Radio

You've found Lisa Burton Radio, the show that brings you the characters from books you love. We have a very special guest with us in the studio today. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guest today is Haghuf the goblin. “Welcome to the show, Haghuf.”

“I trust your guest status is like ours, that none will attempt harm to me in your dwelling?”

“Of course. My bio tells me that you're hundreds of years old, and can legitimately call yourself a warrior, a scholar, and magician. That seems like a pretty full life. What did it take to draw you above ground, away from your library and apprentice?”

“I came to the surface for the first time in 800 of your years because a human was dancing in a time long after humans had forgotten magic and the power of The Dance. I discovered Count Anton, a magician who had become the ruler of the handful of humans who survived the last cataclysm. I've avoided humans since the goblin wars of old, but we found much to talk about and he respected the need for goblins to remain unknown from most humans.”

“Is this a case of, keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer?”

“Something like that. Anton and I have things in common, but he is still human. Humans have killed goblins whenever they meet and I would not bring danger to my people. We come from the same ancestors and can breed across species, yet they call us ugly and attempt to kill all goblins whenever humans discover we exist. It's better to let the stories fall into old legends and be thought imaginary.”


“You've got to admit there are similarities to the human beliefs in demons. It makes me wonder which came first; goblins from underground that caused them to make up demons, or belief in demons that were easily tagged onto goblins.”

“The Deep Dwellers, like myself, apparently frighten humans because we look very different. As you can see, my skin is green. I have strong ridges on my brow and a strong, square jaw. The bottom fangs upset them too, though I haven't bitten a human… yet. There are many like me. I suspect some were seen in the days when we exchanged younglings with humans, changelings, to strengthen the bloodlines of both.”

“Tell me about it. People are afraid of anything different. I have religious wackos who want to see me destroyed, just because I'm a robot. They're afraid I'll try to take over. Me, one robot girl. I am different in many ways, but I try really hard to fit in.”

“You should be like goblins. We learned to hide and to live underground to avoid humans. Only Those Who Provide come to the surface usually, the goblins who… source food supplies. “

“We could all learn a lot from each other. My library is called The Internet, and I'll bet you'd like it. I can access it at any time with a good wifi connection. Your library probably has things that would benefit us all too. Fear keeps us from sharing things that would help each other.”

“Anton is always pestering me for information about my people. I tell him what he needs to know, but no more. There is power in secrets and the less a human knows of goblin ways, the better. Remember that humans don't live very long. How can I trust future rulers not yet born? Recording information, whether it is in a book or on your Internet, makes that information available to anyone. I keep the books of magic safe. Other information, like how the planet turns and the history of our people is made known through the Storytelling.”

“The Storytelling?”

“It is a goblin custom. We gather. We share food. Whoever wishes to speak goes to the front of the cavern and tells us what they wish. Maybe something of what you call science. Maybe history. Maybe just a story from imagination or a telling of exploits from the surface or other grottos. News of significance. At some point someone will pick up a drum, followed by others, and we begin to dance in cadence with the rhythm of the planet. It becomes ecstatic, magical, and the females choose mates. We have too few young.”

“Haghuf, I really appreciate you taking time to visit with us today, and I wish you well in your attempts to keep the peace.”

“Keeping humans and goblins out of each other's worlds is the only way to keep peace.”

“The sponsor of today's show is The Goblin Trilogy, by Jaq D. Hawkins. If you'd like to know more about Haghuf and Anton, I'll include the links on the website. Now don't forget to use those sharing buttons, I'm sure Haghuf will appreciate it, and you'll appreciate it too when your character appears here.”

***

Jaq D Hawkins is a published writer with 9 books in publication in the Mind, Body and Spirit field published by Capall Bann Publishing as well as four Fantasy novels in print and E-book; The Goblin Trilogy which consists of Dance of the Goblins, Demoniac Dance, and Power of the Dance (Combined Trilogy edition available in paperback and only on Amazon in ebook form), also the Steampunk book, The Wake of the Dragon, an airship pirate adventure among the opium trade in an alternative history, also available in audiobook. More coming soon.

Contact Info:

Website

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A saga spanning three generations in a feudal world governed by magicians.

 

Will you dare to enter a world of darkness among the goblins to join into The Dance?

Dance of the Goblins

The goblins lived unseen by man for many generations and were forgotten, consigned to legend, but a fluke sighting when a man wanders into the entrance of a forgotten underground transportation system revives an ancient war between the species, originated by misunderstanding and prejudice of a species which appears alien to the superstitious humans.

Demoniac Dance

A young girl running away from an unwanted marriage finds a new life among the mysterious magicians in the land across the river. What she didn’t bargain for is the presence of the goblins who have befriended her benefactors.

Power of the Dance

Khemael is a creature of beauty and grace with a mostly human appearance. His love of stretching his leather-like wings and flying freely in the world of men brings far too much attention to the existence of the goblins. Haghuf knows that the inevitable responsibility will fall to him to destroy Khemael who, in the world of the humans, would be called his grandson.

Worlds of magic await to be discovered in the complete series, The Goblin Trilogy!

 

Book trailer:

The Combined Trilogy: Amazon or Lulu

Separate books and other ebook formats:

Smashwords

Amazon

Lulu

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Filed under Lisa Burton Radio