Enjoy an #excerpt of the #fantasy novel BLOOD BOND

Today is Friday, and while I usually host a guest author, I didn’t have one lined up for today. (Any authors who want to be featured, check out this post from last week.) About 5 months ago, my latest fantasy novel was released. If you haven’t bought your copy of Blood Bond yet, check out this excerpt and then pick up your copy on Amazon.

Excerpt

As Soren walked, he noticed a brown dragon sitting apart from the others. The last time he had seen Barth was when the dragon had thrown him off his back before Blinking. Remembering that horrible feeling of falling, he clinched his fist and stalked over to the brown dragon. Barth regarded him coolly as he approached.

“You! What the…why did you do that?”

“You were making a mistake,” Barth said, calmly.

Soren paced in front of him, waving his hands as he spoke. “You couldn’t have told me that and then landed? Instead, you threw me off your back while we were in the air! I could have been killed!”

“And yet, here you are.”

Soren took a deep breath and another. “What if Dex didn’t save me?”

“Then neither of you would have had to worry about the Blood Bond,” Barth said with amusement in his voice. His eyes focused on Soren and when he continued, he tone was serious. “You and Reddex share a Bond that is stronger than any I have seen. I knew he would save you, just as I knew you were acting out of anger. It would have been a mistake for you to leave. Do you regret choosing to stay with him?”

“No.” Soren sighed. “I don’t regret it.”

“Well, there you are. Perhaps you should be thanking me instead of being angry.”

Soren threw his hands up in the air and stalked away. Now he was more annoyed than he had been after dealing with the General. He didn’t want to return to Camden. He needed to work out his frustrations. He spied a rake leaning against a nearby building. Grabbing it, he returned to the place where Dex had originally landed. Though the dragon never complained about sleeping on the rough ground, Soren began clearing the area of rocks. Dex would probably point out he had been sleeping on them for the past week without a problem, but he needed something to do and removing the rocks and sticks, so they didn’t jab the dragon as he slept seemed the perfect distraction. As he worked, he considered erecting a tent nearby but dismissed the idea. He knew he too would probably be sleeping on the ground. He had become accustomed to sleeping against Dex. He found he slept better that way.

As he continued to clear the area, sweat dripped down his face. The manual labor felt good. What felt even better was to be out of the city. There was no chance he would be bombarded with questions out here or that anyone would doubt his observations. His thoughts went back to his report on the advancing army. He knew what he had seen. The cloaked figure was a woman.

“What are you doing here?”

Soren froze at the sound of a voice he hadn’t heard in years. His hands gripped the rake handle until his knuckles were white. He turned slowly. The man stood with a saddle thrown over one shoulder. His hair and beard were streaked with grey. A brown leather apron covered his clothes. The look of disgust on the man’s face was one he had seen thousands of times.

“Hello, father.”

His father dropped the saddle to the ground and took a step toward him. “I might expect to see Jerrick here but not you.”

His father could always tell them apart. He didn’t move as his father approached. He saw his father’s eyes travel down his face to the mark on his neck.

“What’s that?”

“Nothing.”

Soren didn’t see the fist coming. It slammed into his jaw. Pain exploded across his face. He fell to the ground. He lay on his back, slowly bringing his hand to his mouth. He wiped away the blood. Anger coursed through him, and distantly he heard Dex calling to him.

“You don’t speak to me like that.” His father placed his foot on Soren’s shoulder, pressing down until he had him pinned to the ground. He leaned over him, applying a little pressure. “The mark?”

Soren grunted as his father increased the pressure. “It’s so they can tell Jerrick and I apart.”

“They?”

“The King, his men.”

“Ah. I see.” His father glanced up, his eyes widening.

Soren heard the wings. The ground shook as Dex landed. His father took a step back, releasing the pressure on Soren’s shoulder. He backed away as the red dragon advanced. Soren climbed to his feet, placing his hand on Dex’s flank. His father’s eyes flickered to him.

“You don’t belong here,” his father said. “Nothing good will come of this. And soon you will be the cause of another death, and they’ll know it.”

Book Blurb

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon who saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s dragon blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

***

You can read the first chapter here or another exciting excerpt here. Or stop reading snippets and get the whole book here on Amazon.

 

Advertisements

Pricing your e-book

This post is the forty-fifth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Your novel is written and formatted. You have a cover and the book blurb written. But before you can upload your book to whatever e-book retailer you choose, there are a few more things you need to decide. The first is price (today’s post) and then there is genre and keywords (next week’s post).

You have spent months, even years, toiling over this book. You, of course, think it is worth just as much as any New York bestseller. The problem is you aren’t Stephen King or John Grisham. No one – or very few people – recognizes your name.

While bestsellers can sell for $10-18 (prices based on hard cover and paperbacks NY Times Bestsellers on Amazon), should you expect your book to sell for the same amount? To be quite honest with you the answer is no. Yes, your novel may be well-written, but people don’t know you, and many will not be willing to shell out that type of money for a novel by an unknown.

You are free to price your book however you desire. If you feel your e-book should be priced comparably to a best-selling hard cover, go right ahead. But realize that many readers may not share your opinion, and your sales will reflect that.

A lot of authors, myself included, price their books at $2.99 since this allows them the higher royalty rate on Amazon but is still low enough to entice readers to give an unknown author a chance. Some authors price their novels $4.99 or higher. However, I will say as a reader myself, I rarely spend that on a well-known author, so I am not spending that on someone I have never heard of and may not like.

And of course, some people try 99 cents because at that rate people might be willing to try your book on a lark. As a reader, worst-case scenario you are out a buck and some time. Of course, there are some readers like my mom who never pay for a book because so many authors offer free books. (See below.)

When deciding on the price of your book, you should consider the book’s length. Is it a 10,000-word short story? A 30,000-word novella? Or a 100,000+ word novel?

Now you can come up with your own pricing but in my opinion, you should consider the amounts below.

Short Stories – 99 cents – as a reader I can’t imagine paying more for anything under 15,000 words.

Novels – $2.99 – $4.99 (If you are an unknown, I would aim for the lower end.)

In the end, we have to experiment and see what the market will bear. For an established author with a league of fans, a higher price may be fine. However, for a new author, without any fans, even getting $2.99 for a novel may be hard. Thankfully, changing the price of your novels takes just a few seconds so you can try out different rates to see what works for you.

***Also note that Amazon does have List Price Requirements for minimums (and maximums) of what you required to set. Check out their list here.

A note about Free Book Promotions

We will be covering this later, but since we are talking about pricing I wanted to quickly address if you should offer your book for free – whether it is when it comes out, on a promotion or to make it permanently free.

Well, that depends…

If you are a new author and this is your first book, I would say no, do not offer your book for free. If you have other published books, then you may want to consider it. Remember the long answer comes later. But either way, I don’t suggest you start your book out for free.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

The family needs to improve their bowling skills

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I bought bowling passes that allow the kids and I to play up to 3 games a day (with shoe rentals) for a low summer special price.

I knew we wouldn’t be going daily but thought once a week or even every other week would work for us, and we would still get our money’s worth out of the passes.

What I forgot is that none of us are good at bowling! Me especially.

The kids get to use bumpers on their lanes, but I don’t. So, my ball went into the gutter a lot the first day.

I think my problem was that I was concentrating on too many things – not crossing the foul line, releasing the ball correctly, posture, other people watching/judging me. Ugh. It didn’t go well that first trip.

I vowed to do better on our next trip. I decided to watch a few YouTube videos for beginners. It took awhile to find one that covered what I wanted to know in ways that were easy to apply. I finally found this one.

Still it is a lot of things to remember, and I couldn’t really practice at home. But I think the video did help. On our next outing, I did great in the first frame but alas it didn’t last. There were a few good frames followed by gutter balls.

But I didn’t let it get to me. And on the next game, I did much better. And I can only hope that with more practice (and watching a few more videos) that I get better and better.

Now to get the kids onboard with improving their game. Jase wants to as he has seen several other schoolmates at the bowling alley. They all bowl better than he does. The same thing happened at his twelfth birthday party. We went to play bowling and laser tag with some of his friends. They all played better than he did. But they didn’t make fun of him. Instead they tried to give him tips on how to improve. With some more practice (and a few videos) he will surely get better too.

But it is Lexie who needs the most help. She has the habit of walking up to the foul line and then swinging the ball back and forth a few times before tossing it down the lane. If it weren’t for those bumpers, she would have only gutter balls. On one of our last visits, I did suggest she not swing the ball back and forth so much and she did get a few good releases.

OK that settles it. We are all watching the video a couple times before we go again. And hopefully by the end of the summer, we will all have improved our game.

Wanted: Authors for Friday Featured #Author spot

wantedIt is Friday, and this space should be filled with an author proudly telling us about their latest book. But sadly, I have no featured author today.

If you are an author and want to promote you book on my blog, please let me know. I host guest authors every week – any genre, both traditionally and self-published.

The post can take one of three formats: author interview, book excerpt or a guest post on any aspect of writing, publishing, or book marketing.

I feature guest authors on Fridays, on a first-come-first-served basis, though I do have a few Tuesday openings to accommodate special requests for dates related to promotions such as book tours or book releases. I am currently booking for August, September and beyond.

If you are interested, send me a message along with any date requests, and we’ll take it from there.

Formatting your eBook for publication

This post is the forty-fourth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Over the past two weeks, I have covered what you will want before (front matter) and after (back matter) your story. However, before you can upload your story to Amazon, Smashwords or any other e-book retailer (Kobo, Barnes & Noble) you will need to make sure your novel is in the proper format.

Now if you are computer-savvy, this is something you can do for yourself. But for those who don’t feel up to doing it yourself or just don’t have the time to do it yourself, you can hire someone to format your book for you.

Option 1 – Do it yourself

There are directions to follow on Smashwords and on Amazon. Actually, Amazon recently introduced Kindle Create, which is an online tool that lets you format your manuscript for the Kindle. I used it on my last book, and it worked great. I will say that I always do my own formatting. I like to use the Smashwords directions before I do anything else.

Advantage – It is free. If you are relatively proficient at MS Word, it is not difficult to follow either guide.

Disadvantage – if you aren’t proficient in MS Word, or you don’t own/use MS Word you could produce an improperly formatted book that will prevent or delay the publishing of your book. Also depending on your level of proficiency, it can take a while to follow all the formatting steps.

Option 2 – Hire someone

As I said, some authors would rather leave the formatting to the professionals. Just remember that when you hire someone to format your book that is all they are doing. They are not proofing the content.

Smashwords offers a list of formatters (as well as cover designers).

Advantages – Hiring someone who knows what they are doing can take less time and relieve you of having to worry about the formatting being done correctly.

Disadvantage – It cost money. The average rate can vary from $30 to $100 depending on the complexity or condition of your current file. It also can take longer depending on the turnaround time of the person doing the formatting.

Note that if you publish on Smashwords, they require a specific notice as part of the front matter that you will want to remove for submission to Amazon and other providers.

The most important thing is that you follow the guidelines provided by Amazon, Smashwords, or whatever other e-book publishers you are using so that your book not only meets their requirements but looks professional.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel