Categories
Promotion Writing Life

Oh, no, it’s a year end post! Wait, not really.

But it’s a post on New Year’s Eve so it counts, I guess?

Spouseman & I are ringing out the old year with leftover steak dinner from yesterday, plus lots of popcorn and hot apple cider, while watching a 2021 movie–Black Widow. Which is nothing wild or partylike, but it’s basically the kind of thing we usually do on NYE. Cozy & quiet. That’s my brand, I guess?

Earlier in the day garage cleaning occurred (EXCITEMENT!) and some visiting with a friend, and there was also writing in front of the fireplace with the cat. More progress on Serena’s dog story was made. Snacks were enjoyed. And Pippin snored a lot.

photographic proof of fireside presence.

Every time I took a writing break and surfed through the news I saw people sharing their big accomplisments from 2021. AND I AM NOTHING IF NOT A FOLLOWER. SO.

The big thing I did in 2021 was send my new book out into the world.

The Sharp Edge Of Yesterday, in case you have somehow missed all my posts about it until now, is a fantastical novel set in a world much like this one except that 10% of the populations develop unexplainable powers when they hit middle age.

It’s a story about family, secrets, mistakes, and betrayal, it’s about the power of trust and cooperation, it’s about the evil of dehumanization, and it’s about redemption. There a characters ranging in age from radical teens to badass grannies, and it stars a wicked heroine who takes charge of her own life.

Or, as my wonderful author-friend Shannon Eichorn puts it, it’s about middle-aged moms with superpowers making the military very nervous. What’s that? You think that book sounds epic excellent and want a link to find it? Here ya go: bit.ly/sharpedgekmh

It looks like this. Isn’t it pretty?

Sharp Edge didn’t get a release party, because pandemic, and for the same reason I only got to show it off at two conventions, one big, one small, but somewhat to my surprise, it released really, really well. Best of my six books so far by a long shot.

People bought it–LOTS of people, people who’ve never heard of me & didn’t know anything about the book except its blurb–they reviewed it, they bought copies for other people, and they told friends to buy it. That’s as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned.

Would I like more reviews? Of course I would. I want 100 reviews for each of my books. Why? WHY NOT? It’s a nice round number. Also a ridiculously ambitious one. Some great novels take years to hit that. Some brilliant ones never do.

On a practical level a book needs 25+ reviews specifically on Amazon before I can begin to promote it through most of the best channels available to me. (I only have 1 title over that threshold, alas, and it isn’t Sharp Edge.) And would I like more sales? Hell yes, of course, what recovering bookseller doesn’t love seeing their book fly off shelves virtual or physical?

But honestly, I only care about that part because sales mean readers, and no story circle is complete without that happening. I love the idea of sharing this world I’ve dreamed up and squeezed into existence out of nothingness. I can talk about my characters and their conflicts all day long, and I have a hundred more stories to tell about them. Hundreds more. At least.

ANYway. That’s a good place to wrap this up. Black Widow is over, and now I need to watch some Marvel What If?

Good-bye, 2021, (aka 2020 the sequel) hello, 2022. May there be new stories completed, nw stories begun, new friends made, and many good times shared.

Until later!

Categories
Authoring

A lot like yesterday

Tuesdays and Wednesdays often bleed together. They’re my library shift days, so they’re more structured and have exactly the same rhythm, week to week. That makes them the same day in my head:

Get up, putter through chores, get in some writing or computer puttering, have a walk with Spouseman, have a snack, write a bit more, go to work, come home, crash on the couch with supper & something to view.

That’s what I did yesterday, and today was very much a “rinse and repeat.”

I only got more writing done on the dog story, rather than digging into Ghost Town as planned, but I enjoyed myself and don’t regret a minute of it.

Tonight’s couch viewing was another foray into the world of Studio Ghibli has been The Secret World of Arrietty, which if I’d known was a Borrowers adaptation I would’ve seen AGES ago.

I adored the Borrowers books and reread them multiple times. On my all-time early faves list, right up there with Boxcar Children, the Mary Poppins and Oz series, all of Joan Aiken’s books, and The Wind In the Willows. IThen in fourth grade I discovered Narnia and the worlds of Andre Norton and never went back.

Huh. Now I want to read all the Borrowers books all over again, just to revisit the happy memories and compare the adaptation to the original.

The movie was sweet.

We’ll be working our way through Studio Ghibli pretty steadily over the next month or so. Next, it’ll be Howl’s Moving Castle. Tomorrow, if Spouseman’s tolerance for watching television holds up. Three movies in three nights!

Shopping for cat trees is on the schedule tomorrow too. That should please Pippin. I’ll report on the results.

It occurs to me that if I’m going to keep rambling here like this, I should probably be plugging my books here, too.

I write unapologetically progressive science fiction and super-powered fantasy novels. Disability representation, female protagonists, found family vibes. Also crafting, cats, thrills, laughs, and more.

Get them here online https://bit.ly/kmhkindle or as audiobooks on Audible or order them as paperbacks anywhere books are sold.

That’s it. Until later!

Categories
Furbabies Promotion Writing Life

How my books are like my cats: a study in surprising similarities.

I’ve raised six cats so far in my life. I’ve written & published six books. There are some entertaining parallels. Check it out:

Here’s my first novel, and also Jake, the first cat who was mine, not a whole-family shared pet.

Ways they’re alike:

  • a bit messy
  • rough around the edges not to everyone’s taste
  • took a long time to mature
  • hold a special place in my heart
  • more about the novel here: bit.ly/controlleddescent

2nd novel & 2nd cat, Banshee:

  • bigger than the first one
  • slightly goofy
  • lots of running around & tail-chasing
  • never gets much respect
  • more about the book here: bit.ly/FlightPlankmh

Third book, third cat:

Alexander Batwing Spook got stuck with “Kitten” as his callname. Like Weaving In the Ends, he was:

  • sleek, dark, & handsome
  • full of attitude
  • in love with yarn
  • more popular than the one who came before him.
  • there’s more about the book here: bit.ly/weavingends

If you look closely at cat 2 & 3, you get an idea of their relationship. That’s Kitten’s foot kicking Banshee in the chin. This perfectly illustrates the relationship between the two books as well.

Onward to the 4th enty.

Like my novella Novices, Bruce, our 4th cat, started off short & got longer (plot for the story, hair, in Bruce’s case) More parallels:

  • did not plan on getting another cat, did not plan on writing this book
  • LGBTQ+
  • sometimes cuddly, sometimes prickly
  • unsophisticated but sweet
  • never went according to plan
  • further book details here: amzn.to/3gMYzUp

Book 5.

This novel was a big change in direction & was unlike any story before it. Scooter, was a new adventure too. More things in common:

  • able to convince people into picking them up
  • thought-provoking
  • dark
  • but sometimes also silly & comic
  • curious? go here: bit.ly/roughpassages

And now, this!

Pippin is my big, bold, gorgeous new cat, all fluffy & huge & complicated. He’s full of goodness, sticks with you, & never goes does what people expect. Just like my latest novel. Which you can find here bit.ly/sharpedgekmh, if you’re interested. One last thing they have in common:L very long tails.

That’s all. I expect there will be a new cat fairly soon, and eventually there will be more novels. It’s gonna be fun to see how (or if) the trend continues.

There’s no deep meaning to this post. It’s winter solstice, my sleep patterns are all thrown off by the long dark nights, and that leaves me antsy & tired at once. I decided to amuse myself, and this happened.

Until later. Happy holidays!

Categories
Authoring Promotion Writing Life

Eels, dear readers.

My brain has a bad case of “Hahaha no focus for you!” today.

It’s book release nerves. I know that. Knowing doesn’t help. (WHY, NERVES? WHY? YOU ARE POINTLESS.)

Being antsy will have zero effect on The Sharp Edge Of Yesterday’s ultimate fate. Either it will land in a cushy safety net built by happy readers who write reviews and make word-of-mouth recommendations, or it will quickly sink into the yawning void of the internet, mostly unseen and unloved except by my elite cadre of awesome fans.

That’s out of my hands. What’s in my hands is a lot of work.

Well. It should be in my hands. It’s languishing undone. I still need to write social media promos to boost the release. My email list needs love. The website will need updating. Boxes need mailing–suffice to say, there’s a lot more on the list.

Then there’s all the Life Stuff that doesn’t stop just because I write books. Bills need paying, a million little things need fixing, the cupboards are kinda bare, the laundry (AUGH LAUNDRY)

I know I need to choose one task and start it, but they all feel so slippery inside my head it’s impossible to get a grip on them. Seriously. Each task is a slick, slimy, squirmy eel of an idea that gets slipperier the longer I try to hold onto it for evaluation. Is slipperier a word? Spellcheck thinks so. ANYway.

Forget brain weasels. Today I have brain hagfish.

OK,, fine, hagfish aren’t eels, but WORK WITH ME HERE, will you? They’re figurative hag eels. Or something.

I could keep wrestling with them, or I could keep scrolling social media for funny memes, write a blog post, & wait for one of the tasks to dry off enough that I can pick it up. Guess which strategy I’m going with.

Oh, and the book on sale I mentioned? ROUGH PASSAGES $0.99 ebook right now. Moms with superpowers, activist teens, & heroic Marines. You want it. Unless you have it already. You probably do.

But if you don’t:

amazon.com/rough-passages for Kindle
books2read.com/rough-passages for everything else.

Sharp Edge of Yesterday (like Rough Passages, only bigger, longer, & with MOAR POWERS) has its own linkie page: linktr.ee/SharpEdge.

Okay, that’s more than enough for now. Probably too much.

Until later!

And now a word from our sponsor…okay, from me.

If you like my writing, you’ll love my monthly newsletter.
Subscribers get exclusive perks & first looks at all the best stuff. Stories, art, behind-the-scenes writing peeks, and more.
No commitment! Easy-peasy! You’ll love it!

Bonus kitteh picture for everyone who got this far.
(Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com)

PS: EXTRA life points for anyone who knows the song I paraphrased in the post title.

Categories
Authoring Promotion Writing Life

Life notes & book numbers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Post Daylights Saving Monday is Monday-est Monday of the Year.

Admitting I cannot brain is hard, but I am beating back the gnawing be-productive weasels with mentally forgiving tasks. So far, so good. Fresh foods arrived before the storm & have been stowed away, three loads of laundry are done, and two more loads are sorted and ready. Pantry dinner is prepped, sheets are changed, bills paid, and correspondence sorted out.

Still to do: do my daily online promotion for Sharp Edge Of Yesterday, and enjoying some downtime with Ghost Town. Yes, the writing time is a reward, not a task. It’s a mindset I’m trying to nurture.

BUT FIRST! A “THANK YOU!” shoutout to everyone whose pre-orders have put Sharp Edge within 3 spots of first place in my personal ranking (not comparing to others because that would be depressing.) Posting promotions for it online is hard work that uses up writing brainspace. It’s satisfying when effortful cause leads to desired effect.

Oh! And speaking of the pre-orders, let me share some numbers. I like it when authors are transparent about such things. Disclaimers ahead of time: everyone’s experience is different. I don’t have a large audience. My writing seems to attract devoted fans, in that if you like any one of my books, you end up hunting down and enjoying all of them, but you folx are still an elite cadre, not a market-swaying population segment.

It’s a bigger audience than I ever thought to have when I started this gig, I admit. My flavor of impostor syndrome means I suspect innocent people of pity purchases (sorry) but this time I’m pretty confident most of these orders are going to people who want to read the book, not just support a friend by buying something they would never read on its own merits in a million years. But I digress. (It wouldn’t be a post by me if I didn’t. At least you know I’m not a pod person!)

The raw numbers:
Rough Passages, current pre-order champion, 32 pre-orders.
Sharp Edge Of Yesterday, 29 pre-orders as of today. With one week left to go.

And now, some data analysis & background because that makes this like a science report, and we all know those are FUN, right?

I did a massive promotional push for Rough Passages‘ release back in 2017. At the time I was active in a lot of Facebook groups and the general “writing community” online as part of my “Learning to Be An Independent Author” phase. I told all the people in all the groups where I was active about the book & why it was wonderful. I posted notes and snippets and pictures in my own online spaces. I told people IRL and asked for online support. I set the introductory pre-order price at a low-risk investment of $0.99. I did multiple reminders per day for weeks.

I was thrilled to get 32 pre-orders. It’s peanuts to authors who make a living from wordcraft, but it was twice the orders I’d gotten for a previous, similar release. Return On Investment was great if I only looked at the number.

ROI was abysmal when I added in personal cost. Constant participation in multiple book-related communities online is grueling. The #writingcommunity hashtag is hugely popular, and in the indie author community, success is linked to maintaining a constant, consistent, personal presence online.

I don’t care how excited and exuberant you are, how PROUD you are of your book, performing in public is work, and every promotional post is a singular little performance. Not to mention the time and emotional energy involved in conversating online daily to stay active in multiple groups. Plus I hate seeing the same post a dozen times a day no matter what it is, so incessant posting about Only My Book will never not generate guilt.

Shortly after Rough Passages came out, I realized I couldn’t survive on gruel. The way I promoted its release is still touted far and wide by commercially-successful indie authors & some publishers as “The Way,” but it can’t be my way. I’m comfortable bragging on my writing, because yes, it’s great, but making professional interaction my constant focus was like hitting myself with a stick while fasting. It left me perpetually weak and bruised. Spec-fic is a tiny niche in the bookworld. It’s a loud, boisterous niche full of bestsellers, but I gotta be realistic: quiet, prosy, slow-burn stories like mine are unlikely to ever appeal to the majority market, no matter how much I promoted it to the wider publishing world.

I detached myself from ALL the Facebook groups, writing, science fiction, and all, and unfollowed a lot of people on Twitter who never interacted with me anyway. The struggle to stay out of the tempting flow is real, but I am committed to it. These days I lurk on the fringes of the online indie-author writing community so I can spot trends and catch news, but I’m only in a handful of groups, and I don’t bother with most Twitter or Instagram hashtags.

That brings us to Sharp Edge’s number. 29.

This pre-release promotion has been low-key and very much in my own small spaces, and I’ve made a conscious effort to spend more time writing the next book (Ghost Town! 85% drafted!) than being online talking about Sharp Edge. I post daily-ish on my spaces, have sent two reminders to my newsletter base, and shared posts to a couple of groups where I was invited to do so. I’m not reeling.

And yet, here I am with nearly the same result. That is more than thrilling. That’s happy-dance celebration worthy.

Not that it’s been easy! Since I am stubborn and will not pay Facebook for advertising boosts on post, I have to announce the same thing again & again to reach anyone when the “pay us to talk about yourself” FB algorithms are working hard against me. It’s still tiring and time consuming. But hey, I’m doing much less of it, and no GUILT!

The email newsletter is easier. I’m actually enjoying sending news & stuff to folx who’ve subscribed to it, because you all volunteered to get news from me! That idea is HIGHLY affirming, to be honest. Heartwarming. Truly.

In conclusion, once again, thank you, THANK YOU, to all you wonderful people who will be welcoming my new book baby into your homes & your hearts. I am deeply grateful.

Some final points.
If you haven’t signed up for my fancy occasional email newsletter yet, you can do that right here: https://mailchi.mp/afe76c32cbce/freestory2021
If you haven’t pre-ordered The Sharp Edge Of Yesterday like all the cool kids have, you can get to its sales pages from here: https://linktr.ee/SharpEdge
If you haven’t read Rough Passages yet and can’t imagine starting Sharp Edge until you do, it’s on sale for $0.99 cents in ebook again, find a seller here: https://books2read.com/rough-passages

That’s all until later, except here’s another cat pic from Pexels, because it’s cute.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com