Friday, March 15, 2019

Proceed to the Route

The problem with not listing books for pre-sale is if I don't have an actual official deadline, it's easy to lose a couple of months chasing the delightful fantasy of Being Caught Up.

At this point, I honestly don't even know what Being Caught Up would look like. Presumably I could open a file drawer in my office and find what I'm looking for. Presumably I would have answered all the email sitting in my second inbox (some of it dating back to 10/18). Presumably I would be able to spend most of my days writing.

Who knows?

Anyway, as I always tell everyone else, you can't just hang out on the diving board all day. Eventually, you have to jump.

So bombs away!

(Wait. Hopefully not! :-D)

Anyway, here's what I've settled on for this year's reasonably solid deadlines. I have yet to update my website, so this is pretty much the only place you can find this info for now.


April 29th - Slay Ride

May 1st - My story "Stranger in the House" in the Footsteps in the Dark: An M/M Mystery-Romance Anthology (by the way, Tantor has contracted the audio rights on this one--AND it looks like we're going to put into print after all.)

June 15th - The Monuments Men
(Kale Williams is saving space at the end of the month to work on the audio) :-)

July 26th - Mainly by Moonlight (Bedknobs and Broomsticks 1) 
The project I'm probably most excited about. I plan on their being TWO books in the trilogy out this year--do-able only because I'll be writing them for my Patreon group.

Then we have a little bit of space where I try again to catch up on stuff and see where I'm realistically at with the rest of the year's schedule.

If all goes well we'll then have:

October 15th - I Buried a Witch (Bedknobs and Broomsticks 2)

October 31st - Haunted Heart: Spring

And last but not least, sometime in December...Blind Side .


So that's the line up. It's pretty action-packed, so although it all seems doable at the moment, there's always a possibility that life is going to get in the way. Still I did manage to complete all of last year's (revised) schedule, so it could happen!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Cover Reveal MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT (Bedknobs and Broomsticks 1)

Because this trilogy is different in many ways from other things I've written, I wanted to get a really fresh look for the covers. I went with legendary Reese Dante who delivered in spades. I love. love, love all three covers--although I'm only going to share the first one with you. ;-)




It's not listed for preorders yet because, frankly, I'm running behind on the writing. SAY IT ISN'T SO, JOSH!!! Thank God there's nothing much planned for this month because I need some quality alone time with just me and my laptop. We're probably looking at a June* release, depending on how previously scheduled projects go.

Here's the very cursory blurb (which I may or may not have shared before?)


Though they’ve only known each other a couple of weeks, San Francisco's first openly gay Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith is all set to marry antiques dealer (and, little does John know, witch) Cosmo Saville in a big, society wedding—until Cosmo is arrested for murder after being discovered standing over the body of longtime rival dealer Seamus Reitherman.


---------
*update: JULY is a lot more realistic.

Friday, March 1, 2019

NEW RELEASE Green Glass Beads in Audio

I'd mentioned a while back that Joel Leslie was doing the narration of the Green Glass Beads audio book. OH MY GOSH, HE'S SO GOOD. The book is brilliant.

That wasn't actually my point though. :-D My point is because the novella cannot be tied to an individual work (it's part of the Irregulars anthology) the audio cannot be listed on Audible or Amazon. It's ridiculous, I agree! But I don't have any control over it.

But the audio is available a lot of other places including iTunes and Google Play, so you can still purchase it, and I'll list all those handy-dandy buy links below.

**If you're at the $20.00 and up tier on my Patreon DO NOT BUY THIS AUDIO BOOK. You're going to receive a download code for it shortly. :-)

Everyone else, you can purchase the audio book a whole bunch of places--and, yes, I know it's not as convenient as one-clicking at Amazon or Audible. But preventing a complete monopoly of the audio book market is going to require a little sacrifice from both of us. Choice. Options. Non-exclusivity. These are good things. Good for me and good for you.

Oh, and if you'd like to take a little listen to a sample of the story, you can check it out on my website right here.








Friday, February 22, 2019

Five Things I Love Right Now

These don't really have anything to do with writing--but then again everything has to do with writing when you're a writer. :-)

Anyway, I haven't done one of these posts in a while, so I thought it would make a nice change.

1 - One Kings Lane. I discovered them while researching furniture for Cosmo Saville's (Bedknobs and Broomsticks) apartment, and now I can't go on the internet without being peppered by ads for them. But for once I don't mind because honest-to-God I love practically everything they're shoving under my nose. I can't afford most of it (and don't have room for it, even if I could) but I really do enjoy seeing what they imagine I'll like. They're usually right. Like these amazingly cool prints by Jessica Brilli. I love her retro style especially when it comes to swimming pools



2 - Catalina Island. What better place for the biennial Catalina Meet (AKA Fanyon Retreat).  Yes, it's expensive and kitschy and the Santa Catalina Island Company is doing their best to ruin everything people like me (their real target audience if they only knew it) love about the place, but still. It helps that I'm always there with family or friends. That I'm always on vacation--even when I'm trying to work.

The thing is, the Catalina Meet is such a unique way to get to interact with readers and fellow authors alike. It's truly special. And because it is so special it's going to be tricky to keep it intimate and cozy and yet allow it  room to grow enough to stay fresh and energetic. 



3 - The Cake Bake Shop. Even if I didn't love cake (and I wish I didn't) it would be hard to resist these gorgeous confections. They're just ridiculously beautiful (and delicious). They're like fairy tale cakes. Even the boxes they come in are beautiful.


4 - Rain. I've been talking about the drought in California for so long it's kind of weird to learn that much of the drought has been alleviated by a seriously wet and snowy winter. It wouldn't take much to set us back, but for now... we're actually okay! When was the last time anyone said that? ;-)

5 - Tulips. It feels like spring. I know that technically it's not, but the light has that certain sparkle and the air smells warmer, softer. That could be a unique-to-California thing though, because I know it's still snowing in the hinterlands. Tulips used to be low on my favorite flowers list, but I've come to love the quirky colorfulness of them.  They're jaunty and yet pointed in the way of a young governess's umbrella. ;-)

Do you have a moment? What are five things you love right now?

Friday, February 1, 2019

MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT Playlist

February. Already February. Yikes!

This year's priority writing project is "Stranger in the House" for the Footsteps in the Dark anthology, but I'm also working on Mainly by Moonlight, the first book in the Bedknobs and Broomsticks trilogy.

My plan is to work on the trilogy all year long between other scheduled projects like The Monuments Men Murders, Blind Side, Haunted Heart: Spring. One of the  aspects of Patreon I'm most grateful for is it forces me to be more productive.

Anywhere, I'm listening to this playlist a LOT right now. I hope you enjoy it!


Mainly by Moonlight - Playlist

Friday, January 25, 2019

Happy Anniversary to My Patrons!

January 22nd marked my one year anniversary on Patreon.

I can't believe it's already been a year!

It's been a very interesting experiment so far. Well, I don't know if I can really call it an "experiment" at this point. Overall, I consider it a successful endeavor. Although growth is slower at this point, every month but one has seen a small uptick.

There has been a definite learning curve for me, and back in December I did an extensive overhaul of the tiers and rewards with an eye to making life easier for myself and for making sure patrons at every level got plenty of goodies. 

One of the things I struggle with is finding the right balance of quid quo pro. Patreon is not designed to be a marketplace. I'm not supposed to be running a store. The idea is patrons support the artistic endeavors of chosen creators with donations. It's, well, a form of charity. But of course for a lot of patrons it IS about the rewards at certain tiers, and that is simply the reality. And it's okay! It's a good reality. I want to provide rewards that my patrons enjoy. I want my patrons to feel like they are getting value from their donation. For some, that value is seeing my increased productivity and pleasure in the work. For others, it's access to exclusive content.

Either way, as the recipient of what is, largely, the kindness of strangers, I'm grateful.

There is no wrong way to be a patron (I mean, assuming you're following through on your pledges) and there is no wrong way to be a creator (again, assuming you're following through on your promises).

That said, Patreon is not for everyone. The pressure to provide extra content can be difficult--it's one reason why I changed my tiers so that most of my patrons receive all my regular releases as well as extras. There are some months when all my focus has to be on creating the products that I sell in the broad marketplace. And it's more than possible than some patrons will join expecting a different and more intense kind of personal interaction with me. There are months when I'm more chatty and active on Patreon--and there are months when I only have time to check-in and deliver whatever the rewards will be.

My patrons provide a safety net, but that safety net can't--and in my opinion shouldn't be intended--to take the place of regularly scheduled new releases to the wider marketplace.

I've seen complaints, criticisms of Patreon making the case that a paying model excludes certain readers from taking part. And this is true. In the same way that charging for books--or any art--excludes certain consumers. (My lowest reward tier begins at a dollar.) Critics of Patreon argue that the extras authors create for their patrons should be available to everyone for free.

I think this is missing the twin points of both patronage and what an extra actually is.  Besides which, I still provide extras for my readers who can't or don't want to take part in Patreon. I still blog, I'm still active on social media, I still do giveaways through my Facebook and Goodreads and Newsletter, and I still provide free content--for example the six codas that went into last year's Advent Calendar.

I don't particularly want to release my rough drafts or outlines or research notes into the wide world, but Patreon acts as a natural curator, and I'm comfortable sharing those extras there.

For me, the three greatest benefits of Patreon have been the financial cushion it provides on months I don't have a new release; the creative stimulus of having to come up with fun, new extras that actually serve to make my regular projects better (things like character interviews, for example); and, finally, the opportunity to occasionally brainstorm or just touch base with readers who have the greatest investment in me and my work. 

For patrons, the price of admission varies, but for creators, the end result is often priceless. 




Friday, January 18, 2019

When Words Fade and Things Come Alive

I've been getting questions about why I haven't put anything into audio for a while, so I thought I'd better do a quick update.

So, first off, I have actually been putting things in audio--In Other Words...Murder narrated by the wonderfully funny Kevin R. Free went into audio in September. (Which, now that I say it aloud, does sound like a while ago.) :-D

A couple of people asked what happened to the Green Glass Beads project. You'll remember I hired the amazingly versatile Joel Leslie Froomkin to narrate the novella. The result was brilliant; the hitch is that because the story is part of the Irregulars anthology, I couldn't really figure a way to get the audio book listed on Amazon or Audible. I ended up listing it last week on Findaway Voices in their Voices Plus program and I'm just waiting for that to be approved. At that point the audiobook will be made available to certain tiers within my Patreon group--and then eventually it will go into wide distribution. I promise you it's worth waiting for!

I also did three short stories in audio for Patreon last year: The Boy Next Door, Night Watch, and Halloween is Murder. All are narrated by the gorgeous voice of Kale Williams, and those can actually be purchased through Payhip on my website. I struggled with how to price them, but since Patreon paid for the productions, I've settled on $5.99. That seems like the going price for audio shorts?

So that's what's already done.

As I discussed last year, I'm focused on going wide with my audio. There's no question that most of the sales come through Audible (which funnels into Amazon and iTunes) but if no one is willing to take the financial hit and put product into wider distribution, there will be no viable competition. Healthy competition helps us all. Certainly it will mean all the difference in the long run. So that's my position and why I'm experimenting with things like Payhip and Findaway Voices, even though some of you might find that kind of inconvenient.

Anyway, coming up in the short term will be Seance on a Summer's Night and The Ghost Had an Early Check-out. Details still need to be ironed out there. I made a tactical mistake and opened both projects up for auditions on ACX, which I haven't done in years. Within two days I had 76 auditions and because I feel absolutely obligated to listen to and personally respond to each one--which (I'd forgotten) is insanely time-consuming--it's taking longer to get this settled than I wanted. AND it's completely unnecessary because Kale had already supplied me with a list of terrific narrators he personally knows. So...I'll keep you posted.

Oh! Also, yes, I'm planning to do the Adrien English books in audio box sets, and yes, per your demand, I did bring Chris Patton back to narrate So This is Christmas for the box set. You can stop asking. :-D It's done. He's already completed the work and I have the files. There are some technical issues though, so there could be a delay on getting those out. But it will happen. Really.

Basically, I plan on pretty much everything I do this year going into audio. And because I'm doing more this year, there should be more audio. Kale will of course be back to narrate The Monuments Men Murders AND  I've already talked to him about doing my new Bedknobs and Broomsticks trilogy.

In most cases I will always return to my original narrator for sequels and series, but in some cases the narrators have moved on, so it's not going to be possible to get them back. I know you all really, really dislike narrator changes, but sometimes it just can't be helped.

So that's where we are with audio. I'm as much a fan as ever and I plan on providing you with plenty of audio content this year. :-)

And of course, I'm always interested in hearing what's on your audio wishlist!