Death’s Mantle

Firstly, Abby 2, The Spy Within, is now available for preorder on Amazon. It will release July 20, 2015. I have gone through one round of editing, and the manuscript is currently sitting at 61k words. So basically, my second edit added 5k words. I’m hoping to have the final revision done next week.

So, what have I been working on now? A little trilogy I call Revelations. See, a long, long time ago, in a highschool not so far away, I wrote a story. It was absolutely horrible. I’ve rewritten this story probably four times over the years. So… what’s going on now? I’m rewriting it one last time. I’m not sure if it will wind up being good or not, but I’m determined to find out.

I’m about halfway done right now, and the crux of the story is this: There’s four horsemen, and they need to stop Ragnarok, which is absolutely insane. It will be part of a trilogy, the first of which is called Death’s Mantle. This will be my first third person book, though technically Shattered was in third person.

 

Here’s the tentative release schedule for Revelations:

August 2015: Death’s Mantle – The First Revelation

November 2015: War and Famine – The Second Revelation

January 2016: Conquest’s Hammer – The Third Revelation

 

Here’s the blurb for Death’s Mantle:

The four horsemen have come.

A mythical cyclops has awakened.

They have been charged.

An enormous serpent has risen in the ocean.

And they will bring about the end.

A vengeful god walks the earth.

Only they don’t know it yet.

Finished Abby 2

I just finished the first draft of Abby 2, The Spy Within. For those keeping score, it is my 8th book and is scheduled to be released in July. This will be 3 months after May Contain Spies. I started writing the book on 4/23/15 and finished 5/18/15. So that’s twenty-five days, but I didn’t write every day. Or maybe I did, I don’t remember. Final tally came in at ~56k words. This makes it longer than the first one, but there’s a chapter in the middle I may delete.

I don’t know how I feel about this book. I feel like it sort of went off the rails. For whatever reason, this one was relatively easy for me to write. I outlined it originally, and scrapped my outline three times though. I also used it for some writing exercises that were pretty fun. I also spent a lot of time thinking about it, oh and it’s ridiculous.

I read the books 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron and Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker. I’d encourage anyone who wants to write faster to check them out. They aren’t long, and I found both super helpful.

I also started using a timer, you know, timing myself for 10 minutes and writing as much as I could in those 10 minutes. My average is about 500 words. I don’t know how many of them are good though. I did find that I have to edit sprint writing a lot more. I make a lot of typos. Still, it probably doubled my writing speed.

It got to the point where I could sit down and say “I’m going to write a 2k word chapter. It should take 40minutes. Go!” It did take getting used to though.

So what was my favorite part in the book? This unedited scene right here:

**

“What is it?” Roberto asked, reaching out and maneuvering me down the stairs ahead of him. “More drones?”

“Worse. Ninjas,” Chuck called, starting back up the stairs, one hand pulling a machete from the waistband of his camo-pants. “I freaking hate ninjas.”

Roberto scooped me up in his arms and sprinted down the stairs so quickly I could barely process what Chuck had said. Ninjas? How the hell were there ninjas coming after us?

“Um… is ninjas a code word for something?” I asked, trying to ignore the fact that he was carrying me bodily down the stairs as fast as he could. Before he could respond, an explosion boomed overhead. Wow… they must have been close.

“It’s code for ninjas,” Roberto wheezed as he leapt over the railing and landed on the giant black grate with a thud that jarred the breath from my lungs. His landing had not been as smooth as Chuck’s had been, that’s for sure. Far below, I could see orange murky liquid that looked suspiciously like hot lava.

Heat so hot that it made my skin flush an angry shade of pink hit me in bursts as Roberto placed a small sachet of jelly against the wall on our left.

“Like real ninjas?” I asked as he forced me into the corner and took aim at the jelly with his machine gun. “That seems a tad bit unlikely.”

“They’re robot ninjas,” Roberto said, firing at the wall. The goo didn’t explode so much as it flared with bright purple light before vanishing completely. The wall crumbled to dust, leaving a me-sized hole in the stone.

“Did you just say robot ninjas? Like that’s somehow better than normal ninjas?” I asked, not believing him.

He ignored me. “Okay, all you need to do is go in there and shut down the emergency power. I’d tell you how to do it, but just trust your instincts, and I’m sure everything will be fine.”

“Are you being serious right now?” I asked as he shoved me toward the hole. “You want me to go in there while you stay out here and what? Fight off the robot ninjas?”

“Yes. You’ll be fine, Abby. I believe in you.” He shot me a wry grin. If it was supposed to inspire confidence, it failed miserably.

“I’m not worried about that, I just can’t.” I waved my hand dismissively and crinkled my nose as I approached the hole in the wall over the active volcano. “Whatever, I’m just going to go with it.”

Roberto smirked at me. “I think that’s probably for the best. Too much thinking never helped anyone in these situations.”

Select

First thing is first, Under Wraps is now available for preorder.

So since the beginning of April, pretty much all of my books have been available everywhere. It was an experiment that I don’t think is viable for me.

Let me see if I can explain this in a way that makes sense. I am going to pull everything from the non-Amazon sites.

My sales at the other places are not exactly negligible. I sold all of 7 copies at B&N, 0 at google, 3 at Apple, and 14 at Kobo. All of them combined were about 15% of my sales, which while not bad, isn’t exactly great. (I sold 130 copies at Amazon.)

It takes me a lot of additional time to add books and do stupid maintenance on the other sites. Time I could spend on writing.

Even worse, because I’m wide, I can’t get borrows. Would I have gotten 30 borrows across all my books? Maybe, maybe not, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable. Since it’s essentially free once you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

The non-Amazon sites are also much harder for me to market toward. There’s not really good advertising for anywhere but Amazon. I can also use affiliate links for Amazon books and make a commission. This is likely *why* it is easier to market on Amazon because advertisers use them too.

I looked at my genre, and you know what? Almost all the books in my genre that are doing *really* well are in kindle unlimited.

It made me think of something. How many people are ignoring my books on the biggest online retailer because they have a Kindle Unlimited account? How much more likely is someone with a Kindle Unlimited account to *try out* a new author. I’d say a lot higher.

I crunched some numbers and found I had a really high borrow rate from book to book before I pulled all my books. I do not have as high of a sell through rate.

Most people tend to get 3-4 times the amount of borrows they do sales. I’ve seen the data on this. I get like 3 sales a day. If I got even 5 borrows (in addition) that’d be equivalent to 8 sales a day in the charts, which would increase my visibility and thereby get me more sales.

I’d originally pulled everything to try and go wide because I was playing the long game. But let’s be real. Amazon is 60+% of the ebook market (if not more). Succeeding there is *worth* more than anywhere else. And I’m new. I’ve been at this for only 7 months. *shrug*

Also, I sort of write for a younger audience. If you were a 15-25 y/o in my target audience would you be likely to have a kindle unlimited account? Maybe…

Anyway, this is all a highly technical and boring post to basically say I’m going to try throwing the whole series in Amazon Select for another term or two and see how it goes.

 

Under Wraps – Chapter 1

I just got this back from the editor last night. Enjoy!

**

Chapter 1

Hot.

Burning. My skin was burning.

I opened my eyes.

Bright. Too bright.

I tried to turn, to roll away, but I couldn’t move. Not well. Not quickly.

I swallowed… tried to swallow.

Throat too dry.

I raised one hand, trying to blot out the sun. Pain shot through me, gnawing at my flesh like a thousand fire ants.

It was bright… so bright.

I stared at the sky through my splayed fingers, eyes squinted nearly shut.

My mouth was dry… so dry. I tried to lick my lips, but my tongue stuck to them. The taste of blood filled my mouth. Sour and metallic like dirty nickels.

My stomach sloshed, twisted, turned, revolted.

Bile rumbled upward, raging up my throat like a river. I rolled, somehow, someway.

Vomit splattered across the sand. The hot, burning sand.

My stomach hurt, muscles clenching so hard it choked off the breath from my body.

Sand. So much sand. I put my forehead against the white sand and lay there unmoving.

The sun beat at my back, scorching and relentless. I could feel it scalding my flesh. I shut my eyes, trying to figure out where I was.

I was an Orange County guy. I was used to the sun, to the heat, to the sand. But not like this, not the relentless burning of this sun, this sand. So hot I could feel my skin baking.

I opened my eyes and stared down at the sand. Where was I? I looked around, but there was nothing but sand. I shut my eyes.

I opened them again.

Nothing but sand. Endless sand.

I shut my eyes and concentrated. Was I dreaming? Was I dead?

No… No it hurt too much to be dead, to be dreaming. So where was I?

The last thing I remembered…

What was the last thing I remembered?

Flashes of light? The flaring in my brain like a lens on a badly taken photograph. Hot and distilled down to a pinprick.

I remembered… I remembered pain. I’d been hurt, been bleeding.

I sat up on my knees and ran my hand over the spot on the right side of my chest. It was fine, good as new. The skin puckered a raw pink color. Had it healed? How had it healed?

I reached down, feeling my body for injury, but the only pain was a strange stiffness, a tense ache, like a cramp all over my body.

I was naked. Where were my clothes? What had happened to my clothes?

I looked around.

Sand. Only sand.

I stood up. Naked in the unrelenting sun and stared at the sky.

I remembered. I remembered the mummy. The mummy, Khufu. He had risen, had attacked us.

An explosion throwing me backward. Statues crumbling. The tomb caving in.

I stared at my hand. I remembered breaking it. Could feel the rocks falling on top of me, crushing my bones.

Was I dead?

I took a step forward, my bare feet padding on the super-heated sand.

I needed to find someone. Needed to find out where I was.

I gripped my head.

Think.

Think, think, think.

Visions of a fictional bear crossed my brain, sparking something. Blonde.

There had been a girl. Not blonde. Dark-haired.

Dark-haired like my sister.

I swallowed with my dry throat and licked my cracked lips. They tasted like blood.

My sister. My sister would be worried.

She didn’t know I’d been trapped in the Egyptian tomb.

I needed to find her, needed to find my way home.

Why had I been in that tomb? I remember…

To find something important.

The mummy had risen. Khufu. Khufu the evil pharaoh. The one who built the pyramid of Giza.

He had wanted something. I had wanted something.

He had wanted… he had wanted to go back.

I had wanted… I had wanted to go back…

Why? Why had I awakened the mummy? Why did I want to come back to the time Giza was built? Why did I want to come back four thousand years?

Was that where I was? Was I in Egypt? Was I four thousand years in the past?

I took another step. My legs gave out. Too weak.

Thirsty. I was so thirsty.

I got to my feet.

I stumbled.

I fell.

Sand.

So much sand.

Why was I here? What had I come for?

A soul.

That’s right.

That’s right. I had come for a soul.

My friend Connor’s soul had come here.

It had been sent back. Trapped. Lost in time.

I needed to find his soul.

I needed to find it and bring it back.

Back to my time.

Only Khufu knew where it was. Khufu the mummy.

The one who had sent us back.

It made sense.

I had wanted to be sent back.

I had wanted… I had wanted to find Connor’s soul.

I stood again and took a few steps.

I swallowed.

My mouth was dry. So very dry.

I stumbled.

I fell.

The sand was hot.

The sun was burning me.

I crawled.

The heat beat at my back.

I collapsed.