Christmas in July

I always understood Christmas in July as a southern hemisphere excuse to eat all the yummy winter feast foods in the appropriate season. But then I saw that Christmas in July is celebrated in the northern hemisphere, too! So I’m a bit puzzled as to why – anyone know? – but I totally approve of the food ideas, like chocolate icebox pie from Southern Living. And some of the other ideas (I’ve been looking at Martha Stewart) are really good for an Aussie Christmas at…well, at Christmas time! and we don’t need to panic about that yet, we have six months before Santa falls down chimneys!

About this newsletter: there are a couple of promo/book advertisements, and then, to lure you to read on, an excerpt from Desert Devil, which is out August 10. I was hoping to add some winter photos of the bushland with its winter flowers or the beach, but I’ve been taking rather dull walks around my neighbourhood instead – and trying to stay out of the blustery winds!

Christmas in July Book Fair & Giveaway

 

Enjoy some free & 99c books this Christmas in July

A 99c Deal

Patty Jansen runs a lot of cross-promotional activities for authors, and I’m sure we often give her headaches, so now that she’s having a sale on one of her books, I’m happy to share it here.

Sand & Storm by Patty Jansen is currently 99c.

The entire world laid to waste. There are no second chances.

The ancient machine that produced icefire was destroyed twenty years ago, but the deadly magic is again on the increase. No one understands why or where it’s coming from.

Massive changes in weather patterns plunge the northern half of the inhabited world in deep drought. People are once again fleeing, but nowhere is safe.

King Isandor sends people to investigate a concentration of icefire in the mountains at the border, but two consecutive patrols both vanish. It appears that, after having suffered badly in wars, the neighbouring country Arania is on the offensive, and is using icefire as weapon. Their culture is harsh and their barbarism knows no boundaries.

Meanwhile two young meteorology students make a string of discoveries that will change the way the people understand the world. They’re on the threshold of the age of enlightenment, but vital knowledge necessary to save their world may well get lost when war overruns the inhabited world.

Desert Devil Excerpt

Someone hammered at her motel room door.

Her heart thumped against her ribs. She ought to be safe here, anonymous, but perhaps she should have pushed on to Phoenix. If she hadn’t gotten absurdly lost, taking the wrong country road because she’d been distracted by her mental replay of how badly her reunion with Rest had gone, she could have been halfway to Phoenix.

The hammering redoubled. “Donna!”

Rest.

She’d have queried how he found her, except that the motel was the obvious place for a traveller to stop. The real question was why he’d bothered to come after her.

One glimpse of his face and the grim aura surrounding him told her something bad had gone down. “Just a second.” She hastily closed the door long enough to undo the old-fashioned chain, then invited him in. “What’s happened?”

“I was attacked by a fire demon.”

She grabbed his shirt. “Already?” Her stomach knotted. If she’d delayed even a couple of hours in warning him, she’d have been too late. He’d be dead.

Desert Devil is out August 10, and available for pre-order at 99c: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073T8KJ3Q

An Apology!

A few days ago I was experimenting with embedding a poll in a post. Unfortunately, I was unaware that it would send you all the link, not to my website where the poll might have made sense, but to the poll-creation software site. I’m so sorry! It must have been a frustrating email for you to receive – and I apologise. I do try to keep my tech-fumbling away from you 🙂

This was the poll: http://authorjennyschwartz.com/2017/07/20/which-fairy-reader-are-you/

Desert Devil Available for Pre-Order at 99c, Other Great Book Deals & Amusing Things

You have been so patient waiting for Desert Devil. Thank you! The fifth Old School novel will release August 10. The pre-order link is now live, so you can grab Desert Devil for 99c (that discounted price won’t last long after release day since I haven’t booked any advertising for the book at that price).

Rest isn’t actually a gunslinger! But he is a former Army Ranger, one tough guy.

Donna Keats is a seer. But when she defies fate to save her estranged foster brother she becomes fate’s victim.

As one of only three couriers alive, Forrest “Rest” Castillo can travel anywhere on Earth in seconds. However, the price of his rare talent is to be forever alone. Anyone who gets close to him becomes a potential hostage for the powerful people that seek to own him.

Two years ago, Rest retreated to the isolated beauty of the Arizona desert to save those who have his loyalty and love, but it was the wrong strategy. It’s not his life that should be sacrificed for peace. Nor will it be Donna’s.

Rest’s enemies are about to learn that this former Army Ranger is not as alone as they believed, and that no conspiracy can be buried forever.

The time has come for Rest to walk the Path for justice, and Donna will match him step for step.

Pre-order: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073T8KJ3Q

Tour de France

I don’t know what I’ll do when the Tour de France ends. In Western Australia, the timezone differences make it perfect evening/night viewing, so I’ve been watching it a bit as a way to chill. I guess when it finishes, I’ll have to get my chateau-fix somewhere else.

If someone wants to, you could buy me a chateau. They’re only a few million euros 😉 [Chateaus for sale]

New Releases & Other News

With Thief of the Night Guild just out, the first book in the Queen of Thieves series by Andy Peloquin is only 99c. 

Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Night-Guild-Queen-Thieves-ebook/dp/B01N1TC3VW/

A freebie! and it’s a space western. Yay! I grew up watching classic western movies because my Dad was a fan. Sunday afternoons meant gunfights, then later, a Disney kids movie 🙂

Coilhunter by Dean F. Wilson is FREE July 17-21

Welcome to the Wild North, a desolate wasteland where criminals go to hide—if they can outlast the drought and the dangers of the desert. Or the dangers of something else.

Meet Nox, the Coilhunter. A mechanic and toymaker by trade, a bounty hunter by circumstance. He isn’t in it for the money. He’s in it for justice, and there’s a lot of justice that needs to be paid.

Between each kill, he’s looking for someone who has kept out of his crosshairs for quite a while—the person who murdered his wife and children. The trail has long gone cold, but there are changes happening, the kind of changes that uncover footprints and spent bullet casings.

Plagued by nightmares, he’s made himself into a living one, the kind the criminals and conmen fear.

So, welcome, fair folk, to the Wild North. If the land doesn’t get you, the Coilhunter will.

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4OYM2L/

Kindle Unlimited Discoveries

Stake-Out by Lily Luchesi launches a cool detective series with a strong supernatural twist.

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Old House Plans

Remember how I mentioned my love of fictional home renovations in an earlier newsletter? Well, I’ve just found this stash of old house plans! Lots of ideas for vintage homes for my characters.

Reading Notes

Finally, whether or not you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, if you’re interested in keeping up with what I’m reading and loving, my Facebook page dedicated to sharing the great books I’ve discovered in Kindle Unlimited is Always Another Great Book. I tend to share a new-to-me book every day, so it’s worth liking the page if you’re on Facebook.

kindle unlimited

If you haven’t already visited the page, then you haven’t seen me raving over Helen Harper’s new paranormal romance series. I absolutely love The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic.

Plus, I’m waiting on Wildfire by Ilona Andrews which will be out in just a few days! Yay!

Raising the Curtain. Author Secrets Revealed

So, with that promising title, “Raising the Curtain. Author Secrets Revealed”, just what secrets will I share with you?

For a start, I’m going to talk about author newsletters and what we (authors) have been obsessing over for the last few months: cross-promotion.

Then I’m going to answer the perennial question of where we get our inspiration.

Finally, I want to talk about the emotional cost of publishing a book.

Cross-Promotion

In the last few years, there’s been a massive increase in the number of authors independently publishing their books. On the one hand, advances in digital publishing and marketplaces such as Amazon have made it ever easier to independently publish. On the other hand, traditional publishers either shed or provided limited support to many of their midlist authors (people whose books seldom hit bestseller lists, but who sold enough to live on their royalties, and had devoted fans). There were other factors, too, in the decision of popular authors to publish independently: contract negotiations breaking down, editorial conflict, the freedom to write what they wanted, and timeliness (with traditional publishing it can be two years or more from submitting your book to seeing it published).

For me, the appeal of independent publishing is the ability to write what I want, price it as I want, and generally indulge my control freak tendencies. I have final say on everything from covers to afterwords.

But one of the consequences of this explosion in independent publishing is an absolute avalanche of new books. The challenge for authors (both traditional and independent) is to get their books in front of readers.

A few years back, blog tours were big. These have faded. Then came promotional newsletters like BookBub, which is still huge, although many of its competitors are losing ground (in the sense that advertising a book with them nets less and less sales). Filling that space are authors’ own newsletters – and this is where cross-promotion comes in.

Many authors now have newsletter subscriber lists well in excess of 10,000 readers. (My list is a teensy fraction of that). These lists have become valuable capital for authors. They swap space in their newsletters along the lines of “if you feature my book on this date, I’ll feature your book on that date”. Sometimes it’s even possible for smaller authors to pay to have their book featured in a bigger author’s newsletter. You’ll notice the effect of this tactic particularly when an author has a new release and they’re pushing it everywhere.

The other way newsletters are used in cross-promotion is when a big sale or giveaway involving multiple authors runs and one of the conditions for participating in it for the author is to feature the promotion in their newsletter.

I guess by now you’ve realised how often my newsletter has included cross-promotional activities. Trust me, it is stressful to organise such things. First and foremost, I don’t want to bore you with relentless promotion. There’s also my personal fear that one day I’ll forget a book I’ve promised to share with you and the author I promised will be rightly annoyed.

While I salute the authors that are making this style of cross-promotion work for them and their readers, I’ve tried it long enough now to know it’s not for me. My newsletter subscriber list is too small to get me into the bigger, more effective cross-promotional activities, and the smaller efforts don’t generate enough sales to justify the effort. So once I’ve cleared the handful of cross-promotional promises I’ve made and which are still outstanding, you will find significantly fewer book and event announcements in this newsletter.

Afterthought: Box sets and anthologies are another cross-promotional tool that some authors find hugely successful, and which just stress me. (As I write this post, I’m getting the idea that I’m not a team player … hmm).

Sourcing Inspiration

Inspiration, the magic that generates a plot idea and then keeps it moving, comes from two places.

The first is curiosity. Every new experience provides the opportunity to ask “why?”. Inspiration for a novel takes that “why?” and turns it into “what if?”. Once you have an idea strong enough to handle a battering of “what if” challenges, you have the basis for a plot.

But what happens when the plot hits a wall? What if 😉 you’ve written yourself into a blind alley?

Then the second secret of sourcing inspiration kicks in: relentlessness.

Inspiration requires persisting at a project. You might get a hundred rotten ideas before the perfect one materialises. When it does, it feels like magic, and often authors forget just how long and hard they fought to reach it. Inspiration is hard work.

The Emotional Cost of Being an Author

Publishing a book is a leap of faith. Heck, writing the book is! Each time you sit down with a blank page you have to squash the toadstools of doubt that mock you with the threat that this time no one will want to read what you’re writing. Or they’ll read it and hate it. Or perhaps, even more scary, they’ll be disappointed. Hating a book is at least a strong emotion. Books that fall flat are my real fear.

And this is partly why authors indulge in a frenzy of cross-promotion and other marketing efforts. Yes, we need the money from royalties (living on fresh air is not actually possible, sadly), but we are also fighting demons of doubt. Sales and good reviews help to muffle those doubts. They help us to keep writing.

Thank you for your support!

 

Demon Hunter

Phoenix Blood

Her Robot Wolf

It’s the Meaning of Life! 42

I haven’t actually read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, but I know from pop culture that 42 is the meaning of life – and having recently reached that auspicious age, I’m waiting to see how it plays out. What meaningful things will happen this year?

Random photo! So not beach weather – I didn’t even get out of the car!

My nana was fascinated by astrology, clairvoyance and similar things, so I grew up with such discussions and access to those kind of books. I’m not sure if anyone is old enough to remember the psychic Jeane Dixon? My nana had at least one of her books, as well as things about Nostradamus, crystals, etc.

Who would have believed that all those things would swirl around in my head and thirty years later, emerge as the raw material for paranormal romance novels?

My nana was Polish, one of World War II’s displaced people, and I wonder how much predictions and astrology gave her a needed sense of control? When the world feels crazily unstable, we search for meaning and surety.

So although I won’t be searching for meaning by consulting astrology (I’m a Cancerian and a rabbit) I accept that people do. Everyone has their own ways of coping. I guess I make up a fictional world and escape into it – and call it work!

New Release

Demon Hero by Jae Vogel is just out. I’m always on the look out for new books and authors in Kindle Unlimited.

What if your whole life has been a lie?

Cora’s Hollow is under threat of social disruption. The signs are written all over the buildings and the faces of its people.

The Fae have been pushed into hiding. Fear of magic has been the strongest propaganda tool offered by the human government. Whether or not the people believe is of little importance. A divided public is the easiest public to control.

Follow the story of a Freedom Fighter, a Bartender, and a Veteran as they discover their love for one another and fight against the endemic social war with little hope to survive.

DEMON HERO is a standalone contribution to the Charmed Legacy Dark Fae Hollows collection. Stories can be read in any order.

To learn more, visit CharmedLegacy.com

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For a limited time, additional Urban Fantasy novels are included in this ebook. 

Buy/borrow link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073NKVRWC  

Coming Soon

Marked by Fate: Defined by Their Choices is an anthology of young adult science fiction and fantasy. The cover really caught my eye, and it says it’s at a special pre-order price of 99c. Bargain!

A collection of 25 Fantasy and Science Fiction YA coming of age novels from New York Times, USA Today, International, Amazon bestselling and Award-Winning authors!!

 This action-packed boxset is filled with teen warriors who encounter shadows, queens, witches, wizards, werewolves, and shifters. Sometimes these young adults partner with immortals, angels, vampires, demons, and gods. And with occasionally genetically engineered soldiers, cyborgs, and robots as they discover magical hidden fantasy worlds, encounter mind-blowing dystopian lands, space stations, and galaxies they could never have dreamed existed. Marked by Fate to complete these deadly and dangerous quests filled with nonstop action and adventure!

Releases October 23

Preorder link: https://www.amazon.com/Marked-Fate-Origins-Exclusive-Collection-ebook/dp/B072KFCWCT/  

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marked-by-fate-kristin-d-van-risseghem/1126655058

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/marked-by-fate-1

IBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1229491448

Kindle Unlimited Discoveries

I’ve never heard of a tattoo magician. Stolen Ink by Holly Evans is the first in a series in Kindle Unlimited. It sounds good – and the cover looks great.

I’ve never had a tattoo. I’m the kind of person who gets bored with, then annoyed by, the same old thing, so a tattoo would drive me insane. That said, I have been inside a tattoo parlour and it’s hard to forget the sound of the needle. Ouchies! A magical tattoo, one that you could change with a thought, would be great 🙂

Free in July – Instafreebie

I saw this on Facebook, so I’m sharing here. Free Fantasy novels in July at Instafreebie – the site emails you the book and you email it to your kindle (or other e-reader) to read it.

Writing Update

Desert Devil has taken longer than I hoped to write. This isn’t a bad thing. It means the characters took the story and charged, and I had to wrangle events so that everything made sense. But the result is high energy and fast, so that’s cool. It should still release in August.

Meantime, I have so many ideas for Stargirl & Her Wolf, the sequel to Her Robot Wolf that it’s a good thing Jaya is such a strong character. She’s going to have to be! (Does that sound ominous? Lots of adventures!)

And, meantime another character is pushing for their story in the wilds of the galaxy, so I really need to get writing!