The Stairs at Cronnewood now available for preorder

Stairs at Cronenwood (1)Book II of The Morgenfeld series is now available for preorder from the usual bookstores.

Release date is December 15th.

 

Enter a bizarre and twisted world. A building without end.

A missing man. A raid on the Map Archive. A descent into desperation.

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The vast city of Morgenfeld spreads across the land, an endless array of buildings jammed one against the next.Investigator Gail Deurgans takes on a new and challenging case. Way out of her usual territory. Mapmaker Cole Palmer and his staff work hard keeping track of the maze of the city. Another plunge into the depths of a place not even its denizens understand. The perfect journey for readers who love the fantastic worlds of Mervyn Peake and Michael Moorcock.

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mapmaker 2019 (1)Morgenfeld Book I, The Map Maker of Morgenfeld is available too. Both books are standalone, so you can still dive into The Stairs at Cronnenwood first.

 

 

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Black ChimneysIn other news, I’m nearing completion of writing The Chimneys at Atterton, Book III of the series. This one’s really twisted and doing my head in. The cover and title are just holding for now. Once it’s done and ready, we’ll see how it feels.

Because we were away traveling for an extended period, I’ve been writing it on my mini set up: a phone with a little bluetooth keyboard. The set up works well while traveling, but throws me now I’m back home. Do I transfer the work to my regular writing computer? What if I lose the thread from the mini set up? Oh no (wipes forehead), the trials of being a writer.

Still, I hope to have  Chimneys out sometime in the middle of next year.

 

 

Almost there with The Stairs at Cronnenwood

Stairs at Cronenwood (1)The second book in my Morgenfeld series should be out on December 15th, all going well. As I speak the book has been proofed and copy-edited and print-formatted. Just need to finish the wraparound cover design for that, and get the ebook formatting done.

Oh, and write a blurb.

Here’s how things go for me in terms of writing, from easiest to hardest: novel, novella, short story, blog post, “short bio to accompany your story” and blurb. Yup, easier to write a 60,000 word novel than to write a 100 word blurb. I’ve done some work on it, taken a course or two and so I know some of the techniques – focus on the character and the problem, give away nothing more than is in the first chapter, use active language, and so on and so on. All seems very straightforward when you put it like that. Ha, ha.

I have to write my blurbs on a different computer from my writing computer. The tone and technique and parts of the brain used are all so different. Getting away from the creative space seems to give me access to a different kind of creativity, namely pretending to be a sales person.

Sales is not my natural bent. So, I practice. Maybe I’ll get something that works this time. I’ll post the blurb here in a week or two, once I’ve got it down. Or maybe just whatever I have at that point.

I am fortunate that I’ve been able to organise a space and a clunky old computer dedicated just to writing. No net, no games, no anything except the writing software. Easier to separate out that creative side from the business side.

Also in the works, getting the updated cover for the first in the series –  The Map Maker of Morgenfeld. In the year or so since that came out I’ve learned some about cover design. Long way to go, but I like these new versions. Grandfailure’s images just so suit the work, the broken-down jumble of the city and the sense of space and light and time.

In other, related new, I’m just about finished with the writing of book three in the series. Right now the title is just  Black Chimneys, but I do have a while to consider that, and to look for something with more rhythm closer to the other two, as in  The (something) of/at (somewhere).

Also recently sold a couple of stories, one to  Asimov’s, one to  Analog. Excited about both, but this will be my first in  Analog, and it’s always neat to see my work in a new venue. I’ll post again when I have the publication dates for those.

Since I’m rambling on, I’ll mention that I’ll be at WorldCon in Wellington next year – the World Science Fiction Convention. I’m in the process of putting my name forward to maybe be on a panel or two. If you’re going and we haven’t met, grab me and say hi.

 

 

 

New Release in December

Morgenfeld, a vast city-building, deep in a fantasy world not too far removed from our own, moves to the whims of a different set of rules.

Right now we’re targetting the release of the second volume in the Morgenfeld series for December 15th.

 

The Stairs at Cronnenwood brings new challenges for Cole and Dana as thieves pull off a daring raid on the Map Archive.

Following The Mapmaker of Morgenfeld this new book explores and deepens the swirling complex world that is Morgenfeld. A near-endless fantasy city-building with entire communities hidden away, secret sections and a ruling dynasty that stretches back thousands of years.

Preorder of the book will be up from November 15th. Soon before, we’ll have a free download of a Morgenfeld short story, “The Rocking Horse Mystery”.
Covers are by way of example only final art will be confirmed in November.
Book 1, The Mapmaker of Morgenfeld is available in print and as an ebook from the usual outlets. Cover art update coming soon.

I’m thinking I’ll start writing the third book while I’m traveling in September and October. I wrote the first when we traveled to Easter Island, the Atacama desert and the Galapagos a couple of years ago. Travel to different places definitely stimulates my imagination for the strangeness of Morgenfeld. I’m relatively well-traveled, but Papua New Guinea, Korea and Taiwan should be plenty strange for a someone who lives in a relatively western culture.

Gold-Embers-originalOh, while I’m writing here: Also out soon, on September 2nd, is Gold Embers, book three of The Chronicles of the Donner. Middle Grade SF: action and adventure with a heart. The final secrets of Ludelle reveal themselves in stunning ways. If the survivors of the Donner can figure them out.
If you want a taste of Ludelle and the characters, try out “Trapped”, a short story set there. Matti-Jay and Dub find themselves in a sudden fight for survival. Write to me and I’ll send you over an ebook version.

Sometime I’ll figure out how to integrate this Mailchimp thing into the website and create a proper mailing list.
Thanks for reading.

Rebranding gradually

Ship Tracers 2018 thmbI’m very conscious that while I’m a pretty good writer (ahem), and I’m okay with most of the business side, I’m really pretty lousy when it comes to sales and marketing.

Key point for an indie writer, right? Market yourself.

Some of my books have fairly bad covers. Some have terrible sales copy. I don’t even have a mailing list. This site sits in WordPress’s paid domain, but free side. I’ll be upgrading that (*update, Saturday – upgrade done – already I’m out of my depth with customizing the look. Good – out of my depth means I’ll learn to swim).

All of that was okay in the early days of indie publishing, but times have changed. Around me. And in my dozy state I’m just beginning to notice.

So I’m making a few changes. My website. Trying to figure out managing a mailing list. Trying to get a handle on, you know, the basic stuff if you want to gain a few readers here and there. I did start a facebook author page – here where this blog posts to and I do occasional separate posts. That’s a whole other area of learning – social media.

Now I do have some covers and copy I’m proud of – my Captain Arlon Stoddard series books look okay to my mind. Not up there with the $2500 professionally designed books, but still doing okay.

So this will be a time of experimenting. First out of the blocks, I’m going to update the covers and blurbs for the first series I released, starting back in 2012 – The Hidden Dome. Here’s a preview of the new covers. What do you think?

I’m looking for a consistency of branding there, so at least I think I’ve got that. Next step: amazing sales copy. Then the whole repackage, getting them out as print and ebooks again (somehow I never got around to putting The Eye out as a print book, so it will be good to have them all done).

Will I get more sales? Who knows? The thing is I need to work on my branding, my sales and a whole bunch of other things. This is like a practice round.

The Map Maker of Morgenfeld thumbAfter that I do have a second book coming out in my Morgenfeld fantasy series – The Stairs at Cronnenwood. At the same time I will update the original’s cover (see the current cover here – too many design faults there, though I might even use that image). And if I can figure it out, I’ll create that mailing list and have a giveaway Morgenfeld story for signups.

Plan is to have The Stairs at Cronnenwood out in September.

Then there’s another Captain Arlon Stoddard novel to come out. And the third in the Chronicles of the Donner series. I’m not short of material, but I have so much to learn about getting into the hands of readers.