Author Blog

The Mystery of the Missing Chapters

So the worst thing I could imagine happened this week: My latest release was missing a few chapters.

Imagine my horror when I opened my email at 6:00 a.m. and read a message from a reader who VERY KINDLY AND GENEROUSLY alerted me to the problem.

I was horrified! I flipped over to Amazon and looked at the book, hoping there had been a mistake and NOPE – there were really missing chapters. ***Insert the screaming and cursing scene here ***

So like a LUNATIC, I formatted and uploaded another version. That one was complete, but I couldn’t remember if I had made all of the edits on that version and I had only 1 hour before I had to be at work – but I just wanted to stop the bleeding and I knew the version I used as the replacement was nearly perfect because I speed-read through it!

I have NO CLUE how it happened in the first place.

What makes it more confusing is it only happened to some readers!

I have been getting steady reviews on that book, and the chapters that were missing were REALLY IMPORTANT to the storyline – so I’m sure other readers wouldn’t have given me 5 stars if they were missing say…the most important scenes in the book. (BTW, they were also some of my favorite scenes) This is a real head-scratcher for me, because I downloaded it from Amazon when I first published it and just finished re-reading it on my own Kindle – and that version was complete so how and when did it get replaced (because it definitely did)?

I will never solve this mystery but I did go back through the complete version and re-checked every single edit, every chapter, and did it TWICE after I uploaded it again. So I’m sure the complete book is there. I am forever grateful to the readers who emailed me about the error because I would have never known!

I am horribly embarrassed because as an Indie, I feel a certain pressure to be even more vigilant about the quality of my work. I apologize wholeheartedly to anyone who read the version with the missing chapters. I’m horrified (still) and paranoid (more) that something like this could happen again.

I did learn one important thing: those of you who read my books really do care because you took the time to let me know about the problem. I will be forever grateful for that. The missing chapter fiasco ruined my day, but the loyalty and generosity of my readers really made it better. Thank you.

Recruitment Open!

I’m busy on getting the 5th book finished, so now is the time to recruit new beta readers and an Advanced Review Team. There’s only one way to get in, though – you have to sign up for my V.I.P. List. I’ll give you two free stories as a bonus and then you can decide which team to be on.

Beta Readers – get the almost-final draft of the new release and agree to give me feedback on the story. It is after I go through this process with the team that I do final edits and get the book ready for release. There’s a private Facebook group for Beta Readers where we can talk plot/character/story development. I like HONEST feedback – if something isn’t working, then let me know that. I rely on these readers to make my books the best they can be.

Advanced Review Team Members get the new release FIRST – before it “goes live” – the book is in the final form, all edits are made, and ART members get the full version. There is also a private Facebook group for these members. I ask the favor of an HONEST review from this team when the book finally goes live. The more reviews a book gets, the higher the “social capital” of the work. This drives sales and enables me to keep writing.

Some readers want to be part of both teams, some only one. That decision is entirely yours to make. I love writing and I adore my readers – nothing is better than reading a review – even a lukewarm one – and I can actually quote you the reviews and the names of the reviewers who brought tears to my eyes (happy ones!).

So here’s my recommendation if you’ve never read my books – go ahead and sign up and read the two bonus stories. Nudging Magic takes place after the second book in the series, but I’ve kept spoilers to a minimum. Coyote’s Cache takes place after the fourth book. Again, the fact that you’re jumping in that late means there are bound to be some spoilers, but I’ve kept them to a minimum. If you like what you read, then stay on the list and become one of my valuable Beta Readers or ART members.

About that Fairy Lore, Wesley…

I received a comment from a visitor named Wesley asking me if I had thought of writing a story that uses traditional fairy lore.

Yes, I was actually on that path with my latest release Jealous Magic. I have a Fae princess and I deal pretty extensively with King Arthur, Merlin, and the knights of the round table in both Legendary Magic and Jealous Magic.

Wesley goes on to share his knowledge of the connections between fairies, demons, fallen angels, and ghosts and really makes some new points that I wasn’t aware of. I love folklore and legends and those two things are always incorporated into my stories.

Culturally, there are differences between the old gods of many religions – but there are also some similarities between the stories that always capture my imagination. In Legendary Magic, I use the Roman conquest of the Celts to draw the different myths together because the Romans – for all their domination and annexation of other lands – were brilliant at syncretism. They folded the gods of other cultures into the Roman pantheon, leaving behind a merged mythology that’s a beautiful blend of all of the cultures in the Roman Empire.

I am working on my 5th book in the series right now, and I am using the same methods to tie Arienne’s Italian heritage into the story. The fae exist through many cultures, and I love finding those similarities and the connections that speak of the blending of cultures that happened millennia ago. I use those bits of information to weave a more global story that reflects our modern age.

This is not to say that my fantasy novels are scholarly works on mythology! It’s good, fun fantasy that I hope inspires the curiosity of my readers to dig deeper into folklore and mythology. I know I will be doing in the near future as I complete the 5th book and then circle back around to Princess Tyballa Nessinger and her ambitious goal of curing Dr. Ezra Froelich of his fading memory. There’s a connection to Merlin in that story, but I need the time to write it! At this moment, time is in short supply but there are so many stories that I want to tell that I get frustrated that I can’t write for twenty hours per day.

So stay tuned, and please contact me with your questions or to share your knowledge. I read all of those contacts and I enjoy that give and take with my readers.

Shameless plug: If you like my work and would like to hear more about what I’m up to, sign up for my V.I.P. list. You can find it on my homepage. I’m not “spammy” and you can unsubscribe any time – but I will be including some of my wild connections between the myths and legends in my upcoming newsletters (and you won’t get those if you’re not on the list!).

Thank you, Wesley for your insightful comment.

Detours into Death Valley

I’m currently finishing up a novella in the Relic Hunter series. I decided this was a good time to send Arienne on a different sort of adventure with Coyote and a few other Native American Spirits.

To get them all to one place together was challenging, but I chose a location and away we went. This time, the story takes place in Death Valley and the Panamint Mountain range. I’ll tell you more on how you can get your hands on this novella in the coming weeks, but for now, I thought you might want to check out some resources that gave me the inspiration for this piece.

This is a great piece of writing about what it’s like to hike through Death Valley National Park. The writing is poetic and the pictures are great.
A great legend – and you all know I love a good legend!

https://historydaily.org/does-death-valley-conceal-an-ancient-subterranean-city-the-legend-of-shin-au-av.

Another take on the legend.

Pre-release stressing

Jealous Magic is coming out on Friday, and I’m doing nothing but stressing over it. I’ve planned my NaNoWriMo project (Fortunes Lost & Found) and I should be doing some more work on that, but instead I’ve looked at the covers for the Relic Hunter series and gone off the rails.

It’s been so bad that I’ve actually switched over from writing and into designing the next cover for Arienne’s next book. It’s not done, but I have a good start on her! I’m marketed out, webinared out, and facebooked out – so I’m taking the day off.

Sunday Morning Projects

Have you had a chance to check out my Instagram feed yet? I’ve been busy creating content and putting together puzzles so my feed is visually awesome. I just started my author Instagram last week because at first I was like “How can I talk about my books using just pictures?” – then I realized “You’re also an artist.” so…yeah, I forgot about that part of my life.

The truth is, I spend Sunday mornings – and by morning, I mean the wee-small hours of the morning – creating content and scheduling posts. In all honesty, it’s been incredibly fun and enlightening. It’s easy to talk about my books using pictures – and I have a great time creating the puzzles. It also really puts me in the zone to write (or edit, like I plan to do today).

Right now I have a few projects going on. I’m in the final edit of Jealous Magic, I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo (yes, I still try to do that every year), and I’m posting content all over the place. I think the posting spree is about wanting to keep my art skills sharp while I’m off being creative in a whole new way.

I’ve noticed something interesting, though. Not only is my author account getting more traffic, but my art sites are doing great (despite the neglect). That could be because they’re somehow linked, but it could also be because the more things you put out into the universe, the more things start to gel.

So here’s what’s coming up in October…

More Instagram puzzles about my books (They’re cool, so you should follow me!).

An announcement about how to grab an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Jealous Magic (I’ll post here, but you can also connect with me on Goodreads and AllAuthor.com).

More Pins for Jealous Magic because I want you to see what I pictured as I wrote the book.

And finally…the release of Jealous Magic on October 30th (Hint: It’s at the pre-release price of .99 cents right now). There’s a lot to do next month, but I’m so excited about all of this. While you’re here, why not sign up for my newsletter so you’ll know about all of the exciting developments and get notified of sales and upcoming projects?

So, I’m off to edit now, but thank you so much for reading my posts every week. I love what I do, and your constant attention to my posts, books, and other ventures really means the world to me.