If you're seeking information on the reasoning behind how a chaotic pantser writer self-publishes, you have landed in the right spot. If you guessed that the publishing is as chaotic as the writing, you might be wrong, sort of.
Self-publishing requires very specific steps to be followed if one wishes others to read the story on different platforms. So while I'm positive that I'm doing launches, reviews, and marketing all wrong, I'm equally positive that I'm publishing correctly and that my stories are available on a variety of platforms.
I don't want you to think that there isn't a serious element of madness in all of it, though. For example, when the story is 140K+ words, questions about whether the book was published one chapter at a time as a serial, broken down into multiple parts, or published as a monster text needed answers. True to my chaotic style, I chose all the above. Allow me to illuminate the thought process I followed.
When I first thought the monster-read of Dread Allies might be finished, it was larger than anything I'd written before. I struggled with how many new characters seemed to be in it and that it didn't fit in with the other books. What was I supposed to do with all of it? Where did it belong in the saga? It sat in my docs' files for about a year.
I finally had a bit of help from a real-life dragon who suggested that I break the book into its separate short-read parts and publish it in pieces. Telling Alexio's story as the anchor tale and then offering his brothers' shorter tales to continue the story and sell it all as a miniseries.
“The size of your bookshelf matters.” - Stephen A. North.
Mr. North was right. It was so much easier to manage Dread Allies as a group of 10,000-word quick-read tales. I could edit easier and publish faster. I had so much backlog of work that whatever made it easier to publish was what I wanted to do, even if that's not likely a good idea for publishing.
Mistakenly, I hoped that by publishing more, and more often, the stories might gain more notice. This doesn't happen without serious marketing efforts. But that belongs in another post.
So I carefully broke my monster tale into smaller parts. I wrote up a storm to ensure that each piece not only offered the HEA that was required of romance tales, but also advanced the storyline of the miniseries. Soon, I thought it was ready, and I was publishing quick reads on Amazon. (This was before I went wide.)
That prompted a whole new era in publishing for me. I went back and edited all of my original stories, cut them down into one-hour short-reads, published all the parts, then merged them into the longer books that the original stories had been as miniseries and republished them.
It was at that same time that I first attempted to make all the covers uniform in appearance. I formalized all the fonts so that I could build a recognizable brand. (I later kept the fonts but broke away from the color bands.)
I steered clear of the half-naked men often on the covers of romance novels because I felt that the fantasy element in the saga far outweighed the steamy scenes. (Plus, naked male models aren't cheap and I'm forever short of money.)
The steamy scenes significantly aid the romantic aspects of the stories, so ignoring them isn't possible. The Draoithe Saga continued because of the fantasy as each couple's story ended with a HEA or HFN and the story moved on with a new couple's story. I tried not to disappoint.
Technically, the foreground story in each book is a paranormal romance that ends with each book. The background is an urban fantasy that ends in a cliffhanger in each book. The books sell best in the paranormal romance, but the saga-style backstory theme running through all the books interconnects them both inside the series and out and makes the fantasy covers more acceptable to me. And once again, I'm probably messing up the marketing because of this issue.
The truth is, I thought I wanted the books to stand out. The only book which retains the original branded cover style is Behind the Scenes of the Dream. (Branded book covers may not be a good idea exactly, but that's off-topic here.)
I like the idea of being different. I also don’t care to advertise to others what I read. Yeah, I might be a conservative cover romance author. Oh well. I am what I am. No apologies necessary or offered. Just noting the weird and true.
It was about this same time I got the idea that I could write short stories on purpose. Breaking the much larger stories in the dream into bite-sized pieces meant I had to rework them a tad to ensure they each had a mini-plot. Why did I never think of that before? I don’t know. It took writing somewhere around 15 long novels before I thought about writing short stories.
I knew about short stories. I’d read them before, but I never considered writing one until after I’d got the bright idea to craft them out of stories I'd already written. (Even though in my twisted mind, I was still writing one book. It's a saga. No doubt about it. And it's becoming an experience, but more on that later.)
Then my mother asked me who Araack Kniid was and just like that I was back to chaotic character building so know that none of this happens alone. The publishing is as intricately intertwined with the writing as two married people sharing the marriage bed.
Araack Kniid first appeared as a side character in the forbye tale of Synner and Sainte. So I described my favorite spider shifter to her. I told her how he'd bought this lie and gotten trapped in a web of deceit.
My mother shook her head at me rather vehemently. “Don’t do it!" she practically ordered me.
"Don’t you write about spiders! They’re too creepy. Paranormal romance, not horror! Remember? What’s wrong with you?!” She marched out of the office as I grinned at her.
Not everyone was on board with the story. I saw that as a challenge.
I think most people would agree with my mother and see spider shifters as creepy, so it won't shock anyone to find that the story takes place in Hell (the Netherworld), or that the love story is rather dark and twisted.
My mother was probably right. It sounds as if it should be more of a horror than a paranormal romance, so it made sense that Weaver’s Tale would be a going-against-the-grain kind of novella, and once again marketing would prove rather difficult. I'm stubborn, so I might one day still pull it off.
Unsurprisingly, I wrote the story anyway. It's not directly in the major series lineup. It's what I call an Extra Story from the dream. And I published it because, why not? And also because of the size of my bookshelf. Then I wrote some more short stories and novelettes: Still Waters, Smoke of the Fire, Arctic Fox, and I pieced together The Thread. (More about peripheral character fan fiction and scenes from the cutting room floor some other time.)
I've continued writing shorter fiction both in the major series and in the spin-off miniseries. I also played with different writings, like the interview style which appears in A Conversation with Dragons. Who knows? A cookbook from the dream or a book of poetry might be forthcoming at some point. If I'm building an experience, I might as well create it all, right?
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Apocalypse Averted A Draoithe Spinoff Miniseries
When a deranged devil arrives in the Leaindeail, he sets off a chain reaction of events involving chaos magic over nearly a thousand years. An ancient debt involving Death himself, a devil’s claimed vixen, a warhorse, and secrets from the past all play a part in impending doom. Is the balance of magic at Draoithe strong enough to avert an apocalypse?
Steamy Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy 18+ HEA! NC! Fated Mates
***Warning: Adult Themes, Fantasy Violence, and/or Explicit Sexual Situations. Intended for a Mature Audience.
Excerpt from a Work in Progress
Once upon a time, I promised to post more excerpts from the dream in the blogs. I like to keep my word. While I don't think I'm ready to serialize this one yet as I'm not finished with it, I wanted to share some of the upcoming stuff. I need and appreciate Beta readers who can stand my chaotic writing style and ARC readers would be just as seriously loved. Should you think you would enjoy receiving free copies of the books in exchange for reading and leaving reviews, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will talk.
Master of Destiny
A Draoithe Saga Epilogue Tale
*** Warning: This is an excerpt from a Work in Progress!***
Subject to change at any time!
Read at your Own Risk!
Intended for a mature audience.
All Rights Reserved!
1 L'anse Devolyn
Early June 2021
The long silence filled with quiet sounds. Ageless darkness held a soft light, and the unending nightmare of the loss of everything suddenly ceased. He left the long, unwanted slumber behind. Diamond dust erupted around him when he moved and shattered the stone that had held him in prison.
Unused muscles relaxed from the stiffness of long sleep as he stepped gingerly with shaky paws along the stone ledge. It broke the spell as he peered into the darkness of the cave.
L'anse breathed. He blinked and tried to recall how he found himself in the cave. Disjointed images and jumbled memories surfaced in confusion. He frowned and peered thoughtfully at his surroundings.
Low-level phosphorescence from bioluminescent lichen offered him a glimpse of his underground location. The sounds of water from stalactites on the cave ceiling slowly dripping to form stalagmites rising from the cave floor like dangerous prison bars all around him caused him to notice the cold and the dampness in the near dark.
L'anse didn't enjoy caves. Magic crept along unbidden, which meant he might need to fight. Danger crawled around in them from other realms. Demons and Angels surveyed them and met with the Spirit creatures by passing through the portals hidden within them.
It didn’t matter anymore. He no longer needed to serve. He’d bought his freedom long ago. Then he remembered what had happened clearly.
Betrayal ached in his soul. The world of the lesser gods no longer existed. Men ruled in the Leaindeail instead. What if he'd lost all chance of finding his mate?
Magic older than time crawled beneath smoky, glass-like, darkly golden-hued scales, belying that thought. It was a summoning to serve once more. The prickling sensation crawled up his forearms and caused his wings to shiver. A Velosian god strode the forest in need of a dragon to aid him.
No way. Not again! Service would not happen. L'anse wanted only the Aralezes princess who belonged to him. The ancient debt needed payment. If she existed, that would be enough.
Wait. L'anse cocked his head to one side and focused inward, analyzing the magic that made his skin itch. The man who unknowingly called out to L'anse wasn’t a god yet.
Prickling magic skipped a long beat before skating under his skin once more. The man was a woodsman aged to ironwood. He would leap to godhood or fade soon. Either way, L'anse wanted nothing to do with him.
L'anse could aid him in crossing into becoming a lesser god. Diamond dust dragons had once served the Velosians, along with other lesser gods. L'anse had once believed his god-king had been his friend.
L'anse shook his head to clear his mind of the memories, as he no longer desired that life. He didn't wish to aid the Woodsman. He longed instead for his Aralezes princess.
L'anse earned his freedom from service. He was free from the prison of sleep. There was no reason to give up his chase for everything.
Let the woodsmen find their own destinies. He need not be a master of them. Not anymore.
The unnatural slumber of a diamond dust dragon with no master hadn’t been peaceful or restful. L'anse had suffered as he endured it. The nightmares had plagued him and he knew the white bear, another supposed friend, had betrayed him. His memories returned as the fog of magic-induced sleep faded.
The drowse spell used to put him to slumber hadn’t been welcomed. Cymarin had forced him into that frozen trance. L'anse had wanted to seek his Valkyrie; he still wanted only her. The rest he’d renounced.
Time had passed. He wondered, how much time? How much changed? The cave offered him nothing of value in that regard. If he wanted answers, he needed to leave it.
She awaits you.
Words flitted along, born of the same magic that had spelled him to sleep. They whispered through the dream and touched his mind tentatively. Almost a caress, they promised his heart’s desire. L'anse shook his head and stretched his long-dormant muscles. It was likely his imagination. If not, he refused to hear the white bear's lies.
Will you serve?
No! He’d served before, been denied his Valkyrie, and left to snooze away eternity. He chose against service once again.
He wanted her. He would look for her instead. If he couldn’t find her, have her, the dream could burn and L'anse wouldn’t care.
She could be hurt. She’s an Empath.
He was L’anse Devolyn, the Master of Destiny. She would be protected, shielded, and safe. She wouldn’t be harmed. He knew she was an Empath. The white bear's words irritated him.
Fly to your god or be only diamond dust.
The magic urged him, prickling the skin beneath his glassy scales. It was surely not a part of his imagination. He ignored the urge even as he spread his wings. He was happy being a diamond dust dragon. L'anse Devolyn deserved his promised mate. He’d fulfilled the ancient oaths and still been denied. There would be no more sleeping and no more service. He would check on his hoard first.
His liege will reward your service and set you free, even as a servant. It will come to pass. You will have it all.
L'anse cocked his head to one side, considering the words whispered in the magic. A god who served a liege was an exceedingly rare oddity. A god who served a liege lord who wished to set a diamond dust dragon free intrigued him for a moment.
The only reward L'anse desired was his Valkyrie. He was already free, but he admitted that some of his magic was limited. Being free and having all of his magic at his command to seek her might be worth the service.
Thank you for reading part of Chapter One of Master of Destiny. I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Please leave your thoughts, suggestions, or questions in the comments and let me know your thoughts. As always when you read, please support an author and leave those kind reviews.
I hope you will visit the dream again next week or sooner. I must be off to write some more.
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