It has been way, way too long since I posted here. I am very sorry. Hopefully my silence did not dim your joys in any way, but life has been distracting me way too much. Bad writer! I will try and be better. That said, I only have a few things to say today, mostly updates (and a little gentle mockery).
Teamups and Crossovers
2016’s book is still in the works, moving forward, getting done, and any other phrase for not done yet. It should have been finished by now and I am never, ever, ever pursuing two projects simultaneously again. (Sigh.) The good news is that two authors (one collaborative, one with an original piece) have turned in two very fun stories. At this point it also looks like the book will also include a new and updated glossary and an extensive background section to make it a kind of resource for series fans who want a deeper look at the world. Current projected publication date: the end of September.
Wearing the Cape: the Roleplaying Game
Also much-delayed, partly due to factors beyond my control. Factors being a euphemism for artists. The upside is that the delay has allowed for a much more extensive review-and-playtest phase than I originally anticipated, and I modestly believe that the result of the extra time will just be a much more awesome game. If I’d known what a pain this project would be before I started it, I probably wouldn’t have started. On the other hand, once it’s finished it will be one of my proudest achievements to date. Because it will be awesome. For those of you who don’t peek at my Wearing the Cape Facebook page, here’s a little sample of the art:
The gamebook itself is going to be a thing of beauty. Not a coffee table artbook, but very nice looking nonetheless.
And the Encouragement.
As most of you know, I am an indie-published author. Since self-publishing my first three or four books, I have been approached by a few smaller presses offering traditional contracts; the drawback being that they couldn’t offer me a level of earnings better than I was already making in straight royalties.
Naturally I decided that my success was because I was brilliant.
However, I had an epiphany today due to a humorous post on Facebook. It was this image:
Warning: NSFW (you will be laughing too hard).
This! This is the golden secret to writing success! What are the three most desired protagonists in romance writing today? Vampires, Vikings, and angels. Also hot: a whole family of unbelievably gorgeous seductive man-cake (perfect for a series). So this inspired author decided that nothing could be better than a family of seven Viking vampire angels! It’s just so, so…I think I may cry.
Seriously (not really), not content with the mind blowing, giggle inducing wonder that is the back cover, I had to research it. The book this back-blurb belongs to is Kiss of Pride: A Deadly Angels Book by Sandra Hill. Behold the cover.
I will not quote from the gloriously insane prologue (please please please use Amazon’s Look Inside function for that, but again, not at work). I will give you the opening lines of Chapter One.
Vika Siggurdson hadn’t had sex in a hundred years, and he was not in the greatest of moods. The last time had resulted in two hundred years being added to his penance, and it hadn’t even been good sex.
This. Is. Beautiful! It promises Vikings, immortal vikings, immortal and sexually frustrated Vikings! Boom!
For one insane moment I considered picking up a free sample of Book One on my Kindle just to keep the giddiness going. However, I regretfully decided that too much exposure to this wonderful insanity would destroy my ability to write even as semi-seriously as I do.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes, my epiphany.
Sandra Hill’s Deadly Angels series averages a 4.6 Amazon Star Rating. The first book in the series rates only a 4.0, but they go up with one of the later books a 4.8 and the latest a 4.7. How in the waking world could this possibly be? Well, Sandra has found a niche. Yes, it’s a Viking-vampire-angel niche, but it practically had to be there. In similar fashion, I stumbled upon the New Adult Superhero Story niche when I wrote Wearing the Cape. Both are underserved niches, so like Sandra, I didn’t have to be a great writer to do well in it. I only had to be a good-enough writer.
Hopefully I have gotten better, but my point for all you aspiring writers out there is this; polish your craft, yes, but there is a lot of competition out there, so if you want to get published while you’re still just good-enough (or noticed when you self-publish) then you need to find an underserved niche. Find your Viking-vampire-angel niche. But, and here’s the catch, you must commit to it. To serve it well, you must cast aside every thought that whispers But Viking-vampire-angels are just silly. So, from a certain perspective, is a teen superhuman who dons a cape and mask and takes a codename.
Now isn’t that encouraging?
9 thoughts on “Update and Words of Encouragement.”
I found your book while traveling for work and loved it. The only complaint I have is that I tear through the stories and then they are done…
I can’t wait for more WTC and I am very excited about the RPG Kickstarter!
I have to call complete bullshit in the not a good writer comment. I’ve read a lot of stories in a lot of genre’s and categories. You are an amazing author and I love your books. From Wearing the Cape you have been one of my favorite authors. And the fact that you haven’t fallen into the traps many authors do after writing multiple books only proves how good you are. Can’t wait for the Tabletop game and future books.
Thank you, but you mis-read the blog; I know “I write good stuff.” I work hard for that. My point was that, if you’re a new writer trying to break out, the best way to do it is not to just write well but write something that people want and haven’t seen everywhere yet. Of course this assumes two things: 1.) you will enjoy writing it (never just write for other people–if the subject doesn’t spark your imagination then don’t do it), and 2.) that you know what people want. Half the time, publishing houses don’t know what people want until it’s so obvious that everyone it writing for the new niche.
Plus of course I was having fun. Who can’t have fun with Viking-vampire-angels? Vangels. My mind is blown. 😉
Great is decided by endurance over time, so I can’t make a call on that, but I will confidently tell you that you are indeed a GOOD writer. When I read your stories I get the story and only the story and lots of the story, which in my judgement is about as good as writing gets.
But keep working on it anyway, because fatbook disease is always looking for another complacent good writer to devour.
George: Glad to see you’re keeping busy. I have been busy myself, finishing up the first draft of a novel that has taken longer than expected. I can’t say I’m behind. But I have been working on the fifth novel in my series and I haven’t finished the fourth yet. But I have a beta reader itching to read the fifth, so she knows it is a bit out of sequence. I also moved to a new house in the same city (suburbs of St. Louis). I also had matters with my mother-in-law moving her to a new care facility. Plus, I am preparing for the launch of the third novel in the series.
I’m happy that you have been also working on the role playing game and I know you want to get that out soon. I always look forward on the books and I hope you continue with that. Congratulations on your collaborations. I look forward to reading more of your material.
Good to hear your progress on your books.
I’m just going to say that, niche or not, I’m loving the WTC books, and I’m just about to start my third read-through of the series. I also let my daughter read them, and she’s hooked. She just got to the end of the first book and cried. She was glad that the one person survived, but she still shed a few tears over the one who didn’t.
I’m still amazed that DC and Marvel are so decidedly NOT publishing prose novels. As much fun as comic books were when I was ten… I don’t enjoy them now. I want a book with prose, not pictures.
WTC is possibly the best superhero series to date, and I absolutely love that you write stories that are not only fun, but you don’t go crazy with sex, graphic violence, or excessive profanity, like so many other authors.
Keep up the fantastic work, and may you continue to fill that niche with super heroic goodness.
I’ve read everything you’ve put out under the Wearing the Cape umbrella. These books , for me, fall into a category I call lazy reading. I call it that because I’m too lazy to try another new book/author. What I mean is that when I am between books, I go back and reread the Wearing the Cape series. Start to finish. I love them and even though I know the stories backwards and forwards, I read them over and over again. I’ve only ever done this before with 1 other series, on a consistent basis, Harry Potter. I look about once a week to see if there is an update or news for a new book, but when all else fails, I go back to the comfort your books bring. I know calling them ” my lazy books” on its surface sounds like an insult, but please take it in the way I intended. Your books bring me so much joy and comfort, that I come back to them again and again. Keep up the work and can’t wait for the next one, so I can read and reread that one too!
Thank you. Any writer is always flattered to learn that his books are someone’s go-to reads. For me it has been David Weber, Terry Pratchett, and Lois McMaster Bujold books (although, writing, I don’t have as much time for my go-to books as I used to). In any case, I am glad you are patient; I am behind my normal schedule by almost two months this year, but Team Ups and Crossovers should be out on Nov. 1st.