Blight Marked (Ethereal Earth #3) is out today in ALL formats! Including audio!
Initially I didn’t think everything would make it out on the same day, but somebody at Audible must love me. And I love them right back.
Now that I have a bit of a break, I’m going to try posting more regularly to talk about the process and maybe do some videos of the recording and editing. And I’ll definitely be working on getting some book plates done for anyone with physical copies who wants my messy signature. But for now, thanks for sticking with this series. I’m genuinely honored to be allowed to entertain/distract/delight you, and I’m just so glad to be here.
That title isn’t a typo. It’s clever…trust me.
This post is about how book 3 is coming along (spoiler: great!) and also some ideas I’ve been mulling to keep you folks up to date in fun and useful ways. A very cool lady at Facebook told me I should be updating my blog more often to build better communication with you awesome people, and…yeah, she’s totally right. I live so much in my own head that sometimes I forget to actually interact with reality. So here I am! In reality! …Virtually.
First, book 3 is so much fun right now. I wish I could tell you more but I don’t want to spoil any of the coolness. I will say that it’s shaping up to be a bit of a marriage between the styles of Hero Forged and Fate Lashed, and I really like it so far. The story is going exactly where I’d hoped, while also doing things I honestly never expected along the way. The whole thing goes in for various rounds of editing starting in October, so I’m still shooting for this Winter to release it in all formats. But some of the voices, you guys…I’m so excited to start recording this thing!
I’ll also say that I still have that short story coming soon. It went slightly over my goal of 5,000 words, (11,000…oops) and the events happen right near the end of Fate Lashed. James is the main man in this one, and I’m hoping to get some time to record it when elementary school starts back up in a week and my house gets quiet enough for it again. 🙂 There’s also another short(er) story on the way, but that’ll get finished and polished when book 3 goes in for edits. If you’re signed up for my newsletter or you clicked on the button to follow this blog you’ll get those stories, including audio, for free.
And now the rapport part. See? It came around.
I’m trying to figure out the best way to keep everyone informed without bugging people too much…and while still maintaining a decent flow of information for folks who like that sort of thing. So I’m considering options like recording audio versions and even possibly doing videos. Though for the latter, I suppose I’ll have to shave and be presentable and not be constantly eating pie with my bare hands. I guess.
Is there anyone on earth that actually wants to see a video from me or hear me ramble without a script? Drop a comment below if you have any opinions (or good pie recipes) and I’ll try to work up a couple trial runs for the different formats in the next few weeks. And, as always, thanks for being cool!
You and I are both busy, so I’ll keep this short. Book 3 is shaping up nicely, with a crazy plot and some new and returning characters, and my plan is to get a solid draft done by mid-summer. The intention is to have the whole thing edited and recorded and released by early winter, which keeps me on track for something like eight or nine month between books. It’s an aggressive schedule for something I’m writing, narrating, and mastering myself, but I suppose I have to be aggressive about at least one thing in my life.
The reality is that my books are longish for the genre, and I probably make them more nuanced than they strictly need to be. And I definitely fuss over the audiobook narration way more than is recommended… But I just can’t do it any differently, you know? I like writing layers into the story, and I love letting the characters grow across the pages. And for me, that takes at least 130,000 words per book…if not way more. Could I make them shorter and faster? Sure. And they’d probably sell better for the quicker release times. But I wouldn’t be happy about it. And the stories wouldn’t be the same.
So to keep things rolling while you wait, I’m also working on a few short stories to fall between releases. And once those are done and polished, I’ll be recording audio versions to send to newsletter and website followers. (Like you, right?) The first one is about James, and it falls during the events of Fate Lashed to let you know what he’s been up to. And the second one goes back a bit to fall between books 1 and 2 to expand on the time Gabe and Heather spent in the cabin. There’s no firm release date on those yet, but keep an eye out in the coming months. I’ll try to get them recorded as soon as book 3 goes in for edits.
Oh! I should also let you know that Fate Lashed finally became available in Whispersync mode on Amazon a few weeks ago. So if you already picked up the kindle version, you can get the audio at a sweet discount.
As always, thank you for being around and being interested. I’m having a blast with this series, and it’s nice to know some of you are too!
There’s a longer version of this story I’ll share later, but for now, Fate Lashed is FINALLY live on Audible today!
Ultimately, it came down to me being slightly too optimistic about how fast I could edit the last tracks. Plus, I really wanted it to be as perfect as I could make it. I did way more than I expected to, and still never enough. But now it’s out and I hope you have a good time with it! I had a blast writing and recording it, and I’m so thankful I get to do it all again for the future installments.
Thank you so much, as always. And I’d love to hear what you think when you’re done! With any luck, I didn’t mess this up too badly. 🙂
This is the next book in the Ethereal Earth series after Hero Forged, and I should warn you right away that it has a bit of a different feel. This is going to be a long series if I have my way, so I want each book to be a little different from the last to keep things fun. This is where that starts. While we began in Hero Forged with introductions and hints and laying out the map, Fate Lashed is like hitting the gas to get on the open road. It’s more action/adventure this time, and the next book will be different too. Maybe an intricate mystery? Maybe a deeper dive into horror with all that snark to keep it fun? Or maybe we’ll go really crazy and do a prim Victorian Romance… Who am I kidding? There’s no way I’d get Heather into a corset.
And as for the audiobook…it’s soooo close! Everything is recorded, and it’s about 75% edited as of today. And as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going back to it. My hope is that I’ll be back here in less than three weeks to give you that beautiful Audible link. Audio is my favorite though, so I have to make sure it’s as close to perfect as I can make it!
As always, thank you so much for reading and listening! I absolutely couldn’t do this without you.
That’s it. That’s the title of the sequel to Hero Forged…minus the exclamation point.
Fate Lashed. I kinda dig it. And here’s another cool thing:
Fate Lashed will be released on Amazon in ebook and print on 2/7/19! (Audiobook info below.)
There’s even a preorder link.
And a goodreads link if you want to add it to your lists…
Look out world, Josh is getting organized.
And finally, the cover. For Hero Forged, I hired a Graphic Designer to reach into my swirling vat of design ideas and pull out something good. And I was really happy with what he gave me. But this time I wanted to carry that aesthetic further and commission a piece of completely original art. Something I could point to among the countless other covers out there and say is totally mine. So I joined forces with a friend, the incomparable Tyler J. Rinne, and tossed a bunch of vague nonsense at him until he ripped this cover straight from the Ether:
I just…LOVE this. I actually catch quite a bit of flack over the first cover–for being a little plain, or for not matching the Urban Fantasy genre, or for not telegraphing the story enough, or for not having pretty colors. There are also no beautiful people in leather jackets holding glowing swords on the gritty, gritty streets… But all those reasons are why I like that cover. It’s weird and different and pulls you in to read the blurb so you can speculate on what the crap this ridiculous book is even about. That’s the whole point. And I think this cover cranks those knobs up another notch in all the best ways. Plus, it’s totally original and from a fellow professional artist. I got to pay a talented friend real money to do art for my art because you want our art. Awesome.
As for the audiobook, that’s happening fast, friends. It’s still me as the narrator (for better or worse) and I’ll be finishing the recording this week. Then it’s on to editing, which should take another two weeks or so. If I’m really lucky, I’ll submit it to Audible and they’ll race it through processing to get it out with the other formats. But I can’t count on that, so I really shouldn’t promise it. My best guess is that it’ll take up to two more weeks to get into the Audible store. But believe me when I say that I will let you know the MINUTE it’s ready to go. Audio is my favorite format, so I’ll be ushering this thing with velvet gloves all the way to the finish line. Thanks for being cool and waiting a little longer. In the meantime, here’s a prologue to check out.
And the preorder link one more time. (I wish I could do one for Audible. Someday they’ll build that function)
You should also go check out Tyler J. Rinne’s stuff!
And if you want a little more fun, there’s this post over at the Weatherwax Report!
Yikes, things have been quiet here for a while… Sorry about that! I’ve been frantically working on the latest draft of the sequel to Hero Forged, and I wanted to have something really juicy to tell you about when I kicked out a new blog post. Fortunately, I have several things!
First, I wanted to thank you for being here at all. I’ve had a bunch of new people sign up for updates since the audiobook came out, (woo hoo!) and I can’t tell you how cool that feels. I tried to do the professional author thing and get links and ads and stuff synergized to direct everyone to the right places, but I’m still not convinced I did any of it correctly. That means you probably had to make an extra effort to sidestep my clumsy directions to get here…which is so awesome of you.
Second, I wanted to thank everyone that’s gone the extra mile to leave comments, ratings and reviews. As I write this, Hero Forged has something like a thousand ratings and reviews across Audible, Amazon, and Goodreads combined, and that absolutely blows my mind. I’ve read them all multiple times, and I’ve loved getting that feedback and motivation as I tweak the next book. I wish I could respond to all of them personally, but most of the platforms don’t let me. Or maybe I just haven’t figured out how yet.
Next, I have Book Two news! The latest draft is finished and off to the editor, who will then hopefully help me find where I’ve gone wrong or stupid. I personally think it’s a really fun story, and it definitely kicks off quite a bit faster than the first book. The artist is also working on the cover design now, so I hope to have some news about that and the official title in the next month or two.
Which brings me to the release date for Book Two… I don’t quite have it yet. I mean, I’m 90% sure it’s going to be in January 2019, which is really not so far away, but there are a few too many moving parts to nail down an exact date. The book itself will probably be done and ready in another month or two, but I REALLY want to release in all formats at the same time. That means getting the recording and audio mastering done and submitted to Audible, which might not go perfectly to plan. So it will likely be November or December when I post a release date, and that’ll be followed with a flurry of news about preorders, cover reveals, contests, and other fun stuff. I promise it will be worth the wait.
Finally, Hero Forged is in a few contests. The first one is SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) run by Mark Lawrence of Broken Empire and Red Queen’s War fame. He and ten big book bloggers run this year-long event to whittle 300 entrants down to 60(ish) semi-finalists, then 10 finalists who’ll compete for the lauded selfie stick trophy. It’s a really cool community with a bunch of amazing indie authors and bloggers, and Hero Forged moved on to semi-finalist status in the first round of reviews! It’s unlikely I’ll make it any farther than that based on the competition, but I’m thrilled to be where I am. You should definitely check out the other books in this thing. There are some real gems in there, not to mention some great bloggers reviewing great stuff you might be interested in.
And finally, I just found out today that Hero Forged has been shortlisted for Best Self-Published Novel in the Booknest Fantasy Awards! I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m thrilled all the same. And there’s a public vote going on right now for that and a few other categories until Oct. 31st. If you find yourself with an extra second or two, and you want to saunter over there to drop in a vote for me, that would be mighty nice of you! Again, I don’t really expect to win based on the quality of the competition, but it would be pretty cool if I did. The trophy is an engraved sword, you guys…
Thanks again for everything. If you want smaller, more regular updates, check out my Facebook page. Otherwise, I promise to get these blog posts out a little more often while still keeping them relevant to the books. I suppose I could pad out my posts with my random day-to-day thoughts, but I like you way too much to inflict that on you.