Mother’s Day Approacheth

Crystal Blade Episode 19: At Her Majesty’s Pleasure is now live on Kindle Vella. Go read it already.

So yeah, Sunday is Mother’s Day, not that this has any real onus on me since my mother is currently sitting at the heavenly poolside dandling William Holden in her lap, but I know it’s an important day for a lot of mothers and their kids. If you fall into one of these categories I hope that the day is pleasant, stress-free, and provides you with everything that makes you happy.

In other news, all of the Olympic Cove and Two Thrones books, as well as Stealing Dmitri, are now officially out of KU and I fully expect to see my Amazon income crater until I can get Crystal Blade out. Still, I think I’m doing the smart thing by taking most of my series out of KU (I’m leaving the Paladins of Crystal books in there because KU is tailor-made for Why Choose readers). I’ve already seen a significant jump in wide sales of the Esposito County Shifters books and omnibus, better than they had been selling on Amazon, and I’m hoping that as I set the other novels wide I’ll see improved sales on all those as well. Maybe not enough to offset the KU income loss, but hey, that’s what Vella, audiobooks, and selling print books from my website are for, right?


This Is Why I’m Not an Editor

Still working on Shadow in Vellum to get it ready for wide release, and the focus it requires to pay attention to each line and not just skim is challenging. It does not help that the Orange Lump has decided to plant his butt outside my office door and meow mournfully until I find out what’s wrong (in this case his kibble bowl was empty. I ask you). I’m also still finding the occasional spelling or grammar goof, arrgh, so at least those will be cleaned up.

After that, I have to work on Crimson, and after that I have to prep the Olympic Cove and Two Thrones novels for wide release because they all leave KU tomorrow. Plus I still need to work on Crystal Blade, get started on recording audiobooks, and write something for my future Patreon. Did I mention the custom jewelry commissions or the cover art commission?

I totaled it up a few days ago—I am, in effect, running not one, not two, but three small businesses (the jewelry/quilting/whatever sideline and the cover art gigs count as businesses) in addition to being an indie author, plus I’m taking care of a house, four cats, and a husband. I mean, no wonder I’m exhausted.

On the plus side I’ve made enough from my assorted income streams so far to cover 1/3 of the HVAC repairs, which is nice. If I can get the bulk of it covered before June 9th I shall be be well and truly pleased with myself.

It’s Wednesday. You Know What That Means

Crystal Blade Episode 18: That Escalated Quickly is now available at Vella. Help a writer out and read the story, okay?

In other news I’m busily plowing through Shadow of the Swan in Vellum to make sure the formatting is accurate, and I have to admit that this story holds up well. I probably went a little overboard writing in a Victorian style but it’s still fun and engaging, and The Crimson and the Black is a pure romp. When I get around to working on To Love a Wild Swan I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with Louisa’s cousin Nessa and her unwilling Seelie Sidhe fiancé. I’m still toying with the idea of giving him a boyfriend who also takes a fancy to Nessa, but I’m not sure how that would fly with readers of this series.

Then again, Fyodora is pan and there was a FF love scene in Crimson, there are gay and lesbian couples in the supporting characters, and nobody’s complained about that. I think it might be fun for Nessa to join an icily handsome Fae and a (literally) hot djinn in a menage.

The Hidden Empire Titles Leave KU This Week

This includes Shadow of the Swan, The Crimson and the Black, and “A Gentle Fall of Snow,” which means I have to put them into Vellum, go over them one last time because the formatting from a Word doc to Vellum does not always transfer perfectly, then upload them to Smashwords/D2D and Google Play.

I already know that my writing income is going to go down for the next few months as a result, but ultimately I think this is the best, smartest thing I can do for myself and my career. Putting all my eggs in KU’s basket might have been profitable for awhile, but that isn’t the case any longer and I really don’t like the idea of waking up one morning to find that my account has been frozen because the ‘Zon found one of my titles pirated and that technically goes against their exclusivity rules. I’ll just have to nail my butt to the chair, get Crystal Blade finished and out there, and get to work on High Tide and Hurricane Warning, simple as that.

And if I can somehow squeeze out a couple of audiobooks and get the damned Patreon started, that would be lovely. Lord, I need clones…

I Do Love a Productive Monday

  • Got Crystal Blade Episode 17: Loose Lips Sink Ships up at Vella
  • Finished editing Blade Episodes 21 and 22
  • Got them saved on Vella so I have a full two weeks’ worth of episodes to post every M-W-F
  • Started working on Blade Episode 23 and got a goodly chunk of it done
  • Did a very necessary food shop
  • Swept and vacuumed the downstairs
  • Finished shaping a double gallery setting—next up is building V-shaped prongs and attaching those and a bail
  • Made dinner
  • Updated both blogs (sorry about the delay with this one’s posts)

All in all, I feel like I successfully adulted today.

Don’t Do This

Bench injury story—feel free to skip if injuries squick you.

So I was sawing some swirls out of a sterling silver spoon today (really ornate silver spoons are 1) surprisingly cheap and 2) great sources for decorative bits that I can use on jewelry) and the saw blade broke.

Now, this happens regularly—jeweler’s saw blades are very fine, less than a millimeter wide and a tiny fraction of that in depth. Unfortunately, this time the blade broke while I was bringing the saw down and I drove the upper blade fragment through the nail on my left middle finger, right next to the cuticle. Ow.

Since I’ve injured myself at the bench before I knew what to do. I squeezed the fingertip gently to get the wound bleeding freely (this helps flush out anything that might have been driven into the nail bed), washed it thoroughly, put on some of the good antibiotic ointment I got last year at the hospital, and bandaged it. It’s making typing a bit of a challenge but I think it should be okay—none of the saw blade got left in the wound. If it swells or turns funny colors I’ll head into the doctor and get them to look at it.

And yes, I had a tetanus shot five years ago so I’m good on that. I was talking about it with Lyndon later on and he said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but to be honest I’m surprised you don’t have more injuries from making jewelry.” It helps that I’m careful and precise, but sometimes things slip and you wind up slicing open a thumb or stabbing a nail. *shrugs* It happens.

So I Have a Cover

*rubs face* I didn’t mean to do this, I really didn’t. But I’d finished all the chores for the day, made word count on Crystal Blade, and it was way too hot and humid to work on jewelry in the garage. With extra time on my hands, I thought, “Hmm … how hard would it be to make a Regency romance cover?”

Not hard at all, as it turns out. And the nice thing about this is, I don’t have to hew to the saturated colors requirement of Regency romance covers because I’m not publishing this one. It’s still pretty (and the more muted color tone is a visual callback to the mid-forties ages of the protagonists), it makes it very clear what the genre is (well, one of the genres, anyway), and now that it’s done I don’t have to worry about it. It’ll be ready once the story is done in a couple of months.

And, um, I also may have cranked out about 3K worth of outline. Hey, I already have the outline for High Tide done, so don’t @ me.

Nobody Ever Tells You How Much Paperwork There Is In Indie Publishing

Crystal Blade Episode 16: Children Are Our Most Valuable Resource is now available at Vella. Because maybe you’re not going out tonight and need something to read, I dunno.

I am also delighted to announce that people are starting to pay for Crystal Blade eps and not just read them using their free tokens, so I’ve got that going for me. Now if I could just rustle up some contract work and send Ramón home for two weeks things would be magic.

In other news I’ve got a weekend full of business work ahead of me (I need to start a business PayPal account so that I can sell books and jewelry through the website, start reading Zoe York’s books on the business side of indie romance publishing, update all of my income/expenses spreadsheets, and tweak my Amazon ads), plus I really need to do a big stock-up shop and give the bathrooms a deep clean.

I keep thinking that eventually I’ll have a weekend where I can just relax, read, watch TV, that sort of thing. I still remember a Sunday many years ago when the house was clean, I’d gotten all of my tasks done for the week, I didn’t have any jewelry projects on the go, and I spent the afternoon on the couch reading. It was freaking magical. I would like to experience that again.

Ever Wonder What $650 Worth of Handmade Sterling Jewelry Looks Like?

Now you know. I already sold the amethyst earrings and fossilized coral pendant so I’ll list everything that’s still available on my Belaurient Arts page. Once I have PayPal buttons I’ll add them, but in the meantime if you see something you like drop me an email and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice.

Mind you, at least four of those pendants are at least three years old (why they didn’t sell, I have no idea) and I redid the larimar pendant because it just wasn’t selling in its old setting. But I have hopes that many of these will sell in the next month or so and help me defray the costs of the HVAC repair. Not that I’m hinting or anything.

I also blocked out Act III of Crystal Blade while I was in the garage tonight so I have that going for me. Yes, I have an outline but it’s bare bones, just an indication of what should happen in each chapter. But now I have some scenes hammered out in my head, as well as a bunch of dialogue, and it was fun working out the big duel scene that serves as the climax. Well, come on, with a title like Crystal Blade and my history with the SFWA Musketeers (oh, wait, you probably didn’t know about that. Yeah, I fence along with all of my other activities), I had to put a sword fighting scene in the book. I do love swashbuckling, after all.

The Writer At Work In the Garage

Crystal Blade Episode 15: A Ball Is an Excellent Way To Make New Friends is now available at Vella. Go check it out.

As you know, Bob, when I’m not slaving over a hot computer during the day I’m usually out in the garage making jewelry, and I’m currently working on an exceptionally fun custom order. It’s a sterling pendant setting that will hold a large marquise cut (oval with pointed ends) rutilated quartz that’s been faceted. I get to use prongs for it and make my own double gallery setting with V-shaped prongs on each end to hold the points securely. It’s complex but the result should be gorgeous, plus this is excellent practice for me in using prong settings.

Which leads me to say that I would cheerfully shank someone for a real jeweler’s bench right now with the cutout and catch drawer because man, I am tired of dropping teeny things on the floor (like, oh, the bur container that came apart while I was bringing it down from a shelf and scattered the burs all over the floor. I still can’t find two of them and my curses are still ringing in Plano). Dropping things, BTW, is a regular occurrence in every silversmith’s life, which is why the cutout and the catch drawer/sling were developed in the first place. But my bench is a regular workbench from Harbor Freight with a particleboard top screwed into a metal frame so I can’t even make a cutout myself.

Oh, well. I can dream. And keep an eye on local sales groups to see if I can pick up a used one. In case anyone wants to buy me an early birthday present, this bench would be ideal. And in the meantime I’ll keep plugging away on my Harbor Freight table (and keep looking for those last two burs, goddammit…).