Category Archives: Books

I Am the Queen of Organization

I was serious when I said I’m going to start thinking like the small business owner I am.

I already have spreadsheets for my income and expenses so I just have to update those tomorrow with the month’s numbers. But I now also have three separate punch lists in Excel—one for Belaurient Arts, one for Belaurient Press, and one for general Belaurient business, all items with Due By dates and switches to indicate whether or not they’re done (and if not, what has to be done to get them finished. Because sometimes Stuff Happens™).

In addition to the punch lists I have a schedule for formatting books and setting them wide, and once that’s all done by the middle of June I’ll haul my recording equipment into the master bathroom closet and start recording audiobooks (yes, you’re finally getting audiobooks from me. I figure I did a podcast for years, did voiceovers for various training projects, and according to people who have listened to me at cons I give good reading so I may as well do them myself).

As for today, I formatted Storm Season, put it wide, and got started on formatting Breaker Zone (why oh why was I using such huge chapters back then? It is a puzzlement) before I had to run out and pick up some stuff, then make dinner. Once I post this I’m going back upstairs to knock out Friday’s episode of Crystal Blade for Vella, then at 11:30 PM I’ll publish tomorrow’s episode.

And I dunno if this mindset is impressing people, or I’m being rewarded by the universe, or what, but I have sold ten books just on Amazon in the last week. Since my series are no longer in KU and actual sales are the only way I’m making money on the ‘Zon, this is cheering.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Belaurient Press

Crystal Blade Episode 23: Surprise, Surprise, Surprise is live at Vella. You know the drill.

I got my proof copy of Melanie’s short story collection Random Realities today (the print version really did turn out beautifully), and I noticed the colophon on the spine. That’s when I realized—I never explained how Belaurient Press got its name, did I?

Story time—back in college I used to play D&D occasionally, and one time I was working on creating a magic user character. I noodled around with some names and finally came up with Bel’orient (it was the mid-80’s, I apologize, I know better now).

One of my fellow gamers who was clearly ahead of his time suggested that I get rid of the apostrophe and change the name’s spelling. Thanks to the beauty of homophones, I adjusted it to Belaurient and thought, “Ooh, yes. I like that. My character’s name is Belaurient.”

She died in the next game. Fast forward to 2008 and I decided to set up an Etsy store to sell my jewelry and other wares. When it came time to name the store, Belaurient popped back into my head and I decided to go with Belaurient Arts.

Fast forward a little more to 2012 when I decided to bring out Random Realities and needed a name for my eensy publishing company that would produce the book. I figured, what the hell, I was a sole proprietor and could do what I liked, so I named the company Belaurient Press.

Of course, because I am a completist I needed a colophon (the little graphic that is the logo of the publishing house and is printed on the bottom of the spine) for Belaurient Press. I wanted something simple yet memorable, and after some noodling around in Illustrator I came up with the little juggler logo because 1) I am actually a juggler (learned it for a community theater production of Barnum), and running Belaurient Press requires a lot of juggling of assorted hats.

So that’s how my publishing company was named and its colophon came to be. Of course, once I start my LLC I’m going to have to come up with a name that encompasses both the jewelry company and the publishing company. Must think on that a bit more…

And Finished

All of the Melanie books have now been sent off to Smashwords and Google Play, so hopefully everything will be accepted at SW and sent off to Kobo/Apple/B&N later this week.

Which means I can return to Crystal Blade and get episodes 23 and 24 hammered out, edited, and uploaded to Vella for release on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. I also need to get on my stick and get the book finished ASAP because I no longer have a two week cache of episodes anymore and that makes me nervous.

I also really need to knuckle down and get the PayPal business account started this week so that I can add purchase buttons here. The thing that’s holding me back is that I would really like to have an EIN and a separate business bank account first, in order to keep the book money separate from my personal money. I’m just gonna have to get an EIN online, then go into my credit union and set up a new account. Ideally I would also prefer to have an LLC, but that will have to wait until I have enough money to file for one.

About That Side Quest

Episode 22: World’s Not Going to Save Itself is now live at Kindle Vella. Go check it out.

Okay, so, I have a new cover for Random Realities.

The problem with covering this collection is that it has SF, fantasy, one horror-adjacent story, and a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and that’s only the original ten stories. How the heck do you represent all those on one cover? Well, back in 2012 I went with a “girl blowing bubbles with the bubbles representing different realities” graphic for the old cover.

But my graphics skills have improved mightily in the last ten years, and the SF/fantasy antho market has also changed. Gotta keep up with the times, don’t you know? Plus the additional ten stories I’ve added to this collection includes a steampunk novelette, so that’s yet another genre to add to the cover.

Which is how I wound up with the image at left. What I especially like about this cover is that with all the cool stuff visible through the door (a steampunk balloon, a dragon, a space elevator, and something that looks a bit like a wormhole/event horizon/timegate), the girl and her teddy are still looking off to the right like something even better is over there.

I think it gives a sense of hope and optimism for the future. God knows we all need that right now. I’ve ordered a print proof, and if it looks as cool as I think it’s going to I’ll order copies to be sold from this website and at cons.

Still Formatting

Crystal Blade Episode 21: I Have to Find What Now? is live at Kindle Vella. Go forth, read, enjoy.

So, formatting. I’m done with Shadow of the Swan and The Crimson and the Black so both of those are now wide, along with the Hidden Empire short story A Gentle Fall of Snow. I’m going to do Stealing Dmitri next, then I’ll just have the Olympic Cove and Two Thrones books to get through. My brain is also getting very, very tired with all of this, and my heart goes out to people who do this for a living. It requires greater mental strength than I possess, I fear.

On the plus side, since I have to skim every book that gives me a chance to refresh my memory on the Olympic Cove book plots and make sure any loose ends are taken up in High Tide. Yes, the Mad Nereid will come steaming back into town and we’ll get a chance to see what she’s been doing with her enthralled millionaire (i.e. nothing good). And the menage in this book will include a merman, a human (well, kind of) and—ta da—a satyr, plus a deeper dive (hur hur) into mer culture and some biases they hold. Because I can’t just make things easy for myself and write about hot guys having sex—I have to add social issues to my romance.

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.