Category Archives: High Tide

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.

Parsing Reviews

Crystal Blade Episode 13: Question Authority is now available at Vella. Go do the thing.

So let’s talk about reviews. Unlike a lot of writers, I do read my reviews (mainly because I have to post links to a review on the relevant book’s page here). I try not to let the bad ones bother me because everyone is entitled to their opinion and my stuff isn’t going to appeal to everyone. More importantly, over the years I’ve gotten a fairly good handle on how to parse them.

Like in the case of Shifter Woods: Claw. So far it’s gotten three four-star reviews. All of the reviewers liked the story, they didn’t have anything negative to say about it, which *phew.* But the fact that the last and longest entry in the Esposito County Shifters series has only been getting four stars instead of five tells me that I screwed up somewhere.

And I think I know what I did wrong. The original plot of Claw was for the FMC Angela to have no idea what shifters were and to find out to her shock that she was half-shifter when she wound up in Esposito County. But when I was working on the outline I realized I would have to spend a lot of time on her coming to grips with her ancestry and learning about shifter culture for the story to make sense. There was no way I could cram all of that AND a romance into a novella. And the whole point of the Shifter Woods novellas was that they were novellas, meant to be read in an afternoon.

So I pivoted. Angela now knew about her shifter heritage but for Reasons™ had never shifter or interacted with other shifters. And even then I had to skip over a whole two weeks of activity in order to keep the story novella-length.

That … was a mistake. I should have just let the story be as long as it needed to be, cover the events of the intervening two weeks, and give it a richer, fuller feel (in my head there were coffee dates with the MMC Matt’s beta, there were goofy but sweet little interludes with Matt, and Angela coming to terms with her mother’s decision to eschew shifter culture). Even with my edits I missed the novella cutoff and turned Claw into a (very, very short) novel at 42,000 words; in hindsight it really should have been around 60K at the least. But I needed to get it out ASAP so I bit the bullet, and I think that’s why it’s only getting four stars instead of five.

The nice thing about being an indie author is that I can revisit this story at some point and add in those missing two weeks. Not now, mind you—I have to finish Crystal Blade and get to work on High Tide/Hurricane Warning (looking at you, Susan). But if I can carve out some time late in the year, I will see about revisiting Claw and expanding it the way it deserves.

The State of the Writer, May 2023 Edition

Crystal Blade Episode 12: On Wednesdays We Wear Pink is live over at Kindle Vella. And may I say that it was fun writing an Uskelan episode of Mean Girls.

In other writing news I’m getting close to the end of Crystal Blade, which is nice because I am genuinely itching to get to work on High Tide (Olympic Cove 5) and To Love a Wild Swan (Hidden Empire 3). Remember, the goal for 2023 is to finish the Olympic Cove series and it’s already May so I really need to get stepping on High Tide and Hurricane Warning. Also, when I’m finished with Blade I’ll upload all of the episodes in a swath so that people can read them for a month while I’m prepping it for publication. Because I’m nice like that.

I’m also plugging along on Goddess of the Nile, the Hidden Empire novella that will only be available to newsletter subscribers. Considering that it follows the adventures of both Louisa and Henry AND Fyodora and Callum as they try to reunite a reincarnated warrior with his water goddess love while in Cairo, I’m hoping that it will prove enticing enough to get more people to sign up to my newsletter. We’ll see.

As if that wasn’t enough to have me running around like a headless chicken, I also need to get started on some short stories if I ever want my Patreon to get off the damned ground. I have *counts* four series going at the moment so you would think I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to short story plots. I could write about a day in the life of a queen trying to juggle ruling, her new twins, and her loving husband, I could do a prequel story for Fyodora (God knows she’s had enough erotic adventures over the centuries), and I could write about any of the groups on Olympic Cove. I’ve already done a Paladins of Crystal novella for Paladins of Crystal and am working on a separate PC academy romance for Vella, but I’m sure I could come up with a prequel story about Crystal’s life back in Towanda or one of the Buff Lords and how they got chosen to be a royal paladin.

All I need is time. That’s turning into a common theme with me, isn’t it?

Relieved That It’s April

That is a March that I am particularly glad to see the back of, if I’m being honest. This month will be filled with getting my car’s registration renewed, continuing my plan to get this house deep cleaned bit by bit, finish Crystal Blade and get that published, and start on To Love a Wild Swan and the Hidden Empire novella (after a nice chat with Ramón I now have a plot).

Yeah, I know, I promised that I would finish the Olympic Cove series this year, and I will. But Hidden Empire is currently my bestselling series so I have to go with the money and add a book to it. I’ll keep picking at High Tide while I’m working on TLaWS and pivot to that once I’m done.

In the meantime I need to update my ads on Amazon because my KU reads are slowing down painfully and launch an FB ad for Esposito County Shifters: OE in the hopes that more people will buy it on non-Zon platforms. I’ve already sold a copy on Apple Books as well as copies of all the novellas and I would very much like to transfer that kind of selling action to B&N/Kobo/Google Play/et al.

Getting a Grip on Things

So yesterday I outlined what I need to change in the first five chapters of Shifter Woods: Claw and implemented the Chapter One changes. Ideally I’ll get the other four chapters updated today, then proceed to finish the last five chapters, edit everything, and release this mother and the ECS omnibus.

Which will be 1) a frigging relief and 2) my first completed series. Apparently a LOT of romance readers don’t want to start a series unless it’s completed so I’m hoping that the omnibus will bring in additional sales, not to mention attention to my other paranormal romances. I also need to plan how I want to promote the omnibus—I think I’m going to go with FB ads for it since I’m already promoting Shifter Woods: Howl in AMS. I’ll be taking the Facebook Ads Expedition class with Mark Dawson next week so hopefully I’ll pick up some instruction on how to make my FB ads more effective.

Once Claw is done, it’s time to go back to Crystal Blade and get that puppy finished and out by the end of January, then I’ll be double-teaming Crystal Reflection and High Tide (Olympic Cove 5). One way or the other, I am getting up to twenty full-length books published by the end of this year. Who needs sleep, right?