Category Archives: Shifter Woods: Growl
I May Have Scared Ramón
So I was checking my KDP dashboard this morning, as you do, and went to make sure that Shifter Woods: Growl was out of KU (today was the last day of its current cycle) and ready to be included in the ECS omnibus.
A horrified shriek rang through the house as I saw that the KU period had been renewed as of today and Growl wouldn’t be out of KU jail until May. See, I’m an idiot and didn’t uncheck the “automatically renew in KU” checkbox like I did with the other titles I’m putting wide because if you do that Amazon won’t promote the titles anymore in KU and I was hoping to get a few more page reads out of Growl before I set it wide. With visions of the omnibus being put off to May swirling in my head, I unchecked the box and closed the little pop-up, cursing to myself.
And then I thought, “Well, wait a minute. Today is the last day of the current cycle and I’ve opted out of the renewal. Check it again.” So I did and mirable dictu, it was no longer enrolled in KU.
I need a drink. And maybe a nap. And poor Ramón is still recovering from hearing me shriek. Bad Nicola, no new laptop.
Back to Reality
The goals for this week include the following:
- Get To My Muse reformatted and out to Smashwords and Google Play, hopefully to earn me some money because Mama needs some new things for her business
- Finish editing Shifter Woods: Claw and publish it (whether I stick with only Amazon/Not KU or set it wide will depend on whether Shifter Woods: Growl is out of KU by the time I’m ready to launch)
- Throw my hands in the air and put together the omnibus edition for Esposito County Shifters in Vellum, then get it ready to launch as soon as Growl is out of KU
- Continue working on Crystal Blade
- Start writing the Patreon short story for March (and prep everything I would need to launch my Patreon next week)
I also have to pay bills, cancel the cable, talk to T-Mobile and get our two cell phone accounts combined into one for their 55+ discount, and do a number of things around the house, but that’s a completely different blog post. One of these days I’m gonna make enough to be able to hire a virtual PA and oh, the hosannas will ring across the land then.
How Did It Get to Friday Already?
I swear to God, it feels like it was just Monday yesterday. And yes, I know this comes as wonderful news for a lot of people with weekday jobs and I’m happy for you, but damn.
And man, I have a busy weekend ahead—I need to:
- Set up my closet, pick up some Flonase and Vicks to dry up my constantly running nose and dental wax to fill in the little gap in my front teeth and take care of my faint lisp, and check that I have the right software so that I can start recording Shadow of the Swan for the audiobook
- Go over the AMS ads and prune out the non-successful ads
- Finish editing Shifter Woods: Claw and get that out to the editor and betas, as well as start putting together the omnibus edition
- Start work on the Patreon short story
That’s in addition to the usual housecleaning and food shopping tasks. Plus Ramón said there’s something causing the pool motor to vibrate badly and we may need to take down a fence panel to get to it (don’t ask). I also need to get out there and prune back all the dead lantana and hope like hell that the bulk of it recovers.
Mrrgh. I’m starting to see the appeal of having teenagers.
It Is Done
Welp, Shifter Woods: Claw technically turned out to be a novel as it clocks in at a touch over 42,000 words, but I declared it soup at 5:30 AM this morning (I’m backdating this post so that it’s dated as February 9, just in case anyone’s confused).
Claw is also quite a bit longer than I expected, but with the FMC having to discover her wolf shifter heritage I really needed more space for all that. I am going to let this simmer over the weekend while I work on Crystal Blade, give it another pass, then send it off to the editor and betas. While I’m doing that I’ll start work on the Esposito County Shifters omnibus edition cover (I can’t go with just a Photoshopped box set cover because this will be coming out in print), then once Shifter Woods: Growl comes out of KU I’ll publish all the individual novellas and the omnibus wide.
Why wide when I specifically went over to KU last year with the bulk of my titles and saw my income jump? Because more and more authors are getting their accounts yanked over KU titles that have been pirated (technically having a KU title on a pirate site violates Amazon rules because your KU title is supposed to be exclusive to Amazon. But Amazon is penalizing the wrong people over this, and nobody has time for that crap).
Also, people I trust in the indie publishing business are now recommending that indie authors go wide if possible because it’s looking more and more like KU’s days are numbered. I still have my Smashwords/D2D and Google Play accounts so taking the ECS titles wide will just mean a couple days’ work of creating or updating the non-Amazon versions before publishing them. Plus I keep hearing that there’s a rather tasty market for omnibus editions of a series on the non-Amazon platforms, so now that I’m about to possess an omnibus edition of a series I would like to take advantage of that.
Mind you, I’m not pulling everything out of KU. I’m still making money from page reads, especially on the Hidden Empire and Paladins of Crystal books, and I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot by taking those titles out of KU. But the ECS titles will be a good way of dipping my toe back into wide publishing and judging for myself if I want to move more titles (like To My Muse, which is a standalone) wide.
My Amazon KU sales are continuing to pick up, thank Cthulhu, so clearly I did the right thing by turning the automatic renewal back on for the bulk of my titles. Still, I’m going to be significantly short this month on expected income, which kind of blows because I would really like to take Ramón to Sarasota for a weekend sometime in April and I need sweet, sweet publishing income for that. Even if I published two new titles next month I wouldn’t see that money until the end of April so obviously I need to kickstart the Shopify store and start selling signed print versions of my books with swag.
I need minions, I really do. Or a PA, but I can’t afford one right now so it’s all on me.
In the meantime I’m thisclose to finishing Shifter Woods: Claw and will get that out before the end of the month, and as soon as Shifter Woods: Growl finishes out its KU period in February I’ll release the Esposito County Shifters box sex on all platforms with Howl, Snarl, Growl, Claw, and Roar. Which reminds me, I got a very nice 4 star review for Growl last week and the reviewer didn’t understand why different sites had different numbering schemes. I had to explain that I’m not J.R. Ward and can’t mix MF stories with MM stories in a series and get consistent read-through (seriously, the moment I took out Roar and made it an associated novella my sales increased. Go figure).
To which the reviewer said, “Well, just so you know, I’ll read all kinds of combinations in a series.” Which warms my heart.
I also just remembered that I have to start designing the ECS box set cover. Must take a look at other paranormal romance box sets and see what’s currently in vogue, tra la.
And that’s it for 2022
Looking back at the year, I didn’t get nearly all of the books I wanted written, mainly due to unexpectedly getting a Total Knee Replacement mid-year, but I did start a new series with Crystal Shard, I added The Crimson and the Black to the Hidden Empire series, I finally finished Shifter Woods: Growl, my Why Choose novella A Theory of Crystal appeared in the charity anthology F*ck the Patriarchy: Getting Smutty for a Cause, and I’m thisclose to finishing the unintended fifth novella in the Esposito County Shifters series, Shifter Woods: Claw. That’s two full-length books and three novellas in a year where I spent a good six weeks recovering from surgery so I ain’t complaining. I plan on releasing Claw on January 6, 2023, at which point I’ll also put together an omnibus edition of all the Esposito County Shifters novellas.
I’ve also made more from writing this year than I have since 2016, which goes to prove that moving the bulk of my romances into Kindle Unlimited was a good choice. Of course now there are rumors that KU is going bye-bye so I may be returning to wide distribution in the near future, who knows.
BTW, the knee is doing really, really well. It still amazes me to be able to walk without limping.
So, what else is ahead for 2023? Firstly, I need to finish the rest of the Paladins of Crystal series—Crystal Blade will be finished and released by the end of January and after that will be Crystal Reflection, Crystal Citadel, and Crystal Empress. I have also promised that the last two (and long-awaited) books in my Olympic Cove series, High Tide and Hurricane Warning, will be released.
That’s six books. I will try to finish two more—Mage of Fire (Book Five in the Two Thrones series) and To Love a Wild Swan (Book Three in the Hidden Empire series). I have these books roughed out in my head (I’ve been doing a LOT of quilting this month and that is a great opportunity for me to tell myself stories) and I’ll be transferring that info to outlines next week.
But wait—there’s more! After a certain amount of nudging from people I will be starting a Patreon next month. Along with character interviews, Why I Wrote This pieces, and sneak peeks at books in progress, one of the things that patrons can expect will be a monthly short story set in one of my universes that will be exclusive to Patreon for the calendar year. No one will be able to read this story anywhere else, and at the end of the year I’ll publish all of the stories in a collection and dedicate it to my patrons. I’m also coming up with other bennies—there will definitely be levels for getting my new releases in ebook format, print format, and special hardcover format that come in book boxes with swag. Because I’m extra like that.
In closing, I hope you all have a safe, sane New Year’s Eve, and I look forward to entertaining you in 2023.
So Shifter Woods: Growl is out today and I made Shifter Woods: Howl free today to encourage read-through of the series. Growl was originally going to be Book 4, but I am not J.R. Ward and cannot combine MF and MM stories in the same series, apparently, so I wound up making Shifter Woods: Roar an associated novel.
Which leaves me on the horns of a dilemma. Since I moved Roar into the associated category I was musing about writing a fifth novella in the series and titling it Shifter Woods: Claw about Matt Parker, the wolf shifter Alpha for Esposito County and the head of Search and Rescue, who gets called out to investigate an abandoned car near MacComber and finds an female wolf shifter who can’t remember who she is or what she’s doing there. Of course hjinks ensue after that when Matt finds himself drawn to the beautiful female, only to find out that she’s brought trouble with her to Esposito County.
So I have a story. But for some reason this series just hasn’t sold very well, despite getting good reviews and brand-new, completely market-appropriate covers. I don’t know if the market is just saturated or my shifters aren’t feral enough for readers or what. So I’m wondering if I should just wrap it up as a trilogy plus associated novella and put it out as an omnibus. That way, I would actually have one completed series to my name and I wouldn’t have to worry about shoehorning Claw into the 2023 writing schedule.
I think I need to wait and see how well Growl does. If it sells briskly, I’ll write Claw and put off the omnibus until 2023. If it tanks, I’ll omnibus all four novellas and put it out sometime in December.
NaNoWriMo Day 14-23 (AKA I am a slacker)
Today’s Word Count: 440
Total Word Count: 36,505
Words to Go: 13,495
This is a tale of delayed gratification, long-held projects finally getting finished and started, and my NaNoWriMo word count.
So, first off—Vegas.
I didn’t go. That flight delay seems to have been divine intervention because by the time we were supposed to leave for the airport I felt dreadful and was hacking up a lung. Since I didn’t think any of the 20Booksto50K® attendees would appreciate me being there with some kind of respiratory infection I reluctantly stayed home. Felt fine by Wednesday, go figure.
Bally’s, by the way, was exceptionally kind about cancelling my room reservation so kudos to them. American … was a different story. We’ll leave it at that. And five days after 20Bt50K 2022 ended I’m hearing stories of a lot of people who came home with COVID and other respiratory junk (the hotel is renovating and tore up a lot of carpets which released all kind of schmutz into the air) so I’m going to think of my 3-day bug as a blessing in disguise.
But since I did have that weekend blocked off to write as well as attend a buttload of panels and learn lots of useful stuff, I finished Shifter Woods: Growl. Cue the triumphant march music. And yes, I know I was supposed to be working on Crystal Blade but this damned novella has been hanging over my head since 2018 and I just wanted it done and out the door. I decided to let it simmer over the weekend while I worked on Blade (and started sewing a quilt for one of my nieces who never got a baby quilt due to another project gumming up the production schedule), edit it Mon-Wed, send it off to the editor and the betas, finish the final polish on Monday and release it this upcoming Tuesday.
Silly me, I forgot that I’m not just a writer. I’m also a hospice nurse to an elderly, demented, and incontinent cat, not to mention the four other cats who also want my attention and a husband who would like to speak with me on occasion. So as of right now I’m halfway through Chapter Six of ten and have no idea if I’ll finish the editing tonight because I also have to make dinner, prep cucumber salad for tomorrow, prep the mountain of Brussels sprouts that will be divided between our dinner at my friend C’s and our mini T-Day dinner, and make the key lime pie that I wanted for dessert. And considering that I’d forgotten the light sour cream and sweetened condensed milk that I need for the pie and just braved the Thanksgiving Eve crowds at Walmart to pick it up, I’m gonna make the damned thing.
In between trying to figure out what JJ needs now, of course (bedding change? Fresh water? Treats?) and making my NaNo word count. Did I mention that I was also supposed to clean the front rooms so that we could put the tree up on Friday and finish fixing the slab of pavement in front of our house on Sunday? Ha. Hahahahahahaha…
People keep telling me that my list of chores exhausts them. I keep thinking, “Yeah, if I was really that busy I’d have 50 finished books, my house would be immaculate, and I’d be a size 2.”
I like it when months begin on a Monday—it feels orderly, somehow. And this is going to be a very busy first week of August pour moi.
1) I have to get ready for Armadillocon this weekend, which means researching the panels I’m on and making sure I have something intelligent to say on panel. It also means I need to get the car tuned up before Ramón and I drive down to Austin. (Don’t worry, our regular cat sitter will be staying here to wait on the J Crew hand and foot as always). I’ll be wearing my SF Writer hat this weekend and talking about TikTok, newsletters, and religion and nationalism in SFF.
2) I have to get Crystal Blade finished this week, and I’d really like to get Shifter Woods: Growl done and published to Amazon as well, seeing as it’s 75% done and I could get it wrapped up with a couple of good days.
3) I have to call up three companies and either cancel certain services or switch to a less expensive plan, plus I have to schedule the HVAC company to come back and install a float valve in the attic. So much fun.
4) I need to keep monitoring the currently running Amazon ads and add some more for the books that I didn’t get to last month. Seriously, I am so glad I took Bryan Cohen’s Author Ad Profit Challenge. It made a huge difference in my July sales, and I can’t wait to see how I do in August.