Archive | October 2017

Keeping readers in suspense

A diabolical six month experiment came to a close last week with several bangs from an antique cannon, hissing plasma bolts, assorted sonic booms, a few deaths, a hint of aliens, a murder solved, some HEA and a lot of very happy readers. Read on for background, links and info on what’s next.

I never expected to become a writer of serials – it seemed positively Dickensian. Then just before Christmas 2016, I wrote a scene set in a church on Christmas’ Eve’s eve. I had no intention of doing any more. The scene was in the world of my main Urban Fantasy series, Bite Back, and it referred to things that were going on in the series, but my purpose was simply (1) to give the people who follow me on Facebook and my blog a sort of Christmas present and (2) to experiment with writing styles.

I got a lot of requests to continue with the ‘story’, and after some thought, I realized that there was potential for a novella, based on some ideas I’d had visiting New York earlier that year. And so, over the next 3 months, I wrote and published the novella, Change of Regime , working entirely at weekends and keeping weekdays for progress with my main series.

Of course, no sooner had I finished than I got “what’s next?” messages. So, I put up a list of vague ideas for experiments and exercises in writing and the voting came down to ‘Science Fiction Adventure Romance’.

A couple of weeks later, I put up the first episode of ‘A Name Among The Stars’.

I set out to write a novel of approximate 100k words rather than a novella, to only work at weekends, to post an episode a week (~2 chapters, 3-4k words), and to use a style very different from my main series.

So, how to retain readers over a six month project?

Cliffhangers! Every episode has to leave the poor reader desperately wanting the next episode. See comment list below (thanks to all for their comments).

No! What a place to stop!!! I want more!
How does she get out of this?
OMG, the story is fantastic and I want MORE!
Your cliffhangers are becoming more and more diabolical.
Verbal conflict between Zara and Shohwa just right.
I await the next chapters with bated breath.
Way to keep the cliffhangers coming! I hate you!
Hard to know it’ll be another week before I can read on.
I enjoyed the tea ceremony. Very well done.
Better and better!
Gaaah! No, don’t stop there!
Really liking the fiesty heroine.
Can hardly wait for the next installment.
You have me hooked.
Wow, what a great beginning.
Evil author does NOT feel our pain.

And, worst of all, I stopped the episodes just as the denouement was beginning, and readers had to go and purchase the $2.99 novel on Amazon to complete the story.  A Name Among The Stars

My readers all hate me. 🙂

It’s been enormous fun (for me anyway), and the question has now come back…’what’s next?’

I think the next will be a short novel. I also think I’m better at action cliffhangers, so the genre will reflect that. I have an experimental piece started and I might as well go on with that. It’s Dark Urban Fantasy. I mean it.

Your heart will race.
You will experience shortness of breath.
You will not know who to trust.

Working title: The Hitchhiker.

For some technical reasons (better setup for serialization) and also greater potential readership, these episodes will be released on WattPad or Radish (or both) as well as here on my blog.

Make a comment below or email me using the contact email address on the blog here to ensure you’re on the list for an alert when I start this next project.

Work on Bian’s Tale book 1 and Bite Back book 6 continues.

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A Name Among The Stars

Well here it is. FINALLY.

{EDIT: some early problems with purchase link appear to have been fixed}

(FANFARE) A Name Among The Stars (FANFARE)

The weekend project! The little baby. All 107k words. The whole kaboodle on Amazon.

I’ve been ‘polishing’ this week, and could keep that up for another month or two, but the thought of all you folk clinging on by your fingertips has finally melted my heart. It was that, or I was starting to cry with laughter. Not quite sure which, but it was damp.

‘Polishing’ includes changing some names, making a little bit more foreshadowing etc.

Some polishing I was intending to do and didn’t. The style of the novel is quite stripped down compared to my usual work. Readers have commented on a lack of description of characters for instance. I had a look at putting those sort of descriptions in, and it just didn’t feel right. The weekend restriction (remember, apart from the last couple of weeks, nearly everything was written at the weekend) made for more ‘hurried’, sparse prose and descriptions felt out of place.

I haven’t had time to do all the clever marketing things like load a couple of episodes on Wattpad & Radish (serial-novels-R-us websites), so I’m relying on a big splash from my readers to draw the attention of the Sci Fi community. Needs to be a big splash, ‘cos it’s a big community.

Enough of me. Go and enjoy.

Then, please, review. 🙂

This link has refused to function 3 times so far!!!

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076WZBFVJ

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076WZBFVJ

Germany https://www.amazon.de/dp/B076WZBFVJ

Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 23

Zara! Oh, my goodness, you’re just carrying on like this just to scare us. BUCKLE UP!

Good News… I have ‘finished’. Okay, not quite such good news, I have to go back and fill in bits and fix bits and correct bits and submit it to the demon editor.

Some of the fixes are small, but crop up in lots of places. For instance, name changes:

I always hated ‘Amethys‘ as a name for the planet. It is now Kernow.
Director ‘Rhom‘ is too close to ‘Rhos’. He’s now Director Zabo.
The ‘conspiracy’ needs a name, it is now the Hajnal political movement. (It means ‘Dawn’ in Hungarian)
Welarvon is actually Welarvor.

You may start to see these as we progress. They will definitely be in the final version.

I think the only way to fit to my originally proposed schedule is to publish on the 28th October. (That happens to be when the German version of Angel Stakes is published as well). That means it is very likely that the full editing job will not have been done, and there may be some embarassing grammatical or punctuation errors. Ah well. If this is the way we go, then we have this episode and *maybe* next Friday, but also maybe you open the episode on Friday 27th and it says ‘ha ha, go buy it on Amazon for $2.99’. In any event, the weekly episodes will stop and it will be available on Amazon (and Kobo, if I can get back in there).

Enjoy.

+ + + + +

I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076WZBFVJ

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076WZBFVJ

Germany https://www.amazon.de/dp/B076WZBFVJ

When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.

 

Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 22

Zara! Oh, no! Surely there’s some mistake?

The conspiracy unfolds its web and we begin to see how close they are. What can Zara do?

3k words in this episode, and 80k words in total so far.

SCHEDULE

I have sprinted forward on the writing, and I am now several cliffhangers ahead of where you are, and closing in on the grand finale. HOWEVER… my editor is unable to edit until the end of October. I think this means you’ll get 3 more episodes and then the completed book will go up on Amazon on the 4th November. I will confirm.

 

+ + + + +

I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076WZBFVJ

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076WZBFVJ

Germany https://www.amazon.de/dp/B076WZBFVJ

When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.

Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 21

Episode 21! 5k more words.

The episode goes up a bit early today. I am being allowed out to go and see the new Bladerunner in London tonight. Woo hoo.

What’s to report? This last week, I put Bian’s Tale on hold to concentrate on Zara. The result is I’m well ahead on the writing now, two complete episodes in front and the draft to the end is forming well. I aim to get the complete first draft to my editor by the middle of the month.

The cover is progressing well, and Tiziana and I will discuss the palette today. I’ll show you as soon as I have the final.

The reaction from posting the first page of the story on Louise Wise’s blog was good, and there were more visitors. I haven’t had time to put the episodes on Wattpad and Radish at the moment (both websites set up for serialised novels). Never enough time!

Hope you enjoy it as we enter the final stretch for A Name Among The Stars. I think those calling for more Sci Fi elements will now feel they’re getting them!

As ever, comments, criticisms… all welcome, especially from the new readers…

+ + + + +

 

I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076WZBFVJ

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076WZBFVJ

Germany https://www.amazon.de/dp/B076WZBFVJ

When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.