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New serial news…

What’s Up?

Getting the newsletter off today, I had to fill in some background on the Among the Stars books. It’s five years since ‘A Name Among the Stars’ was written! Some of you may remember that it was written here on WordPress, a chapter or two every weekend. And I often left you on a cliffhanger, because I’m mean like that.

Okay, so that may be the way I progress on my side projects, as I said earlier this year.

My number 1 priority is Bite Back 8, which is proving very difficult to progress. I have written a lot, but it doesn’t hang together yet.

My side projects will be split between Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy. I’ll be going back to writing a chapter or two at a time, rather than complete episodes as I have done up to now on The Long Way Home. These will appear here. I’ll also do ‘catch-ups’/’story so far’ on BookFunnel. All of that, but slower. I can’t put out the equivalent of a short story in a side project every month.

I’ll flit between one story and another.

First up…
Most of you will have read my Among the Stars series. There are only two books at the moment, ‘A Name Among the Stars’ and ‘A Threat Among the Stars’, both of which were written as serials. Book number 3, ‘A Ship Among the Stars’, will be next. It will have mutiple points of view, like book 2, and you can only get the first full episode in an anthology which is due out on Monday 19th.

The anthology is called The Expanding Universe #8, and my story in it is called ‘To Catch a Thief’.

“Stranded on an icy moon in the remote and lawless Frontier, merchanter Sam must sup with the devil to get her spaceship repaired, and she’s all out of long spoons.”

Here are the links
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B9SW1X7S/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B9SW1X7S/

As in ‘A Threat Among the Stars’, the opening chapters are seen from alternate points of view, not the main character Zara’s PoV. In ‘To Catch a Thief’, you’ll meet Sam, solo merchanter and sometime conwoman, in a deadly dangerous situation. This is the serial I’ll be releasing a chapter at a time, starting next month. It will concentrate on Sam and will only make sense if you read the first episode from the anthology.

In the same way, although ‘To Catch a Thief’ stands alone, book 3 as a whole will only make sense if you’ve read books 1 and 2. If you haven’t read the Among the Stars series, and want to see if you’d like it, I’m dropping the price of ‘A Name Among the Stars’ to 99p this week only (19th-25th September).

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

Second up…
I’ll be producing book 4 for The Long Way Home in the same chapter by chapter format. For those of you that find this is torture, all I can say is that I’ll probably finish the book and release it well before the completion of the serial installments! If you want to read it in sections, sign up for the newsletter and watch out for the link to BookFunnel.

Book 4 should get Jan and Bjorn to Earth.

Third up…
I will return to Stand Up. It needs a thorough rework, and again will be released a chapter or so at a time. For those who didn’t catch the earlier version, this is an Athanate romance set in New York shortly after the events of ‘Change of Regime’. It’s stand alone, but it would undoubtedly help if you read ‘Change of Regime’ first.

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711ML84S/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0711ML84S/

What do I have in my to-do list?

Bite Back 8 & 9 (and possibly 10)
Bian’s Tale 2-6
Among the Stars 3 & 4
The Long Way Home 4, 5 & 6.

And a host of others! Some of the other projects I’ve mentioned before, like a Steampunk Fantasy set in South Africa, the dragon rider after the age of dragons has passed, the space marine recruit escaping ‘justice’ on her terrible homeworld, the monster that walks the Canadian highways, the college wizard just trying to get his degree, the rogue detective and the serial killer, an Amber novella of a daring rescue, Heartbeat (SF), Marionette (thriller set in France)…

What dictates the priorities?

Success, basically. A book in the Bite Back series is pretty much guaranteed to make twice what a book in the Among The Stars series makes. It’s too early to tell where The Long Way Home will come in overall. I can say the launch of books 1-3 was successful, without it being the sort of response that would change my priorities.

Other news

I’m having the Bite Back series translated into Spanish. I’ll report how that goes. It’s a bit of a gamble, but the Spanish-speaking market is growing, and I feel lucky.

TLWH books on Amazon

I have loaded onto Amazon: The Dark Takes Fools (available now), Out of the Dark (pre-order now, release on Aug 1st), Born in Fire (pre-order now, release on Sep 1st).

LINKS FOR THE LONG WAY HOME:
Book 1, The Dark Takes Fools : http://mybook.to/TLWH1-TDTF
Book 2, Out of the Dark : http://mybook.to/TLWH2-OOTD
Book 3, Born in Fire : http://mybook.to/TLWH3-BIF

I’m writing Bite Back 8 at the moment.

Newsletter news and brief update

Hello! Long time, no post!

My efforts these days are going more toward writing the books and newsletters. Today’s blog post is mainly about newsletters.

First off, where am I with writing? I’m 20 chapters into Bite Back 7, Queen of Diamonds, and I was expecting this to be about 70 chapters. Having said that, I’m spending a lot more chapters on the early part of the book, without actually seeing any of the later chapters reduced. Maybe this will be one of the longer books. Hopefully I should finish the draft by the end of summer.

Concentrating on Bite Back 7 means that Bian’s Tale 2 and Among the Stars 3 are both started but on hold.

That’s my weekday writing. As many of you will know, I try and do something very different at weekends (no, I don’t write every day, but most days). I’m back doing something that I did on this blog site a couple of years ago, when I write Among the Stars books 1 and 2 – I’m writing a serial.

It’s another Science Fiction, in the same universe as Among the Stars, but centuries earlier. It’s called The Long Way Home. I will be publishing it in episodes of about 10k words on a monthly basis. I’ll be publishing it as a newsletter.

Episode 1 is available as the opening story in an anthology called The Great Beyond, available for 99c/99p at the moment. To continue reading The Long Way Home, you’ll need to join my newsletter, and new episodes will be released each month, starting with July (this one!). Episodes will be free.

Links below.

What’s it about?

“Their war has just ended. Their struggles have just begun.

Janice Skelling and Bjorn Thorsson are desperate to get back from the war with the technology that will mean the difference between life and death for their remote home planet, out in Frontier space. But nothing is easy. They have to overcome betrayals, corruption, greed… and pirates, on The Long Way Home.

Two easy steps to get on board:

1. Buy The Great Beyond anthology ($0.99/£0.99) to get episode 1.

smarturl.it/greatbeyond

2. Sign up for the newsletter and get free monthly episodes.

https://mailchi.mp/27afed3e7c0c/mark-henwick-scifi-newsletter-signup

BONUS STEP! Get a free 1 hr audio. Jessica Henwick, star of Iron Fist & Matrix 4, narrates The Long Way Home, Episode 1!

bit.ly/thelongwayhomeaudio

I hope you enjoy it!

And reviews. Reviews on any of my books. Reviews are lifeblood for writers. Reviews please, readers. 🙂

Thank you!

Update and Angel Stakes cover reveal

The first featured image is Andrew discussing handling weapons with Maria at White Box Studio.

 

Inside Straight

I’ve completed my major edit pass and the text has gone to Lauren for the final checks on spelling and grammar. The book will be published on the 31st October, and I’ll put it up for pre-orders a week or so before. I’ll make sure you know it’s up on Amazon. 🙂

Relaunch of series

The pre-order of Inside Straight will be combined with a relaunch of the whole series with new covers. That means I have to reformat all the print books (previously printed by CreateSpace), change the audio covers, sharpen up the blurbs, and insert a brief (!) summary of previous books and cast list into books 2 – 6. I am so looking forward to that. Lol.

At the same time I’ll start releasing ‘bundles’. The first will be books 1-3 combined into one eBook, and sold at a discount. This is to capture those readers for whom one book at a time is not enough. Yes, this is a thing, and quite a large thing apparently. The second bundle of books 4-6 should go up sometime in December. These bundles will require their own eBook covers, which I will reveal here on the blog.

The relaunch will combine the new covers and bundles with an advertising campaign.

When I first published on Amazon, the only marketing tools under my control were covers, blurbs, newsletters, Bookbub (and similar), reviewers etc. With the possible exception of Bookbub, these tools have less and less direct, primary effect. Why? Because Amazon has changed. They used to have fairly neutral ranking and promotional algorithms. If you sold, and got good reviews, your ranking went up in a straightforward manner, and they promoted you in their newsletters. Now, to get the same effect, you have to reinvest part of your sales in the Amazon advertising machine. That’s what I’ll be doing, to the tune of approximately 20% of my target income. Gulp.

(This is not to say that reviews no longer work. I’m still very keen on reviews. Just a few words if you haven’t already. Please. 🙂 )

I may also try Bookbub and similar newsletters as well. And I’m considering building my own newsletter too. I have a current mailing list, but that is *strictly* for new book releases. The general newsletter will (among other things) explore the lore of the Athanate/Were/Adept world, especially those parts that don’t quite make it into the books. I may write some short stories which would go out in the newsletters.

Merchandise

I hear you. I’ll have some T shirts, coasters and stuff made from these covers and some photos that don’t make the covers. I have no schedule yet.  🙂

Angel Stakes cover

Books 1-4 have concentrated appropriately on Amber with weapons – the handgun, submachine gun and the shotgun. These demanded action poses to convey the best impact. However, although Amber uses weapons in Angel Stakes, there’s a different feel to the book. Amber rights old wrongs. Amber stalks her enemy almost as a personification of justice. The second werewolf ritual takes place in this book as well, and whereas Amber can almost convince herself that the first halfy ritual down in New Mexico (end of Cool Hand) was a fluke, the evidence that it’s an ability she has becomes overwhelming in Angel Stakes.

So I wanted something less to do with physical weapons, but more to do with a rather spooky, witchy Amber coming to get you.

I think Andrew and Maria hit this brief out of the park. What do you think?

Print book image

And the eBook cover

Bite Back 6 teaser chapter 2

Here’s chapter 2 of Inside Straight.

I’m NOT intending to publish this book all on the blog, and it’s structured as a novel rather than episode-ending-on-cliffhanger, so you should regard these chapters as teasers. It’s just intended to keep the blog ticking over with a chapter a month, and I sincerely hope to be publishing before we even get to the quarter point.

You will note in these chapters that there are references to what happened in the novellas: The Biting Cold, Winter’s Kiss and also Change of Regime. These novellas are part of the overall Bite Back story from different viewpoints and take place chronologically at the end of Angel Stakes and beginning of Inside Straight. TBC and WK are set in Michigan, CoR is set in New York.

What else?

As I’ve posted on Facebook, the publication of A Threat Among the Stars has been a disaster, for whatever reason. I’ve relied too much on word of mouth perhaps, and I need to get much more serious about advertising on Amazon, Facebook, Bookbub etc.

Anyway, first priority is to get Inside Straight completed.

Chapter 1 is at

https://henwick.wordpress.com/2018/12/24/christmas-wishes-and-bite-back-6-teaser-chapter/

Due to Amazon rules, the teasers have to be removed once the book is up.
Inside Straight is available on https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZJK9H4B/

 

 

 

A Name Among the Stars on Wiki!

This arrived out of the blue, just as the sequel, A Threat Among the Stars, hit the stands.

It’s a list of 10 selected Speculative Fiction books, each with a twist of mystery included in the plotline.

I enjoyed reading the list (and adding the others to my tbr), and I enjoyed a synthesized voice actually getting the pronunciation of my name correct (HEN-ick, not Hen-WICK)! The voice had a little more trouble with Zara’s surname, Aguirre.

Have a look at their list – as I say, they’re all on my tbr now.

https://wiki.ezvid.com/m/10-sci-fi-and-fantasy-books-with-a-twist-of-mystery-rLVhdS-bSUid0

 

 

Bian’s Tale book 1 released

And here’s the problem with using WordPress as a medium for telling a book in episodes – I can’t make the blog ‘threaded’. So, when I have an announcement like this, it sits in the middle of the current episodes for A Threat Among the Stars.

Anyway – here’s the link for A Harvest of Lies – Bian’s Tale book 1:

<<https://www.amazon.com/Harvest-Lies-Athanate-Nineteenth-Century-ebook/dp/B07DBPK2B6/>&gt;

 

 

New serial story begins!

Ha! The time to write has rushed upon me. I said I wanted to write something completely different. The result of feedback was fairly strongly in favor of SciFi Romance. Love in Space. Romance Among the Stars. Whatever.

I have no idea yet what it will be called. A Name Among the Stars? Dunno. When I publish, I may use a pen name. It’s fairly normal when changing genres for writers to do that. It would lose me some cross-over… so I’m still thinking.

Kissy-kissy… No, not really. This is a romance, but it’s in an adventure setting. You know I make my heroines suffer, so welcome to Zara, the lass I’m throwing into the deep end.

I started this last night after dinner, and wrote about another 3 hours today. I was really trying out the style and getting a feel for Zara, so that’s the sort of feedback I need. Can you see her? Do you feel that connection? For some reason I’m writing in the present tense again. It just felt appropriate.

This will be longer than Change of Regime, so I will try, as part of my writing development skills programme, to write a couple of chapters at a time. Again, all in development time.

Acknowledgment to Nick Foreman for the SciFi art.

Comments, feedback, opinions…all welcome.

++++++

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.

Update and progress

Change of Regime

The serialised story that appeared here on the blog is now available as a novella on Amazon. It’s edited, and there’s also an additional chapter, an epilogue, which didn’t appear on the blog. It’s 25k words long.

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711ML84S/

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0711ML84S/

The appearance of this novella and also the fact that Bian’s Tale is my priority at the moment has prompted several people to contact me asking why Bite Back 6 is not my priority project. I’ll take the opportunity to answer that here.

Firstly, Change of Regime didn’t actually take any time from my writing schedule. It was conceived, planned, plotted, written and delivered in my development time. Do I need development time? Yes. I want my books to be 20% better than other books and I want readers to tell me the books get better and better. Part of what I do to achieve that aim is I practice and experiment with writing styles and tools. Change of Regime allowed me to look at multiple PoVs, use the present tense and trim down descriptions. It also kept me fresh for Bian’s Tale. I’ll continue to use my development time in this way – which means any new serialised novellas/novels will be produced in the same way – a chapter a week. (Development time is 2-4 hours at the weekend).

Secondly, I’m writing Bian’s Tale as my priority project now for several reasons, not least because readers asked me for it. However there is a hard-headed economic reason as well. I’m losing readers, and I’ve been losing readers ever since Sleight of Hand – each Bite Back book I release has fewer readers than the last. Now, some of those may be readers who love the story and are waiting for me to finish the series so they can binge. Great, but not something I want to rely on. So, what can I do to gather more readers into the series? Write other books, like Bian’s Tale and Change of Regime. Submit stories to anthologies like The Biting Cold (which went into the ‘A Very Paranormal Holiday’ anthology) and Enzili (which went into ‘Vampires of the Caribbean’ anthology). Serialise novels. Marketing. Etc. Etc.

New serialised story

Okay, Change of Regime was well received, so I will continue to use my development time to produce serialised stories. The next will be away from the Athanate storyline. I did show you an example a couple of months ago, a chapter from a steampunk story set in Africa, but the response to that was muted. I will write that story anyway, but perhaps not as a serialisation.

So what do you want to see here on the blog? I have an outline for a Sci-Fi Romance and another for a Horror. Place your votes in the comments.

New pages on the blog

I’ll be adding a new page or pages on the blog to handle the serialised stories (when I work out how to do it!).

Other stories

I mentioned Enzili above. This story is in the Vampires of the Caribbean anthology, but will shortly be available for me to publish seperately. Now… Enzili is a short story and ends with the resolution of one major incident, which was all there was space for. There are three other issues that are left ‘for later’, and I have the plot to resolve these in ‘Enzili 2’ (not decided on a name yet).

Do I publish Enzili now and Enzili 2 when I write it? Hold off publishing Enzili until I have Enzili 2? Hold off until I can put it all together and make 1 novel instead of 2 novellas?

Vote in the comments.

Progress

All writing was on hold while I spent the last week with Jessica in New Orleans, where she’s filming ‘Underwater’ with Kristen Stewart and others. Back now.

Bian’s Tale is still being problematic. I’m getting feedback from beta readers on the first 2 sections (out of a total of 5 for the first book), but the feedback is not concentrated on one single issue. It will sort itself out, but it is taking longer than anticipated.

Inside Straight, Bite Back 6: I have some good chapters done and loads of scenes sketched out. This book is nudging me, wanting to be written NOW.

 Audiobooks

Unbelievably, we are STILL waiting for Angel Stakes to go through ‘checking’ and ‘processing’ at ACX/Audible. I have no control over this part of the production I’m afraid.

Raw Deal is done. I have submitted a minor correction and the audiobook should shortly go into the ‘checking’ and ‘production’ at ACX/Audible.