David Neth Halloween 2016 Cross Promo!

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Wooo! Lots of scary savings in this cross-genre promotion hosted by David Neth. Nearly 60 authors, including myself, have Halloween-friendly books in a variety of genres on sale for $0.99, from now until Halloween.

We have everything from ghosts to zombies to (a lot of) vampires to a couple of shifters, including Marrying A Monster. (Yes, there is a shifter in Monster, but he is more like the Incredible Hulk than Jacob from the Twilight books or Curran from Magic Bites and its sequels). David has been kind enough to sort the books by creature.

Anyway, with so many different authors and monsters on hand, I’m sure there’s something in there for everyone, so click here to check it out!

NaNoWriMo: Music to Write Books To

I’ve talked a little bit about music as a productivity tool, particularly in regard to outlining.  Today I would like to talk about music to write books to.  I personally have trouble listening to music with lyrics when I am writing.  I just start thinking about the singer’s words instead of my own.  For this reason, I tend to favor movie soundtracks or video game soundtracks.

Modern movie soundtracks tend to have many sedate passages with no clear melody or rhythm so there are usually only one or two tracks that work with my writing play lists.  What I had found works the best when it comes to movie music, tends to be soundtracks written between 1965 and 1990.  There is usually a main theme catchy and memorable, repeated in several different variations across the soundtrack.  There may also be a memorable villain theme or a sweet love theme, which may appear several times.

I usually did not give enough face time to my villains for them to rate their own play list of villain themes, but sometimes a play list of love themes comes in handy.  Most of the time, I turn to a game soundtrack that is driven and adventurous, repetitive enough and catchy enough to keep the fingers galloping over the keyboard, sinister enough to include the villain, romantic enough for the love story.  This soundtrack is Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, by Michiru Yamane.

I like her soundtracks to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Castlevania: Lament of Innocence even more as music than I do Curse of Darkness, but for me they’re too closely associated with my memories of playing the games when I was younger.  For some reason I never got around to Curse of Darkness, so the tunes are still fresh for me, and I can associate them with whatever I’m writing.  I particularly like these tracks: Baljhet Mountains, Garibaldi Courtyard, Garibaldi Temple, Mortavia Aqueduct, Mortavia Fountain, the Forest of Jigramunt, the Cave of Jigramunt, and Cordova Town. Most of the rest is too sad, too silly, or too harsh and dissonant for my tastes.

NaNoWriMo Toolkit: Music To Outline Books By

A lot of people listen to music while they work, and I am one of them. I’ve seen all kinds of theories about what kind of music is good for what tasks, but all I know is what works for me. For mindless data entry, I prefer stirring, exciting music that grabs my attention and takes me away to another place, like Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack to The Wind and The Lion, or James Horner’s soundtrack to Krull. If it’s the soundtrack to a movie I know really well, like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, or the Indiana Jones movies, it doesn’t seem to work as well.

But there are tasks that I find stressful or intellectually challenging, that involve math or problem-solving. And then, there’s outlining my novels, which is a little bit of all four. (Less math than some things, but it does come up.)  For outlining novels, and for those other tasks, I have a secret weapon: Baroque Favorites by the Jacques Loussier Trio.

Jacques Loussier is a French-born jazz pianist who performs classical music, from the Baroque era to Debussy, in a “cool jazz” style. He’s the leader of the trio that bears his name; the exact lineup has varied over the years but always includes a percussionist and some kind of bass player. A lot of people swear by his take on Bach, which honestly doesn’t do that much for me. Other people like his Debussy; personally I feel that Debussy is already so abstract that “jazzing him up” doesn’t yield interesting results.

I think the reason his interpretation of Baroque music works so well for me is the nature of the source material and the way it interacts with the improvisational qualities of jazz. In the Baroque era, there was an emphasis on making music both emotionally pleasing and intellectually stimulating. Music was intended to command the listener’s attention, in a way that busy working people often do not have time for.

Loussier’s approach makes Baroque music simpler and more approachable in some ways than it was originally intended to be. He arguably makes it calmer as well: the style of jazz he aspires to is all about conservation of emotional energy, because getting excited about things is profoundly “uncool.” The result seems to be music that stimulates the mind without demanding its full attention, and also calms and focuses the mind at the same time. (That being said, do not listen to Loussier when you are tired. You will not get the full effect!)

So, that’s the kind of music I outline novels to. I also find it helpful when I’ve written myself into a corner and am trying to write myself out again. It’s not passionate enough to help me stay in the “zone” when I’m writing the fun parts, but that usually requires a different kind of music all together…and that is a post for another time.

 

 

 

MV Covers: Premade Book Covers At A Great Price

MV Covers* is run by an artist who is stepping back from the world of premade book covers (where the author picks out a pre-created design, explains what text needs to go on it, and pays for the result) to focus on logo work. Due to this, she is listing all her remaining premades at $15 a piece (which is EXTREMELY inexpensive for the quality of work she does) and is willing to make fairly major changes for a fee. I found a cover that I liked (for Loving A Deathseer, Book 3 in the Jaiya Series), but the woman was showing a bit more cleavage than I felt comfortable with, and I wanted her eyes to be more visible. The final pricetag for having that done and the fonts changed to more or less match what you see on the ebook cover to Marrying A Monster, was $30.

*Note: like many book cover sites, may be NSFW depending on your office’s guidelines.

The Shape of Things To Come

Now that you’ve “met” Marrying A Monster, maybe it’s time for me to share a little more about the rest of the Jaiya series.

The main Jaiya series is currently three books long, and is set in “present day” Jaiya, or at least a timeframe where the technology and social developments are similar to our present day. I have some ideas for short stories or novellas about these characters, and if I come up with any more 50K-length stories in this setting, that grab me, I will write them.

Marrying A Monster is of course the first book in the series. The second book is currently titled Waking the Dreamlost, which was my Summer 2017 writing project. Monster‘s hero, Vipin, has an older brother named Marish, who is the hero of Dreamlost. I will probably spend the rest of October revising Dreamlost, along with some time in November if I finish with NaNoWriMo2016 early, and however much time it takes after that. The hope is to have it ready to go by before December 15.

Loving A Deathseer is the third book in the series in internal chronology, but the first one written. (How that happened is a story for another time.) The heroine is a relative of Vipin’s and Marish’s. This one is going to need a lot more reworking than Dreamlost, so there isn’t a timeframe for release yet.

There is also a Jaiya prequel series in the works. At this point, the only thing written is last year’s NaNoWriMo project, a fantasy romance with a gladiator/MMA fighter angle set 200+ years before Marrying A Monster. I am currently outlining a book about Vipin’s parents, which I hope to do for NaNoWriMo this year.

I also have a very rough idea for a book about Vipin’s grandparents, which I will try to write in the first quarter of next year. And there’s an even sketchier concept for a steampunk-y paranormal romance set about 75 years after the gladiator romance, and about 150 yrs before Marrying A Monster. The steampunk romance and the gladiator romance would both deal with Vipin’s ancestors. The series would start releasing sometime in 2017, barring complications.

 

New book recommendation service launching: Bobdog Books

A gentleman named Sean Hinn is launching a new book recommendation service called Bobdog Books, where both readers and authors can submit their favorite books to his site, along with their links on Amazon. The more nominations per book, the greater the visibility. When he starts to monetize the site, through Amazon Associates links, he plans to give half the proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Since it was a worthy cause, I went ahead and submitted Marrying A Monster to his site, and may try to submit some of my favorite books later on.

 

And the Jaglion Press Mailing List is born!

You should start seeing a popup subscription form on this website with the following message:

“Interested in exciting news, discounts and freebies from Jaglion Press? How about news and free or discounted books by other authors? If you are, please subscribe to the Jaglion Press newsletter!”

I have volunteered to participate in a Halloween-themed promotion involving forty-plus authors, all with $0.99 books. I will probably make that the subject of my first or second newsletter, so stay tuned for some interesting offers!

Fixed version of The Pomegranate Lover is now live…and (temporarily) free!

Having gotten the corrected file live, I am celebrating by making the book temporarily free, from today until September 23.

The “Look Inside” seems different from what I remember, but I’d read somewhere that Amazon’s Look Inside had been glitchy lately in general. Anyway, here is the link, as promised:

Embarrassing Mistake Corrected

*Puts on Tia Baden hat*

“The Pomegranate Lover and Other Stories” went out with some embarrassing formatting errors in the final story. I have now corrected them, recompiled the file and re-uploaded to Amazon. My apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced by this. The corrected file should go live sometime tomorrow, and I will try to post again with another link to Pomegranate Lover’s Amazon page.

 

Pomegranate Lover on Amazon!

*puts on Tia Baden hat*

Yay! The kindle edition of Pomegranate Lover went live on Amazon Tuesday or yesterday, and today the print and kindle editions linked successfully, so that you can now access them both from here. This is a collection of short (sometimes very short) stories I wrote on and off between 2005 and 2008 or 2009, and it includes “The Pomegranate Lover,” “The Prince of Horai and the Paper Sword,” “Like Father Like Son,” “Smokesteel,” “Sword of the Kear,” and “Blind Man’s Bluff.” The total collection is about 53-54 pages long, $2.99 on Kindle and $6.99 in paperback.

I am uncertain about how aggressively to promote this; I may do a Kindle Countdown Deal or a Freebie deal of some kind, and I will announce it here if so, but since I don’t know how soon I will revisit this pen name, and the genre is different from my current set of writing projects, I’m unwilling to burn promotional money on things like Bookbub, etc.