99 Cent Boxset Sale

Good news if you somehow have not managed to read the whole Rider’s Revenge series yet, the ebook box set of the series is on sale for just 99 cents and will be until November 5th. This is a HUGE discount off of the regular price and the best price it’s ever been and is ever likely to be.

I was able to snag a Bookbub deal (which are not easy to get) and decided to take advantage of it.

So grab it while you can. And if you’ve already read the series and liked it, let others know who haven’t read it before. (I personally am weird and hate talking about the books I love with others because reading is such an individual experience for me, so I completely understand if you are that person, too, but if you aren’t and want to share with others, this is a great time to do it.)

Links: Apple, Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Google, Universal

(Also, still trying to decide what I think of the similar books listing on Google. Tolkien? Hm, no, not so much…)

Kobo Sale and Another Reading Recommendation

First, the Rider’s Revenge Trilogy is part of Kobo’s September 40% Off Book Sale. So if you haven’t read the whole series, check that out. (Direct link to the series here and use code BOXSEPT at checkout.)

If you have already read it, there are plenty of other finished series or box sets that are on sale as well. They even have audiobooks in this one.

Second, if you need some great epic fantasy books to read that are character-driven and haven’t already discovered them, I highly recommend Michelle West. I started with The Hidden City and ended up reading all of the books in a few months, which given their size was an impressive feat. It’s a rare author who can keep readers engaged for that many books in a row.

If you do like it enough to keep going, though, do a search online to figure out the reading order because chronologically you’ll want to stop that series after book three and move to the other related series before going back to finish that one.

And finally while I’m here you may be wondering what’s up with me and writing another book. (If not, you can click away now.)

It’s a good question.

Part of the issue is that the Rider’s Revenge trilogy is complete so I don’t have this “must finish this series” self-pressure to keep going. And since no one is pestering me for more…

(It’s a weird horror I have of being one of those writers whose readers won’t leave them alone and demand the next book immediately like the author doesn’t have a life to live or their own interests in terms of what they want to write next, but being on the opposite side of that coin where people read your books but then are fine to move on and never say they want more is hard, too.)

Also, when I try to figure out the next thing to write I have about ten directions I could go but none that’s driving me. So I spend a lot of time thinking about what I would write next and developing at least three very different worlds in my head, but I haven’t started writing any of them. (Or maybe I have, actually. Or that’s another three novel ideas that were poking at me.)

The good news I guess is that I think I may finally be past the “what if someone hates me” block I had shortly after finishing the last book in the Rider’s series when I started paying too much attention to the public opinions of my SFF peers.

(Nothing directed at me personally. Just their vocal opinions of how if someone likes this book then they’re clearly a horrible person. Or if someone writes about that thing then they’re clearly a horrible person. Or seeing someone very prominent in the industry mock their self-published audiobook clients for bad writing. Things like that. It doesn’t have to be directed at me to get under my skin.)

(Honestly, I really need to stay away from watching SFF discussions on Twitter because if you do that long enough you’ll become convinced that you can’t write a single word without being some sort of -ist or horrible person. For example, I like to write about what people eat and include descriptions of their size, does that make me fatphobic? It’s hard to remember that the very small group of vocal individuals on social media are not the entirety of readers who mostly are like me and read what they like and live their lives and don’t talk much about it and don’t dive too deep on all the issues.)

Anyway.

I also know that I need to write more books under this name if I want this name to sell steady and gain fans. And that I need to do so on a regular basis. And that price promotions, etc. are key to driving sales.

But it’s all tricky when I have non-fiction that sells at full-price month in and month out and I know that one hour spent writing fantasy will earn me $X but one hour spent writing non-fiction will earn me 10 times $X.

Plus there are days where publishing can feel like swimming in a cesspool full of piranhas, so finding success at it is it’s own problem. One I’m not sure I want.

Ah, to be completely under the radar but making a very good living and getting to spend my days with my dog as my sole company…What job lets you have that?

Sorry. Probably TMI. Especially since I hate showing any weakness, negativity, etc. in public. But that’s what’s up. I am writing. I write about 325K words a year on average. Just not…this. And I honestly at this point don’t know whether I’ll suddenly write five novels next year that put onto paper all these stories I’ve been percolating in my head or whether I’ll end up writing another book about securities regulations.

Recommended Books

First, just in case you somehow stumbled upon this blog by accident and hadn’t already at least read Rider’s Revenge or in case you have a friend who you’d really love to recommend the book to but don’t want them to spend their hard-earned money, Rider’s Revenge is free for the month of February.

Second, I’ve been playing around with creating a list of some of my favorite reads in fantasy as part of putting together an Aer.io store. If you want to check it out, it’s here.

If you read in print and are in the U.S. or Canada you can actually order the books on the site. Otherwise it’s just a good place to see a list of books I’ve enjoyed recently.

Not all are newly-published. For example, I read that entire Sharon Shinn series this year even though it’s been out for fifteen years.

I tried to only list books that were part of series where the entire series was enjoyable for me.

It’s interesting, there are a lot of books on my shelves that I liked enough to keep, but where maybe I enjoyed the first book in the series a lot and read the rest of the series but then the rest of the series didn’t work as well for me or the last book in the series didn’t nail the landing enough for me to recommend. (I’m thinking of one in particular where the multiple time lines didn’t quite come together in book five but I read the whole series.)

Also, weirdly enough there are certain authors who are almost a must-buy for me (or actually I’ve conned my mom into buying them now) who I didn’t list because even though I still read all of their books I wouldn’t actually recommend those books to others.

One of my long-time favorite authors seems to have found a love for writing characters who have difficult accents and so 90% of the dialogue in their recent books are in those accents and it’s just…a slog sometimes to get through. I still like their storytelling and characters but I would completely understand if someone picked up one of their current books and asked what I was thinking recommending it.

Also, I have a ton of favorites on my shelves from my teen years but I’m not sure they aged well so don’t want to recommend them without re-reading. I remember loving the Belgariad as a teen, but when I tried to re-read it last year it was a no for me. (There’s a scene where the knight character crushes a young lion to death when he could’ve just let it run away and it was struggling to get free and I just…No. Didn’t even register with me when I was 13 or whatever, but this time it really did.)

So, maybe there’s something there for you, maybe not. I’m always struggling to find new authors so figured I’d share in case anyone else is as well.

(And please don’t think that just because I mentioned a few things that I didn’t like as a reader that that in any way makes me think that my own writing or even what I write about is above reproach. Just like not all authors are ones that I as a reader will enjoy, I know that I am not for all readers either. Such is life.)

Also, in case anyone who reads this is an author themselves, here’s another list I put together on Aer.io of my favorite writing advice books.

Short Story Collection

I am not by nature a short story reader or writer. I prefer to get down in there and really live with a character. But every once in a while I have an idea that lends itself to a short story.

Like my recent short story, By Your Side When the Sun Sets, that was about an old dragonrider and his dragon who is starting to forget him and what to do about that which was inspired by my having an aging dog who makes me sad every time she struggles to stand up.

Usually what I do with these stories is I submit them to the Writers of the Future writing contest, maybe try a couple other short story markets, and then let them rot away on my hard drive. But I realized that I actually had enough of those short stories that I could publish them as a collection.

Now, because I view novels and short stories as two different beasts, so to speak, I put the short stories out under an old pen name of mine, M.H. Lee. But I thought I’d share the existence of the collection here just in case anyone is both a short story and a novel reader.

So if that’s you, then you can find When The Time Comes and Other Stories on major retailers. And one of the stories, The Taste of Memory, which is about creativity and trauma and memory, you can read for free.

(Because this is 2020 and nothing is simple this year, the story collection is stuck in publishing on Nook but will hopefully push through. Of course, I’ve been saying that since the 15th. And the short story is currently free everywhere but Amazon but I have asked nicely so that could change at any moment as well. I tell ya, the writing is actually the easy part of this gig.)

A Couple Book Recommendations

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I’ve been reading  A LOT of books this year. I’m pretty sure I’ve bought and read fifty print books myself and that’s on top of all the ones I’ve borrowed from my mom.

(I have this trick where if I read a first book in a series and if I think she’ll like it I loan her the book and then if she really likes it she buys the rest of the series as soon as it comes out and I get to read it within a month or so of release rather than waiting for the book to be cheap enough I’ll buy it for myself. Or if the series is already out she just buys the rest of the series. Free books for me. Woohoo!)

That is my primary escape/stress release/what-have-you. Books. (And TV to a lesser extent. I’ve recently binged on some Australian and New Zealand cozy mystery TV series which were just soothing balms to my soul.)

This year being this year, though, not all books have done it for me as a reader. I think I’m much more critical right now in terms of what I’m willing to tolerate. I recently read a book where someone unrepentantly killed a million people and I just didn’t want to be there for that. And there were a handful of books I read this year or tried to read that seemed to revel in including formerly taboo topics.

One book I just tried to read spent three pages talking about shit. Literal shit. And, hey, every author gets to write what they want to write. I know some readers don’t like what I choose to write about. But I have no interest in that sort of thing right now.

And I’m saying all this so it’ll put the recommendations I’m about to make into context.

I wanted engrossing books that had “good people” with strong relationships as their main characters. I wasn’t necessarily looking for fluffy books–I do enjoy those at times, so no judgement there–but I just didn’t want to be depressed by what I read. Or manipulated for that matter. Or hate-reading the book to see if the character finally got their comeuppance. I wanted people trying to do good or be better than they were.

So these are the two that have stood out to me in the last few months that I can recommend without reservation.

Deal With the Devil by Kit Rocha: I really enjoy the Twitter account of one of the two authors behind this pen name and was starting to get a little desperate for good new reads so figured I’d check it out even though, for me personally, the guy having bionic fingers was not a selling point, and I’ve also been avoiding paying for hard covers since I stopped consulting. It was worth it, though.

I’d say the “mercenary librarians” angle is more of a catchphrase than the main focus. (I recently read Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine and that to me was much more of a library book than this one. Also a good book.) Deal with the Devil has a good ensemble cast of super soldier types on a dangerous adventure with everyone turning out to be pretty decent. I mean, sure, one of the main characters is basically a vigilante serial killer, but so far only for people who deserve it. It’s also definitely a romance.

I suspect this series will be structured like the Nora Roberts fantasy romance series books are where you have a new couple as the main viewpoint characters in each book but the whole ensemble is present throughout the entire series. And I do think that maybe one of the ultimate couples may actually be a threesome, but that doesn’t happen in this book. Just something to consider going in if any of that is an issue for you. There’s definitely sex in this book but it doesn’t dominate the plot and IMO it was well-written sex although (again, if this is an issue for you) with explicit words used.

The other book I really enjoyed is The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. I’m actually reading the third book in the series right now because I liked it so much that I kept going.  (In hard cover, so that tells you how much I liked it.) I haven’t finished the series so can’t vouch for all three, but so far we’re going strong. One character in the third book became disappointing for me because he put taking orders above doing the right thing, but I suspect by the end of it he’ll have turned that around. I certainly hope so.

This is one I couldn’t share with my mom because the world-building was too complex for her, but I’ve really enjoyed that aspect of it. There’s some “lost princess in a political power struggle with existing rulers” storyline but it’s still a really well-done series so far with nuanced characters and interesting magic.

It does have a lot of killing, so be prepared for that. But that’s more in the background than the forefront of the story, if that makes sense. Even when people are dying by the hundreds the focus is still on the characters.

Which is probably not a good way to describe it, but it’s good. And if you like fantasy with magic in it that focuses on the characters, I think it’s worth checking out.

So there you have it. Two books (actually three) worth reading while you wait for me to one day publish my next book, which despite my great desire for it to be so cannot be a book about a girl hanging out in the forest with her cool animal companion avoiding the rest of the world…

 

New Covers!

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It’s been almost five years since I published Rider’s Revenge and 2020 is a hellscape in a million ways. I’m also working towards publishing a new novel (hopefully–see hellscape comment above) soon.

So, in the interim I decided it was time for new covers for the Rider’s series. If you’re like my mother you’ll prefer the old covers, but I figure after a certain amount of time it’s always good to mix things up a bit and try something new.  And I do think the new covers are gorgeous.

See?

Rider's Revenge - eBook small
Rider's Rescue - eBook small
Rider's Resolve - eBook Small

Aren’t they pretty? And, yes, they are very different from the old ones which was the whole point. Mix it up and try something brand new.

If you read in ebook and are absolutely crushed about this, the three-book “box set” will still have the old cover.

I do hope you like them.

(And like I said, I am working on something new. I actually have four or five story ideas that all want to be written but none have developed in my mind to the point that they’re ready to take off so I have about three chapters written of each one and then they stall and need more backbrain time. It’s very annoying. Good news is once that first new novel in a series is written the rest comes much easier but the fallow period is a frustrating one.)

FYI

I just deleted my Twitter account. I’ve decided that Twitter and I just do not mix well. It’s not a social hangout for me and recently all I was posting about was COVID-19 awareness. (It’s serious folks. Stay home when you can, wear a mask when you can’t.) Before that I’d been on something like a two-year break from the place because I find the environment relatively toxic.

And with so much cancelling happening in SFF right now I really had no interest in going through the list of everyone I’ve followed over time and deciding whether their transgressions were legitimate enough for me to unfollow them or not. So I’m done.

It’s a great place to get the most current information on issues but it’s also very unfiltered in terms of “does this perpetuate stress or harm to others” and I just quite frankly find it exhausting. Keep enjoying it if it’s for you, but you won’t find me there anymore.

(And the only reason I post this is because I think they reuse user names after a period of time so I don’t want there to be any confusion out there about my having a Twitter account.)

We All Need an Escape

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I posted about how reading was my refuge when I was in college over on my non-fiction blog. Which is why I’ve decided to drop the price on my Rider’s Revenge series for anyone who hasn’t yet had a chance to read the full series. So instead of $7.99 each, you can now get the individual titles for just $2.99 or the entire trilogy for $4.99.

In addition, I have dropped the price on a number of the titles I have out under other pen names. I’m listing them below. Keep in mind here that there is a reason I use pen names, so you may have loved the Rider’s Revenge series and not like any of the other books. But if you, like me, need an escape and are always on the lookout for new authors to read, then maybe check them out.

The mystery series (the one with the dog on the cover) is the most light-hearted of the bunch. Erelia is a fantasy but it’s multiple viewpoint and has a much darker plot line. And the contemporary romance is, well, a romance. There are also a number of non-fiction titles I’ve dropped the price on, too, if you’d like to use this time to dig in on a non-fiction topic. I’d highly recommend Budgeting for Beginners if you’re feeling financially shaky right now. I’ve lived with unsteady income for over a decade at this point and I have some tips in there about how to see where you are when you’re in that situation.

Take care of yourselves and hopefully before the year is out I’ll have a new fantasy novel for you.

(Click on the images for a Books2Read page with all of the available stores, or they should be available at your chosen retailer. Only Erelia is exclusive to Amazon.)

Fiction:

Riders-Revenge-The-Complete-Trilogy-GenericThe Rider’s Revenge Trilogy: ($4.99 USD) A feminist YA fantasy adventure trilogy about a young girl who sets out to avenge her father and finds herself caught up in much bigger issues.

 

 

Erelia blue flame 20151222v5Erelia: (Available on Amazon Only, $2.99 USD and in KU) A dystopian utopia. Life seems perfect on the surface, but the reader sees just what horrible actions create that perfection. Also has a pandemic subplot. (I had unpublished this one just because I thought it needed a sequel and I wasn’t sure when I’d write that sequel, so be forewarned.)

 

A-Dead-Man-and-Doggie-Delights-KindleA Dead Man and Doggie Delights: (99 cents) First in what will soon be a six-book cozy mystery series set in the Colorado mountains. For lovers of Newfoundland dogs, Colorado, and quirky characters who like a little murder on the side. (Book 2, A Crazy Cat Lady and Canine Crunchies is also reduced to $2.99 USD.)

 

Something-Worth-Having-KindleSomething Worth Having ($2.99 USD): Contemporary romance bordering on women’s fiction. About a woman facing a breast cancer diagnosis who goes on a road trip with a man she is absolutely not allowed to fall in love with. (A related but standalone title, Something Gained, is also just $2.99 right now.

 

 

Non-Fiction ($2.99 USD each)

Excel for Beginners open sans boldv2

Excel for Beginners: A guide to Microsoft Excel for those who need to master the basics.

 

 

Budgeting for Beginners open sansBudgeting for Beginners: A book that will teach you how to figure out where you are financially, judge what that means, and give tips for how to improve. Especially helpful right now for those who are finding themselves without a steady paycheck, because it covers how to approach irregular income like that. (Also available in audio as the Juggling Your Finances Starter Kit.)

Quick--Easy-Cooking-for-One-KindleQuick & Easy Cooking for One: Exactly what it says. A guide to cooking for yourself for the absolute beginner. More concept-based than step-by-step, but it does include recipes.

 

 

Writing for Beginners open sans

Writing for Beginners: An overview of what a beginning writer should know to get started. Includes discussions of point of view, tense, as well as agents and publishing paths. (Also available in audio under the title The Beginning Writer’s Guide to What You Should Know.)

 

Dont Be a Douchebag PC version 20160803v10Don’t Be a Douchebag: Online Dating Advice I Wish Men Would Take: A snarky guide to online dating for men who aren’t doing so well at it. (Also available in audio. Some retailers may have a different cover.)

 

 

Rider’s Revenge Trilogy Now in Paperback

Just a quick note to let you know that the Rider’s Revenge Trilogy is now available in a gigantic omnibus for those who are print fans.  I suspect the individual books are an easier read, because they’re not two and a half inches thick like this behemoth, but it does make the price of the print versions more accessible. (About $30 USD for all three novels combined.)

Should be available (at least for order) anywhere you buy print books but here’s the Amazon US link.

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(Ignore the book on the bottom, that’s just another little project of mine. Unless, of course, you want to learn about Microsoft Excel…)

In other news, I think I may finally be turning to writing a new fantasy series. I detoured into non-fiction and cozy mysteries for a bit there, but I think it’s about time to return to my first love. Now to just figure out which idea to write…

Rider’s Revenge Trilogy on Sale on Kobo

For anyone who hasn’t yet read the entire Rider’s Revenge Trilogy, it’s part of a big SFF promo on Kobo now through May 15th and you can get the entire trilogy in ebook format for only $3.99.  Here’s the direct link.

Also, if you’ve already read the entire trilogy, then you may want to check out the rest of the promotion. Lots of options and some are up to 80% off.