The Dark Collections are Live!

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Both books in the Dark Collections series are now live on Amazon! As always, both books have new release pricing at $0.99 for regular readers of my work. It’s for a limited time, so don’t hesitate too long. What’s in these dark goodies?

The Ways We End: Six Tales of Doom is me dipping into that deep, dark well and then plunging down to the bottom to find the monsters that lurk in the bottom. Yeah, it’s titled appropriately. This is a collection about the ways we end…as people, as a species, as a world.

Three of the tales are brand new, including Cottage of Hunger (which my VIP list got to read in first draft format as a sneaky peeky), The Mountains of Five, and The Bridge. Three others were originally published in anthologies, but have been re-imagined without word limits (and sometimes totally changed), including The Mergans, Rock or Shell, and A Mother So Beautiful. 

And Then Begin Again: Six Tales of Hope is me swimming back up to see the light that always shines after the darkest of nights. I’m not saying these are all roses and puppies sliding down rainbows, because they wouldn’t be my writing if they were. But each one of these tales focuses on that coming dawn, no matter how dark the night. There is love, determination, strength. And always…there is hope.

Inside this volume are six tales, including Sedge (a novella of Love, New Worlds, and Freedom), The Mirroring, Life/Time in the New World, Unnatural, Yankari, and Lulu Ad Infinitum. And like the first volume, those tales from the anthologies have been re-imagined without word limits.

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As always, I appreciate every single review, so if you feel like doing so, I’ll love you from afar! Also, I’ve put the books into Kindle Unlimited so that those using that service can get the books too. Paperbacks are out already and they should link up with the ebooks within a few days, but a search on Amazon should bring up both versions if that’s your preference.

Until next time! Happy Reading!

Are you a Kindle Unlimited reader? If so, here’s a few tips…

Loads and loads of avid readers have joined Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU). It’s been a great deal for many readers, allowing an unlimited reading experience for the price of a single paperback every month. I mean, what’s not to love?

If you’re a reader.

If you’re an author, well, that relationship can be a mixed one. I love it, even with glitches simply because I can reach readers who no longer buy books and read KU books exclusively. I get it. Given how many thousands of pounds of books I’ve donated over the years, I really get it. I’m one of those people that actually filled up a Kindle!

That said, there are some glitches showing up in the KU experience that have impacted payments to the authors. Here are a few tips from a KU author to all the lovely KU readers out there. Most of the tips are based on research (including informal polls and hard data gathering), done by many indie authors. Since we’re not having much luck getting Amazon to address these problems, I’m hoping that sharing with you will help.

Tip #1  –  Please don’t go back to the beginning of the book once you’re done.

This one is pretty simple. Amazon is basically counting your pages from where you ended reading (as far as we can tell no better system is yet in place). So, if you read a book and enjoy it so much that you go back to look at the cover or the list of other works by the author, well….it erases all your pages read, which means that author will not get paid. While Amazon denies this, we have demonstrated proof that such happens.

I, for one, frequently do this. I did the same thing with physical books. I’d sigh, wish the book wasn’t over, and close it to look at that beautiful cover again. It wasn’t any different with a Kindle book and often I’d click the contents to go back to the page where their other works were listed. YIKES! While I’m not reading with KU, if I were, then a whole lot of authors would have been unpaid. And worse, the more I enjoyed their work, the more likely they were to not be paid!

Tip #2  –  Please note that you read the book in KU at the top of your review if you leave one.

Amazon is weighing verified reviews over non-verified reviews, but at the same time, Amazon has NO tag for those who read a book using KU. That’s super silly, since to me, a KU membership means you invested your money in that book and your review should count. By noting that you read it via KU at the top of a review, you let readers who may distrust non-verified reviews know you’re a real reader! (Also, let’s hope they get a KU tag soon!)

Tip # 3  –  Please sync your book before you return it.

Right now, no one is entirely sure how this flaw is happening. Maybe it’s by device or app, or maybe there’s something in the settings. Whatever it is, we do know that syncing a finished book with Amazon improves the likelihood that Amazon will show the pages read and therefore, pay the author.

Tip #4 – If you read in Page Flip, the author will not be paid.

This is a tough one! I love reading in Page Flip mode on my 8.9 Kindle HDX. It’s perfect for that. If I were a KU reader, then every book I read that way would have resulted in ZERO payments to the author. Yep, that’s correct and Amazon has actually confirmed that. Page Flip is intended as a navigation feature, (according to them), so any pages read that way will not count.

If you read in Page Flip, please leave for regular view at least at the end of the book. We’re pretty sure they’re still counting the last page read to calculate payments, but it’s possible Amazon is now counting any flip from the front to the back of the book as a fraudulent read (and withholding payments). Even so, it’s worth a try.

Note: If you’re not sure if you’re reading in Page Flip or not, you can tell because there’s an outline around the page (on most devices and apps) and the progress bar is visible at the bottom of the screen without tapping.

Thank you to all the KU readers out there! I appreciate every single one of you and hope to meet many more of you through that wonderful program. Happy Reading.

It’s Patty’s Promo Time! 3-4 December

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My favorite (and most frequented) promo each month is Patty’s. There’s no muss, no fuss…just books. Of course, I’ve gotten addicted to so many new reads and authors from it that I’m not being as productive as I like, but hey…books!

This month is free books and there are loads of good ones in there. I have Between Life and Death: The In-Betweener in there too! I nabbed that image to share, so click on it to get to Patty’s page where all the books are listed by retailer.

I’ve already been scoping out my choices for this month. I can already tell it’s going to be a good month for reading.

Between Life and Death World – Freebies and Sale!

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Just in case you’ve missed reading this series, I’m putting the first book free for a few days and discounting the second one to $0.99. Yep, doing it. AND, as a huge favor to me, Logan Snyder is putting his wonderful book set in the Between Life and Death World FREE for a few days. How much do I love this book? Yeah, I love it. The free period is now till 6 December and the discount is available for a few days only (then it goes to $1.99, then back to $2.99).

The Deets:

Between Life and Death: The In-Betweener

Get it HERE.

Emily is alone. Two years after the end of the world, she talks to herself and smashes heads with her favorite sledgehammer. This is not the life she imagined for herself as her eighteenth birthday rolls past.

It’s time for her to look beyond her safe, little hiding place to the world beyond. The madness of the apocalypse is ending, the dangerous in-betweeners – those no longer quite human, but not yet dead – are few and far between. The deaders that cover the world are going still, their senses dulled by time and the elements.

The problem is that there are no people…none. Emily has found not a single living human when she’s dared to step outside her safe-zone.

As Emily weighs the heavy cost of surviving alone and begins to accept the inevitable, everything changes once again. One of the deaders at her gate turns out not to be a deader at all. He’s an in-betweener different from any other she has seen before, and he carries a message. If Emily has the courage to step beyond her gate and the skills to survive a perilous trip in a dead world, she might just have a chance at life…a life with humans…after all.

Between Life and Death: Forever Between

Get it HERE.

Will be on Kindle Countdown from 3-6 December. $0.99 for the first couple of days, last day at $1.99.

The last time Veronica checked, the world outside was still dead…and still covered by the sort-of-undead remnants of humanity. That was this morning. Now, she has to run that gauntlet to try and save Emily, just as Emily once saved her.

Four years ago the world was destroyed by medical nanites gone awry, leaving humanity divided into three groups: the living, deaders, and the horrific in-betweeners. Emily’s only hope for a cure lies eighty miles away at a military hospital where nanite treatments were once given, and she’s running out of time. Between Veronica and that hospital is a world of flesh-eating monsters and possibly something even worse…humans. If Veronica fails to get there, Emily will be trapped forever between life and death.

Between Kings and Carnage by Logan Snyder

Get it HERE.

If you loved the Between world, then this book is for you! Logan Snyder (who wrote my favorite SF serial ever, Violet) blew me away when he created a whole new facet of the Between world and populated the Pacific Northwest with amazing characters facing the nanite apocalypse. He has also very graciously put the volume for free for a few days so that Between Readers can get it for nothing. Since this is a stand alone novel and not a series (and it’s a big, lovely book), this is a great thing.

“A dark, awesome, beautiful addition to the BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH series!” — Ann Christy

Squire has ridden with the Thunder Kings since the beginning of the end. Together they’ve survived everything the apocalypse has thrown at them, but after five long years a new threat is rising. This enemy is deadlier and more determined than any they’ve faced before, and only a strange, stuttering girl may hold the answer to their identity. Can the Kings get ahead of the threat facing them, or has their reign finally reached its end? The answer lies within the pages of this thrilling companion novel to Ann Christy’s BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH series.

Portals by Ann Christy – It’s Coming…

Before you grab a ruler and start whacking me about the head and shoulders; yes, I’m still working on Strikers: Outlands and the PePr novellas! The Strikers books are the most complex I’ve ever written, so they take time. The next PePr novellas (and one book) are also more complicated and have to sit in the back while I get stuff done.

Caveats over. You forgive me?

You might once you see this! Feast thine eyes on this cover of magnificence! (You can click to embiggen.)

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What is this? What is this dark magic? ::squee::

Portals is book one of a whole new series. You might have figured out from the cover that it’s space related and involves an invasion…and you’d be right. But like every single book I’ve written, nothing is what it seems. Nothing.

Portals – Portal Invasion Book One

Meet Lysa. She’s seventeen, a bit of a renegade, a budding artist, and currently…handcuffed to her mother. It’s not ideal.

But then again, nothing has been ideal since the Portal Invasion began four months ago. Every thirteen minutes, portals open up at random places all over the globe. From each portal an exact duplicate of a person emerges…and then that duplicate tosses the original person through the portal.

Everything about them is perfect, right down to their DNA and the clothes that they’re wearing. Every memory is intact. They are the original in all ways. Except, of course, they aren’t. No one knows why this is happening or who is doing it. All anyone knows is that if you kill the duplicate before it gets close enough to you, then you’re safe. Or you can toss in someone else before proximity to the duplicate makes you freeze. It’s not been good for relationships on Earth, this portal tossing.

Every thirteen minutes Lysa and her mom are ready. Every thirteen minutes they breathe a sigh of relief. Every thirteen minutes they begin to dread the next thirteen. Eventually, that thirteen minutes ends for one of them. That’s when life gets really interesting.

The Details

Does that sound interesting to you? Exciting? Full of danger and thrills and alien encounters? Yeah, I got that in there for you. I love the way the ending is shaping up. I think some of you will cry, which would be good.

When is this volume of deliciousness coming out? Well, assuming I get my butt in gear and sign the contract, (I’m writing! Give me a break!), then it will come out next year in a ginormous collection of new books from about 20 authors. That’s right…it will be the box set to end all box sets.

There will be no re-hashed first in series that are already free. There will be no duplicates, no short stories. It will all new books from some pretty amazing authors (plus me). I can’t give you the line-up for sure yet (though I know most) because until the contracts are signed (including mine) no one is official.

So what’s the deal with this? Well, the entire collection will be up for pre-order and for some of that time it will be $0.99. Yeah, I know, that’s insanity with a capital I, but hey, this is for a letters run (meaning we’re trying to hit one of the lists like USA Today). It will be up only for a short time live, so I’ll be sure and let everyone know when that 0.99 price hits so you can get it at that price.

After the letters run, the collection will be retired and all the authors will publish them on their own as regular books…at regular prices. So yeah, it will be the collection to end all. I’m really excited about it, and not just because of the letters run. I’m excited because it’s a new adventure and I really like this book. (Also, secretly between us, I read the first two chapters of Logan Snyder’s book for this, and I was making frantic grabby hand motions. I freaking loved it. Super saucy and I have a crush on one of the main characters that is almost unseemly.)

New Covers for Between Life and Death!

I’m a terrible updater, but here I am, updating you. First off, let me say that I loved my former covers for the Between Life and Death series. I actually made very sure that I had paperback copies of the series for my own collection before I changed a thing.

That said, they didn’t resonate with the correct market for some reason. Either because they had an Urban Fantasy vibe or because of something else I can’t figure out, the books weren’t doing what I thought they should. Of course, who is really objective about their own writing? They may just not be great books!

To try to reach the correct market and better reflect the series, the same cover artist that did the former covers embarked on a re-branding of the series with me. I have new covers for all the current books in the series plus one for Savannah Slays, which is intended for a 2017 release. That one tells the story of Savannah and Charlie from the beginning. As character favorites in the series, they deserved their own book. (And by the way, Savannah is a piece of work!)

So, here they are in all their glory! I think they capture the post-apocalyptic nature of the series well. What do you think? And yes, the first book is still free for right now, but it’s possible that I’ll be shifting it away from that in the near future. It’s undecided at this time and will greatly depend on performance. (Click image to embiggen!)

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Silo 49: Roughneck – Coming Soon!

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Yep, you see that right. Silo 49: Roughneck turned out to be a short story of just under 10K words. I could have made it longer, but it didn’t need to be. Lucky for me, Chronicle Worlds: WOOL is under development so it will appear in that volume of stories by some of your favorite WOOL side-fiction authors.

So what’s it about?

Well, just as The Last Republican was a short story giving hints about why Silo 49 started out differently in the first place, so too is Roughneck. Many fans of the WOOL saga wondered how they found so much oil under that part of Georgia, which isn’t exactly oil country. I wondered too, but then I realized I could imagine exactly how that happened. Manny Rivera is an oil worker and I really like him. This is his tale.

To celebrate, I’ve put Silo 49: Going Dark free for a while. It’s available everywhere! Here’s the Amazon link.

Read and Loved for August, 2016 – Todd by Adam Nicolai

I crack open somewhere between ten and twenty books a month. Yeah, I know that’s a lot, but there’s a caveat to that. If the book doesn’t grab me by the time I reach the 20% mark on my kindle, I ditch it and put it in the DNF file.  Some folks only give a book a single chapter or fifteen minutes or other parameters, but I give it the full 20% unless it’s so egregious that I have to get it away from me as quickly as possible lest it eat my brain cells.

For some books, I simply never even notice the percentages ticking by along the bottom of my screen.

For other books, I dread the ticking of the percentages.

For a very few books, I silently say, “No, no, no,” when it see the percentages reaching the end.

Todd by Adam Nicolai is one of the latter. I truly enjoyed this book, had no idea how it might end, and was absolutely captured by the world he built inside this book.

 

First off, just look at that cover! That’s what grabbed me, which just goes to show you that covers matter. The blurb was enticing, so I grabbed it up.

As expected in a post-apocalyptic novel, the end of the world has happened, but how it happened is sort of a mystery. Alan and his son, Todd, seem to be the only ones left after a single moment in time in which everyone else disappeared. This tale is more about Alan and Todd than anything else, though the mystery of what happened slowly unwinds as the book moves on. And it works. I was absolutely unable to look away.

Alan is the main character and he is not perfect. We all know an Alan, however distantly. He’s the kind of guy that had potential, but never fulfilled it. He is a bundle of shortcomings and lost opportunities. Their relationship and Alan’s inner character are the main focus of the story.

The ending…oh, the ending…is not what we’ve come to expect from this genre, but it is right for this book. I’m dying to talk about it, but that would be a disservice. This book is, hands down, my favorite read of the month and I have zero hesitation about recommending it to others.

The book is priced at $4.99, but it is also in Kindle Unlimited, which means you can borrow it for free as a KU member or use this as your monthly free book if you have Amazon Prime. If you don’t know how to do your prime borrow, it’s pretty simple. You’ll have a special button to borrow if you look at the book on your kindle device. It doesn’t show up on the regular web page.

 

Crafty Author – Book Charm Bracelets

I know, I know. I should have put this post up a long time ago. After all, these book charms are rocking and anyone who goes through all that trouble to make them should also get plenty of ways to use them. These bracelets are the most popular item I’ve yet given to readers.

Strikers Bracelets

I gave these away to readers and wore one myself! People like them, including authors, and they are easy to do once you get the hang of it.

Super short version for those who just like to roll their own way: Make Book Charms, Buy Findings, Weave Bracelet (video), put on clasp. Done!

Not enough? Okay, get ready for the verbose version. You asked for it.

Supply List

  • Hemp Cord 20# I prefer Hemptique, but most craft hemp cording will work. Check for quality! All hemp has uneven spots, but some are worse than others. You want a hemp that is between 0.5 and 1.0 mm for most of it’s length. Hemptique has tons of colors, just search for more.
  • Findings including clasps, open jump rings (twisted version), fold-over cord ends
  • Book Charms with eye rings in them
  • Beads (can use seed beads, but better to use larger ones like Dyna-Mites #6, which are more consistently manufactured. That way you can get it over the hemp cords, which are sometimes uneven)
  • Supplies including E-600 (clear), tools, paper clamps, cutting mat or clipboard, pencil,
  • NOTE: For Amazon, I’ve used my affiliate link, which might get me a few cents on the dollar for orders there. For Fire Mountain Gems, I’ve used direct links with no affiliate. Whichever is cheaper and/or better quality is what I’ve linked to.

First, watch this video! We’re going to deviate in terms of materials and such, but this is pretty much how you’re going to do it.

Second, set yourself up for success! Using jewelry pliers (you did get those when you were making the bookmarks, right?), go ahead and attach the jumprings to the eye of your book charm and make another eye at the other end, attaching a jumpring there. Having these done will save you time. Use a cutting mat instead of a clipboard. There was too much slippage on the clipboard and the cutting mat flexes, which is good. Decide on your beads before you start and have them ready. I use six to ten pairs of beads per bracelet, six for shorter than 7.5 inch, eight or ten for everything else.

Next, let’s do this! Cut your lengths of hemp. The 24 inch hemp will give you a good length, but add a couple of inches if you use a cutting mat so you can wrap the ends over the edges and clamp it securely. Cut your 60 inch length and begin like in the video. When you get a an inch or so in, add your first two beads, then close that and do two to three more knots, then the next. You want the book charm finding to straddle the middle, so measure carefully.

Weaving the bracelet

Here’s what it looks like during the weaving process. Note the pencil keeping the strands tight and raised up from the surface.

 

Adding the Book Charm

Adding the Book Charm is easier than it seems and its more secure this way!

Add your bookcharm to the stationary cord (natural color in photo) by undoing your clasp and sliding it on snugly. Then do enough knots to cover that distance, then slide on the other end either onto the stationary lines or your weaving lines, depending on your level of comfort. Then continue to do knots and beads until you reach your terminus. Your terminus should be at 6.5 inches (or a hair over) of knotted bracelet. Standard bracelets are about 7.5 inches, and the clasp and ends will take up about an inch.

Almost done!

Knot the end well and tightly!

At the end, be sure to knot well. I do a double knot by loosening my clamp and knotting the stationary cords (natural color in photo) with the weaving cords, one each. Once that’s done, remove the bracelet and clamp one of the cord ends around each end (making sure you put E6000 inside each clamp first!). Cut the cord ends ONLY when you have a good clamp and the glue is dry. Attach your clasp via jumprings to the cord ends and you’re done!

Finished!

This is what the clasp will look like. I used a 9mm clasp on this just so you could see detail, but use a 7mm for most people. 9mm is large enough for those who might have difficulty with clasps. Lobster claw clasps are bulky, but best for those who cant manipulate the clasp well at all.

 

The Mergens – Character Portraits by me!

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Yes, yes…I know…I’m no artist, but I did these. They are actually rather large watercolors done using Inktense, and these are just photos from my phone so they don’t look nearly as bright here. Even so, I rather like them. For someone who can’t draw or paint, I don’t think they’re too bad. (If you click the image, you can see a slightly larger version.)

These characters stuck in my head with a force I didn’t think possible. While The Mergens is tangentially linked to the Lulu 394 universe, they are unique and on their own too. Given that I’ve been working on Lulu 394 for years and still can’t get the book the way I want it, The Mergens and Lulu Ad Infinitum may well wind up being the only things I write in that complex universe.

Their names are Delta (upper left), Tango (upper right), and The Voice (lower center). I’ve done them up a bit like saints because that’s sort of how they roll out to me. Saint of Arms and Armor, Patron Saint of Righteous Battle, and Our Lady of Fire and Vengeance. I’m not sure why, but they stand out to me that way.

The book the story is in, Dark Beyond the Stars: A Planet Too Far, is still on sale for $0.99 on Amazon. I don’t control those prices, the producers of the series do, so grab it if you’re of a mind to read some very different tales.

Work In Progress

Savannah Slays (working title)

5000/ 100000 words. 5% done!

Portals - Portal Invasion #1

78000/ 78000 words. First Draft Done!

Mercy - PePr Inc novella

3000/ 20000 words. 15% done!

The Ways We End

66000/ 66000 words. 100% Done! Publishing Dec 8th! (Dark Collections 2, "And Then Begin Again" goes live on the Dec 8th too!

Strikers: Outlands

40000/ 10000 words. 40% Done!

Good News Gone Bad #1
Series of Shorts

4000 / 20000 words. Back Burner for now.

Lulu 394

60020 / 80000 words. 75% done! Back Burner for now!

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Books by Ann Christy