The Bread Also Rises

In case it’s not clear from the reference and the cooling rack, that’s a rustic round (sort of) loaf of bread. Nothing to do with Covid; I was baking bread long before the lockdown. I’m especially proud of a version of foccia I do now and then. This one? So-So. Edible and all that, but would have been happier with a little more rise.

Which brings me to my second subject: I don’t know what I’m doing, when it comes to bread, and by extension, a lot of other things. My bread-making I owe as much to poor impulse control as wanting to probe the mystery that is bread. I get the impulse to try something new, and I do, and learn a bit, but seldom put in the time, concentration and focus required for real mastery. Maybe in a week or two I’ll try again. Maybe it’ll come out better, but I wouldn’t count on it. Otoh, if I need to write a scene involving bread-making, I’ll likely get that right. Nothing’s really wasted.

So how is bread-making like a price promotion? Same principles apply. As of today, there’s a Countdown deal running on The Long Look. I dropped the price to .99c until Wednesday. A separate Countdown Deal starts for the second book in the series, Black Kath’s Daughter, on Tuesday. I had intended the deals to be available everywhere, only that’s not how these things work, as a correspondent in Australia brought to my attention. US and UK only. So after the deals run (ending Sunday for BKD) I’ll do a manual price adjustment for the next week so anyone else can take advantage. Slight whoops, and could have been prevented if I’d paid better attention.

Just as I could have gotten a better rise in the bread if I’d been more careful in the second proof.

Always in Motion, the Future

This is now the cover to The Long Look, first in The Laws of Power series. Those following the series might recall that the first cover was a bit different. It used the same artwork as the original Five Star hardcover which I still like, but subsequent books in the series went in a different direction by necessity, making the first book appear less and less like it belonged with the others. Which it does, even if there is a 500 year disconnect between the first and second. Thus the change. It also connects nicely with The Collected Tymon the Black, so that’s a plus.

The cover for the eventual release of The Seventh Law of Power should coordinate with the first three. So that, you know, it does sort of look like a series.

A few years ago I wrote a couple of stories about a fictional University attended by mythical creatures, monsters, and the occasional human. I thought they were fun. Other people whose opinion I respected thought I could certainly sell them but they were too different from what I was writing at the time (there is a strong element of the romantic) and best not put them out under my own name. I listened. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did. Since I was adverse to shopping them around under a pseudonym, I just put them on Azon myself…under a pseudonym. There they rested until someone who knows my work outed me as the author.

I’m not upset about it. Rather the opposite. I’m glad the secret’s out because I don’t think I did right by them. Both were available as short reads and I have since de-listed them. My plan is to re-list them with a better cover, revised text, and together as a two-fer, under my own name this time. Tales of Bergstryker U, or something of the sort. Maybe I’ll even continue the series. You know, in my abundant free time.

I’m also pondering the future of this blog I’ve been doing since my Livejournal days. I said earlier that the blog will continue and I stand by that, but in planning revisions to this web site I’ve been considering a slight change in emphasis, which might entail moving the blog to an occasional subject of the Newsletter while the web site shifts to other duties. Still considering, but if ya’ll have an opinion I’d love to hear it.

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Monday After Monday After Morning After

Is it the End of the World as We Know it? Do we feel fine?

I can’t say I do. This whole year has been a dumpster fire that just will not go out. Most of it preventable, or at least the embers tamped down. Yet the people in charge can’t do anything and the people who could aren’t in charge. Sort of a perfect storm of SNAFU. I don’t feel fine. But I’m enduring, which feels like a win.

 

When the book’s finished I’ll likely put together some kind of price promotion for the first in the series, The Long Look. In the meantime, here’s a snippet of the The Seventh Law of Power, submitted with absolutely no context nor explanation. You’re welcome.

 

“I admit you’ve lost servants in a short order before,” Bonetapper said, once he was back in his raven body. “But you outdid yourself this time.”

“She was never my servant,” Marta said. “Not really. I thought I was acting according to the precepts of the Arrow Path, but I never felt the connection, the bond. Now I think it was no more than our interests coincided for a while.”

What can’t be taken, can be given. The Second Law. So perhaps according to the Laws, but not the Path?

Marta hadn’t thought of it in those terms before, but it was clear to her now that the Laws and the Arrow Path were not the same. The latter was simply a map to the first. If anything, her time with Dessera had proven that.

“Whatever else she intended, Dessera did me a favor. I’m beginning to understand something now that I did not before.”

“So am I, or I never would have realized the nature of my curse. You did me a favor, too.”

Dessera stood before them once more, a ghostly shimmer in the firelight.

Marta smiled a wistful smile. “I never expected to see you again.”

The ghost sighed. “Nor I you. Toban apparently had no questions about his next course. I’m embarrassed to admit I have no idea what should come next for me. I don’t feel imprisoned in this place now or indeed any other, yet I do not know what stage of existence or oblivion awaits me.”

“True of most of us,” Bonetapper offered. “Yet we assume, when the time comes, we’ll know.”

“I cannot help you with that,” Marta said. “I honestly wish I could.”

“I know. But would you mind if I traveled with you a while longer? I can be useful, and perhaps it would help me sort the matter out,” the ghost said.

Marta thought about it. It wouldn’t be the first time someone traveled with her as a companion rather than a servant; she rather missed it. And Dessera wasn’t formally asking for her help as would fall under the Arrow Path strictures, after all. She was simply asking a favor, as one person to another.

What can’t be taken, can be given. I believe this too is covered by the Second Law.

“I have no objection,” Marta said. “What about you, Bonetapper?”

The raven looked startled. “What? I actually have a say in this?”

Marta demurred. “Say rather you are free to express your opinion, as you always do. Just as I am free to ignore it.”

“That’s what I thought you meant. Fine. Just try not to get us killed.”

“Always,” Marta said.

 

The Long Look Redux

The first thing you may or may not notice about the new US paperback edition of The Long Look is that the cover is slightly different from the original hardcover and ebook editions. That’s because the original design was too close to the “bleed” limits of the pod cover specs. The jacket had to be redesigned from scratch, starting with Steve Gilberts’ original artwork. It took four attempts to get it right, and the final cover was just approved yesterday.

Revising the text was a breeze by comparison. And yes, there were changes. Not major, but changes nonetheless. Mostly a few embarrassing usage and context errors. I’ll be updating the ebook edition with the same changes in a few days, or at least I hope I will. It’s shaping up to be a very busy week.

Regardless, the UK edition is available here. If anyone anywhere else is interested, let me know. For now I had to go with limited distribution to keep the price of the book down, but it will be available in a few more countries.

I’ve been reading and loving Jeffrey Ford’s newest, Ahab’s Return. As the title suggests, it’s about what happens after the events of Moby Dick, when Captain Ahab turns up alive. Once I’ve finished I’ll do a review, if I think I have anything worth saying about it. Don’t wait for me, though. The book is already out there.

UK Okay?

I’m about halfway through the reformatting of The Long Look for the paperback edition. Fortunately, it reads a lot faster than it takes to work through it in editor mode. One reason for that is I’m being careful, as I only plan to do this once. My original assessment that there would only be minor changes to the text still holds. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any changes at all. A few spelling corrections, one or two small continuity gaffes to fix. Nothing major, but I plan to update the Kindle edition with the revised text when I’m done, so there will be essentially no difference between the ebook and paperback, other than the media.

As I said last time, I’ve always sucked at promotion. Maybe I had some introvert’s dream of just writing good stories and books and letting the rest take care of itself. Which it doesn’t. So I’m learning. I remain terrible at networking and the convention scene, which leaves learning copywriting and using those methods to write better online book descriptions and ad copy, something I believe I can do and am doing. Which has led to several online revisions over the last week or so revising how the books are presented. I haven’t gotten to them all yet, and some will be revised more than once. It’ll take time.

Odd result so far—now the UK editions of my indie books are outselling the US editions by 2 to 1. Too soon to say if the blip is statistically significant, but it is interesting. It’s a journey. I’ll report on it from time to time here, so fair warning.