Holliday and the Holiday

As the final hours of the holiday weekend come to a close, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on a very busy and exciting time for my stories!

BLOODLINES was set for a free promotion starting last Tuesday and ran through midnight Saturday. In that time, I had over 1,200 downloads! That’s 1,200 more copies of my book out in the universe! Pretty crazy, especially when I think back to when I first released the book back in 2018 and only expected 30 copies to be bought. Yes, free is free, and who doesn’t want something that’s free, but the potential reader still had to look at the cover, check out the description, then make the informed decision to download it to their device! Even if I received ratings and/or reviews from 1%, that’s still 12 which would get me over that magical number of 50! As I un-blog tonight, BLOODLINES is at 41 on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.7 stars. That’s not too shabby in my humble opinion.

Meanwhile, PIECES OF EIGHT was officially released last Thursday. As of this evening, I’ve sold 35 combined units, and already have two 5-star reviews on Amazon! I’m still awaiting feedback from a few more of my ARC readers, but it’s a solid start.

I also tossed BLOODLINES into the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition (SPSFC), because, why not? It’s the first annual contest of its kind, on the heels of the widely-successful 7th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO). The worst that will happen is the book gets knocked out in the first round. And if it gets past that, then gravy.

In addition, I just contracted with a professional audiobook narrator who will produce the BLOODLINES audiobook! I expect that to be ready for distribution in the next 3-6 months. The auditions ranged from well-polished to amateur, with a wide variety of voice characterizations. Just hearing the words I’ve written read aloud by someone other than me was surreal. I cannot wait to hear the finished product by the gentleman I selected.

Meanwhile, I completed a written interview for the Self-Published Fantasy Month, which should see the light of day sometime in August. You’ll also notice that I updated my website with some new artwork, added a bit of color, and corrected a few outdated bits and pieces.

But, more importantly, I think I’m finally ready to dive into Book 3.

I’ve mentioned before that living in exile during the time of COVID really took its toll on my creativity. I was able to finish PIECES OF EIGHT, but it took a lot longer than I had planned. Since then, I’ve been mentally and creatively exhausted. My work has kept me extremely busy, and my focus has been on doing the best job I can do (since my day job keeps the lights on and let’s me write in the first place). But early this morning as I lay awake, the gears started grinding away on story concepts, characters, places and images of scenes I wanted to write.

That right there is the telltale sign my subconscious has been working things out. I didn’t put any words to virtual paper, as I tend to write stories in my head like a flowchart. If I can get from Point A to Point Z in my head (yes, I do write the outline out in a Word document, but this mental process is FAR more important), then the story will flow from there. Hopefully, I’ll get some actual words onto virtual paper, and let inertia do the rest.

But what’s really kept me going has been the insightful feedback that I’ve received from book bloggers and other readers. You folks have been nothing short of tremendous. It still surprises me when readers genuinely enjoy both books, or say which character is their favorite, or how a particular line or scene made them feel! And, like any wild and crazy egomaniac, I thrive off of that positive reinforcement. It energizes me, powers my own enthusiasm, and stokes my creative fire.

To everyone who has purchased either (or both!) books, or downloaded BLOODLINES for free, and then read even a portion of the stories, THANK YOU. You have my sincerest gratitude. I wish I could say I wrote in a vacuum, but I don’t. I need the validation from my readership – good, bad or indifferent. And whether you loved or hated the stories, I’ll still write them, because I’m either a glutton for punishment, or I just truly love to write.

Or probably just a bit of both.

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