Progress – The Witch

All right, I have officially sent a completed draft of Luule Ehari’s backstory, The Witch, off to my first beta readers! It’s a short story (just shy of 8,000 words), so I’m hoping that the editing process won’t take too long. There may be a bit of a delay in getting cover art together, but with luck I’ll have it out in the next few months!

If you have not met Luule and discovered how awesome she is yet, check out The Wizard of Suomen. 😉 I’m glad she decided to give me more of her story! I’ll put up a snippet once I get it back from my betas.

Next on the list is to finish up Alexei’s backstory!

~Ethelinda

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Mother’s Day

Before today is quite over, I do want to wish my mother a Happy Mother’s Day one more time! She has given me so much support for my writing; not just encouragement, but also her own considerable English skills, as she read several drafts of The Wizard of Suomen to find problems for me. It is definitely a better story because of her help.

So, Happy Mother’s Day, and thank you so much for your help, Mom. ❤

Quick Update

While I don’t post as often as I’d like to anyway, I’m going to be especially busy for the next couple of months (mostly with fun things, fortunately!), so posts may be even leaner than usual. But I’ll still try and get in a couple of reviews and some writing updates.

Things are getting nice and green outside, though, and it is finally spring! It’s nice to listen to the birds and the frogs calling while I work on things.

I will say that print copies of The Wizard of Suomen will be available soon! The ebook is $2.99 on Amazon, if you are looking for a good sword-and-sorcery.

~Ethelinda

Woo-hoo!

For anyone who has downloaded The Wizard of Suomen over the last few days, you helped make this happen:

4-3-18-freerank

Thank you! It feels really good to hit the Top 100 lists, even in the Free rankings.

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For anyone who hasn’t grabbed it yet, it’s still free until 11:59 PST on Wednesday, April 4, so it’s not too late!

FREE: The Wizard of Suomen

The Wizard of Suomen is free on Amazon for the next 5 days, from March 31-April 4. Give it a try risk-free!

When Elof Kálmári arrives at the border in southeastern Suomen, he hopes that rumor has exaggerated the trouble he is walking into. He has heard that this conflict with their neighboring country is serious, and that his new commanding officer is a magic-user. To his dismay, both rumors are true. Elof struggles to deal with the unfamiliar, destructive magic wielded by their enemies and his own leader, General Virtanen. Then disaster strikes: the enemy gains access to the very heart of Suomen, Suomen’s King makes a series of increasingly unwise decisions, and uncertainty and mistrust divide their allies. General Virtanen, Elof, and his comrades must put everything on the line to keep the King alive and give their people a fighting chance against a powerful enemy. Come find out which way the Winds will blow…

Review: The Greenland Diaries by Patrick W. Marsh

(“A book that scares you” from the Reading Challenge)

This is a review for the first two books of this series, Days 1-100 and Days 101-140.

These were gripping books! Horror is not my usual genre, but I happened to meet the author at a local convention last year, and this story sounded intriguing. It sucked me in right away; in spite of having told myself I wouldn’t read it in the evenings, I did, and ended up finishing the first book in just a few days. Similarly, I read the second book in just a few days as well. They are difficult to put down! I live in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, and I think that it makes a story like this more real, and more terrifying, to have it set in an area that you know well, because then you can’t help but picture what is happening to these familiar places, and feel sympathetic to what the main character is going through.

The premise was very different than anything I have read before, and therefore quite interesting. The main character, a bank teller, manages to survive a terrifying night at his bank when strange drums signal the arrival of monsters which kill anyone they encounter out in the open. Being careful and observant, he makes it home, and continues to evade the monsters that appear every night, even as strange green plants begin to slowly grow over everything. The story does a good job of capturing both the hair-raising periods of terror and the in-between tedium that the main character experiences. Both volumes leave off on quite a cliff-hanger, so I’m looking forward to reading the third book. I don’t know how many books the author intends, but it will be satisfying whenever the characters finally learn what has happened to their world and why! I’ll do an update when I’ve read more.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes horror, and particularly horror with a fantasy/fantastical twist to it, or someone who isn’t picky about genre but enjoys stories set in Minnesota.

Self-Publishing Tip: Careful with Categories

There’s definitely a learning curve to this self-publishing business, even if you’ve done your research beforehand! I’ll post some tips as I figure stuff out. Something I ran into (publishing as I currently am on Amazon) is to be careful with what categories your book gets placed into. This is undoubtedly a rookie error on my part, but I will learn more about this process and get better at it. 🙂

For this, I’m especially referencing the categories that Amazon chooses to put your book into based on keywords that you select during the uploading process. They have a chart in the Help section on KDP that helps you pick these. For example, I wanted The Wizard of Suomen to appear in the Fantasy>Sword & Sorcery category, so not surprisingly I had to have the words “sword” and “sorcery” appear in my keywords. So far, so good.

My mistake was in not paying enough attention to the other keywords I was using, and whether or not Amazon used them to determine any other categories. Because of this, TWoS ended up in Fantasy>Myths & Legends>Norse & Vikings.

The first problem with being in the wrong category is obvious: I don’t want to give potential readers a false impression of what my book is about. Although it is inspired by Finland to a certain extent, TWoS is definitely not a Vikings kind of story, so this was not a good category for it from that perspective.

The other problem was one that I had not considered, though, which had to do with the sales rankings, and how I viewed them. “Norse & Vikings” is a fairly small category on Amazon, with not too many books in it. Because of this, even my few early sales were enough to boost me into the top 100 bestsellers in this category, which in turn pulled up my ranking in “Sword & Sorcery,” etc. For this reason, it was tempting to leave TWoS in the smaller category, in the hopes of that trend continuing! But having the categories be accurate is more important, so I changed my keywords so Amazon would remove it from the “Norse & Vikings” category, which they duly noted and did. And then my sales ranking took a BIG hit, which was very disheartening to watch!

So, if you’re getting your first book up on Amazon, be careful of the keywords and categories. That way you’ll not only show up to the right potential readers, but also you won’t have to go through the disappointment of seeing your sales rank improve, only to have to undo it all!

~Ethelinda