Friday, July 1, 2016

MASSIVE Fantasy/Sci-fi Giveaway: $115 Cash, 15 Paperback Novels, 8 eBooks, Oh-My!

Enter for a chance to win one of the awesome prizes below on this Rafflecopter run giveaway. Ripley's Booklist is selective, and I'm excited to take part.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Interview and Giveaway

DJ of MYLIFEMYBOOKSMYESCAPE was nice enough to interview me recently and we talked about Kip the Quick. Read the interview now if you want to know a little more about me and a little more about our favorite pretentious scamp: Kip.

And two copies of the ebook are up for grabs on the giveaway below.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Story Climax: The Whole Point - Writing Tool by Victoria Mixon

Your Climax is your Premise. Remember that and it will bring you focus.

A few years back, before all the craziness of my move to Texas, subsequent relocation back to the west coast just a year later — in a whirlwind of dust and debris that felt as if it were as bad as a tornado — I read a handy-dandy post by Jami Gold with guest star editor Victoria Mixon. (The post is from an excerpt of Mixon's excellent: The Art and Craft of Writing Stories.)

Bomb by _Gavroche_ on
Blew my mind back then, and as I'm working on some outlining of a new epic fantasy, I'm reminded of it's usefulness. In an effort to iron out the concept in my own mind and share the brilliance with you, here is a snippet of that post and my own efforts to make it work.
"What’s the Climax of a novel? 
We must understand, for now, only this one, fundamental thing: the Climax is the real reason we write our stories. 
Once upon a time, two teenagers became so distraught over their passion for each other they committed suicide—that’s the premise. Cause? Their parents wouldn’t let them marry or even date—that’s the story. Cause of that? Their families hated each other—that’s the backstory.
—Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare"

In the post there are more examples to help drive it home, and they are laid out in the book as well. Here I'll make my attempt to distill some pieces down, including my own work, to show how it works.

A teenage boy hunts for a demonic killer and murders his kindly old neighbor—that's the premise. Cause? He must save the town from a killer that can not stop—that's the story. Cause of that? His neighbor is a demon and the boy is a sociopath obsessed with serial killers and death—that's the backstory.
I Am Not A Serial Killer, by Dan Wells
(Great book, big recommend! And the sequels may be even better.)

A young farmboy uses incredible powers to survive a series of ordeals to confront and destroy a terrible force—that's the premise. Cause? He is the Dragon Reborn and the only one that can destroy the Dark Lord—that's the story. Cause? He was saved and forced to find his power by multiple factions with their own motives—that's the backstory.
—The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson)
*Ok that's a hard one to summarize, considering it is 13 MASSIVE books, but I think that does it. And in this case, the backstory is more or less all 12 prior books.

Now one for me. Oi. (Hardest yet!)

A brash young man convinces an arrogant magus to rebel against the laws of their society and save the day—that's the premise. Cause? They join a mercenary group to fight back against an evil society, while the magus despairs over his lost power and the young man grows in his resolve to find his—that's the story. Cause? They leave their secret order, each with their own deepset reasons—that's the backstory.
Seeking the Veil, by Clifton Hill (That's me. Which you already knew, because you're a sharp one.)

Ok, I was going to try Kip, but my head is hurting now. And I need to get back to that outline I was talking about. Which this little blog post was totally not about avoiding. Really.

Anyone willing to try the technique here? Go ahead, I dare ya!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Kip the Quick on Sale!

World release on Amazon.

Witty, fast-paced fantasy heist where morality is...debatable.

Kip is a young thief on the hard streets of Tander in the middle of the Sparelands -- a dry, hot piece of hell, hit with frequent and terrible storms. All he wants to do is leave, but first he must save enough to cover fare for the only safe exit in town: the iron wain.

With six months to go, the job of a lifetime lands in his lap: To steal a vial of the Essence -- a piece of myth and legend. He'll do anything to pull it off, but the question is... Will he survive?

Never fear for Amazon alternatives, a wide release and paperback are coming soon. Stay tuned for more info. And sign up for the newsletter to hear it first.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kip the Quick

It's not "stealing," it's more like a transfer of ownership.

"Compelling," "a sand-buckling adventure"

Sign up for the Newsletter for FREE stories.

Add to Goodreads

Witty, fast-paced fantasy heist where morality is...debatable.

Kip is a young thief on the hard streets of Tander in the middle of the Sparelands -- a dry, hot piece of hell, hit with frequent and terrible storms. All he wants to do is leave, but first he must save enough to cover fare for the only safe exit in town: the iron wain.

With six months to go, the job of a lifetime lands in his lap: To steal a vial of the Essence -- a piece of myth and legend. He'll do anything to pull it off, but the question is... Will he survive?

~200 pages | paperback $10.99 | ebook $2.99
Amazon Kindle Apple iBooks Kobo Nook Scribd. inktera 24symbols


“over-the-top, sword and sorcery, swash-buckling (or maybe in this case, sand-buckling) adventure,”
Ray Nicholson, Amazon Book Reviewer


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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kip the Quick Cover Reveal

Pre-order starting mid-May

Kip the Quick is a witty, fast-paced fantasy heist where morality is…debatable.

You've seen the cover here first, pre-order will start soon at 99 cents (limited time) for the ebook. Print version will be coming in a couple months.

Editor notes and beta reader feedback has been great. I can't wait to share Kip's story!

Sign up for the Newsletter and be first to hear about the release.

And hey if you love the cover as much as I do, leave a comment. I'm trying to pester the talented artist Humbert Glaffo to compose a making-of for the cover illustration.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie

Hold the blade, Inquisitor! I will tell the truth! I have found a new favorite author. His name be Abercrombie.

[Affiliate Link]
(Originally posted on SFSignal, reposted here for posterity)
Print Length: 560 pages
Original Publisher: Pyr (2007)
Republished: Orbit (September 8, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0316387312
ISBN-13: 978-0316387316

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Danger brews in the violent North. Dive into a bloodbath of fully realized characters, see a figure of the past stomp into the political arena and hold the flickering candle high to a cast of characters with dark shadows clinging close.

PROS: Wit; unique character voices; a different spin on the typical epic fantasy; lively pacing;
CONS: Agh! Knife in the eye! I can’t see the plot. Where’d it go? Oh, wait. Eye is fine, the plot is hiding behind Glokta’s darkly tormented soul. Hiding right next to a cast of secondary characters overshadowed by Jezal’s ego and cowering from Logen’s dark past.
BOTTOM LINE: Exquisitely realized characters dominate this violent epic that shakes its steels at convention and will have you immersed.

In the Union city of Adua, where the Master Maker’s house towers above like an ominous dark cloud, all is fine and all is as it should be. The populace is kept in line by the ruthless Inquisition, the king is a slothly dullard, and the nobles flit about in their finery, finding purpose in a society of refinement as shallow as a pool of blood, while others mix intrigue and play at the games of power. But there is a danger brewing and a threat to the North, and the First of the Magi must come back into the world to set things right.

Meet a cast of characters with blood on their hands, but deep of thought. Meet a noble of breeding and refinement as shallow and proud as they come. And walk in the shoes of a military hero of common birth that must prove himself to his peers at every turn.

There is no map and there is no glossary in The Blade Itself and, frankly, I didn’t find the absence lacking. Character is the focus here. Abercrombie attacks the pages of The Blade Itself with character. And what beautifully interesting characters they are. Logen is a man of scarred practicality, Glokta is a man of mutilated sensibility, Jezal has never had cause to look further to the future than his mirror, and Bayaz is a man of mystery and wisdom we can only hope to understand. Even the everyman, Major West, is captivating as we see his own struggles.

Character is so much the focus that the plot takes a back seat. There is a greater conflict, a greater battle brewing, but with each character they are so strongly realized that, like life, each are their own worst enemies. In a way this is brilliant and I find it hard to point to a book that does character better. But we can all grow fond and comfortable with form and it is hard to see the plot.

Blood and gore spatter the page, much like the cover. If the gritty realism threatens your stomach, be warned. Abercrombie didn’t earn his nickname of Lord Grimdark for nothing. But it is not senseless. The author puts purpose into every page.

The setting of the story is beautifully realized through the unique eyes of each character. Captured with a modern sensibility, the world is thriving with detail. But if you cringe at the word “pants” or “shirt” in your medieval fantasy, you might want to proceed with caution, or maybe (instead) it is high time to deliberate whether it really matters for a book written for a modern reader. It’s not like anyone in the book is standing in line for an iPhone 6.

For the exquisite characters, for the clever wit and the surprise twist that suddenly made sense out of a major plotline, I give 4 very bloody swords out of 5 and if you didn’t already know: Abercrombie is certainly a dangerous new(ish) threat in publishing.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Seeking the Veil for All

Though Seeking the Veil has been available on Kobo for a while, I haven't found the secret sauce to sell it there, so the short prequel to Veil of a Warrior has been underloved. It is finally getting reviews on Amazon and in a move that I have been wanting to make for a while, I am releasing all 3 parts to Nook, Apple (iTunes), ScribD and others. Google is unfortunately closed to any new publishers at this time due to problems with piracy. Part 1 should be available today on the rest. Part 2 coming right after and Part 3 coming in a few days.

If you want to read the story, but didn't want to sign up for another newsletter or mess with uploading it manually to your favorite device, buy it ASAP and tell your friends. I was going to keep Part 1 as free (once I got it listed as free elsewhere for Amazon to price match), but it may display to customers better at 99 cents. So for a limited time Part 1 will stay free, but that may change.

Or join the newsletter and get all 3 parts for free. Uploading them to your favorite device isn't hard and I can help if you have questions. Just post a comment below.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Your Book is Invisible

No one will stumble across your work.

There will be no avalanche of book sales upon release.

Hopefully that didn't just destroy your hopes of publishing success, if it did, keep listening and pick yourself up off the floor.

Everyone out there is busy. Readers have full Kindles, and no one knows the name of the next Newbie Author. Success will not be had by clicking "publish". Instead success will come from telling people about your work. Not in a blatant roar, not in a mass of tweets every day: Buy my Book! Buy it Please! It's Awesome! I'll Pay You to Read It!

No, not that. But when you run into someone and start talking about books, mention yours, talk about it, give them a free taste if you can. Ask if they like it, to review it. Look for book reviewers: These passionate readers don't just consume your work, they shout about it to others. They value taking the time to do so.

Just don't brandish your book about like a weapon. But make sure you adjust the hilt at your hip, flash a bit of the blade at your reader. Time will build your list of connections, and if the work is good, one day that will all matter.

A far cry from "Shhh... Don't talk about your work", posted back in 2014. But I've learned. And as I slowly build up a list of interested readers (people that may one day be fans), I look at the fast approaching release of Kip the Quick and wonder what will happen.

Will it fade into the background faster than a shy chameleon at prom, or will it stand proudly upon the shoulders of a reader base, built one at a time?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Amazon Kindle Pricematch Down for Kobo

A few days ago I noticed that my perma-free title Seeking the Veil, Part 1 stopped selling on Amazon.

Two days ago it was pointed out that Part 1 was no longer listed as free on Amazon.

I had set it up as perma-free over six months ago, price-matching to Kobo.

KDP's customer service e-mails gave no helpful reply, calling KDP clarified that there was a technical problem with the price-match to Kobo.

I haven't bothered to list my books on Barnes and Noble, or iTunes as of yet. But it appears I need to make this a priority.

If your perma-free book is only listed on Kobo, besides Amazon, you should probably do the same.