Thursday, December 27, 2012

Life Learning in 2012

I want to thank everyone who bought a free copy of The Knights of Derbyshire during the Kindle sale and raised the ranking. All told I gave away about 2000 copies, which I would not view as losses at all given the free Kindle book market and the fact that this is a series of books to buy. 

Things I Learned This Month:
1. That copy-editing can never be good enough. Georgiana and the Wolf went through every possible check before it could be published and there's still a major typo in the print edition that will be changed in January. No one else has found it yet except the person who pointed it out to me - my mom - so I can't blame myself or my three levels of editors too much. Actually, there's still a contest going that the first person to find it gets a free copy of the revision. So that's impressive in its own way. 

2. That I think the Amazon market is nuts and may be crashing. Maybe letting everyone throw their S&M werewolf Celtic historical fiction for 99c wasn't a good idea, but even Amazon can make mistakes. And I can't complain too much, having joined the ranks of self-published Createspace authors. Book 6 isn't doing as well as Book 5. To some extent I expect that, given that in a series there's going to be diminishing returns with each book outselling the next one as readers drop off or don't find the new ones, but I would feel better if it was doing well. Since it's been hard to find reviewers with a book so late in a series, I can't say people aren't buying it because of bad reviews. I think the market is just flushed with JAFF, and I don't have a massive publishing house's publicity machine behind me, so that's that. Also, weird fact: Book 3 has always outsold Book 2. I don't know why.

3. That they now make kosher Hannukah Houses so Jews don't feel left out of the Gingerbread House phenomenonThis is true. The main reason for my never building a Gingerbread house is that the sets are never marked kosher and contain unkosher frosting or candies, but one Jewish company put an end to that. The result: A stale vanilla cookie of a house. The frosting was good though.

4. That I can still surprise myself with my writing. I sold a horror short story to Dybbuk Press for an anthology, details upcoming but unrelated to Jane Austen. The surprise isn't the horror part (I've always written sci-fi/fantasy) but the short story part.  

5. That Tibetan thangka painting will always test my endurance but still be worth it. I've gotten pretty good at painting and drawing clouds and pretty much nothing else.

6. That this is not going to be a post for the ages. I think I'll just bail.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


My fifth book, The Knights of Derbyshire, is now free on Kindle until Thursday! So please buy it buy it buy it. Owning a Kindle is not required. In fact you can just download it and delete it for all I care (OK I do care a little bit) because it will raise my rank and more people will see it.

If you haven't sampled the series, this is the ideal way to do it. It's a lot of people's favorite book out of all ten, and there's a long introduction to catch you up with the events since Pride and Prejudice.


Amazon actually made me go through a lot of hoops to get this up for free (which is why it isn't available on other eBook formats until February, sorry). Something about how giving away all their books is destroying their business model? That sounds about right. If you've ever been wondering how Amazon can sell all books at a loss, by the way, it's because they make their money in other things, primarily electronics. So undercutting the book market to achieve massive domination of publishing is a worthwhile effort for them. I'm not saying I support it (though as a massive book buyer who picks up tons of used history books from them, I financially support it) but I admire their business savvy. Also I can't get my sci-fi sold to a publisher because they're all broke and not buying anything. There's a connection here - I'm sure of it - but I'm too excited about this sale to bother discussing it here.

I confess Book 5 isn't my favorite book in the series. That distinction goes to Book 8, The Chrysanthemum and the Rose, followed by Book 10, The Last of the Wine, followed by this book. But in terms of being a fun, relatively quick read, it's probably the best. And a lot of fans think it's the best. Brandy Scott thinks it's the best and she's edited every single book.

Andre the Giant wants you to buy this book.
If pass up on this offer, please submit one of the following reasons for your lapse of judgment:
1. You were away and there was no internet except the hotel room connection and what the hell, that was like $20 an hour or something crazy like that, is that how they make all their money?
2. You already own Book 5 on Kindle because you paid for it (this is the correct answer).
3. This is your first visit to the internet ever and you don't understand it at all. Sorry about all the porn you're going to find in a few minutes by typing anything else into Google.
4. You're a visiting alien species and you've already determined that a free copy of the book will not help you conquer anything. (If so, how do you know for sure?)
5. You're that baby from the commercials with Jimmy Fallon who hates free stuff. Confusing baby.
6. English is not your first language. It's not even your second language. You're not having a successful time reading this sentence.
7. You're waiting for the anime.

To conclude, I love you all. I'm not sure that's really true but I wanted to end on a less aggressive note. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Georgiana and the Wolf Now Available!

Georgiana and the Wolf, the sixth book in the series, is now available.

Buy it in paperback.
Buy it for Kindle.
Buy it in all other eBook formats.
It should soon be available at Kobos and B& if it is not already.

A mystery unravels unravels in a rural town in France...

INSPECTOR ROBERT AUDLEY, rising star of the Parisian police force, is called to rural France and the estate of the Marquis de Maret to solve a murder. If his job wasn't hard enough with little evidence and few leads, suspicions point to a creature neither man nor wolf, but something in between.

As rumors of vigilantes and monsters fill the countryside, Audley investigates the connection between the Marquis and the local seminary, a finishing school for proper English women. The Marquis's betrothed, Lady Heather Littlefield, and her best friend and companion Georgiana Bingley seem somehow involved. Are they the next targets of the murderer? Or are much more mysterious forces at work?

In Altman's fifth installment of the The Darcys and the Bingleys, she continues Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice through the character of Georgiana Bingley, daughter of Charles and Jane Bingley of Chatton and Derbyshire, during her eventful and possibly disastrous year at the Robinson School for Women.

Enjoy! And please, please take the time to review it on Amazon if you have a chance.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lookin' Pretty Sweet

This isn't the official publication post because Amazon and Smashwords still have to sort out what pages connect and where are the files and process the latest version of the cover, but Georgiana and the Wolf (book 6) is now published.

Paperback (may be temporarily unavailable due to cover alterations)
All Other eBook Formats

Createspace, Amazon's POD publisher, is not so great with the cover trim, as the back tends to bleed into the spine. Their answer to this problem was, "Make a less complicated cover." And what, not let my readers have a sweet-ass bookshelf display?

Guess which ones had a different publishing company!
Three things you guys should look out for:

1. This blog will have an official publication post where I will be giving away a copy or two, maybe even one in paperback if I can manage it (it costs me money). So stay tuned to comment in that post and win! Because I don't get a lot of comments so you will probably be the winner.

2. I'm saying goodbye to Austen Authors, but I have one final post later this month and will be giving away eBook and paperback copies of the book, so if that's on your blog watch, check it out. I will also repost it in my Facebook Group so that's what you should be subscribed to, that group, because that's where the action's at anyway.

3. BOOK 5 (The Knights of Derbyshire) WILL BE FREE ON KINDLE FOR FIVE DAYS THIS MONTH. Those five days will probably be Dec 23-27th. Even if you don't own a Kindle (...yet) you're welcome to download a free copy and read it on your computer. Or just have it, because you can and it's free. Needless to say I will post when it's free the moment it becomes free, give or take a few hours of processing. Please, please take advantage of this. I had to unpublish from Smashwords and this whole mess just to get into the Kindle Select program for three months to do this for you guys.

4. There is no fourth thing on this list.

5. Happy Hannukah!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And to All, a Good Night

Thanksgiving is my mother's favorite holiday. I could actually take it or leave it, but it is nice in that it's not a Jewish holiday, as the Jewish holidays come with all kinds of ritual obligations and restrictions, and it's an American holiday that's secular enough for even religious Jews to take part it in. Some Jews don't celebrate Halloween, which just sucks for them, as Halloween is my favorite holiday. When I was very young I went to an Orthodox day school where everyone was more religious than me, and I was disappointed that there were no Halloween decorations like in public schools, so I had to take comfort at the skeleton over the letter"S" in our letter chart and consider it my own decoration. But even Orthodox schools, which didn't necessarily take off for Christmas (a lot of yeshivas take a week off in January), took off for Thanksgiving because the kids' parents would be off from work so it made sense. I grew up with a mix of secular and religious culture that I'm very proud of.

Thanksgiving is about watching the parade and eating turkey. Also it's about judging how bored Santa looks when he shows up at 11:58 in front of Macy's. The last couple years have been good but it can vary. He's been on that float I don't know, at least four hours, and it's often drizzling or snowing. And he can't look NOT jolly for any part of it, unlike the rest of the people on the floats. So think about that when you're watching the parade, WHICH YOU SHOULD BE.

Georgiana in the Wolf, in more pertinent news, should be out the second week of December, hopefully before that. Amazon's Createspace is sending a proof on Monday, which will no doubt have some problems, but if there aren't too many problems the second proof won't take long. I was shooting for December 1st but there's always unexpected delays, like your second copyeditor is out doing Hurricane Sandy relief and your graphic designer needs a new computer. Watch this place for giveaways. The Knights of Derbyshire made it into Kindle Select so it will be free for 5 days in December.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

First, let me just say I'm fine. I live in Upper Manhattan, so I never lost power during the Hurricane. My brother was without power for a week and the same with my parents in New Jersey, and everyone is safe and healthy and there was no major damage to the house. Things are still a little tense here in NYC, with a gas shortage and crowded subways, but we made out a lot better than other people who are now homeless.

If you're looking to donate, I heavily suggest check out the AidMatrix website and choose a local charity that will be more efficient with your money than the Red Cross. If you want my person suggestion in terms of work I've actually seen happening on the ground, a great place to check out is the UJA, which is currently providing non-denominational services to all boroughs.

Anyway... Big news! Book 6 - Georgiana and the Wolf - is back from the copy-editor's. I'm just doing some last-minute checks and waiting for the cover designer to get back to me with a final cover and then I begin the proof process at Createspace. In other words, the book is on schedule to be out in December, hopefully very early December.

When book 6 is released, look for discounts on Book 5 (The Knights of Derbyshire). It's the only other book in the series whose price I can control, and I'm going to bring down to .99c a lot to push sales. It may even be free for a few days.

Book 7 has gone to the editor's, where I expect to be for a while. We're shooting for a Spring release and then a Fall release in 2013 for Book 8. Book 7 doesn't have a title yet.

The best way to get all these updates is join my Facebook Group Page, which is the page I update most often.

In unrelated news, I did a podcast about some of my earlier writing, the Bucky O'Hare Web Series. You can listen to me rant about season 2, which I worked on from 1998-199, here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I am Totally on Top of the Blog Thing

This is not going to be the cover of book 6
but wouldn't it be cool if it was?
I don't always have a long post prepared, so if you want to hear the latest about books 6 and 7 as events develop, please go to my Facebook Group Page. I seem to have the most fun with that, and there's more feedback options for you guys.

Latest Updates:

The Knights of Derbyshire (Book 5) - The second edition is out in all formats. If you buy it, you will get the second edition, which includes a preview chapter from book 6. If you already bought the first edition and want the second one, you can email me and I will send you the eBook edition. The formatting is also better in the paperback, with the pages looking neater and just generally more professional. Your cover may vary slightly in terms of the lining up of the pictures on the front and back on the spine, but Createspace says there's nothing they can do about that. Every printing is a little bit different because the technology isn't there, so just think of it as your own personal edition.

Georgiana and the Wolf (Book 6) - Hopefully it is going into copyediting soon. I could put it out much faster without all of these editors and copyeditors involved, but if you're going to be spending real money, I'm going to get you the best possible product I can manage. Publication date is sometime before the end of 2012. Over at the Facebook Group Page I'm posting possible covers and you're welcome to submit your own public domain wolf-related 19th-century images, and if I choose yours, your name will go in the acknowledgments.

Book 7 - As yet untitled, because the old title doesn't work for publication. Preliminary work has started on book 7, because we're shooting for a Spring 2013 release. Since Book 6 is kind of a strange book (it's a murder mystery set in France) and Book 7 is more in line with previous content, I'd like to get it out reasonably soon after the publication of book 6. Then there's going to have to be a break to breathe before Book 8, which is for the record my favorite book in the series.

In other news, Shana Tova (Happy New Year) to fellow Jews and fans of the Jewish lunar calendar, as Rosh Hashanah begins on the night of the 16th. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten

Yup, THIS is where you learn about skin cancer
I'm going away for the next 2 weeks. My father has a dermatology conference on a Baltic cruise ship for some reason and I'm going with him. Which is good, because I really need to get out of the city and the heat.

I was going to do a podcast bringing everyone up-to-date, but I realized that it would just be complaining about a hot, awful summer. Don't get me wrong - sales have been great, and books 5 and 6 are coming along - but my family's gone from emergency to emergency and my iPod weather app always says "feels like 99 degrees" even when it's 80. So I just need to get out of here. No I will not be visiting any sites I mentioned in book 3 - I will be in Russia, but not that deep in Russia - but I would like to see some of mainland Europe, which I have never seen.

Book 5's revision will be out in August. It was delayed by everyone else having a crazy summer, too, and I did get back new edits but didn't have time to implement them because there's a waiting process when you go back and forth with Kindle and Createspace. Looking through the book, my friend only found about 20 typos, which I don't think is as bad as some people made it out to be, but could use improvement.

Book 6 is coming along, but I'm not setting a date on it yet. I''m not doing any work on it on the minute other than looking through common domain images for possible art and color themes. The manuscript itself is at the editor. It will be called Georgiana and the Wolf. There really is no way to work Darcy into the title, which is why I abandoned that publishing convention for The Knights of Derbyshire. The plan is, because book 6 is just so much different from the other books in the series, to just rush on ahead to book 7 which brings us back to more familiar territory (and resolves a major plotline of book 5) and then take a breather before book 8.

For those of you who have read book 7, which used to be known as If I Loved You Less, I am open to title suggestions, because that is an OK fanfic title (it's an Austen quote) but a bad book title.

I'm not putting book 5 on sale while I'm in Europe, but honestly if $4.99 is breaking the bank for you, just read the book online. There will be sales when I get back around my birthday (Aug 28) and a whole length of time before the release of book 6, which won't be out any earlier than November from the looks of it.

My books wil be sold at the Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day Weekend. I won't be there (family event) but there'll be signed copies of books 1 and the anthology to buy. Sooner or later I'm going to have to stop avoiding cons, but money's a little tight and it's a BIG family event. Also traveling on Shabbat is impossible and I'm kosher so that always makes these things a little more expensive and way more complicated.

I just want to say before I leave that I really appreciate every one of my fans. Hell, I appreciate you even if you bought the book, didn't like it,and posted a nasty review on Amazon. You do what you gotta do. But I definitely wouldn't have the courage (or patience) to self-publish the continuing series without all the support I've received, and I'm grateful for it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Honestly, when am I not running a contest?

Free stuff. That's what this blog is all about.

Contest: Think you've got a good public domain image for Book 6? Submit it via email, comment on this page, or on the Facebook Group Page. Last book, Cherri won this contest with her submission, which ended up being the cover image for Book 5, The Knights of Derbyshire. The winner gets their name in the acknowledgments and a free hard copy of the paperback, which is on schedule to be released late Fall.

Also, it is perpetually too hot outside. That is all.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

In My Spare Time

Since I realize it might be a good idea to actually say something interesting on my blog, I'll take a moment to talk about the iPhone game I'm currently obsessed with, Cause of Death. It's a murder-solving game involving a male and female detective who don't like each other at first because they're prejudiced against people who act differently and they have a lot of pride. So it's basically exactly like playing Pride and Prejudice, if Pride and Prejudice was about catching serial killers in America and also not like Pride and Prejudice at all.

But I'm sure learning a lot about San Francisco!

  1. San Francisco is like, loaded with serial killers. People are pretty numb to it at this point, because anywhere else in the world, eight serial killers a year chopping women’s faces off or drowning them in bathtubs filled with ice before chopping their faces off would be sort of alarm. Maybe that’s because…
  2. The cops need about six hours to catch them, once they actually bring the important the important partners who are also romantic interests on the case, which should be about 4-6 girls in. This is probably because…
  3. The lab can do anything instantaneously, be it compare DNA samples to a national database or hack things which are not even electronics and connected to a computer in the first place. They’re so good at it and valuable to the team that they can do whatever they want in their spare time, including clearing out the evidence in freezer storage to make room for this comic books, which is totally a smart thing to do. But the detectives do actually need to do some street work, interviewing suspects. Who, by the way …
  4. Everyone runs. Everybody. Maybe it’s because they hunted prostitutes for sport and left their DNA everywhere, maybe it’s because they have a dime bag of weed in the fridge, maybe they just filed their tax returns a few days late, but either way, running from the murder police after they ask you three questions is definitely the thing to do. It’s important not only to duck out the backdoor, but to hurl knives, an assortment of kitchen items, and anything else that could possibly fatally harm police officers in their way, because G-d knows that doesn’t make it worse. Fortunately, the DA considers, “I ran from the cops after boobytrapping my kitchen mid-flight and firing six shots at them at close range before hijacking a car not because I was guilty, but because I got spooked” to be a valid excuse. Maybe it’s helpful that…
  5. Whatever doesn’t kill you slows you down for a few minutes so your partner can go one-on-one with the bad guy. Getting your skull bashed into concrete, taking two armor-piercing bullets to the shoulder, falling off a roof – these are temporary concerns, so much that your detective will stand by the ambulance background after the chase and say, “Yeah, I’m just. Just a scratch.” He may be hemorrhaging blood internally, but all in a day’s work catching the guy who just turns out to be a low-level coke dealer. Or the mob. And speaking of the mob…
  6. Mexican drug cartels hang out with serial killers. Just because, I guess. Or maybe there’s just so many that it’s bound to happen by accident. They hire a guy to patch them up in a dark warehouse after a shooting and he turns out to be a serial killer. A serial killer who trains serial killers says, “Can I crash on your couch for I don’t know, 6 months?” and of course the answer is, “Sure, person who would draw unnecessary attention to us.” Fortunate for the police, drug cartels are really easy to deal with  because…
  7. Excessive use of force is not really a “thing” in San Francisco. This is quite helpful to the cops. Is a cartel bully standing in the way of you interviewing a possible serial killer? Shoot him in the head at point black range, then let your partner gun down his guards like it’s Prohibition and you’re Al Capone. Other options (especially if anyone tries to run, possibly from the gun-happy policemen) include: hijacking civilian cars and then crashing them, shooting innocent people in the back, hurling people off rooftops,  tossing bombs out the window without looking to see if anyone’s standing outside first, electrocuting suspects, and getting into a fatal gun fight with a security guard because you’re undercover. Because hey, you got the bad guy, and now he’s not going to kill any more women by suffocating them with plaster. It may have taken an additional four or five unnecessary deaths to do it, but job well done. Maybe the city lets this slide because they save so much money on criminals never going to trial because they never survive the final chase. Unless they do, then …
  8. Court room scenes descend into hostage situations. Bailiffs are clearly trained to not use their guns, or properly restrain dangerous suspects, or look for guns or knives on the dangerous suspects known for smuggling guns and knives into places. Several body counts later, he gets off on a technicality. It just makes you mad enough to …
  9. Always drop your gun. This is an important thing to do at the beginning of any fight scene. Whoever’s making police-issue weapons in California, they need to fire the guy in charge of lubing the handles, because I was never in a chase/fight scene where my gun didn’t instantaneously flee from my hand like I was covered in gun anthrax and the pharmacy was out of Cipro. Also, it’s never a good idea to go for it. Swinging a toaster around instead is a much better option. And I was done clubbing the suspect with a broken ballet, a picture frame, and then hurling him off a building, it was important to remember that…
  10. No matter how pressing the issue, there is always time to not talk about your relationship with your partner. These meaningful lines of dialogue where one person tries to say something and the other person shoots them down or is interrupted by the temporary boyfriend/girlfriend before true and obvious feelings can be expressed are things to do during processing, in an ambulance, and while the captain is waiting to tell you where you can find the triple-murder suspect who’s holding people hostage. Love (however delayed, or not reciprocated) comes first, hordes of serial killers second!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Be in Book 5! Last chance!

Lots of news!
1. This is your last chance to get your name in the acknowledgments of the second edition of The Knights of Derbyshire! All you have to do is email me with more than four typos you found in the first edition and you will get your name inserted and a free eBook (any device) of the second edition. And please, please do this in the next five days. Contest closes on the 6th. Because I have to get the second edition out.

2. Sales! There will be sales this summer on the eBook as I experiment with pricing on Amazon. Maybe $2.99, maybe .99c, but keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook group page. And there will be a big period of sale before the release of book 6 in the Fall.

3. Book 6 will be titled Georgiana and the Wolf, which is its old FFnet title. It's currently at the editor's. Then it goes to the copyeditor's, then to layout, so some months are involved here, but I will try to get it out this Fall. It is the only book where I am doing a sort-of major revision to one of the plotlines in the books versus versions you will find online.

4. A couple questions people may have about book 5:
- Yes, it is self-published, which is why I can alter the contents of the book or change the price. I cannot do this with the first four books.
- I cannot bring the price of the paperback way down because it costs money to print and I cannot sell it at a loss.
- The eBook is distributed on non-Amazon sites by Smashwords, which takes several weeks to update, which is why I cannot fluctuate the price on other sites as I can on Amazon and Smashwords
- In case you were wondering, yes book 5 does weigh more than the other books because the paper quality required for digital printing is much higher and therefore heavier. I spoke to the rep at Createspace and she they cannot make the book lighter. It's not a brick or anything, but someone like me who mails people copies on occasion, those ounces make a difference.
- Yes, Mugin does appear in a later books, in which form I will not yet reveal.

5. Jesus, it is really hot outside. That is all.

Friday, June 8, 2012

New Contest!

There's more going on than I have time to discuss at the moment, but I need to announce that there's going to be a second edition of book 5, and here's how you can win a free e-book:

I know that there are typos that weren't found by multiple editors. So if you can send me an email with the page numbers (or line quoted so I can find the location) of more than 4 typos, you will get:
- your name in the acknowledgments of the second edition
- you will get an e-book in any format you want of that version.

Content is on until July1st, so get to reading!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Book 5's available! Get your copy, hot off the presses (somewhat literally, because it's print-on-demand).

You can buy it directly from Createspace here.
You can buy the paperback on Amazon here.
You can buy it for Kindle here.
You can buy it for all other eBook formats here.

It behooves me to say that if you buy it on Createspace, a greater percentage of the money goes to me than if you buy it elsewhere, where Amazon takes more.

Back copy:

Twenty years have passed since Mr. Darcy married Elizabeth Bennet, and their family has grown. All of the Bennet sisters are married, and their children are on the threshold of adulthood and ready for entrance to proper society. War in Europe is over, and it seems that England, and our beloved families, are at peace.

But trouble lurks on the horizon. A popular revolt is brewing in Derbyshire, lead by a deluded radical. The very safety of Pemberley and Chatton House are threatened when a family member goes missing, and Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, with the help of relatives and friends, must attempt a dangerous rescue while the wolves close in around them.

In Altman's fifth installment of "The Darcys and The Bingleys," she continues Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice not just through romance and foibles but political intrigue, action, and the occasional brutality required of life in Georgian England.    

Whither Book 6?

I'm a bit in the hole from editing and design costs, but as soon as I get out of that - get your copy of book 5 today! - I will start working on book 6, hoping for a fall release.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rolling rolling rolling

Feels like this, right?
Hopefully, book 5 should be out next week. The print version is there, but lacking a cover. A couple people have responded to my cover design ad, but no one has actually delivered the cover yet or said officially they would do it. So, if you can design book covers, there's $50 in it for you. The eBook version is pretty much there, but it's hard to tell. I can't submit it for premium distribution on Smashwords until I publish it, and only when they review it for premium distribution do they find if things are problematic in the file formatting. And that takes a week. And I can't put up the Kindle version until the print version goes up. But rest assured, I am working on it.

Whither book 6? Well, that depends on sales of book 5. If I earn back my money on book 5 (I did shell out good money for copyediting), I'll try to do book 6 in the fall or winter 2012. If I'm in the hole, we'll see. It's kind of a tense time for me, because both of my bosses and my first publisher owe me money, but until they get it to me, my bank account is pretty low.

If you're looking for a review copy of book 5, the e-version will be pretty easy to get from me, but if you want a print copy for review, you need to be someone who will actually really super do the review. No offense to reviewers, but this time it's money out of my pocket to get you a the book, so if you want to do the print review, please be serious about doing it, and give me an email.

There is no textual differences between the books, except maybe in the acknowledgments if I forget to line up last-minute additions correctly. Also, I worked really hard on the formatting for book 5's print version, because you need to format print versions, so I'm really proud of it, but I know some people like their eReaders. Just so you know. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jane Austen with me in Kathmandu, Nepal
Boy, it sure has been awhile, hasn't it? So long that Blogger has significantly changed its layout for designing posts.

I have been back from India for the last month, and insanely busy for all of it. I arrived on top of Passover, then had to begin to catch up at my job and finish my Kickstarter project, which has had just hours and hours of audio to transcribe. And I've been working on book 5. I'm doing the last of the copyediting issues now and from then it's formatting, layout, then publication.

A couple things of note:

- The size of the book will be the size of The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy, as those proportions are easily available on Createspace, whereas the proportions that Sourcebooks used (shorter with wider pages) are not allowed for wide distribution

- All of the previous books have used a creme-colored paper to some extent; book 5 will be whiter. Again, this is a distribution requirement. I am making an effort to have the books look similar, but I also want to get it to the most people possible, because I know a lot of people are going to want the hard copy.

- The price for the hard copy will probably be around $14.95, or less on discount, and the price of the eBook will vary depending on sales and promotional periods, but stay between $2.99-$4.99 for the most part. I don't think I'd put it way above that. Please watch my group page and blog for announcements of specials. I may even reduce it to .99c a couple times for a day or something.

- Because this is a POD book, there will be a delay on shipping. I don't have any control over this. If you want to buy a copy directly from me because POD is not available in your area (non-US), you can contact me and I'll set that up.

- While I'm trying to keep the general layout from book 4, I won't have as much freedom for fancy flourishes that Sourcebooks did a lot of at the beginning of chapters and between scenes, but I'll do what I can for the hard copy. The eBook will pretty much just be text because it has to work on all formats. The Kindle version has more room to move.

- It's 80,000 words, so it'll be somewhere in the 300-350 land of page numbers. Again, this is only relevant if you're buying the hard copy. Book 5 is not as long as the previous books because it has a more concentrated plot. Book 6 is the shortest book by far, at least 67,000 words or something like that, and after they get longer and longer as I have more and more to do with the younger cast. The final book is something crazy, like 200,000 words. Man, I hope we get there.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I'm shooting for a May release for book 5, though that projection may turn into June, so it's a very soft "May." The book is at the copyeditor's (it take a long time to go through line-by-line) but in the meantime I need some help.

I'm looking for cover art - public domain art I can either obtain or buy from an art stocking site. It should be a wilderness scene, or a country scene, preferably involving the hunt or some other action-related event, because there is a lot of action in Derbyshire in this story. It has to be a painting, not a landscape photo, in keeping with the theme of the other covers.

The Knights of Derbyshire takes place in 1822-1823, so the art should either be from that general time period (1800-1830) or be art of that time period, because fashion changed a lot and it will be noticeable to get it wrong.

If I choose the art you found, you'll get a credit in the book and a free copy of the book.

In other news, I'm going to India on Sunday the 26th - next week - so I won't be updating this blog a whole lot until April, when I'm back in the States. If there's some major news to report I will put it up, but otherwise, follow my adventures here. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rants I Shouldn't Go On

I read a lot of magazines. I have monthlies, but I also have three weeklies - Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and the New Yorker - to give me something new to read every Shabbos or just while I'm eating dinner on weekdays. And it makes me pretty damn angry to find that two of out of three of them have advertised or endorsed P.D. James's Death Comes to Pemberley. The New Yorker had a full-page back cover add (which probably cost at least $50,000, knowing what I know about magazines) and Entertainment Weekly included it in its weekly list of ten things I should care about, which is also advertising. Which is fucking insulting to me.

Let's not bother to discuss the merits of Death Comes to Pemberley because it doesn't really matter. Reviews have been bad-to-mixed, but it's certainly no The Education of Miss Mary Bennet so I have to give him points for just not being that, the worst of the worst when it comes to famous authors cashing in on the craze or just people doing bad writing. I haven't actually read DCTP because even if I had a free copy, I don't have time before India to do much of anything that doesn't involve the trip itself. The real point is, for this much promotion, I want DCTP to be a fucking classic. I want it to justify its existence and the amount of money Knopf has put into promoting it by being better than Pride and Prejudice.

I shouldn't be so down on James. After all, she's a cute little old lady who has worked hard all her life at writing and if she was ever going to make money from it, it definitely has to be now because she's going to keel over in a few years. It's not really that I hate her. It's that I want to be her. I don't want to tear a corrupt system down. I want in on it.

Let's face it: I'm no Shakespeare. I have a certain level of competency at what I do which is pretty established in this genre, and I have enough people liking me to justify its continued publication. But I wrote ten G-ddamn books in 5 years while also attending grad school, and have spent even longer promoting them, mostly by myself or with very little publisher money. I did all of the blogging and the social networking and got my Jane Austen creds by going to England and I still pay JASNA $30 every year or whatever it is for them to invite me to events that I can't attend because they're on Shabbos. I give away digital copies of the early drafts for free. I joined author social networks and I read all the Jane Austen blogs. The point is, I've paid my fucking dues, stretching my budget to spend my hours doing publicity until the next royalty check comes, and I'm going to continue to do all of this and I would appreciate I don't know, ANY of what she had handed on her to her on a silver platter. In fact, I think I would be happy with jut the platter.

Any other Austen author who says she doesn't feel this way is lying to you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Writing About Writing: The Worst Kind of Writing

NOTE: The Kindle sale on my first book, which is currently $1.79, ends on January 15th.

Took a long walk today. Only 20 blocks or so, but I realized I haven't been outside a whole lot since starting my novel (now standing at 17,000 words) last week. Mostly for food. Entirely for food, actually. When I'm writing a novel it takes up most of my head space, so if I'm doing it right, if I'm not writing I'm thinking about what I'm going to write or how much I need to research before I can continue and how screwed I am, but my head is basically in the book. Not at all times, but at most times. I'm living in the book.

Advice for writers:

(1) Don't worry too much about distractions. I mean, clear off your schedule and all, but distractions are just going to happen. Let them enter your mind and leave.

(2) Don't stop for the day when you run out of ideas. Stop a bit before that, when you still have a sense of the next scene, so that you won't be a blank slate the next day. You always want to start off running.

(3) You'll be surprised how much shit you get done (paying bills, cleaning your room, writing blog posts) when you're procrastinating.

Back to work.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Actual Writing

Book 5 is at the copyeditor's.

I'm writing a new book, not related to my P&P stuff. So I am away. Writing. Be back soon. Maybe a month.