news, news

Wow.

It’s been over an entire year since I last blogged.

I won’t go into the details (they aren’t juicy, anyhow) but Life Happened, and blogging (and writing) fell by the wayside.

But things haven’t been completely dead, hence this post.

Entangled did come out, and you can find it on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.

My short story, “Trading Gifts”, was published in Sword & Sorceress 28. This was a milestone for me! I have fond memories of devouring these anthologies as a teen.

S&S 28

Also, my short story, “The Village of No Women” recently came out in Phantazein, an anthology of fables, fairy tales, and folklore with a twist, edited by Tehani Wessely of FableCroft Publishing. Look at that absolutely gorgeous cover!

PhantazeinCover

Quartz is still being serialized. The eighty third episode went live today. We have 4 more episodes to go before the end, all of which are scheduled! If this is the first you’re hearing about this project, check out its page. You can catch up on all the episodes there.

I hope–crosses fingers–to be more active on the blog from here on out!

a month of quartz episodes

Episode Eleven of Quartz (in which Rafe has his first–and only–firedancing performance) went out to Inboxes and RSS feed readers all over the world today. This marks the end of the first month of running the serial (-ish, I’m too lazy to look up the exact date I started).

So, how’s it going?

The most awesome news is that I have subscribers and readers! Many have tweeted about the serial (many thanks for that!). Generous donors have covered episodes every Saturday so far (this upcoming Saturday is the first one with no episode scheduled).

The only wrinkle is that there’s little reader engagement in the comments section. Yes–even though it’s hard to tell, every episode *is* open to comments, and I am happy to receive any thoughts or feedback.

To those of you following the story, I hope you continue to enjoy it. There’s a lot of fun stuff coming your way, including more backstory on how Rafe’s weird sunless world got to be the way it is, the discovery of a resource that could change the political landscape, and a hint of what Isabella’s real agenda is.

Happy reading!

quartz episode one…

… went out to Inboxes all over the known universe early this morning!

Rafe Grenfeld, diplomat and spy, has problems. His entire embassy’s been arrested, he’s stuck in a hostile foreign city with police looking for him, and he’s been hiding in a smelly cramped dumpster for far too long. And that’s just the first two paragraphs! To find out more, go here.

Episode Two goes up on Saturday.

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In other news, I have the nasty cold that my boys passed around this past week. And just as I was beginning to think I’d escaped the winter sniffles that have plagued my entire family these last few months…

Here’s hoping to resume writing and blogging regularly SOON.

How are you all?

 

Quartz serial is coming soon!

As in, next Tuesday, April 2nd.

*gulp!*

We’ve set up a separate page and mailing list for it, which you can find here.

Aaaand, here’s the revised blurb (I can NOT stop tinkering with it, apparently!)

In order to save their world, the mages of long ago plunged it into eternal night.

Now rare veins of quartz provide light, heat, and food to a dying world. And Rafael Grenfeld has just learned that the biggest quartz pillar of them all, the legendary Tower of Light, exists. Unfortunately, his informer died before revealing its location and he’s stuck in the hostile totalitarian state of Blackstone.

Desperate to find the Tower of Light for his people, Rafe forms an uneasy alliance with the mysterious and maddening Isabella. They’re not the only ones interested in the quartz. The Shadow, chief of the Blackstone secret police, is also hunting for it. As darkness-loving demons devour souls and dangerous magical artifacts resurface, Rafe must tap into the lost powers of the mages in order to find and secure the quartz—before his world is destroyed by famine and war.

If you’re interested in receiving Quartz episodes in your Inbox, sign up here. (If you’re reading this in your feed reader or Inbox, visit the site to sign up).

Quartz RSS

Sign up here to receive each episode of Quartz in your inbox. Your email is never sold or shared.

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Also, Sean over at Adventures of a Bookonaut interviewed on his podcast. So if you want to hear me talk about my year of trying new things, the books that influenced me, self-publishing and slow build, click on the link!

 

let’s talk serials

One of my goals for this year is to Try New Things. Not only does it mean writing out of the box, but it also means trying new ways of reaching readers with my stories.

Such as web serialization.

Now, I’m not a big reader of serialized fiction, which has a lot to do with not liking to read fiction on a computer screen. Last year, though, I got into Lisa Ahn’s wonderful flash-fiction-sized Wing-Feather Fables and Liana Mir’s short-shorts and her serial, City of Glass.

And then I came across M. C. A. Hogarth’s work, including her serialized fiction (and the Three Michas, cartoon jaguars that explain art business principles), and Wattpad–and had an epiphany.

Hey, not everyone is like me! Some people actually like reading stories online, in small doses spread over many months!

(I wonder if these are the same people who also like listening to audio books, something else that I haven’t been able to get into).

So, here’s want I want to do. I have this awesome (well, yes, I think it’s awesome) novel called Quartz. You may have heard me talk about it a million times, or two. It’s kind of steampunk, a bit of science fiction, a lot of fantasy–and all adventure.

Here’s the blurb (culled from 15 single-spaced pages of a document entitled Quartz Query):

Rafe Grenfeld, Oakhaven diplomat and spy, has problems: his embassy’s been arrested, he’s trapped in the hostile totalitarian state of Blackstone, and he’s just learned of the discovery of a massive pillar of quartz from an informer who died before revealing its location.

Once, quartz powered magical devices, but the mages who created them are long gone. Now, desperate states vie for rare veins of quartz that provide light and heat, and mean the difference between starvation and survival. Determined to return home with the news, Rafe forms an uneasy alliance with Isabella, a demon slayer with undisclosed loyalties.

Riven with internal strife and facing war with Blackstone, Oakhaven is not willing to pursue a rumor. It’s up to Rafe to find the quartz he believes is vital to his people, even if it means defying orders and collaborating with the mysterious and maddening Isabella. Unfortunately, they have competition: Karzov, chief of Blackstone’s secret police and architect of a plan to resurrect magical weaponry, is also hunting for the quartz—and he has help. But it’s not enough for Rafe to dodge mind-destroying demons and allies-turned-enemies. He must also overcome his quartz-induced disability—the one that leaves him writhing in agony—and tap into powers long thought lost, before his world is torn apart by famine and war.

And I’d like to serialize this, right here.

But, Rabia, you might be thinking–why not just self-publish Quartz, like you did Mourning Cloak and Rainbird and Shattered?

Good question. And in no particular order, here are my thoughts:

  • I’ve never serialized before (except for that one time, with Wired). No time like the present to try.
  • I haven’t self-published anything longer than Rainbird, which topped out at less than 32K words. Quartz is 101K words and I’m intimidated by the idea of self-publishing it. The line-editing and the proofreading passes are a lot of work. I’d rather spread them out over the many months of serialization than do it all in one go. It’s the whole how-to-eat-an-elephant thing: one bite at a time.
  • I want to bring readers to a place that is unquestionably mine–my website. Right now I’m selling through e-tailers, which means I don’t have direct access to my readers. I hear rumblings that Amazon might–bad move!–take away the 70% royalty rate unless you enroll in KDP Select. Therefore, I want to have lots of little baskets for my eggs, to make sure that all my readers–and income–aren’t coming through one channel.

So, how are you planning on this serial thing working out?

Well, so far the tentative plan is–I’m still working out the kinks of this–following a model similar to Hogarth’s (hey, I’m teachable).

  • I would post a scene (less than 2K words) once a week, probably on Tuesdays.
  • If I get enough donations ($5? $10?), they would pay for an extra episode per week, probably on a Saturday. What this means is that if you like the story, you can pay to read it faster. Without donations, the story will continue to run at its weekly pace.
  • The money I get for Quartz will go towards paying for cover art for the ebook. If I get more than that, I’ll hire a copyeditor/proofreader (oh, yes, please! My eyeballs are still bleeding from the 354 rounds with Mourning Cloak). And if I seriously overfund (along with getting my own pony, a castle made of candy, and rainbow kittens), I’ll pay myself.
  • Anyone who donates to the serial will get an ebook version for free, and their name–if they choose–in the Acknowledgements.

So, what do you think? Would you read serialized novels? Any tweaks you’d suggest to this system? Comment away!