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This is something I haven’t been very good at so far. In fact, up ’til now, I’ve usually published first and then scrambled to do something later. That doesn’t work so well. I need to do better.

As I look forward to the launch of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, book one of the DUAL MAGICS series, sometime this summer, it’s time to start thinking about this.

In Vatar’s world, there are two separate kinds of magic. In the semi-nomadic plains tribe, one kind of magic is acquired through initiation into one of the clans. In the coastal cities, an entirely different kind of magic is inherited through certain closely-guarded bloodlines. No one has ever been in possession of both kinds of magic. Until now.

Apart from polishing the manuscript, which I’m working on right now, the cover is the next thing I need to work on.

A lot of authors use a cover reveal to start generating interest. My cover art is still in process. I haven’t come up with a single image that really resonates for this story. It’s complicated because DUAL MAGICS will be a four-book series, eventually, and I’d really like to have some consistency in the covers. Some images that would work well for THE SHAMAN’S CURSE won’t extend to the other books in the series.

I also need to plan far enough ahead to have at least a few reviews soon after the story goes live. Maybe a blog tour. (This time, hopefully, my computer won’t go down in the middle of it.) Who knows? I might even try a Facebook Launch Party.

It’s a lot of work, and definitely something I need to get better at, soon.

Reviews

One of the most important ways to sell books is reviews–honest reviews, not those unethical purchased reviews. In our digital age, they’re the word-of-mouth advertising that has always been the most valuable. Social confirmation that someone else read this and like it. Or hated it. Sometimes even those reviews can help.

But reviews can be hard to get. Even people who love a book just may not log on to Amazon or Goodreads to tell the world about it.

I’m trying something new (for me) with THE BARD’S GIFT.

TheBardsGiftCoverSmallIt’s up on Story Cartel now. For the next three weeks, you can download it for free in return for an honest review. Try it now. What have you got to lose?

I did get a very nice review of “Wyreth’s Flame” on Smashwords.

I’m also still working on getting “Wyreth’s Flame” free on Amazon. (It’s currently $0.99 there.)  To accomplish that, I need people to report lower prices on Barnes and Noble and the Apple iBookstore. There’s a really easy link right below the product details. This ebook also includes a hefty excerpt from THE BARD’S GIFT.

I’ve been a little bit stuck on my rewrite of THE IGNORED PROPHECY. Now, partly that’s been due to some real-life issues that are mostly beyond my immediate control. I’m working on the things I can change eventually, but everything just takes more time than I’d like. And, in the meantime, things are just going to be hard.

Among the things I have to learn to do better is marketing. It never was my best subject or something I’m very comfortable with. But it is a fact of life for a writer and if I don’t learn to do it at least adequately I’ll never make this work. I’m taking a flying leap on Story Cartel, hoping for some reviews of THE BARD’S GIFT. We’ll see how that works out.

I’m also still working on getting “Wyreth’s Flame” free on Amazon.

Red Wyreth Cover SmallIf anyone would like to help out by reporting the lower prices (free) on Barnes and Noble and Apple iBookstore, I’d appreciate it.

Now, this is bound to impact on my writing, but it wasn’t all that was going on and it took me a while to figure it out. I’m doing a rewrite of some of my earliest writing, going through chapter by chapter and trying to bring that story up to my current writing level. I underestimated how hard this was going to be. And what was holding me back was that I wasn’t satisfied with the result.

The first few chapters are pretty solid (aside from the problems inherent in starting a sequel), but I just wasn’t going deep enough in subsequent chapters. I’m going back to fix that. It just is a fact of life that every chapter is going to require more than one pass. I’d always known that. Where I went wrong was in thinking I could go straight through the manuscript (the way I do a second or third draft) and then do the next pass. That’s just not working. I have to do multiple passes on each chapter until I’m happy enough with the result to move on. Then, I’ll likely have to do still more revision passes, probably on the whole manuscript. Nobody said this was going to be easy, but I think the story is worth it.

Moral of the story: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

 

Red Wyreth Cover Small

It’s here!

Sometimes the gift of the right story to tell at the right time is a blessing. Sometimes it’s a curse. But the Norse gods don’t leave Astrid much choice, either way.
On the eve of a desperate battle, with her father lying mortally wounded, the gods give her a story about the first dragon to learn to breathe fire. As usual, the story doesn’t come with instructions. It’s up to Astrid to decide if the story is meant to calm the frightened children or encourage the dispirited men. Or if she just might be able to do both with the same story. All their lives may depend on her skill with a story.

Wyreth’s Flame is available on both Amazon and Smashwords. It’s free on Smashwords. I’ll have to wait until it gets out to Barnes and Noble before I can start the process of making it free on Amazon, too. In the meantime, it’s only $0.99.

You can add it to your to-read list on Goodreads too.

There’s a healthy extract of The Bard’s Gift (twelve chapters) included in the ebook.

TheBardsGiftCoverSmall

Welcome another author with a fun story involving Norse mythology. (Funny thing. The story of Fafnir makes an appearance in The Bard’s Gift, too.)

Welcome to The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour!

A middle-grade fantasy-adventure by Mikey Brooks.

Don’t forget to check out the GIVEAWAY at the bottom this post

for a chance to WIN a $25 Amazon Gift card and other great prizes!

 

Fun Discoveries while Researching

A Guest Post by: Mikey Brooks

 

I discover fun and interesting things with each book I write. For The Stone of Valhalla I did a lot of research into old Norse mythology and legends. I wanted to base my “otherworld” off something that still had familiarity in ours. World building is really fun in the fact that you get to create everything from the ground up. You get to create their religion, their folk songs, their folklore, everything. I mostly turned to research to find names for characters and places but as I found a name, I found a story behind the name.

In The Stone of Valhalla a magical amulet is sot by many evil creatures trying to hone its power for their own purposes. It’s ruled by a harpy, then an evil wizard, then something just as terrifying. One of the masters of the amulet was a dragon. I found this really cool name Fáfnir and decided to use it for my dragon in the folklore of this “otherworld”. What I discovered was a fascinating story about a dragon named Fáfnir from old Norse legends. In the Norse legend Fáfnir was the son of the dwarf king that was transformed into a dragon because of his greed over gold and a magical ring. He was later slain by the hero in the Völsunga Saga. I took a few things from what I learned about Fáfnir and incorporated it into my book, twisting the story to fit my own. I find this to be the most thrilling part of writing. You never know what you’ll learn as you research for your book.

I am thrilled to announce the release of my newest middle-grade fantasy-adventure: The Stone of Valhalla. I hope you love this book as much as I do.

Cover

Synopsis:

Aaron was chosen to save their world, but it might come at the cost of losing his own.

Breaking into an old lady’s basement was supposed to reward 13-year-old Aaron with new friends. Instead he finds an enchanted amulet that transports him to another world—one at war with magic. Before he knows it, he is accused of witchcraft and invited to a bonfire—where he’s the main attraction. If that’s not bad enough, a goblin army shows up and toasts the town…literally. The good news: Aaron escapes being charbroiled. The bad news: the goblins are after him. They want his amulet and will stop at nothing to get it. Battling to find his way home, Aaron teams up with a not-so-magical-wizard and learns it’s his fate to destroy the amulet and save this new world. But is he willing to sacrifice his own?

Check out what these talented authors are saying about it:

The Stone of Valhalla is one of those books that only comes along once in a great while. Brooks doesn’t just create a world, he puts you inside of it, allowing you to experience the wonder in a way that only he can. His characters are likable and fun. His twists leave you asking ‘Why?’ Treat yourself to an exciting adventure through a beautiful new land. Make new friends and be a part of the magic. This is a book that you will not be able to put down!”

—J.R. Simmons, author of Ragesong: Awakening.

The Stone of Valhalla drew me in from the get-go. Aaron’s journey is reminiscent of Dorothy’s trek in The Wizard of Oz. Magic, sword fights, danger, and more danger, sprinkled with humor and unexpected twists. This is one of the ‘best’ fantasy adventures I’ve ever experienced!”

—BBH McChiller, author of The Monster Moon Series.

The Stone of Valhalla is a riveting mystery revealing true friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Brooks engages the curiosity of middle graders and older sleuths alike, until the very end. Fantastic!”

—L.R.W. Lee, author of The Andy Smithson series.

Where to Find The Stone of Valhalla:

Exclusive price for the eBook release is just $2.99! (List Price: $4.99)

And only $9.99 for the paperback! (List Price: $12.99)

On April 12th 2014 the price will return to the List Price

Kindle | Paperback

Another special offer:

During The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour

Mikey’s other great middle-grade eBooks will also be set to the low price of just $0.99!

The Dream Keeper:

Kindle | Nook | Kobo

 

The Dreamstone:

Kindle | Nook | KoboLaunch

You’re Invited to PARTY!!

The online launch party will take place on Thursday, April 10th at 4pm (MST). The party will run for 2 hours and you’re invited to drop by anytime. The longer you stay the more chances you have of winning prizes! We have slew of eBooks to giveaway, as well as a Stone of Valhalla necklace AND a $25 Amazon gift card! It is hosted by LovingtheBookLaunchParty on Facebook. Just follow this link to join the event: http://goo.gl/Q2Fd3r.

What’s that? Another Party!

That’s right! If you’re local to Utah you don’t want to miss this kickin’ party. We are having a launch party to celebrate the release of this awesome new book. Of course there will be plenty of giveaways there too, but what’s even better are the guest authors! Just check out these fabulous names: J. Scott Savage, Chad Morris, Lisa Mangum, Jenni James, Ali Cross, and many more. The Launch Party is: Friday, April 11th from 6-9pm at the Viridian Center in West Jordan, Utah. Follow this link for a map: http://goo.gl/dqVc0u

 

About Mikey Brooks:

Mikey is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures and Bean’s Dragons as well as the middle-grade fantasy-adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast. You can find more about him and his books at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/.

Giveaways

The Giveaways!

Enter the giveaway here to be entered to win one of the following prizes:

$25 Amazon Gift Card

The Stone of Valhalla Necklace

Autographed Paperback of The Stone of Valhalla

Autographed 11×17 Poster

In today’s publishing metadata is very important. It controls where a book appears and whether it comes up as a suggestion for a customer who may be viewing a similar book and where a book appears in search results. For some niche markets, it controls whether the book even gets on the right list.

Unfortunately, meta data can sometimes seem like a black art–mysterious and incomprehensible. Thanks to Facebook (you really do never know where you’re going to find something useful), I’ve found at least one resource to help out a little.

Amazon does provide a list of keywords necessary to get into some of those subcategories on their system. Yay for that.

I’m trying to learn a lot more about metadata right now. I’ll be revisiting all of my published books and tweaking their keywords and descriptions. (Yes, keywords should be in the descriptions, too.)

Fortunate this is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s an encouraging thought.

Well, the computer problems I had earlier sort of took the wind out of my sails for a while, but I’m starting to build up steam again.

I’ve gotten through a slow patch in THE IGNORED PROPHECY (sequel to THE SHAMAN’S CURSE) and into a section where more is happening. Things are moving faster now, both in the story and in my rewrite of the story. That slow patch is a section I’m going to have to revisit in the next patch, of course. I’ll need to either punch it up or delete a fair bit, probably some of each. But rewrites, like revisions, are an iterative process. The key is not to try to fix everything all at once, but concentrate on a certain aspect in each pass. This pass is more about technique (and a little bit about adding emotion as I improve things like dialog mechanics and internal dialog).

Meanwhile, I’m about ready to start on the final edits and formatting of “Wyreth’s Flame” for publication next month. I’ve pretty much got the cover:

Red Wyreth Cover Small

The plan is for “Wyreth’s Flame” to be free everywhere (which will probably take some work to bring about on Amazon). This short story was the germ that eventually grew into THE BARD’S GIFT.

TheBardsGiftCoverSmallThe ebook for “Wyreth’s Flame” will include a bonus section with a substantial portion of THE BARD’S GIFT.

Oh, the first five chapters of TBG are available free on wattpad, if you want to take a look. I’m putting out a chapter a week, which means it’ll take 33 more weeks for the whole story to be available there (around the middle of November).

So, things are moving well again. Just in time for me to start work at a new job (part time) tomorrow. I’ll be a crossing guard. Wish me luck.

 

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