Planet Fleep is Here!

Today I’m excited to share my new middle grade novel with you! It’s on pre-order starting today for just .99 (if it’s not available at your favourite retailer yet, it will be along soon!).

Robots don’t always know best!

When a meteorite storm wreaks havoc on their family’s cargo ship, sort-of-twins Rudi and Trudy find themselves stranded on an alien planet. In their search for help, they uncover a fiendish plot against the friendly and mysterious alien critters the twins call “fleeps.” With only an overprotective robot for company, can they survive on their own, find their parents, and save the fleeps from a horrible fate?

I’m really pumped about this beautiful and fun cover from goonwrite.com, and early comments from advance readers are very positive. The print version of Planet Fleep will follow in September, but all ebook formats are available to pre-order now. The book’s official release date is June 20th.

If you can’t wait for the full release, you can read the first five chapters in this preview. You can subscribe to my newsletter at that link as well, but it’s not required.

This pre-order sale is a great chance to pick up a copy for your e-reader, just in time for summer vacation reading to your kids! I promise there’s lots of fun and fast-paced adventure ahead!

Release Day!

The newest instalment in the Olympia Investigations series releases today!

When patrons of a local homeless shelter start turning up dead, with suspicious-looking bite marks on their necks, a local vampire is an obvious suspect. But as Acacia digs deeper into the case she starts to wonder…could even more sinister forces be at work?

 

You can find it for $1.99 or less at most online venues: buying links are collected here. If you’ve missed  previous tales in the series, check this page for a sale and a freebie!

An Interview with…Me! – Short Flights Bundle Author (and Curator)

So, Mike Jasper over at UnWrecked Press turned the tables and asked me to answer some of my own questions in connection with Short Flights. Here’s the post where we chatted recently: https://unwreckedpress.com/an-interview-with-author-sherry-d-ramsey/. It was fun, so click over and have a read!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is still available across many online platforms. Along with my collection, The Cache and Other Stories, you’ll find ten single stories and four more full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

An Interview with Marcelle Dubé – Short Flights Bundle Author

See? I promised another Canadian author interview, and here we are! Marcelle Dubé grew up near Montreal, but now lives in the Yukon. Her novels have been published by Carina Press and Falcon Ridge Publishing, and she has published many short stories, most recently in On Spec and Superhero Universe: Tesseracts Nineteen. (Personally, I can highly recommend her Mendenhall Mysteries!) Marcelle also writes under the pen name Emma Faraday. She keeps a website at www.marcellemdube.com/.

SDR: Marcelle, tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

MD: In “Chimère,” our heroine Bittan lives in modern-day Montreal. She is the daughter of the high priestess of an ancient god who expects Bittan’s obedience and love, and has sent a mythological guardian to Montreal to protect her. Now Bittan must choose between the power a dangerous, jealous god offers her, and the very fragile love of a human man. And she must choose quickly, before the god destroys him.

SDR: That sounds fascinating! Now, imagine you’ve been kidnapped or trapped by a natural disaster. Which of your own characters (from any work) would you want to rescue you? Why?

MD: Definitely Kate Williams, Chief of Police of Mendenhall, Manitoba and heroine of my Mendenhall Mystery series. She’s smart, stubborn and quick-witted. If anybody can rescue me, it’s her and her team of intrepid constables.

SDR: Since I’m familiar with Kate, I have to agree she’s a good choice. What’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?

MD: Right now, I’m working on Book 2 of the A’lle Chronicles, the first of which—Backli’s Ford—came out in 2012. I am little anxious about finishing it because it’s been so long since Backli’s Ford came out. I have been busy in the interim, of course (5 novels and 16 short stories), but there are so many stories to be told in the A’lle Chronicles world that I may not live long enough to write them all…

SDR: I know you’ve written series characters. What’s their appeal for you?

MD: To my utter surprise, I find myself with not one, but two series on the go. Both are mystery series, though one is a police procedural and the other is an alternate history series.

I’m not really a series person, but after I wrote The Shoeless Kid (Mendenhall Mystery #1), with the aforementioned Chief of Police Kate Williams, I found myself wondering what she and her constables were up to now. I liked these people and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. So I wrote The Tuxedoed Man. Then, of course, I was doomed. I’ve just released the fifth in the series, The Forsaken Man.

The second series is The A’lle Chronicles. I can’t lie—I knew exactly what I was getting into when I started the first one, Backli’s Ford. I had so many ideas about the people and events and how they veered off from our timeline… I’m happy to finally be getting back to Constance A’lle and Chief Investigator Desautel.

SDR: Have you had to deal with bad reviews? How do you manage them?

MD: I know most writers say they don’t read their reviews, but that’s not me. I read every single one, good or bad. After all this time, I don’t mind the bad ones. I know not everybody will like my stories, and that’s okay.

SDR: Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

MD: I sail off into the darkness every time, hoping I won’t fall off the edge of the world…

SDR: I have to admit, I’ve been heartened during these interviews by how many other authors give this answer… :)

Do you think there were early influences as a reader that have guided the stories you create as a writer? What were they?

MD: Oh my. I loved the pulp writers: Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan), Lester Dent (Doc Savage), Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land, Podkayne of Mars), Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian), C.L. Moore (Jirel of Joiry)… I still love the pulp-style stories and I’m sure that love translates into a lot of my stories.

SDR: Do you think the place where you live (or somewhere you have lived) influences what you write? In what way?

MD: I live in the Yukon and its dramatic landscape and wilderness lend themselves to great fiction. Quite a few of my stories have featured the territory as a character (Obeah, On Her Trail, Ghosts of Morocco, “Jules,” “Going to Liard,” “Root Fire,” “Running Away from Christmas,” “The Man in the Mask,” “A Yukon Christmas,” “Troll Country”).

SDR: And that’s reflected in the tagline on your website, as well… “Writing the North and other fantastic places…” I like that. :)

Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?

MD: I am so easily distracted that I have to work in silence. I can ignore background sounds like traffic or kids playing outside, but any sound in my writing space demands my attention and takes me away from the story. I could never write to a soundtrack.

SDR:, Well, to finish off, tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview!

MD: My most recent novels are Shelter, set in modern-day Ontario and featuring a young woman who stumbles onto a haunted house while running away from an abusive husband; Ghosts of Morocco, in which our heroine finds herself thrown back into a Moroccan nightmare from her youth when she tries to protect the child of her best friend; and The Forsaken Man, in which Chief of Police Kate Williams finds herself longing for a quiet spring after a long, hard winter. What does she get instead? The theft of valuable bull semen from a local vet and increasingly dangerous vandalism at a construction site.

SDR: Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting, Marcelle! And thanks for being part of the bundle.

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Marcelle’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

Talking About Bundles

I’ve been pretty active with bundles lately, and a good writing friend asked if I could talk about them a little here. So I’m happy to dish the low-down on bundles as I’ve experienced them.

To start with, book bundles are primarily a marketing tool to draw in readers with a good value deal on multiple books, and from the participating authors’ perspective, introduce one’s works to a new audience. Bundles generally originate with publishers, author collectives, or through bundling sites or platforms. They may also be known as “box sets,” which are essentially the same thing.

One of my first introductions to being included in a box set or bundle was one my publisher, Tyche Books, put together a few years back. It was a space opera box set called Rogues, and (from my perspective anyway) sold well. It included the first book in my Nearspace series, One’s Aspect to the Sun, so would serve as an introduction to this series for new readers, some of whom might go on to buy others in the series. Just the other day I happened upon a review of Rogues I hadn’t seen before, and the reviewer said,  “There were a few great stories (I really liked One’s Aspect to the Sun, for example)” so that kind of made my day! This reader might not have seen my book if it hadn’t been in the set, but they enjoyed it and who knows? They might buy Dark Beneath the Moon and Beyond the Sentinel Stars.

While I’m thinking of it, One’s Aspect to the Sun is currently in a new box set from Tyche, called Shadows and Light; it’s a “first in a series” set, again meant to introduce new readers to a series. And it looks beautiful!

A large part of the thinking behind bundles or box sets is cross-pollination–someone might initially buy this set because of one of the other authors included, but then read my book because it’s there, and become introduced to me as a writer in that way. And hopefully go looking for other things I’ve written.

I’ve also worked with a bundling platform called BundleRabbit. BundleRabbit is the brainchild of Chuck Heintzelman, and provides authors with a place to list works they’re willing to have included in bundles. Authors participating in a bundle share in the revenues generated from that bundle. I curated one of the first BundleRabbit bundles, and have just done a second one, the Short Flights of the Imagination bundle. I love short fiction and I’ve wanted to do a bundle featuring short stories for a while now, and it has finally come together. So the curator decides on a vision for a bundle and searches through available titles to find pieces to include. Authors are invited and may accept or decline. Then when the bundle is finalized, hopefully all the authors will participate in sharing and promoting the bundle out to their social networks; this is where more cross-pollination comes into play as readers learn about other authors from one they already know. BundleRabbit does all the heavy lifting of setting up and distributing the files and downloads, participates in promotion, and collects revenue and pays out royalties.

Of course, to list your work on a site like BundleRabbit, you must have the rights to do so; I wouldn’t list my traditionally published titles there because my publishers look after that marketing and have the right to set prices and oversee distribution. However, for my independent titles, I’m free to do as I wish. And of course I mention my other trad-pub works in the ebook files I use for bundles, so it’s roundabout promotion for those, as well.

I’ve been invited to several bundles, some of which are current right now: Immortals, Weird Fantastic Detective Stories, Gumshoes Redux, and Short Flights, which is on pre-sale now and will release in full on March 15th. It’s good to have a variety of titles available if you’re going to get into bundling, and of course, as with all independent titles, they should be of high quality, with professional covers and blurbs, so that curators can include your work with confidence.

More questions about bundles? Ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Now if you’re looking for some new material for your ereader, be sure to click some of these links… ;)

Friday Desk Report – February 2, 2018

I was going to start this post with a pithy quotation about selling books, but all the ones I read were starting to make me depressed, so I changed my mind. Yes, this week I’ve been largely focusing on marketing, promotion, and how to help readers find my books (and want to read them). While I did make many pretty pictures, and learned many new things, I also came to realize that I need to get all of this stuff organized on my computer, in one easily-accessible place. Everything probably took me twice as long as it should have as I searched for cover images, blurbs, links…it’s definitely time for some computer housecleaning. *gulp*

On a brighter note, I worked on the next Nearspace novel (started in November, currently in the process of getting it back on track), and some editing on another, older project. Wrote some new words on the current Olympia Investigations story I have underway, but the brain was not really in a word-writing place this week. Considering the time of year it is, I’m in a remarkably good head space (much of which I attribute to my new daily yoga practice), but it’s still best to work with what my brain tells me it can handle. I think next week the words will be inclined to flow better, since I took a bit of a break this week.

I’ve also switched up the newsletter signup freebie, which has been the same for a while. As of today it’s a newly-compiled and packaged collection of five of my short stories, all about alien encounters. They’re a nice mix of serious, funny, heartwarming and thought-provoking. If you haven’t signed up before, or haven’t read these stories, click over and take a look! The cover image is a beauty by by Joel Filipe on Unsplash, where you can find some really amazing images the artists have made freely available for whatever use you wish. Thanks, Joel and Unsplash!

January Stats!

Okay, so I didn’t really get back at the treadmill desk until almost the middle of the month, but even then, I was a little spotty on it. 419 minutes for the month, which translated to 5.14 miles walked. I can do better!

Word metrics for the month worked out to 5633 written, and 12,509 revised. I’d like to keep up this revision pace for February, but really up the writing. Guess we’ll see how it goes.

Finally, both my Olympia Investigations stories are in bundles right now! The Immortals bundle and Weird Fantastic Detective Stories are both available at BundleRabbit, so hop over and take a look if you love getting great reads for reasonable prices. And really, who doesn’t love that?

 

More on the Immortals Bundle

The Immortals Bundle from BundleRabbit has now gone live on all platforms, so here’s a little more about it:

Gods, nymphs, vampires, deathless clones, cursed mages and those who serve them face perils where immortality acts as either curse or blessing or…both. Souls and selves lie at stake in this eclectic bundle.

 

Immortals includes 14 ebooks from short stories to novels, including my novelette, “The Goddess Problem.” This is the second installment in the Olympia Investigations series, featuring Acacia Sheridan, a private detective with a special gift – she can communicate and interact with supernatural creatures of all sorts. In “The Goddess Problem,” a heartbroken Greek goddess comes asking for her help. Acacia’s investigation takes her from an isolated cavern on Earth to the Olympian heights…but can a mortal sleuth wring the truth from a phalanx of dysfunctional deities?

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

The moment she walked into my office, limned in a faint silver sheen, with that grinning, lupine dog at her heel, I knew she was no ordinary client. She didn’t proffer a hand, just sat down in the blue leather chair opposite my desk, and said, “Hello, Ms. Sheridan. My name is Selene. Do you find missing persons?” Her eyes were very serious, very blue, and very fixed on mine. They shimmered a little with unshed tears.

She’d made it past the reception desk and Oliver, my often-annoying assistant and cousin, so he must think I should hear her story. Despite our frequent personality clashes, Oliver had developed a keen proficiency at weeding out the cases I’d absolutely hate. I gave Selene my most professional and sympathetic smile, and met those unnerving, if lovely, blue eyes. They were hard as sapphires; old as the sky.

“I do my best for every client, but I won’t make any promises beyond that,” I told her. “I’ve had some success with missing persons cases in the past.”

The dog, rangy and shaggy as a wolf—maybe it was a wolf?—settled on its haunches beside her and panted lightly, tongue lolling. Selene stroked the creature’s head with gentle fingers, never breaking our eye contact. “This will be a difficult case, Ms. Sheridan, and I may prove to be a difficult client. I will tell you some things that you may find challenging to accept.”

I leaned back in my chair, which protested with a squeak. I was suddenly intensely aware of the dust in the corners of the room, the scratched and scabbed surface of my desk, the faint layer of windswept grime on the window behind me, and the lingering scent of tuna sandwich from my lunch. Oliver had been pestering me to repaint the place and freshen it up, but I’d resisted. Maybe he had a point.

“I’ll try to keep an open mind,” I said. “Challenging clients are a bit of a specialty here at Olympia Investigations, which is probably why you chose me.”

She smiled a little, and didn’t deny it. I’m the person to see when a non-human client needs help, and I rely on a lot of supernatural word-of-mouth.

“So, will you be explaining why your skin seems to glow? And I don’t mean the kind of glow they promise in tv commercials.”

She lowered her head in a slow nod. “I will. What you make of that explanation will be up to you.”

I was intrigued, and business had been—let’s face it, boring—the past two weeks. Too many mundane insurance investigations and spousal surveillances, and I start to wonder why I wanted to be a private investigator in the first place. A faintly glowing woman with a half-wolf for a pet promised to be, at the very least, not boring.

“Fair enough,” I told her. “Two hundred a day plus expenses, I report to you at least twice a week, stop when you’re satisfied with the results or don’t want to pursue it any further. If that’s agreeable?”

She shrugged elegantly, nodded, and held out a hand. I shook it, her skin pale and cool and luminescent against mine.

And that’s how I first met Selene, Greek goddess of the moon.

~*~

The missing person in question, she told me, was her…hmmm. Not husband, because they’d never married, although according to legend he had fathered some fifty daughters for her. Consort, perhaps? I put him down on my information sheet as “significant other.” Endymion, the man who, either at Selene’s request or his own (reports varied), and by the acquiescence of Zeus himself, slept eternally in order to avoid growing old and dying.

I didn’t know that it was much of a trade-off, but there were those fifty daughters to consider.

We’d made it only that far when Oliver knocked on the door and bustled in without waiting for me to answer, even though he knows I hate it when he does that. He was the picture of the efficient assistant—ebony hair slicked to one side, not a strand out of place, lint-free black turtleneck with the sleeves pushed up just so, and charcoal grey trousers pressed with a crease sharp enough to cut paper. And a mild, disinterested smile, camouflaging his raging curiosity.

Oliver carried a tray bearing two steaming mugs; sweet black coffee for me, and something pale and floral-smelling for Selene. She accepted it with a smile so I assumed he’d asked her in the waiting room what she’d like. He looked a question at me with raised eyebrows—anything else? want me to stay?—and when I shook my head minutely he left us again. To listen at the door, I had no doubt. Oliver could play the detached professional but it was all an act.

Anyway, Selene’s story went something like this: after hundreds of years of peaceful slumber in a secret cavern, where Selene joined him every night, Endymion had somehow disappeared. A week ago, Selene arrived at the cave on a Tuesday night and found it inexplicably empty. Although she’d searched for him herself and questioned her fellow divine and semi-divine colleagues, she’d found no sign of him and uncovered no clues to his whereabouts. That’s when she decided to hire me.

 

In addition to “The Goddess Problem,” The Immortals bundle features:

Glamour of the God-Touched by Ron Collins
A Man and His God by Janet Morris
Unnatural Immortal by Russ Crossley
First Chosen by M. Todd Gallowglas
Walking Gods by Leah Cutter
Rainbow’s Lodestone by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Brainjob by David Sloma
Silver Dust by Leslie Claire Walker
Vale of Semūin by Eric Kent Edstrom
Fate’s Door by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness by Barbara G. Tarn
The Legend of Oeliana by A. L. Butcher
Jamal & the Skeleton’s Heart by Ezekiel James Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can pay a minimum of $4.99 USD and receive all 14 ebooks. Find it at any of these links:

Universal Link https://books2read.com/Immortalsbundle

Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/immortals

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-immortals-bundle

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-immortals-bundle-a-l-butcher/1127826108

I Tunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1335201648

Bundles are great fun and an excellent deal! I hope you check this one out.

They’re Live!

My two new non-fiction ebooks are live as of yesterday! The Two-Week Short Story is a guide to brainstorming and writing a fast first draft, and the Short Story Workshop for One is a workbook for improving fiction when it’s difficult to get outside feedback or comments. For now they’re exclusive to Amazon, and priced at $2.99 and $1.99 respectively. More details about them, and buying links, are here.

A Reincarnation

For a number of years, I ran a couple of successful email courses through The Scriptorium; one was called “The Two-Week Short Story” and the second was “Short Story Workshop for One.” People seemed to enjoy them and I received a lot of very positive feedback from students. The first was (rather obviously) a guide to coming up with a story idea and writing a quick, complete first draft, all in a two-week period. The Workshop was a method for writers who found it difficult to get feedback or critiques to work on developing the kind of critical eye needed to help them improve their stories on their own. The Short Story Workshop itself grew out of an article I had published in Speculations back in 2001, so it had already lived through one reincarnation. It occurred to me that they’d both probably translate well into short ebooks now, and that I might reach a new group of aspiring writers in that format.

Never one to let a good idea fail to distract me from what I’m really *supposed* to be doing, I set to work and did some revising, tweaking, and re-formatting. Also, cover design, since every good ebook deserves a good e-cover. I’m not quite ready to release the ebooks yet, since they need one more good going-over, but I’m thinking within a week or so they’ll be ready to go. But I can share those covers with you now (they might get a little more tweaking, but I think they’re pretty much done):

I expect to price the ebooks around $1.99, which will be a bargain considering the courses used to sell for $8.00 each! However, I did have the hassle of setting up the email schedule, so compared to that, selling ebooks is easy. I believe I’ll test these in Kindle Select at first, and then move to a broader platform after that, as my marketing experimentation continues.

If you or someone you know is looking for some story inspiration and motivation, or have a story that needs some intensive self-workshopping, I’ll be posting here when they’re released. Maybe you’ll find them useful!

Stuck in the Middle with Who?

Montage_Coupon_Adbig-rabbitThe Middlings Bundle launches today, from the newest entry into the bundle market, BundleRabbit. If you’re a fan of sites like HumbleBundle and StoryBundle, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this one, too. And I’m excited to have a novella included in their very first bundle. I also love, love, love the BundleRabbit logo! BundleRabbit is the brainchild of Chuck Heintzelman, with whom I’ve shared many happy writer therapy writing group experiences in the online group The Quillians.

My novella, “Waiting to Fly,” is set in the Nearspace universe of One’s Aspect to the Sun and Dark Beneath the Moon. Like some of the Nearspace short stories I’ve released, it’s set in the earlier days of Nearspace, when wormhole travel is just opening up and the boundaries of Nearspace are expanding. And in keeping with the theme of the bundle, “middles,” it’s something that happens while the teenage protagonist is waiting for something else.RamseyWaitingToFlyCover

Middles make an interesting theme for a collection, because we’re all in the middle of something, all the time. (Usually many things!) But much of life happens in between those things we tend to think of as milestones or markers, so middles are rich with potential for storytellers. It’s also nice that these stories are of middling length–longer than short stories, but shorter than novels. I’ve been musing on current trends in short story publishing lately, and why shorter and shorter stories seem to be the trend. But that’s fodder for another post, which I’ll likely write this week.

The Middlings Bundle is curated by author Leah Cutter, and as you can see from the cover montage, she’s gathered together some quite heady company from the perspective of little ol’ me. The bundle also features stories by Anthea Sharp, Michael Warren Lucas, Michael A. Stackpole, Dean Wesley Smith, Blaze Ward, Mindy Klasky, Leah Cutter, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Daniel Keys Moran. You can find out more about each of the stories over on the BundleRabbit blog, where Chuck’s been introducing the novellas and their authors over the past week or so. In keeping with the spirit of many bundles, this one is pay-what-you-want: $5+ will net you five of the stories, and $12 or more will get you all ten stories and a bonus–a coupon for an additional free ebook from Kobo two additional books from Kobo: “Collateral Damage” by Mark Leslie
“A Bird in the Hand” by Douglas Smith (there was an initial mixup about the Kobo bonus, so I’ve fixed the information here). This is really a deal that’s too good to pass up. You’ll also have the option to designate a portion of the bundle price as a charitable donation to The Washington State Talking Book and Braille Library. This service provides access to books for people unable to read standard print material, and also loans out magazines, music scores, and foreign language titles. I had very dear aunt who depended on library services like these when her eyesight failed, and I know the importance of support like this, so I encourage you to consider them if you’re purchasing the bundle.

The Middlings Bundle runs only until April 26th, so don’t miss out!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that, should you like “Waiting to Fly” and want to read more in the Nearspace universe, you can currently pick up the first book, One’s Aspect to the Sun, in a bundle as well! The Rogues set is available here, and is another awesome deal.