Planet Fleep Arrives!

Today is Planet Fleep‘s book birthday, and it’s now in wide ebook release across all platforms. The paperback will follow in September, but the book makes perfect summer reading to load on your ereader and take along on vacation with your kids (or just for yourself!).

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?

Planet Fleep has been on a pre-order promo for just .99 and will stay at that price until the end of June. Then the price goes up, so don’t miss out! Grab it while you can and explore strange worlds and creatures with Rudi, Trudy, and BIFT this summer!

Planet Fleep has a Grade Three+ reading level.

All retailers buying links: https://www.books2read.com/b/mgL2nD

Want a sample first? You can read the first five chapters for free (no mailing lists to sign up for or other strings attached) right here: https://claims.instafreebie.com/free/Rarvix1t

Sherry’s Challenge Writing Prompts

So, you know how sometimes you get a fun idea, and you want to run with it, but your common sense speaks up and says, “Hang on, you have far too many plates in the air already, stop this nonsense and save that for another time”? And you sensibly listen to your common sense and put the idea aside?

Yeah, I don’t listen, either.

So here’s what happened. I was making an infographic in Canva the other day, and I noticed that they have a whole lot of free layouts for Pinterest graphics as well. Customizable images you just add text to, and voila! A lovely, pinnable, Pinterest pin.

“Cool,” I thought, and went on with my infographic. But a little voice in the back of my mind (NOT my common sense) was saying, “you could do something fun with those…”

And then I thought it would be fun to make some writing prompts with them, using the graphic images as inspiration. And then I thought I could try to create a writing prompt for each of them that Canva provides for free. AND THEN my writing prompt personal challenge was born.

I created a Pinterest board (naturally) as a home for the project. Here’s how I described it:

I’m challenging myself to create a writing prompt based on each free Pinterest graphic offered on Canva. I’m trying for five per week until I’ve done them all, and they will quite probably be SF/F/H prompts (have you met me?). I’ll pin the prompts here, and anyone can take a prompt and run with it. Have fun! If you write something based on one of the prompts, let me know! :)

Now, I’m not sure how many images there are. For all I know, there could be no end to them. Or Canva could go away and leave me in the lurch. And hey, sure, this could fizzle out like so many ideas do, but for now I’m having fun with it. There’s only one pin on the board so far, but another will follow today. Pop over and have a look! Who knows…they could get you started on a whole new story…

If you write anything based on one of the prompts, let me know! I’d love to hear about it.

Friday Desk Report – April 20, 2018

Yes, it’s been that kind of a week–okay, more like a couple of weeks. I see it’s been a while since I even offered a Friday Report!

Not that I haven’t been writing. April marks the first Camp NaNoWriMo of 2018, so I signed up after my positive experience with Camp last July. I thought it would be a great way for me to kick off the last traces of the winter blahs. NaNoWrimo always motivates me. I could finish at least one of two projects that I really need to see complete.

But as the quote above says, it’s not always that easy. So far this month I’ve worked on four–count ’em, four–different manuscripts. For two of them, I wrote–gasp–outlines. Whaaaaaat?

What’s wrong with that? you might ask. At least you’re making progress.

True. But having a bad case of what I call “butterfly brain” doesn’t get you closer to following Heinlein’s second Rule for Writers: You must finish what you start. At this rate, I’m not going to achieve my quest for completions by the end of the month. It’s like I’ve beaten all the initial levels of those two manuscripts and now it’s just one never-ending boss fight from here on out. And I’m out of health potions, so I keep leaving to do side quests.

But you’re not here to listen to me complain or make bad video game analogies, right?

All right. Other things happened this week. My novelette “Dead Hungry” released, and I sent out my newsletter (not subscribed? Click the “Free Ebook” button at the top of this page!). To celebrate the Olympia Investigations release, I put others in the series on for free or on sale. I also took a video course on AMS ads (that’s Amazon, for those not in the know) and learned a crazy amount of stuff I didn’t know before. I’ve been working to up my promotional game this year, with…mixed success, so far. I won’t lie, it’s a lot of work. For the past number of weeks, I’ve been tracking my time in Toggl (which I really like), and it’s amazing how much time can go into promotion/marketing and business-related stuff.

And I should say that so far, I really like what I’ve done with those two side quests. One of them is a project I’m kind of excited about, so despite my guilt, I’m having fun working on it.

Anyway, yay me for writing this report! I’d better go and see what words I can hunt down and capture today…along with any health potions…the bosses still await…really thinking I should order this shirt!

 

 

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.

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?

 

Cover Reveal: Beyond the Sentinel Stars

I’m super excited to reveal the cover for Beyond the Sentinel Stars, coming in December from Tyche Books! This is the third book in the Nearspace series, and you’ll find all the characters you love onstage again. The art is once again by Ashley Walters, who did a wonderful job of setting the scene for this novel. Luta and Lanar really look like brother and sister to me!

Oh yes, I should probably actually show you? Here you go:

 

What’s happening in Nearspace now, you ask?

Luta Paixon and the crew of the Tane Ikai have made it back to Nearspace safely, but that safety is short-lived. As if a disastrous diplomatic mission to the crow-like Corvids isn’t enough, Luta’s old enemy Alin Sedmamin is back—and asking Luta to help save his life. In exchange, Sedmamin is offering secrets stretching back more than a century into Nearspace’s past—secrets that could prevent a war.

Meanwhile, Luta’s brother Admiral Lanar Mahane is faced with an awful truth: the Protectorate is spread too thinly across Nearspace to offer adequate protection or defense when the aggressive Chron turn their murderous sights on Nearspace again. They must forge new alliances if Nearspace is to survive, but it’s almost impossible to know who to trust.

As interstellar conflict looms on the horizon and a political plot of tremendous scope and daring threatens to destroy Nearspace from within, Luta and Lanar will test the bonds of family and the strength of hope as they struggle to maintain peace in a world that seems destined for war.

It looks like the official release date will be December 19th, but you can pre-order now at AmazonKobo, and Amazon Canada.

Friday Desk Report – June 16, 2017

A lovely carpet of creeping phlox

Seems like it was a bit of a slow week around the desk, but of course the intrusion of the warming weather and demands of the outdoors have something to do with that. (Not that I am complaining!) Still, I managed to keep up with most things, started a new novel revision, and spent hours refining the magic system used in that novel draft. It now makes more sense and is on its way to becoming a rational magic system. Still a few things to work out, but it definitely has a good foundation now. It was a pain in the butt interesting to try to reconcile the magic use/character abilities that I’d written into the story into a more coherent framework. I’ll have to make changes and adjustments as I work my way through this revision, but I feel much more confident about a good result now.

In my research into building good magic systems, I also refreshed my memory on Brandon Sanderson’s Three Laws of magic systems, which are very helpful to keep in mind when building one. The first one is at the link, and the others are linked from the bottom of that page.

A gorgeous tall tulip from a “Pretty in Pink” bulb mix from Vesey’s Seeds

I started the week bouncing between projects and finally landed on that revision, but I foresee that pattern continuing over the next little while. There are short stories I want to submit by upcoming deadlines, so although I’m a bit stuck on them right now, I have to keep going back and pecking at them until they agree to cooperate. I love it when I can sit down and write a new story straight through, but alas, that doesn’t happen all that often. It’s more likely to take a lot of digging and mucking about before I reach those two sweet, sweet words: The End.

Family, fire, and cake

Last week was my birthday (which I share with my sister, but no, we’re not twins–she was born five years after me, but on the same date) so we had our traditional outdoor party on the weekend. I made a first attempt at icing flowers made with a Russian ball decorating tip; they turned out all right, but I learned some tricks for making them better the next time. Still delicious!

Still working with my assistant, so despite the yard and garden needs, I think I’ll be able to stay productive in the coming weeks.

 

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!