Tag: Cold Iron (page 1 of 7)

Back From The Dead

Cover of Cold Iron

For a very long time indeed, the price of Cold Iron remained at a mere 99 cents, just shy of a full United States dollar. I put my only published work ‘on sale’, and never rescinded that status. I got caught up in other events, life and love and loss and learning, and that price remained a measly 99 cents, and the book itself went without promotion.

Until now.

I wish I had some sort of fancy new edition to tempt you with. Maybe some crib notes or a better sample chapter from the sequel, Bloody Streets. But, no. The song remains the same. So, why should you lay down not one but FOUR hard-earned American bucks to read just under 200 pages of what one reviewer calls “supernatural hardboiled fiction”?

Well, those three words alone might have sold it to some of you, so by all means…

Anyway, things have changed since Cold Iron was first published. Handheld devices are, somehow, even more ubiquitous than they were just three years ago, and the Kindle app is free on any device you care to name. Except, maybe, GameBoy Color or the NeoGeo or something. Point is, you can read it even if you don’t own an actual Kindle. But that’s just the mechanics of it. What’s the essence of it, the thing that I feel should pull you into the tale?

Let’s start by saying that, despite a “20 minutes in the future” setting and all sorts of supernatural trappings, this story (like all good stories) is about people. The main people here are our two protagonists, Morgan and Seth. Morgan is a female homicide detective working in Philaelphia. Seth is a man of Egyptian lineage who finds himself alive and awake 35 years after his apparent murder while he himself was working as a detective.

I’m going to pause in the pitch and say that this is a novel of hardboiled urban fantasy, not an urban fantasy romance. Okay? Okay. Let’s move on.

So you have Seth trying to figure out why he didn’t stay dead. As he does, bodies turn up in his wake, which means Morgan has to investigate. And then there’s the things Morgan usually deals with on a night-by-night basis. I make it a habit not to say up-front what those things are, as it’s an unknown to Seth at the start, but considering I wrote Cold Iron in the midst of a huge torrent of Twilight‘s bullshit, you can probably take a wild guess and be relatively correct.

That’s my pitch for Cold Iron: it’s short, punchy, diverse, fast-paced, and it never assumes you, the reader, are an idiot.

Why did I bring its price up and start singing its praises again?

Well, I’m a writer. And I want to get paid for writing.

I have a sequel, Bloody Streets, in need of some cover art and design. I have the perfect photographer in mind, and I’ll be tapping the same designer who did Cold Iron, so I know what my budget needs to be. And there is no way I am making that much spare cash as a barista.

I do have some Magic cards and role-playing game books to sell, but those are temporary measures, and I want to build something more sustainable, something with growth potential. I also want to do some brand-building, which hopefully will escalate between the novellas, Innercom Chatter, and Coven, later this year.

I’m curious to see what will happen. Is a little written entertainment, especially in a genre like this one, worth the price of a latte to you? Find out. And feel free to leave a review behind, too. No matter what it says.

New Year, New ‘Do

Well. This is looking a bit more professional and whatnot, isn’t it?

It’s been over a month since my last entry here at Blue Ink Alchemy. That I can only chalk up to travel, changing seasons, a few unpleasant cycles of mental states, and general shenanigans involving real life things like looking for work, juggling financial woes, and finding tiny moments of catharsis. It’s been a rough ride.

But here we are! It’s 2015. A new year has dawned. New challenges await on the road ahead. And new projects will be hatched and, hopefully, nurtured into fullness with a little time, attention, and care.

The second novella, Bloody Streets, will be assembled and readied for publication as soon as I can afford a professional photographer and designer to tackle its cover. I plan on contacting the same team I used on Cold Iron (ladies, you know who you are), but I need to be a little more financially solvent before I can do that sort of outsourcing. I have some information on freelancing that I plan on capitalizing as you read this. I continue to interview for dayjobs of various kinds in an effort to keep the lights on, the pantry stocked, and this very site going. I might (emphasis on might) begin streaming my efforts to improve in Hearthstone, discussing various topics of the day while yelling in frustration at Priest players I encounter.

And on top of all of that, I’ve started work on a new novel in earnest. I will not say much, other that it is aimed for young adults, has been rather carefully researched so far, and deals with witchcraft, other worlds, tolerance, hard choices, and intestinal fortitude.

This year is going to be a good’un. I can feel it.

Self-Publishing Self-Critique

Simmering on the back burner is something I’ve been working on for over a year. It’s relatively complete. It’s got a beginning, a middle, and (in my opinion) a pretty cracking end. I’ve gotten people to look it over and agree it’s at least decent. And yet it sits there. It simmers. It waits.

Because it isn’t ready yet.

Cold Streets is going to be my second self-published novella. And as veteran self-publisher Chuck Wendig will tell you, there’s nothing second tier or ‘minor leagues’ about it. While you don’t have to go through the rigors and the wait and the hoops of the traditional publishing model, part of the trade-off is that the onus of the actual publication process is on you, the writer. You have to be your own PR. You have to be your own editor. And you have to be your own critic.

Despite the good words from my test readers, regardless of what polish and improvements I plan on making, the fact of the matter is, I am the sole arbiter of quality when it comes to what I write. And if something I’ve written isn’t good enough, it won’t see the light of day. That’s why I shut down Godslayer, and it’s why Cold Streets continues to simmer. I want to publish it, sure – it’s decent enough to warrant that – but I don’t feel it’s quite good enough yet.

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. With Cold Iron, I held back on lining up the cover and arranging publication until I felt it was ready. And even as I fired it off, I felt there were things I could change about it. But it was prepared, and worked over, and good enough for other eyes. It may not be perfect – most of my work may never be perfect – but it worked well enough to earn some decent sales and good reviews. Cold Streets needs to be better. It will be, but it isn’t yet.

That’s the price we pay for publishing ourselves.

Well, that, and paying for talented folks to help us with our covers and whatnot.

Writer Report: Hard Part’s Over

Courtesy floating robes
Courtesy Floating Robes

Cold Streets is done.

Well, the first draft is done, anyway. The sequel to Cold Iron (which, as a friendly reminder, you can buy here or here) was born out of a desire to lay a foundation for future, full-length projects. Once I take up the editing hat and really get down to business, it’s my hope to have a workable draft that’s ready for prime time near the end of the year. Then it’s a matter of lining up another breathtaking photo and some fantastic design work for a cover, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll be on the virtual shelves in time for a lovely holiday gift.

That’s kind of a tight deadline, and I need to line up the backing capital for the cover & design work, but we’ll see what happens. I won’t make petty demands of talented people. I know how that goes when I’m on the receiving end of it.

Once I get test readers tearing Cold Streets apart, it’ll be time to try something new. Godslayer has been rather neglected recently because of the demands of my schedule and everything else going on, and it’s past time I put together an outline for that, and perhaps a character/world-building bible. I’ve thought about picking up Scrivener to make organizing and reorganizing things easier, but we’ll have to see if the budget can accommodate that. And then there’s the matter of Morgan and Seth. I’m not done with them and their near-future slightly-screwy Philadelphia just yet. I have one more novella planned, Cold Light, to round out what I’ll be calling the Lighthouse Foundation trilogy. And as I said, from there it’s on to longer, more substantial works in that world.

Writer Report: Brief Respite

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

This is my week between travel in August. Otakon is behind me, and PAX Prime is ahead. The trip to Seattle will be much longer than the one to Baltimore, and I’ll have a bit more Internet access while I’m there. Reluctant as I am to check a bag, I think it’s going to be necessary. I can’t travel as light as I did for a long weekend, since I’ll be in Seattle for entire week and change. Thankfully, most of the people I’m staying with will have laundry they’re willing to let me use. I love having an adventure on the horizon.

Cold Streets is inching towards the first draft finish line. I wrote a scene on the train last week, and I’m closing the gap towards it. I’m excited. It’s the last big confrontation, and while I’m pretty much done with action for the novella, there will still be tension and drama, and hopefully a few more character revelations. I hope I’m doing this one better than I did Cold Iron. Proud as I am of my first published literary child, I know it’s got some flaws and rough spots. This is a good way to iron them out, I feel, and get feedback and even a little cash flow going.

I’m going to keep at it, keep carving out writing time in raw, bloody chunks, keep looking to a future that has more and more good aspects to it the closer I get.

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