Please Excuse the Construction Dust

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Just wanted to give you a quick head’s up that this little blog will be getting a major overhaul in the next couple of weeks. We’ve been wanting to update my website for a good long while, now. The design is six years old and starting to look a little dated. But there have been so many things going on the past six months (Silmaril Awards, Christmas Picture Book release, Fantasy Month) that there hasn’t been a good time to just pause and actually get the work done.

But we’ve finally had the time, and now that most of my big announcements and releases and blogging challenges have occurred, we find ourselves with a little bit of breathing space here in the Stormcave.

So, it seems like a good time to just get the re-model underway.

All that to say… I’m not going to have any new posts for a while… and the site itself may go down for a bit as we work on getting the new version up and running.

Also, when we come back, this place is going to look VERY DIFFERENT.

EXTREMELY DIFFERENT.

I love WordPress, and it’s given me a good run these past 7.5 years, but there are things I want to incorporate into my site that are not simple or intuitive (or even possible) with WordPress, and so we’ve made the decision to switch platforms completely, and it’s going to take some getting used to. It’s going to be good. I’ve been working with my web-designer for the past couple of weeks on this and I am super excited about the way that this place is going to look when it’s all said and done… but the remodel is going to be pretty drastic. It’s kind of like we’re keeping the foundation and building a whole new house on top of it.

I’m excited to show it to you! All I ask is that you be a little patient. As with all remodeling projects, there will probably be some hiccoughs with user-interface and I already know that the new platform doesn’t have quite as simple of a subscription interface, so if you’re used to getting these posts in your email inbox, that might look a little different… but I’m hoping to be able to get that all up and running with as little difficulty as possible.

See you on the other side!

Mountain Segue

~ jenelle

The Edge of Wave and World Release Date and Special Offer

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There is a lot of fear in the world at the moment. Walking down the toilet paper aisle at Walmart feels like entering a “dry and desert land.” Shelves are empty. Stores are out of stock of… quite frankly… the oddest variety of goods. It can be hard to know what to do. It can be hard to remain thankful. It can be hard to keep your spirits up in what might feel to many like a dark cloud of fear and despair and hopelessness. And yet…

“Even in the midst of darkness, there is always a shard of light if we will but search for it hard enough and believe in it strongly enough.” ~ Minstrel’s Call

So here is a “shard of light” for you today:

“The Edge of Wave and World” releases today!

My favorite singer/songwriter, Brittany Jean is releasing her new single today! And this particular song is near and dear to my heart not only because I love her music, but also because I wrote the lyrics to the song!

Around the middle of Minstrel’s Call, my characters hit their lowest point in the adventure. They are on a ship, far from home, facing a terrible and frightening foe. Then Oraeyn starts to sing in an effort to fight off his own fears. One by one, everyone around him joins in the song, and… well, I won’t tell you in case you want to read it for yourself.

When I asked Brittany Jean if she might be willing to put a melody to my words, I never dreamed that she would want to include it on her next album, let alone decide to release it as her next single! But I am honored that she did, and I am excited to be able to share this song with you as more than just words on a page. (If you listen closely, you can hear Kiernan Kane’s mandolin… as well as the crew joining Oraeyn in song).

But that’s not all! Because of the way these two go together, we’ve banded together to bring you a special LIMITED TIME OFFERl! From now through March 26th, we are running a special “buy one/get one” deal. ⁠


What that means is that anytime THIS WEEK:

March 19 – 26

If you purchase a copy of “The Edge of Wave and World” for 99 cents you can get an ecopy of “Minstrel’s Call” for free!

And if you purchase a copy of “Minstrel’s Call” for 99 cents you can get a copy of “The Edge of Wave and World” for free!⁠

Just email BJEANMUSIC@GMAIL.COM or JENELLE@JENELLESCHMIDT.COM with your proof of purchase of either the song or the ebook and we will get your free copy of the other to you!⁠

Find Edge of Wave and World around the interwebs:

AMAZON

iTUNES

APPLE MUSIC

PANDORA

SPOTIFY

1LineWed Song

~ jenelle

Dragons & Ravens Cover Reveal and Release

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Do you love fantasy academy stories? What about vampires and dragons in the same world? Lovable but flawed characters? Then I have just the book for you!

You may remember hearing me gush about Strayborn by E.E. Rawls a couple of months ago. It was one of my top favorite books I read last year. Well, today she is releasing a novella that gives you the backstories of two of the side characters from that book. I got to be a beta reader for this story and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Definitely recommend you go grab a copy immediately. And Strayborn too, if you haven’t already… and right now is a good time to do so, because for a short period, March 18-23, Strayborn (Draev Guardians Book 1) will be on sale for $0.99! Click to go to: Kindle.


 

DR ebook front cover copy

Dragons & Ravens

Curse of fire.

Hercule, the young heir of House Dragonsbane, has everything that wealth can purchase—that is, everything except for the one thing he longs for most: true freedom. And when a powerful goblin casts a curse on him, he may soon fall too far from ever finding it…

Held in darkness.

Zarren dreams of becoming a swordsmaster and a hero who saves lives, but first he must save his twin brother and himself from a cruel household. With nothing but faith, and the slim glimmer of hope to light their way, can they make their escape?

Book Purchase Links:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE| GOODREADS


About the Author:

E.E. Rawls is the product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years. She loves exploring the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book.

She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, as she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM 

~ jenelle

Do’s and Don’ts of Self-Publishing a Fantasy Series: Guest Post

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Do’s and Don’ts of Self-Publishing a Fantasy Series

by
Jenn Gott

Writing a book is a big undertaking — writing a series, doubly so. Especially a fantasy series, where the worlds need to be built up from scratch and anything is possible. How do you juggle it all? How do you go about turning it from a messy first draft into a completed novel that people will want to read? And once you’ve managed that,how do you publish a book?

There’s no universal answer to all these questions. Writing and publishing are a complex alchemy that changes every year — but there are at least a few general rules that tend to hold true. They may not turn your words into gold overnight, but they should at least help you avoid some of the common pitfalls and make your epic journey a bit smoother.

DO have some idea where you want to take the series as a whole

Perhaps the most important thing you’ll need to decide up-front is whether you’re writing a closed arc or an open-ended series. That is: is it one saga broken up across multiple books, or is it many different stories that are all related? Is it The Lord of the Rings, or Discworld?

Obviously if you’re writing a closed arc, you’re going to want to know where the story is headed from the minute you start writing the first book. After all, the last thing you want is to define something in book one that makes it impossible to pull off your heroic feats in book seven.

But even if you’re telling an open-ended story, it helps to have some idea of where you’re going. For instance, will there be any plot threads that span multiple books? How will the characters change and grow? Or, if it’s truly open-ended: what are some of the next few stories you might tell in this universe?

Deciding from the beginning what kind offantasy series you’re writing and roughly where you want to take it will keep you from falling into too many plot holes, as well as allow you to more realistically plan your release schedules.

DON’T spend so much time worldbuilding that you never actually write

Worldbuilding can make or break a fantasy series, so it’s obviously important to get it right — but it’s equally important to get the books written. After all, no one is going to be able to delight in all the cool things you’ve invented if they never make it into the page.

Personally, I like to world-build as the story is developing, rather than defining it all up front and then building the characters and plot — that way, the worldbuilding and the story inform each other, allowing me to make my cool ideas feel organic. But even if you wait to write until everything is planned out, make sure you actually take the plunge at some point!

DO define the limits of your magic system

Listen, I’m as much a fan of “squishy,” vaguely-defined magic systems as anyone (it’s magic, after all, it doesn’t always make perfect sense), but even I’ll admit: it really helps to know where your limits are. Even if you’re not going to work out a hard and fast set of rules, ask yourself to firmly define some of the “extreme” situations.

For example, can they raise the dead — and if so, are the dead (or the person who raised them) affected by the process? Is there any kind of physical, mental, emotional, or other “cost” to using magic? If your character uses a spell to teleport three feet to the left in an early action sequence, why can’t they teleport straight into the dragon’s lair later, or out of a dungeon? The more you define the boundaries, the more creative you can get in the middle.

DON’T think your climatic fight sequences need to take ten pages

Okay, maybe this one is a bit of a personal preference. I’m sure there are some readers who enjoy when a battle takes up three chapters, and no judgment here if that’s your jam. But often, writers get caught up in the idea that in order for afight sequence to feel grand and epic, it needs to take up lots of space, when in fact actual combat tends to be over quickly. Even movies do not devote nearly as much screen time to cinematic action sequences as you might think — it just feels that way, because we’re so emotionally invested in what’s happening.

In fact, dragging out a fight scene can slow the pacing of both the scene and the book, often achieving exactly the opposite of the intended goal. Try to use plain language to describe the actual motions of the characters, and focus the attention on two or three of the big moments — the points where the fates turn, the balance shifts, or the stakes are raised. After all, you don’t want readers to miss when those actually occur, and giving equal weight to every blow and parry makes it harder to tell when things get really good.

DO write to a niche subgenre

A bit ofmarket research can go a long way.

Now, before you groan and complain about how your book is an art and you don’t want to stifle your creativity with things like writing to market, hear me out: I’m not saying you can’t write what you want to write. I am a huge proponent of writing what’s true to your heart. But at the same time, if you’re self-publishing, you’re going to be the one selling this book — and like it or not, that means you need to view it as a little bit of a product.

Take a few minutes to see what kind of subgenres are out there. Which ones are popular enough to have readers, but small enough that you’re not going up against the biggest names in the field? What are some of the genre conventions they follow — the things that distinguish them from regular fantasy? What kinds of titles and cover styles do the bestsellers follow?

And speaking of covers…

DON’T forget the importance of cover art

Covers matter in any genre, of course, but there are a few more things to keep in mind when you’re publishing a series rather than a standalone novel. Mainly that you want to make sure the covers are similar enough that they’re easy to identify as part of a series, but not so similar that it’s hard to tell books within that series apart.

The easiest way to do this, of course, is to have the same cover artist work on every book —  and to pick a good one. (Some self-publishing companies will also offer design services, but we recommend finding a professional book cover designer on a vetted marketplace.) 

When looking through portfolios before hiring one, see if they have experience with designing series — if they haven’t, be sure to ask for their thoughts on the process. Let them point you to examples of what they consider good series art, or see if they’re open to giving you a rough concept sketch of the second book while they’re still designing the first.

DO have fun with it

Fantasy is a really fun genre to write in, andself-publishing can be an incredibly freeing and joyful way to get your books out into the world. Of course, you want to take the craft of it seriously and treat publishing like a professional, but try not to get so bogged down in the process that you forget just how wild and magical it is to create a fantasy novel — never mind a whole series of them.

From the initial brainstorming, to exploring your plot and characters, to seeing your name on the cover of a real book, self-publishing a fantasy series is an extremely rewarding process that I’d encourage anyone to get into. And even if you make a few mistakes along the way, there’s no expiration date on success. So believe in yourself, and give it a try! With the right imagination, the possibilities truly are limitless.


JG headshotJenn Gott is an indie author and a writer with Reedsy, so she basically spends all her time either writing books, or helping people learn how to write books. She firmly believes there is no writing skill you cannot learn with practice and the right guidance.

~ jenelle