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Small Press & Self-Published / Goblins at the Gates free
« on: June 24, 2020, 05:50:07 PM »
One last promo: my novel Goblins at the Gates is free from 6/24 through 6/28.


Small Press & Self-Published / Free Altearth novel
« on: June 21, 2020, 04:48:13 PM »
The full novel Into the Second World, another Altearth tale, is free, from today, 21 June, through 25 June.


Goblins at the Gates will go free in a few days. I'll announce.

I'm giving this Amazon free promo stuff a try, just to see what comes of it.

Small Press & Self-Published / Free Altearth novelette
« on: June 20, 2020, 07:10:55 PM »
Free book!
The novelette Mad House is available for free (absolutely) until 23 June.


Find out how John Golly and Quinn-the-Sprite steal an island. Accidentally.

Self Publishing Discussion / Amazon Ads
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:56:22 PM »
@Eli_Freysson recently asked about getting back into self-publishing. That thread quickly turned to the topic of advertising, so I thought I'd post a separate thread and make my own tiny report.

The key questions I see people asking are
1) how do I do Amazon Ads?
2) are they worth it?
3) how can I do better with them?

There are tons of articles about how to do Amazon Ads. I'm not going to post references because what's a good reference for one person is too high- or low-level for another, and anyway the game changes every few months.

Are they worth it? That depends on what it's worth to you. I strongly recommend you decide up front where your breakpoints lie. How much will you spend? How long will you try? What would you define as success? Failure?

These are vital. For example, you might decide to spend a hundred dollars. How long will you try? Until you run out of the hundred dollars, whether that's a week or a year. OTOH, you might decide to give this a go for six weeks and you'll spend however much that comes to. That probably doesn't mean an infinite budget, but it might mean you're willing to go somewhere in the few hundreds without having a clear cutoff, but in any case you'll stop after six weeks, and evaluate. IOW, you need a strategy.

What's success? When you evaluate, what will be your measures (more on this below)? Book sales? Dollar amounts? New reviews? KENP page reads? Chances are high that the results will be ambiguous, so it's worth trying to be as clear as you can here. What's going to make you happy? What's going to disappoint you?

Only then can you go on to question 3 and look at how to improve. That will be the time to re-visit those Amazon Ads books and articles, with a particular eye to tweaks.

OK, that's enough setup. Next post, my numbers.

Small Press & Self-Published / The fae folk of Altearth
« on: November 30, 2019, 07:46:12 PM »
I just posted a short article on the fae peoples of Altearth. Those interested in such things are welcome to have a look.
I welcome all comments and questions!

Writers' Corner / Word for a troupe of actors
« on: August 23, 2019, 05:48:24 PM »
I've already done a thorough search of synonyms. I've taken those over to Google Translate to expand the list. Now I'm asking the Presently Assembled for something more.

Specifically, an outdated term--19thc or before. In English or any other language. This would be for a troupe of performers of the sort that would appear at a city festival (already have mummers; thanks) or a noble court.


My new novel is available on Amazon. It's an old-school adventure tale, involving plenty of magic with a side of science.

When Gabrielle Lauten sets out to cover the search for a missing explorer, it’s her big chance to be taken seriously as a journalist. What she finds will test her courage, her strength, and her faith in science.

The Queller Expedition is heading into the deepest caverns of Altearth, led by a crackpot professor and guided by a dwarf who claims to know how to get past the Troll Gates. Traveling along forgotten paths, the expedition discovers a lost civilization of fabulous magics, strange peoples, and fearsome monsters. It’s the story of the century.

But some civilizations don’t want to be found.

Now, Gabrielle and her companions must find a way to get home again, before the Second World kills them all.

Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Interviewed at Worldbuilding
« on: December 02, 2018, 08:58:53 PM »
My interview with Worldbuilding Magazine has appeared. The magazine is in PDF format.
My interview starts on p.4.

They do a really good job with layout and content both. The mag is worth a look on its own merits.

Fantasy Resources / History for Fantasy Writers
« on: October 31, 2018, 12:02:23 AM »
My latest article is now live over at Mythic Scribes. This one is on mills and millers. It's got pictures, he said enticingly.


Fantasy Resources / Medieval History
« on: October 10, 2018, 08:08:36 PM »
This link takes you to my account of the events of the First Crusade. This is as part of my ongoing series of essays on medieval history. These essays provide more depth than most online resources, and will always include a list of supplemental reading for those who wish to dig deeper.


In coming months I'll be covering all the main crusades plus a number of related topics, in addition to other medieval subjects.

Small Press & Self-Published / Medieval History
« on: September 26, 2018, 09:46:50 PM »
I have begun publishing a series of online articles on medieval history. While it may not quite be wie ist eigentlich gewesen, it is certainly not fantasy. These articles are the result of my five decades of historical research, writing, and teaching. They will cover a wide range of topics, from Carolingians to plague, daily life to papal history, the Crusades to the Reformation.

The first article is on the Black Death - http://europeanmiddleages.info/plague/. I thought I'd pick something fun to start.  :P

I'll be publishing every other Wednesday and have somewhere above sixty in the queue, though so far I'm scheduled only through the middle of next February. The schedule is here

Small Press & Self-Published / A new tale from Altearth
« on: June 01, 2018, 04:52:09 PM »
My new novel, A Child of Great Promise, is now available at Amazon. It's the story of a girl who can fly. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DFVGX49/

Half-elf, half-human, when Talysse learns that she is neither, she embarks on a quest to discover the truth about her past so she can create her own future. With wizards, monsters, elf chevaliers, troubadors, and French cowboys, A Child of Great Promise is a fun and exciting Altearth adventure tale.

My new novel, A Child of Great Promise, will be released on Friday, June 1. It's the story of a girl who can fly.

Half-elf, half-human, when Talysse learns that she is neither, she embarks on a quest to discover the truth about her past so she can create her own future. With wizards, monsters, elf chevaliers, troubadors, and French cowboys, A Child of Great Promise is a fun and exciting Altearth adventure tale.

For five days only, May 20-24, my alternate history fantasy novel, Goblins at the Gates, will be on sale. As in free! If you have not already got your copy of this story of how magic came to Altearth, now is your chance.

A quarter million goblins invade the Roman Empire. Civilization's best hope lies with a barbarian princess exiled as a magician, and a spoiled Roman aristocrat who hates the army but finds himself in command of a lone frontier legion. Also, a girl and her war dog.

Writers' Corner / Great Books
« on: April 18, 2018, 02:11:43 AM »
Someone asked in another place what are your five favorite books? I started a list but quickly gave it up. I've read thousands of books in my life; to extract five from that was impossible. But it got me thinking.

I have a list of books. I started it for my kids, a sort of TBR for them, but it grew to be an inventory of all the books I physically owned, then the electronic ones, then also books that I intended to read. So it really is massive.

I went through that file in the wake of the Five Books exercise with this criterion: was this book important to me in some way? It didn't have to be great, it just had to be important to me.

I came up with fifty-nine of them. Most are fiction but some are history books that were important in my career as a historian. I had expected most would be from my youth, in the way that most of my favorite bands date to a span from about age fifteen to twenty-five. To my surprise, a good many date from more recent decades. That made me feel good, for reasons not entirely clear to me.

It was an interesting exercise. Some were important, as I said, because they shaped my precepts and understandings as a historian. Some were important because they introduced me to other types of literature (e.g., The Brothers Karamazov showed me there was more to the world besides SF). Some simply resonated with me and continue to do so. Taken all together, they form a kind of narrative of my life.

I recommend it to any and all. It's easy to start a spreadsheet and just list what is ready to hand. You can add your TBR books to it. One use I've put it to is for gifts. I extract from it the books I have yet to read--not my whole TBR, but the "great books" that I really do intend to read--and share that with my kids. If they want to know what to get me for a birthday or whatever, I tell them to pick a book. I also do this other thing with books as gifts: my kids know they can buy a book for me that *they* have read. A physical book. Inscribe it. Those books sit on their own shelf at my house. It's an eclectic set, but it does provide a kind of view into where my kids' heads were at a given time.

Anyway, like I said, I recommend starting your book list.

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