I know it's been a while since I updated the blog so I'm going to get in what I can while I type. I've been hard at work on book three and it is headed to the Amazon store immanently. This is the third and final book for this series, but there may be another in the same universe on the horizon.

I'm toying with a lot of other ideas as I go into the Fall including a screenplay and a graphic novel. I am taking this time to explore creative possibilities as well as look for a day job. (Long story short: Full time writing wasn't for me but I still like writing.)

In honor of the third book I've worked with the incredible Inkspiral Design to re-design the covers and give the books a little more genre specific branding. The books aren't about just one character-- they are about diverse, damaged people coming together to fight against tyranny, oppression and the darker side of themselves.

01_QueenofLiesI've learned a lot about my craft working through these books. When I wrote The Queen of Lies I wanted to tell a intricate story that defied the common tropes in writing. It was ambitious for a first novel... and based on the reviews, it worked. I'm glad I kept the stories self-contained because I don't think I could keep up with a saga that sprawled over multiple books (G.R.R. Martin is apparently struggling with this)

 

02_TheMIrroredCityAfter I quit my day job I started on the Mirrored City. This book was a departure from the first: it was much darker and the cast nearly doubled. It's a little overwhelming in the beginning but for readers who stuck it out to the end were delighted. Sales were weak and reviews were not as strong. At the time I had broken my knee and fell into a depression. I did very little to promote it because of general disillusionment and also because I wanted a third book before I invested in marketing.


03_TheBladeOfBetrayal

The Blade of Betrayal, like the Queen of Lies began its existence as another book entirely first (The Lord of Storms). 60k words into the book I scrapped it entirely. LoS was out there-- time travel, alternate realities... I ultimately had to scrap it totally. The next draft was my first time using an outline. I kept the writing brief and the stories simpler. I couldn't be more pleased with how the character arcs mirrored and intertwined each other almost seamlessly. From now on, no more writing by the seat of my pants.

Which brings me to my first Trilogy complete. So, most likely before Halloween I will have four books in the Amazon store.

box set

 

 

I won't lie, praise is great, and especially welcome to be included in a GLBT review site. Most of the books reviewed are romance. I think it's great that there are so many readers out there interested in M/M romance. I think it's equally encouraging that people of all orientations are open to more mainstream Sci Fi/Fantasy that includes diverse characters.

I think that's a good sign for a healthy expansion of the readership out there.

Rainbow Gold Reviews

The review is up on Rainbow Gold Reviews along with a short piece about the importance of inclusivity in fantasy fiction. It's actually been up for a while but... I've been getting my shit together on a lot of various levels lately and blogging has fallen by the wayside.

 

Perhaps, like me, you will find yourself drawn into an exciting new fantasy world that feels like a mix of G.R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ and Terry Prachett’s ‘Discworld’ novels, while retaining a fresh and unique quality that will make you unwilling to put down the book for even a second.

Queercentric Books

I was also treated to another 4.5 star review on Queercentric Books. In addition to reviews, they also feature a weekly mailing list highlighting free and bargain books for authors and readers.

The whole concept of The Queen of Lies was brilliant! A very original and unique story line. I really liked that the story was told from everyone’s POVs. If you’re a fantasy lover, this story will not be a let down. There’s straight lovin’, M/M lovin’, drugs, drinking, and plenty of magic to go around.

 

 

 

 

Got back from the knee doctor and it's continuing to get better. There's a little bit that's left to heal. Stairs are a bit of an issue but I'm out of the brace and taking steps two at a time now.

I had my first full day at the new job. It's an amazing facility with a top notch cafeteria. Seriously they have locally sourced organic food for six bucks. The work itself is pretty straightforward.

Remember the PBS pledge drive? When they would hold your program (Dr. Who in my case) hostage until they got their money? Well for the next month this is how my blog is going to be in lead up to the launch of the Mirrored City. The big areas where I need support are pre orders and social media.

Book launch is almost a month away. I have ten pre-orders right now. If I can get five more I'll make the Amazon top 10,000... If I get just fifteen more I'll crack 3,000. Those are critical sales milestones because Amazon's algorithms start to take notice. It doesn't take much to get noticed so your pre-orders are super helpful.

On the social media I've got some thunderclap support in the form of someone with 30k followers. If I get 100 supporters (people who go to the page and pledge support) I will boost the signal on my social media launch. Contrary to popular assumption, social media is not a huge impact on sales... but it's free and every little bit helps. So please... your support is appreciated.

I started a campaign on Thunderclap. Basically it's an easy way to get the word out about my book on launch day. I just need 100 supporters and Thunderclap will make the announcement for you on October 29th.

Click Here to Support. It's totally free.

Also if you haven't, the electronic version of the Mirrored City is available for preorder. Those sales count on October 29th and go a long way toward making my titles visible to the Amazon algorithm on launch.

A few other odds and ends.

My knee continues to improve. I made it through Dragon Con but I was pretty wiped after Friday and Saturday. Didn't get much accomplished from a business side of things. I think I definitely got a lot more out of the smaller, intimate panels at Outlantacon.

I had my first day of work today. It was an hour and a half of orientation. I go back in Friday.

And finally... I'm doing an audiobook version of the Queen of Lies with Vance Bastian. That should be due out before the holidays.

I'm in the midst of editing the final revisions for the Mirrored City so I should really get back to work 🙂

Pre order for the next volume in my series, Architects of the Grand Design, which is due out in October.

The Mirrored City

Sword is a sentient artifact that lives through the personality The Mirrored City CloseupInlineof those who wield it. Maddox is a troubled wizard with the power to return from death, whether he wants to or not. Sword shares everything, including Maddox’s pain.

Sword only wishes to see his friend back to his old self. So when he becomes the victim of a crazed serial killer, it seems like bringing a murderer to justice might be just the thing to raise Maddox’s spirits and give him purpose.

What should be a simple matter of hunting a monster soon uncovers a twisted conspiracy spanning the two halves of the Mirrored City and the ancient ruins that lie beneath. The facts don’t add up. No one is who or what they appear to be. The trail of the elusive killer leads to an ancient evil waking from slumber.

Sword and its allies, a band of misfits and murderers, are all that stand in the way of a plot that threatens to destroy Creation itself.

A battle for one man’s soul becomes a desperate struggle to save a fractured city.

Here are some of the top ways you can support your favorite authors (myself included) along with unrelated photographs of Chris Pratt. Most of these things are free and simple to do (even if you haven't bought the book) but they can still have a great impact, especially for new authors, or authors in very narrow genres. Many of these things may not seem like a big deal but they really truly are.

Please enjoy one and/or the other.

1. Review a Book on Amazon (and Goodreads for extra credit)

If you love it, why not put a ring on it? Or in this case stars. Honest reviews help authors with being discovered as well as qualify us for marketing opportunities. If there are enough good reviews the author can get picked up by Amazon publishing.

Did you know that customer reviews influence sales more than reviews in literary journals? It's 97.5% true. Think about it-- when is the last time you read Publishers Weekly? The more positive reviews a book has the better the likelihood someone will buy a book. Authors live and die by our stars. So if you liked a book by an indie author and/or this picture of Chris Pratt, why not take a few minutes to give it an honest review?

zo6c9ipiraa5xlwyphtr

 

2. Tell your Friends

Word of mouth is still the best way to sell books. And the best word of mouth comes from someone who isn't the author of that book. Many authors are limited in how much we can promote our own work in social media. Saying "BUY MY BOOK" ten thousand times annoys the living shit out of people, believe it or not. Literary communities (book forums etc.) often have very strict guidelines about self-promotion. They do not, usually, have an issue with non-writers making spontaneous recommendations about something they enjoyed... or inspiring selfies of Chris Pratt after his weight loss. (So go ahead and tell Reddit!)

chris-pratt-diet-abs

3. Join the Mailing List.

Email, really? That's so 20th century.... Still mailing lists are huge for authors. They allow us to reach out to our fans directly and let them know about upcoming events. Some authors even offer free eBooks and other incentives to people who sign up. Visit your favorite author's website and you should find a sign up form. Chris Pratt does not appear to have an official mailing list but he is very dreamy in other ways.

244611041

4. Like, Follow and Subscribe

Add your favorite author to your social media channels, follow their official pages and subscribe to their blogs. It's super easy and followers build influence, helping to raise visibility, like Chris Pratt when he goes to the beach. Also you can stalk follow Chris Pratt on twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

0f714df9947a1d96c911c54f18977e

 

 

5. Crowdfund an Author through Patreon or Kickstarter

Giving money to projects can help ease financial burden and support better quality in the finished product. Crowdfunding allows for the support of a project with a small donation.  A lot of indie authors starting out don't have the fan base to bring in the big money on Kickstarter so every bit helps. It's an easy way to support authors you enjoy, much like this image of Chris Pratt is easy on the eyes.

chris-pratt-435x580

 


Mike bode is the author of The Queen of Lies, the first installment in the ongoing series, Architects of the Grand Design. His next book comes out September. Sign up for the mailing list for more info.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, along with many other photographs of Chris Pratt. (You can also follow me on Goodreads and even Amazon)

Hey. Not much in the way of blog posting but you can drink from the fountain of my wisdom over at geeks Out, where I pontificate on writing and other matters related. It's a long read so brace yourself.

 Check out my interview on Geeksout.org.

Thanks to Denny Upkins for putting it together. 🙂

The Mirrored City CloseupInline

The final chapter of the book is finished and... I have to say not even I was expecting it. It's one of the best feelings as a writer when your characters write the story for you. It's even more of a joy when they surprise the hell out of you with their deviousness. Sometimes you need to let a story sit for a while. It can feel like procrastination and you may find yourself laying for hours at a time on your couch as you burn through all four seasons of Spartacus. (BTW... do not try to write dialogue after watching that show for ten hours. The idioms are infectious.)

I'm really excited about the new story and even more pleased with how quickly its come together in spite of vast stretches of non-productivity. This book was a struggle at points but I think it provides a unique experience while maintaining the integrity of the characters as they rise to meet their destiny. The stakes are much higher in this book and we see them raised even higher for the next.

The front cover artwork is done and I'm in negotiations with an editor to get the product ready to market in October. Pre-Orders for the ebook should be open at the end of July.

Thanks so much to Matt at Inkspiral design for working so quickly to get this completed.

 


Mike bode is the author of The Queen of Lies, the first installment in the ongoing series, Architects of the Grand Design. His next book comes out September. Sign up for the mailing list for more info.

Mirrored Comp

BEHOLD! The mockup cover for my forthcoming book. I assembled it myself in GIMP one drunken evening. I don't think I did too badly, not having done graphic design in ten years. It currently has three stars on Rate My Kindle Cover, which does not completely suck. Don't worry I will hire a pro.

I am currently 88,162 98,420 words into book #2, a sequel to the Queen of Lies. That's just a few chapters to go. Wow.

I have set up a kickstarter for the project, mostly just to see what happens. Check it out if you're so inclined.

So far, for those who can't wait till the next installment, here's a taste:

The story takes place a year after The Queen of Lies. Empress Jessa has assumed her mother’s title but she must send her champions (Heath, Sword & Maddox) to the Mirrored City to negotiate support for her claim.

The architecturally symmetrical settlements of Baash and Dessim function as a single city-state within the Protectorate, separated by radically different ideologies as part of an ancient social experiment. Imagine if the rural south was allowed to have its own theocratic government and the blue states had theirs.

Heath and Sword are on a mission of diplomacy but they quickly find themselves in disagreement and head their separate ways. In fact every character and viewpoint in the book is challenged. We also meet a couple of new faces. Soren is a boy living on the street who ends up working in a dubious brothel. Lyta is the adopted lesbian daughter of a stern patriarch.

And meanwhile Jessa has her own adventures in the surreal undersea kingdom of the Abyss.

I'm really happy with this book. There are lots of twists, surprises and the tragic end of a beloved character.

Stay tuned.


Mike bode is the author of The Queen of Lies, the first installment in the ongoing series, Architects of the Grand Design. His next book comes out September. Sign up for the mailing list for more info.