Thursday, February 14, 2019

Being an ally isn't easy, and you'll probably screw it up, but you should do it anyway, here's why:

This blog post is probably going to be uncomfortable for some people, but this is where we are.

The year is 2019 and with a very vocal minority in the US reclaiming their white supremacy in a horrifying way, the time has come for the rest of us to really up our game. 

I'm going to work on the assumption that some of you don't know what being an ally is, at least as it's meant outside of military usage. The answer is both simple and complicated. At its root the term fits the dictionary definition: one that is associated with another as a helper : a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle (Merriam-Webster online dictionary) 

However, the term has come to mean more than that, or at least, what it takes to really be an ally versus simply calling yourself one, has gotten more complicated. 

If you have friends who are minorities of any variety, you probably consider yourself an ally, but how much are you actually doing to help their cause?

The thing is, most people think that not actively, intentionally, discriminating against a certain group of people makes them an ally, or at the very least it makes them not part of the problem, and that simply isn't true. Not intentionally harming people isn't the same thing as helping, and I think we all know this on a certain level but tend to forget it on the day to day.

For example, let's say I'm climbing a mountain with some friends.  We're all climbing along, struggling against the altitude, against how steep the incline is, blocking snow from our eyes, and suddenly, the person next to me slips, stumbles, and starts to fall. All I have to do to keep that person from falling to their death (and yes, it's that steep, and there is a cliff ledge waiting not far from the trail) is to reach out a hand to help steady my friend. I've got solid footing, and steadying them is not likely to harm me at all, though the effort might tire me out a bit. So, do I reach out a hand and steady them? Or do I watch them tumble sidelong off the mountain? I mean, I haven't done anything to them. I didn't cause their fall. I didn't push them. If they fall it's their own fault, they should have worn better shoes, really, and their pack seems weirdly overloaded and heavy, and there's always a chance they'll figure out a way to save themselves. Do I watch them fall and die? Or do I help? 

Obviously, I help. I don't know about you, but I would not be able to sleep at night if I didn't at least try to help, and I would feel fully responsible for my friend's death even though I technically didn't DO anything to cause it.

So, of course, this is an extreme example. I used mountain climbing, and life or death for a reason. It makes a really clear cut example of how "not hurting" someone isn't necessarily enough. Letting my friend fall is pretty close to killing them in this context, and that's important to recognize.

But now you might be saying, "Sure Virginia, letting my friend fall off of a mountain when I could have stopped it is bad, but how does that relate to being an ally? I'm not running around on weekends with a hood over my head beating up minorities, what more do you want me to do?" 

Right, so this is my point. Running around with a hood on your head isn't just watching someone fall, that's pushing them. Being a member of a white supremacist group is ACTIVE harm, no matter what you do when you get together with your white supremacist pals. I think most people recognize that much.

However, shouting "Racism is bad!" at people who wear white hoods on the weekend isn't exactly throwing a hand out to your falling friend either. That's more like shouting "look out for those rocks" at your friend who is already falling (or actually, it's more like shouting "Hey rocks, don't kill my friend!" after your friend is already falling). It's useless, and only shows a borderline understanding of the problem. 

The issue comes from the fact that racism in North America (and many other places, but I'm going to stick with what I know) is systemic, and it has been baked into the system since the first colonists arrived on the shores of what they decided to call the New World. A world that was actually already inhabited by many diverse populations spread out across the continent. We can call them indigenous peoples or first nations, but every time we lump them all together we lose a very important truth about the people who were already on this continent before any europeans arrived here; they consisted of multiple, varied cultures spread out across the continent that presented as much diversity those stretched out across Europe. But the Europeans who arrived here mostly viewed them as obstacles rather than people, didn't take the time to learn the differences between the groups of people, and they were systemically eradicated and displaced until they were no longer considered "a nuisance." 

And as if that weren't bad enough, the same europeans then decided that the most efficient way to succeed with their newly stolen land would be to steal a bunch of humans from a different part of the world and force them to work the land for them. 

And THEN the people responsible for all of those things set up a government and judicial system that made it incredibly difficult/impossible for any of the people who had been killed, displaced, and enslaved to ever escape what was done to them. 

Many of you may be saying to your computer screen, "Sure, but then the civil war in the 1800s and then civil rights movement in the 1960s happened and everything was fixed, right?"

Oh, if only that were true. Certainly the civil war put an end to slavery (more or less) and the civil rights movement in the US in the 60s made a lot of progress for minorities in the US. In fact it made so much progress that most white people decided they could safely clap themselves on the back and declare the country, "not racist anymore." But it is in fact, still quite racist despite all the progress that has been made so far, it is only less overt.

I should mention here that I am neither an historian nor a civil rights expert, so if you want to dig deeper into these issues I suggest you do your own research. For now, I am going to focus on the ways in which the US is still racist and what you can do to help.

There are so many ways that the US is still racist that I don't think I could address them all in one blog post, and indeed, I learn about more of them every day, so I wouldn't presume to be able to list them all. So we'll start with the biggest ones. 

The US Justice System is racist. Don't believe me? Please read the following articles written by far more knowledgeable people than me: this one is a report published by the United Nations in April of 2018. Or take a look at this report by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality that addresses incarceration along with MANY other points of discrimination in the US. 

In addition to the Stanford report, Harvard published a report indicating that racism in hiring processes has not decreased in 20 years (and yes, it existed at a detrimental level 20 years ago). 

I mention all of these reports because I often talk to fellow white people who don't believe that systemic racism exists and often ask me for sources. When I try to list all of the people of color that I've talked with (or exchanged text with via the internet) who have told me about their personal experiences with racism, the white people asking for sources often dismiss them stating that just because someone "feels" that they were discriminated against, doesn't mean that they actually were. 

To which I want to reply:


First of all, yes, feeling discriminated against is a huge part of discrimination, and not listening to people's accounts of the times they've been discriminated against just adds to the pain. (And no, it doesn't mean that every time someone was mean to you, you were discriminated against. This seems to be the thing that white people often struggle with the most, because most of us have so little experience actual discrimination. Power dynamic plays a huge role in discrimination. People can be mean to you in any power dynamic and that sucks, but it's not discrimination unless you are in a less powerful position.) This is where your friend on the mountainside starts slipping and instead of a reaching out a hand you say, "I dunno, doesn't look like you're falling to me. Are you sure that you're falling?" Not helpful. In fact, harmful.

Or, I also hear, "Well, I've never seen anyone being discriminated against." Right... so, there are two options here. One, you don't know what to look for because YOU'VE never been discriminated against, or two, you only interact with people who look just like you and so you've never seen racism in action.

And look, it took me a long-assed time to realize what modern, socially acceptable racism (and sexism, ableism, LGBT+ phobias) look like. I did not pop out of the womb woke AF and calling everyone out on their racism, their complicity, and their bullshit. Whooo boy, no I did not. I'm lucky that I wasn't indoctrinated into any hardcore hate groups as a kid (not even the ones masquerading as major religions), but I grew up surrounded by all the socially acceptable forms of racism, sexism, ableism, etc., that saturate our world, and I didn't know how steeped in it I was until I started to crawl my way out. So, if you are just now noticing that all is not as it should be, that the US isn't the land of equality that we've all been lead to believe it was since grade school... Don't feel too bad. History is written by the victor and in our society that meant it was written by old white dudes for a very long time. We are just now starting to change that, and honestly, a huge part of the reason that more of us realize how screwed up everything is, is thanks to the internet. The fact that we don't get all of our information directly from our family, coworkers, neighbors, and the local newspaper, has a huge impact on our worldview. But, if you still don't look farther than cable TV, or websites that you already agree with, for your worldview, then you might be missing something (or everything, YMMV). 

The truth is, it takes a lot of work to see past our own privilege (be that racial privilege, socio-economic privilege, heteronormative-privilege, or any other kind) and it's ok if you're just starting to do that work, or if you didn't realize that you needed to do that work but are planning to start now. The key thing is that you are starting to understand, and you are making an effort. 

Being an ally is hard, and it is constant work. There will almost always be a cultural minority that you don't know about, that our society has likely exploited at one time or another, and which you may be inadvertently harming with your actions or words, that you will need to learn about and try to fix. (For example please see the Romani Genocide and the racism the Romani people still face daily.) Unfortunately, if you are a white person in North America, you likely come from a long line of people who have never had to overcome the same obstacles as the minorities around them, and who may well have directly benefited from (and certainly indirectly benefited from) the oppression of others. Does that mean that your life, or your ancestors' lives weren't hard? Not at all. It just means that whatever made your life, or your ancestors' lives hard, wasn't your physical appearance. Wasn't something you couldn't change or hide in order to be treated the same as everyone else. Wasn't, in short, your race. And look, it's not your fault that the system is unfair, you didn't push your friend off that cliff after all. But once you see them falling, once you know that there IS a cliff and that they might fall over the edge if you don't put out your hand, why wouldn't you put your hand out? 

So, now that you see that the system is flawed, why wouldn't you try to help correct it? 

How, you ask? Well, that's complicated, and a single person can only do so much. You can start by listening to the people already in your life. When someone you know tells you about an experience they have had, listen to them. When your black friend tells you they were harassed by a cop, believe them. When your gay friend tells you they were called names at school or work, believe them. Whe your female coworker tells you she's tired of having her colleagues ignore her contributions, believe her. When your friend in a wheel chair explains that it takes them 10 times as long to get their errands run because of lack of accessible facilities in your town, believe them. And then, if it seems appropriate, ask how you can help. Remember it's not about you. It's not about how you can be a hero, it's about how you can make things a little bit less crappy for the people that the system doesn't support. 

It's also about calling people out on their bullshit when it's safe for you to do so. If you hear someone making a racist, sexist, homophobic, or ableist joke, call them out on it (if you can do so without endangering yourself). Even if there is no one around who finds the joke offensive (aside from you), allowing people to make those comments without repercussions is part of not holding out your hand to your falling friend. It's a small pebble under your friend's foot that might contribute to them slipping later, might twist their ankle as they go down, or might just get inside their boot and cause a blister, but no matter what, it hurts.

You don't have to fix everything (you can't even if you tried) and you don't have to pick your friend up and carry them to the top of the mountain (no one is asking you to do that) but you can and should reach your hand out to keep them from falling, ask them if they are ok, offer them some water, and ask if you can do anything else. Remember it's not about you.

And let's be honest, you might (probably will) slip up now and again. Humans aren't perfect and you're human. Also, it's impossible to learn everything at once. You don't go from "everything is fine" to "I understand every nuance of race and discrimination in the United States" overnight, or even over a decade. It's continual learning, constant discomfort, and yeah, a fair bit of worrying about how much of an asshole you unknowingly used to be. (I lie awake nights thinking about this sometimes.) But ultimately, the best thing you can do (the only thing you can do) is try to do better every day, and above all, be willing to listen. And maybe, if we all work together, we can not only get to the top of this mountain but build a nice wide path that lets everybody come on up and take a good look at the view. 

Notes: If you're wondering why I include so many additional forms of discrimination besides racism in this blog post, it's because I have found that being an ally for one marginalized group tends to lead to being an ally for all of them. The more we open our eyes to one form of injustice the less blind we become to all other forms of injustice. For me it started with sexism (the injustice that affected me most directly) and reached outward to racism, LGBTQIA discrimination, ableism, body type discrimination and... so much more. I should also point out that I haven't touched much on the racism directed at first nations people, especially here in Canada (where I currently reside) but that is only because I felt the scope of this blog was already escaping my abilities to write cohesively. It is a major concern that could easily encompass its own blog post (or a few hundred volumes of text). 




Friday, February 1, 2019

Victoria Marmot Book Four is delayed, but a winner is YOU!

So, some big updates. Victoria Marmot Book Four is delayed. I was half way through the rewrite when I realized that I was going to have to scrap almost 50% of the text to write the book it actually needed to be rather than the book I was forcing it to be. Oh well. It's a bummer to have to do that when I was already so far behind that I had no room left for error, but so be it. I want the book to be the best it can be. This series is supposed to be my fast-paced, whimsical series, but I still want it to be... a high quality version of fast-paced and whimsical. So, here we are. I will try to have the book ready by the middle of the month, but it might be more like the end of February. Le sigh...

Still, it does have a shiny new cover, and I am pleased to share it with you today!


I'm very excited about the cover for Book Four, and I hope you are too. What do you think?

Meanwhile, book four may not be ready yet, but in preparation for its release I have a bunch of fun giveaways for you. Actually, I have SO MANY giveaways set up for this month, that I am going to list them all here so you can find them all in one tidy place.

Where to start? 

1. Well, I suppose we'll start with over 30 fantasy books that you can get FOR FREE! One or two of the titles require you to sign up for the author's e-mail list, but many of them don't (and you get to pick and choose which titles you want). Included in the giveaway is... Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess! So, if you've been tempted to start the series, but are low on cash, or just weren't sure if you would like it, the price of trying it out has never been better. As you can see from the illustration this giveaway lasts ALL MONTH, so you have plenty of time to check it out.



2. From now until February 5th you can enter the contest below for a chance to win over 20 excellent fantasy books (including Blade's Edge) AND a brand new eReader. Just follow some authors on BookBub to gain entries.





4. All February long, you can enter to win a brand new Kindle Paperwhite by signing up to a few authors' newsletters. (I use a kindle paperwhite for all of my ereading needs, it's awesome.)


5. From February 11th to 17th you'll be able to find approximately one hundred FREE fantasy and science fiction titles at this link


I think that's all of them, if I find I've missed any I'll come back and add them. Note that some of these links are time sensitive and they won't work until the dates listed in their images/descriptions, or they will redirect to a placeholder in the meantime. If you like receiving info on these kinds of giveaways you might consider signing up for my mailing list, as I generally share them all there every few weeks, and I don't always remember to cross-post them to the blog. Anyway, I hope you're able to collect a few good reads for February, and don't forget to pick up a copy of Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess, so you can read the first three books before book four comes out by the end of the month! I'm off to go dive back into my book four revisions.

Happy reading!


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Victoria Marmot Book Four is Coming Soon!

Look, I'll be honest, I'm a bit behind on Book 4. The holidays got the best of me, we had a good friend visit for a while, and then it took me forever to get back into the right headspace to write. But, I should still have Victoria Marmot book four ready by the end of January or the first week of February at the latest.

And oh man, I'm going to have a cover reveal for you soon that I think you're going to love. At least, I love it, and I hope you will too!

In the meantime, to start drumming up some enthusiasm for book four. I am doing a giveaway for FIVE digital copies of Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess (also known as book one) so if you haven't had a chance to start the series yet, now's your chance to try it for FREE!

Just a reminder of how awesome Book One is:


Book One description:

Victoria Marmot is just an average teenage girl... if by "average" you mean an orphaned, multi-lingual, martial arts expert who owns her own home and may or may not have magical abilities.
When Vic is told her parents didn't die the way she thinks they did, her world is turned upside down and she's left with the task of finding out what really happened to them. But when her quest to uncover the truth reveals a massive conspiracy by a corrupt magical government, will her efforts save the world or take the whole universe down with her?

And here's the giveaway:




So go ahead and enter, there are five chances to win, and there are lots of ways you can earn extra entries! 

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Wrap Up

Well, I suppose there are a few hours left for me to make a post in December, so I'm going for it. Although, to be honest I'm still in a holiday daze and I don't even really know what to write about, but I can't very well let December go by without a single blog post. Can I? Well, maybe I could, but it feels wrong.

So here I am. To tell you, what, precisely? Well, I can report that I finished the first draft of Victoria Marmot book 4 back in November, but I've stalled out on the revision because I need to figure out a couple of series-wide plot points in more detail than I had previously bothered with in order to make sure I get the pacing and flow of the last 2 to 3 books right. Right now, I'm not even sure if there are going to be a total of 5 or 6 books (though I had originally planned for nine, then revised down to six) just because everything keeps happening so quickly. Anyway, I need to do some serious thinking and note taking in order to fix things and I haven't had the headspace for it over the holidays (and with all the unpacking in our new house). Oh yeah. We bought a house. Did I mention that back in November? I'm not sure if I did.

All of that means that I'm still technically on track to release book four in January, but I need to get my revising butt in gear if I want to actually meet that deadline.

Meanwhile, 2018... on a personal level it has been a pretty good year, but on a world wide level it has been a complete dumpster fire so... call it a wash?

I'm very proud of the Victoria Marmot books that are currently out in the world. If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet and you enjoy reading fast-paced, somewhat-humorous, urban fantasy, you should check them out: 



They are really quite different from my Chronicles of Gensokai series, so you won't necessarily enjoy them just because you enjoyed Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope, but I really enjoyed writing them, and a number of reviewers over on Goodreads have referred to them as "brain candy" so if you need something that fits that description, they might be worth a try.

If you're wondering, I felt the need to give the new series another mention here, because, well, you know, my whole year has kind of revolved around getting those books written, revised, published and selling, and then getting to work on book four. So far, it has worked relatively well. My launch for the new series was more organic than my previous launches, I spent way less money and time focusing on paid advertising and instead have worked on being more active on social media, just interacting with folks as myself instead of blasting "buy my book" posts everywhere, and hoping that people check out my profile to find links to my books and buy a copy of their own accord. It seems to be working fairly well. Oh, and I've done a ton of Newsletter swaps with other authors, which has been very instrumental in generating sales.

Looking back on 2018 in terms of sales the biggest thing that happened was clearly the BookBub I got for Blade's Edge in June. It was huge for both sales of Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope. The effects of that sale have finally worn off, but I am hopeful of getting another one in 2019, preferably for Victoria Marmot Book One, once I have books four and five out. For that to work though, I will likely need quite a few more reviews on Amazon, so if you do happen to pick up a copy of the books and feel like reading a review after you've read them it would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, another big highlight of 2018 for me was going to Seattle for GeekGirlCon. I was honored to be accepted as both an artist and panelist at GeekGirlCon in 2018 and had a great experience there over the course of the weekend. If you ever have a chance to check out GeekGirlCon I can't recommend it enough. I, for one, will doing everything in my power to make it back there in 2019.

In a way, I accomplished everything I set out to do in 2018 professionally. Yet, at the end of the year, it falls flat somehow. I'm not sure if it's imposter syndrome, all the successes feel like they're just random happenstance and not actually due to any talent or hard work on my part, or if it's just that while everything is moving along as hoped, nothing has pushed me into the realm of "all my books just sell without me doing anything to promote them," and that is my secret ultimate goal. Of course, that's a ridiculous goal, as no one's books sell without any promotion at all, and that's not my actual goal, but it's more that I want my books to sell enough from me announcing them to my newsletter to make my money back on covers and editing etc. without me having to push them much otherwise. Regardless, at the moment that goal feels lightyears away, even though I'm much closer to it than I've ever been before.

I suppose part of the feeling of frustration comes from feeling like I'm trying all the tips and tricks that I've read from successful indie authors and it still hasn't pushed me into successful mid-list author territory. But thats a silly way to think, as I've always known this would be a long haul, and I'm definitely making progress. Every launch is more successful than the last, the books meet with pretty good reviews (although the Victoria Marmot books are running into more criticism than Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope ever have, but I expected that, as the books are cast at a decidedly narrower audience than Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope), and I've gotten much better at a number of the pieces of publishing over the past five years, so each launch is a bit less stressful than the previous ones.

I guess all of this is to say that 2018 has been a successful year, but feels like it fell short of where I'd hoped it would go. Still, 2019 has the potential to be a breakthrough year if I stick with my publishing schedule. My publishing goals for 2019 are as follows: release Victoria Marmot book four in January, Book Five in April and Book Six--if it exists--in July, and then write Chronicles of Gensokai Book Three in the fall with a plan to publish it in the middle of 2020. The crazy thing (for me, who is terrible at planning things) is that this has been my plan since the beginning of 2018 and so far I've actually stuck to it. If all goes well, I'd love to be at GeekGirlCon 2019 with a completed Victoria Marmot series, and at least a basic outline of Chronicles of Gensokai book three.

On a more personal level, my goals for 2019 are to be more active (I did not get out as much this fall as I'd hoped, and my running and climbing both took a backseat while I focused on releasing the first three Victoria Marmot books and then got caught up with moving into a new house and writing book four). I want to prioritize my overall health (both mental and physical) next year by making exercise a priority. I always feel happier and healthier when I make time to run or go climbing, and I need to remember that I'm way more productive creatively when I make the time to exercise regularly than when I don't. I also want to make more time for reading. I only read around 40 books this year, when my goal was 52 and I'd like to do even better next year. Before I had my daughter I used to read around 100 books a year, and I wouldn't mind getting closer to that total if I can. I also would like to make better use of my local library as I pursue that goal.

Ok. For a post that started with me not being sure what I wanted to say, I sure have said a lot. I hope it didn't bore the pants off of anyone. Thanks for reading this far, and I wish you a fun, adventure filled, healthy, and happy New Year! See you in 2019!


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Behind the scenes of the latest launch...

All five of my books! Aren't they pretty? (Some holiday promos are happening right now, so if you've been meaning to read them or buy them for friends now is a good time to buy/gift the ebooks.)

If you're on my mailing list, you've probably already read this. If so, feel free to skip this one. It's all about how this book launch has gone so far.

So, whether you're on my mailling list or not, you probably noticed that I released a brand new series about three weeks ago. I released all three books at once for various reasons, some of which were for marketing purposes, some of which were just out of personal preference.

I started writing the Victoria Marmot series as a web serial originally, because it seemed to fit the story. To me it has always struck me as something to be written and published quickly, almost as though Vic were trying to document the whole thing while it happened and let people know about it in close to real time.

For those wondering (it comes up from time to time) the idea that originally sparked the whole series was a single scene, in which Vic confronts a vampire who is creepily trying to watch her sleep. Many of you will be familiar with this scene from the very famous Twilight series. It's a scene that has always bothered me, because when I think of a guy showing up uninvited in my room to watch me sleep, my mind turns towards messed up psychological thriller not towards romance. Indeed, it was reimagining this scene with the reaction that Iwould have (calling the cops, and beating the guy up if he got too close) that led me to write the Victoria Marmot series. Vic came to me as a character who could and would react that same way, and a number of other scenes, characters, and tropes that I wanted to twist, bend, or outright break came to mind at the same time. And thus the series was born.

But instead of publishing it as a web-serial as I originally envisioned (and briefly explored--I did publish the first 15 chapters or so on my Patreon) I decided that the books would do better as bingeable fiction and decided to write out the first three books of a six to nine book series (it's looking more like six these days) and release the first three all at once.

Publishing the first three at once is a tactic that isn't used that often, because authors like to make use of the amazon algorithms that give each book a bit of a boost for the first 90 days after publication. So, folks like to maximize that effect on each book by stacking them within that time period. I chose not to launch them one at a time for two reasons. One - the first two books end on cliff hangers and I hate reading those unless the next book is already out. Assuming my readers would feel the same way, I wanted enough books to be released to minimize this effect (and have book 3 wrap up enough plot threads to not anger anyone). Two - sell through. I wanted people to be able to buy book two as soon as they finished book one before they forgot about it. We all only have so much bandwidth, and trying to remember a book you read six weeks ago and enjoyed by an author you've never heard of before is a recipe for, "oh well, guess I'm not going to read that next one." I figured that was less likely to happen if folks have already read three books by the same author before there is a gap of a few weeks.

So, now you're probably wondering if that worked... well, it's a bit soon to say if it "worked" or else it might just take a few hours and pages of text to define what "worked" means in this context, but so far it's looking good. Keep in mind I spent way less time and money on this book launch than any of my previous launches. Of course, the reason that I was able to spend less time and money on it was thanks to the build up of results from my previous launches, so take that with a grain of salt. Meanwhile, Victoria Marmot Book 1 has sold almost as many copies in less than a month as Traitor's Hope has sold in an entire year. Which is fabulous and very heartening. Now I need to expand on that. Also, read through from book 2 to book 3 is at 100% and read through for print copies of the books is 100% from book 1 through book 3. Of course, with the digital copy of book one priced at $0.99 the read through from book 1 to book 2 is a lot lower (currently at just over 10% on amazon but higher on most other retailers). This isn't surprising since many 0.99 books tend to sit on people's devices for ages before they actually read them. (I am guilty of this myself, so I take no offense.)

Which is to say, the launch has gone well so far, and if you've read this far you must be very interested in indie publishing. Thanks for being here, and let me know if you have any questions!

Meanwhile, I'm working away on book 4 and still planning to release it in January. I am considering releasing a few exclusive snippets over on my newsletter (and on my Patreon first and foremost) so if that interests go ahead and sign up for either one of those. The newsletter is completely free and I use it to share my own announcements free writing snippets and short stories, and the occasional deal from fellow science fiction and fantasy authors. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Victoria Marmot is live everywhere books are sold!


YOU GUYS, YOU GUYS, YOU GUYS!!!

VICTORIA MARMOT IS OFFICIALLY OUT IN THE WORLD!

It has been a long road, and there were stretches where it felt like I would never have everything ready in time. I need to get back to posting YouTube videos in the near future so I can talk about how much more I've learned from releasing three books at once (despite already having released two other books--three years apart) or at the very least write up a regular old blog post about it. Both are on my to-do list, I guess we'll just see which one I get to first.

Anyway, if you want to check out the Victoria Marmot books, you can start with book one, or order the first three books all at once, whatever you prefer. Both print and digital versions are ready to order, and I'm very pleased with how the print books turned out, so don't hesitate to pick those up as well.

Here are the official links for various retailers, and then below this box you can find tons of other SFF book deals, many of which are priced at $0.99, so be sure to check those out as well. I'm going to go collapse in a tired heap with a few of those books myself, and maybe a celebratory cup of hot cocoa as well (probably some wine later too, let's be honest).

Victoria Marmot links:

 



Book One (Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess):

Victoria Marmot is just an average teenage girl... if by "average" you mean an orphaned, multi-lingual, martial arts expert who owns her own home and may or may not have magical abilities.

When Vic discovers her parents didn't die the way she thinks they did, what little remains of her world is turned upside down and she's left with the task of finding out what really happened to them. But when her quest to uncover the truth reveals a massive conspiracy by a corrupt magical government, will her efforts to find the truth save the world or take the whole universe down with her?


Book Two (Victoria Marmot and the Inconvenient Prophecy):

When Victoria Marmot helps rescue her brother from a corrupt magical government she also unleashes a cadre unsavory characters, a handful of helpless children, and a dragon. Now, with the Ministry of Magical Entities and an obsessed vampire ambushing them at every turn, Vic will have to call on all of her newfound powers—and enlist the help of all of her new friends—to solve the mystery of what really happened to her parents before MOME can silence her and everyone she holds dear.






Book Three (Victoria Marmot and the Shadow of Death):

Vic is about to die. At best, she’ll die when the Ministry of Magical Entities finally puts on their sham of a trial and convicts her of a crime she only sort-of committed… but most likely she’ll die in the next flash flood here in this hellhole they’re using as a prison, or maybe whenever that shrieking squirrel demon comes back. Then again, maybe she’ll live just long enough to find out what MOME is really up to, and die along with everyone else if she fails to stop them.



Also, for those who are interested in having nice books on their shelves, I'm releasing hardcover versions of Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope to help celebrate the release of the Victoria Marmot books, so feel free to check those out.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pre-orders available for ebook AND print!

My new Victoria Marmot urban-fantasy-with-a-hint-of-parody series is launching in just four more days and I am so very excited to announce that not only can you pre-order the ebooks everywhere that ebooks are sold, but you can even pre-order the paperbacks at your favorite online retailer. (Like, seriously, even my local indie has the pre-order link on their website, how cool is that?)

So, links? Covers? Here we go. Have a banner.... umm... I'm writing this on my phone so I think the banner is at the top. Meanwhile.... links!

Amazon: print and ebook
B&N: print and ebook
McNally Robinson: print
Everywhere else: ebook (search for Victoria Marmot on your preferred site for print if it's not one of the above; luckily, she has a unique name).

Other than that... well, life has been rather crazy actually... some good, some bad. I'll tell you more later, but be sure to come see me at GeekGirlCon if you're anywhere near Seattle on the 27th and 28th! I'll be at booth #814 all weekend as well as running a panel on Sunday at 4pm called Moms Who Geek! (Or How to Pursue Your Passions Even After You Procreate) Please, come say hi!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Cover Reveal for Victoria Marmot Book One

Sorry I disappeared in July and for most of August. July was a month full of memorizing lines, rehearsing, and then putting on a two week run of a play. It was stressful, but also fun, and kind of wonderful. August, in turn, was full of catching up on writing and traveling to celebrate with family.

I have been working away on the Victoria Marmot series. The first three books from this series (which will be at least six books long) will be published in October of this year. And now it's time to share the cover of Book 1 along with the pre-order links! This cover (and all three covers for the series so far) were designed by Natasha Snow and I love them.



I'll be back in September with even more information about all three Victoria Marmot books! For now, get your pre-order on! :-)

Here's a reminder about what the series is all about:

Victoria Marmot is just an average teenage girl... if by "average" you mean an orphaned, multi-lingual, martial arts expert who owns her own home may or may not have magical abilities.

When Vic is told her parents didn't die the way she thinks they did, her world is turned upside down and she's left with the task of finding out what really happened to them. But when her quest to uncover the truth reveals a massive conspiracy by a corrupt magical government, will her efforts save the world or take the whole universe down with her?

Monday, July 2, 2018

See you at GeekGirlCon in October!

I am very excited to announce that I will be attending GeekGirlCon in Seattle, WA this October (27th & 28th). I will be at a vendor's table all weekend, with both of my Chronicles of Gensokai books as well as (hopefully) all THREE new Victoria Marmot books. I will also be heading up an awesome panel called Mom's Who Geek: or How to Pursue Your Passions Even After You Procreate, which I will talk more about once I'm sure I've got the green light from GGC (the panel is definitely happening, but I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about who all will be on it etc. just yet).

I've already booked my flight, and I have made arrangements to stay with a friend, so this is all really happening. I'm so thrilled!

For those unfamiliar with GeekGirlCon I recommend clicking on the link provided and reading up on it, but basically, if you're a feminist nerd, it's paradise. So, please come see me there! It will be a ton of fun, in addition to possibly being the only physical launch of the Victoria Marmot books (though I might do a physical launch in Winnipeg afterwards, I haven't decided yet).

I'm off to get back to writing the Victoria Marmot books to make sure that they are all ready for October! See you in Seattle!


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

BookBub roundup (in which I squee about being next to JK Rowling)!

Well, folks, it was a beautiful thing while it lasted, but BookBub* week is finally over.
*If you don't know what I'm talking about please click here to find out more from a previous blog post of mine.

"But wait, Virginia, why is it BookBub week? I thought BookBub featured deals were just a single e-mail sent out on a single day," you say, not unreasonably.

And you're not wrong. The actual BookBub featured deal is just a single e-mail sent out to a giant mailing list on one single day. However, BookBub is kind enough to feature your promotional price on their website for as long as it will last, so one can experience a nice increase in sales numbers for as long as one is inclined to keep the promotional price in place. Accordingly, I decided to keep Blade's Edge at 0.99 across all retailers until June 9th. I have since raised the price (or at least tried to, but Amazon has yet to bring the US price up even though all other retailers have done it) and sales have slowed, but I am pleased to report that sales have not stopped all together. Indeed, they seem to have leveled out a bit at a level that is quite a bit higher than the 0 copies per day that I was selling right after I took my books out of Kindle Unlimited and indeed it's even better than the average of two copies per day I was selling prior to that.

Indeed I've sold an average of 16 copies a day from the 10th to today. Of course, part of that is affected by the fact that Blade's Edge is still 0.99 on Amazon, so we shall see how it changes when the price finally adjusts, but I'm heartened to see that Traitor's Hope has been making up a larger and larger portion of my daily sales each day. It makes me think that a. people are willing to pay "full price" for my books and b. that people have actually been reading Blade's Edge and enjoying it enough to buy the second book.

Anyway, I'm sort of starting at the end here. Most of you probably haven't been following my stats posts on KBoards, so you have no idea how the BookBub itself went. If you'd like to read that stats post, you can find it here. That post details how many sales I made per day, per retailer, from June 4th to June 9th and also mentions the rankings that Blade's Edge and Traitor's Hope both had over the course of the week.

For the link averse, here's a brief summary:

On June 4th Blade's Edge sold 976 copies across all retailers and Traitor's Hope sold 33 copies across all retailers.

Between June 4th and June 9th (the dates that Blade's Edge was listed on the BookBub website as a 0.99 deal) Blade's Edge sold a total of 1464 copies across all retailers and Traitor's Hope sold 70 copies.

On Amazon Blade's Edge's highest ranking was #1 in the category of Children's Sword & Sorcery Fantasy Books (which is a weird category for it to be under at all, but hey what can I say, Amazon is weird sometimes). That meant it had the awesome orange bestseller tag on it for most of June 4th and June 5th. Of course, I took a screen shot:


And you may not find that particularly impressive, but check out the company that Blade's Edge was keeping that day:


I almost pooped myself when I saw Blade's Edge ahead of both A Wrinkle in Time AND Harry Potter...

Its highest overall ranking was #312 in the entire store, which is, of course, the highest it has ever been.

But it also kicked butt on other retailer sites! Blade's Edge was #29 in the entire iBooks store! And it was #1 in Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Seriously, no other sub category. Just Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Number 1. Boom. Don't believe me? Check the screen shot.



And on Barnes&Noble it was #5 in Sci-Fi &Fantasy



(Yep, that's Blade's Edge outranking The Handmaid's Tale... Appropriate company, too.)

Those were some of the most exciting moments in Blade's Edge's life to date, and I feel like an obnoxious parent showing off pictures of my child doing something only I find impressive, but there you have it. June 4th was an amazing day, and the past week has been excellent as well.

So far, the effects of the BookBub have been even better than I expected, and I am very curious to see their long term ramifications. The BookBub has more than paid for itself, and the number of people who have paid for a copy of Blade's Edge has increased manyfold. 

If you want more details with exact numbers, I really do recommend the KBoards stats post I made. For now, I am off to get back to writing Victoria Marmot, which I have sorely neglected for a few weeks out of excitement and nerves for Blade's Edge's performance in this promotion. Meanwhile, the time tested truth for authors remains, nothing sells a book like writing more books. So, off I go! To write three more books to release this year.