September 23, 2019

New Short Story and Four Months of Thanks

Four months ago almost to the day, I sat in front of the computer with my husband. We had just spent two months preparing the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy for publication. After trudging down the long road of traditional publishing, attempting and failing to catch the attention of literary agents, I had decided to take the plunge into the world of indie publishing.

But reality hit as we sat in front of that computer screen. With a click of the mouse, Becoming would be uploaded to Smashwords, followed by uploads to Amazon and Barnes and Noble. There was really no turning back once we did this.

We exchanged looks. We grinned like idiots. And we clicked PUBLISH. Then I’m pretty sure we indulged in an adult beverage or two to celebrate, never thinking we had made the wrong decision.

So…here I sit, four months later, once again in front of the computer. And I’m giving my books their four-month check-up. Have I now changed my mind, you might ask? Did I make the right choice in choosing to self-publish?

It’s interesting. Everyone has a different measure of success. For some, you’re not successful unless you’re accepted and published by a traditional publisher and your books appear on the shelves of the local bookstore. For others, the only true measure of success might involve books being on The New York Times Bestseller List.

Personally, I think a writer’s success begins the moment she puts a pen to the page. That’s the moment where she’s committing to telling her story, the moment where her soul starts seeping onto the page. Her success grows with each written word, and blossoms once those words are shared with others.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve engaged with a couple of very talented writers who were brought low by disappointments in their careers. One had just received a rejection by a literary agent and the other felt that no one wanted to hear what she had to say, nearly giving up writing altogether. Fortunately, both rebounded from their individual setbacks. To me, they’re both successful just for writing and persevering.

In using this particular yard stick, the Daughters of Saraqael books have certainly been successful. But is just being complete and published works enough to consider these indie-pubbed books a “success?” Some would argue no.

Thus, since I’m doing my four-month check-up here, I’ll mention that to date, the books have exceeded 5,500 sales. Becoming has reached #15 on Amazon’s Kindle Bestseller list in the Romance/Fantasy & Futuristic category. This past weekend, it was at #715 overall in Paid Kindle Books–a category that contains hundreds of thousands of titles.

To say I’m grateful to my readers would be the understatement of the year, but especially in the week of Thanksgiving, I absolutely have to say it: thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has bought my books. A special thanks goes out to everyone who has also supported me and my work via blog posts, tweeting or Facebooking, liking and/or reviewing on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and rating and reviewing on Goodreads. Every single effort has contributed to the success over the past four months, and there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude.

Also, here at the mark of the four-month anniversary of the publication of the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy, I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming launch of my first Estilorian short story, The Prophecy. This coming Monday, November 28th, The Prophecy will be made available for free download via Smashwords, followed by Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

When the Daughters of Saraqael books were first released, one of the most common things I heard was that readers wanted to hear more about Saraqael and Kate. So when I decided to release short stories between writing the books in the forthcoming Firstborn trilogy, I balanced this popular reader request with a tie-in to the new books. The Prophecy centers on Saraqael’s quest and also includes his best friend, Quincy, one of the central characters in the Firstborn trilogy.

Without further ado, I leave you with another resounding thanks, wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving and presenting you with a teaser for The Prophecy, coming soon to e-readers near you…

 
THE PROPHECY

“I love her, Quincy.”

Looking up from the medical journal in front of him, Quincy blinked and caught the gaze of his best friend, Saraqael. He reasoned he had been distracted by his studies, because he surely hadn’t heard correctly. “What was that?”

Saraqael grinned, a very rare thing to see on the Estilorian plane. “You heard me. And I would appreciate you keeping this to yourself. Try not to let the Orculesti or Wymzesti get into your head. They will certainly try to stop me.”

Quincy let his hand slide from the pages of the journal to the top of his well-worn table, his studies forgotten. “You mean…the female you met on the human plane?”

“Yes. Her name is Kate. And I need your help.”

“My help?”

Quincy knew he sounded ridiculous, echoing everything his friend said. But this made no sense. Estilorians didn’t fall in love. Estilorians, in point of fact, barely knew what it meant to like. Ever since the nine Estilorian elders had joined together to create a separate plane of existence from humanity more than two millennia ago, the understanding and experiencing of emotions among Estilorians had greatly diminished. Now, the only emotions generally exhibited were negative, such as jealousy, anger, competitiveness and fear.

Only the Corgloresti class had the ability to transition between the Estilorian and human planes. As members of this class, Quincy and Saraqael both now understood the dramatic differences between emotional humans and their own kind. Like Saraqael, Quincy had crossed the planes only twice so far because he was so young—just over two centuries. But it had been enough for him to understand the dire results of the elders’ choice. It hadn’t been known that Estilorians were inherently unemotional beings until it was too late.

So to hear that Saraqael thought himself in love…well, it confounded him.

Because Quincy’s quarters weren’t very large, Saraqael walked four paces and then turned and strode the other way as he paced in front of the table. He ran his hand through his dark hair in a way that seemed to communicate agitation or impatience. Corgloresti were trained in how to interpret body language to aid them in their time on the human plane, since they were largely unable to experience emotion themselves. While some of what he had learned from his Estilorian teachers had been a bit off, Quincy’s experiences among humans during his first two transitions gave him confidence in his interpretation of his friend’s behavior.

“Yes, I need your help, my friend,” Saraqael said now as he paced. “You have trained in the human medical sciences so that you can assume the form of a physician on the human plane. You know that I chose to focus on human theology in my studies, which is of little use to me now. I am in need of a solution to save Kate’s life, and I have nowhere else to turn.”

“Saraqael…” Quincy trailed off, uncertain what to say. Eventually, he hazarded, “We were trained not to become attached to those we choose to Embrace. Though I know it has proven challenging for the two of us, most Corgloresti distance themselves as a matter of instinct.” Again, he hesitated, watching his friend pace. “Do you really believe that she will unquestionably accept the fact that you are a non-human being with exceptional powers and the ability to fly? A being that can live for centuries without aging?”

“Yes.”

That gave Quincy pause. Despite his friend’s conviction, he felt compelled to point out, “You know once you mark a human soul for transitioning into an Estilorian form that you are the only one who can Embrace it. And if you do, her soul will retain none of its human awareness once it is brought over here. Including any memories of you.”

“There must be a way.”

Before Quincy could respond, Saraqael abruptly stopped pacing. He braced his hands on the table and leaned closer to Quincy, his silver eyes flashing with something indefinable.

“Kate is unlike any being I have ever met, Quincy. She has the most amazing smile. Just the sight of it does things to me that—well, you cannot even imagine. Although her body is frail, her courage is unsurpassed. She is kind and giving. She is intelligent and good-humored. When she sings, I swear the birds stop to listen in envy. And her faith…well, she has at least as much as you, and you have more than anyone I have ever known. I need that faith right now, Quincy.”

He may have been inexperienced with emotions, but Quincy understood the tone of his friend’s voice. He noticed the light sheen of moisture that accompanied his friend’s intense gaze. And he knew he couldn’t ignore either.

Nodding, he said, “Okay. Tell me what her human doctors have shared with you.”