Update: Wow, stressful; also, an upcoming sale

So, the very first reviews and ratings are going up for Invictus: Crisis, and whew, off to a good start! 4.7 stars right now, and I hope it sits right there. I mean, up is okay. Down is okay as well, provided it doesn’t go too far down. I basically assume everything will settle between 4.5 and 4.7, but while I was VERY SURE almost all readers would love the ending of Tasmakat, I was not nearly that confident about either half of Invictus. Readers have been much more tolerant of the cliffhanger ending of the first book than I honestly expected, which was a huge relief; and now if most readers feel the ending is good and satisfying, that will also be a huge relief.

Small sale begins tomorrow: Invictus: Captive drops to $1.99 for a week. This is because I’m running a book launch promotion via Written Word Media. The reason is exactly the same as for No Foreign Sky: I think it’s urgent to make sure Invictus is shown to SF readers rather than fantasy readers. Also, KU pages read for NFS went higher than I expected and stayed up for a long time compared to other books, which I think is most likely because of the book launch, and it would be nice if that happened again. Not sure it will; for me, for two years now, all promotion in the spring has worked better for me than any promotion in the fall. But we’ll see.

Anyway, it’s a small price drop, but if you haven’t picked up the first book and might want to, this is the time. Sometime in November, I’ll raise the price of at least the second book, maybe the first, not sure.


Question nobody has asked me, as far as I can remember: How tense do you feel when a new book releases? Answer: generally speaking, very tense. I wasn’t sure readers would like Tano or No Foreign Sky or the Death’s Lady trilogy or, before that, the second book of the Griffin Mage trilogy (or the first book, or the third book, but the second was the one I was particularly tense about. So much traveling back and forth! I wasn’t sure that would work for readers).

Different reasons: Tano is such a character study, very little happens, it’s a simple plot, fairly predictable in broad strokes. NFS is so super-fast, but has relatively little character development compared to a lot of my stories, so character readers who loved Tano might not like it at all. Plus it’s my first SF, so what about that? The DL trilogy is just odd; starting with a short novel that is basically pure character study with almost no fantasy elements is just … so odd. I really had doubts about its reception.

Books I was sure about: The Floating Islands and Tasmakat. Those are the two I really did not worry about. Maybe Suelen. That’s a straightforward story, but anybody who reads it should pretty much expect exactly the story they got, so I wasn’t very tense about that one. What’s it’s rating? … yep, 4.6, right at expectations.

I do not, of course, expect all readers to love each and every book. It’s inevitable that somebody will dislike any given book (even Tasmakat!) even if they love other books of mine. This is fine. I’m pretty happy as long as the overall rating indicates that most readers are giving the story a thumbs up, which (so far) looks good for Invictus.

Now you’ll know who I’m talking about when I say I’m thinking of a sequel with Erec Chatham as one pov character and Ketsova or Desya as the other. Pretty likely I’ll go on with that. Next year is sure shaping up to be busy, mostly with drafts of new books, though there’s one manuscript I’ve got sitting around that I could in theory pick up and dust off. We’ll see.


Meanwhile, reasonable progress with Silver Circle. It’s slower than I’d like, but I’ve been busy and also I should have remembered that everything else is slow compared to anything in the Tuyo world. It’s going fine. The best news on this front is that I’m pretty sure I can integrate the material originally written from Grayson’s pov without too much trouble. I’ve figured out, I think, how to keep the important plot element almost intact. I’m pretty happy about that.

I’d call this draft half finished except I’m betting it will go quite long, so let’s say it’s about at the one-third mark. Not bad, and hopefully it will keep moving fairly smoothly. I have figured out how to get into the middle and move toward the end, which is helpful. This week, I will be scattering characters in various directions, which will make it easier to handle most scenes as I won’t be trying to handle a zillion characters at a time.

Four pov characters right now. I’m going to try to keep it to just those four.

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13 thoughts on “Update: Wow, stressful; also, an upcoming sale”

  1. Just left my review on INVICTUS: CAPTIVE, which I tore through yesterday–I’m going to try to pace myself on CRISIS because I need to get some work done today but I don’t expect to make it until tomorrow.

    (I had to stop reading at the point where Syova’s trying to make a decision between his torn loyalties, which was absolutely the worst place to stop, but I’m going to enjoy the torment of waiting to find out what happens. I was looking forward SO MUCH to seeing Matteo, and when we finally got to meet him in CRISIS the payoff was just brilliant. And now I feel Syova’s agony!!)

    Oddly I found CAPTIVE much much faster reading than NO FOREIGN SKY, maybe partly because I like Syova so well and I am very very fond of the “incredibly dangerous young man isolated and rendered emotionally vulnerable by a powerful but ultimately compassionate captor” — see, also, TUYO. ;) I know you didn’t write this book FOR me but it sure felt like it…

  2. Also I’d be interested to hear from other INVICTUS readers on how they handle reading the long Ubez terms. I probably could not spell a single one of them here even though I recognized them happily in context–I think I just started recognizing each word as a “block” of a certain length, with the same initial and final letters, rather than as a string of individually memorable syllables. I did slow down a few times to try to mentally pronounce words, and found it just as easy as you suggest in the glossary, but then I’d be up and running again, merrily gliding right over the next familiar “block”…

    (And do you yourself ever struggle with spelling eschahashtesha etc.?)

  3. Ha, Mary Beth, that’s a GREAT place to be forced to stop, I’m definitely enjoying imagining that.

    I think Captive is objectively much slower paced, but emotional engagement is something different from pacing … I should think about that and write a post …

  4. I spelled “eschahashtesha” so often that I can do that one easily. Related forms of the same word were easy as soon as I decided what the form would be.

    Let me see … okay, Ubezhishche, eschahashtesha, and Saodarishe I typed from memory. Most of the rest, I copied in from a glossary file. Some got adjusted multiple times via find and replace, including the very long “fleet admiral” title for Segohda. I couldn’t spell that one without looking it up. Mosaayon’s title got adjusted to an easier form at the very last minute, so I can’t spell the current title, though I think I could spell one of the longer forms.

    You can actually set autocorrect to correct “eschah” to “eschahashtesha” or whatever, but I didn’t actually do that for this book. I just thought of it from time to time, because it would have let me close the glossary file. But it wasn’t that much trouble to copy words in as needed, I guess, because that’s how I handled most of the words most of the time.

  5. Haven’t delved into “Crisis” yet but just reread No Foreign Sky. Waited a couple months between reads, so didn’t remember every small detail. The second reading felt more in-depth knowing the basics, and could focus better with clearer understanding on the Turun society and back story of the turun/uman family relationships and history. And yes, like Rachel above, (especially in the Invictus novel) easier to slide over and through some of the long perplexing names and terms till they clarified and seemed pronounceable. Anticipating with pleasure any follow up stories in the human and turun worlds.

  6. Well, that was quite a ride! I had the willpower to not begin CAPTIVE till CRISIS came out, but then I started reading it at midnight last night and spectacularly failed at attempts to put it down, which led to two hours’ total sleep. (Forgive any incoherence.)

    The ending was more bittersweet than I expected, probably because I loved Syova’s team and his dynamic with them so much. I also loved Chatham and I would definitely love to see more of him!

  7. I’m always so happy to ruin a reader’s sleep! Yay! Also, sorry, I hope you are not sleepwalking through the day today.

  8. Heather, I’m sorry! I completely forgot that if you use the KDP tools, the price only drops in the US. There’s no way to fiddle with the price in the middle of a countdown deal OR for 30 days afterward. Next time I will surely remember to drop the prices by hand. That’s a lot less precise in timing, but does cause prices to drop everywhere.

  9. Aargh. Could I be very cheeky and ask for a Christmas sale of that book everywhere EXCEPT the US, to give your global readers a chance as well? One sale for the US, another sale for everywhere else… :-)

  10. Heather, that’s what I immediately thought of — a Christmas sale. I’m making a mental note to reduce prices for everything, or at least a lot of things, sometime in December. You know what, I think I’ll make a real physical note and tack it to my fridge or something so that I remember.

  11. Yay! (And also, if you’re doing a real physical note… write down on your real physical note ***NOT*** to use the KDP tools? XD)

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