Monday, April 30, 2012

Update on Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV


For those who are waiting for the final novel in the Rys Rising series I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that publication is months away.

The good news is that I'm making progress and I'm on track for publication in the fall of 2012.

I am in the middle of writing Chapter 31. I'm hoping to complete the novel in five or six more chapters. My ambitious goal is to finish drafting the manuscript by the end of May because having the kids at school all day is SUCH a help with writing novels. I basically despair during their summer vacations when their nonstop action shakes the house fourteen hours a day.

I really don't know if I'll make this goal, but I am going to try really hard. These final chapters are difficult to write. Because I write long multi-volume epics, the final part has to tie up MANY plot lines. The tough part is putting it together in a manner that is comprehensible and potentially entertaining to others. I'm also killing characters. This necessity leads to procrastination as a writer. I don't like killing characters I've spent years filling my daydreams with. But I'm motivated! This story has been in my head for years and it's high time I sent it out into the world.

After I make or not make my deadline for completing the manuscript, I'll spend the rest of the summer editing and rewriting it. Then I'll move into the production phase for a fall release.

If you haven't read the Rys Rising series yet, or if you've started it, three novels are complete and available.

You can get Rys Rising: Book I for free and buy Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II and New Religion: Rys Rising Book III.

If you've bought from me directly, your automatically on my readers' list, so you'll be notified when Love Lost is published.

If you've been sourcing the series at another retailer, please get on my readers' list so you'll know when it's published. Use the form on the right hand side on any page at Brave Luck Books.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nice 5 star review in UK itunes for Union of Renegades

My fantasy novel Union of Renegades is free in all iTunes stores. Considering that Apple only has a modest share of the ebook market, I do pretty well in their iTunes outlets, and I'm very appreciative of the readers who find me through this retailer.

And some of those readers appreciate me. One example is this glowing review from a British iTunes user Emz2011:

"Fantastic book!

A well written and deeply engaging story line, the characters are interesting and the setting is easy to imagine with the descriptive writing. I will be downloading the rest of the series! :-)."

Every time someone leaves me a good review it makes my day, and it also helps other readers decide to give my fiction a try.

Thank you for leaving me such a nice review, and I'm so happy that you're enjoying The Rys Chronicles.

People in the United Kingdom who use iTunes can get Union of Renegades for free at this link:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/union-renegades-rys-chronicles/id365801314?mt=11



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You are now experiencing Space Opera


Jak Phoenix 2 The Markazian Deception by Matt D. Williams has blasted out of space dock without authorization.
Last year I had the pleasure of reading the humorous and exciting space adventure Jak Phoenix by Canadian author Matt D. Williams. See my glowing review.

Happily Williams chose to create a sequel about the financially-challenged and permanently not-boyfriend-material Jak Phoenix and recently released Jak Phoenix 2 The Markazian Deception.

I bought it the other day at Smashwords and saw that Williams was kind enough to acknowledge me as an author colleague who had been supporting of his fiction. Thanks for the acknowledgement! I get so very little of it most days.

I already had the pleasure of previewing the first two chapters of Jak Phoenix 2 prior to its publication, and I can confidently say that readers will get great entertainment. I encourage others to indulge in the Jak Phoenix novels. They have given me many good laughs and a good space story driven by fun characters lovingly crafted.

Visit JakPhoenix.com to access all places in the galaxy where you can spend your space credits on it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Help make Union of Renegades free for UK Kindle readers

All my novels are distributed into the UK Kindle store, but since Amazon ceased price matching Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I for free, like it is at other ebook retailers, readers in the UK have ceased to notice my work.

It's a bummer for me because during the short time Union of Renegades was free in the UK Kindle store, it caught on with some readers who went on to buy more of my novels. Several months ago I even contacted Amazon UK about reinstating the free price for Union of Renegades, but the response I got was a brush off and the novel remained priced at its 99 cent equivalent. The Kindle publishing system does not allow me price anything for free, so it's not my fault that it is not free in the UK Kindle store.

I wish Amazon UK would start price matching my novel again because it creates a win-win-win situation.

I win because I gain more sales of other novels.

Amazon makes more money off of me.

More readers discover a fantasy fiction series they like, or at least get to sample one for free.

I understand that Amazon does not want to give everything away, but a free Union of Renegades leads to more sales. I've been marketing with this model for years and it works. I also understand that Amazon is trying to get authors to sell exclusively through Kindle with the KDP lending program, but this is not an option for me. First of all Union of Renegades is available through numerous retailers and it would be a lengthy and difficult procedure to remove it from other outlets. Also it would be stupid for me to make my work exclusive to the Kindle platform. I want to be a happy and free nomad who can graze her flocks everywhere. Not a vulnerable sharecropper tied to one estate.

Union of Renegades IS free from other retailers and from my websites.

You can download the .prc format that works on Kindle right here at this blog.

See how to add ebooks to your Kindle that are saved on your computer with this quick video tutorial.

If you're in the UK, these are some altenative places to get Union of Renegades for free:

Apple iBooks UK
Smashwords
Kobobooks

If you'd like to see Union of Renegades for free in the Amazon UK store, please alert that system to where you can get this novel for free. Maybe someday the company will go back to price matching.

Look for the link to tell Amazon where Union of Renegades is free in the Product Details section.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You're working for Mordor and I'm trying to live in Lothlorien


Lawn chemical companies say I deserve a better a lawn than this.
I don't recall ever mentioning this at my blog directly but I'm an environmentalist.

Why?

Because it is irrational not to care about my environment and whether or not it is healthy and able to sustain life in perpetuity.

I've come to the dismal realization that I can't really do much to prevent the widespread destruction of our beautiful planet. I know that Earth will have Her revenge on all of us sooner or later. Most of us who are paying attention are already feeling it.

What I can do is protect my immediate habitat which is my home and yard. I never apply any pesticides or herbicides. Insects and weeds hardly warrant pouring poison on my own land.

Amazingly, getting people to poison their own land is huge business. I see my neighbors having their lawns sprayed by these foul concoctions meant to make their lawns so green and lovely. Then the chemical worker sticks cute little signs in the ground that say children should not play on it until after it rains.

And people PAY for this, which brings me to my story. Every spring clean cut young salesmen come knocking on my door from these companies that want to broadcast toxic chemicals. (And yes it is always young men because the companies want to appeal to suburban cougars who answer the doors and control bank accounts.)

A nice young gentlemen from a familiar "poison the lawn your children and pets play on" company visited me not too long ago. We had an amusing conversation during which I constantly reminded myself not to lapse into some hostile rant even though in my mind I was indulging in a Sarah Connor-esque tirade.

Salesman: "You deserve the best lawn possible."

Me: "I like it the way it is."
[I smile lovingly at my straggling mass of clover, rye, and stuff that grew on its own.]

Salesman: "It really doesn't cost as much as you think."

Me: "I'm not interested in the service and don't need another bill."
[Why would I pay anyone to spray fertilizer and herbicide on my lawn that already looks so lovely?]

Salesman: "We could get rid of these weeds and make everything nice and green."

Me: "It pretty much grows nice all on its own."
[You fool! The weeds are contributing significantly to my habitat diversity. Why do you want to transform my lawn into a toxic and sterile wasteland?]

Salesman: "Can I just write down for you what it will cost."

Me: "OK, sure."
[I'll indulge you because I'm trying not to be mean.]

He showed me the figure $350 for the season.

Salesman: "Was it about what you thought it'd be?"

Me: "I suppose, but it doesn't matter. I have no interest in the service."
[Whether it was 10 cents or a million dollars, it still is unthinkable that I would pay for this or even let anyone do this to my property.]

Salesman: "Why don't you want it?"

Me: "Because I don't put any chemicals on my property. I do all organic gardening, including my lawn."
[Duh. Why would anyone want harmful chemicals that kill things broadcast repeatedly on their land?]

Salesman: "We have an organic fertilizer. It's a polymer molecule that slowly releases the fertilizer and there's no herbicide so you'll still have weeds but the grass will be green."

Me: "My grass is already green."
[You seem like a nice person why are you working for evil?]

I'm sure he doesn't realize that he's working for evil, but the lawn chemical industry is responsible for monstrous amounts of pollution across the continent and no one knows how many medical problems. Once upon a time I never considered what was in these weeding and feeding lawn products. When I bought my first home I would apply the fertilizer granules with the weed killers and think that it was a normal thing to do. Then I got a puppy and decided to actually read the bag of lawn product. It said not to let your pets on the lawn after applying the product until after it rained. Well, at the time I lived in Northern California and it was not necessarily going to rain any time soon, so where was I supposed to put my pets? Then I thought why would I put something on my lawn that seemed to be implying it was bad for pets? Um, if it's bad for pets it must be bad for me.

I haven't bought any more lawn chemical products since that day. I realized that if I wanted to nurture life in my home, then killing most of everything living in my yard was in direct opposition to my goal.

Then I did a little research and learned that common lawn chemicals are quite harmful. Here's a smattering of information on the subject.

From the report Poison In The Grass: The Hazards And Consequences Of Lawn Pesticides by Nathan Diegelman The S.T.A.T.E. Foundation bl891@bfn.org

"Symptoms of pesticide poisoning are often deceptively simple, commonly mis-diagnosed as flu or allergies. They include, but are not limited to, headaches, nausea, fever, breathing difficulties, seizures, eye pains, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, sore nose, tongue, or throat; burning skin, rashes, coughing, muscle pain, tissue swelling, blurred vision, numbness and tingling in hands or feet, incontinence, anxiety, irritability, sleep disorders, hyperactivity, fatigue, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, spontaneous bleeding, and temporary paralysis. Long-term consequences include lowered fertility, birth defects, miscarriages, blindness, liver and kidney dysfunction, neurological damage, heart trouble, stroke, immune system disorders, menstrual problems, memory loss, suicidal depression, cancer, and death. The National Academy of Sciences reports that at least one out of seven people are significantly harmed by pesticide exposure each year.(3) Increasingly, reports from many people around the country are "beginning to link feeling terrible with the fact the neighbors had the lawn sprayed the day before", notes Catherine Karr, a toxicologist for the National Coalition Against The Misuse Of Pesticides."
http://www.cqs.com/elawn.htm

From the report Risks from Lawn Care Chemicals from Environment and Human Health Inc.
http://www.ehhi.org/pesticides/pr_lawncarereport.shtml

"There is growing evidence of links between pesticide exposures and the risk of human cancers, including acute childhood leukemia with home pesticide use and non-Hodgins lymphoma with exposures to herbicides," said D. Barry Boyd, M.D., an oncologist at Greenwich Hospital and board member of EHHI.

From A Beyond Pesticides Fact Sheet at http://www.beyondpesticides.org/lawn/factsheets/facts&figures.htm

"Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system."

I like to imagine that the salesmen coming to my door are blissfully unaware of these issues. They do not know that they are spreading evil and disease. I do, so I will try to keep the barren ugliness of their dark lords outside the porous borders of my green realm. These poisons still drift in on the wind when my neighbors use them. The smell makes me choke and I have to shut my windows. I can't do anything about that, but I will never pay anyone to do it to me.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Best of the Quest #3 - Movie Reviews

As I refect on years of questing here at Her Ladyship's Quest I'm looking back through some of my movie reviews. I love good movies. A good movie is the pinnacle of art for our civilization because it draws on so many artistic skills: filming, acting, music, writing, costuming, technology, etc.

Read through some of my reviews and maybe you'll find something good to watch.

The Other Boleyn Girl
A splendid historical story with great acting.
http://www.herladyshipsquest.com/2010/05/movie-review-other-boleyn-girl.html

Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie
Excuse the pun but it's a mind-blower. I am a self proclaimed documentary junkie. I watch a lot of them and this one is truly amazing. Plus William Shatner is the narrator.
http://www.herladyshipsquest.com/2011/05/review-of-trinity-and-beyond-atomic.html

Easy Rider
This 60s classic is just plain heavy. Peter Fonda does not say much, but when he has a line it's profound.
http://www.herladyshipsquest.com/2010/11/easy-rider-they-do-not-make-movies-like.html

The Sword of Doom
I've never been secretive about my admiration of Asian movies. The Sword of Doom is an unapologetic bad guy story, and I thought it was riveting.
http://www.herladyshipsquest.com/2010/10/samurai-movie-review-sword-of-doom.html

Red Cliff: Original International Version
This two part Chinese epic will take you five hours to watch. Still with me? It's awesome. Go read my reviews to see what I'm talking about. I've even been entertaining the thought of watching this epic again.
Part 1 http://www.herladyshipsquest.com/2010/05/movie-review-of-red-cliff-original.html
Part 2 http://www.herladyshipsquest.com/2010/05/movie-review-of-red-cliff-original_08.html

Followers