Sunday, December 28, 2014

Artistic Inspirations: Jimi Hendrix and What Foxy Lady Makes Me Think Of

Like many writers, I find music very stimulating to my imagination. I often turn to my music collection when I'm daydreaming before writing. Music helps me see characters and plan out their scenes. And specific pieces of music become associated with characters in my head.

In general I find all music by Jimi Hendrix enormously inspiring. He was a magnificent artist, and the world lost a lot when he met his demise at a young age. Foxy Lady by Jimi Hendrix has a sound that helped me create the scene that introduced Loxane, Shamaness of the Kelsur Tribe in the novel Rys Rising.

That song's grinding groove possessed the untamed and unashamed sexual energy appropriate to Loxane's arrival at the Thievesmeet, an annual assembly of rogues and nomads. Loxane comes down a cliff and casts off her clothes to dance naked before an adoring crowd before joining the Overlord of the Kez in a ritual that sets off an orgy. 

Sounds like a good book doesn't it!

Although I wrote that scene many years ago, I still think of it every time I hear Foxy Lady. That song by Hendrix helped me make a "foxy lady" in a novel. The finest art triggers other creative people to spawn new forms from the original. And Hendrix was only continuing a long line of glorifying sexually uninhibited women that surely goes all the way back to the primordial cave of humanity.

I'm sharing this YouTube video of Hendrix performing Foxy Lady at a 1968 Miami concert. Unlike most of the people in the crowd, I would have been up and dancing. Fortunately Hendrix does not seem to mind. He appears to be enjoying himself. His hands waltz with his guitar with graceful ease.

I've been a fan of Hendrix for many years. I have not one but two Hendrix posters in my house and regularly listen to the CDs I have: Axis Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland, and Purple Haze. Alas I seem to no longer have frilly silk shirts like when I was young. Maybe I'll find new ones someday. But I just must find a hat like he's wearing. Too cool!

Readers interested in meeting the foxy lady from the Rys Rising series can download the ebook for free at Brave Luck Books.

Here's the excerpt when she makes her entrance. 

People started to cheer and Amar looked up and spotted three figures coming down on ropes. Two men rappelled alongside the third figure that was draped in a voluminous hooded cape. Torches burned on the backs of the men, and the firelight rippled on their well-muscled arms as they came down the ropes.
When they reached the top of the cave entrance, they had no more rock to rappel from and they climbed the rest of the way down with their hands and feet on the ropes. The men alighted on the smooth rock before the cave, and they drew their torches off their backs like they were drawing swords. More slowly, the cloaked figure came down the rope and touched the ground between the two men. Wrapped tightly in the cloak, the third person advanced with the two men into the semi-circle of torches. The crowd became hushed, and Amar found himself sharing in the excitement. The sensation of awe and anticipation surprised him, and he thought nothing of his sorrows for more than one heartbeat.
When the Shamaness Loxane threw off her cape, people cried out with reverence and joy. She was naked and her wonderful body, both strong and soft, glistened in the torchlight. Tattoos of green and blue adorned her body, bright upon her exceptionally light skin. Her hair was long and curly and the most amazing color that Amar had ever seen. Red it was, like copper made soft and inviting. The enticing locks flowed over her shoulders but did not cover her full breasts that displayed her femininity unabashedly.
A sunburst tattoo encircled her navel and tattooed eagles adorned her thighs and perched on her knees. Snake tattoos coiled around her arms and their heads were drawn onto the backs of her hands with forked tongues going down her middle fingers. When she turned, Amar saw an elk tattoo on her back. Its great rack of antlers spread over her shoulder blades and its snout reached to the small of her back. The animal had starbursts in place of eyes, and when Loxane began to sway her body, the elk looked to be shaking its head.
Loxane began to move more of her body, limb by limb. Her hands rotated and then her arms lifted and her shoulders circled. Her torso circled with ever-increasing exaggeration of movement and her pelvis gyrated. Her buttocks lifted and squatted, glorious in their curvaceous smoothness.
The Shamaness Loxane danced naked in front of the gathered rogues and lawless wanderers, and she had no shame. Amar watched every move of her body, only blinking when he consciously thought to do it. Never had he seen, nor imagined, a woman making such a display of herself. And never had he imagined that a woman could be so beautiful, so powerful, but so wicked.
People were playing drums for her. First one drummer, and then three, and then dozens pounded a beat that was all life and no judgment. Their rhythms guided her and coaxed her to move faster. Her body joined with the beating of the drums, until the drummers seemed to respond to her movement as much as she responded to them.
Loxane moved to the edge of the semi-circle of torches and began to dance around the edge. People reached out to her but did not touch. She arched and swayed just beneath the fingertips of her admirers.
The crowd pressed hard against Amar and Gadoh as Loxane came closer to their position. Like all the others, Amar had no intention of giving up his spot. He turned sideways so that two more men could squeeze in next to him. Behind him, Gadoh giggled.
Closer she came to Amar, and his breath quickened and his eyes widened. The absolute scandal of her brazen nudity and erotic dancing pounded against all that his culture had ingrained in him about the modesty of women. Far back in his mind, his sensibilities railed against her outrageousness. She was the worst of the worst, criminal beyond the most wanton whore, but Amar paid less attention to the dogma of his upbringing the closer she danced to him. Indeed, as Gadoh had said, Loxane was among the greatest of wonders.
Although enthralled by her provocative display, Amar did not reach out to her when she danced before him. The fellows alongside him spread out their hands toward her, just barely missing her skin, but Amar only looked. His eyes went up and down her body, and he was truly awed by her lovely strength that went past simple maddening sexuality. His eyes traveled up her naked body, pausing at her breasts that glistened with the sweat of her dance, and then he looked at her face. Loxane’s eyes were half rolled back. The trance of her dance was deep upon her. Her lips hung open as if she would cry out with ecstasy at any moment.
Amar envied the oblivion on her face, doubting he could ever experience such inner peace.
Loxane’s eyes snapped into focus. The men reaching for her withdrew their hands, each gasping as if the snakes on her arms had come to life with venomous anger. She stopped dancing and lowered her arms. Her chest heaved with hard breathing and she stared intently at Amar.
He looked into her eyes that were shockingly blue.
In the background, the drums continued to beat, loud and hard like the heartbeat thudding in Amar’s ears. Just when the drums started to slow, she began to dance again, but this time with her eyes firmly on Amar. She took her gaze from him only when her dancing steps spun her around. She studied him and then step by step moved away. Amar watched her go. He could not have described his feelings. Desire, curiosity, perhaps even wariness confused him as he realized that she had shown him special attention.

Get Rys Rising at Brave Luck Books. It's a free ebook or you can buy a paperback

As the series continues, Loxane develops into an important character. She even made the cover of the third book New Religion.

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Now on Google Play Books The Rys Chronicles Fantasy Series

Year in and year out my first novel Union of Renegades entices people to enter the world of the rys alongside Dreibrand Veta. It's finally on Google Play. This is terribly overdue. I apologize for taking so long to add all four novels of The Rys Chronicles to this global destination for Android book readers.

As elsewhere, Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I is a free Google Play fantasy book. After it comes The Goddess Queen, Judgment Rising, and the conclusion The Borderlands of Power.

In Union of Renegades you'll meet Dreibrand Veta, an officer with the Atrophane Horde. And yes it's a big deal to be part of the horde conquering the known world. Dreibrand is young and ambitious. He's out to rebuild his family's fortune. But at a critical moment, he realizes he's just never going to get what he wants working for his boss, the Hordemaster Kwan Chenomet.

Dreibrand does something rash. He ends up wanted and in the company of an escaped slave, Miranda. With her two young children, she is fleeing the brutal onslaught of the Atrophane. Together they enter the Wilderness. No one ever comes back from this place.

And so Dreibrand and Miranda are ensnared by magic and pass into the world of the rys where the Goddess Onja has ruled the western tribal kingdoms for over two thousand years. She sits upon the greatest treasure. Every year it grows as warring tribes deliver their tribute. Her rival Shan lives at her side, waiting for something to change so he can destroy her.

See where this epic series takes you.

Union of Renegades is free on:

Google Play
Brave Luck Books

Then enjoy the rest of the series. The Rys Chronicles is a complete series and ready to become your new reading addiction. 

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Entire First Chapter of Union of Renegades Audiobook Free on Soundcloud

For those audiobook lovers whose eyeballs are too busy for reading, I present today the complete 29-minute first chapter of Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I. This sample is on Soundcloud. You can download the audio file and easily share or embed it, like I have on this blog.

If you enjoy the sample, you've just discovered a 19-hour epic fantasy audiobook. It is available worldwide in mp3 format at my website Brave Luck Books for only $8.95. You can also get it Audible US, Audible UK, and iTunes if you prefer. But I don't control the prices at those retailers. It might cost more or less.

About the Fantasy Audiobook

In this opening novel of The Rys Chronicles you'll meet a man scarred by bad deeds who answers the call of a heroic cause. An unconventional heroine will tug at your sympathies as she bravely faces adversity with all the strengths and vulnerabilities of her womanhood. And overarching it all are the rys. Their magic makes them superior to humans, but they are not above employing humans in their deadly schemes. 

The second part of the fantasy series The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II is also an audiobook. 

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

You Will Not Find My Fantasy Books on Kindle Unlimited

If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, please be aware that none of my novels will be available through that program. Amazon prohibits me from participating in that program because I do not sell my ebooks exclusively through Amazon. Therefore Kindle Unlimited subscribers may not access my titles with their subscription.

I know that I've connected with many readers over the years at Amazon. That's why I wanted to make sure everyone understood why my fantasy ebooks aren't part of the subscription service. Because I choose to market my creations to a global audience through all available retail outlets, Amazon limits my availability to its customers.

So if you've been waiting for my novels to appear at Kindle Unlimited, their absence is not my choice. I'm generally happy to sell my ebooks through any venue. My complete catalog has been available to subscribers at Scribd and Oyster all year. From what I've received for compensation from Scribd and Oyster, I feel that I am fairly paid by those services. However, I've read that some authors are unhappy with what they are paid from Kindle Unlimited. I can't say for myself because I'm not there.

For people who read on their Kindles you'll need to purchase my ebooks the regular way to read them. My titles may never be part of Kindle Unlimited.

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Even Gods Have Their First Day at Work

Last month at the Grand Rapids Comic Con I got to meet another West Michigan author. Steve LeBel introduced himself. He was keen for advice about marketing his delightful novel The Universe Builders. I think he's off to a fantastic start. With close to a 5-star rating at Amazon out of 119 reviews, he's a natural at pleasing readers. I should take advice from him.

His book is available for Kindle and Paperback

About The Universe Builders:

What if God got a C- in Universe Building 101?

(Well, not our God, of course. One of those other guys...)

Dive into a humorous fantasy world unlike anything you have imagined - a world of gods and goddesses who build universes for a living. Are they all-powerful and all-knowing? Well, not exactly...

As Bernie graduates from God School, he is thrilled to land his dream job as a builder of universes. His first assignment is to build his own universe. Determined but unsure, bright but without confidence, Bernie forges ahead, only to find problems everywhere. Mysterious asteroids, unexplained volcanoes, shifting continents and more lead him to suspect sabotage. But who could sabotage his universe? Only another god could do that...

It’s god vs. god, guile vs. goodness, where only one of them plays by the rules. Bernie must find a way to outwit his vicious foe. If he fails, it will cost him everything.

A fascinating tale of good vs. evil and a young hero on a journey of self-discovery in an original, humorous, fantastic wrapper.

His book is available for Kindle and Paperback

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kobo Data Reveals Most Finished Book is Self Published

An ebook readership data analysis just revealed by retailer Kobo contained an interesting surprise. The title that earned the highest rate of reader completion was Rotten to the Core self published by Casey Kelleher.

So much for the notion that self published automatically means bad. It does not. In this example it was the title Kobo readers found the most engaging. 

The article Haven’t Finished Reading that Bestseller? You're Not Alone at Publishing Perspectives also reported that some best-selling titles were among those with the highest rates of reader abandonment. 

For example only 44.4% of readers completed The Goldfinch by Donna Tart, a Pulitzer Prize winner. That prize might have gotten it enough attention to make the bestseller lists, but it proved unable to captivate over half of the people who bought it. The Goldfinch may very well be an intelligent work but that does not mean it's a good read. I often consider a big award a sign that the book might be dull. Awards are good ways to boost sales. That's why they exist. 

Sometime bestsellers are great books. Sometimes they're not. Popularity arises for many reasons, and quality is not the determining factor. 

Ultimately what readers find comes down to individual tastes. People often buy bestsellers because they are visible. Then some of those people end up not liking the book enough to finish it. 

I really appreciated the data shared by Kobo. I was encouraged to see that readers finished their fantasy books 60 percent of the time. 

Readers who shop at Kobo can find all of my titles there. I have some free ebooks. It won't cost you a thing to finish them. 

Union of Renegades at Kobo

The epic begins as Dreibrand Veta and the conquering Horde of the Atrophane Empire reach a mythic Wilderness that beckons with a magical call to glory. But Onja, Queen of the rys, a race far more powerful than the greatest human state, guards this land. She has the power to imprison souls and her genocidal rage is legendary. Everything is at risk for her desperate enemies, the union of renegades.

Rys Rising at Kobo

A young warrior ruined and near death is saved by Onja a mysterious rys female. Forsaking all that he was, he will take the name Amar and serve his new magical mistress. A lord among outlaws he will become, feared by kings and called the dro-shalum or curse demon by the common folk. Indulge yourself and read this sumptuous epic told from many angles.

Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale at Kobo

Thal embodies the ancient magic of the pagan past. He challenges a world conquered by a spiritual system that denies the flesh and forgets the Earth. Although wanted for Devil worship and shape shifting, he still boldly walks the streets of 16th century Prague. Jesuits hunt him. Mercenaries fear him. Musicians sing his praise, and women are captivated by his alpha swagger.

Or get them all together with the...

Beginnings Box Set: Three Fantasy Series Starters at Kobo

Enter Tracy Falbe’s fantasy worlds through three different doors. She brings the folklore of Renaissance Bohemia to life in Werelord Thal that can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. Then Rys Rising and Union of Renegades begin two series set in the Rys World that she spent 15 years creating. At over half a million words, the Beginnings Box Set offers epic entertainment at a tremendous value.

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Table of Contents from Journey of the Hunted

Journey of the Hunted: Werewolves in the Renaissance 2

Ebook available worldwide at Brave Luck Books

Also at iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Kindle, Smashwords, and Google Play.

Paperback at Createspace or Amazon

I carefully choose the chapter names in my books. Often they take a meaningful phrase from the chapter. I hope some readers notice this little touch. When choosing a chapter name, I try to make it sound intriguing. I want the reader to be enticed to read a little more to find out what I'm hinting at in the chapter name.

Table of Contents from Journey of the Hunted: Werewolves in the Renaissance 2

The folklore beliefs of the 16th century Renaissance come wildly to life in the werewolf hero Thal. Created by the infamous sorcerer Sarputeen, Thal now battles the dark servants of Tekax, wizard to the Turks and nemesis of Sarputeen. While escaping the Holy Roman Empire, Thal discovers more about his werewolf powers as he struggles to reach a refuge shrouded in mystery.

Author’s Note on the Historical Period
The Cast
Chapter 1. My Name Is Thal
Chapter 2. Stay For a Drink
Chapter 3. Arquebus and Axe
Chapter 4. Majordomus
Chapter 5. Servants of Tekax
Chapter 6. Avarice and Courage
Chapter 7. Bohemian Mice
Chapter 8. A Desire for Power
Chapter 9. The Wee Ones
Chapter 10. Mother and Father
Chapter 11. A Failed Hunt
Chapter 12. The Circus Camp
Chapter 13. Deal Making
Chapter 14. Essence of Vengeance
Chapter 15. Future Success
Chapter 16. The Bloodstone
Chapter 17. Proper Adversaries
Chapter 18. Come Into the Woods
Chapter 19. Dread and Victory
Chapter 20. Up in Arms
Chapter 21. His Animal Song
Chapter 22. His Werelord Voice
Chapter 23. A Fext
Chapter 24. The Power of Debt
Chapter 25. My Children
Chapter 26. Different Opinions
Chapter 27. The Apothecary
Chapter 28. Brazen Work of Sorcery
Chapter 29. Into the Mountain
Chapter 30. Going Away Presents
Chapter 31. His Touch Is Plague
Chapter 32. Blood of Abomination
Chapter 33. A Knight’s Oath
Chapter 34. Those Things That Are Constant
Chapter 35. Earthly Powers
Chapter 36. When The Time Comes
More Novels by Tracy Falbe
Excerpt from Rys Rising: Book I

Ebook available worldwide at Brave Luck Books

Also at iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Kindle, Smashwords, and Google Play.

Paperback at Createspace or Amazon

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.