self-publishing, writing

Long-Overdue Update On My Writing!

Daley Downing (@invisiblemoth1) | Twitter

Does anybody happen to remember, hundreds of years ago, when I actually published books? After plunging into NaNoWriMo (and winning!) in 2016, I took an even deeper dive into self-publishing, and released my debut novel in 2017, followed by two sequels in the series, and a few unrelated short stories. The plan after that was to proceed with an idea I had for a standalone, companion novel to my fantasy series, and go forth with a contemporary (gasp!) story I really wanted to tackle.

Then, due to several factors that quickly spiraled out of my control, much of 2019 was a personal nightmare, and my publishing plans got set waaaaay back. Between all of that and all the crap hitting the rest of the world recently, I not only lost my original path, but by the time I found it again, the route looked completely different than it had. So, in spite of managing to release a second batch of short stories — including an abbreviated version of the contemporary I’d envisioned being a much bigger project — last year was rather uneventful for me as an author.

Here’s the good news: While falling and getting back up again is HARD and SUCKS, it can be done. So, I now, finally, have some actual UPDATES to share!

First: The manuscript for Fire and Wind is just about finished, apart from final edits. Then I’ll be starting on formatting — sooner rather than later — and here’s a preview of the amazing cover!

fire and wind cover

The only unfortunate thing for readers when it comes to Fire and Wind is that this isn’t a good “jumping on point” regarding my fantasy series. It’s set between Volumes 3 and 4 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes, so if you haven’t read through Volume 3, many parts of it would be confusing. But it is my homage to a character White Fang helped me develop, which was originally supposed to serve a single, distinct moving-the-plot-along purpose, and it quickly turned into needing her own backstory and tying in with the rest of the series. So, for fans of my little “suburban fantasy” world, who have been awaiting more, yes, at last it will be occurring!

Here’s what else I’ve been up to:

Over the last couple of months, I’ve started the process of re-releasing, with updated covers and formatting, my already-published short stories and Volumes 1, 2 and 3. So far, my team and I have put together all the short fiction into one collection, with a new cover and new title. I is for Invisible, M is for Moth contains all the entries from Dreamings and Muses and How To Be A Savage, available in paperback and ebook (on Amazon and Barnes and Noble). The full collection was my first successful digital upload, a result which may or may not have left me a mess of flailing puddle on the floor for a day or so.

The Invisible Moth – The Order of the Twelve Tribes Headquarters

Ahem.

Anyway, the separate collections are still available on Barnes and Noble as well, and the goal is to have ebook editions of the originals uploaded (finally), too. For anyone who already has the originals, the stories in I is… have not had any changes made to content. The stories remain the same.

Dreamings and Muses: The Invisible Moth Short Story Collection by ...    How To Be A Savage And Other Tales by Daley Downing, White Fang ...

Other announcements:

The new covers and formatting for Volumes 1, 2, and 3! Again, none of the manuscripts have been changed, in terms of story, so the plot and characters you read back in 2017-18 are the same as the first editions. The major difference is in the aesthetics — it cleans up some niggling little things about the text that bothered me (basically, I wanted it to look “fancier” and “more professional”), and the cover designer felt that way about the art. Here is the new look for Volume 1:

Blog Tour Sign Up: Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing (July 27 ...

For everyone who already owns the original editions of Masters and Beginners, Rulers and Mages, and Healers and Warriors, as I already mentioned, no sneaky alterations to the tales themselves have happened, and these books remain canon. There will be digital versions on sale of all of these in the very near future (in the case of Volume 1, there already is!). For those of you who repeatedly asked about ebooks, thank you so much for your patience! It turns out technology and I have a love-hate relationship, and some aspects of indie authoring proved more difficult than I anticipated, hence the delay.

Masters and Beginners: The Order of the Twelve Tribes: Volume 1 by ...    Rulers and Mages: Volume 2 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes by ...    Healers and Warriors: (Volume 3 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes ...

These are the major things going on right now, and I’m happy to be able to share them! To all of you who have had my back all this time, no matter the constant shakeups in what should have been a straightforward publishing schedule, to all of you who remain excited to see what I put out next, whenever it arrives, THANK YOU. Having such a network has meant soooo much in the past 16 months — well, since the very beginning — and definitely helps make this life worth it, when the struggle feels too big.

Toby concurs.

My Writing Influences – The Invisible Moth

 

self-publishing

Introducing “I is for Invisible, M is for Moth”!

I is for Invisible, M is for Moth

Good afternoon, everyone! So, after quite a while of not having a new release announcement to make, today I’m here to share the following:

It’s called “I is for Invisible, M is for Moth,” and while it’s not completely new, it is a fresh collection of all my short stories, and it also — for the first time ever when it comes to my work — has ebook versions available for Kindle and Nook! Paperbacks are on sale as well.

Here’s a link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-is-for-invisible-m-is-for-moth-kyle-shultz/1136844306?ean=2940163066223.

And here’s a link:

 

I am very excited to finally be able to offer digital versions, and to expand my platform. And to announce that there is more coming! I’m working on updated editions of all of my existing titles, and as soon as each one becomes a solid thing, I’ll fill you in!

If I could add a couple of requests (hey, of course I can, it’s my blog): First, while I know that Amazon is quite popular, if you don’t have a Kindle, or if you (like me) simply don’t do the ebook thing, please give ordering from Barnes and Noble equal consideration. Physical bookstores are a somewhat endangered species that we need to preserve, and I am proud to use them as an indie author, and as a reader.

The other request: If you have read and enjoyed anything I’ve written, please do consider leaving a review on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Goodreads. Reviews can really help an indie author’s exposure, and positive word of mouth is great marketing for us!

Even in the middle of very unusual, and stressful, circumstances, I maintain that art matters, and I’m still pretty tickled for even a very low-key book launch. Take care of yourselves, moths.

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=i+is+for+invisible%2C+m+is+for+moth&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=i+is+for+invisible%2C+m+is+for+moth&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

self-publishing, writing

5 Years on WordPress?! Notes on What You’ve Seen and What to Expect for 2020

So, the little notification bell alerted me to the fact it is my 5th anniversary of blogging! The fact I had no idea it had been this long probably tells you a lot more, a lot quicker, about my current state of mental capability, than all the whining I could throw down at the moment.

But anyway, when I took a second to consider this, I realized the bell was right. It was a cold, blustery January day in 2015 when I decided I needed to do something different with my life, and took the plunge into unfamiliar territory — social media. I’d determined I really wanted to finish writing a novel and explore self-publishing, and building a base of knowledge and support seemed like a good idea.

Fast forward to now, and not only do I have several publications under my belt, I have met some of the most wonderful, encouraging, compassionate people, who have helped to see me through some intense ups and downs the last few years. Together, we’ve celebrated the highs and pushed beyond the lows; and as someone who constantly battled feeling like she didn’t belong anywhere, knowing (at last) that this is not the case is more valuable than words can explain.

I used to be very driven by establishing my platform quickly and covering as many bases as were possible. I toyed around with the notion of being on every single social media site (ha!), and attempting to cast my net wide to scour the internet for supporters from various near and far areas. Rather soon, I learned that spreading myself too thin achieved none of this. Hence, I’ve limited my online presence to WordPress and Twitter, which tend to do just fine in terms of keeping people who follow me informed of the latest. I may not be getting as much publicity as other indie authors, but since I’m doing it all on my own, maintaining the pressure is much more appealing than seeing my face absolutely everywhere.

Though there will be some expansion coming up. I’m working on (finally) publishing ebooks, and I’m going to make some updates and additions to my current bibliography this spring, too. After agonizing for quite a while (no lie) about how to proceed with this end of my marketing and production, the goal became not how to do this the way everybody else was doing it, but how to do it to my satisfaction. So that’s why this undertaking shall proceed, after all.

And because I’m going to be working more on actual fiction writing and what gets it to the page/device, it means I may not be around here as much as I have been. But there is also something to be said for recognizing when you just can’t handle it all, and determining what’s more important at certain stages of your life.

The one thing that I know won’t change is the ongoing support from my tribe, and this is what matters more than anything else. I probably would’ve thrown in the towel on this whole fancy of actually releasing into the wild the stories I kept to myself for so long without my cheering section. So, to each and every one of you, THANK YOU, and here’s to a great new year!

blogging, self-publishing

Welcome to the Future (of The Invisible Moth)

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Good morning. Did you know that…in a little over 2 days…the decade is ending??

Now, don’t panic. This is not necessarily a cause for concern. I mean, this is a pattern that gets repeated every 10 years, and many of us are still here, x number of new decades onwards, to report that, in fact, life does carry on.

(It does, right?!?!)

Ahem. Yes, it does, really.

I’m generally not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but 2019 was an odd kind of year for my family, and now that we’re finally back into some resemblance of “normal,” I feel secure enough to take a look at how my writing and reading life has been going, and determining what does or doesn’t work anymore.

This reflection means some changes are coming to my platform as well.

Big Change #1: I’m doing away with my hard-and-fast rule of DNF-ing whatever book, whenever, however. 

2017 and 2018 were massive years of not finishing books. It was like I couldn’t find the attention span or the devotion within myself to commit to reading past page 20 and hoping it would get better. And in retrospect, I feel I did a disservice to all those novels I just lobbed into the return box in the library parking lot with a frown of disdain. What if one of them had turned out to be my next favorite?

So, while I’m not imposing a ban on buying books, or a limit on how much I read next year, I am going to stick to books I choose for the monthly library-funded discussion evening, and what Owl Crate gives us these forecoming 12 months. And I am going to finish EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Ouch. The force of that ambition actually hurt a little.

Big Change #2: My blogging schedule will not, in fact, be in any way a schedule.

I have PLANS, and WANTS, and IMPORTANT THINGS to take care of, in Life, the Universe, and Everything, in the very near future. Hence, for the first time since I started this blog, I will not freak out if I can’t get a post beautifully crafted and onto WordPress every 72 hours exactly.

And I’d like to focus more on the sort of in-depth discussions, regarding all types of fandom stuff, that I’ve made a stalwart of this platform in the last couple of years, and really enjoy. Engaging with the community is great, and I’d much rather keep that up than go back to the “same old, same old” of generic-feeling reviews and posts that just remind people I’m around.

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Big Change #3: My publications will not, really, be on a schedule, either, but I intend to make them OCCUR.

There is something to be said for constantly sharing snippets of your WIP with people who are eagerly awaiting its release. Especially if you’re not a big-name author, but big enough that self-promotion, and reminding critics you exist and they liked your previous work, comes highly recommended by your publisher.

However, I found that in 2019, I got so caught up in worrying that loyal readers would simply forget about me just because I hadn’t released any new snippets, news, or even talked about what I was working on in ages, that any joy of sharing the progress and anticipation was totally not there. And that merely added to the already incredible amount of stress I was under, due to Life being a true jackass back in the spring.

So, I’ve made an executive decision: Not attempting to build press or expectations or, really, anything coming up to the actual release of a new book is the way forward. For me. Not that I’d advise it for anybody else or across the board. But there are only so many hours in a day, and in the next 365 of them, I want to ACCOMPLISH a hell of a lot. Therefore, I must manage such accordingly.

I shall be WRITING, rather than building the suspense.

Sorry (not sorry).

Big Change #4: I am plunging into ebooks and wider distribution (aaaaaaaaahhhh, help me!!!).

Yes, I am terrified to undertake this process. Scared of all the digital things that could go wrong, of how many more people could dislike my work after reading it on an electronic device, of how horribly my grand plan could backfire by turning me into the most griped about indie author online.

Cough. Sorry (really this time). This headfirst dive is happening despite all my fears, because I keep getting support and encouragement from friends. (Who really should be made aware now, you may quite possibly have to drag me kicking and screaming to the actual uploading.)

BUT. Not going to lie, I need to increase my marketing, my presence, and my writer’s resume, and this is one of the most common, and overall simple, ways to do so.

Big Change #5: I will be letting someone else handle my next blog tour for a special release or important re-release. 

Yes, both of these types of readings are in the mix, and I’ve decided that I can’t handle arranging ARCs and the promotional stuff right now. So, if you’re a fan of my stuff (thank you!!!), look for news probably in the spring about who’s going to wrangle all of that and where you can sign up if you’d like to participate.

Basically, the biggest aim for 2020 is to complete more and be less stressed. And while streamlining the process will be an adjustment and maybe not easier to begin with, I know that going forward my plate needs to show a little more white under the stuff.

You got that metaphor, right?

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self-publishing, writing

A Million Dreams

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About 18 months ago, I had an extremely unpleasant experience with a local group that was supposedly for would-be writers. I had been looking for just such a thing, so I bravely brought along a sample chapter of the WIP I hoped would become Volume 4 of my fantasy series, and managed to stifle my nerves long enough to read from a few pages of it.

I began to worry when I realized that what others in the group had written was distinctly not even close to my offering. And as the meeting progressed, I also realized that what the others had done was all very similar, all based around a memory or family anecdote from a specific time of year. It also started to concern me that, in between readings, people would discuss politics or social platform topics brought up by the biographical snippets. I found a reason to leave the meeting early, and felt very confused by the time I got home.

The next day, I got an email from the person who ran the group, “politely” (but really in a very patronizing way) informing me that the meetings only covered non-fiction writings, based on an assigned monthly theme, and whatever we might be working on outside of the group wouldn’t be introduced nor feedback given.

I felt absolutely terrible. I figured that I had done the “typical dumb autistic thing,” of not understanding what the group was about before I just barged in to a meeting, and who was I to bring my silly fanciful young adult fantasy novel into the mix of what was clearly meant to be a serious adult discussion?

I never went back.

I also stuck what might have become Volume 4 in a desk drawer, and haven’t touched it since.

In the meantime, I have been seriously plagued with nagging self-doubt about my ability as a writer, as an author. I turned my entire headspace upside down over How To Be A Savage, and the lingering fear of rejection grew so intense that I haven’t even done much publicity for this short story collection that I published this summer. I’m continuing to drag my feet on finishing Fire and Wind. It all goes back to this experience, that stole my joy from having finally begun my publishing journey.

What really did me in? The most damaging thing was the all-too-common worry of neurodivergents everywhere — that I had once again misinterpreted the “rules,” the societal constructs that everybody but me seems to already know, without having to ask, and that had it wrong, not the group.

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Here’s the interesting twist to this tale of woe, however: Some of the people in the “writing” group are also regular library patrons, so — even before I worked there — we crossed paths pretty often. And they told me that the group had been very divided for a while, that the way it was run wasn’t appealing to a lot of people, that several people had attended a meeting and tried writing something different from what the tyrant wanted, received a similar response to what I did, and followed my lead, of simply never returning. In time, the group dissolved, as enough people got fed up with the situation, and stopped going entirely.

Now, you would think that this vindicates me, and I like this resolution. But I don’t like it. I don’t like it, because other people’s unwillingness to stand up to a narcissistic control freak created an inner conflict that nearly ripped apart my hard-fought self-esteem. I don’t like it, because I still had to suffer public criticism of my passion and interests. Not hearing anyone stand up for my effort, my dedication to my own work set me waaay back in terms of personal goals.

I’ve felt like I was living a lie for most of 2019, having to apologize, again, to my readers, for there not being a new book from me this quarter, either, and yet not feeling able to put all the why into words. It’s been debilitating, excruciating.

Finding out recently from people who have had really negative encounters with the individual in question that apparently, this is just how the tyrant is, should be liberating. But I’m not sure. Knowing this doesn’t undo the damage, the hurt. It comes down to: What right does one person have to stomp all over my hard work?

For all the years I patiently honed my craft, all the hours I devoted to increasing my skills in creating believable characters, sensible dialogue, and world-building readers could relate to, I never once wanted to give up because I prefer to write fantasy. Fantasy fiction being a niche genre and market never deterred me; it made me want to succeed more.

Now, though, every new traditional, and indie, release I see brings about a fresh wave of comparison. There’s no way mine is that good. 

I haven’t even read most of these new books, by the way. I’m merely automatically doubting my own abilities.

It’s impacting my completing NaNo this year, too. I hit a minor writer’s block the other day, and have been struggling to take to heart my own motivational speeches posted (in earnest!) on Twitter.

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I’ve tried to push past this. I hate it. I need to get through it. But month after month, watching my sales slump, not feeling the ambition to create ebooks that existed last fall, not knowing what to put in my newsletters, beginning to feel like a fraud, has really taken its toll.

When you first decide to self-publish, your head is full of a million dreams. The dream of seeing your book on a shelf, on a website, for the first time; of holding it in your hands; of getting the link to a glowing review; coming across pictures of your book on social media; being able to discuss your characters and plot in detail with other people, because now they understand it all. Despite experiencing all of this in the last 2-plus years, I can feel my dreams slipping away.

I’ve been so reluctant to spill any details about Fire and Wind, even with wanting to build up anticipation for it, because the fear is so firmly in place. Rejection is something those of us on the spectrum have to deal with so frequently, we begin to avoid whatever, whenever, we think will make it happen again.

That means I am inadvertently pushing away my own dreams as well.

So, this post is a blend of confession, venting, and hoping for atonement. And as part of this quest, I’ll be really good and leave you a working synopsis of Fire and Wind:

The Demon Girl has no idea where she came from, just how old she is, or even her species.

She travels from country to country, between the mortal and fae realms, through the decades, never ageing, not dying. She helps old friends, comes to the aid of new ones, protects the defenseless, and stays out of the spotlight.

She can’t remember what she was doing or who she was before the reign of King James I, when she woke up with no memory beside a river in England. Since then, she’s worked at being a mercenary for hire, a deliverer of vigilante justice, an ally to the Faerie Courts, and not a foe of the Order of the Twelve Tribes.

Readers were first introduced to “DG” in Volume 3: Healers and Warriors. Now, in Fire and Wind, we explore more about the Order’s least likely heroine, an amnesiac, immortal loner (except for the mythological creatures she’s fond of), traditionally keeping her distance from humans. When a sudden overthrow of the Unseelie Court forces her to choose sides for the first time in centuries, DG will finally come face to face with her past, and the need to determine her future.

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Fantasy fiction, self-publishing

Author Interview: Kyle Robert Shultz, Master of the Afterverse

 

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Q: So, you have successfully launched an entire fictional universe, lovingly described as “The Afterverse.” Can you give us a summary of what this means and the major players involved?

A: The Afterverse is an alternate universe in which practically every fairy tale, myth, legend, and classic story in existence is a real historical event. This combination of stories has led to the development of a “modern” world similar to our own in many ways…except that magic and magical creatures exist in the Afterverse. Currently, I have two series of books set in this world. Beaumont and Beasley takes place in the 1920’s E.A. (Ever After) and revolves around the adventures of detective-turned-Beast Nick Beasley and enchantress Lady Cordelia Beaumont. They investigate cases pertaining to fairy tales and other European mythology. Crockett and Crane is set in the Old West of the United States of Neverica (during the 1890’s E.A.) and centers on monster hunter Todd Crane and U.S. Marshal Amy Crockett. It involves American folklore and legends. I’ve also written a number of short stories and spinoff concepts that delve deeper into other eras and settings in the Afterverse.

Q: Your next releases in the Afterverse are “Deadwood” and “The Gepetto Codex.” Can you tell us a little more about each of those?

Image result for kyle robert shultz             Image result for kyle robert shultz the geppetto codex

A: Deadwood (releasing June 30) is Book 2 of Crockett and Crane, while The Geppetto Codex (release date TBA) is Book 5 of Beaumont and Beasley. However, they actually retell the same story—the tale of Pinocchio, which has something of a darker edge to it in the Afterverse (not that the original wasn’t fairly dark already). In Deadwood, Todd Crane and his friends fight to save a town from a mysterious magical entity that can possess and control wood, which is a lot scarier than it sounds. The Geppetto Codex focuses on two characters who have remained on the sidelines in the Beaumont and Beasley series thus far: Gareth Llewellyn (a faun) and Sylvia Kirke (a dryad). They travel to Vetri (the Afterverse equivalent of Venice) to investigate sightings of mysterious monks who have the power to transform people into wooden statues. This book also builds on the mystery of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a character who was introduced in the previous Beaumont and Beasley installment, The Hound of Duville and Other Stories.

Q: What are – broadly speaking – your future plans for the Afterverse?

A: The Beaumont and Beasley series will run to at least fourteen or fifteen books. I know how the overall story will end, but I’m not in any big hurry to get there. I’ll write as many books as this series needs to do justice to all the character arcs and storylines that I’ve introduced and give them closure. Books 1 to 3 form a sort of introductory trilogy for Beaumont and Beasley. Books 4 through 8, when complete, will constitute a storyline I’m calling “The Jekyll Saga.” This arc will bring a number of the plot threads begun in the earlier books to a close, though not all of them. A third major arc will begin in Book 9 (title TBA), and a fourth and final arc will bring everything full circle and complete the story begun in Book 1, The Beast of Talesend.

The big storylines which started in Crockett and Crane Book 1, Horseman, will conclude in Book 3, Westenra, to form a self-contained trilogy. However, the series will continue after that with installments that are more stand-alone and less arc-heavy. I have a lot more folklore from this side of the pond that I’d like to use. Book 5, for example, will focus on Canadian legends and history.

I have other Afterverse projects in the works, as well. The Blackfire series, which features my fan-favorite dragon Malcolm Blackfire as a main character, will run to at least five planned books; possibly more. I’m also working on a more modern urban fantasy series with Afterverse elements called “American Gargoyle.”

Q: You recently published your first non-fiction title, reverse psychology writing advice that you’ve appropriately called “Not Write Now.”

A: Yes, that was a lot of fun to write. I wanted to bring something new to the writing-advice market, so I decided to flip writing advice on its head. Not Write Now will explain to you exactly how to avoid writing, but in the process, you just might find yourself writing more than ever before. It’s the book I wish I’d had when I started this journey…because at that point, I genuinely did want somebody to tell me to quit writing so that I wouldn’t be in a constant battle with my inner critic. My hope is that Not Write Now will be the kick in the pants that will help some authors out there to stop listening to their inner critic.

Q: Are you planning to add more non-fiction to your author resume? Give us the scoop on that.

A: I do have one other nonfiction book planned at the moment. It will be called Character Boot Camp, and it will essentially be a bunch of fun exercises authors can use to bring depth to their characters so that they feel like real people and not just cardboard cutouts. It will be in the same humorous vein as Not Write Now. This book probably won’t be released until early 2020, however. Beyond that, I don’t currently have any other nonfiction plans, but I would like to add more titles of this nature to my platform eventually.

Q: In recent months, you’ve made some changes to your platform (for example, shelving the podcast, increasing free stories to newsletter subscribers, relaunching books, adding a Patreon, etc.). For the benefit of other writers considering any or all of these approaches, could you discuss a bit what the decision making process was on what to keep and what to let go of?

A: In general, I try to make sure that my writing always comes first, which is what I would advise other authors to do as well. It’s very easy to fall down a rabbit hole of some other aspect of indie publishing and leave the actual writing process behind—or at least, it is for me. And there are some things, like marketing and a certain degree of social media activity, that we can’t really forgo as authors if we want to be successful. All the more reason to make sure the core of our platforms doesn’t veer away from simply producing good stories. I’ve learned not to bite off more than I can chew in terms of side projects. The podcast was very time-consuming, and while I enjoy writing nonfiction books now and then, I don’t see myself ever committing to a weekly audio production like that again. I know there are many people who manage to maintain a podcast in addition to a fiction-writing career, but I definitely don’t have enough time for both. Boosting my newsletter freebies, on the other hand, is something with a tangible return that doesn’t require me to take time away from story-crafting. Relaunching my books late last year took a lot of time and effort, and it did require me to postpone drafting new books for a while, but it made a big difference for my visibility and sales. The Patreon has thus far been a rewarding addition to my platform which grants me both an additional income stream and another avenue for interacting with fans. However, I paused the Patreon over the months of May and June because I knew I couldn’t do the short stories I was releasing there justice while also working on the full-length novels that many of my readers have been waiting for. In the end, there’s always a delicate balance between reaching new readers and giving current readers what they deserve. If a particular project disturbs that balance, I know it’s time to make a change.

Q: Finally, because this is a topic we don’t get nearly enough updates on, please tell us how Muffin the dog is doing. 

A: She is doing marvelously. I just got her a kiddie pool to splash around in, which makes a big difference during the hot summer months in the Idaho desert. She loves it. And it tires her out, which allows me to have undisturbed writing sessions in the late afternoon and evening while she sleeps. 

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You can visit Kyle at:

Home

http://facebook.com/kylerobertshultz

On Twitter: @KyleRbrtShultz

http://instagram.com/kylerobertshultz

Fantasy fiction, self-publishing

Announcing The Super Secret Project!

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Note: Reminding everyone I don’t own any of these images nor take credit in any way for the Minecraft videos referenced here. They are under the complete creative control of Rainimator.

Good morning! So, at long last, here I am with official news of the Super Secret Project! The reason I dubbed it so was because I’d been considering writing a standalone to go with The Order of the Twelve Tribes for a while, but really wasn’t sure just what I wanted it to focus on, nor did I want to promise a storyline that later changed (I do enough shuffling on publishing “deadlines” as it is). So I decided I’d refer to it as “the Super Secret Project” until I had more concrete details mapped out.

Well, this spring, White Fang got involved in the planning process, and he agreed that keeping it under wraps so that we could later do a big reveal was good. And now, here we go…ready?…

The novel will be called Fire and Wind, and its protagonist actually makes her first appearance in Volume 3: Healers and Warriors! It’s a short scene, but it establishes her presence in the Order world and sets up some important things about her character. Right now, she doesn’t have a name; she’s known only as…the Demon Girl.

She’s a character White Fang developed, based on inspiration he had from a YouTube Minecraft video series by someone whose screen name is Rainimator. These videos have it all — action, adventure, well-done animation, fitting music, plot twists to make you cry. If you or a young person you know are into Minecraft at all, I recommend checking out this channel.

So here’s the original inspiration:

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White Fang put together his own origin story for his “Demon Girl” (often referred to in Hunters’ notes as simply DG), and together we outlined the role this character will play in the rest of the canon and the standalone. She’s shrouded in mystery in her Volume 3 entrance, and Fire and Wind shall dispell it and uncover her true self. In Healers and Warriors, it’s not very clear — is she truly evil? is she an antihero? how does she have vital connections to high-profile figures in the mortal and fey realms?

All this and more will be found in the pages of Fire and Wind. Publication shall occur in the summer of 2019. (Can you believe it — that’s not too far away!)

If you haven’t read Volume 3 yet, don’t worry, you can still enjoy (and follow) Fire and Wind. Though I, as a conscientious author, kindly suggest you’re all caught up on the canon so that nothing about DG’s introduction takes you by surprise.

*shameless plug sequence concludes*

So, this does indeed fill you in on the Super Secret Project! More news to come on other fronts as I carry on and move forthwith into grander scales of writing completion!

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self-publishing, writing

News on How To Be A Savage and Volume 3 (Plus an Abundance of Cute Rabbits and One Wombat)

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Good afternoon! (Where did the morning go?!) It is SOOOO Monday, regardless of it being summer… Anyway, the last couple of nights, sleep has not always been my friend, so I’m a little out of it. BUT, there are developments, new items, and impending interesting stuff to reveal to you. Hence, I go forth, to blog, in what is hopefully a coherent manner…

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One: Volume 3 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes, “Healers and Warriors” is near to its official release! Whether its online debut will happen prior to mid-July is yet to be determined, but I do know that its in-person unveiling will occur at Realm Makers this year! In fact, a few special autographed copies of each book I’ve published so far in the series shall be available at the conference (for those of you going), watched over by The Kyle Robert Shultz. If you aren’t attending RM, don’t worry, Volumes 1, 2, and 3 shall always be available on Barnes & Noble.com.

Two: After experiencing a great deal of brain-ache and technological sorrow with Wattpad, I’ve decided not to worry about uploading new sections of “How To Be A Savage” on the website for now. To those of you who happily checked out what I did post, thank you so much for your support and your feedback. I simply do not have the energy or the patience to devote to a website that doesn’t feel very user-friendly to this user.

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Three: I am changing my already-altered-once plan regarding HTBAS. Once I decided to include the non-fiction parts, and started on the research, and tried to apply this to my writing, without sounding like a textbook… I CANNOT DO IT, MATE. My mind hurts. I feel like I regurgiated all the most unpleasant aspects of my life and added Latin medical terms. SEND. HELP. Preferably in the form of fluffy cats and red velvet cake.

So, I am back to fictionalizing everything. But it will still be a rather raw and brutally honest account in many ways. Most likely I shall dissolve into a puddle of melted moth before it’s over. Reason # 23 I am completing writing this particular project and publishing it prior to the end of 2018. I’d like to survive to achieve the rest of my authorly goals.

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Four: High among these goals are the Super Secret Project (in collaboration with White Fang). It’s a spinoff from The Order of the Twelve Tribes (check for hints in Volume 3!), a standalone, and features a character that White Fang helped create. Look for that to hit Barnes & Noble.com later this year!

Five: To be published about the same time — my prequel to The Order of the Twelve Tribes. For the moment, I’m calling this Project Tangerine. More details forthcoming!

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Six: If I get all of this done without perishing… In early 2019, I will absolutely release Volume 4, and then… There will be a Volume 5. This is a decision that was made within the last couple of months. Several tangents popped up in my head that I really wanted to explore more in the “canon” series, and I just can-not-do-it-all in 4 installments. So, although I have just increased Kyle’s workload, luckily his excitement at the existence of a 5th book is overcoming needing to create additional covers.

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Seven: If the world is extra kind to me and I make it through all of that, I may go for a concept that’s been ticking away in the back of my way-too-busy brain for a while — a collection of “lost tales,” short stories or novellas that were inspired by subplots I either cut out of something or wanted to delve into further but didn’t get around to yet. Let’s call that Project Mango.

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And finally… If you need some quick summer reading, don’t forget to check out my short story collection! Entitled “Dreamings and Muses,” it can be found on Barnes & Noble.com, and features a really lovely cover by the talented Alea Harper!

All right, back to your regular scheduled programming! Hope you’re all having wonderful weather and getting to sleep in!

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Fantasy fiction, self-publishing, The Invisible Moth

Volume 3: Title and Cover Reveal!

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Yes, everybody, here it is! Making its in-person debut at Realm Makers this year, Volume 3 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes shall be called Healers and Warriors, and this is the cover you need to be on the lookout for. Another fantastic design by The Kyle Robert Shultz (#shultzwithoutac), Healers and Warriors will be available in paperback in the very near future. You can find it on Barnes&Noble.com even if you can’t be at Realm Makers, and online purchases will be possible long after the conference is finished.

I don’t have a concrete release date yet, but I estimate around July 1st. A limited number of autographed copies can be acquired through Kyle at the Realm Makers conference July 19th-21st (so hunt him down while you can — but please be gentle, he still has other covers to create for me). And, as previously mentioned, if you need to place an online order, you’ll be able to do so anytime after I approve Volume 3’s publication.

There have been a few bumps in the road to release for this one, so I (and Kyle) greatly appreciate all of your patience and ongoing support. I’ll be back with more updates soon!

Fantasy fiction, self-publishing, Young Adult fiction

Spotlighting Masters and Beginners!

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One year ago today, I officially put my baby debut on sale, thrust the result of my hard work and long wait to be published into the world, for public consumption. Wow, that makes it sound not quite as pleasant as it actually was. Well, I have to admit, seeing Masters and Beginners on Goodreads, seeing the ARC reviews on blogs, was almost terrifying at first. In a good way.

Anyway, since this is my “bookiversary” (yes, anniversary of the book’s release), I wanted to mark the occasion with the fanfare it deserves! Seen above is the redesigned cover of the first installment in my fantasy series, The Order of the Twelve Tribes, created by Kyle Robert Shultz. The story inside either the first or second edition cover is the same; I switched printing companies, and wanted to do certain things announcing my establishment as an author — like secure a cover designer for the whole series, really increase my presence on Goodreads and Twitter, and build a solid foundation of loyal fans who would move mountains for me. Okay, I’m being slightly facetious on that last bit. But the fandom part is important. To those of you who have been around since the beginning, I want to say (again, but it never gets old) THANK YOU, for all your support and participation and faith in my writing.

So, today I want to go a little nuts, waxing lyrical on my own title, and we’ll celebrate Masters and Beginners: Volume 1 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes!

The story focuses on the Driscolls, a pretty ordinary family that lives in a pretty ordinary town in Ohio. The reason we choose to follow their tale is because they’re actually descended from a secret organization called The Order of the Twelve Tribes, which knows the forgotten truth of the universe — that faeries, angels, and monsters are real — and the Order protects unsuspecting people from the more unsavory of these creatures.

Sophie Driscoll and her brothers, Flynn and Cal, and their parents, James and Kate, take over running the Annex, a local facility that stores documents and objects related to Order history and the fey. As they officially join the Order, they find themselves immersed in a world of literal magic, and danger.

As if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, the new neighbors are demi-fey (half human, half faery), their pets are talking, shapeshifting cats, and I leave Volume 1 off on a twist worthy of the most brilliant/evil author. It ensures that you’ll have to read Volume 2 (see, brilliant) to find out what happens.

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Classified as YA (because I wanted to write something my kids could read before they were all grown up), my contemporary-fantasy-blend series isn’t limited to the ages of 12 to 17. Scattered throughout the text are references to the art and entertainment that helped bring about my inspiration to write this tale, such as Harry Potter, Discworld, Warriors, Warehouse 13 and Doctor Who. My playlist during the writing part of this project also receives its credit, by appearing in the form of lyric snippets at the start of each chapter.

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There are still a few copies of the first edition available, which can be acquired through me (though I only accept cash, check, or gift card, sorry). The redesigned cover/second edition can always be found at Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/masters-and-beginners-daley-downing/1126998956. (And they accept credit cards, and often have free shipping deals.)

If you enjoyed Volume 1 and feel inclined to post a review on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble.com, or a blog, that’s fantastic, and I espouse further thank yous still.

This last year has been quite the journey, and I look forward to what comes next! See you all there, moths!

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