alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
It's been a long time since I've posted, but I have a lot of news to make up for it!

First: Today is the release of my newest interactive novel game for Choice of Games: Choice of the Pirate. Right now it's priced at $2.99, which is a 25% discount on the full price of the game. It's probably the most ambitious game I've written yet; set in the fictional Lucayan Sea, it borrows all the old pirate tropes from cursed treasure to ghost ships and adds a little extra magic to the mix. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and I hope that many people enjoy the adventures!
You can read all about the game here at the Choice of Games blog.

Second: I'll be at the James Blackstone Memorial Library's local author expo tomorrow (5/21) afternoon. If you're in the area and would like to stop by and chat about my novels or games (or just shoot the breeze), please come on down! There are about thirty local authors attending, including reporters and children's book authors, so it should be an interesting mix. I'm not on any of the panels, but I may see about leaving my table for a bit to hear them.

For more information, you can visit the event website.

Thirdly: In honor of the game releasing and the author expo, I've finally uploaded the Redemption Trilogy to the major booksellers! You can nnow find them at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Kobo.
They're also still available at DriveThruFiction, Smashwords, and iTunes as well.

Lastly: I've accepted a position as Editor in Chief of Outland Entertainment, where I'll be editing a number of very cool comics! You can find out more about us at our latest newsletter or by checking out the comics lineup!
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
There's big news here at Myth, the Universe, and Everything, the biggest of which is the release date for Regaining Home: January 26, 2016. You can see the page at Smashwords or check out the book trailer (designed by artist Lindsay Archer with music from Common Shiner).

But more on that as it happens. In the meantime, I have a reading report for you! I tracked a bunch of different factors this year just to see how diverse a group of authors I really read.

Including my review books (many of which are picture book length), but not including picture books I read with my kids, my total tally for last year was 179 books. Of those, 77 were review titles, 116 (the vast majority, including most of my review books) were for kids or YA.

  • SFF titles came in at 91

  • Romance came in at only 3 last year

  • Graphic novels hit 25

  • Nonfiction came in at 3 (greater than my goal of 1)

  • Rereads hit 13

  • Only 3 of my TBR books came out of the pile

  • I achieved 0 out of a goal of 2 non-SFF/romance/YA/kids novels

  • And while I picked up a title from an autobio author I hadn't read before (always one of my goals), the author I solicited didn't end up participating in the project, so I'm not entirely sure how to count that one.

My digital and print totals were closer this year: 80.5 for digital and 97.5 for print. (I read one book half on my phone and half in print.)

I didn't track author demographics for any of the review titles, and I only tracked demographics when I was pretty sure I could identify gender and ethnicity. My male/female split was pretty close: 53 male authored titles to 56 female authored titles. I did an Ilona Andrews reread during the year, so a number of books counted in both categories (as Ilona Andrews is actually a husband/wife team). Ethnicity was harder to determine, but for what I could figure out, I read 10 books by authors of color vs. 67 by white authors. Some of those also counted twice when there was an author/artist team for the graphic novels I read.

Now that I'm a little more aware of my reading habits, I'll be interested in seeing if I can intentionally better diversify the list this year--not just with authors, but also hitting those out-of-genre goals.

I hope everyone had a great reading year in 2015!
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
Back in May 2007, I wrote this:

Regaining Home's first draft is done an in to my editor! Of all of the novels, this is the one where I wish I had a little more time to think about the structure and decide what actually works and where things could be better. Usually I turn in the second draft to my editor, as well, so I'm feeling like this one is a bit more raw compared to the others I've turned in. But deadlines are deadlines, and I know Shawn will find those places where I can do the least number of changes to greatest effect.

Almost seven years later, that better draft I'd been wanting to write is finally turned in to Shawn. And again, I know he'll be finding places for improvement. But I'm proud of the effort that went into this revision, and I'm very grateful to the beta readers who weighed in on a couple of issues that I think improve the novel. For the rewrite, I added in a character from Departure, and I took out two characters and changed their role into a new one. The result is that I like the characters better, and I think that Nara's story in particular becomes stronger in this version. Ultimately, she's the main character of the whole series, and I'm glad to see her have come through with a stronger end story than she did before.

I'm also pleased with the Trickster work I did in this novel, which I'd largely forgotten about until I was in the middle of the edits. I'd originally written the myth of Hamatanis the Porcupine stealing fire for the people for a sourcebook that never came out; in Regaining Home, Taru retells the story to Nara. I have a fondness for Trickster stories, and hopefully that element does those tales justice.

And now--back to editing and making progress on Choice of Pirate!
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)

There it is, folks! Lindsay Archer finished the cover art, and I could not be happier with her work. If you're interested in getting prints of her other projects, I noticed she has a number of things on sale at her store right now -- it's worth browsing through just to see her other projects!

And with that, I just have some random thoughts from an extra-tired weekend.
  • My characters really need to stay out of other people's worlds while I'm dreaming. First Lydia and Kennerly were on a train facing off with a changeling magician (reminiscent of Xen'drik) and the next night, Taru and Nara were in the middle of bad things happening in Skittersill, a bad neighborhood from Max Gladstone's Two Serpents Rise. They're really not equipped to handle such things...

  • As I was losing coherent thought, I wondered what it might be like if, in times of tiredness nearing dreamstate, you also lost your coherent physical structure. Would some people wander about with fuzzy edges all the time? Would the best rested among us have sharply defined exteriors?

  • Playing the voices of Elsa and Anna from Disney Frozen at the request of Bug has led me to wonder about the history and future of Arandell. According to my improvisational dialog, Anna's idea of national defense is to have Elsa craft an army of snow monsters, while Elsa prefers creating situations in which friction is reduced (as if gliding over ice), and conflict can be avoided. I also wonder what kind of adventure Rapunzel and Eugene had during the summer freeze that got them stuck with the rest of the courtiers attending the coronation. I suspect it was one of their first official state visits (what with neither of them having any sort of international relations training prior to marriage), and that they probably got up to some trouble preventing the Duke of Weaselton from getting away with something dire while Elsa and Anna were otherwise occupied...

I got to write about Frozen over at Questia, and I've been having fun with webcomic and game reviews at Black Gate Magazine. Otherwise, back to revisions for me!
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
One of the Redemption Trilogy Kickstarter stretch goals that got funded was the re-editing and prettification of Into the Reach and Departure to be re-released as new editions. At long last, Into the Reach has been re-released! It's currently available through DriveThruFiction and Smashwords. I'll be releasing it at Barnes and Noble and Kobo as well -- and probably Amazon, though I'm hesitant about that for numerous reasons (but Bottom Line dictatese that it's a necessity) -- but I'm more concerned at the moment about getting Departure cleaned up and off to the backers than getting the widest distribution possible on Into the Reach. If all goes well, all three novels will be up everywhere by the end of the year.


So hurray! That's a big hurdle jumped, and I can move on to the next things. Or, rather, I can keep working on finishing up the details on Showdown at Willow Creek (renamed to give it more Western flair), which is in beta, and get prepared for that release, while also moving on to the next things. What's in store here for the next few months?

  • Edits and formatting on Departure

  • Work on Choice of Pirate, my next game for Choice of Games

  • Finishing up coding on the autobio project. The project is now in four batches per year instead of two, which means more authors and more fun. This batch features Shiloh Walker and Margaret Weis, who were both fantastic to work with!

  • Speaking of the autobio project, we've added some fun new structure, so along with the long essays, like Shiloh wrote for this batch, there are also interviews, like the one Margaret participated in. I tend to feature a lot of SFF writers, partly because I'm more familiar with their work, and partly because SFF writers respond really well to being invited. (Graphic novelists tend to be excited to be invited but too busy to contribute, though I keep following up!) I've been focusing on inviting romance novelists and have had a little success there, but I am looking for more mystery novelists, nonfiction writers, playwrights, and literary writers to invite. If you've got recommendations of approachable writers who interact with their readers online (that seems to be the recipe for successful responses to my invitations) who fit into those categories, I'd love to hear them!
alanajoli: (mini me)
I had a conversation last week with John Andrews (whose tech articles I've linked to on the blog) about freelance life. He sent me a link to an article about copywriting, which advised how to always get paid for your work. The writer's answer? Get paid up front. Ben R. Palmer-Wilson, writing for Design Taxi, probably makes more money than I do -- he clearly works on the higher end of the copywriting industry, based on my read of his April 30, 2013, article, "How to Always Get Paid as a Freelancer." Which is to say, he works for businesses, not directly in the publishing industry. Back when I first started as a freelancer, I read about pursuing clients outside of the publishing industry and decided not to do so, though it would mean a lower income on my end, because I wanted to stay as close to books and literature (and games!) as I could.

At my end of freelance writing, things work more like this:


Well, without the guns.

But I don't often get paid up front for anything. I sometimes get paid an advance, or part up front, which is great! But what I do get at the beginning is a contract. When I'm working for larger companies -- or small, trustworthy ones -- that contract is a binding agreement that's a reliable indication that I'm going to get paid at the end.

Sometimes, though, this happens instead:


That mostly happens with speculative work, where the company or editor is very forthcoming about the possibility of rejecting work even after it's completed. Sometimes it happens with large companies where they lose an invoice in the shuffle -- I've been able to recover all of those, but it can take awhile. And it's definitely happened with small companies that then evaporate.

The Kickstarter for Regaining Home is actually my first, paid-in-full in advance project ever. It's a novelty! I don't have any sage wisdom for always getting paid, but I do think it's worth noting that Palmer-Wilson's sage wisdom wouldn't work in my neck of the industry. I'd just get laughed right out of my contracts.
alanajoli: (mini me)
We did it! This morning, an increased pledge pushed us $55 over our funding goal on the Regaining Home Kickstarter. Regaining Home is go!


(Clearly, I am influenced by Bug's taste -- when I hear the phrase "We did it!" I can't help but hear Dora the Explorer's ending song.)

What this means so far is that we definitely have the funds to bring out Regaining Home sometime by the end of this year. We are less than $300 short of our first stretch goal, which would allow us to edit the first two novels and make them available in multiple formats, rather than just pdf. As I write this, we have 69 hours to go -- it could still happen!

Thanks to everyone for continuing to support the project. Seeing so many familiar names among the donors -- or the retweeters or the facebook posters -- has meant the world to me.
alanajoli: (mini me)
It's true what they say about Kickstarters being crazymaking. I am vacillating between:

almost there

And this:

There are still three days to go and just over $500 left to raise (and another $350 would get the original books reedited and up in multiple formats). If you've been thinking about contributing, or want to send word around to others who will make it a reality, please drop by the Kickstarter and spread the word!

Luckily, I have plenty of other projects to keep me busy! I'm just finishing up a batch of obituaries from famous individuals who died in 2012. One was Roger Sherman, who wrote the songs from Mary Poppins and other Disney films -- including a movie I'd not thought of for years: The Gnome-Mobile. I don't remember anything about the plot, but I do remember the very catchy jingle, "The Gnome-Mobile, the Gnome-Mobile, we're riding along in the Gnome-Mobile. Sooner or later we feel that we'll find what we want in the Gnome-Mobile." (Lyrics are from memory; I've not Google checked to make sure that they're correct.)

I also get to write an obituary for Maurice Sendak, who I'm saving for last.

I'm also delighted to say that I'm signing a contract for my second Choice of Games project, just as soon as the printer cooperates. I'm extremely pleased to be working with those folks again, and I'm delighted to continue to increase the amount of my living that I'm making from writing games. As a high school friend once told me about my career: I'm living the dream!
alanajoli: (mini me)
One of the interesting things about running the Kickstarter is seeing where the donations come from -- not just meaning people (I recognize the majority of the names on donations, and I am incredibly grateful that some many people from so many different parts of my life believe in this project), but websites. The Kickstarter dashboard shows where people linked from to get to the Regaining Home Kickstarter. Almost 40% of the pledges don't have referral information, but I thought this was an interesting rundown of some of the other percentages:

  • Almost 33% of my donations have come linked from Facebook

  • Around 10% come from somewhere inside of Kickstarter's system (and most of these are from folks I don't personally know

  • About 3% come referred from LinkedIn

  • I make up about 4% from Livejournal, my homepage, and twitter

  • The most surprising: a full 3.5% came referred from the fantastic web comic, Thistil Mistil Kistil by Sarah Schanze

Loki, from TMK by Sarah Schanze

Sarah, I owe you cookies or something. Thank you for sending your readers my way -- and thanks to everyone who's been spreading the word on Facebook. Clearly, that's working!
alanajoli: (mini me)
Over the next two weeks, interviews about the Regaining Home Kickstarter should be popping up with me around the net, which is great, since we're getting into the final half of the campaign. Things are, thus far, going quite well -- as of this writing, we're at 58% funded with 14 days to go. But the extra press will definitely help toward reaching (and exceeding???) that goal. The podcast interviews were also a great chance for me to chat with some very cool podcasters. Brian LeTendre of course is an old friend of the blog -- he and I go way back to the very first days of Into the Reach being released, and Brian was a regular in my Mythic Greece game back when those heroes were still out changing mythology. Chris Sniezak of Misdirected Mark is a friend of Shawn Merwin's (Shawn is, apparently, a regular guest on the podcast), and also a great interviewer. I had a tremendous time chatting with both of them, and I highly recommend both Secret Identity Podcast and Misdirected Mark (which I started listening to and got totally involved in after finishing my interview with Chris).

Chris also made me aware that I hadn't updated my website since Choice of Kung Fu came out, so clearly that needed to be fixed. So instead of working on obituaries tonight, I've been updating my page, playing Marvel Avengers Alliance on facebook and Fallen London in another tab, listening to podcasts, and watching cute videos of baby elephants. All in a day's work!

alanajoli: (mini me)
Great news for art lovers! Lindsay Archer has agreed to let people in on the early stages of the art process, so we've created a $35 reward that includes all the $25 rewards, plus digital updates as Lindsay works on the cover. Our new stretch goal also involves art: If we hit $4300, Lindsay will do a signed and numbered limited series of prints of the cover art -- we'll start with 12 available as a $75 reward (which will also include everything from the $35 reward), and if demand is high (and we continue to raise funds), we'll make more available.

If you're not familiar with Lindsay's work beyond what I've already posted here (you've seen a lot of her work over the past few posts), she has an amazing gallery at her home page that is well worth browsing. I am delighted to have served as one of Lindsay's models as well!

I'd love to see us add more art rewards, and if we can keep raising enough funds, that will become an option -- but most of those rewards won't be available until we go over the initial budget. So if you'd like to see more of Lindsay's work show up in this Kickstarter, spread the word!
alanajoli: (mini me)
Great news for aspiring writers and game designers -- editor extraordinaire Shawn Merwin has agreed to offer up his services for manuscript review of up to 50 pages as one of the rewards for our Kickstarter for Regaining Home.


Just $40 gets you not only three e-books, but also some excellent professional critiquing from one of the best editors I've had the pleasure to work with. (He's also an accomplished writer and game designer in his own right!)

If you know any authors or game designers who could use such a service, please pass along our link -- it's a limited reward, so it might go fast.
alanajoli: (mini me)

Nara, by Lindsay Archer

The Regaining Home Kickstarter has hit $1000 is are about a third of the way to our goal! In honor of that, we've added a new backer reward for $75: Improv Snippets by me. Backers who donate $75 can send me a genre, setting, and two characters (named or given by profession), and Alana will create a unique scene featuring those elements. The Improv Snippets will be compiled into a backer-exclusive e-book. (I may choose to use the snippets for another project in the future and retains any pertinent copyright, but the backer's name will be listed along with the snippet wherever it appears, in perpetuity.) To pad the Improv Snippets collection, I may choose to include original snippets of my own creation, or original snippets as they appeared in the Empty Room Studios Art Book project.

I hope this will be a fun mini project -- I've written romance novel blurbs for friends and really enjoyed creating the scenes for the ERS Art Book, so this seems like a great way to involve people in the creation process and create a unique reward that's worth that high backer level!
alanajoli: (mini me)
I love good crossover fiction. I'm sure that's part of the reason I love The Avengers. (Also, Joss Whedon, I'm looking at you.) So I was really excited to see that Rick Riordan has announced he's doing a crossover short story featuring Percy Jackson and Carter Kane -- heroes from his two major mythology series. (Shannon Maughan's Publishers Weekly article with the announcement and full details is here.) It's planned as a short story, and it's currently only being published in the back of a paperback book (the hardcover of which I already own), but I have hopes that as the pub date approaches, we'll see an option to buy an e-version of the short for 99 c. Because I would totally spend that on a short story.

(Cute crossover art by SpiralNinja05 at Deviant Art, found by my Google Image search.)

I got to interview Rick back in 2006, when I was writing for Literature Community news, when the first two Percy Jackson books were out, and Rick had more adult novels published than YA titles. I look at that article and think how much his world must have changed in the past seven years.

Rick isn't the only writer doing crossovers. Ally Carter crossed over her two brilliant series -- The Gallagher Girls and the Heist Society books -- in Double Crossed, which, best of all, she gave away for free. I grabbed it the day it came out and read it on my computer, since the nook edition wasn't up yet, and it's delightful. If you haven't checked out either series, this isn't a bad entry point into the worlds -- and it should definitely get you intrigued about both series.

In other news, the Regaining Home Kickstarter hit 21% in the first 24 hours. Woo! I'm very hopeful that we'll make the goal -- and I even posted the first stretch goal, re-editing the first two books and publishing them in multiple e-book formats, this morning. Thanks to everyone who has already contributed or spread the word, and thanks to those of you who are planning to do so!
alanajoli: (mini me)
The news is in: the Kickstarter for Regaining Home has been approved, and we've launched! I've set a budget for the project that includes paying editor Shawn Merwin for his editorial expertise, artist Lindsay Archer for a brand new cover image for the Regaining Home e-book, and me for doing the writing and revisions to get the book ready to launch, as well as covering the software I'm planning to buy to use in the e-book creation process.

Here's the link!

Here's how you can help.

  • Donate. If you already have the first two books, there's a $3 reward to get a copy of Regaining Home a week before its publication. I expect to price all three e-books at $2.99 once Regaining Home is published. There are also rewards to buy all three e-books, get deleted scenes, have a minor character named after you (or someone else, within reason), or even take part in the editorial process and weigh in on specific events in book 3. If you just want to keep track of our progress (and get your name in the acknowledgements), there's a $1 option, just to show your support.

  • Tell your friends. Kickstarter is, from my experience, driven by social networking and word of type. So, tweet, facebook, google plus, pinterest, or whatever you do. Any help in getting the word out will make a huge difference to us!

I am really excited to get back to the Redemption Trilogy and to finally get Regaining Home out of my head and into the world. I hope you'll all be pleased with the results!
alanajoli: (mini me)
It's holiday sale time over at DriveThruRPG, and the Drunken Goblin has a whole stocking full of great stuff to offer -- including the first two books of the Redemption Trilogy. Right now, you can get the books for 99 cents each! You can go straight to my books here, or see what else is on sale on the Drunken Goblin page.

Part of this sale is prepping for a Kickstarter. I've talked with editor Shawn Merwin and artist Lindsay Archer, and they're both on board for getting Regaining Home back out of the ether and into complete digital form. Keep an eye out here for further news about how you can help make book 3 a reality! (If you have any words of wisdom or advice about Kickstarter, I'd love to hear them!)

In other good news, Choice of Kung Fu has been submitted to online app sellers, and it should be appearing on the market just in time for Christmas. Despite the awesome Adam Morse sending me e-mails to keep me up to date on the launch date, I find myself semi-compulsively visiting the Choice of Games home page, so I can be among the first to see the public announcement when it hits. In the meantime, there are a few new games I haven't finished playing through, and I want to try them out before I start on my next game pitch!
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I had a great conversation the other night with my sister about e-books and pricing and the agency model mess and why e-books cost more at some online stores than at others. Given how much time I spend thinking about these things, it's nice to lay out the "here's what I think is happening in the industry" to someone who I go to for advice in her area of expertise. The most interesting part of the conversation, to me, was that we kept coming back to perceived value. Back when we first started getting e-books, I wouldn't buy an e-book if it was the same price as a mass market. To me, the physical copy had a higher perceived value, despite the fact that we don't really have the shelf space for all the books we already own. (The answer is not to buy or build more bookshelves; our house isn't that big!) Finally, Three-stripe pointed this out to me: why did I value the paper version more? A lot of times I prefer reading on my device now -- it's lightweight, it's easy to hold and "turn pages" on, and I can read it on the treadmill or elliptical or exercise bike at the Y if I turn up the print size. My perceived value shifted. After all, I know that the cost of producing print mass markets is so low that bookstores strip them and throw them away instead of returning them to publishers if they don't sell. As a bookseller, I actually got introduced to some pretty good authors through the strip box (and subsequently bought their books).

That breaks down for me in the e-book release that's simultaneous to the hardcover release. Those e-books are priced higher -- and as soon as the mass market comes out, the identical product will drop in price to match the mass market. Thus, the extra price for the e-book comes from impatience: I am paying to read it now. Sometimes, the value of having the content immediately does work for me; at other times, well, I can wait the year to own it and can check out the hardcover from the library.

Her limits were different from mine: the e-book must be cheaper, because this reflects the cost in production. I made the mass market case to her and she largely agreed, but still felt that if the "extra" profit from the e-books was just going to the publishing machine, she didn't support that breakdown. I said I'd heard of scenarios where e-book royalties for authors were at a higher percentage, but I've not seen that put forward in awhile, so I can't back it up.

I'm very curious about readers' perceived values -- and authors' perceived values. Paolo Coehlo's recent support of Pirate Bay and his drop of all his e-books to $.99 shows another interesting perspective on the matter. I suspect that, when I eventually get around to e-publishing novel three of the Redemption Trilogy, I may do a similar price drop of the backlist, not because I don't value my work or think it's worth the current $4.99 rate, but because I'd rather have people reading it than not -- and the work was all put in long enough ago that any additional pay I receive is dessert rather than dinner. But I may feel differently about the perceived value once I've put the additional effort into seeing Regaining Home finished!

As a reader, what is your perceived value of books? How do you make or limit your own purchases? My inquiring mind wants to know!
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I am down to 33 messages in my inbox. This is the closest I've been to "success" since the end of September. I'm getting there! This means that work is getting done on this end, for which I'm glad -- but more on that topic later. Now, to the important business of interesting links, so I can close some browser tabs...

  • So, after I celebrated Amazon's cooperation with Overdrive as a success for library patrons (and library e-book circulation statistics), Amazon launched their own lending service for Prime members. The initial Publishers Weekly article gives some details, including how Amazon intended to launch without the Big Six publishers. PW blogger Peter Brantley followed up with his observations on the program, as well as the impact on libraries. Then yesterday, PW's Rachel Deahl reported that Amazon might be headed toward litigation, since they had apparently planned to lend books they didn't really have permission to lend. Additionally, agents are in an uproar because, although Amazon will pay publishers for books as a sale, the borrowed books will register differently from traditionally sold titles, meaning that the royalties could get very messy. I am never surprised at kerfuffles surrounding Amazon's business practices, and though I think the Kindle is a fantastic device (and I do rent, and occasionally purchase, streaming media from Amazon, at least so long as my free trial Prime membership lasts), every time a situation like this comes up, I'm glad I'm not further in bed with Amazon. Of course, if I eventually make the Redemption Trilogy available to Amazon customers, that relationship will inevitably change once again.

  • Speaking of e-readers, friend of the blog and former college classmate of mine John Andrews of the Hippo posted a concise and helpful overview of the different options on the market right now, including the new updates about the B&N line and price cuts (which, of course, come within months of my purchasing a Nook SimpleTouch, now known as the regular Nook). You're all familiar with my B&N company loyalty, of course, and thus can take all my commentary on e-readers with a grain of salt; John has no such biases that I'm aware of, and is, you know, a journalist and stuff, so his commentary is much more trustworthy.

  • The Muppets are coming soon! very nicely linked to the last of the parody trailers for the film, which lampoons the first parody trailer and takes hits at the Twilight Saga. It makes me giggle. I'm so looking forward to it!

  • DriveThruRPG is hosting Teach Your Kids to Game Week from November 14 through November 21. Bug's already got her first set of dice, and she loves our huge-sized minis, so I figure we're already well on the way to a future gamer.

  • Jeffrey Taylor, another classmate of mine from Simon's Rock, is launching a new comic starting tomorrow. Clockworks Comics has its online launch party tomorrow -- you can check out more info on the facebook page.

And with that, I think my links are expended!
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Well, looks like there went my resolution to blog more often! I just wanted to drop in tonight to talk about the interview I just recorded with Brian LeTendre from Secret Identity Podcast (who is also the writer for the fantastic webcomic, Mo Stache) about Into the Reach. The idea was to do sort of a director's cut on the novel and we actually chatted about the book for a whole hour. Brian had just reread the book, and to my chagrin, he remembered far more about what happens than I do! I've not reread it since 2006, the year it was published, so it was incredibly fun to get back into that story and think about those characters, who were, effectively, good friends of mine for a couple of years. During the interview two sort of unexpected things happened. One, I read some sections of the e-book while talking to Brian, just as a refresher, and thought, "Hey, this was actually pretty good!" It's always both a surprise and a pleasure when I can look back at earlier work and be pleased with how it came out. The second was that feeling of reuniting with old friends, which I really hadn't expected. I realized, I miss these guys. It'll be very nice to get my head back into the world when we eventually start in on the editorial process again for Regaining Home.

In the meantime, I'm tickled that a few more copies have sold on DriveThru since I last checked. They're not going like hotcakes, but copies are selling -- which means that somewhere out there, folks are meeting the characters for the first time. They've got lives out there beyond me, and that is also exciting.

I've been thinking about my writing process lately, and I have some overdue blog entries I meant to write earlier -- but in the meantime, you should go look at Lindsay Archer's Steampunked Mythbusters, because they'll totally make you smile.
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I keep having to turn the pages of my calendar. Time stops for no writer, it seems. Unless you have one of those really nacky time-stopping devices, but those are, admittedly, tough to come by, especially in this economy.

As a short update, I thought I'd share the message I sent out to my mailing list (and a couple of plugs for other writers at the end--give it a look!)


It's been a long time between updates, largely because I've been busy with review assignments and reference book work, which aren't so exciting to tell you about. I did recently begin writing a column for Branford Patch, called "The Town with Five Main Streets." It's a weekly column about the history of Branford, Connecticut, and starting next week, it's taking on a question and answer format. So, if you have a question about Branford's history, or just want to give me some new material to research, I hope you'll go check out the column and post either in the comments or in the Q&A area of Branford Patch.

If you're more interested in my fiction, and maybe you haven't gotten the chance to read Into the Reach and Departure, as they became hard to track down in print, I'm pleased to announce that they're available as e-books through DriveThruRPG! The rights have been released from the publisher back to me, and I'm delighted to be working with Matt McElroy, who is my review editor at Flames Rising, to make them available again as e-books. The really good news is that I'll have the chance to release Regaining Home, the third book in the trilogy, in the same format! The manuscript has been completed for a long time, but the editorial process stalled out before we could release it. I don't have a date yet for when I'm likely to make it available, but you can rest assured that instead of "maybe it will be released eventually," it will definitely be coming into e-print. The speed with which I'm able to get the edits done and the files ready for e-book may depend on how sales of the first two books progress -- meaning, I can take time away from other paying work more easily if I know I have an audience waiting.

I made a quick link to my DriveThru store here:, but you can also go to and search for Alana Abbott (which brings up several other books I've contributed to) or Virgil and Beatrice, which is the store name for everything I list on DriveThru.

Thanks to everyone here for your continued interest in my writing, and your support of my career!


Speaking of books that are out...

Mark Henry/[ profile] mdhenry's Road Trip of the Living Dead is out in mass market! If you didn't buy it as a trade, it's now nicely pocket sized. (It's also available as an e-book at a reduced price.)

Anton Strout/[ profile] antonstrout has the fourth book of his Simon Canderous series, Dead Waters, releasing at the end of the month. Join the facebook party!

Looking to the beginning of March, watch out for Accidentally Catty, the latest Accidental book by Dakota Cassidy.

It's quite a line up! Whatever you're doing with your February, get out there and read something fun!


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Alana Joli Abbott

March 2019

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