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Introducing Night Watch, by Linda Hall

Today, I’d like to welcome Linda Hall to my blog.  Linda’s a  member of The Alexandria Publishing Group, a group of writers who are dedicated to providing high quality books to readers everywhere.

Over to Linda….

I am pleased to announce that NIGHT WATCH, the first in my new mystery series (#emridgemysteries) is finally available. This book has been a part of my life and planning for a long, long time. Before I wrote six books for Harlequin, I wanted to write a series of mysteries which featured a female boat captain. She was in my thoughts during the first Bouchercon mystery conference I ever attended. I had the idea for Em Ridge (and her name and her backstory have gone through various permutations through the years.) The character was there in my mind, begging to come out, asking me over and over to tell her story, get it down, and out there for the readers.

But other things got in the way and it’s only now – now that I’m an author/publisher, that I am getting her story out.NW WEB PROMO medium 2

Em Ridge is a boat captain. She’s not a huge container ship captain taking goods all over the world, nor does she helm ferries or tugboats (although she could – and maybe in a future book she will.). She’s not in the military or Coast Guard. She’s not a police force boat captain. What she does is deliver boats. She’s someone who gets hired by people to take their boats (usually luxury yachts) from Point A to Point B.

Normally, a fun job. You get to spend time on other people’s fancy boats! But in Em’s life, mystery always ensues.

In Night Watch, having the billionaire’s daughter go overboard on her first captain­ing job is not a good beginning. The sailboat is new, state of the art, her crew on this trip include two close sail­ing friends. But an unknown fourth, who can’t even tie a bow­line, and the unruly owner’s daughter turn the idyllic trip into an adventure not wanted.


Two years ago Em buried her husband, her soul­mate, her sail­ing buddy, and with him she buried a secret. As hours on the open seas slide by, secrets are res­ur­rected tying Em’s past to a present, awash with mur­der and deception.

Get Night Watch at AmazonSign up for Linda’s newsletter –  Linda’s Website - Linda on FacebookLinda on Twitter

stux / Pixabay

I am what I am…linguistics, gaming and more…

stux / Pixabay

stux / Pixabay

So, for a very long time I’ve kept two separate blogs – Kaiberie.com was my personal blog, and here was where I spoke about writing.  Then the host I was helping out on went under and I lost this blog (I’m getting it back, I just need to import it first, one by one, from the way back machine), and I decided at that point that I’d keep this hobby, cryptography and linguistics light.

I’m making a new decision.  I can blog about my personal stuff on my personal blog and still talk about the same stuff from a different perspective here.

So.  Here it is.

In case you missed it.

I’m a linguistics nut.  I’m doing a bit of a DIY forensic linguistics degree because I can’t afford to pay to do my PHD yet.  I will one day, and until then, I’ll write and blog and talk about it.  That’s my academic side.  It’ll get it’s own little space at some point, but it’ll be mentioned here too occasionally.  It does after all, inform my processional life.

I work for a gaming company – we make tabletop wargames.  They’re called Mantic Games and they rock.  I’m their community manager and I love the job – and because of that, there will be some new videos popping up, because lo, I need to make some videos and have my own channel too.  It’s quite a jump.  It’ll be very rare that these vidoes will be about writing, but I might talk about books in my own ones if you listen.

And I knit.  And I love cats.  I love my cats more.

And I play computer games.   Not all of it is related to gaming, but I think, if I know my readers well enough, that y’all won’t care ;)

If you’ve got an opinion one way or another about what you’d like to see here, let me know!

New category, updates and sidebars

Tree of knowledge.A bit of house-keeping rather anything particularly important.  Well, depends on your perspective really.

Housekeeping wise, I’m hoping to put the older blog posts back eventually.  I’m still trying to work out the best way to do it, but it should be doable.
I’ve also added a new category – short fiction.  Anything I write that doesn’t fit anywhere else will go there.  You’ll also get sneaky sneak peaks of parts of the shorts and novellas I’m currently editing, as the spirit (my muse) moves me.

I’m also delighted to announce that the Kickstarter I was involved in (external communications and community manager) made $1,057,975 and we’ve unlocked a lot of fun stuff over the journey.

And on that note, and on keeping count, you may have noticed some changes in the sidebar.  I’m tracking my books, and will talk about each of them as they come up.  In the next few days, I’ll also start getting some pages up with books.

So it’s all go here!


Resetting my priorities

I keep calling this idea the ‘hard reboot’, and it’s something I’ve really tried to avoid because it’s just so drastic, but here we go.

A long time ago, I stopped writing and talked about burnout.  I’m horrified to discover, reading back to when I first started talking about it, that I was talking about it as far back as 2011.  I’ve blogged about it A LOT.
And while it’s true I’ve written for Nanowrimo since then, I’m not writing daily, and I think that’s bad – really bad – for me.  I think  it’s messing up my whole outlook on everything.

I now work part time, in a marketing job, so I’ve got that solid commitment to shape my work and world around but have you ever looked at a pile of work that you have and get paralysed.  That’s me right now.

The really horrible thing is there are lots and lots of books I’d love to write.  I’m passionate and engaged about all of them.
So, I’m going to list them in the sidebar, along with their status.  I might even manage different colours for different statuses.

In with that is a slight change to my blogs.  I’m still thinking about how to deal with that.  But first, I want to get on with my books.
For that reason, there’s now a sidebar that’ll track them.  I’m seeing if I can’t link up stuff too, but for now, it’ll just be names and numbers ;)

From there, I’m going to concentrate on writing and my job with Mantic Games (we’re 4 days to go till the end of our Kickstarter!)

So.  Hard reset.  You ready????????????????????????


And now for something completely different….Dungeon Saga

*Disclaimer – I am staff at Mantic Games (I work as their community manager) but this post is not sponsored by them.  I just love the game so much I thought I’d share.

It’s not often I get to talk about my *other hobbies* on the blog, though it’s pretty much a given that most people know that I’m staff at Mantic Games now.  I’m their community manager and I spend a lot of time on social media making conversation with some amazing people.  Recently, we launched a Kickstarter – my first as it happens.  It’s for an amazing boardgame that I’m really looking forward to!

It’s called Dungeon Saga.


Right now, there’s all this in the box for a $100 pledge.

dungeonmaster updated


It’s a dungeon exploring game where your hero or heroes plays against an evil Necromancer and other guys.  And whether you’re new to games such as these or an old hand (like me!), you’ll find that this game is really great for you.

If you’ve never Kickstarted before, it’s a blast.  Each stretch goal, as more people come in, gives us more funds towards a shared goal of developing a kick ass board game and expansions.

There’s a lot of great things that Mantic Games does, but I genuinely think this board game is going to really change the face of fantasy gaming and represents a great opportunity for storytelling.

So. What do you think?  Interested?  What would push it over the edge for you?


So, there’s a couple of things I’m giving away on my mailing list and the new mailing list we’ve set up for the Indie Author Group.  If you sign up for the newsletter you’ll get….

FIVE different coloured todo lists – they are effectively the same todo list, just coloured differently so you can print them based on mood etc.


A huge editorial calendar resource with a massive 7 different tabs to help you plan books, KDP select periods and more!

You can sign up at the Indie Author Group mailing list.

I’ll be back later this week to talk about why editorial calendars and to-do lists are so important, and start up the posts again now that I’m settled in work and feeling a lot better (I’ve been quite under the weather lately).

Thanks guys and gals!

contract word on business folder showing trade or financial concept

Why I turned down a contract with an advance, and why you might want to think twice too

Very long title I know.

Right.  Here’s the ground rules for this post.  I WILL NOT tell people what press this is.  I talked with people to come to the conclusion I did, but I am withholding one reason.  I won’t talk money, nor what the contract specifics were.  If you ask, I’ll politely decline to answer, and if you state as fact that it was ‘x press’ I will not approve your comment.  I don’t normally put this sort of rule on my comments, but it’s important to say this up front because it’s not where I want the focus of this to be.

That said…

Four months ago, I finished a sci-fi collection that an editor friend of mine had said she wanted to see.  I trusted that she worked with a good press, but told her that while they were considering it, I would be doing my research, and wasn’t committing to signing with them. She said that was fine and I thought nothing more of it.  To be honest, it’s a three part story, and I didn’t really think that it was worth worrying about.  And then I started in my new job and forgot about it entirely.

Last month, editor friend wrote back and said ‘I’ve left that press, but they wanted your book before I left, here’s your new contact’.  Editor friend wasn’t specific about why she left, but I know she’s married and planning her own family, so to be honest, I didn’t think much about it.  We chatted about other stuff and then I got in touch with the new editor.

The new editor offered me a contract on the spot, four days after my email.  Contract included a modest advance covering the three books and some notes about the stuff they really felt needed addressed, and that we’d be looking at during edits.

contract word on business folder showing trade or financial conceptAll good, right?

All of this is great, right?  Major ego boost to be offered a contract on the spot, and it’d let me release the books without needing to find editing/cover art (which isn’t as difficult) and doing my own formatting.  But alarm bells had already started ringing.
Two other people I knew in passing had left the same press.  One author was trying to buy themselves out of their contract (which, on it’s own gives me the screaming willies to be fair), and another friend was lamenting the fact that her books were constantly unavailable on Amazon because her press wasn’t keeping them in stock.  The one link?  Same press, or imprint of press.

Digging deeper…

Digging deeper there were some grumbles about the press but nothing serious.  There were no warnings at Preditors and Editors.  But the press was going downhill.   Sales were dropping on all of their books, and the authors leaving were talking about delays on the last couple of royalty statements, and while they’d been treated well,  things weren’t looking good.

Something just wasn’t sitting right with me.  Even with the advance, it didn’t seem like a safe bet (not to mention, I would be quite concerned about taking an advance if they hadn’t paid royalties to others).

So, I turned down the contract

One of the major lessons I learned from all of this is that even contracts that look good on the surface, even from apparently reputable presses, in this day and age, you need to be careful.  I feel really bad turning them down, but given the mix of my friend leaving, other writers taking their back lists and not subbing new books, and royalties starting to fall by the wayside.

Remember when I said at the start that I wouldn’t name the press – there is another reason for it.  All of the authors are already aware of what’s going on and are talking about it on various forums.  I don’t need to add my non-signed up noise to that.  I’ve got no right to muddy the waters, and I might have the wrong end of the stick.  It could just be turnover.

What do you guys think?  Am I overreacting?  Are a couple of blips something that shouldn’t matter?  Or do you think I made the right choice?


A word from our sponsor – daily writing support with Writer’s Almanac

One of the major things I’ve been working on setting up,  since before the new dream job (which I’m going to blog about at some point soon!) was a daily marketing support project for those that don’t know where to start with writing, and need guidance that involves all of the minutiae they can get.  So I wrote 12×12 Marketing tutorials.

Then, I wrote Writer’s Almanac, but after I finished it, it just didn’t seem quite enough.  For a start, there was no accountability, and no way to get in touch about the stuff people were stuck on, and that really defeated the purpose of writing a daily book of promotional activities for anyone that was struggling with writing…
So, I redesigned it from the ground up.  It’s now ready to go on July 1st.  It’s no longer a book, but something else entirely, and is a lot easier to access and has been streamlined to take all of the pain out of marketing, and give you an idea, every day of where your attention should be.  It’s also now been updated to include what I’ve learned about some of my most successful Facebook campaigns, and how to use Facebook to your advantage – until the algorithms change at least, at which point I’ll work something else out.

It’s not a get lots of followers, sell squillions of books, make millions of pounds project – in fact, realistically, all I’m giving you are the tools to make sure your marketing efforts are spot on and designed to give you a clear idea of what you should be doing *daily* to make your business work for you, marketing wise.
I’ll explain how to do it all free of course (bar your time) but I will also recommend tools that speed up automation etc.  All in the name of making sure marketing isn’t as difficult for you as it could be.

If this sounds something like you’d like to get in on, please email me.  It’s $36 yearly, and is one daily long email, three to five reminder emails to give you a small task to do!
I’ll also send you a free copy of 12×12.

The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky Guest Post

Daughter3DThe Daughter of the Sea and the Sky by David Litwack has launched! (I reviewed it yesterday, here).
This fabulous title is available now on all online retailers and in your local book stores. You aren’t going to want to miss this new literary journey exploring the clash between reason and faith, and the power of hope and love.

The Book

After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light—two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean.

Summary: A mysterious nine-year-old from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a couple in the Republic, claiming to be the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. Is she a troubled child longing to return home, or a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of the Republic? The answer will change the lives of all she meets… and perhaps their world as well.

Author: David Litwack
Genre: Fantasy/Speculative Literary Fiction
Publisher: Evolved Publishing

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Guest Post – The Greatest Thing I Learned in School

In the seventh grade, I began a six year college preparatory school, the elite school in the city and accessible only via an entrance exam. Ninety-nine percent of its graduates went on to college, many to Ivy League schools. But only one in three graduated.
I felt pretty confident. I had a good education to date and all the skills to succeed. But I had never read for pleasure.
The kids in this school were very competitive—what we used to call “grade grubbers”—even at such a young age. On the first day of English class, our teacher, Dr. McNamara, hit us with a stern warning. We were all failing and would get an ‘F.’ No studying would help, no exam would change it. There was only one way we could improve our grade.
Dr. McNamara was a bear of a man, with a big round face, jowls and the almost expected wire-rimmed bifocals. He glared at us through them and drew us all to the edge of our seat.
“For each book you read,” he said, “I will raise you one grade. If you read five books in the term, you will get an ‘A.’”
Our marking term was one month long. I suspect none of us read that much in six months. But then, like a magic salve to the wound, he handed out “the list.” The list consisted of about three hundred wonderful books, and not the stodgy classics, all of them books to delight the young.
That year I read the complete works of Sherlock Holmes and wanted to be a detective. I read The Saga of Andy Burnett and dreamed of running off to become a mountain man. I read The Lord of the Rings and pictured myself as the ranger, Strider, and someday, if I was worthy, king of the men of Numenor.
I was twelve years old.
Of course I never become any of these, but I’d been given the lifelong gift of reading and have never stopped.
The most important thing I learned? Through books, I could experience other worlds, be in the minds of other people. And though fiction may never translate directly to reality, I learned something even more important—the power of possibility.
David Litwack, author of There Comes a Prophet, Along the Watchtower, and The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky

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