Free eBooks Available for Read an eBook Week

Just letting you know that Kayelle Press is happy to participate in Read an eBook Week. They feel it’s important to promote any kind of reading as it really can set the imagination free, if you let it.

Unshackle your mind by downloading their free ebooks during the promotion — 4 March 2012 (starts at one minute past midnight) to 10 March 2012 (ends at 11.59pm, USA Pacific time).

The Land of Miu — always free!
The King’s Riddle — free for one week only!
Hope Anthology — free for one week only!

Get them for FREE from Kayelle Press’ Smashwords page during the promotional period mentioned above only.

Also, I am offering the Speculative Realms Anthology for free as well. Head over to the Speculative Realms’ Smashwords Page to download the ebook for free.

Reminder: Don’t forget to use the coupon code, which will only appear on the individual pages for the books during the promotion period, when completing the checkout process.

Advertisements

Released: A King’s Riddle

I’m extremely proud to announce that The King’s Riddle, book 2 of The Land of Miu series, was officially released on 25 January 2012.

The book takes the reader back to Manu and is told from Siptah’s point of view, the princess’s guard-in-training. The young Miuans have gotten themselves into trouble (again) and need the two human girls to return to Miu and help them solve an ancient puzzle.

The book is available in paperback and various digital formats. And, until the end of February 2012, Goodreads members can elect to be in the running to win a free copy of the paperback. There are three copies to be won and this offer is available to anyone living in Australia, England, United States and Canada.

Why don’t you head over to The King’s Riddle Goodreads page and click on the “Enter to Win” button right now! 😀

A New Cover for The King’s Riddle

The King’s Riddle is the second book of The Land of Miu Series. This book takes us back to the four friends (Kate, Emma, Alara and Siptah) three months after the first book ends. And, this book is told from Siptah’s point of view so the reader will be provided with more background information in regards to the magical world of Miu.

The book’s description reads …

Princess Alara and her guard-in-training, Siptah, have done something unthinkable. By accident, they activated the volcano deep below the tunnels in which they live. If they can’t stop the volcano from erupting the whole of Miu will be lost.

But that isn’t the only problem they have, their fathers are missing and time is running out, so it’s up to them to fix things by themselves. A clue found in the king’s chamber suggests their human friends, Kate and Emma, must come back to Manu to help them. Can the group of friends overcome their fears and frustrations and solve an ancient riddle in time to save the Land of Miu?

Many thanks goes to Donna from DigitalDonna.com. She will be providing the covers for all three books in the series. And, I must say, they look awesome.

The King’s Riddle will be available from 25 January 2012.

The Mythology Behind the Land of Miu

Until now, the mythology behind the Land of Miu has not been shared with anyone. It wasn’t a secret, but I enjoyed writing the first two books without ever mentioning that the Land of Miu was built around Ancient Egyptian mythology.

Book 2, The King’s Riddle, does have a clear reference to the myth. Book 3, The Lion Gods, will be where all is revealed.

However, today, I am going to reveal the myth behind the Land of Miu.

For those of you who are familiar with the original publication of the first book (soon to be released with the title The Land of Miu, but originally published as “Cat’s Eyes”) you will recognise the image above as a similar version to what was used on the front cover.

This was not something I made up. It is a real Ancient Egyptian myth called Aker, also referred to as Akeru and Akerui. Aker was an ancient earth-god in Egypt. It is said that the two lions are guarding the entrance to the underworld to ensure evil spirits cannot escape when the sun entered the tunnels at dusk, travelled through the underworld during the night and exited the tunnels at dawn.

The image itself depicts two lions seated back to back with the symbol for the horizon on their shoulders with the rising sun. The lions themselves represent the sun setting in the west and the sun rising in the east. They were named Sef (Yesterday) and Duau (Today). The strip at the top is the sky, which is held up by the two peaks of Djew.

Now we get to the bit that involves the Land of Miu. The Egyptians believed there was a cosmic mountain range that held up the heavens. The western peak was called Manu while the eastern peak was called Bakhu. It was on these two peaks that the heavens rested and these are the two cities found in Miu.

We have the lions protecting the entrances to the underworld and we have the two peaks of the mountain supporting heaven. I found this to be a fascinating combination and the Land of Miu was built entirely around the image and the mythology associated with it.

How the Land of Miu Began

On 29 July 2005 I wrote in a post, “Cat’s Eyes. What mysterious land is hidden within their depths?”

I was talking about the eyes of my female cat, Sophie (on the right in the photo above). She would (and still does) sit and stare at me with a knowledgeable look. I often wondered what she was thinking. And she always came across as a being that is older and wiser than her years. She is an aloof cat and she expects obedience from her human slaves … for that is how she makes us feel. For instance, she’s too good to use a cat flap; a cat of her status has door men or women to do her bidding. She acts like royalty.

On the other hand, there is also her brother, Jasper (on the left). He’s always been a loving cat and it’s not unusual for him to walk into the room, straight up to where you are sitting, jump onto your lap and pat your face with his paw. He wants totals focus from us. He wants lots of patting and loving. He’s bigger than his sister and he portrays a fearless leader. However, he’s not as courageous as he would like us to believe. On numerous occasions his sister was the one that killed a rat, but he would snatch it from her and pretend he was victorious in the hunt. And in a scuffle, we’ve seen Jasper hiding in the bushes while his sister exerts her authority in the cat kingdom.

Somewhere around this time in 2005 I had a dream. The exact date is not noted anywhere, but I still remember the dream clearly … mainly because it was referred to in the book.

I dreamt that a little girl went butterfly hunting in her large, secluded back yard. At the very back of the yard (and this really doesn’t make sense, but remember, it was a dream) there was a large rock that overhung a secluded spot below. There was a bit of a drop involved. Anyway, the girl rested on the rock and presently heard voices. When she gazed over the edge of this large rock she discovered two cats sitting together, talking about a mysterious underground world. The girl listened as the cats spoke of the trouble they were in, about another cat who was trying to kill them and what they intended to do to outsmart their pursuer.

I believe I woke up around this time. If not, I remember no more than this.

The dream and my two cats gave me the first glimpse of the Land of Miu. I wondered how I could make a story from these scant ideas and very soon had the basics of a world and at least two of the characters. Of course, I didn’t want the story to be about cats so I decided that the Miuan people could shape shift. Sophie and Jasper made a cameo appearance in the beginning of the first book (which at that time was titled “Cat’s Eyes”) as did a reference to the dream itself.

When the cats changed back to their Miuan form, they insisted they be called by their Miuan names which are Alara and Siptah. These two characters are joined by Kate and Emma, two human girls.

On 13 September 2005 I began writing the first chapter of the first book. It would be five years before the first book was published with the original name “Cat’s Eyes”. That was in December 2010. This month the second edition will be published with a new name, The Land of Miu.

Together, the four characters go on one adventure after the other. So you can expect to see more of them in the future. Apart from that no one can say what the future holds for the series, but where it came from is now quite clear.

The Land of Miu Series – New Titles

The Land of Miu series is changing, as announced in my post “Cat’s Eyes” to be Renamed. Yet it’s more than just the first book to be renamed and republished … and it’s all very exciting.

Regardless of my statement, “The cover for this book will remain the same…”, I have once again changed my mind and there will be a new cover too. It is in the process of being designed by a third party and I simply cannot wait to receive it and start promoting it to the world! That will happen by the end of next week, I think.

Besides the above, books two and three will also undergo a radical change. Both books have received new titles and I will commission new covers for them as well, once the first cover has been finalised.

The series name is unchanged. It has been and will remain The Land of Miu series. The three planned books are as follows:

The Land of Miu (Book 1), previously published with the name “Cat’s Eyes”, the second edition will be released on 25 November 2011.

The King’s Riddle (Book 2) will be released on 25 January 2012.

The Lion Gods (Book 3) will be released in late 2012 or early 2013.

“Cat’s Eyes” to be Renamed

A decision has been made to republish Cat’s Eyes as a second edition using a new title The Land of Miu. It has been a concern for some months that people will look at the former title and think the book is about cats, when in fact it isn’t. The book is about two young sisters who have an adventure in another world. It’s filled with magic, mythology, suspense and family. The only connection to cats is that the Miuan people are shapeshifters and often take the form of cats. They are also not human and have a resemblance to a cat with the top half of their face being very cat like, but don’t dare say that to a Miuan as they become highly offended by the comment. 😀

I feel “Cat’s Eyes” is a good name for the story, however, it does give the wrong impression and for that reason I know republishing with a new title is a good move.

Besides, it means the book will be updated in some ways. The cover for this book will remain the same as I think it’s highly important that the two versions resemble each other. It is also extremely important that the people who have already purchased the book KNOW this is the same story. I don’t want anyone feeling cheated and deceived.

Cat’s Eyes is the first edition. The Land of Miu is the second edition. They are one and the same book.

Books 2 and 3 will also be given a name change. The titles are yet to be confirmed.

Please refer to Kayelle Press for more details.

Publishing Update

When Cat’s Eyes was published in December 2010, there was an indication at the back of the book that Cat’s Paw would be published three months later – in March 2011. It’s obvious that hasn’t happened. Why, you may be asking.

The printer used for Cat’s Eyes used to be quite good. The first time I used them, for Speculative Realms, the service was great. My lack of experience meant I had to seek help several times and I always received it within 24 hours, and the instructions were clear and concise. Two years later, when I was ready to publish Cat’s Eyes, I returned to them and noticed a definite change straight away. All indications showed a plummet in service level, to almost non-existent. There were so many bad stories going around and ignored pleas for help, that it made me wonder if I were doing the right thing using the company again. However, for various reasons, I decided to forge ahead and, luckily, do not have to add my name to the list of people who needed help and didn’t get it.

Yet, my gut tells me not to take such a risk again. And I’ve decided to listen to my gut as it usually (but not always) serves me well.

At the beginning of this year, I started looking for another printer. I would have preferred one in Australia but every quote I received (and there were a lot) was VERY expensive. In truth, not even close in comparison to the printer I had already been using. This made me feel a little concerned, but I chose to continue looking.

Then I discovered Lightning Source. I researched the company, what people were saying about them, their prices and whatever else I could find out about them and discovered a possible replacement. Their offices were overseas, which wasn’t a problem, but the one recurring comment I kept seeing was their postal fees were high. I decided to start an account with them so that I could do some comparative research, but I kept getting this niggling feeling about the whole thing, which made me hesitant. That’s when I discovered they would be setting up shop in Australia. At that point, I made the decision to put everything on hold.

Today I found out the Australian office is open for business. At the news, I went straight to Lightning Source and asked some questions. It’s the weekend, so I don’t expect a response until Monday but my gut is telling me to follow this through to the end. When the account is set up and the comparative research done, I’ll decide what I’m going to do next.

At this stage, I believe I might have a new printer in Australia, but let’s not count our horses too soon.

Canoeing, Gaia, the 17th Century and the Future

What do canoeing, Gaia, the 17th century and the future have in common? They are all featured in my current writing projects.

It’s been a while since I mentioned my actual writing and today I feel the need to clarify where I’m at and where I’m heading with these four projects. The clarification if for my benefit more than yours. 😀

The Canoeing (Mis)Adventure is a story for children. It is being written for a specific market and must be between 10,000 and 12,000 words in length. I’ve reached the half way mark. Problem is, I’ve been there for a while! I know where the story is heading and I know exactly how it will end, but the middle doesn’t give a toss about the required word length. The story wants to finish around 6,500 words. I know I should push on and finish the story and worry about publisher requirement later, but the lack of words is stopping me. How stupid is that?!

Wynter’s Boundaries is a short story for young adults/adults. It will be published in the upcoming Hope anthology later in the year. However, when the editor finished splashing the manuscript with her red pen, I found her comments overwhelming and daunting. At first I felt the story was beyond repair and actually considered withdrawing it from the anthology. However, not wanting to make rash decisions I put the manuscript away and let the problem(s) roll around in my mind for several weeks. Now I’m able to see fixes are available to improve the story. . .and my crushed confidence.

Whispering Caves is a novel-length manuscript for adults. It is a story I have revised many times. The characters are well known to me, almost to the point where I sometimes forget they are not real people. The problem with this manuscript is that I edited and revised it so much that I ruined it. Every attempt to rewrite it from scratch goes nowhere because the story starts long before my starting point in the manuscript. For that reason, I have decided to write the prequel first. When it is written, this untitled manuscript will be a solid foundation for the new, improved Whispering Caves.

And this leads me to the fourth project. This one is also untitled. There are no notes, no planning, but nameless characters and some crazy events are distinct in my mind. They roll around in that vast vacancy where my brain should be and I’m beginning to see a story set in the future, our future, that is somewhat chilling to think about. I already know the beginning and end, the middle is quickly falling together too. I think I’ll be compelled to write notes soon. I’ve always been an avid planner, however I have a feeling that the most planning I’ll be doing for this project is writing down a few notes, working out a few names and dates and then just writing.

Four projects. All of varying lengths, genres and audience. I’m usually a one-manuscript-at-a-time kind of girl but variety is the spice of life and I think I’m going to have four open projects from this point on. I’ll swap and change between them as I see fit, according to mood, timing and whatever takes my fancy. The prospect of doing this actually makes me feel positive! As long as I write, does it matter?

Oh, I just realised that I haven’t covered all my projects, so now I’m going to throw a fifth one into the equation.

Cat’s Paw is the second book in The Land of Miu series. The manuscript has been completed but it needs a final edit. I intend to do that once I’ve finished reading the book I’m currently reading. Then it will be ready for publication.

Walking the Indie Publishing Road

No, I have not fallen into a black hole. Yes, I am still writing (even though the progress bars in the sidebar are not moving). So what have I been doing? The last few months have seen me more focused on writing than I have been in some time.

My progress with Whispering Caves was going quite well. However, writing in first person presented a problem where I couldn’t present vital information as the main character had no way of knowing about it (or finding out about it). I came up with a solution, but am not convinced it is working that well. Having written 15,000 words, I must admit that the manuscript has been placed on the back burner, once again. I’m not entirely happy with this decision, but feel I should be moving forward on other completed projects before finishing this one.

The reason I’ve put the manuscript on the back burner is due to another decision I’ve made about my Cat’s Series (for young readers). There are four books in the series. Two have been written and edited. The other two have been planned, but need writing. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided to publish this series of books myself.

At present, I’m trying to decide if I want to set up a publishing company (small press) or find out if there are other options that would be more suitable for my situation. I’m usually quite resourceful, but have had little luck finding any good information on what options are available to me. This may mean the options are limited, but I want to make an informed decision so I’ll keep searching.

Ideally, setting up a business would be great except I have no knowledge how to go about it or what it entails afterwards and this scares me…a lot! In fact, my own fear is holding me back from taking further steps and this not only annoys me, but frustrates me too.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on covers for the four books. As I’m not an artist, I’ve decided to go with a theme that will cover (excuse the pun) the entire series. The background colours will be bright, the main image will promote the essence of the series and then there will be another image that will be unique to each book. Books 2 and 3 are done, but I’m having a devil of a time with the cover of book 1 – Cat’s Eyes. I’ve been to many royalty free websites and have not found anything suitable. I have used family photos of my own cats to try and achieve a pair of cat’s eyes that would be right, but haven’t come up with the right look yet. A simple pair of black eyes on a transparent background, at a size suitable for cover artwork, will not defeat me!

That’s what I’ve been doing – artwork, editing, refining plans for the unwritten books, writing blurbs, researching and reading websites regarding indie authors, thinking about formats and publication. All these things are writing related.

If you know of any resources that may help me, please let me know. I need all the help I can get.