Gone, but not forever… going hybrid

Is it officially too late to say Happy New Year?!

I’ve received some messages about why Song of Blood & Stone and Whispers of Shadow & Flame are no longer available for sale. I’d made the announcement on social media and in my newsletter (make sure to sign up to hear all the juicy details first) but here are the deets for posterity:

The books will be republished starting Winter 2018 by St. Martin’s Press. Yes, that’s a long time from now, but I fully believe it will be worth the wait.

The St. Martin’s version will contain new material. Song has been revised, reedited, and as much as I loved the original, I like the new version even better!

For those wondering how all of this came to be, here’s the story.

Early last year I was contacted by Monique Patterson, editor extraordinaire at St. Martin’s Press. Now several people (I’m looking at you Kaia) had told me about Monique and advised me of her awesomeness. But I was deep in the writing cave, working on my two series, and running my web development business (not into the ground, hopefully). Twitter stalking a Big Five editor was relegated to the part of my to-do list that I’ve already given up on.

But the universe had other plans. Amazingly enough, Monique had come across Song of Blood & Stone online, read it, and really enjoyed it. She asked me about my future projects, and once I stopped hyperventilating, I pitched her an idea for a new fantasy series.

I wrote up a proposal for the first book and sent it off. In the meantime, I was getting the manuscript for Cry of Metal & Bone (Earthsinger Chronicles, book three) ready for my copyeditor. The day I sent it off for edits I heard back from Monique. She liked my proposal, but what she really wanted was to publish Song of Blood & Stone and the rest of the series. Would I consider that?

Now to rewind a couple of years, I became interested in self publishing for a number of reasons. I fully admit to being a control freak, and I’m somewhat of a serial entrepreneur. I’ve been completely self employed for nearly a decade. I’ve made independent films, co-founded a literary magazine, and love obsessing over the details of font selection and kerning.

Once I actually believed I could write a novel, publishing it myself seemed natural. I knew how to format ebooks and lay out print books. I’d navigated Createspace and KDP for years. I understood metadata, could create promotional graphics, and knew how to apply for an EIN. It was a no brainer. So much so, that querying agents and trying to land a traditional publishing deal didn’t really cross my mind in any meaningful way. I had this.

Plus, honestly, it didn’t occur to me that a fantasy romance about brown people would strike New York as marketable. I knew would want to read it, and that’s really the only reason I write anything. So I went forward.

Bringing a book into the world is an exercise in extreme self confidence and crippling self doubt. I know I’m not the only writer to feel this way. On one hand, I believe in my work and adore my stories and think it would be a very good idea for everyone to read them. On the other hand, there’s all of the: “Oh my God, someone is actually going to read what I wrote and have opinions about it and realize I’m a talentless hack” hand wringing.

So when Monique asked if I would consider handing over my series, in some ways the books of my heart, my literary life flashed before my eyes. Is this something I wanted? Could I allow myself to want something so seemingly unattainable and rare (see crippling self-doubt)?

In the self-publishing community, often trad pub gets a pretty aggressive side eye. It’s big. It’s slow. It’s woefully behind the times. Contracts have turned draconian. Is it worth the percentage they take?

I thought of these things. I considered them carefully. And ultimately I said yes.

Since I’m unagented, I got a fabulous attorney, Quinn Heraty, who made sure I didn’t sign away my firstborn. I read as much as I could about what to expect. I talked to other authors about their experiences. And I took the leap.

My hope is to reach a wider audience than I could find on my own. To reach the person I write all my books for: fifteen or eighteen or twenty-two year old Leslye. (Or nearly thirty-nine year old Leslye).

And so I’m on a new journey which has been scary and amazing and nerve-wracking and exciting and terrifying. I’ll have to do a whole nother post on the intimate relationship I have developed with my crippling self doubt as a result of this experience.

But I’ll end with this—after I saw the image of Octavia Butler’s journal, of how she created her goals and brought them into existence, I was inspired. So be it. See to it. Those were the words she used. They were so powerful that I decided they’ll be my next tattoo. (I plan my tattoos at least a year in advance, as only makes sense for something that will be on your body forever.)

So much of my life has been about creating and bringing new things into the world. I’ve been “seeing to it” for a long time and have no plans to stop. This is just an unexpected detour on this map-free author journey I started on. It’s like one day I walked out my front door with a laptop in hand, not really knowing where I was headed, but I just kept walking. I’m as interested as anybody to see where I go…

 

In which Leslye appears on television

This is my first television interview ever, so it’s kind of fitting that it be for the local TV of the place where I grew up. I actually took video classes at this very station in high school, and that was one of the experiences which made me want to major in film production in college.

Anyway, the show Transforming Lives spotlights “individuals, companies, and charities whose great work transforms lives and improves the quality of life for citizens in Montgomery County, MD and the surrounding areas.”

View the entire episode at: https://vimeo.com/162514551

Song of Blood & Stone wins the BCALA 2016 Self-Publishing EBook Award

Sometimes you’re just going along like normal, wrangling with the words on the page and the other million things you have to get done, and then you open your email and the entire trajectory of your day changes in a split second. In an amazing way. I’ve had several of those days over the past few weeks, but the day I learned that Song of Blood & Stone had won this award was extra special.

I’m so honored, humbled, awe-struck and excited to be a recipient! Words can’t express how it feels to know that people read my work and seem to get what I’m trying to do.

I write fantasy so that I can get lost in other worlds, while at the same time trying to make sense of my own. I write romance to remind myself that love is powerful—it brings solace and healing when we need it most. I self-published because I believe in myself and my voice, and wanted to make sure my stories got out there unfettered and on my own timeline. While I’ve never sought the validation of anyone other than my readers, I’m very grateful to be recognized in this way.

The press release is below: Continue reading “Song of Blood & Stone wins the BCALA 2016 Self-Publishing EBook Award”

April Showers Can’t Get Me Down

(We’re all going to pretend I posted this yesterday like I was supposed to.)

This Month in Publishing

Angelborn-cover-300Angelborn is now available! Yay! It’s only $.99 for launch! Read more about it here.

This Month in Writing

Earthsinger book 2 is currently with my editor, praise gawd! The cover designer will be getting started in May, so expect a shiny cover reveal this summer! I still have at least 2 revisions left on the story, but it’s getting there. (Sidebar: At one point I had one of those progress meters on the site showing how close my works in progress were to completion. But that doesn’t really jive with my process which includes heavy revisions after an incoherent first draft and a semi-coherent second draft. I admire authors whose books come nearly perfectly formed the first or second time around, but mine seem to require major reconstructive surgery at least once before being ready for the world.)

This Month in Winning

Song of Blood & Stone won the IndieReCon Best Cover Award!

IRC-2015-Best-Book-Cover

(The image links on that page have been broken since it launched, but I’m hoping one day to be able to see the actual covers.) Once again, James at Bookfly Design gets mad props. I’m super excited about diving into the cover for book 2!

This Month in Awesome

I was included in an article on Fantasy Romance in the USA Today Happily Ever After blog along with Grace Draven (*swoon*), C.L. Wilson, Amy Raby and more! It was amazing to be alongside such fantastic authors and I thank author Veronica Scott for the opportunity.

This Month in Watching

It was all about Daredevil on Netflix, y’all! I’ve been a fan of Charlie Cox since Stardust and the show was great. Extremely and grotesquely violent in the way I don’t like (I’m more a fan of the over the top, unrealistic violence of say The Expendables, rather than the gritty version on display here), but I enjoyed the show. The characters annoyed the snot out of me, but no spoilers. Hit me up if you want to hear my rant.

This Month in Reading

I took a break from the metric crap-ton of New Adult books I’ve been binging and finally checked out something that had been on my Netgalley shelf for months. I’m not often up for urban fantasy (I want my HEAs darn it!) but I really enjoyed Nicole Peeler’s Jinn and Juice. I have a jinni story percolating in the Angelborn universe (which btw is part of the Earthsinger multiverse, but that’s a story for another day) so I’m always on the lookout for another one.

This Month in Fur
2015-04-03-14.03.07 Sabyl2_030212
Sterlyng remains the boss and life is good as he chills on my backpack. #TBT of Sabyl from a few years ago. Her multicolored eyes look super freaky here.

So that was my month. I also had a birthday, ended my gym vacation (sort of) and totally forgot about Earth Day!

How was your April? Let me know in the comments!