Almost release day – not just for me!

As the release date for Darkness Falls quickly approaches, I can’t help but feel excited. After all, it’s taken me a long time to get the damn thing written, and it represents the culmination of at least 20 years of writing for me. I introduced the world of the Brethren in 2007, but Brandon and his kin have been part of my creative consciousness long before that. They went through several different incarnations (and mediums, too!) before finally making it to the page as they exist today, and they’ve become a very important, intrinsic parts of my life. Leaving behind that world and those characters will be bittersweet, for sure, even as I discover new ones for new stories that I’m working on.

As it turns out, I’m not the only one with a book launching soon. My friend, Anne C. Miles, is getting ready to release her first book, one that she, too, has been working on for years, and I’m absolutely tickled shitless for her. It’s a fantasy entitled Sorrowfish, and it’s the first in a series about a bard, a wizard, and a college student from Kentucky.

The official blurb:

51W6Lhwo2HLSara is having crazy dreams. Gryphon and dragon crazy and she’s not even a geek. The scary part? She wakes up with scratches and splinters. Is she losing it because of stress? One more unfinished sculpture will fully tank her grades. Goodbye bachelor’s degree, hello failure. Her twin sister is in a coma. On top of everything else, her best friend Peter wants to date.

It’s enough to make anyone sleepwalk.

Choosing to defy the Conclave, Bard-in-training Trystan risks capture and mind control to find a magical lute through a shadow network. Luthier-wizard Dane meets a sinister stranger and barely escapes with his life. Dane’s fate entwines with Trystan’s when they must end an ancient curse, guided by a fae they only know as Sara.

I can’t wait to read it, and not just because I’m kind of partial to her heroine’s name. (Ahem!) I’ve known Anne for a long time. Back in the day, she and I went to college together. During the summer between freshman and sophomore years, we worked at a summer camp as counselors together. She taught arts and crafts to the kids there, and she’s always been a brilliantly creative soul. Although we fell out of touch for many years after college, we reconnected around 13 years ago or so. I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find she’d started her own successful graphic arts and web design company. Turns out in addition to being a creative genius, she’s also an expert at managing her own business. When she decided she wanted to take a shot at a lifelong ambition and write/publish a book, it makes perfect sense that she would approach the process with the same careful attention to detail, meticulous planning, and marketing savvy with which she built her professional brand.

As for me, I’ve fallen pathetically behind in book marketing strategies. When “Dark Thirst” was originally published in 2007, it was an entirely different world in terms of marketing and promoting. Many of the tools that were staples for authors (at least, of romance fiction) at that time are gone now, like Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine. And with the explosion of independent and self-publishing industries, there’s more competition than ever to try and attract readers.

It can feel really overwhelming as an old dog trying to pick up on these new tricks. Luckily for me, Anne has put a lot of conscientious time, effort, and energy into learning them, too, and she’s gracious enough to share what she’s learned, not just with me, but with other writers. Her blog is an invaluable resource for marketing tips and helpful links. For example, in a recent post, she recaps what she’s done so far on the limited budget she’s working with. A lot of it deals with ways she is trying to build her email list, which is something I need to do, too, so I’m definitely going to implement some of the things she has tried. I used to have an email list back when “Dark Thirst” released, but it’s long gone now, and I’m guessing even if I had it, 99% of the emails on the list would no longer be valid.

If you’re reading this, you can click the link from my homepage to sign up for my newsletter/email list. I’m going to use it to offer giveaways, coupons, excerpts, and more, once I get a good subscriber base.

In the meantime, you can check out more about my friend Anne and her upcoming novel, Sorrowfish, here.

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