Monthly Archives: September 2023

Small updates.

  • The omnibus has been re-checked and updated. Nobody seems to have bought it in the Age of Lots of Backwards Quote Marks. Whew. It’s fine now.
  • The Therapist single novellas are now in Kindle Unlimited, so people can read them for free if they have a KU subscription. This also means that the Gumroad download option is off the table for now. We’ll see how it goes; I’m neither married to it nor expecting anything in particular. It’s more of an experiment. The term for this system is 3 months, so now through the end of the year(ish). Then we’ll reassess.

I’m quite tired of thinking about the nuts and bolts publishing stuff, so on to actually writing.

Edit to add, next day or so: OK, first novella is $0.99 and the others are $1.25 (USD). And I will stop thinking about this for now. Augh.

“”””””””” ugh

I settled down to flip idly through the print proof and unwind last night, and discovered that about a dozen quote marks were flipped backwards — especially nested quotes and those after italics.

I’d seen a few complaints about this with regard to Atticus’ formatting, but I hadn’t seen any issues in a cursory check, and I was eager to get moving. So… lesson learned. I do still like everything else about Atticus’ formatting, but this is something to be aware of. It also seems to drop dashes when words are split sometimes? That’s confusing. But I am doing a more thorough check of the print omnibus now.

Nobody seems to have bought it yet (lol), so it’s a victimless crime, but it is embarrassing. Word to the wise.

I don’t do cover reveals, except when I do

Okay, the omnibus edition of Therapist (books 1-4) is in its final processing for release. I have no idea whether anyone will want to buy the all-in-one or not, but hey, it’s done!

I also wanted to post a preview of this completely gorgeous cover and rave about it a bit:

The ebook cover of the Therapist omnibus: an illustration of a woman with blue hair who is taking notes with a quill pen. In the foreground is an elf, gesturing as though speaking. Both are seated in a cozy-looking room.

The omnibus cover art is by Franshawn Langley (franlangleyart.carrd.co), one of many talented artists who replied to my call for a commission on Reddit. I LOVED the use of light and color in her portfolio works, and I am really happy with this one. The back of the print cover is also gorgeous, just saying.

And a shoutout to my sister, who has done the cover text design on all my books since the Healers’ Road inkwell cover. If you’re in Pittsburgh or wish you were, maybe buy a shirt (or mug, etc.)! ;P

The step away from anime style and toward a more fantasy/illustrated style was another gut decision: I love the individual covers (hell, we have prints of them framed on our game room wall), but I wanted the omnibus to have a slightly different style that still reflected the series’ vibe. Was this driven by market research, no, but nothing I do is ever driven by market research, and here we are nevertheless.

Okay. Hooray. Whew. Right about this time last year, I started this project. There was a time not that long before when I thought I was running on fumes. That I didn’t have it in me to come up with any ideas outside Healersverse, since I’d been writing in that setting for too long. (I did try once, but it didn’t quite come together.)

One year later, and I’ve had a complete blast. I still love the Healers series and plan to go back to A&K’s story, but striking out into a completely different direction has been so energizing for my sense of creativity.

So that’s today’s news. Happy autumn indeed.

*bmp-bmp chh, bmp-bmp chh*

I’m back already with another podcast episode rec.

The expanding universe of Lofi Girl | Endless Thread (wbur.org) (with transcript!)

I mentioned in the notes to Healers book 3 that I listened to a lot of the Lofi Girl channel while writing that volume. Oddly enough, I kind of got away from it after that. No particular reason. But I also got hooked on Coffee Talk, a video game with a very lofi-beats-style soundtrack, and continue to listen to that to this day. [Actually? Forgot to favorite the second game’s soundtrack. Done.]

So I guess I do like this stuff, even though I wouldn’t consciously list it as a favorite and don’t follow the, so to speak, lore. This podcast episode dives a ways into the origins of the Lofi Girl channel — shrouded in mystery though they may be — as well as why it appeals to some listeners.

Of course, after listening to that episode, I spent the rest of the day listening to this stuff. It was a day to catch up on my day-job workload after taking time off for that weekend trip. And… maybe it helped. At least a little.

[Edit to add: AND, I’m listening to Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly while setting up the Therapist omnibus on Amazon. I will need some time to order a print proof first, but it should be on its way to sale soon. Fingers crossed.]

What’d I tell you?

Replaced the un-updateable Goodreads sidebar thingie with two Amazon sidebar thingies. Not one hundred percent what I wanted, but it’s a step forward for now.

General updates:

  • Attempting to check and update the keywords on everything, which is turning into An Undertaking. I’m not even being strategic about it; Amazon is just very slow for me. [Edit: I found a way to make it work. Inside baseball: Don’t use the save buttons at the bottom. Use the tabs at the top.]
  • Also? Since the last time I updated the Healers keywords, ‘Zon now asks you if you used AI to do your work for you. AI didn’t exist in its current form when I wrote Book 1. Back then it was just fodder for funny Tumblr posts about made-up NES titles or recipes or what have you. Instead of, you know, *waves vaguely around*.
  • Also, I’m never fucking using AI, at least not knowingly, nor purchase services from anyone who does. No, not even for grammar checking. I do not care what anyone else does with it; I’m just not giving them money for it.
  • Following r/writing is making me cranky. Let’s see how long this lasts.
  • I plan to bump up the price on Therapist singles to $1.49. [edit: $1.25, I scared myself off] So if you got in while they were 99 cents, hooray? Basically I’m just trying to thread the needle between “people are still willing to buy this” and “I feel like I’m undervaluing my work.” Someday we’ll find a sweet spot, I hope.
  • Just got back from a weekend trip to a hippie/gardening/artisan festival in a neighboring state, dedicated to a particular native fruit with a cult following. Had a great time. I am moderately obsessed with backyard fruit growing (not orcharding, which is fine but not my thing — just working it into the landscape). We don’t currently have accessible space for any new trees, so I didn’t buy any on this trip. Someday, though. Someday.
  • The first draft of Therapist 5 (which backtracks to overlap books 2-4, because I can’t stop shooting myself in the foot) is about 1/3 of the way through and moving along. 6 and 7 have first drafts done. I plan to stop at 8, I think, though I have a couple more ideas for that setting. It’s going to be high time to switch back to Healers at that point.

And on that note… how’s it going with that update, Amazon? … Sigh.

Sincerity: It won’t kill you!

I just spent a lovely 45 minutes listening to this podcast episode:

579. Punk Rock Writing with Chuck Tingle | Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (smartbitchestrashybooks.com)

…while a) working on my Halloween costume, the first I’ve done since 2016 and something that has been making me happy lately*; and b) making a stack of crazy quilt squares that I don’t know what to do with yet. And c) drinking some hot beverages.

I don’t write erotica, not because I have anything against it, but because I’m not any good at it. (Same goes for horror!) But I have found Chuck Tingle incredibly inspiring for years. I’ve had a screenshot of a particular tweet saved on my phone for ages, meaning to literally embroider it and hang it on my wall by my writing desk. I am not kidding. (Part of it goes “put love at [the] center of what you make and it will bloom.” I love it so much. Sorry I corrected the typo. My brain won’t let me not do it.)

Anyway, I don’t write erotica, but I am terminally sincere. I cannot turn it off. I grew up in an age of ironic detachment (and spaghetti strap sheath dresses), trying to play along and failing miserably. And now that we’re in another age of ironic detachment, I refuse to engage. (you go ahead and spend your life worrying about being labeled “cringe” on social media; I’ll just do whatever the hell I want, thanks)

So what Dr. Tingle talks about in relation to art and sincerity and love really speaks to me. Hell, and the stuff about privacy. I get it. In short, I don’t enjoy it ironically. I don’t really do irony. Camp Damascus was heartbreaking and affirming and had so much heart.

Terminal sincerity is, to a lot of people, a character flaw. A lot of people don’t like being around it, and that’s their right. But it’s how I am. So every now and then, it’s nice to celebrate it for a change.

* Halloween costume: It’s a local in-joke specific to this year (CW: photos of insects). It’s been fun to try. We’ll see how it turns out. Do I have anywhere to wear this damn thing? No, of course not. Not the point! Doing it anyway! Because it’s fun!

Sticky post: Starting points

Hello!

If you’re new here, here’s where to start! (The opposite of the other sticky post!)

The Healers book 1 of 3: The Healers’ Road

by S.E. Robertson

Genre/keywords: slice-of-life fantasy, shouting-distance-from-cozy fantasy but check the content warnings first please, character-driven, road trip from hell, enemies to friends


Second chances and unexpected friends

Agna Despana has studied magical healing for nearly half her life, and now she finally gets to prove herself. Ambitious, opinionated, and out of her depth, she will plan her way out of any situation. Except the presence of the dismissive doomsayer she’s been matched up with.

Keifon the Medic has nearly given up. Having lost his family, his old life, and his revolutionary ex-boyfriend, he puts himself at the gods’ mercy to give him a new purpose. Maybe helping people as a medic will suffice. If only he weren’t saddled with this pompous young heathen.

Assigned as partners, the two travel the back roads with a merchants’ caravan, providing medical aid. They each have all the answers, but it will take a long journey, some chance encounters, and a deep look inside to reach the truth.

The Healers’ Road is an enemies-to-friends low-stakes fantasy road trip with warm campfires, good books, and the power of healing yourself as well as others.

Amazon US / UK / CA / AU – print and ebook, and on Kindle Unlimited where available
On Goodreads – rate and review

Content Notes / Trivia


How I Became a Therapist in Another World , novella 1 of 6

by C.A. Moss [also me]

Genre/keywords: fantasy isekai but make it tired, millennial, and gay; let’s throw all the tropes in a blender with a giant pile of feelings and see what we get; fish out of water; empathy as a superpower; humor and heart


Not the Chosen One, just doing my best 

After an unexpected accident, Cat wakes up in a new body in a world full of magic. If this is the afterlife, it’s a lot more cottagecore than she expected — even though it’s also haunted by demons that prey on people’s emotions.

Good thing this world summoned the right vintage-loving queer girl, because Cat — now Lavender — was a therapist on Earth. Wielding magic that gives others space to face their literal demons, she sets out to make a new life for herself. 

A world of new friends, territorial Earthlings, rampaging dragons, high society balls, and rollicking nights at the tavern is just down the country road. But so is the reckoning of what she’s lost…

How I Became a Therapist in Another World is a light fantasy heartwarming isekai novella with emotional moments and a wlw human/orc romance side plot. Lavender’s story continues in parts 2-4.

Amazon US / UK / CA / AU – ebook and Kindle Unlimited where available
Books 1-4 are also available as an omnibus in ebook and print.
Goodreads

Content Notes / Trivia