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A year’s end

It’s time to look back at what I’ve accomplished this year. I feel like I’ve been constantly occupied with something or the other so, in that respect, a busy year. I didn't finish everything I busied myself with, however, so I don’t necessarily have that much to show for it. But I have something.
I published two books this year, both in my Two-Natured London series, Warrior’s Heart in March and A Wolf of Her Own in December. I had planned to publish three books, but it took me longer than I expected to finish the latter book. Sales have been slower than the previous year and I’m not entirely sure why. They have been steady, however, and my books have got some nice reviews too, encouraging me to continue.
I ran a free period for the first time for The Wolf’s Call last weekend, during which it was downloaded for almost 2500 times across the marketplaces. I don’t have anything to compare that figure with, but I’m happy with it, especially since I didn’t really advertise the free period…

My top ten UF reads in 2013

Here’s a brief recap of my favourite UF books this year. It hasn’t been a terribly prolific year of reading for me. Ever since I began writing, I haven’t had as much time for reading as I’d like. I had managed to read more than ten UF books, however, and picking ten among them was relatively easy.
It’s easiest to present them in alphabetical order. None of the books stand out as particularly great and putting the rest in any order would be impossible. That’s mostly because I only read the latest additions to series I was already following. Some sequels were the best the series had to offer so far, some less so. The latter were left out of the list.
Jim Butcher: Cold Days I had really waited for this book to find out how Butcher would bring Harry from the realm of the dead. The book didn’t disappoint, even though the changes in the Dresden universe in his absence weren’t entirely to my liking. A good book, but I haven’t waited for the next one with quite the same excitement.
Karen Chance:…

What makes fantasy ‘urban’?

I’ve suffered a slight existential crisis writing my upcoming book, A Wolf of Her Own. Not a debilitating crisis, merely a question nagging at the back of my head. Am I writing urban fantasy?
There seems to be two approaches to genre writing. One school adheres to genre conventions, attacking impurities, and ejecting from the canon authors who do not follow the rules. Another school believes that an author has a freedom to write what they want, that genres do not matter, and that any resemblance to genre conventions is coincidence. Others still, that genres are dead altogether.
Personally, I like the framework a genre offers, but I try not to be a slave to it. Any genre needs innovations to remain interesting to authors and readers alike. Nevertheless, I have fancied myself an urban fantasy author. I like the sound of it. My Two-Natured London books are set in modern, albeit parallel, London, the city a character among others.
Urban fantasy is, by definition, fantasy that takes place in…

A new look

Mywebsite has a new look – again. Readers of this blog may recall the previous redesign that was pretty trying. This time everything went smoothly and painlessly, the changes more cosmetic than structural.
The biggest change is the colour scheme. The first two versions were red, to reflect the name of the site, Crimson House Books. This time round, I went with blue. I had a beautiful picture of wolves and I used its petrol shade.  It’s the same colour I had used for links in the earlier version so I didn’t have to change those.
I used part of the picture in the sidebar on the left and repeated it in full on the bottom right corner of the front page. The latter has already divided opinions, with me for it and my husband and sister against.
Another great difference is that I gave up the separate pages for my two pen names. I didn’t have time to update them and the same information was on the main page anyway. Other than that, I reorganised the elements on the front page. I think it look…

Here be the cover

Here’s the cover for my new book, A Wolf of Her Own. It’s the next one in the Two-Natured London series so the cover resembles the previous books. As always, it’s my own creation so all the praise and blame can be directed at me.

I’m happy with the cover, although I may change the colour of the author’s name yet. I have two choices and I change my mind about them constantly. The other would be a slightly lighter blue, almost similar to the white of the title. It looks clearer in the thumbnail, but otherwise I like this one better.
What do you think? Is it a good cover or do I need to tweak it some more?
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A Wolf of Her Own comes out next week if things go as planned. Those who subscribe to my newsletter will get the first chapter sent to them in coming days. The rest will have to wait for it a little longer. Or you can sign up too. You will get a free short story set in the Two-Natured London world when you do. Subscription form is on the column on the right.
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Postscript, December 1…

Picture perfect

I’m making a cover for my next book, A Wolf of Her Own, so I’ve spent quite a lot of time on various stock photo sites trying to find the perfect photos to use. Since I’m not a Photoshop expert – or GIMP, the free equivalent that I use – perfect means pictures that are both suitable for the cover and something I can work with relatively painlessly. It took some searching and studying the wares of more than one site, but I found what I needed. Come back next Monday to see what I made of them.


In the meanwhile, here’s a list of my favourite stock photo sites. DreamstimeFotoliaiStockphoto (part of Getty Images)
They all have a nice selection of quality photos for many different purposes. All photos are royalty free, meaning you don’t have to pay for their use. There may be some limits to their use though, such as how many copies you can make of a photo. It’s usually quite a huge number so you don’t have to worry about it. However, make sure to read the terms of use before buying.
They all le…

Imagined worlds

Every now and then, I come across blog posts or tweets about world-building, be it for fantasy or science fiction. The reason it comes up, among other things, is that imaginary worlds tend to divide both the readers and writers. Some like their worlds filled with endless details, so they can marvel at the imagination of the author that conjured them. Others prefer stories to lead and the world to follow it to as little extent as is needed.

As a reader, I fall somewhere in between those two positions. I like imaginative worlds, especially if the author has dared to imagine a world wholly different to ours. But they seldom do. In fantasy, especially, it seems to be a rule that the world is fashioned after some imagined human past that then dictates the way the world functions.
I say imagined past, because often the only features assumed from our past are the unfair social hierarchy, gender disparity and a rudimentary level of technology. No author ever makes use of the facts that people d…

Revise, revise, revise.

A Wolf of Her Own, my upcoming third novel in the Two-Natured London series is currently undergoing heavy revising. And I mean heavy.My books always change enormously during the rewrites, but this one has almost become a different book.


I don’t plan my books much before starting them. I usually have a brilliant idea, a character or two, and a goal where the plot should be heading. Those elements remained more or less unchanging in this book too. Everything else, however, was free game.
Scenes changed places to make the pace better. A character was edited out completely and another, different character appeared, but not to take the first one’s place. My hero and heroine gained characteristics and lost others in order to make them more believable and to make their love story worth rooting for.
The changes are worth the effort, however, if the result is a better book. And let’s face it. No one will know what the original version was like. The only thing the readers will see is …

When is the price right?

I wrote about experimenting with book prices in April. I sold my books at a discount on $0.99/0.77. As a result, I moved some books, but not as much as I thought I would. My books have been $1.99 since. The sales were steady, but not exceptional. So for a week now, most of my books have been $2.99. It’