New Fiction Titles for June 2017

We’re pleased to announce two new fiction titles this month. First up is Storm Constantine’s ‘A Raven Bound with Lilies: Stories of the Wraeththu Mythos‘.

Wraeththu – a new species or the next step in the evolution of humankind? Androgynous, and stronger in mind and body than their human predecessors, Wraeththu rose from the ruins of human civilisation to start afresh. New custodians of a battered planet, they have a choice:  work and grow to become worthy custodians of the world, or succumb to the lingering humanity within them, and perish as their forerunners did. Naturally magical, often possessing unearthly beauty, and sometimes deadly, the Wraeththu have captivated readers since Storm Constantine’s first novel, The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, was published in 1988.

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Since then, the author has completed three trilogies, three novellas and numerous short stories. This anthology collects all her published Wraeththu stories into one volume, and also includes extra material, including the author’s first explorations of the androgynous race and their world, dating back to the late 1970s.

From the ‘creation story’ Paragenesis, through the bloody, brutal rise of the earliest Wraeththu tribes, when hara fought for control and power, (Pro Lucror), and on into a future where they have overcome their savage beginnings, and strange mutations are starting to emerge from hidden corners of the earth, (Painted Skin), the fifteen stories within this book explore different shades and colours of the Wraeththu world.

With sumptuous illustrations by official Wraeththu artist Ruby, as well as pictures from Danielle Lainton and the author herself, A Raven Bound with Lilies is a must for any Wraeththu enthusiast, and is also a comprehensive introduction to the mythos for those who are new to it.

The second new titles is from Rhys Hughes, a prolific creator of strange and wonderful short stories. Salty Kiss Island collects for the first time Rhys’s fantastical love stories.

What is a fantastical love story? It isn’t quite the same as an ordinary love story. The events that take place are stranger, more extreme, full of the passion of originality, invention and magic, as well as an intensification of emotional love. Also, the voice that tells them has rather a different tone to a conventional romantic narrator.

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The stories in Salty Kiss Island are set in this world and others, spanning the spectrum of possible and impossible experiences, the uncharted territories of yearning, the depths and shoals of the heart, mind and soul. They are adventure yarns, whimsies and comedies, tragedies and paradoxes. They are melancholy, gleeful, philosophic or mystical. A love of language runs through them, parallel to the love that motivates their characters to feats of preposterous heroism, luminous lunacy and grandiose gesture. They include tales of minstrels and their catastrophic serenades, dreamers sinking into sequences of ever-deeper dreams, goddesses and mermaids, sailors and devils, messages in bottles that can think and speak but never be read, shadows with an independent life and voyagers of distant galaxies who are already at their destinations before they arrive.

The authors of these books are available for interview, as well as guest posts on blogs, and review PDF copies can be applied for by mailing info(at)immanion-press(dot)com.

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Nothing But a Pack of Cards – New Release

We’re pleased to announce the release of S. Rune Emerson’s new book, ‘Nothing But a Pack of Cards’.

In this handbook on the practice of sorcery using tarot cards, S. Rune Emerson utilizes the Rider Waite-Smith tradition of tarot art to teach the myriad practices of the Art Magical.

Included in this book are:

A modern look at sorcery through the eyes of the Rider Waite-Smith tarot cards and their derivatives, including laws and fundamentals of magic, and how magic actually works. An explanation of the twelve categories of commonly cast spells, the six kinds of magical initiation and quickening, and the four great tenets of a sorcerer’s philosophy, all encoded within the Major Arcana. Methods and ritual practices which help you employ the basic principles of sorcery, and learn how to become a sorcerer. A series of spells and techniques crafted from the study of the Pip and Court cards, as well as appendices on group work and ritual tokens. And more!

Any magician, whether long-experienced or just beginning, will find unique and useful information in these pages. If you want to learn how to use that tarot deck for more than just card games and fortune telling, this book is for you.

If anyone would like to review this book, please mail us for a PDF at editorial(at)immanion-press(dot)com. The author is also available for interview.

Nothing but a pack of cards

Nothing But a Pack of Cards by S. Rune Emerson

The Reality of Amazon in Publishing

Amazon

Every so often, one of my authors will email me or instant message me and ask about something that has occurred on Amazon. Maybe they can’t find their book or maybe their book is being offered at a discounted rate, or maybe its something else. What they want is for me to solve the problem. However what they don’t realize is just what a complicated relationship there is between Amazon and publishers. Actually that’s true of distributors and retailers in general. The following may shed some light on the realities of dealing with any retailer, as well as some specific aspects of dealing with Amazon.

1. Publishers make prices, but retailers can change prices. A publisher can decide that a book is worth $20.99 and that’s what the book will cost on the publisher’s website. It’s also what the book will cost if you buy it direct from the author. But if you buy the book from Amazon or some other retailer, you may note that the price is sometimes discounted. Sometimes the discount is small and sometimes its large. This discount can effect royalties authors receive. The publisher has little control over the discount, because the book is being sold by a third party.

2. Kindlelicious. Another service Amazon provides is Kindle. Publishers can sign up for different types of kindle accounts. For example, you can sign up for a kindle account where you only offer e-books through kindle or you can sign up for one where you offer e-books through other sites. Obviously Amazon prefers you sign up for a kindle only account. There are some features you will get with Kindle only, but its always a toss up because not everyone wants to use Kindle.

3. Subscription based reading is becoming a reality. Amazon has set up a subscription service where you can read over 70,000 titles if you pay a monthly fee. The books aren’t free (the subscriber is paying a fee) but you won’t get as much royalties as you’d like because its essentially a library. This will become more of a reality for the publishing industry and you can’t do much about it because the retailer is still paying you for the content.

4. Publishers print the books and ship them out, but retailers sell the books and hold the balance of power. Publishing has always been an industry where the retailer holds the power. The retailer is the middle person in the equation and as such is for the most part dealing with the customers. Publishers accept this because of the exposure books get, but also accept that as a result retailers set a lot of the rules for the relationship.

Even if you self-publish, you still end up dealing with retailers of some type. For example, if you write a book and want to sell it, where do you go? Amazon, because you know amazon provides you an opportunity to get in front of your audience. But when you do that you also understand that Amazon is dictating the terms because you need them more than they need you.

My point in writing this post is just to explain that while publishers can and will do their part to represent their authors interests, they nonetheless have to deal with the retailers and that relationship isn’t an equal one by any measure. Knowing that can help you the author understand why some things occur on amazon and other retailer sites.

How to work with Bookstores to Market Events

 

You’ve found a bookstore that will host your workshops. It’s pretty exciting, but now comes the tough part of marketing the event, plus doing due diligence on your part to make sure that both you and the store are successful. Both you and the bookstore owner need to be on the same page if your event is going to be successful and this isn’t always as easy as you’d think. The following tips can help you work with a bookstore to market your event as well as handle all the other due diligence issues that need to be raised.

1. Agree on the price, date, & workshops. Ideally you should contact a shop no later than 2 months out from the proposed date (I’d recommend 6 months so you can plan your marketing campaign accordingly). Figure out a date, time, and workshops you’ll be offering as well as what the price should be. Typically shops will make an arrangement of 70-30% split with you receiving 70 and them receiving 30. Email them your workshop description.

Now this is where a lot of authors and bookstores stop. The date has been set, the price set, and the workshops figured out and sent for the shop to put on their website…however there’s a lot more which needs to be done if you want a successful event, and both the author and bookstore need to do some work if your event is going to be successful.

2. Make sure the bookstore is going to order your books for the event. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a bookstore, with no books for your event, because the bookstore didn’t order any. Make sure the owner knows which books need to be ordered, as well as providing them the contact information for your publisher or distributor. Don’t assume that they have this information. Send them an email with suggested books they can order for the event, as well as the necessary contact information to order the books.

3. Get your marketing materials together. It’s not enough to write-up a workshop description and post it on your website and on the bookstore’s website. You need to market your event using multiple marketing channels that will help you raise awareness and interest in the event. The bookstore needs to also help with this effort, since they, like you, should have an existing audience. So what should be done:

  • Promote the event through your e-newsletter and make sure the shop is doing it as well.
  • Set up a Google Plus and Facebook Event for your workshop. Don’t use just Google Plus or Facebook…use both because different people prefer different platforms.
  • Make sure the store has a Google Plus Community and a Facebook Group for their shop. Don’t post to their business page, because the reach is poor. Having a Facebook group and Google Plus community on the other hand can be very effective reaching out to the community that goes to the store. Make sure you aren’t just promoting your event. Make sure you also are posting excerpts from your blog, which allows you to share content with people and build a relationship (To learn more, go here). Interacting with people ahead of time will generate interest in you and your workshops, especially if people don’t already know who you are.
  • Get physical flyers made up and emailed to the store so the store can have them on site for people who are come into the store. Need help developing a flyer? I recommend Shauna Aura Knight‘s services. Also if you are doing other events in the area ahead of time, take flyers with you to give to people attending the event.
  • Schedule a call with the shop owner to discuss what each of you can do to market the event and also to check in ahead of time to make sure people are signing up for the event.

4. Launch your marketing campaign. Once all the pieces are in place, launch your event. This means you post your newsletter, post on your social media, have flyers on hand, and otherwise talk up the event when its relevant to do so. The bookstore should also be posting about your event and telling their customers about it when they stop in the store.

Doing all of these activities will help you make the event successful by getting people into seats. However, it is important to get the bookstore on board and doing marketing as well. Some owners and employees will be easier to work with than others, but be persistent and if necessary be willing to provide some ideas on how they can market the event.

 

Para Kindred Blog Hop – Day 7

Welcome to day 7 of the Immanion Press blog hop for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred. Every day until 25th June the PK authors will be posting a blog post about their story in the collection. Read every contribution to the blog hop, answer all the secret questions about the posts, and you will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of our Café Press store.

Authors who don’t have blogs of their own will have their articles posted here. Today’s featured author is Daniela Ritter. The secret question is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions.

Maria’s question: Where was Chenga’s servant Dolah planning to escape to?

Earl’s question: Who do the spirit wolves watch over, according to legend.

Storm’s question: What can Cherrah do in the mountains that ordinary hara cannot?

Nerine’s question: What birds fly past Taym’s window as he’s staying in the garret?

Wendy’s question: What is the name of her alter-ego?

Fiona’s question: What colour did Kethoak turn when he mused on the fundamentally linear nature of time?

Daniela’s question: What was the name of the first har who arrived after Sapphire and Julee had founded Serenity?

 

Link to E. S. Wynn’s 16th June http://www.eswynn.com/2014/06/ghost-wolf.html

Link to Maria’s 17th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 18th June http://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Link to Nerine’s 19th June www.nerinedorman.blogspot.com

Link to Wendy’s 20th June https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6490018-para-kindred-blog-hop-day-4

Link to Fiona’s 21st June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

 

 

Julee

By Daniela Ritter

 

I am the phylarch of Serenity. I didn’t really chose to become that. It rather happened on its own.

In the beginning, Sapphire and I were alone. We had a lot of work to do. The village we had chosen as our home was lovely, but not in very good condition. Years, if not decades, of negligence due to the absence of the former inhabitants had taken their toll on the houses.

No day passed without Sapphire complaining extensively about what we found inside the dwellings: Heaps of dust, insect nests, rusted cans of what could have served as a good meal, roofs far from being intact and thus a large variety of fungi on the moist walls, or depressing remains of long deceased pets, still in their cages.

Sapphire did not seem to be comfortable. More than once I asked him if he would like to leave the village, which just made him mumble unintelligibly. Soon I figured that his rambling was only his way to deal with the depression the old houses tried to force on us.

The aura of death around them was unnerving. We found a total of six human bodies, all dressed and lying in beds or sitting in armchairs, as if they once had gone to a sleep they had not waken up from any more.

I admit that I threw up the moment we found the first one. The stench was not that bad, but I had never seen a dead body before. I had taken Sapphire for dead when I first saw him, though. But he had been a beautiful corpse. The humans we found were already beyond recognition.

Sapphire insisted on getting them out of the village at once, and of course I agreed. We couldn’t leave them where we found them, could we? The houses were to be occupied again.

So we piled them on an old handcart and brought them beyond the border Sapphire had drawn. There we burned them and gave them what we thought was a proper burial. Without knowing the dead and not being priests we did what we could to appease their spirits, so that they might not haunt us.

 

As he had promised, Sapphire had learned to build a magical barrier around the village to keep us from harm. Serenity was guarded by a huge invisible dome of energy. It covered the whole valley. When an outsider reached the border, it appeared to him that there was no valley at all, but an unfriendly looking plane, covered by sharp stone needles, slippery rocks and other obstacles which made it an uncomfortable road to chose. If the stranger wanted to try his luck anyway, he suddenly changed his mind when he touched the barrier and went away, forgetting about what he had seen.

The dome blocked everyhar’s way – as long as he was not expected or in need of help – but animals and rain passed through it as if it didn’t exist.

From the inside you could not see it was there. So it looked rather funny when you found strangers standing outside, gazing worriedly at the illusion of a dangerous plane, but at the same time staring right through you, not being able to perceive your presence. The dome concealed our auras as well as it hid any visual information about Serenity.

Sapphire and I both knew exactly where the energy met the ground because we renewed the magic patterns regularly. The easiest and most powerful way to do this was by performing a grissecon. I’m not as powerful as my chesnari is, but he always leads the ritual and guides me, and I became an efficient supporter.

Before we learnt how to do that however, we had to stand at the borders for hours, holding our hands up against the barrier and channelling agmara. Both methods are effective, but grissecon is more efficient. And more fun, to be honest.

 

Arynn was the first who found us. Sapphire was sleeping off his blood loss at the time, so I was not expecting to meet anyone around the village.

In the afternoon I was collecting firewood. The autumn air was warm and the birds were singing. I was at peace with myself and the world.

Searching for fallen twigs and branches as a first start, I roamed between the trees. That’s where I found him. Huddled beneath a heap of fallen leaves, I discovered a sleeping har. Eyeing him curiously, I ventured towards him.

The rustling sound of my steps woke him. After blinking sleepily for a few times, he finally noticed me and jumped on his feet, alarmed. Scared but decisive, he reached for a small branch on the ground and pointed it into my direction. “Go away! Leave me alone!” he barked.

Looking down at my bundle of branches, I smiled. I had more sticks than he did.

“There’s no need to be afraid, Tiahaar.” I glanced up, and as I had expected, I found him startled. My appearance confused him. “Yes, I’m har, too. And whatever is wrong with you, you are welcome here. This is the village Serenity, a refugee camp for failed inceptions.”

I had been practising that little speech in secret. Now I was proud that I could hold it without stuttering. I was very excited, but I desperately wanted to make a good impression on him.

Thinking back now, I should have been a little more vary of the complete stranger in front of me. After all, if he had wanted to attack me, Sapphire would have been left without protection in the worst case. But back then I was convinced that my chesnari’s magic worked just fine, and that the unknown har could only be needing help.

That indeed was the case. The stranger looked me up and down. “Really..? I mean, you’re… and you’re sure, that you’re…” He slowly lowered the stick, showing the first, careful trust in me.

I smiled. “Well, I did acquire a soume-lam, so…” “I didn’t” he half-whispered.

At first I frowned. Could he be human? No, not if he knew what I was talking about. I opened my arms. “So, make yourself a home here, then. We’re only three now, but I’m sure others will follow. What’s your name?”

The stick dropped onto the ground and he ventured closer. “Arynn.” He bowed, insecure if I might be a har of high rank. “You are… the phylarch, then?”

I thought about that for a moment. I actually had mused that Sapphire would be our leader, but what good is a leader who needs so much time for sleeping and recovering? Someone would need to substitute him in that time. And I guessed he would trust me doing that.

“I think so. My name is Julee har Serenity.” I returned the bow to show him that I did not consider him a lesser person. Arynn smiled.

 

In the evening we were already talking like old friends. It turned out that he was had found the village by following an indistinct feeling, like a pull in his chest. At that time he had been living on his own for a few months already. The subconscious call had appeared all of a sudden, when he had once again parted from a group of travelling hara. He never stayed with others for longer than a few days. Not any longer than it took him to take the occasional aruna in the dark, where nohar could see what was wrong with him.

Later I learned that nearly everyhar who arrived in Serenity told that very story. It’s a shame that the first Wraeththu, who had undergone a massive change in their physical bodies, nevertheless cast  out those who had changed differently. I often shook my head at how fast hara had set up rules of how a proper har has to look like.

Well, those unlucky ones were welcome in our little family. I did my best to welcome everyhar without being biased in any way, but I have to admit that it was not always as easy as I had imagined.

For instance, Jennah’s body fought the change fiercly during althaia. In the end the human flesh had to submit, of course, but his face remained somewhat askew. He has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen, and the rest of his body is perfectly normal. But I admit I had to learn looking at him without wincing.

I openly admire him. He wore a mask at first, but as time went by, he learned not to be ashamed. He even lets his chesnari call him “Picasso”, as a reference to these old paintings. I like to imagine that I have been a kind of role model for hara who are ugly but happy and that I helped him with that, but I don’t want to ask.

 

After we had become a considerable group, I took up my training again. I have always been a good fighter, and despite of my looks I am quick, and having to carry my own weight every day makes me probably even strong than the average har.

Sapphire got to know me when I was depressed and mistook me for a weak coward. Living in Serenity and doing good work for other hara quickly returned my self confidence. I had become a leader, and as a har in charge for others I had to be able to defend myself and my family.

 

Those who were interested got lessons in how to disarm or hold down somehar – or, in the last resort, how to kill. In my early days as a har I have taken lives, as have most of those from the first generation. But the times in which I was proud of that have long gone. Luckily, as Sapphire’s barrier hides us well, we have never been attacked.

 

It is early in the evening. The sun already touches the mountains that surround the valley. Nightfall comes quickly in Serenity. Everyhar knows that. Yet a certain someone usually denies that once month.

As I expected I find Sapphire hunched in our garden, digging frantically in the earth. Although the full moon will soon rise, he does anything but prepare for his ritual. I sigh and step up to him.

“What do you think you’re doing?” I do my best to look stern, but he does not even lift his face.

“Planting flowers. Don’t you see?” he mumbles. Shaking my head, I remark: “You’re ruining them, actually.” Sapphire snorts. “Ah, screw the daisies. I got seeds for moon flowers. Lunil’s going to like them.”

My voice becomes louder now. “Sapphire, you have an appointment! Don’t make me drag you up to that pool!”

Now I have his attention. He looks up at me, then turns his head to the flag pole we have built in the middle of the village. Most hara get their water from the stream which flows down from the mountain pool that Sapphire bleeds in, so on the day before full moon we fly a large, red banner. From dusk to dawn nobody will touch the water, then. That’s enough time to allow my chesnari’s ritual and afterwards rinse out all the blood.

Today Sapphire sticks out his tongue to the banner, that dutifully announces his inner moon cycle. “Lunil can bite me. I have not finished, yet,” he decides.

Thank Lunil, he’s not always like that. But when he is, he even manages to annoy a patient har like me. At least I know he doesn’t mean to. His hormones are driving him crazy right now.

Sapphire is the kind of har who hates losing control. So although he has accepted his regular bleeding, he tends to procrastinate the inevitable. I guess he wants to prove to himself that he  makes his own rules by that.

And so I realise that I won’t get to him with words. Well, I know other methods, too. Proudly I strike a fighting pose, threatening to kick him if he doesn’t move.

Sapphire blinks. “Oh no, you wouldn’t.” “If I have to, I will” I answer calmly. He just snorts and keeps on digging, until he suddenly hangs upside down. I have grabbed him by the ankle and hold him in the air, while I patiently wait for his loud rambling to end.

A minute later, Sapphire folds his arms and pouts, trying to look superior despite of his embarrassing situation. “Fine” he finally agrees. “Okay, I’ll go. Let me down!”

I know that trick, so I insist: “You will go now. Right now.”

“Right now” he repeats somewhat quiet. Smiling, I lay him softly on the ground. Sapphire chuckles. Mood swing at its best.

“You caught me.” he admits. “I know,” I whisper softly. I kneel beside him and bent down to share breath. I taste a dark velvet night sky over a wide, nightly meadow speckled with white bonfires.

With a satisfied smile, Sapphire looks up to me. “You know, sometimes I don’t know how you can stand me.” I kiss him on the forehead. “Because I love you, silly. And besides on werewolf-days, you are wonderful.”

He really is.

Para Kindred Blog Hop – Day 5

Welcome to day 5 of the Immanion Press blog hop for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred. Every day until 25th June the PK authors will be posting a blog post about their story in the collection. Read every contribution to the blog hop, answer all the secret questions about the posts, and you will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of our Café Press store.

Authors who don’t have blogs of their own will have their articles posted here. Today’s featured author is Wendy Darling. We know it says ‘day 4’ on Wendy’s blog, but this because she got mixed up about where she was in the roster! The secret question is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions.

 

Maria’s question: Where was Chenga’s servant Dolah planning to escape to?

Earl’s question: Who do the spirit wolves watch over, according to legend.

Storm’s question: What can Cherrah do in the mountains that ordinary hara cannot?

Nerine’s question: What birds fly past Taym’s window as he’s staying in the garret?

Wendy’s question: What is the name of her alter-ego?

 

Link to E. S. Wynn’s 16th June http://www.eswynn.com/2014/06/ghost-wolf.html

Link to Maria’s 17th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 18th June http://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Link to Nerine’s 19th June www.nerinedorman.blogspot.com

Link to Wendy’s 20th June https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6490018-para-kindred-blog-hop-day-4

One of the Realities of Publishing

 

One of the realities that authors may not know about the publishing industry is that when a book is published, the publisher pays a fee to publish the book. And this fee is paid each year by the publisher. The reason I mention this is because if you wonder why a book goes out of print, that fee is one of the reasons. Because Immanion Press is a small press and we run on tight budget, we keep books in print for as long as we can, but when the book sales don’t support the fee getting paid, we pull the book from our lineup. This is one reason its important for an author to market their books. Books don’t automatically sell. What sells a book, more than anything is the author, because what people are really buying when they buy a book is access to the author.

When a book gets published, an author might be tempted to believe that the heavy work is done. After all the book is written and surely that was all that needed to be done. The reality is that the heavy work is just beginning for the author. There are no hordes of readers eagerly awaiting your book unless you have already established your presence enough that people want more of your work. In order for your book to sell you’ve got to do the work of promoting it, as well as promoting yourself. The reality of being an author is that you essentially start your own business when you write and publish a book. Unless you treat it like a business, chances are your book won’t sell.

Some authors are turned off by the idea of marketing their book. They feel that marketing takes away from the artistic aesthetic of the book, but if anything I’d argue that any successful author will tell you that marketing is part of artistic aesthetic of the book and just as importantly part of what calls a person to write. You likely aren’t writing a book just to write, but to actually share what you are writing with someone else. So if you are writing for that purpose, then marketing your book and yourself shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for you. What it involves is telling people about the subject material of the book and related topics. It’s not complicated and if you love talking about those subjects then it provides you the perfect opportunity to do so.

Of course marketing isn’t just on the author. The publisher should do their part to market the book as well. At Immanion, we’re in the process of trying a couple of marketing ideas out and we’ve recently found a designer who can help us with the advertising. We want our authors to succeed and we want to help them sell books so that their audience can read and appreciate the work the author put into the book. More than anything we want to keep the books in print so that people have access to them. So the marketing is on us as well. And if the author and publisher can work as a team the marketing that occurs can make the book stand out and help the author get the recognition they deserve.