The Dragons go to War – “Kraken War” Release

Cover Kraken War

Kraken War

Today, “Kraken War” has gone live. It’s the exciting sequel to “Dorelle’s Journey”.

Dorelle is back in the Western Kingdom, after delivering her warning. And the King springs into action, organizing a fighting force, and giving Dorelle joint command with the Crown Prince, Orlen.

They don’t know that treachery is already brewing in the wings. A dragon has plans of her own… and when the fighting doesn’t go well, she acts on them.

Dorelle and Orlen have to fight the ultimate battle to save their lands, to beat back the aggressive kraken and to keep as many dragons alive as possible. Of course, Dorelle listens to her heart more often than to cold, military logic, with far-reaching consequences.

And then there’s a Wing Commander who stays true to his calling and his heart even under horrible circumstances and duress. A hero who would rather die than betray his Kingdom…

Follow the fighting dragons, and be swept away to a foreign land full of adventure, love, treachery, and heart-wrenching loyalty.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Kraken War” is released both as ebook and in print. And as a special favor to my fans, you’ll receive the ebook for free if you buy print through Amazon. (Print is going through review, as well as matching with the ebook and should be available again tomorrow.)

As always, I’m asking a favor:
Please leave a few words on Amazon, Goodreads or your blogs if you enjoyed the story. And please, let me know if and when you do.

Also feel free to comment below!

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“Dorelle’s Journey” Goodreads Giveaway!

Dorelle's Journey

Dorelle’s Journey

This is an awesome opportunity for every reader and fan: I’m giving away five signed print copies of “Dorelle’s Journey” through a Goodreads Giveaway – starting today!

And yes, I’m sending them to all possible countries listed on Goodreads. (I personally hate Giveaways restricted to the US and the UK. And since I’m in Germany, I’ll have to pay international postage anyway. So there!)

The catch is that you have to be a Goodreads member to participate. On the other hand, registration is totally free, and of course, Goodreads is a great way to find new and exciting books.

So how can you get one of the signed copies?

Follow this:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dorelle's Journey by Hannah Steenbock

Dorelle’s Journey

by Hannah Steenbock

Giveaway ends May 10, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

If you’re already a Goodreads member, just fill in your address and hit submit.
If not, you’ll have to sign up and then come back to participate in the Giveaway.

I will sign every single copy with a personalized entry before sending them out.

What are you waiting for?

Your Turn:
Do you have any questions about the Giveaway?
Would you like to say something about “Dorelle’s Journey”?

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The “Print is Growing Again” Meme Must Die

Argh!

Argh!

This is a meme that really, truly has to die. It rears its ugly head way too often and is constantly repeated in one medium or other. Today, it showed up in the Guardian, and I just couldn’t take it any more.

This meme is WRONG.

It’s based on the idea that Nielsen (and other bookseller) reporting numbers are close to reality and can actually give valid information about how many ebooks are being sold. Or allow correct comparisons between ebook and print sales.

Thing is, Nielsen’s numbers are based on ISBNs. And that’s the simple reason why their data is flawed. Severely flawed. Here’s why:

Amazon ebooks have ASINs. (And yes, Amazon is the biggest distributor of ebooks.)

They may have ISBNs, especially when they are published by a big publisher, but most self-published ebooks on Amazon do not. They don’t need them. And most indie authors don’t bother with ISBNs, because buying them is expensive in most countries. (Yay for Canada where they are free!)

Which means:
Nielson does not even
see most sales of self-published ebooks.
Weiterlesen

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New BHCAuthors Website—Connecting Readers to Authors

This is awesome news from the wonderful people who turn my manuscripts into wonderful and beautiful ebooks and print.

I present: Blue Harvest Creative!

Blue Harvest Creative is excited to announce the next generation of independence has arrived!

BHC Authors Logo

Welcome to the BHC Authors website—a place dedicated to bringing readers and authors together. If you love to read, this is the place to be. Find a new favorite genre or author. Check out new releases and titles. Or enter a giveaway or promotion.

Here’s what you’ll find when you visit BHCAuthors.com

  • Author spotlights—Get up close and personal. Enter our monthly giveaway for a chance to win autographed print titles or eBooks from featured authors.
  • Reader/ARC (advanced reader copy) Program—Love to read? Want to see new titles before they are released? Enjoy giving feedback and discovering new authors or genres? Be sure to sign up for our ARC program.

BHC Authors Reader Program

  • News and events—Check our calendar often. You never know where a BHC Author will turn up!
  • Are you a reviewer, blogger, or journalist interested in review copies or scheduling an interview? Visit our media center, and we’ll be sure to get you everything you need.
  • Librarians and booksellers can also contact us at the media center. We’re here to make your job easier.
  • If you run a readers’ group, we offer book club reader’s guides for many of our titles and we’re always adding more.
  • Purchases titles and other nifty products from our Amazon affiliate store—From books to writer’s tools of the trade, and more, you’ll find it all here, right at your fingertips.
  • Meet the BHC Authors—Many of whom have won multiple awards and are USA Today bestsellers—and get to know their work.

BHC Authors Website

 

  • Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about new titles, promotions, events, sales, and more. We hate spam as much as the next person, so we only send out about one email per month. Our intent is not to solicit services. Our newsletters only feature information about BHC Authors.

We’re just gearing up, and we’ll be adding more exciting features. Love our website? Have an idea to share or something you’d like to see featured? We’d love to hear from you, and we appreciate and value your ideas and suggestions. Please email us at:  Feedback (at) BHCAuthors (dot) com

Thanks for stopping by and supporting independently published authors!

Click HERE to visit the BHC Authors website.

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I’m Proud to be an Indie Autor

happy author

Happy Author

From my posts you may have seen that I’m an indie author who self-publishes her books.

And I’m proud of it.

Yes, sometimes I see things that make me cringe. Yesterday, I was pointed to a book (which shall remain nameless) that was obviously, painfully, badly indie.

– The cover was gruesome.
– There was a glaring error in the first sentence of the description.
– The copyright notice looked utterly unprofessional.
– More errors in the first few paragraphs, disjointed writing, and headhopping.
– And yes, it was free.

Now, the fact that this particular author hit “publish” on Amazon KDP doesn’t make me proud. But what I like is that he or she had the option to do so.

The biggest part of being an indie author is freedom.

Freedom to write what we want.

You see, I have a friend who wrote a great historical novel – set in Egypt. No publisher would touch it. She wrote another novel set in the middle ages, and they loved it. That’s where the market was, they said, and gave her a contract. And asked her to write more of the same.

I can write what I love. I can write stories that make my heart sing – and I believe that such stories will find readers that connect with it.

Freedom to do our own marketing.

There is one novel I wrote that I don’t have control over. The marketing makes me cry. It doesn’t sell. To me, it’s a wasted novel, which is a shame because I also happen to think it’s a good one.

If I could, I would change everything about that novel, but most of all the price and the description. Control is very important.

Freedom to create awesome book descriptions.

Book descriptions are what makes a potential reader either buy outright or “look inside”. A great book description is the the best prep for a sale. And as indie authors who are responsible for every aspect of our books, we can tweak them until the do their job.

Freedom to be professional.

I believe this one is key.

You see, as indies, we don’t have to follow everything that traditional publishers do, but we can take those parts of their business that work, and find our own ways to do them at least as well – or better.

– Get editing.
– Get a professional cover.
– Invest in marketing.

And then there are things we can do even better than traditional publishers.

– Create a professional presence on social media.
– Own our webspace and presentation.
– Connect with readers and create fans.

The choice is ours. And  believe every indie author should choose to be as professional as possible.

– Write the best book you possibly can.
– Write what you love, with heartblood.
– Make your book show up as professional as possible.
– Learn everything you can about publishing.

Yes, I’m proud to be an indie author.

Your Turn:
What do you think about indie authors? What are your experiences?

Image source: F. Moebius

PS: If you like my books, please consider writing a review. It doesn’t have to be complicated or long. You don’t have to explain what the book is about. Just let people know what you enjoyed about the story.

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About Writing Dragons

It has taken me a long, long time to write about dragons in a serious way. Which is funny, because I’ve always loved dragons.

I remember reading a German children’s book that has dragons in it. Ugly, nasty, dirty and altogether unpleasant dragons. (Jim Knopf und Lukas, der Lokomotivführer, by Michael Ende). Actually, there is one exception to that but she doesn’t get much screen time – I won’t say more because of spoilers.

Then Pern happened to me when I was an exchange student. I spent much of my free time translating Dragon Flight into German… And that set the standard rather high. Of course, I imagined my very own dragon, with her own name. Who didn’t?

Also, most dragons in Dungeons and Dragons are … bad news. I actually played a character once who developed dragon characteristics – there was a half-dragon player set in 3E, if I remember correctly. Sadly, that game didn’t go very far, and the group dissolved soon after that.

So dragons have always been on my mind, but it has taken me until now to actually tell a story about them. Maybe it’s because I decided that the Pern dragons are not going anywhere anymore. Or maybe I finally wanted to create my own take.

Dorelle's Journey

Dorelle’s Journey

You see, “my” dragons are a little like Pern dragons. They speak in their riders’ minds. They don’t go between, though. And their wings are covered in down, like dinosaurs, while the bodies are covered in scales. I kinda liked that idea, so it’ll stay. Oh, and they can shift color, which is rather neat, too. And different.

Sadly, most of the dragons are treated like animals, or flying horses. Only a few people are aware enough – or not indoctrinated enough – to recognize their intelligence and loyalty.

My hero, Dorelle, grew up in a fishing village and thus was not taught as a child that dragons had to be dominated and rigidly controlled in order to be safe. Instead, her dragon Mashira became her best friend.

That’s why Dorelle did the unthinkable when Mashira was threatened with death. She deserted.

You can already preorder the tale of what Dorelle and Mashira went through on their journey, and find out why they chose to return, after all. And it’ll go live on February 24th, together with a print edition.

“Dorelle’s Journey” on Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.de

And there will be more. I’m calling this The Cloud Lands Saga.

Because I discovered I love writing dragons.

Your Turn:
Which is your favorite dragon? And if you’re really daring … what’s your Pern dragon’s name? (Mine was Marianth.)

Image Source: Blue Harvest Creative

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Books I enjoyed in 2014

Reading

Reading

I’ve been thinking about what to write at the beginning of a new year. I could talk about projects, about plans and characters that I love … but there is plenty of time to do so later.

So I decided to make a list of books that really touched me in 2014. That’s not going to be easy because I don’t usually take notes about books. (Here’s a thought: A book journal, jotting down a few ideas about every book I read…)

I’m excluding non-fiction (of which I read a lot, being a coach and therapist in my other life), since this is the blog of a fiction writer.

Anyway, here we go, in no particular order as I dig through my Kindle:

The Mage Winds Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey

Reading these books early in 2014 was like revisiting an old friend, with new adventures. I enjoy Valdemar a lot, and these tales were nice, entertaining and soothing. There was some brooding, but not near as much as in the Vanyel trilogy. Also, much less heartbreak. ( And it was kind of nice to learn something new about Vanyel, too.) I was at a point where I needed soothing and entertaining more than dark. Weiterlesen

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Flash Friday: The Summoning

Well, demons are the favorite playthings of some summoners. Not all of them, as you can see.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carefully, Daron drew the pentacle with holy chalk. Then he lit the candles one by one, closing the circle with the calling of the four elements.

With two deep breaths, he centered himself before starting the incantation.

“I call thee, Svarog,
for the might of the fire
for the power of the game
for the will of the desire
for the aim of the flame.”

The air flickered around him. Power moved on a larger scale than he ever expected. A flicker of fear stole over him, and he brushed it away.

“I call thee, Svarog,
for the roar of the fire
for the …”

Something moved. He whirled. A flickering spark flew up from the pentacle, followed by a larger one. Daron cringed as the pentacle on the floor filled with fire. Flames roared up, and he took a step back. One candle fell, breaking the circle. As fire engulfed him and seared his body, a voice entered his gibbering mind.

“YOU CALLED?”

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Flash Friday: My Friend

boat

Boat

Water had always been my friend. Until today. Today, it had become my enemy. Alone in the sea, my boat sinking to the bottom, I knew that water would kill me. It was just a matter of time.

For now, it still carried me. Floating on my back, I stared up at the sky. The sun was setting. Already, I could feel the cold creeping into my body and started to shiver. The sky turned purple, then dark blue. Stars sparkled in a final salute.

I caught the moon rising above the waves when the shivering gradually ceased. In a part of my mind, I knew the end was near. Yet it was nice to just lie here in peace, being gently rocked by long waves. I drifted into sleep, didn’t even fight when water covered my face. I just allowed myself to slip under.

It was so easy.

I blinked, fully awake again. The water around me was alive, vibrating with color and energy. It took me a while to understand, but then I laughed. Oh, yes, water was my element, and now I had become a part of it.

I smiled and rose through my new world.

Your Turn:
What do you think happened?

Image source: F. Moebius

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Flash Friday: Alchemist’s Dream

alchemist

Alchemist

He was so close. The residue in the glass had gleamed in such a way he knew making gold was in his grasp. Once again he mixed fluids, heated them gently, stirred them diligently. This time, he would add one more ingredient.

It had taken a lot of negotiation with the thieves’ guild before they agreed to get it. In the end, he promised a year’s supply of that gray powder he had discovered. They used it to blow open locks, a weapon that had all traders paying the guild so their coffers would be spared. He had given that task to his new apprentice. Let the fool grind charcoal and sulfur, and mix it with saltpeter. He was meant for better things.

Very gently, he lowered the glass back into the flames, gave it a final shake. The concoction welled up again, and a golden shimmer began to coat the glass. His heart beating with glee, he lifted the glass high. Finally!

“Master!” The scream was followed by rapidly retreating footsteps.

What…?

Before he could finish the thought, a huge explosion shattered the laboratory, tore apart the walls and smashed all hopes of ever finding the alchemist’s dream.

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