Kraken War

When my friend Ashley showed me her draft for the cover of “Kraken War”, I stared.

You see, I thought we’d see Prince Orlen on the cover, since he is getting quite a part in the book. And because he matters so much for Dorelle.

But that wan, worn person on the cover was NOT how I had seen Orlen in my mind.

I liked the feel of the cover. Dramatic, mysterious, dangerous… it goes well with what happens in Kraken War.

But that guy…

I spent hours digging through Shutterstock, looking for my Prince. Looking for a picture that would stir my blood like Orlen does for Dorelle.

Nothing.

And finally, it dawned on me.

That guy on the cover is not Prince Orlen. Never was. Didn’t even try to be.

Because that man is Debesh.

Originally, I thought Debesh a little taller, but definitely thin. Or slender (much nicer word).

And then I thought about what I do to Debesh in the book. How much I hurt him. And how much I admire his tenacity, he sheer pig-headedness, his… loyalty, through everything I throw at him. He may not be imposing physically, not at first sight.

Yet Debesh is tough. Resilitent. Doing what must be done – very much like Dorelle, really. I love that guy. (That’s why he got to live, too. I just couldn’t kill him.)

Seeing him draw his sword like that while being weary and tired of fighting – that spoke to my heart.

And so I fell in love with the cover, and yes, I changed the story a little so the guy on the cover matches my description of Debesh.

And here you are:

Kraken War Cover

“Kraken War”

What do you think?

Let me know in a comment.

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The New Look of “Dorelle’s Journey”

Today, I want to talk a little about the new cover and the new interior design of “Dorelle’s Journey”.

You see, I liked the original cover. I wasn’t that thrilled with the interior graphics, but the whole book looked nice and cool with all of the chapter headers and break graphics. I had hired people to do that for me, and I got what I paid for.

I still don’t regret that choice. I made it from where I was then, and it was okay. It was the best I could do then.

But there were hints that maybe the cover and design weren’t as good as they could have been. That maybe they didn’t quite fit the story.

You see, I got one review on a big, influential review site where the reviewer thought my characters were young teenagers. Granted, part of that was because the site categorized my story as “children’s” since it doesn’t contain much swearing or sex.

Young teenagers. Soldiers. Commanders. Fighters. Really?

It totally shocked me. My books are fantasy adventures, the series does move on to contain some sex and mild swearing (I invented new swear words), and it certainly wasn’t intended for children. And Dorelle is in her mid-twenties, and Ferren, her Wing Commander is in his mid-thirties, at least in my imagination.

And I started to wonder why someone would have that impression (aside from reading the Hunger Games…). Seriously. Teenagers? Kid Lit? My tale?

Enter the cover and the cute, swirly interior graphics.

Stuff you find in children’s books.

And you don’t find these things in serious, epic or classic fantasy for adults. In fact, the cover was just too sweet, as well. No real drama. Nothing to draw a reader in, despite the mysterious castle and the swooping dragons. I did like the sailing ship because it does show up in the story. But there just isn’t much drama with that bland background.

Now, in the meantime, designing an ebook or the interior of a print book has become much, much easier with the advent of Jutoh and reasonable CreateSpace templates. And let me mention the integrated PDF function of LibreOffice, which makes it even easier. Yes, it embeds the fonts you’re using. Yes, CreateSpace is happy with the PDF.

When I found someone to create new covers, the decision was clear.

The entire dragon series would get a facelift.

I wrote about that about a month ago. The facelift is practically done, and I’m working hard to get the fourth and final part of the series ready for publication.

Over the course of a few days, Ashley, my cover designer, and I put together the new cover for “Dorelle’s Journey”. I scoured Shutterstock for a picture of an archer who fit my sense of Dorelle – a clear-headed, no-nonsense, dragon-loving independet fighter. Ashley offered a cute, pouty girl, a fairy-type archer, and I just couldn’t see her as Dorelle. “My” Dorelle isn’t cute. She’s tough and does what she has to do.

So I picked the archer who is now on the cover (not that there was much choice, mind you). Ashely removed the ugly orange glove she’s wearing in the original, but the bow is still a tad too modern (like I said, little choice so this is a compromise). And I think Ashley created a fantastic atmosphere of drama and tension for the cover, including that dragon winging across it. I’m still fascinated by the complex background, too.

Now, I also picked the font myself, and it will be the signature font for Hannah Steenbock (love how that name comes out in it!). Yet I’m not entirely happy with the all-caps title since the swirly capital letters don’t work that well in all-caps. For now, however, it’ll stand. And Ashley did an amazing silver effect on the letters that I utterly love.

So here I proudly present the new cover for Dorelle’s Journey:

Title Picture for "Dorelle's Journey"

“Dorelle’s Journey”

 

I did all the work on the ebook and the print interior myself. And of course, with print, you want a clean, readable font and no nonsense. For an ebook, choices are even less, since most eReaders pick a font for you. Basically, with an ebook, you can choose either serif or non-serif, and that’s about it.

So the ebook is plain Times New Roman. Very simple. Nothing to take attention away from the story itself. No graphics that blow up file size…

And for the print, I used the title font for the chapter headers, and plain, old boring Times New Roman for the text. The Chapter Headers are the only fancy stuff in it. Here’s a pic:

Chapter Header Chapter One

Chapter Header of the print version

 

And that’s how I like it. Simple, a little elegant, and definitely Fantasy.

So that’s what I’ve been up to with my dragon books. I hope you’ll get interested enough to check them out.

Here’s a link that’ll take you to your Amazon store: “Dorelle’s Journey”. And if you have read and enjoyed the tale – let me know! Any questions, too! (Same goes for any typos, errors and mistakes, of course.)

I’m looking forward to your comments.

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The Cloud Lands Saga Month

Exciting times lie ahead:

The Cloud Lands Saga books are getting a face-lift.

In fact, I’m completely re-formatting them, and my wonderful friend Ashley Fontainne is creating new covers for them. (And I’m fixing some typos, ahem.)

I can’t wait to show off those covers. I think they are amazing – and I will devote a blog post to each cover when the books go live.

I’m releasing one per week this month.

But – I hear you say – there are four weeks in the month of March.

Indeed.

And that’s why in week four, I will release the latest and final part of The Cloud Lands Saga: “Betrayal”

Watch Dorelle and Debesh deal with exile in the Cloud Lands. And watch Ferren spin evil plans and wander into full treason…

Soon.

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Some Thoughts on Sex

Love

Love

You don’t know me – Joanna Steenen – yet, but I write erotic Romance, and I’m about to self-publish my first couple of stories. Now “erotic” means explicit, so yes, I describe clearly what’s happening in bed in those stories. And I describe the feelings during the act.

Which is often considered “dirty” or “disgusting” or even “taboo”.

Part of me wonders if that’s because it can be so wonderful? I mean, isn’t orgasm wonderful? Delightful? Pure joy?

Medically, it’s good for you, too. It brings down blood pressure, for example.

So why is it considered dirty?

I believe it is the very level of enjoyment that causes this reaction. You see, Protestants and Calvinists believed that the world is a sad place by design. A dreadful place, intended to teach us humility and obedience to God. A lifelong test of our virtue.

And anything fun, beautiful or joyful thus must come from Satan, the enemy of God. So sex, arguably one of the most enjoyable things in the world, must have come from the devil. And thus it must be dirty, sinful and avoided, because that is what Satan is.

And the only way it can ever be allowed is as a joyless duty with the single purpose of procreation.

But what if they got it completely wrong?

What if sex, if orgasm is actually a gift of God?

A gift helping us to enjoy our physical shape while we’re down here on Earth. Maybe life down here isn’t about suffering at all. Maybe it is about love, being together, creating life together, in all possible manners.

Because here’s another aspect of sex: It is most delightful when both are enjoying it. Trusting each other, opening to each other. Then you can get the kind of mindmeld and bodymeld that is only possible through sex.

This is sacred connection.

And the only sin with sex – if we take this point of view – is to be disconnected from each other. Is to ignore the other, their feelings, their desire, their needs, and just taking pleasure for yourself.

Taking this thought to the extreme, rape is the ultimate sin, taking sacred sex and turning it into an egotrip.

What would happen if we consider sex to be sacred?

Something to be shared, created on purpose and enjoyed?

Prostitution would be a sin, too, because there is no mutual commitment. Rapists would be considered immature, egoistical criminals, and punishment would be severe. It could no longer be seen as “boys will be boys” on a slightly bigger scale. It would be seen as betrayal of something sacred. (Which it should be even now!)

It might even change our society. If sex is no longer dirty and something to hide away, if gentle, caring connections with others were something to be absolutely desired – how would people change?

How would life be if we value our intimate connection to others above all?

I have no idea. I haven’t gotten that far, but I would certainly like to explore such a world.

What do you think?

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Finderlohn – Ein Konrad Zarezky Roman

Finderlohn

Finderlohn

Entstanden ist der erste Entwurf für dieses Buch im November 2006, während NaNoWriMo. Ich habe es dann ein paar Monate später fertiggestellt, überarbeitet und schließlich meiner Agentur gezeigt.

Die hielt es für nicht vermarktbar.

Dann lag es etliche Jahre in der Schublade, auch nachdem ich den Vertrag mit der Agentur aufgelöst hatte.

Den entscheidenden Impuls, jetzt doch endlich dranzugehen und den Roman zu veröffentlichen, gab mir übrigens mein Vater. Er war es, der mit mir losfuhr, um den Ort des großen Showdowns am Kyffhäuer zu inspizieren. Geschrieben hatte ich die Szenen nämlich nur anhand von Bildern aus Google Earth. (Die Seite ist eine großartige Quelle für Landschaftsszenen).

Und als wir dann im Nieselregen zurück zum Auto gingen – das übrigens genau dort geparkt war, wo auch Konrad im Roman sein Auto parkt – nahm mir mein Vater das Versprechen ab, das Buch im nächsten Jahr (2016) zu veröffentlichen. Das habe ich nicht ganz geschafft, aber immerhin, jetzt ist es als eBuch erschienen.

Viel Spaß damit.

Amazon DE
Amazon US

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Musings – What can an Author do?

Flying to the Stars

Flying to the Stars

Like most of us, I expected the 21st century to be good. I thought a lot of the amazing things from Star Trek and other SF would come true, or be closer to becoming reality.

And we dreamed about all of it.

I thought we’d make amazing technological progress as well as getting better as a society. Equal rights. Eliminate hunger. Educate all children. And of course, all of this:

Flying cars.
Clean, limitless energy.
A society that is inclusive and caring.
Space explorations.
A Moon colony.
And possibly, maybe, clear steps towards peace on Earth.

And we truely do have amazing things:

Pocket computers
Free video phone calls
Self-driving cars (they are coming)
Solar energy
Private space companies
Indie publishing

And yet, 17 years into this brilliant, bright, exciting new century… the world looks dark and threatening.

This year is starting out much, much darker than I ever expected.

Authoritarianism on the rise.
Populist parties everywhere.
Democracies losing fundamental elements.
Hungaria, Turkey, Egypt, Poland.
Wars. Syria still tearing itself apart.
ISIS
Brexit.
Russia, which never really was much of a democracy… working to destabilize the West
And now the big elephant in the room: America.

It seems the American people elected (in the way the system works) an archeype of American society: A con man. A gangster boss. A dye-in-the-wool, brutal, selfish capitalist who will recklessly plunder his own land and as much of others as he can, and pocket the dollars himself.

Suddenly, this bright, new century looks like a repetition of the ones before.

Dark beginnings.

1814/15 Congress of Vienna, the attempt to resore order after the devastating Napoleonic Wars
1914-18 First World War, with horrible casualties and the first use of chemical warfare
2017… we don’t know yet, but I’m scared of an almost casual use of nuclear weapons – worst case scenario… imagine a single, strategic nuke dropped on Beijing, eliminating China’s government… someone might get away with it… blackmail the rest of the world for a while. Until we have an all-out war.

Dark times.

So what can an author do?

What can I do?

I know that people usually don’t want to read dark stories in dark times.

Which means I should spend my time writing fun adventures with happy endings. Stories that help my readers escape the fear of what is going on in the world right now.

But shouldn’t I do more? Isn’t there a responsibility to teach? To encourage? To motivate?

To stand up for my values and convictions, but how?

How can I make it matter?

What do you do, fellow authors?

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The Aware Author – Relationships

Relationships

Relationships

Stories always are about relationships. They can be loving, hateful, dangerous or supporting – but a story rarely works without the main character having a relationship to someone or something.

Which makes it interesting for me to observe relationships, and look at the patterns I see in them. How do people express love? Or hate? What does a certain look mean, which words are code for something? It can be quite fascinating.

Right now, one of my neighbors is quite obviously expressing frustration and hate. Screaming, slamming doors, thumping things… unfortunately, it’s a pattern I have been observing for a while now.

It might find its way into a story eventually.

But his is a tragic story, and I don’t see a happy end for him at all.

That sadness is another pattern in a relationship…

An author’s mind can be a terrifying thing.

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Thoughts on Freedom

my way

My Way

I’m an indie author.

I choose what I want to write.

Sometimes, I aim for markt. Sometimes, I write for friends or fans.

And sometimes, I just write for fun.

This November, for NaNoWriMo, I wrote for fun.

Admittedly, I started out writing a story for fans. And got stuck in it. I know I’ll finish it eventually, the big plot lines are firmly established, and pantsing the small stuff makes the story fun to write. But I got stuck anyway, and decided to give my peeps time to reorganize themselves.

So now I’m putting words into another story that I enjoy very much. I wrote about it earlier because it’ll end up as two stories, eventually. (Recycling Story Ideas)

Being an indie author, I can do what I want, how I want it and when I want it. And I can have a dragon shifter romance with a strong female lead, I can have a war mare in it (although I still have to figure out how to take care of her in the end), and I can write that story exactly the way I want to read it.

Because I don’t have to please an editor.
Because I don’t have to please a marketing expert.
Because I don’t have to write to deadlines for a publisher.

This is total creative freedom, and I love it.

Readers, on the other hand, have the freedom to pick up exactly those books they want to read, too.

They can finally get as many Romance stories as they want to. With or without dragons.
They can look around and are no longer bound by book fashions.
They can read a series as fast or as slowly as they want to, because the second book will no longer be sold out.
They can pack their eReaders with as many books as they want, and read them wherever they want, without embarrasment.

Total reading freedom.

And I love it. This is how it should be.

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Warum ich Bücher bei “der Amazone” kaufe

Ein Buchhändler, mit dem ich ein wenig befreundet bin, hat sich vor Kurzem (wieder einmal) öffentlich darüber beschwert, dass Menschen bei Amazon einkaufen. Das ist nämlich schlecht, weil darunter doch die Kultur leidet. Und ein Buchhändler sowieso.

Und das hat bei mir einen Nerv getroffen.

Denn ich kaufe bei Amazon ein.

Ziemlich oft sogar. Und ziemlich oft sogar Bücher.

Und ich habe dafür verdammt gute Gründe, lieber Buchhändler. Hier sind sie:

Fremdsprachige Bücher

Ich lese nun einmal vorzugsweise Bücher auf Englisch. Die bekommt man in deutschen Buchhandlungen schlecht bis gar nicht. Und wenn man sie doch bestellen kann, dann dauert es sechs Wochen, und der Preis ist überteuert. Das liegt daran, dass in der Regel aus England importiert wird, wo Bücher deutlich teurer sind als in den USA.

Bei Amazon bekomme ich dieselben Bücher innerhalb von drei Tagen und im Durchschnitt zwei Drittel günstiger als im Buchhandel vor Ort. Das ist für Menschen mit niedrigem Einkommen durchaus ein Faktor. Und ich muss dafür nicht einmal aus dem Haus gehen.

Dumm gelaufen.

E-Bücher

Aus Platzgründen (wenig Einkommen, daher kleine Wohnung) lese ich vorzugweise auf meinem E-Reader. Das ist ein Kindle. Damals gab es den Tolino noch nicht. Außerdem kann ich für den Tolino nur eingeschränkt englisch-sprachige Bücher kaufen, und die Preise sind… ach egal. Siehe oben.

Und ich glaube kaum, dass dein kleiner, hübscher Buchladen in der Lage ist, mir unkompliziert E-Bücher für meinen Kindle zu verkaufen. Amazon kriegt das hin, und ich kann sofort loslesen.

Dumm gelaufen.

Indie-Autoren

Ich lese gerne Bücher von Indie-Autoren. Dafür gibt’s gleich zwei Gründe:

Erstens sind sie in der Regel deutlich billiger als Verlagsbücher, die ja gerade wieder E-Bücher teurer als Taschenbücher anbieten. Das ist Abzocke, die mich echt verärgert, denn die Produktions- und Bereitstellungskosten für E-Bücher liegen deutlich unter denen für Druckausgaben.

Zweitens verdienen Indie-Autoren an den Büchern, die sie über Amazon verkaufen, deutlich mehr als sie an Tantiemen von Verlagen erhalten würden. Das Geld kommt also direkt beim Autor an, beim Urheber. Und das ist mir durchaus nicht egal.

Aber Bücher von Indie-Autoren gibt’s sowieso nicht im Buchladen. Denn die sind in den Barsortimenten nicht vorgesehen, und deswegen halt nicht bei dir bestellbar. Über Amazon allerdings schon.

Dumm gelaufen.

Die Kultur-Arroganz

Ich finde die Arroganz, mit der viele Verlage und Buchhändler, Literaten und Medien auf Indie-Autoren herunterblicken, ganz und gar unerträglich.

Da wird behauptet, dass nur Verlage in der Lage sind, die Kultur zu schützen und dafür zu sorgen, dass die Bevölkerung mit angemessenem Lesematerial versorgt wird. Dagegen seien die Produkte von Indie-Autoren grundsätzlich Schund und natürlich in keinem Fall Kultur. Denn nur ein Verlag sei in der Lage, die Qualität eines Manuskripts wirklich einzuschätzen.

Und wieso gibt es dann den Bestseller “50 Shades of Gray”? Natürlich handelt es sich bei dem Buch eindeutig um ein Meisterwerk der neuesten amerikanischen Kultur. Großartige Kultur. Oder ging es vielleicht doch eher um’s Geld?

In meinen Augen darf Kultur von allen Menschen erbracht werden, ohne Auswahl nach Verlagsprogramm oder aktueller Wanderhurenmode. Amazon macht’s möglich, dass Leser das kaufen, was sie lesen wollen. Ohne Bevormundung von Verlagen.

Dumm gelaufen.

Autoren haben auch ohne Verlage gute Chancen

Die Verlage haben eine Heidenangst vor E-Büchern und Indie-Autoren. Aus einem ganz einfachen Grund: Indies brauchen vor allem dank der E-Bücher keine Verlage mehr. Sie können Lektorat, Formatierung, Coverbilder und Marketing ganz einfach selber machen oder bei professionellen Dienstleistern einkaufen. Und dann sind sie in der Lage, ihre Bücher ohne den Mittelsmann Verlag oder Buchladen an die Leser zu bringen.

Das alte Geschäftsmodell Verlag wird gerade von der Digitalisierung des Buchmarkts überrollt. Verlage und deren Lobby Börsenverein kämpfen also einen verzweifelten Abwehrkampf. Mit harten Bandagen und unfairen Mitteln, wie z.B. bei der Preisgestaltung von ISBNs, beim Zugang zu den Barsortimenten, und damit, Buchhandlungen möglichst eine Kooperation mit Indie-Autoren zu vermiesen.

Aber Indies verdienen inzwischen häufig mehr als Autoren mit Verlagsvertrag. Indies sind die Zukunft. Auch dank Amazon.

Dumm gelaufen.

ISBN-Abzocke

Ich finde die Preisgestaltung für ISBNs einfach eine Frechheit. Indies werden regelrecht abgezockt. Deswegen veröffentliche ich meine E-Bücher bei Amazon, wo ich keine ISBN benötige, und Print-Bücher bei CreateSpace, wo das ebenfalls der Fall ist. Natürlich könnte ich zumindest für die Druckausgabe eine deutsche ISBN verwenden. Da kommt allerdings die unfassbare Preisgestaltung für ISBNs hier in Deutschland zum Tragen:

Einzel-ISBN für Indie-Autoren: € 90,98 (keine andere Option)
1000 ISBN für Verlage (mit Gewerbeschein) bei Erstantrag: € 287,33

(Die Kosten für einen Verlag setzen sich wie folgt zusammen:
€ 94,- für die 1000 ISBN
€ 146,-  für die Ersteinrichtung der Verlagsnummer, entfällt bei Nachbestellungen
€ 1,45 Versandkosten, die Liste wird tatsächlich per Post verschickt
€  45,88 Mehrwertsteuer, die das Finanzamt erstattet)

Verlage zahlen also für 1000 ISBNs im Endeffekt weniger (nach Erstattung der Mehrwertsteuer), als ein Selbstverleger für 3 ISNBs. Und die nächsten 1000 ISBNs sind dann in etwa so teuer wie eine einzelne (!!) ISBN für einen Selbstverleger.

Das überrascht nicht wirklich, denn die Agentur für Buchmarktstandards, die in Deutschland für ISBNs zuständig ist, ist eine 100%ige GmbH des Börsenvereins, der wiederum Lobbyverband der Verlage in Deutschland ist.

Und dieser Lobbyverband mag natürlich keine Selbstverleger. Die brauchen nämlich dank Amazon und Co keine Verlage mehr. Ob der Börsenverein deswegen vielleicht auch Amazon so fürchtet?

Interessanterweise verweist die Seite der Agentur für Buchmarktstandards neuerdings auf Dienstleistungen für Selbstverleger auf “Expertenseiten des Börsenvereins”. Zusätzlich zur ISBN-Abzocke gibt’s also gleich noch mehr Chancen, den Indies das Geld aus der Tasche zu ziehen. Ein Narr, wer Böses dabei denkt.

In Kanada kosten ISBNs übrigens kein Geld. Sie werden von einer staatlichen Behörde an alle Autoren vergeben, die eine beantragen. Das ist wahre Kulturförderung. Funktioniert nur nicht in Deutschland.

Dumm gelaufen.

Also, lieber Buchhändler.

Du machst es ja echt gut. Du organisierst Lesungen, stellst Bücher vor und schreibst einen schönen Blog mit Buchbesprechungen von literarischen Werken. Du hast Veröffentlichungen im Börsenblatt. Das ist alles toll, lobenswert und sicherlich viel Arbeit. Und ich kann das anerkennen. Du kämpfst für deinen Laden, innovativ und mit viel Herzblut. Und ich mag dich wirklich. Du bist ein feiner Kerl.

Aber mich hast du heute endgültig verloren.

Weil dieses Amazonen-Dissen dumm und überheblich ist.

Weil du mir einfach nicht das bieten kannst, was ich gerne hätte.

Als Kundin.

Und als Autorin.

Schade.

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Recycling Story Ideas

 

Twins

Twins

As authors, our stories are our assets. They are what brings in money, in the shape of published books that readers can buy.

Now, there are many ways to take a single “book” and use it wisely, by selling limited licenses and being very careful about the rights listed in contracts. If you want to look into that, read Kris Rusch’s series on Estate Planning. She has many, many awesome tips on that.

Today, however, I want to talk about something else.

Recycling story ideas.

I first heard about this while chatting with a friend. She mentioned one of her author friends who takes a story and turns it into a full novel. Then she creates a short story, a love story and a zombie story, all of them from the same old idea. And sells them all to different markets. (These are not her examples, but you get the gist.)

Now, as you may know I’m in the process of branching out into another pen name that will publish explicit Romance stories. Yep, the smutty stuff. For reasons. Don’t judge.

And it’s also NaNo, and aside from another story (which is Hannah territory) I started writing a dragon shifter story that was *supposed* to be a Joanna tale. With the real stuff, hot dragon guy et cetera.

Except when this hot dragon guy started out doing the invesitation that brought him close to my heroine, it dragged out and became quite a focus, with the love stoy relegated to subplot. That’s okay, it’s fine for Hannah to create a fantasy adventure. And so I punted it over to her. That’s what you get when the heroine isn’t particularly fond of men. *sigh*

It just wasn’t what I had planned.

And then I figured out what the villain wants, and it’s very sly and underhanded, and it catapulted the story right back into Joanna territory: breeding his own army of dragon shifters, under his control from childhood and brainwashed into complete devotion to the villain. His way to power. His way to create a small empire of his own.

Writing went well for a while, but my mind was shocked. And then it remembered that conversation with my writing friend and her prolific author friend…

It seems that I’m raising Siamese twins during this NaNo season:

One story, two versions.

In the Hannah version, the villain has captured young dragon shifters and is in the process of breaking them when my hero arrives to foil his plans. Plain fantasy dragon adventure with a nice little love story as subplot.

The Joanna version will use the original villain plan, and offers many opportunities for hot stuff, since my hero will interview several women after getting nowhere with the men, and then will eventually be captured and used… before escaping and turning the tables on the villain, of course. With a love subplot, as well, that’ll usher in the happy ever after in the end.

Will this work?

Thing is, I believe the stories will be different enough to appeal to different readers, but they will use bascially the same idea and plot. The characters will get different names, and a different description, the action will be quite different, and yet… it’s the same basic story.

And there’s a part of me that tells me that’s cheating! It’s cheating!

It’s cheating my readers!

But is it, really?

I’m creating the two pen names precisely because I believe there will be two different audiences. The Hannah fans have told me repeatedly they are not fond of explicit scenes and that they won’t buy books with them. Which is fine – I’m very glad for the clarity! I love you all!

Which leaves the future Joanna fans who – I hope! – will love the hot stuff inside stories with a reasonable plot and adventure. Who don’t particularly care if it’s contemporary, SF or fantasy, because they want believable characters and an enjoyable story, plus the tantalizing scenes.

I believe there will be some overlap in the audiences. In fact,  I hope for it, because that’ll help Joanna become known. But the truth is, that overlap will likely be small.

And by “recycling” a story idea and adapting it to the different audiences, I make my life easier. They each get a story they enjoy, and I can publish one faster. Maybe that is win-win, after all.

And the truth is, this will be a rare thing. Most of my stories are not easily adaptable to the other pen name. Usually, it’s quite clear what I’m writing and whose story it is.

And you know what? I blame NaNoWriMo!

NaNo made me write under pressure every evening, made me go with spontaneous ideas; and Hannah and Joanna merged in the rush. Kind of.

That’s my version, and I’ll stick to it. So there.

Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you and whether you believe this is a good idea or a reader rip-off.

Thanks!

Posted in Joanna, Musings | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments