Every year it seems my social media make it harder for me to have any sort of relationship with my readers. It’s bad enough to be painfully introverted; at least I had the internet, right? But then Facebook started making it damn near impossible for my readers – people who had purposefully opted in on my posts, who wanted to read them – to even find new posts. As I understand it they’re about to make it even harder…unless of course you pay them.
It turns out the best way to keep in touch with your readers is the old-fashioned method: an email list. I’ve resisted having one for a long time because I didn’t know what I’d do with one, but I think 2015 is the time to really get back into my author-life, and I can’t do that without all of you.
I’d love it if you would sign up for my newsletter – you can either click one of the links in this post or come to my site and sign up on the sidebar. Fear not, I don’t plan on clogging your inboxes with self-promotion; newsletter subscribers will receive at most one email a week (unless something really amazing happens), and it will absolutely be worth your while, because you will have:
Access to new Shadow World extras, Agency stories, and other writing before anyone else
First crack at giveaways
Freebies I make before I release them on the blog.
Don’t worry, Facebook/Twitter/Blog lovers – I’m going to stay on those too. In fact I’m going to try to be more present everywhere. But I want this list to be something special, something that makes it worth inviting me into your inbox when I know how full it already is.
To show you how serious I am:
If you sign up by January 5, the first newsletter you receive will contain a link to download the first chapter of Shadow World Book 6.
That’s right. The book doesn’t even have a name yet, and it’s only 1/3 written, but if you join the mailing list, you’ll get to read the entire first chapter – free.
The chapter will not be available on the blog, via Facebook, or via Twitter. Only newsletter subscribers will receive it.
It’s important to me that you all know how important you are to me. *laugh* I mentioned in a previous post (somewhere) that I was considering releasing parts of new Agency stories online for free the way I used to, then compiling them with new material into books for sale later. If I do that, only subscribers will get them for free. It’s very easy to join in and reap the potential rewards:
Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls.
I’ve had quite a few people, particularly on Facebook, asking for an update on Shadow World Book 6 (and also the next Agency volume). I figured I’d better talk about it over here on the blog so a wider swath of my readers could see it.
Book 6 is not finished yet. Like, nowhere near. I just finished Chapter 4 for the third time, if that tells you anything. Aside from story issues out the wazoo, this year has been fraught with personal problems as well as, I have to be honest, absolutely zero confidence in my abilities anymore. There’s a reason most of my blog posts have been about planners and crafts and stuff like that. (Two reasons, actually, the second being that I love those things.)
I don’t want this to be like the time That Horrible Harridan destroyed my love of writing and I didn’t touch it again for years. Mostly now I’m dealing with some serious confusion and disillusionment over where my career is going, or rather not going.
The upshot is: At this point I cannot give you a firm date when Book 6 will be out. It doesn’t even have a name yet. Even after I finish principle writing I have to get it edited, find a cover artist, and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t quite figured out yet because I’ve been too paralyzed by my own feelings of inadequacy to do any real research on self-publishing. But getting the thing written is the first goal.
Since the Agency stories were originally released one by one, not in full book format, I’m also having trouble deciding how to handle them. If I can make any progress on this next one I might just release parts of it for free.
If I could come up with a new idea, even a germ of one, I’d love to start a third series and have it go the way the Agency went, where it’s free until I’ve got enough material to start creating volumes out of it. I miss the instant gratification of putting something out there for people to read and respond to right away. Writer egos are particularly delicate.
Anyway – as soon as I have more specific information on the next book, I promise I’ll say so, here and on Facebook and anywhere else you want me to. I’m working very hard to get through the mess in my head, and hopefully someday the blue fairy will turn me back into a real writer. Please just bear with me.
That’s right! You can now purchase the second collection of stories from my Agency series. Click on the image to buy it for your Kindle, or scroll down to the “add to cart” button to get the .pdf.
The second collection of Dianne Sylvan’s urban fantasy series, The Agency, rejoins young Witch Sara Larson as she continues her training to become a federal paranormal investigator through love, loss, and quite a lot of bullets.
Volume 2 picks up shortly after the events of “Pentecost,” following the courtship of Shadow Agents 5 and 7 – Rowan, an Elven healer; and Jason, lead Agent of the Texas branch, vampire, and violinist. Their romance weaves in and out of Sara’s life and the fate of everyone in the Agency as a new and dangerous enemy arises…Rowan’s own people.
Just to avoid any surprises, Volume 2 has several stories that are rather adult in nature; all of the collections will have some rather sexy stuff, but Volume 2 gets the ball rolling, so to speak, right away.
This collection contains two short pieces that had disappeared from the website back before I took it down: “Umbrella” and “Anywhere He Wants.” Some longtime readers will have seen them and some won’t have. I’m working on all new stuff for subsequent volumes, but this one was already so long I didn’t want to make it even more unwieldy.
Spread throughout the dark corners of our world lies the Shadow World, a society of vampires who feed off the living. In Austin, Texas, one woman must rise from the ashes of tragedy and confront an ancient evil before it destroys everything she holds dear…
After a heartrending night of loss and blood, Miranda Grey-Solomon, vampire Queen of the South, now stands in the ruins of her life determined to pick up the pieces and move on. David, her husband and Prime, is missing and presumed dead, and Miranda is lost without her soul mate by her side…But she has little time to grieve as enemies both old and new emerge to test her yet again.
Between vampires trying to take advantage of a Queen without a Prime, incursions by a mysterious organization of humans calling themselves the Order of the Morningstar, and the continuing threat from those within the Shadow World who have already tried to destroy her, Miranda and her allies are running out of places to turn. In order to save her territory and the ones she loves, Miranda must look to the ancient past, to the first days of the vampire race, and uncover secrets about the Signets that could change the course of history…
Of Shadow Born: Book 4 of the Shadow World – available for preorder at online retailers everywhere.
You might have noticed that in the past couple of days a few things have changed here at CrazyBeautiful; I stripped most of the sidebar and created a static landing page for people who visit diannesylvan.com straight off. The upper menu is a little different, to reflect where my priorities are. Perhaps the most significant change is the category links down the sidebar – a different topic for (almost) every day.
There is method to my madness. I had, to be honest, come to hate blogging. This happens to about 80% of writers who blog – as opposed to writers who *are* bloggers, and yes, there’s a difference – writers who blog would rather be devoting their energy to something else, like novels or memoirs or what have you. Blog fatigue strikes full-time bloggers, too, of course, but I’ve noticed it is particularly troublesome to writers who don’t have the extra prod of “this is my livelihood” to keep them blogging. At best it becomes an afterthought; at worst, an onerous duty.
I didn’t want that. I like being able to just write about whatever and have someplace to put it.
My first problem arose when I tried to categorize my blogging too much. I’d spent an awful lot of time on sites dedicated to online entrepreneurs who use their blogs as advertising, either subtly or CONSTANTLY, and tend to do the same with forms of social media, like that self-help guru whose entire Twitter feed is nothing but relinks to her old articles or repeats of the same affirmations over…and over…and over. If I want advertising bombardment I’ll go watch Lifetime. At least then I can enjoy the comedic stylings of the Allstate Mayhem Guy.
My second problem was that I kept thinking I should be someone that, let’s face it, I’m just not. If you’ve ever seen the Addams Family movies, you have some idea what I’m talking about:
My whole life I’ve tried to be, as my mother so desperately wanted, “bubbly” and “perky” and “friendly” and “not such a venom-tongued hyena.” I tried thinking happy thoughts and filling my life with sunshine rainbow chakra energy and writing from my inner goddess and celebrating the magic of my unicorn hoo-hah. My idea, at first, was “fake it till you make it” – that eventually some of that relentless positivity would rub off on me and I wouldn’t be quite as much of a moody Scorpio.
There are plenty of people in this world who are honestly cheerful and bubbly.
I’m afraid if I haven’t had my coffee I might physically injure those cheerful bubbly people.
What I realized, in the midst of my most recent depressive swing, is that I am a bipolar Scorpio female with a lot of negative history and a sense of humor that is as sharp as it is sarcastic. I am neither outdoorsy nor a social butterfly. I would like to have more friends, but I am also a total introvert and that makes it very hard for me to deal with people one on one. I enjoy my own company as long as I’m not suicidal or manic. It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever do “normal” things like date, marry, breed, or order pizza over the phone. (Why do that when there’s the internet?) Every community I’ve tried to fit into has ended up a failure, either because they couldn’t accept me (Apparently fat vegans make the “real thing” look bad.) or I couldn’t accept them (Oh, Lord, Pagans…let’s not go there.).
And every single one of the posts, articles, and books I’ve written that have truly resonated with people, and that I have enjoyed writing, have come from that place. From the real me. From the bitchy, snarky, smart as hell, hilarious, forthright me who prefers tequila to white light. Whenever I try to ignore the negatives or pretend everything is hunky dory, not only am I lying to my readers, I’m doing myself a disservice by repressing instead of understanding the things that hurt. We can’t grow stronger in the broken places if we refuse to look at where the glue needs to go.
Thus, I cast off all of those fetters and facades. I’m going to do my very best to be 100% Dianne Sylvan 100% of the time on this blog. To help that along I created the weekly features you see in the sidebar; I get easily overwhelmed without a little direction, so I thought that was a good place to start. Note: I won’t be sticking slavishly to these features – if I want to write about something else I absolutely will – but hopefully that means I’ll have at least some sort of post almost every day of the week instead of once every couple of weeks. Even if it’s just a couple of paragraphs and a link, I want to be here, in my little world.
Shadow World Mondays – This is when I’ll post new Extras, publicity stuff, announcements about release dates, general news about writing the series, giveaways, et cetera.
The Tuesday Currents – the same as I’ve been doing, just a quick look at my weird little world.
Wellness Wednesdays – This was the hardest category to name, and it might be a little vague; this is where I’ll talk about Health At Every Size, about my Bipolar Disorder, about living healthfully in a fat body, about any sort of alternative treatments I try for my various issues. Most people when they see “wellness” these days they think “weight,” but alas, they would be disappointed here. I might however link to new studies or articles on the HAES subject; I don’t fancy myself a debater on the issue but I know plenty of people who are proud to take up that banner.
TVD Thursdays – Let’s assume for now that I plan to continue my Vampire Diaries episode recaps in the Fall. I haven’t 100% decided yet – they are a lot of work, a LOT OF WORK – but I’ve got until October, if I recall correctly, to make up my mind. In the meantime Thursdays will be a looser category – maybe some book or movie reviews, some pop culture stuff, playlists, books I want to read. Let’s just think of them as Media Thursdays for now.
Friday Favorites – the return of the 10 Things I Love lists, though shortened to 5.
Spirit Sundays – Some sort of spiritual musing to start/end the week.
I really hope this new way of doing things will reignite my blog love – and your love for this blog – so stick around, and we’ll find out together!