The home page for author Eric J. Juneau

Last Day to Get “Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees” Free

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Today’s your last day to get Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees on your kindle for Free. Free. Free. FREE!

Come on, man. All I want is for people to read my stuff. It’s not a long thing, it’s just a novella. 33,000 words or so. That’s not much commitment, is it? Come on, make a guy feel good.

If you don’t, you’ll make this puppy sad. You don’t want a sad puppy, do you? What are you, a communist?

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that communist bit. I was being insensitive. But, please, just pick up a copy. It won’t cost you anything.

Get My Free Book – Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees

For St. Patrick’s Day (the only other holiday involving short people is Christmas, and that’s its whole other kettle of fish), I’m offering Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees for free.

Here are some fun facts about dwarves from my book.

  • Dwarves are an egalitarian society of warriors, miners, and craftsmen.
  • There are six kingdoms/regions. One is in a cold, glacier region. Another is near an active fissure vent that the citizens have to tunnel around to prevent eruption
  • The one in this book takes place in Oakhaven, which is a tall mountain with a lot of snow. In summer, the snow melts and funnels into a river full of meltwater that’s extremely cold. 
  • The three things dwarves value most are family, trust, and justice/vengeance.
  • Dwarves tend to lack imagination, but love boasting and telling tall tales around a fire or pub hearth.
  • Dwarf hair, for both genders, is usually worn long. Dwarven men spend considerable effort growing, maintaining, and embellishing their long beards (a trait they have in common with mermaids, ironically). Most decorations serve function over style, but they are never plain. Many represent small trophies of battle or objects associated with significant life events.
  • Stopping a forge fire is like stopping someone’s heart. You can bring it back up again, but it’s never the same. A new fire is like a child–impulsive, full of highs and lows, not tempered at all, goes one way or another without reason. But an old forge fire you can trust. It knows how to burn. It has experience. It’s seen metal, knows its taste. A forge is the heart of a smithy, and a smithy’s the heart of a dwarven town. 
  • “Dwarven women are like a good hammer. Always ready for work, and just as able to smash a head as hammer a sword.” (common saying)
  • Dwarven foods commonly involve mushrooms, gourds, or other root vegetables. Bread is made from lichen flour. They commonly consume stews, meats, cheese, and of course, beer. Salt’s a very popular seasoning.

Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees – FREE

buy my book jon lovitz the ciritic jay sherman

In case you didn’t see it yesterday, there’s a Kindle promotion going on until St. Patrick’s Day that Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees is free. Buy and review!

Oh, need a summary? Here you go.

Vala has never been like the other dwarves. She’s stubborn, outspoken, and a farmer–a necessary but lowborn occupation among the gem-harvesting miners. And in all likelihood, she’ll end up married to some dull plowman or as a spinster outcast.

Every year, young dwarves congregate in a distant valley, mix & mingle, and find someone to marry. Some return with a fine wealthy companion, others with a dull plowman. But the only way Vala can stand out is a good first impression. That means arriving before anyone else does.

But leaving early means losing the help of her clan, risking icy rivers, beasts of prey, and bandits. She and her few friends decide the risk is worth it. But they may have less to fear from the unbeaten path than the harsh truths about each other.

Here’s the link! The cover! The excitement! The merriment! The beer!

dwarves can't climb trees cover small

My Promotion on Hidden Gems Romance

red white blue hands

So today is the day the first promotion I ever bought goes up. If you’re reading this, you may have come here via such a thing. I bought a day on Hidden Gems Romance for Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees. This is the first promotion I ever bought, and it’s my attempt to start actual marketing for things I’ve written. Apparently sending messages in a bottle reaches a limited audience. Also, I can’t keep drinking all this Coke.

But advertising is expensive, so I’m keeping conservative at first, seeing what works and what doesn’t. This is the first one because this is not so much advertising as review soliciting (cause man, the free sites suck). More reviews will help the sales, and I’d rather they be sincere anyway.

It sucks having to market one book and write another at the same time (plus totally unrelated day job). One role occupies enough time to eclipse the other. I’d be much more content just to write a manuscript, I could even handle formatting and prepping the Amazon upload, if someone else handled covers, promotion, and marketing. I’ve spent the last decade training to write, not to commercialize my work (not using “commercialize” in a negative way here). It’s just not the skillset I practiced.

The Last of my Query Letters

I sent the last of my query letters for Defender today. A little less than a year after I first finished the thing.

Total queries sent: 89. Total bites: 1

Man, I don’t know how you don’t curl up into a ball weeping in this business. Between Black Hole Son, Merm-8, and this, I’ve sent hundreds of query letters and had very minimal response. Not even people who were intrigued with the idea and wanted to see the writing style. Just whoop, reject, not even the 250 words were enough to put the foot in the door. I guess it’s not my third novel. My third novel, I get permission to cry. I wish I know where I’m coming in on the slushkiller percentile. All I ever get is “this is not right for me” or “my client list is full”.

writer tears whiskey
Someone’s got to fill these casks

These days I feel like I’m not writing what I’m meant to be. I get my favorite ideas for fantasy and science fiction. I got a cute little story that’s like a fairy tale romance but with a naga girl. But that’s all it is–a cute cozy story. These days, fantasy is full of epic landscapes and 500,000 word volumes. Or if you’re YA, ten book series with female warriors who know how to cartwheel through a hoop of fire but not how to talk to a boy. I’m not sure if I should try a non-spec fic or something else.

I should maybe be working on short stories. Practicing voice and style to match the current heavy hitters. I just finished “Press Start to Play” and these guys are light years ahead of me. I’m staying medieval and they’re flying hoverskids into tomorrow. Maybe I need to read more contemporary stuff to write in a contemporary way. My style’s more rooted in Stephen King and the classics that people tell me to read. It’d be like a baseball player modeling their swing after Babe Ruth. It was great in the day, but cannot contend with how the game has evolved.

NerdCon: Stories is coming up and I feel like I’m going as a poser. My heroes will be there and I don’t want to meet my heroes. I’m too afraid that they won’t measure up to my ideal. I’m too afraid any exchanges I have with them will be awkward. I’m not even really a fan — at least I don’t consider myself one. I love their works, but I don’t worship or fawn over them. My goal is to be like them. I’m afraid it’s going to be like Convergence all over again.

I haven’t looked at how “Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees” is doing either. I’m too afraid. Afraid that there are 0 hits, 0 downloads, 0 ratings, 0 feedback. I haven’t gotten one response about it since it went up. Even self-publishing is betraying me. How much longer am I going to have to be shouting into the dark?

Self-Publishing on Amazon

amazon logo

So the novella’s not available yet, but it seems to be legal for pre-order. Here are some impressions from the process.

There is a lot of data to read. Mostly tips about how to maximize the exposure of the book, how to enter information in correctly. As far as I could tell, everything was pretty cut and dried. It’s pretty sophisticated, but also user friendly. Plus I’ve been following Scalzi’s blog and other news about Amazon’s self-publishing notoriety to know what pitfalls to avoid and which to jump into. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t lots to read.

One more thing I ran into that there is only the choice of making it available immediately or setting a pre-order at least ten days in advance. Now I wasn’t ready to publish the book right then and there. I hadn’t done any promotion for it (although really, who am I kidding) and I still wasn’t 100% sure I was ready to make the selections that I did. There didn’t appear to be any “draft” status, unless you chose pre-order.

So I chose pre-order and I chose to not make the version I uploaded final. Even though I had already meticulously formed the book into an ePub using Calibre, and checked it out on the Amazon viewer to be all right. This began a bunch of confusing e-mails where it said my book wasn’t ready to be finalized yet, and that if it wasn’t finalized, I’d lose the ability to make pre-orders for a year. But I couldn’t figure out what wasn’t finalized. I had completed everything, even the tax forms. But it took a long time for the book to update. It said I would have to wait twelve to twenty-four hours for the changes to show up. And by then I’d forgotten what I’d changed.

But finally I saw that I had to select “this is my final version of the book”. Once I did that, I got a congratulatory e-mail that basically said “You did it! Your book is ready to be published. See you on September 25th!” I wanted it on a Friday because… I don’t know, Friday felt right. People buy stuff on Fridays, getting ready for the weekend. Especially ePurchases. Maybe searching for products you might like to purchase while a bottle of wine lays empty next to the monitor.

My hope is that this sells better than Merm-8 did under Musa. It’s cheaper, it’s audience is clearer, it’s higher concept and based on a tested formula. So I’ll hopefully see you in a week, little dwarves. In the meantime, promotion!

Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees – Now Available for Pre-Order

dwarves can't climb trees cover

So, I’ve decided to give self-publishing a try.  I wrote this 34,000 word novella, but as you might guess, it’s impossible to get novellas published anywhere (unless you’re a big attractive name).  Even the magazines on Duotrope max out at about 20-25,000 words.

So I figured this would be a good chance to dip my feet in the Kindle Publishing waters.  There’s a lot to consider like Kindle Direct Publishing, KDP, filling out tax forms, waiting for the web site to update. I’ll report back my findings and with any luck, I’ll have some good news to report.

Vala has finally been invited to the sacred glen, where she and her friends will choose their husbands.  But Vala is less than thrilled — no one wellborn is going to look twice at a farmer.

But the only way to beat the snooty, upper crust girls taking horses is to hike through the forest.  That’s no place for mountain-dwelling dwarf folk, and her friends agree.  But better to have a few days of hardship than be miserable the rest of their lives.

Right?

A new take on “Stand by Me”, “Dwarves Can’t Climb Trees” is about friendship, bravery, and what it means to change from a girl to a woman.

Pre-Order! Pre-Order now! Do it or my children won’t eat (snacks) ((this week))!

This puppy liked it.  She told me so.  Puppies are never wrong, are they?

Too Many Things To Work On

elsa anxiety frozen disney

There’s something about all the stuff coming down the line lately that’s starting to paralyze me with fear, at least according to my writing.  Merm-8 is supposed to be published on 9/5 (mark your calendars), but there’s still a lot to do.

I’ve gotten through content edits three times.  But now I’ve got to go through grammar edits.  And the problem is the grammar edits haven’t been marked, because they want me to go through the whole text and make sure it’s all right.  Which sounds like a bad idea to me.  I wrote the story to the best of my ability regarding grammar rules.  How would I notice something that’s wrong, if I’m working under the assumption that it’s right?  It’s being told that you’re not supposed to eat the shell of the peanuts.  But no one ever taught me that you’re not supposed to.

Someone has been providing cover art too.  But no matter what kind of feedback I give, the end result is only changed a little from the original inspiration.  They’re just very generic covers that A) don’t reflect the content and B) don’t entice me to read at all.  I’m not sure who’s doing it, but I wish they would respond with something more than simply more cover art mockups.  I’m glad the publisher lets the author have this level of approval on cover art, but I’m sad they seem to be incapable of understanding my criticism.

And then my stories in the hopper are starting to accumulate on me.  After grammar edits on Merm-8 (which will take a long time, because I need to have it read to me), I have A) Draft 3 on a 30k dwarf novella I want to get done B) either doing macros or read out-loud on Defender C) a long, serial fan fiction I really want to write.

Now, my heart says I want to write C, but my brain knows that’s a bad idea because that’s the kind of thing I can’t get paid for and thus, won’t advance my writing career (although it may improve my writing).  I’m afraid if I try and start that, it’ll be a case of “Gun x Sword” where the beginning writing style doesn’t match the ending because I wrote it in spurts between drafts of other novels.  Defender is the most lucrative, but the next phase of its revision is boring and I just finished the line edits, so I don’t feel motivated to do it.  And dwarf story, I don’t even know how to get it to sell.  Plus, it’s at a phase where it needs a lot of creation.

So the overwhelmingness leads to fear, fear leads to paralyzation.  So I feel deadlocked in all these stories that I can’t get done.  Le sigh.

Some Updates and NaNoWriMo

lord of the rings female dwarves

The local reading I signed up for, I got into.  I’m not terribly nervous — it’s a ten minute read, and I’m more worried about falling asleep during the other readings and looking like an asshole.  Because, let’s face it, I’m not much into historical fiction or contemporary Midwest settings full of wild rice and prairies.

I started a new YA novel venture.  I’m not sure if it will end up being for a YA audience, but I’m trying.  As far as I know, the only firm-standing qualification for YA fiction is the main character(s) have to be teenagers.  It’s basically “Stand By Me” with dwarfs.  Girl dwarfs.

Ahem.

Anyway, it’s what I’m writing during the non-lunch hour periods where I’m working on revising Defender (white mage story).  The problem is my own mind has betrayed me.  Instead of writing the book, my mind has decided its going to be distracted by Candy Crush Saga and clips of Conan O’Brien.  Write a novel?  No, I’m scared I won’t be good enough.  Once it’s transformed into text, my perfect idea ceases to be perfect.  Happens every novel, but since I’m not writing this in a neatly sectioned allotment of time, the distractions of the Internet are strong.

So, in order to combat this, I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time.  I got the inspiration from a post by Rainbow Rowell (author of Eleanor & Park) who said that Fangirl was written from it — she had trouble sitting her butt down and writing too for that novel.

The timing is right, the word count is about right — my goal-ish is 50,000 words, about right for YA, but I’m not concerned about making a word count.  I’m more concerned about word count per day.  If I have eighteen scenes architected, averaging around 3,000 words per scene, that’s 54,000 total words.  Divided by 30 days, means a 1800 word count.  However, I don’t plan to write on the weekends, so I’ll just worry about weekdays.  If I can maintain an 1800 word count per day, that’s 75% done anyway, and then I’m sure I’ll finish.  It’s getting started and maintaining the chain that’s the hard part.

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, so I’ll expect to see everyone here at 7:30 sharp.