Giveaway is Live on Goodreads…

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Empire & Oracle by Carnegie Olson

Empire & Oracle

by Carnegie Olson

Giveaway ends June 15, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

The giveaway is live on Goodreads… one hundred eBook copies up for grabs starting today! And remember, the paperback giveaway starts when the eBook giveaway ends – look for it June16th!

Goodreads Giveaway – 100 Copies!

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Hooray, Goodreads giveaway – 100 eBook copies! Sign-up starts Tuesday 5/17:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Empire & Oracle by Carnegie Olson

Empire & Oracle

by Carnegie Olson

Giveaway ends June 15, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

“But I like paperbacks!” you say. Right on, me too. The paperback giveaway begins as soon as this one ends, namely, June 16, and because paperback giveaways are costly for me (I have to pay for the book and the shipping), I’m only doing 10 copies. And it will only run for two weeks, so be sure to mark your calendar. Look for the widget right here when the time comes…!

Cover Girl.

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Wraparound. Author image.

At long last, here it is. The cover, finished, yay! I couldn’t be happier with it. Great punch. Compelling narrative. Super professional. Contemporary yet honoring the long heritage of great SF imagery. But I’ll let it speak for itself.

I say at long last because it was April of 2021 that I began the project. Not the writing, just the cover. A little early, I remember thinking. But it was as if somehow, looking back, I knew it was not going to come easily. And by the way, I wrote the first draft of the manuscript in 2016. So it wasn’t as if I had the cart before the proverbial horse at all.

Anyway, while the cover of the first book arrived painlessly and this one didn’t, they are both great in their own way and it merely goes to show that when you’re doing it all yourself as an indie author, you must be prepared for a wild and mostly very unglamorous ride. There will be times when you are certain that you are not ever going to get a manuscript that you don’t want to hurl into the trash or a book cover that doesn’t leave you wanting, all in the midst of everyone involved doing their very best. They say a good compromise is when everybody is unhappy. Well, here’s to not compromising.

Meanwhile, you need breaks. And you make your own, too. The stars have to align. You have to follow your gut, follow your nose, listen to your heart, stick to your guns, hold on loosely, let it all go – whatever it takes (mixing metaphors included), to get there. Because you will get there. If you believe in what you’re doing. If you are on the proper adventure. All the heartache, frustration, disappointment in yourself and others, all the sticking points and trip ups and minor and major fiascos, well, on a good day they add up to a sense of success. Here’s to good days.

What’s next? I’m returning the proofread manuscript to my editor today, who you may remember is also my book designer at Looseleaf Editorial & Production http://looseleafep.com – thanks Kristy! – and within two weeks what amounts to both the copyediting and proofreading fixes will be fixed and the book will indeed finally be a published book available for sale. And because very few things sell themselves, I’ll be tasked with doing my best with the marketing, hinged as it is to my budget.

So, I’ll be doing a Goodreads giveaway again, this time for both the eBook and the print version. I’ll keep an Amazon ad running, just like I’ve been doing for TC1. I’ll keep my eyes open for other advertising opportunities. I won’t waste money and effort on mailing out unsolicited gratis copies to places like NPR Book Concierge, or even Locus magazine like I did with TC1 because, frankly, nobody at those places cares enough about yet another wannabe author, especially an indie author, hawking their latest book. At least not without the influence of an influencer behind it.

Likewise, brick and mortar bookstores. They don’t want your book – they don’t have shelf space for it amongst all the other shit in their stores that isn’t selling – and even if they did, unless you are a name author, there isn’t any local bookstore that is going to sell at best more than a copy or two – at best, I’m telling you because I’ve tried it. No employee at any of the stores is going to select your book out of all the new books to read and get behind it and go to the effort of tagging it with a personal recommendation, either. That’s all insider stuff. It happens to authors who know people. People of influence. Name authors.

Getting great reviews and ratings? The book has to earn its way into all those things – it has to be good enough – and also get a break or two along the way. It’s just the way things are. With so many books out there and a limited number of potential readers willing to read them, let alone buy them, well, if you can’t stand the heat…

But you never know, either, regarding getting an influencer behind it. Your book has to be visible, which means it has to be advertised, strategically so as not to throw your money away (which you will feel as if you’re doing most of the time, anyway), and you have keep track of your metrics and make adjustments and keep the faith and keep writing. One reader at a time, yes, it can happen. Which is to say enjoying the experience of your novel earning out its expenses can happen. And then selling 10,000 copies a year can happen. And so on. Authors who write good books succeed. It absolutely does happen. It can happen to me.

My stretch goal, my vision-of-greatness, is of course the same as everyone else’s, namely, blockbuster sales and a scramble by moviemakers to purchase the movie rights. Dream big, why not? Meanwhile, I pour my heart and soul and every dime I can spare into the novels for their own sake; for the sake of being who I am and doing what I do and seeking to participate and otherwise find my tribe and keep writing.

Hey, everybody – Empire & Oracle is going to arrive by the end of May, in eBook, paperback, Amazon case laminate and Ingramspark dust cover versions. That’s merely a couple more weeks at most, and that’s something worth celebrating come what may…!

Reshoot – Deep Color…!

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Mothman Empress, colored pencil, Kevin Ewing, 2022. Photographed by Patrick Young.

Reshoot – deep color…! We weren’t satisfied with the color values on the first try – the photographer avoided the white border this time because it was skewing the results, and used a polarizing filter on the lighting and the lens: MUCH RICHER COLOR and this is closer to how the original art looks. The book cover designer is going to work with this new image. Stay tuned…!

“No One Has Lifted My Veil…”

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Mothman Empress. Author image, by permission of the artist, Kevin Ewing.

Until now, that is. Well, here I am referencing the famous interpretation by Plutarch of an inscription he claimed existed upon a statue, lost to time, of the goddess Isis, within a temple in Sais, Egypt.

I am all that has been and is and shall be; and no one has ever lifted my veil.

The broader and very cool cross-cultural mythological interpretation of this idea speaks to the Mystery with a capitalized “M” or the mystery of Nature, likewise regarded in its formal sense. Namely, that there is and always will be something about the nature of things – life, the cosmos, existence itself, what have you – that will always remain a mystery, at least to us. It’s a compelling mythic motif because, of course, it evokes both light and dark energies – divine solace versus existential angst, for instance – that are present and oftentimes warring within us all.

The veil of Isis is a metaphor and allegorical artistic motif in which nature is personified as the goddess Isis covered by a veil or mantle, representing the inaccessibility of nature’s secrets. It is often combined with a related motif, in which nature is portrayed as a goddess with multiple breasts who represents Isis, Artemis, or a combination of both.

wikipedia.org, “Veil of Isis,” retrieved 5.2.2022
Isis, Goddess of Life, by Auguste Puttemans (1866-1922)

Isis wears a veil, a symbol of the mysteries of life. Her right hand carries the torch of life-its three flames represent the past, present, and future. Her left hand holds the key of life.

U.S. National Park Service https://www.nps.gov/places/statue-of-isis.htm

Now, the Mothman Empress or The Empress as she is referred to in the novel, instead of possessing multiple breasts (the sources of life, sustenance, etcetera) indeed possesses what I call “quad-vision” – namely, multiple pupils (which happens to be a real life physiological condition termed Polycoria) but in her case it implies hyper-dimensional sight – she can “see” in multiple dimensions including the past, present and future. And into other minds, too.

She also possesses multiple arms (four to be exact) which is a nod to Hindu iconography. All this is rendered in the image of the Empress appearing in my previous post. Which merely communicates the fun of syncretizing, perhaps shamelessly but certainly intuitively and wholeheartedly, the power of myths and mythic images.

In her original incarnation, the Empress possessed formidable psi-powers, namely telepathy, in association with her oracular or divination abilities. Her tools included the yarrow stalks and coins of the I Ching tradition. However, post-pupation, she has employed (or rather evoked) the ancient and forbidden mothman power of metamorphosis and now possesses (or is feared to possess by, say, Mr. Z.) the ability to seize and control every mind in the cosmos. “No one is safe…” declares a member of the Scarab Cult. Cue maniacal laughter, right?

Meanwhile, I had promised to reveal the original art for the Empress, illustrated in Prisma Color pencil by Kevin Ewing, and here it is. It will form the basis of the final Empire & Oracle book cover, under development as we speak by Kristy Gilbert at Looseleaf Editorial & Production https://looseleafep.com/

Kristy is also responsible for the professional editing and and typesetting (interior formatting) of the novel and after I post this post I am determined to return to my task of proofreading the damn thing so we can finally get put the manuscript to bed, as it were. Below are some images showing what the printed proof looks like, all good, very snappy inside (the cover is a mock-up).

We’re getting there, folks. It’s a ton of work and time and money to indie publish a novel. Don’t let anyone tell you that somehow traditionally published novels are better edited or better produced or better written, either, just because a publishing house is supposed to have bigger and better resources. No. Discard your preconceptions of how automatically terrible and unaccomplished and unprofessional an indie novel has to be and embrace the idea of evaluating a book on its merits wherever it has come from. Because that’s the state of things, these days in the publishing world; namely, that anything goes and it’s a good thing.

As such, I’m not going to be arrogant enough to declare that I’m the best writer in the world and my books are game-changers and they couldn’t be improved but I am confident enough to believe that the Time Crime series deserves its place on playing field. It’s in the game. The hard work, modicum of talent on my part (go ahead and call it merely skill if you must) and wholehearted professionalism is there to be seen and read if I do say so myself.

I’ve spent years writing drafts of each manuscript (the third novel in the series, entitled Maw of the Netherworld is in second draft), a solid year editing this one, 18 months or so getting the art and the design for the book cover nailed down and we’re right at the finish line. Proofreading and final cover design, then, is what’s left. And I’m guessing that within another two weeks, maximum, the work will be done and I’ll have it up on Amazon and soon after, everywhere else via Ingramspark distribution.

“No one has lifted my veil…” she said. Well, here within the Time Crime series, we’re doing our best…!