Dalmatia, Pannonia, Center of the Action

Snippets and Some Insight into book #4 with Regillus and Tzmisces.

Hi all! Today’s update focuses on the center of the action here in book #4, Steel Praetorian.

If you don’t want to read spoilers, don’t read ahead! Just enjoy looking at this lovely little map so you know where the action will be taking place!


Continue reading “Dalmatia, Pannonia, Center of the Action”

Update: Steel Praetorian

Read the latest from Steel Praetorian, plus today’s updated word count!

Hi all! Since the book is due at the end of July (EEK!), I’m hard at work. I’ve always worked better with deadlines, so here it goes! My goal for this month is simply to post an updated word count every day.

Also, keep checking this space for possible Kickstarter #4 news (More illustrations? You betcha!)

Updated Word Count: 39,132 words (only 40,868 to go!)

Snippet from today/yesterday’s writing! As always, this is unedited and unrevised, so enjoy! Remember to subscribe on the left hand side for the latest in news about the Steam Empire Chronicles.

“Decanus! Decanus!” Julius shouted, hoping one of the junior officers would hear and attend to him. An easterner screamed as he attacked from behind, Gwendyrn shooting him cold with one of his hand repeaters. The bolt spun the man around, dropping him to the floor.

“We’ve got to secure the train tunnel and the gate house as well. I’ll take the cannon, you take that gate house.” Gwendyrn nodded. A wounded decanus with a motley collection of legionnaires behind him arrived, forming a ring of steel around the officers. “Good luck, centurion.” The Gaul gave a salute and strode off towards the gate. Julius headed for the cannon. He wove his way forward, cutting down mongols here and there, dragging an injured legionnaire against the train here. He had lost his shield somewhere, so he grabbed at his wrist and slowly opened his back up, air legion, shield. The articulated components slowly slid into place, forming a neat circle of steel protection.

The cannon boomed again, cutting down another swath of his men.

Anger turned his vision red, and Julius charged forward, using his shield to batter and push back the few easterners who tried to stop him. Several of his legionnaires joined him, forming a wedge that angled right at the Mongolian position. Desperate to hold onto their cannon, the Mongol crew reloaded desperately. Julius could see them inserting the ammunition and slamming it inside, ramming it home with their specialized gear.

“Be ready to drop” He called to his men, his voice hoarse. A mongolian ax bit deeply into his shield, slamming him backwards and ricocheting off his steel articulated shield. Thank goodness for roman craftmanship He thought as he stabbed his attacker in the gut and kicked him away. Motion ahead of him drew his attention.

“DROP!” He screamed, falling to the ground painfully atop his shield.

Aurelia Gets a Chapter!

A brief background on Aurelia Appius, a new major character in the series, and a word progress update!

First, Book Word Update for Steel Praetorian: 36,100 words.

Hi everyone! I’ve got a small snippet of my latest chapter. Introducing Aurelia Appius, cousin of Constantine. She plays a much larger roll in this book, unlike in Iron Tribune, where she’s little more than a visitor in the story of the Steam Empire Chronicles, Aurelia will become a main character in her own right.

Continue reading “Aurelia Gets a Chapter!”

Day 18 – NaNoWriMo Battles Continue!

More Progress on Day 18

When last we left our intrepid Romans (and villains, but that’s another chapter), they were busy trying to undo the damage of the Mongol invasion (and other things). The first handful of Kickstarter packages go out tomorrow. The remainder should go out Saturday! The books have a new matte cover and they look and feel awesome!

PS Steel Praetorian’s been a bit paused, but we eeked over the 27,500 word line today. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done! But progress is progress. We’re more than 1/4 of the way done with Novel #4 and it’s only been 2 and a half weeks! That’s epic progress for me, Mr. Slow Writer.

Continue reading “Day 18 – NaNoWriMo Battles Continue!”

Main Update – The End is In Sight!

The End is Nigh for Iron Tribune Backers!

Good Morning! Happy End of Daylight Savings time to those of you in America. And happy day-after-Halloween hangover day to the same people!

Continue reading “Main Update – The End is In Sight!”

Five Ways to Keep Your Self-Publishing Clients Happy & Coming Back for More

Five great tips for self-publishing support staff – editors, illustrators, small publishers, etc. Keep your sanity while keeping your clients happy and coming back for more!

By Daniel Ottalini

You want to have all your bases and operations covered!
You want to have all your bases and operations covered!

Hi all, this is a companion piece to my earlier article on how to make sure that your freelancers/self-publishing helpers do their best for you. But what about the flip side? What can you, as a freelance/small business editor, cover artist, etc., do to make sure that you give your customers what they want, keep them coming back, but also make money and keep your dignity in the process? Continue reading “Five Ways to Keep Your Self-Publishing Clients Happy & Coming Back for More”

Four Ways to Know if Your Self-Publishing Contractors are Good for You

For my Self-Published friends – we’ve all had some horror stories! Here’s four ways to find, pick, and work with the best self-publishing support staff people around!

By Daniel Ottalini

What happens when a freelancer and an author work together.
What happens when a freelancer and an author work together.

Hi all! There’s been a lot of press recently about small publishers and self-publisher

support staff – ie formatters, editors, cover artists, designers, small publishers, other freelancers, etc – leaving their hard-working clients in the dust and disappearing with authors’ hard earned money. In lieu of that, I thought long and hard about some ways that authors can tell if who they’re working with is the real deal, or a real stinker. Continue reading “Four Ways to Know if Your Self-Publishing Contractors are Good for You”

Do You Need a Glossary?

Do you need a Glossary? – Tips and Tricks for the Self-Published Author on creating a helpful glossary.

Hey there all you self-published writers!

Got a big book you’re about to bring out?

Does it have…

  1. A million characters to keep track of (Ala Robert Jordan, Tolkien, or Martin?)
  2. Words in another language (Real, made up, modified – this is me!)
  3. obscure military, technological, or scientific terms?
  4. a PhD worth of terminology?
  5. A fantasy world of made up locations, animals, magic, etc?

Then you, my dear compatriot, probably need a glossary.

Some simple rules to follow when creating a glossary.

  1. Follow my Significant Other’s rule – if she doesn’t know what it is, the average reader won’t (I.E. Better to leave it in than keep it out of the glossary)
  2. Add the humor or additional backstory – the glossary is a great place to add sneaky extra bits of information, backstory, or other fun, world building tidbits.
  3. But be careful – don’t say it is one thing in book one, then something different in book two.
  4. Find some examples from great fantasy books to help you out.
  5. When in doubt, ask your editor or beta readers to underline or identify the words they didn’t know to help you out!

There you have it! I hope this helped! Glossaries can really make your book much more approachable, and people will love finding those hidden ‘easter eggs’ in the back of your book (but never tell them where to look, it is more fun to find them on your own!)

Antioch Burns sent to publisher!

Hi all,

Antioch Burns has been sent to the publisher after several rounds of revisions and checks and what seems like an inordinate amount of time checking for everything. Woo! Now to move on to Iron Tribune. Just wanted to let everyone know :-).

As always, look me up on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for the latest information on the Steam Empire Chronicles. I’ve more active there than here!

– Daniel

What is your novel worth?

For my self-published friends: What exactly is your book worth?

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the lack of postings/tweets/facebook messages, I’ve been stuck without my main computer! It died about two weeks ago and I’m still in limbo with it. I could replace the hard drive, but at this point, It may make more sense to simply get a new computer. Not sure yet.

Anywho, onto my main post.

As self-published authors, we are always facing the latest push to devalue our work. The average pricing for an ebook dropped roughly 50% this last year, according to a recent study. (I’ll find the source, but heard it on the radio!) So even the main stream publishers are facing pressure to reduce the price of their work. Understandably, there is pressure on self-published authors to get our work in ‘under the wire’ so to speak, at a reduced price, because hey, everyone likes a deal, right?

Consider what goes into making a book: Time + Money + Effort = Finished Product. You spend hours writing, revising, fixing a novel. Then you probably spend money sending it to someone else to be edited, revised, tweaked. You spend money on getting good cover art because, hey, people DO judge a book by it’s cover. You put in effort to promote, to network, to do all the legwork yourself or with only a few volunteers.

Face it: You, the self-published (or small-published) author works incredibly hard for your money. Why should you not ask people to pay for your work? And not just a pittance either. $0.99? for a full length novel?

If you spent $1,000 crafting your novel, and you sell it for 99 cents, using Amazon’s algorithm (i.e – 35% of each sale is yours), you would have to sell 2800 copies of your novel just to break even. Before any advertising & such. I once heard a quote somewhere that said the vast majority of self-published authors never sell more than 50 books.

Sell your novel for 1.99, you make 66 cents each book – you’ve cut the number of books needed to break even down to 1500. Already you’re doing a lot better. Up it to $2.99, and now you’re making 70% of each sale, 2.09 – now you only need to sell 478 novels sold.

If you truly think your work is only worth 99 cents, then sell it for that amount. Sometimes people ask me why my novella isn’t 99 cents. Because I don’t think it is worth that. Will I reduce the price in the future? Maybe. It is a short novella. But true fans will buy your work, regardless of whether it is 99 cents or 1.99 or 2.99. A true fan will not ignore your work because it costs a dollar more. Then it is simply someone who is out looking for 99 cent books, not someone looking for you.

So what is the point of this? Readers believe that everything should be cheap or free. But quality has a price. If you want readers to come to you because of the quality of your work, price it accordingly.

Thanks for letting me rant 🙂

Here’s what some other people have said…


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