My Latest Short Story: Marina

The next installment of my The Eyes of Mictlan Origins series is now available as a free ebook at Smashwords. Additional booksellers like Apple and B&N will have it soon. As with the other ebooks in the series, this short story is excerpted from my novel, The Eyes of Mictlan.

cover_marina

Marina strolls along eerily quiet streets in the foggy slums of Whitechapel, London. Jack the Ripper has just brutally murdered her friend and lover, the latest victim during a reign of terror that has forced many of Marina’s fellow prostitutes into hiding. Any woman walking the streets of Whitechapel alone in the middle of the night is practically begging to become his next victim—which is exactly what Marina is counting on, for she is no ordinary woman, and on this night she is the predator, not the prey.

Also Available

cover_dalton

Old West judge Dalton Freely awakes under a scorching desert sun in a pool of blood-soaked dirt, a noose around his neck, his arms bound behind his back. He turns his gaze upward to find the bodies of his wife and children hanging from a tree. Only then does he begin to recall the horror of the previous evening when a gang of outlaws murdered his family. On the verge of death himself, Dalton desperately drags his broken body back toward civilization, a single thought on his mind: revenge.

cover_xavier

Xavier is an ancient vampire who has wandered the world for over a thousand years in search of a talisman that will give him the power to rule the land of the dead. His quest has led him into the heart of the Aztec Empire as the right-hand man of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortés. Now in the majestic capital city of Tenochtitlan, Xavier has finally discovered the talisman’s location, but to get his hands on it he must set in motion a chain of events that will lead to the destruction of the Aztec civilization.

And Coming Soon

Caesar: A senator of the Roman Empire discovers the monstrous nature of his friend and colleague.

Jeanette: A Depression-era speakeasy singer struggles to survive the hell of a tuberculosis sanatorium.

For more information on my novels and short stories, visit my author page.

Advertisements

A New Short Story

The next installment of my The Eyes of Mictlan Origins series is now available as a free ebook at Smashwords. Additional booksellers like Apple and B&N will have it soon. As with the other ebooks in the series, this short story is excerpted from my novel, The Eyes of Mictlan, though this version has been slightly modified from what appears in the novel in order to make the narrative stand on its own.

cover_xavier

Xavier is an ancient vampire who has wandered the world for over a thousand years in search of a talisman that will give him the power to rule the land of the dead. His quest has led him into the heart of the Aztec Empire as the right-hand man of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortés. Now in the majestic capital city of Tenochtitlan, Xavier has finally discovered the talisman’s location, but to get his hands on it he must set in motion a chain of events that will lead to the destruction of the Aztec civilization.

Also Available

cover_dalton

Old West judge Dalton Freely awakes under a scorching desert sun in a pool of blood-soaked dirt, a noose around his neck, his arms bound behind his back. He turns his gaze upward to find the bodies of his wife and children hanging from a tree. Only then does he begin to recall the horror of the previous evening when a gang of outlaws murdered his family. On the verge of death himself, Dalton desperately drags his broken body back toward civilization, a single thought on his mind: revenge.

And Coming Soon

Marina: A White Chapel prostitute takes extreme measures after Jack the Ripper murders her friend.

Caesar: A senator of the Roman Empire discovers the monstrous nature of his friend and colleague.

Jeanette: A Depression-era speakeasy singer struggles to survive the hell of a tuberculosis sanatorium.

For more information on my novels and short stories, visit my author page.

Introducing My New “Origins” Series

I have a launched a new eBook series called The Eyes of Mictlan Origins, a collection of free short stories excerpted from my novel, The Eyes of Mictlan. All of the stories will be available as free eBooks from Smashwords and other booksellers.

I have also launched a new page on my author site dedicated to the series. The first story, Dalton, is available now. Read below for a synopsis.


cover_dalton

Old West judge Dalton awakes under a scorching desert sun in a pool of blood-soaked dirt, a noose around his neck, his arms bound behind his back. He turns his gaze upward to find the bodies of his wife and children hanging from a tree. Only then does he begin to recall the horror of the previous evening when a gang of outlaws murdered his family. On the verge of death himself, Dalton desperately drags his broken body back toward civilization, a single thought on his mind: revenge.

And coming soon. . .

Xavier: An ancient vampire manipulates events during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire.

Marina: A White Chapel prostitute takes extreme measures after Jack the Ripper murders her friend.

Caesar: A senator of the Roman Empire discovers the monstrous nature of his friend and colleague.

Jeanette: A Depression-era speakeasy singer struggles to survive the hell of a tuberculosis sanatorium.


In related news, there is just over a week left to download my full novel, The Eyes of Mictlan, for free at Smashwords.  Just enter the code SFREE at checkout.

In closing, I promise to resume posting travel and photo stories with more consistency once this unprecedentedly busy summer is finally over. Stay tuned. And as always, thank you for reading!

A New Page and a New Trip

I haven’t been as active with this blog lately because I’ve been busy with author related tasks, including launching a new home page dedicated solely to the novelist portion of my online presence. You can view my new page here: michaelrappa.net. There is also a link to the new page in this blog’s top menu called “My Author Page.”

My Author Page Banner

On the new page you can read my author bio and sample chapters, and order my books, including some upcoming free short stories. The new page also links back to this blog, as this is where I will post news and updates in addition to my usual travel stories and photos.

Speaking of travel, I am in the early stages of planning a road trip to Canada this summer, either in late June/early July or late August/early September. My original idea was to head up to Quebec City for a few days and then drive out to Nova Scotia, but after reading up on Cape Breton and seeing photos of its stunning beauty, I now want to organize my entire trip around that–driving the Cabot Trail and hiking in the Highlands National Park both sound amazing!

Cape Breton: What’s not to love?

So now I’m thinking I’ll save Quebec for another trip and just focus on the Nova Scotia area. I would like to visit all of the main points of interest in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and Prince Edward Island.

Have any of you visited this region of Canada? How many days do you like to spend on each of the islands and what is your favorite time of the year to visit? Any travel advice would be much appreciated. 🙂

As always, thank you for reading and I promise to resume my travel blogging very soon!

Story Cartel and the Search for Reviews

cover3bOne of the biggest struggles for an indie author is getting people to review your books on Amazon and other book retailers (I even have trouble getting people I know personally, and who have given my novel extremely positive feedback, to leave reviews). Without reviews (positive, negative, or indifferent), it’s nearly impossible to get strangers interested in your book because it gets lost in an endless sea of unreviewed, self-published books available to the masses.

As indie authors, we take steps to try and remedy this situation: launching giveaway contests, making our books available for free with coupon codes or by reducing the price to zero for a period of time, promoting the books on blogs and social media, and so on. For most unknown authors, I imagine the results are as middling as mine have been, so last month I decided to try something new.

My search for reviews led me to a few sites that offer authors the chance to give their books away for free in exchange for honest reviews. Some of these sites are more expensive than others and, as I was unwilling to risk spending a lot of money on something that was not guaranteed to work, I chose the site with the cheapest rate: Story Cartel.

For $25, you can post your novel on Story Cartel in various formats for three weeks. Anyone can download it during this time for free. As added incentive, those who leave reviews are entered into giveaways for prizes such as Kindle eReaders, Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards, and bestselling print books. I figured that for $25 I didn’t have much to lose, and if it helped me get a few reviews, all the better. After all, I’d read articles in which people had claimed to get 50+ reviews out of it.

My results, I’m afraid to say, were not quite so amazing. In fact, I’d have to label the entire experiment a failure, for in the end, I only got one solitary review for my $25. It was a very nice, 5-star review (for a total of two reviews on my novel’s Amazon page), but overall it was not worth it for me. Does that mean it won’t work for you? Perhaps, perhaps not. I think the success rate might be higher for an author with more of an established following than one like myself who is still trying to build one. The reason for this is that the onus is on you to promote the giveaway. I did my best to feature it on both social media and this blog but, again, I believe it comes down to how big (and dedicated) your following is.

As for the publishing process at Story Cartel, the interface was easy enough to use, though I would like to have seen a longer description field, as well as a place for me to enter a list of searchable tags (I feel that being limited to just two genres did not make the book searchable enough). It also might have helped if I could have made the book available for longer than three weeks.

I could have opted for Story Cartel’s more expensive option that features the book more prominently, but there’s no guarantee that would have helped get me more reviews. At least $25 wasn’t a huge amount to spend on a failed experiment–I’m just glad I didn’t try one of the more expensive sites that would have taken more than $100 out of my pocket.

I think the lesson from all this is that there is only so much you can do to drum up sales as an unknown author. A lot of it comes down to luck–you can have a great novel that never gets read by anyone, or a lousy novel that becomes a best seller [cough 50 Shades cough]. Most of us fall somewhere in between. That doesn’t mean I will stop trying (see below), it just means I’m being realistic. I was never under any illusion that I was going to become a best seller and have my novel turned into a movie. I’m just gratified that I was able to get it out in the world and that those who have read it have really enjoyed it.


In other news, you can now download the entire first half of my novel for free from Smashwords, and it’s only 99 cents to read the rest. I believe this 50% sample size may also apply to some of the other booksellers in the Smashwords distribution network, such as Barnes & NobleKobo, Oyster, Scribd, Inktera, Apple, and OverDrive (though not Amazon). I also intend to make more of my novel available for reading on this blog.

And stay tuned for a series of upcoming new releases: free short stories excerpted from my novel, which will be downloadable at booksellers and also posted here. The series of stories will live under the title, The Eyes of Mictlan: Origins. I hope you will enjoy them, and as always, I thank you for your support!