31 December 2017

Writing Distractions - a gaming rundown

Over at The Book Smugglers they're well into their yearly Smugglivus celebrations, and I have a post about the games I've been playing, and my thoughts about virtual gaming.

Lots of pretty pictures in this one!

22 December 2017

Smuggled Touchstone Editions!

Here is some very cool news!  The Touchstone Trilogy has been republished in paperback by The Book Smugglers with scrumptious new covers by Kirbi Fagan.


Isn't that a fabulous cover?  See the others, and check out a giveaway for the whole trilogy, over at Smuggler HQ.

19 December 2017

A Bad or Good Last Jedi? (spoilers)


I enjoyed The Last Jedi a lot, which is not to say there aren't plenty of issues with the choices made in the story.

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A lot of the blow-back I've seen about TLJ has revolved around Luke.  Both for his brief madness regarding Ben, for his subsequent self-exile on a not-nearly-as-deserted-a-world-as-it-seemed, and for his epic or not-epic end.

Luke was a nice kid, but the fact that he persuaded Vader to do a heel-face turn doesn't mean he's not going to have some difficulty when faced with a Baby Hitler issue.  Or whiny teen emo Hitler.  I can understand both the moment's temptation, and the agonised self-recrimination in the aftermath.  The self-exile leaving his sister and friend to deal with not only their grief, but the rise of the First Order is less easy to understand.  But since this was established in the first movie of this trilogy, it's not something I'm going to harp on in the second.

His end was epic and fitting, though.  That worked for me – both in facing the problem he had contributed to, and finally helping the Rebellion out a little, in a way that calls clearly back to Ben Kenobi's end.

The tonal shifts of humour inserted into very dramatic scenes were definitely jarring.  I didn't hate them, and they did make me laugh, but definitely jarring.

I think the thing that bothered me most was that there was an A story, where Important Rey goes to find Important Luke, and is deflected to Important Conflict with Important Kylo, while in the B story side-character Poe causes a series of issues, and sends side-character Finn and side-character Rose off on a futile escapade that ultimately achieves the death of most of the Rebellion.

Difficult to miss that these two storylines are rather divided by skin colour.

For the A story, I am very glad that Rey completely rejected any ruling of Empires, and that she failed to redeem Kylo.  I'm a little at a loss as to why she felt it worth trying – even if he really is struggling internally, he's still a murderous child-killer who has slaughtered many more people than Han Solo.  The death of Snoke and the epic throne room battle were very good, and the discovery that Kylo is not a good kid gone wrong, but someone who likes the idea of ruling a galaxy, worked very well for me.  I'm glad Rey is not related to anyone we know, though sad that her parents apparently 'sold' her (and confused as to what exactly she was sold into, since she didn't seem to be tied to anyone at all in her intro).

For the B story, I really liked Rose, and continue to like Finn and Poe.  I like that Poe appears to be designated as new leader of the Rebellion, though I thought the method of getting him there was awkward and contrived.  I'm also a little unsure why people don't hyperspace shatter Star Destroyers as a matter of course.

Finn was the worst-used: he's in danger of becoming a primarily comic character, which I felt a pity because he's such a likeable person.  I think that perhaps the writers don't know what to do with him – they haven't found an arc for him in the main plotline.  With Rey becoming a Jedi and Poe becoming a leader, the story attempts to make his role 'becoming an inspiration' – which I like as a purpose, if only the B plot hadn't completely deflated his heroism.

Rose is outright wonderful.  I loved her switch from fan-girl to taser-wielder.  I disliked the rapidity of the romantic arc – this is a story that progresses over a matter of hours, and is given precious little chemistry or foundation, though I wouldn't object to the romance if it had been set up a little more adroitly.

There is also a C story which seems to be 'the Rebellion is run by older women, but unfortunately they will all soon be dead'.  I didn't hate Leia's Force flight, though wish she'd been wearing some kind of pressure suit to make her survival less unlikely.  It felt like she was being rescued by the Force, rather than being in a condition to rescue herself.


So, overall, I enjoyed but neither outright loved nor hated The Last Jedi.  I'd have cut at least half an hour from it, and made the Poe-Finn-Rose mission a positive one, rather than primarily negative in result, even though the final scenes of an inspired child spared it from being a totally worthless venture.

27 November 2017

A note on Touchstone print copies

For those who like the print books, the Touchstone Trilogy (first 3 books) will be reissued in collaboration with the lovely Book Smugglers.  This means that the current volumes will be taken down.  If you're wanting to buy the series with its current covers, be warned that I will be taking Stray and Lab Rat down this week.

31 October 2017

Current Status

I'm writing very slowly this year (partly because I took up playing an MMO again in order to write my MMO novel, and spent rather a lot of time playing the MMO).

I don't think it's very likely I'll finish Snug Ship this year (though first quarter next year is likely).  And that will push Tangleways to the end of next year.

I am enjoying writing Snug Ship immensely, at least, though it's rather more complex than I anticipated (and at the same time has a non-typical story structure).  I'm looking forward to sharing it with you all!

04 October 2017

Snug Ship on Book Smuggler's Kickstarter

The Book Smugglers are having a Kickstarter, and I've offered up a chance to name a (major) character in Snug Ship as one of the final hour rewards.  Hardly any time left, so jump on it if you're keen.

10 September 2017

Worldbuilding dates and times

One of the things that writers have to keep track of is details of characters and - when you're messing with multiple worlds or other factors - dates of events.

I've been working on a spreadsheet for Snug Ship, and thought you all might be interested in a glimpse of the spreadsheet I did while writing In Arcadia.  Lining up Earth time and Muinan time involved so many errors...


28 August 2017

Inn - Chap 6

I have been very neglectful, and left you all hanging for quite a long time.  I don't even have a good excuse - I've been distracted playing FFXIV, and with plumbing woes, and a bit of a reading binge.

Also, this isn't a very good chapter.  Very little happens action-wise - it's more focused on Vanagar being consumed by social malaise, and while she does make some progression, it's way more fun to read about epic magics.  It's a necessary progression, but I think if writing it now I'd set it during some discovery events, rather than sitting about re-iterating things we know already.


26 June 2017

14 June 2017

Inn - Chap 4

I think, on a current writing, I'd make the farmers less unreasonable.


Concept image for one of my covers

I think I shared a rough image a while ago of the rough layout I wanted for Caszandra.  Today I found the image I drew when commissioning Stray.  I sure placed a lot of importance on the backpack!  When I was a kid all backpacks were heavily annotated in this fashion...


24 May 2017

Inn Chap 2

In this installment of this abandoned project, we see that SGM was not the first time I've balanced an experienced and competent POV with a younger and untried one.

Vanagar is very different from Kendall. I quite like the character arc I had planned for her.  In fact, since I stopped writing after she made the major progression on that arc, I suspect that the transition was what I wanted to write, and since it happens relatively early in the story, is why this is unfinished.


17 May 2017

An abandoned project - Inn Chap 1

I was just re-reading Sabriel, which I'm fairly sure was the inspiration of an old partial of mine with the working title of Inn.  Then I started re-reading the old partial, instead of, y'know, working on things I intend to finish.

So I figure I shall spread the time-wasting around and give you the first few chapters of Inn over a couple of posts.  There's a lot wrong with this story - it reads rather D&D-ish to me now, but I'm entirely amused by the situation.  Don't read on if you like things like resolution, or endings...

[Caution: I am unkind to horses in this chapter.  Reminiscent of a scene in Champion.]

---

15 April 2017

An award for Forfeit

Award recognition is one of those complicated things for writers.  Is there such a thing as 'best'?  Judges bring their own individual taste.  Popular awards rely very much of a piece/author being known to the voting pool.  It's all very complicated, so I've tried to adopt the attitude of appreciating any compliments coming my way without getting too hung up on missing out.

But I'm still going to enjoy adding to my display cabinet an Aurealis Award for "Forfeit" as the Best Fantasy Novella 2016.

HUGE thanks to Judith Tarr for prodding me into tightening up the story.  And thanks again to my readers.  You're the ones that really make my day.

You can watch the ceremony here if you're so inclined.


17 February 2017

Self-pub Statistics 2017

Here's the latest round of statistics, for those who are interested in such things.  I'm being lazy and just using a tool called Book Report to automatically turn all my Amazon sales into nice graphs.  Amazon is still about 85% of my sales, so this gives you a good idea of how it all breaks down for a laid-back non-promo type like me.  [I'd far rather just write and publish than go through promo hoops, which does mean my sales slide between releases.]

[If you want to see just how successful hard work and a solid promo plan (along with good books) can be, check out some of the posts Patty Jansen does on her far more active writing career.]

Earnings per month

First, here's earnings from when I first put my books up on Amazon (a few months after I'd first published them on Smashwords).  The two big peaks are two Bookbub promotions, back when it was easier to get into Bookbub.  The initial early leaps were in the days when putting a book free would have a tangible impact on your sales.  [The third biggest peak, incidentally, is the release of In Arcadia.]


Earnings by book and store

The Touchstone Trilogy is by leaps and bounds my bestseller, as can be seen by the pie chart.  No prizes for guessing which books are represented by the right of the chart.


Numbers and dollars by book

Dividing this by seven years makes the amounts seem much less impressive - but still definitely nothing to sniff at!  Not anything I could gamble on early retirement with, but a solid supplement to my income.  [Publishing and Amazon algorithms are such variable things that I don't think I would ever bank on book royalties until I no longer had things like mortgages to worry about.]


For the future...well, I'd still rather just write and publish and see what happens - the beauty of self-publishing is that the books are mine, and they're not going away, and I'm comfortable with letting my mailing list grow slowly and organically.

Not that I'd object to wild success.  I recently had a rather heart-stopping query from a very major production company about the film/TV rights for Touchstone.  It came to nothing, sadly, but it sure did give me some fun daydreams.  I re-read the trilogy afterwards, and really don't see how it could be adapted without cutting down on the massive cast list - but I thought it would be fun to have a show that paralleled Zan and Cass.  They both technically 'graduate' around the same time and are such different people.

02 February 2017

In Arcadia magnet winners

Whoo!  The random number generator has spat out the following names for their own fancy magnet
:

- Jen (entered on Goodreads)
- AtillatheMom (entered on blog)
- G  (entered on blog)
- Eun dong Park  (entered on blog)
- TheSFReader  (entered on blog)
- Meredith  (entered on blog)
- katayoun  (entered on blog)
- Lexie  (entered on blog)

Congratulations!  To claim your magnet, email me at mail at andreakhost.com with the address you want the magnet sent to, and the quote (from In Arcadia, or anywhere else in the Touchstone trilogy) you would like me to write in shiny gold pen across the magnet (you can also optionally include my signature, your name, bad drawings, other things - let me know what you'd like!)  It's a big magnet!  [But my handwriting is neither small nor neat.]

Magnets not claimed by April will be redrawn.

09 January 2017

In Arcadia TPB Giveaway

Here is a Goodreads giveaway for the TPB version of In Arcadia.  Competition starts 9 January.




Goodreads Book Giveaway

In Arcadia by Andrea K. Höst

In Arcadia

by Andrea K. Höst

Giveaway ends February 17, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

08 January 2017

A Touchstone special edition

The Book Smugglers are celebrating their ninth anniversary and have announced another Touchstone surprise for 2017: a special limited edition reprint of the trilogy with covers by Kirbi Fagan.

I'm SO looking forward to this - it's wonderful to work with Ana and Thea (and, well, I'm just a sucker for covers).  Will post more info as it arrives.

01 January 2017

In Arcadia - Release and Competition

So it's 2017.

On the world scene, 2016 had quite a few down points, so I thought I'd start the new year off with a small gift for my fans.  Now I know I've been promising a Touchstone short story for years, but I'm afraid I'm just not a short story writer...so you're going to have to make do with a brand spanking new Touchstone novel.

My first outright romance novel, in fact, with the story of how Cass' Mum Laura gets together with Tsur Selkie.  Well, you know me - it's more a slice-of-life geek-fest because how would you feel getting to move to a place like Muina?  Though Tsur Selkie sure as hell knows how to make a romantic gesture.  [And I hope you all fall in love with Aunt Sue, because I sure did, and Aunt Sue will definitely be getting her own adventure some time.]

I love this cover image, btw.


One does not simply walk onto another planet.  At least not without the help of a daughter who has developed unlikely powers, fought an intra-dimensional war, and then arranged for a family relocation to a futuristic clone of Earth.  Laura Devlin would gladly have paid any price to have her daughter back, so living in a techno-paradise with spaceship views is merely an added bonus.  And a dream come true.

But Arcadian paradises do not come without complications.  Laura's include a plethora of psychic grandchildren.  Interplanetary diplomacy.  Her daughter's immense fame.  And KOTIS, the military watchdog that seems to consider Laura's entire family government property.

Forewarned by her daughter's experiences, Laura had anticipated as many problems as she could, and didn't doubt her ability to cope with the rest.  But she had not planned on Gidds Selkie, a military officer 'chipped from flint' and not at all the sort of man lifelong geek Laura had ever imagined would find her interesting.

Burned in the past, Laura is surprised to find herself tempted.  Is this a new start to go with a new world?  Or a mismatch doomed to failure?


Ebooks
Amazon USUKDEFRAU
Kobo 
Barnes & Noble  
Google 

Trade Paperback
Amazon 
CreateSpace 


Competition!
I had a number of large magnets made up from the cover to give away, for those who are really keen on some new fridge decorations.  When I say large, I mean large:



To enter, just add 'enter' in the comments of this post (or, if you can't comment, email me at mail at andreakhost.com).  [Feel free, of course, to squee as well, but try to keep this relatively spoiler-free.]

Competition closes end of January.  I can also sign your magnet with a glittery pen, if you so choose, or even a short quote from the novel of your choosing.






New release - The Starfighter Invitation

The only thing bigger than the world's first full virtual reality game is the my stery surrounding its origins.  Who is behind Ryzonar...