Monday, December 30, 2019

Deborah J. Ross Review and Interview

Deborah J. Ross reviewed THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE and apparently liked it:

The last couple of years have brought a slew of wonderful steampunk adventures with resourceful, kick-ass heroines, and this one by McCandless is a worthy addition. Aubrey Hartmann is a veteran of recent war, having lost the lower part of one leg, and now works as a constable. Her prosthetic is a clockwork device that needs to be rewound regularly and isn’t a perfect fit but does keep her mobile, if in pain. As a result, she’s become addicted to laudanum (opium). Her current assignment involves investigating the murder of a druwyd (druid, local witch-doctor holy man) in a little town near the Fae-ruled Dark Wood. Here is where the world-building of The Clockwork Detective sharply deviates from the usual Victorian gears-and-whistles steampunk. Magic is not only real, it’s part of everyday life, and the human wars are overshadowed by the possibility of a terrible conflict with the Fae.

She then reached out to me for an interview:

Here I chat with the author about his inspiration, his future projects, and his advice for aspiring writers.

Deborah J. Ross: Tell us a little about yourself.  How did you come to be a writer?

R.A. McCandless: I came out writing, which was a weird delivery for the doctor. But really, I found myself telling stories early in grade school. We'd have assignments to write a complete sentence using a set of vocabulary words, and I'd get bored with that. Instead, I'd use the words to tell a short story. From there, it was only a short jaunt to writing my own stories.

Dragons are one of my chief inspirations. I've only included one once, in a short story. But any world where dragons can conceivably exist—please and thank you! That's almost any fantasy or science fiction story, which creates a broad palette for me to enjoy. From there, it's a hop, skip, and a wardrobe journey into another world that I'm fascinated to start exploring and sharing.

Thank you so much for the opportunity Deborah!


Friday, December 20, 2019

Ringing Out 2019

Did someone say "steampunk"?
Happy Holidays! Seasons Greetings! All that Jazz!

I received an early present from Chanticleer OZMA Book Awards that I wanted to share with everyone. It won’t spoil your festivities!

In the award category for Fantasy Fiction (there’s a sub category for steampunk) THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE has made the first cut. I'm out of the "slush pile" and in the running for a major award.

A MAJOR award!

It’s not winning, but after a couple of months of riding the author roller coaster, this was a really nice edification of the work I’ve done. THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE is a story that I’m very proud of, and I’m over-the-moon that it’s been recognized as worthwhile. Of course, I’d love to win the award, but just to have made the initial cut as a work that deserves more consideration is a very good feeling.

This might be my last blog for 2019, so here are my wishes for each and every one of you:

Whatever fills you with wonder and good cheer, whatever you find full of meaning and worth, whatever brings you happiness: May it be yours this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

Also, also—thank you for your support. Thank you for all your kind words, your thoughtful wishes, your likes and shares. Thank you for putting up with me begging and pimping my books. Thank you for helping me be a success.

I’d take you all out for teppanyaki if I had the time and money!

What award are you most proud of?
Tell me in the comments below!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Happy Holidays 2019

Date Night.

Seasons greetings to all friends and family!

This was a particularly glorious year, what with all the new book covers, the new books, and the new opportunities. It feels like, for the first time, I might actually have a shot at this whole “author” thing.

Funny story—I tease my boys about everything. I especially highlight when they’re doing good things at school, music lessons, sports, etc. My middle son received some very high marks from his Spanish teacher on his language comprehension and vocabulary, and I started to tease him when he shut me down:

Me: You’re “learning”!?  Learning is NOT allowed in this house. Especially not language!
9yo: That’s not true at all, because you’re an author. You love language!

He may have sat in on one too many of my debate practices! Done in by my own son!

The year may be ending, but the opportunities never stop. This is a little preview for an offer we’ll be making at the start of next year. I have an uncounted (not uncountable, just currently uncounted) number of back issues of the first two Del books: TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER. The story is all the same, but the covers are different. I’d like to clean these out, so I’m only dealing with the current versions.

I'm not sure what the offer is going to be, but it should be pretty good.

All that is to say, STAY-TUNED for a unique offer for the new year. The best way to do so is to join my monthly newsletter, where we share this information first, but you can also roll the dice and hope that I remember to update my blog!

What exciting thing do you have coming up? Tell me in the comments below!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Del's Success by the Numbers

Not Rob's actual tree.

A couple of really nice things happened last week.

We put up the Christmas tree. My youngest had been on us for a couple days to get the tree decorated, mostly because his aunt had sent a gift to be opened “when decorating the tree.”  Less to actually get ready for the holiday, and more to make the 7-year-old shut up about it. But yeah, also the holiday thing.

Unfortunately, two of the pre-lit strings no longer light.  That said, replacement LED lights aren’t expensive these days, so we’re just a Prime delivery away from correcting that.

There was tons of fun to be had while TEARS OF HEAVEN was offered for free. I hit some of my best rankings of all time and became an Amazon Best Seller. Here are some more numbers which are pretty nice:

Total copies "sold": 618
Highest ranking overall: #377

TEARS OF HEAVEN, HELL BECOMES HER, and COMPANY OF THE DAMNED all remain free for Kindle Unlimited readers. For a dude from Bountiful, Utah, that’s a pretty good showing.

AnachroCon sent me my acceptance letter. There are still some details to be worked out, but for now mark your 2020 calendars for Valentine’s weekend, February 14th through the 16th. More details are sure to follow.

What holiday traditions did you renew this year?
Tell us in the comments below!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Amazon Best Seller


My sorta-kinna pseudo PA but really my friend, Jenn Nixon, has been working with me for the past six months. I love, love, love working with her. She pointed me at Ellysian Press when I was looking for a home for THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE, and she’s been in charge or a lot of my day-to-day marketing stuff like newsletters and finding freebie or low-cost advertising blogs and whatnot.

She’s been pushing both my steampunk and my urban fantasy book, and while marketing is never easy, she certainly makes it look like it’s a breeze. Steady sales for a small press author are always a good thing.

About two months ago, we decided to do a thing.

We decided to make the ebook version of TEARS OF HEAVEN free for this week. 

There were a lot of good reasons for this, and top of the list was you folk reading this now.
This was as a thank you to all the people who had supported me, bought the book in its previous incarnations, and maybe didn’t have this most current one. This was for all the people who supported me, but couldn’t swing the purchase just yet. This was for all the people who’d thought about buying the book, but weren’t quite ready to take a chance on an unknown, small press author.

That thing seems to have worked.

This morning, when I logged in, Jenn was already “squee-ing” (literally) about the ranks. I also squee-ed all over as well, much to the annoyance of some of my early morning co-workers. You’re welcome to squee or not to squee:

#31 in US
#13 in UK
#7 in Australia
#1 in CANADA!

My mother has always loved Australia!
Now, granted, this is in the "Top 100 Free" category. No one is backing up a dump truck full of cash to my house. But, this does mean a few hundred downloads have been made. If even a percentage of those folk like what I do, I may have made some new fans who will pick up the other books in the series, and even follow me over from urban fantasy to my steampunk world.

I also can never, ever, never say enough good things about Jenn. She's a helluva writer, she's been a wonderful pseudo-PA, helping, guiding, and helping. If you're looking for some marketing assistance, she has extremely reasonable rates, and she's an incredible advocate.  And seriously, her rates are EXTREMELY reasonable. I wouldn't be here without her. Seriously, look her up!

The freebie ends tomorrow at midnight.  Well, 11:59 PM to be exact. So it’s possible that I’ll see some better numbers over the weekend.  But these are the best numbers I’ve EVER seen, and that’s thanks to everyone who has ever even looked my way.


What unexpected “good thing” has happened to you recently? Tell me in the comments below!

Monday, December 2, 2019

We Won! We Won!

In the money, BABY!

Two really big things to report this blog, so we’ll go with those:

1. Update on the cover art contest!

2. TEARS OF HEAVEN free download!

First—YOU DID IT! I asked, and you answered. COMPANY OF THE DAMNED won third place, and that was in the money! You guys gave me 513 votes—FIVE-HUNDRED—and that’s amazing. Second place was at 754 votes and first was at 763 votes. Given the level of effort to stay in the running, I’m more than pleased with the finish, and I really appreciate your help. More than that, I appreciate your patience putting up with my constant requests for another and another and yet another vote!

I wish I could thank all of your personally.

In a way, I can!

So, second—TEARS OF HEAVEN will be offered for FREE digital download from Amazon starting Tuesday, December 3rd running through Saturday, December 7th. It’s not exactly a Black Friday sale, but it is certainly free, with no obligations whatsoever. Just a thank you to everyone who has ever helped, wanted to help, or even thought about helping me out.

That’s right. For a brief time, we’re making the first book in the series available for FREE download. Obviously, the idea is to make it a gateway to the rest of the books, and my other books, etc. But also, this is a lovely present for everyone who has supported me over the years. If you don’t have a digital copy, now you can!

Thank you for helping me succeed in 2019!

What was your favorite book or movie this year?
Tell me in the comments below!