About Restless Earth:
About Blessing Sky:
A high, bell-like whinny sounded up ahead and Ahote looked up, startled.
“A Winged,” said Niyal.
Everyone else went tense. The horses began to stamp and sidle. Only Mother, who lay resting on her litter, seemed unaffected.
Ahote scanned the sky and spotted the creature. It was far away, beyond Millerton at Ahote’s best guess—a good half-day’s ride.
The Winged covered the distance in the space of four heartbeats, and then all havoc broke loose.
It had no Rider, only an empty saddle.
The horses began to rear and shy, and Fleet, who did not know to be afraid of Winged, wheeled in response to what she saw the rest doing.
Ahote cast about for a way to help Mother, but he spotted one of the men of the tribe scooping her up into his arms and holding her close to his chest.
Indignation and gratitude warred in Ahote, but he didn’t have time to discern which would prevail, for the pegasus dove straight for him, its white teeth bared and its hooves lashing out. With a quick yank, he pulled Fleet aside so that they dodged the creature’s headlong assault, and there was a sudden gust of wind as the great wings flapped, turning the dive back into a climb.
“Spread out!” a voice shouted from the tribe. “Don’t cluster together. We meet at the well.”
Ahote had no idea where any wells were. For the past day, they’d ridden through farm fields lying fallow after the last harvest. Flimsy-looking, wood-frame houses dotted the landscape, left empty by families that would have moved into Millerton for the cold months.
He was sure many of these homes had wells, but he hadn’t taken any careful inventory as he’d ridden past. Now, there was no one to ask as the tribe scattered like corn kernels dropped onto a flat stone. Horses shrieked in terror, their hooves pounding the ground in rhythmic thunder. The only one who did not move was Fleet, who stood awaiting Ahote’s command.
And this angered the Winged, who banked, turned, and dove for them again.
Ahote’s first instinct was to run, and that was what Fleet wanted to do as well, but instead, they waited. While the Winged was high in the air, it could bank and turn at will. As it descended, its options became more limited, so Ahote kept Fleet still, even as she trembled beneath him and danced in place.
The Winged was twenty lengths away, now fifteen, moving so fast that its outline blurred. Once the creature was ten lengths away, Ahote gave his command.
Fleet ran forward, toward the creature, ducking easily under its diamond-sharp hooves as the great wings flapped in a vain attempt to turn and pursue them. The flapping turned into an ungainly landing, and Ahote fancied that the advantage was now his.
No such luck. The Winged could run as fast as any horse—and faster than Fleet. It was gaining on them.
About the Author:
She is a graduate of the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy and Viable Paradise Writers Workshop, and she often teaches the unit on self-publishing at the Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop.When she is not writing or chasing small children, she manages E.M. Tippetts Book Designs, her company which offers formatting, cover design, and editing services to authors and publishers.
I started pursuing a writing career fifteen years ago, back when self-publishing wasn’t done. Instead I did things the traditional way, workshopping and trying to sell short stories to magazines. I even sold a novel to a small press. While I have absolutely no regrets about the time I spent doing this, I did reach a point where I felt I was spinning my wheels. Everything I wrote was for editors and agents, and when one thing didn’t sell, I’d try something completely different. As a result, I hit a point where I wasn’t growing as a writer. I was spreading myself too thin and running myself ragged.
It was my friend Susan Ee who first took the plunge into self-publishing, with her bestselling novel, Angelfall. Even before this novel took off and landed her the publisher and movie deal she has today, I paid attention to what she was doing, and even interviewed her about why. Because I’d spent a decade in the publishing industry already, I felt that I just might know enough to try indie publishing.
But at the time, this could still tarnish your good name as an author, so rather than self-publishing any of my work as Emily Mah, I self-published a couple of chick lit novels I’d written as my romance alter-ego, E.M. Tippetts. One day before my thirty-sixth birthday, I hit “publish” on KDP.
Now, the field is full of, “I just tried it and look what happened,” stories about self-publishing, and mine fits right in with them. However, I think people often overlook or fail to stress what “just trying it” consists of. My idea for “just trying it” was to see if I could, on my own, do anything to affect the sales of my books. It seemed like a skill that would be useful in traditional publishing as well. So when I began my experiment, I jumped in with both feet.
I hired a professional designer to do my covers, and set myself the goal of making the money I spent on them back. I read up on self-publishing and marketing and went all-in, building up Twitter followers, establishing a mailing list, and contacting hundreds of book bloggers. Those first few months were rough as I watched practically no copies of the books sell, but then that began to change. I climbed the ranks of Amazon, and roughly a year after I first published, I hit the Kindle Top 100.
From there, I felt like I needed to keep investing in my romance career, so I wrote six more novels and published them. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I was making enough to live off of. It’d been my lifelong dream to make a living as a writer, and here I’d achieved it, just not in the genre that I prefer.
This meant I had to take a good, hard look at my life and career. While I could continue to try the traditional route to publish my science fiction and fantasy, I wasn’t sure that it was in my best interests to delay publication of novels I’d already finished. By this time I was also getting emails from other, successful authors who wanted to know about indie publishing, and I found I could answer their questions. In short, I now had a pretty solid knowledge of how to self-publish a book.
The publication of The Sky Chariots Saga is the next step of this journey. With its release, I’ve gone all indie with both pen names, and given my years of experience, I feel very comfortable with this choice. What I love about self-publishing these books is the opportunity to hire Raya Golden, a fantastically talented artist, to illustrate the covers and interiors. Being firmly in control of the publishing process means that I can create the exact books I want to create.
Besides that, I think these novels are great fun, and I hope you’ll check them out!
Three (3) winners will receive signed ebooks of Restless Earth and Blessing Sky by Emily Mah
Ends Aug. 5th
prizing provided by the author, hosts are not responsible in any way.