Not to mention, a winner! I've performed the drawing for the reader-inspired bonus story for the holiday collection, and the winning tale is that of Crystal Lee, who's having trouble finding presents for her friends! Congrats to you, Madam Submitter -- I shall contact you shortly to work out more details and get the story underway!
Now, as promised, the listing of ALL remaining titles for the chapters in the main Dangerverse. I was a bit surprised by how quickly this came together, but I've had a lot of time to think about it. So, without further ado, here are the titles for Chapters 44-70 of Surpassing Danger. Comments, thoughts, and questions welcome!
Chapter 44: Innovations and Renovations
Chapter 45: Weep No More, My Lady
Chapter 46: The Sword’s Decision
Chapter 47: Through Summer Months
Chapter 48: Fight Brave and Bold
Chapter 49: His Wife’s Husband
Chapter 50: Partners and Leaders
Chapter 51: Life and Death
Chapter 52: Locked and Barred
Chapter 53: Flight of the Nymphs
Chapter 54: There All Along
Chapter 55: Choice and Compulsion
Chapter 56: For I Have Sinned
Chapter 57: The Younger Heir of Slytherin
Chapter 58: Left, Given, Stolen, Born
Chapter 59: The Bargain
Chapter 60: Worthy
Chapter 61: The Place of Honor
Chapter 62: Raising the Flag
Chapter 63: The Last Enemy
Chapter 64: If You Ever Loved Us
Chapter 65: Cornerstone
Chapter 66: The Lion’s Queen
Chapter 67: Hail and Farewell
Chapter 68: Let’s Go Home
Chapter 69: August 8, 1998, Hogwarts
Chapter 70/Epilogue: That They Lived
Now, unfortunately, we have to get to the second half of the title of this blog post, which is not nearly so nice. As I have said many times, I am firmly committed to finishing the Dangerverse. As I have also said many times, I am not ashamed of my fan fiction and publish my originals independently so that I don't have to take it down.
However. I do not want to have to keep my day job indefinitely, and the simple fact is that I'm not getting a lot of sales of my originals. I price my novels and collections as low as I realistically can, because I know that many of my readers are young and/or broke, without much disposable income. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be helping.
So, I'm going to give this one more year, the year I will take (at the outside) to finish the Dangerverse as well. I will keep writing and publishing originals as they are ready, and I will do my best to market them. Your help, O readers, is much appreciated, whether by buying books or by making sure to spread the word that they're out there.
If, when the DV has been completed, I am getting hints in the direction of sustainable sales, a growing fan base who are able and willing to buy my work, I will continue as I am. But if things stay as they are right now -- constantly declining sales numbers and little to no visible response from readers -- I may have to take other steps.
I mention "visible response" because it does matter, people. Your taking a few moments to review a book or story you enjoyed -- on the site where you read or bought it -- can help to sway someone who isn't sure if they want to take a chance on this strange new author. Facebook is great for my ego, but not so much for sales.
Many of you have told me you get nervous about reviewing, because you're afraid people will judge you. You feel that your words are stupid or not good enough, that they'll come out wrong. Please believe me -- unless you plan to review with "DIS BUK IZ STOOPID", your words are not coming out wrong, and they are truly needed!
A quick reminder that a good review has three parts. 1: "I liked this book/story because..." As many reasons as you wish -- specific is best! 2: "It might have been better if..." Again, as many as you like, but politely, please! 3: "I recommend this book/story to..." Comparisons help. "Fairy tale fans" or "lovers of history", perhaps.
Now, a few paragraphs back, I mentioned taking "other steps". Will this involve signing on with a publishing house who would require me to take down my fan fiction? I certainly hope not, but if keeping the fanfic means losing my chance at making a living from my writing... well, it would break my heart, but I might have no choice.
So, there you have it. Nothing is set in stone -- for all I know, I could get a call for Jeopardy! tomorrow, go to California next week, and break the all-time winning streak record for a woman (which I believe stands at nine games). But I'm certainly not counting on that. How about it, readers? Can I count on you? Will you help me?