Popping out of my mostly-unintentional posting hiatus with some news...about Captain Annabel Skyblade, Victorie Brassfeld, and the future of the Skyblade Saga.
On May 15, Amazon announced that it was ending its Kindle Worlds program and removing all the titles in it from sale on or about July 16. For those of you who weren’t familiar with it, Kindle Worlds was where Amazon worked with the owners of popular properties to sell stories based in those fictional worlds, including Valiant Comics, The Vampire Diaries and a number of romance settings.
In October 2016, I was recruited to join the first wave of authors for the Plundered Chronicles, a new Kindle Worlds based on Alex Westmore’s stories of Quinn Gallagher and her pirate adventures. I quickly wrote a novella, Skyblade’s Gambit, which was not set in the original setting (as we were encouraged to do). It was a steampunk-flavored fantasy tale with floating kingdoms, airship pirates, adventure, romance and LGBT representation. A second novella, Skyblade’s Claim, followed in June 2017. The Plundered Chronicles was the first LGBT+ setting for Kindle Worlds, and I was (and still am) honored to be part of that launch.
I have had ideas for further stories in the Skyblade Saga, but I opted not to pursue them because I had to give up a great deal of the rights to get the first two published. I was fine with that, in part because I received a participation bonus from Amazon for joining in the launch. But the Skyblade titles weren’t selling any better than my other books, and I decided that I’d rather put my time and energy towards stories that had a chance of selling better, and that I owned fully.
The closing of Kindle Worlds changes all that. Amazon is returning all the rights they held to those books to the authors. They can try to get the books republished, but that would need the approval of the rights holders of the property the story was based on. In most cases, the book will be gone for good. (I’m sure that some authors will try to file off the serial numbers, but I doubt that “G.I. Jake” or “Lying Little Pretties” will get past the rights holders.)
Thankfully, this is a different case for the Skyblade Saga. I have been told that there will not be any problem with me or the other Plundered Chronicles authors getting the rights back to their books from those rights holders. I will need to remove all references to Alex Westmore’s stories, but all that means for my books is that several character names and one business name will need to be changed.
I’ve taken the time to reread Skyblade’s Gambit and Skyblade’s Claim. I still like most of what’s there, but both books were written in a hurry, and it shows in parts. I can do better. With all that in mind, here’s the plan:
The original editions of Skyblade’s Gambit and Skyblade’s Claim will be taken down by Amazon on or around July 16. They will no longer be available from that point on.
I’ve decided to revise those two books. For Skyblade’s Gambit, I’ll be expanding the backstory and world-building, and probably adding some new scenes. Skyblade’s Claim ended much sooner than I had originally plotted due to time constraints; I’ll be writing a continuation that picks up very soon after the original book ended, and carries the story through to its planned conclusion.
The new edition of Skyblade’s Gambit should hopefully be ready late this summer. Skyblade’s Claim will take longer, so expect that sometime in 2019. And, fingers crossed, there’ll be a brand new Skyblade book in 2020, and more after that until I reach the end of the series.
For contractual reasons, Kindle Worlds ebooks were only available on Amazon’s US store. Once KW closes and I get the work done, the revised versions of the first two Skyblade books will be available through Amazon stores worldwide and the sites where my other books are sold (Kobo, iTunes and the like), as will the new books. And there will also be paperback editions.
I know that you’ve been waiting for new work from me for a while. Peavley Manor (Or, Introducing Macalley) is taking longer to write than I expected, and real life has been putting roadblocks in my path. I’m hoping that Peavley Manor will be ready this summer as well. (If you want to help me out along the way, I’ve set up a Ko-Fi page for donations.)
Thank you for your patience and support, and stay tuned. Soon, there’ll be announcements and previews...and once again, we’ll take to the skies! ...
Five years ago today I sat on the edge of my bed, picked up my tablet, and typed the sentence, “It was another crappy Friday for Beth McGill.”
Since then, I’ve written six (shortish) novels, one (longish) novella, five novelettes, and eight short stories, with another novel in the works and other things in the planning stages. I’d guesstimate that I’ve written over 350,000 words in that time. Some of them have even been good ones. 😎
I’m glad that I’ve been able to do get these stories out of my head and into the world. I’m overjoyed when people read them and take the time to comment. And to my surprise, I keep coming up with ideas - new settings, new characters, and new ways to keep getting the old characters into and out of trouble.
If I had to look back over the past five years, though, and pick out the best thing that’s come to me from all this writing, it wouldn’t be the sense of accomplishment, as much as that means to me. It would be the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made along the way. Fellow authors, fans, artists - they’re all a part of my life that goes beyond the page. And through them, I’ve become connected with an ever-growing number of wonderful people, and getting to know all of them has enlightened and brightened my life.
Today, I give my thanks to those new friends (and old ones), to the fans and readers, and to you for reading this. You are all cool, sweet and awesome.
I hope you stick around; I’m working to make Peavley Manor my best book yet, and I’m looking forward to sharing it, and the other stories yet to come, with all of you.