SHADOWS, Caulborn 3, Is Now Available!

I am proud to announce the release of Caulborn 3, SHADOWS, which is available now from Amazon.

Shadows-2500x1563-Amazon-Smashwords-Kobo-Apple
Four years ago, Caulborn agent Vincent Corinthos stopped a hellish ritual intended to transform Ulysses Pendleton into a creature of utter darkness. With Pendleton safely imprisoned in Ashgate Penitentiary, Vincent and the rest of the Caulborn figured the world was a little bit safer.

Until now. A catastrophic failure with the prison’s security systems sends Vincent and the rest of the Caulborn into Ashgate to try and prevent the inmates from escaping. They secure all but one. Pendleton.

Now, Vincent’s in a race against the clock to find Pendleton before he can finish the job he started four years ago, and smother Boston in shadows.

Rebranding 1 – Covers

Lots of self-published authors offer different advice on what it takes to succeed. But there are three things they all agree on:

  1. Have great cover art
  2. Have a great editor
  3. Have a great blurb

I’m going to focus on #1 in this post. When I originally published IMPERIUM back in 2011, I knew I was going to hire a cover artist. I have no artistic abilities at all, and anything I tried to create myself would undoubtedly look like it had been drawn by a drunken chimp using MS Paint. So I hired an artist and thought, cool, #1 on the list is taken care of. The artist I hired did a good job and I was happy.

Problem is, I missed one critical bit of info related to Having Great Cover Art. Namely, your great cover art needs to fit in your genre. It sounds obvious, and I’m embarrassed to say this didn’t occur to me until much later. The original cover art for the Caulborn series looks much more like historical fantasy, or epic fantasy, but not urban fantasy. I’ve been told that some readers thought my work was miscategorized as urban fantasy because of the artwork. Other readers told me they didn’t realize these books were all part of the same series, because there weren’t common elements across them.

This was not the fault of the artist. This was my fault for not doing my homework. If I had, I could have had him retool the original cover back then. It took several years for this realization to dawn, but once it did I enlisted a new cover artist (as my old one went out of business) to develop a new set of covers for the Caulborn series. Check ’em out:

Imperium Promo

Promise Promo     Sync Promo

These covers were done by the talented folks over at StreetLight Graphics and are much more in line with the covers you’d see on a book by Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, or Illona Andrews. So they fit the genre. Also notice the consistent use of the title font and Caulborn insignia. In short, these new covers are in-line with what readers expect a UF cover to look like, and it’s obvious they’re part of a series.

So, lessons learned:

  1. Your cover needs to fit with the genre you’re writing
  2. If you’re writing a series, there need to be common elements to tie the books together
  3. Even if you make a mistake, it’s never too late to fix it

In the next post on the series, I’ll talk about working with an editor.

Psst… Want a free Caulborn Story?

Well, all you have to do is click this button right here –

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Caulborn Book 2 Revealed

Caulborn 2, PROMISE, is at the editor now and is on track for publication in June. I’m proud to share the cover and blurb.

 

Promise Cover

When gods fail to keep their promises there’s hell to pay. Literally. After a slip of the tongue, godling Vincent Corinthos is obligated to keep his partner, Megan, “fine” forever. Enter the Keepers, who fulfill promises for a fee. Vincent agrees to their bargain, but will Megan be the one who pays the price?

 

Announcing SYNC

I’m proud to announce the latest installment in the Caulborn arc, SYNC:

When an omniscient demon corrupts the Chroniclers and taints time itself, it falls to Vincent Corinthos to set things right. Along the way, he’ll face deadly enemies who have plotted his death for years. Problem is, he hasn’t met any of them yet. Time travel is such a bitch…

SYNC is a 15,000 word short story and is available from Amazon and B&N.SyncCover

 

 

Gearstripper’s Hot Chocolate

In KRAMPUSNACHT, Gearstripper is given a thermos full of some very special hot chocolate. Regular folks like us can’t get hot chocolate like that, but the recipe below comes about as close as you can get outside of the North Pole.

  • 6 oz shaved milk chocolate (I recommend Callebaut)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Whipped cream

To prepare:

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Slowly stir in the cream.  Heat the cream until warm, stirring constantly. Add the cinnamon and top with the whipped cream. Put a candy cane in for good measure.

Warning: This is extremely rich. You may not be able to drink a mug all by yourself, so snuggle up with someone to share it.

Enjoy!

KRAMPUSNACHT Now Available!

KRAMPUSNACHT is now available from Amazon and B&N!

As an added bonus, if you purchase Krampusnacht between now and 12/3, I’ll give you a free virtual autograph. And you’ll also be entered in a drawing to win an autographed paperback copy of my debut urban fantasy novel, IMPERIUM! Just forward your Amazon or B&N receipt to cpg@nicholasolivo.com. I’ll send out the autographs and announce the winner on 12/4.

Enjoy!

KRAMPUSNACHT Cover Art & Blurb

I’m very excited to reveal my secret holiday project! So here it is: KRAMPUSNACHT!

An 8,000 word collection of short stories, featuring:

Krampusnacht:
Santa’s been kidnapped by his demonic ex-partner, Krampus! Can Gearstripper the gremlin and Jake the security guard free St. Nick in time for Christmas?

Pause:
Time’s been frozen on Christmas eve and two Chroniclers are dispatched to investigate. Find out what happens when they encounter someone dressed as super-hero Commander Courageous!

Fulfillment:
A mysterious figure known as Stranger Wolfram prepares to summon a creature from the pits of Hell on Christmas Eve. Will fortune teller Mrs. Rita stop him?

Want to be the first to know when KRAMPUSNACHT is available? Sign up for my newsletter via the sidebar!

Character Evolution: Vincent Corinthos

Warning: May contain minor spoilers! If  you haven’t read IMPERIUM yet, go do that now, then come back here.

Vincent Corinthos wasn’t always god of the Urisk. In the initial drafts of what would become IMPERIUM, Vincent was a different character. I thought it might be fun to talk about how Vincent evolved into the character he is today.

Originally, Vincent was a god-for-hire. The idea was that supernatural creatures could employ him as an enforcer or guardian, depending on their needs. Vincent would gain all their powers for the duration of their worship and then move on. I scrapped that idea because I wanted a more stable relationship with his followers. Also, I questioned just how much faith his “worshippers” would have in him in scenarios like this.

Vincent’s original dedicated worshippers weren’t Urisk. I had Vincent set up as a god of vampires, who would possess all the vampiric strengths we know and love, but none of their weaknesses. I ditched that because I found I was essentially writing a Blade knock-off, and wanted to do something different.

When I came upon a sketch of the Dover Demon and saw how much it looked like a Gray alien, I thought, “That’s it, I’ll have him be worshipped by aliens!” I created an entire alien race that existed in another dimension and could enter our universe by tearing holes in reality. These aliens were physically weak, but possessed an innate ability to negate gravity. This let them lift heavy objects with ease, and run very quickly by negating their own weight. While this provided me with a ton of really cool special effects, it made Vincent way too powerful. When I put him in fight scenes, I found he’d just negate gravity around all his adversaries and send them 40,000 feet up into the stratosphere. When you find yourself constantly trying to come up with ways around your character’s abilities, chances are you’ve overpowered them.

And then, after a ton of frustrated Google searches, I came across a drawing of an Urisk. It looked enough like the Dover Demon that I could still include that in Vincent’s backstory, and the Urisk possessed a host of psychic powers. Those powers weren’t listed anywhere, which let me pick and choose from all the ones I could think of. I decided on telekinesis for its utility, pyrokinesis for its combat potential, and limited telepathy for reconnaissance purposes. To avoid overpowering Vincent, I made it so his telepathy wouldn’t work on humans, so he couldn’t just read a person’s mind to know everything about them.

Finally, because all the Greek and Roman gods I’d read about possessed some powers all their own, I had Vincent inherit a few traits from his father, Janus. Vincent’s Glimpse and Opening powers are utilitarian in nature, and while useful, they don’t let him roll over every bad guy he comes across.

So that’s where Vincent came from. I’ve got a few more evolutions planned for him along the way, and you’ll learn more about one of those in the next book. In the meantime, if you haven’t picked IMPERIUM up yet, you can read the first chapter here, and you can buy it from Amazon and Smashwords.