Indie Publishing: 2,119 Days and Counting…

December 19th, 2010.

That was when I published my first book, The Digital Sea.  I’d shopped the novel around to agents and editors, receiving lovely rejections along the way, before deciding to jump into the indie pub revolution with both feet.  There were a lot of reasons for my conversion: control over the end result, speed, the possibility of hitting the literary jackpot.  But those paled against the thrill of seeing my book on Amazon, holding a shiny paperback in my ink-stained hands, reading reviews—good or bad—about my stories.

I was there.  I’d made it.

Like an addict, I’d taken a hit of the good stuff and wanted another shot.  Sure, the money in the beginning was small—a nice dinner once a month—but it was like packing a snowball together, then rolling it in the deep snow.  It was a lot of work, but eventually that thing started to grow.

There were a lot of things to learn back then about the mechanics of the process.  How to find a good editor.  What makes a good cover.  How to price books that sell.  It was wonderful heady stuff that even when I got wrong was fun.  The reality is that I’m still learning those things, fine tuning my understanding, adjusting as the market adjusts.

In 2012, I was waiting in line for my hotel room at Chicon, the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, IL.  It was my first convention.  I was nervous and since I’d driven up from St. Louis, I’d over packed, including a cooler of food and a bag full of my books that I’d brought with me.  I was trying to drag my many containers with me when the guy behind me struck up a conversation.  It was some guy name Hugh Howey.  This was before the print deals and the Data Guy stuff.  I knew of his books, how could you not notice them back then, but not a lot else.  He was generous enough to take me to lunch, and I realized in talking to him how little I knew about indie publishing.  He was a gold mine of experience and perspective.  And besides, he’s a sweetheart of a guy.  That persona that you read in his blog, or see in his videos, that’s the real deal.  We also shared a mutual friend, Annie Bellet, who I’d spent years going to workshops with, and discussing this indie pub revolution with on a regular basis.  She’s done fantastically well since then with her 20-Sided Sorceress series.  I bring them up not to name drop, but to point out that the reason the indie publishing scene has done so well is because so many writers have been generous with their experiences, either in person or online.  Even if I hadn’t met Hugh at Chicon, he would have influenced me through his blog and frequent FB posts.

In the years after, my little snowball has grown.  I’ve published over twenty novels.  I’ve sold over 50,000 ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks.  Some of my books have spent time in the top 50 on Amazon.  Many of them have been #1 in their category at one time or another.

I’ve been having  a ball writing.  I get to pursue the job of my dreams.  I’m making a five-figure income that’s climbing faster than I expected.  I’m not quite to full time, but I’m getting there, close enough that I can see it happening in the next 2-3 years after the kids are both in college, which by-the-way, is being paid for by the writing job.

There are other benefits. The writing gig earns enough that I go conventions, or get to spend a week with other writers in a fabulous lodge while we workshop our novels with each other.  Technically, these things are work, but I look forward to each and every one as if it were a beach vacation.  I’ve also gotten to meet and learn from a lot of amazing people along the way.  This hasn’t just been a business, but a lifestyle.  I cherish the friendships that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

2,119 days. That’s how many days it’s been since I published my first book.  It seems like a lot now, but in some ways I feel like I’ve just begun.

My latest book was published on September 27th, 2016.  Trials of Magic.  Just eight days ago.

Without a doubt, it’s my best book.  After twenty-something novels, I’ve learned a thing or two about writing, and none of that learning would have been possible without Amazon.  Amazon has been a silent, but strong partner in this business since the beginning, providing a platform to sell my books across the world and receive a timely payment.    This writing business isn’t easy, it takes a lot of work to write a quality book, but at least I know the publishing side of it will be smooth and reliable, thanks to Amazon.


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Trials of Magic (The Hundred Halls #1)

For you readers longing for something in the same realm as Harry Potter or The Magicians, I bring you Trials of Magic, the first book in the Hundred Halls series.


There are exactly one hundred halls of magic to choose from. Ever since our parents were killed I knew exactly which hall was for me.

Aurelia “Aurie” Silverthorne is one of the best and brightest to ever apply to the Hundred Halls, the only magical university in the world. To be accepted, she must pass grueling trials that claim the lives of aspirants every year.

But more than her desire to practice magic is at stake.

Aurie’s little sister has been courting powerful forces in hopes of protecting herself from the beings that killed their parents, but alliances come with complications. As things spiral out of control, and dangerous foes arise at every turn, Aurie knows the only way to protect her sister is to pass the trials—even if it means making a terrible sacrifice.

Trials of Magic can be purchased in ebook format on Amazon for $0.99 or paperback for $12.99.

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WorldCon Schedule

From August 17th to 21st, I will be attending the MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City.  I’ll be on the following panel on Thursday, if you’d like to join me for a good discussion.

Utopia, Dystopia, and the Default? — Thursday 2-3pm (2502A)

Certain kinds of imagined futures currently dominate the SF field.. For example, we usually find settings in either grand interstellar deep space futures or trapped-on-Earth dystopias with the rare exception. What about the futures that land somewhere in-between, that may be more likely for us? Is the “middle future” too reminiscent of the Golden Age of SF? Let’s discuss the “middle future” in SF, how it compares to earlier eras in SF, and where it falls on the Utopia/Dystopia spectrum.

Speakers: Jack Cambell Jr., John Joseph Adams, Tamara Jones, Sarah Frost, Mr. Peadar O Guilin, Thomas K. Carpenter

Stop by afterwards if you’d like to say hello.  I’d love to meet you.

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Dragons of Siberia (The Dashkova Memoirs #7)

Today I am pleased to announce the release of Book 7 of the Dashkova Memoirs, Dragons of Siberia!  The book is now available from Amazon here or by clicking the image below.

Dragons of Siberia:

Stranded in Siberia, Kat and Ben must navigate the snowy wastes to make it to Moscow so they can stop the god Veles from taking over their world. But surprises lurk in the north, one from her past days in Empress Catherine’s court, and the other a creature out of legend. To survive, Kat needs to confront more than her past.


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The Year in Review – 2015

The first thing I need to do is this: THANK YOU READERS!!!


I really can’t say enough how amazing this year was for me and it’s all because of you.  It’s really strange to sit in a room for hours and days at a time, pounding away at a keyboard, wondering if anyone will care.  To have that many people not only purchase my books, but to review them, share them, and generally be a cheerleader for them, I’m really blessed.

I’m a fan of lists, so I’m going to hit you with a few lists of my favorite things of the year, mostly in order though I didn’t think to hard about it (and I realize that some are not from 2015, but it was the year I finally got to them).



  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. The Martian
  3. Ex Machina
  4. Pitch Perfect 2
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  6. Avengers


  1. Steven Wilson – Hand Cannot Erase
  2. Puscifer – Money Shot
  3. Silversun Pickups – Better Nature
  4. Robert DeLong – In the Cards
  5. War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Books / Novellas

  1. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  2. The Martian – Andy Weir
  3. Sorcerer of the Wildeeps – Kai Ashante Wilson
  4. The Grace of Kings – Ken Liu
  5. Old Man’s War – John Scalzi (yeah, I’m a little late on this one)

TV Shows

  1. Jessica Jones
  2. Sense8
  3. Orphan Black
  4. Vikings
  5. Game of Thrones

So that was some of the entertainment I enjoyed this year.   Highlights from my own career and a few personal items are as follows (in no particular order):

  1. My story “The Trouble with Virgins” came out in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
  2. Hit #3 overall on the free downloads for Fires of Alexandria in July (over 70k+ total)
  3. Published six books in the Dashkova Memoirs
  4. Sold over 10,000 books
  5. Met and hung out with tons of writers and fans at Worldcon in Spokane in August
  6. Joined Codex
  7. Joined SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America)
  8. Spent an amazing week in Paris with my wife and kids
  9. Released the Women of the Apocalypse Bundle with a bunch of wonderful authors
  10. Ran my first half-marathon with my wife

Again, thank you for making it such a wonderful year.  I hope yours was as good as mine and here’s hoping that 2016 is even better!

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The Queen of Dreams (The Dashkova Memoirs #6)

Book 6 in The Dashkova Memoirs is LIVE!

Things should be getting easier for Katerina “Kat” Dashkova. The former princess of the Russian empire wields considerable sorcerous powers, has learned to control the unruly prophecies in her head, and is a member of the Transcendental Society—a group dedicated to protecting the ideals of the Enlightenment from the tyranny of the supernatural—under the leadership of a quasi-immortal Benjamin Franklin.

Except the god Veles has laid claim to her former homeland of Russia, and unless she can stop him, the world will be his next conquest.

To reach Veles, Kat and Ben must travel through the realm of dreams in Baba Yaga’s hut—a transdimensional craft owned by a trio of dangerous witches. The hut will help them reach their destination, but it contains dangers of its own, things that even the hut’s mistresses have forgotten. Things that only need a little magic—or the whiff of prophecy—to escape.


The Queen of Dreams is the sixth book in The Dashkova Memoirs historical fantasy series. Get it now as an  ebook for $4.99 or in paperback for $13.99.

Book One – Revolutionary Magic

Book Two – A Cauldron of Secrets

Book Three – Birds of Prophecy

Book Four – The Franklin Deception

Book Five – Nightfell Games

Book Seven, Dragons of Siberia, will be released in the spring!

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Ask the Author Episode 6

Check out what it looks like behind the scenes. This week we get a tour of Tom’s writing space.

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Ask the Author Episode 5

This week we find out what Tom finds difficult about writing, where some of his ideas come from, and who is his favorite character to write.

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Ask the Author Episode 4

This week we learn which books Tom is reading, and where the inspiration for the Alexandrian Saga was derived. Leave any of your questions in the comments. Have a great week!

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Ask the Author Episode 3

In today’s installment of Ask the Author, Tom discusses his writing routine and how it has evolved over time. Enjoy! As usual, feel free to leave a question in the comments.

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