writing

Cover Redesign, Sale, and WIPpet Wednesday

Good morning everyone! Well, “morning” might be an exaggeration. I’m not quite awake despite the fact that it’s closing on 10. Still, hurrah! Lots of news today:

Necropolis has a shiny, brand new cover AND a limited time $.99 price tag. What could be better?

Cover art for Necropolis by Xina Marie Uhl

When prison guard Conyr rescues a young priest from execution, he sets off a dangerous adventure that brings allies in a scheming politician, a mischievous urchin, and a beautiful tavern server. Together, the group must navigate a maze of power-hungry rivals, skilled assassins, and deadly sorcery. For the young priest’s lost memory holds the key to more than his past, but the fate of two cities.

Regular price – $3.99 / on sale for $.99 through 3/16

While I absolutely LOVED my last cover, I received very good feedback that it didn’t communicate “epic fantasy” to readers. I’m hoping that this one does, and that sales will improve forthwith. *keeping fingers crossed*

WIPpet … whip it good

Today is the day of the week where I share a little snippet of my work in progress, thus, a WIPpet. It is posted as part of a challenge hosted by K.L. Schwengel. Comments, reactions, impressions, constructive criticisms – all are treasured, should you choose to provide them.

HistoryOrb.com tells me that on this day in 538 AD Witiges, king of the Ostrogoths, gave over his siege of Rome, and retreated to Italy’s capital of the day, Ravenna. He left the city in the hands of Belisarius, that most wily and talented of Byzantine generals. Alas, Justinian’s generals did recapture a good part of the old Roman Empire for the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) but it was not to last long before the barbarian hordes reasserted themselves. While I do not feature any Ostrogoths (the name means “eastern Goths”) in City of Ages, I do feature some Visigoths (the name meaning “western Goths”). Our intrepid hero Justus has just met one, Gundemar, who complements him on his “obvious” riches. At first Justus thinks he is referring to his horse …

Gundemar made an appreciative clucking sound. “Yes, he is strong and sturdy, indeed. But that is not what I speak of.” A sly look came over his features. His eyes, large and hazel, combined with his defined cheekbones, gave him the air of a crafty, wild creature – a fox, perhaps, or maybe a cougar. The woman who sat next to him – thin and smudged with old, oily dirt – tittered.

 “Then what, my armor?”

“Yes, of course your armor! Well-oiled and obviously labored over by your young man.” He indicated Tristan, who lurked in the shadows behind Justus, finding the heat of the fire too intense, not to mention the light. The shadows suited him better. “Yet that is not all, for many have armor that is finer, or better fitting. Perhaps even some of your own men.”

At this, several of the mercenaries who were standing around the fire, listening or relaxing or poking at the fire with sticks, elbowed one another and laughed.

“What, then?” asked Justus.

“Have you no more guesses?”

“I suspect that whatever I come up with next will be similarly discarded. Come now, sir. I grow impatient.”

“Why, it is your hair and your bare chin, of course! Not only have you obviously bathed most recently –” at this he gave an exaggerated sniff and sighed with pleasure at the smell, much to the amusement of the two young boys who flitted back and forth, playing some sort of loud, shrieking game that everyone ignored. “—but it is clear that your hair has been shaped by someone who caters to the wealthy.” He gestured at the mercenaries. “In other words, you did not shear it off yourself with your cooking knife like these fellows.” He regarded Justus critically. “This same person shaved your beard, did he not? It is cut most nicely, and what little has grown back since this grooming seems entirely lacking in lice and fleas!”

Justus laughed. “This is your evidence? That I am not swarming with insects?”

Visit my fellow WIPpet participants here, or join the fun yourself:

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24 thoughts on “Cover Redesign, Sale, and WIPpet Wednesday”

  1. This is a great excerpt. This line stood out to me: “…the two young boys who flitted back and forth, playing some sort of loud, shrieking game that everyone ignored.” That is my house everyday! Well, I have a boy and a girl, but you get the idea. LOL!

  2. Not swarming with insects was evidence of a lot back then. 🙂

    Justinian and his wife are one of my kids’ and my favorite historical figures to learn about. They were both pretty nifty in some ways.

    1. Ooooh, a history buff! Yes, they were so fascinating, weren’t they? Theodora was quite the woman! Love how she told her frightened husband that he could flee the capital but she would stay put, and if she died then the royal purple would serve as her burial shroud. This guy is a high school teacher with a great podcast about Byzantium: http://12byzantinerulers.com/. I liked it so much I bought his book.

    1. Ah hahaha! Love the scene – very relevant to this scene! Thanks for your kind words. I do love my details, which is probably why it takes me forever and a day to write anything.

      1. Well, don’t fret that… We love your details too (I’d say just “I love your details” but the consensus seems pretty clear from the comments).

  3. Love the new cover and I’ve added Necropolis to my TBR list. 🙂

    As usual, your excerpt is a delight to read. The little details, the whole environment you set, is wonderful. You really build up Justus’s impatience, while everyone else seems to be taking delight in the little ‘game’. I was growling right along with him by the end, anxious to find out just what it was.

    1. Aw, thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it! I’m planning on releasing your cover reveal next week – hope that’s okay.

      Glad you liked the excerpt. A little levity is so important, especially in an intense book like this one!

  4. Nuts, it’s still $4.10 on Amazon.ca

    Great snippet! I, too, tend to judge people based on their lack of facial invertebrates. I don’t think I like Gundemar, but at least we have that in common.

    PS- you win for WIPpet “math.”

    1. I’m glad you let me know about the Amazon.ca price … I did an Amazon Countdown deal, but I assumed it would include other countries as well. It’s good to know that it doesn’t because I’ll be sure to remedy that the next time I run one!

      Haha, facial invertebrates, huh? Love it!

      I do love history so try to incorporate it into the blog whenever possible, although I do fall back on WIPpet math sometimes as well.

  5. I, too, consider bathing and a good haircut obvious riches. Obviously I should be seeking out Gundemar for a personal connection 😉 I am so glad that I followed your blog over from kboards- your style of fantasy is wonderful.

    1. Haha – Gundemar would welcome your attention most gladly! Thank you for your kind words about my writing. This is actually a historical novel (my first!) but I do have some fantasy in the words as well. That is, if I can actually ever find any time for it, lol.

      Looking forward to interacting with you on your blog and kboards as well.

  6. It’s funny. My husband and I were just talking about how perfectly decked out all the folks on Wagon Train were…women in jewelry and taffeta skirts, perfectly barbered and shaved men with pretty hair, no dust clinging to anyone as they crossed the desert…

    Mm….yeah, right.

    I love the way you played with that same image, poking a little fun at both sides of the coin – and saying so much about these people and their realities.

    And I definitely prefer the new cover!

    1. Oooh – thanks for your comment about the cover! I must say that I’m very pleased with it. The cover artist was lovely to work with and the price was definitely reasonable.

      Haha, yes, one reason I could never get into Revolution on TV is that everyone was all clean and beautiful, not grubby and sweaty a la Walking Dead. If the apocalypse has happened I expect some grubbiness!

  7. I’m with you liking the old cover, Xina, but I see what you mean about not communicating epic fantasy. Oh well!

    Great excerpt, with a real feel for time. And I also really like the link — maybe I’ll use that for a snippet someday too! 🙂

  8. The new cover is gorgeous! It seems it’s still full price on the AU Amazon as well, but I’ve bought it anyway because it sounds like it would be up my alley (so much for not buying any new books for a while; this is the second I’ve bought tonight!).

    Love this snippet, I was giggling the whole way through. I love how Gundemar strings Justus along.

    1. Thanks so much, Emily! I’ll be sure to include non-US countries in my next promotion. I assumed they would automatically be included – doh! You know what they say about assuming … 🙂 So glad you like the cover! I’m so pleased with it, even while I’m a little sad to let my other one go. Haha, glad you liked Gundemar. He’s actually a walk-on, walk-off character, but I rather like him so I’ll have to have him make another appearance or two in later books. Justus needs all the allies he can get … even the ones that make fun of him.

      Hope you enjoy the book!

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