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Welcome to the website of Jonathan Moeller!

I am the author of THE GHOSTS, DEMONSOULED, FROSTBORN, THE TOWER OF ENDLESS WORLDS, and THE THIRD SOUL series of fantasy novels.

Check out my free booksCHILD OF THE GHOSTS, DEMONSOULED, THE TOWER OF ENDLESS WORLDS, FROSTBORN: THE FIRST QUEST, and THE TESTING.

You can email me at jmcontact at jonathanmoeller.com, and follow me at Facebook and also at Twitter. Be sure to sign up for my new release newsletter to receive free bonus stories!

If you’re looking for the reading order of my books, click here for the master list.

how long did it take to write FROSTBORN: THE FALSE KING?

This chart shows how long it took me to write FROSTBORN: THE FALSE KING, with daily word count in the third column.

FrostbornFalseKingWordCount

My goal when writing a book is to do a minimum of 3,000 words a day, and you can see I only fell short of that goal on three days out of the thirty. (The last day doesn’t count because I just wrote until the book was done.)  Day 19 was a 400 mile road trip, so there simply wasn’t time to write.

There were several days where I just got to 3,000 words and stopped to do other things, because Real Life has been busy lately.

I think that shows something useful about long-term goals – it’s good to set a minimum goal for the day, but it’s best not to beat oneself up if you fall short of it. Something is always better than nothing, and the temptation is to do nothing at all. 3,000 words is good, but 1,000 words is still better than nothing. This applies to other areas of life as well – you might want to run a 5k, but 2k is still better than giving up and doing nothing at all.

And if you start anyway, you might get further than you thought!

-JM

GHOST EXILE OMNIBUS ONE special sale

BNGhostExileOmnibusOne

Next month I’m going to start writing the final volume of the GHOST EXILE series, GHOST IN THE WINDS. Because of that, GHOST EXILE OMNIBUS ONE is on temporary sale for $0.99 USD (or local equivalent). If you haven’t tried the GHOST EXILE series yet, this is a great chance to read the first three books and one bonus short story. Links below!

-JM

 

selling short stories: The Bone Orcs & The Skull Trees

Today let’s talk both about the FROSTBORN short stories and a bit about writing and selling short stories.

Everyone likes short stories, but they’re hard to sell, because while people like short stories, they much prefer to buy and read novels.

Myself, I write short stories for two reasons. One, I enjoy doing them. Two, they make useful bonuses for my new-release newsletter. When I release a new novel, I also give away a free copy of a tie-in short story to my newsletter subscribers via Smashwords coupon code. It’s a nice bonus for the newsletter, and usually a couple hundred people just buy the short story outright, which is also a nice bonus for the author. 🙂

That said, I’ve never figured out quite what to do with the short stories after the coupon code expires. They just sort of sit there and don’t really do anything. They’ll sell a few copies a month (my oldest bonus short story, GHOST ARIA, sold three copies in May), which is nice, but won’t do much else.

So I’ve tried various experiments to sell more of the short stories, or to use them as promotional materials for my novels. Here are some of the things I’ve tried that didn’t really work:

-Enrolling the short stories in Kindle Unlimited and giving away free copies.

-When Kindle Unlimited’s new pay-per-page structure came along, I tried the short stories in that, and it didn’t really work, either.

(As an aside, I decided to stop using Kindle Unlimited altogether. It means you can’t sell on Kobo and iTunes and Google and the other platforms, it’s too unstable, and there are never-ending stories of problems like this one. While KU has benefits at the moment the cons of KU definitely outweigh the pros.)

-Bundling the short stories together into anthology-style collections. I gave away a bunch of them with CLOAK GAMES: THIEF TRAP and CLOAK GAMES: FROST FEVER, but that was pretty much it.

Then I stumbled onto the one thing that has really worked – the fix-up novel. A fix-up novel is a novel that originated as a chain of related short stories that were then fused together into a single book. A lot of writers have done that – Stephen King, Poul Anderson, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, Jack Vance, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and numerous others.

FROSTBORN: THE KNIGHT QUESTS is probably the most successful result of short stories I’ve done so far. Most of the FROSTBORN short stories are the origin stories of Ridmark’s companions (except for THE TRAITOR’S TALE, which has a lot of spoilers), and are combined in a frame story where the Warden of Urd Morlemoch lays out his plans.

So fix-up novels seem like a good long term idea, which led to another idea.

What if the short stories were designed to be joined together in a fix-up novel at the end? Usually the short stories are one-off tales – like, GHOST DAGGER doesn’t have much in common with GHOST THORNS. But what if they were designed to become a fix-up from the beginning?

The DEMONSOULED short stories would lend themselves well to that, since they’re all about a younger Mazael at Lord Malden’s court. After MASK OF SPELLS comes out, I’ll write one more story about Mazael as a young knight and combine it with the others to make a new fix-up novel, probably entitled SOUL OF KNIGHTS.

Also, I’m trying something new with the remaining five FROSTBORN short stories. They’ll all be about Ridmark’s journey into the Qazaluuskan Forest four years before FROSTBORN: THE GRAY KNIGHT, and in the end I’ll combine them into a fix-up novel called FROSTBORN: THE BONE QUEST.

It will be interesting to see how it does!

-JM

FROSTBORN: THE FALSE KING rough draft finished!

I am pleased to report that the rough draft of FROSTBORN: THE FALSE KING is finished!

102,000 words in exactly 30 days.

Next up is a FROSTBORN short story called THE SKULL TREES, which I will give away for free to newsletter subscribers once FROSTBORN: THE FALSE KING comes out.

In GHOSTS news, in July I plan to start the final book in the GHOST EXILE series, GHOST IN THE WINDS. As a sort of “warm up” for that, next week I plan to give away a bunch of GHOST EXILE short stories to my newsletter subscribers, so be sure to subscribe to my new-release newsletter if you haven’t already!

-JM

THE KORMAK SAGA, by William King


I’ve been reading THE KORMAK SAGA by William King for a while, and I just read the eighth and latest book, SWORD OF WRATH. The series isn’t over yet, but I really enjoy it and so I thought I’d write a short review to show my appreciation.

Kormak is basically Conan the Cimmerian if Conan were raised by warrior-monks dedicated to fighting malicious creatures of the supernatural. Kormak’s family was killed by a prince of the Old Ones, a wicked magical race that once ruled the world, and the Old One left Kormak alive as a witness to his deeds, promising to come back and kill him one day. Kormak is raised by the Guardians of the Dawn, an order dedicated to defending mankind from dark magic, and is equipped with a dwarf-forged blade capable of wounding and killing creatures immune to normal weapons.

And then Kormak goes forth into the world to do his duty.

By the time the series starts, Kormak is getting a bit older and run-down, but still has lots of fight in him. During the course of the eight books, he fights mad wizards (repeatedly), necromancers, undead monsters, insane elves, wererats, goblins, sea-dwelling squid monsters, and other creatures. The first few books have a Monster Of The Week feel to them (making them essentially stand alone), but the last few have been an overarching mystery about a sinister sarcophagus, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Definitely recommended! Most of the books are on the shorter side, but there’s an art to doing short books, and the Kormark series definitely hits the mark.

-JM

FROSTBORN: THE FALSE KING short excerpt

I’m now on Chapter 18 of 24 of FROSTBORN: THE FALSE KING. Entering the final quarter of the book!

Let’s have a short excerpt:

“Then it is decided,” said Mara. “You shall leave in the morning, once you have been fed and equipped with supplies.”

“And I,” said Jager, “have some documents to forge.”

“It’s not forgery if you are the Prince Consort,” said Caius.

Jager sighed, and then grinned. “You know, I’ve missed how you take the fun out of everything.”

-JM