Author Archives: Jonathan Moeller

FROSTBORN retrospective #4

Note that this post has !!!SPOILERS!!! for the first fourteen books in FROSTBORN.

I really love a good dungeon crawl. A “dungeon crawl”, if you’re not familiar with the term, his a style of RPG where a party of adventurers descends into a subterranean ruin full of monsters in search of treasure or some other goal. Perhaps the earliest example in literature is when the Fellowship of the Ring enters the ruins of Moria in THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

The concept turns up in computer games a lot. Like some of the earliest UNIX text-based games, Rogue and the Rogue-like genre, were massive dungeon crawls. (A really good book on the history of the rouge-like computer games is DUNGEON HACKS by David L. Craddock.) Even computer games that aren’t mainly dungeon crawls do often have sections where the player needs to traverse a dungeon. Like THE ELDER SCROLLS games are a big open sandbox, but they have lots and lots of dungeons.

So, since many of my favorite books and computer games feature dungeon crawls, when I started planning FROSTBORN I made sure to put in a lot of dungeon crawling.

If you’ve read through the FROSTBORN series, you have probably guessed that I really like a good dungeon crawl. In fact, of all the FROSTBORN books, I think the only ones that don’t have at least a short dungeon crawl are THE IRON TOWER, THE WORLD GATE, EXCALIBUR, and THE SHADOW PRISON. That’s only four out of the fifteen!

The biggest dungeon crawl in the entire series is FROSTBORN: THE BROKEN MAGE, when Ridmark and company arrive at the ruins of Khald Azalar in search of Dragonfall. Most of the book involves their exploration of Khald Azalar and later efforts to escape.

Someday I think I would like to write an entire series about a dungeon crawl. It would be a short series – like five or six books, and it would be an interesting writing challenge to sustain a compelling story in a single dungeon crawl.

So computer games did indeed have a strong influence on FROSTBORN.  But probably the thing that I’ve written that is most like a computer game isn’t FROSTBORN, but CLOAK GAMES: TRUTH CHAIN.



a sales snapshot

Some writers hate, hate, hate the business side of self-publishing. I don’t! Because if you understand the business side, it can give you the freedom and control to write what you like, which is why I’m finishing up the nineteenth Caina book for release next month.

Nineteen! How many other book series go that long? Some do, but not that many.

(And thanks for reading all eighteen of the previous ones!)

Anyway, I write and publish a lot, but in April 2017 I didn’t publish anything because I spent the entirety of my writing time for the month finishing up FROSTBORN: THE SHADOW PRISON. So I was really curious to see how the ebook sales would break down without anything new in the mix, because (usually) a new book sells better than anything else.

So, here is how my ebook sales broke down by platform in April 2017:

Amazon US: 39.3%
Amazon UK: 29.8%
Google Play: 17.7%
Kobo: 8%
Amazon AU: 4%
Barnes & Noble: 3%
iTunes: 2.4%
Amazon All Other Countries: 1.7%

Occasionally other writers ask why I don’t have any books in Kindle Unlimited. Based on the percentages above, the answer is because 25% of my book sales are on non-Amazon platforms, and I highly doubt I would be able to generate enough page reads in Kindle Unlimited to make up for that.

Which of my series sold the best?

Frostborn: 58.2%
The Ghosts/Ghost Exile: 13.1%
Demonsouled/Mask of the Demonsouled: 12%
Cloak Games: 9.9%
The Third Soul/Tech Books: 6.8%

FROSTBORN is still the big fish, but what’s interesting is that CLOAK GAMES is now punching above its weight, much like Nadia Moran herself. Like, there are seventeen GHOSTS novels for sale, and nine DEMONSOULED (the first in both series are free), but only six CLOAK GAMES books for sale, and CLOAK GAMES is only a few percentage points behind the longer series. I think that shows that making the first book in a series permafree is still a good sales tactic.

Anyway, I think in June I’ll do another post like this for May, since FROSTBORN: THE SHADOW PRISON came out in May, and it sold really well. (Thanks everyone!) It will be interesting to compare April and May.



My main focus is on GHOST IN THE RING right now, but I just finished the first chapter of CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK. One chapter down, 12 to go!

I don’t think I’m going to have CLOAK GAMES: HAMMER BREAK out until August, though, since I want to write SEVENFOLD SWORD: CHAMPION first. If all goes well, this is what I think my publishing schedule will look like for summer 2017.




That’s a tight schedule, so it might slip by a month, but GHOST IN THE RING should be a lock for June!


fun with tech and games

I don’t think I’m going to write any new tech books this year. While I enjoy writing tech books, they’re more work than novels, and they sell less. So, on balance, my writing time is better spent writing novels.

That said, I do miss writing about technology and games. I was doing that for a long time before the Kindle and ebooks came along, and I had written what would become the Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide long before I found out about the Kindle. I wanted to get back into casual blogging about technology, but my website is not a good place for that, since people visit for information about my books, not to hear my thoughts on Pillars of Eternity or Ubuntu 17.04.

Fortunately, perfect opportunity came earlier this year when I had to switch my various websites to a new hosting provider. When I did, I rebooted my old Computer Beginner’s Guide site. It’s now mostly more about computer games and casual technology observations than articles guides about Linux (though some of that is still in the mix).

Check it out here!



new website

book description for GHOST IN THE RING

Here’s the official book description for GHOST IN THE RING!

It does have mild, mild spoilers for previous GHOSTS books. But after 18 books, it’s basically impossible to write a book description that doesn’t have at least some mild spoilers. I think the only possible book description that wouldn’t have spoilers would be something like “Unnamed Woman Does Stuff”, which would not make for compelling back cover copy. 🙂

Caina Amalas was once a deadly Ghost nightfighter, a spy and agent of the Emperor of Nighmar. Now she only wishes to live quietly with her husband.

But civil war grips the Empire, and Caina’s skills are needed against the cruel sorcerers of the malevolent Umbarian Order.

And Caina has a dangerous connection to the Umbarians.

For Caina’s mother had many deadly secrets, secrets that might yet kill Caina herself…


another GHOST IN THE RING excerpt

Still editing GHOST IN THE RING. Let’s have another excerpt:

“Well,” said the magus, “they think you are a scoundrel, and that you are impersonating an Imperial noblewoman to steal money from them.”

Caina laughed.

“Why is that funny?” said the girl.

“I’ve been accused of a lot of things,” said Caina, “but I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of impersonating myself.”



Editing underway for GHOST IN THE RING today. Let’s have a short, spoiler-free excerpt:

“Then we’ll disguise you,” said Caina.

“Disguise?” The girl blinked.

“We’ll think of something,” said Caina. “I’ve pretended to be a man more times than I can remember.”

The girl laughed. “That’s impossible. You don’t look anything like a man.”

Caina smiled. “I’m glad to hear that.”

“I imagine Lord Kylon is as well.”


FROSTBORN retrospective #3

Note that this post has !!!SPOILERS!!! for the first fourteen books in FROSTBORN.

For today’s retrospective, let’s talk about the love triangle. 🙂

In the past six years, I have published millions of words of fiction, but I have gotten more email about the love triangle in FROSTBORN than anything I have ever written, ever.

Here are three most common things readers email me about:

1.) The FROSTBORN love triangle.

2.) When if ever will Caina and Kylon in THE GHOSTS have a romantic relationship?

3.) When is the next book in the series coming out?

(Also, people email me a lot about using Blu-Ray in Ubuntu Linux for some reason, even though I’ve never actually written about using Blu-Ray in Ubuntu.)

The love triangle in FROSTBORN is one of those things I actually planned out from the beginning. Most love triangles in modern fiction involve two men and one woman, and the woman has to choose between them, usually after three or four books of agonizing. I thought that would be really boring to write, so I flipped it on its head and made the triangle into two women competing for the same man.

I had never actually written a love triangle before, so what I learned is that you can get an amazing amount of narrative tension and reader engagement out of a love triangle. I’ll have to do it again in future books at some point.

I got quite a bit of angry email after the endings of THE IRON TOWER and THE WORLD GATE. But, like I said, reader engagement! 🙂

Probably the funniest quote about it is from FROSTBORN: THE MASTER THIEF:

Calliande smiled, and Morigna laughed. It made them both look radiant. An odd thing to consider now, but it was true. Jager wondered what Ridmark had done to win the loyalty of two lovely sorceresses. Still, given Morigna’s barbed tongue and Calliande’s iron will, perhaps that was a fate Jager would inflict upon no man.