Aiming High

Well, here goes nothing!

Today’s the release of the first list-aiming box set I’ve participated in. I’m excited, but nervous, but excited…but also nervous.

What is a “list-aiming” set, you ask? Well, it’s simple: a bunch of authors get together, write stories around a central theme, and then they put it on a long pre-order and promote the ever-living hell out of it in the hopes of selling enough copies to make the USA Today Bestseller List.

What does that take? A few things: at least 5,000 Amazon sales, and at least 500 sales in at least two different non-Amazon platforms.

Are we there? Not yet. But it just released today, and there are tons of marketing dollars in the works promoting this puppy, as well as authors galore, and a few personal assistants. From what I understand, the first week after release is crucial to the success of the set.

This set opportunity kind of fell into my lap. The editor-in-chief at RhetAskew, my publisher for the Abnormal series, joined the set, and she thought the theme–All Hallow’s Eve reverse harem–fit with the now-dubbed Abnormalverse. She wanted to co-write a novella with me that takes place in the Abnormalverse to put in the set, and thus Witching Hour: The Stroke of Three was born!

Witching Hour is just one of more than thirty stories in the Wicked Souls anthology, but it’s one that I’m proud of. It was my first foray into reverse harem (hell, it was the first I’d ever heard of reverse harem!), and it was the beginning of an expansion of the Abnormalverse beyond just the core series.

My only issue is that, due to COVID, RhetAskew has had a lot of slow-downs in production, which means that Escaping the Light, the second Abnormal novel, is delayed…and Witching Hour takes place after the events in ETL.

Cue facepalm.

Okay, so Witching Hour has some spoilers in it…Oops. By the time I realized ETL wasn’t being released until later this year at the earliest (possibly next year), it was pretty much too late to do a total rewrite. It is what it is, I guess. I mean, I don’t blame RhetAskew, because they’re a small publisher and they have limited resources to work with. It’s just gonna be spoiler-y.

Speaking of spoilers, I suppose I could include a little teaser here….Y’know, a little incentive to click on the Wicked Souls link and help a sister out, right? 😉

Here goes:

Vinnie’s in tears as he tries again. “Please, Ky. Let me take it. Sam and Hal can fix you up, and I’ll take this to Eli. I’ll get it there, I promise; I won’t dump it somewhere in the desert. I’ll get it to Eli or die trying.”

“No! I don’t want you to die, Vin.” It’s my turn to cry, but I’m not sure which pain is worse: the physical pain from my injuries, or the emotional pain at the thought of Vinnie sacrificing himself for me.

There’s rustling and rattling going on while Vin and I argue, and I don’t realize it’s the sounds of Hal rifling through the medkit until he injects me with something.

…[What was that?]… I ask. …[What did you give me?]…

“It’s anesthetic,” he says aloud. “Carol’s trying, but she’s not alive; her telepathy is as ethereal as the rest of her.”

My muscles release some of the tension they’ve been holding; I struggle to maintain my grip on the stasis pod. Vinnie takes my wrist and tugs, but he’s too distraught to break my hold. We end up tangled together on the ground, broken and sobbing, and I wish I could tell him it’s going to be okay.

It’s not going to be okay, though. I’ve failed. We’ll never make it to Eli in time now. There’s only one thing left for me to do.

I open my eyes and look up at the desert night sky above me. Even with the light of the full moon, the stars are visible. No clouds or smog out here to obstruct my view. I take slow, deep breaths until I think I’m stable enough to move.

“Vin,” I say, “get out of here. Take Sam and Hal and go.”

“I’m trying. You won’t let go of the pod.”

I try to keep my voice firm but soft. “I didn’t say ‘take the pod and go.’ I said to take the others and go.”

Want to know what’s going on? Buy the Wicked Souls anthology now, for just 99 cents, and get reading!