A CIRCLE OF IRON is finally free on Amazon!
Judging by my web traffic many of you already have, but check out Summer Solstice Free Fantasy (click the image to go to the site). There are 29 fantasy books free today and tomorrow in several categories: paranormal, epic, historical, humor. There are some great books here, so be sure to take advantage of this awesome promotion!

There's a great review of A CIRCLE OF IRON up at Dragon's Inkpot!

"This novella had me hooked from the start. It is a very fast paced story set in the world of Eldernost. Greg Benage does an excellent job of setting up a very unique world without wasting lots of time getting into the story. The details of the world are nicely inserted into the story line giving you just what you need to follow along and enjoy the ride."

Check out the Dragon's Inkpot, a great new fantasy book blog, and read the whole thing.
This is a cool development in self-publishing. Kobo has announced their Writing Life portal, which is essentially the company's answer to Amazon's KDP or Barnes & Noble's PubIt! I like the fact that Kobo uses the open ePub standard, and that I'll be able to publish directly to the Kobo store without going through Smashwords (which is incredibly slow).

But what's really innovative about it, as far as where the market is currently, is that authors will have full control over pricing -- including the ability to offer their books free with no restrictions. Currently, free is problematic if you want your work available in the major online bookstores. First, I have to upload the book to Smashwords, with the price set to "free." Several weeks later, the files will hopefully be approved for Smashwords premium distribution, and sometime after that they'll show up for free on B&N, Kobo, etc. Then, Amazon's price-matching bots have to crawl around and find the book, and if they do, Amazon may, at their discretion, make the book free in their store. Kobo is the first major digital books retailer to allow authors to go free directly. Hopefully it will spur the others to do the same.

In the meantime, of course, the success or failure of Kobo's initiative will depend on customers. Currently, they don't have much market share. It will be nice if I can make my books available in the store more quickly, but only to the extent that readers go there to find books.

One of the risks (if only to ego) of placing work in the Creative Commons is that it never really reaches the Commons. Whether your book is free or has a price tag on it, people still have to know it exists in order to read it. And regardless of pricing, the best way for readers to find a new book by an unknown author is still word-of-mouth. I can make sure my books are free and widely available, but I need you to help others find them.

So...if you read A CIRCLE OF IRON -- love it, hate it, or something in between -- please consider taking the time to write a quick review or comment and posting it to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads or wherever else you find books. Blog about it, Tweet it, Like it and help me spread the word (or warn your friends away, as the case may be). I really do appreciate your help.
A CIRCLE OF IRON is now available in ePub and Mobi formats. It's also available on Smashwords. It will take a few days (or more) before it shows up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, the iTunes store, etc. When it goes live on Amazon, it will list for $0.99 because I can't list it for free. Hopefully they will price-match it to free once it's up on iTunes. Anyway, don't buy it! You can download the .mobi file here and load it onto your Kindle.
I'm starting to link back to this site, which means I'm getting a few visitors. I figured I should probably talk a little about what I have planned for Eldernost. I'll be publishing a new novella in the series every two months, all about the same length as A CIRCLE OF IRON -- approximately 24,000 words. Each novella will have a different protagonist, at least for the first "cycle." I reserve the right to pull in multiple POV characters in future books as the series matures. I'm currently writing Book Two, A SERPENT IN THE STONE, which introduces readers to Lyssa, a young girl who is both a scav and an apprentice to the alchemist Scorza. In the course of Lyssa's adventures in Eldernost, we'll learn a lot more about magic and the alchemical treatments that grant immortality to the Grays, as well as some dark secrets from the past hidden in the ruined city itself. A SERPENT IN THE STONE will be released in late July.
Since we're waiting on the cartography, I thought it might be cool to show current progress on the map. The talented Tom Fayen is the cartographer, and he'll also be creating a map of Eldernost, the ruined city around which the series revolves.

The full text of A CIRCLE OF IRON is up as an embedded Scribd document. You can find it here. The book will be released in all digital formats, but formatting is waiting on the cartographer. I'll be posting the maps here as well.
And Book 5, using the original cover for the first book. I love this cover and still plan to use it in the header image for the site.