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A Smijj of Hope is now available!

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I'm pleased to announce that the tenth and final book in my Tales of Telmaja sci-fi series, A Smijj of Hope, is now available for sale! Click the links below to see the book:

A Smijj of Hope--paperback edition

A Smijj of Hope--ebook edition

A word about pricing: as long-time readers know, I try to keep the prices of both my print books and ebooks as low as possible. This time, I had to increase the price of the paperback to $15.99 (US) only because A Smijj of Hope is the longest book I've ever published, at nearly 400 pages, and that affects the printing prices. In order to be able to list the book for sale internationally I have to follow Amazon's pricing guidelines, so I won't accidentally offer the book at a loss in any market. As always, though, the ebook is $2.99, and I have enrolled the ebook in Kindle Unlimited so that KU users can read it for free.

This has been a long journey. I wrote the first draft of what would eventually be the first book in the series, The…

Editing is for everyone

As I continue the final editing process for A Smijj of Hope, I thought this might be a good time to share a little bit about what it's like to edit a book as an indie writer.

Every indie/self-published writer is different, and everyone's editing process will vary, but for me editing has three distinct stages: the initial editing stage, the middle stage, and the final stage.

The initial editing stage ideally takes place not too long after I've written the last word of the last chapter of my work-in-progress. While it's a good idea to wait just a little while, I have found over the years that a quick read-through soon after finishing the first draft is a good way to catch really obvious typos as well as note any glaring contiunity areas or places that simply need work. In the initial phase, I might take some notes about these things, but I'm not usually ready to dive in and make those major changes.

The middle phase of editing is where the heavy work gets done. I…

A Smijj of Hope--Coming Soon!

I realize this blog has been sadly neglected; I still haven't quite figured out how to use it properly.

But I'm excited to let everybody know that I am now in the final editing stages of A Smijj of Hope, and if all goes well it should be available for sale by the end of May.

Thank you for your patience!

A short and spooky tale

This past month I participated in a Twitter writing challenge. There were daily word prompts, but other than that each person could write whatever he or she wanted.

I wrote a short story using the prompts. While I've been posting it daily on Twitter, I thought it would be fun to post the whole story here. The prompt words I used are in red.

*****

Carnival. From the Latin “carne vale,” or farewell to meat. A word that rose from the penitential practice of giving up meat for Lent. Written in human blood on the wall of the dingy apartment, it took on a much more sinister meaning.

I glanced at my partner out of the eye above my ear; one of six total, though the two on the back of my head were covered by my hair. “Well?"

My partner, Sol Brisham, is human. Mostly. He lacks extra eyes or retractable appendages. I’m told human girls find this attractive. “Nothing, Cy,” he replies.

I raised an eyebrow. “Nothing?”

“The place is more butcher shop than cemetery. You can see that for you…

Really busy!

I've been really busy working on many aspects of my writing, and haven't managed to come out here and post. Here are some things I'm working on:

1. Changing the covers and keywords of my books to match their designation as Clean Young Adult fiction.

2. Simultaneously editing two books in the same series, one of which I hope to publish by the end of the year.

3. Making plans to publish another book by the end of the year, which means editing, proofing, etc.

4. Beginning the editing process on the final book in the "Ordinary Sam" series, though that will probably not be published until early 2020.

5. Creating a whole new plot/character concept for the book I will be writing in November.

How's your Fall going?

Major changes ahead

This past Friday I got some wonderful advice about my books, and the most important piece of that advice is this: my books really aren't middle grade fiction. While they share some elements with books that are written for the older end of the MG fiction age range, they are a better fit for the young adult category.

I didn't think I was writing YA fiction because I tend to think of YA as always edgy, dark, and pushing the envelope in terms of sexual and violent content along with some other adult elements. But there are writers today whose books are classified as "clean teen" or "clean YA," and that's where my books belong. I have older protagonists; I write complex, multi-layered plots (not always well, but I do write them); I do not avoid all serious topics or difficult situations. What I do avoid are just three things: actual swear words, explicit sex, and gory or gratuitous violence. These are the same three things most writers of clean YA also avoi…

On age categories for books

I'm still working on editing my current book series--the good news is I'm finally making progress.

I started wondering the other day: what age range should this series be for?

If you don't already know this, most US publishers consider Middle Grade Fiction (MG for short) to be suitable for kids ages 8 to 12. These books are, generally speaking, a little harder to read than the earliest "chapter books" for younger readers, but not yet as challenging as many books for young adults. But the content of the books is important, too: a book may be written simply enough for a younger reader, but if it contains content that is very edgy, dark, sexual, graphically violent, or disturbing it will be put in the Young Adult (ages 12 and up) category instead.

What's hard about some of this is that the lines often get blurred. There has been a push by many MG publishers to include more and more envelope-pushing content in books aimed at younger readers. At the same time, so…