Category Archives: publishing

there’s a new series underway …

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because creators can’t be bothered with the details, until the details come back and bother them.

So, full disclosure: the above is an ad, and Grammarly paid me something to post it. That said, I think the program looks really cool. (And yes, I am using it to grammar check this post.) Google the service and read a few reviews to see how to get the most out of it.

Really, I have to thank the good folks at Grammarly for the kick in the pants needed to get me back to blogging. I have been saying “I need to blog” for several months now (good gracious, was the last time really in JANUARY? and it is really AUGUST? my word). I’ve also been saying “I need to update and redesign my website,” and my internal vagueness on how exactly to do that, plus being busy with way too much else, has led to wholesale procrastination of doing anything at all around here.

Last time I was posting regularly, it was to announce that Little Dozen Press had a new lease on life, and we were releasing older work of mine like gangbusters. In the last few months we’ve transitioned into releasing new work, which is even more exciting for me–I have not been writing like this in years, and I can see the light of a full-time writing career at the end of the tunnel. I’m even working on ways to shorten the tunnel.

The new work mostly consists of a new paranormal series called The Oneness Cycle. The first three books, Exile, Hive, and Attack, are out for Kindle. (They’re in my store if you want to check them out.) The next two, Renegade and Rise, should be released in the next few months. No promises if the series will continue beyond that.

Cover art, as usual, by Mercy Hope:

Fifty Shades of Loved

A little while back I alluded to a project I was keeping under wraps until it was released. Well, as they say, the secret’s out!

Here’s the cover:

And the description:

In 2012 the hottest book of the year (in more ways than one) was an erotic novel called Fifty Shades of Grey.

This book is not about that one.

It is about many things Fifty Shades of Grey has women and girls thinking about. What is love? And who are we, as women, and what sort of love are we worthy of?

The essays, quotes, and poetry in this little book were written by women who share a central vision of who we are, of what it means to be female and what it means to be loved, that is rooted in faith in God. It is rooted in the belief that we were personally fashioned as image bearers of the divine being who is Love itself.

Fifty Shades of Loved includes poetry and essays from Rachel Starr Thomson, Mercy Hope, Shea Wood, Susan Milligan, Kit Tosello, Katie Rees and L’Angelus, and Laura Leigh-Anne Busick.

I had the idea for this book last spring, when the work of E.L. James was rocketing up the charts and I was seeing young women everywhere reading it. Aside from other questions of morality, my biggest concern about James’s books is the depiction of abuse, even voluntarily accepted abuse, as love. My heart bleeds for young women and girls who will read these books at a young age and shape their perception of themselves though their lens.

It occurred to me that I wanted to put an alternate vision out there and make it easy for these same women and girls to find. A vision that says, “This is who you really are, in yourself, to others, to God”; this is the love you are worthy of; this is the Love that has been poured out for you. With the encouragement of friends and mentors, I put out a call for writers I know to contribute to this “vision.” The result is the above little collection, which I edited and contributed several pieces to. The response so far has been enthusiastic, and I hope it will impact many.

As with all my e-books, Fifty Shades of Loved is available for a low price at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords, and more. You can also get it from my A-Bookstore, at the link on the top bar.

What I’m Up To

Hey friends! Last time I really talked here about what I was doing (February or so), I said I was plunging into the world of indie publishing, starting a new novel, and getting back to writing. Well, the “new novel” idea stalled out, buried beneath a lot of editing work, a lot of travel, and the reality that I have piles of manuscripts–short stories, essays, and novels–sitting on my hard drive needing to be moved to publication.

On top of that, the best way to build an indie publishing business (or so I gather) is to create content. The more the better.

SO. I cranked out a publication schedule for this year and got to work. I hired a cover designer (my friend Mercy Hope), sent my assistant instructions on how to format and upload, and started reading through old manuscripts to get them all spruced up for release. I was aiming to have all of my fiction and a lot of nonfiction out digitally by the end of June and everything eligible out in print by the end of July.

Today has been fun because Mercy and Carolyn (my assistant) have been going at the books like gangbusters and catapulting me officially way ahead of schedule.

The novels Angel in the Woods and Lady Moon are in the process of publishing right now. The short story “Butterflies Dancing” was released today, and more should trickle out over the next week or so.

The last novel to be released will actually be one of the earliest written: an adventure novel called Reap the Whirlwind which, together with Theodore Pharris Saves the Universe (already released) marks my first real foray into writing “real books.”

Once that’s done we’ll be putting up a lot of nonfiction, mostly short-form stuff, and making Letters to a Samuel Generation available as an e-book. By the time it’s all through, I should have 58 or 59 different digital products available, and 14 print books.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, will put Little Dozen Press on fairly firm footing.

Then I’m going to write again :).

New “Worlds Unseen” Description

All right, friends who wanted to keep up with my fiction journey. I am trying my hand at improving novel descriptions. I would love it if you’d give me your feedback on the following descriptions of the same book. Which would more likely interest you enough to read a sample (or even buy the book)?

1.

The Council for Exploration Into Worlds Unseen believed there was more to the world and its history than the empire had taught them. Treating ancient legends as history, they came a little too close to the truth. Betrayed by one of their own, the Council was torn apart before they could finish their work.

Forty years later, Maggie Sheffield just wants to leave the past behind. Memories of the Orphan House where she grew up are fading; memories of her guardians’ murder are harder to shake. When a dying friend shows up on her doorstep bearing the truth about the Seventh World–in the form of a written covenant with evil–Maggie is sent on a journey that will change her forever.

2.

Quiet, timid, and haunted by the murder of her guardians when she was a child, Maggie Sheffield wants peace and healing—not an opportunity to uncover truths so frightening and so vast that they threaten to forever unravel the world she thinks she knows. But when a dying friend gives her an ancient scroll that purports to contain just such truths, Maggie finds the lure of understanding too hard to resist.

For the power that killed Maggie’s loved ones was not human—and she has reason to believe the same power is both hunting down others and ruling the entirety of the Seventh World.

Leaving her hopes for peace behind, Maggie sets out to carry the ancient scroll to the far eastern city of Pravik, seeking the only man in the world who can read it and reveal its secrets. Along the way, Maggie falls into the companionship of a charismatic young wanderer called Nicolas Fisher, who has secrets of his own that he has long been trying to keep hidden.

Together, their journey plunges them into a strange new world of colourful Gypsies and ancient legends, of death-hounds and beautiful witches, of wilderness treks and unexpected love. But the price of truth may be too high: for Maggie, Nicolas, and the rebels of Pravik are tearing at the veil between the seen and the unseen, between good and evil, between forgotten past and treacherous future—and when that veil grows thin enough, it’s anyone’s guess what may come through.

But Where Did the Inspiration Go?

So as I announced in my last post, I am going whole-hog into e-book publishing this year. And the biggest thing for me is that I can do what I haven’t done in any serious way for years: I can write fiction again. In fact, I need to. As the Very Smart People I’ve been reading on the topic of indie publishing point out, writing and publishing prolifically is the best way for a writer to make money and build readership. It is the best way to build an indie publishing business.

If you don’t write, you don’t have product; if you don’t have product, you don’t have a business. Period.

This should be fantastic news for me. By the time I was in my early 20s, I had written 16 book-length manuscripts in various genres. Stories ran through my head constantly, as did words. I love words.

But life is not like that anymore. I go to write, especially fiction, and hear my hopes plinking off the pebbles at the bottom of a very dry well. Honestly, this has been building for years. The only book I’ve written in the last few years, Coming Day, was murder to write. I’m happy with the finished novel, but it was HARD.

Why? What happened–where did all the inspiration go?

I’ve been wrestling with that question for years, but I think I finally figured it out.

I stopped writing.

I decided that I needed to concentrate on promoting my old books before I wrote new ones. I got deep into building a couple of different business, starting running more numbers than words in my head, and just lost touch with the creative half of my brain. You know, the part that tells stories.

So now here I am, facing a new business model that requires me to be what I love being–a storyteller, a wordsmith. And I’m gaping into it wishing I remembered how to be a writer.

Sorry if this sounds a bit doom and gloom. I fully intend to get it back. I know that God created me with “writer” as part of my essential makeup; my bad for dropping the ball for so long. Currently my plan is to do a little editing on some old manuscripts that I never really finished, and then I’ll launch into something new. I’m not sure what yet. But by the end of this year, I plan to have written two entirely new novels. So the creativity is gonna have to come back.

I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening. In the meantime, if you’re a writer, or you’ve written a book and want to write more, take it from me:

Keep writing.

It’s the most important thing you can do.