Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Well 2: Falling - Now Available on Amazon

After escaping the Well, the underground bunker that has sheltered his people for fifteen generations from the horrors of Surface, Singer and his three cohorts find themselves falling from the frying pan and into the fire! The world outside the Well could not be more hostile – a place of barren desolation and airless death. However, the blue and white orb hanging in a black sky beckons them toward the true path to Surface.


The escapees promptly run afoul of others that occupy the desolation, and land in confinement with death or return to the Well as the only viable options. Faced with the puzzle of finding a third option – one that takes him to Surface – Singer works to keep his small crew alive long enough to convince his captors to spare them. When the moment of epiphany occurs, Singer’s existence becomes more endangered still, for it requires a return to the Well – which has descended into madness. Even success of his plan may not save his life, let alone take him to mythical Surface. And even a journey to Surface to face the menacing mystery of The Darkness may result in certain death!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sequel to "The Well" Is Nearly Done

My recent novella, The Well, works as a standalone story given the little slap-your-face twist at the end. Some of my favorite sci-fi short-story writers employed this strategy on a regular basis: give a story a twist ending that does not really settle the story but does make you think. This approach can annoy, I know. But it also provides a jumping off point for personal imagination. Thank you, Arthur C. Clarke, Gordon R. Dickson, et. al.

That said, The Well begs for more telling, and I intended to expand the story from the beginning. The second as yet untitled novella is nearly done, pending final copy edits and a cover. Oh, yeah - and a title. There is always the pesky nuisance of thinking of an appropriate title, which is often more difficult than it should be.

Anyway, the sequel is coming, and a third installment will wrap up the story. All is Well. Stay. Tuned.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Well - Now Available on Amazon

Fifteen generations before, the horror of Surface chased Singer’s desperate ancestors into the vast underground bunker of the Well. In a moment of darkest despair, Singer unsuccessfully attempts to breach the long-obstructed hatch that leads outside – to certain death, as everyone knows! In punishment, he is cast down from the most privileged level of Seven into the hell of the Well’s lowest layer – the damp, crowded, and stinking Pit. Despite the bleak turn of events, Singer’s harsh new surroundings begin opening his eyes to the truth of the Well and of humanity, his revelations helped along by the wise old Tech and his too-forward, too-unconventional, too-maddening daughter.


Resigned to his prison far from Seven, Singer’s hope rekindles with the discovery of a means to climb the central shaft that leads back to Seven – and to the outer hatch. He joins uneasily with the Tech’s daughter in a lunatic plan to ascend the shaft and escape the Well. But can they dare hope to succeed? And if so, will they find a livable world outside on Surface? Or will the terror that propelled their ancestors underground have the final laugh? These questions seem unanswerable, for no resident of the Well is equipped to imagine what lies above … especially not Singer!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ugly Girl: Now Available on Amazon and Createspace

After an experiment with a different title and cover, I re-published Ugly Girl with the original cover art created for me by Mark Bulahao. Chalk it up to an exercise of over-thinking marketing. The original title of "Ugly Girl" perfectly captures the tone of the novel, so now it returns!

Also, I chose to market the novel for 99 cents - a departure from my $2.99 strategy with Shore of Monsters. There is much debate about the pricing of a novel, and the belief that 99 cent pricing places a novel into a category of "buyer beware" or "it stinks". There is a certain truth to that logic. The majority of 99 cent novels suffer significantly when compared to professionally published novels in many areas: cheesy covers, poor writing, poor story flow, significant editing mistakes, and general unprofessional presentation all around.

However. However. However.

I notice that very well-written, well-edited, well-packaged stories with compelling plot flow tend to sell, and some sell incredibly well. I would like to think that my novel fits those criteria, but I am the least objective consumer at this point. That said, no guts, no glory. My interest is in having as many readers of the novel as possible, whether the copy be free or 99 cents. Volume readership!


Monday, August 11, 2014

New Story: The Climb

After a hiatus from writing to re-consider my hobby, I started again with what I love: post-apocalyptic fiction. "The Climb" takes place in a world that should be readily recognizable as post-apocalyptic or at least dystopian. I don't believe the story will reach novel length, so I plan to offer it for 99 cents as an e-book. So fans of the post-apocalypse - here is the first page. See what you think!

The Climb



In a moment of simple clarity, Singer left behind the recently deceased bodies of his wife and newborn son and set out across the fields toward the walls of the world. A primeval desire to move, to escape the despair, drove him mechanically forward. And “out” seemed the best place to go, despite the inevitable horror crouching there. The sleeping community of Seven failed to notice his run, each person caught as they were in a personal clash of dreams, nightmares, and the oblivion of slumber.
Within minutes, the mangled barricade obstructing the hatchworks emerged from the opaque gloom of nighttime. Singer hesitated briefly, scanning the arc of the stony wall for a patrol. No movement stirred the edges of the world.
“Yoshida.” Singer mumbled the name of his old friend, because tonight was his turn in the rotation. More than likely, the man was on the other side of the great circle of Seven, studying his letters under the dim lamp that continuously illuminated the stairwell entrance. Or stealing a forbidden moment with someone else’s wife. Regardless, the barricade stood unwatched.
A final glance across the fields, and Singer slipped into the twisted metal of the barricade. Clambering over, under, and through often-jagged obstructions, the man traced the path he and Yoshida had discovered as boys still young enough to slip away without notice or consequences. His labored breathing marked time – perhaps a few minutes – before he slipped beneath a rusting beam to emerge into a clearing. The hatchworks stood before him, still untouched for many lifetimes. Even he had never dared reach out his hand. Until now.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Catch Me Falling" Advances in ABNA 2014

Another year, another Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award entry, this time with Catch Me Falling. The novel made the first cut and is on to the second round. This marks the third year in a row that I managed to get a novel through the pitch stage, but the previous entries did not advance to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal round judging considers only the first 5000 words (15 - 20 pages). To make the next cut, the story must be attention-grabbing and very well written - particularly as compared to many other well-written entries. This year's submission is my best work in terms of tone, so I'm hoping that might be enough to move it along. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Independent Publishing: Getting the Cover Right

I love my cover for Catch Me Falling, an original commissioned work of art from Mark Bulahao. It captures the poignancy of the story perfectly. See for yourself, and tell me the picture does pique a sense of wistful sadness within you.


However, there is always a however. I typically dislike howevers. However ... I received feedback from two unrelated sources that the cover was not reflective of the novel's genre and target audience. One response was, "lovely cover, and intriguing, but looks like a novel from the 70's or 80's." The other comment was similar, but not as friendly. Hurtful words, indeed. But after careful consideration, I found that I could not vigorously disagree. My emotional push back to the comments peaked at pathetic. So, back to the drawing board. Literally.

Based on a Wattpad experience of posting the first portion of the story, I know that the market for this novel are females under the age of thirty and over the age of fifty. Strange, I know, but the vast majority of the thirty fans of the Wattpad excerpt fell into those two categories. A little research told me that the first group (under-thirty women) are looking for bodice-ripper romance in imaginative forms - paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. The second group craves the same, but in gentler forms, as if seen through the lens of nostalgic memory. Covers for such novels have certain hallmarks, including:
  • A woman and a man with obscured or semi-obscured faces
  • Photo realistic renderings of the woman and man (not drawings)
  • Hot guys with bare chests
  • Women ignoring said hot guys, or playing hard-to-get
  • Women physically assaulting said hot guys with lips, arms, and legs
  • Visible emotional or sexual tension between the two
Catch Me Falling is not overtly sexual, so the physical assault style is not right. However, the novel is emotionally wringing, so every other hallmark is appropriate. So, I sifted through several thousand photos on Shutterstock.com in search of the picture in my head. The result was the following cover, which I created from three intriguing photos using GIMP (a free but difficult-to-use tool that mimics PhotoShop without the $600 price tag). I think it kind of pops. What say you?