Now Available: Primavera

And so the first book of my much-babbled about side project is now available. Please note that this is adult fiction, not YA. And here’s the blurb:

Images of a young man who died in a dreadful manner suddenly haunt the dreams of eighteen-year-old Adam Cassidy. Even more disturbing are Adam’s suspicions regarding those dreams’ significance. They started the night he came out to his parents, and, somehow, Adam once knew that boy and had something to do with his death.

The situation’s compounded when the shy and cloistered Adam turns to the church and prayers for guidance and solace. He sees the boy from his dreams, who, in turn, leads him to an old church that feels familiar to Adam. The feeling deepens once he enters the church and meets a nameless man who appears to be waiting for him in its shadows.

The longer Adam grapples with his religious parents’ shame and disappointment, the more elaborate and disturbing his dreams become until he realizes they’re relating a story that happened centuries ago. One that ended in tragedy and yet offers hope for a second chance at happiness if only Adam could unravel the tangled mystery of the church and its lonely caretaker while struggling under the pressure of denying himself to appease his parents.

The novella is only available in e-book format. Seriously, it’s too short for print, but if things work out and I’ve got more stories of similar length self-published down the road, I’ll be compiling everything into a print anthology by the end of the year. The stories I’ve got planned are all thematically similar, so there’s no need to worry about a collection that’s going to go all over the place.

So! For multiple formats (epub, mobi, pdf, lrf, pdb, and html), you can go straight to Smashwords for the book. If you prefer to buy your copy from Amazon, this is the page. For other distributors like Apple, it’ll take maybe at least a week for the book to be listed there, so you’ll have to keep checking.

Anyway, thanks so much for your support if you do purchase a copy, and I hope you enjoy it!

Cover Art: Primavera (aka Cunning Plan, Phase Three)

Before I get down to the nitty gritty, a quick apology to those reading my blog posts via Goodreads. As you can see, I’ve re-linked my main site to GR, largely because I need to streamline my online time. The first quarter of this year was pretty doable, but once April hits, I’ll be releasing a book a month (mostly novellas). Add to that my current WIP (whatever that might be) and edits plus proofs, and things’ll be overlapping like crazy. So linking sites means wonky formatting and images and videos that won’t load (thanks, Goodreads, for being stuck in the 90s with your shitty site design).

For Goodreads readers, here’s the link to the book cover.

Anyway, this post is here to introduce you all to a novella that’ll be out next week. I refer to it as Cunning Plan (Phase Three) only because this is my third attempt at hybrid authorship after a great deal of internal arguing and a lot of supportive pushing from Andy. I’ve gone over a number of concerns I’d had in the past regarding self-publishing books. They’re still there, truth be told, but I sat on this book for a long time while I sorted things out.

I suppose you can say I’ve managed to draw a line down the sand in terms of deciding what gets self-published and what doesn’t. I’m not interested in going full-on self-published, at least not for the time being. My young adult books, especially, need that extra push through my publisher’s connections with the ALA and other places. I can’t do that on my own.

I’ve got a pile of short stories I wrote years and years ago. Most of them were pieces I’d submitted to different anthology calls or literary journals and were rejected. I’ve been spending time going over them, rereading them, and figuring out how I could improve on them further. And these are essentially the kinds of stories I’d like to self-publish as novellas.

Case in point: Primavera. The epilogue was something I wrote years ago – the original-original version was written back in 2000 or 2001, believe it or not. Through the years, I went back and tweaked it. And tweaked it. And tweaked it. Then I submitted it whenever an anthology call seemed appropriate for it. I re-shelved the story, sat on it for a few more years, and recently took it out again, tweaking it further and wondering how best to make a number of elements work.

And that’s what I’ve been doing the past several weeks (months, even, on and off), alongside my usual edits and proofs, etc. From that one scene of around 2,500 words total, I was able to write a fairly complex backstory leading up to it, working a lot of fantasy elements in it as well. Some background info: the original-original version was paranormal (vampires), and subsequent versions were contemporary with no whiff of fantasy elements anywhere. Now the otherworldly elements are back, and they be out and proud, baby. I wanted it to be a contemporary-historical-paranormal erotic romance, and I got it. The final novella clocks in at around 19,600 words.

And that’s pretty much how I’m thinking of approaching any self-published story I put out. The next one I hope to get started on soon (in addition to my regular stuff) is a full-on gothic erotic romance called Guardian Angel. That one will require a lot of rewrites and so on compared to Primavera, and since it’s more of a side project for me for now, it’ll be secondary to my YA and Sheridan books. Squeezing in the time for it will be tricky, not to mention a right bitch, but I managed with Primavera, and I know I can do it again.

For this year, there won’t be a lot of titles that’ll be self-published for mental health reasons. But I want to see if I can make this work out and find a good rhythm, so I can turn this into a regular thing in 2016 and onward. It’s very likely I’ll be sticking to traditional publishing with my YA books and will shift my adult fiction to the self-published side. Considering all the issues I had the last couple of times I self-published books, I’m proceeding with even more caution (maybe unwarranted) this time around, but my goals are a lot clearer now, and I’ve placed very specific limits on them. And Andy’s there, in the background, waving pom-poms for me as I toil away, high on caffeine.

So that lovely image there is the cover art for Primavera. I wuvs it. :)

Dear Little Sheridan Gets An Omnibus (And a Few More Words About Him)

A somewhat delayed bit of good news – my lovely young loser, Sheridan Diggins, is going to have all four novellas of his adventures released in a print omnibus sometime at the end of this year. \O/ As much as I’m all for e-books for practical purposes (see: reasonable price and lack of physical space for print books), I’m still fairly biased toward seeing my work in print formats. And having all four novellas compiled would make for a great hefty volume of a bizarre hybrid of sci-fi and fantasy. Total word count would be in the 140K to 160K range.

I know I haven’t really talked much about the series compared to my previous books, but part of that’s really dipping energy levels on my part when it comes to blogging. I’m still trying to get myself together, though, and force my way past this slump, considering how long it’s been since I’d regularly posted about all kinds of stuff.

I refer to Sheridan as a lovely young loser because he is. He’s twenty-one, and he’s pretty keen on emphasizing that point whenever shit hits the fan for him, something that happens on a regular basis, unfortunately. And that’s because he wants everyone to understand that he’s too young to put up with so much crap life seems to want to dump on him. He’s orphaned – parents dying when he was a teen, forcing him to grow up fast and look after two younger brothers. Of course, life hardly ever goes the way everyone hopes, and Rufus, the middle child, turns out to be an utter douchebag and abandons Sheridan and their youngest, Adley. Sheridan also suffers bad luck in love and is dumped by a social-climber, and I’m hoping to bring both Rufus and Ian into future books in the series.

At any rate, the series really isn’t hard sci-fi. It’s not even a space opera. There are futuristic things – gadgets, aliens, etc. – everywhere in the books, but we’re looking at them from the POV of non-advanced human descendants of colonists. So their understanding of highly advanced science and technology is limited by their basic knowledge of things and the fact that humans aren’t as highly evolved as the Twyfordites, the Pomeroyans, and the Brendisians. So it doesn’t matter how much time friendly alien neighbors spend, educating humans; things will still fly over the poor colonists’ heads. And along the way, basic necessities and conveniences have to be tweaked to accommodate their needs, so that they’ve got oddball hybrids of old school Earth appliances, for instance, and advanced alien technology. That includes food, yes, which is pretty disgusting.

It’s a fun perspective to go with, really. I love the fish-out-of-water element that defines colonists’ lives from day to day. And I especially love writing about poor, overwhelmed Sheridan, who’s bridging that gap between adolescence and adulthood. He’s still an overgrown kid in a sense, behaving the way an adolescent would behave in certain situations, while at the same time fumbling around as an adult, struggling with hard choices and being forced to make sacrifices for Adley’s benefit, among other things.

It’s got an element of romance as well, but as with the rest of my books, the romance is really secondary to Sheridan’s development. The second book (The Golem Uptairs) ups the ante in that department by bringing in danger as well, but as with the first book, Sheridan’s human limitations only take him so far when it comes to understanding what the hell’s happening around him.

The series has been extremely fun to write. It’s going to be a good counterpoint to my YA output this year, which will mostly skew toward serious historical fantasy stuff. The odd man out will be the last Masks book, which I hope to have out sometime in the fall.