Sheridan Diggins: Link, a (Not Quite) Few Words, and Certain Writerly Agonies

Hark and ho! Sheridan Diggins and the Dead Horde (or Book 1 of The Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles) is now listed at JMS Books. The novella won’t be out till mid February, and this will mark my first adult series. Ever.

Firstly, link. Here you go. Get thee hence for the blurb and the excerpt. The entire series is a sci-fi comedy with a side helping of romance. In fact, the romance pretty much pries open a Pandora’s Box of – things – that’ll turn an already whacked out planet into something even more bizarre. The series will follow that arc in an episodic approach a la Masks. In this case, though, unlike Masks, there IS a story arc.

It’s my goal to release a novella per quarter (yes, I’m a Virgo and an INTJ), and somewhere in between will be my usual YA offerings randomly scheduled. At the moment the re-release of the last books I had with Prizm are throwing a wrench into things, and it looks like I need to get those out of the way first before moving forward with a more regular release schedule on the YA front.

Weird cover art is weird.

Secondly, a few words and a bonus of writerly agonies regarding Sheridan. I actually wrote and self-published this book under a different pen name and under a different market a few months ago. It was my hope that I can expand my reach by writing more mainstream stuff and establishing myself in non-LGBT genre fiction.

As you can tell, that project didn’t last very long. The problem I’d been grappling with even in the process of writing it involved discoverability in a new market under a new name. I was basically back to ground zero, and while that might’ve been a good experiment six or so years ago, before the self-publishing gold rush, it ain’t so realistic now, with the markets so saturated with books from every corner of the publishing world. I’m basically shedding six years of building up a readership for an even riskier attempt at finding a new one with competition being the way it is now.

The long and short of it is that I ended up pulling the book, rewriting it into a gay sci-fi comedy romance, and re-releasing it as such through JMS Books. I do think it’ll be much easier for my current readership to cross-over to my adult stuff and for non-YA readers of gay romance to take a chance on my books – much, much easier than swimming in a HUGE ocean of non-LGBT books as a nobody, waving frantically to get the attention of someone in a limited reader pool.

I used the original cover, which is a really bizarre one, and it fits the tone of the series perfectly. Happily enough, the artist has a series of somewhat related images that I can easily use for future installments.

Incidentally, it’s not a space opera, with Sheridan whizzing about in space, visiting random planets where hijinks rule. No, everything takes place in one small planet called Cecilia, where colonists have evolved in the weirdest way physically and nothing more.

You can take the man out of Earth, but you can’t take Earth out of the man. Or something like that, anyway. That’s pretty much the idea behind the workings of colonists and friendly alien neighbors on Cecilia. I’ll be promoting the book when it comes out over at The Novel Approach, as usual, and I’ll scour this corner of the web for more places where I can request reviews and even do additional giveaways when the time comes.

Now Available: The Twilight Gods (2nd Edition)

And here we go with another second edition release! :) The Twilight Gods is now available in e-book format directly from JMS Books, LLC. As always, if you purchase directly from the publisher’s website, you’ll enjoy a 20% new release discount, which will last for a week.

And here be the blurb:

London during the Great Exhibition of 1851 is a new world of technological advances, eye-popping inventions, and glimpses of exotic treasures from the East. For fifteen-year-old Norris Woodhead, it’s a time of spectral figures mingling with London’s daily crowds and an old rectory in a far corner of the English countryside — a great house literally caught in time, where answers to curious little mysteries await him.

Confined by his family’s financial woes, Norris suffers a lonely and unsatisfying time till the day he (and only he) notices “shadow-people” in the streets. Then a strange widow appears, rents a vacant room in the house, and takes him under her wing. She becomes his guardian, slowly revealing those shadows’ secrets, Norris’ connection with them, and the life-altering choices he has to face in the end.

The Twilight Gods is a retelling of the Native American folktale, “The Girl Who Married a Ghost.” Set in Victorian England, it’s an alternative perspective on a gay teen’s coming-out process, with Norris’ journey of self-discovery couched in magical and supernatural terms and imagery.

This book was my first ever attempt at writing something that’s an out-and-out allegory, the subject in this case being a gay teen’s coming out. The original fairy tale really haunted me – no pun intended – when I first read it about a decade ago, and after messing with possible retellings in the past, this is what I came up with for my published novel.

I hope you enjoy it if you purchase it, and please do spread the word! :)

Oh, Look, I Do Have a Blog: Out-of-Print Titles, a Review, and Other Things

A week’s already gone by, and I’m still disoriented from my life change. ¬___¬ Last week was spent feeling around for a good daily schedule for me to follow, and while I’ve got a pretty good idea what it is, it’s still a bit of a chore re-training myself to follow it. Now that I’m no longer on someone else’s time clock…

At any rate: updates!

Out-of-print books: Curse of Arachnaman and Desmond and Garrick (Books 1 and 2). I just received my rights back for all three books, and they’ll remain available till the end of this month before getting pulled from all distributors. They’ll all be going through additional editorial clean-up for the second edition releases, but Desmond and Garrick will undergo even more from me before I send it out to have an editor go over it.

Those are the last books I have with Prizm, and this year will find me scrambling to make sure they get released in tip-top shape without too big of a time gap in between. I’ve already updated the corresponding book pages to highlight their current status and will be letting you all know any new developments as we go.

Review for Henning (Book 2) over at The Novel Approach. And the book (maybe the entire two-book series) received a special Page-Turner badge! :)

“Henning’s relationship with Ellery Thomas, the boy to whom Henning is soul bonded, unfolds slowly and in a believable way, with no quick fixes and, thankfully, no unrealistic promises of forever after at the end. These boys don’t fight every step of the way through this book for their relationship; they fight to save each other and those they love, the end result being, then, that they realize there is a “they” that might be worth working on too. It was the ideal resolution to their storyline.” Read more

Other WIP and upcoming release miscellany. As noted before, The Twilight Gods will be coming out on January 18. I’ll be doing a promotional e-book giveaway over at The Novel Approach and will lead you over yonder when the time comes. If I remember correctly, it’s set for next week. I need to confirm that with Lisa, the blog owner.

Ansel of Pryor House is close to being done, thank God! I’m still on target with the end of the month as my deadline to finish the darned thing, so I can finally go back and revise it for submission. From the looks of things, the final word count will be pushing 40,000.

Incidentally, Queerteen Press just changed their policy for print books. The old one stated that YA books that run at least 30K words will also be available in print. Now the target length is 40K. Ansel doesn’t have a complicated enough plot to justify a novel-length book, so it’ll remain a novella. However, it’ll only be available in e-book format.

The seventh and final book for my Masks series is about halfway done. And while it’s currently gestating in my writing folder, I am going to finish it this year and will have it for my next YA project after Ansel. It’s going to feature the Shadow Puppet for its main villain, and Phoebe* – who was first introduced in Dr. Morbid’s Castle of Blood as Dario – will be playing a significant part in this book alongside Eric.

* Phoebe is a placeholder name. I’ve yet to find a good name for the character, but for now, I’ll be referring to her as Phoebe.

And I guess those are the updates for now. As I’m slowly – and I mean slowly – finding my footing in my new home-based job, I’ll be able to be more regular in my blog updates as well.

Yeah, I know, hope springs eternal. Stop it.

Waiting For the New Year in Style (Sort Of…)

I decided to go back to my yearly tradition (or pretty much most of the world’s yearly tradition) of staying up to meet the new year last night. I didn’t do that for 2014, decided I was getting too old for this shit, and the second half of the year whupped my ass there and back again. Payback, I guess. Sorry, 2014. What was done can’t be undone now.

At any rate, I’m feeling a lot better than I did before, which means I’m getting a hang of this I’m-now-on-my-own-and-God-help-the-budget. I still wasn’t tempted or was in the right mind to mess with my WIP. Looks like I’ve trained myself rather too well into aiming for Jan. 5 for ye olde buckling-down-with-an-IV-coffee-drip, which left me rather useless on the last day of 2014.

That said, yay for meeting the new year with a mystery marathon on Netflix!

And for the stylish bit (sort of), see this gaudy, cheesy little coffee set?

That’s only part of a big set of cheap collection of cups, saucers, the works. I won’t tell you where the set came from because I keep my secrets close, but lemme say they’re so awesomely garish and clumsily made that I wouldn’t be surprised if they soak my innards with lead every time I use them.

And I did last night – as a fun, absurd way of celebrating the new year while losing myself in Poirot episodes. It only makes sense, anyway, seeing as how every episode shows the characters partaking in tea in at least two scenes. So while they enjoy a very British pastime with class (I tend to check out the tea sets used every time, too, just because), I’m following along in my what-the-hell-ever-I’m-only-an-American-and-don’t-have-nice-tea-sets way.

I don’t know how much tea I drank out of that lead-soaked set, but it was a pretty healthy amount. Maybe if I use it enough, I’ll turn into a real-life Iron Man and will have to get myself a new career.

Gay Young Adult Fiction