Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wouldn't You Really Rather Write Fantasy?

"Pedro, just listen to your heart. That's what I do." -- Napoleon Dynamite

Jaq writes from Lithuania (via Goodreads):

"How did you come up with the idea for "Dragonfriend"? Did you always want to write about dragons?"
Thanks for the question, Jaq.

It's funny. I've known for the longest time that the first book I ever wrote would be a relatively hard sci fi novel. Just known it. After all, that's the genre I started out reading and that I read the most of over the years. That was the serious branch of speculative fiction, right?

Yeah, well...

Then, along came NaNoWriMo (the novel-writing contest where the goal is to write 50k words in the month of November) and what ended up coming out of my brain? A middle-grade Arthurian fantasy adventure jam-packed with magic and dragons, the most popular of all the mythical beasts of fantasy fiction. Where did all of that stuff come from?

Gee, I guess maybe all of those fantasy stories I'd been inhaling "for fun" over the years were having an influence, too -- those repeated boyhood readings of Ivanhoe, the Arthurian legends, and even the old "Prince Valiant" comic strip. What about all of the works of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the other giants of fantasy? Think they might count for something in my pot of "influence stew?"

Yup. They where telling me that, if I really listened to my inner scribe, my writer's heart, I'd probably much rather write a fantasy novel.

The idea for Dragonfriend pretty much just popped into my head when I was trying to figure out what to write for NaNo. I can't ascribe it to anything other than a tiny flash of divine inspiration that told me to draw on influences I'd forgotten about (or was in denial over -- I mean come on, Tolkien? I'm not worthy to touch the hem of his garment, much less toil in his, and I do mean HIS, genre).

Don't get me wrong, I still love sci fi (and have the first draft of a YA space opera I'm going to start editing after the third Leonard book), but I'm very happy that I listened to my heart and remembered that, whether I knew it or not, I really always wanted to write about dragons.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Nice Gift from Amazon

For the time being, Amazon has decided to discount the Dragonfriend paperback by nearly 30%.

It surprised/alarmed me when I saw the price change on the book's page last night, but I was quickly assured by customer service that it doesn't affect author royalties which are calculated off the full list price. On the other hand, it does save you some decent bucks so if you're interested in owning an analog copy of my book, this may be the time to act.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Real Books on My Doorstep!


They're here! My first shipment of Dragonfriend paperbacks arrived this week in all of their two-box, back-breaking glory. This order is primarily destined for the folks who helped me get the book published -- beta readers, etc. and the backers of my Kickstarter project. I'm also setting aside a few copies for the local school libraries, signings, and long-time "book friends."



I know the whole eBook thing is all the rage with the kids these days, but we here at the Novel Project (meaning me and Lizzy, the Border Terrier) love the heft and feel of holding a "real" book in our hands/paws. Right, Lizzy?

"Yeah, right, whatever."


Elsewhere in the news, there's still time to enter my Goodreads Dragonfriend giveaway (20 days a/o 11/23) so, if you haven't already done so, head on over and sign up. Five lucky entrants have a chance of being plucked out the the scrum by a soulless Goodreads algorithm.

Finally, a very Happy Thanksgiving is wished for the folks here in the States. To everyone else, may I heartily recommend the roast turkey dinner? Mmm.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dragonfriend is Now on Smashwords

Set up a Smashwords account last night. It was pretty easy to do although they are sticklers for what they consider proper formatting. Not saying they shouldn't be, they just like things the way they like them. The good thing is that they lay everything out for you in their style guide and quickly bounce back an error report if their "autovetter" finds some formatting it doesn't like. All free, too.

So in addition to the Amazon and B&N accounts, thanks to Smashwords you can now read an ebook of Dragonfriend on these devices, too: Apple iPad/iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others.

And there was much rejoicing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Win a Free Copy of Dragonfriend!

Well, as you might guess from this post's headline, I've just published my middle-grade fantasy novel, Dragonfriend. It's currently available at Amazon (print and Kindle formats), Amazon UK (Kindle format) and at B&N (Nook format). I'm working on setting up a Smashwords account, too, so check back later if you prefer to use them.

I've ordered a big ol' box of paperbacks to distribute to area libraries, beta & proof readers, reviewers, and Kickstarter supporters (I financed the setup of Dragonfriend through that excellent service) and should receive them sometime around Thanksgiving. This leads me to the paperback giveaway over on Goodreads (see the widget on the right). I thought it sounded like a fun thing to do (Hey, who doesn't like free books?!). Go ahead and enter if you think you might like to win a copy.

You might also notice that I've added a "My Books" tab in the navigation bar above. If you click on the tab you'll find a brief description of the book and links to the usual places. I'll try to keep it updated with reviews and reader feedback, too.

Here's a quick description of Dragonfriend:
If you think it was all good deeds and fancy ideals back in the days of Camelot, think again. Most people don't know this, but for a time things went seriously bad; Arthur was imprisoned, Merlin had vanished, and a vile demon had taken over the throne.

Young Leonard would have been shocked to learn any of this but right now all that concerned him was where his next meal was coming from. As page to Sir Ronald, a poor but kind knight, events at the castle took a back seat to a rumbling stomach. Oh sure, he held a secret dream that one day Sir Ronald would take a seat at the Round Table, but seriously, that was about as likely as Maid Glennys seeing him as anyone other than the dirty page of a low-ranking nobleman. Not gonna happen.

Everything changes when Leonard meets Mantooth, a seriously depressed dragon who's looking for a knight to end his misery with a swing of a broadsword. Wait a minute. If the dragon will allow Sir Ronald to slay him, his misery would be over, Sir Ronald would surely get a Round Table invite for such a brave deed, and Leonard might even climb a notch or two in the eyes of Glennys! Everybody wins, right?

Wrong. Leonard's plan backfires horribly when, on the day of the battle, Sir Ronald is arrested for "bravery without a license" and he and Mantooth are dragged off to Camelot's dungeons. Now Leonard must do whatever it takes to free his master even if that means doing battle with dangerous monsters, trying to outwit Camelot's dark overlord, or taking a bath!
As I mentioned on my other blog,  I couldn't be happier about the book finally being "out there." I started writing Dragonfriend back in 2007 and it's taken all of this time to get it to the point where I thought it was ready for primetime. Am I nervous? More than a little! I'm very pleased with how the book turned out and think it's a darned good read, but now it's up to the readers to tell me if they agree.

(note to readers: please agree)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NoNaNo

Not This Year
Although I really wanted to do it, I'll be taking NaNoWriMo off this time around. I'm so close to publishing Dragonfriend (doing one last read-thru of my one last proof copy) that I want to focus on making that happen and doing it right.

Side note: Surprisingly, the errors I'm finding are far and few between (yay!) and seem to be of the formatting variety -- things like a lone hyphenated word appearing in the middle of a line ("mat-ters") and some missing italics. Super minor mistakes that can easily be corrected.

Also, I'm very close to finishing the first draft of the second book in the Leonard the Great series: Giantkiller. I want to jump on that as soon as I get things squared away with the first book. As any author knows, building your backlist is incredibly important and is directly connected to building your reader base which is directly related to someday supporting yourself with your writing. 

As a bonus, last month while I was still thinking I might do this year's NaNo, I came up with a really fun premise for the third Leonard book. So there's NaNo, inspiring me again, even though we're not going to the dance together this year.

I'm relieved and disappointed by this decision -- relieved my head won't explode during November and disappointed because, even though it's a lot of work, NaNo is a blast.