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Monday, August 4, 2014

Steven King's Convenient Dilemma

Steven King has taken a brave step in publishing Doctor Sleep and I applaud him for it. He could have written a very different, very disappointing manuscript that just sucks off the aged-teat of a masterpiece for nourishment. 

Imagine you are one of the world's greatest living writers. You are still very productive and popular. Part of that popularity stems from a novel you wrote nearly thirty years ago, titled Book30+. Book30+ was so great that it was turned into a movie that even more people saw than read the book, making you even more popular. Both the book and movie had satisfying endings, but your fans, to this day, occasionally ask what happened to such and such character (in this case, a sweet little boy from Book30+), despite the novel's age and the strange logic—or lack thereof—of the question.

You know in your own logical mind, it was a book. The characters stopped there, on the last page. But in your heart, you know that's not true. Your characters were, in a strange way, writers know all too well—quite real. One day you catch your mind doing its involuntary writer tricks, imagining just this scenario—the ultimate fate of the little boy. You realize you know the answer! Do you write a sequel? Is it possible to satisfy those untold millions who intimately know the character? Is there a satisfying answer? Isn't it likely that a huge contingent of your most loyal fans will be disappointed?

If you are Steven King and the book in question is The Shining, the answer is yes, you write it. Published in 2013, Doctor Sleep, tells the story of the now adult, Danny, the little boy from the first novel with “the shine.

I just finished reading Doctor Sleep and came away quite content. While not as satisfied with Danny's character as I might have liked—he's not the sweet little boy from The Shining any longer but now a grown man, an alcoholic drug-user with a guilty conscious, who is less than careful with whom he sleeps. The story works well though and references back to many aspects of the original story in the old hotel on top of a mountain in Colorado. Readers will welcome hearing back from Tony, the invisible character who gave Danny advice when he wiggled his finger. Tony has a new friend, who you may like equally, though I must say she reminded me a bit of other protagonists from other King books. Besides Danny, other characters return too, including Dick Holloran and Jack, Danny's crazy father. On the disappointing side, I was sorry Jack didn't play more of a role in the new novel, but I don't imagine King wanted to overshadow his new novel with that old story.

Whatever the case, Steven King has taken a brave step in publishing Doctor Sleep and I applaud him for it. He could have written a very different, very disappointing manuscript that just sucks off the aged-teat of a masterpiece for nourishment. Instead he's presented readers with a whole new story that piggy-backs off the old but is fresh and new. May all writers have the fortune of facing a convenient dilemma like this one day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Improved Back-matter for Sleeping in Snow with Bears - More Plot Disclosure

Here is some new back-matter I've just written for my novel, Sleeping in Snow with Bears. It shares a bit more of the story's plot than prior versions where I was deliberately evasive.

* * * * *

Aimee, Marcie and Boyd, three best friends since college, will do absolutely anything for one another. Their lifelong bond gets sealed one Halloween evening when Aimee is victimized in a horrible sexual assault and Boyd and Marcie step in to take revenge. Unfortunately, things don't work out as planned. Marcie, a brilliant student who wants to be a surgeon, is jailed for the deed and Boyd, a wannabe male model, is facially disfigured and leaves the U.S. for Brazil to learn to fly from an acquaintance who works as a jungle pilot. Still, steel bars and distance can't keep the two apart and Boyd and Marcie find an especially risky way to build a romance. Meanwhile, Aimee's life—initially as promising as her friends'—is falling apart. To numb memories of her assault she's become self-destructive and loses a fiance'. Realizing they must do something to help her, Boyd and Marcie put thoughts of themselves aside and come up with a plan to save Aimee from ruin before she kills herself. Tough under any circumstance, the assignment is especially difficult as one of them has become the focus of nationwide media attention and the other the target of the FBI. Still more challenging, they learn they are vital to an even more important agenda set in motion years earlier by a mysterious spiritual dying man who emulated the American Indian and claimed they will awaken nations if they follow his path.

Sleeping in Snow with Bears is a novel of suspense, action and a touch of romance. It is available in e-book and paperback formats through most major booksellers.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Video Book Trailer

I've just added a second video to this blog's Book Trailers page. For now, you can see it here. 

This new trailer introduces the themes (some hidden) in Sleeping in Snow with Bears and includes a reading of selected passages. Thanks Google+ Writers Discussion Group for the idea!


For a more traditional music backed book trailer, see the other video I've posted (under Book Trailers tab).

PS Sorry that the guy in the bottom of the screen is such a stiff. Maybe I should make his lips move.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Just Like Big Publishers - Indies Can Set Up Pre-Orders Too

Have you ever wondered how a book that has only been released days earlier manages to shoot to the top of the best-seller lists immediately? I always have, until now.

Recently, I watched the roll-out of a well known author's new book. It was interesting to watch because even before the title was released, there was tremendous marketing buzz. I thought it peculiar because one would think it better to be promoting a title when it was available, rather than before so. That's when I learned about pre-ordering - a concept that was entirely new to me. The promotions for this new title were not in vein at all but rather a great marketing tactic to get high sales numbers right off the blocks on the day the title is released.

I wondered, is that something I could take advantage of? As an independent author, I had my doubts. It did not appear that I could do that until I learned that Smashwords has such a program. Mark Corker, head guru at Smashwords has put together a presentation entitled, "Hit the Ebook Bestseller Lists with Preorders ... A Guide to Preorder Strategy". Follow the link for the online presentation.

Thanks, Mark! I plan to follow these words of wisdom with my next independent release.

Monday, January 13, 2014

kindle matchbook - a Belated Christmas Gift

A couple months ago, I, like most others who have physical books and ebooks for sale on Amazon.com, was invited by the company to participate in their new "kindle matchbook" (no caps ... catchy, huh?) program. Upon reading about the program, I had some decisions to make. This post discusses how I made these decisions.

"kindle matchbook" allows the publisher to set special ebook pricing for people who purchase a physical book (from Amazon). i.e. if you bought the physical book, the ebook may be discounted below the original ebook price.

There was a lot of discussion on the inter-tubes about how best to approach this? Should digital copies be priced the same? Discounted? Deeply discounted? Free?

After some consideration, I realized that my readers most definitely ought to be rewarded for purchasing the physical book and that it costs me nothing other than an unlikely ebook sale to give these readers a digital copy of my work. Besides that it makes the text more accessible, which promotes my ultimate goal - getting people to read my work.

For these reasons, anyone who purchases (or has purchased ... I think) the Sleeping in Snow with Bears paperback version through Amazon can now order a FREE digital copy of the book through Amazon.com.

Thank you readers! I had intended to post this just before Christmas-time, as a gift to you, but I failed to get around to it. I hope you all have a terrific new year!