May 2014 Update

Greetings!  Here at the old homestead winter is still putting up one last fight.  And depending upon what you hear we’re in the middle of Blackberry Winter or Catalpa Winter, or some other such made-up season.  Whatever.  The blackberries are in bloom so I’m sticking with that one.

Moon Shadow has been released and is now available in paperback and for Kindle.  I’m getting some great feedback from early readers, and that’s always good news.  I’m glad to finally be finished with this project and ready to move on to the next.

The audiobook version of The Island continues its progress toward completion, and hopefully it will be released within the next few weeks.  Keep watching in the usual places for all the details.  What I’ve heard so far is fantastic, and I can’t wait to hear the rest.  As a reminder, audiobook versions of The Killing Vision (read by J. LaLonde) and my kids’ book The Movie House Mystery (narrated by yours truly) are already available through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.  More will be forthcoming in the months ahead.

I’m still hard at work on my contribution to the anthology to benefit incarcerated teens.  “Touch” follows a special little girl who has the ability to heal and the joys and burdens that accompany the gift.  The anthology should be available in July, and I will keep you informed as I learn more.

All three Brock Ford books are being released as an ebook box set this month.  These are, of course, the new versions with the beautiful illustrations by Brian Bowes.  The price for the box set will be $5.99, which is a bargain.  Watch the bookstore page on my website for availability.

Thanks again for all your support.  As always, please feel free to drop me a line anytime.  I’m happy to hear from readers!

Until next month, Happy Reading!

April 2014 Update

Greetings from the Overby house on a beautiful spring morning!

Moon Shadow is complete and is awaiting some edits before I release it out into the wild.  I have not been entirely happy with the ending, and after talking with one of my beta readers I have decided to rework it slightly.  I think this will make much more sense character-wise and will give the book a more satisfying conclusion.  I am expecting a release in early May, so watch here for more details.  In the meantime, Kit Foster has created a wonderfully eerie atmospheric cover:

 

Moon Shadow SM

In kids’ book news, The Movie House Mystery is now an audiobook!  This was my first foray into book narration, and I have to admit that though it was a lot of work, it was still fun. I’ve always wanted to do voiceovers, and producing my own audiobooks will give me the chance to do that.  The Movie House Mystery is available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  Expect more audiobooks from me in the future.  I’m planning on recording the entire Brock Ford series and the remainder of my backlist novels.

And now for something completely different.  I have signed on to contribute a short story to an anthology to benefit Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT).  This is a group that provides books and hosts author appearances for detained teens.  I think it’s a great cause.  The anthology will be available this summer, and I’ll provide more details as they become available.

That’s all for now.  Until next month, happy reading!

 

February 2014 Update

Hard to believe it’s been a month since my last update.  Here in Kentucky winter has kept most everyone indoors since Christmas.  Lots of snow and ice and freezing temperatures and a good dose of cabin fever.  As someone I know used to say, the only good thing about February is that it’s only twenty-eight days.

-AqeyXA5

In Brock Ford news, The Mummy’s Tomb is now finally out in paperback!  It has been a long haul getting these three books in print, but it has definitely been worth the wait.  Brian Bowes, whose wonderful illustrations grace all three volumes, sent me a gift.  A coffee mug.  Now, wonder what made him think I like coffee?  Hm.  In any event, it was a thoughtful gift, and I’ve been using it every day at work.  It’s a great conversation starter.

Moon Shadow is still progressing, although the book seems to be growing.  I’m now looking at April for the release.  Once again Kit Foster will be designing the cover, and I can’t wait to see what he has in mind.  Watch here, on Facebook, and on Twitter for details.

I’m really torn about my next project.  Originally I had another horror novel planned, but I’m thinking of shelving that for a little while longer to work on the sequel to The Killing Vision, which is still selling quite well.  I have a good idea how I want the story to go, and I feel like I should work on it now while I feel the momentum of inspiration and also while reader interest is still keen.  We’ll see.  One project at a time.

Devil’s Catacombs will be arriving in paperback within the week, and should be available on Amazon in other outlets before the end of the month.  It will retail for $13.95, or you can download the Kindle version for $3.99.  I have spent today formatting and uploading and will be relieved to have that project finally finished.  It always feels good to move on to the next thing.  Or in my case, the next three or four things.

The Turkish publisher handling the translation of The Killing Vision has expressed interest in The Island  and Drum.  My foreign agent is handling that right now, so we’ll see how it goes.  I am so curious to see the Turkish version of The Killing Vision, and I wish I could read Turkish so I could appreciate how my words are being translated.  I’m sure there are going to be some differences.

Until next month, Happy Reading!  Let’s hope spring arrives early!

December 2013 Update

I hope everyone is enjoying this time of the year.  It’s the middle of the holiday season as I write this, smack dab between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And while we have a tree up this year we don’t have any ornaments displayed or gifts under it.  That’s the reality of living with cats sometimes.  Last year we didn’t even set out our tree because we knew we’d have a kitten using it for monkey bars.  Now he’s way too fat to climb, but still enough of a youngster that ornaments would be too much of a temptation for him.  He also likes to chew on wrapped gifts as we unfortunately found out the hard way.

Anyway.  I want to wish all my readers a wonderful season of joy and love, no matter whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or the winter solstice, and to thank you for your support over the past year.  2013 saw the release of four new books, and 2014 is promising to be just as fruitful.  I can’t wait to share new characters and stories with you in the coming year!  Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list so you’ll be the first to hear of new releases and other announcements.  You can sign up by clicking here.

And now for the big news!  The Lost Treasure of Kilimanjaro and The River of Gold are finally available in paperback form with the gorgeous illustrations of Brian Bowes.  These editions have been over a year in the works, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that they have been worth the wait!  Unfortunately there’s been a delay with The Mummy’s Tomb due to some permissions issues, but I fully expect that to be resolved before the end of January.  Brian has been great to work with and very open to my suggestions and always willing to answer my questions.  Check out his online gallery at http://www.behance.net/StudioBowesArt.  Brock Ford should also be back for a new adventure some time in the next year, so watch here for more details.

In other writing news, Devil’s Catacombs is with beta readers and should be released in January.  If you enjoyed the horror elements of The Island I think you will enjoy this new book.  No zombies this time, but dark caverns, a shapeshifter, and six unwitting college students should keep you plenty entertained.

Moon Shadow is coming along nicely and is clocking in right now at around 24,000 words. I’m very happy with how this story is turning out.  The characters have made a great transition from my original 1983-84 manuscript and have developed a depth I didn’t know they had.  One thing about writing this that I never expected — having to research the culture of the mid-’80s.  After all, I lived it; shouldn’t I have all that knowledge store away somewhere?  Unfortunately, no.  I keep finding myself looking up pictures and old TV schedules and other tiny details that had long left my brain.  For instance, I had forgotten that cars of the era had two keys – one for the door locks and one for the ignition.  How could I forget something that was such a part of everyday life back then?  I’m sure purists will find some something else I’ve missed, but to them I say see my previous post on perfection.

So until next month, I wish you the best.  Enjoy the holidays!

November 2013 Update

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perfection.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a wonderful blog post last year about how the pursuit of perfection can actually harm your writing.  Her husband, Dean Wesley Smith, also a great blogger on the business of writing, says (and I’ll paraphrase here) that you have to reach a point where you call the work finished and then stop caring about making it perfect.  Unless you are a writer, you probably don’t understand how difficult that is.  We’re taught from our earliest school days to strive for perfection.  Personally, I was never satisfied with myself in school unless I was making A’s.  B’s were like the ugly step-sister – good, but certainly only second-best.  C’s made me feel as though I was already failing, and anything below a C was just plain devastating.  College was the same, and I remember ripping open the envelope with my grades after my first semester at college, seeing all A’s, and bursting into tears in relief.

So going to a mindset where everything doesn’t have to be perfect is almost like telling me I can sprout wings and fly across town.  What if someone reads my story and finds a major flaw in the plot?  What if one of my characters says something in Chapter 2 and then completely contradicts herself in Chapter 10?  What if the sentence structure in that one paragraph on page 170 is stilted or awkward?  What if, what if, what if?

You know what?  The world’s not going to end.  I’ve had these fears lately about the newest book I’m about to unleash on my beta readers.  There was a lot of research involved, and naturally I’m afraid I’ve missed something.  If I have, hopefully my readers will catch it before it goes to final edits.  Even if they don’t, all I can do is remind myself that I wrote the best possible story I could at that point in time.  Then move on to the next book.  It’s a learning process.

You see, the time to care is when you’re writing.  When you’re creating story.  That’s when you have to do your best.  But caring about your story isn’t the same as trying to make it perfect.  It will never be perfect.  I look back on August  and Drum and think, sure there are phrases or details I could rework, or sections I could rewrite, but I won’t.  Because I’ve moved past those stories.  I did the best I could when I was writing them.  That’s all anyone can do.  Ten years from now I’ll look at The Island or The Killing Vision and think the same thing. Once the book is out, it’s finished.  No more rewriting.  Move forward.  Or as Dean says, stop caring.

In reality, that’s an incredibly hard thing to do.  It’s also a very freeing thing.  The pursuit of perfection can stifle your creativity.  It’s impossible to allow the creative side of your brain to take control if the critical side is constantly acting as overseer and second-guesser.  And if you can’t let go of a story you can’t go on to the next.  I’ve really worked on that all through 2013, and I have written more in the past twelve months than I have in the prior ten years.  Stopping the critical voice while I’m in creative mode, knowing when to stop finagling around with the plot or details and send the story out into the world – all of that has unleashed a tide of creative juices.  It’s been a great ride.

In book news, the illustrations are now finished for Brock Ford.  At least two of the paperbacks will be released before Christmas.  I’m eager for my readers to see these handsome drawings Brian Bowes has created.  I think you’ll agree, he has really brought these stories to life.  Stay tuned to the usual places – here, Facebook, and Twitter – for more info on release dates, etc.  Also, join the mailing list on my Contact page and be among the first to learn about my new books.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you next month.

 

July 2013 Update

The first draft of the latest novel is finished! I was able to write 22,000 words during the week I was on vacation, and now I am exhausted. Writing takes a lot out of you, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There is something about working from deep down inside yourself that is draining, and I’m using this week to recuperate. The title has now changed from Dead Awake to The Island – A Novel of Terror. As the story evolved throughout the writing process I discovered that zombies that were originally the focal point of my idea were only a minuscule part of the plot; the story was really about the island, its culture and secrets. I’m going to let it set for a while and mellow, but will tackle it again in a few weeks for rewrites and edits. I hope to have it out by autumn.

Meanwhile, my new middle grade book is back with me now after being on submission for a couple of months. There was no interest in this story from agents at all. None. I can’t hide the fact that I’m disappointed, but I have to say I’m happy to still have it under my control to be indie-published before the summer’s over. Here is the blub:

Zach Ziegler’s mom says he’s “big-boned.” His grandfather referred to him as “strapping.” His dad, whom he never sees much, calls him “Sporto.” No one uses the F-word: fat. But Zach’s arch-nemesis, Trevor, doesn’t mind pointing out the obvious, and Zach is horrified when Trevor christens him with a new nickname in front of the whole PE class. If that isn’t bad enough, the science fair is coming up, and Zach and Trevor are paired up on a project. But while working together, Zach and Trevor begin to learn things about each other that neither has revealed to another soul, and they come to realize that maybe they aren’t so different after all. This is the story of an unlikely friendship – of setting aside misconceptions and labels and finding the true heart underneath.

As usual, I’m stuck on a title. The working title just didn’t feel right. My beta readers have been stymied as well. I may have to resort to using the online title generator. Worked well for The Killing Vision, after all.

On the Brock Ford front, my illustrator has taken some time off to work out some personal issues, but we are now shooting for a Christmas 2013 release of all three books in print. I’m really looking forward to sharing Brian’s great work with all my readers. It has been a long, arduous process but when you see the results I’m sure you’ll agree it has been worth it.

That’s all for this month! Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for more frequent updates and don’t forget to drop me a line. I’m always happy to hear from readers!

March 2013 Update

The first draft of my new kids’ book is done! Yay! Now, to let it sit while I work on wrapping up a few other projects. I hope to have rewrites done in time to begin querying agents in the early summer.

Brock Ford continues to inch forward. Frontispiece artwork is taking shape, and I’m very excited at what I’ve seen. Still hoping for a spring release date, but now it looks more like late spring. 🙁 As usual, I will post any and all updates here.

New project alert! I’m working on putting together a collection of short fiction and poetry, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Most of this stuff dates back to the late ’80s/early ’90s when my voice was really beginning to develop and I was studying under a tough but talented writer/instructor at Murray State University. I also plan on including some real relics for curiosity’s sake. This collection (which of course at this moment has no title yet) should be out in a month or so.

In the “Color Me Starstruck” department, I got to meet one of my literary idols at a writers’ fair in Madison, Indiana. Michael West is a horror novelist known for his “Harmony, Indiana” trilogy and numerous other stories. Most recently he edited an anthology called “Vampires Don’t Sparkle.” I was lucky enough to be traveling back from Indianapolis the day of the event and took a quick side trip to pick up a couple of autographed books, as well get a picture with him. Did I mention he’s also a really nice guy?

That’s it for this month. Lots of exciting things going on behind the scenes, and I’ll keep you updated!

Meeting author Michael West, March 2013

Meeting author Michael West, March 2013

February 2013 Update

The three Brock Ford paperbacks continue to inch along toward publication. Just this week I’ve seen the rough sketches for the interior illustrations, and I am so excited! My illustrator just continues to wow me. I know choosing Brian for the work was the best decision I could have made. Not only do I have professional covers, but the chapter headings will make the books come alive like never before. I’m still looking at a late spring release date (and hopefully more school visits!), so watch here for more details.

My latest book is currently with beta readers. I don’t even have a final title yet, so I’m hoping one of my betas comes up with something great. (Ryan, are you listening?) I’m eager to get the book edited and out, and that should be a release in the summer. Again, stay tuned to the blog for more info.

The first draft for the current work-in-progress, a contemporary middle-grade, is about 2/3 finished. I’m thinking of going the traditional route with this manuscript and submitting to agents. Why, I don’t know. I guess I feel this latest effort has the potential to catch the eye of one of the Big 6. It’s certainly a story written from personal experience. I’ve taken agent Mary Kole’s advice to “dig deep and tell the truth.” We’ll see what happens.

I’m also toying with the idea of putting out a short story collection. I’ve got several shorts and even a bit of poetry lying around. The time just seems right to put it out there and see what happens. That’s a project for when I finish the first draft of the current WIP, while it mellows for a bit.

So… lot of things going on, yet the wheels turn slowly. Stay tuned!

January 2013 Update

Wow! Has it really been over a month since I last updated my blog? I have been busy, busy, busy!

Right now I’m about a third of the way through my current work-in-progress, a new middle-grade novel. It’s really going well, and I’m hoping this will be the one that finally gets me noticed by the right people. I’ve put myself in seclusion the past couple of weekends and forced myself to write, write, write.

Something I’ve come to realize in the past six months is that my first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. The important part is just to get something down. I can fix it later. That’s what revisions and editing are for. Amazing that I’ve been writing for thirty years and I’ve just discovered that. If I had figured it out sooner, there’s no telling how many more books I’d have under my belt. It’s actually been liberating. I’ve always known on the surface of course that subsequent drafts can fix almost anything, but I would never give myself the freedom to just write in an almost stream-of-consciousness mode. All that changed last fall when I picked up an old unfinished novel and decided to complete it. By utilizing that new freedom, I was able to plow through the remainder of the book in about a month and a half. That book will soon be in the editing stage and will hopefully be out before summer.

On the Brock Ford front, my illustrator plans to work on the chapter headings through February. I’m still shooting for a spring release of the paperbacks. Keep checking back for details!

Now, I like to make a plea on behalf of myself and other indie authors. If you like what you read, PLEASE leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. It doesn’t have to be lengthy; 25 or 30 words is fine, and on Goodreads you can just leave stars without writing anything. Reviews are extremely important to indie authors because more reviews leads to more exposure and that leads to more sales. Also, if you enjoy my work, please tell other people; word of mouth sells more books than anything.

Please feel free to drop me a line. I enjoy hearing from readers and I love to answer questions!

Writing Updates

I finished the first draft of the new novel today.  This is a crime novel with a bit of the paranormal thrown in.  Not scary, but more of a thriller.  I have been working on this book for more than six years, so when I say it’s done, you have to imagine me doing some kind of happy dance.  Right now the plan is to put it away for a while, at least until after the holidays, before I start revising and editing.  This will allow me to put some distance between the story and myself.

In the meantime, I hope to start outlining the next idea I’ve got in mind, which is an out and out horror novel.  I’m really looking forward to that one.  I haven’t tried to write horror since high school, so this should be fun.

Reading night at the Dawson Springs Library went well, and I enjoyed connecting with a few of my readers and signing some books.  Let’s hope we get to do it again really soon!

On the Brock Ford front, Brian is now working on the third and final cover for the completed books in the series.  Once this is done he will begin the interior illustrations for the chapter headers.  He has been great to work with, and I’m hoping this is the beginning of a long partnership.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

More new cover art!

Last month I posted the new cover art for the repackaged Lost Treasure of Kilimanjaro.  These new paperback versions of Brock Ford are moving right along.  Today I’m sharing Brian’s artwork for The Mummy’s Tomb.  If anything, I think he’s managed to outdo himself, and this time he included Sparky in the mix!  I am so happy with Brian’s artwork, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the next book.

In other news, I will be appearing at the Dawson Springs Branch Library with fellow author/illustrator Mark Wayne Adams on November 14 at 6:00 PM.  We will be reading, answering questions and autographing books.  It’s sure to be a grand time, so join us if you’re in the area.

Brock Ford Progresses

I am working with a great illustrator right now named Brian Bowes on the new paperback editions of the Brock Ford series.  Brian’s still doing rough sketches right now, but I have to say I am extremely happy and excited with everything I have see so far.  I can’t wait to unleash the updated Brock on the world!  I will post more updates when I have them.  In the meantime, check out Brian’s website at http://studiobowesart.com/.