Apropos of nothing, I thought I would share with you something that has been lurking in the back of my mind for several years now. I’m sure that every fiction writer dreams of his/her stories being adapted to either small screen or big screen, but I’m not sure how many of them daydream about possible “extras” to put at the end of the final credits, for the benefit of those who stay all the way to the end.
I am one of those few. Since the Makkarios series was initially envisioned as an anime, this is what I had in mind for the end of the credits of the second installment: the men of the team as a band, performing “Eli’s Coming” (for obvious reasons). Rai would be the lead vocalist, of course, with Lavi as second vocalist and keyboard player; Tru would be on electric guitar and vocals, Damek on bass, and Ronin on drums. It amuses me now that, whenever I hear the song “Eli’s Coming,” this is the scene in my head. For those of you who have never heard the song, I refer you to the Youtube clip below.
Now that the Makkarios series has been made available on the iBooks platform, I have turned my attention to the same for the Last Book of the Kings series. Several years have passed since I last revisited the first volume of this series, The Keeper House Unending — the first of all my novels, in fact. Now that I’m looking at it again, I’ve discovered that I have a problem.
[So embarrassing!] It is terribly obvious that a seventeen-year-old wrote this. I can hardly read it without flinching. Or squirming. Or both, to be honest, though I’m not sure how that actually works in physiological terms. It is almost as bad as the time I rediscovered the spiral notebooks of my actual first novel, which will never see daylight unless in those few moments while I try to get the match to ignite against the matchbook cover. Those I wrote when I was fifteen and, though technically they qualify as plain teen fiction, are far more of a fantasy than any speculative fiction I’ve written since then.
So I find myself wondering the following: does this mean that I have grown as a writer? Or have I just grown as a critical reader? One can recognize literary rubbish without being able to write good stories, after all, just as a music lover can detect bad pitch without being able to sing a note. And so the natural contemplative’s eternal process of self-examination goes on…
But in the meanwhile, for those of you who have an active life outside that of the mind, I have begun an experiment in nonfiction. It is called the One Word Devotions series and will consist of brief “exegetical” devotions, intended to instruct as well as to give fodder for the meditative processes. You may find it here on Amazon; it will not be made available in ebook format, because that defeats the purpose of the book.
Summa (Makkarios vol. 5) is now live on Kindle! Follow this link to buy your copy now.
Also… on Christmas Day, the Kindle versions of the first four volumes of the Makkarios series will be on sale for just 99¢! If you’ve missed any of the previous installments of this fantasy series, or if you know someone looking for a new series to read, here’s your chance to purchase the entire set on Kindle for less that $10! How’s that for a deal?
It has been a busy October! At last, just in time to begin preparations for NaNoWriMo, I am pleased to announce the release of Makkarios: Angel of Matat, book four in the contemporary/paranormal fantasy series of the same name. It is available in Kindle e-book format as well as paperback.
Haven’t had the chance to read volumes one through three? Beginning at 8:00 am Tuesday (October 28, 2014) and ending at 11:00 pm Friday (October 31, 2014), the Kindle format of all three will be on sale:
And afterward, November! National Novel Writing Month, here I come!
The Kindle versions of all three Makkarios novels will be on sale in publication order, beginning today! Follow this link to purchase the first book, Makkarios: Come Together at its special weekend sale price: Friday, $.99; Saturday, $1.99; Sunday, $2.99. The sooner you buy, the better the sale price! Come Monday morning, Come Together will be back at its regular price of $3.99– but this weekend is only the beginning. Next weekend, beginning Friday (12/13/13) the same sale will take place for volume 2, Makkarios: Learning Curve! Friday will see Learning Curve priced at $.99, Saturday at $1.99, Sunday at $2.99. Then, on the weekend leading up to Christmas Day, Makkarios: Children of Fortune (volume 3) will be on sale for FOUR days: Friday at $.99, Saturday at $1.99, Sunday at $2.99, Monday at $3.99. If you know anyone who is looking for a little Christmas break reading, be sure to pass the word along. This is a great opportunity to introduce a friend to the Makkarios fantasy world.
Hooray! We have the trade paper edition now ready for order:
Yes! the Kindle edition is already available on Amazon. The paperback should be ready for order by the end of the week, and approval is still pending from the Apple iBookstore and Barnes & Noble’s Nook bookstore– for both Makkarios novels. We’re on our way!
Truman has earned his place on the team, after winning the trust of the two captains. Now the headmaster has decided to use Ronin and Calypso to confront a traumatic incident in Truman’s past, one which has raised a wall between Tru and his new team. Can the two team leaders prove to Truman that he can trust his young teammates as much as they now trust him?
Meanwhile, a new teammate has been added to their number: Tora Kananeko, of the Tiger Clan on Kaeri Masen. The team saved her at great cost; now she is one of them. But all her life, Tora has been steeped in the enemy’s Deep Arts sorcery. She’s dangerous, and she has her own ideas of who should control the Makkarios team. Can the other trainees trust this selfish and powerful girl enough to accept her?
Then their training takes a difficult turn. The team is split up to face three crises: Jinx and Ronin are sent to assist in smuggling defectors out of enemy-held territory; Damek and Truman are sent to save Min and a group of hostages caught up in murderous racial hostilities on Min’s home world; and Calypso and Tora get involved in a brutal dying-world evacuation. These assignments again push the trainees to the limits of their new abilities and beyond, and there is no room for error. They must learn to adapt quickly, or someone won’t return alive.
We’re to the proofs stage of publication; the cover art will appear here within the next several days. Countdown to release date: approximately 10 days. Wheee!
Ugh… what day is it? How is it already the 28th? Oh, well. I met my word count goal for Camp NaNoWriMo, but I have one more chapter to complete in the rough draft of Traveler’s Guide to Mythical Beasts. Now I’m back to simmering all day in a subtropical office. (87 degrees F and 79% humidity. If the two were closer together, we’d have indoor rain, and I could grow orchids at my desk. Welcome to the prosperous world of public education!)
This sequel probably won’t be ready for release until spring, when it will coincide with the publication of a stand-alone comic fantasy novel called The Genesis of Max Variel. Remember, though, that the second Makkarios novel comes out in October. Still no word from OakTara about the re-release of the third Keeper novel, but (if you’ll pardon the pun) that’s nothing novel. For a publishing company, OakTara isn’t the best at communication. Still waiting for my mid-year sales reports too, which were supposed to be sent out at the beginning of August. [Insert grimace here.] Once we get the third book redone, we’re going to have to come up with a different plan.
But enough about publishing issues. Anybody found any really good books this summer? I’d love to hear about them, if you know of one. I tried to read The Magicians by Lev Grossman, but I didn’t last past three pages. I deal with “genius” teenagers who act dead common all the time at work. I don’t need to read about them. And anybody can tell that his Fillory is just Narnia in a thin disguise, however hard he tries to assert otherwise. So I’m looking for something genuinely out-of-the-ordinary. Otherwise, I’m going back to biographies this autumn.
In my place of work, we often use a certain term for the feeling one gets from workdays that begin at a hectic pace: being shot out of a cannon. This year, May is the month when my life gets shot out of a cannon. I am trying to finish a novel. I am primarily responsible for organizing a large semi-formal academic ceremony that takes place on the second-to-last Thursday of the month. By noon on the last Thursday of the month, I must have all my possessions removed from my current apartment to storage, awaiting the first of the next month when the lease on my new apartment goes into effect.
They say the only really dangerous part about being a human cannonball is the landing. (Sudden deceleration* can be quite unhealthy, according to the physics community. And the medical community. And common sense, which seems not to have much of a community around it.) Many complex calculations go into the planning, in hopes of making the landing safe enough to repeat. I mean, anyone can land once at great speed. The trick is to manage it so as to get up from the landing and do it again.
Maybe this sounds morbid to some ears. You know perfectly well I’m not talking about a circus act. Well, not an official circus act. I do work in an inner-city high school, so there’s always a whiff of carnival about my job. Caught at this junction of circumstances as I am, I’m continually doing an awful lot of calculations to make sure I don’t end up as a grease stain on the floor of the big top. I’ll admit freely that I do have a pathological fear of going splat! in my daily life. That’s something I’ve been working to overcome for several years now.
One of my calculations involves a very personal question: can I afford to spend my time finishing a novel that won’t see daylight for quite some time even when it is finished? And with that, the corresponding question: can I afford not to write? Because if my calculations are off by even a few degrees, I’ll never hit the net. Writing gives me the oomph I need to keep going. In this case, it may be especially important. It’s a comedy as well as a fantasy. The darker the sky gets, the more important a cheerful heart becomes. I write for my own enjoyment and encouragement, after all. Before any other consideration of audience, before any thought of salability, I write what I write because I like it. In this case, I may be writing for my own health in part.
Still, each day has only so much time in it. Things being as they are, I cannot spend as much time with my stories as I would prefer. Today I carted my first load of boxed books to the car, on their way to the storage locker. Wouldn’t you know, I felt a distinct twinge. Books were my companions when I had no one at my side. To this day, the idea of throwing away a book makes me flinch, no matter how worthless and worn it may be. Putting them into storage isn’t like throwing them away, but still it’s a separation. Weird, isn’t it? You’d almost think books had personalities.
I hope they do. I hope mine do. One of the thoughts fortifying me amongst all my midair trajectory corrections is that someone will pick up this book one day and find in it a companion for a lonesome hour, as I have found other books in my time. The academic ceremony will pass, and nothing will be greatly harmed if one or two details are imperfect. And honestly, all I really need is to empty out my current apartment and clean it. I can do that within the next three weeks; it’s just a studio, after all. I have a few intrepid volunteers willing to lend their vehicles and their strength to the cause. And storage isn’t permanent. Within a month, I shall be able to bring my exiled companions back to their rightful places on my shelves. And finishing this novel by the end of May is, when all is said and done, a self-imposed deadline. I just need to finish it before I start final preparations for publication of the second Makkarios book.
I shall land safely. That’s not to say I’ll nail the landing—by no means is that assured—but I’ll survive it. Must… keep… reminding… myself… that… [Geronimo!!]
*Why does the word “deceleration” sound like it ought to mean being deprived of one’s celery– much as being “defrocked” means to be deprived of ecclesiastical status? And why does celery have such a speedy-sounding name? If I have time to wonder about these things, I probably have time to get some more work in on the academic awards certificates. Or my current chapter. But not both. Not tonight.
Remember: now through January 31, you can download a copy of H.M. Snow’s newest book, the young adult fantasy/sci-fi crossover Makkarios: Come Together from the Kindle store. Don’t miss out!