Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hope 2015 Went As Well As You Hoped

Happy New Year, if you celebrate such things.

My wish for the world in 2016 and beyond: peace locally, peace nationally and peace globally.

For you, may your new year bring pleasures and joy along with the mundane requirements of life.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Update and Book Descriptions

Yesterday, the 26th of December, Boxing Day, the books I uploaded went live on Amazon. I decided to try Kindle Select for at least ninety days, to see if some of the tools they offer make any difference to me. The books are in the sidebar, along with links to them.
The descriptions for each of them follow.

Beckie Sverdupe, typical high-school student and accomplished equestrienne, has a best friend, an annoying younger brother, and no plans beyond homework and the upcoming pep rally. Then, she is kidnapped to be buried alive. Her strength and resourcefulness impresses the enigmatic young mercenary, Ian Jamse, but she was just a job.

Sandfall is a Young Adult thriller, and part of the Mercenaries series. It includes real language.

Bonus: An excerpt from Allure, the first book in the Mercenaries series, is included.

Publishing history: Sandfall was originally titled “Black Sky, Dry Rain,” and part of Mercenaries: A Love Story. This edition is retitled, and heavily edited from that version.

Beckie Sverdupe is ready for April vacation at her church’s Spring Week Camp until Ian Jamse, the only man who had ever depended on her, asks for her help. She still had nightmares about digging out of the sand, but she’d succeeded.

Should she listen to his plea? Of course. Or was it more of a pitch than plea? He had a job, so yes, probably it was. Could she help him? Maybe. Would she?

Beckie’s answer launches her on a three-month journey to save children she’d never met. Along the way, she poses as an exotic dancer in London, a cowgirl in Arizona and an ingénue in Thailand. Each stop brings her closer to her family, her friends and to Ian Jamse, the man who’d believed in her. Each stop brings her closer also to a personal meeting with the man who could end it all, with death.

A romantic thriller set in an approximation to the real world, Allure is the lead book in the Mercenaries series. The events portrayed in Sandfall precede Allure by eighteen months, and introduce Beckie and Ian.

Allure is recommended for Adult, older Young Adult (16+) and New Adult readers for language and mature situations. Real language is used, as are fictional depictions of child abuse.

Bonus: An excerpt from Freedom Does Matter, the second book in the Mercenaries series, is included.

Publishing history: Allure was originally titled Mercenaries: A Love Story and included what is now Sandfall. This edition has a new cover, and is retitled and heavily edited from that version.

Freedom Does Matter
Mid-summer before her sophomore year at college, Beckie Sverdupe is grooming her horse when she receives horrifying news: her fiancé Ian Jamse has been shot.

Leader of a successful mercenary team, Ian’s not only Beckie’s fiancé; he’s her mentor, training her as a team member after she made it clear that, having fallen in love with him, she would make their group more than just soldiers for hire; they’d be more ‘socially conscious’ mercenaries, with concomitant longer life expectancies. The current job, an Egyptian land dispute negotiation, supposedly filled that requirement to a tee. Except it hadn’t: Ian was dying!

Instead of returning to campus for Engineering classes, Beckie kisses Ian’s insensate lips and heads to Cairo to complete the negotiations. It’s her first solo assignment, and she’s determined to finish despite her fears for Ian. Tracking the gunman will be an added challenge spurred by renewed assassination attempts targeting the new mediator: her!

Her quest to gain justice—or revenge—for Ian reveals a conspiracy to incite the final Mideast war by killing thousands at iconic Wembley Stadium in London. As she unravels the plot, she comes head-to-head with one man’s bitter, intransigent attempts to redefine freedom. Will Ian love her again? Can Beckie thwart the terrorist honcho before the attack and eliminate one hateful voice of irrationality?

Bonus: an excerpt from the next offering in the series, Connections, is included.

While Freedom Does Matter is set in the Mercenaries world, it may be enjoyed on its own.

Everyone has connections they take for granted, and others of which they are unaware.

Beckie’s ongoing training as a nineteen year-old apprentice in Ian Jamse’s mercenary group emphasizes teamwork above all else. Now, with the London episode behind her, it’s time to put her training on hold and begin her sophomore year at Miami.

Goldfarb impelled Piero to smuggle cocaine using sex and money. Their enterprise flourishing, Piero turns to the Peruvian Presidential election. Goldfarb controls the key to the election: videos documenting the conspiracy to pervert the course of justice both he and his chief opponent engaged in years ago. The videos would ensure Piero’s election.

To force delivery of the videos, Piero threatens to halt their smuggling partnership. When threatened, Goldfarb’s composure fails; he attacks Ian’s group, starting with Amy Rose, Beckie’s young friend.

To save Amy, to keep the team safe, Beckie must put her wants on hold. It’s a helluva one-semester course. Pass-fail means live-die.

Connections is the third Mercenaries story, a YA/NA thriller recommended for 15 and up. While Connections stands alone, readers may find that understanding the background and relationships, especially from Freedom Does Matter, enhances the story.

Bonus: an excerpt from the next offering in the series, Coda?, is included.

Coda: noun (Music) The concluding passage of a piece or movement
• a concluding event […]

Two and a half years following Connections, death happens. Fighting back, Beckie chooses to go her own way, and it costs her her love. With little to live for, happily ever after now seems like an impossible dream, but she still has family and the team, and San Diego requires saving. Hidden information coupled with her own obstinacy make all her tasks more difficult, but friends help, some by staying, some by leaving. Hurt, confused and grieving, Beckie must push those emotions aside to grow into a role she’s only observed til now.

Coda?, the fourth book in the Mercenaries series, is a thriller set in an approximation to the real world. Real language is used. While it stands alone, readers unfamiliar with previous books may find the history preceding Coda? of interest. It is recommended for 15+.

Bonus: an excerpt from the next offering in the series, Discoveries, is included.

Of course, should any of you have an opinion about the covers in the sidebar, or about the descriptions, please, please feel free to make a comment below.

I will offer paperback copies of Coda? as a giveaway on Goodreads. Follow me over there if that might interest you, though I'll publish the link here in a few days.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Been Away Too Long

Since I began composing this post in August, it’s been even longer now! First things first: A happy Holiday season to you, no matter what holidays you celebrate. And may your New Year provide all the good things you desire along with the things that will happen anyway.

Also, congratulations to everyone who did NaNoWriMo this year. I didn’t due to vacation schedules and rewriting rather than, you know, writing, but I’ll see where I am next April.

Looked at the last time I was here, back in May, and less has happened than you might think. Could be good or bad, I suppose.

Anyway, of note: one of my beta readers resigned. His way of educating and mine of learning didn’t mesh, and like one of the characters in my book, he got tired of repeating himself. So, while we still communicate in a friendly fashion, we’ve parted ways. I regret that because I gained a lot from his insights, even if not enough.

So, Coda? and Discoveries (formerly Served Cold) took the biggest hit from that. I’m working through how to rework Coda?, but the failings in Discoveries felt clear, even to me, and I spent considerable time attempting to clarify the story. It’s been sitting for a couple of weeks—close to time to reread and see what else crawls out to demand attention. Then off to my beta reader for an outside opinion.

Since Discoveries has been fermenting, I went back to the first book in this series. I wanted to revisit it, change the covers and make editing changes based on my current understanding of how to write. The first step was to split the book into a novella to introduce people and things, and then a full-length book covering Beckie’s experiences with Ian and the team fighting Werner. New covers took a bit of work, but I’ll reveal them closer to when I republish the stories. The writing was more of an effort, cleaning up POV, deciding which scenes could be kept, which needed revision and which weren’t needed at all. The net-net: the longer piece, now titled Allure, is almost 10000 words shorter than the earlier versions, at 112K words.

So that was in August. Today, I uploaded five files to Amazon (CreateSpace will take a few more days, mostly for creating QR Codes for the links I want to survive). I owe a great deal to Carol for her efforts in cleaning up all of them, and to Phil, as well.

Being in the land of no internetz (save Panera and Micky D’s), it may take a while but I’ll get it. Covers are in the sidebar, along with links. Comments are welcome, especially if you’d like to say something about the covers.

At this writing, the Mercenaries stories include (and are best read in the following order):
Freedom Does Matter

Coming early in 2016:

In process:
Princess (working title)
Ralf and Catrin (working title)