A Girl, a boy, a feral cat, pursuit by unhuman things.

ddse-series-cover-smashwordsI’ve got a new series of books called DDsE and you can start reading for free; download an e-version* from Smashwords**.

DDsE is a teen/YA (young adult) paranormal horror romance that will ultimately be 9 short volumes. Books 1 and 2 are now on-line. Books 3-5 will be available within weeks; the remaining 4 are coming within the next year.***

What’s DDsE about? Here’s a blurb:

Being sixteen is Tupac Eminem. Ella has no one to talk to except her new diary, which she has to hide from Ma and Pa Warden, the foster parents she’s stuck with since her family got flattened in a car accident. Now that she lives with the wardens, she has to switch to a new school, where people act like her tragedy is contagious. Her new suburb is just as boring as the last, and offers no hope of secret passageways or magic. But life is not all bad. There’s an interesting boy at the new school – although his family turns out to be impossibly dangerous. And there’s a feral cat, living in the suburb’s only open space, a pitiful excuse for woods. Sometimes the cat invades Ella’s mind. She tells her diary, ‘I’ve gone a special kind of crazy, a split personality. And my other personality is a cat, not a person.’

* Eventually, I’ll compile the short volumes and make them available as paperbacks, too.

** Soon, DDsE will also be downloadable at the Apple iStore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Noisetrade. Eventually, it will come to Amazon, too.

*** Some of you may say, “Wait, I thought you were sending DDsE to publishers, is that effort kaput?” Still in progress. Three have declined. The first two liked the story but didn’t like the narrator. The third one loved the narrator but didn’t like the story. (I forgot how maddening this process can be.) Other verdicts are still out but apparently I don’t have enough patience (nor, perhaps, enough decades) to grind through the submission process.

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Cover Directions – Want to Vote?

I’m about to publish a new series of books called DDsE. My cover ideas are divergent, and I’d like to get your reactions to the two styles, which capture different flavors of the series, a young adult paranormal horror romance. A brief introduction:

Being sixteen is Tupac Eminem. Ella has no one to talk to except her new diary, which she has to hide from Ma and Pa Warden, the foster parents she’s stuck with since her family got flattened in a car accident. Now that she lives with the wardens, she’s in a new school where people act like her tragedy is contagious. Her new suburb is just as boring as the last, and offers no hope of secret passageways or magic. But life is not all bad. There’s an interesting boy at the new school – although his family turns out to be impossibly dangerous. And there’s a feral cat, living in the suburb’s only open space, a pitiful excuse for woods. Sometimes the cat invades Ella’s mind. She tells her diary, ‘I’ve gone a special kind of crazy, a split personality. And my other personality is a cat, not a person.’

I’m looking forward to your input!

Free Ebook: WAS IT A RAT I SAW

Cover art by Lars Huston.

Cover art by Lars Huston.

Until the end of October, 2013, get a free e-copy of WAS IT A RAT I SAWmy psychological thriller involving split brain research, animal rights, and a love quadrangle.

I’ve recently distributed some copies for readers’ reviews and I am thrilled to report that so far the ratings have been great!

Here’s how to get your free copy:

* Go to RAT’s page on Smashwords,
* Click the blue “Add to Cart” button.
* Proceed to checkout, but instead of paying, use coupon code KX86E.
* Let me know (via a comment on this page) if you encounter problems.

After you read it, please write a review! (Readers’ reviews are incredibly important to indie authors.)

RAT is online! P.S. I Know Who Got the Design Genes

Cover art by Lars Huston.

Cover art by Lars Huston.

At last (yee haw!) I have finished retyping Was It A Rat I Saw, my psychological thriller involving split brain research, animal rights, and a love quadrangle. It is now available in serial on this blog and as an ebook in various formats at Smashwords. FREE FOR THE NEXT WEEK!

For the first few hours of its e-publication, I used a cover that I made all by myself. I liked it when full size, but as a thumbnail image on Smashwords, it was murky and uninviting. Previously, my son has made my e-book covers, and I love his artwork. But I felt like I was railroading him into making the covers, so this time I resolved to do it myself. Fortunately, as he watched me struggle with a new and alien version of Illustrator, he offered to take over.

Here’s my original effort:

My version of the cover. Looked like mush at thumbnail size.

My version of the cover. Looked like mush at thumbnail size.

And then there’s the artist’s cover from the Bantam-Doubleday-Dell edition. She put a lot of effort into capturing the book’s details, which I much appreciated:

Cover of "Rat"

Jacket from the original hardcover edition.

Download eNovel “Scar Jewelry” for Free until 12-14-2012

Cover for Scar Jewelry

Cover art by Lars Huston.

For the next few days, my recently-completed novel Scar Jewelry is available for free if you go to the Smashwords site and use the coupon code CJ25A. The coupon expires on December 14.

Smashwords is a great thing and it gives you the option of downloading in formats that work with Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Nook, and more. You can also read it in a browser. If you don’t want the commitment of a complete download, you can opt to start with a sample few chapters.

Scar Jewelry is literary fiction set in southern California in the present day and some 30 years before, in the early days of punk. Here’s the blurb:

What do we really know about our parents or the ways they shape us? For twins Deirdre and Langston, 20, the answer is: not enough. With their father long dead, and their mother now in a coma, they realize they don’t even know whom to notify. In fact, they understand almost nothing about their mother. They dig into her life, and as they do, they uncover secrets that revise the past and transform the future.

In case you are even newer to self-publishing than I am: I’m doing this giveaway in hopes that you will read Scar Jewelry, like it, and tell people about it.

I am a Populist and This is My Time

I have always been a populist.

Populist: represented or connected with the ideas and opinions of ordinary people. (Cambridge)

Populist: a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people. (Merriam-Webster)

(Actually those definitions seem distinct and different to me – and there is a separate issue about how I balance populism with curmudgeonry – but don’t let me distract myself.)

How do I know I am a populist? As a film student, I wrote my thesis on Frank Capra’s populist masterpiece Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Watching an interview, I’d rather hear from the man-on-the-street than a celebrity.  And so forth.

This is such an exciting time to be a populist – consider just these few examples of ways that populist movements are changing our world:

  • The Occupy kids started discussions that now infuse mainstream politics.
  • The Arab Spring is still toppling governments.
  • Self-published books have an escalating share of the publishing industry.
  • Open-source software expands coding in so many directions.
  • Popularity bred by browser clicks has become so important that people now tout their expertise with “viral marketing”.
  • And – sustaining all the above and more – social media give voice and influence to everybody.

I can’t wait to see what comes next.

P.S. What else should be on my list?