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.

New Nica, Nick-able* in the Near-term

Nica of the New Yorks (FRAMES book 2) is here! And, on Friday, December 16, you can download the e-version for free from Amazon.

FRAMES is a speculative detective fantasy series that will eventually comprise four books. Book 1, Nica of Los Angeles, will also be free on December 16.

* I suppose one is not actually nicking the book if the author makes it available for free. I suppose I might have said, instead, “FRAMES, free this Friday”.

Scroll on to learn a bit about book 2.

nola.v2

Now that Nica has a taste for life in the Frames – the endless multiple dimensions so bogglingly like yet unlike our own – she can’t wait to get back to work with the allies in the fight against Maelstrom. Being Nica, she applies her detective skills to solve problems she hasn’t been asked or permitted to tackle. Meanwhile, the universe prepares for war. In the New Yorks are Frames of such power that the land imparts strange partial sentience to all, and Nica’s roster of allies includes old pals and recent comrades plus local beings, landforms, and structures, notably a self-help book, a river, and a street musician with an unfathomably dark past.

A Freebie for Book Reviewers!

nolaRead for Review:

My latest novel, Nica of Los Angeles, publishes on September 4 and is available for pre-order now! This is the first in the FRAMES series, a speculative fantasy with detective and dystopian elements. I’m excited about this series and the reactions Nica is getting so far! One thing is certain – you haven’t read anything quite like this before.

If you’ve been around the indie publication block a few times, you know how important reviews are to indie books like Nica. So, if you will write a review I will give you a free e-copy of Nica (except – in reverse order; but you knew that). To get your copy, leave a comment here… or message me on Goodreads, before the end of July.

Not ready to commit? Read the thumbnail and synopsis below. Or read the first several chapters, which are serialized right here on this blog.

Thumbnail:

When rookie private eye Nica takes on a mysterious case, she enters a world of multiple dimensions called Frames, where buildings and lawn chairs can be sentient, where a stray cat has great powers, where books can be killers, and clouds can be spies. At home, Nica tackles missing persons cases, while in the larger reality of the Frames she is swept into an escalating battle between good and evil.

Synopsis:

Nica Sheridan Taggart Ambrose Taggart Ickovic (S.T.A.T.Ic.) craves action and change, which leaves her life as stable as old dynamite; and though she’s had more than her share of tragedy, she maintains an unquenchable spirit. Her restless nature has led her into several marriages and countless jobs. Now she appoints herself as a private detective, and her shingle is barely dry when she gets not one but three pairs of clients demanding her attention.

First comes a noxious couple that Nica secretly dubs Mathead and Scabman, who claim to seek a certain duffel bag; repelled, Nica declines their money but they won’t go away. Then, the Garcias hire her to find a missing, 15-year-old goddaughter; Nica doesn’t trust them, but decides she can help the girl in spite of them. Both cases pale beside the third demand for her services.

I became aware that the air had changed. My office smelled like a forest just after a flash flood, when everything is power-washed and tree trunks are smeared with riverbed mud. Fresh and wild.

It took much strength to gently lower that window, but the stranger’s arms – all sinew and muscle – showed no strain. I took a step back to get a fuller look and to get farther away. He was a wolf. I don’t mean a predatory flirt, I mean he was long and lean and fast and dangerous: coarse black hair, ice-gray eyes and smile full of teeth, supreme confidence backed with survival instinct.

“Please sit down,” I suggested or pleaded as I retreated behind my desk. As he complied, muscles flexed inside his garments, a loose cotton tunic and drawstring pants that were as gray as February.

She sat down, too. My other visitor was a princess: not as in daddy’s spoiled girl, as in future queen of the fairies. She was as ethereal as he was earthy, exotic but I couldn’t place the ethnic background. Cornsilk hair, slanted eyes like unpolished silver, her skin like the penny you’ve always kept in your pocket for luck. Her tunic was white as a desert sunrise.

“We are in need of your detective arts,” she said.

“That tends to be why people come to this office.” The joke was stillborn. “I’m usually good with accents but I can’t place yours. Where are you from?”

“I first arrived in the place you call Kansas.”

“Huh.” I’ve been to Kansas and there is nobody like her there. I decided I would not call her a liar and looked to him expectantly.

“Knowledge of my ancestry provides no value. We have need of your assistance,” he said, in a voice that never needed help from anybody.

“The fate of the free worlds is at stake,” she added, in a voice like the first spring breeze on snow.

“Oh-kay.” Note to self, cancel ad in Nutjob Quarterly.

Despite this bizarre introduction, Nica instinctively trusts these two, Anwyl and Anya, who draw her into adventures beyond imagining – and she’s got a crazy imagination. They travel into other dimensions called Frames, often with the Watts Towers – which are folk art sculptures in Nica’s Frame, but sentient, animate beings elsewhere. Nica learns to avoid books, which form deadly mercenary armies; to keep silent around clouds, which can be spies; and to view her stray cat warily, since cats are beings of great power and you never know what side they’re on. There is danger everywhere in the Frames, but also a mind-boggling expansion of reality. For once, Nica feels challenged, engrossed, and strangely at home.

In this first book of the FRAMES series, a band of allies that includes structures, landforms, and creatures sets out to stop Warty Sebaceous Cysts, a repulsive trio who casually commit genocide as part of their plan to free their imprisoned leader, Maelstrom. Freedom for Maelstrom would bring cruelty and horror to all the Frames, so Nica joins the allies’ cause without hesitation, though her efforts get her in trouble with the law at home, and in danger of mind control, pain, and death in other Frames. As she sees it, she was born to travel the Frames.

Cover art by Lars Huston.

Confessions of an Ignorant Book Marketer – Advice Sought!

photo from michaelfruchter.com

Am I making this harder than it should be?

Leave it free or stop the freebie? That is the question.

A detailed recap of the situation so far: a couple days ago, I was surprised to discover that Amazon was offering my ebook, WAS IT A RAT I SAW, for free. It turns out this happened because Amazon will not be undersold, and Sony-US (also unbeknownst to me) was offering the book for free … That, in turn, happened because Sony-US did not update its price after a free promotion ended on Smashwords (which distributes to Sony-US). Sony-US  has now  updated its price, so Amazon has no reason to continue the free promotion.

If that recap is confusing and doesn’t seem worth the time to sort out, here is the bottom line: it is now up to me. Do I continue the free promotion on Amazon?  Answer: I dunno. So: anyone with experience or opinion, please weigh in!

Here are my conflicting facts and questions:

  • In a couple days, there have been more than 1000 free downloads (to me that seems like a lot)!
  • Are these downloaders readers? reviewers? Or simply hoarders of free stuff?
  • My first priority as a writer is to have people actually read my novels.
  • My second priority is to get reviews on line.
  • Third priority (yet still a priority!) is to have people purchase my novels.
  • My “sales” ranking among the free ebooks has moved from infinity to measurable.
  • The “sales” rankings seem quite sensitive to minor variations in totals. Mine now  fluctuates between #200 and #400.
  • How long might it take to break the Top 100 Free Ebooks list?
  • Is there value in doing so?

What do you think about maintaining the freebie? I’m inclined to let it ride for a few more days and see what evolves. Is there a downside I’m not seeing?

P.S. To download your own free copy of WAS IT A RAT I SAW, start here.

P.P.S. Photo from michaelfruchter.com.