2019 Literary Roundup

We’re in the waning weeks of 2019, a time for me to look back at what I’ve accomplished during the year.

Step into an alternate Seattle, where the strangers you’ll meet may be stranger than you think. The Underground and Invasion

There is no room for morals when survival is at stake. The Underground

They saved Seattle. Now they have to save the world. But can they save themselves? Invasion

The Underground and Invasion, my duology/diptych/dilogy (take your pick) has been laid to rest. Finally. The original version of The Underground was published in 2013 and has undergone two iterations since then. The original was good but I decided I could make it better. It underwent an extensive re-edit–a hundred pages were cut–so under the copyright rules, I had to publish it anew. That was The Underground: Second Edition. But I wasn’t happy with it. Close, but no cigar. The book was edited again. This revision wasn’t nearly as drastic as the first but I did change the title–Second Edition was dropped–and under the ISBN rules, I had to publish it as a new book. Hey, if you wanna play, you gotta pay. The latest–and last–version was published in October.

Invasion is The Underground’s sequel, published in 2017. I’d never intended to write a sequel but sometimes the characters have other ideas. I resisted but after much bullying, had to give in. I grudgingly admit they had a point. The Underground had left behind much unfinished business. And though Invasion was good–it won a book award–like The Underground, I knew it could be better. So I gave it a tweak here and there. Since the re-edits amounted to less than 30% of the original–and I didn’t change the title–re-publishing wasn’t required. Whew.

As you might suspect–and you’d be right–both books have new covers. Fabulous new covers, I might add. Zelena, my cover artist, is phenomenal. Anyway, in January I did something I’d never done before–I took a twelve-week marketing class. One of the topics was about book covers. I learned book covers aren’t supposed to be original. A reader should be able to look at a book cover and know exactly what the book is about. Hence, the covers for urban fantasy books feature a bad-ass woman with one or two swords in hand. Paranormal romance, if about shifters, show a man’s torso with ripped abs and his animal lurking somewhere about. Vampire romances have a different look–impossibly beautiful men looking at the reader almost over their shoulders, and always with a smirk. And so on. I had the class instructor look over all of the covers on my published books and she told me what was wrong: I was trying to do original covers and it wasn’t working. There was no way to tell what The Underground: Second Edition and Invasion were about. The Underground: Second Edition depicted a wolf sneaking out of a doorway into a trash-filled alley. Invasion showed the four protagonists under a planet which could be Earth with a tiny spaceship flying under it (it was a pretty bad cover job, too. The guy who did it isn’t nearly as good as he thinks he is). A reader might look at it and say “so what?” Which is exactly what happened. Once she pointed these things out, I could see it. Now I had a basic idea of what to tell Zelena. And guuurl, she delivered!

The price of her love could be her life.

Like The Underground and Invasion, I’m cleaning up The Moreva of Astoreth, too. And let me tell ya, it needs it! I’m kind of embarrassed I published it like that. But as my marketing instructor said, a writer gets better and better with each book, so sees the mistakes in earlier ones. I’ve given myself a deadline to finish by the end of this month. I don’t do well with deadlines–except for the day job–but time it looks like I just might make it. Unbelievable. Of course, it has a new cover, too. A science fiction romance, it depicts a couple in a sexy clinch, her eyes half-closed, looking up at him like she’s about to drop her pants. Yep, Zelena’s amazing!

So what’s in store for 2020? I’ve got The Final Victim on the front burner, followed by When Gods Die. I’m aiming for February’s end for the first and the end of summer/early fall for the second. Check back next year and I’ll tell you how it went!


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