I mentioned previously that I was going to revitalize my series, The DeChance Chronicles, in 2013. These are the amazing cover images that will help me do that, the first four courtesy of the uber-talented Mr. Bob Eggleton – and the last the creation of the sublime Ms. Lisa Snellings – that being for the as-yet unpublished tie-in novel to the series, NEVERMORE. All four books will see print this year, hardcover and trade paperback. Signed copies will be available through the Crossroad Press store – the books will be on sale everywhere (and hopefully in a lot of libraries) and this year the audio for Kali’s Tale will complete the audio set of the first four, and production will begin on Nevermore : A Tale of Love, Loss, and Edgar Allen Poe.
I saved, and I scrimped, and I got the covers I wanted… I am VERY grateful to the artists for working with me.
THE NEXT BIG THING
Last week Steven Savile tagged me on his blog as part on an ongoing chain of book/author recommendations called The Next Big Thing. Today I will take a crack at the ten questions originated by Paul Magrs, then send them on to five more authors to post answers to them in their various blogs – one week from today. I will be discussing the latest (and currently in progress) addition to The DeChance Chronicles :
1. What is the working title of your next book?
Nevermore – Book V of The DeChance Chronicles
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
The series, obviously, has been in the works for a while. The idea for this particular story, however, comes from several sources, bits and pieces of things I’ve been wanting to work on but never got around to. I’ve been playing for a while with the notion that my protagonist, Donovan DeChance, has been alive for a long time, and has witnessed some things – from a very different perspective than the rest of the world – and might tell some of those stories.
While researching the fourth book in the series, Kali’s Tale, I found a couple of interesting sites about a roadhouse that rested on the border of North Carolina and Virginia back in the day. The laws of both states were different, as were the laws about things like dueling – if one party was on either side of the line.
One of the rumors about the roadhouse, which I call simply the Halfway House, was that Edgar Allen Poe stayed there, and that he wrote the first draft of his poem The Raven while in residence. Just one of many rumors surrounding that work, but I held onto it.
The sub-plot comes from a practice I share with my youngest daughter – picking out faces, animals, and images in things like trees, floor tiles, stones, bushes – clouds. I wrote a story a while back titled The Fruit of a Different Vine, involving a pole near our home that grows thick every year with vines until it resembles a woman pointing a gun into the woods over the top of a small home. In Nevermore, we meet Lenore, who is an artist. She sees those same types of things, and she draws them, paints them – and tries to set them free.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
That’s a good question. It’s dark fantasy, to be sure, with elements of horror and urban fantasy as well. This particular book also falls under historical fantasy, I suppose. Donovan DeChance is a magician, of a sort – a book collector bound on gathering the dangerous books and spells of the world, scanning them into a new computerized repository, and most importantly, sealing them away from the hands of those who would misuse them. You can read his origin story in the third book of the series, My Soul to Keep, which has him 16 years old in the mid-1800s.
There are vampires in these books, and dragons, rifts between worlds, werewolves – voodoo houngans and new-ageish crystal-toting witches.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a little hard for me. The perfect Donovan DeChance would be somewhat of a hybrid. He’s originally born of the old west, so I can see some Sam Elliott, but Sam is far too old – If you mixed in some Jason Momoa for the swagger and a bit of humor, and some Robert Downey Jr. for the culture it would be close. I’d love to hear thoughts on this from readers of the series. Donovan is a lot like Harry Dresden, except, Harry gets beaten up all the time, and seems more “rumpled”. Donovan wears long dark coats, has long hair in a day when it’s not really fashionable, but pulls it off.
Definitely Felicia Day for Amethyst, his love interest, who is adept at Earth and crystal magic.
For Poe? Someone tragic. In this story, both Poe and Lenore would be slightly older…Maybe Amanda Tapping for Lenore, and Grimm’s David Giuntoli as Poe? Is he too young to fall for Tapping?
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Donovan DeChances shares a memory from his past, dragging his companions into the world of Poe’s The Raven, and then bringing that world back to the present – and to the secrets of The Great Dismal Swamp.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This is an odd question in that a: it only gives a small fraction of the possible answers, and b: I’m in a rather unique position. I am the founder of Crossroad Press –and since the creation of the company, all of my books have come out as Crossroad Press titles. In a sense, it is self-published, but Crossroad Press is a growing force in digital, print, and audio publishing. The only thing certain is – no agents will be involved.
7. How long did it take you to write a first draft of the manuscript?
I am writing it now, during Nanowrimo 2012. I suspect I will finish the full novel by the beginning of December…and I am scheduled to hit the 50,000 word mark (if I retain my rate of speed) around the 23rd of the month as things stand.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’ve made the comparison before to my early work for White Wolf Publishing and their “World of Darkness”. I originally created Donovan because I wanted to try writing similar stories, but without the restrictions of their game, their world, and their creative vision. I also believe fans of The Dresden Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grimm, Angel, etc. will find this a perfect match. Heck, I even named the crow that hangs out with Poe … Grimm.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This seems like a very similar question to the one above asking where the idea for the book came from. I’ve been inspired to write since I was very young. I’ve got over 30 books out now, with more in the works – I can’t imagine NOT writing – so it’s not so much what inspired me to write this book – but what inspires me to write.
My family – the way they support my stories, put up with my endless “what ifs” and dig in to help any time I need it. My co-workers, who have been the first group I’ve worked with in all my days as a writer, with the exception of a few small groups on US Navy ships, who paid attention when I said I was a writer – read the books – and seem genuinely interested.
This book is partly inspired by fans. There are thousands of folks out there now who have dipped into the world of San Valencez, California, and Donovan DeChance. I don’t want to disappoint them, or let them down. The magic continues.
Final nod on this question to my son Bill Macomber. He went in just before midnight and bumped the poll I was conducing to choose which of three possible projects I’d complete this November to the DeChance win. I’m now going to make him read them all.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think the growing dynamics of how “magic” operates in Donovan’s world is fascinating. The idea that time is more of a static plane one can move across – even influencing events in odd, temporal glitches. The story of Poe, and Lenore should be of interest to many. I’d like to think I’ll do him justice, and that my tale will become part of the fictional canon surrounding his life and work. He’s been a huge inspiration in my own work.
One thing of note – this will be a print book as well as eBook and audio – and we hope to get all of the previous books into print as well, both hardcover and trade paperback. Heart of a Dragon is already available in trade paperback – we are expanding our print line significantly, and one thing we’d like to see is an attractive, hard cover set for collectors and fans.
I’ve started (finally) working on the next Donovan DeChance book. This story will follow directly on the tail of the events in Kali’s Tale – still a stand-alone story, and still something you could read without having read the others, though I realize that as time goes on…it’s less and less true that the full experience is there. It’s just not possible to rehash everything properly without detracting from the new story.
Those of you who have been reading along will remember we left Donovan and Amethyst in a bed and breakfast near Old Mill, North Carolina, as well as O.C.L.T. Team member Geoffrey Bullfinch. You’ll also remember that Donovan had decided not to return immediately to California, but to take a break, of sorts.
The whole crew is there, Cleo the oversized Egyptian Mau, Asmodeus the ancient Egyptian crow, and our heroes. In Kali’s Tale, Donovan referenced a place that once existed on the borderline of Virginia and North Carolina – the Halfway House – which was a bar / hotel that existed in both states at once.
People went there to get away with things that they could not on the other side of the border, marriages at a younger age were possible in NC, and the dueling laws were different. A lot of rough characters frequented the place, but a lot of famous “others” were known to stay as well. Among them?
Edgar Allen Poe.
One legend has Poe penning the first draft of THE RAVEN there, and so, I’m riffing on that…and Donovan is going to “tell a story” which will lead to questions – and a quest – taking them into ancient byways, through time and the Great Dismal Swamp, to what I hope will be a satisfying “could-have-been” piece with a twist of history.
If you want to catch up…
The DeChance Chronicles consist of Heart of a Dragon, Vintage Soul, My Soul to Keep (Which is the Donovan origin story) and Kali’s Tale. All are available in a multitude of digital formats (including digital audio for all but Kali’s Tale, and that’s on the way). Heart of a Dragon will be available as a trade paperback later this year.
Most of the years while digital and audio have been growing, and print publishers, at the same time, shrinking, there has been a sort of “us and them” attitude involved. When “indie” publishing started to be the fad – gurus popping up all over with their savant secrets – this attitude persisted. You must do it this way, or you must go back and bow down to traditional publishing and do it their way. You can’t have it both ways. I’m here to tell you that not only is that not true, it’s harmful.
Over the last year I’ve seen a lot of different combinations of things put into play. Here’s what I believe – from what I’ve learned.
You should always retain your digital and audio rights if you can, but let’s face it – traditional publishers aren’t stupid. A lot of them are now locking in these rights and not letting go. That does not have to kill an established writer – it can work to your benefit.
A: Keep all your books, stories, screenplays, essays, etc. in play. Anything you can keep the rights to publish electronically – do that. Get the work out there in front of people.
B: If your publisher is holding onto the rights on newer works, play off of that. Many of these same publishers are willing to include marketing info for their titles in the back of eBooks published by the author, or even another publisher. EVERYONE makes more money if you cross-promote. If your book is getting front-run promotion from a NYC publisher, use that to market the works that YOU control as well. We have at least one author who received a very good promotional deal through his current traditional publisher, and is now selling like crazy (and making more money) on the works that the same publisher does NOT control.
C: Pay attention to your work, and your rights. Keep copies of the final files of things. Don’t write, publish, forget, and then later on wish you had a document file for your book. If it’s a backlist title, well, you know what I’ll say next. If you are established with a backlist…you should be contacting me, or someone like me. Someone who will scan the book, get you a document copy, not charge you to do that – and help publish your book.
D: If you get a traditional offer, and they are paying you well, take it and use that publicity to move the things you also control.
The playing field is never going to be completely even. Big Traditional Publishers have money. Authors (generally) do not. Authors create and write books, editors edit them, and publishers publish them. Except, these days, a lot of those hats are being shuffled and doubled up. If you can, learn from the marketing strategies – good and bad – of your traditional publisher. If you see something that works, give it a shot…don’t spend your mortgage money trying to follow the footsteps of a guru. If you don’t feel comfortable publishing and marketing your own work, there are alternatives. Crossroad Press is an alternative. There are others.
The key is – be more involved. Keep your apples in one hand, and the oranges close to the vest. Pay attention, track your rights, and keep your work active and viable. Opportunity, regardless of what they say in old cliches, does not come knocking…you have to spot it, recognize it, and act.
Now…go sell a million books and make me proud.
I have been sadly neglecting both the promotion of my older books, and the creation of new ones. Being a publisher is demanding, and one of the things I now have to do is figure out how to more successfully budget my time. I can’t let the writing suffer too much, or I might wither and blow away…and that would be bad…I’m sure of it.
I have several projects in various stages of completion. I know I owe a new installment for The DeChance Chronicles, and I have two good possibilities. One is that I write “Nevermore” – the continuation of Kali’s Tale, where Donovan tells the tale of how / why Edgar Allen Poe wrote The Raven … Another is that I have Donovan, also in storyteller mode, explain to a group of children who hate The Scarlet Letter – that there is a great deal more to the story, and while Hawthorne gave a brief, boring outline, he wasn’t much of a storyteller… That would be titled The Scarlet Rose.
I am about 2/3 of the way through novelizing KILLER GREEN – the screenplay. That book will need a serious rewrite when it’s done to flesh out characters. It’s fast, fun, and I hope to finish it soon. I also have the novel (or novella, possibly) Tattered Remnants – a very complex pyschological thriller involving book binding and serial murder – which is partially completed, as well as a novella for The Tales of the Scattered Earth.
Then there is my apocalyptic end-of-the-world zombie book – “Run, if You Want to Live,” involving ultra-marathon running and a zombie menace.
I have – in other words – no lack of ideas. It’s time…time is killing me. I must defeat it.
I’d also like to hear from any of you with an opinion on what should be next.
On other notes – American Pies is available now in eBook formats – print soon – and My Soul to Keep, Ancient Eyes, and Maelstrom are recently out in unabridged audio from Audible.com. Upcoming there is Kali’s Tale – book IV of the DeChance Chronicles.
– Off to put words in their proper order….
By David Niall Wilson
Those of you who follow my antics will be aware that – among the publishing, fictioneering, and other activities that fill my waking hours and dreams, I’ve been working on a book titled American Pies. The book is available in eBook formats now from Crossroad Press, and will be at all eBook sites by tomorrow. The trade paperback is in “production”. This is – sort of – a book about how to bake fruit-filed pies. It is also a commentary on the cookie-cutter, dumbed-down versions of our culture we have come to take for granted – like cardboard-boxed pies at the grocery store, or pre-baked desserts from the freezer you just heat up. What’s up with that? Where did they come from – and where did the fresh fruit, hot ovens, and integrity go?
I don’t know where it went, but I spent my winter gathering up all of it I could find, and baking it into thirteen pies. Twelve of them are just fruit-filled standards, though some with oddball filling choices, like persimmon and nectarine. The thirteenth – the lucky pie? The American pie. Red white and blue with stars…I made it, and I ate it, and it rocked. Now you can make it too.
Along the way you’ll meet my grandmothers, you’ll learn of a tiny town named Flora, Illinois – and hopefully, you’ll catch some of my love of the freshly baked fruit pie. Included are metric and Imperial measurements and oven settings, provided by “The Pie Bloke,” Darren Pulsford from across the big pond.
I hope some of you will check the book out…and if you do, share your photos and stories with me. That’s another thing Americans do, you see. We eat pie, drink coffee (or beer) and tell stories.
We just finished the basic rebuild of the Crossroad Press online store. In early December we lost it to a server crash, only to find that our backups were corrupt. The most recent good backup we had was from 2010, so I just started from scratch.
This time out, things are better. There is an “About us” page, a contact page, and a symmetry to the layout that was lacking before. Instead of audiobooks and eBooks and print books being separated, there is one page per book, and on that page you can purchase whatever formats are available. The books, instead of being organized just by genre, are separated by author now, making it possible for some coupons and sales we hope to try in the New Year.
We remain a DRM free digital publisher. You can read our books on just about any reading device, and we’ll be happy to help you figure out how to get the books ON your device if you need assistance.
Over at the Crossroad Press blog, http://www.crossroadpress.com we are nos serving up news and updates, including the most recent Crossroad Press bestseller list – the top ten from our 78 Audible.com audiobooks.
So check us out at the newly revamped CROSSROAD PRESS STORE … use the coupon code welcomeback for a one-time 25% off savings.
If you don’t see me, I’m writing – I have a Donovan DeChance novel to finish…
Recently I’ve been asked several questions by authors I hope to work with that have actually saddened me. How much will it cost me – directed at anything a publisher should be doing for their authors – gets me every time. It should cost you nothing. If a publisher tries to tell you to pay for your own cover, your own editor, or any part of the process (and this includes scanning and reconstructing a book that they plan on publishing in digital) – they aren’t a publisher. They are in business making money OFF of writers, not for them.
Traditionally publisher paid advances. At Crossroad Press we don’t do that. We have opted to keep our overhead as low as possible and to give the lion’s share of all money made to the authors. We do not charge for covers. We do not expect authors to kick in on anything, in fact. Authors create, and publishers provide that creativity to the public – hopefully to make money first for the author, and THEN for themselves. If this is skewed the other direction, you can pretty much rest assured that the “publisher” has their own interest at heart.
So, just to be clear, there is a message here. If a publisher wants to publish your work, it is THEIR job to get the cover, convert the book, edit the book – not yours. I actually heard today of an e-mail from a publisher who claimed it was no longer the responsibility of publishers to market the works of their authors? Really? How then do you suppose money will be made?
Just as the Internet has created a lot of authors, it has created a lot of “publishers”. Make sure you know your own goals when you approach them. If all you want is a book with your name on it, publish it yourself and keep what little return you get. If you go with an actual publisher, don’t pay them to publish you – that’s the same as doing it yourself, except more expensive with less return.
End very short rant. I guess I just don’t understand greed very well. I recognize it, but I don’t understand it.
I wanted to take a day out today and direct you all to a friend and colleague of mine, Dr. John B. Rosenman. John and I met at a writing group long ago in Virginia Beach. We were two of the members of the group who wrote horror – most of the others were (at the time) fantasy and Sci-fi oriented, and the whole shooting match was led by the talented and (often) wise Mr. Richard Rowand, who eventually edited STARSHORE Magazine and published my first important story.
Anyway…through those years, and all of those between (decades) John has been writing stories and novels and finding them homes. He may be the single most dedicated writer I’ve ever met. He’s always working on a story, reworking an idea, searching for flaws where too many other writers would hit send and move on…and he has produced some remarkable stories. He has appeared in literally hundreds of magazines and anthologies, and has a number of novels to his credit, and I’m hoping this little nudge will encourage you to check some of them out.
I will point you specifically at two Sci-Fi novels that we have published at Crossroad Press. Both of these were previously published, but we were fortunate enough to pick them up. John writes novels on a sweeping scale. There are messages and socially significant sub-themes in his alien cultures, and deep emotional insights in his romance. While they qualify, probably, as space opera, they go beyond that. Here are the two we’ve published to date. Read them and let me know if I’m not right!
Aaron Okonkwo, a Nigerian scientist, travels with a crew in the 24th century to evaluate Viridis, which proves to be a beautiful and fabulous world. There, Aaron discovers a strange, alien species and amazing machines and technology left in a vast underground complex by a mysterious race called the Creators.
Aaron soon falls under the irresistible, seductive spell of Nightsong, a green alien female with ominous and bewitching powers. However, an even greater danger rises. He will be forced to fight for the planet’s survival against a ruthless invasion of many ships to conquer and enslave the planet – just as Africa itself was once enslaved. Aaron knows it’s A Senseless Act of Beauty to try to reclaim his ancient warrior heritage and fight back against such overwhelming odds, but he knows he must try. – $2.99
Killer angels are roaming outer space looking for their messiah. If Captain Latimore can’t make them believe he’s the one, everyone on his crew – and many more besides – will die.
Captain Eric Latimore leads a four-person crew to Lagos to investigate a previous team’s mysterious disappearance. Once there, he discovers that an ominous alien presence is invading their dreams. Each member of his crew has the same dream – huge, seductively beautiful “angels” speak to them telepathically.
The creatures strand his crew on the planet and only Latimore can free them – if he survives. $2.99.