Feeling Accomplished

So, many months late, I finally finished the revision of Lost Among Shadows. Until yesterday, I wasn’t even convinced I’d manage this month, but the last twenty or so pages were a breeze, pushing me way past my average of three per day. Final spellcheck should take me another day or two, but first I’ll update the covers for the entire serial.

Then I’m going to take a short break from Ash Manor to fix up No Such Thing before taking that wide.  Then it’s back to What Lies Within.

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On Buying Books

The more I read and learn about self-publishing, the more I realize just how weird I seem to be. The importance of covers is one of the things the community at large agrees on. Yet, I can’t say that, as a reader, I’ve ever  bought or even looked at a book because of its cover.

A lot of this may be due to living in a small town and reading only English rather than the local language. My bookstore has one narrow shelf of English books with the spines facing the front. Only what they consider sensational gets a top row cover display. As these are almost always romance novels–a genre which bores me to tears–I’m used to ignoring whatever is flashing its cover at me. So, unless a title catches my attention, I’ll never even see the cover and even then I tend not to see” the cover until I get around to reading the book in question.

Worse yet: I don’t sample pages either. I’ll skim the blurb on the back and sometimes sniff the pages because if I have to choose I’ll always buy the book that smells newer. New book smell is too awesome to pass up. But by the time I finish my skimming, my decision’s already made and, no matter how pretty or ugly the cover, it won’t sway me.

I do the same with ebooks. Minus the sniffing, of course.And while I’ll definitely do my best to adhere to the majority here–most if not all of these people have a lot more experience than me–I carry a tiny shred of hope that I’m not the only cover ignorer out there. At least, until I can afford to buy awesome covers.

Beyond the Wall

With a ~10 day selay, Beyond the Wall is now available here.

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Forced to stay in Morson a while longer, Ash takes a job at the local movie theater. Something about the place seems off from the get go, but curiosity drives him to stay and, for a while life seems great. Then Ash finds something carved into the floor under the carpet at the theater.
Things spiral out of control, when that voice decides to pay him a visit, letting him know that it’s not over. And that voice isn’t the only thing to survive and cross over into reality.

Can Ash figure out what’s going on in time to safe a friend? A building? And most importantly himself?
Find out in Beyond the Wall Part 2 of the Ash Manor Series.

Beyond the Wall Prologue & Cover

BeyondTheWallBeyond the Wall started its life without a prologue, bu I’m not sure  the start of chapter one is a strong enough hook, and I wanted to bridge the gap between What Lies Within and Beyond the Wall.

I originally intended this yo be a short story in its own right, but it came out way too short for that. So, a prologue it became.

It’s also a bit of a risk, because I gave Heart a point f view and there’s a decent chance people will find him annoying. I also couldn’t get him to work in anything other than 1st person present tense while Ash balks at everything that isn’t 3rd person past tense. You gotta love when characters dictate stuff. Right?

Anyway, enough rambling. Here’s Beyond the Wall’s Prologue

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Into the Dark

The moment that overgrown immobile termite took her last breath, Bo—Ash waltzed out of the house without so much as a by your leave, abandoning us…again. It really is what he does best, I guess. And though I have to admit that he did look more than a little worse for wear, I hate him for it; with a passion that has little to do with me being raw emotion. He can leave, have a life, while Brains and I are stuck here in this empty shell of a house.
I kick the wall, or try to at least. My foot goes straight through, vanishing into the disgusting goo, coating the sorry excuse for walls, without disturbing it, which, in hindsight, is good. Not like I’ve got spare clothes to change into, or the ability to wash stuff off. Times like these, the whole manifestation thing sucks.
“Come on, let’s at least get out of here,” I say, sick of hanging around my enemies—former, mind you—home while, upstairs, the last hours of my existence ticks by.
No answer.
“Brains?” I turn slowly, afraid of what I’ll find. Maybe he’s left, too, but no he’s just standing there staring at her corpse as if he wants to dissect the thing. “Hell, no!” I stomp over to him, finally able to vent some of that pent up anger, and swing my arm through his midsection—the closest thing to touching we’ll ever get. He jumps and pins me with a glare.
“What?”
“Out of here. Now.”
He hesitates, eyes drifting back to the corpse. I don’t like it. He may be older in body, but I existed first, and before Ash came back, I used to be the boss. It’s going to be that way again, and he better get used to it right quick. “Move it.”
And still he doesn’t comply. “But I—”
“No.” I hover my hands near my hips and tap my foot against the ground. My toes dip out of sight, and I can almost feel the cold slime soak them, but I don’t care; it’s that or stomp my foot like a child. Sometimes, I regret choosing a form this young. It came with all the emotional pitfalls of puberty and some childish urges on top.
“I…” He moves his hands, looking at them as if he’d never seen them before. He’s caving—I hope. If he isn’t, I’ll have to force my will on him. I can do that, but I’d rather not. It’s exhilarating and feels so wrong. “You want to be down here when they start tearing us to shreds? Get no warning?”
He does. I can tell from the way he’s looking everywhere but at me. He’s scared, same as me. “I don’t, and I don’t want to be alone either. Please?” It’s a bit low, I admit, but it does the trick. Brains casts one last longing look at the corpse—he really does want to cut her open—then nods. “Okay.”
We’re late when we leave the hive. The sun is up, casting mockingly cheerful patterns on the broken floor. “Could have warned me.” How long since Ash buzzed off? Too long, I figure.
Instead of defending himself, Brains stops and says, “Fade.”
At first, I think it’s just a trick, so he can run back into the hive, but then I see them, too. A good dozen people crawling all over our lawn, and huge machines, the likes of which I’ve never seen before, rolling up the slope. One of them carries a massive hammer thing.
I move to the window, driven by morbid curiosity, a desire to face my foes, or just plain old stupidity…probably all of the above. Despite everything happening outside, I can’t tear my eyes from the hammer. I know what that one does.
Though we can’t see each other anymore, I can feel Brains close behind. “You think we’re actually going to die?” I ask, using our mental connection, Ash somehow no longer shares.
Brains shifts beside me before answering in the same manner. “I don’t know.” He might as well have said yes for all the reassurance his quavery voice offers.
Hammer guy walks around the lawn, stopping occasionally to stare in our direction. He has a sketchpad tucked into his breast pocket, which he keeps flipping through as he mutters to himself. “Why aren’t they starting?”
“Taking m—”
Pain shoots through every fiber of my being, drowning out whatever Brains was going to say. They’re tearing me apart atom by atom. One of us is screaming. I think it’s Brains, but I feel it’s me, maybe it’s both of us. The world goes dark, but my consciousness doesn’t fade just yet. Instead, I’m falling or floating.
“Well, well, what do we have here?”
Something brushes against me, and I know no more.

Keywords And Categories

Because I love to procrastinate, I gave John & Other Stories a new cover, which hasn’t taken yet, and a new Summary. Kinda like my old one better, though.

John&Other Stories

A collection of seven stories ranging from experimental and weird to traditional style.
John
A blind woman prefers the company of the creature in her attic to that of other people.
Just Us
To survive, a black dragon has to band together with an inferior red dragon.
Cinnamon
A guard needs to replenish his cinnamon stock before his partner finds reason to use that knife on him.
The Cup
Breakfast as seen by a coffee cup.
Need
A prisoner holds the power to destroy the world with his mind alone.
Small Oddities
An owl overcomes its greatest fear with the aid of another.

While I was at it I also optimized the keywords. Or tried to anyway. Using Amazon’s “secret list”, which I didn’t originally, I’ve now gone from four or five categories–one of which John had no business being in–down to two. Of course, the one it doesn’t belong in’s still there. \guess that’s the reward for trying. And it’s not an issue of spelling or plural vs singular, I checked.  Not really sure, what I’m supposed to do about it.