The grim reaper. No, not Death – the book editor!

Nice little post about the pain and ultimate pleasure of the editing process, written by fellow Montreal author Alice Zorn. This is something I’ll be facing very shortly…

An environmentally conscious editor on the way to work.

An environmentally conscious editor on the way to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Bill Gracey / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Amazing news for Canadian readers!

Up until now I’ve used Amazon’s CreateSpace print on demand (POD) service for paperback editions of my books. It’s great for indie authors because there’s zero upfront cost, formats are very flexible, and the books are printed and shipped quickly. The final product is trade paperback quality and although ebooks have always been my primary focus, there are many readers who prefer the old-fashioned dead tree experience. Personally, I’m on the dead tree fence. Some books I read on my Kindle, others “in person”.

The only issue I ever had with CreateSpace was that the books were printed in the US or UK. That meant that Canadian readers had to pay international shipping rates, making my books very expensive for friends here in Canada. Well, NO LONGER! As of October 8, CreateSpace books are available directly on the amazon.ca store.

Here are the amazon.ca links for books 1 and 2 of the Embodied trilogy: Silent Symmetry and Starley’s Rust.

And here’s where my fellow Canadians can purchase a weighty paperback tome of my psychological mystery (set in Montreal), The New Sense.

It’ll be a rainy fall day in Montreal tomorrow – the perfect occasion to snuggle up with a good book. Happy reading!

Back from vacation with a new story

In some parts of the world, spring has sprung. In the Dominican Republic, where I visited last week, it even felt like summer, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius (86 F). And while I was in the Caribbean, it was -30 degrees (-22 F) in Montreal, where I live. That’s quite the contrast! In fact, last month was officially the coldest February on record in Quebec. Lucky me, I thought, as I lay in a beach lounger last Friday, looking up at palm trees while sipping something called a Coco Loco. Then a bird pooped on me. This has happened to me once before (bizarrely, also on vacation; maybe I shouldn’t get out more) and this time I’m happy to say that it was a much smaller bird with a correspondingly smaller payload.

Breath Less cover

What does this have to do with writing? Sometimes unexpected things can fall from the sky and you’re left staring at them thinking, “Well, I guess I have to deal with this now.” When I geared up for the launch of Starley’s Rust in mid-January, I didn’t expect to embark on another work of fiction until I began the as-yet-unnamed conclusion of the Embodied trilogy. Then suddenly, plop! the idea for Breath Less came to me.

Breath Less is a short story for Young Adults. It’s set one sweltering summer sometime in the future, and I guess you’d call it a sci-fi romance. Talaya, a teenage girl, is trying desperately to revive a boy called Adam whom she met the day before and has now passed out in her backyard pool. But things aren’t what they seem…

I decided to publish Breath Less “live” in three sections on Wattpad, and now the last one is online. Maybe I’ll also make an ebook version at some point, but right now I’m keen to know what readers think of it, rather than attempting to sell it.

So if you’re interested to know why a girl who takes her books out for a drive is attracted to a boy who dives into a pool but can’t swim, click on the cover and log in to Wattpad.

A sketch of a preview

I’ve been working with my book cover designer Alex Nereuta this weekend. I would say, “this is the fun part” but that would make it sound like the writing itself isn’t fun, while of course it is. Sometimes.

Although we already had ideas for the covers of the second and third novels in the Embodied trilogy (Starley’s Rust and the as-yet-unnamed thrilling conclusion), these were thrown out the window with the help of some inspiration and alcohol on Friday evening. Fast-forward two days and a stock photo has been bought for the Starley’s Rust cover. Designing the cover is exciting. It’s what people see on Amazon, Apple, and Elsewhere. People will judge the book by it. And in the great tradition of coming up with creative concepts in drinking establishments, the sketch was drawn on a napkin so that Alex and I would remember it afterwards:

A napkin with some ink on it.

A napkin with some ink on it. Photo credit: John B. Dutton

Some of the best ideas of all time have been thought up in Montreal pubs. Well, at least one, anyway. It should also be noted that some of the worst ideas of all time have been thought up in Montreal pubs (although not all of them by me).

Now that Starley’s Rust is in the hands of my editor and readers, I can put the rusty ol’ marketing machine back into gear and start chugging it down the information superhighway. It’s coming your way, so watch out for it!

Blurb reveal!

Although the words “blurb reveal” sound kinda icky, like discovering goo oozing out of a mystery bag in the fridge, please don’t stop reading. Because this is the exciting moment when a drum roll happens in your mind (I just triggered it through the power of suggestion, didn’t I?) and I present the promotional text for my contemporary fiction novel The New Sense. So, without further ado (this having been a rare case of “goo ooze ado”) here is the aforementioned blurb:

The New Sense cover_72dpi

Summer, 2002. Single, carefree Montreal waitress Sara meets an intriguing out-of-towner whom she calls B― in her quirky private journal. They hang out. They get close. He’s like no one she’s ever met. In fact… there’s something very strange about him, almost as though he’s psychic. She probes deeper. He finally opens up to her: he’s a genetic oddity with an extra sense acquired through a twist of evolutionary fate. Although initially skeptical, she soon falls in love with him and starts to believe his story.

Shortly after Sara unexpectedly becomes pregnant, B― reveals that a former friend is pressuring him to undergo genetic testing at a pseudo-governmental research lab outside Chicago. B― is tempted to go there. What if there are others like him? Could their unborn child have the same “new sense”?

Suddenly, B― disappears without a trace. Sara puts her journal online as a blog in the desperate hope that someone, somewhere can help her find him. As her pregnancy progresses and the days turn into weeks, she is forced to ask herself if anything she knows about him is really true, and whether their son will ever know his father. Realizing that the lab’s shady operatives are now following her every move, Sara begins to fear for her own safety. The suspense mounts as she wonders: is it me they’re after… or my baby?

Part journal, part blog, part email chain, The New Sense is an unusually structured page-turner with a unique mystery told from the perspective of an engaging female character.

I also have a shorter version of the blurb for various purposes, but this one certainly captures the content and spirit of the book. It was much, much harder to write than the blurb for Silent Symmetry because The New Sense really is quite an unusual book. If I had said that it’s an epistolary epistemological novel, I’m pretty sure that no one would ever read it, no matter that it’s an accurate description. I’ve also written a one-liner (sometimes called a strapline or logline) that goes like this:

What if the man you love isn’t who he says he is? Or worse… he really is.

The New Sense is only available on Amazon as a Kindle ebook for now, but don’t forget, if you want to read it on some other device, the Kindle software is free and works very well on a phone or tablet (I test all my books on various devices).

Phew! I’m glad that’s done. Now to write the rest of the lyrics to my upcoming international club hit Goo Ooze Ado. Say it out loud a couple of times and you’ll start moving to the beat, guaranteed.

Thanks to Alex and Jen for invaluable input on my blurb. I mean valuable input. I mean, I didn’t pay them but it was worth it. For me.