Happy New Year. At last. Clearly, I am not dead. Yet.
The New Job (and the newsletter) aren’t dead either. I’ll get it out soon. For those who haven’t, feel free to sign up from any of the spots around the site and get both the newsletter to ignore and access to a piece of fiction that’s been (very) slowly growing.
Writing has been painful as of late. Various reasons, all personal. Trying to grind out the words, but it’s been hard. Hoping to address this soon.
However, I’ve managed to get my shit together long enough that soon – like, within a few days soon – Her Substitute (nee The Substitute) will be hitting pre-order on Amazon. I’ll also have it available away from Amazon, at least for a limited period. Much more to come as the date of release approaches. I think I can say with some certainty you’re going to like it.
For now, leaving you with that, and a generally warm fuzzy feeling, as I’m a nice chap. More soon.
Hello all! Long time no see. Not that I can see you. You get the idea…
At long last, the paperback version of Practice to Deceive is finally available. It’s a real book! Since I first got my proof copy last summer I made a few minor changes – improving the book’s layout, and tweaking the cover a little bit. I’ve updated all of the imagery you can see around the site, and of course the new cover is on Amazon, both in Kindle and paperback formats, and over at Gumroad as a PDF.
As I think I mentioned before, by necessity the paperback costs more than the Kindle version – $14.99 for US customers. That’s because the cost of print-on-demand printing is obviously higher than the cost assigned to a Kindle book. Hope you can understand. As it is, it feels pretty competitively priced; it’s an almost 400 page book, after all. Having seen the proof myself, I can vouch for it being a high quality finished product.
So, if for whatever reason you’ve been waiting to buy Practice to Deceive in physical form… now’s the time to pick it up. If you do, please send me a picture of the book. (You don’t have to be in the picture!) I’d love to see my words in physical form out there in the world.
More news soon. Just wanted to get this out in the world!
Hey, hello, I’m on ‘va-cay-shun’ as Americans like to say so this’ll be short.
First, thanks to the valiant efforts and kind words of several Amazon reviewers, The New Job will continue… but yeah I’m late. Sue me for your free fiction! It’s been tricky to continue, despite quite a few suggestions. I think I might have to be more specific next time: don’t tell me the destination, just suggest a next step. While many of the ideas were good, many were also way too broad to be feasible. That said, a good idea is a good idea. Not signed up for the newsletter? Do so here and when I do send it, you’ll get access to an 11,000 word (and counting), er, thing.
Second, small thing. I have a DeviantArt account, like most good,,, uh… deviants. For the vast majority of the seven (!!) years it’s been active, it’s just been me collecting my usual perversions in one place. There’s art, cosplay pics, that sort of thing. However in an effort to give back I did toss the first two issues of BBSSG (AKA ‘Betty Brant as Spider-Girl’ fic) on there literally five (!!!) years ago. I’m about to start adding them gradually so there’s a repository there that isn’t behind Yahoo’s walls. In addition I posted Beneath the Veil, which is ancient, but this puts it out there. (One day I might get the energy to rewrite that thing and then maybe publish it…? But really, don’t hold your breath.)
Part of the reason I threw Beneath the Veil on DA is because on a whim I threw it on Fictionmania, and lo and behold… found a group of readers there who’d never read it. Sigh. I mean, it’s only seventeen (!!?!?) years old. Uh, guess I’m not as notorious as I thought. Anyway, that happened. (Also if you’re here and you’re like “Beneath the whatnow?” please please comment and let me know. I’m interested to know what (if anything) people have never read. I work under the assumption everyone’s read everything. Maybe I should write up a ‘checklist’ of stuff. Which will depress me in a “Why haven’t I written more?” kind of way. I digress, as I am wont to do.)
None of this changes anything really, but as a self-pub author, you’ve got to spread yourself around a bit so people can find your stuff. Ergo, this sort of thing happens.
Halloween in a week. Anyone doing anything fun, writing wise?
For those of you who are on my newsletter mailing list, you’re getting access to an ongoing story called (provisionally, I guess) The New Job.
By the way, don’t panic. It’s going to continue. More on that in the next newsletter.
But here’s my question: what the heck should happen next? I wasn’t kidding you when I said I have literally no idea what direction this thing is going in. You know what the general setup is, and you know exactly what our protagonist got their hands on at the end of the last installment.
So what happens next? Let me know in a comment or drop me an email. And make it quick! I have to write this thing soon!
Hello! Been a while. Well not that long, but a while. An indeterminable unit of time. Long enough that I have a nagging feeling that I need to update you guys about… well, whatever. So let’s see what we got.
Father Knows Best is still being worked on. Seriously! It’s been slow, to be frank, because editing isn’t my favorite task. Especially when editing basically means rewriting, which I’ve mostly been doing – it’s an old story and I feel it needs some work in most scenes. Recently a scene sort of popped into my head which I really felt I needed to add, so that’s getting spliced in somewhere, somehow. I think it’s hot, so, you know… worthwhile. Of course, I still have the ending to write as well.
By the way, I’m sure I’m going to need to change the title on this one. It’s just kind of dull, really. Got any thoughts? I’m also pretty positive it might have to be sold away from Amazon. Even though the story doesn’t feature actual sex between actual blood family members, some might read it that way, and Amazon has a strict no-damn-way policy on stories that feature incest. So, while I’m not changing the story (it’s about a father and his stepdaughter, as you might recall) it might get sold in places other than Amazon. Not something I intend to make a habit of, by the way.
Speaking of title changes, I’m pretty sure I’m going to change the title for what was The Substitute. Partly to avoid confusion with Vic’s original work, but also to make it a little clearer. I’m thinking Her Substitute. At least that implies impersonation and crossdressing! I need to edit this, and I mean really edit it (not rewrite it), but that’s going to take a while as it’s novel-sized. I had this weird notion I’d get it out in October… I really have no idea if that will happen. Good news is I already have my cover image, I’ve just got to piece it together. Who knows, maybe this could be an ebook/paperback simultaneous release.
Finally… the sequel to Practice to Deceive has gotten some love recently. It’s over 55,000 words now, but I’m projecting it’ll be the same length as Practice to Deceive so… plenty of words to go. (About double that number, at least.) I’d say I’m about half-way through the plot too, but things are starting to get interesting.
Elsewhere, The New Job will get more words before the middle of the month. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not subscribed to my newsletter! Subscribe today and get this piece of serialized fiction as I write it, month to month.
I have birthed something into the world. Three years late, mind you. The pregnancy was a bitch… yes, I finally got my first proof copy of Practice to Deceive. It’s a real book! Holy cow! Here it is…
It’s pretty surreal to hold something like this in your hands. I mean, I designed the thing from front to back, so it’s not like it was surprising, but there’s a big difference between a design on your monitor and a real-life thing you can hold, that has weight. It’s funny, without really planning for it, it’s pretty much exactly what I’d expect to see on a store shelf (not that I ever will!) in terms of size and weight. It feels… right, is all I can say.
This is a proof copy for a reason, of course – to check for mistakes. While the text is fine, there are a few minor tweaks I’m going to do. I’m pretty proud I managed to get all the pages in the right order the first time, frankly! It looks pretty readable, although you can take a peek at the interior below and let me know if you think otherwise. Of course, increasing the font size increases the page count which increases the cost, so I’m trying to avoid that if possible. I’m actually going to reduce the margins a little bit, it’s pretty spacious in the interior, so I may be able to increase the font a little bit.
The cover turned out pretty well, I think. I did take Liz Rees’ advice (I think it was Liz, anyway) and changed the logo to be lighter. I need to do the same on the spine, it’s hard to see. Overall the book is a lot darker, color wise, than I guess I expected. I chose a matte finish too, which probably darkens it a little bit.
Anyway! There you go! A real book! Now I know how to use Createspace for this, I’ll be adding paperback versions of A Lie Within A Lie too, which shouldn’t take as long as I have all the files and so on that I need.
After I’ve resubmitted the changes I need to make to Practice to Deceive, I’ll be able to put it live in Createspace, which will make it available for sale on Amazon and other places. I’m not sure what the final price will be, but I hope it’s not too high – however as with all print-on-demand titles, it won’t be that cheap. (No economy of scale for printing costs, you see.)
If you buy a copy I’d love to see it on your shelves, or in your hands, or on your desk or whatever. I’ll let you know when it’s live and available to buy, of course.
July’s newsletter just went out. At last. I’ve tried to send them about the middle of the month, so by my calendar, I’m about ten days late – apologies. I know, I know, it’s free and all that but I still feel weirdly responsible. Damn my Catholic tendencies! Anyway the good news, as newsletter subscribers now know, is that the resulting update to my free, ongoing fiction is double the size of previous updates. Double for nothing! What a bargain, etc.
Of course, if I was writing that stuff much earlier, then the newsletter wouldn’t be late, but that would make me organized and who wants to be organized? Not me at least. Seat of my pants, that’s me.
Away from the newsletter, I’ve taken a break from editing (read: completely rewriting) Father Knows Best and to my surprise, that break led me back to the sequel to Practice to Deceive, which gained quite a few thousand words recently. It’s shaping up pretty nicely I think. I have no idea when it might be done – it feels big – but what I’m writing is fun. A new antagonist…
Well, I’d better get back to it! I’d love to hear from you if you’re getting the newsletter. And if you aren’t, sign up! Mid-August you’ll get to read what I’m cooking up….
Since I mentioned I would be publishing (well, publishing-on-demand) Practice to Deceive, I’ve had the tough, tough task of spending many hours going through Shutterstock to find the perfect cover imagery. It’s a hard life, but someone’s got to do it.
Seriously, while at times I found myself quite awed by the amount of gorgeous models on that site, it was actually pretty damn hard to find an image that I liked. Ideally I wanted something that needed little (if any) editing; it needed to be relatively clutter free, to have a good, clean look as a book cover; and frankly, it needed to be sexy while not being entirely overt. I’m sure you’ve looked already, but just in case… scroll down (and click/tap to make bigger).
Thoughts? I think it’s a lot sexier than the original cover, frankly, although your mileage may obviously vary. The model is closer in my mind’s eye to what Linda looks like in the novel (brunette) although I’m sure she’s younger! (The other good news about this choice of image is that the same model is featured in a variety of fantastic images, so you never know, she may appear on the cover of the sequel, too….)
Of course, you have to suspend disbelief to imagine that what you’re looking at isn’t a woman at all, but a young man wearing a very clever disguise… but that’s what we do when we read, so I think we can handle that.
(By the way, I’ve looked – a lot – for images that could show/display masking, but the fact is, while there’s a few out there, nothing’s quite right for me. When I’m rich and famous I’ll commission someone to do that for me. Don’t hold your breath.)
Anyway, I may still tweak the cover a bit before publication; I may do white-on-dark text for the title instead, although I’m partial to this palette overall. Anyway, I’d love to know your thoughts. Do you think it’s better or worse than the original? (See right for reference – again, click for a close-up.) Do you think it would be more likely to make you buy the book, if you saw this cover?
Finally, a pretty important question… considering this is planned for the paperback cover… would you have it in your house?? (Perhaps under the bed, or discretely hidden in a drawer… heck, I’d have to do it myself.)
Anyway, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or reach out via the contact page with your thoughts.
More news about other projects this week. Been busy!
Today I’ve been formatting the paperback version of Practice to Deceive, which is long, long overdue for a paperback version! Just like when I first published the book on Kindle, this is really a testing ground for me… and boy, it’s testing.
I forgot how god-damn finicky Word can be when it comes to formatting. While I write in Scrivener and would never change that, to format, you really need to use an external word processor… and Word is pretty much the only game in town. Getting Word to format correctly so you can create a 6in by 9in paperback is a pain in the ass, though. Especially because of Styles. Grrr.
Well, after a couple of hours, it looks like I’m almost there. Right now assuming I don’t make any more big changes to the text size, etc, Practice to Deceive is looking like it will be a 386-page paperback, roughly. (I have no idea what it’ll cost, but as I’m making it print-on-demand, it won’t be cheap. Sorry, but Kindle / eBook will always be cheaper.)
The next big hurdle is coming up with a new cover design for the book. The original cover (shown here) was one I got from a pre-designed cover site. At the time I was fine with it, even though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. It was close enough – a woman, looking sexy and suitably mysterious. Over time though, I came to like it less and less. I’m not a huge fan of the typefaces, and the woman, while sexy, doesn’t really look like I picture Linda (or rather, Billy-as-Linda). It’s an elegant cover, but it’s not quite as attention grabbing as I want it to be.
In the years since I’ve learned a lot more about Photoshop and cover design. I created the covers for A Lie Within A Lie, and think they came out pretty well. So, now I’m tinkering with new cover designs for Practice to Deceive. When I’ve got some final candidates, I’ll share them here and I’d love to get people’s opinions on what they think works. Shortly after that, anyone who’s been jones’ing for a paperback will be able to get one, with the new cover included!
So: I got my first-ever one-star review on Amazon recently, for A Lie Within A Lie: The Singer. Here it is, in all its incisive, detailed glory:
So, many people will say you should leave one-star reviews the hell alone. And I am, effectively. I’m not wallowing in this. Clearly, for whatever reason, the book wasn’t for him. Okay; that’s fine.
What does irk a little is the ‘didn’t get past Chapter 4’ part. Because – and SPOILERS if you haven’t read the book, shame on you, get on that, etc etc – Chapter 4 is literally where the book’s big turn kicks in.
In other words, if he’d made it to Chapter 5, he’d probably have started to realize just what he was reading. Which is, in case you’re wondering, exactly in line with his other buying habits. (I checked, based on his reviews. It’s not as if he bought this thinking he was getting anything other than a book involving transgender themes, soooo….)
Anyway. His loss, right? I’d say so, given the other reviews of The Singer, every one of which I really appreciate. The fact is I’m happy to get bad reviews, if they’re constructive. This is just the review of someone who, for some reason, couldn’t be bothered to read a little further, let the story play out. You could argue that he wasn’t ‘hooked’ inside the first four chapters… but fuck it. I’m not going to give him any more brain power.
So that was the bad. How about the good?
I’ve been very fortunate to get reviews for Practice to Deceive and A Lie Within A Lie: The Singer from Sally Bend, over at TG-book-review-blog Bending The Bookshelf. Sally had some ‘real life problems’ delaying her recent reviews, so she didn’t get to review A Lie Within A Lie: The Spy until after release.
It was worth the wait. Here’s an excerpt:
I love that Ghostly Writer keeps so much of Dominic’s plans from the reader, only giving us as much insight and knowledge as Ethan and Nicole share. As a result, we share each of their fears and hopes, and really do have to wonder what the climax could possibly be. Of course, I love even more than the story indulges the erotic side of masking so intensely, really driving home the fantasy element of being intimate with someone who can become anyone. It gets intense, and turns very dark in the latter parts of the novel, but you really do get a sense of how much arousal comes from our mind as opposed to our genitals.
What I really enjoyed about reading this review – apart from the praise, of course – is that I feel Sally understands what I was trying to go for in the book, and indeed, understands something about my writing in general. While there’s plenty of sex in my books, ultimately, I know the arousal you’re going to feel reading them has to happen in your mind, in your imagination. That’s why I try to tap into that as much as possible, to get you to feel what’s going on, as much as show it to you. That’s the idea, anyway.