Nice to be understood

I don’t usually blog about my reviews, and with good reason. When you ask someone to take hours out of their own life to read something you’ve written, it’s best to let them have their opinion and leave it be.

I know I’ve loved books others don’t like, and missed the charm many found in popular books. Reading is an interaction between the author and the writer, and the two don’t always match up well, even when an intelligent reader comes across a well done story.  We’re all different, right?

Kit 'N KabookleNone-the-less, it made me smile this morning when two reviewers of Shape of Secrets happened to get my style and like what I am trying to do. Mary DeSantis has a blog called Kit ‘N Kabookle, spotlighting books and authors of fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller/suspense, romance, and ya. She liked my “thought-provoking and expertly woven tale of the human condition.”

The Reading AddictThe Reading Addict, featuring “some of the books that I have read” loved “the way seemingly unconnected elements are introduced and elaborated on until things start to weave together into a fun and complex set of mysteries”

It wasn’t so much that the reviews were basically positive (though they were and I’m glad they were), it’s that these two reviewers happened to like what I’m trying to do. It’s no given in life, but it sure is nice when it happens.

 

How does he really look?

The human chameleon Zane can look like anyone, but when I first wrote Shape of Secrets (called y1 at the time) I was obsessed with how Zane really looked. My first cover included Zane as a child, and that guided my vision.

When I decided to rename my books, I needed new covers. Current fashion is to show the characters, so it looked like I had to find someone who could show the world what the adult Zane really looked like. I found a group called Deranged Doctor Design.

The first head DDD proposed for Zane was great, but he had too much facial hair. (My realistic shape shifter is unable to alter the dead hair cells on his head and on his face.)

DDD came back with a second option and it just wasn’t right. I didn’t know what Zane looked like, but it wasn’t this. I could tell.

The third attempt looked right as soon as I saw it. He became Zane without modification.

When it came time to create the last cover, we needed Zane to make a second appearance, but not with an identical face. This particular model did have many options to choose from, but unfortunately most of them weren’t so appropriate for the sort of book I was writing.

Zanes

 

PROPOSAL 2018-0814 S R Cronin b06 v4But among all the sexy options, there was another version of Zane that would work,  particularly when paired a body that fit well with my family friendly story.

It’s funny how this model now is Zane in my head.  I guess this is what he really looks like.

Almost my new cover

I love where Deranged Doctor Design is going with this cover. What do you think? I’m having such fun re-birthing my second novel. The newly named and highly edited new version will be out in mid-February and I can’t wait.

Curious to see the first two versions? Here’s the first proposal.

I liked it, but wanted more orange, and more of a sense of the tropics. Also, Zane’s shape-altering abilities force him to forego facial hair in the book, so Zane had to change. Finally, much as I like the lasso of fire, as I called it, on the first book, I didn’t want to commit to having it on all six covers. So here is the second version.

I liked everything about this one but Zane, or more specifically Zane’s head. I could tell we were getting close, though, and we were.

Going Crazy

Psychedelic 2Somewhere between meaningless uses of the word like “I’m crazy about you” and serious, perhaps even crippling, mental health issues is a world of sort-of-comic, sort-of-sad neurotic behavior that we lightly refer to as crazy. We use it to mean that you (or I) have crossed that fuzzy boundary that surrounds normal and you (or I) are now happily dancing around naked in pig shit singing songs from “The Sound of Music” while making funny faces. You know, crazy.

This wanton disregard for how one is expected to behave can be brought on by exhaustion, alcohol, drugs, elation or deep disappointment. Anything that knocks one out of one’s normal orbit will do. For me, it’s finishing a book. I mean totally calling it done, putting out there for anyone to buy, read, hate, love or ignore. There is something so raw about that act, so trusting and so daring, that it makes everything else seem silly.

word porn 2I’m having trouble eating and sleeping and concentrating. I don’t care what I’m wearing or how I look or what the damn bank statement says because I haven’t even opened it. All I care about right now is that somebody, anybody, reads my new book and says something. Nothing else matters. This book is everything.

Luckily, this is the fourth time I’ve done this, and so I am little more prepared. I know the craziness will pass. I’ll get back to bill paying and basic hygiene and maybe even schedule that dental check-up I put off the whole time I was writing it. Before too long, some people will praise my new book and a few will not and most people will never hear of it because that is that way of a self-published author. Knowing all this, will I write another?

I’m 30,000 words into book five and counting. Hey, I had to do something while book four was going through its final proofreads. By the way, I love this new fifth story even more. I can’t wait to publish it.

(Please drop by Facebook and give Psychedelic Adventure and Word Porn each a like for their clever posters shared here. If you are feeling especially kind or curious, you can check out c3, that fourth book, here.)

Meet Zane’s Little Sister

c3 cover smallThe hero of y1 comes from an odd family. Each member has an unusual skill they turn to when their lives, or the lives of their friends, are threatened. Meet Zane’s little sister Teddie. She’s nine years younger, only sixteen, and clearly the most Texan and least adventuresome of the group. She likes her country music and her old pick-up truck and she’s not sure how she let her best friend talk her into spending a semester abroad in Darjeeling India.

Teddie’s innocence quickly collides with an underworld in which young women are bartered and sold. As she fights to understand a depravity that she never dreamed existed, Teddie’s life takes a strange turn of its own as her mind insists on looking for her friends, with or without her body.  Teddie must summon up more courage than has ever been expected of her, and must open herself up to ideas so different that she struggles with their very concepts.

Zane, and the rest of the family, lend support as they can. In the end however, Teddie must decide on her own to take an incredible risk. Her friends’ safety and lives depend on it.

c3 is available now on kindle here. Look for it in paperback in a few months.

Also, check out the new blog for c3 here. It will feature fun tidbits about the book and information about giveaways, as well as posts about the struggles faced by real life young women the world over, and stories of the true heroes amongst them.

What if?

What if you could do far more than you realize?  What if you could do things that others would consider z2 cover impossible?

The collection of books called 46. Ascending asks this question as five very different members of a family each discover that they respond to danger by developing skills that appear to defy logic. The next novel in the collection will be released on Amazon in late January.

Meet Alex Zeitman.  An injury ended his hopeful basketball career decades ago and today he coaches, teaches physics, and parents three talented quirky children alongside his rather odd wife Lola. His country school has a long history with organized hate groups and a sad tradition of bigotry, and the recent influx of Latino immigrants has brought out new intolerance. But when the administration itself looks like it wants to turn the clock backwards to an era of white supremacy, Alex can no longer sit idle.

Then an old friend from his own high school days reappears along with an ancient Mayan mystery that Alex can help solve, and suddenly Alex has his hands full. The past and present  intertwine as both sets of issues force Alex to come to terms with the time altering talents that he thought that he left behind years ago on a basketball court.  As he and his family find themselves in danger, Alex struggles to regain his unique relationship with time before legacies from long ago  harm those he loves, and before his own era loses a rare opportunity to bridge the past and the future.