My Books – Part Six

Astrid Maxxim and the Antarctic Expedition (2014)

It had been less than a year since I had written the second Astrid Maxxim book, but I jumped right into the third.  I had set up the plot idea with a little tidbit in the first book.  As I was writing, I for some reason forgot that the book was plotted out to be 20 chapters of 1500 words each, and instead wrote the first seven or eight at 2500 words.  I stopped and reworked what I had written before continuing, but I never really got it squared away.  So Astrid Maxxim and the Antarctic Expedition not only has chapters of varying lengths, it’s the only Astrid book with only 19 chapters.  This book was about making Astrid grow up a little bit.  In doing so, she becomes a little less Tom Swift and a little more Steve Jobs.

Astrid Maxxim and her Hypersonic Space Plane (2014)

When I was done with the third Astrid Maxxim book, I jumped right into the fourth.  I had intended to wait until Astrid was a little older before throwing her into space, but I decided that if she was going to do all that I wanted her to do, she had to get started right away.  This book was an easy write and I was thrilled to work with Matthew Riggenbach at Shaed Studios on the cover.  We went through more revisions I think on this one than others, but he was awesome and I really like what he came up with.

His Robot Girlfriend: Charity (2015)

I wanted to write another robot book, but I just didn’t have a story for Mike and Patience.  I did, however, come up with a story about another robot and robot owner.  I think storywise, this is the best of the robot books up until this point, but many readers missed Patience.  I had thought, as I started writing this, that it would be the first in a series of His Robot Girlfriend books about other characters.  By the end however, I had the beginnings of the next Mike and Patience story that would build on events here.

The Price of Magic (2015)

It may seem from the dates that I jumped on this fairly quickly after The Sorceress and her Lovers, but it was over a year and a half between writing them.  This despite the fact that this is really just a continuation of the earlier story.  It became very clear to me while writing this book, that there would definitely be a five-story arc.  So books 1-5 are one story arc.  Books 6-10 another, with Book 0 standing alone.

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His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience – Not available for pre-order?

His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience will be released September 9th, 2017.  Apparently though Smashwords offers preorders to the bookstores they distribute to, they don’t do preorders themselves.  So, you can’t preorder it at Smashwords.  Who knew?  So the book will be available at Smashwords on 9-9-17 at $2.99 and will be at that price for 30 days, after which, it will go to $3.99.

Mike Smith and his robot wife Patience have overcome a great many obstacles in their life together. No obstacle is quite as great as a world war. As the United States, China, Europe and India mobilize against the shadowy Anarchists, who have carved vast swaths across Africa, the Middle East, and Russia, Mike and Patience deal with the fallout at home, and the public’s changing perceptions of robots. Meanwhile, Mike’s son Lucas finds himself in the heart of the conflict as he takes command of robot soldiers leading America’s war effort. A Great Deal of Patience is the first book of a new trilogy that ties together the previous books: His Robot Girlfriend, His Robot Wife, His Robot Wife: Patience is a Virtue, and His Robot Girlfriend: Charity.

Pre-order at Smashwords here.

 

My Books – Part Five

Astrid Maxxim and her Undersea Dome (2013)

I had always planned on returning to Astrid Maxxim and I did as soon as I could.  It was still two years though, since the first book.  I also wanted to follow the pattern of the Tom Swift Jr. books of alternating from space to sea.  I really was trying to capture the feeling I had in my youth, reading my favorite books, so I followed basic generalities.  The books would be positive and nostalgic, yet they would showcase modern technology.  On the other hand, there were things I didn’t like.  Nothing ever seemed to change Tom Swift’s world, despite his amazing inventions, and time never passed.  Tom was always 18.  I would make sure that time passed for Astrid, and her inventions would change her world.

His Robot Wife: Patience is a Virtue (2013)

His Robot Wife continued to be my best seller, despite the fact that I wasn’t really happy with how it turned out.  I decided to write a new robot book– a better robot book.  I plotted out all the details of the new book and worked on it extensively before writing.  As I was writing though, I kept changing what was going on.  I came up with several new ideas that would influence later books, but I don’t think I did them justice in Patience is a Virtue.  It is a pretty popular book– my best seller next to the first His Robot Wife.

The Sorceress and her Lovers (2014)

When I started The Sorceress and her Lovers, I was thinking of it as a single book in a series.  By the time I was reaching the end, I was thinking of it as the first book in a new series of five.  I went back and edited it to reflect my new ideas, but I’m not sure how effective that was.  Despite being my favorite books to read or write, sale of the Senta series are some of my lowest.  If I was a real professional writer, I would concentrate on things that sell, I guess.  But I want to write the things I like to write.  I have a dream that one day, the series will find its audience.  I think it would make a great HBO series– kind of a cross between Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey.

Desperate Poems (2014)

I have several thousand poems that I’ve written over the years.  Most of them are crap.  However, I cobbled together enough that I thought were pretty good and published them as a free ebook.  Few people read poetry and even fewer by an unknown poet, but its out there.  When I was a kid, I used to call myself a poet.  Now that I have a published book of poems, I really am one.

The Drache Girl – Chapter 17 Excerpt

“Of course I gave him the rope,” said Iolanthe.

Yuah shuddered. No matter how close she had come to Iolanthe as a compeer, she had never forgotten that her sister-in-law and former employer could be merciless. It still seemed like being given a cold slap, to be forced to come face-to-face with that realization.

“Why did you give him the rope,” asked Saba.

“I thought about giving him a pistol. It would have been a much more appropriate way to do it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t count on Mercy not to shoot me instead of himself.”

“He means, why did you help him kill himself,” said Yuah.

“She knows what I meant.”

“I don’t really need to explain it to you, do I Saba? You have lived with us since you were born. This family has been knocked down again and again, and I have done everything to build it back up. After three generations of incompetence and stupidity, I have made the Dechantagnes a great family name again. I will not let it be linked forever with treason. Can you imagine a public trial and then an execution? No, I will never allow something like that to happen.”

“He was your husband, though.”

“Yes. He was. And at least he had the decency to take the honorable way out.”

Yuah couldn’t take any more. She stood up and walked out of the parlor, down the hallway, and into the library. She stopped inside the door and took a deep breath. Terrence was sitting in one of the overstuffed chairs with a book in his lap. A pair of reading glasses was perched on the end of his nose, but he wasn’t really reading. She stepped over to him and placed her hand lightly on his shoulder.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said.

Jerking her hand away from his shoulder as though it had been burned, Yuah turned and rushed back out of the room. She leaned against the wall and placed both hands over her stomach. She could feel the cane strips in her corset but couldn’t feel the life growing inside of her. Continuing down the hallway, she stepped into the kitchen. One of the lizardmen was sweeping the floor and a black-haired teenaged boy sat eating a sandwich in the corner.

“Can you drive me now, Marzell?” Yuah asked the boy.

It might have been difficult to find humans in Birmisia who were willing to work as servants, but it was surprisingly simple to find young men willing to serve as drivers for one of only two steam carriages on the continent. Terrence had given out that the position was open and had faced an avalanche of applicants. He had narrowed the selection down to three boys, and had let Yuah choose her favorite. She had chosen one of the Zaeri boys from Freedonia. Marzell Lance was a serious young man of sixteen, with a shock of perpetually mussed black hair and brown eyes. He always seemed to be hungry. Though he had proven he could not only drive, but maintain the steam carriage, that was not why he had been chosen. He, like so many coming from Freedonia, had arrived alone. His sister, the only member of his family with him, had died on the ship.

Marzell jumped up and held open the outside door. Yuah walked through and he followed. The steam carriage was parked near one of the sheds. It looked as pristine as it had when it had arrived on the ship from Greater Brechalon. The minor damage caused by Yuah’s accidental diversion into a snow bank had been repaired, and from the rich black leather of the seats to the shining copper bonnet, it was clean and polished.

“I’ll have to fire up the boiler, Ma’am,” said Marzell.

“I know. That’s fine.”

Marzell held out a helping hand for Yuah, as she stepped up into the passenger seat. As she sat with folded hands in her lap, he stepped around to the back to light the boiler. He shoveled in several more scoops of coal for good measure as well. Then, popping back around to the driver’s side, he climbed in.

“If I had known you were planning to go out, Ma’am, I would have fired it up earlier.”

“I know. It’s all right.”

“Where did you want to go, Ma’am?”

“Please stop saying ‘Ma’am’. I feel old enough as it is.”

“Yes, Ma’am. Where did you want to go, Ma… Mrs. Dechantagne.”

“Take me to Miss Hertling’s home, please.”

My Books – Part Four

Astrid Maxxim and her Amazing Hoverbike (2011)

I was at a bit of a loss.  I had finished Blood Trade, but wasn’t ready to sit down and start on the next Senta book yet.  I started talking to someone about how my first book was an homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs and his books that I had loved as a kid.  They asked if those were the books that made me a reader.  I replied “no,” and pointed to my collection of Tom Swift Jr. books.  Right then, I decided to create my own series of books to replicate what I felt when I read my Appleton’s (yes, I know it’s a pseudonym) work.  I carefully planned out my characters and setting.  I really did I think more pre-writing work than I had ever done before.  Then the book just popped out.  It was extremely quick and the following Astrid Maxxim books have continued that tradition.

The Young Sorceress (2012)

It was finally time to write the book that went in between the already written Senta books 3 and 5.  Like the other books, I decided to follow several characters, but instead of keeping them confined to one per chapter, I decided to do what I had done in Brechalon and tell flip from character to character within each chapter.  This was the most difficult Senta book to write and ended up being the shortest because I threw a lot of things out that didn’t work.  I think it’s an uneven book.  The Issak Wissinger story is one of my favorites.  The Kieran Baxter story, not so much.  Still, it was important, because he plays a huge part in books 6 and on.

The Two Dragons (2012)  

It was time to publish The Two Dragons, which I had written four years earlier.  It should have been a simple matter to proofread it.  Except that I had decided the series was going to continue beyond that point, so I chopped off the ending and added a new one.  The basis for that ending was a little chunk that I had written just for myself about Senta arriving back in Brechalon.  There were also several additions to the story caused by what I had written in The Young Sorceress.  About ninety percent of the book was what I had originally envisioned.  It’s worth noting that the original ending had a long epilogue that told the entire lives of a ton of characters, and I’ve stayed pretty true to that in the newer books.

The Many Adventures of Eaglethorpe Buxton (2012)

I hadn’t planned on writing any more adventures of Eaglethorpe Buxton, but then I hadn’t planned on not writing any.  There was a story that naturally grew out of the first two, so I sat down and wrote it.  By the time I was done, I had decided that I would write three stories added to the original two that would probably be all the Eaglethorpe I would ever want to write.  I had a vague idea for a story about Eaglethorpe in the jungle, so that became part four.  For the last story, all I had was a title: Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Day of the Night of the Werewolf.  I wrote it with no preplanning whatsoever.  That’s something I almost never do, but if I’m going to do it, Eaglethorpe seems the appropriate place.

Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale

If you would like to read one of my books, now is the time. Smashwords is having their summer reading sale. You can get ebooks in any format— Kindle, nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc. The sale ends July 31st.

The following books by me are on sale for FREE:

Astrid Maxxim and her Amazing Hoverbike (Astrid Maxxim Book 1)
The Voyage of the Minotaur (Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 1)
Princess of Amathar

Use coupon code SW100 at checkout.

The other books in the Senta and the Steel Dragon series are 50% off:
The Dark and Forbidding Land
The Drache Girl
The Young Sorceress
The Two Dragons
The Sorceress and her Lovers
The Price of Magic
A Plague of Wizards

Plus:
Blood Trade (Vampire Novel)

Use coupon code SW50 at checkout.

In addition, Smashwords has literally thousands of ebooks by other authors on sale this month. Hundreds and hundreds for free. Time to fill up your ebook reader with a library. Visit Smashwords.com.

My Books – Part Three

The Drache Girl (2010)

The Drache Girl had been written for almost three years by the time I published it in 2010.  It required more revision to stand alone than had The Voyage of the Minotaur, but less than The Two Dragons would.  I struggled with the title and originally chose The Sorceress’s Apprentice.  Several friends (and my wife) thought that people would confuse it with the Micky Mouse portion of Fantasia, so it became The Drache Girl, a term already established in the first book.

His Robot Wife (2011)

I had never planned on writing a sequel to His Robot Girlfriend, but it was the only thing that I’d written that could be called a hit.  It was being downloaded thousands of times a month, and my other books were languishing.  So I came up with a short plot and wrote His Robot Wife.  I’m generally happy with the writing, but I don’t think it one of my better stories, especially regarding the plot.  Still, it was and is my best seller.

Women of Power (2011)

One of the sites where I had my free books was Feedbooks.com.  I found that there were dozens of people writing what amounted to fan fiction about superheroes and publishing them in chapters like comic book without the picture.  I thought this looked like fun, but I didn’t want to use established characters that belonged to someone else.  So, I wrote the first three chapters of Women of Power and posted them like everyone else.  Then I stopped for a while and wrote His Robot Wife.  When I was done, I quickly hammered out the rest of Women of Power.

Blood Trade (2011)

I belonged to a writers group (still do, though there aren’t many of us left) who met at Borders.  They would usually place us at a couple of banquet tables in a back corner.  One time they put us right between two counters of Twilight and related vampire love stories.  A fellow writer said, “Wes, you should write a vampire book.”  I said, “Nobody would buy my vampire book.  The vampires would all be really evil.”  Nevertheless, that stuck with me until, sure enough, I started my own vampire book.  I had got to about chapter five when I noticed it was getting darker as I went.  So I went back to the beginning and went all dark.  Sure enough, I was right.  Few people buy it.  But it is my favorite vampire story.  I often tell people I write for myself.  This is a perfect example.