Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Answer is ...


That's the answer I got from eReader. They will not be publishing any of my novels. eReader will only publish writers who have 10 or more (!) titles to their name, all published by established publishers who already have a track record with the eReader parent company. That definitely lets me out!

So, if you want to read what I have written, you'll have to order the paperbacks (available through my web site or or read them on Kindle.

Go Kindle!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Selling books

Someone asked me why my book was only available on Kindle and not for eReader or Nook. There's a simple reason for that: Kindle.

Kindle (and the people at Amazon) is very easy to upload a book on. Got something written out and saved in MSWord? You can upload it to Kindle as is. Kindle will use all the italics and everything and your book will be available in less than 48 hours. Uploading cover art (assuming you've created it) is simpler than uploading a picture to Facebook. Same with all the other info you want to put out there.

Not so with the other platforms. Nook only wants books from publishers they already recognize (which eliminates all the people like me who are self-published and--probably--most of the niche publishers). They have a "contact us" button on their web site, but they don't write back so it's rather useless.

eReader has a nice web site and a big sign/button about converting your book to a format that can be read on any eReader platform. It is an easy program to use and converts your book in a matter of seconds (did for me, anyway) ... and then it stops. There's no button or instructions or anything for how to upload your newly converted e-book to the eReader web site. An email to their "Contact Us" address resulted in an email telling me they were on vacation and would be back after the New Year. I'm not holding out much hope for an answer, but I'll keep you posted.

From an author's standpoint, my vote goes enthusiastically for the Kindle.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Origin of Garison Fitch

As has been mentioned in another blog, Garison Fitch's first appearance in my writings was in the third (or fourth [see other blogs]) book about Bat Garrett. But that wasn't necessarily the genesis of the character that you read about in "First Time", "Saving Time" and "Lost Time".

The character who appears in "Up to Bat" was originally conceived as a one-shot. I thought he might show up somewhere later just because Heather went to work with him and I thought Heather might show up again in another Bat story (so far, she hasn't).

Way back in college, though, I cooked up this idea of a theoretical lawyer. He lived in a small town, was very unconventional in his practice of law, and he was a confirmed bachelor. He was also tall and rather thin. And one day, the name "Garison Fitch" just came to me.

What never came to me was something to do with the character. Like a lot of my ideas (like the comic book character "Dumas Duck" ... ask me sometime!), he was a good concept, but concepts only go so far.

So, flash forward a couple years when I'm re-writing the Bat Garrett stories for the umpteenth time and I need a name for a JP/lawyer. I was convinced by then that I would never come up with a good story for Garison Fitch but I still liked the name, so I gave it to the throwaway character in "Up to Bat".

It was shortly after that that the story for "First Time" popped into my mind and I knew, from the moment it occurred to me, that the character in "Up to Bat" was perfectly suited for the lead.

One thing did change, though. In "Up to Bat" Garison is fairly gregarious. For "First Time" I decided I liked the character better if I had this guy who has every talent in the world--in addition to good looks--but is really kind of anti-social owing to his rapid rise through school and the loss of his parents. I think it makes for a much more interesting character than the one who first appears with Bat.

Monday, December 21, 2009

All The Time in Our World - Part 2 Now Available

The second installment (of four) of "All the Time in Our World" is now available on Amazon's Kindle platform. It picks up exactly where Part 1 left off (no re-cap), so go get part one, if you haven't already!

The series of lakes that Edward and Marianne cross are in what we know today as the Canadian River Valley in the Texas panhandle. The idea came from Lake Meredith, which was created by putting a dam across the Canadian in a natural canyon. When they built it, however, it never occurred to the engineers that Amarillo might grow and, so, due to heavy water useage the lake is a pathetic shadow of what it was twenty years ago. Most of the boat ramps are a good mile from the water (which is really hard on the props!).

Still, it's a pretty place to go, especially in the spring. And one day a couple years ago I got to thinking what it would be like if we were to just dam up the whole canyon and let the river fill it to the rim with water. From there, it was a natural progression to envision a society that dams up the entire river valley every vew miles creating a series of lakes (or loches?) as both a source of water for their cities and a barrier against their enemies. I'm sure some engineer could point out to me the flaws in this plan, but I could also point out the engineers who said we'd never successfully achieve flight, nuclear power, or aerosol cheese.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Will there be more Garison?

I get asked occasionally whether there will be more stories about Garison Fitch? I don't have an easy answer, other than the following.

Garison and Heather both appear in the third book about Edward and Marianne (as Edward goes to see the one person he thinks should know the most about a] time travel and 2] his other grandfather, Bat). Still, Garison is not really a main character in that story. At least, not as I have it written now (who knows what may come?).

Garison Fitch also has a prominent role in another novel that is still just in the notes stage, though--as the notes would indicate so far--he is still not the main character.

Of course, there's also the story of how Heather and Garison met, which is in the third or fourth novel of the Bat Garrett series. No, it's not that I don't know whether it will be in the third book or not. The Bat Garrett novels are written, but there's a trilogy that's a connected story, then a fourth book that--chronologically--fits between the first and second books. I can't decide whether to b] release all four books in chronological order or a] release them at all.

In that book, Garison is still the Justice of the Peace in Durango, CO, and is called on to provide details about a death he certified a couple years before. His personality is quite a bit different from the personality in the "Time" books, but that's because this is Garison before time travel and this is the Garison who grew up in the United States and wasn't a Christian. This book also explains why Bat doesn't like Garison.

The question, though, is whether there will be more Garison Fitch novels along the lines of First- Saving- and Lost Time. I honestly don't know. I know those have been my "best sellers" and, believe me, I'd love to sell more books and make more money. On the other hand, I only want to do it with Garison if there's a story worth telling ... and I haven't come upon that, yet. I'm not closing the door, but I haven't seen it open yet, either.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Edward Garrett

Since Marianne is so obviously patterned after my wife (and a few other girls I had crushes on), many people just assume Edward is me. Granted, he goes to the high school I went to (Abilene Cooper) and he lives in the house I grew up in, but he's really not me. He only has brothers, for one thing. And he likes riding his bike for long distances, which I never have.

Maybe, though, Edward is who I always wanted to be: the hero.

While he's a surprise hero, he's not really a reluctant hero. Through all his adventures, he's really excited to be having them. He doubts his abilities at times, but never so much as to let that doubt slow him down. That's the guy I'd like to be.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Marianne, one of the two main stars of my novel "All the Time in Our World" is not an entirely fictional character because she embodies characteristics of at least four real life people.

She looks like a girl I went to high school with. (I'll call her "LH".) I actually met LH in 6th grade and had a crush on her for the next seven years. Never had the nerve to ask her out on a date. I always thought she was beautiful. She was never really "sought after" though, so I was always a little miffed at my fellow male students. I would have been really ticked if one of them had asked her out, but on the other hand, I felt like they were all stupid for not noticing how pretty she was. I got out my annual about three years ago and looked her up in it and I still say she was really pretty. What she looks like now I have no idea, for even though she is one of my Facebook friends, she never posts any pics of herself.

Marianne is named after a cousin of mine who I always thought had such a cool spelling to her name. I haven't seen this cousin in twenty years--which is sad because we only live about an hour apart--but I see her brother about once a year when we meet at an Amarillo Dillas baseball game.

Marianne's personality--at the beginning of the story--is a lot like the girl I had the crush on, LH. Or so I think. While we hung out together some, my impression of her personality is probably somewhat idealized. As she grows as a character, Marianne's character and personality becomes more and more like my wife's. I've worked in some of my wife's foibles (see the town party in Trahlad in part 3), but Marianne also has a lot of my wife's better qualities, like her determination and extremely strong faith. Marianne also inherited one of my wife's phobias, which also pops up in part 3.

And, finally, one little part of Marianne comes from a friend of mine. Marianne lost her father before this story starts and I have a good friend (CH) who lost her father about when I started writing this story decades ago. What's strange is that I had forgotten that I got that particular element from CH and, in the years of writing and re-writing, I guess I got so swept up in the story (the characters do seem very real to me now) that I thought I had patterned that little tidbit on LH's actual life. I was really surprised to find that her father is still alive. When I learned that, I wondered how much--if any--of Marianne's other traits that I thought came from LH or even my cousin actually came from somewhere else. Some of them, surprise surprise!--I even made up on my own.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I wonder if any publisher would touch "The Lord of the Rings" today? Those of us who are die-hard fans of the original books (I've read them through 6-8 times now and have friends who have read them once a year for three-plus decades) have probably all tried to talk a friend--even a "reading" friend--into reading them and been rebuffed. The usual reason I get is, "They're so slow!"

"The Hobbit" starts with a knock on the door. Then a whole lot more knocks on the door. Then some dwarves. This is going to be GOOD! But then, they spend several pages eating.

"The Fellowship of the Ring" starts with, in theory, a party. But it's a while before they really get to the party and, even when they do, not a whole lot happens at the party--from the persepctive of many readers. Not me. I pick up "LOTR" and start reading a single sentence and before I know it I've been there for over an hour and have read several chapters.

But I have come to the conclusion that I am an anomoly. Mark Twain said a classic was something, "Everyone praises but no one reads." Nothing could describe "LOTR" better. Even before the movies, I knew a lot of people who could talk for hours about hobbits, orcs and what-not, but had never actually read the books. Or, at least, not all of them. They had seen the cartoons, had read a couple chapters for high school Brit Lit, and had heard enough from nerds--I mean, "astute readers"--like myself to carry a conversation about "LOTR" but they had never actually read it because--when they tried--they were bored. These were not necessarily stupid people. I'm sure some of them were; it's the law of averages. But some of them were college grads and doctors and other learned people, but they only liked "LOTR" in theory, not in practice. The reason being, always, "It's too slow."

For a LOTRphile like myself, that's part of the attraction. A Louis L'Amour book is an evening or two in the country, but LOTR is a vacation. For the evening or two that it usually takes me to read an LL, I am happily transported to the frontier, but for the couple weeks it takes me to read LOTR, I am on an extended vacation in Middle Earth. I'm standing on Amon Sul and gleaning tidings from Dol Amroth. I'm slogging through the Dead Marshes and wandering the caves behind Helm's Deep. I like that. I don't want it to go any faster. In fact, I want to stay another night on the barrow downes or give the Redhorn Gate another try.

I'm saying all this to clue in my readers: if the Garison Fitch stories are LL, then [while I don't consider myself a master on par with LL or JRRT] "All the Time in Our World", is LOTR. That's the pacing I was shooting for. If you go into the book with that in mind, I think you'll like it better and, maybe, even come to enjoy it more than Garison Fitch.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Time Travel

In the earliest drafts of the story that became "All the Time in Our World", the two young people were only propelled a few hundred years in the future. The world looked really different, but in one of the few "scenes" I remember vividly, Edward manages to pull a tile off a wall and discovers copper wiring within. Up until then, they had thought they were on another planet, but that made him start thinking that maybe they were on Earth.

Over the years, as I wrote and re-wrote the story, I kept moving it further into the future and making our world more and more of a forgotten memory. There's no big message here of me predicting nuclear war or WWIII or anything like that. Mostly, as alluded to in an earlier post, it's about the cyclical nature of things and hubris. It is the way of cultures to eventually disappear. I make no concrete prediction as to what will be the Unites States' (and modern culture in general) reason for falling, but we will eventually. To think we won't is to have no grasp of history.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where Comes the Story

I've been writing ever since I learned how to spell. And it sometimes seems as if I have been writing "All the Time in Our World" almost that long.

One of the elements that alweays fascinated me in sci-fi and fantasy, from "Lord of the Rings" to "Star Trek" to just about every sci-fi or fantasy novel I ever read was the "ancient society". Frodo comes to Weathertop. Kirk comes to the City on the Edge of Forever and--in a book whose author and main characters I can't remember called "Lure of the Basalisk"--the hero comes to a ciy that's been abandoned for thousands of years.

When I read or watch such stories, I always wonder about those old cultures. Sure, they're fictional, but what were they like? The same thing happens when I read about modern archeologists who find evidence that man (and, most likely, woman) lived in some village that--three thousand years later--we don't even know the name of. I wonder what those folks were like. What did they do for fun? Did they have commerce with other villages? In the stories where the ancient society was technologically advanced, I want to know what brought them down. Simple hubris? A disease? Someone else even more advanced? Or a primitive society who--like the orcs at Helm's Deep--find an ancient culvert and exploit it?

One of the original ideas behind "All the Time in Our World" was this concept of the ancient society. Rather than creating a whole new ancient society and making up their rules and everything, I hit on a fascinating idea: what if we are the ancient society? What if the story is set thousands of years in our future and our great society of the United States of America is so long buried in the dust that we're not even a memory? What, if anything, of our culture might survive? From that little acorn of an idea, the story began to grow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

All the Time in Our World

My novel ("All the Time in Our World") is now available (and selling!) on Kindle. OK, as if this writing I have sold a grand total of 4 copies. That may not sound like much--especially in a world where politicians and athletes sell a billion copies of their ghost-written autobiographies--but considering I don't know anyone who owns a Kindle and I have no skills at marketing, 4 books impresses me.

If I had four cousins who had Kindles, for instance, that would answer my question as to who is buying. While I may well have four cousins with Kindles, I don't know about them and don't email my cousins, anyway.

As a result, I'm trying this "media blitz" of blogging and web-siting (see me at and to try to a] promote and sell more books and 2] find out who is reading them.

It's not just this new book, either. I have four other books available on Amazon ("First Time--The Legend of Garison Fitch, book 1"; "Saving Time--The Legend of Garison Fitch, book 2" and "Lost Time--The Legend of Garison Fitch, book 3" available in both paperback and electronic formats and "Psalm 88" available only in e-format) and I sell 15-20 electronic copies (with a high of 28 copies in July!) and 2-3 paperback editions a month and I have no idea who's buying any of them!

I have a little clue as to "why". Of the five books now available, in the last six months I have sold over 100 copies of the four books about time travel and 1 (count it, ONE!) copy of "Psalm 88". This tells me that people are looking for--and buying--books about time travel and aren't interested in books about overcoming addiction. Who can blame them? (Though, in all fairness and with no semblance of being unbiased, "Psalm 88" is a really good book!)