This book was my first (and for the moment my only) western. I’d never written a western before or even thought about doing anything in the genre. And I haven’t written one since. In fact, after a bad review because the original book was—admittedly—put out too fast at a hectic time in my life, I was certain I’d just drop it altogether. Although the plot had a lot of drive, I just didn’t feel like marketing the book or justifying why people should read it after an initial poor reception.
But it had a lot of downloads, by my standards, when it first came out. And after I gave it a new cover and a big edit, it just hung around for a while on my website. Some of you have probably read it during the months it was available free. One thing I noticed when redoing it was that I’d marketed it as western romance, but it turned into more of an actual western—which kind of bothered me. I’d assumed it would be western romance because I couldn’t possibly aspire to a real, gritty western.
But probably because of its original source in an old book, it is like a western and that might explain why it failed at first. It wasn’t for the right audience. Now I’m not sure who it’s for, but it lingers like smoke after a fire.
And there will be more updates.
The published books on my website are approx the same length, about 52K, except for Consuela. It's a little bit shorter. At first I presented many books as novellas, individual longer short stories, long collections of stories, or even the occasional novel. But as I worked with the books, stories took a more mainstream shape. Novels got cut. Novellas merged with each other. Extra stories that padded out books disappeared. All of them became a very similar page count (250-280 pages) and suddenly all the little random "stories" had been replaced by streamlined books.
I didn't start out with this in mind, because although my stories were often an awkward length, I've read and enjoyed books of any length and I didn't plan to add or crop words just to fulfill someone's idea of a book. But I'm glad it happened. Nowhere is this new streamlined kind of book more visible than in "Victoria." It started as a novella of 30K words, then it shrank to a much shorter story. Then it blended with "Alyce," an even shorter story (about 18K) that had been once released as part of the same series. After I went back to the old, longer version of Victoria--keeping the merge with Alyce--I had to rewire my mind to realize this is a novel now. I'd become programmed to automatically think of Victoria and Alyce as short. But together, they became a full novel. (Well, for older kids, about age 12. An adult would probably call this a novella--but it IS for kids, so that's just fine.)
A Year with the Harrisons shrank to become a similar length and when two of the Facets stories were removed, Facets of Fantasy was also comparable. And so is Bellevere House, which started longer, but after a special rewrite just about Ed and Faye's relationship, became exactly the same length as the others.
Yes! My books, like tangled hair, got themselves straightened out.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
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When I set about defining my books, I wanted them to be positive places where a gentleness emanated from the pages. A hopeful safety lies in gentleness and there's also an honesty to it. A whirlwind of pushy book blurbs and hot characters (or whatever type character the author wants you to admire) can conceal a reality underneath. A quiet--possibly even lurking--reality that's more visible if you dial down the volume. That lurking reality isn't necessarily bad, but like anything quiet, it gets drowned out by conflict and angst. Peaceful fiction can help explore the truth that noisy books ignore.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.