My books were, practically speaking, in a beta phase at the time they were first made public. I rarely used beta readers beforehand and would present my ideas in “published” form and then get some feedback about them. The books received the usual gamut of initial responses that happen to a new story. But since I was writing stories that were formative during their first run, these early reactions, even if they lingered in reviews or commentary, became outdated after the books entered a second phase. Once it began this second phase, each book went through a unique development based on its needs. But it was always geared towards finding the story— the finished product—out of that original beta publication.
Syncing was required for The Birthday Present and Facets of Fantasy. When I learned these volumes of shorter stories were to be viewed as contiguous, in a sense—as linking together in some way instead of serving as unrelated shorts—the task was to untangle them from each other and find the right combinations that reflected this core linkage.
Longevity was important to A Year with the Harrisons, since it dealt with what was potentially a flash-in-the-pan topic. It was presented very informally at first, a serialized weekly installment run on my FB fan page. About 8 years later I felt there had been enough real interest for me to proceed with a publication.
Context was necessary for the Palladia books (City of the Invaders & Consuela.) Both of them were shown early on as short little sketches and while their storylines were on the right track, there just wasn’t enough detail. Information about a larger world was needed, and eventually a more dramatic underlying structure around these stories began to appear.
Definition was important for Victoria: A Tale of Spain and The Test of Devotion. When these two first went public, they were vague on some of the character development and didn’t always clarify what needed to be understood about the personal relationships in the stories. For this reason, they were some of the most confusing for readers. As they developed, the books that emerged differed from the initial drafts in ways that made the stories clearer.
Accessibility was central to Bellevere House and Ryan and Essie. Both stories were shown sufficiently and neither of them needed more time to determine reader interest or any structural organization. But in both books, the story was very subtle and deeply embedded. So they faced a communication problem, with readers not being able to access the story immediately. Connecting readers to these books has been a priority.
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.