Today’s blog is NOT an advertisement for products or services I offer. However, I do want to extend an invitation to join my email newsletter list to get content that’s (mostly) not available elsewhere.

One thing about the author life that never fails to entertain is the endless ways experts suggest that we “enroll” our readers. It changes constantly and, well, that can be a little frustrating.

Here’s the bottom line for me: I started out writing for myself. Over a period of about 25 years, I wrote three standalone novels. I can state without hesitation that I put everything I had into those books—creating the greatest works of art I could, while still telling those stories in the best, most engaging way I could.

The results—Brothers’ HandJana, and Miles of Files—have gotten mostly great reviews, and a couple not so great ones. I’m still extremely proud of the books. Reviewers have used adjectives like radiant, engaging, riveting, masterful, evocative, and captivating when writing about my novels. I’m happy with that.

But now that I’m putting out my fourth novel, I’d love to find a larger group of enthusiastic readers. And because I want to deliver a book that many more readers will want, I’m asking for your help.

Not too many people comment on these blog posts, but even fewer send personal responses to my email newsletter. I’d love to hear from more of you, and that means I’m open to suggestions.

The new book, Whizzers, promises to be a much different project than my other three novels. I still don’t know what to call it. Lately I’ve been shying away from the term literary fiction—for a couple reasons.

First, litfic just isn’t popular like it once was. Contemporary, or even general, fiction might be a better way to categorize forthcoming works.

Secondly, when it comes to this new project, I’m still not sure what subcategories on Amazon I’ll use. Honestly, I’m going to be looking for feedback from readers and fellow authors.

The book has a time travel aspect to it, but I wouldn’t call it science fiction. What the heck is it, you ask? That’s the dilemma: does it get subcategorized as Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction? As Action & Adventure Literary Fiction > Literature & Fiction > Fiction > Time Travel? Probably, but you see where I’m going here. It’s not easy to categorize.

So this week I’m posting a little excerpt that I sent out in a newsletter. It’s not here for the purpose of asking for help with sub-categorization; simply looking to get feedback, see if people find it intriguing, and so on. The sub-categorization issue will wait for another day.

As I said, I’d love to hear from more of you, especially with any comments on the excerpt below, good or bad. I’m not work-shopping the novel through a group, so this is the place for feedback from readers and potential readers. And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Off I go into the night, looking back occasionally at what turns out to be a kind of small cottage. I wonder where I am, where I should be going. If I get lost, I have no idea how to get back to where I am now. But there is not a soul in sight to ask—only the moonlight to guide me. There was no moonlight before, only that foreboding blackness, and I wonder what’s been orchestrated here. Now that I think about it, it seems to me that the moonlight did not appear until I lit a candle, or at least until I left the cottage. I call it a cottage, not knowing what the place really was.

I look back and notice the cottage disappearing in fog. I’m still frightened. What if I can’t find my way back? I decide to return for at least a moment, get my bearings better, if possible. It feels uncomfortable but I do it anyway.

The fog begins to dissipate as I draw nearer to the cottage. I blink, shaking my head, almost unsurprised. The cottage is gone.

Which way can I possibly go now? Lost and alone at night, in a strange place, in a strange time, with strange clothes? And yet the feeling of desolation is not as overwhelming as it could be. I feel almost encouraged to know I truly must find my own way now. Nowhere to hide. No one to ask for guidance.

disturbances

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #9: Distractions, Disruptions & Disturbances

This week's blog post has three sections: distractions, disruptions and disturbances, as if they were three unique items—which, of course, they can be. There’s a common “writer” meme that reads, “Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the...

A Vacation Blog Post and a Manross Library Appearance

The following post has been pre-scheduled. I've never tried to pre-schedule a blog post before, so I had to look up how to do it. If you know me well, you won't be surprised by that. Hey, I'm on vacation while you read this. Modern technology! I find it interesting to...
market

How Do You Sell A Book in the Digital Age? Market, Market, Market

"I need a steam shovel, mama, to keep away the dead / I need a dump truck, baby, to unload my head." —Bob Dylan   Sometimes these days we all feel like the guy in today's photo, right? A head full of books—both paper and electronic—and a million tasks that need...

Indie Authors & Literary Fiction

Back in July, I posted an interview with fellow indie author Jay Lemming.  Jay has a terrific ongoing project simply called “Survey: Indie Writers of Literary Fiction.” In his survey, he asks fellow lit fiction authors about one of their novels, and in particular,...
epic launch

An Epic Launch

Today, the SEO overlords may punish me for posting something overly short. But that's okay. Because I had an epic launch this weekend. "Epic launch" is a phrase I've had in my head for a few weeks now. You see, as the publication date for Whizzers drew closer and...
ebook

Are Stories Inevitably Autobiographical?

Recently, I’ve been writing quite a bit about writing, providing some explanations about why I write what I write. I’ve even got an upcoming podcast appearance talking a lot about my background and history in relation to my works of fiction. In the case of my short...
20/20

2020 Vs. 20/20: What We Saw Then, What We See Now

Grinding through the first few months of 2021, I presume nearly everyone wants to shut the door on 2020. After all, the tragic COVID-19 pandemic and—at least in the United States—chaotic election drama left millions exhausted, overwhelmed, and just plain traumatized....
Miles

The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

I wrote most of Miles of Files between 2007 and 2015. I felt my first novel had been an artistic success, but I wasn't so sure about the second one. Now, I'd moved on to this third novel without having found a publisher for either of the first two. And it was totally...
catholic school

I Survived Catholic School

This post isn’t meant to be provocative, though I understand my readers who also happen to be good Catholics might see it that way. No, it’s something else altogether.Years ago, it wasn’t unusual to hear someone talking about how the nuns hit their knuckles with...
ebook

Author Newsletters

I'll be the first to admit I am not an expert on author email newsletters. However, I believe they're important, and I try to be on top of mine every month. Today's blog post is about that. Normally I send out a newsletter to my email list each month on the 6th. Not...