In the Email Today…

A GIFT FROM AMAZON the ‘Zon has provided most kindly a method for authors to embed previews of their KDP-published works on their web sites and blogs. The preview below is provided for your reading delectation and shopping convenience.

Dolly was reborn into a new body just last week. Right out of the birthing chamber, she was tumbled into a conflict that goes back to the stone age. Her creator, the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite, has disappeared, and the God in charge of her institution — the Babylonian Marduk — has called for her death. Her lover and Geppetto, Mitchell Drummond, is threading his way through political minefields to keep Dolly safe.

New in love, they soon find they can’t keep their hands off each other. Their sexual fever comes to worry them. They suspect there’s more to the situation than mere new love.

Meanwhile, they have a job to do. Keeping up the pretense that all’s well and nothing’s going on is wearing thin. But in Upothesa, you’re not allowed to talk about secrets. Dolly is a secret. Trying to keep it together, Dolly and Drummond go on a mission to New Zealand to protect the Dolly’s secret and the life of a major TV drama star.

The High T Shebang is Book One of The Baby Troll Chronicles. Book Two, The Genesis Undertaking, is also available from Amazon.

Christmas Indie Book Sale

I know I promised myself I would spend the bulk of the year-end break working my fingers to the bone at the keyboard. But reading the listings below of tasty tales by independently published authors at reduced prices, I am sorely tempted to play hooky at least part of the time.

1. Dragon Noir

By Cedar Sanderson

Click the book cover.

On sale for the first time from Dec 17-23rd

The pixie with the gun has come home to see his princess crowned a queen and live in peace. But nothing is ever easy for Lom. A gruesome discovery on his doorstep interrupts their plans and sends Lom off on a mission to save not one, but two worlds. It’s personal this time and the stakes are higher than ever before. With friends falling and the enemy gathering, Bella and Lom must conquer the worst fears and monsters Underhill can conjure. Failure is not on the agenda.

2. Young Warriors

by Pam Uphoff

Click the book cover.

Free for five days!

It’s traditional for young lords in the Kingdom of Ash to spend two years in the army. Xen Wolfson is a young wizard, and Garit Negue a young prince. And the world is filled with adventures and danger … and learning experiences.

Their world has been in sporadic contact with two different cross-dimensional worlds–generally as a target for conquest. When the Empire of the One returns, the young warriors are standing foursquare in their path.

Brand New Release!

3. Nocturnal Challege

By Amanda Green

Click the book cover.

The one thing Lt. Mackenzie Santos had always been able to count on was the law. But that was before she started turning furry. Now she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy to keep the truth from the public-at-large. She knows they aren’t ready to learn that monsters are real and they might be living next door.

If that isn’t enough, trouble is brewing among the shapeshifters. The power struggle has already resulted in the kidnapping and near fatal injury of several of Mac’s closest friends. She is now in the middle of what could quickly turn into a civil war, one that would be disastrous for all of them.

What she wouldn’t give to have a simple murder case to investigate and a life that didn’t include people who wanted nothing more than to add her death to the many they were already responsible for.

4. Hilda’s Inn for Retired Mercenaries

By Cyn Bagley

Click on the book cover.

In Delhaven, there is an Inn run by a retired mercenary. If you are a down-on-your-luck mercenary or men-at-arms, come to the public rooms and Hilda Brant, the owner, will give you a bowl of stew. If you want ale, hand over the coins. Hilda may give you floor space, but she expects you to pay in favors or coins.

Hilda isn’t prepared for the damage and chaos caused by a dragon, black mage, and elementals. And a very angry Lord Barton.

Amazon Kindle author page

Facebook author page.

5. The High T Shebang

By Mark Alger

Click on the book cover.

Marked down to $2.99 (save $3.00) through Christmas

Sometimes you just have to go to war in the underwear you have on.

Dolly was reborn into a new body just last week. Right out of the birthing chamber, she was tumbled into a conflict that goes back to the stone age. Her creator, the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite, has disappeared, and the God in charge of her institution — the Babylonian Marduk — has called for her death. Her lover and Geppetto, Mitchell Drummond, is threading his way through political minefields to keep her as safe as her profession allows. 

New in love, they soon find they can’t keep their hands off each other. Their sexual fever comes to worry them. They suspect there’s more to the situation than mere new love. Meanwhile, they have a job to do. Keeping up the pretense that all’s well and nothing’s going on is wearing thin. But in Upothesa, you’re not allowed to talk about secrets. Dolly is a secret. Trying to keep it together, Dolly and Drummond go on a mission to New Zealand to protect the Dolly’s secret and the life of a major TV drama star.


6. Collisions of the Damned

By James Young

Click on the book cover.

My God, we are losing this war. — Lt. Nicholas Cobb, USN

March 1943. The Usurper’s War has resumed, with disastrous results for the Allies. In Hawaii, the U.S. Pacific Fleet lies shattered after the Battle of Hawaii. Across the Pacific the Imperial Japanese Navy, flush with their recent victory, turns its gimlet eye towards the south and the ultimate prize for their Emperor: The Dutch East Indies.

For Commander Jacob Morton and the other members of the Asiatic Fleet, the oncoming Japanese storm means that the U.S.S. Houston and her Allied companions must learn to fight against overwhelming odds against an enemy who claims the night as their own. In the skies above Houston and the other old, tired vessels of the ACDA Fleet , Flight Lieutenant Russell Wolford and his men attempt to employ the Allies’ newest technology to even the odds. With full might of the Japanese Empire falling on them, the ACDA’s soldiers, sailors, and marines must fight to hold the line long enough for reinforcements to come.

7. Blackbird

By Alma Boykin

Click on the book cover.

$.99 Dec 21-24, 1.99 Dec 25-28

One man becomes all that the Turkowi fear — and respect. Matthew Charles Malatesta, second son and rumored bastard of a mercenary, grandson of Duke Edmund “Ironhand” von Sarmas. One man, who will fight to the last breath to carve a place for himself, who will create a court of learning and civilization, who stands alone between the might of the Turkowi Empire and all of Godown’s people.

8. One in Infinity

By Amie Gibbons

Click on the cover image. (Note: This title is a novelette.)

On sale for $0.99 from 12/19 to Christmas

Turns out coincidences do happen, and it sucks when it leads killers from an alternate reality to your door… 

Rose plans on partying her last weekend of freedom before her residency starts, but fate has different plans. When men straight out of a fantasy novel attack, she gets pulled into a blood feud between magical beings thanks to a random stroke of luck. Now she has to adjust to her new world view and help one of the men to save herself from a fate worse than death.

9. Tick of the Clock

By Travis Clemons and Michael Z Williamson

Click on the book cover.

A man awakens in a 21st century Illinois hospital, holding very distinct memories of being shot in Switzerland decades earlier. The nurse calls him Detective Crabtree and says the DuPage County Sheriff will be by to check on him shortly. Yet he remembers his name being Sherlock Holmes.

When Sabrina Worthington is killed during a home invasion, her billionaire husband has an ironclad alibi. But Adam Worthington does not appear to be the grieving widower people would expect to see. Meanwhile, their former girlfriend keeps tugging on every possible string to convince the authorities to indict the man for murder. 

By the tick of the clock, it would seem impossible for a man to be shot in the 19th century and wake up more than one hundred years later. It would also seem impossible for a man to shoot his wife while she’s at home and he’s at a theater thirty miles away. But when the seemingly impossible is properly analyzed, will Holmes determine the improbable truth behind her death and his life?

10. The Spaewife

by David L. Burkhead

Pricing will be $0.99 the 19th through the 26th.

Click on the book cover.

A young mother hears the Norns. They tell her of terrible things to come. When Ulfarr wants her gift of prophesy to serve him, he takes her, murders her husband, and steals away her children. Can the young mother escape from Ulfarr’s clutches and save her children from him? Only the Norns know.

Call for Readviewers

HAD A REVIEWER RETURN The High T Shebang unread. The objection: the sex. Apparently, there are adults uninterested or even put off by graphic sex scenes in novels. Who knew? It’s a thing, I’m told. But, hey, you take something previously known only to a small-ish circle of fans and give it to a wider audience, you gotta make allowances for differing tastes. When earlier drafts and versions of the Apocrypha appeared on fan fiction Web sites, the stories were accompanied by a disclaimer — usually in a left sidebar it went something like this:

Since this is written by a fan of a TV show which bears a strong sexual subtext and is written for fans of that show — fans who are more-than-ordinarily interested in sex (and who isn’t interested in sex?*), there is a more-than-ordinary amount of sex — both maintext and subtext — even graphic and explicit sex. But never gratuitous.

Please God, never gratuitous.

(*I got my answer.)

Apparently, some people find any amount of sex gratuitous and will avoid books like the plague which have sex in them. Color me surprised. I expected to be dinged for the sex in The High T Shebang, but never to find it a total drug on sales. Well. Apparently, I was wrong. And no matter how many people find Dolly charming and her adventures (out of the bedroom) of interest, only about 100 people in the whole world found them so enough to overcome the sex.

Go figure.

So. This fall, perhaps in time for a second anniversary special edition, I will be releasing a new edition, re-written to tone down the sex. Considerably.


The Cover Aftermath

::SIGH:: Life is being a right bitch right now. But then, the most interesting things that go on in our lives always seem to go on in times of trial. The deadline approaches. I need to get some long-planned edits done on the MS file of The High T Shebang before Tuesday, so I have a well-tested book uploaded to Amazon for sale in time for the thing next weekend. I must admit that I intended to try more. But, as we say at the Patch Factory, the deadline is the most important specification to ANY job. And the deadline for this one approacheth toot fucking sweet, so I have to pull the triggers on all the various parts of it that are ready enough.

As the saying goes, the perfect is the enemy of the good. This weekend, I’ll be doing the edits and rebuilding the MS file, and getting it in shape for paper publification at the same time. Carrying over to during-the-week, I’ll be making the book layout in InDesign and pdf-ing it. Probably go through several iterations of testing at Create Space.

cvr hi-t rain 0814cvr hi-t plain 0814
Meantime, Here’s the final-enough cover. Left WITH rain, Right WITHOUT. How do we prefer it? And another thing… Is Dolly a superhero?

Going to be Crazy

I PLAN ON PARTICIPATING in a group promo-sale over the Labor Day weekend with the gang from Pointy Boots, According to Hoyt, Mad Genius, and PJ Media. It means that The High T Shebang — new cover and all — will be available for Kindle at the popular price of $2.99 (cheap and for a limited time only). It also means — though not on account-a-coz — that a trade paperback edition will be available — if not for immediate order, for pre-order by then. I have bought the ISBN and done the preliminary setup. Since I used Named Styles in the canonical MS file, I should be able to make a .pdf in InDesign with little problem. Potential delays will be entirely due to production turns. I fully intend the paper edition to be for sale by next weekend.

There will be a snippet Saturday, but there will also be announcements here, as we-all will be mutually plugging each other. Our very own Amanda Green has set a deadline of Tuesday to have all information for the sale to her, which means I may not have some of the links, etc., over this weekend, so, to be sure, TBT and all that, WATCH. THIS. SPACE. (Or the top of this column, in case of scrollage.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?


BEFORE WE GET TO THE SNIPPET tomorrow, I want to invite you — AND THAT INCLUES YOU LOT ON FACEBOOK — to take shots at the cover for The High T Shebang. I’m concerned that it may have been a major cause of my poor sales over the past ten months. (And a deep thank you to all who DID buy the book, never forget that.) As I may be participating in a REDUCED PRICE SALE over Labor Day, I thought to devote some time this weekend to making an attempt at improving the cover image.

First, let me tell you about the book and explain the choices I have made. The story centers around two parallel plots. The overt plot is that a team of special operations types are dispatched to New Zealand to corral some escaped experimental clones. The why and wherefore are explained in the book, but not relevant to the cover. The not-quite-subtextual plot is that our lead characters, who are newly involved in a sexual relationship, are engaging — they suspect — in intercourse a good deal more frequently than normal. The reason for this, they discover over the course of the story, is that they have been covertly dosed with hormones — including testosterone — to increase their sex drives, for reasons yet to be adduced. That is part of the wider, multi-volume story arc, though clues have been laid and foreshadowing shadowed to the fore.

The elements of the design, therefore are to exply (If by implying, you make something implicit, to make something explicit, you exply it — that’s Dollish.) these elements of the story. The battle takes place over a large family compound on a peninsula between a river estuary and the Pacific Ocean on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Thus the map in the background. One of the hormones used to dose the leads is testosterone, thus the hexagon motif and the model of a testosterone molecule and the High-T in the title. The silhouette of the lead character firing a pistol in a comic-book action pose refers to the climax of the story, and is the one element with which I am the least satisfied. The two arm-ring tattoos down the left and right margins of the cover refer to the two cultures in contact (albeit slightly) in the novel — the Maori thorn tattoo on the left refers to the native culture of New Zealand, to which some of the secondary characters are connected, and the Greek arabesque down the right side refers to the fact that the secret society to which the leads belong is classic Greek in origin. The row of identical blondes in fake camo and shouldering improbable M-16s refer to the climactic battle in which blonde clones of black-and-white-era Hollywood starlets (a touch of silliness, if you ask me) are teleported onto the aforementioned peninsula in an attack on our leads and their friends.

All very abstract, but maybe a bit too literal. I dunno.

So: there it is. Tell me what’s wrong. The stated genre is contemporary urban fantasy, sub-genre myth/gods and goddesses. Possibly more apply. I’m intended to fix that and the blurb while I’m at this new cover. I shall also have to come up with some art for the back cover for the paper edition, which I am hopeful of being able to have available by Labor Day weekend. But that can be an abstract wallpaper design, if I like, as it needs to serve as a bed for the blurb and other back cover matter. I’d like to have an iconic bust of Dolly (the female lead) to use on the spine of all books about her. But that’s going to take a lot of work and a quantum improvement in my digital painting skills.

I’m not at all unhappy with the visibility of the art at small size. I just wonder if the cover telegraphs enough about the story to intrigue people into trying it, and whether it telegraphs the right things about genre, etc.

Please comment here or on Facebook.

cvr hi-t 0814Update: The discussion happened over on Farcebook. If I didn’t hate FB so much, I’d shutter this blog (BabyTrollBlog is already a ghost town because: lazy). I made some mods to the design — et, violas — based on the input. It’s not complete, but I’m pleased with the improvement. So far. There’s more I want to do, but this is a quantum leap from my perspective.

Then, Saturday night, I was watching a movie (Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, thank you for asking), when my tablet — which sits on the arm of the couch — bleeped to announce an arriving email. From Jaime. The Alpha reader. With embedded permission to post here. Which I am doing, as a faux comment. With my reply. As soon as I figure out how to bypass the login procedures for attributing posts. I know it can be done, but I’ve forgotten how…

Sex is NOT the answer


Sex is the question. YES is the answer.

When I first put The High T Shebang (The Baby Troll Chronicles) up at Amazon, I enrolled it in the KDP Select program. In exchange for a 90 day exclusive to Amazon, and several other restrictions (among which is a commitment not to post “pornography” (very loose and vague definition)), I was supposed to get promotional consideration — none of which did I ever see any evidence of.

In response to the above-noted ban on “pornography”, I skittishly categorized the book as Contemporary Fantasy/Action-Adventure, with a disclaimer as to the erotic content, which didn’t seem to bother Amazon (I guess nobody complained). That didn’t seem to help any. (I suspect it’s mostly that the cover sucks).

But the more I read on the subject, the more I become convinced that the Baby Troll Chronicles can and will fit into an Erotica/Paranormal Romance genre set. Or not. For now, I’m going with Contemporary Fantasy, and Erotica. If the readers think it’s PNR, I’ll let THEM tell ME.

So, Tuesday, I re-categorized the book as above. Sometime in the night, the change will have been made. Let’s see if that does any good.

The First Book of the Apocrypha Is Available for Sale

I DON’T FEEL SO much like a poseur any more — talking a good game while not actually delivering. But, after 50 years of trying, I’ve finally published my first novel and it’s up for sale at Amazon. And, if you go and buy it by clicking the link at right, you help defray the costs of operating this site at no additional cost to you.

Everyone around Gabrielle Francesca East — Dolly to her friends — has an agenda. Mitchell Drummond, her lover, guardian, and Geppetto wants to wrap her up in bubble wrap and protect her from the world. Dolly just wants him to make her forget her name by making hot, monkey love with her. Her family resent Dolly’s fortune: a fortune they assert is rightfully theirs. Dolly? She just wants to shop. Half the Gods want to control her; the other half want her dead; Dolly just wants to party with her friends.

When clones of blonde, Hollywood starlets — probably from the same lab that made Dolly’s body — start showing up halfway around the world, Drummond and Dolly set out at the head of the Troll Action Team to find out what’s behind the clones. The answer will send shock waves through the whole shebang.

Growing out of a long series of email exchanges on The Center for Xena Studies, a Xena: Warrior Princess mailing list, The High T Shebang is the first volume of the long-awaited epic, the Dolly Apocrypha. See where it all began.

Truth in advertising disclaimer: Violence. Explicit and graphic sexual dialog and situations. Adults only. Parental discretion strongly advised. Not for children or young teens.

Coming in 2014, The Baby Troll Chronicles continue.

Also. Some time ago, I promised that anyone who became a member of my old blog site would get a free copy of my ebook. About a thousand responded. While this is a different book, I feel it incumbent upon me to honor that promise. As soon as I can figure out how to do it, if you are among that thousand-or-so, you will be receiving an email detailing how to get a copy.