- Books, Literature, and Writing
What I Write and Why
Ashlynn's Dreams Cover Art - by Timothy Sparvero
Devya's Children - Young Adult Science Fiction
Book 1: Ashlynn's Dreams is a story about a young girl who gets kidnapped because she can shape dreams. It's also about her babysitter who gets snatched as insurance that the kid will cooperate with the scientists. Along the way, the two girls - Jillian and Danielle - meet a whole host of genetically altered kids and see bits of their Gifts.
Topics: Gifts, coming of age, playing God, friendship, loyalty
Book 2: Nadia's Tears sets Jillian and Danielle on separate missions of mercy. Jillian must awaken Nadia from a mysterious coma, while Danielle needs to save her friend Christy from making some crazy choices.
Topics: human trafficking; loyalty; familial love
Book 3: Malia's Miracles (Summer 2014) has Jillian and the crew battling on several fronts. On the one hand, they're wrestling with moral issues and trying to cure a woman's cancer. On the other hand, they're trying to remain anonymous so they can remain free.
Why I Write Young Adult Books ...
Ashlynn's Dreams (kidnapping) - One sees many sad news stories about children being kidnapped for one reason or another. Such stories have the potential to make one feel helpless. Perhaps part of why I write about kidnapping is the control it allows me in term of the outcomes. I'm not saying things always work out perfectly, but notions of justice and right should still be satisfied by the story's end.
Nadia's Tears (human trafficking) - Years ago, one of my students enlightened me to the fact that human trafficking still exists. After confirming this through some simple research, I felt the issue weigh upon me. I wanted to write about the issue in a way that could be safely given to children. There are certainly aspects of the human trafficking topic not suitable to young adults or children, but it's an important enough issue to give as much positive exposure to as possible.
by David Batstone is a fine non-fiction book that gives a nice overview of the topic, but it's more sad than an entertaining story. I wanted to hit both notes: talk about the issue; write a good story. Not for Sale
Ashlynn's Dreams Audiobook Cover Art - by Timothy Sparvero
The New Adventure - Audiobooks
Recently, I've connected with a very talented actress (Kristin Condon) willing to breathe new life into these stories by turning them into audiobooks. It's a new adventure because it's something I've never thought to try before.
The audiobook should be ready by late June, but timing is still guesswork as we're both committed to releasing a high quality product.
Nadia's Tears Cover Art - by Timothy Sparvero
Ashlynn's Dreams Trailer 2 - by Book Dragon Designs
Promotions- a Never-ending Story for a Writer
It's no longer enough to just write a great story. The publishing industry is changing rapidly, but whether self-published or traditionally published, promoting one's work becomes very important to a work's success.
Tasks: Seeking reviewers, keeping people informed of what's up with the books, connecting with other authors, doing book signings, etc
Why I Write Christian Mysteries ...
Short story: I am a Christian. I like mysteries.
Longer story: I think I've always had an obsession with the FBI. If I were taller, stronger, and in fitter shape, I'd probably even try to join them. That said, the Heartfelt Cases series came about because I (once again) wanted to write about a kidnapping.
I enjoy getting into the characters' heads. What do they like or dislike? What drives them to do what they do? I guess writing allows me to do a human character study in a fun way.
The Collins Case Cover Art - by Timothy Sparvero
Importance of Likeable Cover Art
People do judge books by their covers.
I've chosen to go with a cartoony style because it fits well with what my friend can do well and it pairs well with the lighthearted tone of most of my stories. I'm a teacher. If any of my students pick up some of my books, I want them to be comfortable with what they're getting.
Do you read Indie/ Self-Published Works?
What are your thoughts concerning self-publishing?
Fighting the Stimga of Being Indie or Self-Published
Many bloggers are opposed to reviewing self-published works.
The problem: The ease with which platforms such as KDP and Createspace make the publishing process can be somewhat detrimental. In short, a lot of stories out there go out half-baked. There's little to no regulation in terms of what gets published. In short, quality control doesn't exist. This leads to books escaping with terrible grammatical mistakes and other more technical problems concerning the writing itself. Oh there's always the idea that no book is truly for everybody. There will always be at least somebody who just doesn't like a book, traditionally or self-published, but editors do provide a level of quality control.
The problem II: Nobody trains self-published authors on how to gracefully accept constructive criticism. Therefore, they often "flip out" more when somebody speaks ill of their precious. There are reviewers that can seem overtly harsh (I fall in this category sometimes), but if somebody just spent 12 hours reading your book then bothered to share their opinion with you, be nice!! - even if you don't agree with them.