Sunday, July 22, 2012

Simple Pleasures

We drove up to Lake Elsinore yesterday to catch a minor league baseball game. The Storm is the lowest ranked (Class A) professional baseball team - three steps below Lynn’s beloved Padres, which are several steps below the team they were a couple of years ago when they were in contention. For simple straightforward sports entertainment, it was hard to beat. After talking about our night out over breakfast this morning, we think there is an analogy to books.

Major league baseball in is the process of losing itself to spectacle and hype. In order to compensate for the outrageous ticket, parking, and concession prices, the most poetic of sports is being drowned in show. The major league owners feel compelled to “razzle dazzle” in order to compensate for soaking fans over, what many times is, an inferior product. This is certainly the case for the Padres. Not so the Storm. At Lake Elsinore, the wonderful and fanciful game of baseball is still the central attraction. Sure they have fun between innings, mostly by getting the kids who’ve come to do crazy stuff on the field, but what happens while the players switch sides is a warm wholesome compliment to the only American sport that suspends time while the game is being played.

We think something similar is happening with mainstream publishers. In order to justify their bloated overhead, the process of choosing, producing, and marketing their books feels like a Roman spectacle rather than a straightforward generation of literature. Like minor league baseball, it is left to independent authors to provide a purer product – a story worth reading.

Also like baseball, books can be wildly inconsistent, but, good or bad, are more likely worth the time and money, when not burdened with weight that comes with unsustainable overhead. When you’ve only paid a couple of bucks, there is an “oh well” attitude when a player, writer, umpire, or book producer makes a mistake. There is also a real thrill when someone does something wonderful on the field or between the pages. When it costs five times as much as it should, the inevitable mistakes in print or on the field seem inexcusable while the wondrous never quite lives up to expectation.

While driving home after watching The Storm wither under perhaps the most inconsistent strike zone we’ve seen called by an umpire, we listened to the Padres lose by two in twelve innings. Even with the announcers hyperventilating over some great plays by both teams that drove the game into extra innings, we were more disappointed by the major league game than we had been by the Lake Elsinore home team that had been outperformed all night. It was a real joy to pay $12 for the best seats in the stadium and relish America’s past time on a warm summer’s evening rather than drown in all the expensive, extraneous, and superficial fluff in order to hunt for baseball with the rest of disappointed fans.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stealth Novel

It is coming up on 100 days since we’ve released our fantasy novel, The Dragon Princess and, frankly, we are surprised by its silent reception.  While we understand that we are not JK Rowling, our other two novels got a certain amount of social network chatter and at least a few Amazon reviews by this time. But, except for the first few days after the release, there hasn’t been anything at all about our latest work.

Of the first three books, we think The Dragon Princess is the most accessible. We deliberately kept the content “family friendly” and believe that this title can be recommended to middle school readers providing their reading skills are up to the language we used. We’d dreamed that by now we would have learned of parents reading the work out loud to their pre-teen children and fantasy readers of all ages enjoying the world we had created. But so far, that hasn’t come to pass.

Maybe The Dragon Princess isn’t as good as our other two novels and our loyal followers are trying to spare our feelings. We hope not. We would rather hear our readers’ honest opinions than to hear nothing. We really don’t think the book is a turkey. The novel was developed over a longer time and received twice the number of advanced reads as the other two titles. There was no hint that the story suffered some fatal flaw. In fact, at least one of our special advisors said it was her favorite of our works. So the post-release silent treatment is all the more baffling.

We want to believe that all three of our novels are great summer reads, but, if we had to choose one, we would recommend The Dragon Princess as our best novel for a summer escape. If you’ve read it, let us know if you agree. If you haven’t read it yet, jump over to our website ( and get an e-copy by choosing one of the links behind the cover on the home page. We think you’ll enjoy the experience. If you do, tell us. If you don’t, tell us that too and we’ll figure out a way to make it up to you.  

And, while you’re at our website, if you haven’t taken advantage of a free copy of Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain, here is your reminder that it is still available for one more week. (

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stepping Into It

We know we’ve mentioned about a half a dozen ideas for the next book after our Bobbie Titan sequel, but nothing has been gelling. So we were out for another walk through the Safari Park discussing our collective mental block when we came up with an idea that got us both excited. We decided to try and write a second chick-lit book with absolutely nothing that would be impossible like Cupid or super powers. Just everyday people finding out about the extraordinary feelings we all have and, sometimes, share with one another. And we decided on a theme - walking.

We enjoy walking through all parts of San Diego County. Downtowns, backcountry, normal neighborhoods – it seems everywhere we stroll in our expanded backyard, we find something interesting to see and discuss. Then it dawned on us that this would make a great vehicle for an everyday love story. We got so excited by this thought that we stopped in one of the great downtown Escondido bistros, broke out a map, and started figuring out how various local walks might fit into our story line.

The current working title for this new novel is Stepping into It! and we are already breaking new ground. Previously, Evans has outlined all of the manuscripts and sought Lynn’s approval after the first five thousand words or so. This time she is helping to design the story from the very beginning. Since she is a little nervous about this, she’s asking for your help. If any of our loyal followers know a great place to take a walk, let us know. Again, we plan to have the story cover all environments within San Diego, so where you like to put your feet doesn’t have to be one of the great trails out in the backcountry.

The other thing that’s different this time is that we are planning on taking you with us through the whole process. So look for parts of the story to show up in this blog from time to time as well as descriptions of our ups and downs while we build a story worth telling. And don’t be surprised if we come back for more story suggestions. We obviously believe in the collaborative process and, since we are trying something new, we think getting your advice as we go might lead to something exciting. We’ll see. In the meantime, go out on your own and then tell us how it went. Who knows, your steps could be mirrored in our new book.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Next Story

Since last we’ve blogged, we’ve been working on the sequel to our first novel, Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain. It’s now just about ready for the professional editor. And the exercise of reading through the manuscript after putting it aside for half a year has renewed our faith in our ability to tell a story. It’s entitled Bobbie Titan in the Alternate Way and it is even more fun than our original collaboration.

We think sometimes authors are too timid with sequels. When the readers like what they did the first time, some writers are afraid to take chances with the second book. The early drafts of this book were that way. Luckily, we decided that we owed it to ourselves and to our faithful followers not to get too cozy with the original narrative and we decided to take some chances. We’re not sure the story would have ended up the way it did if we were writing it under contract with a traditional publishing house.

Maybe it’s a little too daring, but we don’t think so. There were some important social commentaries we wanted to sneak inside a teen adventure novel and to do that we needed Bobbie to explore areas many young adult novels stay away from. So, even though this book wanders further into science fiction, we think that what happens inside Bobbie’s head and heart is closer to what happens to many teenagers as they begin to tackle what it means to become an adult.

Now comes the tedious part. We need to make sure all of the pieces are in the right place and send it off to the editor. When we get it back we will have to read through each comment and make sure any changes are reflected consistently thoughout the entire manuscript. Then comes the final editorial proof, our final edit, creating the cover, writing descriptive paragraphs, updating our author biographies, and getting all this to our publishing agent. After that comes your chance to read the new Bobbie Titan and to let us know if we made the right decisions regarding our fictional heroine and if you like where the story is going.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Time To Reflect

It’s been a year since we independently published our first novel, Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain. Yesterday we did one of our favorite things and went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (we still think of it as the Wild Animal Park) to just walk around and discuss what the year has meant and where we are going from here as authors.

Some of the discussion highlights won’t come as news to our loyal followers. We greatly prefer developing novels than trying to market them after they have been published. We still like being independent writers with its inherent freedoms, but we realize that it is a lousy way to make a living. We are still delighted when we get a favorable review, especially when it is from someone new.

Some insights caught us by surprise. After a year of polishing three manuscripts to the point they were ready to be published and working hard on a fourth before deciding it would never meet our release standards, the passion to generate a new novel currently doesn’t burn as hotly as it did last year. Some of this is due to the fact that we had years’ worth of drafts already written by the time we released Bobbie-1 and now we are faced with the task of starting from scratch again. This week we’ll be starting our second round with the Bobbie Titan sequel, and after that we have nothing near ready to send out to our advanced readers. We have plenty of ideas, but the desire to work and rework those ideas into something worth reading isn’t as strong as it once was. Some of this might be attributed to burn out. We have been pushing pretty hard. But some of it might be due to the novelty having worn off. After this rework of Bobbie-2, we’ll have to see if we start waking up in the middle of the night again because the new story won’t let us sleep until the ideas in our heads have been transferred to the electronic page.

While we wrestle with our future as writers, we thought it would be nice to celebrate our anniversary with a giveaway. So, from now until the July 4th holiday, we are giving Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain away for free. While we know all of our loyal followers already have their copy, this will be a chance to recommend us to someone new. For details, GoHere!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sweet Miss Jillian

As our loyal fans will know, we aren’t afraid to make our heroines undergo some pretty radical transformations. What might not be common knowledge is that we’ve seen some transformative changes in the young people we know that are every bit as incredible as those we put our fictional characters through. And for all of these changes we’ve witnessed, perhaps none have been more remarkable than the changes experienced by our niece, Jill.

Jill has always been pretty and, until recently, she seemed destined to grow up a beautiful airhead. During most of her time in school, Jill was the bane of her overachieving mother’s existence, since she happily avoided anything that was remotely mentally challenging. It was a daily struggle to get this lovely girl to do any homework at all, and even the idea of completing anything challenging, like math or science, was absurd. It got so bad at home that Jill would regularly come to our house for after school studying just to ease the tension at home. While we were no better at getting her to complete her school work, it was a lot more pleasant around our kitchen table having snacks and listening to all the reasons why it would be impossible for our lovely niece to finish her class assignments.

Then, seemingly overnight while she was in high school, Jill decided she was a genius. The next thing we knew she had not only caught up all of her old coursework, but she was acing all of the advanced courses she was offered. She’s still gorgeous and laid back, but now she attends a university on scholarship and can’t decide if she wants to pursue advanced studies in math, physics, or perhaps something involving artificial intelligence. Her vocabulary is now so advanced that not even her mother understands the jargon that spills out from around her still knockout smile. We keep searching the USB port we figure is located on the back of her head somewhere since we think Jill’s mom traded her in on a robot when no one was looking.

Whatever it was, Jill’s changes were no less spectacular than what we put our fictional characters through. And, while we admit we were taken completely by surprise, we couldn’t be any more proud of our wonderful niece.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Love and Enlightenment

As our loyal followers will know, we believe in the empowerment of women, especially young women. It seems that many of today’s ills start with people treating others as less than fully human and for millennia this had its roots in the idea that females were not equal to males and could be treated like property. Even fifty years after the pill gave women control over their reproductive lives, so many young women think that they must swallow their natural personalities and “act like a girl” in order to find love and fulfillment. It drives us crazy when this happens and we wonder what happened to all the fine and fiery feminists we knew growing up and why they aren’t teaching their daughters better.

That is not to say that we think all men are scum. Sometimes, young men just haven’t been given the opportunity to figure out that love among equals is so rich and fulfilling. They’ve been told to “act like a man” by older males who desperately try to mask their own insecurities by shunning any real emotion and treating their mates as servants to their base needs. We rejoice when a young man manages to break free of these sociological shackles, often fastened to him by his father, and learns how emotional vulnerability can lead to real character and lifetime fulfilling relationships. We think there is yet hope for humanity every time a young man learns to open his heart and tell his lover, “You complete me.”

We get into some of this in our next installment of the Bobbie Titan series. There is still plenty of adventure, but Bobbie is older and we make her come to terms with her feelings over the people close to her. And, because we can, we force Bobbie on to both sides of the equation. She has to deal with both her dominant and submissive personalities when it comes to love. To help her with this we’ve added a new character, a young man with noble ideals but less than perfect execution. We also pump up one of the supporting characters from the first book and let Bobbie confront the age old problem of something new and exciting versus something old and comforting. Of course, due to Bobbie’s powers, this confrontation is supercharged.

So in a little less than a month we will pick up Bobbie Titan’s tale and complete the work necessary to provide the sequel to The Mark of Kain. Our advanced readers still have a few weeks to finish their reviews and give us their comments. After that we’ll dive in and once again breathe life into our characters so by late summer or early fall, everyone will get the chance to find out what Bobbie is getting up to in Oregon. And you can bet that our heroine will learn that being true to who you are is the only way you will find real happiness.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

EBook Clubs?

We like book clubs. Our family belongs to several but, as independent eBook writers, we’re having some difficulty getting any interest from clubs about reading our novels.

Some of this has to do with availability. Book clubs, at least the ones we are familiar with, tend to be old fashioned affairs. Many of the members prefer to check out the assigned reading from the library. The problem with that is that our eBooks aren’t in the library. These institutions only have limited budgets and, so far, they aren’t devoting a great deal of that to eBooks. What eBooks they do carry are digital versions of best sellers from famous authors. Another issue with library eBooks is the plain awful software you have to use to check out a book. It is clumsily designed, hard to use, and prone to causing problems on the computers that install it. It’s made by Adobe, but since they give it away, there is no incentive for them to build a decent product. What the library system needs is a cloud based system like Amazon’s or Google’s that keeps the eBook, the accounting, and all your check-in and outs on the web. That way it could be easy to use with any PC, smart phone, or e-reader.
Some of the problem lies with the clubs themselves. We are among the few club members we know who prefer to read the selection on our e-readers. It is changing slowly, but there seems to be real resistance by book club participants to even try using a Kindle. Even with all of our preaching to the contrary, it’s hard to convince people who love paper that it is actually a more enjoyable reading experience if you can just trust the technology.

So to counter all of this, Lynn Evans is looking for book clubs where we can donate our novels for the members to read. We’re hoping the lure of getting something for free will win over at least a few clubs into reading our novels electronically. We will even make ourselves available to discuss the work should the club members wish it. Anything to help open the virtual world of eBooks and the possibilities they represent.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Imitating Life

We hope you already know this, but our third novel, The Dragon Princess, is available. The easiest way to get it is to go to, click on the cover, then choose one of the hot links to Amazon, B&N, or our sales site. And, since we are adding any sales through June from The Dragon Princess and The Valentine’s Game to our ongoing efforts to raise funds for PHS Student Services by selling Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain, now would be a great time to pick up an e-copy.

As some of you who’ve read The Mark of Kain know, we like to name some of our characters after the people in our lives. When we wrote Bobbie, we chose names from that year’s peer counselors. In that case, it was just the names. There was no attempt to imbue our fictional characters with any real life personality. This time around, with one notable exception, it’s family, and, because it was family, we put a little extra into our fictional characters. 

Those who know our daughter Laura will attest to her calm, steady, powerful, but understated presence. It won’t surprise her friends that the fictional character who bears her name is heir to the throne in our fantasy realm, Elan. We had a little more fun with our daughter Sarah’s character. She is the closest thing we have to a wizard in real life so making her the anti-wizard was a backhanded compliment. And if you think we are trying to imply that we would like more grandchildren in this dimension because we gave Sarah nine children in Elan, we plead guilty as charged. Our son-in-law and future son-in-law make appearances as well. It wasn’t even a stretch to make Terence the theatrical Lord Finewit but crafting Stephen as General Whitefang required considerably more artistic license. 
He was still in diapers when we borrowed our grandson’s Ethan’s name for one of the two main characters. He’s still too young to make any real comparison to the young man who comes of age riding snow dragons in Elan. We just hope he ends up liking his namesake when he’s old enough to read the book himself. And, when you read the dedication page, you’ll learn that the protagonist Maggie is named for one of our very first fans. Since Maggie Oyer has her own literary aspirations, we hope she thinks we’ve done well with her fictional character.

Just in case you’re wondering, we do make fictional appearances ourselves. Lynn is more envious of her Elanian counterpart. She’d give just about anything to be a tall, flying, beautiful, Amazonian warrior. Evan’s character hones closer to reality. We’ve even sprinkled some real facts about us in the book. Like Lord Birch, Evans has a fear of heights.  And no one should mess with either Lynn or Her Highness Goldtrace when she has a basketball in her hand.

We had a good time sneaking some real life into our fantastic fictional world. We hope you think so too. So go get a copy, read it, and let us know.
Ethan                               Maggie

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Coolest Writers in the Room

On Saturday we participated in the Ramona Local Authors’ Day at the beautiful new library in town. We had no idea what to expect. It turned out that is was mostly self-published authors plying their wares and writer wannabes looking for advice. The two most popular tables when we were there were the gentlemen pushing self-publishing how-to books. There were a couple of traditionally published authors too, but their advice seemed to be that, based on their last experience, they were going to go the self-publishing route next time.

We were the only authors in the room who were eBook only and we had the coolest display, if we do say so ourselves. Besides bringing the typical promotional material, we brought along our Kindles, Nooks, a laptop, and small flat screen TV, so we could show off our electronic wares. While the other authors talked about where you could find their books online, we were able to show everyone. We have to admit, however, we felt a little like aliens. For those of you who don’t know, our home town is not on the cutting edge of technology. The author at the table next to us didn’t accept an offer of a free eBook from us because she didn’t own a digital device except an old clunky desktop that connected over dial-up. Still, it was pretty cool when Lynn was invited to sit on a panel discussing the pros and cons of self-publishing and she was the only one who didn’t carry bound copies of her books. Instead she took the Nook and flashed the audience our eBook covers. We would love to show you pictures, but Evans couldn't figure out 
how to work Lynn’s new camera, which is a little embarrassing since we’re bragging about being techie writers.

Since we were online, we did a little e-snooping and checked out the other writers’ books on Amazon. This left us feeling pretty smug since we have more and better reviews than everyone else. The only one who was close was the collaborators who wrote about their experiences traveling in Turkey. Here’s the Kindle link if you want to check out the book: Anatolian Days and Nights.

 We were glad we participated, but we’re not sure we will do it again. We might reconsider if the organizers change the format so that one session can be devoted to fiction and they can figure out a way to get more young people interested. Still, it was kind of fun to feel like we were leading the parade. Just about everyone who stopped by mentioned how they knew eBooks were the future and several authors asked our e-advice. It made us feel connected and convinced us that the path we’ve chosen isn’t wrong but might be just a little ahead of its time – especially in Ramona.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Some More This and That

We’re definitely feeling the renewal that comes with spring. Just like Lynn’s “big ass rose garden” with its hundreds of tight little buds almost ready to burst forth in stunning displays of color, we’re anticipating good things as authors this season. The first of these will be the release of our third novel, The Dragon Princess. It’s all over but the shouting now. We finished the proof yesterday, so now all the publisher needs to do is to convert it to the various eBook formats and distribute it to the sales sites. This is our best book yet for reading out loud with an adventure designed to be accessible for fantasy buffs of all ages. It’s also our best book cover.

Over the last month we’ve sold 5 eBooks in Great Brittan, two in Canada, and one in Australia. It’s kind of thrilling to think that we might become known internationally.

Much closer to home, Lynn Evans has been invited to participate in a local author’s day at the Ramona Library next Saturday, April 21st from 12:30 to 3 p.m. So far we are the only eBook authors included. We’re wondering if they’re expecting a couple of new-age techno geeks and what they’ll think when a couple of doddering grandparents show up with their Kindles. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and pick up one of our custom bookmarks. Trust us, the irony of giving away paper bookmarks advertising our eBooks hasn’t been lost on us. 
Some of the advanced readers for the Bobbie Titan sequel, Bobbie Titan in the Alternate Way, have told us they’ve finished. We are eagerly waiting to see what they think about what we’ve done to Bobbie this time. We think parts of it are pretty daring and unexpected and we are wondering if the readers will think so too. As our loyal followers know, we take our advanced readers’ comments very seriously. We’ve even killed a novel that didn’t get good responses from our readers. There is still time if you want to have a say in what happens to Bobbie in the next book. Just email us at or message us on Facebook. We’ll see that you get a reader’s copy in the format you prefer.

There are moments in life that, as authors, you can only hope you will be able to capture in words. One of these happened this weekend when we stopped by to visit our grandsons. The youngest, Aaron, was playing with one of those strong balloons with the rubber band on the end that let you punch it repeatedly. As he ran through the living room wildly shaking his arm, the balloon bounced in tight arcs around his head and shoulders, repeatedly hitting him in the face. Aaron couldn’t have been happier. His delight was complete. So was ours while watching him. One of the best things about being a toddler is that you don’t have to give yourself permission to be absorbed in pleasure. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Another Fantasy?

We turned The Dragon Princess into our e-publisher and we are pretty excited about the imminent release of our third novel. It’s hard to explain the kind of satisfaction you have when you are finally through with all the writing and editing. What started out as an idea almost four years ago is now finally a finished story.

Practically the last thing that happens before we submit the manuscript is that Lynn reads the whole thing out loud while Evans follows along on the computer. Even though we each read and edit the book three or four times separately, it is amazing what we still catch when the words are spoken aloud. The “final read” is probably the most enjoyable time for the whole novel collaboration. This time was particularly memorable because many of the characters’ first names and some of their personalities were “borrowed” from friends and family. It was amusing to listen to the fantasy adventure and imagine the people we know doing the wild things described in the book. It made us a little sad when the final chapter was finished. We wanted to know what happens next to the characters who seemed particularly real this time.

We are so interested in fact, that we are thinking about changing our minds and writing a sequel. We had always planned on the Bobbie Titan books being a series and knew that there wouldn’t be any follow up to The Valentine’s Game. We thought the same thing for The Dragon Princess, but now, we’re not so sure. We started this fantasy novel when our first grandson, Ethan, was a baby and now he’s about to start kindergarten. His brother Aaron is just a final footnote in this book. We are strongly considering writing a second fantasy where the character Aaron is the same age the character Ethan is in this story (fourteen). We think there is something fun we could say about growing up in the shadows of one of the heroes of The Dragon Princess. Maybe it’s because we’re both the second kids while growing up.

We know we mentioned something about working on a “sassy mystery” next but now we’re not sure. Even though Evans has a mystery story outlined, the idea of going back to our fantasy world, Elan, has been tugging hard at us this week. Maybe the desire will lessen when The Dragon Princess is finally out and all of you start reading it. If not, however, don’t be surprised if the book after our second Bobbie Titan novel features a character named Aaron who is perhaps a little too stubborn for his own good.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Wonderful Surprise

Most of the time you need to plan, work, and rework to get anything worthwhile as an author. Sometimes, you just get lucky.

We were contacted this week by Lucy Schneider to do an eBook reading later this month. Lucy is the owner of All Readers Ebooks ( Her husband, Charles, has invented a universal eBook format that will work natively on any tablet, reader, smart phone, or PC. While he’s busy trying to convince the world that everyone needs to use .efont, she’s decided to open up a virtual bookstore featuring eBooks published in this format.

Needless to say, this adventurous pair has given themselves quite a challenge. Not only has Charles the unenviable task of trying to convince behemoths like Amazon, Apple, and Google that they made mistakes choosing different native eBook formats, Lucy has chosen to compete against these same companies and an e-world of other online eBook outlets. Luckily they do have one thing going for them; .efont is cool! Not only does it offer all the features as any other eBook software, it can integrate completely with a word processor like MS Word. Using the .efont add-in, you are able to easily write, convert, or format your eBook on your PC and know exactly how it is going to look on a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or any other eBook reader. As I’m sure all our loyal readers know, eBooks today are formatted into the different formats using conversion software, which isn’t perfect. Even professionals will turn out eBooks with weird gaps or the occasional blank page.

You can also write in an .efont eBook after it’s been converted. By designating parts of your eBook as “interactive,” you can have sections of the eBook available after it’s been published. The Schneiders envision incorporating electronic pictures and video post-production so that eBook readers can personalize their copies. It also provides a neat way for eBook authors to do book signings. We’ve already downloaded an app from Lucy that lets us use our smart phone to sign copies of The Valentine’s Game that she converted for us. It’s wild!

Lucy has a sister who lives in Poway and she saw our article in 92064 Magazine ( Now we’re going to do a premier release of The Dragon Princess at All Readers EBooks and are committed to doing a web-reading and eBook signing as soon as we finish our final proof edit. Since we plan to be finished in the next two days, we’re currently scheduled to release on the morning of Friday, April 20th with our reading that evening. We will be sure to post the details once they’ve been firmed up.

We are a little overwhelmed but completely ecstatic by this unexpected event. We love the idea of being quixotic partners with Lucy and Charles as they tilt at the eBook windmills festooned across the Internet landscape. While we still intend to independently publish The Dragon Princess through our normal e-publisher, we are happy to release the .efont version first and are sure most of you will want to download your signed copy from All Readers EBooks as soon as it is available. Since it will still be the same price at Lucy’s place as it will anywhere else, we think most people will want all of our eBooks in this amazing new format.

Oh, one more thing… April Fools!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Leveling Out

There is one part of being independent that we don’t like - marketing. We would really just prefer to write novels and have them magically get noticed and read. Unfortunately the world doesn’t work that way. We think our inability to promote our work well means that we are not attracting as many readers as we could and, at least for our fundraising efforts with Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain, this means we aren’t generating the kind of support for Poway High Student Services as we would like.
The way we see it, there are four levels to “getting out there.” First, some of your close friends and family buy the book just because they think they should. When it turns out that what they read is worth the effort, they talk among themselves and some more of the level-1 books get sold. Level-2 starts when people in the local area begin to hear about the book and start to buy it. In our case, it was people like the dentist, hairdresser, the kids that come into the Student Services Office and a few of their parents who read the book. If you’re lucky, you also get recognized by some local media. It happened for us when we just released Bobbie Titan and the Poway Chieftain carried a story about us. Unfortunately they only included the article about us in the print addition, so we weren’t able to share a link and the impact stayed local to Poway.

Luckily, we’re getting another chance to shine a little bit in the area around PHS. This week an article came out about us in the 92064 magazine. It’s a nice publication and their web presence is well laid out. They also distribute a paper magazine to everyone in the Poway zip code. So, all of our loyal followers might want to check out the whole periodical by jumping to . Don’t forget to check out the “Faces in the Crowd” column to read about us ( We are really pleased by the article.

Unfortunately, we seem to be stuck at marketing level-2. Level-3 happens when people greater than two degrees of separation start reading your book. We just don’t have a real good feel on how to get “strangers” interested in what we’ve written. We have a sense it comes from “discovering” us at the place where people buy books and, for us, this equates to the big e-book distributors like Amazon. So now our big push is to get as many of the level-1 and level-2 people who read and liked our work to go to Amazon, B&N, Apple, or all three, and tell others what they thought. We think Amazon is the most important. Even when we buy a book somewhere else, we often go to Amazon first to see what other readers thought. We are also always more comfortable choosing an unknown author when they have 20 or more positive reviews. So that’s what we’re trying to do for Bobbie. Right now we have six: four five star and two four star ratings.
Level-4 is a dream. That’s the kind of marketing that happens when you have a runaway best seller and people want the movie rights. If we ever get to level-4, we will be sure to get professionals to help. It might mean less independence, but it would also mean we would have people begging to help us. Now wouldn’t that be sweet!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's Like Baseball...

We watched our 4 ½-year-old grandson play t-ball yesterday. It was the best kind of heart-warming comic relief. While a few of the youngsters seemed to grasp the idea behind baseball, the vast majority of the children were just happy to put on their uniform and run around, usually in the wrong direction. This morning, when we recalled the light-hearted events we’d witnessed, it made us think there could be a baseball analogy to writing novels.

 Like baseball, writing an engaging novel-length story requires understanding a set of non-intuitive rules. Not only must you develop writing skills, but you must employ them in ways that make the story you are trying to tell understandable and engaging. Of course, there is some latitude. That’s why we like different kinds of stories and storytellers. An analogy to baseball might be that radically different stances can still be successful when hitting, but you still must have a talent to put a round bat on a round ball. And you can’t football tackle a base runner because that would no longer be baseball, just like you can’t just slap 75,000 words down and expect it to be understandable, let alone a pleasure to read.

And, like baseball, to be good, novel writing takes practice. We’re on our way to a million words that no one but us and a few advanced readers will ever see. And we’re sure we are not alone. Most novelists must hone their craft before they are any good at it just like most ball players must scoop up thousands of ground balls before they’re proficient fielders.  Luckily, in both baseball and novel writing, there are people around that will help you get better, much of the time out of the goodness in their hearts.

It used to be that the baseball analogy would hold true to novel publishing, but not anymore. While there is still only one MLB where the very best players can showcase their talents in the USA, the publishing oligarchs, thanks to eBooks, are now in decline. Before major league baseball could face the kind of difficulties major publishers are, virtual reality would need to be sophisticated enough so that watching an internet baseball game would be more entertaining than watching it on TV. It would have to offer at least some of the experience of going to the ballpark. If that could occur, individual players could then be free to associate outside of baseball’s monopoly and form teams among themselves while their fans, incased in their own virtual enclaves all over the world, could cheer them on. If this were to happen, no doubt heated debates would flair over the purity of the game, but, we’re sure, the ease, comfort, and cost for enjoying virtual baseball would soon put the kind of pressures on the MLB that Amazon is putting on Random House. While we grew up loving bookstores, it is a simple fact that eBooks and the internet provide a greater wealth of stories than we would have ever discovered wandering the aisles of the bookstore. And if you love reading stories like we do and can get over the need to hold bound paper, it is so much easier to get lost in the words when they are delivered electronically. We know this is sacrilege to some and we still have hundreds of paper books at our house, but the writing is on the virtual-wall. EBooks will one day soon be the norm and paper books a luxury. Whether this ever happens to baseball, we can’t predict. In the meantime, we’ll drive over to the ball fields and watch our grandson put the glove on the wrong hand and wave to us in the stands with the other one.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More This and That

We’ve finished the cover for The Dragon Princess and we really like it! We still have a lot of fondness for the butterfly butt that went with Bobbie Titan and the Mark of Kain, partly for the prurient sensation it caused, but we think the new cover is a lot more dramatic. What do you guys think?

Speaking of The Mark of Kain – we are trying to get as many reviews as possible for our first book out to where other people read them. Right now we’re concentrating on Amazon. A lot of you sent us your comments and, if it’s not too much to ask, we would love for you to add your insights to our novel on our Amazon Page ( Click Here!)
We would love new comments too! We’ve found that it’s a tale of the “rich getting richer” at Amazon. More reviews mean more sales and we are still donating all the proceeds from The Mark of Kain to Poway High Student Services.

Thanks Debbie Thomas for your recent Bobbie Titan review – we’re blushing!

We had a great response to our February promotion for our second novel – The Valentine’s Game.  We gave away a lot of books. Surprisingly the greatest one-day downloads happened after Armin from the PHS Peer Counselors told the boys to “man up” and get a copy. We can’t wait to hear what the PC boys think of the story – the PC girls too for that matter.

Last week was the two-year anniversary of the Chelsea King tragedy. Frankly,  we still hate February 25th.  However, a much more pleasant experience occurred yesterday when over 6,000 people showed up to remember Chelsea at the fun run/walk that bears her name. Lynn got to see a lot of old friends and former students. She didn’t get much walking in, however, because she was too busy talking and hugging – her favorite kind of exercise! We try to make the characters in our stories have that special joie de vivre that exuded from Chelsea and we always try to live up to one of her favorite sayings – “They can because they think they can.”


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Comfort Zone Contemplation

In writing, like in life, sometimes there is something to gain by getting out of your comfort zone. At least we hope so.

Our next book is still with the editor and we’re looking for advanced readers for the one after that. (Let us know if you want to read the Bobbie Titan sequel and we’ll get you a copy.) So now it is time to start writing a new novel and, up until two days ago, we were having problems deciding what it should be about. The ideas we were tossing around sounded a lot like the books we’ve already or have just about completed. Frankly, there’s comfort in knowing we can generate these kinds of novels and the great reviews we’ve received so far offer compelling rationale for not straying too far from our strengths. Still, we want to keep it fresh and original and we worry about treading over an already well worn path.

This past week we were visiting our second daughter, Sarah, and her intended, Terence. While on our own one day, we came upon Canopy Tours, an adventure company that specializes in setting up zip lines in out of the way places. The one that is near our daughter’s house in Marin County rockets tourists through Redwood and Douglas Fir branches a hundred feet off the ground. Those of you who know our real personas will attest that neither Lynn nor Evans will be mistaken for a daredevil. In fact, the thought of perching on the side of a tree waiting for a turn to whiz on a line that looks too thin to support anything larger than the grey squirrels that scamper through the branches is the stuff that can wake Evans up at night with cold sweats. Lynn believed Evans would chicken out right up until his feet lifted from the first of seven breathtakingly wild and beautiful sails over the California coastal redwoods.

While driving back and chattering like magpies over how exciting the adventure was and how brave we’d been, we decided to take a chance and strike out in a new direction with our next novel. So now we’re going to see if we can craft a “sassy mystery.” We’re not really worried about the characters, but trying to figure out a realistic plot that offers the kind of interconnected but unexpected twists and turns that experienced mystery readers demand is a little scary. This is not unlike standing next to a swaying redwood trunk 90 feet in the air wondering if you have what it takes to step off into the sky. We only hope that the result is as fun and as thrilling as our time spent racing between the trees in Northern California.

On a personal note: We’d like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Chuck Wolf. He lost his wife of forty-one years, Nola, when a speeding car left the Bohemian Highway and crashed through the gazebo where people were waiting to be taken up the mountain to begin zipping through the trees. We had left this exact spot two hours before after completing our own adventure and remained blissfully unaware of the tragedy until our future son-in-law sent us a text the next day. We would also like to offer our heartfelt sympathies to our adventure guides, James and Sarah. We know you must be devastated by events you could not have foreseen. You took such good care of us and we know you would have done the same for the Wolfs had you been given the chance. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and with Nola’s family whose tragic loss is as devastating as it is unexpected.