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!