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.