Let The Good Times Roll

(J.D McPherson reference!)

Well, I promised a big announcement in January.

First of all, I’ll note something that’s not really a surprise, it’s a question of simple math: I published Welcome to Newtonberg in 2012.  So 2017 is the fifth anniversary of that book.

Has it been a success?  Financially, no.  I mean, I’m certainly not out any money since it cost little to publish it. I did all of the file preparation, design, and editing myself (along with a small group of beta readers looking for both typographical errors and continuity problems).  But any profit to speak of is minimal.

However, I’ve always said the entire process was more about getting the books out there: getting the stories told.  And in that respect, it’s been successful.

But 2017 doesn’t just mark the fifth anniversary of Welcome to Newtonberg: it actually marks 25 years since I wrote the first Newtonberg story.  “A Tear for Billy” was written one afternoon in 1992 in the computer lab at Buffalo High School in Buffalo, Texas.  It was written on an old IBM PC Jr (remember those?) using whatever word processing program was available (it might have been WordStar, but I honestly can’t remember).

“A Tear for Billy” wasn’t a great story, but it established the town, and over twenty years later, it served as the springboard for All That Remains.  For these reasons, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for it, no matter how pretentious and horrible it may have been.

I can hear you saying to yourself now: “Great.  Wonderful.  What’s the announcement?”

There are two, really:

  • Announcement #1: In Fall 2017, I will release a special “25th/5th Anniversary Omnibus Edition” of The Road To Newtonberg, a one-volume collection of all three Newtonberg stories. While there won’t be sweeping changes to the content, I will take the opportunity to correct a few errors that I’ve found, clarify a few plot points, and set everything up for…
  • Announcement #2: I am currently outlining/researching my next book. I can’t promise it will be published in 2017 as well, but I’ll try my hardest.

    While not set in Newtonberg, it is connected: it involves Ray Murchison. Who is Ray Murchison? He’s Rick Murchison’s younger brother, and Stu Murchison’s father. I won’t give much away in terms of the plot, but let’s say it involves first love and a lot of 1980s pop culture references in the small town of Schaefer, Texas (about 75 miles from Newtonberg).

    (For those of you have been following this site for a while, you might remember a vampire book in the works at one point.  Turns out I don’t do supernatural well.  While getting the characters established for that book, I found out that the main character, Ray, didn’t really want to go fight vampires.  He had another story to tell — this is it.)

What’s that I just heard?  A collective sigh from readers silently complaining to themselves that they’ve already paid for three separate books and now I’m asking them to pay again for a one-volume edition?  Well, actually… no (and yes).

If you downloaded the eBooks, I will also be updating the eBook files on Amazon and SmashWords.  So you can go back to those sites, log into your account and download the latest version for free. (In fact, if you bought it from Amazon, you can log into your account and go to “Manage Your Content and Devices”. It will let you know there that an updated version is available.)

If you bought the physical books, I’m afraid I can’t offer free copies of those.  I will be updating the text files at CreateSpace so all subsequent printings will have the same corrections/updates that are in The Road to Newtonberg.  However, if you purchased the print books and want to read the corrected versions as eBooks, contact me through my email or Facebook and I’m sure we can work something out.

Still, if you are considering upgrading your collection to the one-volume edition (or if you only bought one or two of the books originally), I plan to offer the print version of The Road To Newtonberg at $14.99 retail, which is only $5 more than one book in the series on its own.  The eBook will likely be $3.99, which is only $1 more than Back to Newtonberg on its own, and $1 less than buying All That Remains and Back to Newtonberg individually (since Welcome to Newtonberg is always free for download from SmashWords)

So there you have it: my big announcement for 2017. To quote Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters (the original, good version from 1984 — not the remake):

“I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! LET’S DO IT!”

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Filed under All That Remains, Back to Newtonberg, Notes from the Author, The Road to Newtonberg, Welcome to Newtonberg

All Good Gifts

(Godspell song reference in the title!)

I’m a few days late this year.  My birthday was actually last week, but once again, I’m giving YOU a present.

If you haven’t read my books yet, here’s a special offer: until January 1st, all of my eBooks are FREE on SmashWords.

Welcome to Newtonberg is already free, so there is no special code needed for it.

To get All That Remains free, use coupon code HS46W at checkout.

For Back to Newtonberg, use coupon code AL23Q at checkout.

Thanks again for all of your support this past year. Feel free to share this post with everyone you know to help get the word out about the books!

(And watch this space — BIG NEWS coming in January!)

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In memoriam: Umberto Eco, 1932-2016

I hope you don’t mind, but I am foregoing my usual song lyric/post title format this time. In this particular case, I don’t feel it’s appropriate.  The importance of someone’s life shouldn’t be reduced to  song title.

Last night I logged onto Facebook and learned that one of my favorite authors had died.

Not Harper Lee — although To Kill a Mockingbird is indeed a classic of American literature.

I’m talking about Umberto Eco.

I went through the first twenty years or so of my life not ever having heard of Umberto Eco.  While I’ve always been a reader, until college I pretty much stuck with American or British authors. To my knowledge, I never read a book that had been translated from another language (aside from Beowulf or some obscure short stories in high school English class).

When I took my first job at the public library where I would work for over twenty years, one of my co-workers had worked in the publishing industry as an editor.  She seemed very intelligent and sophisticated to me, and I was impressed by her wide knowledge of the various authors in our collection.

One day, we were putting books on the cart to reshelve them when I spotted The Name of the Rose among the titles.  I recognized it as having been the basis for a Sean Connery movie that I had yet to see, and remarked that the book could be an interesting read.

“Oh, I don’t think you’ll like it,” she replied.  “It’s very intellectual.”

Now at the time, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by that, but it sounded a little like an insult (whether she intended it to be perceived as such or not). Feeling as if I’d been issued a challenge, I determined that I would read the book anyway, just out of spite.

And that’s how I discovered Eco — someone challenged my intellectual ability (or at least, that’s how I perceived it).

I’ve told this story to people over the years, and while most react the way I did at the time (“How dare she judge what you’re capable of understanding?”), at least one person challenged that reaction: “Did you ever stop to think that she was using reverse psychology to get you to step outside your comfort zone?”

Thinking back on it twenty years later, they could have been right.

At any rate, I am grateful to her.  Had it not been for Eco, I never would have discovered other authors I love, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Arturo Perez-Reverte. Had it not been for The Name of the Rose, I never would have read Eco’s other books — Baudolino, Foucault’s Pendulum, Numero Zero.  I never would have developed my love-hate relationship with The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana.

Because of Eco, I broadened my horizons internationally.  I discovered foreign films (La vita è bella, La cité des enfants perdus, Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain), and musicians such as Emma Shapplin,  Louis Bertignac, and the participants in the wonderful French annual charity concert Les Enfoirés.

Umberto Eco made me a better writer, a more creative thinker, and above all more aware of the world I live in.  Words are not adequate to express my gratitude. As he said himself in the postscript to The Name of the Rose: “Books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told.”

Anything I say has been said before, and (most often) more eloquently than I could say it myself. So I will simply say this:

“Thank you. And may you rest in peace.”

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Money Back Guarantee

(Pigeon John reference in the title!)

It’s my birthday! And once again, I’m giving YOU a present.

If you haven’t read my books yet, here’s a special offer: until December 31st, all of my eBooks are FREE on SmashWords.

Welcome to Newtonberg is already free, so there is no special code needed for it.

To get All That Remains free, use coupon code UC98V at checkout.

For Back to Newtonberg, use coupon code LE86N at checkout.

Thanks again for all of your support this past year. Feel free to share this post with everyone you know to help get the word out about the books!

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Filed under All That Remains, Back to Newtonberg, Notes from the Author, Publicity, Welcome to Newtonberg

Waiting For Such a Long Long Time

(World Party reference!)

When I last made a blog entry, I mentioned that I was “embarking on a new journey professionally.” That is true. I am doing something totally new to me, although it still involves helping people find the information they need.

While I learn the job, it is seriously cutting into my writing time. However, this is a sacrifice I believe I need to make right now for myself and my family. Once I know how to do the job right, and to the best of my ability, I will be able to get back to the work I am leaving unfinished for now.

For now.

I will get back to Newtonberg eventually. And as for that vampire book — well, they’re eternal, aren’t they? They’ll still be there when I need them, and vice-versa.

I’ll be back eventually. I promise.

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