Publish? Perish?

The Keeper of Tales came out over three months ago now. I’m pretty proud of it. But something interesting has happened… sales have dropped off. It’s not getting all that much attention, as far as I can tell.

Now that’s not uncommon in the least. Most books make their best sales within the first month of release, and then they sort of piddle out. There’s a reason “publish or perish” is a saying. Course, I usually hear that in relation to college professors, but it applies just as equally to authors.

With every publication, authors get eyes on their words again. And if someone likes what they read, well, they might just check out that author’s backlist. I know I’ve done it before. When I first discovered Neal Shusterman, I started looking for other books he wrote. Same thing with Robert B. Parker. And Peter David. And… well, you get the idea.

In professional writing, generally the more you publish, the more each book makes as readers start searching up that backlist.

What that means practically for me is that if I want to make more sales of The Keeper of Tales, I need to get another novel out there!

Continue reading “Publish? Perish?”

I Have a Problem

On December 1, 2021, my new novel Dragons of the Ashfall will be released from Dark Owl Publishing!

Orphans never have easy lives, but they’re especially brutal in the ashfall. Londinium grinds children down to nothing in its factories. Patty Rinkin, a rare grindery girl with a last name, just wants to survive. Then dragons arrive and make everything so much harder. Or will they give Patty the opportunity to fight back against the Gear that’s caused so much suffering?

This novel’s also book one in a series. How long is the series? Well, more than one book! We’ll have to see how sales go.

But this leads to my problem. Less than two months ago my debut novel, The Keeper of Tales, was released. It hasn’t been long at all! I’m very grateful that Dark Owl is once again trusting me. Two novels in less than a year? Not many authors can say that!

But… that first novel just came out. I should still be pushing that. And now I’ve got another one on the calendar. I’ve got a number of short stories I’m working on and submitting to various places (and yes a number being published in the next few months). I’m waiting for the edits from another novel to get back to me. I’ve got at least two more novels in the immediate future to work on. Plus I’ve got that novella on Vella to keep an eye on, and this week I’m meeting with another author to see about cowriting a project together.

And this is my problem. I’ve got so many writing projects going on! Oh, and writing isn’t the profession that pays the bills currently. I’m still very much a full-time pastor!

But this problem is such a blessing. I’m not writing just for me. I have places to put that writing. I’m creating worlds that other people get to visit. They can read the short stories in so many places. One novel is out, with another well on the way. Two years ago, I don’t think I could have imagined such opportunities that I have now.

With all these opportunities, I feel like I’ve walked into a massive grocery store with a billion choices for chips. I want to try them all, but I know I can’t do it all. Decision paralysis!

I’m complaining about good things, really. Just like anything else, I need to take it one day at a time. I do have a plan for moving forward. But even as I move forward, I need to look back.

So, hey, if you enjoy my writing, check out my Published Works tab. And purchase Keeper of Tales. A lot of people seem to really like it!

And if you really like my writing, another novel is coming!

It’s got a maaaaaaaaaaaaap…

When you enter the guestroom in our house, you will see three things:

  1. A bed
  2. Shelves of books
  3. Maps

The bed is so you can, in theory, sleep. You can also read there. I’ve known one guest who watched some movies there. Basically, it’s a comfy area to be comfortable on.

The shelves of books are for comfort, too. There’s nothing quite so relaxing for me as being surrounded by all my friends. I’ve seen enough memes to know that I’m not alone in that. To gaze upon worlds bound in ink and paper is an amazing thing.

But the maps…?

Continue reading “It’s got a maaaaaaaaaaaaap…”

The Dark Walk Forward

There’s something wrong in the town of Ste. Odile.

The doctors have unique ways of helping their patients.

The wonderful old lady has a dog that seems to know too much.

The veiled women fear to go out in daylight.

John S. McFarland has strung together twenty short stories in The Dark Walk Forward, many of them in this twisted, dark town right after the great War. Sometimes things seem to be wrong, but maybe it’s just your imagination.

The stories creep with dread. No jump scares will startle you. Instead, horror will crawl closer on six legs until it wraps boneless but muscular fingers around your heart and squeezes.

Admittedly, not every story was a home run for me, personally. “The Thing Under the Seat” didn’t connect with me, for instance.

That said, there were a number of short stories that scratch under my skin yet.

“One Happy Family” starts with a doctor doing a good deed: Driving out to the woods to help a poor family deliver another child. But as the doctor enters the house, McFarland showed little by little that something was not right. By the time the payoff hit, I predicted what could happen, but it didn’t matter because the artistry of the storytelling still kept my attention fast.

“Oblivion” got to me, too, and I didn’t predict that ending. I should have. McFarland set it up so well, but I didn’t see it coming. There, a schoolteacher in the 1880’s attempts to protect her students from the worst blizzard of her time. Her desperation was amazing.

“The Dark Walk Forward” filled me with grief. A soldier comes home from the war to meet a son he never really knew. The son isn’t normal, though. How does PTSD and autism mix?

The book feels real in a way that’s hard to nail down. As you read, you don’t get the feeling you’re reading a story. It feels more like something that really happened. A note at the back of the book informs on some of the background information, but throughout there’s a reality that’s hard to ignore.

If you like short stories that fill you with dread, check this one out. It’s worth your time.

Every once in a while, I like putting up a review of a book I’ve read. Regular blogging will continue soon!