Launch! “The Beacons I See” is live!

The time has at last arrived, friends. My newest novel, The Beacons I See is now available for download, at a cost of $1.99 at the following ebook stores. (With more to come!):

Don’t worry, Kindle folks, I have not left you out. Due to a quirk that I think I may have accidentally engaged, Kindle versions won’t be available until Tuesday… (Amazon and I are not the best of dance partners.) However, you can still buy your Kindle copy right now, and it will be sent to your device on Tuesday. The link to do that is below.

These four stores are by far the most popular, but I have distributed it to others as well. I will update this post as the novel arrives at those locations, in case you use one of those.

By the end of the month I hope to also have it available in paperback. First things first, however. Need to take care of the ebook side of things this week.

As a reminder, here is the official synopsis:

Vanessa is a highly sensitive person on the Autism Spectrum. Like the other women in her family, she can see promises. Anywhere a promise has been made by people, she sees spheres of colored light she calls beacons. Mostly she overlooks them, and mostly she prefers her solitude.

One day on a much needed vacation to the family cabin, Vanessa sees the impossible: a beacon high above the trees, where no normal person could possibly promise anything.

Torn between investigating the woods with the help of strangers, and following her original plan to withdraw from the stresses of the world, Vanessa spends the summer learning more about her gift, herself, and her relationship with other people.

 

The Beacons I see

Thank you in advance for those who purchase a copy of this novel, which began last year when the first few lines came to me in a dream. If you like it, please remember to leave a rating and review on Amazon, or on Goodreads. It helps a lot folks!

UPDATE: (7/10/17)

Here is a universal link that puts all of the separate store links in once place. Those I have mentioned above, aside from Amazon, plus a few more that have accepted the ebook can be found here. Amazon of course remains a seperate link, as is Amazon’s wont.

UPDATE: (7/22/17)

Now available in paperback from CreateSpace. Paperback will also be available on Amazon in the next few days.

UPDATE: (7/23/17) 

The paperback is now available at Amazon, if you prefer to do all of your shopping there.

 

I Have Used “Those” Words.

I’ll not open such an important topic with poetry. I will state the purpose of this post right away.

I have, in my life, both uttered and used the following words at some point: “Nigger. “Fag.” “Bitch.” As well as several other words that amount to the same thing as these.

Note the distinction between “uttered” and “used.” Uttered simply means that my mouth and voice have formed the words audibly for any number of reasons. I continue to utter such words within the context of conversation about their usage, their effects. I don’t believe in a verbal or academic silence when it comes to such words, vulgar as they may be, because we skip the horror and the ugliness of their existence when we resort, for the sake of politeness, to sentence constructs such as, “Upon exiting her vehicle, the assailant screamed ‘the n-word’ at her.” Nor, the assailant did not. The assailant screamed “nigger” at her, as that sort of thing must remain out in the open, in the light, if we are to combat it. You will hear me say the actual words in these cases.

You will also hear me utter them when I rhetorically embody the voice of an enemy society. That is to say you might hear me used the words, in certain contexts to once again bring a thought out into the open. “To idiots like him, they are just fags, and have no rights.”

Yet during these dark, polarizing and increasingly dangerous hateful times, I have not written this post to share my utterances of these words. I write tonight about my use of them. For there was a time when I did use some of these words, mostly within my high school years.

I offer no excuses for the use of these words, but merely some explanations by way of confession, lest I, ally to minorities and opposition to lackadaisical use by WASPs of some historically damaging language, appear to present myself as having an unblemished past.

Believe it or not, even in the deepest, most immature and angry times in my youth, wherein I would use some of these words I still, still made no true distinction between the rights of myself, and the target of my language. This of course is not relevant when it comes to such words, but I’m delving into the thought processes I possessed then, not now.

To begin with, in the majority of cases I didn’t address anyone personally. Merely referred to them at home, in their absence, by the term. I was for several  years harassed, almost exclusively by certain Africian-Americans with whom I went to school, in two different locations. They, by virtue of their cruelty, were the niggers. A black person could either be a nigger, or they could not be, but I, in my mind, was coming up against the former almost all of the time.

The word to me then, in my rashness, was indicative of a chosen behavior, which I, in the anonymity of my home or among a very few people not connected with them used as a label. The concept of the word being a universal, historical branding used by whites as a method by which to dehumanize an entire race was all academic to me at that point—more theory than fact. Plus, as it was the only way, in my mind, to be as vile to my aggressors as they were being to me, I felt a certain liberation in the use of the word, even just at home.

This passed, eventually, though my use of the word did not yet. Later high school days, and very early college I would use it satirically only, even around a few African-American friends who didn’t seem to care, and even used it themselves in that manner. I no longer thought a black person could opt into or out of being a nigger. None of them actually were one, regardless of how much of an asshole any of them could be.

To be honest, I’d prefer if even African-Americans were to stop using it in that context. But what then was a justification to use it in play, (and what to some people I know still is a justification to do so) is no longer so for the same reasons I stated above, about the brand the word carries with it when spoken by a white person. I must disagree with the notion that it’s “okay” for black people to use it, but as an adult I accept that it’s that community’s issue to deal with, not my own. I of course no longer use it satirically.

I never had any particular run-ins with homosexuals, even though I used “fag” during around the same time. As difficult as it may be to believe, I still didn’t wish that minority any particular harm, as it were, when I used the word. Frankly I didn’t make much use of it until high school, when other around me in my group used it as a sort of catch all for a weak man. To me at the time, much like the nigger/African-American connection, a man could be gay, and not be a fag as it were. A fag was a flamboyant male, the stereotypical pre-Will and Grace TV gay. That to me was at the time annoying. But as it was nothing more than obnoxious to me, I figured using the word “fag” was for the most part not an affront.

As for it’s secondary usage, that of a weak man, it was such a common use of it at the time, with my classmates that I dare say I carelessly used it to mean that more often than I used it to mean an effeminate homosexual male; I had never met any so called effiminate homosexual males in person at that point. Even the famous ones, for reasons I didn’t quite understand at the time, or now, were not all “fags.” Richard Simmons, fag. Elton John, merely gay. Doesn’t make much sense, but neither does this type of mindset. Basically by the start of college, that use of it was done.

Lingering a bit later was the use of the word “gay” to mean “lame.”

“Bitch.” Over the course of my life probably the one I have used the most. Truth be told I sometimes still use this one. I work at it, though this is the one I heard more often than any of the others in the family vernacular growing up. It doesn’t make it right, but in our household, a “bitch” was a mean woman. Not an outspoken woman, or a woman boss, or a powerful woman. It was just, if she is a woman, and she isn’t a nice person, she’s a bitch. (Just as if a guy is not a nice person, he’s an asshole. A woman being an asshole just seemed like a linguistic oddity, just as a male-bitch would be.) Due to this larger distinction, this one has been the most difficult to break.

So, that is my past. I have both uttered and used some of the most divisive English words there are, and others. “Nigger” and “Fag” have been eliminated from authentic use in my speaking. On rare occasion I do have to sometimes swallow use of “gay.” “Bitch” is hanging on longer than I would like to admit.

I used those words. I justified them, insisted on my right to use them. And then….I changed my mind.

I’m an obstinate pain-in-the-ass on the spectrum, and and Unglebower. If I can change my mind about such things, plenty of other people can to.

 

Launch Date for The Beacons I See

I’m happy to once again reach the stage in the novel-writing adventure where I can share with the world when to expect its publication.

You won’t have long to wait from today. The Beacons I See, my third novel, will be available in ebook form starting on Saturday, July 8th! Starting price will be, as with most of my new releases, $1.99.

I do plan to make this one available in paperback as well. But I will need a little more time to get everything together for that. Hopefully that will be happening before the end of summer, if not even sooner. I will keep those of you paper-lovers informed as to when that happens.

So enjoy the holiday in July, and when that is all over, welcome the weekend after with my latest novel.

The Beacons I see

Cover Reveal: The Beacons I See

I’m proud to show off the cover to the ebook version (and perhaps eventually the paperback version) of my upcoming novel, The Beacons I See.

A product of Vila Design, here it is.

 

 

The Beacons I see

My experiences working with Vila Design was easy, enjoyable and efficient. I’d work with the company again, and hope you will consider them for your next cover as well.

As for the image itself, it reflects the plot as well as the atmosphere of the novel quite well in several ways.

As a refresher, the book is about Vanessa, who is a Promise Seer, a member of one of only a few families left in the world that can see visual remnants of promises the people make to one another, in the form of orbs or bright light. The light shows up in the space between the two parties involved in the promise. Vanessa calls them “beacons.” (Hence the title.)

One day, on her way to her grandmother’s cabin for some long overdue relaxation, the sensitive Vanessa spots an unusual beacon-a purple one, way up in the trees. Given the nature of beacons, she is of course confused and intrigued by this. Why, and more important, how in the hell could someone make a promise to another person while suspended above a patch of woods in the country? The novel is a mixture of her attempts to relax on her retreat, while also trying to solve this little mystery. (The two pursuits do not compliment one another.)

The cover represents this odd purple beacon nicely. (Vanessa calls it “The Stray.”) Alone, above a clump of trees, but shining bright enough to be seen. It’s also a splash of contrasting color right in the middle of the image, which I think catches the eye, and will be especially useful in thumbnails of the cover.

The trees themselves here look natural. Not Gothic horror trees, and this is what I wanted; a treeline you or I could see any given day on a drive. The sky above, at around dusk, suggests somewhat unsettled weather in the future, but is not unpleasant now.

The script of the title, unlike any I’ve used for a cover before, puts me in mind of someone writing an important letter, perhaps. As the novel is written in first person from Vanessa’s POV, I find that appropriate.

I shared some, but of course not all details with the designer during this process. Not everything I mention here was specifically discussed between they and I, but I mention it here during the reveal post to show how well it captures various aspects of the novel’s spirit, even if not every page and plot twist was revealed beforehand.

In other words, it achieves the purpose of a good cover.

So, that’s one more step completed. With this image, I can begin some of the marketing and promoting steps that would have been less effective without it.

Like the cover? Let me know in the comments. First one to do so can get a free e-copy of the novel once it launches.

 

Promotions Progress

For the last few months, I have designated Thursdays as “Marketing Thursdays.” While I haven’t yet done more actual marketing on Thursdays, I have dedicated that day to familiarizing myself with new options to promote my work, and by extension, myself as an author. I’ve mentioned this a few times before.

I’m happy to report that the outline of an actual marketing/promotional plan and budget for my upcoming novel, The Beacons I See is solidifying. Such plans must be fluid and of course will ebb and flow with my needs, but the basics are nearly set.

Now, if I were to share with you the details of that developing plan, you’d probably think you were missing a page of my blog somehow, if you have any experience with marketing. It wouldn’t seem ambitious to people in the know on such matters. Yet for me, who has never investigated or invested in such options before to such an extent, it feels like I’m taking steps far beyond baby size.

It’s nerve wracking, I won’t lie. It may always be so to an extent. Yet as with self publishing I imagine that with time it will get easier. Familiarity alone is a powerful learning tool.

The key to success is not trying to do what so many others are doing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people attempt to start building something from the top floor down. I don’t only mean authors, either. Businesses. Arts projects. Social events. Clubs. We sometimes fall so much in love with the bigness of possibilities, that we forget the wisdom of starting modestly.

Truth be told, modest beginnings may not be enough for most people, but I would rather build a brick at a time like a mason. What I have done for my previous books hasn’t been enough to achieve all of the goals I wanted for them, so I have had to add more bricks to the wall of this marketing building. Yet a ton of bricks does nothing if it’s just dropped from an airplane. (Other than make a mess.)

You might not be an indie author, but if you take anything away from this somewhat vague update, remember that the big stuff can always be pursued in the future. You can learn to juggle the ten thousand things if that is your ambition. It’s a shot to the foot in most cases, though, if your entire plan is, “to hell with the comfort zone, and full speed ahead with everything I could possibly imagine!” That’s the popular approach of this generation, I think. Fortunately, I’ve never had to worry about being popular.