Friday, March 29, 2013

Episodic eBook Content

For over a year and a half now, I have been writing in full force to the best of my ability. I'm doing all this while balancing my job, family, and other responsibilities. Despite all of that, between August 2011 and March 2013, I wrote and published six novels and two short stories equaling a total of about 378,000 words.

When I put it in that perspective, I've accomplished a lot.

I intended to move forward with writing the third Fram Gage novel. I began it a few weeks ago, but found that my rate of writing paled in comparison to what I had done before. There are a number of reasons for this. I know what I want to do with the story, but I'm having trouble getting it to work. It's not "clicking" for me right now.

There's another issue, too. I have had some other story ideas. One of these ideas as been put to the fore over the past month. I fleshed out the premise, the main characters, and the plot. As I did it, I thought it would work good as a series. But not a series of novels. Rather, I went back to my original intent when I started the Miscorrection trilogy.

At that time, I viewed it like a television series or mini-series. The stories were episodic. I had a vision for them. But during the way, I faltered in properly writing it episodically, and turned it into a series of novels instead. Preludes gives you a glimpse of what I attempted to do, but Dimensions and Times became full on novels.

This past week, I recalled reading that John Scalzi would be releasing episodic content. I went on Amazon and found The Human Division series. Sure enough, the vision I had for Miscorrection stood there before my eyes on a virtual bookshelf. Each episode of the series has been released on a weekly basis, every Tuesday, and will continue to until all 13 episodes are complete.

Over the past couple days, I bought and read the first two episodes in the series. I admit, I liked reading them like this. It's quick fiction but enjoyable at the same time. Scalzi's approach to writing the series (at least after these first two reads) is different than mine, but still works.

With all of this swirling around me and in my head and around the world, I made a decision. For now, the third Fram Gage novel is going up on the "Incomplete Stories" shelf. The only other story that has had this happen is a sequel to Copy Bird that I started last summer.

Going forward, I'm going to write my own episodic series the way I envisioned over three years ago. This means I'll be writing like a fiend until I have a season complete so I can release them on a weekly basis. Currently, my goal is to have the season start in November 2013 and run into February 2014.

I expect that this post will be one of very few that happen between now and November. If there are any, they'll probably be about my family or maybe tidbits on the progress of writing this episodic series.

I also expect that I will not be publishing any books until that time. It makes it seem like a dry spell compared to my productivity as of late, but I'm putting the year in focus. I'm looking at the roadblocks that will come up that might hinder my progress. My goal is realistic, difficult, but attainable.

It's a tough decision to hold off on Fram Gage. But I have to do it. Now off I go!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"Imaginary Me" Book Release Info

Imaginary Me CoverIn two days, my latest book under the Desmond Shepherd pen name, Imaginary Me, will be available for the world to read.

I'm excited to bring this book to the public. Of all the stories I've written to this point, I feel that Imaginary Me is my best work. I hate saying that because it could imply I feel the other stories I've written aren't as good. But I'm too proud of the final outcome of the book to not say it.

Imaginary Me marks a milestone for all of my books. This book will be the first one that releases simultaneously across all the major platforms, including paperback. In the past, the eBook would arrive within a couple weeks of each other on Amazon, B&N, Apple, and so forth. This time, they all hit at once.

To celebrate the release of the book, it will be on sale at a discounted price throughout the month of March. The price will be $2.99 US, which is 40% off the regular price of $4.99 when April 1st hits. The paperback version will be be $7.99, which is 20% off the regular price of $9.99.

It is available now at the locations listed below. There is currently a problem with the Apple version of the book. As soon as that is available, I'll update this post with the link.

Available at the following locations:

Click To Buy   Click To Buy            

Print edition available at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Imaginary Me (Excerpt)

On March 15, 2013, Imaginary Me will be available for your favorite eReading device and in print. I'm happy to say that you can get a taste of what to expect from the book right now. Below is the first chapter for your reading enjoyment.

Would you like to win a free copy of the book?

All you have to do is go to the Facebook photo of the cover. "Share" the photo and comment that you did so. On March 14, 2013, I'll announce the winner of the book.

And now, here is the first chapter. Enjoy!

Coming March 15, 2013


Imaginary Me


© Desmond Shepherd


Chapter 1


“Who am I?” I ask the little girl standing in front of me.

She has hair that reaches her shoulders but sticks out in all directions as if it hasn’t been brushed in a long time. She grabs a few strands and twirls them with her fingers. She smiles wide, opening her eyes with a sparkle. She’s wearing a pink hooded sweater and purple leggings that reach to her calves. Her feet are bare.

“You’re Charming,” she says.

“And who are you?” I ask.

“I’m the pwincess!”

“You’re awfully young to be a princess.”

“Four years old is not young to be a pwincess.”

She places her right hand on her hip and pinches her lips tight.

“OK. Sorry.” I place my hands out to slow her down. “Didn’t mean to upset you. But....”

The room I’m standing in resembles anything but that of a princess’s bedroom. She knows it, too. A pile of clothes, surely dirty, sits next to a crude shelf that holds more unfolded clothes. The carpeted floor is littered with stains of brown and gray and red and black. Along the ceiling, a light brown stain travels from the one corner down the wall and toward the floor.

“This doesn’t look like any place for a princess to sleep. Where’s your bed?”

“Right there,” she says as she points a finger toward the corner of the room opposite the stained wall.

It’s a pile of three sheets. One on the floor, two others above it.

“Where’s your pillow?”

“Right there.” She points again, shifting her hand over.

The pillow is a bunched up pile of clothes consisting of two shirts, a pair of pants, and some socks.

“Princess,” I say. I bend down so I’m eye level with her. “What’s happened to your castle?”

She rolls her eyes. It seems I’m not adept at seeing things the way she sees. Mainly because she’s not letting me see it. That little tidbit she gave me in an instant.

“Charming,” she says with a tone of giving me an order. “You are my pwince. This is our castle!”

She puts both hands in the air in triumph. She walks over to the bed, taps it with her index finger, and says, “This is my royal bed.” She giggles.

The bed of sheets and pillow of clothes transform before my eyes. In a wavy motion, the sheets rise up, converting into a larger bed with a thick mattress. The cover turns into a maroon cloth with a fuzzy texture. The pillow becomes plush and bursts into a total of three large pillows. On each corner of the bed, posts grow upward with carvings of abstract circular designs in them. A canopy of similar material to the bed cover reaches to each post, draping over top.

“I say, it’s certainly a beautiful bed fit for a beautiful princess.”

She walks over to the pile of dirty clothes and a shelf and touches them.

“This is my favowit,” she says. “All my clothes and make-up.”

The clothes lift into the air and transform into long, formal dresses covered with frills and sparkles. The shelf converts into a tall off-white dresser with a closet to match beside it. Metal hangers float into the room, scooping into the dresses and floating them into the closet where they hang on the rack. Each of the four drawers in the dresser opens and more clothes sweep in, folding neatly before landing in the drawer. The drawer closes on its own, as if an invisible hand pushes it.

On the left side of the dresser, a mirror forms on the wall. An area to sit in front of the mirror, with a wooden chair at just the right height for the princess, also appears. A tabletop protrudes from the wall with an assortment of lipsticks, blush, and other materials for making the princess pretty.

The floor glows gold in a pinpoint at the center of the room and spreads outward. It changes into a flower-covered rug, stretching outward until it reaches each wall of the room.

“Now is it a pwincess room?” she asks.

“Oh definitely,” I say. “Now what do you want me to do?”

I have the need to wait for her command. She blocks off what she wants until she says it. She controls my every action. Makes me whatever she can imagine.

She runs to the bed, jumps into it, and lays flat on her back. Her eyes close tightly, stopping any light from entering. Her clothes turn into a beautiful green dress lined with yellow edges.

“Now,” she says, “you’re the pwince coming to save me. I’m at the highest part of the castle, sleeping. You have to kiss me to wake me up because the evil queen has cast a spell on me.”

A glance in the mirror shows my blond, sweeping hair. A chiseled chin and face clean of any beard. My eyes are a bright blue. When I smile, my teeth sparkle white. I’m wearing a red cape, a leather vest, and gray tights with dark shorts. My boots are leather, too.

“Ah! My princess,” I say. “I have traveled through many kingdoms to find you. My horse tired long before me. My journey led me through numerous perils. But I have found you.”

I step closer to the princess. She lies asleep. Her eyes flutter as if she will awaken. Her left eye opens quickly and closes. A big smile forms on her face.

“What must I do to waken this beauty?” I say. “Perhaps! Perhaps a kiss on the fair maiden’s lips is all that is needed to wake her from her slumber.”

I kneel down beside the bed. The princess stiffens in anticipation of the kiss. I bend downward to kiss her on the lips and awaken her. My lips almost touch hers.

“Samantha!” a voice yells from outside the bedroom. “Samantha Pruitt! Where are you girl? Where are you?” The voice grows closer and resembles that of an angry witch.

I turn to the voice, away from the kiss that would awaken the princess. The princess sits up. Her hands tremble at the sound of the woman’s voice.

“It’s the evil queen,” she whispers. “She’s found us. We have to hide.”

I grab her hands to steady them and say, “Don’t worry, my princess. I’ll keep you safe.”

“Samantha Pruitt!” the evil queen says from not far off. The walls outside thump like thunder. “Don’t make me find you.”

The room washes away from the royal bedroom to the dirty mess it had been previously.

“Come on,” the princess says. “We got to hide in the cave!”

The pile of clothes turns into a dark hole at the base of a large gray mountain. It shrinks in size as it grows further and further away, becoming a pinpoint.

“Samantha!”

“We’ll never get there in time,” I say. “The cave is too far.”

“No it’s not. Because you’re my horse that’ll take me there.”

Before my eyes, my hands become hooves. My human arms transform into the legs of a dark brown horse. My body elongates and within seconds I’m standing on four legs. My mane is blond as is my tail.

I snort out some air and shake my head. I try to speak, but my voice comes out as the neighs of a horse.

“Don’t worry,” she says, “you’re a tawking horse.”

Through the neighs I blurt out, “Hop on, my princess.” My voice is deep and commanding. “I’ll take you to safety.”

The princess hops on my back, grabs onto my mane with her left hand, and pets me with the right. We gallop toward the cave to escape the watchful eye of the evil queen.

Available at the following locations:

Click To Buy   Click To Buy            

Print edition available at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Read An E-Book Week Discounts

It's Read An E-Book Week!

What better way to fulfill the title of this week than by reading one of my eBooks. Don't worry, if you choose wisely, you can get some of them for free.

Below is a list of books I'm offering at a discount this week. These discounts are on Smashwords only and are not available anywhere else. Click the book title or cover to be taken to the product page. When checking out, make sure you use the coupon code listed to get the discount.

Enjoy!

Futan Vice: The Trouble On Drabble (50% off with coupon code REW50)

TroubleDrabble


Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability (FREE with coupon code RW100)

Fram Gage Cover TIA Alternative-2


Fram Gage and The Three Adversaries (50% off with coupon code REW50)




Miscorrection: Preludes (FREE with coupon code RW100)

Preludes New


Miscorrection: Dimensions (50% off with coupon code REW50)




Miscorrection: Times (50% off with coupon code REW50)

MiscorrectionTimesCover


Unspoken Stories (50% off with coupon code REW50)


Friday, March 1, 2013

How To Tell The "Imaginary Me" Story

[caption id="attachment_2965" align="alignleft" width="100"]Coming March 15, 2013 Coming March 15, 2013[/caption]

Before I began writing Imaginary Me, I had to figure out exactly how I would do it. The first part is getting a story in mind. That part came quite naturally given the premise.

The real issue came when I had to make up the rules of the imaginary friend of four-year-old Sammy Pruitt. There are all sorts of avenues to take with an imaginary friend. Here are some of the questions I considered.

Will the imaginary friend exist when Sammy isn't thinking about him? Or will he only exist when he's imagined?

Is the imaginary friend his own entity with thoughts and feelings? Or are his feelings in sync with whatever Sammy feels? Or maybe it's a little of both?

Is the imaginary friend smarter than Sammy? Or is he of the same intelligence as Sammy? Or a little of both?

Can the imaginary friend have an effect on the real world? Or will he be completely invisible and unable to have an impact in reality?

Will the imaginary friend have a name? Is he better suited without a specific name but with many names given whatever circumstance Sammy imagines him in?

Does the imaginary friend see things visually from his perspective? From Sammy's perspective? Or the imagined perspective that Sammy has of the imaginary friend? Maybe a mix of both?

Is the imaginary friend only capable of being a human? Or can he take on other forms?

I had to answer those questions before I could write a single word of the story. And what I came up helped shape the story further because I knew the capabilities of the imaginary friend. Now his role in Sammy Pruitt's life came into focus. I'm extremely happy with the direction I took with the story.