Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Update on Halos & Horns

There will be a third book in the Halos & Horns series, tentatively titled "To Hell in a Hand Basket", followed by a fourth novel, "The Witches' Cauldron".

I know there are some readers who will be upset by the controversial ending to the second book, "And A Child Shall Lead Them". I ask that you set down your torches and pitchforks long enough to see how it is resolved in "To Hell in a Hand Basket" before you pass final judgment. I admit, it is a shocking cliff-hanger, but remember, cliff-hangers are supposed to be shocking and aren't meant to be the end of the story. Also, it's only fiction - so chill out! 

"To Hell in a Hand Basket" includes a story arc featuring Siofra, the malevolent 13-year-old Irish changeling paired with naive 10-year-old Kaya, the sheltered Japanese girl with a secret curse. A second storyline follows hard-boiled Detective Mordecai, his hybrid-vampire daughter Sharon, and call girl Kennedy revealing the astonishing secret linking them all. Of course, the angel Gabriel Horn and demon Lou Cypher are back, but their lives are about to be inexorably altered by the events at the end of "And A Child Shall Lead Them".

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Best Book Reviews Are The Silent Ones

We've been talking a lot this week about book reviews. There should be an awards presentation for amateur reviewers. I've already got my candidates lined up. The funniest: the book vlogger who stumbled over title of Paved With Good Intentions (come on, it's only four words!), then held the book up to the camera, turned the spine facing her, and surreally flipped the pages for her viewers - presumably to show it was a real book with real pages... and that was it. The whole "review" - 28 seconds). Or the amateur reviewer who didn't read the book. How could I tell? She thought my demon (named Lucifer) and the Devil were the same character, even though Lucifer and the Devil engage in a conversation on... page one! That's right, it's on the very first page! Or, the amateur reviewer who couldn't grasp the literary concept of episodic fiction. You couldn't make this stuff up.

But my favorite review this month came from Germany. Amazon recently opened Kindle to the German market and a frequent query on the Kindle Boards is "Have you had any German sales yet?" Apparently, Kindle sales by independent authors in the nascent German market are scarcer than unicorn sightings. One author went so far as to translate his book into German using Google's translator (which may yield a rather humorous translation). But two weeks ago, I had my very first German Kindle sale - a copy of Paved With Good Intentions. Then, about five days later, my second German sale came through - a copy of And A Child Shall Lead Them. I think it's safe to assume the sole German purchaser of the sequel was the same buyer who had downloaded the first book in the Halos & Horns series. I think it's also a valid assumption that he or she must have enjoyed the first book to have purchased the second.

My German reader never said a word. No fan mail. No blog comment. No Amazon review. He merely gave his opinion with his wallet. And it spoke volumes. The best book reviews are the silent ones.

Danke schön.

So What's Your Opinion?

We've been having some rather active discussion on the Kindle Boards about pricing of eBooks. Some authors are pricing novels at $2.99, which is the lowest price to qualify for Amazon's higher discount. Other authors insist  that 99 cents is the best price, even though that will slice their royalties in half. Another school of thought is that readers will think a 99-cent novel must be of poor quality and will not look at eBooks priced below $4.99. And finally, there are some authors adamant that they should offer their eBooks free (No, I haven't figured out how they make a living doing that).

So, if you're an eBook purchaser, what price is your "sweet spot"? How much is too much? How cheap devalues the work? I've listened to all the authors and publishers blog about this; now I'd like to hear from you, the readers. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Do You Own or Work at a Bookstore?

If you own or work at a bookstore, check out the June issue of Ingram's ADVANCE magazine. You'll find an ad for Issues In Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law on page 106 and an ad for Putting Your Business on the Internet on page 52 of the same issue. Be sure to place your orders so these books can be stocked on your shelves this fall!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

May I Speak to Amber?

(I've had several readers ask me to repost this, so...)

As many of you know, Amber Book Company is named after my dog Amber. I knew it would only be a matter of time before this happened:

Today the phone rang. “Hello, may I speak to Amber?”

I was slightly taken aback, because while my dog is generally more popular than I am, she seldom receives phone calls.

Me: “Who’s calling, please?”

Her: “This is DHL. We have a delivery and I need to speak to the addressee, Amber.”

Me: “Are you sure the addressee isn’t Amber Book Company?”

Her: “No, sir. My screen says ‘Amber.’”

Me: “Perhaps your screen truncated the name? May I help you?”

Her: “No sir, I can only speak to the addressee; may I speak to Amber please?”

Me: “You really don’t want to speak to Amber; she’s a bitch.”

Her: “That’s O.K., sir. I deal with those all day long.”

Me: “No, I mean she’s a real dog.”

Her: “Seriously sir, I can handle it but I must speak to Amber.”

Me: “O.K., hold on.” I called out “Amber!” and she trotted to my desk. I lowered the phone to her ear and put it on speaker mode.

Me: “O.K., Amber’s on speaker phone.”

Her: “Amber, this is DHL. We need to confirm your delivery address.”

She read the address over the speaker phone.

Me: “Amber is nodding that’s correct. She has to go now. Is there anything else?”

Her: “No sir, thank you. You and Amber have a good day.”

© 2009 Keith B. Darrell. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Interview With Keith

Keith was interviewed last week by Kip Poe. Kip asked Keith about the writing process and he reveals the next two books he's working on. You can read the interview on Kip's blog.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An Excerpt: Meet Sharon Mordecai

Sharon put her book down on the nightstand. She decided reading Poe was a mistake, since she was already jumping at shadows. The apartment was too quiet at night and the slightest rustling of the tree branch against her window startled her. She had resolved not to move back in with her parents but the idea of advertising for a roommate was becoming appealing. She heard the tapping again. Someone was stalking her; by now, Sharon was convinced. She glanced at the phone. How tempting it was to call her father. He would rush right over. Sharon knew he would keep her safe — if only she wouldn’t be stifled in the process. Besides, her father worried enough about her; why give him actual cause for concern? No, she had to do this on her own. She was a Mordecai — whatever lay ahead, she could handle it.

Sharon walked from the bedroom to the front door. She opened it and stepped onto the porch. “Hello? Who’s there?”

Silence greeted her. Perhaps it was just the wind. Then again…

Sharon closed the door, but refrained from latching it. It drifted back open as she returned to her bed. She turned out the light and switched on the small bedside lamp on the nightstand. And waited.

Sharon felt herself drifting off to sleep. She tried to stay awake, reminding herself that she would have to lock the front door before falling asleep. The stalker may not have fallen into her trap, but an open door was still an invitation for burglary. She was about to force her eyes open, when she heard her name.


She knew she was still awake and that the woman’s voice meant the intruder was in her bedroom watching her. She wondered if the intruder would leave if she kept her eyes closed and feigned sleeping.


No. The stalker was real, that much was now certain. She knew all about Sharon, and Sharon knew nothing about her. She had to learn her identity, if only to reclaim an iota of control. Sharon opened her eyes and saw the strawberry-blonde girl standing at the foot of her bed.

“Who are you? Why have you been stalking me?”

“You know who I am, Sharon. I’ve missed you so much. But I’ve watched over you nearly every night.”

“What do you want from me?”

“I want my BFF back. I want us to be like before.”

“What before?” Sharon asked.

“You, me, Artemus, Claude, Valentina… Remick driving us to clubs in the limo… the discos… Damn it, Sharon, when was your nightlife ever about curling up in bed with a book?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yes, you do. Look at me. Don’t you recognize me?”

Sharon stared at the girl in the lamplight. “I don’t know you; but there is something familiar about you. It’s like there’s a fog. It hurts to think.”

“What did they do to you?”

“No one did anything to me, Panda. Just leave me alone!” Sharon screamed.

“You called me Panda. You’re remembering.”

“No! Stay back.” Sharon reached under her pillow and pulled out Lou’s revolver. She aimed it at Pandora. “My father taught me to shoot. I won’t miss. Turn around and go now.”

“You’re leaving me with no choice. This isn’t how I wanted to do it.” Pandora approached, baring her fangs.

Sharon fired off three shots in rapid succession.

Halos & Horns: Book 2 - And A Child Shall Lead Them ... It's always better the second time around!

Softcover edition. 362 pages.