Let’s Talk The Birthday Present/Millhaven Castle

It’s time to dig deeper into this book. It’s one a lot of you might not know anything about and it has two parts. The first story, The Birthday Present, was a futuristic idea that I actually wrote pages and pages and pages about. But it resulted in this shorter story instead. Originally I wanted to create a themed series, but I went on to other projects and this book became a stand-alone, so–no series. (But that might explain the “Homeschooler Fantasy Series Volume One” you’ll see burned into the print edition.) I’ll enlarge on it in an upcoming blog post.

Millhaven Castle, the second story in the book, was a bit of a problem because I went through 3 different-yet-very-similar versions of this story. Each one equally boring, I might add. After sorting all my stories, I’ve repackaged, rearranged, or rewritten almost all of them. But only the Millhaven/Alyce stories got actually trashed as just plain boring and useless. They had none of the strengths of the original story idea and were padded with unproductive areas that make me wince now.  Which is funny because people I knew always seemed to praise them. But then, I’ve often found people praise the weakest thing, so I should have known. But I must go back to explaining what I did next.

One of these boring little Alyce stories was published with The Birthday Present and I can’t get it out of the volume because it’s burned into the title. So I’ve rearranged the content and substituted 3 chapters from the full-length The Prince’s Ball. It’s now a trailer for the book, as well as 3 almost stand-alone funny chapters you can read in addition to The Birthday Present. Why is this important? Because I’ll be publishing The Prince’s Ball next year (if all goes well) and it’s nothing like the 3 previous versions: Millhaven Castle 2008; Millhaven Castle 2009; and Alyce 2013. It is the original, going back over 15 years, and has a load of characters and situations that put Alyce and her friends in perspective. And–of course–it’s a lot funnier. And longer. As you’ll see immediately if you pick up The Birthday Present and read the trailer.

And there will be more updates.


New Horizons

The renovation is still in progress and 4 of the books have been redone. I did a lot of examination of book covers over the summer, and realized I had been choosing colors and fonts based simply on whether I thought they were pretty, NOT based on the emotive impression they give to others. So a complete overhaul was of course in order.


I’ve got 2 fantastic new covers for Facets of Fantasy and The Birthday Present/Millhaven Castle. (See above.) Facets turned out a little blue, but that’s better than green, and the black letters and silvery-gray back cover add up to the effect I wanted.

  • City of the Invaders is now in paperback as well as Kindle. It isn’t yet linked to the ebook on Amazon, but it will be soon. I’ve added chapter titles since the story felt bare without them. It has a lovely cover that’s not new, but some of you may not have seen it, so I’ve put it here.
  • There’s a new description of Ryan and Essie, since “his life will never be the same and neither will the lives of a whole lot of other people” is okay, but too vague.
  • I’m still working on Consuela—going to be a bit of effort there—and thinking about some cosmetic work to Victoria. A new cover and maybe that’s not all. It already has a new description, but I’m not sure that’s all I want to do.
  • To see any of the book details, go to the pages for each book at the top of this blog post. Ryan and Essie is in the “More Books” page.

I also paid a little more attention to genre marketing, although I feel surprisingly that’s not as important. (People really do judge books mostly by their covers as first. Probably because they like to do, at once, things they’re told never to do.) When looking at search keywords and classifications, I discovered that Amazon seems to have dropped the “YA” category. At least, I couldn’t find it although it can still be put in search keywords and is widely used online. But that wasn’t a problem.

And there will be more updates.