My Latest Accomplishment

It was a pleasure to put the finish on “Night of the Hell Hounds” short story in my Green Crystal series of Fantasy e-books over the weekend. It was more pleasurable to publish it with its new content and cover art at Amazon and not have any problems.

Night of the Hell Hounds e-book cover

I still get excited when I see my books for sale at bookstores. It isn’t pride I feel, but accomplishment after countless hours of arduous work. It isn’t easy work being an author. It’s even harder being a self-published one. If writing and creating cover art weren’t fun (and they are a joy to this old guy), I wouldn’t bother with the trials of publishing.

Slowly, though, my newly edited 8-book Green Crystal series is making a comeback to Amazon’s sales pages. These books replace the old ones published from 2013 to 2015 and feature new cover art. Unfortunately, they have their old Amazon ASINs, so anyone who bought the old e-books will have difficulty replacing them with the new ones. I know Amazon says you can contact them and request the new ones, and they claim it’s fairly easy to do. It isn’t. And for that, I apologize that I have no control over it. I suppose if you hound them enough they’ll give in and let you read the new copy.

A possible solution to the above problem may be for me to release them as paperback books. That way, you’re sent the new copy. It’s an enticing idea. I’m right now envisioning the entire series published as a paperback. If so, it will take a few years or more to do. I have plenty of projects on my To Do list already.

“Night of the Hell Hounds” is listed as Young Adult, 4,500 words, and 99-cents at Amazon U.S. It’s also available at other Amazon markets. The following link will take you to the U.S. market. Click Here.

If you buy and read my books, please leave some reviews. There was a time when I sold my books at my website in the 1990s that I garnered a lot of reviews and feedback from my readers and fans. Nowadays, not so much, which is a shame. I learned a lot from them, and we had lots of fun sharing ideas and lists of our favorite authors and books.

Anyway, thanks for joining me today. Peace and love to you and may good reads and wonderful art fill your days.

Is Goodreads’ Author Page A Minestrone?

This post’s title comes from a song released in 1975 by 10cc that claims, “Life is a minestrone served up with parmesan cheese.” I was 18 at the time and the song summed up my life very well. I had a profound sense of humor (if I do say so myself). Then I went off like a happy Don Quixote to fight windmills. I’ve not been the same since.

Fast-forward to my 65th year to be alive and my continuing adventures of self-publishing my books. Like Rocky and Bullwinkle looking for treasure, whether hidden in a jet fuel formula, buried somewhere in Frostbite Falls, or of the Monte Zoom kind, I’ve had my own Boris and Natasha impeding my way, disguised as helpful hosts along the Internet highway.

One of those impediments has been Goodreads’ author program. I was using their program since 2008 to keep track of my books, so after Amazon bought them out in 2013, they invited me to be a listed author there. It sounded like a “fun” thing to do. It wasn’t. You can read about a kerfuffle I had with them in 2014 at One Little Period Screwed the Pooch. That was when I published my books as Steven L Campbell and wanted my author’s name listed as such. They said no, it was their way or the highway. I chose the latter, but not because of the name situation. It was the rude comments from one of their librarians that led me to remove my books at their site and to stop publishing my books at Amazon.

However, time heals all wounds, so I returned to publishing at Amazon 2 years ago and made a new author page at Goodreads, this time as Steve Campbell. Right away, the folks (librarians?) at Goodreads confused me with another author named Steve Campbell and dumped his books on my author page. It took several weeks to clean up that snafu.

Now, 2 years later, they’ve dumped 7 books narrated by another Steve Campbell on my page.

Seriously, I don’t know what to make of how prone to errors their author program is. I contacted them yesterday (23 hours ago as of this writing) in their “Book Issues > This book is not mine, please move it (part 11)” section, which is part of their Librarians Group discussion section. I’m awaiting a reply. I’m #340 on the list, so it may take a while, though others who have posted after me have received corrections.

Some of the feedback I received last year at another site says, “Goodreads has been frozen in time since 2013 when Amazon acquired them” and “The design is like a teenager’s 2005 Myspace page.” Many authors that I’ve talked to have had to wait weeks before Goodreads listed their books correctly.

One alternative is to leave Goodreads, as other indie authors have done. “It hurts sales a bit,” a friend told me, “but there are other ways to promote yourself as an author. And I have fewer headaches than when I was at Goodreads.”

I may follow his advice. I can still publish at Amazon, leave their KDP Select program after a year, and publish elsewhere—Smashwords perhaps. Why not? After all, “Life is a minestrone served up with parmesan cheese,” and dealing with websites like Goodreads that don’t function well is “a cold lasagna suspended in deep freeze.”

That’s all for now. I’ll keep you abreast of any news or changes.

Thanks for reading. I need to put on some music now to help get rid of this ever-playing earwig: “Mini-mini-mini-minestrone…”

ASIN: B00B1UOE7S Cover Reveal

I’m putting the finishing touches on the second e-book of the Green Crystal fantasy series, which stars Nick Andrews, a 12-year-old boy whom I featured in my previous post. The book, “Day of the Fairies,” is another short story, and it replaces the following books that I published at Amazon from 2013 to 2016:

Trespassing: The Ridgewood Chronicles, Book 2

and Trespassing: A Vree Erickson Novel

The novel moved to another series of books. (More about that in a future post.) As for the new book, I’m aiming for a Halloween release, so stay tuned for more info.

So, before I run off to put on my editor’s cap, here’s the new cover:

Day of the Fairies: A Ridgewood Chronicles Short Story

Okay, time for me to run. Peace, love, and good health, everyone!

ASIN: B00AY2K1H6

In January of 2013, I published an e-book short story at Amazon about a teenage boy who joins up with his friends and sits around a campfire and tells ghost stories. All goes well until hell hounds break up their party and chase the boy off the edge of a cliff. Spoiler: He lives.

The e-book was based on a short story I wrote in my ninth grade Creative Writing class about a teenage girl who camps on a ridge with her friends overnight and sees ghost dogs prowling the countryside.

The story went through several drafts because my English teacher wanted me to consider different points of view and gender relationships. We also studied various dramatic elements, which resulted in the girl dying and returning as a ghost in one version. In another version, a witch saves her from falling off a cliff and they become friends. I finished the course with a dozen drafts of a story that had begun with a girl and some ghost dogs and ended with a boy and some hell hounds.

”Hell hounds” became condensed to “hellhounds” during a rewrite for the 2013 Amazon book and I was happy with the plot and character results. I published more short stories that year and made them a series called “The Ridgewood Chronicles.” Then I took a long sabbatical during 2014 to plan and write a novel.

Self-publishing wasn’t new to me — I’d published several of my stories via desktop publishing, and I’d been making them available in PDF format at my website since the early 1990s. Whenever I made changes to my stories, I republished them as a new edition. But I went a step further with Amazon’s Kindle publishing program: I replaced my short story with the novel with the same title.

Hindsight is 20/20 and I learned that I should have published the novel as a separate book with a different title. But there was no manual at Amazon telling me about the ensuing difficulties of my readers getting the old book replaced by the new one on their Kindle readers. The same applied to when I changed the cover art in 2015. Past purchases stayed unchanged.

So, old readers had my short story and new readers had my novel. When people talked about Night of the Hellhounds, I didn’t know which story they referred to — the short or the long. It was confusing. So, in 2016, I changed the novel’s title to end the confusion. Or so I though, haha. I was wrong.

The book almost became Cursed. Hindsight: I wished I’d not changed my mind. Instead, I titled it Margga’s Curse — a name difficult to pronounce correctly. Margga is pronounced marj-GAH.

Margga’s Curse ran for a year before I took all my books off Amazon’s market. (It’s still available for free at Smashwords, ISBN: 9781311627582, but I plan to take it off that market next year.)

Some people who have the old Kindle versions of this book may hate me when I say this, but I’m publishing a new version of ASIN: B00AY2K1H6 — all brand-new, though it will have its old and original title: “Night of the Hell Hounds” — later this year. It’s a 3,800-word Halloween short story about 12-year-old Nick Andrews who loses his big brother to war. After the funeral, he discovers that his brother had access to magic via a computer program and a green crystal pendant that can send the wearer of the pendant to another dimension of reality. He ends up at a cemetery in Ridgewood where someone has stolen the sacred bones of its protector dogs and turned them into vicious hell hounds. He meets three others trapped with him inside the cemetery. One of those people is Vree Erickson, but she’s a minor character. This is Nick’s story and it’s the first book of the Green Crystal series, even though it’s listed as a Ridgewood Chronicles short story in the subtitle.

Because of Nick’s age and the story’s subject matter, Amazon will likely shove this in its Young Adult Fantasy section. I don’t write to an audience, so I didn’t write this to be a kid’s book. Though I don’t use profanity or explore sexual matter (a reflection of my childhood), I do explore dealing with death and the pain of loss that comes with it, the good and bad of escapism, and the desires of wanting to belong to friendships, wanting to be loved, and wanting to be happy in life.

I’m planning a Halloween release. Stay tuned for more info.

Peace and love!