I’m At Smashwords

After publishing my ebooks at Amazon for three years, I finally stuck my toes in the waters of Smashwords today, checked for sharks and other things that bite, and took the plunge.

See my profile page at Smashwords. Click here.

After I filled out my profile page, I uploaded an ebook formatted to Smashwords’s specifications. It didn’t take long for them to publish my book, but there was a short delay because I didn’t assign an ISBN to it. There was no prompt at the setup page to assign an ISBN, which I think would be a nice feature there. Smashwords doesn’t require authors to assign ISBNs to their ebooks, but it’s necessary if you want to sell at Apple and Kobo stores through Smashwords. So, I assigned an ISBN to my ebook, which has me hoping the numbers took and my ebook will end up listed at the Apple and Kobo stores.

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Old Bones: A Collection of Short Stories is free and contains earlier published material. The following is the ebook’s official blurb:

A collection of 19 short stories spanning 40+ years of the author’s career as an independent author. The stories are divided into three groups: Tales for Young Adults, Oddities, and Tales for Adults, and center on eerie Ridgewood, Pennsylvania and some of the characters who live there.

Go to my book’s Smashwords download page to get it free. Or wait a few days for it to arrive at the major online ebook stores.

It is my intention to increase my ebooks availability, meet some new readers, and perhaps strike some new friendships.

Backstory of Margga’s Curse [book news]

My last blog post dealt with changing the title of my e-novel Night of the Hellhounds to Margga’s Curse. As I said, the novel began forty-some years ago as a short story called “Ghost Dogs.” I was in high school and enjoyed writing fiction from the perspective of two teenage male protagonists, Lenny Stevens and Dave Evans until a creative writing teacher challenged me to write from the perspective of a teenage female protagonist. I did well on the assignment and ended up writing about a teen girl’s spooky encounter with some ghost dogs. The story began

My name is Nancy Louise Johnson. I’ll never forget the night I almost died. Vicious ghost dogs were snapping at my heels when I slipped on some gravel and fell over the steepest side of Myers Ridge.

The day began like most August days in Ridgewood, Pennsylvania: hot and humid. Every hour, the weatherman at our local radio station promised more of the same, and every hour since seven o’clock that morning my twelve-year-old sister Krissy groaned from her spot in Dad’s huge recliner. It was Friday and as usual, I was babysitting. Dad was at work and Mom and my big brother Ted were shopping in nearby New Cambridge for a new air conditioner.

Nancy is a tomboy and likes camping. Her two male friends visit and invite her to camp with them on Myers Ridge. There’s a bit of sexual tension between her and one of the boys whom she has developed a crush on, so she battles her internal voices until the ghost dogs arrive and give everyone a scare. The dogs cause Nancy to fall from the ridge. But she manages to catch herself and hold on.

For a moment, as I seemed to hang above the rocky ravine below, I knew I wanted to live. I shot out a reflexive hand and found Jerry’s sweaty shirt. I clutched shirt and skin while my legs swung wide and I hovered for a moment in midair. Behind Jerry, the swarm of will-o-wisps glowed and the pack of ghost dogs charged quick and hard at him.

“Save me,” I said before my lower body crashed against the side of the cliff. The force knocked loose my grip of Jerry. Gravity pulled me away, and I began my sudden descent to the rocky ground below.

In a flash, I thought about our lives: Dave’s and Jerry’s and mine. Death had robbed Dave and Jerry of their fathers. The accident had robbed me of the intelligent dad I once had. Although he was alive, he would never be the same. With his suffering, I didn’t want him to be without me. And I didn’t want my two best friends to be without me either. I loved them too much to die. Continue reading “Backstory of Margga’s Curse [book news]”

Night of the Hellhounds Gets New Title [book news]

Attention readers and followers of my Ridgewood books. After months of consideration, I decided to retitle Night of the Hellhounds, the first novel in the Vree Erickson series. The story began as “Ghost Dogs,” a short story I wrote in the 1970s that dealt heavily with a pack of vicious ghost dogs chasing the main character. Over the next 40 years, I rewrote the story several times, changed the ghost dogs to hellhounds, and retitled it “Night of the Hell Hounds.” I gave the story to my teen character Lenny Stevens in 2012 and published it January 2013 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Meanwhile, I remembered writing a rough draft novel of the hellhound story for my teen character Vree Erickson in 2006. Its working title was Margga’s Curse, and it dealt little with hellhounds chasing the main character. Instead, Margga’s Curse concentrated on a witch seeking revenge on a man who killed her father. Margga is a bit insane, so after she kills the man, she then kills his wife and tries to kill their daughter. Her contemporaries put her to death, but Margga’s spirit returns annually on a night in July called “Night of the Hellhounds.” (She befriends some hellhounds in the spirit world, so they join her on that night.) She continues her revenge and over the years, she kills the daughter, the daughter’s husband, and the wife of their son, and then continues her vengeance until Vree finally puts an end to Margga’s curse.

After I finished the novel, I spent months debating what to do with it. After all, it was the published hellhound story wearing a new outfit. While I debated, I showed the novel to friends and family, and most said they liked it over the short story. Some people wanted me to change the night to Halloween, but I felt it was too cliché. Why can’t there be other spooky nights during the year?

I replaced the short story with the novel and gave it the title Night of the Hellhounds. But a part of me wanted to keep the original title. This nagged me for years, though not too deeply until a few days ago. The more I listened, the more I realized I had to go with my gut feeling.

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I have included two versions of the new cover above. The first is dressed in red and yellow colors, giving it a warm appearance. The second cover has an emphasis of blue in its colors to play down the warmth and give it a chillier look. And I whitened the title to make it colder as well and to add emphasis. I’m not sure which cover I’ll use, but any suggestions would be appreciated. I plan to choose the new cover and make the title change Sunday, March 6, and have them ready Tuesday, March 8 at Amazon. Changes at Barnes and Noble will follow later in the month.

What do you think of the title? Which cover do you like best? Have you read the “Night of the Hell Hounds” short story or any of the versions published at my old website? Have you read my novel or any of my other books? If so, which books are your favorites? Do you have a favorite character? I would love to hear what you think.