Available: Of Fish and Swimming Swords

Cover: Of Fish and Swimming Swords

I bit the bullet and pushed my novel out to the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores. Feel free to download a copy and write a review! It's only $2.99, but if you want it for less, comment here sometime in the next week (before August 4th, 2011) with a link to your blog and I'll send you a coupon for Smashwords. The only thing I'll ask in return is that you write a substantive and constructive review on your blog.

It will be two or three weeks before the novel is available in the iBookstore or other stores fed by Smashwords.  I'll post when I see the novel show up in these other stores.

From the blurb:

In a world built around fours, where the trinity of the United States government has been replaced by the Cardinalities of the Muses, Barbara finds a hidden symbol in yet another investigation and suspects foul play. But who can she trust? As she and her family dive into the mystery and horror, they find that they are battling forces that reach to the very core of the world they believe in.

Follow the family of four as they unravel the mystery and discover more about each other.

I used a fairly traditional narrative style that begins as a closed room murder mystery, but I quickly dive into a mix of horror and science fiction exploring conspiracy theory and artificial intelligence. The idea is that a story is a conspiracy theory on the part of the author and reader: the story isn't in the words on the page, but in the connections the reader makes "between the lines" when reading. Part of the mystery is for the reader to figure out.  I don't give a neat ending with everything tied with a bow: all of the clues are in the novel, but I don't have an explicit summary.

I created a world centered on fours: four cardinalities with four colors (which you can see on the cover), four directions, four elements, four symbols. Families are built around four adults instead of our familiar two. There are other fours hidden in the novel that I'll leave for you to discover.

 Enjoy! And let me know what you think.


2 thoughts on “Available: Of Fish and Swimming Swords”

  1. Hi James! I heard about your book from Kelly S.....she's a friend of mine from UMD. I'm interested in reading your book. I don't need a coupon or anything, I plan to get it from amazon once I make it through my current stack of books. I am, however, interested in asking you some questions. I finished my first manuscript this year and started sending out queries to agents a few weeks ago. I was curious whether you queried agents or decided against the traditional route and felt that self publishing was the better way to go? If you have any advice you'd like to impart to a wannabe author, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the interest and comment!

    I talk through some of my thinking about self publishing in my post Thinking about Self Publishing, but I'll summarize a few things here.

    I went ahead and decided to self publish for a couple of reasons, any of which could have kept me from doing so if I was in a different situation. The main one is that my career is not dependent on my publishing record, so I don't need the equivalent of a peer review process that agents and publishers provide.

    The first rule of publishing is that money always flows to the author, never from the author. The only thing I spent money on were a few things that weren't required for publishing: a laptop with which to write and format the manuscript, and a wonderful book that I've used as a textbook in my creative writing class: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print.

    The second rule (if there can be one) is that you want as polished a manuscript as possible. This means working through all of the chapters in the Self-Editing book, rereading the manuscript aloud, viewing the ebook in the free readers and tweaking everything until it's just right, and so on. Having a bit of a type A personality helps. If you need to, find someone else who can read for you. I probably spent a good 40-80 hours of my time just on producing the ebook files.

    Hope that helps. Feel free to ask more questions!

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