Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Smijj of Conflict--now available!

I'm hoping to get back to blogging more regularly soon, now that I'm (finally) getting over the winter bug I've been dealing with for three weeks now.

Before that, though, I wanted to finish up a different project, one that I've been promising for a while now. That's right: the fourth book in my Tales of Telmaja series, A Smijj of Conflict, is finally available for sale!

I don't think I've done this before, but I'd like to ask a favor of my blog readers. Two favors, actually--first, can you help me spread the word about this book and the Tales of Telmaja series? I write with children ages 8 to 13 in mind (though I have adult readers who enjoy the books as well), and I take seriously the idea that children's fiction should be suitable for children. My books don't contain inappropriate sexual content, and while a certain amount of violence is going to be inevitable in a series that deals with a galactic war to end slavery I try very hard to maintain a level of restraint instead of being too graphic. But what motivates me most of all is the desire to write good, imaginative adventure stories for a part of the children's fiction market that I honestly think is underserved these days, those middle-school readers who aren't terribly amused by booger jokes, toilet humor and endless tales of the classroom, but who aren't yet ready to read most of the books on the Young Adult shelf (especially the ones in the Teen Paranormal Romance section).

And the other favor I'm asking is directed at those wonderful people who have bought and read Books 1-3 in the Tales of Telmaja series: would you consider leaving a review at Amazon of one or more of the books? I've had lots of positive feedback from readers directly, but I'd love it if some of you who enjoy these stories would take a minute to post something on Amazon (and it goes without saying that if you have negative or critical thoughts those are fine, too--any honest review is welcome!).

Many thanks!


priest's wife said...

hi there- my son will turn 9 in a week (!)- which well-known book is your book most like? Would you say your catholic faith informs the story- or just keeps the story 'clean'- do you have an agent or are they self-published?

Red Cardigan said...

Hi! Because my books are science fiction there aren't many others in this age range to compare them to. One of my daughters says that my main character reminds her a little of the main character in the first book of the "Ranger's Apprentice" series in some aspects, if that helps.

My Catholic faith definitely informs the story. For instance, one of the main issues in the series is the slavery of the Telmaj, who are put to use as living light-speed engines aboard ships built by Humans. The main character, Smijj, experiences this slavery and then because of his unique gifts aids in the fight against it. But in the course of this fight I explore such things as the evils that even a just war can cause and the reality that some things remain unjustified (such as resorting to torture). There is even a subtle pro-life message in the second book which may go over the heads of the youngest readers. However, I have been told by many of my readers that I manage to weave these things in without becoming "preachy" or interrupting the story for some heavy-handed moral message (and these compliments mean a great deal to me, as you can imagine).

My books are self-published. I did try submitting them to small publishers (mainly Catholic/Christian) initially, but quickly realized that I could spend a decade or more trying either to find a small publisher whose niche was morally-informed children's science fiction or trying to get a reputable agent to look at the manuscripts. Sadly, for unknown authors like myself, getting a reputable literary agent is nearly impossible--Orson Scott Card is one of many writers who specifically warns unknowns like me that any agent claiming to be able to market our books to a "Big Five" publisher is probably a con artist.

And since the Big Five control 85% of the publishing industry, and seem more interested in publishing middle school fiction that is either "school setting potty humor" or envelope-pushing stuff, I decided I'd rather get my books directly into the hands of those who might enjoy them.

If you do decide to try "The Telmaj" (the first book in the series) for your son, I'd love to hear any feedback you'd like to share! What sort of books does he like now, if I can ask?