22 March 2011

So I Wrote This Book

Almost ten years ago I pondered my writing hobby.  I had written a series of goofy action/adventure shorts and a novella in the same milieu, but I wondered if I had the chops to put together a full-length novel; and more so, did I have the ability to write a story at no point in which does anyone do anything more high-tech than burn a CD nor more action-packed than drive down a highway at speeds slightly above the posted speed limit?  That is, could I write a novel about people? 


Turns out I can, and I did.  I call it "Mara's Song".  If you've known me for more than two years it's likely you've heard of it -- you may have even read the manuscript.  For those who are unacquainted, it's a coming of age tale of two people who find each other and the nonsense that gets in their way...this is what I have to say on the download page:
"A coming of age story told through discovery, loss, and redemption.
Dan and Mara grew up in vastly different backgrounds, only a hundred miles or so by car, but completely different worlds emotionally.
Follow them as they discover there's more to life than the town you grew up in, even if you have to go back there to figure it all out."
I will confess that previous manuscripts had a lot of swearing (I was writing adolescent boys for a good chunk of it), but I toned it down because I realized that this work manages to teach a lesson or two along the way while entertaining the reader and it is something that a younger high school kid might enjoy reading, but not with .6 F-bombs per page (it wasn't that bad, but it felt like it at times).  So toned down and fixed up, I self-published via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service under a pseudonym.
But why self-publish, and under a nom de plume?  I have a few reasons.  As a good nerd I did a lot of reading and research into what it takes to get a manuscript read, and then published.  It's a full-time job just accomplishing that for the first time, and though I know my stuff is good, I like my current gig (and the paycheck), and tossing that aside to join the desperate chorus of the unpublished didn't seem right.  An then there's the changing marketplace for content.
I am a big proponent of the digital lifestyle.  As much of a bibliophile as I am, the thought of having an entire library at my fingertips is thrilling, and it makes sense.  It's more streamlined, and more economical.  It's better for the environment because no one is hauling around dead wood, processing wood into paper, driving the paper around, etc.  Digital publishing is also shaking up the publishing industry, forcing people to revisit decades (centuries?) old business models that had calcified and worked against the real discovery of new artists; but this isn't about my views on the publishing industry, not entirely.  It's about my newly published book.
The pseudonym; why would I finally publish and then not even stick my name on it?  Call it a desire for compartmentalization.  Call it an odd sort of vanity, or a favor. I chose the name "AK Moray" as a play on my sister's name, as she was a huge help in getting the thing together, and it's a way for me to thank her.  If I publish anything else in this genre, I'll use the same name; however, my true yearning is to write and publish works of Science Fiction.  As much as I like the work I've done with Mara's Song, it was an exercise (a successful exercise, mind you).  I plan to publish future work under my own name.  I'd hate for readers to think they are getting another fine SF product, or another coming of age tale, only to find they have paid for something they didn't want.
Ultimately, it's up to you, the reader and customer, to decide.  To help you make your decision, I am including an excerpt from Mara's Song below.  If you like it, please click the Amazon.com link peppered throughout this post (requires you to have a Kindle or Kindle software - this softare being a free download for your phone, tablet, PC, or Mac -- wow, hello marketingspeek).
And so, an excerpt from Mara's Song:
During his last week of training Dan took to eating his lunch in the cafeteria onsite instead of going home as he had the first few weeks.  As he took a bite of his vending machine chicken salad sandwich, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen walked in front of him.  He drew in a sharp breath and in the process inhaled a good-sized piece of partially chewed chicken.  His coughing fit drew Mara Cook’s attention, as well as a sizeable portion of the other staff that were in the cafeteria.  It was Mara, however, who looked back at him and asked, “Are you alright?”
Dan nodded as he coughed up the offending piece of chicken, spitting it into a napkin.
After Dan’s coughing fits died down and he swallowed some water, the woman who had just asked about his health stuck out her hand and introduced herself with a smile.
“Hi, I’m Mara, from over in the Fraud Department.  You’re Dan, right? One of the new Customer Service people?”
“Yeah,” Dan said, his voice a little shaky from both choking and nerves, “nice to meet you, Mara.  I promise next time I’ll remember to chew, swallow, and then breathe.”  He shook her hand with more enthusiasm then one might think necessary.
“That’s probably a good idea,” she said as she glanced at the clock on the wall.  “Hey, my lunch is over and I have to get back on the phones, but I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
“Sure.”
Mara gave Dan another smile and rushed out of the lunchroom.  Dan’s appetite had completely disappeared and his partially eaten sandwich lay on the table forgotten.  He had never even opened his potato chips.
“I said Dan, can you hear me?”
“What?”
“Earth to Dan, you in there, buddy?”  Matt, one of Dan’s fellow trainees, had been trying to get Dan’s attention as Mara had made her exit.  “It’s time to get back to it, man.  We have a test to take.”
“Okay, thanks; wait, what?  Hey Matt, what’s up?”  Dan’s thoughts slowly returned to the lunchroom as he too glanced at the clock on the wall.  “Oh crap,” he intoned, “we have a test in five minutes.”
“Really,” replied Matt.  Matt was a thirty five year old former technology worker who had taken this job because his wife had told him that staying home and updating his personal web page did not count towards furthering his career or paying the mortgage on their house.
Matt and Dan walked into class just as the trainer was passing out the test papers.  They quickly took their seats and began taking the test.  Dan barely passed this test -- his mind on the other side of the building, in the Fraud Department.


Available Here:

Amazon.com
 (For your Kindle)
CreateSpace (Paperback)
Amazon.com (Paperback)
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