I’ve updated the covers of all my “Tojet” versions

I now have an eye-popping cover on all my versions of Tojet.  The artwork is by Kimberly Steele.  For years I haven’t changed the cover because of, well, fear of changing anything in my book: Revisions could make something go goofy.  😛  Here is the new cover:

Also, while working on the revisions, I had to update my pricing as well.  The last time I did this, I could set my own royalty at a reasonable rate to keep the book prices as low as possible for the reader.  But now, Lulu is making me set minimum prices higher than I wanted–and I discovered that retailers such as Amazon would then take away most of that royalty!  If I want anything above 70 cents from an Amazon royalty, I’ll have to jack up the print prices so high that no one will buy it.  >:(

So I don’t think I’ll be selling my print books through retailers anymore, except for any copies they may have in inventory.  But now that I’ve made both of my books available as e-books in the versatile epub format, those should soon be available through retailers.  Print versions, however, will have to go through Lulu.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the cover of The Lighthouse.  It’s a Lulu-provided cover, but I haven’t had the opportunity to get a better one.  I could make one, but I don’t do full-color paintings, so I hesitate.  Paying someone costs $$$.  Public domain images just don’t look right for the book.  So for now it’s staying as it is, unless I come up with a better one.

 

 

Tojet and The Lighthouse: Now available in Epub Format for E-books

For years I’ve wanted a Kindle, but didn’t have the $$$.  But I recently discovered that Amazon offers payment plans for Kindles, and I had a birthday coming up.  So now I have one–

and discovered how sucky my old e-books look on a Kindle.

In the early days of e-books, offering your book as a PDF was enough because most people probably would just open it on their computers anyway, and PDFs looked good and professional.  PDFs were also good if you wanted to print the book.

As technology began to pass me by, I had no idea that my PDF offerings were now tough to use on the fancy e-book readers.  Since I didn’t have one, I didn’t know how they worked.

Well, now that I have my own Kindle, I see clearly that the old PDFs just aren’t good enough.  So now–

after a lot of frustration because of formatting issues and the tendency of both Word and WordPerfect to use punctuation that turns to garbledygook in HTML  >:(  —

I am offering both Tojet and The Lighthouse as epub-format e-books.  At the moment, they’re available from Lulu, but they should soon be available from more stores, including Amazon’s Kindle store.  I use Calibre to convert my epubs to use on my Kindle.

So come check them out if you have an e-book reader.  As before, I offer them for $3 each: My Lulu Storefront

 

Meeting her vampire husband: Excerpt from my book The Lighthouse

An excerpt from my book “The Lighthouse”:

Randall met me at the door that evening with a smile, a vigorous (though chilly) handshake and a boisterous,

“Hello, hello, friend Josh! Welcome to our mini-mansion. Do you want a drink?”

“Do you have Mountain Dew?” I asked.

“Yes, we do. Candida says she can’t survive without it or chocolate. I understand her addiction, since I have my own.” He grinned with his eyebrows drawn together.

An image flashed through my mind of Randall pouring blood from a vial–or maybe from his own veins–into a can of pop. “Could I–have that in a glass–a clear glass, please?”

Randall frowned for a moment in confusion, but then he said, “All right, whatever you wish.”

“I’ll get it for you,” Candida said. She bounded off down the hallway to the kitchen. At least she was still bouncy and vibrant, which I had always loved about her.

Randall offered me the loveseat. He sat in a wicker chair adjacent to it. I hoped he didn’t notice as I swept my gaze over the seat before sitting down. Nope, no blood or–um–emissions from him and Candida–um–christening the house’s furniture. Another image flashed through my mind: Candida naked in his arms. I got a wincing headache.

“So–um–who are you?” I asked.

“Mr. Candida, Randall Ankh.”

My eyebrows shot up. “Ankh? The Egyptian symbol for life?”

“Yes. Unusual name, isn’t it? My parents changed their last name to it. They held great stock in symbolism and loved to study ancient Egypt. This idol of Set came from them.”

He put his hand on a small stone statue of a two-legged, muscular being with a dog-like face, long ears and a loincloth. Candida allowing an idol in her house was odd enough, but wasn’t Set supposed to be evil, killing his own brother Osiris?

Candida bounced back into the room with a tall glass of Mountain Dew, nearly splashing it on me as she handed it to me.

“And what is your last name?” Randall asked.

I flinched. I meant my question to be more probing, a way to get him to confess, “Yes, I am a vampire, and my last name is ironic considering the death and destruction I bring.” But he turned it right around on me before it had a chance to work. Not that I knew how it could work, anyway.

“Hilfe. It’s German for ‘help.’ You know, in case you hear anybody say, ‘Hilf mich,’ that’s what they mean: ‘Help me.’”

He did not seem to notice my subtle barb. “Any friend of Candida’s is a friend of mine, and she tells me you’re one of her best. I had to let you into our house because she would not stop talking about you. Perhaps I should be jealous.” His eye flashed red, then went back to steel gray. “When you get a treasure like Candida, you don’t want to let her go.”

Didn’t I know it.

I scratched my eyebrow, probably a nervous tic. I found Randall more disconcerting the more amiable he seemed.

“Oh, you haven’t even touched your drink,” Candida chirped from beside the wicker chair.

The doorbell rang. I jumped. Some of my drink splashed. Candida called out “hello” when Randall trotted to the door and opened it. A few “heys” showed it was an old friend of Randall’s. This friend walked in, another pale-faced young man, though black. His clothes were dark blue, well-cut and expensive. I’m not much of a judge of male looks, but he seemed to be in the same category as Denzel Washington or Billy Dee Williams. That meant he caused lust in any woman of any race. That meant I was the ugly one in this house.

“Josh, Candida, this is Vincent,” Randall said. “Shall I get you a drink?” he asked Vincent.

“Oh, yes, the usual,” Vincent said. “I’ve had nothing to drink all evening.”

Randall trotted off.

“Are you a friend of Randall’s?” Vincent asked.

“No, Candida’s,” I said.

“How long have you known her?”

“Since spring.”

“I’ve only just met her, myself. So this is she, the beautiful Candida.” He nodded at her in a way so smooth and chivalric it made me jealous.

Candida flushed and grinned back at him boldly. My likelihood of catching her eye was getting worse all the time.

Randall returned with a wineglass full of a sanguine liquid. Wine, yes, it must be red wine. Yet when Vincent drank it, it made bloody stains on the side of the glass. No, no, it’s wine, it’s got to be wine. My head felt light. I turned my gaze to the Mountain Dew, hoping to get the image out of my head. I had to get the phantom, iron taste of blood out of my mouth. I took a sip. I couldn’t stop myself; I imagined the liquid going down my throat was not Dew, but blood. I gagged. My head spun. Candida leaped to my side.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

I gazed at her without speaking. Through fuzzy vision I turned to Vincent and then Randall, who sat there with his eyebrows drawn together in what looked like concern. He was so pale, so–

I had to get out of there. “I’m sorry, Candida; I’m not feeling well. I have to go home.”

“Don’t be silly. We can take care of you here.” She stroked my hair. All my nerve endings begged me to stay and let her keep doing that, but I could not do it.

“No, really, I’d much rather be in my own room.”

I jumped up, grabbed my coat and ran out of the house, never minding how dizzy I was. Candida soon ran after me, throwing on her coat and carrying my glass of pop.

“You forgot this,” she said. “I’ll walk you back to campus and make sure you get to your room all right.”

I hugged her. How I wanted to stay nestled in her softness. “It’s sweet of you, but I can’t let you walk back by yourself in the dark. This is the city, after all.”

She smiled, kissed my cheek, handed me the glass and turned back.

As I walked, I drew in deep breaths of the chill air, blowing them out and watching the vapor. Back in my room, the glass sat untouched on top of the little box of a refrigerator in my room. My roommate was all too happy to take it off my hands, and I was all too happy to let him. I cleaned and returned the glass in the morning.

Though I loved Dew, it was many months before I could drink it again, especially from a glass.

–From “Candida” in my book The Lighthouse, e-book available for $3 at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/nerissa