Unique

Unique

Unique | Guy L. PaceHere’s the trouble with writing something different, unique. As I try to get reviews and marketing attention for Sudden Mission, Nasty Leftovers, and Carolina Dawn, I often come across the question “Are these like the Harry Potter books, or The Hunger Games?”

Uh. No.

And, that’s a problem. I can’t piggy-back off the success of other authors by claiming if you like The Hunger Games, you’ll love Sudden Mission. I’m not throwing shade on The Hunger Games or Suzanne Collins. She is a very good author and I loved her books, as I did J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

But, the Spirit Missions series–I think–is unique. It’s a teen Christian fiction series that incorporates some science fiction, fantasy, role-playing gaming, and a lot of spiritual elements. You won’t find anything like it on the shelves at a Christian book store–unless that store gets some copies of Spirit Missions.

Something Different

Of course, it all started when I set out to write something I wanted to read. For Christian fiction, I stumbled on Ted Dekker’s work. I found it fascinating and dealing with characters that weren’t cartoon simulations. That’s where I wanted to go. Write about real characters, facing challenges in the real world (okay, mostly real world), incorporating their relationship to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit during their journeys.

That’s where I went. I didn’t expect glowing reviews (but I got a few), and I expected a lot of knock-back due to the spiritual nature and some violence. I even expected harsh challenges to the Christian doctrine I chose to follow, and some shock with the way I handle aliens in Carolina Dawn.

What I got was positive feedback from friends who said their non-reader teens couldn’t put the books down. I just wish those teens would get on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and post reviews. I also got a couple of Spirit-filled Fiction awards and I hope Carolina Dawn earns one, too.

Self-publishing

Since my former publisher closed their doors in 2016, I’ve struggled with the marketing and promotion. It’s not easy when your product is so different or unique. I got some great help from fellow authors on the net and from friends and family around the country. I also received good advice from Rachel Thompson and her 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge.

So, I keep plugging along. Maybe someday someone will publish something and make the claim that “if you liked the Spirit Missions books, you’ll love <new book title>.” It’s a nice dream.

Keep writing.

 

Series End

Carolina Dawn | Guy L. PaceWednesday, Carolina Dawn releases and this represents the series end for Spirit Missions. Those who pre-ordered will see them in their e-readers, and the print editions ship from the printer then.

For me, Spirit Missions started in 2012 with some wild ideas and the result was Sudden Mission. The series name didn’t come about until after Nasty Leftovers and I knew there would be a third novel. It has been fun, exciting, and hard work and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Thanks

I want to take a moment and thank all my readers and supporters. Without your support and reviews, it wouldn’t be possible. Keep that in mind. Without reviews, authors and their work languish in obscurity. Even just a star rating–if nothing else–is very welcome.

Now, I move on to other projects. I plan to try more short fiction and a more adult Christian-themed novel. I might release a combined edition of Spirit Missions, with all three novels, and the two related short stories under one cover. We’ll see how it works out.

Journey

It’s hard to believe that almost six years ago, I sat down to my computer and started this journey. I learned so much about writing, editing, publishing, covers, and marketing. I’m still learning. Honestly, I don’t think the learning will stop. It seems something new crops up all the time.

Early on, I learned about book trailers. I took mine down shortly after Booktrope closed their doors. I recently put the trailers for the first two books back up on YouTube. Links are in the book pages. I’ll have a trailer for Carolina Dawn out soon.

Keep an eye on my Events page, too. Things are starting to come together. I’ll add events as they get scheduled.

Again, thanks. Enjoy!

Keep writing.

 

Price Promo

Price Promo

Sudden Mission CoverSudden Mission goes on sale for $0.99 today (or tonight or tomorrow, depending on when the price kicks in) on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and iBooks! This price promo is good through Wednesday morning, July 27. Again, that depends on time zones and how quickly the price change takes on the various vendors.

If you’ve held off getting started in the Spirit Missions series, now is the time to jump in. Or, if you already got one or both books, now is a good time to gift Sudden Mission to friends, relatives, or complete strangers who might like to read it.

As mentioned in earlier posts, if you read it, leave a review or rating where you got it. Reviews or ratings are very important these days and help get a book in front of more people.

Enjoy! Keep checking back for a possible promotion for Nasty Leftovers.

Keep writing.

Faith

Faith

“Faith, I can move the mountain” — Hillsong

One reviewer of Sudden Mission commented on how young the protagonists were and how ready they were to take on the tasks and challenges. The reviewer was skeptical.

I don’t usually respond to a reviewer, other than to thank them. And, really, I’m not responding to or criticizing the reviewer here. The comments just got me thinking, and George Michael’s hit song lyrics started playing in my head. I didn’t quote those for my own reasons, but I’ve often told reading audiences that Sudden Mission is about faith.

Yes, there is spiritual warfare, action and adventure, a dash of science fiction and fantasy, an angel, aliens, zombies, and other things in Sudden Mission. And, yes, the characters are young. But fourteen isn’t too young to have strong faith, or to face difficult trials.

I struggled with character age when I started planning the book. Older teens would have required more difficult, grittier challenges. Younger protagonists, in this setting, would have been just too weird. I remember being fourteen. It just seemed a good fit. A fourteen-year-old, with strong faith, strong family and community, and good friends, just seemed right. Some of that is foreign to me, so I had to do some exploration.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a Christian conversion story. Granted, the characters grew and changed, but they were already believers and faithful. Faith gets tested in several places and the characters come close to failing. Paul, the main character, is constantly challenged.

“I can’t. I have a mission.” Paul felt frustration and discomfort. He was sleepy and wanted nothing more than to just curl up and sleep.

“Are you certain?” The coyote sat on his haunches and his tongue lolled out of his open mouth. “What? Did you dream of an angel coming to you with a message? You don’t really believe you are on a mission from God, do you?”

Bound to a compelling mission and his family held hostage, Paul struggles. His friends, Amy and Joe, act to support him. Paul, in return, supports them when their spirits flag.

“I wish one of us could drive,” Amy said. She wrapped her arms around her legs and rested her chin on her knees. “How about bicycles?”

“Yeah, lets see,” Paul said opening the map. “We have more than eighteen hundred miles left to go. I don’t think I’m up for trying to do that on a bicycle.”

“We still have eighteen hundred miles?” Joe said.

“Yep,” Paul said. “Still, we’ve gone more than five hundred miles just on our good looks.”

Amy laughed. Joe looked disgusted.

At that age, faith is a tough thing to keep. So the three amigos boost each other and help move the story along, even through tragedy.

I might have made one character a foil instead of a friend, and I thought about that in the beginning. But at the age chosen, a foil could have ended the mission too early and too easily. The story had enough conflict and struggle as it was.

The struggle and character development stayed in Paul’s point of view (PoV). Some reviewers commented on Amy and Joe’s limited development as a result. I did experiment in early drafts with bouncing around PoVs and it was a mess. I stuck with Paul. I tried to stay honest about that, though. Paul, in Sudden Mission, is fourteen. A fourteen-year-old boy isn’t necessarily insightful about others or himself, and the internal monologue is more simple and direct.

This is important, as Paul matures and we see things again through his eyes in Nasty Leftovers. Then, in the third novel, we’ll see things from Amy’s point of view and she has a more robust internal monologue. Honest. I read some romance to see how it was done. I think I have it, now.

So, okay. Ya gotta have faith.

Keep writing.

(Note: This is outside of my usual, arbitrary Tuesday posting day. I may have another short post next week, or wait until the next Tuesday. Life is pretty full right now.)

 

Short and Sweet

Short and Sweet

There is a new review of Nasty Leftovers online. Laura, a high school student, posted up a review today. She also reviewed Sudden Mission last week. She is in the age range of the books’ target markets, so these are important reviews. See what she has to say. I am so glad she liked both books.

I’m busy getting some other events and activities going. Check the Events page to see the new entries. I will also try to set up something in the Seattle area soon. An event coming in a couple of weeks is a visit to a middle school in Southern Idaho. It’s a career day and I’ll talk about writing and publishing. What is special is that two of my grand-nephews attend this school.

Another event is part of “teen week” at Barnes & Noble in Spokane Valley. This is a promotional event that takes place just as schools close for the summer. The bookstore sets up events for teens to get them involved in reading for the summer. Since it is Barnes & Noble, I’ll be on a panel or two with some local and some “a-list” young adult writers. This should be interesting.

I also need to knuckle down and get some writing done. Life, travel, grandchildren all conspire to keep me away from the keyboard. I’m working on it, though.

Keep writing.