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.

 

Good and Evil

Good and Evil

Good and Evil |Every work of fiction by any author deals with good and evil on some level. Put simply, protagonists (main characters) are good. Antagonists (the bad guys) are evil. There are shades of gray on both sides. Not all main characters are squeaky clean, without sin, or perfect in any way. Just the same, not all bad guys are completely bad or even always guys.

The main characters are the ones we root for, the ones we want to win out in the end. In the process, they face adversaries and their own frailties, weaknesses, or imperfections. Through this, they change, learn, grow as characters.

This applies to fiction in any genre, be it science fiction, romance, fantasy, mystery, horror, or thriller. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Christian or secular. These are the stories we want to read.

Imagine trying to get behind a purely evil protagonist as a main character who is out to wreak revenge, death, and destruction across the fictional world. Well, I suppose you could if you were a fan of H. P. Lovecraft and Cthulu. Still, most characters that resonate with readers are good, and/or strive to do right.

The Good

When we create a main character (MC), there are usually flaws or issues that make that character not perfect. True, the MC is the good in the story and will attempt to do the good or right thing. But, what is the good? Usually, the MC has to step outside of his or her self and do something for someone else, for the community, the country, or humanity. Sometimes, that involves battling against incredible odds, an overwhelmingly powerful opponent, city hall, or solving a particularly difficult murder case.

The MC struggles through adversity, resistance, and often directly against an antagonist to accomplish the goal. But, the effort is to do the right thing. Defeat the bad influence, antagonist, and put the world right.

The Evil

The antagonist works against the MC. There is the ethically challenged city manager trying to skim from the city coffers. Then there is the competing love interest that uses nefarious methods to thwart the romantic efforts of the MC. Or, how about a dark evil being lurking in the abandoned metro tunnels, sending it’s minions out to thwart the efforts of the MC?

It boils down to the antagonist’s core motives of self: selfish, self-serving, self-aggrandizing. Not all the bad guys in fiction are purely evil. They may perform some acts of kindness out of a fractured attempt at redemption, but usually those fail. Unless, the point of the story is to bring the antagonist to some kind of redemption.

Life is full of examples on both sides of this duality. Most aren’t quite so well defined and obvious, but you can see them.

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.

 

Error

Error

Error | Guy L. PaceEvery book you ever read had an error. Some typo, misspelling, missing word, misuse of there, they’re, or their.

It happens.

I know Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers have some errors. I stumble across a couple when I do a reading. It is unavoidable. Carolina Dawn very probably has a few errors that got past my editor and myself.

Fortunately, before I pushed up the final version of the e-book, I found a couple of errors. I intended for a specific passage as a block quote. And, there was a name change missed on one page. I was able to make those corrections, recompile the e-book and print documents, and got them pushed back up to Amazon and Ingram in plenty of time.

Tools

I use Scrivener for all my writing. Yes, the new version is great and once I sorted out how to edit format templates, things went well and complies were reasonably quick. To get the e-book format up to Amazon, you need to create a .kpf file and for that you need Kindle Create (on the Mac). That link may or may not work, depending on if you have a KDP account or not.

So, Scrivener was working great, then I got into Kindle Create (KC). It imported the e-book document just fine, and I worked through the formatting. But, then KC caused a hard crash on my Mac. No warning. Just BOOM!

After I got everything back in order on the Mac, sent off the error report and log files to Amazon’s KDP support folks, I got back to work. I saved frequently, and got out of the app every hour or so. It all worked out and I uploaded the .kpf file.

I seem to remember a similar crash on an earlier version of the Kindle tool that created the .mobi file (no longer supported). Oh, well. We move along.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for all the support, likes on Facebook, and retweets on Twitter.

Keep writing.

I will, too.

 

Cover for Carolina Dawn

Cover Reveal!

Carolina Dawn | Guy L. PaceThis is the cover for Carolina Dawn, the third and final book in the Spirit Missions series! This cover, created by Scott Deyett (InHouse Graphics) will grace the ebook editions of Carolina Dawn when it releases on February 14, 2018.

I think Scott did a great job here. I gave him some brief details on the main character, a little about the theme of the book and what Amy should have. Rather than stick with the dark blue theme of the previous books, he brought out the dawn for this one and it rocks.

The Title Breakdown

Carolina. The book takes place almost entirely in North Carolina. I hope y’all who live there can identify with the locations I use. Hope I didn’t destroy your house.

Dawn. Well, yes, there are a couple of scenes involving dawn breaking over North Carolina. But, you have to read the book to pick up why I used this title.

Print

Carolina Dawn Full | Guy L. PaceHere is the print version of the cover, full back, spine, and front.

Blurb on Back Cover

Amy Grossman must decide about Paul Shannon’s proposal. Guilt over Joe’s death still eats at her. Then there is Lucy–a competitor for Paul’s affection–to deal with. She also fills her days with gardening, handling power outages, and perimeter guard duty.

A stranger arrives with dire news turning Amy’s life new directions. With its very survival on the line, the community must pull together one more time.

She knows God has a plan for her, but surely ending up zombie food couldn’t be part of that plan.

Could it?

Well, could it? That’s the question. Carolina Dawn will go on Amazon pre-sale later this week.
Stay tuned.
Keep writing.