The Apprentice’s Cypher

One of the things that I like to do when I begin a new book is to think about what everyone has been doing in the past year.  One of my personal favorite characters is Exquisite, aka Chuck Harwood, the Necroid. It occurred to me that he’s kind of a geek, and he might try his hand at writing.  So I figured out the kind of book that he would write and will be including mention of it in Gingerbread Wolves. It also occurred to me that Nancy Dew, the Ambimorph, is the kind of person who would want to support Ex by writing a review of his book.

So here is a fictional review, written by a fictional character, about a fictional book written by another fictional character. It doesn’t have any bearing on the main storyline of The Book Of Lost Doors, it’s just an exercise to get my mind working.

So, this book doesn’t really exist.  Don’t go looking for it.

Exquisite's Book

Exquisite’s Book

Book Review

Title: The Apprentice’s Cypher
Author: Charles Harwood
Genre: Steampunk/Mystery/LGBT
Length: 280 Pages
Format: E-book and trade paperback
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Reviewed by Nancy Dew.

Note: I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: The Apprentice’s Cypher is set in an alternate history version of North America in 1918. In this version of America the Confederacy succeeded from the Union without violence and America is divided into five nations, The Union, The Confederacy, Texas, California, and Oklahoma, each of which has it’s own style of government.   North America stayed out of The Great War, which has recently ended with the Austrian-Hungarian Empire ruling most of Europe.

The global politics of the world, however, have little bearing on the daily lives of Peitr and Karl, two apprentices at Boston’s prestigious Academy of Steam Mechanics.  When a well-loved instructor dies in a suspicious accident, Peitr and Karl are sure that it was murder, and begin their own investigation to unravel the mystery and bring the killer to justice.

My impressions: This is a fast paced and exciting story.  Harwood starts off (literally) with a bang, opening with the explosion that kills Professor Jakes.  The school administration quickly rules the explosion accidental, but Peitr and Karl have information that suggests that it wasn’t, since the two boys were working closely with Jakes on an after hours project.  Their evidence is ignored by the administration, and the boys are nearly killed themselves, in accidents that seemed designed to intimidate them into silence.

Harwood makes the boys likable and interesting. Peitr is a son of a wealthy Union family and Karl is a Texan.  The dialogue is very clever, and the boys are, for the most part, believable.  The adults are less well drawn (in particular the Headmaster seems little more than a caricature) but since the focus of the story is on the students that’s not a major problem.

The mystery itself is very well plotted, with a few genuine twists that took me by surprise. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I was satisfied that everything was explained and the loose ends neatly tied up.

The romance between Peitr and Karl was sweet, and I felt it was realistic, given the boys’ backgrounds.  Harwood doesn’t get overly graphic, (I could have used a little more detail, myself) but it’s clear that relationship becomes very physical.  I thought that he spent a little too much time stressing Karl and Peitr’s inexperience, and in some scenes they were doing so much shaking, shivering, trembling, and quivering that I was worried that they might vibrate their bunk apart.

All in all, though, I thought that it worked as a mystery, as a science fiction novel, and as M/M romance.  I would recommend it to fans of any of the above genres.

Posted in Artists That I Admire, Gingerbread Wolves, On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Read My New Book, Damnit, I Want To Talk About It!

So now that I have launched The Worms Of Heaven I find myself wanting to talk about it, to ask people what worked and what didn’t, to see which characters they want to see more of, and basically find out what everyone wants to see in Gingerbread Wolves. 

But I can’t, because I’ve only sold four copies and I hope that more people than that will read it eventually, so I need to wait until everyone who reads this blog and wants to read the book has had a chance to do so, because spoilers.

Grrr,  The waiting is the hardest part.

Posted in On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing, Worms Of Heaven | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Worms of Heaven by Misha Burnett


Another lovely review!

Originally posted on Davetopia:

Worms of Heaven by Misha BurnettIn the third volume in the Book of Lost Doors series, Burnett continues to push the boundaries of paranormal soap opera; a genre that, if he didn’t invent he has made his own. While using the same preternatural outsiders living among us seed as urban fantasy and paranormal romance, there are no Byronic heroes who just need the right woman, beautiful people with a magical quirk, or happily-ever-afters here.

The rest of this review might contain spoilers for the first two volumes: Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts.

Picking up some time after the end of Cannibal Hearts, the novel opens with James discovering someone has kidnapped Agony Delapour. The feelings of amusement he shares with Catskinner at the abductors’ horrific mistake turn to concern when he discovers that – while the mooks who did the grab might not know what they are involved in – the person behind them…

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I updated my “Buy My Books” page, streamlined it some.  Now that I have three novels and am in a short story collection my page looks more serious and less… pathetic.  Clicking on any of the covers should take you to the Amazon page.

Confirmed with Brandon that he’s going to be narrating Worms Of Heaven.  I’m looking at mid-November for that.  Maybe sooner, he said it might be done by Halloween.  I’ll keep you posted.

Interestingly enough, I know another author who launched a new novel this past weekend.  Believe me, I know that he launched a new novel this weekend.  The info is on his blog, reposted on several other blogs I follow, and announced, as near as I can determine, on between half and three-quarters of the groups on FaceBook. I very seldom actually try to read Twitter any more, but I’m sure I’d find it all over there, too.

Now, I will freely admit that I am the world’s worst marketer, but I’m thinking that posting the title in ALL CAPS all over the place is not the way to go.  I’ve seen this ad at least a dozen times so far, and I am no more interested in the novel than the first time I saw it.

Less, actually.

I really don’t want to do that.  I posted that Worms is available in this blog, on my Twitter once, on my author FaceBook page.  I’m not a member of any FaceBook groups that accept ads, so that’s about it.

But, as I said earlier, Catskinner’s Book will be featured on E-Reader News Today on Wednesday the 3d of September.  It and Cannibal Hearts will be on sale for 99 cents that week.

Other than that, I rely on word of mouth, because that’s how I find books to read.  I tend to ignore authors promoting their own books, which is why I don’t do much of it.

Posted in Artists That I Admire, On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing, Worms Of Heaven | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Meteor Men Beg To Differ, Judging By The Hole In The Satellite Picture

Okay, update time.

First, The Worms Of Heaven is now available in Create Space paperback on Amazon. I’ve ordered ten copies, I should have them by the middle of next week.

The Kindle edition is held up for some reason, it’s still listed as “publishing” on my dashboard.  I’m expecting that it will go live soon.  I will keep you updated.

EDIT: The Kindle Edition is now live!

Second, I managed to get onto E-Reader News Today–they’ll be featuring Catskinner’s Book on September 3d.  Both Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts will be on sale for 99 cents September 1st-7th.

So we’ll see how that works.

I’m considering opening a Cafe Press shop to sell Official Delapour & Associates merchandise– coffee cups and the like.  I’m not sure if there would be much of a market, but I’d like to have some D&A swag myself.



Starting to get into the groove on Gingerbread Wolves. Mostly through the first chapter and gearing up for the dreaded Info Dump For New Readers.

See you in the funny papers, kids.

Posted in Gingerbread Wolves, On Promotion, On Publishing, Uncategorized, Worms Of Heaven | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

But It Would It Have Been Worth It After All?

Over the weekend I finished up the editing and formatting of The Worms Of Heaven. I’ve uploaded the files to Amazon and Create Space.  They are checking them over now, I should hear back on any problems early this week.

What I am thinking this morning is, Thank God that’s over with.

I started writing seriously in the summer of 2011.  I launched Catskinner’s Book in summer 2012, Cannibal Hearts in summer 2013, and now The Worms Of Heaven.

This might be the year I break a hundred books sold, total.  Maybe.  All books, all formats combined.  I average selling about one and a half books a month.  I think my absolute biggest month was August of last year, when I launched Cannibal and sold eight.

I’ve been averaging losing two to three hundred dollars a year, comparing what I’ve spent on promotion versus what I’ve made in sales.

There are more expensive hobbies, I suppose. But it’s clear that the idea of ever making money doing this is absurd.

Honestly, I don’t understand why.  I get a lot of positive feedback on my books, my reviews are very positive.  There are a lot of people who are very enthusiastic about my work.

None of that translates into actual sales, though.  I’ve tried different promotions, GoodReads, and a couple of different e-book promotion sites, I’ve done author interviews and author spotlights and guest posts.  I’ve done giveaways for the e-book, the paperback, and the audiobook.  I’ve given away, at a guess, three or four times as many books as I’ve sold.

I don’t know.  I’m going to keep writing, but I’ve given up on the whole promotion circus.  I can’t afford to keep throwing money away.

Anyway, The Worms Of Heaven should be out by the end of the week.  I’ll post the links when it is.

Posted in Cannibal Hearts, On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing, Worms Of Heaven | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Book Review: The Worms of Heaven by Misha Burnett

Originally posted on S.K. Nicholls:
A while back, March 15, 2014, to be precise, I posted book reviews for Misha Burnett’s first two books in the “Book of Lost Doors” series, Book One: “Catskinner’s Book” and Book Two: “Cannibal…

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