Interviews, Guest Posts, Giveaways, and Summer Leaves

The last two weeks have been busy for me. Just before Thanksgiving, I did an interview and a guest post. Just after Thanksgiving, I released a new e-book.

Yesterday evening, Homeschooling Teen Magazine released the interview; this morning, Sarah Holman posted the guest post up on Homeschool Authors.

In conjunction with these, I am running a free book promotion on Amazon. Today, and through tomorrow, Sweet Green Paper and The Last Heir are free on Kindle.

As for the e-book, I am happy to announce the release of Summer Leaves: A Story in Three Acts. It is the second book in the Sons of Tryas, with Beauty of the Lilies leading the way.

Ruark, Lord Heir fourth in line for the throne, and once first in line, came so close. Still, he missed it entirely. His brother reigned, and dreamed, and Ruark himself wandered, burning his restlessness on distant, wild planets.

Then the premier of the Assembly found him, with an offer to give him everything he ever wanted, at only a small cost to his soul.

In Summer Leaves, Shannon McDermott continues the story of the sons of Tryas, begun in Beauty of the Lilies.

Sold on Kindle Amazon; estimated length 67 pages; price $2.99.

To read the beginning of the book, go to Amazon and either “Look Inside” or download the sample.

“Beauty of the Lilies” Release and Giveaway

Almost two weeks ago, I published my novella Beauty of the Lilies to Kindle Amazon. Beauty of the Lilies is set in the same universe as The Last Heir, starring one of Emperor Alexander’s predecessors – Jediah, the painting emperor.

Of all the stories I have written, this is the only one whose nucleus was a character. In The Last Heir, Elymas Vonran – the Premier of the Assembly – asserts, “A passive emperor is still the emperor.” In the first drafts of that scene, Vonran then cited a historical example: Emperor Jediah, “who devoted himself to his family and his painting”.

Eventually I cut this, moving the Premier directly from his assertion to his point. But I never forgot about the painting emperor. I wanted to write a story about him, and when I finally set myself to the task, I had two thoughts. The first was: This could be funny. The second was: This could be sad. From this, the whole story came.

The whole foundation I laid down for the story – the plots, the other characters – was measured according to Jediah. I wanted to paint, as it were, the painting emperor. Beauty of the Lilies is the portrait I ended up creating. A companion piece, Summer Leaves, is to be released next month.

This weekend, October 12 and 13, Beauty of the Lilies will be available for free download. If you read and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review on its Amazon page or a rating on its Goodreads page.

Another description of the novella, along with the prologue, may be found here; I also published an Author’s Commentary in Part I, Part II, and Part III.


So, today, I have another announcement. The Kindle Edition of The Last Heir is now being sold on Amazon. Again, I’ve set a promotion for this weekend, September 21 and 22, when the e-book will be available for free download.

Over the past week I’ve been building up my profile on Goodreads; I’m starting to figure out the site. I’ve heard Goodreads called the Facebook of readers, seen several writers praise it to the sky, and now, I suppose, I’ll see for myself.

A week from today I’m scheduled to review Hero with Prism Tours. I’m about halfway through the book, slowed down by the fact that, this time, I couldn’t get a Kindle copy from NetGalley. They disabled the option partially on account of “reader experience issues”, which is ironic because the decision has given me all sorts of reader experience issues. The end of these is that I am now reading the book on my computer, which is why I am reading more slowly.

Prism Tour is also set to do a Cover Reveal for The Goddess Tithe, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, early next week. So, maybe, I’ll see you there.


I’ve been busy this past week, with various projects. One of these was getting onto Amazon.

The Last Heir is now on Amazon, eligible for free shipping and boasting one review. I also published Sweet Green Paper: An Adventure of Christian Holmes to Amazon Kindle. I enrolled it in KDP Select, making it free to rent for Amazon Prime Members.

And getting, incidentally, free promotional days. A promotion is set for this weekend, September 14 and 15; Sweet Green Paper will be available for free download then.

Beyond this, I’m busy editing my novella Summer Leaves (a companion story to Beauty of the Lilies) and making preparations to begin my next novel. Last Saturday I had thought I was about ready to write the first scene, but while planning it out, I decided to do some further research. I should stockpile some more scientific facts.

And maybe read some more pulp fiction. Outpost of Jupiter wasn’t bad.

A Book and its Author

I’ve been thinking about what to do for my blog this week, and then it came to me: I could review Dick Cheney’s memoir, In My Time. So here goes:

Dick Cheney spent forty years in public service, and he has been at the center of some of the most important and most controversial policies in recent times. Never one to pull punches, he is finally telling his side of the story. I imagine it will be good. Five stars.

Now, some of you may be asking: What kind of a review is that? And the answer is, it’s the kind of review you’ll find if you go looking on Amazon.

Tuesday – the day Cheney’s memoir was released – I looked it up on Amazon. I was surprised to find 34 reviews already up. Did thirty-four people really rush out, buy the book, read all 576 pages in one day, and then throw up a review on the internet?

And the answer, I am sure, is that some people did, just not thirty-four of them. An old problem is brought into focus here. Although there are many helpful and thoughtful reviews on Amazon, there are some that are, well, less so. Some reviews are not even legitimate, such as when people review books they have not read.

Sometimes you know this is the case. For example, there were one-star reviews of Cheney’s memoir where the authors admitted to not having read – or at least finished – it. I recall one person who said he would read the book he was supposedly reviewing when “I am forced to turn to the study of Larger Than Life International War Criminals”. So believe that one-star rating he gave.

There are also the reviewers whom you can only suspect of not reading the book. These are the ones who are light on facts and heavy on hot, hot emotion.

And hot emotion is exactly what Dick Cheney stirs up in many quarters. When people who are both famous and controversial write books, a funny thing happens. A lot of people try to review their books and end up reviewing them. Dick Cheney is both the author and subject of his autobiography, so it’s a blurry line, but when a review consists almost entirely of judgments on the man rather than the book, it’s crossed it. And all those one-star ratings, and even some of those five-star ratings – they’re not rating the book. They’re rating the author.