In the Lone and Level Sands

In the Lone and Level Sands cover

The wait is over! In the Lone and Level Sands is now available in ebook format (list price $3.99) through Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes (with Kobo and Sony editions coming soon). It’s also available in print (list price $12.99) through Createspace and Amazon (with Barnes & Noble coming soon).

In the Lone and Level Sands is the story of seven groups of people across America as they try to survive the zombie apocalypse.

You can read the first 19 chapters here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzO8YJWnSng8SzRzcUtYeHpDM00/edit?usp=sharing

You can also see a longer preview at the various ebook retailer pages.

Seth and I want to thank everyone who reads this or any of our works, and everyone who will do so. You mean a lot to us.

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In the Lone and Level Sands Trailer (And Other Things)

In the Lone and Level Sands comes out Tuesday, November 26th.

You can pre-order the ebook through Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

The ebook will also be available through Amazon, Kobo, and Sony eBooks. A print edition will also be available soon.

Purchasing a new print edition through Amazon will allow you to download the Kindle eBook free of charge.

Just a reminder, you can read the first 19 chapters of the book under the “Samples” section of this blog. You can read a longer sample at the book’s Smashwords page.

Another reminder, the ebook edition of After the Bite is free for the month of November.

I’m very excited to release this novel next week. In the meantime, my NaNoWriMo progress has slowed considerably. I reached a point where it felt like forcing the story out would ruin it, so I’m more or less checking out of NaNoWriMo. I wrote a good 20,000 words and I absolutely plan to finish this novel, just not by the end of November.

I’ve also come up with a new title for one of the books I’m querying agents for. I’m not sure whether I want to change it yet, but I’m thinking I’ll do a blog post about titles pretty soon, as I have a few things to say on the subject.

Zombie Extravaganza

The tentative release date for my co-authored zombie apocalypse novel In the Lone and Level Sands is November 26th, 2013.

Leading up to its release, I’ve been posting a lot of fun zombie-related stuff on the book’s Facebook page. This blog post is meant to recap a lot of that. If you like zombie fiction, I hope you’ll check these out.

Free Norman Peters! – A blog maintained by one of the minor characters in In the Lone and Level Sands.

After the Bite – A collection of short stories and poems set during the same zombie apocalypse. Published in 2012, the e-book is free for the month of November if you download it through Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes Books, or Sony.

Update: Amazon now also allows you to download the eBook free of charge.

This book is also enrolled in the Kindle Matchbook program, meaning if you buy a new copy of the paperback edition through Amazon, you can download the Kindle version free of charge.

In the Lone and Level Sands preview – The first two parts (about 16%) of In the Lone and Level Sands uploaded as a .doc to Google Docs for easy reading. This includes the first 19 chapters of the upcoming book, in their entirety.

I’ve been a huge fan of zombies for a long time, and In the Lone and Level Sands is the zombie epic I always wanted to write. I’m happy to finally be releasing my contribution to the zombie genre, and I hope you’ll stick around when it arrives later this month. I also hope you enjoy the rest of this stuff in the meantime. Have fun!

In the Lone and Level Sands Book Announcement

Anyone who knows me and/or my friend Seth Thomas will know that a few years ago, we started writing a zombie apocalypse novel together. Throughout that time, other projects took the forefront of both our lives, but we never forgot about this one.

I’m glad to finally announce our book, titled In the Lone and Level Sands.

In the Lone and Level Sands

The story follows seven groups of people across America as they deal with the onset of the zombie apocalypse in different ways. When people around them begin killing and eating each other, unlikely allies band together for survival. But the creatures are evolving, and if the survivors want to live, they’ll have to do the same.

In the Lone and Level Sands is set in the same universe as our collection of short stories, After the Bite. We plan to release it in late November, but if you like the book’s Facebook page, you’ll have access to excerpts, a lengthy preview of the book, and a few surprises along the way.

Seth and I offer our thanks to everyone who has followed this book’s progress over the years, and any newcomers to it as well. We’d also like to thank Laura Soret for providing the gorgeous cover artwork.

Stay tuned. Good things are coming. To start them off, use the coupon code “DV23C” (without quotes) to get the e-book version of After the Bite free at Smashwords. The coupon expires on December 1st (subject to change, but only if I have to change it).

Thanks for everything.

Free eBooks / Choose the Cover of Six and Seven

Hey guys! A few weeks ago I posted a release notice for my latest novella, Six and Seven. Since then I’ve been working on a few things, included fixing some formatting errors that popped up in the e-book (which today I think I’ve finally resolved).

While repeatedly going over the book looking for errors, something caught my eye. It’s the little copyright notice at the beginning of the Smashwords edition of the book. It’s where I claim the copyright and ask people not to share the book or read it for free.

The text itself was copied from an example given by Smashwords, and I had never really thought much about it. Reading it the last few weeks got me thinking, though. The truth is, I don’t really care if you read my books for free, or if you share them with someone else. That’s not to say I like working for free; I certainly enjoy being paid for my writing, but if it came down to someone reading my books for free or not reading them at all, I’d choose the former.

I don’t think this should be the case. I think people have a right to be paid for the work they do. But I also understand the plight of the modern consumer: All of the free samples in the world don’t help if you get to the end of a book and just feel ripped off. This is especially true the weaker the economy is and the tighter someone’s budget is.

I’ve decided to try an experiment, a new business model. I’ve always released my books free of DRM when given the option, and I’ve never hunted anyone down to see if they were sharing it with a friend. I’m taking that concept to the next level. From now on – at least for a little while – if you want a copy of one of my* ebooks, just ask.

(*I’ll have to exclude After the Bite and any future co-authored books. This experiment is my decision and it wouldn’t be fair to implement that on a work that isn’t wholly mine.)

Send me an email at justonesp00lturn (at) gmail (dot) com, let me know the title of the book you want, and the format (I should be able to handle most, including pdf, epub, mobi, whatever calibre is capable of converting to). I’ll send you a copy for your reading pleasure.

What I will ask in return is that you consider rating my book on goodreads, amazon, smashwords, wherever. I’m not asking you to give me good reviews, and I don’t want you to feel compelled to. I’ll only ask you to give an honest review. And if you don’t feel like giving one at all, that’s cool, too.

Another request is that if you want to share the book with a friend, please use this same method. It wouldn’t be fair for me to encourage people to share works that were created and distributed by other bookstores and by Smashwords. They do work over there that I feel they deserve to be paid for, and if you disagree, that’s the beauty of having a choice of which, if any, you support monetarily.

I don’t know how long I’ll extend this offer. I am, after all, trying to make writing my career. But I believe the vast majority of people will pay for something they feel deserves that support, and I know it’s hard to to decide that based on a small sample of a whole work.

This brings me to the second part of this post.

I recently received some very helpful feedback regarding Six and Seven as it is currently being presented. That included some criticism I more or less agree with, that the cover is a little bland, and doesn’t really demand attention like a cover should.

Six and Seven is an illustrated work. I’m not a good artist by any means, but as I was writing it I was digitally painting scenes that popped into my head, and these are included in the book. I also made a “cover” version of each illustration, with the intention of making them available here on my blog for people to download their favorite and replace the book’s “official” cover with. I still intend to do that, but I thought of something that might help solve this little uncertainty I’m having at the same time.

I’m going to put the covers up on here and let anyone give their input on them. Whichever gets the most positive attention will likely become the “official” cover of Six and Seven. And hey, if you just want to comment and tell me they’re all terrible, go ahead (though it won’t do much good; I already know I can’t draw, that’s why I’m a writer and not a painter :P).

I’ll most likely be repeating this information on my other social networking sites. Feel free to share at will; if you have a friend in the market for some new books, I’d really appreciate you sending them my way (or sending my books their way).

Here are the covers. Click one to make it larger, and if you want, leave a comment letting me know your thoughts, your favorite, your least favorite, what have you. Thanks!

Artwork by David Lovato
One was closer.
Artwork by David Lovato
Here and There
Artwork by David Lovato
Dead Eyes, Water Mouth
Artwork by David Lovato
Somewhere, Somewhen, Somewhy
Artwork by David Lovato
below everything that ever existed

Six and Seven Release

I’m excited to announce the release of my novella Six and Seven. I first posted about this project right here on my blog, and since then it’s been finished, edited, illustrated, and now published.

Cover art by David Lovato

Call it Hell, call it the Underworld, call it whatever you like, a lost soul known only as Six calls it “In” and he’s stuck here. The souls of In spend their time feeding or fanning flames, watched over by strange creatures called Bellows, and staring through the constant snow of ash at seven distant chimneys visible at all times but eternally unreachable.

Then another soul called Seven gives Six some interesting news: You can get Out by climbing up through one of the chimneys, and Seven figured out how to get to them. Six and Seven set off across the ashy plains toward a chimney, and they quickly learn the rules. The only way to reach the chimney is to progress toward it metaphysically, by finding objects from their lives before In. But each object is accompanied by a painful death, which is followed by a memory from Six’s life, and with each glimpse of what he left behind, Six begins to wonder if he truly wants Out at all.

Six and Seven is a novella and a short story that serves as a direct sequel to it. It features illustrations by me.

The e-book is already available at Smashwords for $2.99, and should be available for Kindle and at most other e-book retailers very soon.

The River

Hey guys, I put a new page up on my blog. It’s a sub-page of the Published Works section, or you can click this link.

The page contains the entirety of my short story “The River” from the collection After the Bite. If you like what you see, there’s a longer preview featuring a few more stories on the book’s Smashwords page.

If zombies aren’t your thing, feel free to share the page with anyone you think might be interested. I’d be eternally grateful to you.

Thanks for everything, and take care!

After the Bite

cover art by Laura Soret
After the Bite by David Lovato and Seth Thomas. Cover art by Laura Soret.

This is that big announcement I’ve been talking about. My friend Seth Thomas and I have written a collection of short stories about zombies, and we’re self-publishing it. It’s called After the Bite.

We’ve been working on this for a while. We actually wrote a book, and these are stories set in the same universe, but they stand on their own.

You can buy After the Bite on Smashwords for $4.99. It should be available through other retailers (like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Apple iBooks and more) in the coming weeks. We’re also looking at a print edition.

If you’re at all interested in zombie fiction, it’d mean a lot to us if you picked up a copy of our book. The first few stories are available as a free preview on Smashwords, and I’ve decided to write up a brief summary of each of the stories so you’re not going in blind. If zombies aren’t your thing (and even if they are), you’ll forever be awesome to me if you pass this link around to your friends and family.

Thanks again to everyone who has followed Seth and I, our blogs, our facebook pages, our lives in general. You mean the world to us.

If you decide to get a copy, it’d also mean a lot if you left us a review on Smashwords or Goodreads or wherever. Every little bit helps us out, and we appreciate it so much.

We love you guys.

Here are the summaries:

1. The River – Jack and Henry are brothers and best friends, but the world threatens to pull them apart. The zombies aren’t helping, either.
2. On the Road – Larry embarks on a survival road trip across a post-apocalyptic America.
3. Holy War – A Jewish man and his Muslim neighbor meet daily in a battle of words.
4. The Living Dead – A brief glimpse of what it means to one man to be alive.
5. On 68th and Woodland Drive – A short poem about the zombie apocalypse.
6. Tragedy in Belford – A successful writer pens the moments leading up to the zombie apocalypse.
7. Sanctuary – A man named Garrett is looking for safety, like a lot of people. Finding none, he decides to make it himself.
8. Death’s Robe – A portrait of the zombie apocalypse.
9. Grampa’s War Story – A group of soldiers on a secret mission in the Middle East must battle enemy combatants and zombies alike.
10. Concrete Nightmare – It’s just another day on the job, until people start eating each other.
11. Dead and Gone – A poem written on a blood-stained scrap of paper.
12. Acceptance – Sometimes it’s hard to share our secrets, even with those we love.
13. Alone Up There – The crew aboard the International Space Station find themselves adrift in a sea of stars.
14. Dog’s Story – The zombie apocalypse isn’t limited to human beings.
15. Thy Neighbor – Two men whose families have been at it for generations might be each other’s only hope.
16. Grim is the Truth – The diary of one survivor of the zombie apocalypse.
17. Two Worlds – When zombies run him out of his home, a young Mexican man heads across the border into America, looking for his brothers.
18. Did Your Mama Ever Tell You the Story of the Day You Were Born? – Everyone has a baby story. Caleb’s involves zombies.
19. BAZK – These guys just want to be rock stars, but zombies keep getting in their way.
20. Like Fish – Brent struggles to hold on to his humanity when the world takes everything away.
21. Ghost Story – When the world is long gone, what happens to those left over?

P.S. The cover art was done by Laura Soret, you can find more of her work here: http://suthnmeh.deviantart.com/

New Page: Writer’s Resources

I added a new page on my blog. It’s called Writer’s Resources, and you can find it at the top of my blog or by clicking here: http://crackedthesky.wordpress.com/writers-resources/

It’s a collection of, you guessed it, resources for writers. If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment.

New Page Idea – Writers’ Resources

After receiving my kajillionth rejection letter the other day I decided to re-think my query letter (of course it’s entirely possible that agents just don’t like my first ten pages, but that’s a beast of another color). Wondering where to begin, it occurred to me that I never finished going over the archives at QueryShark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/). I read over a lot of them but I’m pretty sure I never got to the end.

Reading over the archives is a requirement for submitting to the Shark, but that’s not why I’m doing it (the shark only bites for queries that contain something the blog hasn’t touched on, which I’m pretty sure mine doesn’t). I’m doing it just because it’s full of great advice.

If you’ve never visited the site, you should probably browse the archives as well, especially if you feel like your query letter is off, or strange, or just underwhelming. In all honesty, it’s one of those websites pretty much every prospective writer should frequent. And I realize that I have a lot of such sites in mind, from blogs to sites to twitter feeds.

So I’m thinking of putting up a new page on my blog. I try to give advice to writers, but my publishing history consists of two short stories, and one was a contest winner. This way, if you don’t believe me, you might find some use for my blog in a list of links to other, more credible sources of information.

Of course, having information won’t automatically make you the best writer ever, but it’s a nice first step. Probably a nice first hundred steps. The rest is up to you, but it helps to have something to go by.

What do you think? Should I make a page for writers’ resources? Have any sites or sources you think I should add? Where do you go when you need advice on writing? Leave me a comment.