Two Books. One Post.

This has been finished for a while, but A Means to an Ens had been finished even longer, so this one had to wait its turn.

cover art by david j. lovato

Two people meet, fall in love, fall out, and fall apart, left wondering what to do with the pieces that remain. A collection of narrative poetry.

Build Yourself Better is a poetry collection, and the final in a trilogy called Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails, which consists of Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, A Means to an Ens, and Build Yourself Better.

cover art by david j. lovato

The whole trilogy can be purchased as a set inconspicuously titled Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails, which will also include a fourth collection, B-Sides and Rarities, consisting of poems cut from the first three.

All in all, each collection is a set of narrative poetry, meaning the poems tell an over-arching story. Together, the collections form a thematic, loosely-related trilogy.

Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails gathers four poetry collections:

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages details a narrator’s struggle to find his place in the world as he drifts through parallel universes, replaces the people around him with fictional characters, scatters his poetry to the wind, and keeps the things he can’t bear to lose by writing them down.

A Means to an Ens follows the last man on earth. Years after waking up to find himself seemingly alone in the world, the narrator heads out on a journey to find any sign of life in a desolate place, but is instead confronted by the ghosts of his past.

Build Yourself Better chronicles two people who meet, fall in love, fall out, and then fall apart, and what they do in the aftermath with the pieces that remain.

B-Sides and Rarities features poems originally cut from the above collections.

Build Yourself Better and Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails will be available in eBook and print formats on February 29th, 2016. Because the chance to release a book on February 29th doesn’t come around very often.

Before then, you can look forward to previews of a few of the poems by keeping an eye here, especially on my Scenes page.

Thanks for everything.

Pre-order links (more will be added as they become available):

Build Yourself Better: Amazon, Smashwords, Google Play

Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails: Amazon, Smashwords, Google Play

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In the Year of Our Death and Zombiemandias – Available Now

In the Year of Our Death, the sequel to After the Bite and In the Lone and Level Sands is now available in print and eBook formats at various retailers, and should go live at several more over the next few hours.

In the Year of Our Death

It’s been two years since the zombies first appeared and changed the world forever. Keely and her friends escaped the hell of Seattle and settled down near an abandoned radio station. Bailey finds herself caught up with a ravenous group of survivors. Georgie has set up a courier system to move mail across the remains of America. Will and his friends—all of them orphans now—are out of water and have to leave their quiet suburb for the first time in their lives. Nelson, the engineer charged with running Hoover Dam and powering the American Southwest, breaks his glasses and must wander the wasteland nearly blind looking for a replacement.

Adam, however, knows the truth about the zombies: They aren’t monsters, they’re angels, sent by God to cleanse the world of the survivors, and Adam and his Church of Lesser Humans were put here to help them do it. Armed only with faith, a bus, and the steadfast rule to never allow harm to come to the zombies, Adam knows Judgment Day is coming, and will stop at nothing to herald its arrival.

You can read a sample chapter here as well as download samples from the retailer of your choice.

Store Links (more will be added as they become available):

Amazon • Google Play • iTunes • Barnes & Noble • SmashwordsKobo • Paperback (CreateSpace store) • Hardcover

The paperback edition should be available through Amazon’s website and Barnes & Noble’s website soon.

Also available is the collected edition, Zombiemandias: In the Zombie Apocalypse Collection, an eBook that includes After the Bite, In the Lone and Level Sands, and In the Year of Our Death.

Zombiemandias: In the Zombie Apocalypse Collection

Amazon • Google Play • iTunes • Barnes & Noble • SmashwordsKobo

Thanks to everyone who makes what I do possible. This includes you, the reader, without whom I’m just sitting here shouting random nonsense into a void. Thank you.

In the Year of Our Death

Things have been exciting lately! I published my first game, Hinterland, and while it was a little bit glitchier than I thought, it’s been mostly smooth. I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and a lot of fun watching people play it on YouTube.

Now it’s time for me to shift my focus to my other big October project. This one is a book announcement.

In 2012 I published After the Bite, a collection of short stories I wrote with my friend Seth Thomas, set during a zombie apocalypse. This was a companion book to a novel we released a year later called In the Lone and Level Sands. Now, I couldn’t be happier to announce the sequel to both: In the Year of Our Death.

In the Year of Our Death

In the Year of Our Death picks up roughly two years after the end of In the Lone and Level Sands. Like the previous book, it follows different groups of characters across the zombie-ravaged country. Returning from In the Lone and Level Sands, Keely and her friends live in a motel near a radio station in a small, quiet part of Los Angeles they’ve barricaded off from the zombies and the outside world. Young Will and his group of orphaned teens have been waiting out the apocalypse in a peaceful suburb, but have run out of food and water and have to leave to find a new home. Ruffian Bailey found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and has been running with a bad crowd ever since, until she decides to flee them and try to do some good in the world. Slow but well-meaning Georgie, who could outrun the devil himself on his bicycle, has set up a courier system to shuttle packages and information across the United States. Engineer Stephen Nelson has set himself up at Hoover Dam, where he keeps power running to the Southwest—until he breaks his glasses and has to head blindly into the wasteland to replace them.

At the heart of it all is Adam. Suffering from nightmares of a church fire he survived at the onset of the apocalypse, Adam believes the zombies to be a higher form of enlightenment, and now commits his life to protecting them. His most important mission is to find the man on the radio who feeds daily advice on how to kill what Adam calls the “greater humans” and silence him for good.

After the Bite told the small tales of a zombie apocalypse, while In the Lone and Level Sands serves as a record of survivors at its onset. In the Year of Our Death finds the survivors—and zombies—struggling to survive in a world that changed forever two years ago. Every day now is a war, and this year will claim its fair share of casualties.

You can read a sample chapter here: Chapter 16

So this is how I find myself sitting on a series of finished books. I have to say I like how it feels. On that front, I’m also announcing an eBook collection of all three books:

Zombiemandias: In the Zombie Apocalypse Collection

Buying the three of them together will end up being a little cheaper than buying them separately, but fair warning: This is going to be quite a long eBook.

Both books release on October 20th, 2015. Pre-orders will be live soon, I’ll update with links as they’re available. Also, in celebration, the eBook version of In the Lone and Level Sands will be available for free and/or at a deep discount at most retailers through the month of October.

So that’s that. Stay tuned here for release info, teasers, and other goodies.

Thanks always for reading.

What’s in a Name?

Big changes incoming!

Perhaps you’ve noticed this very site (as well as Twitter) list me as “David J. Lovato” while the name on all my covers and storefronts simply reads “David Lovato”. That’s going to change.

Big changes this far along can get messy, and I spent the better part of two days updating all of my book covers and websites to add one little “J”, but the end result will be worth it. Why the change? Well, “davidlovato” wasn’t available for use as a WordPress site, so I added the J way back when, and it’s always good to keep things streamlined. Another reason is that I’m not the only David Lovato in town, and I think it’s best to keep any potential confusion to a minimum. So, starting in the coming weeks, you should see “David J. Lovato” on all of my books and store fronts. Also, it turns out I really like the way it looks. It’s like a little hook cementing my name in place. At the risk of sounding full of myself, I think I’ve realized you can tell a great font by its J.

Anyway, It’s a lengthy process to change all of my links and descriptions and profiles, but I’m almost done, and hopefully I did it without breaking anything too badly.

So, while I’m busy writing a post about my writing, I guess I should give a general update.

I’m way behind on Camp NaNoWriMo, thanks in part to burnout and in part to a household emergency. I may or may not get caught up, but I do plan to finish this project someday, and hopefully not too far away.

I have another project, a big one, that I’m hoping to release by Halloween. More details on that when it’s a little more ready for the spotlight.

I’m kicking around ideas for another poetry book. Possibly two of them. I enjoyed writing and publishing Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, but for these two, I’m thinking bigger. Maybe louder.

I’m sitting on some novellas! One is finished and polished and I’m working to get it published traditionally. Another one is finished but not edited, and the last is unfinished, but I hope to put the final touches on those two this summer. Not sure whether I’ll self-publish or try the traditional route with them; that will depend on how I feel about the finished products. I also have an almost-finished short story collection that will most likely be self-published; the stories are all set in the same world and follow a specific theme.

And, as always, I have plenty of projects always moving, some slower than others, but they’ll be revealed when the time is right.

In short, I promise I’m working on things, and I’m pretty sure at least one of them will see a release this year.

Speaking of Halloween (I know that was a few paragraphs ago but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want), last year I started a second RPG Maker project in the spirit of Halloween. With any luck I’ll finish it and release it before Halloween this year. It’s just a short little adventure where I challenged myself to see how odd I could make things go in that game engine, but I don’t see the harm in getting it out there, supposing I finish it. My main project is still Let the Moonlight Give You Wings, but that one is a lot larger and less predictable, so I can’t give an ETA on it. If I do pick up my Halloween-ish game again, expect to see some previews around these parts.

That about does it as far as talking about what I’m working on. One last thing though:

My favorite band is back! I can hardly express how excited I am to see Brand New recording and putting out new material. My history with this band is a long one. I’ll probably write a whole post on it pretty soon. But for now let’s just say they have a new song called “Mene” and you should buy it because it’s awesome.

And that’s it for now. Until next time!

Book Announcement: The Ones Who Follow the Water

I figure it’s about time I share the main project I’ve been up to as of late, considering how overdue this is in the first place.

I’m just about finished with The Ones Who Follow the Water, a new adult fantasy novel.

The Ones Who Follow the Water front cover

This is a story that will always be dear to me. When I was in high school I wrote short stories, mostly for fun, and I didn’t have many ideas I could see taking up a full novel. That changed during a camping trip with my best friends, when I had a dream that inspired one.

I tried to write it as soon as I got home. Something like 300 words in, I realized I wasn’t ready to write it. I had about a page and a half, and it read like a summary of the dream I had, not actual storytelling. So I shelved it for years.

I wrote the first draft much later, during NaNoWriMo 2010. I could go on about the process behind the book, but to make a long story short, I edited the life right out of it. The final result was boring, stagnant, almost like that two-page summary I had written years before. I had told the story I wanted to tell, but that was all it was—a sterile recount of a story I could see so well in my head, but failed to get down on paper.

This year I decided to go back over it and breathe some actual life into the story. I re-wrote most of the novel with a better understanding of how to write, how to edit, what audience I was going for, and how to translate the story I saw in my head.

But enough about me. Here’s the synopsis for The Ones Who Follow the Water.

The town of Welby is surrounded by a high wall, erected in long-forgotten days when people remembered their magic and Immortals walked the earth.
Oren and Carah grew up together in Welby, but when Oren makes a mistake that could get Carah exiled, he has no choice but to climb over the wall and enter the unknown world beyond, following a river and looking for a necklace.
The world is full of creatures and people Oren never dreamed of, but friend and foe alike offer him the same advice: Don’t follow the water.
Oren’s journey leads him to an impossible castle, and inside, Oren finds the necklace, and a reason to never go back home.

The Ones Who Follow the Water will be available November 25th, 2014 in e-book, hardcover, and paperback editions. I’ll post store links (including pre-orders) on the book’s main page soon. The Smashwords page is already available, with others coming soon. In the meantime, here’s a trailer for the book:

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages Release

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages is now available at most online book retailers.

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages

Each of the 16 poems in Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages stands alone, but also serves as a piece of a larger narrative. From the death of poetry itself in “At Rest in the Sea” to the lifetime-spanning “The Back of the Room”, the stream-of-consciousness piece “Alone” to the song-turned-poem “Sunday Calls for Cloudy Skies”, and the thematically-related interludes “Letters”, “Pages”, and “Poetries”, Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages tells the story of a narrator struggling to find his place in the world, drifting between tangential universes, and replacing the people around him with fictional characters, all the while writing letters he doesn’t send, poetry scattered to the wind, and pages full of everything he can’t bear the thought of losing.

You can find the e-book through these links:

Amazon • Smashwords • Apple iBooks • Barnes & Noble • Kobo • Google Play

The paperback should be up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble soon, and is available through the CreateSpace store now.

Samples of the book can be found at all of its storefronts, but you can also read several poems under the Scenes section of my blog, under “Samples” in the menu bar.

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages Announcement

My poetry collection, Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, will be released next month in ebook and paperback formats.

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages

Each of the 16 poems in Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages stands alone, but also serves as a piece of a larger narrative. From the death of poetry itself in “At Rest in the Sea” to the lifetime-spanning “The Back of the Room”, the stream-of-consciousness piece “Alone” to the song-turned-poem “Sunday Calls for Cloudy Skies”, and the thematically-related interludes “Letters”, “Pages”, and “Poetries”, Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages tells the story of a narrator struggling to find his place in the world, drifting between tangential universes, and replacing the people around him with fictional characters, all the while writing letters he doesn’t send, poetry scattered to the wind, and pages full of everything he can’t bear the thought of losing.

My plan is to release all formats of the book on June 24th, 2014.

The ebook will be up for pre-order on most major retailers soon. In the meantime, here is the table of contents. A few of the poems available for reading now, which you’ll find through their links:

At Rest in the Sea
Letters
Faded.
Sunday Calls for Cloudy Skies
Alone
Shadows and Fingerprints
The Back of the Room
Yearbook
Pages
Be There
In the House Across the Street
On the Mend
I Could Have Shined
Love on a Page
Contronym
Poetries

Hardcovers!

I recently received my proof copies of the hardcover editions of After the Bite and In the Lone and Level Sands. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out, and now I’m making them available to purchase through Lulu.

I wish I could make these available elsewhere, but I can’t justify the cost to do so. For now, Lulu is the only place to get hardcovers of these books. Paperbacks and ebooks will remain available everywhere they currently are.

You can find After the Bite here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-lovato-and-seth-thomas/after-the-bite/hardcover/product-21636543.html

And In the Lone and Level Sands here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-lovato-and-seth-thomas/in-the-lone-and-level-sands/hardcover/product-21636523.html

After the Bite comes in black satin with gold spine text, while In the Lone and Level Sands comes in tan satin with black spine text. Both books feature glossy dust jackets and black-and-white interiors.

On the Mend

I’ve been going over my poetry collection, and on the whole I’m happy with it. It’s looking very unlikely that I’ll scrap it at this point, so I’m probably going to share a few more poems in the coming weeks. I still want to give it another round of editing, then there’s assembling it for publishing, finding a cover, hopefully getting some external feedback, etc. Hopefully I’ll have more concrete information about it next time I mention it on here.

In the meantime, this poem is called “On the Mend” and it almost didn’t make the cut. It’s one of the shortest poems in the collection, but it fits the theme well, and I’m happy with how it turned out.

On the Mend

I’ve been throwing bricks
From atop this house of sticks
And I’ve been casting stones
Across a lake as dry as bones

I hope you never know
How much time I’ve spent planning for bridges
I never come to, much less have to cross

And I’ve been planting seeds
In a yard not fit for weeds
I’ve been writing words
That leave the page like little birds

I was pretty sure
I’ve spent most of my life burning bridges
I couldn’t sleep beneath, much less try to cross

I wrote you down so you would always stay
But a heart like yours won’t be contained
So I put quotation marks around your name, like wings
So you could fly away from me

I hope you never see
I’ve spent every hour since then building a bridge
And I can barely walk, much less bear a cross

Tonight I’ll try to sleep
Beside the secrets I don’t want to keep
Tomorrow I’ll start throwing bricks
At your makeshift crucifix

And hope you do believe
You won’t find any answers jumping off of bridges
Come down from there. You’ve suffered enough.

WIBUT April 2014

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t want my blog to focus mainly on reviews, yet I have one ready to post at any time, and another one in progress. As it turns out, I greatly enjoy talking about the things I enjoy.

Before I get around to posting those, I thought I’d give an update on the other things this site was intended to focus on.

Writing

My main focus right now is on a coming-of-age / magic realism novella. I’m a little over 15,000 words in. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it once I finish it (and in this case, “finish” means finish writing, shelve it for a few months, then edit it and decide if it’s worth existing anywhere but my own hard drive). For now, I’m going to focus on writing it. Its tentative (and likely final) title is “The Afterglow”.

I have a few other projects on the backburner, one of which I’d like to talk a lot more about, but probably shouldn’t, since it won’t be finished anytime soon, let alone releasable. The reason I mention it is that I’m pretty sure I’ll break that silence in the coming weeks, depending on how well it comes along.

Publishing

Search around the internet, and you’ll find a very unfortunate battle raging over traditional- vs. self-publishing. I think (and hope) the squabble is coming to an end, with both methods coming out of it as valid routes to the same goal, and both methods existing as alternatives balancing each other out. With that said, I don’t prefer or dislike either method. I’m still eager to have certain works traditionally published, but I have turned to self-publishing before. One reason for it is that I enjoy doing it. My first love will always be writing, but putting the finished product together as one package is a lot of fun. It’s hard work, sometimes it’s frustrating (no one can ever know how long I’ve languished over where to place the title on the cover, what size to print a book in, what font to use, etc.), but in the end I enjoy doing it.

It’s always exciting to see new options pop up on the publishing side of things. In my case, these options aren’t necessarily new, but old ones I’ve seen in a new light.

There isn’t a lot to say about either route, at the moment. On the traditional side, I’m submitting short stories and novelettes to publishers for their consideration. There’s a lot of waiting involved, which I understand and don’t mind, but it doesn’t make for an exciting blog post.

On the self-publishing side, I’m putting together hardcover editions of After the Bite and In the Lone and Level Sands. My co-author Seth and I have had a few people ask us about hardcovers, and it’s always a bummer to have to tell them it’s not in the cards. However, I’ve found a happy enough medium to work with. If I get these finished and approve of the quality, hardcovers will be available through Lulu’s store only. (I can’t bring myself to use their expanded distribution options; I would have to charge in the realm of $40-$60 for the books, and part of my self-publishing philosophy is that my books need to be affordable. I paid $40 for the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series, I can’t see myself charging the same for one short story collection by some random not-George R. R. Martin.)

Finally, and this one falls somewhere between “writing” and “publishing,” I’m considering a book of poetry. I had a random burst of creativity a few weeks ago, and the result was over a dozen strongly related poems. I’ve considered submitting them for publishing elsewhere, but these follow a theme and almost form a story, and I think they belong together. I could submit the entire book for publishing, but I’m not sure anyone would want to represent or publish a poetry book by someone who hasn’t published poetry before, so for now I’m leaning toward self-publishing it.

Reading

I’ve finally made decent progress with Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. I started reading it a long time ago, but I found the beginning to be slow, even boring. It’s finally picking up, and it was worth getting through; I’m enjoying the story.

I also recently began The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. The writing is delightful; I find myself smiling almost nonstop through it. The story is magical, although the parallels to previous works like Alice in Wonderland and other writers like Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula K. Le Guin are very strong, and I’m not sure the book will end up accomplishing anything those others haven’t already. But I’m not very far in yet, and anyway, a book doesn’t have to change the world or even change literature to be great. In any case, I’m surprised Studio Ghibli hasn’t made a film out of this one. It would fit right in.

Blog Upkeep

I’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff around here. For example, the “Published Works” link at the top is now a drop-down menu that contains a page for every work listed in there (which it should have from the start, but I hadn’t thought to do it yet). Clicking “published works” will still go to the old page, where everything is on one page.

I’ve also been using the tumblr version of my blog a lot more than I thought I would. It’s great for posting pictures, and I’ve recently begun a project I’m calling “Scenes”, where I put excerpts of my writing over pictures I’ve taken over the years. I do plan to get that project going on here as well, but it’s a little more involved on WordPress, and I’m not sure yet how I want the page to appear. In the meantime, you’ll find the pictures on my facebook, the page for my zombie series, and my tumblr.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, more or less. Now I’ll get back to finishing those review posts, and hopefully, by the time those are up, I’ll have something a little more substantial to share on the writing side of this blog.