(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Woah.  Check it, I have reached that level of fame where people give me copies of books and ask for reviews!  Personally, I think he's crazy because I'm not that famous, but here is my review of Hoods by David Wilson!

Hoods is YA superheroes, of course.  Why else ask for my opinion?  It is way, way more serious than my Supervillain books.  The fictional town these kids live in is a series of slums so riddled with crime that the only question is which gang owns your streets.  Despite that, it's not too dark.  There's tension, but while the threat is ever present, the book avoids blood and murder and torture and trauma and stuff like that.

But what you want to know is how good it is!  Once I got past the wildly different tone, it was very good!  Great descriptions, fantastic action scenes, good tension.  It's definitely an action book, and pulls that off completely.  I know nothing of real street gangs, but they felt plausible.  The author set up a particularly cute system of super powers, where most of them are variations of a limited precognition brought on by specific superhuman analysis skills.  The fighting power character is superhuman not from strength and speed, but because he instinctively understands what his opponents are about to do, and what he needs to do.  The stealth girl isn't invisible, she just knows where to stand and how to move to not be noticed even if she's right next to you.  That sort of thing.

If you like serious YA superheroes, I definitely recommend Hoods, and apparently David Wilson thinks my recommendation matters.  Woo, I'm important!

Monday, January 20, 2020


You Can Be A Cyborg When You're Older is released!  ALL HAIL THE BOOK.  Anyone who got to beta read, pleeeeeeeeeeease put up a review, because they define how Amazon markets me!


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Proactivity Trap

I have a problem with my books and writing style, one I'm increasingly aware of:  As much as I do m best to start with entertainment, there is very little tension early on.  The sense of threat and plot can take as long as halfway through the book to appear.  I work on it, but I never seem to solve the problem.

And now I've figured out why.  My characters are proactive.  Think about it.  That's rare.  In most books, things happen to the main character and they struggle to get out.  Monsters invade, a woman in a red dress shows up and hires them to investigate her own murder, some hairy guy breaks down the door and announces they're a wizard - the main character or the hairy guy, either way - and so on.

I like main characters with strong personalities, and aspirational characters.  They go looking for trouble.  They act.  That means there has to be build up time, especially if I'm going to get a relatable teenager into exotic trouble like super powers or angry AIs.

For now, I think I'm stuck with this problem, but I'm trying to learn to compensate and introduce some early tension to keep things running until the real trouble begins.  I'm happy with how I pulled that off with Vanity Rose, at least.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Poor Mirabelle

I have faced the dire and painful truth:  Mirabelle's book was not working.  I don't think it was a bad book, but it was too weird and difficult to get into for anyone who doesn't know the world intimately.  It doesn't have the relatability of Penny's books.  It doesn't have the same fun tone.  For the book that branches out off of Penny to the rest of my supervillain world, I need the story to be as easy to get into as possible.

So I switched to Magenta's story.  Here's chapter one of I'm Late For Alchemy Class.  Good luck.

Oh, and the paperbacks are already out for Vanity Rose!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Oh, Yeah, And This Happened

So we're in preorder, I guess?  They said a month?  It looks like it actually comes out January 20th.  I guess some of you will want to read, so here's the Amazon link.

Pre-order on Amazon, yay!


SHIPPING.  That bwessed awangement.

I will assume everyone here knows what shipping is.

I am not a big shipper.  I remember doing some shipping when I was a tiny lad, innocent and- okay, slightly more innocent.  Relationships in media are terrible.  Most ships are worse.  Through most of my life big name creators have been dedicated to hooking up the coolest girl in the property with the most godawful loser, whether or not it makes any sense.  From Fifi and Hampton (UGH) to Hermione and Ron (UGH) to...

Actually, I'm delighted to say horrible official ships have been slowly dying off.

I'm particularly happy because I only seem to get into canon ships, and at that the only ones that make me squee are when what looks like an insane, improbable pairing happens, and it works.  It works emotionally.  The characters have a real connection that binds them strongly.

The most recent is Entrapta X Hordak.  I love She Ra.  The show is great.  I could go on about it, and maybe I should.  And then this happened.

AND IT WORKS.  The dynamic fascinates me.  These two are the last you would expect to ship with anyone.  They are asexual in personality, and Hordak probably is physically.  They are 0% romantic.  What they are is amoral reject nerds.  Entrapta does not understand people.  She doesn't understand right and wrong.  She doesn't understand the world.  All she understands is her lab, her love of technology, and how the people immediately around her treat her.  Everyone cares about things she doesn't get, and they use her for her skills and move on.  It doesn't matter that other people really do care about her, they're not showing it in a way she grasps.

When they developed Hordak, it turns out he's only superficially a conquering megalomaniac.  He's insecure, only really understands science, and is trying to impress someone else who doesn't value him.  He doesn't get right and wrong.  He doesn't understand other people.  He doesn't really care about the world except as a bauble to give to his father figure, who used him and moved on.

Pushed together, they got each other.  They made each other happy.  They could share joys and goals in a way they can't with anyone else, because other people care so much more about stuff that makes no sense to either of them.

This.  Stuff.  FASCINATES.  Me.  Is it reflected in my books?  I have no idea.

The other biggest ship I've gotten into?  Padippica.  Gravity Falls was fun.  I was pretty 'eh' on the relationships in the show.  Wendy's boyfriend was vile, Dipper's crush on her was an early teen's lust that feels world-shaking, and Mabel's boys had no real connection beyond Fun.

Then at the very end of the show, Pacifica revealed that she hates the cruel, empty doll she's been raised to be.  I know someone who empathizes strongly with that, and went through similar experiences.  That person was a heavy inspiration for Marcia's flip.  It made utter sense.  This is one of the ways people like Pacifica happen.  Dipper rescues her, and becomes her icon of a life she doesn't have to feel guilty for.  He's shallow and hungry for excitement and mystery.  Pacifica is a force of nature.  It worked... for exactly one episode, then the series ended before Dipper and Pacifica had a chance to interact again significantly.

I'm going to kill Hirsch.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Bookbub And Other News

So, Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have Henchmen should be out any time now.  Like, could be on Amazon any minute, I'm guessing tomorrow 'any time now.'  Nemesis is edited and hopefully we'll get that out fast.  I desperately, desperately want to get the whole series back out.  Among other things, it horrifies me how briefly Believe Her was out.  There must be so many people who couldn't read it and got stuck on the cliffhanger.  Ugh!

Do any of you have Bookbub accounts?  My new publisher Crossroad is way more on top of advertising than Curiosity Quills was, and thank goodness.  I'd like to have my career back and be able to focus solely on writing.  If you do, apparently following my Bookbub page helps me get advertising from them, which is THE big thing.

Finally, reactions to Mirabelle are good.  I will get to work on the outline for that book, and then get properly started.  More Supervillain content, ho!