Friday, December 24, 2010

Splashdown Newsletter 1

As sent to our subscriber database on 24.12.2010!
If you'd like to sign up for the newsletter, you can do so in the box to the right.
Science Fiction and Fantasy from New Zealand

Welcome! You are at the launch of the Splashdown Books e-newsletter from Grace Bridges! You're reading this because I chose you to receive it. If for any reason you won't want future notices after reading through this one, just opt out by sending "unsubscribe" to this address. I won't be offended at all if you do.

All our titles are now available in multiple ebook formats. Just visit the Bookshop for all the options!

Tales of the Dim Knight
by Adam and Andrea Graham
A hilarious superhero romp that pulls no punches on tough issues. Yes, this book is so funny that we even issue a Beverage Ban as readers have mentioned spewing drink out their noses.
To read a sample and purchase click here now. Just like the rest of our titles you can also find it as an e-book both on Kindle and at Smashwords.
Nor Iron Bars a Cage
by Caprice Hokstad
What happens when a slave poses as a criminal, and the master as a slave? It's all about love and honour in this sophisticated, gritty fantasy, sequel to The Duke's Handmaid.
Read a sample and purchase: click here now. Ebook versions: Kindle and Smashwords.

Grace Bridges: An Ongoing Story

The life of a publisher never gets boring, especially when juggling a day job (most often at night in my case!) as well as acquisitions, editing, marketing and all that comes in between.
Here's what I'm up to:
  • I've been placing the remaining titles to be offered online as e-books.
  • I'm submitting regular installments of my Comet Born serial to Digital Dragon Magazine.
  • I'm working on two novels. In CyberDublin, the global hyperweb network falls prey to sabotage and society spins towards chaos around an orphan rebel and her housemates facing a reality far less virtual than they're used to.
    In Godspeed, the sequel to Faith Awakened, we meet Naomi again - the Belfast biologist forced to flee from her own creation, when all she wanted to do was wipe out world hunger.
  • I'm also at work on a few top-secret projects that I can't tell you about yet, so keep watching this newsletter for more info!
I've got some great titles for you in the year to come. The future is so exciting!

IndieGalaxy Publishers Association
Watch out for that name!
It's a recently founded coalition of independent publishers, aiming at shared promotion of our books and authors, among other things. Collaboration has even begun of its own volition!
- Show quoted text -

I always love to see what reviewers say about our books. Here are a few of my favourite quotes:

On Tales of the Dim Knight by Adam and Andrea Graham:
"A hilarious read. I nearly spewed my coffee on myself this morning. Thanks a lot."
~Chris Solaas from Novel Teen
On Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Caprice Hokstad:
"Hokstad’s story unfolds like a beautiful ballet of words; elegant descriptions of simple rituals bring Byntar alive. But romance is only a small part of the story; there is plenty of action and a good dose of humor."
~S.M. Kirkland, author of Higher Honor (The Writers Cafe Press)

"In Alpha Redemption, a story both fascinating and unique, P.A. Baines wonderfully marries two of my favorite themes: the danger and isolation of space exploration and the idea of man’s creation giving him greater insight into his own Creator. If you like your science fiction on the introspective side—on the order of Clarke’s 2001 or Pohl’s Gateway—then this is a must read."
~ Kerry Nietz, author of A Star Curiously Singing (Marcher Lord Press)
On The Duke's Handmaid by Caprice Hokstad:
"Something for everyone! If you like adventure and intrigue and danger, this is the book for you. Ms. Hokstad must be commended for the detailed and rich world she has created."
~ Frank Creed, award-winning author of Flashpoint and War of Attrition (The Writers' Cafe Press)
On Legendary Space Pilgrims by Grace Bridges:
"A brilliant allegory, this powerfully imaginative space epic features emotive characters and carefully described new worlds. Legendary Space Pilgrims engaged all aspects of myself: body, mind, and spirit. I couldn’t put it down!"
~ Christina Berry, author of The Familiar Stranger, Christy Award Finalist 2010
On The Muse by Fred Warren:
"What stands out to me is Fred's hidden beautiful. You will be reading along, laughing and then, BAM! It is a straight-up Batman moment. Fred writes something so beautiful and profound that you have to flip the cover and make sure you are reading the same book."
~Diane M. Graham, The New Authors' Fellowship
On Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges:
"Even a month after reading, I still find myself pondering the story. Grace has written a wonderful, unique story and I recommend it to any Christian reader who’s looking for something out of the ordinary."
~ Karina Fabian, sci-fi and fantasy author, Editor of the Infinite Space, Infinite God  Anthologies


I'm always looking for reviewers for our titles and I offer free ebooks for all our titles in all major formats in exchange for an honest review on a retail site and/or your blog. Just say the word!

Are you on Facebook? Connect up with us there.
Splashdown Books Fan Page

Well, that wraps up this newsletter launch! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. I leave you with these words of blessing from the Maori language:

Kia Ora!

Grace Bridges
Auckland, New Zealand

Please visit our partner for Splashdown's soundtracks: Eleon Music

Michael L. Rogers 800x200.jpg

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Would Tales of the Dim Knight Be A Good Book for My Kids?

By Adam and Andrea Graham

Frankly, the appropriateness of Tales of the Dim Knight for children depends on the individual child as well as the standards of the parent. The intended audience is the young at heart, as the novel pays humorous tribute to superheroes the authors watched and read about when they were children.

In retrospect, we do see the appeal to kids. Dim Knight is a funny story with a lot action and adventure. So, while our book wasn't written for children, it can be read by teens with parental guidance.

For many parents, this disclosure may prove unnecessary. If Tales of the Dim Knight were a movie, I’d rate it PG-13. In fact, in terms of language and sexual content, the book is cleaner than most PG movies. However, others may have different convictions. The movie, Pamela's Prayer extolled the virtues of chastity before marriage to the point that the heroine didn't kiss a man until the day she was married. One would think no one would complain about a movie like that not being clean enough. However, A reviewer wrote on Amazon:

based on the good reviews that I read on Amazon and on what friends

told me, I thought that this movie would be good viewing for my

family. was I wrong! the whole movie is about kissing, about guys

trying to kiss girls, and about girls not sure if they should kiss or

not and on and on. it started fine, but ten minutes in I knew that it

was not appropriate for my family, but my wife said 'no no no' and

made me keep it on, and I hoped that it would get better. but it just

got worse.

what a disaster! wouldn't you know it, as soon as the

movie is over, my kids start asking 'how do you kiss,' 'why do you

kiss' and on and on. pretty soon, they were running around the house

pretending to kiss everything - the animals, the pets, each other.

While I don't think there's any chance of Tales of the Dim Knight prompting your child to kiss your dog, I do want to be sensitive to varying parental standards. My goal is to empower parents with the information they need to make an informed decision for their children based on what they think is best.

First, consider the favorable reasons parents might want to get the book for their teens:

1) It is fun and fast paced

This can be a big selling point, particularly for boys. It can be tough to get teen boys interested in reading. Indeed, boys lag in reading. This can be caused by reading material that doesn't interest boys. This book will.

2) It is Clean

The book is generally clean. There's no profanity or sex in the story. While the violence may be of concern to parents, it is far tamer than much what is out there in young adult fiction.

3)Solid Messages

Dim Knight has a powerful message of grace and redemption. Dave learns what it really takes to be a superhero, the proper use of power, and what justice really means. The story also shows the importance of forgiveness and sacrifice.

All of this, while offering readers laughs throughout.

Second, consider those issues that may concern some parents:

Violence: As in any good superhero story, in Tales of the Dim Knight, evil uses a lot of dangerous weapons, high explosives, and even an atom bomb. While we aimed to avoid being too graphic, there's plenty of punching, kicking, shooting, whipping, and blowing up, with some casualties. If you've seen any of the recent Spider-Man movies, you have an idea of what to expect.

Drugs and Alcohol: Drug dealers are a major feature in the story, and there's a little drinking.

Mature Themes: Trouble brews in the main characters’ marriage, with a man-hating divorce attorney named Leona Campbell pushing Naomi Johnson towards a divorce based on false allegations of adultery. The book also deals with people grappling with grief and loss after the death of a loved one. The damaging effects of spiritual and emotional abuse are also portrayed, and the Dim Knight goes up against a gang involved in human trafficking.

You may feel that your child is not mature enough to deal with some of these issues. On the other hand, your child's world may have already been impacted by some of these issues, and you may feel it'd be good for him or her to read a book addressing them. You may want to consider previewing the book before giving it to your child to see if you think its right for your child.

Whatever you decide, we respect your decision, and pray God will continue to give you wisdom and grace in raising your children.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Love Tales of the Dim Knight

10) You're between the ages of 25-45

If you’re in this overly wide demographic, and enjoyed watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child, Tales of the Dim Knight will bring back great memories of shows like Superfriends, Batman: The Animated Series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman (the 1960s series version), Underdog, and Darkwing Duck.

We even had one hopeful marketing conversation with a Mr. Terrance Mann, who said, “People will come, Adam. They'll most definitely come. They'll come to you to ask about the book, as innocent as children, longing for the past. ‘We don't mind if you buy a copy,’ you'll say, ‘it's just $10.95 for paperback, $4.25 on Kindle, and $5.95 for all other e-book readers.’ They'll hand over the money without a second thought. Because it's money they have and wholesome laughter they lack.”Or something like that.

9) We Have a Cool Cover

Payno attention to the old saying, “You can't judge a book by its cover.” Instead, think:
“Cool cover equals really cool book.” And then take a look at this cover by Holly Heisey:

Need I say more? No, but a top ten list that stops with the second item on the list and lists it as 9) is too weird even for me.

8) The Superhero Team Up

If you're a warm-blooded superhero fan, nothing warms your heart like superheroes joining forces to take on really bad dudes. Whether it’s Batman and Superman, Spider-man and Daredevil, or even Darkwing Duck and Gizmoduck, a team up makes the story more exciting. So in Tales of the Dim Knight, Powerhouse joins forces with three other heroes in a battle in which the stakes are (of course), the future of all mankind.

7) Real Christian Characters
The media portrayal of Christians is usually pretty annoying. At one extreme, you have the hypocrites and crazy psychopaths spouting Bible verses that inhabit much of the media. At the other extreme, you have the all-too-perfect characters who act like they memorized Evidence that Demands a Verdict and a dozen other pop Christian books.

With our Christian characters, we seek to introduce you to real, decent-hearted folks who try to do the best they can, but don't always know the right thing to say and don't always come off well. Sound like anyone you know?

6) Great Superhero Gadgets

Consider just a few of the devices featured in Tales of the Dim Knight: a rocket pack, an airship that shrinks down to pocket-sized, a shape-shifting key, force fields, a 50-foot giant robot, shock collars, and a cloaking device that hides all the furniture in the room. To paraphrase one of our characters, we have more hardware than True Value.
5) It’s Serialized Fiction

As my work at Laser and Sword will attest, I'm a huge fan of serial fiction. Reading Tales of the Dim Knight is like watching a season of your favorite superhero show, as he battles for honesty and fair play in his continuous skirmish against evil. While underlying threads weave through out each story, Dave has a wide variety of adventures to please your palette.

4) Multiple Secret Identities

Unlike some poor superheroes who have only one alter ego, Mild-Mannered Janitor Dave Johnson actually has three alter egos in the course of the book: Powerhouse, the Red Flame, and the Emerald Avenger. It's three heroes for the price of one.

3) Great Villains

Great Superhero stories require great villains, and in Tales of the Dim Knight, Powerhouse battles a veritable rogue's gallery of classic villains. Marco Silvano is the father of a mob family who has a soft spot for his kids, Night Lord is a drug lord who refuses to do any hit jobs before evening. The old-fashioned Diablo believes in the tried and true villain methods of tying victims above pools of acid and contends there's no such thing as too much high explosives. Ahmed is an Islamic terrorist threatening to blow up Megalopolis. Leona Campbell is an ice queen divorce attorney and self-help guru who teaches there's way too much loyalty in the world.

2) A Family Story

Tales of the Dim Knight has a serious side. Dave becoming a superhero puts a strain on his family when he doesn't tell his wife his secret and she suspects he's cheating on her. At the same time, she finds herself attracted to Powerhouse. Can the Johnson family survive Dave’s superpowers?

1) It's Lots of Laughs

All seriousness aside, Tales of the Dim Knight parodies countless superhero tropes, supervillain tropes, and even some non-comics stuff, such as a speed-dating scene that features a tactless detective. You'll laugh until you stop laughing. It's guaranteed to be the funniest novel you'll read this year.*
*Legal Disclaimers: This guarantee is not valid, and hence a reason for a cause of action, in foreign countries, Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories, commonwealths, or protectorates, or the Continental United States. In addition, the guarantee is valid only for novels which feature both superheroes and speed dating and were published in November 2010. Void where prohibited.

Safety Advisory: Be advised that reading this book while drinking may cause you to laugh so hard your drink spews out your nose. Should not be read while operating heavy machinery.

Feel Free to Share: If you like this post, feel free to repost it on your own website with credit.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's the Haps 23/11/10

Hello, blog. Long time no see. Well, I'm sorry about that. How about we try starting over? Really, I think we can make this work. You see, there's lots of cool stuff going on behind the scenes here at Splashdown that I think folks would like to look into. And I've never told anyone about most of it! Well, the team knows bits and pieces of it for sure, but it's not like it's a secret or anything. Most of it, anyway.

There is something that is a secret, and that is the list with the authors and manuscripts I am about to contract for next year! It all came together really quickly in the end - just a few weeks back I had nothing at all in the pipelines, but now there are a total of eight or nine manuscripts from five authors on the table. Three of them are even science fiction, my personal favourite genre, even though I do love a good fantasy as much as anyone else. Can't write one for peanuts though, as you'll know if you read my personal blog yesterday.

In any case you can expect a number of announcements on that front in time to come.

So what else is up? Tales of the Dim Knight by Adam and Andrea Graham started shipping yesterday right on time - phew. It was a little hairy there for a day or two. I am going to be working on its video trailer this week, beginning with the music - I always have to have the music first. This is different from other trailers I've done because I'm trying to create the soundtrack myself. One attempt is already behind me, but it was decided that it wasn't superhero-y enough, even if it might be a passable piece of music. You can hear it here for now if you want to, though it will be shifting when I rename it - because the new piece will then be the "real" Powerhouse theme song.

So, nuff said for now, eh. Back to the "day job" for me...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ask a Superhero: Superhero Theme Music

Int.: As a Superhero afficianado, could you tell us what superhero has the coolest theme music?

Dave: That's pretty easy. Superman.

Int.: Any particular version?

Dave: Every version, whether it was a cartoon, a TV show or a movie, Superman had great themes. Very exciting and stirring. I also love the 1960s Batman Theme and fight music. I used to like the Danny Elfman Batman music from Batman with Michael Keaton, but Willy Wonka ruined that.

Int.: Why?

Dave: Well Derrick wanted to See Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which Elfman scored almost the same way as he did Batman. I was expecting the Joker to appear at any moment in that movie. Now, when I see that Batman series, I end up expecting Oompa Loompas to jump out, so I can't even enjoy those.

Int.: You don't like oompa loompas?

Dave: Not in a Batman movie. Maybe if there was an Oompa Loompa Superhero villain.

Int.: Like maybe the riddler as an Oompa Loompa. "Oompa Loompa Dupedy Doo, Batman, I've got another riddle for you."

Dave: Well something like that anyway.

Int: Beyond the music ruined by Danny Elfman, is there any supehero theme you don't like?

Dave: Sure from the 1966-67 Iron Man TV show. That's too cheesy, even for me.

Int: I didn't know that was possible. What about your own theme music?

Dave: My theme music? I'd have to have a TV show first.

Int: You know like when some basebally players come to the plate, they have music playing, like We Will Rock You.

Dave: You expect me to fly into battle, playing, We Will Rock You.

Int: You mean you've not thought of it?

Dave: Not that specifically, I did ask about a theme for the website. The lawyers say I can't have theme music that's been published because the artists can sue. They said I could use public domain music for a theme, but the only thing I've come up with is World War I fight music. Imagine flying into battle with that.

Int.: I see the challenge. Maybe, you should consider some giveaways.

Dave: That's a thought.

Int: Let's talk about it next week. E-mail your questions for Dave to Then follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release November 22nd, but you can sample the first four chapters for free in our ebook.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ask a Superhero: Superpower Envy

Interviewer: Is there any superpower you'd like to have? You know, a little superpower envy.

Dave Johnson: I don't even know all the powers I have, but I'd like to have the ability to talk to animals. That would have come in handy in at least one adventure when I met up with the Loch Ness monster.

Int: In Loch Ness?

Dave: No, in a mysterious zoo.

Int.: The Loch Ness monster in a zoo? Could you tell us more?

Dave: No.

Int.: Why not?

Dave: Haven't you heard of teasing the book?

Int: You know that's an annoying answer.

Dave: But I bet you'll buy the book.

Int: Well, I'll show you, not only won't I buy your book. I'll tell ten of my friends not to buy your book.

Dave: You know you get paid off the royalties.

Int: As I was saying, be sure to buy five copies, make it six, so you can give one to each of your friends.

Dave: What if they don't have six friends?

Int: This is a great present to make peace by bringing a smile to the face of your worst enemy.

*Dave grabs a pencil.”

Dave: I hope Marco will like it.

Int: E-mail your questions for Dave to Then follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release November 22nd, but you can sample the first four chapters for free in our ebook.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ask a Superhero: Picking a Costume

Welcome to our continuing weekly feature where we ask a question of a Superhero, Dave Johnson, aka Powerhouse and the Emerald Avenger.

Interview: Our next question comes from Abner Hollaran in Lewisville, Texas. Abner thinks your custome looks great, but it doesn't look comfortable.

Dave Johnson: It's not really.

Int: If it's not comfortable, why do you wear it?

Dave: There are three priorities in Superhero costumes. The top priority is a cool looking design. The second is safety.

Int.: Wait a second. You're saying its more important that your custome look cool than be safe.

Dave: What good is it to be safe if people laugh at you when you come to rescue them. Safety is a close second, though. Then, there's comfort. Unfortunately, looking good and being safe can make you kind of stiff. That's why when I get home from work, I change into something more relaxing.

Int.: Have you ever thought of doing a Casual Friday?

Dave: Casual Friday?

Int.: You know instead of your Superhero costume, you fly into town with a Superhero t-shirt, a light mask, and a pair of shorts.

Dave: If I were to fly into town on a rocket pack wearing a pair of shorts, there would be a barbeque on Casual Friday.

Int: What would be cooked?

Dave: My legs. Second, office workers can have casual Fridays because their work is over. But not superheroes. We fight a continuous skirmish-

Int.: You mean never ending-

Dave: No, the lawyers said I had to use continuous skirmish. As I was saying, we fight a continuous skirmish against the forces of larceny, drug dealing, and murder. Evil doesn't take the weekends off, so our resolve can never weaken, and neither can our clothes.

Int.: How do you keep your costume clean.

Dave: Easy, I imagine my costume into existence, so its clean when I put it on. I also dust off my already clean costume.

*Dave stands and dusts off his already clean costume.*

Int.: But it was already cleaned.

Dave: Of course, it's clean because I dusted it off.

Int (sighs): Ookay. E-mail your questions for Dave to Then follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release November 22nd, but you can sample the first four chapters for free in our ebook.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ask a Superhero: Picking a Name

Welcome to our continuing weekly feature where we ask a question of a Superhero, Dave Johnson, aka Powerhouse and the Emerald Avenger.

Interviewer: Our next question comes Kit Tyler in Tyler, Texas. Kit wants to know if he became a superhero, how would he pick out his name?

Dave: This is a great question for a potential superhero to think of and I racked my brain until one of my kids gave me a name. As you may not have a kid to name you, I actually have come up with some great supehero names that I'll let anyone takes who wants to use them:

  1. The Human Itch
  2. Expendable Man
  3. The Fool
  4. The Rope Burn Kid
  5. Amoeba Dude
  6. The Amazing Ordinary Man
  7. Flea Bag
  8. Flag Football Commando
  9. Used Car Man
Int: And if people don't want the villains to laugh.

Dave: Well, there's a reason these names haven't been taken yet. Otherwise, you just need to make sure the name's not taken. Perhaps, the best thing to do is to use a Thesaurus. For example if you want to strike fear in the hearts of criminals use a synonym for fear and put a "the"before it. Anyone will do.

Int: Like The Terror?

Dave: No, The Terror's been taken. However, you could be, The Consternation.

Int: So, 'Stand back villains, I'm the Costernation.'

Dave: You got it.

Int: That doesn't sound quite right.

Dave: Well, you take it out for a test drive, use it on a mission and see how it works. If the name doesn't work out, try another one.

Int: E-mail your questions for Dave to Then follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release November 22nd, but you can sample the first four chapters for free in our ebook.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ask a Superhero: What Do You Think You Were Doing?

Welcome to our continuing weekly feature where we ask a question of a Superhero, Dave Johnson, aka Powerhouse and the Emerald Avenger.
Interviewer: Well, fancy meeting you.

Dave Johnson: You in a bad mood?

Int.: You were supposed to be here every week for the past two months! And I've been here and where have you been? Do you think I've got nothing better to do.

Dave: Really, I'm sorry.

Int.: You could have called, you could have written-

Dave: Would you like to know why I was gone?

Int.: I don't care! I have no interest in knowing what you were doing. I just have one question.

Dave: And that is?

Int.: What were you doing all these months?

*Dave blinks*

Dave: Okay, well, the writers were doing a rewrite. They wanted to fill in some blanks.

Int.: It took them two months.

Dave: Well, they interviewed Naomi and her friend Carmela, and they needed to get some more information from me. Apparently, I'd been a little vague on a few details.

Int.: Is there anything else to come out of this?

Dave: Well, the authors felt the door was open to a sequel.

Int.: So that's what this was all about. A sequel! You get more royalties, they get more royalties and I spend two months of you not showing up. I didn't go to interviewer school for this!

Dave: It really wasn't-

Int.: This is all about the plush toys.

Dave: What?

Int.: The writers have got all kinds of rights, and they've spent these two months sprucing up your story so that you can sell plush toys and a hundred sequels.

Dave: I wouldn't do 100 sequels. If I do a sequel, I'm only doing one.

Int.: Why only one?

Dave: Well, think about this Superman II was better than Superman the Movie, Spiderman II was better than Spiderman, The Dark Knight was better than Batman Begins.

Int: Okay, and your point?

Dave: Superheroes can only make a good story and then a good sequel. After that, it's all downhill. Think Superman III, Spiderman III, Teenant Mutant Ninja Turtles III. No, I'd only consent to one sequel.

Int.: As long as you get to sell your plush toys.

Dave: You're bitter about that. No one has signed a plush toy contract.

Int.: Not yet. But you will.

Dave: Do you think you'll be in a better mood next week. How about we come back then with a reader question.

Int.: I'll decide when to end this interview, and I think now's a good time. E-mail your questions for Dave to He may decide to grace us with his presence.

Dave: Oh come on, I'll be here.

Int: We'll see. You can also follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release November 22nd. A free ebook containing the first four chapters is available for download. You can also become a fan of the book on Facebook.
He's also set up a Twitter account @dimknight.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sample Ebook for Tales of the Dim Knight Released

We've been working very hard this Summer on revisions to Tales of the Dim Knight. You can take a look and see a little of what we've been working on, as our free Ebook has been released.

You can read it online or download it for your Kindle, Ipad, or Sony Reader. We hope to soon have this free book available in the Ipad or Sony stores. Unfortunately to make it available on the Kindle store, we'd have to charge at least 99 cents, which wouldn't work with our free preview cover.

Here's our blurb:

What happens when the World's biggest superhero fan gets superpowers? When Mild Mannered Janitor Dave Johnson discovers an alien symbiot that gives him untold powers, there's only one thing to do. Put on a pair of tights and save the world. In this special free preview, see how Dave's adventures begin as he faces down drug dealers, car thieves, and the dreaded petty criminals

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Alpha Redemption Press Release

Debut SF Novel Delves Into Science and Spirituality

September 1st 2010 sees the release of P.A. Baines’ debut novel Alpha Redemption, a story about a man who rediscovers his faith in God through the friendship of a sentient computer.

Auckland, New Zealand – Splashdown Books is pleased to announce the release of an exciting debut novel from a talented new author. It is a tale of lightspeed travel, and also of an inner journey from pain to peace.

Brett Denton is unemployed and has lost his will to live, as well as everything else – his faith, his family, his career. When offered the chance to leave his old life behind in an experimental mission to Alpha Centauri, he gladly accepts, knowing that he may not survive the hazardous journey.

With only the ship’s intelligent on-board computer, Jay, for company, he crosses the depths of space in an epic voyage of discovery. At first he just wants to enjoy his solitude and finds Jay’s quest for knowledge an annoyance. Over time, however, they become friends as Brett slowly begins to heal from a life of heartache.

On arriving at Alpha Centauri they find a planet very similar to Earth, now deserted but showing signs of a once-powerful civilization. When an emergency situation arises, it soon becomes clear that Brett may not be able to make it back alive. And Jay discovers that Brett is not alone on the ship.

Alpha Redemption is 2001: A Space Odyssey meets Robinson Crusoe, with soul. “My idea for Alpha came from wondering what a purely logical being would make of faith and God. If such an entity were to learn about God, what would it make of this knowledge, and would it be able to sway the opinion of an atheist?” said Baines.

For more information on Alpha Redemption, visit or the author’s website at The book is available from and other online retailers, and discounted direct from the publisher.

About Splashdown Books:

Begun in 2009 as an independent publisher of inspirational science fiction and fantasy, Splashdown Books has a vision to provide a connection between authors and fans of a genre with the capability to transport the reader to other worlds in their mind.

P.A.Baines was born in England and currently does contract work in Europe where he lives with his wife and two children. He writes computer programs by day and speculative fiction by night, although his dream is to swap those two around. His aim as a writer is to create science-fiction where God is not just present but at the very core of the story. He hopes one day to get a proper night’s sleep.

Friday, August 6, 2010

One month and counting. . .

When you are writing, do you ever take the easy route? By that I mean do you come to a scene and, instead of sweating over how to make it as good as it can be, you rush through it? Or maybe you sneak a little bit of “telling” in when you should really be “showing”? Maybe you whitewash over it when you ought to be getting the easel out and experimenting with the full palette at your disposal. Perhaps you use flat language when you really need to reach for that perfect metaphor. Or you ignore pacing and tension just because you want to get to the intense action scene in the next chapter where you get to describe the battle between the robots and the mole-people.

I’m guilty of doing all these things because there are times when I simply don’t feel like doing more than the basics. Sometimes I’m tired or bored and just want to move on to a more interesting bit of the plot. I do it hoping that noboody will notice. I stand there whistling a nonchalant tune, with my hands in my pockets and my freshly-waxed halo tilted at a jaunty angle, and I push a dull, half-baked, uninspired piece of prose under the carpet. After all, who is going to care if the rest of the writing is to a reasonable standard? Who is going to care if I skip a little polishing and sweep a little dust under the rug? Everyone, that’s who is going to notice.

Some years ago, a colleague asked me to read his completed novel. It was an epic science fiction fantasy in the vein of Star Wars. He had spent many years working on it, and he was rightly quite proud of his achievement. He had previously shown me a few extracts and I was impressed. The writing was rich and flowing. The scenes were captivating. I couldn’t wait to see the finished product. Then one day he announced that it was finished and I volunteered to have a read. I was so disappointed. It contained scene after scene written in the style I had encountered in my earlier glimpses, and yet the novel did not work. The problem was not with the exciting scenes, but with the bits in between. It was as if he couldn’t be bothered to worry about the “boring” parts because he wanted to get to the interesting stuff. The end result was disastrous. It was like looking at a diamond mounted on a soda can pull. The diamond was still beautiful, but all you could see was the piece of scrap-metal it was mounted on. He sent it off to be edited. I don’t know what they told him, but he was not happy. He moved on and I’m not sure if he ever revised the manuscript. I hope he did. I hope he listened to what the editor had to say and applied it because I’m sure he would have found a publisher one day if he would just go back and do some more work.

The reason I mention this is because my story is currently at the end of the editing process. The person responible for this daunting task is Cathi-Lyn Dyck (or Cat for short). Cat works as a freelance editor and also for Splashdown Books. And, boy, she is thorough! When I received my first set of comments from Cat, I realized that not only had she lifted the carpets to check for dust, she had also pulled out a magnifying glass and done a full forensic CSI thing on it. Looking through her comments, I soon realized that all of of my moments of laziness had been spotted and dragged, dazed and blinking, out into the open. Luckily, there weren’t that many, but she spotted them all. I remember thinking while I was writing those parts: “that’ll do.” Let me tell you, they won’t do. I’m currently listening to a best-selling science fiction author. This morning I heard something that dragged me right out of a particularly interesting part of the story simply because he told me something rather than showing me, and in such a blatant way as well. By the time I got back into the plot I had lost a few seconds of dialogue and had to rewind and try again.

I’m still learning the craft and I’m aware how much I don’t know, and I think that’s important. Problems start when you think you know enough. Cat has taught me an awful lot through this process. There were things I didn’t really understand and she was happy to explain them to me until I did understand. Best of all, she “got” my story. She understood what I wanted to achieve and then helped me to get there. And she spotted things that I would never have seen in a million years.

So with a month left to go, Alpha Redemption is almost ready with just a few more bits and pieces to sort out. I’ve learned from experience not to count my chickens until they’re running around the yard in a squawking flurry of feathers, but everything is currently on track for September 1st.

And if you are looking for an editor, I can’t recommend Cat enough. She is professional, thorough, patient, and supportive in equal measure. Details of her services can be found on In Cat’s words: “My inbox is always open for general questions or hellos, and people are welcome to contact me through, Facebook, or email (on the sidebar at the blog’s mainpage).”

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ask a Superhero:Superhero Gadgets

Welcome to our continuing weekly feature where we ask a question of a Superhero, Dave Johnson, aka Powerhouse and the Emerald Avenger.

Interviewer: Our next question comes from Clive Staples nominated Author Fred Warren.
"There are a lot of wannabe superheroes these days, so I want to make sure you're the real deal...every superhero has his own supply of super-cool super-high-tech gadgets. Do you?"

Dave: I don't need superhero gadgets on hand. I can create them with my mind.

Int: So you have a super imagination?

Dave: Yes, I can imagine anything I want and it'll appear. This is great for me. Bruce Wayne may have the batcave to put all of his stuff in, but I'm not a billionaire, and my garage is already full. This way, I can imagine a device to be there for me when I need it and then just imagine it out of existence later. And no chance the kids might find my rocket pack and take off with it.

Int: So tell us what are some of the high tech gadgets you imagine yourself having that we'll see in Tales of the Dim Knight?

Dave: There's my rocket pack, a 50 foot giant robot, and a flying stealth aircraft with retractable whips and machine guns that fire rubber bullets.

Int: Pretty impressive. What do you use the 50 foot giant robot for?

Dave: You have to read the book to find out.

Int: E-mail your questions for Dave to Then follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release November 1st.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ask a Superhero: Pet Peeves and Politics

Welcome to our continuing weekly feature where we ask a question of a Superhero, Dave Johnson, aka Powerhouse and the Emerald Avenger.

Interviewer: Kat had a few more questions.

Dave Johnson: She gets more than one?

Int: Well, it's not like we're brimming with questions.

Dave: Okay, go ahead.

Int: She wants to know if you have any pet peeves about superheroes.

Dave: Not about the real ones.

Int: What about in the comic books?

Dave: Well, I do have one big pet peeve and that's Superheroes getting involved in politics. I want to see heroes fighting the bad guys, not mouthing off about Dole v. Clinton or whoever is running for President. Or bashing tea parties or having political talk show hosts as Cyborg heroes. Superheroes have no place in politics.

Int: I'm curious. Do you vote at all?

Dave: I believe it's every citizen's obligation to vote. However, you should never vote in a specific race where you don't know what's going on.

Int: So how do you vote?

Dave: I go and get a ballot and then put it in the envelope with all the races I know something about filled out.

Int: How many is that usually?

Dave; Um-uh-zero. They always say that I'm the quickest voter they've ever seen. But I get the "I voted" sticker. That's what counts.

Int: So you really aren't political at all. I don't know how you'll deal with this next question. She wants to know, If you could choose one superhero to run for President who would it be?

Dave: I don't know why a Superhero would want to run for President. Being a superhero is far better, and you don't have to be dishonest like in politics. But I think the only logical choice would be Iron Man, Tony Stark. First, it takes a lot of money to run for President, and Stark has even more money than Bruce Wayne. Secondly, if you run for office, it's always those you love that get hurt most. Most superheroes have secret identities to protect their families and would never do anything like run for office. However, Tony Stark would be a good candidate for office as he's a narcissist who wouldn't be as bothered by his friends getting some unfavorable press, and being emotionally wounded. They'll get over it.

Int: Well that makes sense in a cynical sort of way. We'd love to answer your questions. E-mail your questions for Dave to

Dave: I will hold my breath until I get an e-mail.

(Dave inhales deeply and holds breath.)

Int: That's not a good idea, you could pass out.

Dave (through clinched teeth): Nonshense, I'm a shuperhero.

Int: Want to read more about the wild and varied adventures of Dave Johnson? Then follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release November 1st.

(Dave collapses.)

(Interviewer runs over to Dave and slaps him.)

Int: Come on. Get up. Anyone got any smelling salt?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cars, brick walls, and learning to drive.

I was fifteen years old when I first sat behind the wheel of a car with the intention of driving it. My mum suggested I park her prized VW Golf in the garage. I’m not sure how the subject came up. I don’t remember asking her or even discussing driving. Maybe she figured I was just getting to that age. All I know is that I ended up sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in my hand and with my mum in the passenger seat. A few seconds later, we would be sitting in exactly the same positions, but with the nose of the car pressed firmly against the back wall of the garage and a thin pall of dust drifting slowly to the ground.

As with all of the traumatic events in my life, the whole thing is indelibly etched into the region of my brain that holds onto things that it deems so important for my survival that, if it were capable of clutching a permanent marker, it would scribble them on my forehead. I remember my mum explaining the functions of the different pedals. I remember nodding and possibly smiling with that “don’t worry, I know what I’m doing” grin that usually precedes a disaster. I recall pushing down the clutch pedal and placing the car in gear. I then recall that I pushed down on the accelerator and slowly released the clutch. With testosterone rushing through my pimple-strewn body, I clearly remember propelling us towards the open garage door and the wall beyond.

Now I’m not someone who learns by watching or listening. I prefer to try things for myself. More often than not I will fail but eventually the neurons start firing in the right sequence and things begin to make sense. Was it Edison who said that, in the process of inventing the light-bulb, he discovered a thousand ways how not to make a light-bulb? That has always inspired me because it proves the old adage that discovery is ninety percent perspiration and ten percent inspiration. So what on Earth possessed me to think that I was going to be able to park the car on my first attempt?

So, back at the soon-to-be disaster: I had the car in first gear and we were drifting at a slow but steady pace towards the waiting garage. I felt cool and confident. I felt in control and in charge. I was the master of a finely tuned piece of machinery. I was also hopelessly deluded. At some point between the entrance to the garage and the wall, I forgot where the brake pedal was. I know that sounds dumb because, let’s face it, there are only three possible choices in a manual-shift vehicle and they were all right at my feet. But the neurons were not firing in sequence yet and I suspect the brain-cell that was holding the key to speed-reduction success was sending its message to my elbow or my ear, instead of where it should have been sending it: my right foot.

There was a moment of panic as my elbow, or maybe my eyebrow, tried to figure out how to stop a ton of metal from slamming into a brick wall. I turned to look at my mum and she turned to look at me with a wide-eyed expression of surprise and mild alarm that I can only assume I was also wearing. Time slowed to a crawl. If either of us had spoken I am sure it would have come out in a deep drawl that you hear when the film reel has jammed and is about to snap. And then we hit the wall.

The damage was minimal with just a small dent on the front bumper, but my confidence was splattered all over the brickwork so finely that I was going to need DNA sampling to confirm the identity. My mum said something about horses and getting back into the saddle but I was too shaken to get behind the wheel so soon. A few days later I did try again but this time I practiced braking outside the garage where there wasn’t a brick wall to punish my mistakes. Later I successfully parked the car inside the garage. Soon my mum would be leaving the car out every evening so that I could practice the simple act of starting a car, driving it a few feet, and stopping it without the aid of a wall.

So what did I learn from all of this that can be applied to writing? Well I already knew that I’m the kind of person who learns from making mistakes. And I already had a pretty good idea of the importance of having someone supportive by my side to get me back on track when things go wrong. And I knew that sometimes you can sit and stare at what should be obvious but still have no idea how to continue because your brain cells are trying to figure out that your right foot is not attached to your elbow.

No, if I learned anything from that experience, it is that sometimes God can put brick walls in your way for a reason. It could be that you need to smash through and learn perseverance, because sticking with things is not easy and you will almost certainly end up with dents and scratches. Or perhaps you need to stop and take a different route because the one you are on is a dead-end. Or maybe He is trying to tell you that you’ve reached where He wants you to be and it’s time to turn off the engine and just rest in Him until He says it’s time to get moving again.

These days, if I see a brick wall, I still get nervous and I have times when I panic, but I try to remember to figure out if and why God might have put it there and, more importantly, what He wants me to do about it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ask a Superhero: Origins of the Superfan

Welcome to our weekly feature where we ask a question of a Superhero, Dave Johnson, aka Powerhouse and the Emerald Avenger.

Interviewer: Our question this week comes from Kat Heckenbach.

Dave Johnson: Cat? Is she any relation to Catwoman?

Int: I don't think so. Anyway, her question is based on the fact that you are not only a Super Hero, but one of the top Super Hero fans in all of Western Washington. She asks, "I'd like to know how Dave first discovered comic books/superheroes. How old was he?"

Dave: When I was four, my father died in a car wreck, and then my paternal grandfather came to live with us. Grandfather introduced me to superheroes, and we spent all of our spare time together reading comic books, watching reruns of Superman and Batman on TV along with some of the new cartoons that came out in the 1980s, watching the Fleischer Cartoons on VHS tapes, listening to old radio episodes of the Shadow, The Green Hornet, The Blue Beetle, and of course, Superman. He took me to see Superman III and Superman IV in theaters. Grandpa died when I was ten, and left me his collection of super hero stuff. Mom thought I ought to sell it go to college. No way. I got a GED even and I still have the collection.

Int.: Got a question for Dave? E-mail Want to read more about the wild and varied adventures of Dave Johnson? Then follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release September 1st.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ask a Superhero: Book Title

Welcome to our weekly feature where we ask a question of a Superhero, Dave Johnson, aka Powerhouse and the Emerald Avenger.

Interviewer: Our first question comes from Ms. Verity Callaghan*, she asks, "What do you think of the title of your book?"

Mild Mannered Dave Johnson: "The Adventures of the Amazing Powerhouse"?

Int.: Um-that's not the title. That was only a working title, but now we've chosen a new title.

Dave: You laid off the title?

Int.: In a matter of speaking. The title is, Tales of the Dim Knight.

Dave: Dim! I'll have you know that I got a 91 on the IQ test, and that's still an A! And I have a GED, and it took me years of study to get that degree. Dim? I don't think so. I'm as bright as the Northern Lights of Alaska.

Int.: And humble too.

Dave: Yes, I'm a mild-mannered janitor by evening, Superhero by late nights. And when I leave work at about 7, it's kind of dark out, but not really. It's more dim. Hey, that's it! That's why they called it, The Dim Knight because when I leave and it's fall, it is dim. Well, I thought you were insulting me. I'm sorry for all the horrible things I thought of doing to you that would violate the Super Hero code.

Int.: Quite all right.

Dave: Why are you snickering like that?

Int: Got a question for Dave. E-mail Want to read more about the wild and varied adventures of Dave Johnson? Then follow his story every Tuesday at Laser and Sword Magazine. Tales of the Dim Knight is set for release September 1st.

*Verity Callaghan is a character in Andrea's Graham's Purple Earth saga.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Yet more excuses not to write

I’ve been trying my best to think of something interesting to tell you in the lead up to Alpha (sorry, Alpha Redemption) being let loose on an unsuspecting world. I was hoping to have some fascinating snippets of esoteric information to share with you regarding the arcane inner workings of the publication business. The only interesting thing I’ve done (no, really) is to sign up with the Chicago Manual of Style Online in the hope that I could, hopefully, pick up some tips on how to improve, where possible, my use of and application of, commas, because, apparently, too many commas, can make, your, text, virtually, unreadable. Or so they say.

I suppose I could tell you about the re-reading, and re-checking, and re-re-reading. Or I could tell you about the gnawing feeling that you’ve missed something somewhere in the manuscript that you’ll only spot when the thing hits the shelves. Or maybe I could mention the glaring error I spotted this weekend in a rather important plot point that required a quick rethink and some hasty alterations but which, ultimately, actually turned out for the best. Or I could tell you about the anxiety that comes with suspecting that this is really all just a weird but wonderful dream and that any moment now you are going to wake up. I could tell you about all these things but, to be honest, all that has happened is that I have found yet more excuses not to write.

Does editing count as writing? I’m not sure. Certainly I’m thinking about writing but that’s not the same as tapping away at those keys as if your life depended on it. I’m making corrections but that’s nothing close to hammering out a brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box story complete with that wonderful new-plot smell. Does fretting about character and development and pace count as writing? In my dream-world it does, but this is not that world (I know this because donuts do not grow on trees), and so I have to log those hours in the “Time Wasted” or “Not Really Doing Anything Constructive” columns of my swanky new time-management system that basically consists of my desk disguised as a post-it note.

Sometime over the next few days I have to stop tweaking the manuscript and hand it over so that Splashdown Books’ editor, Cat, can have a good laugh. This, too, makes me nervous but then I bet that doesn’t surprise you. I enjoy writing but I also take it a little too seriously and so always want to improve on it. And I always think it could be much better. I’m told this is a common trait among the artistically inclined. Normal people look at what we’ve done and see a story that they like or don’t like. We look at it and see dodgy dialogue, problematic punctuation, clumsy characterisation, and annoying alliteration. To be honest, at this point I can’t see anything anymore, never mind a story. So maybe this is a good time to hand it on to someone who knows what they’re doing and trust their judgement. Between Grace and me, we should have found most of the errors, so hopefully Cat won’t laugh too hard.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Alpha Renamed and My New Personal Website

One of the things I'm doing in the run up to September 1st is building a personal website to help promote myself and my writing. Please drop by and have a look, and tell me what you think. It can be found at:

The planet on the front page is the work of Zoë Demaré (

Also, my novel has been given a new name. Since I began writing it I have always referred to it as 'Alpha' and the name stuck but really needed to be given some thought. Some ideas were thrown into the pot by the Splashdown authors and we have settled on 'Alpha Redemption'. The theme of redemption is at the very heart of the story, so the name suits very well.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This Year's Lineup

I have been assembling publicity blurbs for all the books due out from Splashdown in the coming months. So here they are all in one place for your perusal! These texts may change before final publication, but this should give you some idea...

The Duke's Handmaid by Caprice Hokstad
Slavery...loyalty. Torture...honor. Betrayal...selflessness. All the young orphan wanted was security in a world that destroyed her family and left her despised and rejected. Can the simple farmgirl find a new family through voluntary enslavement to the duke's household? Crafted in a highly precise writing style so smooth it slips right from the page into your imagination, this fantastical storyworld examines timeless social issues that inform global justice today.

Legendary Space Pilgrims by Grace Bridges
On a planet that has never seen the sun, a harvester hears a Voice from beyond. It's time to leave the oatfield. Mario and Caitlin escape the mind control of Planet Monday, following the Voice to unknown worlds where wonders and challenges await. Have you got what it be a legend?

Tales of the Dim Knight by Adam and Andrea Graham
Mild-mannered janitor and superhero fanboy Dave Johnson gets all his wishes at once when an alien symbiot gives him supernatural powers. But what's he to do with them? Follow his laugh-a-minute progress as he fights crime and corruption while trying to keep his family together and avoid being sued for copyright infringement.

Alpha Redemption by P.A. Baines
When Brett loses everything in a tragic accident, he gladly accepts an invitation to take part in a prototype speed-of-light trip to Alpha Centauri, knowing that he may not survive. His only companion is the ship's on-board computer, Jay. At first he finds Jay an annoyance but, as time passes, the two become friends. With the voyage drawing to a close, Jay develops a sense of self-awareness and a belief in God. When it becomes clear that they cannot both survive the return trip, one of them must make the ultimate sacrifice. 

Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Caprice Hokstad (Sequel to The Duke's Handmaid)
In a last-ditch effort to find his missing son, Duke Vahn sends his most trusted servant to pose as a runaway slave in the hostile country of Ganluc. Meanwhile, the challenge he faces at home is no less daunting. This beautiful story is full of images: leadership by serving, ungrudging chivalry, and faithful romance.

Also in November, provided I can get it ready in time, is my pet project CyberDublin, in which Oodles rules the world. But when its global hyperweb network falls prey to sabotage, society spins towards chaos. In Dublin, the heart of the fallen cyberworld, an orphan rebel and her housemates face a reality far less virtual than they're used to.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How the Sith Slipped Into a Novel

This is my first post on the Splashdown blog. In Tales of the Dim Knight, there are many quite intentional inferences of great superheroes past. From the well-known Superman and Batman to the less appreciated Darkwing Duck and Underdog. In fact the only superhero fav I can think of that we didn't make reference to was Super Chicken. I've really got to figure out a way to get that in, even if causes me to sprain a mental muscle.

Well, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.

In addition to the above named superheroes, we have fun with Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Crocodile Hunter among others. Of course, sometimes pop culture pops up unexpectedly. In 2002, I worked on a novel and I thought I'd written such a cool line. "We always had three roommates. No more, no less."

I sent my brother a draft and in his own (not so) gentle way, he reminded me that had been in Star Wars: Episode 1. ("There are always two Sith, no more, no less.") I sheepishly removed the line. It was not in this particular novel, but an unpublished work about a dying minister hospice called, Two Sides of the Hill. If that line had made publication, some people would have wondered how the Sith got into the novel.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Please Welcome...Adam and Andrea Graham!

Andrea and Adam Graham have signed a contract with Splashdown Books to publish their first novel, Tales of the Dim Knight, a superhero spoof. The book is tentatively set for release late this summer.
“I’m excited to acquire this laugh-a-minute adventure by a phenomenal husband-and-wife team,” says Grace Bridges, Publisher of Splashdown Books.
In Tales of the Dim Knight, Dave Johnson is a mild mannered janitor by night, ultimate superhero fanboy by day until an alien symbiot enhances all his human abilities, including his imagination, giving him the power to create anything he envisions. The opportunities for comedy are plentiful and the authors pay humorous tribute to every superhero known to man, from Batman to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The story is currently being serialized Laser and Sword Magazine and on the Laser and Sword website.
Adam Graham is a regular political columnist for Pajamas Media whose commentaries also appear at He has short stories included in the anthology Light at the Edge of Darkness, and in Laser & Sword, of which he is editor in chief. He is also host of the Truth and Hope Report podcast, as well as the Old Time Dragnet Radio Show, The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio, and the Old Time Superman Radio Show. He holds a general studies Associate of Arts degree from Flathead Valley Community College with a concentration in Journalism.
Andrea Graham has two short stories featured in Light at the Edge of Darkness (2007, the Writer’s Cafe Press.)“Chosen of God” (co-authored with Adam Graham) and her solo “Frozen Generation.” Andrea studied creative writing and religion for three years at Ashland University. She is Assistant Editor of her husband’s magazine, an active member of her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, and a founding member of the Lost Genre Guild.
Adam and Andrea live in Boise, ID with their cat, Joybell, and enjoy Frisbee golf, walks in the park, and of course, superheroes.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Duke's Handmaid gets a New Cover!

I recently signed a contract with Splashdown Books to re-release my previously self-published novels in the Ascendancy Trilogy, The Duke's Handmaid and its sequel, Nor Iron Bars a Cage. The new cover for book one appears above.

The twin suns picture was part of the package I paid for when I self-published with Xulon Press, so you will see that on all the old covers. But we wanted something that made the new cover standout as different as well as a way to tie-in the first book with the second. (If you go to my website, you can see the older versions, which will probably continue to be available until the new ones come out.) So Grace framed the suns-set picture with a burlap background [which will also frame something in the sequel] and then we discussed adding an extra item of visual interest which would capture a plot element.

The plot of the first book includes a magical key (as well as a character named "Kee") so we settled on adding a key. But deciding we wanted a key and finding one that would look like it belonged in my fantasy world of Byntar was a much more daunting task than we had ever imagined. After both of us scoured the internet to no avail, Grace decided to appeal to the Lost Genre Guild for a lead on an artist to create something suitable. Kat Heckenbach stepped up to the plate and drew us the key of our dreams.

So the new cover features Kat's key and I couldn't be happier with it. Look for second edition (newly edited and revised!) of The Duke's Handmaid sometime this summer. Watch this blog for news on the exact release date.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Muse: Making Movies

Despite my limited technical skills and computer gear, I've always been fascinated with the idea of making movies. So I set out once again to make a movie for a book advertisement, using only a point-and-shoot camera (albeit a slightly better one bought for the occasion) and a five-year-old editing program with a tendency to crash.

As you know from yesterday's post, I already had the main actor, Andrew. He turned out to have out of this world skills in an area he'd previously done nothing in! Great for us :) So I just needed to find a couple more people. Another housemate, Steph, stood in for Jilly the vampire author, and I was able to recruit Phil on the Internet (don't worry, we go way back!) to be the sci-fi author. He recorded his own scenes to send me by email.

The perfect finishing touch was the fairy princess, also an inhabitant of the house where I lived last year, which also happened to be very handy to a beautiful big forest.

Here's the finished trailer, followed by the credits reel:

Check out these member blogs this week for more info.