The blog of author Harper Alexander

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Completion, publication, and elation!

It is finished!  June’s book, A Mischief in the Woodwork, is complete – and has gone live!  Still working on the paperback, but the e-book is available here: A Mischief in the Woodwork

It went live late two nights ago, only for me to discover (the next morning) that the formatting somehow got messed up when it converted to kindle format.  So I spent all day hastening to re-format in between cleaning house and preparing for a work party we’re having today (we’re building a shed), hoping no one would buy it in the meantime.  It was a crazy day, but I did it.  And not a moment too soon – the updated file processed a bit after midnight, and this morning I had my very first sale listed on my report 🙂  Phew.

And I didn’t even advertise it yet.  Off to a good start!

A Mischief in the Woodwork is one of my darker books.  All I was going for was dystopian, but it was very easy to slip into all the dark things that accompany dark times.  I myself wouldn’t go as far as to call it horror, but it may possess some similar vibes therein.  I do try to incorporate uplifting themes in all my work as well, though, regardless of how deep and dark they might get.  (A review someone left for Mind Games said it was both disturbing and uplifting – I’m not sure how those two can go together, but I am delighted to have achieved it.  That is also coincidentally how I would describe A Mischief in the Woodwork.)

Regardless of dark or light, this has been one of my favorite books to write, hands down.  I loved creating the world, really clicked with the main character, totally got into the atmosphere (I don’t know if a world I’ve created has ever been so clear and vivid in my mind before), and the underlying subject matter is something very dear to my heart.  This is one of those books that just worked for me, start to finish.  Rarely did I suffer from writer’s block, and I don’t know if there was ever a time that I was unhappy with what I had, or didn’t know where I was going.  That never happens.  I am constantly second-guessing my work these days, meeting with writer’s block a portion of the way through, or having to take a breather to figure out where the heck I want to go with a given storyline.

A Mischief in the Woodwork was simply like fulfilling a vision, all the way through.  Just putting down on paper something that, seemingly, was already in me, needing very much to get out.


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Return of The…What?

Something that annoys me (and honestly is just as bemusing as it is annoying), is a certain quirk I’ve discovered lately pertaining to Amazon KDP customers.  Many of you will be familiar with the fact that Amazon KDP offers a program you can enroll your titles in that allows you to run ‘free promotions’ of your e-books.  This is something I’ve taken to doing, lately, to gain a little bit of publicity.  So far, in most respects, it’s a really cool avenue.  I really don’t have many complaints, as my fans, sales, and reviews have only benefited from enrolling.  I run a free promotion, score a bunch of downloads, watch my titles move up in the sales ranks, and then sit back and smile at the thought of the publicity I’ve just secured that will lead to a number of sales after the free promotion has ended.

But then something a little disgruntling happens (I love that word: disgruntling.  It’s kind of a crack-up).  There are always a few of those free download ‘customers’ who go and return the title that they have downloaded.  No one likes to go and check their sales report and see a number greater than ‘0’ under the column Units Returned.  Every time I do, my heart does a little betrayed flop.  Then I remember: it was only a free download return.  I didn’t lose anything, and it wasn’t some invested customer that then decided the thing didn’t live up to their hopes or expectations.  And, somehow, it just doesn’t seem to count as a legitimate return if it was merely a free download, rather than a sale.  I don’t know, I just find that reassuring somehow.  But THEN I remember: Wait a minute – it was only a free download.  And that begs the question: why in the world are they bothering to return it?

Granted, many more people than might normally read your book will probably be willing to give it a shot if it’s free, so you run the risk of a bigger number not finding your work to their liking, in which case you can expect some rejection.  But the thing is free.  Why are these people returning free b0oks?  What’s the point?  It isn’t as if they lost anything downloading it, because it’s free, with free delivery.  It seems like more work to return it than it would be worth, because returning it isn’t worth anything.  If they don’t like it, why not just…not read it?  Delete it?

And this seems to happen every free promotion.  Usually it’s only one little unit, but occasionally it’s two.  Am I missing something?  Is there a point to this?  Are these just ‘free-download’ trolls, trying to mess with my self-esteem one measly free-download-return at a time?  I just don’t get it.  Why go to the trouble?  What compels these people to return something that was free?  Did they just dislike it so much that they had to make a statement?  (Somehow, I find that particular scenario a little bit unlikely.)

So what gives?

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‘Ace’ Freebie Promotion

Today through June 4th, my Young Adult fantasy Ace can be downloaded for free over at Amazon.com!

Just follow this link! – Ace

Ace is one of my less serious works – by which I mean, I wrote it largely for fun, and didn’t necessarily focus as much on the ‘art’ of the prose.  Of course it ended up with an art all its own (just one a little more dependent on an edgy, sarcastic narrative than one of poetry) and also developed its own kind of depth.  This is a work where, more than ever before, I allowed my silly side to come out, and just had a great time – but no work is complete without developing its own kind of meaning, which it did, and Ace (and its sequels) now have just as special a place next to my heart as all the others.

Here is its blurb:

“There will be crime on your hands, and treachery on your heels. A cruel, cruel world on your shoulders, and no flowers on your grave. And the joke, well…unfortunately, bless your heart, the joke will be on you. Only you. For there is a presence of hostility whose fangs are sunk deep into your future. There are gnashing teeth on your heels and around every bend. There is a price on your destiny. The bounty hunters among the angels will be after you. There is no stealth, Lady Spade. There is only running. So I suggest you run.”

If she had been so lucky, Ace might have received just such a warning. But the entirety of the point, here, is that she’s not. She has been chronically hapless from the web of the womb. Cursed with relentless, ruthless misfortune. Her very own entourage of bad luck, its signature everywhere, its shadow widespread and swift. The only compensation for this forsaken fate, destiny’s sole remedy: the fact that she is gifted and lucky at cards. Grossly lucky.

But survival is far from sympathetic. And not all games are as easy as cards on a table.

(Edit: cancelling the last two days of the free promotion to take advantage of a more strategic timeframe to finish it up in.  Also because there seem to be a few errors/glitches in the Amazon.com sales page for this title and its information.  Not sure what’s going on there.  We will see.)