Writing a novel is hard… writing the perfect blurb, impossible. At any rate, here’s the latest incarnation of the blurb for KILL ME, releasing very soon!
So I don’t mean, literally. I’m too homely to make myself bald.
Unfortunately I don’t have the eight-foot, stick-thin model personae to pull that off. Plus, I get cold easily. No way could I walk around all bare-headed. But I digress.
So why, you may ask, am I stressed? Because it’s that time of year where all of my electronic devices only want to work in fits and starts. I swear they know I’ve spent all my money on Christmas and are doing it on purpose.
Last year, my Macbook and my Kindle died within days of each other– both right after Christmas. This year, my desktop is being retarded. I got a virus that didn’t look like a virus. I got rid of it, but in the process all my “pathways” to programs now have no destination. So basically I can’t open any programs. Except for Google Chrome– still not sure how that escaped the bug. I can open file folders and such, but running my word program or Photoshop (which I need, dammit!) isn’t happening.
I have an ipad, but I can’t format books or work images/ art on it. So no book business and no photography business. Basically, I’ve been at a stand-still. Trying to fix the issue… researching laptops to bridge the workflow gap. All the while ticked that I can’t finish edits on BLOOD CHORD. Super-frustrating to say the least.
Now that I finally have a working laptop, I’m busy importing files, organizing folders, installing programs, setting up Chrome bookmarks and trying to catch up on some of the housekeeping issues around here.
I’m mostly done, thank goodness. So I’m off to transfer Blood Chord over and recommence the edits! (Cracks whip at myself. “Get to it!” I say.)
Often while toiling away in my daily life, whether I’m at work designing custom art for industry musicians or knee-deep in a pile of dirty laundry, I’m struck by a flash of sudden story inspiration. SSI for you folks who like to abbreviate everything.
(No that’s not my head. I do many things to my hair- the current expression being chocolate with a literal blue-streak, but if I shave my head my spouse would probably give up entirely!)
Don’t chuckle at my affliction, please. It is a real and depressing condition. Seriously. Harvard is giving away grant money to studies that are actively seeking a cure. I promise! Merck already has an expirimental drug. I’m all over that… just as soon as they eliminate a few of the “explosive” side effects.
But I digress. Imagine, if you will, being a writer without enough time to get all of those delicious stories out of her head. They crowd and jostle. It feels like when drank too much Kool-aid as a kid. I can practically feel the sloshing-around. Can you feel my pain yet? Of course you can. You’re probably like me: a voracious reader, writer and overall busy person.
So, without the ability to clone myself or the funds to hire a maid, I’ve decided to set some of my little gems free. So without further ado, here’s my inagural Writing Prompt #1:
I heard someone say that every seven years, the human body goes through one complete cycle of replacing its cells. The person you were seven years ago is physically an entirely different than the one you are today. Now, I have no idea if this is actually true, but think of the literary possibilities!
What if, instead of genetic replicas of the former cells, a virus is activated. Maybe it’s a curse unleashed by a relic. Or a deadly consequence from clandestine experiments. Whatever the cause, slowly your body’s cells are replaced by these mutants. So slowly, that none of your friends or family notices until that crucial tipping point is reached. You begin to act completely out of character. Maybe you are discovered gnawing on a fluffy little bunny-wabbit in the back yard. Or maybe you begin to lose your memories one at a time- one for each cell that’s replaced.
What if the affected person is your spouse, your cherubic toddler, your boss? What if it’s the ruler of the free world? Or that sweet little old ladie that always gives you her peppermints?
What does the “replaced” person want? How has the cellular switcheroo affected them? Do they crave human brains marinated in tobasco sauce? Do they go off on an altruistic journey?
Are they even human anymore? Is it contagious? If so, how is the virus (or proton, amoeba, etc.) spread?
Now that I’ve given you some food for thought, what will you do with it? If you decide to craft a story or novel from this prompt I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave links in the comments below so we can all see how one idea can spin off into infinite directions!
So it’s already day 5 of NaNoWriMo and I’ve only managed a couple of hundred words on this year’s project. I should be at least 8,000 words into the blasted thing by now. Sigh.
So what’s the hold-up you say? Okay, so maybe you didn’t say, but I’m going to tell you anyway. In list form:
1. The first two weeks of every November (when NaNo runs) I have a house full of family up from South Carolina. They come for the opening of Hunting season, so I am overrun with Camo, Ammo and testosterone. And very little free time.
2.I’ve been a busy-little Photog the past few days. Last night I spent a few hours photographing a local salon, Vanity Hair, who had recently relocated and needed a photogallery for their website. I got home and began editing right away, and didn’t find myself headed to bed until close to 1 a.m. Then, I headed out again to the same Salon to be the “model” photog for a Princess birthday party. And for the rest of this evening I was once again strapped to my desk editing images.
3. My muse is a little scatter brained. She’s torn between finishing/ editing a Paranormal novel that’s near completion, and moving on to a new story for NaNo. There’s also the 3 partial manuscripts also demanding her attention. Not to mention that after watching the entire first season of the Walking Dead on my iphone while editing last night, I now have another potential novel idea (came from me dreaming all the night long about Zombies trying to eat me!)
So I’m stuck. My creative well runeth dry. And that frustrates the heck out of me. So, tomorrow I’m locking myself in my bedroom with a liter of Coca-Cola, a package of processed sugar (probably in cookie form) and my little writing set-up (ipad, keyboard) and just write. Who cares if it’s crap? Who cares if I bulldoze over most of it when the editing process rolls around? The important thing is that I just Get To It, Already! Isn’t that the whole point of NaNo anyway?
The time is near for writers everywhere (or wanna-be’s) to cast off their daily responsibilities, shun family and friends, and do the unthinkable- write a complete novel in just 30 days. Not possible, you say? Of course it is, and thousands of writers prove it every November!
What is this organized chaos I speak of? Why it’s NaNoWriMo of course. For those not in the know, that quirky little abbreviation stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every Novemeber writers pledge to write a novel, which in this case is defined as having at least 50,000 words. That’s actually a “thin” novel by traditional publishing standards, but it will give you solid bones to work with when the edits start later.
The sponsoring site, NaNoWriMo.org let’s you create a free account, input a little info about yourself and effectively gives you a novel page where you can update your word count ticker, view the progress of your friends and scour the forums for support, inspiration, or answers to the ever-cropping-up plot problems along the way.
I’ve participated in NaNo two years, one of which I “won” or crossed the 50,000 word mark and the other (my first year) it never really got off the ground. That’s probably because I tried to write as I normally do, from the seat of my pants and lost steam quickly. My second attempt went much better because I had an outline of sorts.
For my second attempt at NaNo I used Scrivener, which let me draft index cards for tentative chapters so that when I sat down to write each evening I had a clear path charted ahead. That was extremely helpful considering that I always have family up to visit from South Carolina for the first two weeks of the month. And then there’s the distraction of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas prep. Yes, I know. That sounds like a lot to cope with.
It is. And it also isn’t.
To reach your goal of 50,000 words you must churn out 1,667 words per day. I have emails that are longer than that. The trick is to meet that daily goal each and every day, lest you find yourself like I was last time- with three days left and still short almost 20,000 words. I barely remember that weekend.
But I made it! And there’s really nothing like pulling it off. Who knows, you might even get a marketable novel out of it! Now, time to start plotting my NaNo project
Today I’d like to introduce a fabulous writer I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of as she releases further books in her series– Jolea M. Harrison. Give her a warm welcome, why don’t cha! (And by all means, pop on over to her site or check out her book when you’re done getting to know her!)
1. What made you decide to Indie Publish? Any particular author/ website that helped you learn the ropes?
A friend of mine, author Dayle Dermates talked to me back in February or March about Indie publishing and she recommended Krisitine Kathryn Rusch’s publishing series The Business Rusch and after reading all those articles (a small book in themselves) I was led to her husband Dean Wesley Smith’s website and from all that information I decided to self-publish.
2. Of the publishing process, what is your favorite part? Least favorite?
The best part is getting to know other fantastic writers. There is no other group so supportive and kind! The second best part is being read by complete strangers. That is a trip. Formatting is my least favorite part. All the ereader makers need to get on the same page and use one universal format. I mean, come on!
3. If you could give advice to someone that is considering becoming an Indie, what would it be?
Don’t rush. That is really hard advice to follow. If you rush, you’ll make mistakes and possibly hurt your reputation. Seek the opinions of fellow authors and be prepared to take criticism. It’s part of the deal. If you can’t take a critique from a fellow author, dealing with a bad review will be devastating.
4. Do you have a set writing routine? Do you outline, or just start and see where it goes?
I write whenever I can, which is haphazard moments throughout the day, depending on what life chores I have to deal with. When I realized my story was expanding beyond three books, I took a moment and wrote down the bare bones outline. Had to. Otherwise, there’s a lot of unplanned stuff that comes out of nothing. I like to let it.
5. How do you keep the muse around? Anything quirky that you do to get into the writing mode?
I’ll pick up a favorite fantasy book like Lord of the Rings or watch something like a show on the universe, or outer-space. That usually brings on the ideas.
6. What are you working on now?
Myth, The Second Chronicle, Guardians of the Word. I’m connecting some dots and then have to let it stew for a week or two.
7. Tell us about one of your books, and where it can be purchased?
The only book I have out, Chosen, is available digitally and paperback as well. Check out the links below! It’s the first book of a series called The Guardians of the Word, and is about a young man trying to figure out who he is, thrown into a situation he isn’t prepared to deal with, and finding a way to manage it and survive with the stakes as high as they can get. On a larger scale it’s about good and evil and what throws the universe out of balance when one gains more power than the other.
My blog is here - http://jm-harrison.com/
And on twitter here - http://twitter.com/joleab
There are several ways to establish a connection with the reader to ensure they will read on, the easiest is by having interesting, believable characters.
When writing fiction, creating believable characters is one of the best things that you can do to ensure that your story will be read and treasured. A great fictional character can overcome many things, like a weak plot line or touchy subject matters. How do you create believable characters? The keys to creating believable characters are commonality, originality, dichotomy, desire, and peculiarity.
First, when writing fiction, give your characters some sort of attribute that will allow the reader to identify with them. For a story targeted to housewives and mothers, give the character a little obsession over her thighs. For a mystery, give the character something to worry about, like his family, career or health. The key here is commonality.
Now, while you should give a reader some reason to identify with the character, you don’t want to create a character that just screams cookie-cutter either. If writing about a Private Detective, don’t make him tall, dark and scruffy. Do the unexpected. Make him a woman (but avoid the obvious clichés here too) or bound to a wheelchair. Give your character something unanticipated. In Janet Evanovich’s best selling series, her heroine Stephanie Plum is a female bail-bondsmen with little experience or training. The key here is originality.
Lemonade without either the sugar or the lemons would be unpalatable, and so, every believable character needs contrasting elements. Good versus evil, or desires fighting with responsibilities. A conniving, flashy lawyer is boring, until we learn that he doesn’t own a car or lives in a run down neighborhood. A reader would wonder why, and they would continue reading to find out. Dichotomy is the key here.
Give your fictional character desires, something to accomplish, because without something driving the character, a reader won’t want to follow him into the story. Maybe your struggling artist wants to be famous as a way to win a girl. Maybe a harried housewife wants to go back to school for a career and some sanity. Maybe a terminally ill woman wants to live long enough to give birth to her only child. This shouldn’t be confused with plotting. Plotting is what happens in the story and the ambition is what makes your character do certain things throughout the story. The key here is desire.
We all have our quirks—that’s what makes us different and that’s what also makes for interesting and believable characters. The character Adrian Monk (played by Tony Shalhoub on USA Network’s show Monk) is a detective with a whole host of phobias, and viewers love him. Don’t give a character a slew of quirks though, because you would risk turning your reader off. Instead, a few well placed oddities will make your character more fallible and human. Maybe he still drinks Tang by the gallon even as a forty-year-old man. Maybe a woman drives the exact same route to work every day because she believes that to deviate would invite catastrophe. Whatever you give your character, the key here is peculiarity.
If you take care in giving your characters life and breath by using the keys outlined—commonality, originality, dichotomy, desire, and peculiarity—you will be closer to creating a story that someone will read and characters that they will believe and identify with.
I’ve shaken my head many times after hearing a writer proclaim that they don’t read much. That’s akin to a Doctor who never went to Medical school. Great writers are also great readers!
Reading is important for a fiction writer on so many levels, from genre structures to how to craft a novel. The information is there, so why wouldn’t you study it?
First, if the fiction that you write falls into any sort of genre, then you better have read books within that genre. These books tend to have formulas, and following them can be the difference between publication and rejection. You wouldn’t submit a category romance without the girl actually getting the guy at the end.
Reading is also a way to absorb great writing, to train your brain as to how a well-crafted sentence feels as it trickles over your tongue. There is no better way to elevate your prose than by reading, and reading a lot.
Some writers, while working on a particular story, refuse to read anything that resembles their story, for fear of accidentally plagiarizing. This is a legitimate fear, and one you would be well heeded to pay attention to. However, this doesn’t mean that you should never read in the genre you write; just avoid those books while actively working on something. But you should still read. If you are writing a mystery, read something literary. If you are writing something literary, read a romance.
Another reason to read abundantly is so that you can see what plots have been used or over used. Your original idea may not be original after all, but you wouldn’t know that unless you read voraciously.
By reading, you can see how differing point-of-views can help or hinder a story. You can see how effective pacing can turn a yawn-of-a-plot into a page-turner. You can see how other writers work back-story into carefully chosen segments of the story, instead of starting off with ten pages of exposition. Reading will allow you to consider your options when writing dialog, when weaving a plot, when writing the last paragraph of your story.
I once had a writer say that he didn’t read very often, because he wanted his stories to be 100% unique and out-standing. My answer to that was, well, you may end up with something all-together new, but there is a good chance that it will be so unique that no one will want to read it. Or, you will inadvertently write a plot that has been done to death, or use the entirely wrong POV for a story. If you don’t know how high the bar is set, how can you possibly hope to jump over it?
Reading novels is like studying for the Fiction Writing Graduate Exams, you have to study, study, study, before you can hope to pass into the elite group of graduates, or published writers.
Still Unconvinced? Try one of these:
Welcome to FLASH-N FRIDAY’S. In case your mind is in the gutter, you won’t find any naughty pictures in this segment. Just down and dirty flash fiction writing.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The art of Short Fiction is severely under-rated. If writer’s, and readers, stop to think about it for one minute, they would see that not only is writing a complete story with few words very hard to do, but it also can be used to hone a writer’s skill. In flash fiction you’re working with limited real estate, and each word chosen must work overtime.
** Maximum word count is 300. I’m not even limiting it to genres. (well, maybe erotic is out, but everything else goes Also, I have found that a great way to jump-start these little flash sessions is to browse for inspiring images like the one posted below the story. *******
“I don’t think I understand.” I brushed the bagel crumbs aside and memorized how the sun reflected off my small, hopeful, diamond ring. He circled the kitchen, one eye on me. Vulture.
“Are you even listening to me?” He stared at me with a blank face, like I was not anyone he cared about at all.
“I always listen to you.” I hated when he did that. Like he was trying to find words that my simple brain could comprehend. Like I was a child. Like I was beneath him.
Of course, I had been beneath him. I had been on top of him. I had been beside him. Through it all– his divorce, the bankruptcy– I had been there. I had thought that was enough.
“Deena!” He exhaled deeply, his frustration curling out from his mouth like a long-held plume of cigarette smoke. “DO YOU GET IT?”
He spelled it all out for me again. He was leaving me for another woman. That, I didn’t get. How could he leave his “other woman” for another woman?
The logic was warped. Of course, I was no longer the other woman. His original was discarded last year, like I was being trashed now. Recycling…save the planet and all that crap.
“We’ll see.” Images of the two of us flashed into memory. On the trunk of his sedan. My favorite panties–silk with pink flowers– on his rear-mounted antenna.
Now I am parked outside his apartment, my motor rumbling like a hungry kitty.
I’ll wait until he comes out, watch him drive off, then I’ll follow him straight to hell. When he comes to the sharp corner on his way to her house, I’ll get mine, pulling over to listen to the hollow-tin echos from below.
I hope you enjoyed this brief foray into my quivering cerebellum. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming! ~Karen
Today’s guest post comes to you from Arshad Ahsanuddin, author of Sunset (If you want to read a gritty, adult answer to the Twilight Saga, look no further!) Enjoy!
So you have an idea for a book. Time to start writing. Some people would counsel to just sit down and start typing, and see where your muse takes you. This is referred to as “organic” or “seat-of-the-pants” writing. It works fine when you only have a germ of an idea or you’re brainstorming. In my experience, however, a little preparation can make a world of difference in the quality of your first draft, and the degree to which the manuscript has to be extensively revised during the editing process. Others violently disagree with me on this, so take my words merely as advice.
Never write randomly. Always plan an outline, even if you only have a rough idea of where you want to go with the story. Every scene has to have a purpose and a goal to which you are moving toward. It will stop you from writing yourself into corner more often than not, even if the details go right out the window once you start. You should have a clear idea of where you want to go, how you want to get there, and what you want to accomplish along the way. Then sit down and start writing, not before. Your outline will grow and adapt as you proceed. It should be frequently updated as more of the manuscript is completed, and divergences from your initial conception become apparent.
It isn’t usually a good idea to edit your work extensively as you go, because you will probably get bogged down in revisions and never finish your manuscript. The other reason not to edit an incomplete manuscript is that you will be working to unify the themes and structure of the earlier parts of your manuscript based on what you intend to write in the future, not what you will actually write. If your ending veers off in another direction from your initial intentions, then your early editing efforts may become outdated. Therefore, the first stage of editing should only commence once the entire manuscript is written and the structure of the story is complete.
As you write, consider different exercises to refine on the fly what you’re trying to express, so that it comes out of your head more precisely. Keep asking yourself basic questions to keep yourself on point. Does this make sense? Would it really have happened this way? Does this sound like something someone would actually say? Another possible technique is to read what you’re writing out loud. Often language that seems to be fine on paper will reveal itself to be awkward when you actually say the words.
Now press on. Even when you’re having trouble with a particular scene, don’t stop writing, or you’ll lose momentum. Consider letting it percolate in the back of your mind, while you jump ahead in your outline to write the next scene, then come back to the missing text when you’re done. Possibly, the exercise of writing what comes next will make what came before easier to process in your head. It might seem at times like the end seems out of reach, but if you concentrate on working through your outline in a consistent manner, then you have a blueprint that will eventually lead you to completion, and the burst of satisfaction when you finally write “The End.” (Not that you would actually put that at the end of your manuscript. Give the reader a little credit for noticing that there aren’t any more pages.)
Congratulations! You’ve written a book. All the good intentions you had at the start are finally realized and you have tangible proof of the fact that you’re a writer. Most people never start, or they come to a point where can’t think of what to write next and give up in frustration. By having a clear map in your mind from the start, you have avoided this pitfall, and crossed the finish line. Now you may finally cross the threshold into the editing process, from one level of Hell to the next. But that’s a story for another time.
Welcome to FLASH-N FRIDAY’S. In case your mind is in the gutter, you won’t find any naughty pictures in this segment. Not unless you count this:
Now, I truly believe that the art of short fiction is severely under-rated. If writer’s, and readers, stop to think about it for one minute, they would see that not only is writing a complete story with few words very hard to do, but it also can be used to hone a writer’s skill. In flash fiction you’re working with limited real estate, and each word chosen must work overtime.
So, without further ado, here’s the inaugural Flash-N Friday’s post. I do hope you become inspired to try your own hand at the abbreviated art form!
The day was a glorious one; the kind where everything is right in the world, down to the gentle breeze rippling the surface of the blue-green lake. The sun warmed Allison’s shoulders as she sat on the dock, trailing her toes through the cool water.
It was her first day off in months. Hal, her boss at the diner, didn’t give a hoot about tan lines or vacations. Nor did Allison, really.
A woodpecker’s knock echoed through the tall pines. Minnows darted past her toes, silver glinting in the late afternoon sunlight. The marsh grass rustled, lulling Allison into a comfortable peace. That blessed silence, that was what she’d been missing.
Allison sighed and stretched slowly, then stood and pulled off her shorts and threadbare tank top. She tugged at her bathing suit and stepped to the warped edge.
A raven squawked and took flight as Allison dove in. She disappeared below the surface, concealed under the murky cover. Second ticked by and the lake smoothed to liquid-glass. She floated in the inky water, weightless, until her lungs burned for oxygen.
She kicked towards the dock and blue sky, bobbing to the surface. Drawing a breath and shaking the water from her face, she reached for the dock’s ladder and climbed. Water rolled off her in sheets, tinkering to the water below.
“Bet I can hold my breathe longer than you can.”
Allison froze halfway up the ladder, the voice creeping over her skin like spiders. He was huge, disheveled, and had large, yellowed eyes shadowed under a prominent brow. His left hand twitched around a pistol as he crept closer, forcing Allison down to the water’s edge. He licked his lips and she knew.
There would be no last minute kick to the water’s surface this time.
I’m toying with the idea of opening this segment up to guest pieces. I’ll see how well I can keep up with the feature first. Even for myself though, there are rules. Or mainly one rule: Maximum word count is 300. I’m not even limiting it to genres. (well, maybe erotic is out, but everything else goes Also, I have found that a great way to jump-start these little flash sessions is to browse for inspiring images like the one posted below the story. Okay, I’m done. Back to your regularly scheduled programming! ~Karen
MENTAL SHRILLNESS by TODD RUSSELL
This collection of short stories, MENTAL SHRILLNESS is a very good example of abbreviated fiction at it’s finest. I’ll get to the book itself in a minute, but first I want to discuss Shorts in general.
Not everyone is a fan of short stories, but I tend to think that has more to do with what readers are used to (printable novel-length fiction) because that’s all Traditional publishers have printed for years. But I can see the tides a’turning, and if more authors of Mr. Russell’s caliber put these collections out there, I think readers will see that shorts are not “lesser” stories, they are just condensed. And much easier to read while your standing in line at the Post-Office.
In fact, writing a top-notch story is arguably harder to accomplish. There is much less real estate involved, and each and every word must pack the proverbial gut-punch. Think of it this way, if you asked to explain something in under 50 words or with a 1,000 word limit, which do you think would be easier?
Now, with that said, not all Shorts are created equal. It’s very hard to tell a compelling, complete story, and sometimes the overall story may suffer. That is not true with this horror collection from Todd Russell. His prose is as cutting and sharp as a scalpel, and he minces no time in drawing readers into his warped world.
Most certainly not for the faint of heart, MENTAL SHRILLNESS explores, in bite-sized portions, universal themes of betrayal, lust, mental illness, undying love and desire, with disturbing finesse.
I was disturbed by these stories, especially Pains in the Glass, Falling In Bobbitt and Death Warmed Over, though not as much as I probably should have been. Instead of personally being grossed out, I was sucked into as a silent observer, very much involved in the stories. I could see them, smell them, hear them- essentially this book played out like short episodes in my mind. I felt more than I read, if that makes any sense.
The last story The Illusion whispered faintly of a specific Nathaniel Hawthorne story to me, but I can’t tell you why without telling you how. So instead, I invite you to read the story and post in the comments what story you think I’m referring to (explain yourself please as well) and there might be a goodie for whoever gets it right first. I must warn you though, the connection is tenuous at best, and I may be inventing it completely, but I do feel even my imagined binding-thread speaks volumes for the high level of writing in this collection.
The included Author’s notes are damn-near as interesting as the stories themselves, and it’s not everyday that you get to hear the method behind the madness. So, if you feel brave enough, drop a trail of breadcrumbs behind you, grab a flashlight, and enter into MENTAL SHRILLNESS.
After some searching on the net, a little bit of Partypoker, and 1/2 of a blueberry bagel, I found what I was looking for.
–Is Patterson so benevolent that he grabs an aspiring author up by the shirtcollars, effectively saying, “Here my child! Hitch your wagon to my Star!” while posing for the photogs?
–Has Patterson written so many dang-blasted books that he can no longer grasp that illusive *unique* idea?
–Has Patterson fallen into a deep coma, prompting a greedy agent/ publisher to hire someone to churn out more money makers?
THE ANSWER: none of the above.
Publicity and Money seem to be the key to this mystery.
You see, shrewd Patterson has decided to use his notoriety in conjunction with a struggling writers time. It seems dear Patterson makes the outline, and co-A drafts the first full novel. A round of “change this” or “try something different here” ensues, then out pops a blue-faced spanking new novel a la’ Patterson.
Ingenious really. With co-authors, Patterson can mass produce original books (kind-of) that don’t suck, while reaping in the extrapolated royalties.
Patterson is a man with his eyes on the prize!
***So I wrote thisa while back, and addled-brained me forgot to post it. Still though, I think the topic is one of interest to writers as we see more and more co-authored novels hit the market.