A Straight Line? Not Quite.

‘You don’t always get to your destiny in a straight line…’

Isn’t that the truth?

I read that recently.  There was more to the statement, but for the purposes of this blog, I’ll just use the above quoted sentence for now.

When I sit down to write a story, generally speaking, I have an idea where I want it to go.  Not always, but most of the time.  I kind of have an idea about the main character and things he/she will have to face over the course of the story.  Sometimes, however, those characters have minds of their own and they decide they want to go in a different direction than I want them to.  There’s that straight line, or lack there of.

I’m sure I’m not alone in the fight for control over the characters of my stories.  I’m sure other writers have this same parent to child conversation or argument with their characters from time to time:

‘You will do what I told you to do, and that is that.’

‘I don’t want to do that.’

‘I don’t care.  That is how you will be written.  End of discussion.’

‘I’m not doing it and you can’t make me.’

‘I can’t make you?  I can’t make you?  Are you sure about that?’

‘You can’t make me.’

‘Oh, we’ll see about that, young man (or woman).’

And things really get out of hand with all the screaming and yelling and slamming of doors and the ‘I hate you,’ and ‘I know, but I still love you,’ to the ‘you open that door up right now, young woman (or man), and you do what I told you to,’ to the ‘I can’t wait until I leave this place.’  It’s a truly vicious cycle.

Read the following and I’ll relate it back to the main point.  I promise.

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over.  Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school with no friends.  Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under and overpass where an old homeless man lives.  After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get any easier for Cory.  Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him.  And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something terribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man.  Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

This is the blurb for my debut novel, Cory’s Way.  I began working on this book in the summer of 2008, hoping to write a short story about a young boy who is befriended by a homeless man one day while trying to escape a pair of bullies out to put a beating on him.

I had a direction.  I had the characters.  I had the scenery.  I had a straight line.  I was good to go, right?

Sadly, I made it through the first four or five chapters before I realized there was no real story, and if there’s no story, well, it’s just a bunch of words that doesn’t truly have a direction.

There’s that straight line issue again.  And again, there was the lack there of, or in this case, a line that just abruptly ended.  It was a roadblock of sorts, and Cory and Mr. Washington and the Burnette Brothers and Gina had all ran right into the wall.

Cory’s Way was shelved for a couple years.  It was no different than any of the multitude of stories started and destined to not be finished.  I really thought I had worked my last on it.

In the summer of 2010 I read a news article about a man who had kidnapped someone.  I won’t go into details of that article here–it’s not necessary for this particular blog.  However, after reading the article, I knew why I had thought Cory’s Way was not really a story:  Good stories are like real life, they have conflict.  There was no real conflict, other than the bullies chasing Cory at the beginning of the story.

There was also no emotional connection anywhere.  At this point Cory’s father leaving wasn’t even part of the story.  Neither was his mother moving them away or ninety percent of the story after chapter four.  For all it was worth, Mr. Washington could have been the holly jolly St. Nick and the Burnette Brothers could have been a flying trapeze duo.

But I had another line to follow and this one was as straight as it could be.  I followed it, allowing the story and the characters to lead the way, and yes, that line stayed straight.  Until one character didn’t seem to want to play nice with the others.  He exited, stage left, folks.  Yeah, that straight line had another detour in it.

Still, there’s more.  Characters came and things were done and scenes were created, all of them taking that straight line and detouring several times until the end had been reached, and guess what?  Even the ending was different than I originally thought, and I think it is more appropriate and satisfying than I had planned.  This time, the characters were right in taking over the story, and what they came up with was so much better than I had come up with.  And they did it along a line that wasn’t quite straight.

Cory’s Way didn’t happen in a straight line.  If it would have, I don’t think it would be as good.  Here’s the thing:  The point is not to always make it to the end of the trip by going from point A to point B.  The point is to enjoy the ride along the way.  A major joy of writing is tagging along and seeing where the characters take you.  It’s the same with reading.  So, enjoy the ride, enjoy the story.

Until we meet again, my friends…

(For those wondering, the complete quote that led to this post is:  You don’t always get to your destiny in a straight line.  Sometimes God takes you on a detour as He prepares you for where He is taking you.)

 

Cory’s Way, A Novel

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school with no friends. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get any easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something terribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

Cory’s Way, coming December 6th to Kindle users everywhere.

However, you can pick it up in print format now by following this link:

Cory’s Way Square Online Store

If you are local and I can hand deliver the book to you, it cost $10.00. If I have to mail it (in the U.S. only for now) it will be $13.00.

The first review has come in. Here is part of it:

This book, Cory’s Way, has that instant classic feel of an 80’s movie. You will connect, you will feel, you will know Cory. As an adult you will remember the simple conversations between boys and girls, moms and sons. As a Young Adult, I believe you will relate, but also, enjoy. Such a ride. The real horror is because you feel like you know these kids, feel like you are one of these kids.

You will smile…but …beware. You will also cringe. You may even put the book down a minute to catch your breath.

Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Pick up your copy or gift it to a friend or loved one for Christmas.

 

CorysWayFullCover

 

Cory’s Way, A Novel Print Version

Good evening…ummm…or morning or afternoon. How about just good day? Hmmm…it may be night where you are right now. Well, good whatever time it is where you are.

Let’s just jump right into the blog today, why don’t we?

The e-book for my first novel, Cory’s Way, is set to be released on December 6th. It’s a special day because it’s my son’s birthday as well and he has always asked me, ‘when are you going to do something for me in your books?’ Yes, on the day my boy turns 10, I am going to release my e-book—it’s a way of doing something for him in my books and making it even more special for myself.

However, the print book is ready to go. We have decided to go ahead and release the print version and pre-orders will be taken starting tonight, November 6th. Wait. Before you click on over to Createspace or Amazon, read on. I want to save you some money.

After creating the print version of Cory’s Way, I set everything up so it could be printed on demand through Createspace. Then I checked the pricing. Holy Cow Batmen (and Women). I was stunned to see how expensive I would have to price the books to make less than four dollars in profit. It’s crazy. Here’s a little math for you:

*What follows is full disclosure of the pricing of the print version of Cory’s Way.

The minimum list price is $10.33. At that price, I would make $2.00 (if purchased through Amazon) and you would still have to pay shipping, which is around $4.00 or so. So, you would pay around 15 bucks for the book. Honestly, that’s not too bad for you. It’s not too good for me. [The Createspace Store royalty would be a much better $4.15 per book, but who actually purchases through the CS Store?]

I decided to bump it up to $15.00 to see what the royalties would be. At that price, I come out better, at $4.87 a book (through Amazon), but you, the readers end up paying around $20.00 for it with shipping. [The CS Store would give me a total of $7.87 per books—not too bad for me, but again, who actually purchases through the CS Store?)

This has caused me quite a bit of anxiety. Why? It’s simple: I want you to read my books. I also want to make a little money from those books, but I don’t want to gouge you, the readers, in the process.

After a lot of deliberation and much discussion with my lovely wife, Cate, we came up with a plan. (Well, she came up with the plan. She’s good that way.) What’s the plan? We opened an online store for the book. Yes, that’s right, and it should be repeated: we opened an online store for the book.

Stick with me for a second. If you follow the link at the end of this blog, you can go to the Square store that has Cory’s Way for sale. Here’s the way it works: There are two items on this page (at least so far). Those items are for Cory’s Way for local folks and Cory’s Way for folks the book would need to be shipped to. Yes, there is a difference in pricing. Why? The ones that have to be shipped include the price of shipping, so they’re a little more expensive. Those prices are:

Local: $10.00

Non-Local: $13.00 (shipping included)

Those prices are significantly cheaper than the $15.00 list price (not including shipping) on Createspace and Amazon.

There’s one more perk to buying from this website: Since I ship them, each one will be hand signed.

What this boils down to is, yes, I want to make money off my books, but no, I don’t want to gouge the readers in order to do so. I want you to enjoy my work, but I don’t want you to spend $20.00 if you don’t have to. I wanted to make this a win-win for both of us. In this way, I think I have. I hope you feel the same way.

Before you go to the website, let me give you the synopsis to the book (which you can find in the descriptions of both items):

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school with no friends. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get any easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something terribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

Intrigued? I hope so.

If you would like to purchase the print book of Cory’s Way, please follow this link:

https://squareup.com/market/aj-brown

As soon as the first order of books comes in, I’m shipping all orders out. It may take up to a week for them to get in, but as soon as they do, all orders will go out.

Before I go, I want to thank you for taking the time to follow Type AJ Negative or to follow my author page on Facebook or for purchasing any of my books. I truly appreciate it.

Until we meet again, my friends…

 

 

 

 

Slow and Steady Gets the Book Published

I’m sure we’ve all heard the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. You know the story I’m talking about. If not, let me give you the Brown Notes version:

There was this rabbit, you see. And this rabbit was really, really fast. He was also somewhat of a braggart. You know the type, right? Those who think they are the best at everything and have no problem letting you know. Well this rabbit, he decided to pick on the tortoise.

Before we go much further, let’s give these two animals names. We’re going to name the rabbit Dennis. Why? There was this fellow I knew when I was growing up who liked to brag about all the things he could do, and Dennis was his name. For the tortoise, we’re just going to name him George. No reason. I just like the name. (I guess that’s a reason, eh?) Is that okay with you all?

Dennis constantly bragged to the tortoise about how fast he was and that no one–and Dennis meant NO ONE–could beat him in a race. But there’s more. You see, Dennis didn’t just brag to George about how great he was, he went so far as to put down George for being so slow of foot.

Now George was a kindly sort and he just shrugged off a lot of Dennis’s antics. But even George had his limits, and one day he grew tired of Dennis’s constant yip-yapping about The Great Hare Who Can’t Be Beaten.

“Dennis, even a great creature such as yourself can lose a race,” George said in his slow southern drawl–yeah, I imagine George to be a southerner, a country boy to the end.

“By who?” Dennis asked in jest.

“Well, by me.”

Whether or not George was bluffing Dennis will never be known because Dennis laughed out loud while holding his furry belly. I bet he went so far as to falling on the ground, and rolling about as tears streamed down his furry face. “You? You? Beat me? Well, why don’t you just try?”

George gave a nod and said, “Okay, Dennis. Tomorrow morning we’ll race from here to yonder (yonder being over there a hundred yards or so away where the apple trees were ripe with fruit) and I’m going to win.”

The very next morning they set out to race. All the other animals sat along the race route in their fold out chairs or on their pic-nic blankets. The kids ran around playing tag or Duck, Duck, Goose (a game the ducks and geese didn’t care much for). They had the media there, most of which were mocking birds, with their microphones and cameras, reporting on the big race. Odds were laid out by the bookies–hyenas with not much to laugh about except for the handful of animals who wagered the tortoise would win.

Then the race started. There was a pretty little cat named Sasha at the starting line in her cut off shorts and a T-shirt waving a green fig leaf flag, signaling for the competitors to take off.

And they kind of, maybe, sort of just stood there. George took a step and then another and another and had moved all of half an inch. Dennis, he didn’t move at all. He just looked at his watch and yawned and said, ‘You go right on ahead and get started. I’m going to take a nap.”

And that’s just what Dennis did. He found him a cozy little spot in the sun on the grass and fell right asleep.

George continued taking his slow steps and travelling not much more than a couple feet an hour.

When Dennis woke, he noticed George was only a few yards away, so he decided to run down to the all you can eat buffet and grab him some breakfast. He ate until his belly was full and his eyelids where heavy. Then he mosied on down to the start line again to see George wasn’t even halfway through the race. Dennis, being full and content from the buffet, decided to take himself another nap, and when he was done, he would jog to the finish line and be there in time for dinner and a midnight snack before George arrived.

That nap ran long and by the time old Dennis woke, George was almost to the finish line.

“Oh my,” Dennis said (well, he probably said something else that rhymed with duck or pit or ram, but that’s not really appropriate for this blog) and he took off running.

But it was too late. You see, George crossed the finish line by a hair in front of, well, the hare.

It’s been said George uttered the words, “Slow and steady wins the race,” when interviewed by the mocking birds later on.

You may be asking yourself, ‘why did he just tell us this story?’

I’m glad you asked.

I wrote a novel back in 2008, titled Cory’s Way. I’ve been working on it off and on ever since. Why so long? Well, I had the computer crash of 2013 that wiped out the edits I had completed. Then there were other projects I have worked on. Then there was the issue of confidence. I had never put a book out until January, 2012, and that was a short story collection. Put out a novel? How daunting. Then there was all the work–did I really want to put so much work into one story? Honestly, I didn’t.

Now, here we are, and for the last ten months I have worked on Cory’s Way, editing, rewriting, searching for cover art, trying to figure out a marketing strategy, talking to folks on how to do stuff I didn’t know how to do (and I’m still not so sure I know how to do some of them), having the cover created, editing some more, finding proofers, letting an agent read the story, building confidence and a bunch of other stuff. The release of Cory’s Way is getting closer and closer. However, personal goals for putting it out have came and went. I wanted to release it in July–on my birthday, to be specific. That didn’t happen. Then I shot for Cate’s birthday, which is in the middle of August. Yeah, you can guess that didn’t happen either. Now, I’m looking at a mid-November release, and, well, I’m not sure that is going to happen either.

But why? Why not in November?

Simple: it’s not ready.

The cover art has been created. The cover itself is done. The story has been edited eight times and proofed twice. Three separate rewrites have taken place. The forward has been written. The author’s notes and acknowledgments have been written. The bonus story at the end of the novel has been edited, rewritten, edited again. The book blurb has been written. The bio is done–but that may change before all is said and done. The entire book is completely put together. Formatting still needs to be done, and ARCs need to be sent out. And a release date–a concrete one–needs to be set.

With all of that done, why is Cory’s Way still possibly not coming out in November as planned?

Because, slow and steady wins the race, and I’m not sure the book is ready.

I can hear some of my friends whispering or even yelling, ‘If you keep going over it, then you will never put it out.’

I’ve heard that a few times, not with Cory’s Way, but with Southern Bones. It took me nine months to prepare Southern Bones, for publication, and another couple months before I was comfortable enough to put it out. But I eventually put it out. I eventually felt it was ready.

Here’s the thing: I know a few writers who are like Dennis. They are so ready to get their work out there that they rush through things and put it out, even though the books were not ready. Then they wonder why people are blasting the books or why they aren’t selling more. ‘It’s the greatest novel ever written,’ after all. They were in a hurry and that was reflected in the product.

I’m not one of those writers. I want Cory’s Way to be the best it can be. So what does that mean? That probably means I’ll read through it one last time. That probably means when I am done formatting it, I will probably go over every single thing to make sure it is right. I’ll probably go through every digital page, checking and making sure that all italics are there, that the fonts are the right size (and the right type). I want it to be right. Why? Well, first off, I want to put out a professional quality novel, but I also want the readers to be submersed in the story and have nothing taking them away from it–at least nothing I can control. I want the experience for the readers to be an enjoyable one. Because if its not, then the chances of the readers coming back and reading other works I have written, are going to be slim to none.

Slow and steady, folks. Slow and steady. I promise, I’m not like Dennis, but more like George, and in the end, I think the extra time spent on getting things right will make Cory’s Way that much better. And isn’t that what you want?

While I have you here, why don’t I give you the blurb for Cory’s Way? Here it is:

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something horribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

Intrigued? I hope so.

As always, thank you for reading. Until we meet again, my friends…

And here’s a sneak peek at the cover:

CorysWayFullCover

 

 

 

The Goings On ‘Round Here

Faithful Readers,

I’ve been a busy boy, folks.

Since my last post, The Ever Changing Momentum, back in June—yeah, that long ago—a lot has happened.

Let me see if I can recite this as short and as concise as possible.

I finished up the edits on Cory’s Way, my novel. It now sits in the hands of the proofreader. Troy Rider, the artist who provided the cover art for Southern Bones, is currently working on the image for Cory’s Way. I’ve seen the framework for it. Yes, I’m excited. The talented Paula Ray wrote the introduction and I couldn’t be happier with it. It’s getting closer to being complete.

Okay, before you ask who is publishing Cory’s Way, let me go ahead and say, I am.

What?

You idiot. You’re not serious are you?

Yes. Yes, I’m serious.

I see it like this: No one cares about my writing the way I do. No one. I probably take longer to put these things out than a publisher would. I go over my work multiple times and even then I go over it again. I’m extremely hard on myself. Not that a publisher wouldn’t be—they probably would—but I know what I want to do.

I know a publisher has more resources. And I bet a few of you are thinking I’m taking the easy way out. Ummm…no. Doing this by myself is far from easy. I’ve had a book put out through a publisher (Along the Splintered Path). It was much easier to do it that way. I’ve also put out a book on my own. It took me almost a year to put out Southern Bones once I started working on it.

A year? Yes, a year.

That’s nothing. I’ve been working on Cory’s Way since 2008. It’s been a long journey.

I hope you all will pick up a copy when it’s released. I think it’s a good book, but then again, I was the story’s first reader (as Stephen King puts it) and I so enjoyed it.

Before Cory’s Way sees the light of day, my novella, The Forgetful Man’s Disease, will come out. It’s the story of Homer Grigsby, a man who outlived all of his friends and his wife; a man the ghosts of his past like to pay a visit to on occasion when the hard wiring in his brain begins to short out. And sometimes the ghosts know more than the living do.

Then there is The Brown Bag Stories.

What is that, you ask?

Why, it’s none other than a booklet I created to give away to people and coffee shops and libraries and anywhere else that will allow me to place them in their venues. Each booklet contains one short story, some of them previously published, while others have never been published. The booklets are really, really expensive.

How expensive?

They are absolutely FREE. That’s right. They are all of zero dollars and zero cents. I don’t know how anyone can afford them.

If you want a copy of the latest edition (or even the back issues) leave me a comment in the comments section or e-mail me at ajbrown36@bellsouth.net and I’ll get your home address and send them out to you. And, yes, the shipping is FREE.

Here’s the deal. Like Cory’s Way and The Forgetful Man’s Disease and Southern Bones, I’m doing the work. It’s not easy. It’s time consuming. It’s sometimes a headache. I do the formatting. I have the copies made and I do the folding and stapling as well. It’s not easy. It may be cliché, but it’s a labor of love, from me to you, Faithful Readers.

Last, but not least, I’m working on two novels right now. One of them is still untitled. The other is a piece titled, I’m Still Standing, it may be the most brutal and difficult thing I have ever written. In the end, it just may be the most satisfying story when all is said and done.

So, since the last post, the momentum has picked up. I’m excited. I hope you are, as well.

Before I go, I want to leave you with a touch of humor. I tell a lot of stories here about The Boy. He is a staple for comedy, being funny and not even realizing it. This time I want to tell you about something that happened recently at Target, and The Boy was not the star of the show this time. Yes, he was involved, but his sister stole the show.

We were in line to check out. In order, it was The Wife, The Girl, The Boy and The Me. The kids had their own money and were paying for their stuff. The Boy tried to cut in front of The Girl, the way kids would do.

The Girl: I was in front of you.
The Boy: No, you weren’t.
The Me: Yes, she was. Get back behind her.
The Boy: (Pokes his lip out and gets behind The Girl. He then pokes me in the stomach.)
The Me: Stop.
The Boy: (Giggles and pokes me in the stomach. Hey, this isn’t Facebook and I don’t like being poked)
The Me: Stop.
The Boy: (Giggles again and pokes me in the stomach, yet again.)
The Me: I’m going to thump you in the nose if you don’t stop.
The Boy: That won’t hurt.
The Me: Yes it will. It will make your nose bleed.
The Boy: So. I broke your nose…twice.
[SIDE NOTE: Yes, he broke my nose twice while we were playing. Long story.]
The Me: By accident.
The Girl: Yeah, that’s what you tell your friends.
The Family: LAUGHTER

Yes, she got the sarcastic gene.

Until we meet again, my friends…

Some Randomness and a Book Review

Here in South Carolina, we are in the midst of an ice storm.  No, not snow, but ice.  I hope the power stays on.

I haven’t posted much here lately, and not at all so far in 2014.  So, Happy New Year to you all, if you are still out there.

At the tail end of 2013 I was rewriting my novel, Cory’s Way.  All was going well.  I was making significant progress.  Then all was lost.  Most of the rewrites vanished one evening when I went to transfer them from the memory stick I had been using to my computer.  The memory stick had died.

I almost cried.  Seriously.  I had written two completely new chapters and rewritten 16 others.  If you are a writer, you do one of a few things.  A) You drink for several days, drowning your sorrows at the loss of so much work.  B) You start over and say, ‘hey, I can do better than that.’  C) You sit back, get bummed and don’t write anything or work on anything for almost two months.

I went with the door lettered C.

Then I woke one morning after having a dream.  Yes, I had a dream.  It was a vision of the cover of my novel, Her Cure.  I was inspired.  I spent the next week working on the novel, doing a first edit and changing things around, deleting others.  Then I did something I have never done.  I asked for beta readers.  Surprisingly, several people wanted to do it.  I was scared.  Intimidated, even.

Beta copies were sent out.  I’ve heard back from one who has completed their read over and has sent me a hardcopy of her thoughts.  They are VERY GOOD thoughts.  I’m chomping at the bit to get started on the second pass through.  I think I will start that on the 15th of February.  I know the other beta readers are not finished, but that’s okay for now.  I have plenty to go on based on the one’s thoughts.  And I can go back and cross check everything the others say.  I just want to get started.

My fingers are crossed for a spring or early summer release of Her Cure.  Am I going traditional with this?  Probably not, but I honestly don’t know at this point.

In other news I finally submitted two short stories a couple weeks ago.  It is the first time in over six months that I sent work out.

Rejections (or acceptances) forthcoming.

***

The Boy went to turn the light on in The Girl’s room.

The Girl:  Don’t turn my light on.

The Boy:  Why not?  Is your life all dark and gloomy?

***

My Review of Nameless, The Darkness Comes, by Mercedes M. Yardley:

I think I start just about every review with a caveat:  I am not a book reviewer.  But I am a writer, and reviews are important to us, so I try and review all the books I read.

Now that that is out the way, let’s get on with this, shall we?

Being a fan of the small press, I often look for books that interest me based on their book blurbs.  I’m one of those readers who will purchase books based solely on whether I like the blurb or not.  The blurb for this book was short and to the point, and it interested me for two reasons:  One it was short and to the point and two it was by a writer I like.

The blurb:

LUNA MASTERSON SEES DEMONS. She has been dealing with the demonic all her life, so when her brother gets tangled up with a demon named Sparkles, ‘Luna the Lunatic’ rolls in on her motorcycle to save the day. Armed with the ability to harm demons, her scathing sarcasm, and a hefty chip on her shoulder, Luna gathers the most unusual of allies, teaming up with a green-eyed heroin addict and a snarky demon ‘of some import.’ After all, outcasts of a feather should stick together…even until the end

I finished Mercedes M. Yardley’s debut novel, Nameless, The Darkness Comes, the first book in the Bone Angel Trilogy, last night.  Being a fan of Yardley’s short stories, I was excited to see her write a novel, and I was one of those folks who bought it as soon as it was released.  Yeah, I’m cool that way.

If you read the blurb posted above, you learn that this book is about Luna, a young woman cursed with the ability to see demons.  Poor Luna.  Why not Unicorns or fairies? I guess we can’t choose our curses.  But there is so much more to Luna Masterson’s demon eyes.  I’m not going to give the story away here, but I will note there are some very important characters that I think Yardley did a good job bringing to life:  Her brother, Seth, is kind of a wimp (understatement of the year, folks), even when he’s trying to be tough.  Reed Taylor, her love interest, and Mouth, a demon who is not whole-heartedly out to get Luna.  And the Tiptoe Shadow.  Yeah, that’s right, the Tiptoe Shadow.  Cool name, eh?

I enjoyed the way Mouth and the Tiptoe Shadow were developed—she seems to have a knack for creating demons with mmmm personalities.  Yeah, the mmmm is intentional.

Nameless had a few twists and turns in it, a couple of which I didn’t really see coming, which is a good thing.  There were a couple of reveals that Yardley played on and, in the end, they were important to Luna’s character building, though, honestly, I don’t think, as a reader, I realized it until the story was over.  That, too, is a good thing.

Also, Nameless is told by Luna, in the first person, and the voice holds true all the way to the end.  Through all the events Luna’s voice was hers and not someone else’s, whether she was angry or sad or happy (though that was a rare moment or two), Yardley kept Luna’s voice, how she speaks, how she thinks, how she acts and reacts, consistent.  Yes, another very good thing.

Now, this would not be a real review, an honest one, if I didn’t point out a couple things that I thought were off with the book.  There were a few moments where words were omitted or added in places they shouldn’t have been.  These are things I notice in a lot of books these days and they are easy mistakes to make.  Even during the editing phase, these things happen.  I can overlook those, but others can’t.

The story takes place over several months—I didn’t realize this until the end of the book, which is probably just me.  I thought the story took place over a week or two, not months.

**SPOILER ALERT**

No, I’m not going to tell you about the story, but about the one thing I thought was left as a loose end.  Maybe it was intentional, but I don’t think so.  Near the end of the book, Seth is told he needs to be strong, stronger than he has ever been, which really means, just don’t be a wimp, okay, Seth?  However, that never came to be.  I kept expecting him to bust in and save the day, but he didn’t.  For me, and again, this may just be me, I count the writer mentioning something like, ‘dude, you have to be stronger than ever before’ as a promise the writer makes to the reader:  Dear reader, I am mentioning this because I will come back to it later in the story.  There were several little promises made throughout Nameless and all of them, except for this particular one, were kept.

**END SPOILER ALERT**

All in all, Nameless, The Darkness Comes, did not disappoint me.  It had an easy flowing and consistent voice, and the storyline was solid.  The main character (whose name I believe is short for Lunatic) was believable, as were her supporting cast.  There was a resolution to the problem and a set up for book two at the end.  There is violence.  There is anger.  There is love.  There is sadness.  There is desperation.

I look forward to book two of the Bone Angel Trilogy.  For my rating system, I give it four and a half bones out of five.

Pick it up.  Give it a read.  Enjoy.

Until we meet again, my friends…