Tag Archives: novels

Two new post-apocalyptic tales

A couple of new post-apocalyptic stories came out recently:

The first is by Aden Cabro, and is called HARRIER HUNT (ISLAND SURVIVAL BOOK 2).  It's more of a novella, a short quick read that is fast-paced with solid writing and good characters.  I'm looking forward to Book 3.  Here's the link:  HARRIER HUNT

The second is by M.P. McDonald, and it is called ISOLATION:  SYMPATICO SYNDROME BOOK 2.   I'm not done with it, but so far it's started strong.  I cared about the characters in book 1, and this one is continuing their story believably and with just the right balance of technical stuff with human stuff.  Here's the link:  ISOLATION

Both are currently $0.99.  That may change, so grab them soon!

*****

Steven M. Moore’s REMBRANDT’S ANGEL is out!

Just a quick hit to let anyone reading this know that Rembrandt's Angel by Steven M. Moore is out and available from Penmore Press.

I had the pleasure of reading this before it was published and can attest that it's an excellent read.  Great characters and a tense situation with a broad plot that runs the principals all over Europe and the British Isles.

It's available in trade paperback and as a Kindle e-book...

Here's the link to the Kindle e-book:  Rembrandt's Angel

Happy reading!

*****

Superheroes in Thriller Fiction

A few years back, I read three books in a row that sort of opened my eyes to the use of some sort of super human in crime/thriller fiction. The first was Greg Iles' The Devil's Punchbowl, the second was Robert Crais' The First Rule, and the third was C.J. Box's Cold Wind. Let me throw in Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series with this bunch. It struck me as I read, that each hero/protagonist was aided by someone with almost superhuman abilities. In the three mentioned books all of them were Special Forces types. Iles' main character is attorney Penn Cage, and I love his Natchez southern settings. In this book, however, Cage is up against really really bad guys involved with a floating casino, and he calls a guy to help out - an ex-Seal named Daniel Kelly. Kelly and his guys are so good it's scary in itself. You're certainly glad they're on your side. In the second book, Crais steps away from Elvis Cole, his usual protagonist, to allow Cole's sidekick, Joe Pike, to move front and center. Pike is another Special Forces type, though I'm not sure about what branch. Totally confident and as tough as nails. And he's got those Special Forces skills that make him seem invincible. In the third book, CJ Box's protagonist is a rather normal game warden named Joe Pickett. But Joe is friends with a guy named Nate Romanowski, who is wanted by the government. Nate is another scary-good ex-Special Forces type whose plans always seem to work out. I threw in Bolitar's name because he has his buddy Win Lockhorn, the prissy rich guy who (along with Myron) has some sort of Special Forces training and who also always seems to know he's going to win. Fortunately for the good guys, he always has, so far. Some of the other thriller series feature guys who are scary good at what they do, like Jack Reacher of the Lee Child series, or Lincoln Rhyme, the quadraplegic genius of Jeffrey Deaver's books. About the only guy who is really good but isn't exactly a superhuman is Harry Bosch. But he's close. Just some stuff that crossed my mind as I knocked out those three books.  Does one "need" a superhero, invincible-type character in order to make things work in these sorts of thrillers?  If you can think of other examples, please post them in the comments. *****

Publishing Paralysis

As you may or may not have noticed, I have not published anything...ANYTHING...in 2016.  It's not for a lack of things to publish.  I currently have four works ready to go.  They are, in no particular order, ODD MAN OUT, RECIPROCAL EVIL, THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT, and finally, DEAD OR ALIVE.  Most are novella-length; RECIPROCAL EVIL is a bit over 50,000 words, while ODD MAN OUT clocks in at about 33,000.  I think that both DEAD OR ALIVE and THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT are around the same length:  approximately 27,000 words. I have been writing.  I have a YA novel finished called THE SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD:  CIBOLA which is about 53,000 words.  I am about 68,000 words into an untitled end-of-the-world novel which was inspired by Hugh Howey's WOOL.  I'm working on a longer vampire novel which would follow DEAD OR ALIVE and a horror story set in a fictional town called Addison Falls.  I've also been tinkering with a series that I started with my son a couple years ago, called THE NINE KEYS.  The first of that series is basically finished, and it is something around 68,000 to 70,000 words in length.  The second is about 20,000 words at this point and has a long way to go.  I also started a space opera novel but that's stalled out at around 17,000 words at the moment. Covers are done for three of the four ready-to-go works, editing and formatting are done for all four.  So what's the holdup, you might ask (assuming that "you" are reading this and are interested in reading what I'm writing)? I haven't been selling much (okay, I really haven't been selling anything!) and I need to do something different.  One option is to give up.  Or keep doing what I've been doing, which involves tossing up my writing, offering it for sale, and having no one actually find any of it. The second option is to try to form a better foundation.  So far I have only published ebooks and only at Amazon.  So, my foundation is this blog/website, my Amazon author page, and my Facebook page.  I have, like, 64 followers on Facebook.  Not enough.  And depending on Facebook to get the word out is a crapshoot.  When I look at how many people view my posts on my Scott Dyson page there, often it's like 7, or 13, or at best low 20's.  So of those 64 people, only a small percentage even SEE my notifications when I publish.  Without paying FB to show the post to more people, I guess that's about the best one can do there. I am thinking of doing Instagram, just for my cover photos.  I have thought about taking down my collections and publishing the individual works for free on Wattpad, but after looking around there, I didn't have much luck finding a lot of stuff I wanted to read.  I went specifically looking for my friend Steve Moore's work there, and I didn't find it with their search functions.  So I wonder how effective that will be for what I write. I try to "network" with other writers as much as possible.  I will promote authors' works (assuming they are something I like and read) here on these pages, with FB posts, and in any other way that comes up, and I have a few author-friends who have helped me out as well.  But I don't think our audiences cross over very much, or at least what I write is not necessarily of interest to their audiences.  I read so broadly and across so many genres that I am happy to promote their stuff; even more, I WANT to suggest and recommend good reads to my friends.  I think that maybe if I could network with some horror authors, it would work better.  I have tried with a couple, but they don't seem interested in reciprocating. But the biggest thing I want to do is set up a mailing list.  And I don't really know how to go about it.  I mean, signing up is easy.  And it seems that putting the widget on the website is not a big challenge either.  But most authors I've spoken to who use mailing lists effectively offer a free work, and all I have are mobi's of my works.  I'd certainly be willing to offer one or both of my short story collections, or even one of my novellas, for free as an incentive to sign up for the list, but as I have not used any of the software (Vellum, Sigil, Calibre) that apparently can generate ebooks in various formats, I don't know how to get these files to give away. As a mailing list builds, eventually you have a ready-made list of people who are interested in receiving information about your releases, and maybe, just maybe, you can sell enough books upon release to push your work into some sort of visibility on Amazon.    I think that this sounds like the best way to increasing sales and visibility. I also plan on giving away both of my short story collections (as they're both in Amazon Kindle Select and in KU) and I want to try a FB experiment, ask some friends if they'd share the links to the free books, see if I can give away a bunch more than I usually do.  Watch this page for announcements about those giveaways, or if you're a Facebook friend, watch my feeds there. Anyway, I'm going to try to break the paralysis in the next month or two, and get this stuff out there for anyone and everyone to read.  If anyone is interested, that is... ***  

Upcoming releases

I haven't disappeared...not completely, anyway. I've just been busy.  And when I've had time to write, it's been mostly spent editing three separate works.   And now, all three are very close to being released for Kindle.  Here are the titles:
  • ODD MAN OUT - a 32K novella which is expanded from the short story of the same name
  • NEVER ENDING NIGHT - a 27K horror novella
  • RECIPROCAL EVIL - an almost-50K short horror novel
As I mentioned, ODD MAN OUT started life as an 1800 word short story, released as an ebook combined with the short story HOUSE AT THE BEND IN THE ROAD.  Both stories can also be found in the collection 14 DARK WINDOWS.  I thought that ODD MAN OUT would make a good novella, or at least a much longer short story (sort of how DEAD OR ALIVE, originally a 2400 word short story, became a 7600 word short story on the rewrite).  It ended up coming in at over 30K words, and tells the story of how the main character (not named in the short version, but named Paul in this longer version) comes to be...well, maybe I shouldn't spoil it.  Suffice it to say that a weekend retreat with college friends doesn't go the way Paul wants it to when he brings his fiancee for the first time.  His friend Roger wants her, and he'll go to any extreme lengths to get her. NEVER ENDING NIGHT was inspired by a Richard Laymon story I read (but can't recall the title of) where a night goes on and on.  I thought about something like that -- what if night never ended in a suburban town?  So I started writing from the POV of a high school girl (age 15) and it started as a diary kept by the girl where she rambles about her friends and her family and about what's going on in their neighborhood when the sun just doesn't come out one morning.  Then I interspersed those diary entries through the third person narrative, which alternates between the girl's POV and some of the neighbors' POV's.  Bad things happen when the masks of some people in the neighborhood come off when they believe that some sort of apocalypse is coming and the rule of law has broken down... The last, RECIPROCAL EVIL, is about a college kid, Chris, who experiences a campus murder as a dream, and is surprised to find out that the dream really happened.  Why is he sharing dreams with some serial killer?  He's drawn further in when his girlfriend's roommate disappears.  And when the killer contacts him, he learns some things about his own background, about his family, and about his younger sister, believed to be traveling the world and having the time of her life.  But is that true?  And who is the killer's next target? There you have it.  Three soon-to-be-released novellas/novels.  See, I haven't been completely idle in terms of my writing! *****

FLASHBACK by Dan Simmons

My first exposure to Dan Simmons' novels came through the horror genre -- Carrion Comfort and Summer of Night were two excellent novels that seemed, to me, to be very original takes on themes found in the genre.  I followed those readings with his work in a different genre -- science fiction -- by reading his works Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, and The Rise of Endymion.  Those reads blew me away, and I kept going, reading more SF, horror and mystery.  Everything was enjoyable. When I saw that Simmons had written a dystopian novel titled Flashback, I had to give it a try.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but the blurb told me that the United States is in a state of collapse and that 85% of its population are using a strange drug called Flashback, which allows them to enter a dream-like state where they can relive moments of their lives of their choosing.  That sounds like a pretty cool premise to start with.  Follow that with a former police officer, Nick Bottom, who lost his job after the death of his wife, and has now lost his son as well because of his addiction to this drug. Nick is hired by a Japanese businessman who is serving as one of the US Government's "Advisors" to investigate the murder of his son.  It's a crime that Nick investigated as a police officer, and he knows that nothing much is going to happen, but he figures he can milk it for a good payday, which will assure him of a supply of his drug.  But there's more going on, and Nick actually does make progress; actually is motivated to solve the crime. The story is about Nick's investigation and discoveries, as the world around him is revealed to him (with more clarity for him) and to us readers (for the first time).  There is a value in considering this potential future as Simmons foresees it.  So much politics is there, so much of the rhetoric we are hearing today is extrapolated forward to come up with the pessimistic future that is depicted here.  Do I see it happening?  Not at all.  But I think it's worth considering so that we can think about the worst case scenarios as depicted by the Tea Party and conservatives every day today. So what did I really like about this book?  Well, it's a good story.  The trouble comes from being too close to events referred to in this book as sorts of "trigger events" and seeing them from a different perspective.  The book looks back at Obama's elections, the federal debt, entitlements, the lack of military response, the way the administration is dealing with Iran, etc etc, and depicts them as the first steps in becoming the society that the book describes.  I look at those same things and don't see things the same.  I look at Simmons' depiction of Islam and Arabs and Iranians (notice I separate the two -- Iranians are not Arabs, racially) and see fear primarily informing the story's (and I'm assuming, HIS) view of them.  I look at his depiction of Israelis as victims who have no responsibility for their own fate in this story, and I find myself disagreeing. In the context of this story, of this world, however, these things all work really well.   They set the table for an engrossing tale where the Japanese are looked at as a stable and sensible race with the proper goals -- except for maybe it's not exactly as it looks.  I liked the idea of a "g bear" kinetic energy weapon fired from satellites in space.  (The weapon's name is a nod to the SF writer who imagined such a weapon.)  I liked the way drones are incorporated into the story.  I also thought that some of the video technology was imaginative and plausible. I"ll point to some reviews of this book that focus more on the politics: Amazing Stories Review Science Fiction World Review Goodreads Reviews SF Signal Review  Some of them are pretty negative; they cannot seem to separate the politics from the novel.  I found that I was able to do that, and I found FLASHBACK to be a pretty good dystopian story.  Dan Simmons set out to write a dystopian piece, and he did so from his own perspective.  I thought it worked. *****

What I’ve been reading – Kindle edition

I've had some good reads lately.  I've been reading more and more on my Kindle, just because it's so darned convenient.  I have tons of books by the likes of Stephen King, Jeffrey Deaver, Michael Connelly, CJ Box, Robert Crais and others on my stacks, sitting there unread, but since I've been reading when I'm in bed after lights out or in situations where I don't have great lighting, the Kindle's been the go-to source of stories. Anyway, here's a few things I've been reading recently.  I'm not going to make too many comments, just say whether I liked them or not.
  1. DON'T LEAVE ME, James Scott Bell.  Liked it a lot.  Four to five stars.
  2. SEASICK, Iain Rob Wright.  Good horror story, set at sea.  4 to 5 stars.
  3. UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY, Chuck Wendig.  Neat fantasy set in a cool world.  A little slow on the uptake.  4 stars.
  4. SLOW BURN 6:  BLEED, Bobby Adair.  Zombie fiction, pretty good, lots of action.  4 stars
  5. SLOW BURN 7: CITY OF STIN, Bobby Adair.  Zombie fiction, sorta slow with not as much happeniing.  3.5 stars
  6. VLAD V:  VAMPIRE, Mit Sandru.  A relatively short introductory novel, good enough that I want to read more.  4 to 5 stars
  7. COLD MOON, Alexandra Sokoloff.  Satisfying third book in a series.  Very fun and tense read.  5 stars
  8. HEART OF STONE, H. Lynn Keith.  Very good thriller with SF elements and interesting characters.  5 stars.
  9. SPOOKED, Tracy Sharp.  Good horror story with great pacing and characters.  4 to 5 stars.
  10. INTRUDERS: THE INVASION, Tracy Sharp.  Another zombie story, but this one has aliens as well.  Great first book in a series.  Looking forward to the rest.  5 stars.
That's enough for now.  Interestingly, all of the above are indie authors.  Something there for everyone!!! On the docket:  VLAD V: THE DEATH OF A VAMPIRE RIP by Mit Sandru, I, LAWYER FRAT PARTY by John Ellsworth, MORE THAN HUMAN:  THE MENSA CONTAGION by Steven M. Moore, TIME HOLE by Mit Sandru, INVASION and CONTACT by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. Have a great day! *****

Subscription services for ebooks – some thoughts

When I started practicing dentistry almost 30 years ago, I became involved in a reimbursement plan called “Capitation.” It was “insurance” where families or individuals paid a set fee every month, then the company took a percentage of that fee and passed the rest on to me. Their advertising to patients stated that they ‘covered’ 100% of every dental procedure known to man. When I first started with them, I was actually getting checks for a little more than what I would have billed for services on capitation patients that month. But very soon that corrected itself and I was getting less than what I would have billed, by about 20%. Then another provider quit and I got a large influx of new patients. I started making more money, but very soon I was doing way more work than I was getting paid for. It got to the point where I was getting only 40-50% of the work I was doing. So I quit. The future of bookselling, says Joe Konrath among others, is in subscription services.  No one says that books will not still be purchased, but what Joe says, if I'm understanding him correctly, is that for many readers, especially avid readers, there will be a significant economic incentive to borrow books via a service like Scribd or Amazon's Kindle Unlimited rather than purchasing the titles. I can certainly see how he comes up with that view.  It's exactly what happened with my capitation participation.  As the subscribers to the plan figured out that they could get an unlimited amount of dentistry done for one set monthly fee, and perhaps just as importantly, that there was a new young dentist out there who would do the dentistry they needed (and do a good job of it), they flocked in to use their "insurance."  Very few of them understood what they were paying for.  As far as they knew, they were paying an insurance premium and I was getting paid by the insurance company for work done as I did it.  (That IS the situation with fee-for-service insurance, which is capped at one to two thousand dollars per year but pays me for the services I perform on patients.)  Capitation was a great plan for the patients – as long as there was a provider willing to do dentistry for the amount of money he was receiving. So, there are three distinct entities involved in systems like this.  One is the reader.  She is analogous to the patient in my capitation situation.  She wants stories to read, and a subscription service would seem to give them to her.  How many stories she reads in a month?  It's limited only by her speed of reading and the time she has available for reading. The second is the author.  She would be analogous to the provider, who, in my case, is the dentist.  She produces stories for the reader to read.  How many stories can the author provide?  Well, again, it depends on the speed of the author (ie, how fast she can write) and the amount of time she has to actually write stories.  It's limited by both of those two things, just as in a dental practice.  In my case, I was limited by the number of appointments I had available for everyone, not just the capitation patients.  I was also limited by how long I took to perform a specific procedure.  Root canals took longer than fillings and cleanings.  Dentures took more appointments.  I was also limited by my own costs.  I suppose an author is limited by the costs of editing, proofreading, cover, formatting, etc etc.  In other words, in both situations there would seem to be a floor as to reimbursement.  Reimbursement needs to cover the costs of doing business. The third is the "Company."  In my case the company was one that provided capitation-style "insurance" to various employers so they could provide reasonably priced dental plans to their employees.  In an author's case, the companies are Scribd and Oyster and Amazon.  The company has to balance the amount of money coming in with the amount of money going out in such a way that it covers its cost of administering the plan (in the dental example) or delivering, storing and providing some promotion for the ebooks in the lending service (Scribd, Oyster and Amazon).  Oh, and it needs to make a little profit.  (Costs would include the salaries of everyone involved in the process of acting as the middleman.) In the case of Scribd, it seems that they were paying authors for borrows as if the books were purchased.  Voracious readers were reading a LOT, apparently, and Scribd was responsible for paying the authors as if those readers were purchasing every book.  (Almost sounds like a fee-for-service dental plan.)  Authors were paid per unit read, full price for the book.  Readers were paying a flat fee (something like $8.99 a month?) to access as many books as they wanted to. In Amazon's Kindle Unlimited, Amazon collects a flat fee ($9.99 a month) from subscribers, and allows them to borrow ten books simultaneously.  It then takes their subscription fees and puts them into a pool (minus whatever costs they feel they need to withhold to cover their operating costs and whatever profit they want to make), and from that pool it reimburses the authors whose books were borrowed.  (I think I understand this correctly.)  Amazon was paying authors if a reader read 10% of their book, which was great for short stories (my own shorts were in there, but I think I only had one or two Kindle borrows), not quite as good for authors of novels and such.  Now they have switched it so that writers will be paid by the actual pages read of their works.  I take this to mean that if someone writes a ten page short story and a reader finishes it, that writer is paid the same as an author who writes a 300 page novel and a reader only reads the first ten pages of it.  (Seems relatively fair on the face of it.) So, if everything is golden, why did Scribd remove a bunch of romance novels from their service?  Apparently they did this because romance readers are reading them right into the poor house.  They're reimbursing every author full price for the books borrowed.  If a reader is paying $8.99 for a month's subscription, it's easy math to see that they can read three books priced at $2.99 before the company starts taking it on the chin.  Not just no profit, but real financial losses. I think this is illustrative of the pitfalls of this sort of model.  Because when you look at Scribd's options, you see that there aren't too many.  First, they could raise subscription fees.  Mark Coker suggested that perhaps there should be a tiered plan, with a basic level that allows a certain number of borrows per month, and maybe an unlimited plan for more money that allows as many borrows as the reader can read.  Any increase in costs up front to the reader will likely lead to less subscribers.  For some it would be a good deal at a much higher fee, but for others it would perhaps tip the scales in the other direction. Second, they could pay authors less.  This is sort of what Amazon's KU does.  There is a fixed pool of money, funded (I assume) in large part by subscription fees.  The pool is divided by the total number of pages read by subscribers, and the authors are paid by pages read.  In general, this model will reimburse authors by some amount that is probably less than the amount they would receive had all the borrowed books been purchased by readers.  I can't say this with 100% certainty, but the math seems to make sense, especially if we're talking about books that are reimbursed at 70%.  (At 35%, the math tips in the other direction.  All of my books are currently priced at $0.99, so I don't make much per purchase.)  But they run the risk of having authors pull their books out of the program if they aren't making enough money for their efforts. Third, the company could simply take losses and hope that the subscription dollars grow as more people subscribe, and hope that not all of them are voracious readers who consume many more books than they are realistically paying for.  They run the risk of losing money and putting themselves right out of business, unless they're a company like Amazon. In my capitation case, the company who administered the plan had very little, if any, risk.  Their biggest concern was in getting a provider who would adequately care for their subscribers.  I know that one of the problems when I was doing it was that when I got that influx of patients due to another provider dropping out of the system, I found that they all needed a bunch of dental work.  The other dentist wasn't doing much of anything.  Cleanings, a few fillings, and not much more.  He was coasting – sitting back, collecting checks and not doing the work because he wasn't treatment planning it.  Many of them needed crowns and partial dentures, and I was doing them, one after another.  I had to ration out the care, because I simply couldn't afford to do it all in one month.  I wasn't being paid for it.  Also, I had to ration out chair time.  I couldn't allow more than a certain number of patients with that plan per week, because I had other, paying patients who I needed to work on in order to keep the business running at that time.  The theory was that once I got a patient or a family completed, they would not need much work in the future, and I could collect their capitation fee without providing much value in the way of services.  In practice, many of the patients dropped the coverage once they got their crowns and partials, and there was no way to force them to continue to pay for it. Some of this has implications for subscription services, some of it is unique to dentistry.  The thing with ebooks is that there are tons of providers (authors) and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of books out there.  It isn't a single author being forced to write stories for the masses for virtually nothing.  But in another sense, that just means that the pot (the subscriber fees) has to be divided in a lot more parts before being distributed to the providers. There is a delicate balance here that is going to be very difficult for a company to negotiate successfully.  Amazon is experimenting with the way they reimburse authors, and they have the size and the ability to spend money in an attempt to figure out a way to do this right, to find that perfect balancing spot. There's more to be said on this issue, but this has gone on long enough today.  If anyone reads this and has any thoughts, please jot them down in the comments!  Thanks! *****

GUILT by Jonathan Kellerman

I have always enjoyed Jonathan Kellerman's series featuring psychologist/sleuth Alex Delaware and his buddy Milo Sturgis.  There was a period where I felt that the series went a bit downhill, but the last four volumes in this series found the author upping his game a bit and delivering very satisfying stories. In this story the bones of a baby are found in someone's back yard, and the police are called in.  It turns out that the bones are pretty old and show no sign of trauma or evidence that the death was anything besides natural.  But the incident gets on the news, and pretty soon another set of baby's bones are found in a park not too far from this house, followed by the body of a young woman. Alex Delaware is not one to give up, and that seems to be a theme of this book - an exploration of Alex's determination, which borders (or may cross into) obsessive/compulsive behavior.  He investigates both cases with his usual dogged determination, while Milo carries on in a by-the-book manner on his police investigation. The book is about the evidence unfolding as one lead points to another lead, and Alex and Milo follow up on each lead undeterred by interference from higher-ups, lawyers and high-powered show biz types.  The exposition of the crime is done in a highly satisfactory manner (for me) and the solution is dramatic.  As is the solution to the first mystery, that of the baby's body buried under an old tree, which comes almost as an afterthought, with only Alex finding out the truth of this one.  But you knew it was coming, that Kellerman would not leave us hanging on that one, and the low key manner in which it is presented is again very satisfactory to me. There was a period where I felt that Kellerman had been surpassed by Stephen White as far as the freshness of his stories in this particular subgenre (psychologist sleuth with a cop buddy), even though I always felt White was imitating Kellerman as much as possible.  White's Alan Gregory stories were more compelling at that time, but I think Kellerman has come back and taken the lead again in this genre, and I really enjoy his first-person spartan style when writing from Delaware's perspective.  Also in Guilt, I felt that I learned something about Alex as a character that I didn't know before.  Though I knew something about his history as a child, I had never put it together with why he has always been so determined and focused on the cases he works with Milo.  This book gave an explanation of sorts for that, and this far into a series, I find that to be a real positive as far as storytelling goes.  I mean, we've all known Alex for many many years, and I figured that I knew pretty much all there was to know about him.  Maybe that's why these last several books have seemed fresher - because Kellerman is exploring depths of Alex's character that most writers would be ignoring at this stage of the series. Overall, I give this one a five star review. *****

Review of “Your Soul To Take” by Sean Hayden

Just finished this YA offering from Sean Hayden and Untold Press.  Posted this review on Amazon:
I forgot how much I enjoyed the first book in this series (MY SOUL TO KEEP) by Sean Hayden, but I was reminded as I read this one. Sean has a keen sense of story and plot, and everything moved right along about how you'd want it to! I'm giving it five stars because I haven't had this much pure fun reading a novel in a while (although I've read plenty of books I truly enjoyed). If there's a quibble, it's that Connor seems a little too mature in his dealings with his girlfriend and his sister. Sometimes I think he's missing the 15-year-old attitude a little more than is called for by his, um, condition. But otherwise I think that the other thing that Sean has a good ear for is dialogue, and when you put the two together (story and dialogue) you end up with a pretty darned good book! Enjoyable for young adults and old adults (like me).
That pretty much says it all for me on the book. Untold Press is Sean's (and Jen Wylie's) publishing company, and so far I've enjoyed the fiction I've read coming out of their small press.  That said, it's been mostly stuff by Sean Hayden and Jen Wylie. So go ahead and take a look at it.  Reading it was a lot of fun! *****