home of the novel by George Berger
Welcome to Mendacities, the website — home of Mendacities, the novel.
What is Mendacities? A highly entertaining, mildly dystopian novel about three slightly eccentric rural high-school students who inadvertently stumble across the details of a somewhat sinister conspiracy — details which could cost them their lives. To save their families — and themselves — they decide to expose the conspiracy, or at least try to. Various adventures, including the not-entirely-intentional overthrow of the government, ensue.
It’s very entertaining, if I do say so myself. But don’t take my word for it; you can read the first three chapters right here (4MB PDF file), exactly as they appear in the printed book. Or you can read a larger preview at this website.
Mendacities: 68,000 words. 234 pages. One heck of an entertaining novel.
I have some mildly exciting news, here on the evening of the third day of the new year: Midnight’s Tale, which you might know as one of my more popular, more literary, pieces of short fiction, is now an audiobook! Instead of reading a story about a goat, you can now have someone read it to you!
Read and produced by Jane McLaughlin, published via ACX, and sporting an extremely awesome cover by Vanessa Matte (who also did the cover for the regular e-book version, as well), it runs about eighty minutes, and is available at Audible, at iTunes, and Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Amazon Germany. (And all the other regional Amazon sites, as well.)
Jane and I get various bonuses if you should happen to go and sign up for Audible just to buy Midnight’s Tale, but, really, anywhere you should happen to want to buy a copy is fine with me.
Happy New Year, may the goat revolution continue strong through 2013 and beyond, and may you never want for apples.
Well, I did it again. I published another book.
Some books are fun to write, and seem to just pour out of you, quickly. Writing them is painless. Not just painless—pleasurable.
There are also, as it happens, the other sort. The difficult problem children of books, the ones that don’t do what you want them to, that just generally misbehave in every possible way.
This was, as you might guess, one of the latter.
An Accidental Fastball to the Heart is a romance novel about two women who become friends—and then somewhat more than friends—during the final weeks of their final year of high school. It’s touching and heartwarming and sweet and inspirational, or so I very much hope. It’s a book about growing up and falling in love and coming to terms with who you are and your place in the world. Should have been quick and lighthearted and easy, right?
Aw, man. I started this book in October. October, 2011. I finished it in October of this year, 2012. Obviously, I didn’t spend the whole intervening time writing it, but I worked on it slowly and steadily. Along the way, there were… problems. It didn’t want to be the book I thought it was going to be. It wanted to be a coming-of-age story, not a romance. It wanted to be about the supporting character alone, and about gender identity. It wanted one of the supporting characters to be more prominent. It wanted another supporting character to be all psycho and jealous.
I wrote about ninety percent of that book. And then I gave up and started over.
The second time around, it mostly did what I wanted it to. I don’t know why. I was working with the same outline, but… this time, it was a love story. This time, it had a happy ending. And a cover illustration by Brian Kittrell, who stepped in to perform a quick miracle when my own less-than-artistic efforts were unanimously judged lacking. Very lacking.
Maybe romance novels aren’t your thing. Maybe F/F love stories don’t really do anything for you. That’s cool.
But if you should happen to like reasonably clean coming of age stories about teenage tomboys, pansexuality, love, romance, and accidental facial trauma, I’d appreciate it if you bought and read An Accidental Fastball to the Heart, because I poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it, and it’d be kind of nice if the last year of my life wasn’t completely for naught.
Thank you very much.
This week I’ve published my eleventh e-book. It’s a strange little story of about ninety-five-hundred words, or forty pages, called Hamaika.
Tim is a softhearted dealer at a science-fiction convention who just wants to make it through the rest of the day without any unnecessary drama or excitement. Trying to avoid a stalker-ish lunatic that wants to buy a magic ring from him, he stumbles across a woman with a hole in her head who is, to his considerable surprise, not quite as dead as he expected.
He impulsively offers his assistance, and thus begins an afternoon he’ll never be able to forget. Going shopping with her isn’t much of a burden, but keeping up a conversation with the green-haired stranger is trickier than it seems – and when the woman who keeps insisting she’s not a zombie says she’s hungry, well… things could get awkward in a hurry. Will Tim work out who or what she is? Will she make him pay for everything on what begins to seem like a very strange sort of date? And will Tim get anything out of the whole business, or will it just cost him an arm and a leg?
A 9500-word / roughly 40-page short story, Hamaika is a slow but almost entertaining tale of thrift stores, ethnic food, urban avians, vintage jewelry, zombie jokes, the always-interesting people you encounter at science-fiction conventions, and the strange need everyone – and everything – has to feel like they belong, from the award-unwinning author of several books you’ve likely never heard of.
Like most of my books, it’s light on plot and character development and ideas and creativity and, well, quality, and heavy on bad jokes, dialogue, self-indulgent nonsense, and stupidity. It comes complete with a six-hundred-word author’s note/apology, and an unbearably horrible cover lovingly designed—or so I’m informed—to intentionally confuse, mislead, and deceive would-be readers. (That’s sarcasm, please note. Indie writers are apparently contractually obligated to loathe book covers with illustrations like this on the cover.)
It’s completely clean, containing not a single dirty word, adult situation, hint of romance, or slightest suggestion of homoeroticism. Suitable for anyone roughly twelve and older.
Gunning Fog index : 7.71
Coleman Liau index : 7.94
Flesch Kincaid Grade level : 6.04
ARI (Automated Readability Index) : 5.48
SMOG : 8.83
Flesch Reading Ease : 72.75
…so readable, according to a computer, by anyone at about an eighth-grade level.
Available at Amazon, or Smashwords, in various lending-enabled DRM-free formats, yay. Retail price is 1.44 USD / 1.15 EUR. I’ll post whenever it becomes available at B&N, iTunes, and so on. You can view a sample at Smashwords, download a sample for the Kindle at Amazon, or grab this sample EPUB file from this website.
I try not to whine or complain about it particularly often, but normally my books don’t sell particularly well. I’m not being modest, or fishing for compliments, or something; that’s just the way it is. To put this in perspective, I’ve read sci-fi novels that have thanked more people in the acknowledgments than have buy most of my books in a year.
In a way, it’s kind of liberating for me, because not having fans means I can worry less about disappointing people with each new release than might otherwise be the case. Not that I’m cutting corners or being sloppy or putting out excessively sub-par work, mind, but I rarely write in the same genre or about the same subject or even in the same style twice. Which is good, most of the time – people who read my thriller probably aren’t going to be interested in my YA romantic comedy, and people who read the YA romantic comedy probably aren’t going to be interested in my historical adventure, and… yeah. You get the idea.
Last month, however, I somehow accidentally experienced a modest degree of success with my latest book, which wound up becoming a Kindle Single on Amazon and camping firmly in the top ten short stories on their site. It also sells a lot of copies, and keeps acquiring generally positive reviews. People – including other writers who I greatly respect and admire – have praised it, and demanded a sequel.
Before I get to that, I’m working on finishing my next novel, and this is leaving me plagued with worry and self-doubt.
It’s a very niche book. I knew that when I started it, months ago, and that was fine. It’s not a great story, there’s no complicated and twisty plot to bewilder and delight people. It’s… a romance novel. Specifically, a pangender romance novel. Or, I guess, if you really want to be pedantic, a romance novel with a main character who’s pangendered, since it’s more about the trials and tribulations of finding love and happiness than angsting and wangsting about having a fairly fluid gender identity. (And just because some people love to speculate, and I’m a somewhat private and mysterious person: Nope, it’s no more autobiographical than the book about the goat is. Honest.)
See? Very niche, fated to be enjoyed by a small number of people. Which is fine, ’cause it’s a story I want to tell, lack of commercial demand be damned, and (until recently…) really low sales was entirely to be expected of something I wrote.
Now, though, I worry that some of the thousands of people who’ve read and enjoyed Midnight’s Tale are going to be considerably disappointed – or even offended – by this forthcoming book, which is about as unlike that little literary novella as possible. And that’s a problem, because it’s considerably slowing my work on the book itself.
Two or three months ago, I was writing this and the defiantly minimal appeal of the whole thing didn’t matter. Now… it’s weird. Having one little very mildly successful book shouldn’t change anything, but it has. I get frickin’ fan mail, for crying out loud. I stare at it, I try to write a response, and… nothing comes out.
Obviously, I’m fortunate – blessed – to have stumbled across the modest success I’ve found, to have the fans that I do. And as has been mentioned on a few blogs elsewhere, that success is fairly literally why I’m able to continue writing today, rather than being forced to throw in the towel and move on to something else. But at the same time, it’s a bit of a curse that I found success with one very anomalous piece of literary fiction that’s quite unlike anything else I’ve published or have planned, because the people who’ve read that, I’m pretty sure, don’t want to read a genderqueer romance novel (my next book) or an adventure story about a homeless girl, a well-meaning college student, and a sarcastic talking cat (the book after that).
It’s weird, I know. Failure is supposed to lead to self-doubt and whatnot, but I shrug off failure with aplomb. Success should bring renewed confidence and self-assurance, I guess, but… no. Not for me. Not yet.
So, anyway, that’s my current little problem of the month. Everyone who’s read or bought or reviewed Midnight’s Tale, you folks are awesome and I wouldn’t give you up for all the chocolate in the world. And everyone who’s emailed me that I haven’t replied to: it’s not you; it’s me.
That having been said, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and continue to try to sort out the heads and hearts of two confused fictional people. Who knows? Maybe I’ll figure out my own problems somewhere along the way, too.
Even if you’re not going to like the end product, wish me luck, eh? I need all the help I can get.
Apparently, against considerable odds, I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet, just at the moment.
See, three weeks ago today I published a novella e-book called Midnight’s Tale. (Links: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords) It’s a literary tale of the somewhat surprising adventures of a young and rather innocent, um, goat.
Now, I know that literary fiction about a goat doesn’t sound like the greatest recipe for success, and to be honest it isn’t. I wrote it pretty much just because there was a goat in a previous short story, and one reader wanted to know what happened to it. She might even have been serious.
I did what I could; the book is reasonably original and as well-written as I could manage, it has a cover produced by a very talented artist, the sales copy you see on Amazon and elsewhere was crafted with the assistance of a half-dozen people far better at writing blurbs than I am, and the whole thing was priced at a point that suggests, I hope, a certain degree of pride and worth and value. (Inspired by something I read once about the psychology of pricing, I think. For mine own part, it was Greek to me.) But, still, when all is said and done, it’s a book about a goat that’s higher on bad sheep jokes than narrative tension. (Though, as one friend points out, you really shouldn’t underestimate the power of sheep jokes.)
Point is, any success for a book like this is something to be proud of. Well, over the last week, thanks to support and assistance from a couple dozen extremely awesome fellow writers, Midnight’s Tale has…
…achieved some very respectable sales, hit a couple of category bestseller lists…
…become the number-three “Hot New Release” short story on Amazon…
…and done surprisingly well in Germany, of all places. It’s also acquired a half-dozen favorable reviews.
It’s my tenth ebook. It’s my second-best-selling title to date. It’s sold more copies in one week, actually, than six previous books did in all of 2011. It is – stop me if you’ve heard this one before – literary fiction about a goat.
I guess it just goes to show that you shouldn’t be too quick to give up, and that you shouldn’t be too quick to second-guess yourself, to say “nah, people would never buy that.” I’m the first to admit that this was basically a fluke, a stroke of unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime luck, aided in no small part by the kindness of a bunch of strangers who bought, liked, and helped promote the book. But, you know, if I’d never written that one weird romantic comedy, I’d never have been prompted to write a sequel about the goat in it, and people wouldn’t have been able to buy it, and I wouldn’t be sitting here writing about how lucky I am that Midnight’s Tale has been bought and read by enough people that I’m constantly staring at the numbers in befuddled awe.
Thank you – all of you – for being your wonderful, overly-supportive selves. You’re all much more awesome than little old me.