The Water Lily Pond

So … I’ve written a novel.

Here’s the too-long-didn’t read version of the post: You can check out an excerpt here. You can buy the book here. I’ve published it with Kindle Direct Publishing, the world’s easiest vanity press. This means it can be read on any platform — Kindle, iOS, Android, Mac or PC. And at the time I post this, the book will be on sale for the next four days for the low low price of … absolutely free.

I think it’s good. And I hope you will too. If you like it, please tell everyone!

Now for the long version:

I first started writing stories when I was in third grade. At first, they were very heavily influenced by things like Star Wars and Doctor Who. Then they began to take a life of their own.

For a while I imitated a lot. For a while, I started books that never went anywhere. In college, I finally made myself finish my first novella. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t terribly original (I realized after writing it that was a a rehash of the Star Trek episode The Paradise Syndrome). So that will never be published.

I’d like to say grad school and life kept me from writing more, but really I was just being lazy. A few years ago, I had a novel that I’d started in New Braunfels in 2007. I was about 30,000 words in, which was a terrible pace for six years. But I felt this novel was different. So I forced myself to write every day, even if it was just for five minutes. I didn’t quite do every day, but I probably was able to get it up about six days a week, usually for about ten minutes at two in the morning.

(I’m a big believer in this method of writing, incidentally. Not necessarily the “two in the morning” thing but the “write every day” thing. Inspiration does strike at odd times — my iPhone notes app played a big supporting role in completing my novel. But I always keep in mind this great quote from Joe Posnanksi:

I have written many times that I don’t believe in writer’s block because my father worked in a factory most of his life and he never woke up with factory block.

Persistence pays. I have 110,000 words to prove it.)

So in 2014, I finished the first draft. And I went through it with some editing over 2015 — again every night at about two in the morning for about ten minutes. And then I sent it out to a few friends for comment. And then I spent a week just reading through and editing it. And now … with some trepidation … I’m going to release it into the cruel world.

The story, it goeth thusly: many decades in the future, medical science has made aging a thing of the past. Painter Walter Winston, at age 128, finds himself dying from simply being exhausted from life. He sets off on a journey to revisit the places he’s lived, trying to rediscover himself, his life and the people who made it worth living. It’s science fiction, yes. But it’s not really about science. It’s about time and old age and regret and art.

It is with some sadness that I let the novel go because … I know I will never write anything like it again. My interests and my previous writings (and the book I’m working on now) tend to be more “traditional” sci-fi with spaceships and aliens and RR Lyrae stars. I’d never written anything this personal or traditional before and I can’t think that I would ever be able to summon those muses again.

But you never know.

I have no idea what you will think of The Water Lily Pond. I like it. My test audience liked it. I’m under no illusion that will be the next Moby Dick But I think it’s readable. But because this is my first book and because you have no reason to expect it to be worth your time or money, I’m going to make the offer as tempting as I can.

I’ve put the book on Kindle Direct Publishing. You don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle also has apps for the iPhone and iPad, Droid, Mac or PC. So if you’re reading this blog post you can read the book.

I have put, in a link to the right, an excerpt from the book. If you’re intrigued, buy or borrow the Kindle version. I have enrolled it in KDP select. This means I can’t price it lower than $3. But it also means that for the four days from the time this post goes live, it will be available to you for free. And you will also be able to borrow or lend it through Kindle’s lending functions at any time.

If you enjoy my writing or are just curious, please download and read it. If you like the novel, please review it, rate it, recommend it to other people. Writing is a luxury for me now but there may come a day when I need it to pay bills and word of mouth is all I have. I can’t afford to shell out money to a business to wind up publicity for me. Your eyes and mouths are all I have.

If you like it but think it could use some changes, please e-mail or message me. The book has yet to be printed on a dead tree, so there’s no reason I can’t fix anything that’s egregiously wrong.

I hope you like Walter. I hope you like his world. I spent eight years getting to know him and his life. Exposing this novel to a larger audience is one of the bravest things I’ve ever done. But I’m very happy to have the chance to invite you all in on this.

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