...but I don't read kids books

I was having a chat with a colleague in my day job and had somehow managed to casually drop into the conversation that I had published my first book - as authors do. The initial response was all interest and 'wow' until we got to the 'what's it about' bit. As soon as I mentioned it was 'YA' said person flinched away and said 'I don't read kids books'.

Now I was quite surprised by the instant rejection. I thought about marshalling arguments based on Potter, but the moment passed. The surprise didn't go away, though. I mean, I wonder how many people think of YA as 'kids books'? Someone should do a survey.

See, I disagree with that. OK, maybe I'm biased, but I haven't read a YA book yet that wouldn't appeal to an adult who read the same genre. Anyone who likes Jim Butcher's work would probably like The Demon Trappers trilogy by Jana Oliver Its interesting to see that some of the books I read ages ago as 'adult' have now been re-branded (or cross-branded) as YA. David Eddings 'Belgariad' springs to mine.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this, and if you are one of the 'I don't read kids books' try one and see. Preferably mine, of course.


First 5* Review for Aphrodite's Dawn

I haven't read any SF for decades. There was a time when I read as many books in the genre as possible, often up to six books a week. Then I got older and discovered the gory joys of horror novels. Recently, a friend recommended this book by a new author and I decided to give it a go. I was delighted, the narrative gripped me from the first page, always a good sign. The writing, characters and settings are excellent and the story keeps up the tension throughout. A thoroughly good SF tale that is enjoyable from start to finish. I may not go back to reading SF, but I will keep reading work by R.B. Harkess..."

Well thank you kindly, Demonica


A milestone, sort of

I just reached the halfway point in my current project; rewriting a 100,000 word story.

The story, code name TAVOG, started out as an adult SF/Fantasy  mashup and I fought with it from the minute I finished the first draft. It didn't want to be edited. It was like pulling teeth without anaesthetic for me. Who can guess what it was like for the story.

Anyhow, a very competent editor associated with a major genre publisher cast an eye over it, came up with a couple of very good points, then pulled the pin out of the grenade and dropped it on the table. "This would probably work well as YA" sez he, over his shoulder as he heads for the hills.

So that's the project. Rewrite 100000 words into a YA story. Easy? No. The original story was written from three different points of view, two of which were very much 'grown-up'. Now there may be a YA novel out there somewhere that fits that model, but I've not seen one. Ripping out two points of view and rearranging the story cost me (so far) 22,000 words, one awesome character, and a lot of skull sweat.

Having said that, what's coming out of the process is really exiting, and I'm sure its going to be a much better book when its completed. Never let them convince you writers don't need editors :)


Young Adult Book Theatre

I just joined Young Adult Book theatre. Is a great site, showcasing some of the best new YA material from some innovative small press and indie writers. There are games, too, and load of other interesting bit. Worth a look




Cast of Wonders

My first ever podcast, done by Cast of Wonders, has gone live today.

They've done a great job, and it sent chills down my spine (but then I'm biased). Please go give it a listen. The guys at Cast of Wonders are doing a great thing, and there aren't enough people doing YA audio magazines. Share the love, and support them if you like what they're doing.