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My Writer's Journal

"Because of Lissa" Hotline #1 -- Now Live on Kindle!

The experiment begins. The first book of the Hotline series went live in the wee hours of the morning. And it's time now to introduce my publisher who has made this all happen.

My history with Vered Mares, owner of VP&D House, Inc., a small publisher in Anchorage, Alaska, goes way back. When I first began working on "Because of Lissa," Vered was a young teenager; she was also my stepdaughter--very bright, very funny, and (sorry, Vered) very bratty. During the course of writing those four books and getting them ready for publication, Vered went off to Israel; when she came back at the beginning of the Gulf war, we had moved to Denton, Texas, and she came to live with us. (She is the basis for a novel I wrote in Denton, DRUMMERS OF JERICHO.)

We both survived Vered's teenage years. Her interest in the arts led her to becomes a graphics artist, to move to Alaska, and to establish VP&D House. When I asked for advice in how to go about publishing the Hotline series as e-books, we decided to work together. The cover design is hers.

Have I mentioned that we're also very good friends?  Read More 
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The New Project: HOTLINE e-book series

Back in 1990 I was asked to write a 4-book series titled HOTLINE, about a group of high school kids who start a telephone peer counseling line after the suicide of one of their friends, to give kids someone to talk to about their problems. I went through suicide prevention training, volunteered for a hotline, and put in time at an Albuquerque High School with a diverse student population. Eventually I came up with four main characters, one to be the focus of each of the four books, a bunch of minor characters, and a theme for each book. The books came out in paperback over the next couple of years, and when my interest evolved to historical fiction, I pretty much forgot about HOTLINE.

Then my writer friend Kersten Hamilton (check out her terrific books) suggested that I bring back the series as e-books. It sounded like a great idea. How hard could it be? Just convert the yellowing paperbacks to a new format, right? The covers look dated, but those covers only hint at how dated the stories themselves are! They were written before cellphones changed the way teenagers--and the rest of us--communicate. Suddenly the four HOTLINE books read like historical novels.

So I'm rewriting them, start to finish, bringing them into the 21st Century. The first, BECAUSE OF LISSA, will be available as an e-book in a couple of weeks, with the goal of releasing one a month after that. Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it goes.  Read More 
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