New Readers: Where Do I Start?

So if you are a new reader, or are interested in sampling some of my work, or are introducing someone to my work, where do you begin?

  1. What genre are you interested in? I have urban fantasy, military sci-fi with a dash of history, military sci-fi without history, and a few random sci-fi bits and pieces. And one romance story, although several of my books include an element of romance. And one novel that is straight hard sci-fi, although it is related to the military-history series.

For urban fantasy, if you would like a taste of my style without getting into a series, I’d recommend the two stories in Lion of Judah . For fantasy and sci-fi with dragons, try Four Dragon Tales, and Eastern Europe appears in Tales from the Uplands (so too does a major character from the forthcoming Powers novels). Fledermaus Murphy, the giant bat, wends his way through the off-beat urban world of Riverville. If you are interested in urban fantasy with Russian dressing, then the Alexi’s Tale stories are for you, starting with When Chicken Feet Cross the Highway.

If you prefer military sci-fi set in the present, sort of, then the Cat Among Dragons series may appeal. I’d recommend beginning with the story set A Cat Among Dragons, in order to get a sense of who the main protagonists are. If you want to skip to the novels, I’d strongly encourage at least looking through A Double-Edged Wish, because the events there set up everything that follows. Then you can jump to A Cat at Bay and Shadows and Anguish. To read everything in character-life order, go to the Cat Among Dragons tab above, and it will give you Rada’s chronology.

Be advised that Hubris and Renaissance explain how Drakon IV and Azdhag culture came to be the way they are, and do not include Rada Ni Drako. They are pure sci-fi, although there is a touch of military in Renaissance. “A Father’s Choice” is also pure sci-fi, and there will be more stories set in that world in the future.

For those curious about military sci-fi on a world without high tech, then the Colplatschki Chronicles may be of interest. Either Elizabeth of Starland or Blackbird provide good starting points, as only the Elizabeth books need to be read in chronological order.

The only romance story to date is “The General’s Leman.”

Cities, Throngs, and Powers” is a bit of a libertarian fairy tale, set in an alternative future Colorado Front Range. It uses some elements from the Cat Among Dragons world.

2. What if I want strong female characters who are not “guys with boobs?”

Then you want Elizabeth von Sarmas of the Elizabeth novels. That said, you will find womanly women in many of my books and stories, including Peaks of Grace, and the Cat stories. These books, especially the Cat books, do not shy away from topics like sexual assault, rape, and the aftermath, and while things happen off-stage, they do happen.

3. Do you write anything suitable for young readers?

How young is young? If you have a sheltered 13 year-old, then probably not. If you mean an older teenager who understands that the world can be a rough place, then everything EXCEPT A Cat at Bay and A Double-Edged Wish. I’d recommend parents read those first to decide if they are suitable for a particular young reader.

I hope to have a series of young-adult (as in 12 and up) books out in the next two years or so. They are what I’m currently calling the RajWorld novels, but I do not know when they will be available.

4. What about a teenaged boy?

Blackbird, and the Alexi’s Tale stories. Adventure, battles, danger, heroics, and almost no kissing. And no angsty emoting, either. (Actually, I’d recommend reading Dave Freer’s three young adult books first. They are far better than mine, and he did not pay me to write that.)

5. Are they really that violent?

Yes and no. The truly horrible things always happen off stage. But there are fights, and battles, and people making bad choices and dealing with the consequences. If descriptions of early-modern-style (1550-1789) warfare are unacceptable, then the only Colplatschki book I’d recommend is Peaks of Grace. Animals do get killed, especially horses.

6. What am I familiar with that your books are like?

Sorry, I have no idea. I cross so many genre streams that there’s not a really good comparison that I know of. In a way the Colplatschki books are like the Darkover series, if you like stories about how humans on colony worlds adapt to being left on their own. I’d like to say that if you enjoy David Weber’s Honor Harrington books, but get tired of the tech-dumps and casts of ten-thousands, you’ll like the Cat Among Dragons stories, but it’s not a good comparison.

7. I prefer Kobo and Barnes and Noble to Amazon, but I can’t find your books.

It’s me, not you. I started out selling through all three outlets, and discovered that 90% of my sales were through Amazon, then 100%. As a result, I stopped using the other two outlets.

8. Can I buy the files straight from you?

Not at this time. Collecting the various state and local taxes is too much of a challenge at the moment for the low returns. That may change in the future.

9. Um, where’s Colplatschki #8?

On my hard drive. I’m holding it back until I get a little more work done on part of it. And it stands alone, because it is about the Great Fires. You are not going crazy and Amazon has not messed up the numbering.

10. Why are so many books only available as e-books?

The first three Cat books I only have e-rights to the cover art. The others, mostly short stories, are not economical to put on sale in print. I do anticipate putting the Colplatschki books in paper at some point, and the Cat novels (as opposed to stories and story collections.)

Thank you for stopping by!

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