I am pleased to announce that my third novel, The Twiller, won the 2011 Red Adept Reviews Award in the science fiction category! As one of only three sci-fi novels to earn the honor, I am especially grateful.
Astute readers may remember when I received a 4.75-star review of The Twiller from Red Adept Reviews back in May.
The Twiller is a departure from my Edge of Apocalypse Series (Right Ascension and Declination), as it is a quirky, funny, sometimes silly satire of some of the things I find particularly humorous in our daily lives. The blurb:
Ian Harebungler, our hapless hero, just can’t catch a break. First, the deli ran out of his favorite cucumber sandwiches. Then he left the gas on at home. But the lowlight was being abducted from his front yard by a particularly ill-mannered alien, one who apparently doesn’t believe in anesthetic, no less. Fortunately, Ian is saved by an unlikely ally: the Twiller, whose bravery is somewhat overshadowed by its uncanny resemblance to a floating yellow marshmallow with big eyes.
The Twiller follows the adventures of Ian and his newfound companion as they are whisked around the Universe, and Ian learns how difficult it can be to find his way home to a backwater planet called “Earth.” Along the way, Ian must survive the traffic of El Leigh, the enthusiastic protestors of Bez Erkeley, and rampaging politicians in the city of WMD. Even worse, he must contend with exorbitant prices in the city of York, endure the heat and crazy drivers in Fleur Ida, and struggle to escape the small planet of “Huh? Why E?” before he contracts island fever. Astute readers might pick up on subtle correlations to real places here on Earth, but my lawyers have reminded me to state that such resemblances are purely coincidental.
As it starts to dawn on Ian that the bizarre planets he visits suffer from many of the same problems, comical situations, and inane rules all too familiar to him, he stumbles upon an important secret that gives his quest to return home added urgency. Can Ian make it home? Will he arrive in time to prevent a terrible catastrophe? And can he find a flight without a Saturday night stopover? The answer lies with the Twiller…
You can find more info about The Twiller, including reviews and excerpts, on my website here. You can also purchase it from Amazon or directly from me through PayPal (in e-book or paperback format). At just $2.99 for the e-book, that’s less than your favorite blended coffee drink, and way better for you to boot!
I am pleased to announce that the well-known book review site Red Adept Reviews posted a review of my third novel, The Twiller, today. I submitted The Twiller for submission back in June of last year, so you can see how well-respected Red Adept is by indie authors, and how inundated with submissions she is!
A big thank you to Red Adept and her review staff — I’m glad you enjoyed the book!
From the review:
4 3/4 stars
It’s funny, really funny. … Author David Derrico came very close to matching Douglas Adams’ farcical, achingly funny style of writing that fit the story so perfectly. … Overall, this was a fun book to read.
Please do check out the full review over at Red Adept Reviews:
You can pick up The Twiller e-book for just $2.99 at:
Or, grab the paperback from:
Just a quick, excited post to announce that my latest novel, The Twiller, has progressed on to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. The award comes with a publishing contract with Penguin and a $15,000 advance for the winner.
The field has been whittled down to 1,000 entrants in each category (general adult and young adult), from about 10,000 total entrants. They will be further reduced to 250 in the quarter-finals, announced March 22.
You can learn more about The Twiller and see the description / pitch that got the novel into the second round at Amazon here:
I was very fortunate to receive a nice review of The Twiller from the I Love My Kindle Blog, a very popular and well-respected blog about all things Kindle. Be sure to check it out to find Kindle tips and tricks, free / inexpensive book finds, reviews, and other news and information about the Kindle in particular and e-books in general.
The blog’s author, Bufo Calvin, starts by noting what type of book The Twiller is:
Science fiction can be profound, using a speculative framework to show us the deepest secrets in our collective psyche, and to perhaps serve as a warning of what our worst natures may bring, and an inspiration as to how the human imagination can bring about a better existence.
Or, you know, it can be silly and full of puns.
The Twiller, by David Derrico, is very solidly in the second camp.
His “first camp,” by the way, is what I was going for with my first two books, Right Ascension and Declination. I wanted to try something different for The Twiller, and “silly” and “whimsy” and funny were definitely what I was going for.
The review also notes that:
The Twiller is as error-free as any novel from a traditional publisher that I’ve read. The author also understands formatting for e-books: the clickable Table of Contents is in the back (and reachable through the menus), which is also where you’ll find the author bio. Why is that better? So you can get a better sample. You can also flick right (on any Kindle except a Kindle 1) to move forward through the parts of the book…a convenience many large publishers seem to ignore.
Since advanced Kindle formatting (like a clickable table of contents in the back, “flickable” waypoints, etc.) takes a fair amount of research and time and work, it’s especially rewarding to see someone appreciate it. Bufo Calvin is, of course, a Kindle connoisseur, but I do hope that readers like those extra touches. I think it’s worth spending the time and effort to put them in.
The review concludes with a pithy description I have to be pleased with:
So, if you are looking for a light and airy entertainment, a popcorn book with an intergalactic setting, The Twiller is a button-pusher that will keep you smiling.
Thanks, Bufo, for the review — I’m glad you enjoyed it!
I am extremely excited to announce that my third novel, The Twiller, is available now from Amazon for just $2.99!
I am hoping for a great launch that shoots it up into Amazon’s Top 100 overall bestseller list for Kindle books. I just hit #400, so I’d be extremely grateful for your support!
I’d also like to take the time to thank all my readers who have bought any of my three novels, and those of you who have posted reviews on Amazon or commented on this blog. Your support means a great deal to me, and my success is all thanks to you.
I am extremely excited to announce that my third novel, The Twiller, is complete and the e-book will be available from Amazon tomorrow for just 99 cents!
[Update: Available NOW! Click here!]
Unlike my first two novels, The Twiller is a comedy, a much more casual and fun read that I hope you’ll find entertaining. I drew inspiration for the book from my own experiences, so you may very well find a character you recognize (maybe even you!), a city that seems a bit familiar, or a scene at a law firm that you can relate to. A brief description:
The Twiller is a comedic novel that follows Ian, our hapless hero, as he’s whisked around the Universe after his abduction from Earth. His companion, the Twiller, is about the only alien being who treats humans better than toenail lint. Ian is faced with a series of humorous and bizarre experiences on the worlds he visits, utterly failing to realize the slight similarities to places here on Earth.
I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me in the past by buying my books or e-books, leaving a review on Amazon, or telling a friend. Thanks to you, my first novel broke the Top 500 (out of over 600,000 titles) in the Amazon Kindle store, and reached #1 in the “Technothriller” category.
Moving up the Amazon bestseller charts does a lot to increase a book’s visibility and sales, and I’d sincerely appreciate your help with my virtual e-book launch of The Twiller. Amazon’s rankings change hourly, and a good hour or two can shoot an e-book up the lists. So I will be eternally grateful to anyone who helps me out by purchasing The Twiller, for just $0.99. If possible, the closer each purchase is to the launch tomorrow (Jun 18) at 6 PM Eastern, the more it will help my ranking. Each sale really does make a big difference when they’re clustered together. I’ll update this post with a link tomorrow when the e-book is available.
If you’d like to read a few excerpts while you wait, please click here. And, if you need any help setting up an Amazon account or downloading the Kindle app for your computer, iPhone, or Blackberry, I’ve posted some instructions here (or just shoot me an email). Thanks again for your time, and thank you VERY much in advance for helping me out!
Now that I’ve finished The Twiller and sent it off to my editors, I’ve been working on designing the new cover for it. Cover design is one of the toughest parts of being an independent author, and actually takes a very long time, or a lot of money, or both. Many authors hire cover designers, and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a cover. As an indie, writing a novel is just the beginning, as I’m also responsible for editing, interior layout, cover design, formatting, and promotion (to name a few). I am fortunate to be pretty computer literate, so I can do most of those tasks on my own, although some, like editing, require some outside help since you always need a second (or third, or fourth) set of eyes. Having a quality cover is critically important (people can, and do, judge books by their covers every day), so I had to spend a great deal of time teaching myself Photoshop and creating something I could be proud of. I hope you are as pleased with the results as I am. 🙂
In designing the cover for The Twiller, I had a couple of challenges. One is that I wanted to maintain a consistent theme or “brand” for my books, where the new cover would be instantly recognizable to people who have read and enjoyed the first two novels — even if the cover is seen at a tiny thumbnail size. On the other hand, unlike my second novel, this book is not a sequel to the first two, but a different story and a different type of book: a fun, humorous adventure as opposed to an action-packed, cerebral story with underlying ethical themes. So I didn’t want to make the cover too similar to the first two, yet I still wanted to maintain some similarity. To that end, I kept the theme of using a phenomenal background pic of a nebula (courtesy of NASA), and kept the font color and placement of my name and the title the same, but I changed the title font to something more casual and appropriate, and added the graphic of the twiller, our title character. I think he adds a nice splash of color and serves as a whimsical element that helps differentiate the cover from the first two, gives a hint as to the humorous nature of the book, and helps readers visualize the title character. And he pops out quite nicely even on a small thumbnail-sized picture.
That brings me to my second challenge: designing the twiller graphic. While I had spent a lot of time getting proficient with text effects in Photoshop, and I mask my lack of artistic ability by using (literally) billion-dollar background images, now I had to actually draw something. The problem is: I can’t even draw stick figures. Seriously. Nonetheless, I persevered with Photoshop, and found that (fortunately) graphic design is much different than drawing freehand. And after many hours spent creating a 3-D cylinder, working with shading, global light sources, gradients, paths, beveling & embossing, outer glows, drop shadows, dozens of layers and masks, and more, I’m quite happy with the result.
Anyway, I am getting more and more excited by the day about the imminent release of The Twiller, which will almost certainly be released next month. So I wanted to share the new cover with you (larger pic here) and get your thoughts. It’s not 100% done (and I still need to work on the spine and back cover!), but I think it’s pretty close. I hope you like it — please let me know what you think in the comments!
Just a quick note because I’m excited to say that I finished the first draft of my third novel late last night. The Twiller is a departure from the Right Ascension series (my first two novels); it is a much lighter read, a comedic romp through the galaxy with a hapless hero and his strange marshmallow-shaped twiller friend. It is funny, or at least meant to be, without the serious ethical undertones of my first two novels. I do manage to include some social commentary beneath all the jokes, as our hero visits faraway planets with names like El Leigh, Bez Erkeley, York, WMD, Fleur Ida, and Huh, Why E? And I just might make fun of things like traffic, airport security, law firms, and some other things I’ve had experience with in real life. And, fine, truth be told, you may even notice some friends from my personal life making guest appearances.
Anyway, I’m very excited about this book, as I think it will appeal easily to non-science-fiction fans. It’s a little shorter than my first two books, and it’s a more light, fun, casual read. And, hey, who doesn’t like to laugh?
The only thing tempering my excitement for being “done” is that I still have a few other things to do before the book is ready:
- Go back through and flesh out a couple of scenes and fix a few things.
- Start from the beginning and make several passes through with a fine-toothed comb, editing the heck out of it and trying to eradicate all typos.
- Bug my three noble editors for their help in editing the thing.
- Design a cover. This part scares me, since I have no artistic ability whatsoever and need to find a way to draw/design the twiller. Any artists out there?
- Write the back cover blurb.
- Do the interior design and formatting — things like page size, headers, chapter titles, paragraph spacing, indents, ellipse dots, em dashes, etc.
- Write the “front matter,” including the flyleaf page, some quotes for the front, copyright page, dedication, etc.
- Create the “back matter,” including the about the author page and pic.
- Figure out what to do with the footnotes, since e-books don’t handle them very well.
- Format it for print and the various types of e-books out there (which involves converting it to HTML, adding tables of contents, etc.).
- Upload it to various channels like Amazon and CreateSpace and create the description and categories.
- Put it up on my own website and create new purchasing buttons through PayPal.
- Promote it like heck, try to get reviews, and hope someone wants to buy the thing.
So, there’s quite a ways still to go. But I hope to have it all done within a couple of months. Until then, check out the Twiller page here for excerpts and updates and to leave a comment if you’d like to be notified when it’s completely finished and ready to go!