Have you ever had a favorite author you kept reading despite being disappointed every time? I've had several authors whose early works I absolutely loved, then found myself reading book after book, hoping that the author would discover that magic again. Robert Parker is one...his early Spenser novels are works of magic but in his later Spenser novels, he almost seemed to caracature himself. And trying to read Mark Twain's 'Tom Sawyer Detective' is purely painful. I try to keep my authors, and myself, from getting that late bookitis but I'm not sure I understand it. I think part of it is the usual perfectionism thing--once you've written a really excellent and well-received book, you want every book to be that good and you can easily write the soul out of them (I think this happened to Joseph Heller with Something Happened, the next book after his monumental Catch-22). But this doesn't really explain all of the problems. For example, nobowy would call David Weber's Honor Harrington stories masterpieces of prose but the early books were exciting and engagingly written. The later books in the series are ponderous and slow. A second possibility is that authors refuse to be edited once they achieve a level of fame. I understand that this is what happened to George Lucas with his Star Wars series. Definitely too bad.
One good thing about being a small publisher, none of my authors make enough money that they think they know it all and can tell me and the reader to go and shove it. Everyone working with me is anxious to push that extra bit, get the little edge. That's the way I like it.
It's been a busy week. I spent most of last week at a bridge tournament, coming away with one win (in a 4 session knock-out). Then I published this month's novel, THE VAN GOGH DECEPTION by Michael Paulson (Paulson's original title was 'The Flat' I think The Van Gogh Deception works a lot better. What do you think?). It's a story about art forgery, diamond theft, murder and an American in Paris. Paulson always writes with a wry wit but VAN GOGH is laugh-out-loud funny. As with all of our books, it's on sale for the first month for only a buck. I also got a few corrections from Kenneth E. Ingle for the paperback version of TO KILL A THIEF, and was excited to see that TO KILL A JUDGE by Paul Nelson was the Fictionwise #1 bestseller in the thriller category.
I've also posted some reviews, for David Drake's WHAT DISTANT DEEPS, Blythe Giffor'd IN THE MASTER'S BED, and Lois McMaster Bujold's THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE. All three are above average. The Bujold book is a classic--and available for free from the Baen Free Library.
I'm going to make THE VAN GOGH DECEPTION the www.booksforabuck.com book of the day. A tale of love, art forgery, diamond theft and murder, THE VAN GOGH DECEPTION is a lot of fun. Available in HTML, Adobe PDF, Kindle/Mobipocket, ePub, eReader and Microsoft Reader formats. It's regular price is $3.99 but it's only a buck for the next month. Here's the link: http://www.booksforabuck.com/mystery/mys_10/van-gogh-deception.html. Here's the cover (cover design by Karen Leabo):