Remember when we were little kids and didn't care what anybody thought of us? We played and pretended and we were what we loved without worrying about what loved us. We weren't competing. We were simply being. (Kyle Cease looks at that past here.)

Speaking for myself because my writing partner has grown silent, this competition has made me, as I'm sure it has all the other introverts, face two things:

1. Stepping waaaaay outside my comfort zone to do what needs to be done, and

2. How the hell I can promote myself and my work without losing my soul?

I already knew how to do what needs to be done: I've been a single mom since the moment I gave birth. But a self-promoting introvert? Man, the word "pre-order" has become a euphemism for something nasty, and every time I spoke, wrote, or thought the title of the book-that-must-not-be-named, a tiny piece of my soul crumbled off and rolled away looking for some meaningful little object to hide in till this was over.

Well, it's over. The competition is over. Like everyone here (except maybe Romero Russo), I gave it everything I had. More than I knew I had. And then some.

Thanks, Inkshares, for giving us this opportunity to grow our base of support and gain confidence that we've written something people want to read. I especially want to thank Avalon for being a constant source of kindness, help, and encouragement. I'm most grateful for this unexpected bonus: in the last six weeks, I've made contact with some genuine, generous, like-minded people all over the world who are now part of my life.

November 15th is somewhere down the road, where I can offer support to those new friends and hopefully find at least 462 pre-orders for my project scattered along the way. If not, there's always Plan B.

For now, I'm ready to play again. To create and have a great time being what I love, and not worrying about what loves me. To simply be. So ready. But first, there's that little matter of those missing soul crumbs. It's time to hunt them down like horcruxes so I can become a whole person again.

See you on the other side.


I'm an introvert. All who share this interior life understand the inner cringe and urge to flee that greets any demand to put yourself out there, to ask for help, to beg people to support you and your creativity. It's real. It's physical. It can make you feel sick.

This competition has pushed me to ask, beg, follow up, remind, and nudge to the point of nagging. I hate nagging almost as much as I hate self-promoting and cockroaches. But I've done it, and I'm not quite finished.


If you're one of ENHANCED's 55 followers who have not pre-ordered it yet, please do. And ask a friend to, also.

Why? Because whether you're an adult or young adult, ENHANCED is exactly the kind of story you'll love if you loved Harry Potter. Because it's an excellent story with complex characters with exciting arcs and development. Because there's danger, and good and evil are not always easy to tell apart.

I'm not suggesting we'll overtake any of the Top 5, but if we could finish in the Top 10, word is, Inkshares will still promote us toward our 1,000 goal. We can do it with your help.

Here's me, once again, begging you to pre-order 1 copy of our book if you haven't already. Now you'll have to excuse me... I think I might be sick.

Img 0878 Romero Russo · Author · added almost 7 years ago
Conclusive proof. Right there. Though, honestly, and I do try always to be honest, I'm touched that you think so highly of the little you've read of my book that you offer me such generous support. I would be honored to have you as my first subscriber... right after Jeremy Thomas. And maybe Linville.

Btw, even though you' haven't  asked for anything from me, I want to say, I really like Enhanced so far. I hope you have a Plan B to get it published, because I'd like to read it. What's the whole "enhanced" alien thing about? I mean, you say it's young adult, so you can't be talking about the... well, you know what I mean. Can you?

I don't believe I am insane, but if I am, I am certainly no more so than you, Romero Russo. 

Here's another author who hasn't gotten nearly as much exposure as I believe he should. Fresh, fearless, and straight up hilarious, he calls it like he sees it, and he sees it in ways that wouldn't occur to most of us. Please take a look at Sarcasm Font. You might agree.

I hear he has a plan to turn his book into a weekly vlog. I'll race you to be first subscriber!


We're close to the end, and ALL the authors are begging for their followers who haven't pre-ordered and their wonderful Readers who have to invite their friends and family members (and letter carriers!) to pre-order now. Some of the authors promise premiums to induce you to pre-order their books.

We need that kind of help from our Readers and followers, too, but we don't have anything to offer you except the chance to bring a well-written, exciting young adult story that even adults will love to an audience that needs proof that they belong. Geeky kids, gay kids, disabled kids, minority kids. Aliens. Kids who need a book like ENHANCED.

The best part is that ENHANCED's heroes are everybody's heroes. They're fighting against exclusion. Of anyone. For any reason.

So are we. That's why we want you to take a look at some authors whose work we believe deserves more support than they've gotten. Even if it's at our own expense -- although we hope you will support us as well.

Tonight, please take a look at Jamie Brindle's two entries, both exceptionally well written and nothing alike. First, Presenting Complaints, an hilarious Pythonesque romp through a hospital in England's National Health Service and Story, easily the most lyrically compelling adult fairy tale you will ever read.

Thank you. Thank you very much. 


Img 0878 Romero Russo · Author · added almost 7 years ago
What about Enhanced? Are you insane? 

Approaching the final push.

Please look at Disintegration by Steve Soldwedel. Entered only a couple weeks ago, it's climbed into the Top 20 because it's that good. It's a story about hope and perseverance, the triumph of the human spirit in a time when there's no reason to hope. It deserves all the exposure it can get.

Scott Barsotti, author of Single Version, currently #7 on the Leaderboard, just became a dad. This contest has taken a backseat to parenthood as it should -- for Scott, but NOT for Single Version. Of all the many, many excerpts I've read, this horror urban fantasy is one of the four best novels in the competition.

It's even become a thing -- Roach Punk! Please help Single Version get back into the Top 5 where it belongs.

Who knows? Maybe this will be Baby Barsotti's college education fund. So use your credits, use your cards, grab your friends and buy this book!


21a1c1a2 1db7 43a7 af61 f287ee0f2e6a S.T. Ranscht · Author · added almost 7 years ago
Thanks for the feedback, Steve. I'd like to see that, too. Brylan, Robb, and I will test it to see what consensus we can come up with.
Img 20161021 143353 S.E. Soldwedel · Author · added almost 7 years ago
The eye is really arresting. I love the purple iris and the double-helix in the pupil. I think you should lay that over the original pattern, though. I really did like the placeholder cover!
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