Salutations! Today I'd like to talk about the three levels of content/maturity that each of my novels fall under.
One of the things I'm a firm believer of, is being open and honest with my fan base. To me, to create a series and draw people in, having every aspect of it appear to represent a certain set of purpose, morality and narrative flow, only to at the last minute once you've gained a following and a steady stream of cash throw in something that completely changes and turns on its head everything I told you I was about is the height of cowardice and sneaky marketing. Consider that harsh, and a run on sentence. I'll accept that it's one of those things.
I have no desire to draw you in, make my money in a safe way, then flip the script and exclaim "JUST KIDDING, YOU THOUGHT THIS STORY AND THESE CHARACTERS WERE LIKE THIS BUT I CAN MAKE MORE MONEY LIKE THIS!"
I also would never want a young reader who enjoys, say upcoming all ages novel Nora and the Eternal Waterwheel to see my name on Murder the Citizens, think the novel is safe for them to read and suddenly be thrust into a far more maturely written world. To that end, I established three levels to my novels:
Shepard: The All Ages Line of Novels
The Shepard books are narratives that are written with middle to high school readers in mind, but with a caliber of writing and narrative flow that makes them enjoyable and accessible to readers of any age. These novels will not use curse words, have high octane stylish combat without graphic descriptions, and while some may explore romance it is done so in a far more tame manner than novels for older readers (or even much of the current books for young readers for that matter).
These novels will still deal with difficult themes; it's not as though young readers don't. They will not mire youth in senseless darkness. An example of this line is Nora and the Eternal Waterwheel, an urban fantasy epic that sees young protagonist Tanielle traversing numerous worlds to face off against The Tall Man, a flaming knight with an ambition to conquer and eliminate all. That being said, Tanielle will also deal with spending several years alone on the streets, and the struggles of being a young black girl adopted into an interracial household.
Maverick: Geared Towards Teens and Young Adults, but Still Appropriate for Younger Readers
The Maverick line of novels encompasses books such as Pretty Little Whispers, The King's Hearts, and Dyed By Seven: Guilty Hearts Chosen. These novels will use some language (the more "acceptable" swears), and will deal more directly and intensely with topics of loss, identity, trauma and more. These protagonists will face up against darker circumstances, such as Avaria Hope of Dyed By Seven dealing both with a ruthless crime boss as well as a supernatural stalker intent on taking her life. Novels such as Pretty Little Whispers will tantalize the senses with its tale of paranormal romance and intrigue, but will also see protagonist Emma Peterson deal with growing up in a divorced household with her father absent from her life.
The action will be a bit more intense, but there is still a cap the combat will not cross. Romance where appropriate will factor more strongly into the narrative, but of course never to the point of sacrificing a good story.
Leviathan: No Holds Barred, a Narrative That Dives into the Deepest Depths to Snatch Hope from the Jaws of Entropy
Novels such as Murder the Citizens, My Name is Maggie Coltway, Kill All Christians and The Black Pit of Creation embody the Leviathan line. Let me be perfectly clear; I will never and have never written anything for the sake of shock value and being gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous. You will find that even though Murder the Citizens and In Defense of the Heart both fall under the Leviathan line of novels, for example, Citizens tends to be more graphic in terms of the intense nature of the fight scenes, while Defense goes into greater detail with regard to the traumas the protagonists have overcome.
In Defense of the Heart depicts the holy order Phantasma locked in battle with the dark order Iscariot in the heart of Vine's End in America. The two orders will battle for the souls of many while also attempting to run spy craft and long cons against one another, each attempting to discern the true intent of each sortie they send their operatives in. Lucas Lane will wield his divine halberd against massive, ancient possessing demons, Jedda Rinzler will wage war against a coven of witches, Vezra Vallenkaim will struggle to choose sides between the dark order that gave her structure, and the holy knight who captured her heart.
Alongside that action and intrigue, we will also watch Jeddah Rinzler struggling with the emotional scars left behind by her violently abusive mother, Holly Lane struggling with coming to terms with her sexuality colliding with her faith, and older brother and knight Lucas Lane searching for reasons to continue his divine mission in a world he feels has completely abandoned God.
one point that I do want to make clear is that the maturity levels for these novels are guidelines and should be taken as that. I personally wouldn't hand a kid a copy of Murder the Citizens, but if you feel your young person is ready for something like Pretty Little Whispers of the Maverick line then go for it! After all, one of the first books I read as a seven year old was the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe!
-Eugene the Author a.k.a. Xeawn Cross a.k.a. Gentleman Raptor