I'm giving myself the Christmas present of my original books: Star Axe and Snowcastles/Icetowers.

They've got terrific old/new covers designed by Mike Corley. (The original Sword and Sorcery artwork by Romas updated.)

You know how they say everyone has one book in them? Well, Star Axe would have, could have been that one book. Except, well, I had more books in me. But it came from my pure love of LOTR's at a time when there wasn't a excess of LOTR's type books.

(My father challenged me to write two more books, and offered to get me a new Selectric typewriter if I did. So I wrote Snowcastles and Icetowers.)

I've scanned them, which is a messy process. I have to go through them line by line, which is a bit tedious. So I've decided to take the rest of the month to finish Star Axe at least. Snowcastles should be easier because I just downloaded a pirated version. (Heh). Icetowers is also going to be a chore. But I think I can get them done by mid-December.

Thing is, these books sold many more copies than anything I've currently written. They were mass market at a time when that was the market. They were in all the bookstores and newstands.

I got a single royalty statement for Star Axe which had numbers I may never again achieve. The publisher had a bankruptcy reorganization shortly after, so that was it. (Dorchester lasted another 30 years, the bastards. I took it to a lawyer and he scoffed at the paltry amounts. Paltry to him, but a few thousand dollars would have been nice back then.)

Snowcastles undoubtedly sold even better, because it was sold in the British Commonwealth, by a different publisher. They seem to be all over the world.

However, I was in my mid-20's when I wrote these, a pretty immature mid-20's at that. The innocence actually works pretty well for fantasy, but the writing is a little clunky compared to my current abilities, so I kind of wince my way through the transcribing.

I decided about a fourth of the way through Star Axe to change the more egregious sentences. I've decided that as long as I don't actually change the real content, improving the writing here and there isn't a crime. The book seemed to be liked by people--very much liked by some--so I don't want to change that.

But...improving a sentence only makes sense. I'm certain that no one will notice the difference.

It will be fun to have these available online, and why the hell not? Right?