Monday, February 17, 2014

AS SPARKS FLY UPWARD: My First Novel Published

On Feb. 16, 2014 I published my first novel entitled: As Sparks Fly Upward : Tale of Belief, Unbelief and Hypocrisy.  The novel is 270 pages long and consists of 77,473 words.  It is personal, sometimes funny, frequently irreverent and often sad.  The blurb on the back cover describes the novel as follows:

As Sparks Fly Upward is about a young man’s inability to come to terms with the death of his father.  Joe Duncan’s father was an alcoholic, and Joe is well on the ways of becoming one himself.  His hometown’s condemnation of what happened to his father along with the unwillingness to provide his father with a decent funeral turns Joe against that community.   He learns not to trust even those that do care for him.

Joe’s rejection of organized religion is tied to his distaste of the small-mindedness of a community that wouldn’t accept someone like Joe or Joe’s father into its circle. 

The novel can be purchased for $11.23 at the following website:

It can also be found on Kindle at a price of $9.99 at the following website:

Let me comment quickly about the price as this was not randomly set.  The minimum price I was allowed to set by the publisher was $10.23.  I decided to then add a dollar on for my own royalties.  I don’t anticipate making a great deal of money because, other than this website and a short story published in Writer’s Note Magazine, I have no publishing history.  I published in this manner because of too many rejections by other publishing companies that apparently did not have enough time to review my work.  One such publisher mentioned this fact to me while at the same time assuring me that they took my submitted work seriously.  I just do not have time to wait in line to see this novel in print.

As Sparks Fly Upward is not for everyone.  I’m not saying this to be modest or because I’m a bad sales person.  I feel the novel can be extremely funny in parts and it also has an important point to make.  The novel is a critique concerning the self-satisfaction of the voices of moral authority in many communities.  However, the fictional character that narrates the book while being unique, talented and at times extremely generous is also an extremely flawed human being.  I need to make clear that the narrator’s character does not speak for me.  He is contrasted by the other main character in the book: a young woman of about the same age with a similar background who, despite their similarities, has not succumbed to the cynicism of the narrator.  Still, the problems that the narrator faces are not easily surmountable and so the novel ends on a somewhat unhappy note.

The theme of this book may be too ambitious – especially for a first novel.  By explanation, it’s not possible to resolve all problems in any work.  I hope to provide more positive characters in a series of short stories that I hope to publish this summer or early fall.

I originally was going to include in my novel a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche from the Will to Power.  Nietzsche stated: “The arrogance of man: when he sees no purpose, he denies that there can be one!” I decided against including it because too many individuals quote Nietzsche to begin with.  Also, I thought it was a bit incongruous that I would quote from such a renowned atheist when the quote said to me that there is so much more to this world than meets the eye.
For those that are still interested, I think you will enjoy the novel.  As Sparks Fly Upward was not hurried to meet any deadline (as were some of my movie reviews) and therefore it’s extremely readable.  It’s also not dull reading.  The cover photo on the novel also tells a story in itself.

I’m now looking forward to getting on with other writing projects.

Robert S. Miller

February 17, 2014

© Robert S. Miller 2014