Not only was Kelvoo’s Testimonial my debut novel, it was my first attempt at any sort of commercial fiction. As such, I wasn’t confident that I had written something that would interest people. I thought it was good and my family and friends liked it, but I would have expected them to humor me no matter what they really thought.
A few weeks before releasing my novel, the manuscript of Kelvoo’s Testimonial was sent to Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus is an independent reviewer of books and well known throughout the publishing industry. Publishing companies send new books to Kirkus for review, helping them to determine the quality of their new offerings from an independent, unbiased perspective. Kirkus Reviews also offers their services to independent authors like me. That’s how Kelvoo’s Testimonial found its way to Kirkus.
When Kirkus reviews a book, they don’t use a rating system (e.g. 1 – 5 stars). They typically provide a paragraph of information and a one-line summary. Once in a while, Kirkus will provide a “starred review” for what they term, “books of remarkable merit”. About 10 percent of books from major publishers earn a Kirkus star. That number drops to between 1 and 2 percent of “indie” books.
Shortly after I released Kelvoo’s Testimonial, Kirkus Reviews informed me that Kelvoo’s Testimonial had been awarded a starred review! I could hardly believe it! That day, I was bouncing off the walls with unmitigated glee!
Today, the news is ten times better! Each year, Kirkus Reviews selects the best books of the year from its list of books with starred reviews. Every December, Kirkus releases its list of their 100 best indie books. I was overjoyed beyond words when I learned the Kelvoo’s Testimonial had been honored with inclusion in that list!
I just might have to start taking myself seriously as an author!
I haven't made any blog posts for a while, so I thought I'd take an opportunity to report that some excellent reviews have been coming in, especially on Amazon!
Rather than repeating all of the reviews in this blog post, I've just added a new Reviews page to this website, where you can see a sampling.
For this post, here is one of my recent favorites from Amazon.com:
How They See Us - An Alien Perspective
An autobiography (even a fictional sci-fi autobiography), if written honestly, is going to reveal the truth about its narrator and the narrator’s perception of others (i.e., humans, in this case): the bad, the good, the ugly, and the beautiful. The narrator in this case is Kelvoo, an alien from the pristine planet, Kuw’baal, and a member of the Kloormari species.
Sam Buchanan, a human who will become Kelvoo’s best friend, describes the Kloormari in his Preface to Kelvoo’s Testimonial as “unparalleled multi-taskers.” The Kloormari are blessed with extremely versatile bodies, photographic memory, unlimited vocal range, a seemingly infinite ability to learn complex information and to apply acquired knowledge with staggering speed and efficiency.
The Kloormari are also innocent as children. Imagination, passion, ambition, greed, deception, love, hate, all those complex and paradoxical emotions and qualities that both doom and elevate humans are completely foreign to them. That is, until a human research vessel lands on Kuw’baal and makes First Contact with this interesting species. And though the first humans Kelvoo and his species encounter are well-meaning and make a favorable impression, the Kloormari eventually become vulnerable to less honorable humans (and also become more humanlike, for better or worse), leading to a series of disorienting and traumatic events.
This futuristic tale is eminently contemporary, concerned with destructive human behaviors such as war, drug addiction, sex trafficking, economic exploitation, bigotry, replacement theory, and so on. Bailey skillfully weaves into the story detailed technical material and creative world building to please even the most demanding hard sci-fi fan. But he has also created an alien species that can move the human heart to laughter or tears.
Yes, this is the alien Kelvoo’s testimonial, but it’s really about us, the people we choose to be and the way we choose to engage the universe and those who are different from us. Will we be guided by our better angels, or by our demons? That’s a choice each of us has to make.
Blog posts in chronological order
What is Kelvoo's Testimonial?
A bit about me
The publishing process - Editorial Evaluation
Who or what are the Kloormari?
What's the twist that differentiates Kelvoo's Testimonial?
Which issues does Kelvoo's Testimonial address?
Where did the idea of Kelvoo's Testimonial originate?
Is Kelvoo's Testimonial intended to reflect the experiences of native people in the Americas?
Book cover - Initial concepts
Depicting Kelvoo - My work with an amazing artist
Book cover - Final selection
Kelvoo.com website launch!
Original Song #1 - The Boys of Jezebel's Fury
Original Song #2 - Home on the Yangtze
Original Song #3 - Flying Away
My First Printed Copy
My First Review and Bookstore Order!
Now Available at Bolen Books!
Kelvoo's Testimonial gets a Kirkus Starred Review!
Official Launch Day!
A Sequel to Kelvoo's Testimonial?
Come Visit Me on Mastodon
Phenomenal News from Kirkus Reviews!
First Draft of Kelvoo's Terra Completed!
Kelvoo's Terra - Cover Reveal!
Kelvoo and Kindle Unlimited
Kelvoo's Terra - Official Launch!
Kelvoo's Books in your Local Bookstore
Kelvoo's Terra - First Amazon Reviews
Book 3 - Kelvoo's Teachings - First Draft