Monday, September 29, 2014

Scenes from a SFR Writer's Space

Donna's post about her recent move and her personnel writing office inspired me to talk a bit about my own 'creative spot.' I'm always fascinated to hear what sort of things other writers use to populate their work areas. Even when some of us end up writing at the kitchen table or in the family room, there's usually something special we add to the environs. Inspiration comes in many forms.

My husband and I own a home with three bedrooms and no kids (at least, not the two-legged variety) so we are fortunate to each have a home office. Of course, those offices do share a double-duty. His is an office-slash-guest room. Mine is an office-slash-seasonal storage. His is full of military and law enforcement memorabilia and Rance Hood prints (some gifted by the artist).

Mine? You guessed it. Bigtime Sci-Fi themes. But also shells, dragons and Thunderbirds, so a wee bit eclectic.

Welcome to my space.

When you walk in, the first thing you'd likely notice is the big poster hanging on the wall over an L-shaped desk that says "All I Need to Know About Life I Learned from STAR WARS." It features most of the characters from the original trilogy and captures some of the gems of philosophy from the movies, such as:

Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.

And also:

The possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field are approximately 3,720 to 1.

I love the first as a not-so-subtle motivator. And the second? Well, did you know the odds of successfully publishing a novel used to be much longer than successfully navigating an asteroid field? Yup, about 10,000 to 1.  Thank goodness the times, and the publishing industry, have changed. :)

In front of the Star Wars poster is a funky/campy bendable five-armed aluminum lamp with multi-color shades. It kind of suggests something robotic or early 60s Nerdy, the whimsical spirit of the so-called Sci-Fi Golden Age. It also helps cast a little light on my otherwise shady work space with it's three-way settings--two lamps, three lamps, or all lamps lit.

Like Donna, I do have a dragon overseer and a model of the Enterprise. Birds of a feather, ya know.

But from there our office styles part company.

Mine doesn't follow any of the feng shui rules--at least not intentionally. It's more a random jumble of "fun stuff I love."

The desk has bookshelves populated with various references like a Thesaurus, Dictionary, a style guide, and also:
  • a volume of The Art of Star Wars
  • a Star Trek bookmark with "To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before"
  • A shell necklace from a long-ago trip to Hawaii (ahhhhh!)
  • a mug that reads "One Day When We're Both Rich and Famous, We'll Look Back on All This & Laugh" (for the record, that day hasn't arrived yet...heh heh).
  •  
  • a diminutive action figure of Luke Skywalker in dark Tatooine garb
  • An engraved gold star paperweight from the Spacecoast Authors of Romance Launching A Star Contest
  • A mousepad with the Andromeda Galaxy
  • Two more mugs--one with the SFR Brigade logo and one from Kit Peak Observatory with the Milky Way Galaxy
On the walls are various photographs of shells and an actual collection sits on the bookcase.

I love shells in all their infinite variety--so many shapes, textures and patterns. They represent the depth and mystery of the oceans, and how the sea eventually gives up its secrets--one treasure at a time.

Much like a good story, yes?

The walls also sport posters of popular sayings (Desiderata, et al), and this collection (pictured below right) which carries some personnel bits of inspiration and nostalgia.

"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."
--Winston Churchill

"Creation is an act of sheer will." - from Jurassic Park

"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
-- T. S. Eliot

...and the Writer's Creed, which I'm sure you've probably seen.

A collection of past RWA badges hang from a wall hook--Washington, Orlando, New York, and Anaheim. Ah, lots of good memories looped over that hook!

There's the usual collection of electronic equipment--monitor, printers, speakers--but no stereo, radio or TV. I can't work with music playing or background noise. I need quiet. Shhhhhh.

So there's my impromptu, illustrated dollar tour.

What is your writing space like? Do you have special items that inspire or influence you? What's your favorite thing to keep in your work space?

~~~ * ~~~


Friday, September 26, 2014

WORKING THE MAGIC IN A NEW SPACE



“Well, it was like this,” she said, taking another long pull of her Romulan ale. “We were in a dark zone, no navigation, no communication.  Unknown aliens on all sides.  Everything familiar left far behind.  The ship’s cats were freaking out, running up and down decks, senses on alert.  And the jump had scrambled everything; the place was chaos.  It took weeks just to find my toothbrush.”

But at least I was telling this tale from a comfortable stool in Spacefreighters Lounge.  I had survived!  My husband and two cats and I are installed now in a new rental home, where we will sit out a year until we make the next move to our home outside Asheville, NC.  It hasn’t been easy, but we are traveling much lighter after this move, having divested ourselves of much of the dead weight of years of accumulation.

Experts say a move of this order is one of the most disruptive events of life.  I’d never thought that way before, having grown up as a military brat.  Until my thirties, I’d never lived in one home for more than three years at a time.  Often it was much less than that.  But my family had stayed in this last home 18 years.  We were a little dug in, both physically and emotionally.  It took effort to pull up those roots.

Still, we did it.  We’re here in our new pad.  I have a first floor office that I organized right away.  I realize how lucky I am to have a dedicated space for my work.  I hear all the time how others struggle to work on the kitchen table while the kids are doing homework, in the laundry room to the music of the dryer, in a dank basement corner, in a bedroom closet.  When I first started I wrote in longhand on the living room couch while the kids were sleeping (and my husband was traveling).  I progressed to a corner of the bedroom on an early DOS computer.  Then we got a little inheritance, and I lobbied to spend it on a real office.  I’d like to say I’ve had one ever since.  Not so.  When we moved from that house I lost my work space for a while, but got it back eventually.  Now it’s a recognized priority.  Must have office.

My space is a reflection of me as a writer.  But more clearly, it’s a shrine to my sources of inspiration and a revelation of my superstitious nature.  (Oh, yes, writers are right up there with baseball pitchers and actors on the superstitious scale.)  My office is smaller than the room I had in the old house, and two big windows take up a lot of wall space, so some things didn’t make the cut.  (My life-size cutout of Jim Kirk is now in the basement rec room, for example, and my award certificates are in storage.)  But I still have plenty of pictures of my heroes (Kirk and Aragorn, especially) scattered around the room, with family photos, Appalachian landscapes, my Golden Heart ribbons, and inspiring quotes from writers and scientists decorating a big bulletin board.

Of course, I arranged the computer desk and other furniture according to proper feng shui principles.  I face southwest. (Southeast would have been better, but that didn’t quite work out.)  I have a little dragon protecting me on the east and birds (phoenix) on the south, with a model of the Enterprise (a ship, bringing wealth) on the north.  I need a tiger for the west, but the cats hang out in their cat tree at the window on that side, so maybe they count.

Finally I have all my “juju” hanging on my desk:  a real African amulet with prayers from the Koran (I assume!) inside; crystals, including amber for the realization of goals, and a giant hunk of quartz that looks like a dilithium crystal; pieces of a meteorite that my friend Joyce gave me to connect me to space; the key to success from, I think, The Golden Network; a flamingo medal won as first prize for Unchained Memory years ago from the Tampa Area Romance Authors chapter of RWA. I’m not sure which of these is responsible for my luck, so I’m making sure they all have a place where I work!

Note I did not say I don’t know which of these is responsible for my success.  I’m well aware my success, such as it is so far, is due to a lot of hard work (my own and others’), a modicum of talent AND a fair amount of luck. It’s the luck I’m trying to boost with all the juju.

With all of this in place, I’m ready to go back to work.  Uh, just as soon as my daughter’s wedding concludes successfully October 5.  Yep, then I’ll be right back to the keyboard. Promise.

Cheers, Donna

How about you?  Got any magic rabbits’ feet, eagle feathers, pictures of Nathan Fillion, black light posters, hanging on your office wall?  Superstitious?  Or are you too scientific for all that nonsense?



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A #NaNoWriMo Conundrum


November NaNoWriMo is fast approaching, and this year is a little different for me. My usual approach is to deny taking part, then to sign up last minute with an idea I need to get out of my head. For July, I had three short stories I really wanted to get done and dusted, and I had set myself a modest target of just 15K...which I achieved, making it my first ever NaNoWriMo win. But this November, I had PLANS. I intended to sign up early and spend October planning what I was going to write.



And therein lay the problem. I couldn't decide what to work on. Normally I have one burning, inescapable idea courtesy of muse, one that just won't quit. I had planned to do a sequel to Restless In Peaceville, since my editor did grabby hands the minute I mentioned it. But she's now left, and my publisher has put up a sub call for superhero stories - I already have one due out with them in November, with a vague idea for a second  AND an unfinished short that I started for their anthology call. I also have a possible sequel in mind for Tethered

So I was torn. Out of the three potential candidates, I didn't have a single complete idea for the story. And since all three are following on from NaNoWriMo projects that failed to make the 50K and are all 40K+ novellas, I doubt the sequels will fare better. For Tethered and Restless, I'd been hoping reviews and sales would help me decide - after all, if everybody hated either one, there's not much point in writing another except for my own satisfaction. I doubt my publisher would contract it though. Obviously I won't get that kind of feedback for When Dark Falls before NaNoWriMo starts, but I know my publisher wants more superheroes. So, my options are:


A sequel to Tethered
A sequel to Restless In Peaceville AND a sequel to Zombie Girl (both YA zombie stories, one a novella, one a short story)
A sequel to When Dark Falls AND the unfinished superhero short

None of these titles were originally written with sequels in mind. All have a collections of notes/scenes sketched out but none are fully formed (though RIP 2 has an ending, while Tethered 2 probably has the closest thing to a full outline). The Zombie Girl short is story two of a potential trilogy, the first having been written as part of my Camp NaNoWriMo win.


And then I saw a tweet from fellow Brigader Liana Brooks about plotting villains, and did anyone want the notes. It seemed serendipitous. The comprehensive notes and plotting scheme gave me ideas about actually outlining a novel (or maybe novella) to follow on from When Dark Falls. And since WDF will be releasing in November, it feels like the fates have decided for me.




Does this mean that will actually be my project for November? *shrug* It wouldn't be the first time I've made definitive plans only for muse or even real life thwarting me. For now, I'm just putting my notes together and preparing, while keeping a wary eye on my Plot Bunny Storage Facility for unexpected escapes or new mutations emerging...


Happenings

My tour for Restless In Peaceville ends on the 30th, as does the giveaway. I have just one more stop, an interview over at Aussie Owned And Read HERE, where you can find out the one question I wish someone would ask. And last week I learned that Restless will be coming out in PRINT! Woot! No date yet, but I'm anticipating early 2015.

One week from today I'll be doing the cover and title reveal for my self published, Halloween-themed paranormal romance short. Yay! As always, the awesome Dani Fine has edited this with me, and worked her magic on my rough idea for a cover. I can tell you it's a beautiful thing, and I can't wait to show it off. If you'd like a sneak peek before reveal day, please sign up to my newsletter HERE.

I've made another submission! My YA dystopian romance Zombie Girl: Dead Awakened is currently with my editor. And if it gets contracted? Well, it'll be a 2015 release, possibly February/March, and is intended as the first of a trilogy of shorts. So that commits me to writing the other two, and adds to my NaNoWriMo conundrum. Or maybe it solves it?

October 25th is BristolCon! I've been busy putting things together for my table that I'm sharing with the fabulous Misa Buckley. Here's what I'm contributing to our joint table.

Myself and my eldest will also be sporting t-shirts with a couple of my book covers on. She's got my YA Restless, while I'll be wearing my as yet unrevealed When Dark Falls cover. But don't fret! I'd doing an exclusive cover reveal for it over at The Galaxy Express this Friday!

I still have two more releases to go for this year, with alternative 1920s superhero romance When Dark Falls in November, and futuristic UF No Angel in December. As of this week, my word count for the year passed the 50K mark, and my editing word count is over 170K. That's...a lot of words. Even if I only make 30K during NaNoWriMo, I'll have written the equivalent of a decent sized novel, and edited more than double that. Kind of pleased with that. ^-^

Do you Pinterest? Laurie discusses her discovery and launch onto a new-to-her platform. Check out her post and amazing space chic boards HERE!

Struggling with book marketing? Cary Caffrey has his second post up at the SFR Brigade blog HERE.

Ping Pong

Donna, good luck with your move.
Sharon, don't drown in edits!
Laurie, don't get too distracted with Pinterest - you have a book coming out!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Discovering the Wonderful Universe of Pinterest

As usual, I'm behind the curve on investigating new social media sites. This weekend I finally created a Pinterest account and immediately got lost in collecting quotes, landscapes and story inspiration images.

Oh wow! This is fun! And EASY! Who knew?

But it's more than just playtime for me, it's also letting me connect with a lot of the other geek-minded (I still prefer the term Space Chic) pinners out there who love space, Sci-Fi, the stars, sweeping landscapes, ancient civilizations and profound sayings.

I'm in heaven.

And as I begin my evolution from writer to author, I'll be able to post my cover images and other related specifics that pertain to my books. And share those of other authors, too. In fact, I already have a few book covers included in my Sci-Fi Culture board, but I'll be adding many more.

What I really enjoy about Pinterest is it seems to come naturally for me. It's not a struggle like putting together words for this blog can sometimes (*cough* often) be. In a little over 24 hours, I've already collected a nice little gallery. Want to check it out? So glad you asked! Be my guest:

Visit Laurie's profile on Pinterest.

As much as I hesitate to invest more time in yet another social networking site--hence my unfashionably late arrival to this community--I think this particular venue will be a boon for my muse. Whenever the words don't flow, the scene doesn't gel, or the characters just aren't speaking to me, I'm betting a few minutes perusing images and thoughts on Pinterest will help me re-gain both my inspiration and my perspective.

If you're one of my peers or you have an account, it's likely I've found you already. If not, please send me a subspace message (or follow me or my boards) and I'll be sure to return the favor asap.

If your focus is only on particular things, I'll post my individual boards below. (Sorry, no foodies or fashionista, but I'm guessing if you're reading this blog there will be something you'll want to take a peek at.)

STARS, GALAXIES AND SCI-FI (54 pins)

SCI-FI/SFR CULTURE (149 pins)

GREAT QUOTES (14 pins)

RANDOM FUN STUFF (21 pins)

ON BOOKS AND WRITING (1 pin) << Needs a little help here

PYRAMIDS AND ANCIENT CIVILIZATION (119 pins) (Some modern coolness too)

TOO CUTE (9 pins) [I can't resist this stuff!]

STORY INSPIRATION (33 pins)

INSPIRING LANDSCAPES (26 pins) Landscapes=real and created, indoor and outdoor.

Let me know if you think my boards are a little...shall we say..."space-centric."

So how exactly can Pinterest be of value to authors and readers? Well, for one, so much can be communicated to others via images and like interests. It's a way to paint a picture mosaic of what your passions are, what topics you love, or what your books are about. So it's all about reaching out with pictures and graphics, which is what you probably already do on Facebook and Twitter, but with words.

You can find a plethora of user tips about Pinterest...on Pinterest. :) I followed this board which has quite a few:

PINTEREST FOR READERS AND WRITERS

Many bloggers have weighed in on Pinterest too. Just Google "How Pinterest Helps Writers" or something similar to find assistance and information.

Rachel Gardner gives a few tips and cautions in a blog, but the post is over two years old, so I've followed up with a second blog that explains the major copyright issues have been resolved, but also spills how law enforcement is using Pinterest. (I wanted to include historical information on the copyright thing, because this is another reason I've avoided Pinterest for so long. I imagine it might be why others have too.)

Rachelle Gardner: What Every Writer Should Know About Pinterest

Pinterest's Most Wanted - March 2104, The Daily Beast

Do any of you pros and long-time users out there have any must-know tips or must-read articles? I'm eager to learn all I can.

PING PONG

Pippa, I hope you're having a blast with your Restless in Peaceville tour. For any readers who may have missed it, Pippa's zombie-esque story has been out a little more than a month. Check it out here (love the uber cool cover!): Restless in Peaceville by Pippa Jay.

In case you missed last week's discussion with author Pauline Baird Jones on the newly dubbed category of Top Gun SFR, you'll definitely want to backtrack and give it a look. Until now, we had no solid identifying tag for these edge-of-your-seat, turn-and-burn Science Fiction Romance reads. They feel the need...the need, for speed!

Wishing all the best to Sharon, who's probably up to her ears in edits, and Donna, who's no doubt up to her ears in boxes! Looking forward to hearing more from you both very soon.

Have a great week!
~~~ * ~~~

Friday, September 19, 2014

Top Gun SFR - What is this New Category All About?

Recently I stumbled across an ad from fellow SFR-ist Pauline Baird Jones, talking about two of her titles that she'd bundled and dubbed "Top Guns in Time and Space."

Wait? What? That sounds amazing! I think Pauline may have just coined the name of an entire new SFR category.

The stories in the bundle are Out of Time, a time-travel/action adventure/romance centering on a World War II flying ace, and The Key, about a female Air Force pilot sent on a dangerous mission beyond the Milky Way.

I had to learn more, so I asked Pauline if she'd like to stop by Spacefreighters Lounge to talk about Top Gun SFR, and she graciously agreed. So Pauline, first of all, what sort of stories do you consider to be "Top Gun SFR" and how did you come up with this dynamite category name?

Pauline Baird Jones:  I spread my Top Gun umbrella pretty far, by including an ace pilot from WWII in my bundle, so for me, anything that deals with military pilots seems like a good fit. Because who doesn’t love stories about military pilots? They are pretty amazing. I wish I could take credit for the concept, but I was talking to my friend and fellow author, Cornelia Amiri about how hard it is to market a standalone book.

Out of Time is one of those books I wrote because I loved the idea, because I had to write it. Originally I had planned to write a follow-up, but lots of Life Happened. Lots. And Sara from The Key sauntered into my imagination, and well, it didn’t get written.

I haven’t totally give up on a sequel to Out of Time, but it’s on a long list. So there it is, all by itself. I was, okay, I was whining about it. LOL When you have a series, then the books in the series funnel sales to other books, but readers don’t always follow an author to their other books if they aren’t sure they’ll like the genre. If they have to step outside their comfort zone to read it.

When I first made the move from romantic suspense to science fiction romance, I contacted several of my core fans and offered them the book for free. A couple of them were quite dubious, but ended up loving the book. So it is challenging to get readers to try a new-to-them genre.

Then Cornelia had her genius moment. Which lit the bulb over my head. But…I wondered how on earth my designer would be able to bring such different-though-kind-of-the-same-books together on a cover. I think she did a great job and I’m eyeing the other pilots in my back list and wondering…

Laurie: I hope you do find other candidates for this new SFR category, Pauline. :)

I'm going to put on my reader hat for a minute and look at this from another perspective. Although your stories are set in different eras and might otherwise be in two different categories--Time Travel SFR and Space Opera SFR--at their core they have the two things that light up my sensor boards. Pilots!...in a SFR story! That's a big trigger for me to click the buy button, and I doubt I'm alone. I think it was a really cool idea to bring these two stories together and package them. That hooked me.

I also think that Top Gun SFR has the potential to bring some new crossover readers in from the Military Romance front. I read in both genres because I love the military culture and especially pilots (and ship captains, as an extension of that). They are brave and resourceful, often brilliant, make split second decisions and fly by the gut, but at the same time they must be responsible and dependable enough to trust with other lives and multi-million (or billion!) dollar aircraft or ships.

But they do very much have a mind of their own and that makes them rebels. And flawed. And totally fascinating. The name Top Gun SFR summons a visual of Maverick pushing the envelope in his F-14 Tomcat, and that has parallels to Han Solo, Mal Reynolds, and Starbuck.

Why are Top Gun personalities such a draw? Maybe because pilots (and/or ship captains) tend to be fearless and cocky and extreme risk-takers. Remember this great line from the movie Top Gun? "Your ego is writing checks your body can't cash!" Another exciting thing is that female characters can qualify as Top Gun personalities just as naturally as males, as your pilot in The Key demonstrates.

Pauline: Well, I know that I LOVE pilots for just the reasons you outline. I had a lot of fun creating a cocky, writing checks your body can’t cash, female pilot. LOL I also think we need heroes more than ever these days. I recently did a blog post about the transport of the future (I was doing it for fun—there may be a riding lawn mower in my future lol—but it ended up being more poignant than I expected.) When I was young we dreamed SO big! Our heroes were the soldiers and pilots—especially those amazing test pilots and astronauts. What a risk they took being the first into space and they jockeyed for it.

We love our heroes, military, police, firemen—all of those who stand in the path of danger for us. It was such an amazing experience for me to interact with the Greatest Generation when I was working on Out of Time. Their generosity in sharing their stories and answering my questions—well, not a shock from the men who flew into danger and saved the world. But what an honor. Looking back, I can see that it was kind of a natural segue for me as an author to go from ace pilots of WWII to pilots heading into the vastness of space.

I was recently at a SF con and one of the topics that came up was who would go to Mars? What would the Mars mission look like? There were some interesting comments, but I left thinking they totally missed the reality mark.

The first mission to Mars will have to be manned by the same type of people who made it to the Moon. Only when the path has been blazed (and the blood spilled), will the rest of us follow. That is the reality of exploration of any kind. First there is blunt force (and brave), then the next level of risk-takers, then then the settlement builders.

Because our society doesn’t seem to dream as big, I think it is critical for authors and other creators to keep that dreaming alive. And its important for us to honor the real-life heroes who stand between us and the very real dangers of the world.

Laurie: Oh, so well said, Pauline! That gave me goosebumps. Books really can help keep this spirit alive by inspiring readers to dream big. Very big.

So now we've identified the essence of Top Gun SFR. It's about those who dare--pilots, astronauts, mission captains, pioneers on the edge of space or time. Top Gun SFR honors this rare and extraordinary vanishing breed through characters who push the envelope and live on the edge. Heroes and heroines who "boldly go where no one has gone before" in spite of the perils and risks to them personally. This makes for an exciting, heart-pounding read and a wonderful reading adventure.

Pauline, thanks so much for joining us today for the unveiling of Top Gun SFR. I do believe this new category will catch on in a big way.

Now we'd like to hear from our readers. Tell us what other stories you've loved that you think would fall into the Top Gun SFR category?
~~~ * ~~~

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pippa's Journal - Scream! For The Cure

A couple of weeks ago, two friends approached me about an event they wanted to run in October and asking for donations and for me to perhaps share a story.

Now, I'm always happy to donate, and as it happened I totally had something appropriate to the theme - a story set around Halloween releasing in October. But a personal story? Those I don't share so much, especially those involving tragedy.

And yet the time seems right. Since I adore the two asking, I will be sharing as part of Scream! For the Cure. So what is it?



"How it works:
Beginning October 5th readers will have an opportunity to bid for baskets. The categories are Erotic Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA & Adult paranormal romance, and Horror/Suspense. We’ll be showcasing the baskets the week they go up for auction, with the auctions taking place on that Friday. In-between, we’ll also have guest posts from different authors and bloggers talking about their personal struggles with cancer, some who’ve battled the disease themselves, and some who have witnessed the ongoing struggle through someone else. It’ll also be a forum for people to talk about their experiences, maybe share some uplifting stories as well."

You can check out more on their website HERE. In the meantime, Cate Peace and Landra Graf (two of the sweetest, most generous people you could meet) are still looking for more book donations, participants, and of course help in spreading the word. Even if you could just mention the event or maybe put the banner on your blog, it would really help. Thanks in advance for anything you can do.

Happenings

Gosh, it's all taking off at Spacefreighters Lounge! With Laurie's big announcement Monday (check it out HERE) on the launch of her SciFi romance series, and with Donna's debut coming, and yet more from Sharon and myself, our side bar is going to be full of pretties! Congrats to my co-bloggers, especially as this is the first for both Donna and Laurie.



Restless In Peaceville is still on tour for just over a week (schedule HERE), but the giveaway included will run until the first of October...when my next release will have its cover AND title reveal! I've waited a year to share this Halloween-themed paranormal romance short. I got the draft cover art Monday, and it's so pretty! If you'd like to get a sneak early peek at it, you can sign up to my newsletter HERE.



Rachel Leigh Smith launched her debut release this week - meet her and My Name Is A'yen over on the Brigade blog HERE

Need marketing help? Check out the first of a series of posts by Cary Caffrey HERE. The second goes up tomorrow.

If you've been hiding under a rock lately, you might have missed all the furore over Ellora's Cave. Might be worth checking out the latest HERE. Wowzers.

On Friday, I'm blogging at Romancing the Genre about Romantic Cliches and showing my ignorance. Hey, I'm still learning!

I still have three releases, a SFF convention and NaNoWriMo to go before the end of the year. Still editing No Angel and the Halloween shorts as of writing this post. Much as this year has been a blast, I'm kind of looking forward to a bit of a break come Christmas. And I'm going to be talking about my plans for NaNoWriMo next week. Pippa Jay, signing off!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Announcing Launch of a New SFR Series!


I've been bouncing on the edge of my seat for two weeks waiting to break the big news! Now that all the specifics have been discussed and the contract is signed, I can finally shout it out at the top of my lungs:

I have a Science Fiction Romance series 
set to launch in February 2015!

Yes! That means we're just a few months away from zero hour! I'll be co-publishing my six-book series, along with a number of related shorts and novelettes, through my agent, Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary. (If you've been following Donna Frelick's posts, you know she has a similar arrangement with her agent.)

Co-publishing is an exciting new trend in which authors and agents partner up to share the various tasks and functions in getting a book to market. Generally, the agent/agency is responsible for formatting, uploading and all the business details, while the author is responsible for the cover art and editing. The author also has the benefit of the agent's expertise in marketing and promotion.

I'm doubly fortunate that Amanda Luedeke is considered a marketing guru, and is the author of the self-help book on building platform titled The Extroverted Writer. She has some truly dynamic ideas!

Going the co-publishing route means the book/s can be published in a matter of months instead of a year or more, and the author has more control over how the book is packaged (which for many authors is a big concern since most have little to no input on cover art).

Want to know a little more about the series? Here's the introduction:
The year is 3500 AD—more or less. No one really keeps track anymore. 
Since the fall of peacekeeper planet, LaGuardia, two centuries before, much has been lost. Few remember that LaGuardia was once known as Draxis. Fewer still have knowledge that Draxis once guarded a spatial vortex—a crossrip in time and space—and passageway to a legendary world called Earth where the human species originated.  
Somewhere, hidden in a forgotten archive, is the written history of the known universe...and the chronicles of the men and women who helped forge a future in the stars.
This series is a bit unconventional, to say the least. It spans some 1,500 years (okay, 13,500 years if you count the backstory) and is made up of two "bookend" novels that open and close the series in the same future era, with a single novel and a trilogy embedded in the middle that happen in the present day to the near future. The shorts and novelettes are spin-offs that might take place in the past, present, near or far future within the framework of this universe.

Unorthodox, yes? Well that's part of the fun!

Science Fiction Romance is all about forging new pathways and presenting new ideas. Because it's an unusual series it provides a bonus: A puzzle the reader can solve about how all the various story elements and characters fit together. For the inquiring reader, there will be clues throughout these romantic adventures to help connect the dots on the overarching tale.

I'm also extremely proud to mention that the first three novels in this series have all been recent RWA® Golden Heart® finalists.

Books 1 and 2 were finalists in 2011 under the titles P2PC and The Outer Planets.

Book 3 was a finalist in 2012 under the title Draxis.


In addition, all three have won or placed in multiple writing competitions from 2009 to 2013 including the RWA FF&P On The Far Side contest and the Spacecoast Romance Authors Launching a Star contest.

You can read more about each of these novels on my author web site Laurie A. Green. Pssst! You can also sign up for my newsletter there, on the right side of the Home page. It comes with a promise to keep the newsletter infrequent so I won't fill up your inbox.

Okay, so are you ready for a peek into this new universe?

Here's the opening scene from Book 1:

______________________________


One chance. No mistakes.

       Sair took a deep breath and peered out the open airlock of the merchant ship. This was it. Make a wrong move now and end up the main course at an Ithian feast. He studied his escape route. No threat in sight; he had a clear path to the street outside the hang. He gripped the edge of the hatch, palms slick, legs twitching. Now. 

        No shouts of alarm mingled with the roar of the busy spaceport when he ducked off the ship. Once out of the hangar, he tried to disappear into the crowd on the busy street. He sucked in his breath when a sharp-featured man in a dusty sun cloak strode straight for him.

        Carduwan, not Ithian. Thank the Fire Lords. A neutral.

        Sair caught the man’s arm. “Where am I?”

The Carduwan registered his size and build and his expression melted from annoyance to fear. “Eliptis hangtown.” He edged away. “Sir.”

“What planet?”

The man’s eyes widened and he croaked, “Dartis.”

Just my luck. A sandy, hell-baked ball where the Ithians ran as thick as rats in grain.

Sair tugged the terrified Carduwan closer, staring into the man’s sunshield. “Give me those.”

       “Yours.” The man fumbled the dark frame off his beakish nose.

       Sair grabbed the sunshield and slid it home, glad to hide his eyes. Don’t thank him. You’re Rathskian. He released the Carduwan and glanced back at the hang entry when a chubby man shuffled onto the street.

      He froze but the pilot never glanced his way. He didn’t seem to have a clue Sair had stowed away in his freight compartment to escape. So far, so good. At least he hadn’t been served up on a platter yet.

__________________________________________

Just as an aside, it was a scene in Book 1 that inspired the name of our blog--Spacefreighters Lounge. There's a little story about that on the sidebar (scroll down to Welcome to Spacefreighters Lounge and click the highlighted words From Whence Came the Name). >>>

In the coming weeks and months, I'll be providing more details and spilling more secrets about this SFR series. Please watch for regular updates on Mondays! And thanks so much for stopping by today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Another Milestone in the Path of Publication - Pippa's Journal


Here at Spacefreighters Lounge, we not only talk about our paths to publication, but also the highs and lows of being published. The good and bad reviews, getting that agent or contract or award, piracy, author meltdowns, submission calls and publishers going out of business etc. It's a twisty, turny, never-ending road, up to the point where you finally decide to leave it or pass on to the great Library in the Sky (or whatever your beliefs are). And while this particular milestone  isn't exactly one to celebrate, it's a significant one and it comes with a silver lining.


Keir is now out of print. I checked my Amazon page last Wednesday evening to find the final print edition produced by my publisher had sold. To the best of my knowledge, this was the last official copy other than those few second hand ones being offered by other sellers (and no doubt by various pirate sites that have it, grr). And yes, I'm sad. I didn't expect it to happen so soon with my debut novel - my first born. When my publisher announced their sale to another bigger publisher at the start of the year, it was only one of several lows both in my publishing and private life. Choosing NOT to sign the new contract was one of the hardest decisions I've made, and since then I've been fighting to get Keir back out. I've had to admit defeat, for various reasons - most of them good. New contracts and releases with new publishers mean I've been kept very busy, and have more than made up for being one title down (even though I wish it hadn't been Keir).


The upside? It means once Keir is re-released, the decks have been cleared. I don't know how long a book listing stays up on Amazon once the book is out of print. Maybe forever? Obviously the new book will have a new ISBN/ASIN as it won't be with the same publisher. I'll essentially have to start all over again with reviews. But it'll also have a new cover, a new blurb, and an updated and re-edited interior. What's even better is that now *I* have control of the book...and the series. Oh, yes. Keir was meant to be book one of five, but it was never marketed as that, and the sequel was never picked up. Now I can release them all, have the covers match and put on the series number. That kind of makes up for all the trauma of it coming down.


So yes, while I may feel a pang of regret at seeing that last copy go, there's a sense of freedom. It's a fresh start for Keir. And while I have to apologize for the delay, at least I can say you'll be getting all five books now. Keir will re-release next year, and I plan to release the sequel too, and hopefully a side story set between the two. Book three should be 2016. There's always a bright side to what might seem like bad news.

Happenings

Restless In Peaceville is on tour! My zombies are shuffling around the internet, and there's a suitably zombified giveaway to match. Check out the schedule HERE.

I'm in the process of editing the paranormal romance short I'm self publishing in October. I've just completed content edits on the futuristic UF short No Angel for release in December from Breathless Press. I'm also still waiting to do a cover reveal for When Dark Falls, my alternate 1920s superhero romance, due out in November. So still three releases to go before the end of the year. I'm not panicking, honest. >.<



Ping Pong

While I spare a moment of thought for the demise of one title amidst the chaos of edits and releases, two of my fellow bloggers on Spacefreighters Lounge are suffering pre-release nerves and hopefully much excitement at the upcoming launch of their publishing debuts. Congrats to Donna and Laurie on their soon-to-be-published status! (and a big sigh of relief that I'll no longer feel like I'm hogging the sidebar!). With Sharon also now multi-published (how many now, Sharon?), give us another year and we'll need a whole bookshelf of our own!

Monday, September 1, 2014

August: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen!

I survived August 2014!

I'm determined to put that on a t-shirt. From where I sit, I feel like I survived a disaster.

August 2014 was a horrible, heart-wrenching, grueling month. Not only is August my usual HELL MONTH when I work nights, weekends, and early mornings on a detail-oriented, time-sucking annual project (and totally go dark on this blog--didja notice?), but this year I had to say goodbye to two very dear friends: Silver, a horse we've owned for 29 years--29 years!--our very good friend who carried us through many a horse show, trail ride, elk hunt and "pleasure cruise"; and just 12 days later, Jazz, our happy-go-lucky Border Collie pound puppy who grew up on the ranch and matured into a very old but happy dog in the span of just 13 short years. Yeah, it's been rough.

The hardest part of saying goodbye to these two four-legged soulmates was that, because it was Hell Month, I had almost no time to grieve and come to terms with their loss. Both days, I had to pick myself up and haul myself off to work to deal with issues that I couldn't possibly put off or reschedule. Stifle the tears, stuff down the sorrow and just get my mind back to work.

But it's September now. The monster project is behind me, Silver and Jazz are resting in peace, and I need to raise my eyes and look forward. It's time to put the worst behind me and move on.

And moving on, I am.

I've made an announcement on my Facebook authors page. It's been a long time coming, but *ta da!* I'm aiming for November 1st to release my first! published! work! ever! Yessss.

It's a novelette that will be circa 15,000 words titled Farewell Andromeda. And yep, that's a pretty short deadline. I have a lot to do and learn and accomplish in the next two months. It's going to be a big, scary whirlwind, but the kind I think I'm going to thoroughly enjoy.

So that's my big news of the day...but I'm not done yet. Watch for more in my upcoming posts. :)

Have a great week!

~~~ * ~~~

About Spacefreighters Lounge

Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.