Monday, January 21, 2019

News and Fun on the SFR Front #amwriting #sfrgalaxyawards #MLKDay

I've got a very newsy blog this week. Here's the latest on what I've been working on in the SFR community, with my writing, and on the author front.

But first an observance...

A Very Special Day

I need to recognize, as I do every year, that this third Monday in January is set aside to honor a very special man in our history. In 1983, fifteen years after the honoree's death, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill designating this day as a national holiday and day of observance for all time.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was, in my opinion, one of the greatest voices in history. (And probably one of the most powerful writers of our time, though he's seldom recognized for that.) He spoke with reason, with compassion, with a message of hope for those struggling to overcome adversity and a request for understanding for those who refused to see injustice. 

Deeply influenced by Mohandas (Mahatma) Ghandi and a devout Christian, he called for nonviolent civil disobedience--challenging the status quo in an effort to overcome the racial segregation and inequality that was so prevalent in the turmoil of the 1960s and before.

On August 28, 1963, he spoke with great eloquence and clarity, putting forth that he hoped his children would one day "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." If you've never read his iconic, world-shaking speech, I urge you to read his words here:

I Have a Dream

And if you'd like to see his personal commitments explained, read his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, written after he'd been imprisoned for peaceful demonstration and criticized by the local clergy.

Sadly, throughout our history, those who strongly disagree with someone's views and fears their influence might seek to silence them forever. Tragically, that was the fate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he was assassinated by an escaped convict on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Every year, I like to revisit one of the phrases in his I Have a Dream speech to recapture the spirit of his message. Because we live in a very troubled world, and as this great man once said:

"Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Powerful words to try to live by.

The SFR Galaxy Awards are Coming!

As this year's event coordinator, I get to have the first sneak peak at all the upcoming award presentations this year ( lips are sealed!) and I'm very excited by the line-up that's taking shape.

The 2018 SFR Galaxy Awards will be announced on January 31st beginning at 10AM Eastern Time and will continue with new rounds posted every hour throughout the day. Judges can present awards for up to five SFR books for each round, so a lot of awards will be handed out to totally surprised authors on that day.

The awards have a dedicated site, and you can stop by and save the link now: SFR Galaxy Awards

This is the seventh annual presentation of the only know all-SFR awards, and with major award programs dropping like flies (to use a cliche) in the book industry, it's going to need the support of the SFR community to keep it returning in future years.

In a poll recently posted to the SFR Brigade discussion group regarding knowledge about the awards, here's how members responded:

50% (44) responded: I’ve heard of the awards, but I’m not really sure of the details.

29.5% (26) responded: I love the SFR Galaxy Awards! I think they're important to authors and a great way for readers to find books they want to read.

20.5% (18) responded: I don’t know anything about the SFR Galaxy Awards.

0% (0) responded: I know about the awards, but don't really pay much attention unless one of my books happens to win an award.

88 Responses to Poll

With only a third of the SFR Community members who weighed in saying they actively follow the awards, clearly we've got some work to do!

Please help get the word out and show your support by sharing information about the award rounds as they're released on January 31st. Please post links to the site on social media, your blogs or your websites, and talk about the awards with your readers and peers. Thank you!

StarDog Set for Final Return Flight to the Editor

I've just finished the final re-furbish of my former Pets in Space offering, StarDog. It now has new scenes, enhanced scenes, tweaked scenes, and a few uber-altered scenes, plus some all new material and an epilogue that I feel gives the story a little more closure in the "what happens next?" department. It heads back to the editor for a final scrub on February 1st.

StarDog was actually written as a prequel to my first novel, when the tensions with the Ithian Alliance are just coming to a head. It also sets up an important bit of backstory for a future novel's heroine and for my next project, Courting Disaster.

I added a brief Afterword that explains how the story segues into the series anchor, Inherit the Stars.

One of the elements I really struggled with was the addition of a second love scene, but I'm happy with how it (eventually) turned out. That scene probably got more attention than all the other passages in the story combined!

Overall, I'm super pleased with the changes and the bump-up in word count from novelette length to full blown novella. Although StarDog introduces several new characters to the series, it also features cameos and "guest appearances" by some familiar faces from the novel.

I think this story is going to do wonderful things for the universe-building in my fictional little corner of the Milky Way, and I'll be very proud to add it to my Inherited Stars Series line-up.

Inherit the Stars Scores Wonderful Recognition

There are days that being an author is no picnic, and then there are weeks like this past one where Inherit the Stars scored two wonderful recommendations of note.

Available on Amazon
The first was a five star BookBub recommendation (the first for Inherit the Stars or any of my books, to the best of my knowledge) that said in opening..."This is a lively read, with skillful worldbuilding. The book begins with a daring escape, slows down a bit so readers can get to know the characters, then pivots into a suspenseful space adventure with ultra-high stakes and villains you love to hate. " and later adds, "No superficial story here, which is probably why I liked it so much."

The reviewer tagged the book as: "Action-packed," "Great world-building," "Happily Ever After," "Original," and "Wonderful characters."

Oh, what a feeling!

Here's the link. (If you want to acknowledge the time and effort this reviewer invested in writing this recommendation, please give it a "like.") BookBub Review of Inherit the Stars

Then, Inherit the Stars got even more attention at the Sidney Public Library in Sidney, Iowa where it was recommended as a staff pick by Library Director Riley Moreland.

That, in itself, was quite a thrill, but just look at the company it was keeping!

Yup, that's none other than Nora Roberts' Year One and Julie McElwain's Murder in Time, both highly acclaimed Science Fiction fare.

There are some weeks when being an author pays back tenfold. This is one of those weeks.

Hope you enjoy the rest of yours.


  1. Wow, Laurie. Sincere congrats for some great recognition.

  2. Thanks so much, Greta. It really put a smile on my face. :)


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