2019, A year of changes

First of all, Happy New Year, one and all.

Last year saw the words “The End” go on my space opera. It came in at a respectable 150,000 words. It’s a mix of futuristic nanotech, genetic engineering, the clash of cultures, feudal politics, sexy romance, and swords.

The new year is also supposed to see a new short story and two novellas, all as part of anthologies.

On the self-publishing side, I plan on re-releasing a short story in June and a novella in February. The novella is a bit of conundrum. I’m tempted to expand it and make it a second edition, one with additional content and some added steam (i.e. that means sexier), along with a sexy cover that I can’t wait to show you.

The major change this year is that all my self-published ebooks will be available to my newsletter subscribers two weeks before they are released to the rest of the world. So, if you want to take advantage of this, you have to be on my subscriber list, i.e. my super-fan list.

If you’re not on the list, you can sign up under “Newsletter Opt-in” on the right-side of the screen. Go ahead and do it. It’s easy.

I’m not into making new year’s resolutions, but I will say that my goal is to make 2019 a more productive year overall, with sequels and side stories for my space opera and a sequel to Promethea Invicta. Speaking of Promethea, I’m eagerly awaiting a better microphone (due here next week) so I can produce an audio version. I’m also very excited to announce a collaboration with Tom Kratman. More to come on that.

Meanwhile, my short story, Equality (first published in MAGA 2020 & Beyond) is live as of today directly from me via Bookfunnel (in your favorite format), as well as from these vendors (Print, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Scribd, D2D). And of course, it’s available through your favorite library as well; just ask your librarian.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day

Love is blind, but even blindness can’t defeat Dragomir. Love on the other hand, defeats—or saves—all.

“Enemy Beloved” is a prequel to my space samurai saga and will be out on Valentine’s Day as part of the Planetary Anthology:Venus by Superversive Press. It is the first published story in this universe.

Yes, it’s a romance, but a romance with space samurai. Cause that’s how I roll.

Two other short stories in this universe are in the submission process and the first novel has been completed and is in the hands of my first reader.

This project has taken on a life of its own, growing from a nascent idea for one book, to a trilogy, and then into a series. It has now sprouted branches (side stories as short fiction) and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it’s taking shape.

I hope you enjoy “Enemy Beloved.”

Update: Early release on 2/11/17. Click here: Planetary: Venus for the Kindle version.

 

My first post at superversivesf.com

Check out my first post for the wonderful people at Superversive SF.

Hard Sci-fi Made Me Cry

Tired of the remakes, the reboots, the “let’s see how much more blood we can squeeze out of this turnip” output of today’s Hollywood? I think you’ll find Passengers a refreshing change.

Learning experience: The right way to do first person

I just finished reading Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever, the first book in her Fever series. Two things precipitated the purchase: recommendation from a friend and part of my continuing education (specifically following Dean Wesley Smith’s advice to read for pleasure and then study the pleasurable reads from long-time, best-selling authors). Moning’s Darkfever met both those criteria and it’s an excellent example of how to do first person well.

I’m not going to cover the plot because it’s a distant third in the way I measure things. I’m far more impressed by an interesting milieu (the setting and skillful world-building) and interesting characters, and for a first person novel, frankly, character trumps all. Actually, plot is never my primary concern. If it was, I wouldn’t re-read my favorite books or series year-in and year-out. See, the plot doesn’t ever change. Psst. Don’t tell anyone.

So here we have MacKayla Lane, a soft, spoiled young woman with lots of First World problems who is far too concerned with her long blonde hair, the names of her nail polish colors, and her wardrobe choices. Not a character that I would typically go for, and had the first person narration been typical, I would’ve probably walked –no, sprinted– away from the free sample and gone on to something else.

What was it about this character that (a) drew me in, and (b) kept me turning the pages? I didn’t like “Mac” very much. She had way too many idiotic opinions and priorities for me to take her seriously. But here’s the rub: I was solidly in her world and in her head from the very start. This first person narrator was very obviously a retrospective narrator and she maintained that presence throughout the book. In other words, it wasn’t an outside-in narration with a pronoun shift to first person, i.e. a story better suited for third person.

Here’s an example of what maintaining that retrospective narrator presence looks like:

…I had no idea that pieces of one’s soul could be lost.

Back then, I was so blind to everything that was going on around me. Back then, I was twenty-two and pretty and up until the month before, my biggest concern had been whether Revlon would discontinue my favorite Iceberry Pink nail polish, which would be a disaster of epic proportions as it would leave me without the perfect complement for the short pink silk skirt I was wearing today with a clingy pearly top, and shimmery gold sandals, flattered by just the right heel to show off my golden, toned legs.

Moning, Karen Marie (2006-10-31). Darkfever: Fever Series Book 1 (pp. 238-239). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

At no time did Moning insult my intelligence by pretending that this was “real-time” or that the peril was such that the narrator’s survival was in doubt, yet there was no lack of tension. It also didn’t suffer from “reporting syndrome,” that awful situation when choosing a first person narrator results in having other characters report their findings to the narrator because so much of the really important stuff took place outside her presence (hint: means it should’ve been a multiple viewpoint novel) .

My only complaint about the story is that there wasn’t much romance despite the obvious and ongoing sexual tension between Mac and Jericho, but there was enough promise of one to make me do the one thing every writer hopes a reader will do when she reaches the end: press that button to buy the next book.

 

 

Seeing the light on romance

I have to admit, the last person I thought I’d see with an essay in Ardeur: 14 Writers on the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series was L. Jagi Lamplighter.

I’d read several of the books in the Anita Blake series after a co-worker got me hooked. I did not stay a devotee of the series. I honestly can’t recall where the series lost me, and I really didn’t think much of it. Most series romances lose me a few books in. “It’s not you. It’s me.” Honest.

Lamplighter was someone whose reputation I was aware of and whose short stories I’ve enjoyed. I may or may not have read her back when I was reading just for pleasure (and the fact that I can’t recall if I had or hadn’t isn’t noteworthy either, trust me–ask me what I had for dinner last night; go ahead, I dare you!). I do miss the days when I never had to worry about reading-as-a-writer. Reading-as-a-reader is more fun. Honestly, if you love reading, and you’re considering writing, turn back now. “Danger, Will Robinson, danger.” (This is not a condition unique to writing. Beware of turning any avocation into a vocation.) But, I digress…

This enlightening essay is called “Dating the Monsters: Why It Takes a Vampire or a Wereguy to Win the Heart of the Modern It Girl” and here’s a woefully brief excerpt. To my happy surprise, said essay wasn’t about the failings of men. I almost did a happy dance.

Lamplighter offers tremendous insight into what sweeps Romance readers off their collective feet and how the “needs of drama” differ from the “needs of culture.”

I agree that these needs have been at war and I think they’ve claimed the metaphorical lives of many stories that would’ve otherwise been great. And not just in Romance (or in romance) but in all kinds of fiction.

In short–so that you’ll seek it out for yourself and benefit from Lamplighter’s extremely well-written reasoning–this essay is about what makes happy readers. So, if you’ve just finished the latest “must read” with the fastest, smartest, biggest, baddest, kickass female protagonist out there, and you’re wondering what that awful aftertaste is all about, then set aside some time for this lone gem of literary criticism and insight.