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!

~~~ * ~~~

Friday, August 29, 2014

PUTTING MY BOOK BABY ON THE BIG YELLOW BUS

Not my child, but I feel for Mom.


A few more days and the kids here in Virginia will be climbing aboard those big yellow buses to head back to school.  Parents will be breathing a sigh of relief that their little darlings are resuming a coherent routine—somewhere away from home!  Yet for those moms and dads whose little ones are heading to the bus stop for the first time this September, emotions are mixed.  The very first day of school ever is fraught with anxiety for both parent and child, no matter how exciting it may be.

As I approach the launch date of Unchained Memory in February, I can’t help but think how similar the experience is to putting my kids on the bus that first day of kindergarten.  I had such hopes (and worries!) for my girls.  I find I have the same kind of hopes and worries for my book “baby”, too.

--I hope people like her.  Of course. This is the big one, right?  We want our kids to have friends to color with, to play with at recess, to eat with at lunch.  We want our books to have readers.  Lots of them.  And just like we want our children’s teachers to like them, we want bloggers and major reviewers to treat our books kindly.

--I hope she shines.  My oldest daughter was, well, let’s just say reserved.  Her teachers said she was “quiet”.  My youngest was so anxious the first few weeks of school she went every day to get a hug from the school nurse (after which she’d be fine).  Debut novels can’t afford to be shy and retiring.  We authors have to help them make a great first impression.  We have to make some noise as we come on the scene so folks will remember our names.  (In a nice way, of course.  Nobody wants to have that kid whose name the teacher calls 50 times a day because of bad behavior:  “Johnny, sit down.  Johnny, stop that!”)

--I hope she makes good friends.  It’s not enough for our kids to simply get along with their classmates.  For their school experience to be truly happy, they need good friends, the kind they can invite for sleepovers or playdates.  For some kids, these first friendships last a lifetime.  As authors, we need good friends, too.  They are the readers who meet us with the first book and recognize a kindred spirit immediately.  They support us with great reviews and extensive word-of-mouth campaigns; they write to us about the book and the characters; they eagerly await the next book in the series. I really hope my book baby gets lots of these!

--I hope she avoids any bullies.  Let’s face it.  School is not always a nice place.  Bullies roam the halls and the playground, waiting to pounce on the weak, or sometimes just that person in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Bullies also roam the literary world, in the form of pirates, trolls and just plain mean reviewers, bloggers and commenters.  Just as parents can’t always be at their children’s sides, we authors can’t always leap to the defense of our book babies.  We can fight piracy with the legal tools at hand, ignore the worst trolls, call out troops of loyal friends to stifle unfair reviews, drown negative blogs in positive comments.  But in the end, we must let the book fight its own battles by letting the story speak for itself.

--I hope she learns something. My kids had wonderful kindergarten teachers.  Those women were patient and caring, enthusiastic and creative.  I have no doubt my girls learned a phenomenal amount that first year of school.  The launch of my first book will surely teach me any number of lessons, too.  If I’m smart enough to apply them, first grade should be a breeze!

TODAY IS THE DAY FOR BURNING BADJUJU

Check out Laurie's post below about our annual ritual of banishing blahs, wiping out woes, and eliminating ennui with the burning of badjuju!  Add your list to the pyre before we send it up in flames!  And it burns, burns, burns, that thing of fire, that thing of fire . . . 

Cheers, Donna

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fifth Annual Burning of Badjuju!

Wait...what's Badjuju, you say?

We're so glad you asked.

The Burning of Badjuju has become a writer's tradition here on Spacefreighters Lounge!

Every year, we celebrate the Burning of Badjuju in conjunction with the Burning of Zozobra--also known as Old Man Gloom--in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The big day (which snuck up on us this year) is Friday, August 29th.

So what's this all about?

Well, it all started like this...

The Annual Fiestas de Santa Fe is a celebration with roots that go back to the year 1692 when the Spanish peacefully reclaimed the city from the Pueblos. Later, in 1924, the Zozobra tradition was started as a part of the Fiesta by artist William Howard Shuster, Jr. and it has been carried on in more recent times by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe.

For weeks leading up to the event, people can drop off slips of paper with details of personal gloom—or even certain legal papers—at the offices of the Santa Fe Reporter. These items are stuffed inside the giant effigy along with liberal amounts of shredded newspaper. They can then join the crowd of 40,000 to celebrate on the selected evening and enjoy the banishment of doom and gloom as the giant Zozobra effigy is set ablaze. It's quite a ritual.



In 2009, we decided writers might like to have their own version of the burning of Zozobra. Imagine collecting a stockpile of unsalvageable manuscripts, rejection letters, errant contest score sheets, misguided bad reviews, and other gloom-laced paperwork and having a virtual bonfire of epic proportions to banish our cares? So we created our own version of Zozobra for writers coming up with the name "Badjuju" for our version.

You can check out our archive of past Badjuju Burnings here:

So fire away! Toss all those woes, troubles, self doubts, bad vibes and disappointments into Badjuju so we can light him up on Friday. Then start afresh with a bright and shiny new year ahead of you.

What will you toss into Badjuju this year?


Friday, August 22, 2014

LIFE INTRUDES, WRITING SUFFERS



When I was active in STAR TREK fandom, we used a phrase to describe the need to stop having fun and return to the world of adult responsibilities—“life intrudes”.  As in, “No, dude, I can’t [attend the next con/participate in the costume contest/
practice for the filking performance], life intrudes.”  It meant we had to attend to the real world tasks of earning a living, taking care of the family, feeding the dog or cat. 

I’ve noticed since then that lots of geeky groups use the phrase—fans of graphic narrative (uh, that would be comics to the rest of us), gamers, re-enactors of all stripes and, oh, yes, romance writers.  Not all of us are geeky, mind you, but we all live in some alternate universe of fantasy, where all the women are empowered and all the men incredibly handsome AND sensitive.  We’d stay there indefinitely, except the kids just keep asking to be fed for some reason.  Life intrudes.

In my case this summer, life has intruded in a major way.  Not exactly like Godzilla intruded on Tokyo, because all of the life events I’m experiencing are positive.  I’m grateful for them, truly.  Still, they are all-encompassing, commanding not only my time and attention, but also my emotional energy, which is much more devastating to the concentration one needs for writing.

So what’s going on? 

--I’m moving.  Huge disruption here.  My husband and I are selling the home we’ve owned for 18 years, clearing out the detritus of over 120 combined years of existence on the planet, 38 years of marriage, two kids and multiple pets.  Yes, that’s right, we’re downsizing.  That means a decision must be made about every photo, knick-knack, bauble, tool, piece of furniture and item of d├ęcor.  It’s not only physically exhausting, it’s mentally brutal.  If I were the sentimental type, which thankfully I’m not, it would be emotionally crushing.

Still, we found buyers for our house after having the place on the market for only a month.  We located a nice house to rent for the next year before we move down to North Carolina to start building our dream house.  So, you know what?  It’s all good.  I’ll try not to trip over the boxes in the dark and be grateful the local landfill is just a short drive away.

--My youngest daughter is getting married.  I don’t mean she’s going to a justice of the peace to get hitched.  I mean she’s putting on a formal shindig worthy of mention in the same paragraph with Will and Kate or Kim and Kanye.  But only to say that those couples were extravagant morons when it came to wedding stuff, while my sensible daughter is keeping her special day well within bounds.  Still, formal weddings take a LOT of planning and time, what with multiple dress fittings and cross-state hunts for appropriate undergarments (!).  Fortunately for me, my daughter has things under control.  My main function seems to be Sturdy Shoulder for those times when It All Becomes Too Much.  But, again, she’s marrying a great guy, and they’ll be happy.  Al we have to do is get through October 5.

There are some other long-simmering issues that have finally been resolved this summer, too, which I won’t go into.  Suffice it to say that they needed time and attention, but it was well worth it to accomplish a goal my family has been pursuing for over five years.  Now we’re adjusting to a new, happier reality, and that takes emotional energy, too.

Never for a moment am I forgetting that I have my first book coming out in six months.  Or that a second book will need to be polished and prepared for publication six months after that.  One reason we decided to sell the house now, rather than next spring, was so I could concentrate on promotion, rather than packing, once the book comes out.  But there’s no question, life has intruded on my writing in a big way.  I’m stuck in the middle of the first draft of a short story meant to get out there ahead of the publication of Unchained Memory. Arrgh! Laurie was kind enough to send feedback on my third book that I haven’t even had time to look at. Sorry, Laurie! I’ll get this blog in, but I’ll neglect to respond to comments.  So sorry, dear readers!

I know I’m not the only one for whom the obligations of real life form obstacles to our work.  In most cases, the real world is not at all benign in snatching us away from our lovely alternate universes.  Laurie has shared with us just recently her personal challenges.  Sharon has certainly had frightening, life-altering intrusions to overcome.  Even Stephen King, whose 363-days-a-year work ethic is legendary, eventually had to face reality when a distracted van driver knocked him off the road and nearly into the next world.

The only remedy we have for this inevitable fact of the writers’ life is to recognize the intrusions as temporary, deal with them as best we can and get back to work as soon as possible.  Moving day is September 7; we close on the house September 12.  I should be settled into the new place and back to work before the wedding on October 5.  Then, after it’s all over, my daughter says we deserve a spa day.  Just the thing to get the old creative juices flowing again.

P.S.  Happy First Birthday to my granddaughter!  Little Lana is quite the diva, a delight to all who know her.

Cheers, Donna


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Landmarks - Pippa's Journal


The 17th of August 2009 is a date engraved on my memory. It's the day I sat down at my computer with a short story to hand, some new music, and a desperate need to rediscover myself as I began work on a rough draft that eventually became Keir and the now renamed sequel Keir's Fall. Yeah, I know the exact day I started it. Seems kind of surreal now, five years down the line. Back then I felt I'd lost my identity, and that I'd gone slightly insane. Once I'd started writing, I couldn't stop. Six weeks of nonstop scribbling and typing convinced my husband I really *had* gone crazy. I suppose I had in a way. I was definitely on another planet...

 
But now I can look back and shake my head. In the midst of that craziness, I found myself and rediscovered my passion - writing! Now I'm a multi-published author with my eighth title releasing TODAY! How awesome is that?! Five years ago it was enough to simply be writing again, let alone imagine that I might be published. Weird.

 
So if you're thinking that it can't be done, I'm telling you it CAN. I've done it. All you need to remember is - Never give up, never surrender!






Mission Success

Restless In Peaceville
 
Restless In Peaceville releases today. Woo hoo! Title number eight, and my first paranormal release. My first zombie story too. Definitely wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me I'd have something like this coming out. No, sir. You can check out the tour schedule HERE, and I'm kicking off with a post about why the heck I wrote zombies at the lovely Karen Y Bynum's blog HERE, and a book spotlight HERE. The official tour kicks off on the 1st September with a suitably zombie-themed giveaway. Bwahahaa!In the meantime my tour for Tethered is still running, and you have a couple more days to win a shiny thing HERE.



Amazon has enabled pre-orders for indies! Frankly, it's about time too. With Smashwords and ARe already offering this long before Amazon, it felt as if once more the Zon were denying indies the same rights as other publishers. Some authors are saying this isn't necessarily a good thing, but I for one am relieved. When self publishing, it'll make my life a lot easier being able to upload and set titles in advance rather than having to do it on or just before the day I want something to go live.

On the subject of self publishing, there's a post of interesting tips from a recent RWA event that you might find useful HERE. I didn't know about the series landing page for one thing.

I've seen Guardians of the Galaxy twice, and would happily go again! I know Donna's review found it lacking that essential something, but for me it ticked all the boxes. Reluctant hero makes good, interesting characters, great spaceships and planets, a strong storyline with a satisfying ending yet potential for sequels continuing character development...yep, very happy. And if you haven't seen the dancing baby Groot - go check it out NOW!


In the meantime, I have just two more weeks with my monsters home before I can really get back to work. There are edits and covers and releases to come, oh my! Here's my schedule as it currently stands -

Restless In Peaceville releases 20th August
Tethered tour ends 23rd August
Restless tour begins 1st September
Complete and submit YA dystopia short Zombie Girl
Cover Reveal for When Dark Falls TBA
Edits for No Angel and a paranormal short
Paranormal short releases 1st October, tour 8th-31st
BristolCon 25th October
When Dark Falls releases November
No Angel releases December

Keir, Keir's Fall and a side story set between the two are on my list for 2015, plus a novella in the Venus Ascendant collection, two holiday-themed SFR shorts, and completing a novel-length sequel to Imprint, my SFR short in Tales from the SFR Brigade anthology. However, I also have sequels to Tethered, RIP, When Dark Falls AND Zombie Girl in mind. Book three in the series for Keir is down for 2016.

Funny to think that when I started the submission process with Keir I was afraid of running out of ideas... O.o