Deviation Release!

If I had spaceship shaped confetti I would totally be throwing it everywhere right now!

My first ever science fiction, Deviation, has been released by Double Dragon Publishing. For right now I only have the publisher’s purchase link but as soon as it becomes available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble I’ll be certain to shove those links up everywhere.

Look at the pretty, shiny cover!

Look at all the pretty colors!

See the pretty shiny blurby thingy! (OK, so this is the longer version. You can see the shorter version everywhere else.)

On the brink of a religious war between Makeem and Novo Femina, Celeocia Prosser’s struggle for gender equality leads her to Reesa Zimms; the one woman in all of history who can identify the first Mavirus victim. Believing the information surrounding this patient zero to be pivotal in the fight against the Makeem, Celeocia sets her sights on Reesa Zimms, also known as Caresse Zimmerman.

There’s just one problem; Reesa Zimms is a science fiction novelist who lived and died hundreds of years in the past.

Utilizing wormhole travel and antimatter discs, Celeocia sends her son Hedric and the crew of the Lothogy careening through time. When Hedric finds Reesa, the novelist is accompanied by her best friend Kate, who just happens to look like his recently murdered wife.

Stunned and reeling, Hedric abducts both women, bringing Reesa and Kate on a not­so­gentle ride into the future.

Time travel might be easier for Reesa to accept because Hedric Prosser, the High Priestess, and the very ship they’re traveling on, all belong in Reesa’s novels. Confused and pretty sure she’s going insane; Reesa tries to prepare her friend Kate for the very male­dominated society they’ve been dumped into. When she finds herself abandoned by Hedric, Reesa must rely on Matthew Borden, the villain of her books, to rescue Kate and fight their way home.

Hear my squeal of delight to finally see this work out in the open!

No, seriously, Deviation and I have a rather long history. I started writing it in 2008 through Lazette Gifford’s Two Year Novel Course — which I highly recommend for anyone who has been toying with the idea of writing a novel but feels they don’t have the time.

I actually took the class, which started the first week of January so when I say I started writing it in 2008 I really mean I started writing it in 2008. Which means I’ve been working on/editing/shopping this book around to various publishers for six years now.

Six!

I could blame this on the fact that I was in school for three of those years, but the truth is that I was just nervous. This is my first science fiction ever and I wanted to at least try to get it right.

So … I did a lot of research. Granted, I deliberately ignored some of said research because … you know … FICTION … and I needed things to work with the story. But still, I did a LOT of research.

Mars in particular was fun but I’ll make a whole post dedicated to Mars and all the things I broke while trying to make the planet habitable.

Not today, though.

Today I’m throwing confetti and marveling at the artistic talents of my publisher and enjoying general revelry.

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Science Fiction vs. Fantasy Take 1

My first official Science Fiction will be released next month through Double Dragon Publishing. (That’s Deviation, for those of you just joining us.) Also, the sequel to Witch-Born will be released next month as well through the same publisher. (That’s Dead Magic.)

One science fiction, one fantasy. (Yes, I count Dead Magic as fantasy even though it has steampunk tendencies in it. I mean, it deals with witches and magic, it just makes sense.)

It’s interesting to me to see the differences between Science Fiction and Fantasy. I know that you can find both right next to each other in the bookstore. They’re categorized as Speculative Fiction and in some cases you can find them all on the same shelf/shelves.

But they are very, very different to write.

That’s probably obvious since they’re also very different when you’re reading them. Still, there are unique challenges in both genres when you’re writing. For example, you have a little more leeway in Fantasy. Everything still has to make sense, you can’t just explain everything away through magic. Magic itself should have rules and everything in your fantasy world reacts to those rules.

However, the cultures, lands, people and other aspects of a fantasy world are primarily yours to decide. You just have to stick to your set of rules.

With Science Fiction — or at least the science fiction I found myself writing — there are already rules and parameters that you have to stick to. Such as our planetary system. I only visit one other planet, Mars, but trust me … the research involved in knowing that planet well enough to put people on it was astronomical.  (You can kill me for the pun later.)

Mars is a real place. It has terrain. It has features. (It has Mount Olympus. Seriously. Look it up. It’s this volcano that just kept erupting and grew to a major height. I totally swiped it for the book.) But because Mars is a real place all those features, all that terrain, had to be taken into account. I did terraform the planet to sustain life in the book, which altered the terrain a bit (aka — gave it plant life) but the mountains and the ridges and the canyons are all still there.

This isn’t to say that you can be lax in Fantasy. If you build a world and put The Lonely Mountain on one section of the map, you certainly cannot go relocating that mountain halfway through the book.

It’s more like this; in Fantasy you’re creating everything. In Science Fiction you’re finding ways to break or otherwise mold what already exists.

 

Short Stories

This week my very first short story EVER came out in the Love and Darker Passions Anthology from Double Dragon Publishing.  The cover is creepy and I haven’t read everyone’s stories yet that are in it, but I’m totally proud of it.  The story is titled “The Man Who Loved Medusa” and it’s the very first story in the book.
      (I mean really, look at that cover.  It gives me the willies.)

(Also note, if you go the Amazon page you can get a sneak peek at the first bit of Medusa’s story.)

When I was invited to do a story for this anthology, my first worry was that I wouldn’t know how to write anything less than 90 thousand words.  But as it turned out, I was able to manage this story in under 5 thousand words.  During the process, however, I have to note that there were several differences between novel writing and short story format.

Let’s face it, you just plain don’t have time to fill the reader in on all the aspects of the world, setting, characters, plot and what have you when you’re working with a short story.  Every time I wanted to go off on a tangent, I had to pull myself back and putt a 1″ picture frame around what I was trying to say.  (Thank you, Ann Lamont, for the 1″ picture frame analogy in your book Bird by Bird.)

Using Lamont’s analogy here became extremely helpful in writing this short story.  It kept me focused on the who, what, why, and how of the story in front of me.  Note I left out the when and where of the situation.  I learned very quickly that everything — every word, description, and dialog line — had to serve multiple purposes.  The when and where came out within the framework of answering the who and what of the story.

This was supremely tricky for me, but I’m very proud of the way it came out.  And in fact, I was invited into another anthology for next year dealing with folk tales, which brings me to the second portion of this post; I finished my second short story ever.

This second short story I am calling, for right now, Fish Wish.  It’s just the rough draft so far, but I can tell you that I threw lunar bases, moon dust, space travel, near asphyxiation, divorce, the folk tale The Fisherman’s Wife, and the term nano-fishers into a big blender and pressed puree!  And that’s not even the best part.  The best part is that I managed to do it all in less than 2 thousand words.

Bwahahaha!

But really, the challenge of writing short stories has made a vast improvement on my novel writing as well.  While I can get away with a longer word count in a novel, the task of allowing setting, dialog, and every word to do more than one thing in respects to my storytelling is … well … wonderful.