Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book Launch Follies – the 12 Step approach

This morning, I read Derek Murphy’s post on his book marketing woes, partly because the headline indicated that preordering had been a mistake for Derek.

I hear you, brother. I just completed the preorder process on Valkyrie on Planet Fury this past week, bless the handful of people who preordered, but it was basically a disaster. It even got in the way of getting the book as perfect as it could have been by imposing a deadline for Amazon's convenience rather than my book's polishing. (I still did polish the best I could but the deadline got in the way).

Alas for me, the numbers Derek so candidly reports as pitiful for his launch would have caused me to break out champagne and celebrate. Well, I don’t do alcohol anymore, but I would have brewed myself a very strong cup of Ceylon cut black tea and felt quite encouraged.

That said, Derek does have some useful ideas about what exactly didn’t work for him and why using the preorder feature didn't contribute much. Unfortunately, most of the suggestions he has to improve the book launch process seem to involve strenuous people-seeking skills more appropriate to raving extroverts. If I were raving extrovert, I wouldn't spend so much time in front of my computer commuting to other fictional planets.

I'm not even going to get into the world-class Olympic gymnastic Google keywording activities. Maybe after a cup of tea, I'll revisit them!

I had to stand back and in the words of that old 12 Step motto: “Take what you need and leave the rest.” I share the link because I found some things worth taking in Derek's post.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tickets to Planet Fury on sale now!

Sybil of Valkyrie's latest adventure, is now available! Valkyrie on Planet Fury: A Novel With Gravitas Book 2 of the Gravitas Series

A forbidden love.

An impossible mission.

A planet where death lurks at every turn.

Sybil of Planet Valkyrie can’t go home until she confronts the rulers of Planet Fury, where assassination is a popular pastime. The Furies demand that Sybil tap the powers of her familiar demons to find an answer that may not exist—or die trying.

Advance Reviews for Valkyrie on Planet Fury

“A heady blend of science fiction and erotic fun, satire and mind-thrilling and chilling detail.” Frannie Zellman, author of The Fatland Trilogy

“A thoroughly enjoyable read!” Karen J. Mossman, author of The Secret

“Weaves Greek and Norse mythology into an action-packed tale with visionary ideas, hilarious wit and sexy fun.” Jaqueline Girdner, author of the Kate Jasper mysteries

Also available in paperback.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Series versus standalone novels and Sybil of Planet Valkyrie

This week I’m publishing the second book in the Gravitas series, featuring Sybil of Planet Valkyrie. I’ve given some thought lately about the controversy around series books in genre fiction. The main complaint I hear from readers who dislike series books is when the story ends with a cliff hanger and the reader must get the next book to find out what happened. I agree that this is a shameless tease that should be avoided at all costs. I think any author who indulges in it is not doing their job as a writer. It’s one thing to leave some loose threads to pique the curiosity to know more. It’s quite another to say, in essence, “Tune in next week to find out what happens...”

That said, when each book in a series tells its own tale with a satisfying ending and when I love the writer and the characters, I’m happy to read every book in a series and to look forward to new developments. Sometimes a series loses momentum after several books and that’s a pretty good time to let the characters ride off into the sunset, live happily ever after (or if you’re of a sadistic bent) fall off of Reichenbach Falls--we all know how that turned out, even Arthur Conan Doyle couldn't kill Sherlock Holmes.

When I came to write Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone, I had no thought of making it a series. I had wanted to write about alien-human first encounters leading to religion since I first read Carl Jung’s Flying Saucers : A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies. Jung saw the UFO craze as a "living myth" and a religion being formed before our eyes. I was intrigued by the idea that this might have happened often in human history and it night not be good for humans or the survival of the planet.

That was the seed of the book and many other elements arose when I started to write. I was coming off a year of being very ill when I started to write Gravitas and I think the book reflects how happy I was that my brain had come back online and I was again able to spark new ideas and spin stories.

Once the book was done, Debbie Notkin was kind enough to look it over. One suggestion she made was that the Furies should play a larger part in Gravitas. I expanded their role a little and in the process, I started to think about who these creatures might be when they’re at home. The Furies inspire such dread (particularly in men, I think because they are the opposite of controllable women) that I realized Sybil of Valkyrie needed to pay a home visit to them and that she still had some adventures to live through. So Valkyrie on Planet Fury needed to be written.

That’s how series books evolve for me. Your mileage may vary.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Valkyrie on Planet Fury arrives January 21st!

I'm planning to release Valkyrie on Planet Fury, the sequel to Gravitas in both Kindle and paperback form on Thursday, January 21st.

Kindle available for Pre-order now

Here's a small taste of the book:

Chapter 1 – In the House of Darkness

I held the hand of the man I loved as we stood before the thrones of the Furies in the House of Darkness. Josu and I might not survive the next few minutes. Assassination is both an art form and a popular sport on Planet Fury.

The room stretched off into shadows. The Furies had state-of-the-art weaponry, but the approach to their thrones was lit by flames burning in braziers on tripods. The Furies sat on a raised dais at the end of the cavernous room. Everyone else stood.

The black, red and green thrones matched the Furies’ robes, but the snakes drew every eye. My own red hair was secured in a simple braid. The Furies’ jet black hair was woven into a gleaming nest for the snakes to crawl through.

When the Furies visited Earth thousands of years ago, humans reported that their hair was entirely made of snakes and their terrifying faces turned anyone who looked at them to stone. Josu I hadn’t turned to stone. But it was hard not to freeze like a petrified bunny and stare at the constantly shifting reptiles. Rumor had it that the Furies even more dangerous relative, Medusa, did indeed kill anyone who gazed upon her face. I never wanted to meet her.

Judging by their furrowed brows and clenched lips, the Furies were angry. Well, they were always angry. Just some days more than others. This was a bad day.

Alecto, all in black, sitting on the black throne, addressed me. “We killed for you not long ago. We rescued both you and this one,” she indicated Josu, “from the clutches of attackers on Earth. You did not request, nor were you entitled to our protection.”

“We are grateful for your help,” I threw in an “Honored Godmother.” I probably got the title wrong. The rulers of Planet Fury were always addressed with exquisite politeness as the Godmothers. No one dared to offend them.

I squeezed Josu’s hand for comfort. He squeezed back. In that moment I sensed that another man somewhere in this room was snared by my Gravitas. Impossible. Any man who made skin-to-skin contact would be instantly addicted to the powerful aphrodisiac all Valkyrian women secrete. The only man I had touched since arriving on the planet was my own mate, Josu.

Males on Planet Fury are nearly as fierce as the women. For everyone’s safety, they live in separate quarters and come together for controlled recreation and sacred reproduction. Furian males are governed by the Men’s Auxiliary Forces, or MAF, also known as the Godfathers.

The only Furian men that I could see in the room were the Godfathers and their armed honor guards who stood in ranks on either side of the thrones. None of them had come close enough to touch me. Yet every one of my senses was on high alert. I sensed that a man addicted to Gravitas was in the room. He just had not revealed himself. Yet.

Men snared by Gravitas cannot be trusted. Driven by uncontrollable urges, they have been known to kill to feed their appetite.

A few hours earlier, my primary worry had been dealing with the three husbands I married during Josu’s absence.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Fat Activism in One Volume: A Review of Fat Activism

From Body Impolitic, courtesy of Laurie Edison and Debbie Notkin: Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement by Dr. Charlotte Cooper is being published today, January 4, 2016! In honor of this important publication, Laurie and Debbie, who usually greet the new year with a post of their own, are delighted to publish Lynne Murray’s review today.

Lynne Murray says:

This book addresses many issues that I personally have struggled with for 30 years of trying to live a fat activist life. Such as, why does each new generation of fat activists seem to have to reinvent the wheel?

True, in 2016 the internet provides a treasure trove of resources for those who search. But you have to know a thing exists before you can even start to look for it. Many people who desperately need fat positive information, inspiration and supportive communities will not even have an idea of what they are missing.

This is part of what inspired Dr. Cooper to write her book:

I was interested in how fat activist histories might be transmitted through communities because I was dismayed by how little fat activists seemed to know about the movement of which they were a part. I also felt that fat activism is under-documented and wanted to create a paper trail for others to use. More on Body Impolitic