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Another author interview for you. I have had Amanda Bridgeman on my blog before. However, something new and exciting happening in her publishing life fired my imagination with questions. Thank you Amanda for dropping by to talk about your new release The Subjugate, published by Angry Robot.

But first, the blurb so we know about the book!

In a small religious community rocked by a spree of shocking murders, Detectives Salvi Brentt and Mitch Grenville find themselves surrounded by suspects. The Children of Christ have a tight grip on their people, and the Solme Complex neurally edit violent criminals – Subjugates – into placid servants called Serenes. In a town where purity and sin, temptation and repression live side by side, everyone has a motive. But as the bodies mount up, the frustrated detectives begin to crack under the pressure: their demons are coming to light, and who knows where that blurred line between man and monster truly lies.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Pure & Savage | Hard Boiled | Bright Spark | Finding Serenity ]

Amanda Bridgeman

 

Can you tell us a bit about the book and how you came to write it?

I’d been wanting to write a female cop protagonist for some time. I can’t recall how the idea for the Solme Complex came to me, but I suspect it was partly my fascination/abhorrence of violence and violent men, and the desire to see equality in the world. The religious aspect comes from my upbringing – I was raised a Catholic but haven’t continued with the religion since high school, and naturally I have ‘feels’ about that. So the book formed from a culmination of my own life experiences, natural intrigue and research.

 How did you get picked up by Angry Robot?

I actually met Marc Gascoigne at Conflux in Canberra back in 2013 (and I won that conference ticket from you at Genrecon in Sydney in 2012!). I did a panel with Marc and at some point over the convention he bought me a cup of tea and we had a chat about my books – at the time it was the Aurora series. I guess we followed each other at a distance over the years and then when The Subjugate was finished I got my agent, Alex Adsett to pitch it to him. Voila! Here we are.

(Wow! that is so fab. I know from talking to Marc at the time that he was interested in your work. And, yes, lots of opportunities through Genrecon and Conflux!)

How did you fit writing it in around your massive Aurora series?

I had written 5 Aurora books before the first one was published, so my previous publisher was able to release them relatively quickly – the five books over three years – so I look more prolific than I actually am. After I had written the 5 and had spent a little time learning about the publishing process, I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing something different. A result of this was my novel The Time of the Stripes, and then The Subjugate. It was important for me to take a break from the Aurora world and try some different flavours of science fiction – being an alien contact story and the sci-fi crime thriller. I think they’ve made me a better writer. It’s always been my goal to be a versatile writer and not be pigeon-holed into any one genre or sub-genre. Plus I love a good thriller, so it was always my plan to branch into thrillers at some point.

Was there any new challenges in writing The Subjugate?

Absolutely! The biggest challenge was predicting law enforcement in the future. Let’s face it, with the improvements in technology and forensics, it’s going to be harder and harder for people to commit crimes and get away with them. For me, it helped that the crimes in my novel were committed in a community that shuns technology…

 Is there any more books of yours coming out from Angry Robot?

Not as yet – I need to finish writing my next book/s. I’m not going to rush anything out, though. The Subjugate has been so well received that it’s important my next book is just as good, if not better! I do have a follow-up planned for The Subjugate (a whole series in fact, centred around Detective Salvi Brentt), and I’ve started researching a new book (and potential series) separate from The Subjugate, but set in the near future, involving a female police detective and time travel! And, of course, I have the final Aurora books to work on. And if time permits, a sequel to The Time of the Stripes. And that’s not including any of the other ideas I wish to develop into novels or screenplays. If only I had more time!

What’s ahead for you in the publishing world? More traditional, more Indie?

I’m keen to pursue more traditional possibilities if I can. If publishers don’t want my new work, then I’ll happily self-publish and continue on the hybrid path. I’ve built up a strong and loyal readership over the years, so that makes things easier! There are pros and cons to both sides of the publishing fence, but right now I value the extra eyes (namely mainstream media eyes) a good publisher can help get your book.

 

Thank you Amanda. That is truly amazing. You write so long, too so it is mind boggling that you write so much. Matthew and I are both fans of your Aurora series. I think Matthew has read more than me. We have the print copy on order and Matthew already has the ebook on his Kobo! I love how there is such a buzz about this one. I wish you great success with it and more.

You can get The Subjugate in print or ebook.

About Amanda from her webpage/blog http://www.amandabridgeman.com.au

Amanda is an Aurealis Award finalist and author of 7 science fiction novels, including the best-selling space opera Aurora series and apocalyptic drama The Time of the Stripes.

Born in the seaside/country town of Geraldton, Western Australia, she moved to Perth (Western Australia) to study film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University, earning her a BA in Communication Studies. Perth has been her home ever since, aside from a nineteen-month stint in London (England) where she dabbled in Film & TV ‘Extra’ work.

When she’s not writing/reading books, you can find her indulging in films/tv/art or jumping up and down at rock concerts.

I know it’s only October but…

Things speed up this time of year.

I was going to China for two weeks at the beginning of November and then to Perth for the last week of November but that’s changed. My son has to go to the USA so we cancelled my China trip. I’m kind of sad about that because I miss my son and it’s hard knowing that the rhythm of his life is so different to mine. However, I am extremely lucky my two daughters live close by and all my grandchildren have been living close too.

Now that I will be around for most of November, I can do NaNoWriMo! Happy dance.

I have finished editing up Ruby Heart, which I got back from my agent. It didn’t sell obviously. But after cutting out some superfluous sex and violence, I think the fault is mostly mine and maybe some of it is the industry. I know so much more about the market when I wrote it and when it got taken up by the agent. It was sort of YA and then leaped into adult and back to YA. After the slashing it is now YA/cosy level I think. There’s still a bit of action and violence but nothing like before. Ruby Heart is a steampunk/paranormal romance, with gothic horror and cosy mystery tropes. It features Jemima Hardcastle who is way too clever for her own good.

I commissioned covers for Ruby Heart and the sequel Emerald Fire. As Emerald Fire is only half written, so guess what my NaNoWriMo project is. I have to believe I can get this done around my other commitments. I’ve done my tax return and that usually frees up my mind. And I will certainly do a cover reveal when I get the covers.

I also commissioned new covers for the Silverlands series and we will see how that goes. I’m going to rework the blurbs for that series too.

Anyway, I must return to the grindstone. I’m meant to be focussing on uni and the PhD today.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but as I’ve just put in my tax return  the timing seems right.

First up, self publishing/indie publishing has been great for me on many levels. I’ve never felt so good about my writing. It’s liberating, hard work and fun. I’m not rich. I’ve not made it big. But I’m happy!

I also scored a short listing for Beneath the Floating City, my collection of SF stories. That was a lovely surprise.

My sales figures are not to hand but I’ll try to give an indicative account.

My Bookbub last year allowed me to give away 27,000 copies of Shatterwing. I was also book of the week on ibooks Australia

I also used Instafreebie (now called Prolific Works) to give out free copies and to build my newsletter subscribers. That’s a bit harder to count but it is in the thousands as well. I also give away Argenterra and Beneath the Floating City. If you are looking for freebies then the newsletter sign up below will give you access to those.

Earnings from royalties from books and direct cash sales is $4500 approximately.

My expenses were $6300 approximately. Most of that was on editing, proofreading, a new laptop, toner and other product related things. So I made a loss. I thought I made a profit because I still had money in my book account, but then I realised I had invested more money in my books before the end of the financial year.

I had a international Bookbub for Dragon Wine Volume One-a box set of the first two books for 99 cents in July this year (so not included in the figures above). That wasn’t huge but the investment by readers in the series has been great. I’ve had the best response in people buying the rest of the series, particularly in the UK. I sold 327 books in July. In the UK that was 160 of my box set. I didn’t get a USA Bookbub so did some newsletter swaps and had sales of Dragon Wine in the USA too, but without the hefty price tag. In the following month I sold 360 books on Amazon. In the USA that was 142 sales, UK 173 and in September sales were around 63 units across the Amazon stores.

The upshot is I have money in the bank and I’m thinking of using it to put new covers on the Silverlands series. Argenterra doesn’t sell as well as it should and I think that’s because the cover I asked for was trying to depict what was going on in the novels, rather that speaking to the genre. They are epic fantasy and I need covers that call out to epic fantasy readers. An expensive newbie mistake.

These earnings amounts are small. Yes. That’s true. But they are also a damn sight more money than I saw through traditional publishing.

I haven’t invested in a big way with advertising. I might try that next year. I have done Bookbub, Bargain Booksy and newsletter swaps this year. All have been worth it to find new readers.

For the quarter July, August and September I earned $1500. I had a book launch so that accounted for quite a bit of that, but there were expenses of the launch too.

Right now I’m thinking about my strategy and tasks for 2019. I hope to build on what I have done this year.

I have these books out

Traditional published with Harlequin

Spiritbound by Dani Kristoff

Bespelled  by Dani Kristoff

Invoked by Dani Kristoff

Rayessa and the Space Pirates under my name

Rae and Essa’s Space Adventures under my name

Self/indie published under my name

Opi Battles the Space Pirates

Shatterwing

Skywatcher

Deathwings

Bloodstorm

Skyfire

Moonfall

Argenterra

Oathbound

Ungiven Land

Beneath the Floating City (short story collection SF)

Through These Eyes (short story collection Magic realism)

Under Dani Kristoff

A Sorcerer’s Spell

I have also put out

Dragon Wine Volume One, Two and Three, which are box sets of two dragon wine books. I’ll be putting out a complete set but like the Silverlands Series that will only be available on Ibooks and Kobo.

That’s 13 books put out by me and 5 with traditional publishers. But a lot more when you include box sets by way of products.

I’m hoping to put out 2-4 books out next year. Stay tuned.

Here is the amazing cover art for the complete series of Dragon Wine.

 

For free books and good deals and news from me sign up to my newsletter.

 

This last weekend (29 September to 1 October) was Conflux, Canberra SF convention. I love these conventions. They are cosy and intimate and surprisingly new faces appear among the old friends. For the first time in my life I had a very busy schedule at an SF convention. I also had a table selling books and a book launch, with some fund raising for GUFF thrown in.

In the week prior to Conflux, I went to Bourke on a creative and cultural trip through the university. More about that in another post. That meant I had to have everything prepared for Conflux and the launch prior to leaving. I was crazy busy doing that. Without my wonderful partner, Matthew, who collected books for me from the post office while I was a way I would have been insane before the convention started.

First up, I was on a panel about Kick arse (ass) heroines in SF on TV. Principally, we were talking about Star Trek Discovery, The Expanse and Lost in Space. I managed to convince Keri Arthur to join the panel as there was just me and Andrew Old. For some reason I thought Andrew was chairing this panel and, unfortunately, I was totally wrong about that. It seems that I was meant to be leading the discussion. We got through that panel all right. I have convinced Andrew Old that Toby Stephens is sexy in Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Now he’s tagging me on Facebook with pictures of Toby Stephens in a singlet and so on. Haha. That’s funny. We all loved these three shows. Keri said Naomi in the Expanse reminded her of Zoe in Firefly.  Firefly was ahead of its time. Or the rest of the universe is catching up. I think Lost in Space is a real, sit up and watch with regards to feminising SF or the feministisation of SF. Love it.

Then it was a short break while I set up for my book launch. As I was away in Bourke, I couldn’t bake so I paid for someone to bake some cupcakes for me. I asked Leife Shallcross who she had do her cupcakes for her launch because they were amazing. There was only a week so not much time to do something too fancy. Listya made vanilla cupcakes with lemon butter filling and butter icing swirls in red and yellow to give the impression of flames, you know dragon flames. They were stunning to look at and drop dead yummy. I ate two of them. I also had bubbly, dips and nibbles and quiches. As it was the last two books in the Dragon Wine series, I was celebrating as well as launching. Many of the people in the audience were people who helped me along the way. I was touched by their support and with friends coming from outside the convention to be at the launch.

Nicole Murphy did my launch speech and it was amazing. She spoke so well (and now I have to learn to improve my public speaking) and I was moved to tears. Not only did she talk about the series and the underlying themes, she also recited the first lines from Shatterwing. She delivered these lines so well.

Here is what she recited.

In the velvet dark of space hovers Shatterwing, the fragments of a broken moon. Vestiges of decaying power crackle and twist in among the debris orbiting Margra, sending rock and dust to rebound off the atmosphere, sometimes piercing its envelope to plummet to the planet’s surface. Yet something approaches, something disturbs the precarious balance. Another piece of dead moon breaks away, larger and more deadly as it plunges to the world below…

What touched me was the words she said about hope and how hope is important for survival and that it was threaded through the work. Thank you awesome Nicole Murphy.

 

I have to say a special thank you to Matthew too. He did the sales for me and he was great. Well done!

 

Launch cupcakes a bit blurred. Sorry!

I was down to give a paper on SF romance and consent. A repeat of my paper I gave at IASPR. Funny thing I was so hyper I spoke very fast. I wasn’t nervous as such, just very revved. I have been for weeks and weeks.

After that, I also attended book launches. Kaaron Warren had her two books launched at Verity in town. Then I snuck off with Keri Arthur and we ate Chinese food at Sammy’s. After that we popped into Koko Black because it was too damn early to go home.

Here are some photos from the club where the launch was held. The first one is the crowd, with Robert Hood talking there. Then Keri Arthur and Leife Shallcross, then Lee Murray doing the launch speech with Kaaron Warren looking on and the last one is a picture of the crowd looking on.

I shared a table with Catherine M Walker and I am so grateful to her and my partner Matthew as they covered the table most of the time while I was off being on panels, going to launches or just saying hello to people.

Sunday I had a panel at 9.30  about Unconventional Publishing, with David Henley, Dion Perry and with chair Ion Newcombe. This was tapped for a radio program and it was interesting and fun too. Dion kept coming up with some really key points and David and I talked about our experiences. I think overall it covered a lot of ground. I was interviewed for a radio show by Elizabeth Newman about writing, publishing and the Dragon Wine series. She was easy to talk to and we went over time, of course!

Then it was a talk about my GUFF trip and the upcoming race to send a fan or fans to Dublin. Except well no one showed at first. There was some competition with other panels and tiredness.  I think the panel should have been called- How to get to Worldcon in Dublin?

Here is a picture of some of the highlights from the GUFF auction. I made the tote bags and some of the stuff was donated by Cat Sparks and Robert Hood and I bought the NZ chocolate in New Zealand.

I managed to get John Morris to come in and Garry Dalrymple was there too. It was kind of weird because John was in Helsinki and had met the people in some of the photos. After that we had the fan fund auction. Again not a lot of interest from people. It was probably due to no Finnish sweets! They sell really well. But we did have people who were wonderful and supportive. That’s to Simon, Keri, John, Graham, Garry and then Nicole and Kat who popped in. Gillian Polack was also on the GUFF panel and auction and she bought a few things. We did have NZ chocolates! We sold them. A lot of stuff we put away for Continuum next year. We made a reasonable sum. We also sold things from the table. All up not too shabby.

Then there was the amazing Hand of Knaves book launch. Hand of Knaves is the latest anthology from the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild and some of the author read from their stories. The readings were top class. I had to get me a copy. There was the banquet after that. It was nice and the company on the table was great. The food was a bit weird, which is strange because Vibe do great food. There was chicken (yum) and a vegetarian meal as the alternate. I got the vegetarian and beside from the sweet potato mash, it was a bit blah. You know, normally, it’s the beef or chicken.

Some pictures from the launch. The first one is Leife Shallcross one of the editors and David Versace, blue t-shirt one of the authors. Robert Porteous is the pirate and he has a story in there too.

Next up two of the readers. I’ll have to come back to put their names in.

Then a shot with Chris Large, the other editor with Leife doing the launch.

 

Next up some shots from my table at the banquet. First up, Keri Arthur, Catherine Walker and Alex.

To my left was Jane Virgo, Graham Cheers, Carton (X) and Amanda Dalziel.

Monday morning it was me, Keri and Dione talking about the 10 things that we wished we knew about self-publishing before we did it. Feedback was that panel was great. We went overtime by accident. We talked about how liberating it was, about how hard it is to market and the amount of admin. We had preplanned all this so it was just go and we had thoughts about ISBNs and Vellum and basically we didn’t get through the ten things and we had 14 of them.

Dawn Meredith launched her book, with the launch speech by Gillan Polack. The cake looked great and was yummy too.

After that, Keri and I were both attending Aiki Flinthart’s Writing Fighting Scenes for Women workshop. It was fantastic. Great stuff Aiki! While we were at the dead dog party, we were convincing Catherine M Walker to do a workshop on police procedural for writers…she’s a cop. Then we sort of had her down for doing workshops at other conventions and so on. I really hope she knows we are serious.

I really like the food at the Vibe Hotel at the airport where Conflux took place, so we went to have dinner there after the convention. It was so good. There was six of us. Good conversation. Great laughs. Delicious food.

Here are some selfies of Keri and me. They are kind of a tradition when we are at the same events.

Now I’m back in the real world, teaching and marking at Uni.

 

The books are launched. Life goes on.

If you are interested in checking out my the Dragon Wine series, then check out this page.

Also, if you are interested I have a newsletter where I share updates, news about cheapies and freebies and I am thinking of doing a contest for a prize soon. I just have to slow down for five seconds. Here is the landing page to sign up for my Newsletter Wing Dust .

I’m all fired up though to write more. Also, I found out that my trip to China in November for two weeks is cancelled. I’m sad not to see my son Taamati in Shanghai, but after I got over it, I realised that I can do NaNoWriMo!

I’ll be heading to Perth at the end of November.

Now I really must get on and focus on this PhD!

Here is my serious, post-Conflux, studious PhD student face, stripped of glam and looking tired.

 

 

 

Dabbling in poetry

I have been crazy busy. I mean really, really busy. All self inflicted I’m afraid.

Part of what I’ve been doing the last few months has been helping out with the organisation of the Poetry on the Move Festival in Canberra. I volunteered over the weekend as well and did a couple of workshops.

As a prose writer, I have only ever dabbled in poetry. I’m often moved to write it. My ideas and words usually come when I’m driving the car so I can’t capture them. That’s probably my best poetry–the stuff that’s lost to the air as I speak it.

I have written poetry and shared it with my partner, Matthew. He then asks me if I’m feeling okay and was I depressed and so on. I don’t label myself as a poet.

I thought I’d share with you some of what came out of the workshops I did.

The first workshop was with one of the international guests, Moira Egan. She did a workshop on scents. It was really interesting and fun and made me think. First up I should own that I like writing exercises where you respond to some random thing. I may not create something out of it, but some times I do. Moira does synathesia-where you respond to say smells by thinking of a colour, or a pattern and so on. We smelled perfumes and then wrote a colour, a shape, a memory. It was a bit intimidating being in workshops with people who can craft a beautiful, exact poem on the spot. I’m not one of thse.

I did not respond well to my perfume. This is what I wrote.

Collision

The fussy old lady with pink rinse hair

moulded into waves so stiff

they defy the wind.

Rigid handbag thrust in front

like a weapon

–a blunt instrument.

A stench redolent of a 1960s public toilet

with the tough crackle of paper endured

and a hint of urine peeking through.

Breath like atomised musk stick lollies

hovers and then attacks

as faces meet.

The standover tactics

of a hundred room deodorisers,

falls back into baby powder

and disposable nappies

A pink so washed out

its not really there

Just the after sting

of a collision.

 

Then I took a workshop with another international guest, Oz Hardwick. HIs approach was to give us a prompt, a mirror, and then while we wrote about the mirror he would introduce words and we had to include them. This resulted in our poems going in different directions. This is what I wrote but I’ve edited it a bit.  Recall that I’m a speculative fiction writer so you might notice that. It’s quite long, too, as it was a stream of consciousness thing. I was amazed at some of the crafted poems in that session compared to me and my verbal vomit.

Mirrored

A Fractured mirror

a thousand eyes staring

more eyebrows querying

inspecting the hole

with probing gaze

travelling along the rivers of lines to the centre

 

What punctured this plane?

What thrust through from here to there?

A projectile? A bullet?

A broom handle too casually dropped?

 

Finger tracking lines leaves a droplet of red

A DNA sample, a piece of me, a trace, traceable

My head exploded, disfigured by shards

I want to see the other side

I see the other me

the other mes

 

This reality, jagged pieces

is more interesting than this flat world

cold, frigid, shallow

I can see depths there in irises multiplied

and pupils dilated teach

with hints of something else

 

Soldiers march, guns discharge in utter silence

Mouths of children open in empty screams

No one is listening

We can’t hear

lost in the fractured mirror,

multiplied, amplified, stupefied

 

One asks if reality is real or imagined

in voices pitched higher

so high one cannot hear

only dogs with pricked up ears

tails down and trembling

 

A wimper escapes

It’s me, tight lips, body tense.

I’m so far in now

I’m seeing from the other side

In the war of self

reaching for the real and finding dust

Dust and bone

everywhere I step

They crunch and splinter like glass underfoot

 

People lived in this space

office worker, teacher, student

I see the echo of them at empty desks

taste the sweat of them on my tongue

inhale them as breath

exhale them as death

becoming one with them

as thoughts slow and harden

 

An image caught

like an animal frozen in headlights

my light

my reflected light

life.

 

I had a good time, learnt some stuff, listened to poetry readings. I’m not giving up my day job. I think writers should get stimulated with experiences and ideas and form. I’m not giving up my day job for poetry but I like how it can capture a moment, a feeling, a river of thought.

When my mother lay dying some words came to me at 2.00am. They were weird. I’m going to find them and put them here. They ended up being the inspiration for Cold Soldier, my SF romance story and a fragment of this poem is featured in the story.

Cold Soldiers

Bring out the soldiers who lie within their frozen crypts

Do not wake them or disturb them

Their time is done

They gave us this peace,

This life and we are thankful

 

Let not their sleeping tranquil faces beguile you

They are bringers of death, purveyors of harm

It is time to let them go

 

Let them burn

Their flesh no more to rise

Let us grasp a future where

they no longer exist

Where we a free.

 

 

 

Today was going to be a me day. Don’t get me wrong-it was- but not what I was expecting.

I had to provide some book links to another author who is spreading the word about Argenterra being on discount for 99 cents. I came to my website and realised that it was in a bit of a crap state. Some links weren’t working.

So my ‘me’ day has been split between working on a hat. Hat making is fun so I call that a win. The rest of the day so far has been updating and revamping my website. It’s not perfect but it is a damn sight better than it was. Do check it out! Mostly the home page and the My books page.

In other news, Moonfall is out. The final installment in the Dragon Wine series. I have no idea if readers think it’s any good. I don’t run an ARC team for feedback and review so I’m sitting here nervously…waiting…waiting.

I’m hoping that it was a delight and not a disaster!

I will be launching the last two books at Conflux, the Canberra SF convention on Saturday 29, 12.45 at the Vibe Hotel at Canberra airport.

I have just sent off a print order for some books. I may have to put another order in but I have enough for the launch!

I’m on some panel items at Conflux as well as having a table and I’ve just signed up to a creative writing thing in Bourke the week before as I come back late the day before Conflux starts. This means I have to very prepared. One of the things I’m doing is presenting the paper I did for IASPR on SF romance and sexual consent. We will also be holding a fan fund auction and have heaps of great stuff to auction off to raise money for GUFF!

Now, if I go find that book I’m meant to be reading for my Phd, I might pretend that it was a ‘me’ day after all.

 

The final installment in the Dragon Wine series is fast approaching. Due date 31 August 2018.

The proof corrections have arrived and I’ve started on them.

Also, the  map, which I’m going to share here.

But first! I’d share the blurb but I may have to change it.

Moonfall-highres(1)

Buy Links

amazon Google Kobo ibooksNook

Now for the map. I had drawn this out but in discussion with Dr Russell Kirkpatrick about the map, he came up with this very cool idea. He is a geographer as well as a writer, Legoman and golf/sport/music nerd. He had been looking at some historical maps of New Zealand from when not much had been explored. The map we looked at (and he did tell me who it was by) showed rumoured coastline and unknown coastlines (or not-just unknown blank space). Anyway, we thought this would work well for the map of Margra because it’s a post-apocalyptic world and the coastlines of the continents had changed, and civilisation had been devastated and once thriving cities ruined. So we came up with this, mostly Russell came up with this. I’d love to hear what you think.

This is meant to be the map that Nils puts together from his research in the Hiem archives and from hearing accounts from Danton and Brill. The map will appear in Moonfall, print and ebooks.

Margra World Map Moonfall 2