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I’m still settling in after the jetlag. Still in transition from being on holiday in lovely historic Britain to being at home again in Dweebenhiem in Canberra.

Here is a shot of Dweebenhiem with peach blossoms! I hadn’t seen those before as we saw the house in late Spring before we bought it.

Dweebenhiem in Spring

Dweebenhiem in Spring

Yesterday it was a fab Sunday roast with friends and some family. I even did stuffing to go with the pork. I’m still trying to hang onto the threads of my trip.

Last night I had the grandchildren over. They’ve just left actually and peace has descended. Tomorrow I go back to work. Mind you I’m not sure how I’m going to get there as Action Buses took my express bus away. No more 788 or 785. I’ll just have to transition to the more convenient but expensive car and leave the inconvenient but cheap public transport along. Mind you before the bus timetable was imposed it was convenient and cheap. Thank you ACT Government! Not!

As I’ll be back at work I won’t be able to do much promotion and writing time will be these treasured moments when time, inspiration and energy levels combine. I’m entering a busy reporting stage of my project that should keep me stressed out until Christmas and maybe beyond. Then again maybe it won’t be that way.

As I may not have books for my launch on Saturday 12.30 at Conflux SF Convention, I’m getting these postcards printed. Provided they make it in time. They will have a discount code for the ebook, which will be fab.I’ll also be on a couple of panels at the convention.

. Along with the fabulous launch speaker Cat Sparks and awesome MC Nicole Murphy. The wonderful Matthew Farrer will be doing the book selling (or preorders).  So for the launch reading there will be just me, raw, everyday me. I was going to say naked me, but not your your life! I’ll be wearing my special launch shoes. I haven’t thought about a dress yet. And I may not do a reading but I’ll need to work that out pretty soon won’t I? I mean there will be people and everything like that.

So the postcard!

Dragon Wine Series Book 1 and 2

Dragon Wine Series Book 1 and 2

Then the special launch shoes! (this is my excuse for buying a third pair of shoes in that store on that day in Maidstone, Kent).

Launch Shoes

Launch Shoes

Everyone needs special shoes on a special day. Now I just have to find something to wear.

Wish me luck. I may have real life print books sometime soon. But the ebook is awesome. Did I mention it had maps? I’ll do another post on the Donna and the map drama later. Why waste a good blog topic? Also, I’m still working on the Four writers on a canal boat for a week post. It’s complicated.

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So after my news, I find that things are moving along very quickly. This week I’m hoping to see the concept art for the cover of Dragon wine  1: Shatterwing. You can’t imagine how excited I am about that. Momentum have been great to work with so I have expectations!

Then it’s just over 5 weeks before the book comes out. I mean how quick is that (I mean 10 years in the making).

I’m heading the UK for Loncon 3 and I’ll also be at British Fantasy con in York in September. It will be fab to catch up with friends and acquaintances and also do some research. I need to trawl through the streets of London for the Ruby Heart sequel Emerald Fire and maybe get into a sewer (but as London’s sewers are closed when I get there I may have to settle for a sewer tour in Brighton). While I’m away I’m expecting the edits to Dragon wine 2: Skywatcher and I don’t know how hard that will be doing those while travelling. The edits of Shatterwing required a bit of effort. Not that I’m complaining. I’m very glad to be put through my paces. I just don’t know how that will mesh with travelling and conventions etc. However, as my partner is a writer I’m sure he’ll be supportive and it will all work out. We even bought a mobile office thing to carry my laptop safely.

Travel is also a time to get inspiration and to research streets, buildings and people for future work. It is also a time when I can relax and my mind can invent new scenes.

I’m going to have print copies available and I will be doing a few launch type things when I get back in October. I’ll keep you posted about that.

Meanwhile, Dragon Wine 1: Shatterwing is turning up in places for pre order in ebook. Here are a few of them.

Amazon

Amazon Australia

Google Books

iBooks

 

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I have let out hints on Twitter and Facebook about contracts! Yes, plural. I’m so excited and I’ve been dying to tell but a few things happened. One, I hadn’t signed the contracts yet. Two, my laptop fell off my bed and broke. I’m afraid I was traumatised. But it’s now fixed and all is right in my world again.

If you have been following me for a while, you would know about my novel Dragon Wine. It’s the work of the heart, my major work, my first glimpse of writing something good way back when (2005). It was a massive  door stopping beginning to a trilogy, which I started in 2005. It wasn’t quite as good then as it is now. If it wasn’t for the Varuna MS development awards it may not have been written. I was encouraged by being long listed for the first 25 000 words (all I’d written at the time) of this first imaginings of Dragon Wine in 2005. At the time, I had a little vineyard so I did think a lot of it up while I was out there working on the vines, pruning them, caring for them. I wrote more in 2006 and it made the long list again, then I submitted again finally making the shortlist.

I did a quite a lot of posting a while back about how I cut it back after some feedback and also to make it eligible for some slush piles. However, I hadn’t quite got it where I wanted it to go. And those slush piles. Shrug. Publishing is a different place from when I started writing way back when.

I was thinking to do another rewrite of Dragon Wine this year, as you do with a work  you never give up on, when I had a chance to submit it to Haylee Nash at Pan Macmillan Australia. The wonderful thing was she read it straight away and loved it. I was offered a deal with Momentum Books and I took it. All very quick. It felt amazing to have an editor read it and love it. You can’t imagine how it felt. I’ve been working on this book for 9 years.

So Dragon Wine is coming out really soon. It is coming out in two parts. Dragon Wine is the name of the series and the first book is Shatterwing, which is the name of the remains of the shattered moon above Margra, the planet where Dragon Wine is set. The second book is called, Skywatcher, which is the name given to the people who watch the skies and shoot down meteors. Alex Adsett, my literary agent, coined the term-post-apocalyptic dragons when she read it.

You can probably tell that this is a weird sounding fantasy as it seems to have science fiction elements. It does! It’s also a pretty dark fantasy in that the world is not nice and is inhabited by some pretty nasty and desperate people. Of course, my story is about the people who are good and want to change things. Anyway, you will have to wait for the blurb! Then not very long after for the books. I am hoping to launch them at Conflux in October in Canberra.

Meanwhile, I post things as I hear or see (like the covers!). I’ve just got the copy edits for the first part. And I’m going to get the next ones when I’m in the UK in August, eep! There is more to the story of course, but being a commercial world we need to see how these two go before decisions are made about the next installments. But I do have the next two drafted!

And I have good news for Dani K too, but that’s another blog!

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Today I have great pleasure in bringing an interview to you with SE Gilchrist. Suzanne is an Escape Publishing author buddy, who writes steamy science fiction. Thank you for being here today.

SE Gilchrist

SE Gilchrist

Star Pirate’s Justice is your new SF romance novel out with Escape Publishing. Can you tell us a bit about it?

 

Set in Earth’s future, Star Pirate’s Justice is the second single title story about a group of women who volunteered to terra form a new earth only to find themselves ‘sold’ into ‘slavery’ in an alien world. Only the traders who sold them know the way back to Earth. And to make their lives more difficult there is a war going on for control of an amazing energy source which can not only be used to power intergalactic space travel but can be harnessed to form space/time travel vortexes. (I can hear my youngest son who studies physics yelling at me right about now!)

In this story, Carly is on a mission to find a Darkon warrior turned star pirate and return him to Darkos to face justice. She also believes the star pirate has gate way maps in his possession. But she arrests him at the moment when he is about to make a deal with a smuggler which will give him the evidence he needs to clear his name and reveal the identity of the true traitor. There’s space battles, bounty hunters and a ‘gun’ fight in a market place so this story has more ‘action’ than Legend Beyond the Stars.

Tell us about yourself.

I live in the Hunter Valley of NSW with my three adult children and two dogs and have recently added a rescue cat to our family. I was raised as a Novacastrian then spent quite a few years travelling, mainly around outback Australia. Like many, I’ve been writing off and on for like, forever, however have only taken my ‘muse’ seriously since 2008. My first publication was an erotic, post-apocalyptic short story, Paying the Forfeit, in the Hot Down Under series with Momentum Books on 1st Dec 2012. My next publication was with Escape Publishing, who released my single title and the first book in my sci fi romance series, Legend Beyond the Stars on 10th Jan 2013. Since then I’ve had two novellas published with Escape (also in the same series) and have indie published, two erotic historical/fantasy novellas, one erotic, post-apocalyptic novella and one sweet rural romance short novel. And now of course, Star Pirate’s Justice is out with Escape since 1st Feb 2014.

Tell us a bit about why you write SF romance?

I love it. I love the scope it provides, the ability to make up your own world with its own culture and laws. I love how it gives the opportunity to combine adventure action and romance all in the one package. I also love how a writer can explore controversial subjects, such as: climate change, cloning, genetic dna modelling etc. Plus I cant help myself where alpha warrior type heroes are concerned.

Star Pirate’s Justice is part of an epic saga. Are we going to see more of it in the future?

Definitely. The next single title (fingers crossed) may be out later this year, When Stars Collide. I also have another two novellas in the works (one is Elise’s story and the other introduces some new characters) and the first single title book in the follow on series when some of the women return to Earth, Beyond Aquarius, is also almost completed. Actually, Paying the Forfeit and Storm of Fire are set in this ‘new’ world.

What are you working on at the moment?

Two stories in my sci fi series (as per above) and another rural romance.

What is your writing process? (planner, panster, write every day, write sporadically, writers block etc).

I start with an idea, usually a situation or an event for example for Star Pirate’s Justice my idea was the search for the gate way maps to Earth and a traitor who has been framed. From there my characters evolve, still very much shadowy creatures in my mind. I usually write up to three to five chapters before I sit down and do a story outline and do a fairly indepth study on the characters’ world. I also do a lot of character background / history writing and sometimes I can get new ideas from working on their past that I add into the story. Working on their backstories also helps me with writers block. I would love to say I’m so disciplined I write every day but I’d be lying! I have a full time job and sometimes there is like zero creativity in me some nights. Any leave days and the weekends I try to squeeze in as many writing hours as I can manage.

What do you prefer drafting the story or revising and reworking?

Drafting the story is the bomb for me. I do a lot of revising and re-writing as I go so my first draft is usually fairly ‘clean’. Its a slower process but it works for me.

What part of writing do you find the hardest?

I would have to say writing the love / sex scenes in a fresh way. Sometimes I say ‘insert love scene in .X’s POV say 250 words’ and come back to it later.

What do you plan to work on next?

I have a list. (I know, so anal but I just love spreadsheets) So, after the stories referred to above, I’ve got a New Adult sci fi / futuristic novel I’m also keen to get out there and another fantasy erotic novella in my Bound series.

 

Thank you so much for your time today, Suzanne. Next interview I’m bringing on the boys!

Star Pirates Justice

Star Pirates Justice

 

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As Rayessa and the Space Pirates comes out tomorrow, I have to make some changes to this blog, such as putting up a page for ‘My Books!’ So I do a happy dance. It will be listed on Escape’s website here.

The week has not been all smooth sailing. I have teenager issues. Just picture a very ripe thunderhead inhabiting a bedroom at the other end of the house. Picture the forks of lightning that lash out randomly. Hear the growls of thunder, enough to shake you to the core and make your heart stutter. Lovely.

I sent out invitations to the party to celebrate the launch, which will be on the 19th. Unfortunately, I got distracted by MS Publisher software giving me grief over the document and didn’t see the typo. So over half of the invites went out with a silly typo. That just inspires confidence in me doesn’t it?

Early this week I got a rejection for a novel I’ve put my heart and soul into. I thought it might make it but it wasn’t quite what the market requires. I’m still thinking about that one. However, I think trying to make it fit the market is a big job and it would be easier to write a new story. So I promptly got an idea for a romantic fantasy, called Into the Dark Glass. I have the opening in my head but I’ll have to jot down notes when the idea forms up a bit more. I have the beginning in my head. It’s going to be dark and gritty, ya, romance (not erotic).

Then this morning I got the HarperVoyager rejection for Dragon Wine. Hey I was expecting this when the announced how many submissions they had. How does one stand out in such a big crowd. Kudos to those who do. I’m so glad they wrote to people as they hadn’t intended to originally. Sending that particular MS to HarperVoyager’s digital call was a difficult choice for me because it meant (at the time) giving up the dream of a traditional deal. It didn’t help that the editor had it all year and didn’t get to read it either. I’d revised it and cut 50,000 words from it. But that’s life. It’s my job to make it better and keep on submitting. So I did already.

I had another MS and that one was wait for a month, then it became three months and I haven’t heard so that’s means it’s the silent rejection or maybe stealth rejection. But that’s fine because you know I sort of changed my mind about submitting it there.

On twitter this morning I called these rejections ‘daggers of spurn’ and if I get another one this week, I’ll be a porcupine of spurn. (Picture me with daggers sticking out of my back). The spurn word comes from Ian McHugh. He was showing us (the CSFG group) his submissions’ spreadsheet. Instead of ‘rejected’ under result he had ‘spurned’.  The group thought that was pretty cool.

This week, I’ve been caught up with Conflux program set up. (if you are coming to Conflux9 in April and haven’t told me you want in, your time is running out). It’s taken me a lot longer than I thought. Tinkering and checking is more time consuming than the initial set up. I’d pretty much given up the thought of doing any writing this week.  I had planned to write the whole week but the Conflux stuff just derailed me. Logistics vs creativity.  Logistics wipes me every time. It’s like doing your taxes. All creative thought goes out the window as your jaw clenches and your eyes narrow as you start the quest to find all your receipts etc. However, I surprised myself today. I’ve been doing revision and getting through it.

Revision is like clipping toenails and reorganising your bookshelf. Satisfying as you cut the excess, but requires one to be logical and make sure things are sorted where they should be. Having beta reading comments helps.

So until tomorrow.

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Now I have a cover and a release date (10 Jan 2013) I can plan what promotion (mostly celebration) is going to happen. Today the lovely Nicole Murphy (http://nicolermurphy.com/) came over to do some Conflux organising and launch party brain storming.

For those of you who don’t know, Nicole and I are running the National Science Fiction Convention next year in Canberra over the Anzac Day period. Today we were scheduling the 20 diverse workshops we will be running as part of the convention. We are very excited about it. After we had settled that, we got down to brainstorming my launch party.

The launch party planning became a big thing. Here I was thinking I would have a themed party with people dressing up as space pirates or slaves. You can tell from the title there are space pirates and there is also a Centauri Slave Market featured. The lovely Matthew Farrer (http://matterfarrer.wordpress.com/)  also piped in with his ideas and now I’m doing a ‘Welcome to AllEarth Corp induction pack’ including a few novelties I will have to create or supply. (this means I have some work to do). We discussed props/house decorating stuff, food (including meatball asteroids and chocolate crackle asteroids), a purple coloured punch served out of haz chem bucket (Matt’s brilliant idea). I was thinking it would be a punch bowl and have been told a bucket with a haz chem symbol is what I need. There is going to be a lucky door prize, a pass the parcel prize, a trailer viewing, a reading (apparently I can’t outsource that part).

Because I have no physical book to display, I’ve been thinking hard about what I can do to let people take away something. My idea was a book mark thingy, with space on the back for an autograph. So I have that ball rolling. I’m just hoping Nicole doesn’t tell me my design is sucky, because it’s TOO LATE , Nicole! Also, as Conflux is coming up, the bookmarks can go into conbags. I’m sure I’ll get a discount, Hey Nicole? I’ll possibly have enough for another convention I’m going to in June.

While I was at the supermarket after Nicole went home, I also had the idea to make a cake in the shape of a space ship, my version of a space ship. So that’s all happening on the 19th of January and now I have to put my thinking cap on about the invites. As the launch party is at my house I have limited space. As it is in January a lot of people will be away so maybe it will work out.

I’ve already been on http://www.thinkgeek.com to get a few things I’ll need. The trouble with to do lists is that they give you things to do.

Also, promoting your work in this digital age is a new and exciting frontier. Will it work? I have no idea.

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So my earlier post mentioned that I was waiting for the cover and then I flicked back over to my email and it had snuck in.

You can imagine first cover and high anticipation levels.

So its romance and science fiction, a light-hearted escapade.

Behold:

Rayessa and the Space Pirates_cvr

PS there are no man titties (thank goodness or Smart Bitches Trashy Books would be onto it).

PSS. To be published by Harlequin’s new digital imprint, Escape Publishing, January 10 Here.

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