Sequel to Blue Defender is underway

Blue Defender CoverI don’t ordinarily write about works in progress. Maybe about upcoming releases, but mostly I shut up about what I’m working on. Maybe because, well, what if it crashes and burns? What if I get expectations too high?
But Red Alliance, the sequel to Blue Defender, has made a start. 1325 words (about four pages) for the first day. That’s an all right start.
I don’t have a cover yet. I don’t have a plot outline. I’m excited to see where it goes.
Interesting side note, the title for Red Alliance was chosen by my daughter. I wrote Blue Defender for her (see this post about that) and she seemed to enjoy it. At least enough that she wanted a sequel. We tossed around titles. Her first thought was that it needed to be Red [something].
I had to agree. If there’s a third book, well, I guess that’ll be Green [something], or maybe Yellow [something].
These are books written for her, so I guess for a middle-school age, but the adults who’ve read the first one enjoyed the story, so I guess it’s for all ages.

Blue Defender is available from various retailers here, also, Amazon

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A little break

Punakaiki Cottage – a pretty good place to get some writing done

So I know there is a way to write a whole bunch of posts and have them roll out automatically, even if I’m, say, away on holiday. And holiday for me usually means little or no internet. Let me tell you, that’s really refreshing.

Also, no internet is really good for the writing. So, while on holiday over Christmas and New Year I still got a whole lot of writing done. Keeping up the streak of writing every single day. I started that practice on January 1st 2012. So, seven years. 2,557 days (if my calculations of the number of days in a year, including a couple of leap years, are correct). (also, another twenty-two days as I come to post this).

One place had no electricity (some solar for lighting and the shower pump, but nothing for recharging batteries). An old schoolhouse. That just took some smart battery management on the laptop for a couple of days.

Anyway, writing while on holiday is a blast. We stayed in some awesome spots around New Zealand’s South Island, including this one near Punakaiki. Now, if you’ve got to be somewhere other than your usual writing nook to get some writing done, this one is pretty good.

“Ventiforms” a new Shilinka Switalla story in Asimov’s

Having just returned from a month’s break I guess I should mention my new story “Ventiforms” in the current (January/ February 2019) issue of Asimov’s.

Following my award-winning* (yay) story from two years ago, “Crimson Birds of Small Miracles“, this is another story from my world of Shilinka Switalla. Ms. Switalla is an artist who creates artworks on a vast scale. In the case of “Ventiforms” transforming whole canyons into musical instruments.

My Worlds of Shilinka Switalla universe is growing slowly, with two other stories also available, “Cathedrals” and “Ten Gravity Tower“. I have fun with the concepts, and I’m glad that readers enjoy the stories too.

Eastern Foray – ebook available for preorder… print book available already

Turns out I’ve still got something to learn about how to run preorders. Apparently it’s a basic for indie publishing… build momentum and generate interest and so on. There are many things about this that I’m still at a very basic level with. I’m okay at business, pretty good at writing, but definitely a novice with sales.
So I’ve set up the ebook for preorder, with release on January 31. That worked fine for the aggregators and for Amazon. But when I went to set up the paperback, I must have messed something up with setting the date. Actually I couldn’t see a place to set date, it just said “Live date”. Figuring this meant a date the same as the ebook’s release I went ahead with the next steps.
Turns out that the paperback went live. So you can get it now. It’s sold a copy already (someone’s got the jump on things there, thank you, I hope you enjoy it).
So, rather than trying to mess with that, I’ll have another go for my next preorder.


I published seven novels this year. All with no preorder. Next year I’m looking at five novels – Eastern Foray, plus two from the Captain Arlon Stoddard series, and two from The Jupiter Files, a new series. I’ll figure out this preorder thing during the year.
Hopefully

The print book is available from Amazon here. $16.99. You can preorder the ebook through the universal book link

Eastern Foray – A Karnish River Navigations novel – now available for pre-order

The latest installment in the ever-expanding Karnish River Navigations series is available for preorder from all the usual outlets. Release date is January 31st.

“A day learning to fly the giant Alman-Kruder aircraft over the canal lands gives investigator Flis Kupe the chance to unwind after some tough assignments. At least until someone fires a smart missile at her.
Kind of changes her day. A whole lot.
And as Flis and fellow investigator Grae begin unraveling the mystery, missiles might become the least of their concerns.
Another episode in the thrilling Karnish River Navigations science fiction series that asks the question: who can we trust?”

I’ll post a preview sometime before the release date too.

Also, this has the new style of cover for Karnish River Navigations. I’m slowly working my way back through the other books in the series to bring them all into line.

The book is available for preorder here – Eastern Foray (universal book link – leads off to your favorite store). Ebook is $5.99. Print is $16.99. (print is a whole other thing I’ll blog about shortly).

Terms and Conditions, people.

contestLloyd Metcalf is an illustrator, creator of some stunning images. He’s also pretty smart with regard to business, and how creatives make a living.

As in, getting paid for the work we do.
He has a great post on his site about avoiding a particular illustration contest. The contest he names has rules that give the contest organizers the rights to the entries.

Without payment.

Basically only the winner will get paid. Meanwhile many skilled but unwary illustrators are effectively giving away the license to their works.

As I’ve gone on at length about (here, here and here), a New Zealand writing contest does something similar. Their terms and conditions effectively give the contest organizers the right to publish any entry without payment.

In the context of Lloyd’s experience, though, this is minor. It seems that the illustration contest is run by a subsidiary of a major toy and game manufacturer, with its hands in movies and other media.

Imagine giving away the rights to your design and finding it turning into the next Transformers or My Little Pony or Pokemon.

All I can suggest for creative people is to read the terms and conditions. Read them. Understand them.

With creative work, we license. That license should be fair.

Be wary.

Take care out there.

Blue Defender – finally

Blue Defender CoverMy daughter has watched me writing up a storm for the last few years. Her question, why didn’t I write a story about her? Fair question. After all, shouldn’t she always be uppermost in my thoughts? How could I be writing about strangers?

A tricky thing that. How could it be done right?

Some writers I notice write real people into their stories. Clive Cussler mentions himself as a car collector or a marine archeologist in several books. One I recall the characters even had a conversation with Cussler. David Baldacci auctions off the privilege to have your name used as a character with the proceeds going to charity.

So, putting various concerns aside, I started writing. In secret. I did have one issue, being that I while I have a dedicated writing computer in a nook, I do spend some time writing on a laptop at the breakfast table.

Chances were, she would glimpse her name on the screen. So I changed her name in the manuscript for the duration of the writing of the book. Matti-Jay became “Bleu”, in part because I decided to title this secret manuscript “Blue Harvest“. Some of you may know that title as the secret working title of a well-known movie from last century.

So, in Blue Harvest, fifteen year old (yes I gave my daughter a few extra years – kids like reading about kids older than themselves) Bleu set about her adventures. When she was done, the magic of search-replace change Bleu to Matti-Jay.  The title became Blue Defender.

Next step: would she like it? To try it out, I formatted and uploaded it through my usual channels, and obtained a proof copy. When that arrived, it became our bedtime read for a couple of weeks.

I must have done a few things right, because the end of a chapter was frequently met with a “Keep going” (usually reserved for books like “Mortal Engines” or “Homeroom Diaries”), and the end of the book was met with “start writing the sequel now”.

That’s heartwarming for a dad, let me tell you. Better than any five star review.

Blue Defender is available as an ebook and in print through usual outlets. $5.99 for the ebooks. $14.99 for print.

Print

Amazon Kindle

Smashwords

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Apple