Shoshone Station: episode overview (with covers!)

Shoshone Station, The Galactic Consortium Serial, Season Two

I thought I’d give you a quick peek at the entire storyline for Shoshone Station, season two of my serial about The Galactic Consortium. Here are the episode covers and blurbs. Please feel free to comment about what you like, or what needs work.

Episode One: Not a Good Day to Die

Less than a year ago, they arrived over earth’s sky. They call themselves the Galactic Consortium and they are human, or at least, simian — from the same genetic line as humans. They claim to have terraformed this planet centuries ago to serve as a base for their exploration of this galaxy. What happened to the settlers, why none of us remember this, remains a mystery.

For America the concerns are more immediate. Will the Consortium accept our independence?

Shoshone Station is the first joint enterprise, a solar power, space station parked in geostationary orbit over Denver, Colorado. Its been “gifted” to America, but as Sherman Lannister takes command he wonders just how much control the new American crew will really have. After all, what do they know about running a space station?

For Sophia, a homeless transgender youth from Denver, and many like her the station is a second chance at a new life. But what will she do living amongst the stars?


Episode Two: To Be or Not To Be

Several of Sophia’s friends join her on Shoshone Station. They are starting new lives in the Consortium, but what sort of lives will they be? A couple of her friends seem to want to party every night but she wants to make the most of this new opportunity, but how? She turns to Dhanvin for advice and support as she tries to figure out her new life.


Episode Three: The Egg

Sophia’s first day as liaison for the new medical wing is exciting, they have rescued a premature infant from the surface. But its new home, the medical egg, sparks conflict between the healer, Bankim and Zeta, the diplomat over the issue of mixed race people like Zeta.


Episode Four: Meteors

Dan Oleson has been chosen to serve as embassy security on Saras Station in the Consortium, but he will soon discover the dangers are of a different type than he’s expecting.

Rumors are swirling about an asteroid or some other large body colliding with the earth. Would the Consortium allow such a thing to happen? More importantly, it seems the rumor may have started on Shin Station, of all places. Can Dan find the answer to this riddle?


Episode Five: Adam

It’s Lannister’s first Christmas on the station. For once he has the room and time to play host to for the family Christmas celebration. His plans are complicated by the arrival of his runaway niece, now as an out trans man.

The arrival of a human woman with a squid child (part human, part C’thon) places Zeta is an awkward place. Her job demands she investigates, but how can she put another person through the same hell she grew up with? And what if she refuses?


Episode Six: Africa

The day after Christmas, Jake King fights with his mom. He knows how hard it is for her, raising four kids with no help. But it’s not like there are jobs in Caspar, Wyoming, Not for a young man like Jake, not that pay decent. What can he do? Two days later he finds himself in Bamako, Africa, part of the Consortium’s African Administration. Is this the new reality? Commuter jobs halfway around the world?

Fox planned a relaxing vacation with Nara Suun in Southern Africa. But the fates seem to have other plans, he runs into the last person he wants to see, Gerald Klempke. The man he helped put into a Consortium Penal Colony for rape. Klempke says he wants to talk, wants to turn over a new leaf. But Fox isn’t sure he trusts him, but what can he do?


Episode Seven: Homecoming

When Sophia’s sister Shaelynn arrives on Shoshone Station, Sophia finds herself being dragged back to a life she thought she’d left behind, the life of Zach. But what can she do, her mom is dying. Unless Sophia can help her.

Kleppie thought he would return to Texas a hero. He’d been part of the famous USS Cambridge crew. He’d been to space. But he quickly finds that doesn’t mean much to those left behind.


Episode Eight: The Sting

The ugly issue of prostitution, which is legal but highly regulated in the consortium, has reared its head on Shoshone Station. Truthfully its been there all along, a small number of well paid and discreet courtesans. But now someone wants to open a brothel. Whose rules apply? Americas? Or the Consortium?

For Fox the controversy is the perfect cover to do some real police work for a change, using the confusion to do a sting on sex traffickers. For Jack it threatens to expose his relationship with one of the courtesans.


Episode Nine: Asha-Tanga

Asha-Tanga, the soul purification, is a week long festival in the Consortium, unlike anything on earth. It commemorates the last Vatari wars and the beginning of the Consortium itself. It blends religion and history. But for many, it’s a party. A week of fruit juice fasting, psychedelic herbs and dancing. It’s Christmas, the Fourth of July and Carnival rolled together.

But this is not just any Asha-Tanga. This is the first Asha-Tanga in a new galaxy. And Saras is the place to be for it.

For Jake King, he didn’t think much about the partying when he accepted Chatura’s invitation to come, with his entire family. They haven’t had a real family vacation in years, but how will they deal with this?

For Zeta the new regulation on Medical Eggs has brought the whole squid issue bubbling to the surface. But she’s supposed to be speaking about US/Consortium relations, not this. Should she defying her boss yet again?


I publish new episodes monthly. To stay up to date with my publishing schedule and other writing news, sign up for my newsletter.

Nanowrimo Mistakes I’ve Made

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Nanowrimo is all about writing with abandon, getting the words on the page no matter what. Even if they suck, you can’t edit a blank page. Our local region has it’s own motto, “Yeah crap!”

Given that Nanowrimo is about writing with abandon, it’s also about taking risks and trying new things. In that vein, I regularly make mistakes in my Nanowrimo projects. Here are my top three Nanowrimo mistakes.

1. Trying to do Nanowrimo in college

I know some people manage to do Nanowrimo despite numerous life hurdles. They have jobs, kids, live events and still manage to write.

The thing about doing Nanowrimo while taking college classes is this, college involves a lot of writing anyway. To make matters worse, most schools end the fall semester around the first part of December. That often means the main research project is due sometime in late November.

My first Nanowrimo started off pretty well. But I was taking classes and the combination of novel writing and a couple of large research papers just got to be too much and something had to give. Since I wasn’t being graded on my novel, guess what gave. You live, you learn.

2. Plan a novel, then at the last minute, write something else

I made this mistake the next time around. I had my novel project all planned out and ready to go. Then on the night of the first write in I got to thinking, one of the original mottoes of Nanowrimo was “no plot, no problem.” So I decided to do a true Nanowrimo and scrap the project I had planned. Instead I came up with stuff on the fly.

It was fun, at first. Then I finished the story, around thirty five thousand words in. Ugh. Now what?

I finished that year, believe it or not. The entire last fifteen thousands words were nothing, long ramblings that didn’t really connect to the this story, or anything else. They were eventually all scrapped. Not to mention that the last week and half of that Nanowrimo was not an experience I would ever want to repeat. Some people are pantsers, but I am not one of them.

3. I’ve mastered the Nanowrimo pace. How about a side project?

Ugh. This is this year’s big mistake. I realized a couple years ago that Nanowrimo wasn’t the challenge it once was, in large part because I write at this pace, or nearly so, all year round. I write an hour or two a day, at a pace of around a thousand words an hour. So the 1,666 words a day you need to keep pace on Nanowrimo is about a typical day’s writing for me.

So this year I am writing a novel. I have this other side project I’ve been thinking about and researching. And in my spare time, I’ve started writing. Mistake. Now I am struggling to get my words in on Nanowrimo, not because I’m not writing but because I’m writing something else. Sigh.

 

So there are three big Nanowrimo mistakes I’ve made. I’m not really upset with any of them. You know why? Because a huge part of success lies in making mistakes. Mistakes and failure should be embraced as steps on the road, part of the process. So I will wear my mistakes proudly on my chest.

What about you? What Nanowrimo mistakes have you made? Let me know in the comments.

What's my side project? Well my cookbooks appear to be sprouting tabs. Hmm...

What’s my side project? Well my cookbooks appear to be sprouting tabs. Hmm…

How Do You Write So Much?

How do you write so much and stay so thin?

That’s the question I wish people would ask me, but they never do. It might help if I was actually staying so thin, but writing is not exactly calorie burning and I am at the age where my natural metabolism is no longer fighting that particular battle on my behalf. But that is a completely different sort of blog post, so let’s just move on.

How do you write so much?

And also, an update on pulp speed writing.

I write a lot and I get a lot of writing done. Other writers often tell me that I am prolific and objectively I agree. Subjectively, I am a prolific storyteller. If I could make my fingers work as fast as my brain, or somehow abbreviate the planning, writing and editing to simply telling the story, I could be a lot more prolific. So I don’t always see myself as prolific.

Since I get asked it a lot, how do I write so much? How can you get your writing speed up? For me it’s a simple three step process.

  1. Build your creativity.
  2. Build your writing muscle.
  3. Write, a lot.

1. Building your creativity.

Creativity is often seen as one of those traits that you either have or don’t, but that is a half truth at best. Yes, I was always a creative even as a child. Or, that’s what the nicer teachers said. The others said things like a lazy day dreamer who would rather stare out the window than do work, but I guess everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Probably the best book on creativity is Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing. If you haven’t read it, I would strongly suggest it.

Bradbury compares creativity to the dust motes that float across your eye. We quickly learn to see through the motes, so much so that we are unaware that they are there. That is until someone mentions them. Even then, there is a trick to seeing them. You have to unfocus your eyes, become aware of them drifting across your vision.

Creativity is like that. It’s everywhere around us. But in order to focus on day to day life, we have to see through it. We have to shove inspiration into some back corner of our minds and focus on work, family, chores. Soon we can’t even see it.

To build our creativity, we simply have to unlearn. We have to stop shoving inspiration aside and unfocus our vision to see it again. We have to take the time to look for it. Ask ourselves questions, let our minds take us where they will.

Once you learn the trick, story ideas are everywhere. Every ‘what if’ question is a potential story. Every time you wonder what someone is thinking, or how they came to be caught up in some event, that’s a story idea.

You start to question everything. Why did that happen? What if it happened differently? Why did they make that choice. How would a different person have responded to that situation?

It is this tendency to question everything that makes writers and other artists so dangerous, so often censored in politically repressive regimes. But it’s also the root of a million new stories.

2. Build your writing muscle.

Writing is work. Non-writers and beginning writers share this myth that it’s easy to write. If you have inspiration, that is, you sit down and the words just flow out onto the page. In truth it takes a huge mental effort to put a story down on paper.

And that work is exhausting, at least at first. Slowly you get better at it, just like exercising a muscle.

Just like exercise, you will have good days and bad days. There will be days when you jump out of bed and say, “I want to go for a run today.” Other days you will have to drag your weary ass out, saying, “if I want to be a runner, I need to run today, no matter what.”

Writing is like that. If you only write when you have the inspiration, you will never be a real writer. Only the writers who learn to make a habit of it build the writing muscle.

Those days when you drag yourself to the keyboard, you might not get much done. You might wonder if it’s really worth it, or if you should just wait until you have the inspiration. Persist. You might not be achieving much in word counts, but you are achieving something more important, you are building your writing muscle. Eventually the day will come when you can sit down to your keyboard with a cup of coffee, put some music on and jam out the words for three straight hours. Which brings us to step three:

3. Write, A Lot.

Once you’ve discovered the secret to creativity and built up your writing muscle you are ready to become a prolific writer. There’s no great secret to putting these two thing together, it just takes time.

As Dean Wesley Smith states repeatedly in his blog, every writer writes at a certain pace. For some it’s faster or slower. But beyond that the only real secret to writing more is to write more often or longer. Many others writers have said this, Chuck Wendig says it a lot, with frequent profanity laced in for effect. Natalie Goldberg says it in Writing Down the Bones. Writers write. If you want to be a writer, sit your butt down and write.

There is only one point that I disagree with it all these people, I think sometimes we introduce the ‘write more’ rule too quickly. If you are still a beginner, getting stuck on story ideas, pick up Zen and the Art of Writing. Spend some time learning to unfocus the day to day mind and let the creativity in. If you’ve never written, focus on making it a regular practice before you attempt long sessions. Get up every morning, open your computer and write for five minutes, then ten minutes. Eventually it won’t seem like enough, not enough to get all the stories clamoring in your head to get out. Then start writing more and more.

Which brings us to an overdue update on my year of writing dangerously.

The short version is I gave up on it. The longer version is that I decided I didn’t need it right now.

I am not a professional writer, but I pretend to be one. I am a nurse, in my other life. I work night shifts and I’ve got an unusual schedule. I work more than part time, but less than full time. I work one week, more or less without any days off. Then I have close to a week off. It works for me. I have one week where I am a nurse and fit writing in when I can. And I have one week where I am a writer.

On those ‘writer’ days, I write. Three thousand words a day isn’t really that bad when all you have to do all day is write. I usually can jam that out in one mammoth session of three hours or so. On non writer days it’s another matter. Three thousand is tough to squeeze in around other stuff. I would fall behind on those days, so far that I wasn’t able to catch up easily on my days off.

There was more to it, though. I am producing new works, lots of them. I have a novel I am doing on Wattpad. It’s written at least in rough form and I am editing and posting as I go along. I have a multi-part science fiction serial that is in the editing stages.

I also have the four books I intend to publish this year finished. I have a couple of manuscripts in the queue for next year and one in the works. I have the remaining Bear Naked books in planning stages.

What am I going to do with all these manuscripts? Eventually I hope to publish them all. But I can only publish so many. It takes time to self edit things, money to have my editor go over them again, time and money to make covers. I am not ready to up my publishing schedule yet. So why I am in such a hurry to produce books?

My goal for this year is to publish four new books. In the future, I don’t know. If I am making enough to pay for production cost, I should increase that to five or six. If I am making enough from writing that I can cut back on work even more, I can devote that much more time to writing. Maybe I will approach Dean Wesley Smith’s pulp speed someday, or maybe I won’t. Right now though, it’s not important.

 

My First Month of Writing Dangerously

Last month I declared 2015 the year of writing dangerously, fast that is. I was inspired by a blog post from Dean Wesley Smith about pulp speed writing. Smith defines pulp speed one as a million words of writing in a year. I decided to use that as a challenge and see how close I can get.

A short defense of pulp speed

Some writers have a negative reaction to the whole idea of writing at pulp speed. Most of the time this is directly related to a common myth about pulp speed writing — namely that we are actually writing faster.

The misconception is that I am sitting at my keyboard, typing madly with little regard for the quality of the story I am telling or the rules of grammar I am breaking. Just write, damn it! This is the same misconception that many people have about Nanowrimo.

The truth is that writers write at a certain speed. It varies slightly from writer to writer, but for that writer, it’s pretty stable. There are times when I know what I want to say, stick my fingers on the keyboard and go for hours. There are times when I pace my writing room. But when I have my fingers on the keyboard, my pace is pretty much the same.

The only way to consistently increase your writing speed is to write longer. That is what the pulp speed challenge really comes down to. It’s not about writing fast and sloppy, it’s about spending more time in the chair writing.

How am I doing?

I thought I was really good about writing regularly. I write almost every day. I write a lot. I spend nearly forty hours a week on writing related stuff. I count editing, critiquing, reading about the craft of writing, blogging and marketing in that mix, but the majority of that time is writing.

In the month of January I wrote 71,824 new words. To reach my goal of a million new words I should average 83,300 words a month, so I am a little behind. That’s about 3,000 new words a day.

My average pace is around a thousand words an hour, so that puts me in the writing chair at least three hours a day. It’s doable, especially on days when I don’t have my other job. Actually on days when I don’t work my other job, it’s almost cushy. Get up, drink some coffee, have breakfast, write. Two to three hours later, take a break. Come back and edit some, check in online and do some marketing. Have another long writing session, knock off for the day. I could live like that, easy.

But… There’s the day job, which in my case is a night job. There’s kids, family obligations, car trouble, dental visits, whatever. Life gets busy and it’s hard to be so devoted every day. 3,000 words a day isn’t as tough as you might think but the days that you miss your goal, even by a few words, pile up fast. It’s a month in and I am more than ten thousand words behind. That’s not a short sprint from catching up.

In my case, I don’t think it matters that much. I am writing more. I am producing enough material to keep up my publishing pace, which is at least four new books a year. If I don’t hit the million word mark by New Years 2016, I won’t cry over it.

For now, I am continuing to push on. I am still tracking my word counts daily and shooting for a million words this year. We will see if I get there. In the meantime I will post updates as the year goes along.

 

You got your peanut butter in my chocolate

For starters if you don’t get the title to this blog:

A) you just made me feel old

and

B)

 

The point is that sometimes completely unrelated things happen to go together and make something new and wonderful.

I have been plotting out a series of science fiction books about the Galactic Consortium. The Consortium arrives in space above Earth in the present day (our timeline diverges from reality at 2013). They terraformed Earth eons ago as a base for their expansion into this galaxy. They sent settlers, humans, to this planet thousands of years ago. What happened to cause us to lose this history and their technology is anyone’s guess.

The series mostly deals with the cultural and political upheavals that occur when this much older and powerful culture shows up on our doorstep. These upheavals are seen through the eyes of ordinary people whose lives are changed by the unfolding events.

Lately I have been watching a lot of documentaries on Netflix. One of the subjects that has always fascinated me is cults. So I’ve watched a number of good documentaries about people who have escaped from cults. I am particularly interested in how the children from very restricted groups adjust to life outside the confines of their practice.

And like peanut butter and chocolate, my next work in progress is starting to come together. The main character is a young transwoman. She has fled from a polygamist cult to become herself. Finding the world outside only slightly more accepting of her, she takes her chance on Shoshone Station.

Shoshone Station was a gift from the Consortium to the people of America. In geosynchronous orbit above Denver, Colorado, the station has a huge solar array, which produces an incredible amount of energy. The station is tethered to the ground via a nanotubule cable and a space elevator hauls people and goods up and down.

The station arrives with a skeleton crew of Consortium people onboard. It’s supposed to be under joint control of the Consortium and U. S. authorities. Due to diplomatic issues and mistrust, most Americans are hesitant to embrace the station and it is mostly empty as Zoey arrives.

The Consortium has sophisticated medical technology and long familiarity with transgender people. Their culture has a complex system of gender that includes a broad spectrum of gender expression for both men and women and numerous traditional groups and categories that fall outside our narrow concept of male and female. (There are seventeen basic genders. I charted them. I’ll share that in a later blog post, perhaps.) For Zoey, becoming a woman is only the first step, she must also figure out what kind of woman she wishes to be.

 

Looking for my tribe

The beauty of being an indie author is this day in age is that writing is less and less about writing what publishers or mass markets want. It’s more about finding your tribe, those readers that are hungry for the kinds of books you write.

I write two different kinds of books. I write contemporary YA with an LGBT bent and I write science fiction/fantasy books. Most publishers will tell you those two genres do not go together. I have been to enough science fiction conventions to know better. LGBT youths often find science fiction a safe place to explore themselves. Many science fiction fans are drawn to characters that stand outside the social norms, whether its sexuality, gender or some other issue.

So I am doing an experiment/promotion/exercise in finding my reading tribe. It works like this. I am going to give you an excerpt of a work in progress. One character, Devon, places two books into the streets Itty Bitty Library. If you can name both books referenced in the excerpt, do so in the comments.

The first person to correctly identify both books wins a chance to be a character in that book. Just give me a name, description and short personality bio. (p.s. It doesn’t have to be yours. You can give me a fictional name you go by in some context or a friend you want to honor.)

Excerpt:

Fourteen year old Ethan Hillcrest spied around the corner. He sighted down the block with his toy gun. “All clear,” he called back to his sisters, Rosie and Esther.

They came around the corner clutching their dolls and shooting him looks that said they didn’t see the need for a military escort at all. He ignored the look.

They went to the shade under the tree in their front yard and set down to play with their dolls. Ethan went and hid behind the trunk of the tree and continued his look out.

He scanned the far side of the street. He scanned the back of the Mondamin U. Inspecting the houses from right to left. Jack was on the corner. He was an ex cop. Occasionally he would sit on his porch and a couple times he told Ethan stories about the old days when he worked the beat.

Next to him was Justin and Danielle Smith. Justin was a cop, and one of the coolest adults Ethan had met, next to his dad. Danielle ran a daycare and Rosie and Esther loved it when they got to go play with the babies. Ethan didn’t care about no babies, but went along anyway.

To the left of the Smith’s was an older couple. Ethan couldn’t remember their names. Mom called out and greeted them whenever she saw them out on the street, which was rarely. She admonished the kids to respect their elders and Ethan did, he always spoke politely to them and laughed at the man’s joke, even though they weren’t funny.

This was the good side of the street. That was friendly territory.

Next door to them was the lesbian couple. Neither Mom or Dad liked them much. They muttered about sin and worried that their influence might lead Ethan or his sisters into sin. Ethan knew there were a couple girls at school who identified as lesbians. He wasn’t sure what the big deal was.

Kitty corner across from the lesbian’s was Lydia Scott, public enemy number one. She ran a yoga studio down on University. Yoga, his mom said, was an evil foreign cult. Ethan had been told that it was a form of exercise, in fact they had done it in P.E. At school. He didn’t tell his mom that. She had already threatened to pull him out of public school and homeschool him more than once. He didn’t want to leave his friends, so he kept his mouth shut.

He spied a redhead coming out of Lydia’s house. There was Mondamin’s newest public enemy.

Ethan remembered Devon vaguely. The adult’s had always said stuff, usually in a whisper, about the boy. But Ethan had kind of liked him. Not that they had much in common, being more than six years apart. What Ethan recalled was that Devon was nice to kids and took the time to include them in his games if possible. Few high school kids did that with elementary or junior high kids.

But this was too much. Devon was wearing a yellow tights, a red skirt and a yellow, women’s top.

“I don’t know how she can put up with this,” Mom had muttered at his father after she came home from the meeting last night. “The shame of it.”

“If I had ever worn women’s clothes,” his father had said, “my dad would have beat me within an inch of my life. Same goes for Ethan.”

Ethan had started, as he eavesdropped from his bedroom, but of course they didn’t know he was listening. Besides, he’d never had any inclination to try on women’s clothes either.

Ethan continued to spy on Devon, slowly pulling back to keep the tree between him and his subject. Devon had two books in his hands and he stopped in front of an oversized mailbox.

It was the itty bitty library they had built three years ago. It had been a school project for Devon. It was a miniature doll house with plexiglass walls on one side. Inside was one shelf with a dozen books or so. Neighbors were encouraged to borrow books for free, and to place new books in if they felt like it.

Mom hadn’t approved. There was no telling what sort of books someone might put in there. Nobody was monitoring the quality or morality of the selection. That might be okay for adults, but there were kids on the block.

It was one of the few times she found herself in the minority. The smith’s valued education, or so they said, and requested the library be built on their property even. Jack, Mr. Rick from the down the street, they all supported the project.

It was the other thing that Ethan liked about Devon. Mom wanted to check and monitor every piece of reading material that came in their house, make sure it taught proper Christian values. That was okay for Rosie and Esther, but he was fourteen, almost an adult. Surely he could decide what to read for himself.

Justin and Danielle read thrillers and when they were done, they went in the box. Jack had once left a survivalist manual in the box, that book was now hidden in the playhouse out back, one of Ethan’s prize possession.

Devon was all about science fiction and fantasy. Ethan had to credit Devon and the itty bitty library for most of the cultural knowledge he had. He would swipe books out of the itty bitty library and stash them in the playhouse. While all the other kids got to watch the latest movies or play the latest video games, Ethan would read the book.

Devon stopped at the itty bitty library and opened the door. He put the two books he was carrying inside and then stared at the shelves thoughtfully for a few minutes. He closed the door without taking anything and headed back towards his house.

Ethan pressed his back against the tree trunk. “Drop has been made, repeat, drop has been made,” he muttered into his shoulder, as though talking into a radio. He glanced at their front window. Mom was nowhere to be seen. He glanced down the street again. Devon was already on the porch, heading back inside.

Ethan stuck the toy gun down the front of his jeans and crossed the street. He opened the door of the itty bitty library and inspected the new books. He knew the contents well enough to not waste time on the others.

The first had a woman with a butterfly on the shoulder on the cover. He read enough of the back cover to realize it had to do with a boy who wanted to be a girl and he shoved it back in. He wiped his hands on his jeans quickly, fearing he might catch whatever it was that made Devon act the way he did.

The second book was a goldmine, Ethan could tell it at a glance. It had a woman on the cover too, but she was wearing goggles, a sure sign of something steampunk. No one at school even knew what steampunk was but Devon and, by osmosis, Ethan, were obsessed with it. Reading the back cover, this novel was not only steampunk, it had zombies.

A cop car pulled up and Ethan started. It’s a free library, that’s the point, he reminded himself. Besides it was only Justin coming home from work.

He turned the cover towards his chest and wrapped his arms around the book. He didn’t know if Justin talked to his parent’s about what they saw, but he didn’t want this title even getting back home.

“Guarding the neighborhood are we?” Justin joked with a nod towards Ethan’s waist.

Ethan looked down and the toy gun and blushed. He didn’t want to be caught playing. He was too old for that. But what else could he do? His mom ordered him to stay outside and watch his sisters. “Sir, yes, sir,” he said.

A Quick Update on 2014

It’s hard to believe it’s almost summer. I had the goal at the start of this year to publish four new novels, two YA novels under Rachel Eliason and two fantasy novels under R. J. Eliason. Here’s the quick update.

The Best Boy Ever Made came out towards the end of January and it’s doing nicely. I have had several good reviews and sales are good. A huge thanks to all my YA fans for making that happen.

Continue reading

What’s to come in 2014

As we all journey into 2014, here is a quick update on my writing progress and what is to come.

Bear Naked

Volume one of the Bear Naked saga is currently available for free on Storycartel if you are interested in checking out the series. If you are coming to this blog late and the promotion is past, don’t despair. I am eager to see as many reviews as possible of this novel, so send me a quick email and I will probably be glad to get you a copy in return for an honest review.

Bear Naked 2: Wolf Camp

Is well on it’s way. I am working on draft five now. What does that mean? Check here for how I write novels. The short answer is this, it will be ready for my editor within a week or two. The cover designer is back after a short hiatus with the company. She is already hard at work on a cover that matches the first one beautifully. We are not quite ready for a big reveal, but the samples I have seen are gorgeous.

I hope to have Wolf Camp released into the wild this spring sometime.

There is a five book story arc at work in the Bear Naked series. Bear Naked 3: The Hunter and the Hunted currently exist in the form of some scrivener notes. Hopefully I can write that this spring and summer. I hope to release that in the fall some time.

Other Novels

What else is coming down the pipeline? The Mage Chronicles, an epic fantasy set in the world of the Gilded Empire is virtually finished and waiting for editing. The hold up, its nearly twice as long as anything I have published so far. Freelance editing is by the page or by the word, and either way, it’s not cheap. I am waiting to see how sales and personal finances fare before making more certain plans for this novel.

By popular demand of beta readers and friends, my first novel, a post apocalyptic science fiction novel, is back on the docket. I will be rewriting One Strange Utopia this spring and getting it ready for editing.

Rachel Eliason

My other pen name has a busy year ahead of her as well. I have a contemporary YA novel that is virtually ready to go. I am quibbling over the title now, there are titles similar to the working title “Country Girl” and I am trying to find something more unique.

I am planning on releasing another contemporary YA this summer in honor of pride. Rosie and the Slenderman, the story of a gay youth forced to move to a small town to help care for his demented grandmother, is nearly completed and ready for editing.

I am part of a local critique group and they are helping me get my first memoir in order. This one, The Agony, The Ecstacy and the Buddha, One woman’s month in Thailand having a sex change, is slowly coming together.

With four novels and numerous short stories out under at least three different pen names, I will have plenty of marketing and promotions to do as well. Still with what I have in the pipeline I can confidently plan to publish at least four new novels this year.

For long standing readers and fans, what would you like to see me explore? Have you heard me mention a work in progress and thought, I wish she’d hurry up and finish that. If so, leave a comment.

What’s Coming in 2014?

Here is a quick peek at the works in progress I intend to publish in the near future. Three have tentative release dates and two do not. I am not sure when those two will be published, but they are relatively close to being finished.

 

Contemporary YA released as Rachel Eliason:

 

Country Girls: Alecia Mueller is a seventeen year old country girl from a conservative family. She knows exactly how she wants her life to turn out, she will meet the one, get married and settle down on a farm in the country. When her best friend Sam (Samantha) comes out as a female to male transgender, Alecia decides to put personal loyalty to her friend ahead of whatever politics lie around the issue. But what if the boy that Sam is becoming is the one?

 

Tentative release date: Soon.

 

I am essentially sitting on this manuscript. A local writer friend hung her shingle as a freelance editor recently and I had to check her services out. So I have a finished and edited manuscript. I just need a cover and some formatting working. The biggest thing that’s been holding me back is Bear Naked’s release. One of the things I have learned about marketing a book is that your book is only new once. I don’t want to distract from Bear Naked’s release with another new book. Maybe towards the beginning of next year I will get this one out.

 

Rosie and the Slenderman: Two stories with one powerful ending.

2013: Fifteen year old Aaron has his life turned upside down when his mother takes him and his sister back to the small town where she was raised, to care for her mother. Fearful that the kids won’t accept him, Aaron decides he must go back into the closet. But when he meets Nicholas, his crush on the boy may be his undoing.

1960: Twenty year old Robbie has just arrived in Chicago, intent on becoming a famous illustrator and on losing himself in the city. He soon discovers that Chicago has a booming underground gay community. He must decide, did he come to Chicago to escape his homosexual tendencies, or embrace them?

 

Tentative Release date: Pride. I have had the thought that it would be interested to write something and time the release to go along with pride, both in theme and timing. Luckily I have a mostly completed manuscript and several months to finish it.

 

Fantasy to be published as R. J. Eliason:

 

Bear Naked Volume Two: Wolf Camp: Amanda is invited to the Leidulf summer camp with Connor and his pack. She quickly finds out that her position is more precarious than she had thought, the wolves hunting her have powerful allies, including some within the Leidulf tribe itself. The camp is no picnic either, it’s a constant competition to determine pack and tribal hierarchies. Connor’s pack are misfits and this summer they are furthered hampered by Amanda’s inability to shift at will and the fact that she hasn’t cemented her role as alpha female. Hopefully with the help of a couple of friends the pack can turn things around.

 

Tentative release date: Sometime in the spring. I am through the rough draft, but there’s still a lot of work to do before I pass it off to my editor. I am hoping to have it passed off by the early part of the year and release it mid spring sometime.

 

Mage Chronicles: This is the first stand alone novel in the Gilded Empire Saga.

 

The Gilded Empire: It is a place of great magic, a multiverse of world tied together by magic gates. An empire so old and so powerful that no one recalls it’s name, because it’s been that many centuries since there was another empire. For the inhabitants of the empire, it seems to be in its golden age, at the peak of its power. But already along the edges, one can see the signs of decay.

 

The Mage Chronicles: Mary, a mage level healer with untapped magic potential, is sent on a long mission by her former teacher, the famous mage Ashley La’Margin. Her mission is to end a border dispute in some distant province. She arrives to find evil forces at work. Someone is testing some new kind of soldier, the Juggernaut. Some say they are demons disguised as men, some say they are invincible. What can a healer, even with mage level powers, do against such a threat?

 

Tentative release date: ??? I am on my fourth draft. Typically around the fifth draft I am ready to show something to an editor. Free lance editors generally like to get paid for their services. And since they charge by the word or by the page, this 100,000 plus word novel is going to be nearly twice as expensive as my other books were. So when this book gets to an editor depends a bit on the success of my other books, like Bear Naked. Fantasy fans take note. I have the manuscripts to keep your entertained. I just need to be making enough money to afford editing and cover design services.

 

One Strange Utopia: Amy Beland has grown up at Freedom Ranch, a white supremacist enclave in a post apocalyptic world. After seventeen years of rebelling against the Ranch she is now their only hope of salvation. A small detachment is sent down, out of their mountain retreat, to search what remains of civilization for critically needed supplies. The new society that has appeared on the plains thirty years after the collapse of the United States will shock and challenge Amy’s fundamental beliefs about the world.

 

Tentative release date: ??? This is actually the first novel I ever wrote. I have struggled for some time with what to do with the manuscript. I look at it and I like the story, but I have grown as a writer. However every beta reader that’s read it has agreed, it’s worth publishing. I am going to run it through one more round of edits, have it proofed and put it out, when I can get around to it.