Archive for the ‘publishing’ Tag

The Ocasek Opportunity is Published

Third in the series that started with The Valmont Contingency, The Ocasek Opportunity is the story of Tasha Ocasek’s little brother, Stephan. How he picked up the pieces after his father’s murder and what he did to keep beans on the table and a roof over his–and his younger sister’s–heads.

It was all going according to his plan, until….

Here’s the back cover copy:

Where do you hide in space?

On the courier ship ferrying The Hero of Ararat, the Dragonkiller and their daughter, Ekaterina ‘Kat’ Avondale, from the Saurian homeworld back to human space, newly promoted third-shift commander Stephan Ocasek has found a sneaky ion trail. They are being followed. No, not followed, hunted.

Not by Saurians, since they’re flying an honor escort. Not by humans, because the engine signature is all wrong. When they detect a comm signal that Kat recognizes from Saurian history, they know the Ancient Horror—the species that nearly ended Saurian history a couple of millennia ago—has returned, and it knows where they’re going.

The Saurians sent a suicide ship into a black hole to stop it last time. This time, all they have is Stephan’s reflexes together with Ekaterina’s calculations to save two of the three known sentient species in the galaxy. And even if their plan works, they might not survive long enough for him to finish teaching her how to be human.

And here’s the cover:

ocasekcover-kobo_600x900

Wanna read it?  Here are the Buy links — if you don’t see the format you want, email me at valmroberts@gmail.com or leave a comment.

At Amazon (Kindle)
At Barnes & Noble (Nook)
At Kobo
At iBooks

 

Update — No, I have not entirely abandoned my website

After recovering from the breast cancer reconstruction that refused to cooperate (no, I will not go into details as I don’t want to freak out anyone; let’s just say I burned off some bad karma), I dove into The Ocasek Opportunity, the story of Tasha’s little brother and how he saved two civilizations from the boogeyman aliens.

Currently, it’s resting before I start editing the first draft into a book.

Now I’m fighting with Kindness of Strangers, the Ganymede Survivors story of Colonel Singh and the elusive Chandra Ramasamy.

And I’ve got one more editing pass on The Unique Solution–the redemption of the evil twin from Blade’s Edge–before I can get it published.

I’ve written more in the last year than in the previous several, just none of it on my website/blog. So now you know.

Thanks,
Val

Quick update – still alive here, just busy writing

Just wanted to put up a quick note to mention that I’m still alive (although temporarily short a breast that was thinking about killing me again—I’ll tell you about it later).

I’m deep into the middle of the story of Tasha Ocasek’s half-brother Stephan, who—ten years after The Valmont Contingency—is busy saving the universe from an Ancient Horror (yes, that’s their official name) while trying not to fall for the intriguing Ekaterina Avondale. And failing, at least in the not-falling-for Kat department.

Kat was raised in a society of dragons. In this particular instance, “dragon” is the slang term for an alien species formally known as Saurians because they come from a parallel line of evolution where the “dinosaurs” became sentient rather than extinct. So they are part velociraptoroid, part parrotoid, and, like T-Rex, the girls are bigger and stronger than the boys.

So Kat scares the bejeebers out of most men, but Stephan is a little different from most men. His big problem is that she’s the result of a union between to major cartel families, and after the way his father died, he’s extremely allergic to cartel families.

It’s going to take both of them to destroy the group-mind insectoidal colony ship that uses carbon-based life forms to incubate its eggs and larvae. I know, right? It creeps me right out, so Stephan and Kat had better get it together and destroy these things for good, and they only have another 30,000-40,000 words to do it.

For anyone waiting impatiently for Talyn’s story, I’ll be doing the final edit on it just as soon as I get this first draft finished. My goal is to get it published by the end of the summer.

Back to the story now,
Val

Getting Lucky is For Sale

This is just a quick note to let anyone interested know that Getting Lucky, the second novella in the Ganymede incident super-novel, is out in ebook, available at your favorite store:  Amazon, Nook (right now the author is listed as Valerie Robertson; I’ve fixed it once), Kobo, and iBooks.

Kanaxa’s rocking cover now has a story to go with it.

GettingLucky_Web

Back to editing Unique…which doesn’t yet have a cover.

Cover Reveal for ‘Getting Lucky’

Ta-dah! Cover by Kanaxa (the awesome). This is the third cover she’s designed for my stories — the first one was Blade’s Edge.

GettingLucky_Web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story is in editing right now, but it will be out before Christmas.  The third in this trilogy of novellas is the story of Strike Force Colonel Ramsin Singh rediscovers his humanity, with a little help from some asteroid miners and — no, no spoilers. Yet.  Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

Second in a Series of Firsts–My First Second Book in a Series

The Nobinata Gambit is officially out among the virtual bookshelves, which marks another turning point for me; it’s the first story I’ve written about a character that had already appeared in a story, making it the second book in a series. What’s the name of the series? Beats me. It all started with a novella called “Finding the Briar Rose” which is a Sleeping Beauty retelling that I’m going to rewrite and publish as a freebie next year (early next year, I hope), because I like the characters and they should live somewhere besides my dead-manuscript file. The first published story in the series is The Valmont Contingency.

The Nobinata Gambit is the story of Shak and “Lilo” (her real name is Yuki) after the end of Valmont; they save the emperor of the Empire of Nippon and Allied Cultures from an assassination attempt by one of his distant cousins, with assorted tragedies, murders and goings on, a love story, and more sequel bait thrown in because life never lets you do one thing at a time.

The universe for this series is the area of space colonized by humans after Earth’s magnetic field fails–it doesn’t actually FAIL fail, but it flops poles (again, it’s done it before), so it effectively fails for a few thousand years. Geologically, that’s an eyeblink, but for humans it’s a real problem since the magnetic field keeps out lethal high-energy particles from the Solar wind. Privately, I’m calling these books the Diaspora series. Let me know if that works and I’ll put it on the books I control.

My next title will be Getting Lucky, also the second in a series (my second second book, so to speak); it’s the story of Sasha from Open Mike at Club Bebop and the personage he finds lurking in the sealed archive he’s searching for more information on that tantalizing piece of video Colonel Singh turned up in Bebop. Yes, Sasha is smitten by someone as sneaky as he is, and…Martians, although not live ones. I know, right? More on that when it gets beaten into shape.

However, The Nobinata Gambit has an excellent cover, created by the talented and beautiful Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs (The Killion Group):

The Nobinata Gambit - Cover

  In case you were wondering, you can
buy it here:

Amazon (Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Kobo

 Sorry, Apple readers, I can’t figure out how to get a direct link to the book in iTunes.

If you know, leave a comment with directions.

Open Mike at Club Bebop is Published

The e-book version of Open Mike at Club Bebop is officially on sale today at Amazon, Nook Press and Kobo Books. I am pleased with the way it has turned out — the last three years of XML coding at the day job have not been wasted.

Bebop's Cover

Bebop’s Cover

 

Buy links (in case you want to get it right now):
At Amazon
At Barnes & Noble
At Kobo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, on to the print version of Bebop, soon to be followed by The Nobinata Gambit (what happened to Shak and “Lilo” after The Valmont Contingency ended). After that, it will be time for Sasha’s story….

I’d better get to work.

Wylde Hare Press’s First Cover

The marvelous Kanaxa did the cover for my first published book, Blade’s Edge, published by Samhain Publishing. I discovered recently that she’s doing a limited number of freelance covers and immediately contacted her about Open Mike at Club Bebop and the rest of the Ganymede series. She came up with the best cover idea and after a very little tweaking, she sent me this (imagine me bouncing with excitement as I embed the image):
OpenMikeAtClubBebop_Web

Ta-dah!

I couldn’t have asked for a better cover to kick off Wylde Hare Press. I think it might even be better than the cover for Blade’s Edge.

Now all I have to do is get the book formatted, the ISBNs purchased, the blurb written and get it uploaded to all the stores. My target date for this is August 20th.

This is going to be so much fun; I haven’t formatted a book in…well, more than 20 years, back when I was working my way through college as a typesetter in the university’s graphics and printing department. And it was before mobi and epub formats existed, so I get to learn something new.

(bounce, bounce, chortle, bounce)

On the Idea of Being My Own Publisher

In 1983, I became the features editor of my college newspaper, and shortly thereafter learned phototypesetting, a skill that would fund my last three years of college. This will become relevant in a bit.

In 1995, my husband started a small business to electronically file medical claims with insurance companies. Setting it up, filing the taxes, and eventually going through bankruptcy taught me how to run a business (we only ever had one client, and he had a heart attack several weeks before Blue Cross/Blue Shield came out with their own DIY software, but I digress).

In 1996, I became a technical writer after teaching myself HTML from a “for the Compleat Idiot” book (My Eureka moment: “It’s just typesetting codes!” Told you it would become relevant).

Off and on between 1997 and 2006 (and every few months in my current job) I worked in corporate marketing, branding, new product introduction, that sort of thing.

In short, it appears my background has given me a semi-unique skill set that will allow me to easily become my own publisher. Thus, I am filing an Assumed Business Name (Idaho’s version of a DBA — we can never do anything normally) with the Secretary of State’s office next month…Wylde Hare Press will be born.

Why? Carina Press just rejected the best thing I have ever written, “The Nobinata Gambit.” I submitted the second manuscript to them reluctantly; Carina is an imprint of Harlequin, which is a corporate master of ensuring rights are never returned to writers. I reasoned that I  might as well have the entire diaspora series with them, in spite of poor sales for the first title.

The sales of the first book in the series, to put it politely, stank on ice, in spite of the book finalling in the EPIC awards. Furthermore, the sales price was cut to $2.99, which means that I received about 60 cents for each sale at Amazon, Nook and Kobo.

By way of comparison, my Samhain Publishing title earns $1.65 per sale at third party retailers, and sells more copies per month (as in 6 copies vs 4) in spite of being three years older. So much for the mighty Harlequin marketing machine, LOL. They work great for some people — I have several friends who published well with the company — just not for me.

I will not start on my editor (who was essentially the reason I sat on the manuscript for nine months after completing it). Lovely woman, but we had different visions for the story in “The Valmont Contingency.” Since I’ve been an editor probably longer than she’s been alive — I first held the job title at the tender age of fourteen — I think mine was better. She would probably disagree.

During the 3.5 months I was waiting for Carina to decide, I developed an idea for a lead-in novella to the diaspora series that will make Carina’s “ownership” of the first full-length book irrelevant; I can have my “permafree” (that’s a technical term) novella, the first book at $2.99, and then…whatever I want, since I’m the owner of my new publisher.

The DBA name is one my husband, Spooky Man, has been throwing around for years in other contexts. And since I like rabbits and the whole idea of doing my own publishing really is kind of a wild hair, well, there you go. Synchronicity happens.

Spooky Man would dearly love its corporate symbol to be a white rabbit silhouette on a background of a starry sky (a wild hare where the sun doesn’t shine–he is a diabolical punster), but I would prefer to keep it mostly tasteful. Mostly.

I’m starting with a novella that I wrote in 2011, which is going to be the start of a series of six interlocking stories that will divide nicely into two novel-length anthologies. The first one is titled “Open Mike at Club Bebop” which is a jazz club in Luna City, on Earth’s moon. I haven’t figured out yet if this world is a precursor to the Human Diaspora universe or the Dozen Worlds universe, but it’s set during the era of our first settlements off of our homeworld.

With a bit of luck and quite a bit of elbow grease, “The Nobinata Gambit” will be ready and published by the end of September.

The follow-on to “Blade’s Edge,” which is tentatively titled “Becoming Unique,” (it’s how Talyn learns to use her powers for good rather than eeeevvviiilllll) is on track to publish about six months after, in March of 2015, and the two friends of Bebop should be finished in time to fill in the months between.

And so it goes, on to a brave new world in this case. Wish me luck.

Things that go bump in the night

I’m not a target market for most paranormal romance or urban fantasy books currently in print: There is no such thing as a vampire, and there is no such thing as a shifter (werewolf, dragon, yorkie, hamster — whatever you choose, it ain’t happening). Thus, I have a great deal of difficulty reading books with this sort of monster as a main character. Or in the book at all.

Why? Because of the physics and biology of the thing. Really, it’s the same reason nobody in my science-fiction books is going to have a romantic relationship with an alien. Ever. Bestiality makes me gag.

First of all, vampires are dead (the root of undead is dead; look it up). If you have a romantic relationship with a vampire, it’s necrophilia — euww…just…euww. Plus the fact that vampires are ‘immortal’ and they can create other vampires. Even if a vampire created one other vampire per decade, and that other vampire created one other vampire per decade, you get a geometric progression and after a while (it doesn’t matter how long of a while because they unlive forever), there’s nobody left to eat, just vampires. And then they all starve to, uh, death.

I realize this stems from the perfectly human desire to stay young and not die — I’m big on not dying, myself — but really, sleeping in a coffin and eating people (particularly when you don’t know where they’ve been and what/who they’ve been doing)? Sorry, I have other ways to accomplish the same thing that don’t strain my logic circuits nearly as hard.

And then there are shifters…sigh. Have you ever broken a bone? Dislocated a joint? Torn a muscle/tendon, heck, had a really bad cramp? They don’t go away in two seconds. Bones that snap and relocate themselves take weeks to reknit. Weeks. Sometimes months.

Do not let the word magic cross your lips in defense of this trope or you will be subjected to an eye roll — I’ve been practicing with teenaged girls, so my technique is almost ninja-class at this point. You will not survive.

The problem is in biology and organic chemistry; cells can only work so fast.

So a shifter will not turn into a wolf/panther/dragon/hamster/rhododendron for three nights in a row and then go back to normal for three and a half weeks, sorry. And if your bones, muscles and tendons start reshaping and rearranging themselves, you’ll be too busy screaming in incredible pain to be very menacing to anyone.

Plus there’s the whole mass factor–120-pound human female becomes a 70-lb North American wolf bitch. There’s 50 pounds of flesh missing in that equation. Or better yet, she turns into a 6-ton (12,000-pound) fire-breathing dragon! Where did the 11,880 pounds of scales, wings, talons and etc. come from? Dark matter? Insert derisive snort here.

All this rant is not against paranormal stories in general, but for pity’s sake, at least try to make them non-ridiculous. Have you ever come across phenomena you can’t explain? I have.

I live with a man who can tame any animal within seconds of meeting it; he once chittered at a feral rabbit on the VA medical center grounds and it started hopping to him. He wasn’t even speaking rabbit; it was the same noise he makes to talk to squirrels in our back yard. (It’s rather odd to wander outside and catch one’s spouse having a conversation with a squirrel, but I have done exactly that. That’s one of the reasons his blog name is Spooky Man.)

Not to mention the dogs, cats, bunnies, cows, llamas, goats, ferrets, and whatever else that have tried to follow him at the Western Idaho Fair. Spooky Man is not allowed in the animal barns unaccompanied.

Plus, I’ve got a ghost cat in my house — I have seen the black shadow of a long-haired cat flitting from one room to the other and we have no long-haired indoor cats. Even Tuffy, our long-haired outdoor cat (who refuses to become an indoor cat), has a Maine Coon-style outline, which doesn’t fit Ghost Kitty. Yeah, we named the ghost cat, which shouldn’t be surprising since I live with, well, Spooky Man.

However, I’m the one who scares away ghosts, identifies flying objects, explains magic powers (with string theory, but still…), and generally explicates the inexplicable. This is why I’m not a target market for paranormal romance and urban fantasy. If I were living the X-Files, I would be Scully.

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