Aug 06
2014

Holy Cow!

I can’t believe I let my release day sneak up on me, but I’ve been under the weather off and on. While You Were Away is LIVE AND AVAILABLE!! I know you can get it at Red Sage and Amazon. Please check it out and give a review if you like sci-fi, romance, or sci-fi romance! I hope you enjoy it!
At Red Sage Publishing
At Amazon

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Jul 14
2014

Almost There! Almost There!

So, about 5 days ago, I sent off my copy edit reviews for WYWA, and barring any further last minute changes, it’s done and should be out in August! I’m pretty excited about it and can’t wait to see it available for purchase out in ebook land.

On another note, I want to write something else, but I’ve been battling some malady that’s been laying me up and chores have been piling up also as a result. So, I’ll have to get some housework done whether I feel up to the task or not before I can get more writing in.

On a third note, no further word on my contract changes for Rogue 5, so that deal might be off the table. I wanted a little more control this time and it might have been something they didn’t want to give. Oh well, there are other venues if it falls through, even self-pub. I know a number of talented artists around town that might be able to give me a deal on cover art, and my bro has a screen print shop, and he’s a graphic designer. I’m sure I can figure something out.

Anyway, that’s all for the news!

DJD

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Jul 12
2014

Chuck Challenge: @YouAreCarrying

Evidently, there’s a Twitter account / bot that, if you tweet the word “inventory” to this particular Twitter bot — @YouAreCarrying — it will tweet back a randomized list of inventory items, taken, from old Infocomm games.

The ones I got were: a pair of rubber boots, an orange wire, a blaster, a train ticket, a purchase and sale agreement, a black cable.

He said you could make it as oblique, abstract, or overt as you wanted and 2000 words or less. So here’s mine. I didn’t really edit it, but I’ve also been ill, so I posted what I had.

This by the way is a continuance of another short I wrote for an earlier challenge that you can find here: A Game of Cat and Mouse

Never Swindle A Swindler

The ship was his fair and square. That damnable woman had even given him a purchase and sales agreement—which evidently was forged, so the desk said. He’d had to spend almost all of his tebesh winnings, most of which he’d won off of her, just to bribe his way out of lockup.

When she offered up her ship as collateral for one more hand, he was happy to oblige. He could finally get off the floating ball of drab and dreary backwater trash heap he’d spent the last several months on after his last ship bit the dust, thanks to a certain Queen of the Thellen Court.

He couldn’t really blame Andrissi, at least. It had been her ship, after all—a damn fine one, too. And they’d been playing that game for a while. He missed that ship.

This other woman though. No one swindled Kavin Wolfe. He’d get the ship. Then he’d find her.

When he’d arrived after the game to pick up his winnings, the ship was nowhere to be found. When he’d asked around he was told it had been taken to impound as stolen property. Evidently, she didn’t know how to wipe ident codes. Or just didn’t care.

The rubber boots he’d swiped from security inventory when no one was looking squeaked slightly when he walked but they’d break in. They were better than the worn line-worker’s boots he’d left behind. And they were designed for deck plating under zero-G. Perfect for what he might have to do to get that ship.

On the upside, security was lax in impound this time of day and the area of town wasn’t all that popular to travel through. He’d have to wait for someone to enter or exit, but once they did, he’d be in, provided they didn’t turn on the electricity field before he made his dash. Still, he’d felt worse. Andrissi always made sure of that.

Sitting in a shadowed area near enough for a mad dash, keeping an eye out for passersby, he waited until the gate ground open on rusty wheels. A man came into view, a lunch pouch in one hand. He wore the standard gray and black of security. He didn’t say a word, so Kav hoped no one had watched him leave.

Kav would have to be quick.

He sprinted, the new boots helping him gain traction on the durocrete walk. He prayed his luck would hold and no one would come around the nearest corner.

The guard turned, eyes going wide, and Kav had him to the ground, bouncing his head off the durocrete. The guard went limp and Kav leaped up, running for the gate. He rolled through the gate, coming back up, and groaned.

This was definitely going to hurt.

The electricity field sprung to life and he jumped, hoping to clear the gap.

Buzzing fire lit his nerve endings and he fell, rolling, and came to a twitching stop. Hopefully, no one saw—

“Hey,” a gruff shout came from nearby. A pair of booted feet rushed toward him. “Who are you and what are you doing here!”

Kav waited, his bio-regeneration working to repair the damage he’d received from the jolt and reboot his nervous system. He played paralyzed until a shadow fell over him.

Kav drove up from his position on the ground, the guard giving a gasp just before Kav’s palm strike to the chin almost took the man from his feet. More plasmatic fire seared his side as the guard’s blaster pistol discharged. A graze. Even if it wasn’t he’d survive. This guard, however.

Kav spun, grabbing the pistol with one hand, the guard’s upper arm with the other, and slammed a knee up hard, hearing a pop as the guard’s fingers went limp. Kav pushed him aside, ripping the pistol from his fingers. Kav thumbed the power control and fired.

The guard slammed against a nearby wall from the power of the stun burst. Kav wasted no time. He knew the guard would be down for a while and bolted into the impound yard. He’d bribed someone earlier to let him know where the ship was located.

He found it quickly, scanning around for anything he could use to short the docking plates and get him into the ship. Spying a long line of black cable, he opened a junction box, attaching one end into the box. Stretching the other end, he dropped it onto the docking plate and the junction box sizzled, the hum of the plate fading.

He remembered there was usually an outside emergency entrance and he went for it, hopping up onto a wing of the sleek-looking ship he noticed was dubbed CH-1 Victoria’s Pride. He chuckled. Somehow he doubted the woman’s name was Victoria.

He found the panel at the top of the vessel. He had to leap back down for a tool kit, but found one next to a clunker hauler. Sprinting back, he made his way to the controls once more and worked at a feverish pace. Pulling open the box, he found a tangle of wires. He tore the orange wire from the panel and created a quick and sloppy bridge he’d learned from an old smuggler. The panel sizzled, but the entrance slid open.

Blaster fire splashed over the ship too close for comfort and he dropped inside. He raced to the cockpit of the ship, finding a navbot.

“Excuse me,” its metallic voice whined, “who are you?”

Kav rolled his eyes. He’d seen this before. “The new owner.”

“But I thought—“

The navbot shut down as Kav hit the manual override. Another set of buttons shut the emergency entrance. Kav could hear booted feet hopping onto the ship. They weren’t going to like this.

He revved up the ship and pulled on the controls before they could figure out how to reset the docking plate. Men clattered off the ship’s hull as the ship slid out of the lot and high into the sky. With luck, they hadn’t had time to arm the defensive cannons. Blaster fire streaked away behind him as he punched the ship into full speed.

He’d have to set down somewhere to wipe the ident, but it wouldn’t take long. At the moment, he just needed to get away.

A comm warbled and a face popped up onto a vid screen.

“Miss Erikson? Oh, where is Miss Erickson?”

“She’s on a quick run.”

“Do you know if she will be making her train trip to Vega? We have a meeting.”

Kav stifled a chuckle. “Yes, sir, she’ll be there.”

“Good. I’d hoped she would get that ticket I sent her in time.”

“Everything’s just fine. Victory out.”

Kav shut the vid off and grinned. Now he knew where she was headed. Vega. He’d have to find a place to hole up, but he’d be there waiting.

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Mar 19
2014

Huzzah! Hurrah! Yipee! etc.

I sent back edits on While You Were away, my sci-fi romance novella for Red Sage. Ended up being a couple days late due to the new job and other factors, but as was said in Star Wars: A New Hope, It’s away! Now I wait…well…now I work on something else while I wait. I just have to decide what that something else is. My noir-style dark urban fantasy has been calling me, though I’ve run into a snag on that one and haven’t been able to get past it. I also need to finish edits on book 2 of the epic fantasy romance and start book 3. Then, there are a slew of other things I want to eventually get back to. So I’m torn, but at least one thing is taken care of and out the door.

I hope readers will enjoy While You Were Away. It was a blast to write and is action-packed with a great romance. There’s plenty in it to satisfy romance and sci-fi readers alike.

See you in the stacks,
DJD

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Mar 03
2014

As I Pondered Weak and Weary

Contracts, that is. Or more specifically, one contract.

I posted a while ago (and I apologize to anyone who actually comes to read here that I haven’t updated in a while) that Rogue 5 had been accepted for eventual publication. Except, the more I thought about the contract, the less happy and more hesitant I became. It was great finding While You Were Away a home, but I wanted a little more control with Rogue 5, meaning a better contract and solid reversion of rights, plus things like comic/graphic novel rights (which, yes, I could exploit on my own), film rights, animated, and possibly foreign. I still plan on getting an agent and these are all things they could help me work to see through. I don’t feel that, though the publisher has asked for them all, and more, they’re going to actually pursue them. Thus, it would behoove me to ask for them, some clarification on the language as to reversion, and to ask that some clauses be stricken. It’s a boilerplate contract, so, who knows? They might not have a problem with changing it.

I know, sometimes it’s a fool’s errand to agent yourself, but I was even told point blank by a couple of pros in the field not to sign for various reasons and to tell them thanks but no thanks with the current contract as it is. So, I made a counter offer. If they don’t accept, I at least gave them a chance and will bow out gracefully. As I said, they picked up WYWA and I’m more than thankful for that. I just feel that Rogue 5 deserves more and can be more than what the current contract would allow.

I am even considering the possibility of going it on my own if they say no. I hear that sci-fi romance does pretty well in self-pub and I have a number of sources I could go to for editing, artwork, cover design, etc. I think it would be a fun project and an interesting experiment in publishing, plus it would allow me to keep those rights and reversions.

Would it be a harder road? Most likely, but I think Rogue 5 could be more than just another romance ebook adrift in the virtual sea. Much more. So I want to give it that opportunity and the first step there is making sure all of my control isn’t taken.

I’ve been talking with the awesome Stuart Jaffe about self-publishing and have been given some great advice. In the end, it all depends on the publisher and whether I have the moxy to do it myself. Either way, Rogue 5 will see the light of day and it will be stellar. On another front, I’m back into edits on book two of my epic fantasy trilogy. I’ll have to get betas eventually for the first two books, but I love this story. Can’t wait to see it through. Biggest work I’ve ever done and I hope I can get it out there to lovers of erotic romance and epic fantasy.

We’ll see what transpires in the coming year.

Oh yeah, and in 25 days I’ll be another year older.

Oh yeah, and this freezing weather we’re having is getting very, very old too.

Till next time,

DJD

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Dec 17
2013

Cue Kermit Arms

Rogue 5 was picked up by Red Sage! I have to fill out the paperwork, but it looks like I’ll have another work out sometime next year. At least, I hope it’s that soon. One never knows.

For anyone just joining, Rogue 5 was my first completed full length novel that I wrote back around ’09. It’s an epic space-opera sci-fi romance novel with shades of anime like Robotech/Gundam.

“To save her band of misfit Mercs and put an end to a galactic civil war, Ahlia Jensen, along with ace Battle Suit pilot, Tannen Reece, must discover the secret behind an ancient prophesy before a madman plunges the known galaxy into chaos.”

It was rejected several times and the great agent and author Lucienne Diver gave me some good advice on the opening that made me rework it. Then I went and reworked the whole thing, as I’d gotten good writing advice from a beta reader on While You Were Away that would ultimately benefit Rogue 5 as well. So I retooled it, fixed the query, reworked the synopsis, got another rejection from Baen (I would guess because it was a romance and taking it out would have been an arduous task). Getting it back from Baen meant that it was freed up to send to Red Sage. I figured I’d give them a crack at it, since they picked up WYWA, and I feel Rogue 5 is even better than WYWA. They gave it the thumbs up.

And so now I have another set of paperwork to fill out and then a contract to sign. I’m pretty excited about this one seeing the light of day. If it hadn’t been picked up I would have self-pubbed it as I feel that strongly about it. It’s not what you’d normally see in SFR, so it’s been a somewhat hard sell, but it’s a fun story. I think readers will love it.

All of which brings me to the advice section of the post.

Persevere.

Don’t give up. I’m reminded of a commercial on the overhead speakers at my VERY part-time job. It says good things come to those who wait, but I think if you want something bad enough you have to go out and make it happen. Do the legwork. Keep trying. Climb to the top of Mount Doom and fling that crap into the fiery pit. Forge your own blade and quench it in bloody vengeance (another story I have in the works ;) ). And if no one wants to publish the work because it breaks conventions or they feel they can’t market it, do it yourself. But persevere. You can’t edit a blank page and you can’t sell a work that never sees the light of day.

So, head down, press forward, into the maelstrom.

Keep writing. Keep trying.

See you in the stacks,

DJD

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Nov 25
2013

Another Chuck Challenge, 200 Word Round Robin

So, this week’s challenge over on Chuck Wendig’s blog is 200 Words at a Time, Part One, where you write the beginning to a story, 200 words or less, and then next week, everyone chooses another’s work to continue with another 200 words, and on until the usual 1000 word total is written. Sounded interesting, so I’m giving it a go. I’m not giving it a title so that others can write freely without having to think of how to fit their work into the title. It sometimes takes me to the end of a work before I realize what the title might be anyway.

So, here it is, first installment. If it’s not used, I may expand it. I’ve got ideas. ;)

***

There was absolutely nothing in this world worse than squid. Aric spat, tossing stick and dubious, floppy chunk of meat into the guttering fire. It wasn’t really squid, of course. He remembered squid; fried calamari was once his favorite. It didn’t help that he’d eaten the slimy substitute every day since the drop. There was only so many times he could choke something down that tasted like sulfur and the inside of an athlete’s running shoe, regardless of whether the analyzer dubbed the small alien cephalopod safe and nutritious. Gruel was nutritious too. In fact, he would almost prefer gruel.

At best count, as the days were longer here, he’d dropped in the Emergency Landing Vehicle twenty Sol Standard Days ago. The landing was rough and the ELV was toast, but any landing you can walk away from….

He chuckled, a mad titter that he bit back.

Standing, he kicked out the useless flame, heading back along the jagged slash in the alien landscape where the ELV rested. He needed to check the beacon, and after, finally explore this no-man’s land of an uncharted jungle planet; anything to keep his mind off a rescue that might never come.

***

DJD

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Nov 14
2013

Back in My Day… (or, What Is It With All These Categories?)

I understand to a point. I really do. Parents wanting to keep the wrong books, views, situations, out of the hands of impressionable youth. But lately, there’s a veritable plethora of genre age categories popping up all over, some of which seem a little…unnecessary. The latest I’ve seen is what’s called New Adult, which evidently has heroes/heroines in the 18-25 range and target those readers and deal with situations that I guess the target audience would deal with in their own lives, like getting their first car…or I guess in fantasy that might be their first horse? In fantasy, would getting a job be like having to work in Ye Olde Smithy? Joining the armed forces I guess would be conscription into the King’s royal armies of the crown. Aaaand, I’m rolling down tangent hill on this one.

To hearken back to the title and sound like an old fogey, back in my day, we didn’t have all these age categories, just genres. Stories that dealt with character growth from youth into adulthood was simply a Bildungsroman story. I read everything that’s still on my shelves today from authors like Terry Brooks, Weis and Hickman, Piers Anthony, Michael Moorcock, Raymond E. Feist, Stephen Brust, Angus Wells, Christopher Stasheff, David Eddings, and a whole slew of authors who had no category designation. It was either fantasy, sci-fi, or some combination thereof. Some of their works were straightforward, some more complex, but they didn’t necessarily target an age group. If they had characters of a certain age group they did, if they didn’t they didn’t, and that was okay. But now it seems everyone wants their own category, their own special place on the dwindling store shelves, their own specific target audience because the flood gates were opened when YA became so popular.

Don’t get me wrong, I can completely understand Middle Grade and Early Middle Grade (even though at around that age I was reading Elric of Melnibone), and to an extent, Young Adult (which sometimes seems more an excuse to write trite, shallow works, than targeting a specific age group, but I digress), but with every new category we just get more and more redundant and pigeonholed. What’s next, Middle Adult for 26 to thirty-somethings? Over The Hill fiction targeting 40 and up? How ’bout Geriatric Adult featuring octogenarian heroes and themes such as bladder control, hip displacement, and memory function? Where is the line drawn?

As I said, some are more necessary than they used to be, given today’s market. I mean, I wouldn’t want my daughter coming home from the library in a couple more years–if she becomes as voracious a reader as I was at that age–with a book she thought was about an investigator in the Faerie Court and realize it’s Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series. Talk about awkward. But on the flip-side, I’d let her read most everything that’s on my shelves now (besides the romance novels, because, no). And I don’t want her to have to choose books based on her age bracket, unless that’s what she wants to read.

Still, the age categories have brought a lot of new authors into the realm of the published, so at least it’s done some good in that regard. However, everything has its day and everything eventually experiences a drop off, so who knows what the future may hold. I know one thing for certain though, I’m gonna get a jump on that Geriatric Adult category. That one’s gonna be huge!

See you in the categorized stacks!

DJD

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Oct 25
2013

Life & Lemons: The Saga Continues

Not much good news to report. As you know from last post, I lost my laptop, then the hard drive on the loaner laptop died, and now I am on a loaner desktop until I can find a way to get my laptop repaired. There seems to be an issue with the desktop as well, possibly hard drive. Sheesh, what is it with hard drives! Someone ran off the road a couple days ago and destroyed our mailbox and pole (hit and run, of course), so that’s another expense we can’t afford. We’ve taken a couple other monetary hits as well that I won’t go into. And hey, Christmas is coming! It seriously makes one consider the self publishing route more and more and I have thought long and hard, especially of late, how I’d go about it. But whether I do or not, I guess my days as a full time writer are just about at an end for a while until novel money starts coming in. Back to the daily grind. Hope my health holds out.

Beyond that, no word on Rogue 5, which I sent for consideration to Red Sage. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s been about two months. Though, as quickly as they picked up While You Were Away, I’m surprised. I think Rogue 5 is far and away better than WYWA, but we’ll see. Working on revisions of book 2 of the epic fantasy romance trilogy and trying to decide whether I want to finish a Middle Grade fantasy I’ve been working on or wait until I have book 3 of the fantasy romance done. I think I know of a place to send the Middle Grade fantasy that might be interested, but I’d have to move quickly (before March 2014 when they close to subs). And it might mean another pseudonym, unless I try using my actual name, but what can ya do.

Not much else to report. It’s getting cold in cowtown, so it’s getting cold in this breezy rental house and…we hatessess the cold, yesss we do, we hatessess it! Ahem…yeah.

So that’s it. Normally, when life hands me lemons I’d make Limoncello, but I can’t even afford the vodka.

So till next time,
Happy reading and stay warm.

DJD

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Oct 17
2013

The Death of Productivity

It hasn’t been a good week here at chez Davis. The only computer we had, my laptop, died. My laptop is pretty much my line to keeping in contact with friends, family, publishers, and other writers, as well as the machine I type my novels on. Thankfully, I keep my work backed up on a flash drive and an external hard drive, otherwise things might be much worse. I don’t have the money to get it fixed at the moment, or buy another, so one of my relatives was nice enough to give me a loaner until I could get mine worked on.

Unfortunately, my luck of late stinks and the hard drive is going out on this one as we speak, so I can’t really write on this one either. I could try, but it keeps glitching and freezing, so I’m hesitant lest I try to save my work and it hangs and fails to do so. I’d hate to lose my work because of it. So, here I am, my productivity shot as I await the possibility of a loaner desktop PC from my brother. In the meantime, I’m working on my art piece and trying to come up with things to make and sell. Maybe I can make the cash needed to get back up and running on the laptop. One can hope. I may even have to go back out into the workplace part time. However, my health is kind of shot right now so we’ll see how that goes.

So, until then, I’ll be plugging along on other things, wishing I could be working on my revisions. Hopefully the desktop PC will last longer than this machine did and keep me going until I can figure out how to get my laptop functioning again.

Till next time,

DJD

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