15 questions to guide your novel

Sometimes you just gotta get methodical. Novels are big and unruly, but chaos does not need to reign. Here are 15 framing questions that can help you discover and define what you what to write. I’ll use one of my books to give examples.

Questions 1-4. The main “handles” readers will use to discover your book.

1. What genre? Some aspiring writers are surprisingly conflicted about what type of story to write. My only advice is to read in likely genres. Read a lot. Learn what stories you adore.

For my book, the answer to the genre question was Fantasy. But there are so many types of fantasy, and some form popular subgenres such as gaslamp, sword and sorcery, grimdark, folkloric. So we drill down. (For examples of types of fantasy, see my post Landscapes of Fantasy.)

2. What kind of fantasy? In the case of the book I had in mind, it was historical fantasy with psi-powers. Read More…

My novel at $.99

Categories: News |

Grab it while it’s under a dollar — The Seeds of Time

NOW through Tuesday, May 14

 

Clio Finn is a time travel pilot on the run from a dystopian and graying Earth. Now she’s found a planet with what could be viable, saving biota. If she can get home from across the galaxy. With the enemies Clio’s got, that’s a very big IF. One week only, the eBook is reduced to $.99 at all e-retailers.

The Seeds of Time, a reader favorite.

Click here to purchase: books2read.com/seeds

 

Pitching your novel

How do you pitch a novel? And why lavish time on it? Is it just so that we won’t be caught flat-footed when someone asks what the story is about?

The Point of Pitching

While it’s true that an intriguing, quick blurb for a novel makes us look more professional–and saves us the embarrassment of stumbling through a confused rendition, a pitch also has a deep marketing purpose.

A  pitch positions your novel amid the world of books. It gives instant perspective on the story, pinpointing genre, tone, and unique features. Publishing today depends on branding and brevity. For better or worse, we’re in the world of entertainment and marketing with its thirst for audience definition. Read More…

Book Birthday and Other Earnest Events

Categories: News |

AVAILABLE APRIL 16.

IT’S APRIL, and so this month Nest of the Monarch comes into the world. I was thrilled to hold my lovely book in my hands a few days ago. It’s the 3rd book in the trilogy, and I can promise you, I took The major character to the limit. I asked myself, what is the most that could be asked of her? Came up with an intriguing answer, I think! If so inclined, pre-order here.

So, you know the drill, I will be earnestly talking about the book in various venues over the next few weeks. Also reading from it, which I love to do because I enjoy the drama of good read, even though I am an introvert. (Go figure.)

APRIL 16. Tuesday. Nest of the Monarch’s book birthday! The trilogy is complete. This book said to be “riveting” by Publishers Weekly. OK, then!

APRIL 19-21. Norwescon, Seattle. My workshop: Several panels and also: The Magic of Plotting (Workshop). Friday 2:30-4:00. Reading Saturday 5:00 PM.

APRIL 23. Tuesday, 6:00-7:00 PM. Reading and signing at Cashmere WA library.

MAY 2. Thursday, 7:00-8:00 PM. U Book Store, Seattle. Reading and signing with Louise Marley (The Witch’s Kind)

MAY 4, Saturday, 1:00-3:00. Signing, A Book for all Seasons. 707 US HWY 2, Lower, level ste b, Leavenworth, WA (just a few steps away from old location.)

AUGUST 2-4. Willamette Writers Conference.

 

My first story collection

Categories: News |

I’m excited to announce the publication of my first science fiction story collection! It brings together seven short stories published between 2003 and 2018. These are stories–at least the earliest ones–that may be hard to find because they were published in various anthologies. Now they’re here, all in one collection. Subjects include:

  • the Singularity
  • genomics gone wrong
  • designer medicine
  • dystopian alternate history
  • post-apocalyptic futures

$2.99. Check it out at these on-line retailers. (Coming soon in paperback!)

We are afraid of the phages, of course. They spit toxins, and if necessary, explode. But they’ll lose interest after a few miles. With our chemical makeup, clean hydrogen drive and biomolecular imprint, we have pretty good camouflage. The forest can’t detect us as a foreign body.    

If it could, we’d be dead.   –from the short story, “The Spires of Greme”