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 |


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”

My science fiction goes wide

Categories: News |

Now at all e-retailers:

Four of my science fiction novels are now available at all e-retailers. You can choose from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google Play and more. Check these out if your collection is incomplete!  🙂

THE SEEDS OF TIME. In this time-travel novel, visit Niang, a lush paradise with biota on steroids. Clio Finn must deliver the seeds to a graying Earth. But  her enemies believe biodiversity is Not supposed to look like. . . well, this. Will Clio’s mission give Earth a second chance, or seal its destruction? Many people’s favorite Kenyon heroine! books2read.com/seeds

RIFT. On the terraformed planet Litha, the green biosphere is unraveling. Reeve Calder, new to this dangerous world, must face the savage colonists in the world ruins as well as the ruthless, alien Orthong. Survival depends on a girl who leads Reeve’s marooned group by her mad, internal compass. This one has my favorite supporting character, quirky, heroic Spar. books2read.com/rift-sf


THE BRAIDED WORLD.  Explorers on the spaceship Restitution have met their worst nightmare: beings who look completely human, but with a few frightening revisions. Captain Anton Prados receives a troubling reception in this strange world of twisting rivers and savage politics. Then he meets Maypong, the woman he longs for and can never have. A John W. Campbell Award nominee. books2read.com/braided

TROPIC OF CREATION.  Captain Eli Dammond has landed on a deserted planet to rescue survivors of a crashed space ship. In his charge is a general’s daughter, 14-year old Sascha. But the planet is about to undergo a radical seasonal change, one that will hatch terrifying creatures. Eli finds a dangerous refuge in a vast underground kingdom, while Sascha’s only hope is in the nests of the monsters. My favorite of my first six SF books. Publishers Weekly starred review. books2read.com/tropic



Spycraft in the Dark Talents trilogy

Within intelligence communities, spycraft refers to the techniques used by spies to gather intelligence and remain undercover. The need to manipulate, discover, and remain secret has spawned the time-tested techniques used by spies everywhere.

I used these methods throughout the Dark Talents trilogy, set in England in 1936. Here are some examples culled from Kim Tavistock scenes in Book two, Serpent in the Heather.

In eBook and hardcover. In paperback on Apr. 16.

SIGN OF LIFE. To confirm with handlers or HQ (the “office” in British intelligence service parlance) that one is on duty and pursuing the mission.

In a wool skirt and sweater set Kim made her way down to the castle parlor, where she put in her call to Knightsbridge and Nash Photo Finishing. Someone from the Office answered appropriately and said her photo prints would be ready on Wednesday. Her sign-of-life call complete, she turned to find Powell had entered the drawing room.

THE COVER PERSONA. Obviously, spies wish to remain undetected as such. To that end, they adopt ostensible business and deflecting personal attributes.

“Tread carefully with this Coslett woman, Kim. We’re only allowed a limited operation. You must deploy your witless- American mode to perfection.”

She snapped a look at him. “I didn’t know I had one.”

“What? Oh, yes, quite a good one. Charging around all innocent and eager. Top-notch.”

Read More…