Friday, June 24, 2016

"The Android and the Thief" Sold to DSP Publications

I have some good news to share. My novel, "The Android and the Thief," sold to DSP Publications, a genre imprint of Dreamspinner Press. The contract is sound with good royalty percentages and an advance. I just signed it and emailed it today!

This is the novel I was working on during the last part of Jan. 2016 until the end of Feb. 2016. It came out to approx. 95,000 words. I wrote diligently on it every day, never missing a day. Some days I got 1000 words done. Other days I did 4000 words. As with every novel for me, I tend to write quicker when I near the ending. The beginning is always a lot of fits and starts. But the whole is a lot of work, like sculpting details from a giant blankness in the sky while feeling totally lost and alone.

Most of the time when I write I am "pantser." That means I dive into my imagination and begin sculpting my sand castles with no heed of the outside world. I am like a kid again.

But for this novel, which was going to involve more action than I usually write, including a space prison escape, I decided to do some notes, character outlines and a general, very short plot outline. (That is called being a "plotter.") It did not deter my "pantser" fun and inspiration at all, and it really helped to guide me if I ever felt I floundered. What I liked about working with just a rough list of novel events and character notes is that I think it helped me with pacing. This novel reads fluidly, I think, like a page-turner, but I did not skimp on the characterization and deeper thoughts. Here you will find it all, a plot that moves, my brand of lyrical prose, world-building details, and character introspection and growth, along with a budding romance.

The novel takes place about 4000 years in the future when vast parts of the galaxy are explored and colonized by humans of every conceivable culture. I call this universe of mine my "starshiptopia" milieu, because like automobiles of current times, in my future there is a starship around every corner. Other novels of mine that take place in this universe (with completely different casts, planets and stories) are: Scoundrel, The Moonling Prince, and Letters to an Android. I write a lot of poems from this universe-mindset as well.

The story of "The Android and the Thief" is about two young men, one caught under the inescapable power of his father, the other a cloned, indentured human (derogatorily referred to as an android), and how they attempt to escape a system that seeks to cage them at every turn. It is both dark and sweet. It is both an adventure and a love story with many downfalls and hardships along the way. But who could fail to love a story that references Ray Bradbury, Anne Rice and Lao Tsu all at once?

Other things that have been going on for me: I've been working hard at Renaissance Faires and Scottish Highland games where I have a booth. I do about 20 of these types of events each year.

I have been writing scads of poetry. I have a new poetry book I am trying to market (but most of the markets I am looking into are closed at the moment) called "Dead Starships." Beyond that, my newest new poems are piling up. I need to market them individually more often. I know this. But you can also find some of my stuff on Facebook where I often post new stuff as a freebie to my readers and friends.

I also contributed a love poem to the anthology, "Love is Love," which is being done as a charity anthology, and tribute to the victims of the Orlando massacre. More details on that when it becomes available.

Fanfiction: I still write it sometimes when I feel so inclined. If only I wrote fanfic for things that are in public domain, such as the Greek myths (hmm, an idea...), then I would have even more material to sell, publish, distribute. I like fanfic because it has given me safe space to experiment and explore under a pen name. It keeps me typing, keeps me learning.

So there you have it. I have been busy. As usual for me.

Oh, one more thing. Thank you to everyone on Facebook who supported me when I made my novel sale announcement there. You are all wonderful! The irony is that so many people congratulated me on this one sale, more than have ever acknowledged me in any one post before. I realized something. I am not operating in a vacuum.

I must confess: Deciding to become an indie published author has made me very lonely. I think people still see a great chasm between publisher-published authors, and indie-published authors. I understand this because a lot of indie published books are not good. But the fact is, all my indie published novels are books I wrote, had edited and proofed and worked very hard on. I never tried to sell them to traditional publishers until now. I perhaps erroneously thought I would put them on Kindle and people would come to buy them if they wanted them, trusting me to give them a good read. But aside from a few sales and reviews, I remain dead in the water. This means to me that the outside vetting process is important. (Not to mention promotion.) And even though I try to humbly make it known that I am vetted, I am published in magazines, anthologies and websites and have been paid, that I have worked my ass off for 30 years honing my craft, putting my stuff up myself holds a tiny bit of a stigma, I think. I hate to say that because it's not fair to indie authors who are excellent, and not fair to hold publishers to a standard of godhood. But there it is.

And now I am happy to say that I am a hybrid, someone who does both indie and publisher-published books. I have been a hybrid for awhile now. This is not my first book sale. I have sold eight poetry books in my lifetime, a short story collection, and a messily edited horror of a Trek Encyclopedia that was published by Harcourt Brace in the 1990s (that story is one best left forgotten, although I was paid and it was a real job and a real book).

I will probably still put up work on Kindle, but I will also slowly begin to offer some of my novels, old and new, to publishers.

This has been a very very good experience for me.

To all my friends and loyal readers, keep the good things in this world highest in your hearts!

My writing desk. Yes, that is a Daryl doll from The Walking Dead standing in front of the candle and holding a severed head.