Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality


3 Comments

Babylon 5 and Me

A few weeks back I had a car accident. I got hit hard enough to total my car, and it turned out my headache was more than a simple headache and whiplash. I got a concussion. I didn’t even know you could concuss yourself just by wacking your brain against the inside of your skull. Luckily, it was minor, but it completely got in the way of my writing. I had hoped to get Claimings 4 done for early September. Instead we are at the end of the month and I just now sent the second set of edits to Sue.

But it’s coming.

I also haven’t finished Saddled or The Witness Wore a Puppy Tail, which I had intended to finish this month so I could clear the path For Maya: A Platonic Love Story With a Girl, a Boy, an Insane AI and a Semi-Parasitic Alien and Earth Fathers are Weird. I’m trying to not get stressed about the blown schedule. It’s not like it would help.

On the good side, the concussion means insurance gave me six thousand for pain and suffering. A lawyer told me I wouldn’t get much more because it was such a minor concussion and I didn’t miss work. Bringing my writing and the slowdown into the equation could have splashed my side job into real life, and considering I work in a small town, that would not be good. So I took it. I then had to spend it on a new (to me) car downpayment.

Still not worth it.

But I am feeling better. I am starting to work out again, and I’m writing. I hope that October will be the month where I truly get back to full speed.

So this month I have been watching (or listening to) more television than ever. I caught up on Supernatural (which I enjoyed the hell out of. They are back in the groove and I loved the Scoobie Doo episode. I’m shocked to say that, but I did. I needed shows I could listen to more than watch, so I went back to Babylon 5 (by the same guy as Sens8), and I have rediscovered my love for the first four seasons (minus the Garibaldi, season 4 crap).

I had forgotten how truly great the show was, and I have fallen in love (again) with Delenn. We need more women like her.

She’s strong and religious without being relegated to only showing spiritual strength. She can be a hardass and pick up a staff to fight off attackers. When a species went into voluntary quarantine, she chose to go into the contaminated section with them to offer comfort, and she openly sobbed when these religious fanatics allowed themselves to die foolishly rather than admit that a disease (that was a rather unsubtle allegory for AIDS) might kill the moral as well as the sinful and that prayer wouldn’t stop it.

She speaks softly and advises others to seek peace, but when the evil Earth Alliance threatens her people, she has one of my favorite exchanges of the series:

Delenn: [Delenn’s fleet arrives after Earth Alliance attacks B5] This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw or be destroyed!

Earth Force Officer: Negative! We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.

Delenn: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari Fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else!

When she delivered that line, she was *terrifying.* She cried over her city being in flames during the Mimbari civil war, yet she didn’t allow that to stop her from ending that same war. She is soft and caring and strong and scary and flawed. She is so wonderfully flawed. She is so insightful about the enemy and those who are weak or evil or scared. But when she trusts someone, she is so incredibly naive. The only assassination attempt that came close to succeeding was orchestrated by people supposedly on her own side because she put such unconditional trust in them, and it wasn’t warranted.

I am tired of strong female being synonymous with emotionless female or emotionally damaged female or ninja. I love Zoe in Firefly because there was the same ability to kick ass one second, and have real emotions the next.

That’s the reason I had so much trouble with Ziva in NCIS. She played at being the sex kitten, but she rarely if ever had actual emotional development. And when she did, the writers used every opportunity to show her as emotionally damaged. Ivanava from Babylon 5 also fits into that category of emotional stunted women, and I find myself not as impressed by her. Ironically, I think I fell into the same bad habit with Paige Silver in Bitter Blood.

But Delenn is in there with Diane Prince and Zoe. She is so very noble and amazing and still real. I had forgotten how good Delenn was, but I remember now. I am so crushing on her.

I am also impressed by the diversity in the show. When they give lists of captains, there are men and women—European names and Asian names and African names. The extras are from every ethnicity. The show does not do as well at having minorities in leading roles, but I have to wonder how much of that was the production company.

I was also less than impressed that the only regular cast who was black got the drug addiction plotline, but at least it was in-character (I’m giving you the side-eye Stargate Atlantis). Franklin was the head doctor on a station in the middle of a war, so it makes sense he got addicted to stimulants as he tried to save everyone—and it fit into his character arc of being a perfectionist with a difficult relationship with a demanding military father.

Overall, I spent many a pleasant hour listening to a very enjoyable story, and if you haven’t seen it, I do recommend it. Just cut them some slack on the whole season five thing because they had been told they were going to be cancelled after season four, so they tied a few things up quickly, leaving the last season a little less well-plotted.

Still, I am looking forward to feeling better, watching/listening to less television and spending more time in my universes. I miss spending more time with my characters.

Advertisements


3 Comments

Favorite Series in the Pipeline

Claimings 4 has officially entered production. I have the first set of edits back from Sue (looking good) and I was looking forward to working on it, only I had the audacity to put my car in the path of an idiot who uses his accelerator without checking out his front windshield first. Long story short—I got t-boned. I’m aching, but I don’t have anything more serious that whiplash, pulled muscled and a totaled car. Shoot me. Shoot me now. Dealing with insurance people is worse than the whiplash.

 

But Claimings is slowly moving forward. To celebrate that fact, you can for a limited time get Rownt inspired goodies. Have you ever wanted a custom t-shirt, mug or tote bag to celebrate your love of all things Rownt? You’re in luck. Until next Wednesday Sept 5th (US time), you can order Rownt merchandise at Teespring (https://teespring.com/rownt-wisdom#pid=2&cid=2122&sid=front). After Wednesday, the goodies go bye bye.  See the pretty graphic…

meat

 

Aberrant Magic 6 just broke even (and the crowd goes wild). This means I can promise you an Aberrant Magic 7. The Assistant Director’s plan to bring in new people and create two teams is going to leave grumpy Kavon even grumpier, but with the honeymoon over, Darren is going to have to decide how he wants to live the rest of his life and how much he’s going to let Kavon get away with. Meanwhile, the first of the returning evil ifrit is sniffing around the spirit plane.

 

September should be a month of endings—reaching the end of Saddled and The Witness Wore a Puppy Tail. With the boards clear, I want to start Earth Fathers are Weird, Maya: a non-romantic love story between a girl, a boy, an insane AI and a semi-parasitic species, and Aberrant Magic 6. That middle one is set in the Claimings verse, but Maya has always lived in the colonies. So she sees the war a little differently, not that Liam ever paid attention to or understood the politics of the war he fought in.

 

And finally, who would like a little snippet. I mentioned that the first of the evil ifrit has returned. Let’s see if anyone knows mythology well enough to recognize this bad boy.

 

Target Practice

Zach sighted down his weapon and took a deep breath. His range scores were fine, but he would never be one of the guys who could brag about them. Art said it didn’t matter since most of the hotshot with perfect scores also got far too excitable in the field. Art hated the type of cop that got so excited by an incident that they stood around watching the drama. It offended Art. Zach took his first shot, and Pochi appeared halfway down the shooting alley, hovering a few feet off the ground and whirling madly in search of an enemy. Zach’s second shot went wild.

Fuck.

Zach glared at his annoying guide, but Pochi didn’t seem to care much. He darted around the space, investigating every corner. Zach and Art were the only ones shooting, for which Zach was infinitely grateful. While it wouldn’t hurt Pochi if a bullet went through him, Zach hated the idea.

Art leaned back so he could see around the barrier that separated the shooting lanes and pulled off his ear protection. “What’s he doing?” Art asked once Zach had removed his own.

Zach shrugged.

Art shook his head. “It’ll do you good to practice shooting with a distraction, only try to hit the target.”

“Fuck you,” Zach suggested.

Art smirked, and while he didn’t make an indecent comment, he thought it so loudly that Zach could practically read the thought bubble over his head. Then Art went back to his lane.

Zach put the ear protection back on and breathed out while doing his best to broadcast the thought “practice, practice, practice.” Maybe Pochi would understand the concept, maybe not. Pochi darted toward Zach and hovered an inch in front of his nose.

“Dude. Personal space,” Zach said. But since Pochi seemed interested, Zach did his best to project the idea of practice. Shoot now. Shoot better later.

Pochi stilled. Even though he had stopped moving his wings, he still floated in the air right in front of Zach. Zach’s vision grayed out, and a shadowy figure appeared superimposed over the shooting range. It was a bird—a huge one. But as the details became clearer, Zach realized it wasn’t a real one. It had huge wings and a thick neck, but the back of the body appeared almost mammalian. It was as if a scrawny donkey butt had been grafted onto a deformed bird and then someone replaced the back legs with two enormous vulture legs with too many joints. The front legs were short with three short fingers and a longer thumb. It was almost like a lion’s paw and a T-rex leg got blended.

The figure slowly became more solid, the feathers turning tawny yellow around the head and then slowly turning darker toward the backend of the animal where it had a short, black fanlike tail.

“What the…”

The bird turned to look at Zach. Huge teardrop shaped black eyes were set under upright ears that looked like a lion’s. The most disturbing part was the mouth. It had a beak of sorts, but it looked like cadaver teeth sticking out from a skull. It took Zach a second to realize that the creature had some sort of face armor around those razor-sharp teeth. With a scream, Bennu appeared in all his six feet of glory, but he was a third the size of this new bird. For a second, Bennu hovered and projected uncertainty, and then the new creature dissolved into smoke and Zach saw the target at the end of his shooting alley again.

Past. Past. Past. The belief that the huge bird was part of the past slammed into Zach. Given that the bird mutant was clearly gone now, the memory of it still left Pochi aggressive. After a second, Bennu vanished, and Zach wondered if Darren Oberton’s guide had actually been in El Paso at all or if Pochi was remembering some fight between the two ifrit.

Determination. Practice. Practice. Kill. Pochi projected the emotions with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer before he streaked toward the practice target.

“Weird bird,” Zach muttered before he breathed out slowly and took aim. Pochi whistled sharply and then trilled as he touched the center of the target and then flew to the left. He repeated the gesture several times.

Frowning, Zach eased his weapon to the left a tiny fraction. Pochi’s chirping trill just sounded happier. Zach squeezed the trigger and the target quivered. Zach couldn’t see where his shot landed from his spot on the firing line, but Pochi hovered near the center and just a little to the right. Zach took aim again, intentionally aiming high this time.

Pochi’s whistle was nearly deafening, and Zach lowered his sights. Pochi hovered to the right and below the target. Zach adjusted his aim.

At the end of the shooting session, Zach and Art both took their targets to the sergeant in charge of the range. When Zach laid his out for scoring, Art’s eyebrows rose.

The sergeant took one look at the tightly clustered shots and whistled admiringly.

“That’s a good score,” Art said.

“Better than usual, you mean,” Zach said.

Art grunted. No doubt he wanted to ask what had happened, but in the two weeks since Zach had inherited a guide, he had discovered Art was reluctant to discuss him or anything related to him. Sometimes Art needed a little time to wrap his head around change. Zach could give him a little space to adjust, and in the meantime, Zach looked forward to much better scores at the shooting range.

 


9 Comments

Two Series… Two New Books.

Oh man, a month has flown by. It’s the end of the month again, and I’m going to tell Claimings fans to look for an announcement near the end. First, Aberrant Magic 6: Texas Charm is on the sidelines and ready to go. Book six is edited, the cover is done, I’m lining up reviewers, and we are a go for August 20th.

Detective Zach Johnson never resented his lack of magic, although he hated that as a mundane he had no power to stop a corrupt Talent council from stealing the resources of the magical community. However, the return of the ancient ifrit guides led a blood-thirsty hummingbird to choose him as a partner. Now he can be a true equal to his shaman lover, Art Lammas, and the two of them can take on the council and the entire community if need be.

Art Lammas loves Zach’s enthusiasm and sense of justice, but the Talent community is much more complex than he assumes. Not only does El Paso struggle under the corrupt leadership of the council, but it stands at a place where three different traditions clash: the Vatican-trained shamans from Mexico, the Egyptian-trained shamans of mainstream America, and the Native Peoples traditions, which are far more complex than Art can possibly describe. Art would far rather focus on solving their cases. More than that, Art fears that Talent might be the one force in the universe that could drive a wedge between them. Art would happily burn all the magic out of the world before allowing that to happen, but he may not have that choice.

This one is heavier on the magic, and it reveals some important information about book five. This is also the last piece I needed to put in place before I was ready for the first of the big bad ifrit to come through. Anzu waits in the wings, but our boys can’t win with having some new pieces on the board. Angel, Darren, and Zach are new pieces, and a few people who haven’t appeared for a while are ready to come back on the main stage.

So, all I need now are readers.

If book six breaks even in that golden thirty days on Amazon, I will definitely write Aberrant Magic 7: Defalcation. If book six doesn’t, I may need to cut the series loose. After 30 days, the Amazon algorithm will make it impossible to get the book in front of anyone searching for a certain type of book. People will then need to know the exact title and be looking for it specifically. So, what does break even mean in real terms? Well, let’s assume I don’t mind starving and get literally nothing for the HOURS of work. Then I need $150 for the cover and $740 for the editing. So the book has thirty days to make $890 or I lose money. If it does well and earns $2000 that first month, then I will definitely write the next book and call myself fortunate to make to make roughly $1.25-$2.00 per hour for my work on the title. Honestly, that’s worth it for me. I love telling stories. But I do hate editing, so I need some money for my time to compensate me for the misery of catching grammar and continuity errors.

What’s next up? CLAIMINGS! A Patron on Patreon offered to help defray these costs. They are helping with the editing costs and another Patreon angel is doing a cover. So that means I don’t have the same financial obligations. It does still mean I am spending hours in my least favorite part of writing—editing. But Patreon angels are also jumping in with that, helping me find grammar errors, so I just need to go through and correlate suggestions from different people into one master document before I send it off to the editor.

So the long and short of it is that Claimings 4 will be coming out as an ebook. My goal would be to hit by September 30, but I’m running tight and may not be able to hit that goal. We’ll see. I need to get my ass in gear and get to doing my editing work so I can get it sent off to my editing. This week I’ve been way more into catching up on Supernatural and doing some hours for recertification. Funny enough, I can’t afford to lose my day job.

But I will say this—Patreon is making it possible for me to continue to tell stories, even if I’ll never be able to make a full-time living out of it.


3 Comments

Writing Update

So, this is my first of the month update.  Royal Indiscretion (contemporary m/m) is being a pain.  I have some good dialogue written for when two protagonists actually start talking to each other, but right now it’s hard to force them into the same space without making them out of character.  I often introduce a new character when a plot gets stuck, but adding in the sober sponsor Nick didn’t really help.  Someone may get hurt soon.  That often forces people to talk.

The Witness (mystery/kink m/m) is on a short break because I have too many plots going at once, and I needed to choose Royal Indiscretion or The Witness Wears a Puppy Tail. Doing both was hurting my head.  Too many voices up there at once, ya know.

Saddled (contemporary kink m/m) is going hot and strong.  While this started as pretty strictly pony kink, it is quickly developing one hell of a plot. When I’m done, I think I may send this over to MLR Press.  However, I have to get John out of danger, navigate the relationship problems between John and Clive, save momma, deal with a drug addicted brother, and figure out how to get two stubborn alpha males to admit they’re in love.  Yeah, I got a ways to go.

But as usual, my muse is always tempting me with new thoughts.  Once Saddled is done, I’m thinking about two options.

Earth Fathers are Weird focuses on a pilot who took to the skies to fight off an alien invasion—or what Earth thought was an invasion. It was actually the equivalent of a high speed chase that spilled into undeveloped space.  When his jet was shot, the alien authorities scooped him up to prevent his death. And when the chase was over, he was dropped at a very nice interplanetary port.  The computers can mostly translate English. Sort of.  And he can interface enough to see how much a ship would charge him to take him back to Earth.  If he took a job helping refine the translator function, he could afford a ticket in roughly three hundred years.  A job entry for what he thought was a nanny could get him home in seven to eight years.  He might have mistranslated “nanny,” though.

alien tentacles

Loyalty Betrayed is about a covert ops specialist. He’s run his own team for nearly a decade and had an on-again, off-again relationship with the team interrogator/psychologist.  However, he is beginning to fear that their team is being misused in the worst ways.  When he gets a warning to get out, he runs without looking back.  However, he’s not willing to leave his lover. And even if he did, the man knows him well enough to act as birddog for the government agents trailing him.  So our hero makes a horrible choice out of a desire to avoid an even worse one.  When his friend comes for him, he knows the government will send killers to finish the job. So he sets a trap, grabs his lover, and decides to use what he learned about psychology and brainwashing to tie his lover’s allegiance to him.  Only then will he feel safe to unravel the conspiracies working to turn his government against him.

Condition

So, that’s me. Oh, and I am an amateur with book covers, so if anyone has feedback (especially anyone with the actual experience or expertise I lack), I would greatly appreciate it.

 

Does anyone want a free short?

Introduction to Xenolinguistics

Debbie studied the sea of fresh-faced babies. For a time, she panned the vid so her office screen would show her the entire class. She could already divide them into rough camps based on their seat choices and expressions. Proxemics, oculesics, and kinesics weren’t covered until much later in their training, so right now they exerted absolutely no control over how their bodies were shouting without even using words.

The three young men and two women in front were either serious students or wanted to present themselves as serious students. They were busy with their tablets, and Debbie’s monitoring program reported that all five were reviewing the class text. A small group near the window chatted away, their bodies twitching with sexual interest. Nothing wrong with that as long as they focused on the work once Debbie started the lecture.

A range of less confident students filled the middle section. Debbie groaned when she saw that two of them were reading Lost Words: The Unauthorized Biography of Lieutenant Liam Munson. Shit. That piece sensationalized Munson’s life—made him out to be some poor wounded soul abandoned by the system and abused by the authorities in his life.

Debbie had no idea how anyone could fall for the crap the modern press put out. Munson was a linguistic genius who had made the rare leap out of his culturally enforced point of view into the Rownt perspective. Leaps in translation could only be made after someone had navigated that chasm, and to reduce Munson’s contribution to luck and some lost puppy personality was incredibly offensive. The man had studied Rownt language before taking the post on Prarownt and had then spent years working to collect language samples and form relationships with natives.

His willingness to immerse himself in a new culture opened opportunities for the entire human race. The popular media might be fascinated with the Rownt because of a few vid shots of a female visiting a hospital and the young male clearly trying to protect Lieutenant Munson in a crowd. However, those involved in Command were more interested in the technology and raw materials the Rownt could provide. They were certainly better potential allies than the Anla. And Munson made all that possible.

She made a note of which students were reading that trash in her classroom. They would have to show much more dedication to linguistics if they wanted to follow in Munson’s footsteps. Assuming that an alien species would feel sorry for you and take you home was stupid. And Debbie did not like wasting her time on stupid students.

She turned her monitor off and sighed. Time for one more semester of teaching people who could never hope to achieve the genius of Colonel Diallo or Lieutenant Munson. Sometimes she regretted ever becoming a teacher. However, someone had to set the next generation of linguists on the path, and that was her sacrifice.

 


9 Comments

A long-overdue update (and a story)

I haven’t been here forever, and I’m going to try hard to change that.  Part one in today’s update is a general state of where I am writing wise.  Part two is a bonus snippet from one of my universes.

Loose Id closed, and they were my primary publisher, which really threw me. I now have my backlist all up.  Yea me!  Considering how I feel about 1) change and 2) new computer systems, I’m pretty damn proud of myself.  The sales have been sluggish, but steady.  Aberrant Magic 6 is trucking along.  I’ve gone from 74K words down to 66K, so it’s much tighter.  I did too much “show” on the casework, so I’m trying to “tell” on those bits so the book focuses more on the relationship.  I also switched POV on a couple of chapters so the readers could see into the motives of grumpy Art.  He has a cat as a spirit guide for a reason.  He likes his butt scratched, but if you do it too long or wrong, he’s pretty quick to make a quick escape. That’s his personality, but I’m focusing more on showing why he’s that way.

When I’m done with trimming and editing Aberrant Magic, I have two thoughts.  One, I might go back to Royal Indiscretion, the story of an ex-addict youngest son of a duke and the closeted bisexual football player.  I think the guys could have some nice enemies to lovers moments.  I’m also thinking about Carina Press.  They have a call out for continuing series that combine romance with suspense or adventure.

I always wanted to do a second “season” of Aberrant Magic.  Kavon and Coretta would have two separate teams, although they would work closely together.  Coretta would bring in a new FBI agent with shamanic powers.  Joe has an octopus guide and he is as clever and secretive as that would imply.  What he doesn’t tell anyone is that he’s Roma and his mother has ties to the Earth magics that Native shamans use. Kavon brings in a new magic user. Milton is a cross between Blair Sandburg and Rodney McKay.  He’s brilliant, flat out. He’s actually invented a new form of magic by combining crystals and computers into an interface that allows so much more control than a normal crystal user, but he refuses to believe in magic as anything other than an alternate power source.  He’s hyper and ADHD enough that Kavon considers murdering him, and he generally rubs people wrong with his verbal diarrhea and ability to spout trivia.

Our team would still be there in the background, but with Joe and Milton taking lead, maybe I could convince Carina to pick it up as a new series. I’m still thinking about that one.

 

So, that’s me.  Now on with the story.  This time it’s Ondry’s mother having a mom/son moment from long before the first Claimings book.

 

“Asdria’s Fears”

Asdria flared her nostrils as she crouched down next to Ondry. He was such a willful boy that sometimes Asdria despaired for him. “You have gathered healthy fruit.” She would have liked to comment on her son’s diligence, but he had already passed the age when he would accept such compliments.

Ondry kept sorting the small, firm gasha berries.

“He who would trade must begin by trading in words,” Asdria rebuked him.

That got Ondry’s attention. He sat back, his short legs crossed in front of him. “I know you won’t trade.”

Asdria tried to calm herself before she could pale and give her headstrong son evidence of her disapproval. She was proud that he had taken to trading so well, but he was young enough that he should eat the fruit, or at the very least have competitions with other children to see how far they could throw it. However the drought that had led to her own eggs drying up had denied most of the town of a generation of children.

She considered moving to another town with more children, but she was loath to leave the Grandmothers she knew.

“How have you reached that conclusion?” she asked her child.

“You said I was too young. You disapprove of me trading; therefore, you will not buy from me.”

Asdria couldn’t fault his logic. He had so many centuries ahead of him—years of standing on his own and proving his own worth. During those long years before a woman left an eggling on his door, he would regret rushing toward adult responsibility. A Rownt would have centuries without touch, and those who had too little of it in childhood would suffer for it later. She had mourned each hatching when no children emerged from her eggs. She felt such a yearning to hold a youngling, and yet she had to satisfy herself with pulling the tail of some ambitious man or cheating an arrogant woman out of her profits. Those had been a poor substitutes.

And now Ondry was rushing into that same isolation. Since Ondry insisted he was an adult, she settled into the dust and tried to construct her thoughts as he might for an adult. “If you trade, you are growing up more quickly than most Rownt.” She tried to keep her statement factual so he would have no reason to show his stubborn streak.

“You would have me live forever with egg on my backside,” Ondry said with a childlike hiss.

“I would have you learn to steal meat from my table, but perhaps you can wait until you can see over the edge of the table.” Asdria knew she had made a mistake with that exaggeration the second she said it. Ondry paled. Normally he would rumble in pleasure when she treated him like an adult and insulted him, but clearly that permission did not extend to insults about his height.

He stood and walked away, his tail twitching in aggravation. Asdria shut her nostrils. Her son was quickly becoming more aggravating than a dozen kawt haunting her favorite trading trails. She failed to find the words to explain the truth he would not see. He rushed toward adulthood, and she feared he would suffer later. He would spend years unable to touch or hold another, and Asdria would be helpless to assist him then. But she could not find the words to help him now.

She sometimes feared she had some great flaw in her parenting that prevented her from clearly communicating logic.

But the gods would have their way, and she could not prevent Ondry from choosing his own paths in life. Hopefully he would prove profitable in trading. Maybe then he would have a youngling left on his door before he turned four hundred.

And then she would enjoy watching him try to explain logic to a child who was too willful to listen.

 


6 Comments

Desert World

Desert World Two is now out!

http://www.dsppublications.com/books/desert-world-rebirth-by-lyn-gala-79-b

www.amazon.com/Desert-World-Rebirth-Lyn-Gala-ebook/dp/B00YW3GQ5Y/

I didn’t make much fuss when Desert World One came out

http://www.dsppublications.com/books/desert-world-allegiances-by-lyn-gala-66-b

http://www.amazon.com/Desert-World-Allegiances-Lyn-Gala-ebook/dp/B00V7M1MVQ/

because the first book is really background on the characters. My reading background is sci fi (yeah, no one is shocked there), so I don’t have a problem with a book that slowly introduces the world and the people in it. Livre is a colony planet on the edge, and homosexuality is considered the norm for young people. Due to a war in the larger universe, this half-terraformed planet has been left to slowly die, but these colonists are too tough to give up that easily.

Shan is the local priest, a man with more skill with a set of tools than with the Bible. However, he has a good heart that struggles under survivor’s guilt. He was never sexually abused, but he came from a home with abuse, and now he feels like he has to save the universe because he never could save his brother.

Temar is young enough that he has not found his voice. This nineteen year old is smarter than your average bear, but he expects that the world is fair and he lets others take the lead because older means better able to deal… right?? Yeah. That’s a problem.

These two do have problems.

In the first book, you see what happens when they give in to their problems. There’s no romance. There is a lot of soul searching and a single kiss. But then in book two, both men are strong enough to start facing their personal demons… just in time for disasters in the rest of the universe land on Livre’s doorstep.

These are science fiction… but science fiction done in a gay friendly world with two gay men.

I really hope people will give these a chance… but remember, it takes two books to make up the story. If you’re a romance fan who tolerates science fiction, I would say skip book one and go to two. If you then want to go back and get a better sense of the world and the growth these men went through individually, you can go back and read book one.


25 Comments

Third Tier Writer

I’m not a first tier writer. Nope. I never actually expected to be counted among the ranks of people who make millions off their titles. That’s not the kind of book I write, and that’s fine.

At one point, I wanted to be a second tier writer. I dreamed of being able to make a comfortable $40,000 per year and quit the day job. I hoped and read everything on commercial success and marketing. I tried to write what was popular. I sucked at it.

Worse, every time one of my titles performed well below expectations, I felt like a failure. My femdom books—Drift and Blowback—are two of my favorites. However, my profits haven’t even hit the hundreds. Claiming was a home run, but Assimilation is a slow burn and I don’t know that it will every catch up with its older sibling.

But now I’m comfortable ensconced in the third tier. I can work on a third Claimings book without dwelling on the failure of Assimilation, which at one point had more free downloads than sold copies.

What is the third tier? I make a nice sum of money. It’s not enough to pay the rent, but I can pay the electric bill and car payment (most months). I can put some aside for when the hot water heater goes out. I can splurge a little. I will never be successful enough to quit the day job, but that’s okay.

And I’m not complaining. I still have stacks of $2 and $5 checks and feel copies of magazines that are mute evidence of my days as a fourth tier author making pitiful amounts of money. I rose above that. I have just come to realize I’m probably not going to rise more.

Instead of making financial goals, I use my writing to work out my feelings. When I watched one of my kids go through hell with his unsupportive family, I wrote Two Steps Back. When I was being goofy with a friend, I started the bunny for Mountain Prey. A friend and I were talking about race!fail and the fear of characters of color when I wrote Steampunk Pirate to prove to myself that I could write a culturally and historically black man without turning him into a white man with black skin.

And now I signed a contract for one of my darkest titles yet. Without a Net is a futuristic police procedural. It’s not scifi, but it’s set a few decades in the future when BDSM control clubs are mainstream and Shade clubs are for edge play and more dangerous folk.

I know that some people are going to get frustrated because I won’t settle down in a genre and stay so that I become an autobuy. They have to eye each new title from me with suspicion because they can’t trust me to write a certain kind of book.

That’s fine.

I’m not an autobuy type of author. But when my mother nearly died a year and a half ago, I wrote some dark damn fanfic. I had Todd the Wraith win and brainwash Rodney and John into becoming bad guys. Boy were they good at being bad. I had Crowley capture Dean and turn him into a bitch for a hell hound (who was sentient so it wasn’t quite as squicky as you think, although it is close).

This time my mother got cancer less than a year out of the hospital after a series of strokes that nearly killed her. So I wrote the first two 10K stories of a Hercules series where his 12 labors basically become a long series of abuse and dub-con. Yeah, I don’t know that those stories will every go past my flist.

And I wrote Without a Net. Does Ollie come through in the end? Hey, this is me. I do get to the happy or at least happier ending. However, this is dark and abusive and grim. Ollie is a tough sub, a cop who can endure anything if he has that glimmer of hope that he might get to shoot someone in the head on the other side. However, some readers are going to hate how much he goes through before he gets a chance.

I’m not reinventing myself. I’m not struggling to find my “voice.” I’m not even writing for the readers. This is me. Since I am a third tier author freed from the dreams of being able to make a living at this, I have to find other goals.

And my first one is to please myself and work my own emotional demons out in a place where I can do it without damaging my real life. Now that my mother is in remission, don’t expect another dark book from me. However, don’t assume that means that my next book will give you what you want. My writing has to be about me. That’s the beauty of being on the third tier.