Tag Archives: indie publishing

Holiday News Roundup: Works in Progress, Holiday Sales, and More

Hello, lovely readers! I’ve been busy over here, working away behind the scenes. Here’s what’s new in my corner of the world…


I’m working on two things set in the world of City of Hope and Ruin (Fractured World). First, we’re doing a prequel anthology, set several hundred years before the novel. All the stories are centered around a romance; mine is a M/NB pairing (if you don’t speak romance/fanfic acronym-ese, that means the two main characters are male and non-binary). The anthology will be out in the spring–watch for more details soon!

Second, my co-author Kit Campbell and I are working on the sequel to the novel. It will be out…sometime later than the spring…so all I will say at the moment is that it picks up right where City of Hope and Ruin leaves off. Yes, that means more Theo and Briony action, and new adventures for both of them.


Earlscourt BBQ-craft fair-Facebook ad-2018

Need a last minute Christmas gift or late Hanukkah gift? If you’re in the Toronto area, join me at Earlscourt BBQ (1278 St. Clair West, Toronto) on Saturday, December 15. I will be one of around ten artists setting up shop for the afternoon, selling copies of City of Hope and Ruin as well as several of the Turtleduck Press anthologies. Check out the other vendors on the Facebook event page.

The Earlscourt BBQ staff will be serving eggnog made with Jim Beam bourbon for the adults (bourbon-free for the kids), hot apple cider and more!

Bring a few extra dollars (as much as you can) to donate to The Stop Community Food Centre.

Admission is free. RSVP optional.


AHtR11-A New Year-SP4x6Looking for a good holiday romance with queer (M/NB and ace) representation in an SF setting? My holiday short from last year, A New Year on Vega III, is 30% off all this month, along with the rest of the stories in the queer romance collection from Mischief Corner Books that it was part of. See the collection here.

On the colony planet Vega III, everyone knows Beck—outgoing, fabulous, and genderqueer—and nobody notices Anil, the quiet plant biologist. But when Anil finds Beck hiding in his greenhouse, lonely and missing Earth, it’s Anil who is able to comfort Beck by letting them talk about what they miss most—the feeling that comes with celebrating the holidays with loved ones, especially New Year’s Eve.

​The two of them are drawn to one another, but both of them are hiding secrets about their sexuality. With trust between them already on shaky ground, Anil’s elaborate plans to cheer Beck may well backfire.


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Earlier this year, I was one of the judges for a flash fiction (very short story) anthology contest run by Queer Sci Fi. (It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot about how to write very short stories!) The anthology, Impact, is now on sale for 2.99 (25% off) the eBook or $9.99 (33% off) for the paperback…

Amazon eBook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FC91HH2/
Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732307520/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/impact-j-scott-…/1129055097
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/impact-84
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/impact/id1409688669


For my second trick at Queer Sci Fi, I’ve signed up to do the occasional book review over there. My first review is now posted, for J. Scott Coatsworth’s Slow Thaw. It’s both a holiday romance (M/M with a trans main character) and a near-future SF survival story set in Antarctica (both main characters are scientists). Yes, really. Does it work? Find out here.


Finally, you might have noticed that the Ursula K. Le Guin reread has stalled. In fact, I’m continuing to read through the Hainish cycle–it’s just the blogging that has stalled (whoops). Hoping to get back to that sometime soon, as I do have more to say!

In the meantime, if you want to know what I’m up to, follow me on Instagram, check out my monthly blog posts at Turtleduck Press, or “like” the Turtleduck Press Facebook page to get all the essential news and a certain amount of random musings.

Happy holidays!

 

 

 

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Publishing News Roundup: Steampunk Serial and Much More

Hello blog readers! Hope you’ve had a good summer (or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere). Here’s what’s new(ish) over here…

Coat of Scarlet

I’m doing a free serial story over at Turtleduck Press. Coat of Scarlet is a M/M (gay) romance set in an 18th-century steampunk/clockpunk universe. Part 2 has just been posted, so it’s a good time to catch up.

Here’s the blurb:

Marius the tailor is minding his own business when Niko walks into his shop with a beautiful coat and sets him a challenge he can’t refuse. But when you’re dealing with devastatingly handsome airship pirates, they have a habit of changing the terms…

Part 1 | Part 2

Fun fact: when you’re writing a serial, it helps to reread previous installments as you’re writing later ones. I almost forgot a plot point from Part 1 and had to shoehorn it into Part 2 at the last minute. Oops?

Fractured World News

City of Hope and Ruin ebook coverIf you look at the cover of my debut novel, City of Hope and Ruin, you’ll notice that the subtitle is A Fractured World Novel. So far it is the only Fractured World novel, but that’s going to change, because my co-author, Kit Campbell, and I are working on book 2 in the series!

Novels take a while, though. In the meantime, Kit and I and our two partners in crime at Turtleduck Press, KD and Erin, are working on a prequel anthology set in the same world, which will be released before book 2. More details to come…

To tide you over while you’re waiting for that, we do have two short stories also set in the same world:

  • A Constant Companion (a Briony prequel short story) by Kit Campbell
  • Brothers (a short story featuring secondary character Astrolabe, set during the events of City of Hope and Ruin) by Siri Paulson

Non-TDP Release: Timeshift anthology

I told you before about my flash fiction piece “When the World Stopped” being accepted into an anthology called Timeshift, which released in August. Initially the anthology was an ebook-only release, but there is now a print edition due to popular demand. Here’s the blurb:

Timeshift is a reprint anthology collecting time and time travel flash fiction stories from 36 authors in the genre. In the anthology are time stories spanning the adventures (and mishaps) of time travel, time manipulation, time zones, time loops, paradoxes, accidents, twisted futures and so many more penned by both established and emerging authors in the genre.

Kindle | Print

Non-TDP Release: Impact anthology

Also as mentioned previously, I helped judge a flash fiction contest this spring for the website Queer Sci Fi (my reward for placing third in last year’s contest!). It was a fun experience and I got to read a ton of good stories — doubly impressive when you consider that the stories had to be no more than 300 words long.

Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest was released in July and is available on ebook from all the usual suspects.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Angus & Robertson

Blog Recap: Ursula K. Le Guin (re)read

This year I’ve been reading and blogging about Ursula K. Le Guin’s early Hainish novels and short stories. So far I’ve covered “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, two novels, and three other shorts. It’s been fascinating to watch her early development as a writer. We have one more novel to go (and maybe a couple of shorts) and then it’s on to The Left Hand of Darkness! You can find links to all the posts here: Genre Classics (Re)read: Ursula K. Le Guin. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

 

My 2017: Writing Cycles at Turtleduck Press and Publishing Updates

I’m over at Turtleduck Press this week, talking about my 2017 and the various cycles that affect my writing. Here’s a snippet:

I started a cycle: keep an eye on upcoming themed calls for submission (anthologies and the like), use the themes as inspiration, write a story, submit just before deadline, repeat. It worked really well for generating stories (though somewhat less well for selling them), and for a while I was on a roll.

You can read the rest at Turtleduck Press.

I sold three stories this year–my first sales to markets outside of Turtleduck Press! (I’ll spare you the rest of the exclamation marks.) Two of the three are already out and available for purchase. I’ve mentioned them before, but here they are again for the record:

QueerSFanthology-Renewal-cover-Sept13-17

I won third place in a flash fiction contest with my SF story “Urban Renewal”. The top contestants were collected into an anthology, Queer Sci Fi’s Renewal. Details and buy links here.

 

 

AHtR11-A New Year-SP4x6And my 7,400 word short story A New Year on Vega III, a queer SF romance, was released just this past weekend, as part of a larger holiday-themed collection. All the details here.

My third sale, to a pro-rate market, isn’t out yet, but I’ll certainly let you know when it is!

I also released two pieces that can be read for free at Turtleduck Press:

Hmmm. What happened? Might need to write more fantasy this year…

In Turtleduck Press news, we released Erin Zarro’s third Fey Touched novel, Ever Touched. And we’re eagerly awaiting the imminent publication of KD Sarge’s In the Forests of the Night, the second installment in her fantasy-adventure tale that began with Burning Bright. Stay tuned for the cover reveal and release date!

 

The Evolution of a Series by Erin Zarro

Ever Touched final cover 3-30-17This week I’m featuring a guest post by fellow Turtleduck Press author Erin Zarro. Erin is celebrating the release of Ever Touched, the third book in her series of…futuristic paranormal romance? urban science fiction? Here she is to tell you about how she got this far…

So, when I first set out to write the first book of my Fey Touched series, Fey Touched, I was feeling pretty good. It was to be an experiment in self-publishing. But as I wrote the book, it sort of took over my life.

But in a good way, of course. 😉

You see, Fey Touched was technically a rewrite of a previous novel I’d written in 2003, except I changed a lot of the worldbuilding and preternatural creatures. They were originally vampires. Then I changed them to Fey (the creatures of myth). Then one day at work it hit me SO HARD. Why not write about creatures based in science? And everything fell into place then: the Fey Clans, the Breeding Queens, the Fey Touched. The inciting incident, and what followed.

The book almost wrote itself. I saw the things happen, and wrote the story accordingly. In fact, I was superstitious about plotting, thinking it would wreck the spell I was under. Until the last ten percent, when I got stuck on how exactly to end it.

It was an exciting time. And Fey Touched was the fastest book I ever wrote and published at just nine months (when a book for me takes from first draft to publication an average of two years).

And it sold moderately well, which spurred me on.

So then came Grave Touched, which was a bit of a departure. There were science-y things in it, but it leaned more toward paranormal with ghosts. This is where things kind of went off the rails. I’d been experiencing excruciating eye and face pain (which I learned later was trigeminal neuralgia*) and I’d just started revising Grave Touched‘s first draft. And I found I could not do it. The pain was excruciating (I would not get a diagnosis for almost three years). In despair, I broke down and told my fellow Turtleduckers that I couldn’t make my deadline. I hated doing it, but I just wasn’t able to turn in my best work with pain and stress screwing with my mind.

So plans were made to fill the hole, and I was given a new deadline, a year into the future.

Except…I had to quit writing for three months. I feared it would be forever. But it wasn’t, and when I returned to it (out of necessity – I was quite literally losing my mind), things were tough. I had to work myself back up to the higher wordcounts I’d once written in order to make my deadline. It was rough going because I was still in pain, but I managed to make it – and Grave Touched was rejected by my editor. [Siri’s note: Full disclosure: that was me.] It wasn’t my best work, and deep down, I knew it. I was given the opportunity to rewrite it and resubmit it, which I took.

My muse was not on board this time, and it took months of incremental progress to get going, but once I hit my stride, I was all right. I was still having pain, and very little relief, but I worked on it because there was nothing else I could do. This book had to be done and it had to published, come hell or high water. I believed in the story, and I was not about to blow another deadline. My editor had given me a list of things to consider as I rewrote, and I used it as my guide.

I turned it in, and it was accepted.

That book was probably the hardest I’d ever written, so when it was released on 5/1/15, I was elated. I’d managed to do the thing I didn’t think I could do – write to a deadline and publish with severe eye and face pain. Whoa.

And finally, we come to my current release, Ever Touched. I’d just gotten my diagnosis and was on medication so things were better, but not perfect. Ever Touched was a bit of a departure again – but this time, new beings in the Fey Touched world. It came as a tiny whisper as I closed up after work one day, “Old but new. First Fey. Holographic wings.” And with that, the Ascended were born! (And there is another new race of people as well, but I won’t spoil it.)

Ever Touched wasn’t plotted much – very loosely, and I liked it that way. Throughout the process, I wondered if I’d pushed things too far, or maybe, hell, it sucked. The whole thing with GT had shattered my confidence some, so there was always the question of whether or not I could do it again. I believed in myself, and my fellow Turtleduckers believed in me, but there was always that little voice inside that said, “Maybe it really does suck, and everyone’s afraid to tell you.” Which made no sense, because my editor, Siri, the one who’d rejected GT, would indeed give it to me straight. And the others would, too. We’re about quality and we’re professionals and we’d be fine. But I wondered.

When I turned EvT in on December 1st, it was with trepidation. This would be it. Was EvT worthy of publication? I was also trying to avoid another three-year gap between books. Marketing-wise, it was suicide. Thankfully, it was accepted, and I was shocked to discover that it didn’t need many rewrites at all (thank you, Kit!) and was pretty sound as is.

This blew my mind. I’d expected some rewrites. But for it to be pretty clean…this was amazing (and a first. I have always had to rewrite books. Always).

Ever Touched may or may not be the final book in the series. I wrote it so it could be either, because I couldn’t decide at the time. But for me it feels like coming full circle. I started out all excited to be experimenting, was hit with serious health adversity, almost gave up writing altogether, and now have emerged triumphant and better than ever. In the book, there is also a big triumph over a cruel, horrible enemy. And I wonder if this enemy was a symbol for the trigeminal neuralgia – that the Fey Touched’s victory over him is a parallel to my victory over the TN. It certainly feels that way at times. On the whole, writing this series has had its ups and downs and tears and frustrations, but it has also been one of my greatest joys. I always tell people that I am not doing this for the money (and really? I haven’t sold much more than the average indie) but because I simply love it.

This book also has a special place in my heart because the two main characters, Brianna and Cobra, are two of my favorites. It took me three books to discover both their secrets, and I’ll be honest, I got a bit teary writing some of their scenes (especially one in particular). I discovered their theme song, “The Sound of Silence” (as covered by Disturbed) after writing three-quarters of the book. I was writing a certain scene while the song was playing, and it was so perfect that I was stunned. (You’ll understand when you read it).

Ever Touched is a book I am proud of. It took a lot of guts to do what I did in it, and to stretch the science in the way that I did, but I am glad I did it and didn’t give up till I found some cool stuff to work with. That’s all my muse, and my love of science, which is what started me on this back in 2011. Why not combine science and fantasy and see what develops? I’m so glad I took a chance on this series.

I can’t tell you what’s coming for my Fey Touched folks, but I can say this: I am probably not completely done with them, or their world. Stay tuned.

*Trigeminal neuralgia: an excruciating inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, which supplies sensation to the face in three branches. It is also called the “suicide disease” because people have attempted suicide to be free of the pain. Mine is atypical; that is, it’s not a usual presentation. I have mainly eye pain and some face pain; it’s usually face pain mostly. And that’s how I discovered it myself. The pain feels like someone is poking my eyeball constantly. Hard. And it never went away. Never, unless I was sleeping. And no one could figure it out, until I did last year. I finally have medication that reduces the pain significantly, but does not eradicate it. I am beginning to have more pain these days, which is to be expected as it is a chronic, progressive condition.

Siri here: I’m so proud of Erin for fighting through and getting Grave Touched and now Ever Touched out into the world! You can buy Ever Touched at Turtleduck Press, or if you’d rather start with the first in the series, Fey Touched is available here.