G is for Genre

Hello, and welcome to the April A-Z Blogging Challenge! Over the first 26 days of April, we will explore aspects of writing and marketing books – authors, feel free to weigh in, and readers, feel free to observe and ask questions!



I never could read science fiction. I was just uninterested in it. And you know, I don’t like to read novels where the hero just goes beyond what I think could exist. And it doesn’t interest me because I’m not learning anything about something I’ll actually have to deal with.
James D. Watson
There’s a saying I’ve been taught since I moved to the American midwest: “some people’s kids.” You look out at someone doing something terrifically stupid or upsetting, and you sigh, and you say, “some people’s kids.” And everyone nods knowingly. And here’s where it gets wonderful: as far as I can tell, other than rehashing the story over the dinner table, the event is forgotten after that. Some people’s kids. What’re you going to do. Anyone want to go get ice cream?
Frankly, it would be great if we could apply this as a standard to the literary industry, where there seems to be some sort of universal license, as displayed in the quote above, to be a massive asshat about what kinds of books are Real Books, and what kinds of books have Value, and what kinds of books are Emotionally Compelling. We talk smack about adults who read YA, about any sort of genre fiction, about literary fiction writers being snobby and self-published authors being sloppy. In the end, we’ve managed to waste a while bunch of time…and make some writers and readers feel terrible about themselves.
For. No. Reason.
Originally, this post was about learning what’s in and out of style in your genre and why, being familiar with tropes, and learning to work with what your audience expects. To paraphrase Larry Brooks of “Story Engineering” (a book I heartily recommend, but maybe look at the reviews so you know what you’re in for before you read it), what is overdone and boring in one genre may be groundbreaking in another. I wanted to teach you to work with what you’ve got.

And then I got sidetracked. Which happens incredibly often. Ah, well.

Instead, this post became about something very dear to my heart: writing the book that’s in your head, that you are passionate about, that shows the characters you love. Damn the torpedoes genre naysayers, full speed ahead. To illustrate, I want you to try an experiment. Think of a book or movie that filled you with emotion, go look it up on a review site, and skip straight to the 1* reviews. You’ll see “boring,” you’ll see, “lacking characterization.” You’ll see reviews by people who were seventy kinds of un-wowed by this book, and some by people who hated it with a burning, fiery passion.

The reason I say to try this experiment is that it’s far easier with someone else’s work. You know how you felt when you read that book (or saw that movie). It’s non-negotiable; it just is. The experiment is still going, though: now I need you to realize that not only were there people who did not feel the same as you, there are people out there who think that the entire genre of this book or film adds nothing to the human experience.

They are clearly wrong. So we can leave that in the dust and move on.

So I’m going to lay out some truths for you, and these are truths I want you to cling to when people talk crap about your chosen genre – because they inevitably will, and somewhere in the raw-feelings wasteland of having published a book, you’ll stumble across this diatribe and soak it all up and get magnificently angry while kind of wondering if everyone else believes it. (Spoiler alert: they don’t.)

  • Sad-spectrum feelings and serious feelings are not the only important feelings in the human experience. Write a happy story if you want to. It does not lack merit.
  • There is no genre that has a monopoly on all the available reader feelings. Anyone who says that a particular genre can’t elicit serious feelings is wrong, full stop (and not so great at philosophy or logic, either). Your choice of genre says absolutely nothing about your skill as a writer. Your choice of genre does not lack merit.
  • It is almost inevitable that your book will share qualities with other books, and I only say “almost” for the sake of statistical accuracy. Your book will share qualities with other books. You will hit tropes. This does not mean you have nothing new to say. This does not mean you have not said it well. Similarity does not mean your book lacks merit.
  • If your book gets popular enough, there will be people who talk smack about whether or not your book is really whatever genre you’ve billed it as, and whether your fans are real [genre x] fans. Have some tea and ignore it. This does not mean that your book lacks merit. Some people’s kids, right?
  • Oddly, if your book gets popular, there will be a lot of people who find this a reverse-indicator of quality. I suggest reading Don Maass’s “Writing the Breakout Novel” for an informed and unapologetic look at why books get popular, and then shake your head at the idea that people who read books are not good arbiters of what makes a good book. Popularity or lack thereof correlates with merit, but is not an indicator that your book either has merit, or lacks it.

So I will leave you with this wonderful quote from Madeleine L’Engle, and go back to writing. Happy reading, happy writing, and ignore the haters!

Madeleine Quote

Indie Author Feature: Chris Reher

Hello, all!

Today comes with an interview! Chris Reher is the author many wonderful books, all of which I encourage you to check out, and she’s here today to discuss Entropy’s End!




Tell us a little about this release – what inspired it, which characters were your favorites, what surprised you while writing it?

Entropy’s End is another adventure for Sethran Kada, who appeared in two previous stories. He’s just too interesting to fly off into the sunset just yet and so I gave him his own story which has received enthusiastic feedback from readers. This one, like the others, is a stand-alone story but a third book will pull things together into a trilogy.

The books of the Targon Tales revolve around a hundred-year old conflict between a colonizing Commonwealth and those who rebel against it. In this story, I wanted to take a look at a rebel’s point of view. She becomes his challenge as he once again saves the day. In some ways, current conflicts on our own planet were the inspiration for this.

As always, I ask myself: are we really the good guys? Are those rebels really evil terrorists and, if not, what makes them do what they do? Are some of them just victims of circumstance? This theme runs through all of my books, but this time a rebel is one of the main characters.

What Author(s) or Works first inspired you to write? Who inspires you now?

Margaret Atwood, for her use of language. I can only wish for such talent. Hugh Howey because he’s a cool guy. Larry Niven because of Ringworld and other really neat concepts. Anne McCaffery for her wonderful characters, specifically The Rowan who, in retrospect, served as a model for my main female protagonist. This reminds me that I need to replace my very tattered copy of her Get Off The Unicorn. Right now I’m inspired by writers who step out of the genre, or take it to another place. Michael Bunker and his Amish sci-fi is one of them.
Tell us about you – what do you do to unwind and relax? What are your hobbies?

Besides trying to remember to water my tomatoes, my way to relax is to learn things. Seriously. Thank goodness for the Internet. I can pick up a story and something in it will lead me to look up more detail, starting with basic sources like Wikipedia. Before you know it, I’m reading scientific papers. Most recently, I learned a great deal about President Johnson’s administration (and I’m Canadian!).

I think if some law enforcement agency ever examined my search history I’d be in great trouble. Good thing I can tell them I’m a writer and had to look up chlorine gas, mass extinction, dirty bombs, planet-wide exfoliation schemes, and laser weapons. I wish we found a better way to teach children. Instead of making them remember the gross national product of Lithuania, we ought to just let them explore. Eventually they’ll come across Eastern Europe, I’m sure.

I list links on my web site that offer factual information about the scientific concepts and inspirations I’ve used in my stories. Invariably, I get sucked into learning about quantum physics, space elevators, panspermia and neurology when doing research, even if I don’t dwell on these concepts in my book. So I think my readers may want to learn more, too.

Where can we find your work?

All of my books are listed on my web site at www.chrisreher.com along with excerpts and where to find them online.


Questions for Chris? Leave a comment below!

Indie Author Feature: Tammy Salyer

Gentle Readers –

I have a very exciting feature for you today: today is release day for the Spetras Arise trilogy by Tammy Salyer! I have a little bit about the book below, and hope you will head over to Amazon to check it out!



Tammy Salyer

About Tammy

Tammy writes a bit, reads a bit, and frequently races cars across intersections from the saddle of her bike. Consequently, you could probably crack walnuts shells on her thighs, but she hopes no one ever tries, because … awkward. Find her on her blog (www.tammysalyer.com) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/tammysalyer), or sign up for her newsletter (http://eepurl.com/Trzh1) to be the first to know of contests, new releases, and special events you might enjoy. She’s currently working on a prequel to the trilogy and another project that has something to do with space Vikings. She hopes you enjoy reading her works and welcomes your reviews.

About the Spectras Arise Trilogy

Contract of Defiance, Contract of Betrayal, and Contract of War follow heroine Aly Erikson and her crew of anti-Admin smugglers through an ever-escalating glut of life-and-death adventures and trials of a living on the side of liberty and freedom—whether they agree with the law or not—in the far future of the Algol star system. As former Corps members, most are no strangers to fighting and dissent, but more than anything, they want to spend their lives flying under the radar without control or interference from the system’s central government, The Political and Capital Administration of the Advanced Worlds. But the Admin’s greed-drenched dualism of power and corruption has other plans, and throughout the series, Aly and her crew are reminded of one lesson time and again: when all other options run out, never let go of your gun.

Contract of War begins in the aftermath of the system-wide war between the Admin and Corp Loyalists and the non-citizen population of the Algols, where everything once resembling order has been leveled. Scattered enclaves of survivors dot the worlds, living, however they can, in snarled lawlessness. Aly and her crew have carved out a niche of relative peace, doing their best to go on with their lives through salvaging, scavenging, and stealing. But with no force left to keep the lid on the pot, the pressures of chaos and discord soon cause conflicts to boil over. As enemies close in from all directions, even, sometimes, from within, the crew once again must fight—not just for survival, not just for their way of life, but this time for a future that can finally lay to rest the system’s bloody and savage past.

To learn more about the series and her other projects, visit former 82nd Airborne paratrooper and author Tammy Salyer at www.tammysalyer.com.

Where to Find the Books

Grab all three novels in the trilogy while they’re on sale for 99 cents each through August at Amazon {amazon.com/author/tammysalyer}, Apple {http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/tammy-salyer/id519481023?mt=11}, Barnes and Noble {http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tammy-salyer}, Kobo [http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?query=Spectras%20Arise%20Trilogy&fcsearchfield=Series}, Libiro {http://www.libiro.com/}, and PayHip {http://payhip.com/TammySalyer}.


Comments? Congratulations to Tammy? Leave a comment below!

If you have another author you’d like to see featured, email me at moirakatson at gmail dot com to let me know!



Stories from Guan-Yu, Day 1: Kickoff!

First things first – Audiomachine, one of your hosts for this week’s Stories from Guan-Yu giveaway, has graciously offered a bonus giveaway of today’s tracks, Solace and Brain Mismatch. Follow the link to download, and read on for the rest of the goodies!

I am thrilled to announce the kickoff of “Stories from Guan-Yu,” a giveaway event pairing the world of Crucible with tracks from trailer music powerhouse Audiomachine. Over the next few days, we will be drawing you further into the world of Crucible, showcasing characters and events from the book in the context of Audiomachine’s gorgeous music, from some of their oldest industry releases to tracks off their most recent public release, Phenomena. You can enter up to once per day for the giveaway: five winners will receive a signed copy of Crucible and a signed Audiomachine CD, and one grand prize winner will win a book and all five featured albums!

I have been a fan of Audiomachine for a few years now, and often listen to their albums while writing—their music spans emotions from grief and loss, through hope, joy, and all the way to heart-pounding, epic moments. I hope that those of you who are blog regulars will get just as hooked on Audiomachine as I am, and I want to extend a hearty welcome to the Audiomachine fans who have come here to learn more about Crucible!



Day 1:

The Attack on Guan-Yu

paired with

“Solace” and “Brain Mismatch”


The attack on Guan-Yu is a truly horrifying event: a massacre of unarmed civilians by the most technologically advanced fleet humanity has ever seen. Our narrators live the terror and rage of that night, watching their loved ones die, and in the months that follow, they struggle to make sense of such ruthless slaughter. And yet, Crucible opens with one of the soldiers committing the attack, bombing the colony and going to her death with blood on her hands, believing that humanity’s survival depends on her actions. “Solace” and “Brain Mismatch” were natural choices to showcase the beliefs of Everett and her fellow soldiers, and the desperation and horror of those on the ground. The true tragedy of the massacre on Guan-Yu lies in the fact that no one, not the soldiers and not the colonists, know the whole truth of the colony.


“I didn’t plan on going out like this.”

“You didn’t?” But she could see that it was true. He was sweating, his pulse beating shallow at his throat against the desperate stillness.

“I always thought—you know.” At her unhelpful silence, his face twisted. “That I’d be able to do things that didn’t mean…” Dying. She looked down at her hands, and he let the rest of the words out in a rush: “The planes are fouled up. What if it’s a sign? What if the admiral’s wrong?”

A rush of bad temper. She hadn’t planned to spend the last few minutes of her life talking sense into some panicked kid. She didn’t want to admit that, because it seemed an awful lot like having regrets—and she refused to believe that she had any of those. Refused.

She had just wanted to sit, that was all. Sit and meditate, be calm in the certainty that this was right, until she could be in the cockpit and she could know that it was right. The bird would tell her. But if this stupid jock panicked, it would ruin the mission, and she had already staked her life on the belief that this must happen. She knew what the admiral would say, too: get it done. And this was what she needed to do.

She drew a breath to steady herself.

“A pilot like you, joining up right before this happens? Doesn’t that seem like a sign, too?”

“They said at command that we shouldn’t—“

“The admiral says we don’t let them get away with this.” Flat.

Hell of a thing for a kid to deal with, though. Must be twenty, at most. Transferred to the Minerva three days earlier, a kid they said to watch. Bright one, has a good future ahead of him. Well, not any more, he didn’t. He could choose to die quick, out the airlock, or less quick, in this run, or slow—while they hunted the admiral down. The navy’s flagship, he’d taken, no less. Jesus. And the admiral was seventy, wife dead and kids grown and not military anyway—he’d gamble more than this kid, for sure, who had everything still to do.

And so she tried not to wince when the boy nodded, but it was so damned hard not to feel cruel when he looked down at the floor like she’d slapped him.

“I hadn’t thought of it like that.” He was trying to be fair. She hated him for being so young, for that look in his eyes; she hated doing this to him. She didn’t want it to be the last thing she did. But she didn’t have a choice, did she? Not with what was going on down there. She’d spent her whole life waiting for a moment like this, and now that it came it was a shock.

He was too jittery for talk of glory, she judged. So was she.

“You can’t imagine the horrors you’ll put an end to,” she said, as gently as she could. Which was not all that gently, but at least what she said was true; he probably couldn’t. There were horrors that had already been, the admiral said, and horrors that were coming if these monsters were unleashed on the world.

“Really?” Desperate to believe it.

“Yes.” Her voice was emphatic. She had seen, and this boy could not have the first idea of it: skin stretched over metal, bodies on slabs, men and women with dead eyes and twisted limbs. And others—they looked so normal. Things on the inside, though, the admiral said, viruses and machines. And mind games. Some of them wrong in the head, even if you wouldn’t know it until…

Well, we don’t mean to find out, the admiral had said, with finality. So you do what you have to do to remember they’re not human. And don’t let the kid get sentimental. And how was she supposed to do that?

“We can’t heal them?” Of course he’d ask that.

“No.” She looked over. “You gotta put that out of your head. They’re not alive, not like we’d think of it. They don’t have souls.” He just looked at her, her words too far beyond for him to believe any of it.

“But what if they are? What if they do?”

“They don’t.” God in heaven, she could not deal with this. An alarm sounded: ships ready. “So are you coming?” Harsh; he looked like she’d hit him. These would be some of the last words he would ever hear, and that cut her up inside. Damn it. So she held out her hand, helped him up. “You’re a good man, Rios. Hell of a pilot. It’s an honor to fly with you.”

His hand was warm, his grip firm. One of the last moments she would ever have. All over soon, and right and wrong were turning over in her head, sin floating away into meaninglessness; he was beautiful.

Just a grab at life. She took her hand back, put on her helmet. Her hands were shaking now, and sweaty. She could feel her heart pounding against her chest. She had to concentrate to climb the ladder to the bird; light-headed, the spikes on the rungs biting into her palms.

The reserve pilots were watching them go, waiting by their tubes—some wishing they were her, some hoping she’d do what she had to so they didn’t have to go out. Most people weren’t made for combat, they said at the Academy, even fighter pilots. Crew of five thousand, they were bound to have a few. The admiral liked to mutter that peace was fine, only now he had a crew with no notion of war.

A measure of peace descended upon her in the cockpit. She had always felt most at home here. Tears stung her eyes; she could truly cry with how sure she was now, how relieved she was to know that.

“Everett.” A voice in her earpiece. “Are you ready?”

A moment to press her lips together. “Yes, sir.”

“No time for second thoughts.” Of course he would hear it in her voice. We have come to a moment, he told her in the still of the hallway, when what we know as goodness and mercy are not enough to guide us any longer. Your loved ones may not ever understand what you did here today, but they need you to stand for all that is good in humanity. Courage, Everett. Ours is a path of darkness and doubt. Do not waver or all will be lost. And she believed him.

“No second thoughts, sir.”

He accepted that without comment. “How’s the kid?”

“He’ll hold.”

“Good. And Everett—“

“Yes, sir?”

“See you in hell.”


Comment below (or tweet, or like on facebook!) to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, and come back tomorrow for another track and another chance to win!

You can find Crucible HERE on Amazon, and all of Audiomachine’s music HERE on iTunes!


A Rafflecopter giveaway!

Novum Flash Fiction

I debated whether or not to show this story to the world. Sandoval became a figure far beyond my expectations, in the way characters often do, and as an almost mythical character, his voice had no place in Crucible itself – he existed best through others’ eyes.

When I stumbled across my concept notebook, however, this piece hit me afresh. This is Sandoval’s story.


“It was a mercy.” The words sounded very far away. “You could have killed far more.”

“That doesn’t make this a mercy!” His voice was tight with grief. “What, because we spared the children—so that tonight, their parents won’t come home to them? The earth is soaked with blood, how is this a mercy?”

“You think because lives were lost, this is monstrous?”

“You think that because it could have been worse, this was mercy?”

“Anyone else would have taken out the city!”

“That doesn’t make this—“

“Benito.” Alex put his hands on Sandoval’s shoulders. “They started it, they rebelled, and you crushed their army without killing civilians. Whether you want it or not, you’re going to be a hero.” He stooped to look into Sandoval’s eyes. “I think you are. I do—”

“No,” Sandoval said, but his friend did not stop.

“—Yes. And when you get back to Delphi, you’re going to have to take your damned medal and make a speech and shake hands. Yes, you are. This is going to be one for the history books.”

The tentative smile died when Sandoval hefted his pistol. He thought he was going to choke. He could see the parade in his mind’s eye, and the strong handshakes of the commanders past their prime, reduced to snatching glory from another man’s brutality. They’d praise him. Alex was right, and right now the only thing he could think now was to put a bullet in his brain—as if, knowing he’d done that while looking at the battlefield, they might see, somehow, a piece of the horror. As if they might ever see this differently.

Mercy. Oh, god, he was going to be sick. The gun was shaking in his hand, slick with sweat.

Forty years later, he would still sleep with the same pistol on his nightstand, and in the mornings he would hold it and consider—and know that the moment was past. He’d lost his chance.



Novum Release Week, Day 1!


Hello, and welcome to release week for Crucible!

Over the course of this week, we will be releasing character artwork and short stories to set the scene for the world of Novum! Today, we’re launching into things with character artwork over at Joseph Lallo’s blog, and a short story here, exploring the origins of the colony at Guan-Yu.

Until Friday, you can tide yourself over with a free excerpt available on Amazon here!


Seed Colony: noun; one of the “non-intervention” colonies prepared for under the Vargas Treaty of 3128, which laid out several programs intended to safeguard humanity from war, disease, or accident. Each colony consists of a fully terraformed planet devoid of non-human sentient life, stocked with a viable population of volunteers. Volunteers consent to have memories blocked at the beginning of the experiment, and will be unaware both of their coordinates and of their participation in the project. These colonies are under military protection until such time as they develop spacefaring capabilities, and the coordinates of all seed colonies are classified. Intervention in a seed colony is considered treason against human interests.


They told me they’re only sending one transmission home, so I’ve been saving this up. We’ll be heading home soon, so there’s no point in putting it off much longer. I’ll tell you how things end up when I get back, but not much is going to change from here on out. We’re already starting to pack up; the tent village looks deserted.

I miss you terribly, I’ve been gone so long, but to be honest I can’t imagine leaving this place. I looked back at my journals and I spent the first few weeks complaining about the heat, but it started to feel normal at some point, I guess. It gets into your blood. I don’t know if you remember Nana’s house, back when Keeling was still a new settlement. You went out and played in the dirt and Papa yelled at you and said you’d get some disease. It’s like that here—we’re supposed to be very careful about quarantine, but there’s only so much you can do (and anyway, the people are going to introduce all sorts of microbes, there’s no way to do a full wipe of their systems). So after a while we stopped worrying about shoes and masks and…well, I guess I’ve just gotten used to the feel of dirt between my toes. The sun bakes into the earth all day and then the heat radiates back into your feet all evening, even when the air is cold.

Water is precious here, in a way I didn’t understand before. In a station, it’s all rations, you know? Purification systems. Here, the water goes into the land. Sometimes when you walk near the river, you can see new plants poking out of the ground. The break up through the earth, little spindly stalks but it’s strong enough, and then they unfurl. There was a week when I would come back every day to check on one of the plants. The botanists said it was just a weed, but it looked so strong and delicate at the same time, unbelievably green in this land of sand and hot winds.

I go for walks by the river at night, the sound is very soothing. You can walk, and walk and walk. It is an incredible luxury to be able to walk without anywhere to go; I have to be careful now that they can’t see me from the settlement camps, but other than that, I can go anywhere. No hallways. I’m going to miss open sky. Sometimes I think about running away and living in the hills. I know I couldn’t do it… I’d never make it here, it’s too harsh.

I’m so afraid for the people we’re leaving. We’re supposed to accept everything that’s going to happen, you know? But I can’t. I think they knew that. They told us before we came here that leaving would be the most difficult part, and they were right. Last night we named the planet: Guan-Yu, after a Chinese general from Old Earth.

None of it seems real most of the time, and then other times it does seem real and like a terrible mistake. Only sometimes, when I’m not thinking about it, I get this rush of wonder—it’s such a strange feeling, to have seeded a planet, so full of power, creating life! I told Simon that I felt like a god, and he laughed at me. I do, though. It’s this terrible sense of responsibility, like I should make sure they’ll all be safe, and of course they won’t be if I do my job correctly. I have to make sure that they’ll be in enough danger, and that the conditions are adverse enough, that they will start to develop technology.

We picked where to leave them right away when we got here: a harsh patch of earth with the river running through. Nearby, across a narrow strait, is a land of incredible fertility. You would not believe your eyes to see it! It is more green than I have ever seen in my life. The air smells sweet with flowers, and we found fruit trees and cereal grains. There is something like a gazelle, and we had a close call with one of the dogs that stalks them! It’s beautiful, and I hope the settlers get there someday.

But they can’t start there, they’ll be starting out somewhere less welcoming. Warm, of course, and the mountains will keep out some of the worst weather. Remember Ewing’s Conjecture, that I kept talking about before I left? It’s the one that says a society will develop technology most quickly if forced by adverse stimuli, but I keep having these nightmares that we used it incorrectly. There was a failed colony on a planet called Treherne, very cold, that proved that there’s a limit to it. They didn’t make it two generations. No one talks about it, but we’ve all been thinking about that one. And a thousand other things could go wrong, meteor strikes or some disease or something, but it would be so much worse to know that all these people could die from something I did.  I don’t know how I could ever live with that.

And I’ll never know, anyway. That’s what gets to me. It will take thousands of years to know that for sure. What if we’d chosen the coasts? What if we’d dropped them off in the green lands? I’ll never know that, and I’ll never even know the results of the choices I did make, and the ones I didn’t. When they do come back, in a few years, they’ll just scan from space—and hundreds of lives will be passing underneath, so much more than just life forms on a scanner. So much more. To anyone else, it will just be numbers. It has become more, to me. To all of us.

Leaving will be a lonely business, like I’m leaving a part of my soul. The people we’ve dropped off don’t know our names anymore—of course, they don’t know their own, either—and I feel such mingled hope and sorrow to leave them here like this. They all agreed of course, just as you kept reminding me before we left. We made them sign three times, after all of the disclosures and telling them about the survival rates and everything, and we even asked again when we got here. They still said yes. I asked some of them why they were coming—strictly against regulations, but I know Simon did, too—so I know what some of them were running from. Harsh as it is, this land is kinder than some parts of occupied space. That’s all I’ll say.

Some of them wanted to come, they had everything and they gave it up. Those were the ones that touched me. A few just wanted adventure, but one of them said that this was the future of humanity. He was very calm about it, and he thanked me for my work. Right then I felt so young, like I didn’t know a thing about what I was doing, just throwing these people out into the world. Like there was no way to know what could come of it but I was doing something…big. I don’t know, I don’t have words for it. It felt like it mattered, so much, and I was walking blindly, changing the world in these vast ways and not even understanding it. I’ve had trouble sleeping since then. Sometimes I wake up from dreams of what will happen here, and I can never remember them…

Anyway, they all made their choice. And I have my journals to remind me why this is important, why we need to do this. Of the choices I made before I knew what it meant.

But there’s so much for them to learn, and now they seem so helpless! What if in a few years, they would regret it? I know what they’ll be facing: poisonous plants, predators, disease. Most of them won’t survive, and I keep thinking we just didn’t explain that well enough. They will try to cross the strait eventually, or venture up into the north, and they’ll lose so many when they do. I feel responsible, knowing that I have put them here. They are humans, and humans have unquenchable curiosity, an absolute desire to go searching, even into danger. I’m letting them go into danger.

But I feel so much hope, too—I really think they can flourish here. Who can say what technologies they’ll build, what they’ll discover that we could never have known? I have to keep thinking about that. Someday, far in the future, we might all be gone, destroyed by our wars, and these people might flourish far away from all of that. They’ll grow, not knowing anything about us, and venture out into the stars on their own…

It’s late, I should go to bed. I miss you, and I wish you could be here to see this. (You’d hate it here, I know.) I’ll be home soon—a few months in transit, but we leave the week after next. Nothing more to say, I guess. I hope you liked your birthday present.

Love, Eleni


Gentle Readers –

I hope you enjoyed this first foray into the world of Novum! Stay tuned for more. For now, you can add Crucible on Goodreads here, and (if you have not already) sign up for the mailing list here.



writers are not normal

Hello, Gentle Readers, and welcome to a new week!

A few updates for you, and assorted coolness from around the web…

Comments, questions, concerns? Queries about Novum?


Welcome, Fussy Librarian Readers (and an update)!



If you are here from the Fussy Librarian, thanks for stopping by, and take a look around!

For those of you who have not yet heard of the Fussy Librarian, it is a daily book email…with a twist! Not only do you tell them about the genres of books you enjoy, but also the levels of profanity, violence, and sex you are comfortable with. Also, that name is genius. You can sign up by going to www.thefussylibrarian.com

Now, an update: one of the best, but also most infuriating, talents for writers is the ability to know when the story is…lacking. After plotting out the Novum trilogy, I could not shake that feeling, and I have spent about a week at this point re-focusing each plot line, adding in or taking out elements until each one is not only super cool, but ends with a bang and not a whimper! I am extraordinarily pleased with the result, and I hope you will be, too, in a few months.

Shadow’s Reach is in its final stages! Look for an email sometime next week to tell you it’s been released!

I am working on the next Author Feature – if you have any requests, leave a comment below.

I hope fall (or spring, for readers in the southern hemisphere!) is going smashingly, gentle readers!


What Lies Ahead

shadows reach second teaser

Hello, Gentle Readers!

The weather continues to yo-yo between a crisp autumn and a few last, raucous bursts of summer. I have been so focused on Shadow’s Reach and the SciFi piece that I have wished for a few more cold, fall-ish days so that I could snuggle up beside the fire – but I suppose I should savor the warmth while it’s here! Winter is coming, and all that.

  • As you can see above, the Shadow’s Reach cover is coming right along! I hope to be able to show it off soon, and not only because I am impatient by nature – the proofs are wonderful.
  • I have been dabbling in the worlds of Unbound and Kickstarter. That is all about that for now. (Although I encourage you to check out the projects that are currently listed. There are some pretty incredible ones out there! On Kickstarter, Acadia, in particular, looks quite excellent…although more than fully-funded already.)
  • I have started reading Wool, at long last. I’m captivated; I wish the story would linger a little sometimes, but I really am enjoying it. I can’t stand Bernard, though.
  • Speaking of Wool, any authors in the audience may be interested by the recent pieces about Hugh Howey and Michael Wallace.
  • The SciFi project is coming along, and I am so excited to share this new world with you! Stay tuned for updates!




French King Bridge

Gentle Readers –

This weekend is vacation, but with a few exciting details scattered within…!

  • The Light & Shadow short stories are close to completion! I am setting myself the goal of completing them by the end of September, and releasing them by mid-October!
  • While visiting my hometown, I was able to reconnect with an old friend who is also writing! Her first book was The Power of Poppy Pendle, and I am beyond excited to crack it open on this trip! (Also, it’s worth noting that the recipe for shortbread on her website is GOLD. Gold, ladies and gentlemen. Shortbread to make you weep.)
  • I continue to beat my head against this new SciFi piece. That’s not exactly an exciting detail. Whoops.
  • The Parajunkee Summer Blog Tour is winding onwards, and I am very excited for my tour stop on September 12th! As a reminder, the tour is a scavenger hunt, paired with a giveaway for a Kindle Fire – answer a question about each author, and you’ll be entered to win! You can find the tour here.

I hope your summers are going well, gentle readers!