February Round-up

 

What a month February has been –  a month of extremes of weather for one thing. I’m glad to escaped the worst of it here in steaming hot Brisbane, but feel for everyone who has suffered loss from bushfires or wildfires, the Sahara-dessert levels of heat south of the border or Antarctic cold of the polar vortex across the Pacific, from earthquakes, storms, drought and other disasters.

It’s been something of a deluge on the publishing scene for me in much more pleasant ways – frantic, crazy and fantastic -with four new books due for release in February-March, several events both online and in person, and two promotions.

New Releases

Shadow Crystals

Shadow Crystals – Book 4 in the Under the Mountain series

She will do anything to save her people.

Delvina, Zadeki and the delegation lead by Danel must seek answers from the haughty Vaane, but they find the Lonely Isles in turmoil. Will Delvina find the way to open the Gate in time to prevent her people from starving? Will she be reunited with her twin, Retza? And why are the Forest Folk so secretive? As tensions increase, Delvina must discern friend from foe and defeat the shadows in her own heart.

Join Delvina and her friends on their quest to save the Glittering Realm under the mountain.

Set in the world of Nardva, Shadow Crystals is the fourth and penultimate novella in the Under the Mountain series.

Beat the price rise. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon for February 21  release. Here.

 

If you haven’t started the series yet – no questions asked (: – you can pick up the first book in the series, Heart of the Mountain, for 99 USD (less than $2 AUD) (or as part of Ruhanna’s Flight and Other Stories or Limited Horizon).

Heart of the Mountain can be standalone, or it can lead into the next story if you want to experience more of Delvina, Retza and Zadeki’s world.  So, what is stopping you? Begin the adventure today.

Wondering about which order to read them in?

Heart of the Mountain 1 

Blood Crystal 2

Stone of the Sea 3

Shadow Crystals

Caverns of the Deep 5  (So close to finishing the first draft of this fifth and final book in the series. Looking at an April release.)

 

Gods of Clay

 

I can now reveal that a year ago my sci-fi short story,  ‘Maroon’s Sanctuary’ was accepted for an anthology – Gods of Clay (a SciFi Roundtable anthology by the same publishers as The Quantum Soul).  Maroon’s Sanctuary is one of my favourite sci-fi stories (that I’ve written so far). I had fun researching moons with ice-crusted oceans, genetic engineering, mining in the ocean and surviving underwater at deep pressures as well as railguns and a few other things. It is loosely connected to my other Nardvan space stories ––  Space Junk, Rendezvous at Alexgaia, and Project Chameleon.

Gods of Clay is available here.

 

Challenge Accepted

 

Another exciting announcement. My story ‘Space Triage’ was accepted into the Challenge Accepted anthology – a celebration of difference and diversity with proceeds going to the Special Olympics.

A blind spaceship pilot.
Cops and maintenance personnel in wheelchairs.
Taking on bad guys with only one leg or no arms.
It’s not what you are that makes you something special. It’s who you choose to be.
Seventeen stories about people who rise above anything that tries to stop them, even their own limitations.

With stories by Stephanie Barr, Micha Burnett, Jennifer Busick, Adam David Collings, Steve Curry, Scott G. Gibson, Joyce Hertzoff, Jane Jago, Clarence Jennelle, Jeanette O’Hagan, Layla Pinkett, Jen Ponce, Connor Sassmannshausen, Lynne Stringer, E. M. Swift-Hook, Margret Treiber, Andy Zach.

Coordinated by Stephanie Barr with all proceeds to go to the Special Olympics.

I loved writing the characters in Space Triage which includes a space station and space pirates. Like Maroon’s Sanctuary, it is linked to my other Nardvan space stories.

Challenge Accepted is now available on pre-order here.

 

Tales of Magic and Destiny

Finally, my story ‘Wolf Scout’ has been selected for the new Inklings Press anthology Tales of Magic and Destiny – along with stories from talented authors Maria Haskins, Tom Jolly, Rob Edwards, Tara, Leo McBride, Aaron Emmel, Kerry Buchannon, Brent Harris, Jaleta Clegg, Ricardo Victoria & Hall Jameson.

I’m excited to be part of another Inklings Press anthology. (‘Shadows of the Deep’ was published in Tales From the Underground in 2017)

Wolf Scout is a fantasy story set in Nardva – a Barrakan Tale in the same region as Full Moon Rises (Like a Woman) and Broken Promises (Another Time, Another Place). Cover and publication dates will soon be revealed, so watch this space.

 

 

February Online Events

I’ll be attending a number of conventions and book fairs this year. More on that next month.

This month has been busy with online events.

Fantasy and Science-Fiction Readers Lounge (FSFRL)

A new, active readers group was launched last month with lot’s happening. I participated in the Kick-Off party, the FSFRL Young Adult Event and will be part of the Romance focus in a few days time.  Join the celebration of Romance on FSFRL here.

It’s been fun interacting with readers, playing games and competitions and seeing new readers (to me) enjoy my books.

To keep up to date with online events, check out my Facebook Page here.

 

Sci-Fi Roundtable Auction

This auction is being set up in aid of helping a fellow Knight, Doreen Gunkel, who was involved in a horrific accident that left her with a broken back. She has since had an operation on it, and will be walking again soon. Doreen is known for her generosity in helping authors and cosplayers at conventions. The funds raised from this event will go towards Doreen’s medical expenses.

There is a fabulous range of items up for auction, including books, artwork and literary services. Bidding is often fierce and bargains plentiful.

Throughout this week, Layla will be adding lots to this event. Please note, the lots will be ‘browsing only’ until Friday 15th February (EST). If any of the other SFRT auctions are anything to go by, this will be an awesome event.

Fri to Sat EST (New York time) which is Sat-Mon Brisbane time.

Check it out here.

Our Books are Not Free

 

Another online event with over 100 authors, competitions, prizes and interaction. A great way to discover new authors and books  to enjoy.  Join here.

 

Take a big breath – almost finished.

Promotions

SFF 99c PROMO (FEBRUARY 2019)

 

I’m participating in in SFF 99c PROMO (FEBRUARY 2019) with the offer of Akrad’s Children at 99c USD until the end of the month.


Dates: 18 – 24 February 2019

Genres: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Check out the link  next week here .

 

Heart of the Mountain: a short novella

And in celebration of the release of Shadow Crystals, the first novella in the series – Heart of the Mountain – is at the introductory price of  99c USD until the end of the month here.

 

And that’s it for the month.

February has been busy, but I’ve had lots of fun interacting with fantasy and science-fiction fans, running competitions and gifting my books to the winners – and seeing my stories released into the world. There’s still time to join in the fun.

  • Check out the new releases
  •  drop in on the events (whether online or in person),
  • take advantage of the special prices on Akrad’s Children & Heart of the Mountain.

Time to immerse yourself in the world of Nardva – engaging characters, thrilling adventures.

I’ve also been busy reading and blogging – but more on that next time.

Jeanette

Interview – Adam David Collings

 


 

In today’s post, I speak with sci-fi author Adam David Collings. Adam has stories published in Medieval Mars and Victorian Venus anthologies, as well as in Glimpses of Light and Superheroes: The Crossover Alliance Anthology V3. Last year Adam published the first episode of his Space Opera series, Jewel of the Stars (you can read my review here.)

I asked Adam a number of questions about his writing process and plans earlier this year.

 

Jeanette: Share three things that people may not already know about you.

 

Adam:

1)      My favourite thing to eat, in the world, is chicken schnitzel, served with chips and gravy.

2)      I’m both an author and a computer programmer, and I’ve managed to make it 18 years into my career without becoming a coffee drinker. I just don’t like the taste.

3)      In my late teens and early twenties, I was toying between being a writer and being an amateur film-maker, as my primary hobby. (It never occurred to me that either could be an actual career.) I settled on writing prose because it’s easier to achieve as a ‘one-man-band’. Either way, storytelling has always been in my blood. I ended up expressing the film-making desire through my Vlogging. What would I have done had YouTube not been invented?

Jeanette: That’s a good question.  What were your favourite books, movies and TV shows as you were growing up, and how have they influenced your writing?

Adam:  I loved the Cooper Kids Adventure Series by Frank Peretti growing up. Peretti taught me a lot about bringing plot threads together in an exciting climax.

I also devoured the novels of Stephen R. Lawhead. Sci-fi, Fantasy and historical fiction. One thing was common among all three. Epicness. Epicocity. Uh…they were epic.

I watched a lot of Star Trek, starting with the original series, then TNG, DS9 etc. Star Trek had a major impact on my writing, which is still very evident today in Jewel of The Stars. I learned about character development, incorporating theme into story, and how to manage an ensemble cast.

I loved a show called the Mysterious Cities of Gold when I was little. Its influence will be seen in a future season of Jewel of The Stars.

In my late teens, I was mesmerised by Babylon 5. From this, my eyes were opened to the wonders of long-form story arcs. I’m still learning to reproduce what J. Michael Straczynski did in that show.

Jeanette: I loved Babylon 5 though Star Trek and Lawhead are also favourites. Which (perhaps little-known) authors were your best reads in the last couple of years?

Adam: A little-known author I really enjoyed in the last few years was P A Baines. His Alpha series reads like classic science fiction. It’s clever, moving and entertaining. The books deserve to be much more widely known than they are.


For All Time by Meredith Resce was a fun time travel story, which explored the cultural differences between our present, and medieval times. It also had an interesting twist on romance.

Allan and Aaron Reini are a father and son team who wrote a military sci-fi thriller called Flight of The Angels. It’s something of a cross between Battlestar Galactica and The Terminator, exploring the theme of religious persecution. I’m eagerly waiting for them to release a second book in the series.

 

Jeanette:  I enjoyed For All Time. I can see my TBR pile expanding. Flight of the Angels sounds intriguing.

You have several Sci-Fi stories published now. Is this your favourite genre to write? What do you like about it? And have you ever considered exploring another genre?

Adam: I think it’s fair to say that sci-fi is my favourite genre. I have a pretty broad definition of sci-fi, and I love it all, but my favourite sub-genre is space opera.  I love the sense of wonder that sci-fi evokes. It opens our eyes, and our imaginations, to the wonders of creation. It’s also a great vehicle for exploring themes that really matter.

I’m going to paraphrase something Brandon Sanderson has been known to say.

“The reason I love fantasy is that you can do all the things that you can in every other genre. Plus, you can have dragons.”

This is how I feel about science fiction. You can have a murder mystery, a romance, a buddy-cop comedy, and you can add aliens and spaceships. Sci-fi can blend with pretty much anything, and make it even cooler.

I’m a lover of speculative fiction in general, which includes fantasy. I dabbled in fantasy (with a sci-fi setting) in my Medieval Mars story, Lynessa’s Curse. I can see myself writing more fantasy in the future (in fact, I have a project in mind).

I can’t see myself ever writing straight fiction without any speculative elements. I do have an interest in history, particularly Tasmanian History, which could lend itself to a story, but even then, it would be a time-travel story, not just straight historical fiction.

Outside of fiction, my Mum and I have discussed the idea of writing some creative non-fiction about our ancestor, John Herbert, who was a convict in the first fleet.


 

Jeanette: I love that Sanderson quote.

How did you come up with the idea of Jewel of the Stars? What have been the joys and challenges in writing the series?

Adam: As a child, and a teenager, I consumed a lot of Star Trek. Since the Trek world is modelled after naval traditions, and in particular, the US Navy, I found that a lot of real-world naval terms were familiar to me. Bridge, First officer etc. Ever since, whenever I encounter anything remotely nautical, my mind goes straight to space. A naval warship? What about a warship in space. A fishing boat? What about fishing for space-dwelling animals. When my parents went on their first cruise, my mind immediately said, “What about a cruise ship in space?” That idea wouldn’t let me go.

The story of a cruise ship in space would clearly be a large ensemble story. At least, that’s how I pictured it. Originally, I envisaged it as a giant epic novel. I was convinced I didn’t yet have the skill to write something like that, so I put it on the shelf for later. When I first discovered the episodic storytelling of Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant, I realised there was another option.

I’m a child of the TV generation. I’ve always thought of stories in terms of episodes and seasons. I wrote a lot of serial web fiction when I was at university, but didn’t think there was a serious market for that type of thing. The eBook and self-publishing revolutions changed that. Episodic fiction was perfectly suited to this new medium. Platt and Truant had proven with their series, The Beam, that there was a market for it. Once I re-framed my cruise ship story as an ongoing series, structured like a modern TV show, I knew I was ready to launch into it.

The joys of writing it come from the creative process. I’m a big-picture storyteller. I delight in dreaming up long-term story arcs, with all the twists and turns that will take place over the years. Jewel of The Stars gave me great scope for this. I’m already thinking about ideas for spin-off series.

The biggest challenge comes out of the same place. If I wanted to tell these grand stories, I had to get my head out of the clouds and focus on the details. Editing is something I must really push myself through. After all, who wants to be inserting commas and tweaking sentence structure when you could be dreaming up the plot arc for next season?

Jeanette:  You went on a family cruise last year. Some of those ships are enormous (we recently saw one that seemed to compete with the Sydney skyscrapers). In what ways did experiencing an ocean-going cruise affect your ideas about a space-going cruise ship?

Adam: The main thing was that it gave me some real-world experience of what it’s like to be on a cruise. Until then, my idea of a cruise was shaped by the movie Titanic, and travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania (both of which are technically classed as a ferries, not a cruises).

Now I have a good sense of what a modern cruise is like. I learned some of the lingo, which I was able to insert into the story. It also helped me to picture what my ship would be like inside. My shore visits to New Caledonia gave me a tiny taste of what it’s like to step into a new place, and interact with a culture that is not your own. For the first time in my life, I was the outsider. I was the foreigner. It was a strange feeling.

I documented the entire cruise on my youTube channel. If you’re interested, you can watch the adventure at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOlU7c71yrfTBqrVJNzhirdp42kPll4Kx

Of course, in space, you have to think about the different practicalities.

First of all, you can’t go up on deck. How do you deal with the swimming pool. I chose to have “magic” artificial gravity, like on Star Trek, but you have to make these decisions.


Jeanette: My family twice travelled from Melbourne to Durban by ship. The swimming pool could have done with some artificial gravity or at least inertial dampening.

So, what else are you working on at the moment?

Adam: I have a completed draft for a superhero novella, set in Australia. There’s a small press which I think might be a good fit for the story, so after I finish revising, I’m considering submitting it. It could be a good way to get another work out in the world, without having to finance the editing and publication costs myself.

I also have a co-writing project simmering in the back of my mind – the fantasy story I mentioned above. My plan is to write the first instalment, and then invite others to join me.

Right now, though, my primary focus is on Jewel of The Stars. I’m making good progress revising episode 2 (which has been the most challenging to beat into shape). I have episodes 3 and 4 already drafted. I’ll have all 6 episodes of season one drafted by the end of the year.

Jeanette: Yay, I’m looking forward to reading Episode 2, especially after a sneak peak of the first couple of chapters.  The first episode, Jewel of The Stars: Earth’s Remnant was an exciting read. I know you made some great progress in NaNoWriMo this month. Your other projects sound intriguing too.

Thanks Adam for taking the time to talk with us.

Jeanette