Anticipation

The-Fall_coverComp-Master02R2E-Recovered

I have sadly neglected my blog, and for that I apologize. All my energy is taken by the upcoming release of The Fall and the many guest posts I’ve been writing to go along with it, along with still working hard on Farryn’s War, which is due at the editor the first week of April.

I do love being busy!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T35EUM2/
 The Fall
coming March 2, 2015
As bitter enemies scheme against each other with the fate of
Tolar in the balance, Laura Howard, made a powerful empath by the Jorann’s
gift, loses everything—again. Now she must recover and find her place, and
herself, while fighting against the ghosts of her past and the expectations of
everyone around her.
Loss after tragic loss shakes the Paran to his very soul.
With his allies vying for control of the planet and his own province caught in
the middle, he must risk his life as well as that of the woman he loves to take
the one action he never thought he would: fight for leadership of the ruling
caste.

Recent Activity

And in the news:

I put The End on Farryn’s War. I probably need to entirely rewrite the last chapter–it need more internal and external dialog–but it ends in the right place, at the right time. So now I am going slowly through it for a first revision, adding narrative and getting deeper into the heads of my point of view characters. Of which there are a record low of only three in this story, when I’ve never had fewer than five. Or is it six? I’m rather proud of myself for limiting myself to three this time.

The cover for The Fall is being drawn by my husband’s old college roomie, Tom Peters (and very likely Farryn’s War will be as well). We are hoping for a reveal somewhere around Feb 7th or so.

I’m learning how use Adobe InDesign, yes I am. The reason for this lies in the fact that I am back to self-publishing, and I want to really rock the print layout for Farryn’s War. I don’t do a bad job on book layout, but my print editions, while clean, are simple, and they could definitely use looking a little more professional. I’m hoping that learning InDesign will help that.

And I’m utterly snowed under with reading as a first round judge for not one but two writing competitions. Color me a workaholic?

I like being busy.

What about you?

On Trying New Things

We (the married we, not the we of royals or people with worms) have hired a publicist, in an attempt to rebuild the momentum Tolari Space once had. One of the publicist’s considered suggestions was — a Street Team. Those who join it get early access to review copies of my books.

She designed a very nice banner, started up the group, and now there is Christie Meierz Official Street Team on Facebook. Color me speechless.

You’re welcome to join, of course, if you would like to review my books (in e-ARC form) on Goodreads and such ahead of the crowds. You can find the group here, I believe. Also, feel free to friend me (where I yak about my authorial life), or like my author page (where I post  sniplets).

Meanwhile, I have learned a new way to tear apart a book chapter by chapter, and experimented by executing it on Chapter One of Farryn’s War. The method involves color-coding everything: narrative, internal and external dialog, visceral/physical reactions, action. The only things that get spared are dialog tags. I think.

Fun with colored pixels. The eventual goal is to deepen the experience for the reader. I’m eager to see how it works.

That was my Monday. How was yours?

Various Updates and Announcements

Wow. I am busy and loving it.

Pretty new editions of The Marann and Daughters of Suralia are now available. They are simple and clean, and they are copy-edited to within an inch of my life. The interior is printed in an attractive font and mildly stylish chapter titles. And, I promise you, the covers are not not not blurry. These editions look very nice.

But just wait until you see what I’m going to do with the next series. Mwah.

The Fall has various things going on. Advanced Reader Copies have gone to the publicist, who will be sending them out for reviews Real Soon Now ™. We are working with an artist to produce the cover, and it looks like I will get a signed #1 print of it. That’s very exciting!

Farryn’s War has turned into the first book of a new series. It’s a combination of SF noir, space opera, and romantic suspense, and it’s been one heck of a lot of fun to write. It’s enough of a departure from the atmosphere of Tales of Tolari Space, I think, to warrant its own series. I’ll announce the name of the series when I get closer to release. Right now, I am perhaps a few thousand words away from finishing the first draft. There will be nothing like the delay with this book that there was with The Fall.

How has the first week of 2015 been for you?

A New Year, A New Beginning

First things first:

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!!!

May all your hopes for the new year come true!

Well, and I am excited to be back to self-publishing again. This has the following consequences:

The original self-published editions of my books are live again on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. On Amazon, the ebook versions should update to the shiny new third editions in… about four weeks, according the email I received from KDP Support. I apologize for the inconvenience, but the 500 pound gorilla does what the 500 pound gorilla does. I did everything I could.

On Smashwords, the third editions are available now.

On B&N… I have to confess I’m not entirely sure. The current free sample is taken from the third edition. If you’ve already bought the original, I’m unclear if/when it updates on your Nook. If someone wants to enlighten me, I wouldn’t turn it down.

Print editions are in the works, and galley proofs should arrive tomorrow! Assuming no typos and assuming the formatting looks good, they should become available in the CreateSpace store shortly, and then it will link up with the ebook editions on Amazon… perhaps a week or so after I approve the proofs. Stay tuned.

What will you see in the third editions that you didn’t see in the original? I’m so glad you asked! They are pretty much cleaned-up, copy-edited versions of the second editions. Occasionally, as I read through them, I noticed an awkward sentence here and there and smoothed them out. That sort of thing. If you bought the first edition, this is what you’ll see:

1) The Marann is revised and slightly expanded, with new scenes that develop the world and the romance a little more thoroughly.

A revised and expanded version of the original first chapter of The Marann, which was cut in the second edition (the editor put a note on chapter two that said, Your story starts here), is now in an appendix in the back of the book. I plan to make the same revised first chapter, perhaps with the original original as well, available as a standalone for free on Smashwords, for those who bought the second edition, so they aren’t left out.

2) Daughters of Suralia is more than 21,000 words longer. The book now has an overarching plot, more political development, and a new ending.

Hopefully, those will be the last revisions of my first two books.

Moving on to current projects: Exciting news! I’m querying an artist for cover art for The Fall!

I’m also working with a publicist now, and we’re still deciding on a release date, but it should be… something like *mumble* mid-February or beginning March *mumble* but that’s not firm, mind you.

While I continue to polish up The Fall, I’m writing the conclusion of its sequel, Farryn’s War. This has developed into quite a story on its own, and it’s begging me to branch out with another series — so I will! There’s still more planetary romance to come in the Tales of Tolari Space, but they will dovetail with stories in a new series that has less romance and more space opera.

Does that mean Tolari Space is now officially a Universe? I hope so!

Back to the Future

And so, home from PhilCon 2014. After a night’s sleep and a shower, I am back at the keyboard and back in Tolari space.

The con was wonderful, and kudos to the PhilCon concomm. A great time was had by most, as far as I could tell. (Of course it had its blips. Every con does.) I arrived already signed up for 2 panels and! A reading! and ended up on 5 panels total. Jon McGoran was my partner in crime for the reading (his horror is seriously creepy and seriously funny), and there were actually TWO people present who weren’t related to the readers by blood or marriage.

Don’t laugh. That was progress!

I read from the beginning of The Fall until my time was up.

The most fun I had, I think, was telling a physicist who asked me with genuine puzzlement how I as a non-scientist can write science fiction, that I don’t need to understand how an internal combustion engine works in order to drive a car. I mean, I’ve had that line waiting for a suitable opportunity to use for forever. So, neither do my characters need to know how a Kline-Thompson-Nishida engine works to take an interstellar voyage on a ship equipped with one. I just need to be careful not to hold forth on how the thing works. Therefore, I’m unlikely to write a story from the chief engineer’s point of view. (Apologies to those for whom this comes as a disappointment!)

Although, it occurs to me to note that while I’m not a trained scientist, I am science-aware enough to know when I’m breaking the laws of physics. Which you can get away with as long as you’re consistent about it and don’t go too far into the ridiculous.

But okay, if that’s my idea of fun, perhaps I need to get out a bit more. So! Let’s just say the con was fun.

Back to the future, I sit poised on the brink of writing the thrilling climax of Farryn’s War. And ‘sit’ is the operative term. Having set everything up and gotten my characters where they need to be, I’m sitting on the edge, dangling my heels, wondering why in the wide world of sports I’m hesitating.

Just gotta dive in, I guess. <takes a deep breath> See you later!

I’m Not Used To My Hair

IMG_3895a

There’s a non-trivial chance that my Tolari have ridiculously long hair because I’ve been letting my own hair grow for the last… oh… third of my life, or something like that. Most folks didn’t realize just how long it was because I seldom went out without twisting it up into a clip. But it was long. Very long. Until last year, it was very very long — halfway down my thighs — but my neck had begun to really hurt, and I had it cut to just about level with the bottom of my shoulder blades.

Since my hair grows rather quickly, it was already down past my waist last week when I marched into a beauty school in West Mifflin and asked them to induct me into the League of Middle-Aged Women With Short Hair.

At first, they didn’t seem to believe me. Then they got excited, and even used someone’s cellphone camera to video the process of chopping off my long ponytail.

Boy, does my neck feel better. But the habits of years are hard to break, and I still try to flip it out of the way while engaged in any number of mundane activities, from brushing my teeth to rolling over in bed.

Curiously enough, I finally caved into the pressure (from those aware of just how much pain I was putting up with for the sake of my hair) while getting ready to write about Tolari outcastes in Farryn’s War. And that’s all I can say, because <alexkingston>spoilers!</alexkingston>, but I think that thinking deeply about the outcastes and their short hair helped me say good-bye to my beautiful long tresses.

The ponytail is going to Locks of Love. Which donation, by the way, I recommend to anyone deciding to go from Very Long to Very Short.

How short is it? This short:

Landing

So! Phoenix!

It’s actually my husband’s doing that we’re here; he’s on a commission, and it’s meeting. I tagged along for the ride.

Well, strictly speaking, I tagged along because The Husband got that “can I have a puppy?” look on his face when he asked, “Do you want to see Phoenix? Huh? Huh?” and I have a really hard time denying him anything when he gets that look. He loves this place, and if it weren’t for the fact that we’d be thousands of miles away from our children, he wouldn’t hesitate to move us here.

Truth to tell, I wouldn’t mind it either, but for the far-away-from-family part. It’s warm. Really warm. I grew up in temperate southern California and I have, for the past several years, been longing to get away from the cold winters of the northeast. I much prefer desert summers to snowy winters.

Anyway, here we are. The Husband has gone off to a morning of meetings, and I plan to decompress from the stress of travel, and write.

What are YOU doing this morning?

Situation Normal

My stress test results were “normal.” I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but my doctor seems happy.

And so begins the hunt to find out what’s causing my chest pain.

While I didn’t have a full-on treadmill stress test, the doctor at the hospital multi-test area took one look at me and asked, “Can you walk at all?” When I said, “Yes,” he ordered, “Get on the treadmill.”

That probably made the test less unpleasant, really, but four minutes at 1 mph crippled me, and five days later, I still can’t put all my weight on Stupid Hip. This would seem to indicate that it’s deteriorated more than I thought, and it prompted The Husband to go into Neanderthal mode: “Me take woman to see orthopedist NOW!”

So yeah, now I have an appointment with my surgeon, a small woman with a big ego who has a history of climbing onto the exam table with me to wrench my leg around. “Does this hurt?” Aaaaaah!

More fun in the offing.

Meanwhile, I write. The Fall hasn’t come back to me from the editor yet, so I’m working on Farryn’s War, chipping away at the difficult bit in the middle.

What are you working on?

Morning

See any morning people around here?

Yeah, neither do I.

For the record, I am a night owl. I do my best writing at about 1 am. My doctor scheduled that adenosine stress test for 8 am. You may laugh, but I’ve had to spend this week walking my schedule back so I don’t show up at the hospital more zombie than human.

Please excuse me while I go refill my coffee.

sigh

That’s better. Where was I?

While I wait on the edits for The Fall, I’m working on the next book, Farryn’s War (you’ll find out who Farryn is at the end of The Fall). As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a sharp departure from anything I’ve ever written. We head out into human space, and it’s not milk and cookies. It’s part space opera, part SF noir, part romantic suspense. If, when you read it, you want to kill one of the characters, just remember you’re not the only one. I have a love-hate relationship with that character.

At some point, I also have to finish Stranded, which is barely started. Also a departure from my usual — I’m beginning to wonder if I even have a usual — this one will be a YA set on Tolar. It should be a lot of fun.

And, if I’m not mistaken, Zombiefied II and III, both anthologies of *drum roll* zombie stories, will be released close to Halloween. I have a story in one of them! It’s a different sort of zombie story.

So. How’s your morning?