Holidays on the Planet of Azelle

Holidays on the Planet of Azelle

I received a question recently about holidays on Azelle, the planet I am slowly revealing to Earth. Honestly, I didn’t know the answer, so I decided to ask one of my main connections to the world of Azelle. This interaction is a result of that query. 

Me: Hey, Merran…

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Climbing Another Mountain: The Journey of Writing a Sequel

It’s been months since my last blog post, as I have been completely and totally buried in editing my second novel. When I began this journey to publication years ago, I had thought the biggest mountain to climb was getting published in the first place. While, yes, that was a challenge requiring courage and support, little did I know that the process of editing a sequel was going to be quite so vigorous. 

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Remembering the Editing Process -- Take Two

Much like childbirth, one forgets the pain—and utter joy—of any huge creative endeavor. I don’t know what other artists feel like, but it is a mix of emotions that face me as I get the first edit of Book 2 back from the editor and see what she has to say. 

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Visit From a Bird of Prey

Last week, as I walked out of my house, I had a very powerful nature experience: a magnificent bird of prey hovering over a freshly killed rabbit. Dogs and I both froze in the doorway, my brain racing to figure out what I was looking at, the dogs frozen because that’s when they do when faced with something new.

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Azellian Affairs: Dairy of Merran Corina #4

We all go through a period of time of searching for ourselves, for a direction, maybe even a purpose. Merran is seeking to find that piece of himself and a direction that will shape his life for years to come. But like many things in our lives, it doesn't come easily. 

Merran Corina - about four months after he first arrives on Earth

Applied for a job with the embassy. I’m told my chances of getting in at the embassy are zero to none, but if I want to stay on Earth, I have to get some kind of employment soon, or they’ll be shipping me back to Azelle.

Merran Corina - two weeks after he submits his job application

The embassy rejected my application. I’m not giving up. They say the ambassador spends hours a day at the human-run coffee shop around the corner, spending time with Azellians and humans alike. I’ll get to see him eventually…I managed to land a job at that coffee shop as a barista. It's a busy coffee shop, but that means I get to meet lots of humans. Such interesting lives they lead! So many differences...but some similarities, too.

It’s hard to believe, but I’m having more sex now than I did when I was with her. It's very weird to me, that human women find me so attractive. Is this the same Merran Corina who spent his whole life being hated for his caver roots? It is totally unreal. Surreal, perhaps, but also very pleasurable. And, by the aarya’s eyes, human women are something else! They have no shields, no way to hide what they’re feeling or thinking from me. Reading a human woman’s mind while I’m stimulating her body….We’ve always been taught humans are uptight, controlled and lack sexual appetite. That’s not been my experience. Even though they can’t link with me during sex, I can certainly read their physical sensations and it’s quite a rush. There is a sort of unrestrained, unflagging joy they have in who they are that I find quite stimulating. 

Sometimes it can be overwhelming and unpleasant, though. I never let my interactions go on for very long. It's better that way. Relationships based on a lie? Even I know better than that.

Want to find out more about Merran Corina and his experiences on Earth? Read an excerpt from Alawahea: Excerpt of Book 1

Star Wars: Being a Science Fiction Fan

As I come home from watching Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, I am reminded of the pleasure and fun I had as a teenager first watching Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Although I saw that movie first, before the first two, I had played with the action figures from the first two movies and knew the basic story line even before stepping into the movie theatre. Going to the movie with friends was as much fun as I’d had in my entire, rather reclusive, teen years. Seeing a movie three times in the movie theatre? Going to a movie with a crowd of other teenagers? That was a first for me…and well worth the trip, all three times.

Besides the fun mixing of old and new, the new movie reminded me of what a science fiction fan I actually am. I have always been a science fiction fan, but it has dimmed these past few years of focusing on other things instead of the realms of fantastical, possibility-stretching entertainment. Watching a masterful blend of science fiction and romance reminded me again why I write what I do. Star Wars has become so intertwined with our culture that it’s pretty much part of it. It certainly contributed heavily to my writing, along with other sci-fi classic writers like Marion Zimmer Bradley and Andre Norton. It melded drama, with a leavening of humor, and action, building characters we all got to know, then as children, played with endlessly. So much so, thirty odd years later, we bring our children to the newest release and reminisce with them over memories thirty years old.

Whether you like (or saw) Star Wars or didn’t, chances are you certainly are aware of the phenomenon of it. For those of us who did see it both when it originally came out, the re-releases, the re-boot (continuation) and now the re-re-boot of the franchise, it is a reminder that the innocence of childhood lurks not all that far behind our grown up lives. Stories that are driven by character, action and plot? Sign me up, please! After seeing Star Wars again, I am reminded that my fascination with science fiction and romance is ever growing and continues to this day. I get to play there now, in a different way, through my stories and my sharing of posts with fellow sci-fi readers, writers and fans and I remember how grateful I am to be a sci-fi geek who has allowed herself to play in this space. I get to write fun stories, too!  What could be better than that?

Get to participate in the look of an entire series!

Creating a look for a series has a whole different set of challenges and joys to recommend it. When I first started, I was looking for some symbolic and interesting art that suggested what was going on in the book. It’s taken me several months to realize that a series is a different set of thought processes than a single book and that having the input of other people is very important.

I’m beginning to launch the process of starting the second book and am taking a moment to review the first one and what I’ve learned so far. Where do I want to go with the series? What look do I want to create? What would be fun on the cover, giving hints about the story behind it, but also is eye-catching? I recently discovered 99 Designs, which runs a contest for designers all around the world to compete for a chance to design a cover. I’ve seen some beautiful artwork based on a short paragraph I gave them about the story…and they responded. And best of all, it’s led to some really great concepts for covers!

For the next four days, I’m going to be running a poll to help me decide the direction of the covers for my series. I want to know what you like! And of course, I’m showing the work of some very talented designers in the world of 99 Designs. Some of these designers have really floored me with their talent and insight—they all created these pictures from a description I wrote about the story. There are some really amazing artists listed here. Which is your favorite? 

The voting link is here:

https://99designs.com/book-cover-design/vote-bkwok5

Tell me what you think!

Top Five Reasons I love the Karen Chance Cassie Palmer Series

Karen Chance just recently released her newest novel in the Cassie Palmer series: Reap the Wind. I read the book and found myself re-reading the entire series (again). That’s the way the best books go: you read them over and over and they splash their magic every time. Yummy!

  1. Intricate, interesting plot line that goes in totally unexpected directions. I certainly have my preferences for where the story will go…and so far, it hasn’t. Yet the way it turns out is always perfect and leaves me wanting more. 
  2. A time travel story that links back to itself. There have been scenes with a later Cassie that have happened in the story (but occurred in earlier books with an earlier Cassie, just from a different perspective). I always try to dig up the one scene I’m looking for to see how it went the first time and compare…ebooks are great for that, although most of mine are now littered with bookmarks where I’ve earmarked a scene to go back to.
  3. Madcap action. These books are quickly paced, and MOVE through their plot lines. Yet they’re not simple plots. Some of them are downright…Machiavellian in their complexity and twists (worthy of the vampire society she creates in them). But they are delightfully entertaining as they do it. I can read them over and over and find something new every time.
  4. Wonderful, robust mythology. My favorite books always have what I call a “mythology,” a backstory that is rich and varied and delivers all kinds of surprises and discoveries. The more internally coherent they are, the better I like it. It’s challenging to write out a coherent culture and history. I’ve done it myself and have lots of admiration for those who manage it. Karen Chance does it beautifully.
  5. Funny, engaging humor. The books have a dry, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes silly sense of humor. Yet for all that they explore some very dark subjects (some pretty intense stuff happens), they aren’t dark. I love the goofy and the sarcastic characters and the rich depth of them all....even the ones intended as comic relief, since they perfectly balance the violence of the fight scenes.
  6. Pritkin. I have my preferred character and my favorite “romantic” lead. As I mention in item 1), I have no idea WHERE she is taking this character or his story arc, but I wait in breathless anticipation to see where it goes. 

Yes, there are only five reasons in the title, and I’ve added a sixth, but like the war mage Pritkin says, do the unexpected. It keeps you unpredictable, just like the Cassie Palmer stories themselves. Well worth the read! Even after the 101st time I’ve read them….

Here is a link to her site and a list of her books. I'm always looking for a new read, so if you know of any other quality authors with fun characters and a great storyline, please comment below!

www.karenchance.com

The Cassie Palmer Series:

Touch the Dark

Claimed by Shadow

Embrace the Night

Curse the Dawn

Hunt the Moon

Tempt the Stars

Reap the Wind