Monday, January 22, 2018

Thank You Pets in Space--and Godspeed

As I previously announced, my run with the Pets in Space anthologies has now ended. I've opted out of writing for a third collection in 2018, in favor of working on more books in my own series. I found the time commitment involved in launching a major campaign to promote the anthology plus produce more of my own work is just a bit too overwhelming for this writer.

So even though it was a tremendously rewarding experience--not to mention nabbing me a USA TODAY bestseller status--I had to make a choice to do one or the other. And my choice was...the other.

So the time has come to part ways with the wonderful world of PISA, because a decision was made to cut the run shorter than the original anticipated April 2018 end date, so the print book will be going off sale any time now (it may have already been pulled as of the time this blog posts) and the digital book will disappear forever *poof* by the end of January.

(That's a not-so-subtle hint that this is your last chance to grab a copy if you're so inclined.)

Apart from all the knowledge and experience I gained in marketing and promotion, thanks to the wonderful Narelle Todd of GetMyBookOutThere.com, my two stories in this pet project (heh, see what I did there?) actually put a spectral shift on my entire series.

Back in late 2015, when I was asked if I wanted to be a part of an anthology built around the central concept of pets--in spaaaaaaace (Oh, heck yes, I did!) it actually turned out to be a couple of parsecs beyond "the right decision." I'm super happy I took part in the grand experiment, not only because it was so well received by readers, but also because it allowed me to create actual stories out of some of the backmatter that only existed in my head.

The two stories I ended up penning in 2016 and 2017 evolved into Inherited Stars Series books, and allowed me to give readers an expanded view into the fictional universe, as well as reveal a few surprises. Here's a couple of major things that happened in the course of writing the stories.

And Then There Were Four: Revealing the Unexpected

The established "quo" in the novel, Inherit the Stars, suggested that there were only two known surviving Mennelsohn prototypes--Specter and the ship designer's-slash-visionary's final product, Spirit. Since Zaviar Mennelsohn is deceased in the novel's timeline, it's clear there will be no more vessels of their kind produced in the future.

But that didn't eliminate all the options from the past.

Get it on Instafreebie
StarDog in the original Pets in Space collection allowed me to expand on a storyline that was only briefly mentioned in the novel: Whatever happened to Jaeo Gant's original ship?

In Inherit the Stars readers learn that Jaeo Gant is actually a Mennelsohn--Zaviar's brother. More importantly, like his niece, Captain Drea, and nephew, Admiral Ry, he once had a Mennelsohn prototype of his own. In fact, it was a "P" class vessel, just one generation removed from Specter and Spirit--the two state-of-the-art "S" class ships--though her name was later changed to help disguise her...and her new captain.

I should slip in an aside here and mention that although Pets in Space 1 is no longer available, StarDog as a standalone short is still currently offered on Instafreebie, but the promotion will end in the very near future. Originally slated to run with Pets in Space 2 until the end of April, the decision to end the PISA2 sooner means the StarDog free promotion will also end. With approaching 2000 copies downloaded, it's been a popular offering.

In the second Pets story, Courting Disaster: StarDog 2 in the just-about-to-end collection, readers are let in on another secret. There's a fourth surviving Mennelsohn craft, a much earlier prototype that was discovered in ship's graveyard and brought back from the dead. (This was actually a bit of a surprise for the author as well, since this facet hadn't originally been a planned part of the series, but one that evolved organically in creating Courting Disaster.)

In fact, this vessel is a "B" class--the original working prototype--has a long and colorful history of her own. A history that just might be explored in future books. *winkwink*

In time, the significance of both of these newly discovered Mennelsohn ships will be brought into much sharper focus.

The StarDog Effect

I recently had a reader ask why there were no StarDogs in Inherit the Stars. I had a good chuckle at that.

The simple answer is because the role of the StarDog wasn't originally planned although some form of StarDog-ish pet was always a part of the arc. Creating these two anthology stories with a futuristic pet as a focus helped evolve this generic shipboard mascot into the remarkable little bio-engineered beastie it became.

Adding StarDogs to my universe led to a few series-altering changes. For example, how does the heroine come by such an exotic animal? Surely they’d be expensive. What was the backstory of my StarDog?

As those ideas began to unfold, the entire series evolved with it.

New characters appeared, such as the scientist who bio-engineered StarDogs and his covert affiliation with an organization that played an important role in the companion novel, Inherit the Stars--the Network. (That affiliation ended up putting the hero and heroine of StarDog in great jeopardy.)

Fresh conflicts sparked; StarDogs were employed as spies on enemy ships.

Lurking dangers threatened; those enemies sought to wipe out the StarDog lab.

The finished StarDog story was one I was truly proud of but that also added some unexpected twists and layers to the whole storytelling arc behind the series.

Courting Disaster: StarDog 2 wasn't a prequel to the novel, but a sequel--picking up where StarDog and Inherit the Stars left off and allowing me to take readers three calendars (years) into a brave, but uncertain new future beyond the close of the novel.

And to introduce a new StarDog to the series.

So don't be too surprised if at least one more StarDog turns up in a future work. Yup, StarDog Effect. :)

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Both of the Pets in Space works allowed me to open the door a bit wider into the Inherited Stars universe, as well as lay the foundation for future books. Both novellas will be expanded and re-released as standalones because the stories have now become important components in the overall series.

Working on the two anthologies also gave me an opportunity to get to know a host of other SFR authors much better, including a few bestsellers and at least one former idol. The peer relationships have been golden. I'll very much miss the daily background conversations that have been so much a part of my life for the last two years, and I'm sure I'll keep in close touch with several peers going forward.

So thank you Pets in Space for being the amazing experience that you were. I'll miss being a part of the next collection, but I have other stories that are waiting to be told.

Have a wonderful week.



12 comments:

  1. We loved having you with us for the first two Pets In Space anthologies! So much fun reading more about how the Pets stories played into the Inherited Stars universe for you. Best wishes and we'll definitely miss you on PISA3!

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    1. Thanks so much, Veronica. And of course I wish PISA3 every success. Readers are so looking forward to future collections now, that I'm sure it will be another smashing success. Can't wait to see it this October!

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  2. I loved both of your stories in the Pets in Space anthologies! I look forward to your new writings!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kim! And thanks for stopping by the Lounge. I have many more stories in the works--not all are part of the series or universe, but many are. :)

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  3. Well, there you go. You garnered a lot from the PISA experience. But I can fully understand you going back to your own worlds. Best wishes for your new ventures.

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  4. All the best in 2018, Laurie. Thank you for all you did for Pets in Space and I think it’s awesome you sponsored your own Hero-Dog, seperate to the donation PISA gave Hero-Dogs. It was wonderful getting to know you and I look forward to reading more of your stories.

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    1. Thanks so much, Narelle. I'll look forward to working with you again in the future. :)

      Sponsoring Hero Dog Mitch was my honor, but seeing him graduate to become a full-fledged service dog to a Coast Guard veteran during the Pets in Space watch was a real highlight for me. I'm so glad being a part of Pets in Space made me aware of this wonderful organization. They are so deserving.

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  5. For all the ways in which this project turned out to be successful for you, congrats!

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    1. Thanks, Sharon! I think it was time well spent. Now I look forward to using some of the things I learned.

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