Monday, February 12, 2018

#AmWriting - Updates, Ideas and a #Freebie

I thought it was high time I check in with a quick update on my writing and other news.

By the way...

Happy Early Valentine's Day!

StarDog: Last Chance to get it FREE!

Get it free on Instafreebie
My original Pets in Space 1 novelette, StarDog, will be ending this Wednesday, Valentine's Day, as an exclusive offering on Instafreebie. Since it's a prequel that ties to both my novel Inherit the Stars and my Pets in Space 2 novella, Courting Disaster, which even contains a direct reference to StarDog as "a longer story for another time," I wanted readers to have the option to experience the backstory of Taro and Adini--and Luna the StarDog--as bonus material for Courting Disaster.

USA TODAY bestseller Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 (which won a 2017 SFR Galaxy Award post mortem, by the way) is now history, so my plan to offer the novelette StarDog as a freebie until the original April end date has also changed.

Instafreebie allows your choice of downloading a .PDF, .mobi (Kindle) or epub files. You also have an option (not required) to sign up for my quarterly newsletter.

Until February 14th you can grab it right here:

As a writer, I'm particularly proud of StarDog and its role in expanding the Inherited Stars Series as well as some of the backstory of Inherit the Stars. Here's the newly expanded blurb:

Navigator Taro Shall's captain assigns him an unexpected mission–find a way to eradicate deadly vipers that have infested starship Calypso. He never expects to find the solution to his problem in the hands of Adini, a charming street vendor. But the bio-engineered StarDog he acquires turns out to be a galactic hot potato, and both Taro and Adini are soon fugitives on the run.
Adini Kemm can't deny her fascination for the honor-bound navigator, though his past and her present seem to null any chance at a shared future. Until her father's capture as a spy catapults both her and Taro into a desperate bid to save him...and straight into the clutches of a brewing insurrection.  

Crafting a Story that Meets its True Promise

For the last two blogs, I've been talking about my current WIP--The Shell and the Star. You can catch up here - An Evolving WIP: A WIP About Evolving - and here - Fin Fashion.

Recently, there was a challenge prompt put forth in a writers' support group:

"How many characters will you kill off today?"

Hmm, I thought, The Shell and the Star isn't a body count kind of story. It's a light SFR that's serenely romance-focused. I realized I had some deep doubts about the impact of this story, because the one thing I strive for in my work is to make readers think...about actions, consequences, decisions that are neither good nor evil but lie somewhere in the gray area where humanity seems to center itself.

This story is about two very different civilizations attempting to strengthen their interdependent bonds via the potential marriage of two individuals. But...

Oh wait!

It was more.

There are some pretty dire consequences at play in what I had been thinking of as a "sweet and fluffy" SFR. The disaster potential was real.

After some thought, I responded:

"More of an impending death in hand-to-hand combat. Underwater. With the survival of two civilizations in the balance."

It was one of those "sit back and say 'Whoa!'" moments. Light bulb! I was completely underselling this story in my head. And in doing so, I might also be completely under-writing it.

Now I'm moving forward with "impending death...survival of two civilizations" set on repeat in the echo chamber in my mind. My mission, and I did decide to accept it, is to ensure this WIP becomes all that it can be -- serene, romantic, eye-opening, heartbreaking, defiant, soul-mending, world-changing.

I've got my work cut out for me. Actually, I prefer it that way. :)

News on the Thoroughbred Front

A quick update on our horses.

Inherit the Stars (named for my novel and better known as Stars) was scanned clear of her leg injury due to a walker accident last fall. She has now returned to training, and depending on her progress, may make her first start at Sunland Park later this spring.

Since she's now a 3YO who has not yet acquired any racing experience, the chances of her making it into the Sunland Derby--a Kentucky Derby qualifying race--is now probably outside the realm of possibility.

We won't have a handle on her true potential for awhile yet, and since we now understand her regally-bred sire's offspring have apparently been very hard to train, we're relying on our instincts that Stars seems to be the exception to the rule. Our first priority will be her welfare and suitability to the track. If she doesn't show the necessary potential and the aptitude to do well, we'll bring her home.

I'll post future updates on her progress.

Meanwhile, here's a portrait that we had done of Stars as a young 2YO. It beautifully captures her grey-patch face (which we hope indicates she'll eventually turn into a lovely dapple grey like her superstar granddam, Stellar Jayne). The artist--Sakori Customs--did a wonderful job and even added horseshoes. Sakori also did our portraits of Blazing Away and Blazing Bartok, Echo Eight and Soulful (click the names to go to the blogs that have those photos).

We're very pleased with how Stars' portrait turned out. Artist's photos are used by permission.

Our other big news is that as of the first of February we acquired half ownership in a Kentucky-bred 4YO race mare, Endless Thyme. "Thyme" is a daughter of the late, phenomenal Kentucky-based sire Yes It's True, with her dam, second dam and third dam all being stakes winners or stakes placed racehorses, and the best performer of each successive generation.

Thyme is also a half-sister to stakes horse Allaboutcaroline, who won her debut and two other races, going on to place in the Victoria and Fort Monmouth stakes. She earned over $120,000.

On the track, Endless Thyme won three races as a 3YO last year, including an April 2017 race at Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby) and back-to-back wins in July and August--including a 5-3/4 length victory--at Belterra Park.

Our trainer acquired her at the Keeneland January sale in Kentucky last month, and offered us the
opportunity to buy into the partnership.

We hope that her pedigree, proven sprinting ability and wins against Kentucky competition bode well for her ability to successfully compete in the Southwest.

If all goes well, we hope to add Thyme to our broodmare band at some point in the future after her racing career concludes.

And that's it for my writing and fun news updates.

Have a great week!

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