Leaving A Light On For Sovran’s Pawn

While involved in a writer’s discussion several weeks ago, the topic turned to music as inspiration for our writing. I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t alone in listening to music to help me get in the mood to write certain scenes. What I found fascinating was the wide range of musical tastes and genres preferred by the different writers. Some of their choices surprised me, but knowing their books, I could see the influence the songs brought into play.

I started writing BARRON’S LAST STAND first to the soundtrack of artists like Great Big Sea, Dropkick Murphys, and Flogging Molly. SOVRAN’S PAWN was originally part of my backstory notes for what I’d planned as a stand alone novel ~ a last desperate bid at publication. From the first moments Bo Barron and Blade Devon strolled across my imagination, I’d always planned to tell their story as a series. After nearly 30 years, delays caused by personal crises and multiple rejections from agents and publishers, I was almost ready to give up. BARRON’S LAST STAND was in actuality what the title suggests.

A submission call from an editor I admire and wanted to work with came out last October. BARRON’S LAST STAND was nowhere near completion, but I had enough of the backstory written to cobble together a novella. I toyed with the idea for weeks while continuing work on BARRON’S LAST STAND. It wasn’t until a spate of family tragedies hit that I turned to the goal of completing and submitting a novella to escape my own emotional turmoil. I needed a realistic challenge to regain a sense of control over my life and my situation.

With apologies to BARRON’S LAST STAND, I set it aside and threw myself headlong into SOVRAN’S PAWN.

It was about that same time that my husband took me to St. Augustine to see one of my favorite bands in concert supporting their new CD, released six months prior. The band is Duran Duran and the CD they were supporting is ALL YOU NEED IS NOW. As the band who provided much of the soundtrack for my misspent youth, I’ve always found a measure of inspiration in their often obscure lyrics and their haunting melodies. That night was no exception. I came away from the concert as inspired as I had been the night I drove home from their STRANGE BEHAVIOUR tour back in the late 80’s.

The title track touched a responsive chord in my soul and with this CD as my soundtrack, I attacked SOVRAN’S PAWN with an optimism I hadn’t expected to find.  One track on my playlist kept returning to haunt me ~ LEAVE A LIGHT ON. The song captured for me the very essence of theme of the book  as well as the relationship between Bo and Blade; and I played the hell out of it. Before I knew it, my novella became a full-length novel and I completed it in record time.

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ALL YOU NEED IS NOW started out without a record label as a labor of love and a leap of faith by Duran Duran. I’d followed their progress on social media and was impressed with the grassroots way they rallied their fan base. By the time the tracks hit iTunes in December 2010, they had generated enough buzz to warrant a CD release, a music video and now a concert tour they’ve been on for more than a year.

Inspired by their faith in their own project, and the fact they recorded, released and now support it on their own terms, I decided not to submit SOVRAN’S PAWN to a publisher who wouldn’t have as much at stake, nor be as emotionally invested in the project as I would be. I followed the example Duran Duran set and I’ve published independently, on my own terms. I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do so without witnessing the painstaking progress of ALL YOU NEED IS NOW.

I didn’t set out to link my book to this CD, or to Duran Duran. It just happened that way. I’m so very glad it did.

Thanks guys!

The Paperbacks are Coming!!

I am waiting on the proof copy of SOVRAN’S PAWN in paperback to arrive.

The release of the paperback edition of SOVRAN’S PAWN has been delayed due to illness and other unforeseen circumstances. However, the long-awaited email announcing the shipment of the first proof copy of the book has arrived, telling me to expect to receive my copy any time within the next week or two.

If everything passes muster, look for SOVRAN’S PAWN in paperback by August 1, 2012!!

“What’s Next? What’s Next?”

Now that SOVRAN’S PAWN is out in the world for everyone to see, the question I keep getting is “What’s next?” I am delighted to know my meager efforts have been so well-received. I’d like to thank everyone who has already bought an e-copy of my book and assure those waiting for the paperback, that it won’t be long in coming. Look for it sometime in June. Yes, I will have a supply on hand, signed, that I will happily sell direct to you at a discount, plus shipping costs.

As for what’s next, look for ARCANA DOUBLE CROSS sometime this fall. It is the premiere installment of THE MERCENARY ADVENTURES OF BLADE DEVON, a companion series of books featuring the man himself in all his swashbuckling glory. (Be still my heart!) You can find an excerpt under the tab at the top or by clicking the link.

The first draft of Book Two of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES, tentatively titled THE WATCHTOWER, is two-thirds complete. Plans are for a release in Spring 2013, provided we all survive the Zombie Apocalypse of December 2012.

I hope to be spending a lot of time at the beach between now and then, doing research. Much of THE WATCHTOWER is set on the Outland Fringe planet Kah Lahtrec whose people have adopted Blade as a native son. He has a pretty nifty villa on the beach there that was given to him by the Lahtrecki government in recognition for… well, you’re just going to have to wait and see. Book Two is going to be a lot of fun as it introduces some of my favorite characters in the series:  Ballanshi – Tryrium te Kah Lahtrec, his lovely and formidable wife Madine – Tryrine te Kah Lahtrec, and the wizened old holy man Tahar. Book Two also explains the how and why of Blade’s leaving his career in holofeatures for the life of an itinerate mercenary, complete with the scene in the theater which is part of Blade Devon lore.

Not to worry, the romance with Bo continues, as she carries on her quest to clear her name and find her father. Book Two finds Bo settling into her new role as a facilitator in her brother’s organization, and she has learned to have fun. With a new confidence, her puckish sense of humor emerges, but her resolve is put to the test as she draws closer to finding the answers she so desperately seeks, one of which threatens to destroy her relationship with Blade forever.

Now that I’ve told you entirely TOO much, I’m off to get back to work making all of these claims a reality.

SOVRAN’S PAWN: The First Week

Initial response to SOVRAN’S PAWN has been incredible! I couldn’t be happier with the reception my debut novel has gotten. Thanks to everyone who has shared, tweeted, talked up, and bought a copy! Your comments are pure gold to me. Here are just a few comments people have sent to me:

  • “I am madly in love with Blade. You had better write a sequel!”
  • “Oh, and yes, I did buy it, despite not being a big sci-fi fan. Surprisingly, I’m actually enjoying it. Who knew?”
  • “I downloaded it last night and read the first chapter this morning…love your imagination.”
  • “If you love your heroes in the mold of Han Solo and Malcolm Reynolds, you’ll be left idolizing Blade Devon.” ~ 4 out of 5 stars
  • “I can’t stop reading!”
  • “A fast, fun read!”

With no pretentions at great literature, SOVRAN’S PAWN is escapist fare; space opera with a bit of romance tossed in. If readers are entertained for a few hours, I consider my mission accomplished.

The BLACK WING CHRONICLES series is about the hero’s journey from callow youth (or ingénue) to Big Damn Hero who puts it all on the line to save the Commonwealth. I’d like to thank everyone who has embarked on the journey with us. I promise, there will be more! Just check out my WORKS IN PROGRESS page or the BLACK WING CHRONICLES page. And yes, Blade has his own series, THE MERCENARY ADVENTURES OF BLADE DEVON, with the first installment, ARCANA DOUBLE CROSS, in revisions with an eye on a Fall 2012 release. For those wondering whether Bo will become that Big Damn Hero, I invite you to read the excerpt from the first chapter of BARRON’S LAST STAND, the final installment of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES.

Sovran’s Pawn Blog Tour Dates Announced

SOVRAN’S PAWN, Book One of The Black Wing Chronicles…

…is on schedule to be released on April 20 in e-book format. Look for it on Amazon and Smashwords.

JC Cassels – Big Damn Hero Blog Tour Dates

Apr 16 TK Toppin pt 1
http://www.tktoppin.blogspot.com/

Apr 18 Pauline Baird
http://www.paulinebjones.com/

Apr 20 Publication and launch with SFFSat (with a snippet from SOVRAN’S PAWN)
https://jccassels.wordpress.com/
http://misa-buckley.blogspot.co.uk

Apr 23 TK Toppin pt 2
http://www.tktoppin.blogspot.com/

Apr 24 Space Freighters Lounge
http://spacefreighters.blogspot.com/

Apr 25 Pippa Jay
http://www.pippajay.blogspot.com/

May 2 Imogene Nix
http://www.imogenenix.blogspot.com/

Dates TBA:
http://westofmars.com/blog/

HEIDI’S PICK SIX:
http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com/

Participants who comment will be chosen at random for a FREE e-copy of SOVRAN’S PAWN.

Check back here for more information as it develops.

Help Me Name My Book!

The fun thing about writing a book in a series is that you have to come up with working titles to keep them straight. Some of my past working titles have been “Livre de Moi” and “My Bookie, My Nightmare” as well as various versions being named “Old Imaginary World Order” and its companion “NEW Imaginary World Order.”

As in the case of THE TENNOVA JOB it was a working title designed to help keep it straight within the story arc of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series of books. With the deadline for publication looming ever closer, and Internet traffic and searches on the rise, there has been some confusion caused with the drug company Tennova. Apparently when references to my book under this title show up in a search engine, unsuspecting people arrive at my site expecting information on obtaining gainful employment with said company and instead are cruelly subjected to my fictional adventures. (Which is pretty funny if you ask me…)

So to avoid future confusion, since the drug company seems disinclined to change its name, the simpler course of action is to change the title of my book. This is where YOU come in. Over the course of the week, I will be collecting suggestions for alternative titles. On Saturday, along with Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday’s Snippet fest, I will be conducting a poll, letting YOU vote for your favorite title.

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BO BARRON is the pawn in two Sovrans’ struggle for power. As the Chief of Barron Clan she commands the Black Wing, a strategic asset crucial to the balance of power in a Commonwealth in contention. That’s the reason she was falsely convicted of treason and sentenced to be executed. Instead of letting her meekly go to her death, Bo’s people risk all-out war by breaking her out and smuggling her into hiding. It’s what they do. They’re pirates at heart.

But if she can’t be killed, she can be manipulated. How? By kidnapping her father. If Bo wants him back she has to take on a false name and steal the schematics for a phase weapon being auctioned off to the Sub-socia at a Five Point tournament.

BLADE DEVON knows all about false names. He has more than his share. As Darien Roarke, he’s a pretty well-known Five Point player. If Blade is willing to use his alter ego to retrieve those schematics, the Inner Circle is willing to overlook the fact that he’s technically a deserter.

A botched assassination under the guise of a bar brawl leaves Bo blind and Blade wondering if there isn’t more to this job than he was led to believe. Never able to resist playing the hero, Blade tends her injuries and delves deeper into the intrigue only to find this mission isn’t about a weapon at all.

The catch is, no one and nothing are what they seem…

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Vote as often as you like.

I’ll be unveiling the results the following Saturday at the Snippet Fest.

Valentine’s Day Wrapup

Thanks to Frances Pauli for being such a good sport in yesterday’s fun interview!

I got to participate in Backward Momentum‘s 1st Annual Valentine’s Day Bash “Love, Lasers & Light Swords” with a post on SF redefining long distance relationships.

All contributors were asked to take part in a giveaway and I did my part by offering a $15 gift certificate to Amazon.com.

The Winner,

chosen through a random and complex process (I asked my 3 y/o to choose) is…

Barbara Elsborg

Congratulations Barbara, look for your e-gift card to come in your inbox later today! Thank you  and congratulations to all the other winners who took part in Backward Momentum’s bash!

It’s too late to enter to win, but there are some great posts there by some wonderful writers and, who knows? You may find a new favorite author!