Saturday Snippet: No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part IV

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Since we’re finished with the Crime Lord, I thought I’d address some comments from previous snippets, namely the nature and identity of the Stowaway… Yes, this is still from BARRON’S LAST STAND. While breaking the Crime Lord’s kid brother out of a high security detention center, one of the other escapees – unbeknownst to Bo – tracks them to her ship and manages to stow away in her engine compartment. Unfortunately, Sundance, (Bo’s shipboard computer,) fails to let her in on this little nugget until after she’s fought another ship, outrun two picket ships, engaged her hyperdrive, and settled in to her bunk for a much-needed rest. Here, she confronts her uninvited “guest,” who also happens to be her ex — none other than Blade Devon.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t fry you right now for old time’s sake.”

“Good. You’re looking for a reason not to kill me. That’s an improvement.”

Bo shook her head. “Doesn’t mean I won’t blow your damn head off.”

He peered up at her. “Duly noted.”

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

No Such Thing As A Free Ride
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part II
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part III

Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Three
Portrait of a Crime Lord — Part Four
Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Why I Self-Publish

“What do you do?”
“I’m an author.”
“Oh? Who is your publisher?”
“I am.”

 

Promo 1991
1991 – While everyone else’s promo pics at the time came from Glamour Shots, I set up a photo shoot with a real photographer.

I wrestled long and hard with myself about going the self-publishing route. I’ve been in the business a long time (since 1987) and it was hard for me to get past the self-pubbed stigma. Personally, I couldn’t shake the reminder of “Vanity Press” publishers that were the bane of the writer’s existence back in the day.

For the low cost of around $3,000 way back when, you could send your manuscript to a publisher (printer really) who would slap a lame cover on and send you back a slick-looking, but completely amateur product. There was a certain type of person who did that. They were considered by the reputably published as no-talent, wannabe hacks who couldn’t get published any other way.

Vanity press publishing was the kiss of death to any hope of having a “REAL” writer’s career. If you mentioned in a cover letter to a publisher that you’d self-published previously, I’m pretty sure they would laugh cruelly and toss your submission — unread — into the return pile, if not the circular file, depending on whether you’d included a return SASE, (that’s Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope for you whipper-snappers.)

It was a brutal industry with high and demanding standards. I got out of the publishing industry in 1999 and threw myself headlong into my television career out of financial necessity. I knew I could rely on a steady paycheck in television. Freelance writing can be an iffy proposition, especially when you’d rather devote your full attention to fiction and not articles about dogs, apartment living, and dating. So I only wrote to supplement my paycheck on occasion.

In the time I was out of publishing, Amazon rose from a novelty online bookseller to the mega-giant of publishing that it is today.

“E-books will never take off,” I said. “They’re a passing fad. People who read love physical books, not to mention the screens are hard on the eyes.”

I’ve never been good with investments either. Self-publishing surged and I resisted. Several friends encouraged me to look into it. I used to brag that I’d been rejected by some of the finest publishing houses in the industry, which is true. Del Rey, Avon, Tor, Ballantine have all rejected my early manuscripts. (Re-reading them now, I can’t blame them.) I stubbornly clung to my old-school ways. Self-published means you’re not a “REAL” writer and you can’t get published any other way.

Ten years rolled on. I was content to remain in retirement from publishing. I’d married and was raising a family at long last. Promo PicOne day, a friend emailed me one of those fun chain letters in which the sender has answered a bunch of questions and spammed their friends with them and now it’s your turn to replace their answers with your own and spam your own friends. One of her answers lit a spark inside me.

“I wish I could meet Darien Roarke for the first time all over again…”

Outside of my local RWA chapter and the slush pile readers, only a precious handful of friends had ever read any of my fiction. She was my biggest and most devoted fan. I had a manuscript she hadn’t read, so I sent it to her. I hadn’t touched it in ten years. She gave me the kick in the butt I needed, and I started rewriting with an eye towards publishing once again.

I looked into e-publishers and small houses figuring I’d be most likely to find acceptance there. Angela James of Harlequin’s Carina Press put out a submission call, so I put my rewrites aside and took the backstory notes and knocked out a novella to send to her. I never sent it. During the process of writing, I did a lot of research into small press e-publishers, and finally, into self-publishing itself. What I learned changed my perspective completely.

Ultimately, I chose to self-publish the novella which became SOVRAN’S PAWN because:

  • BWC SOVRAN'S PAWN - FINALIt offered me more creative control over my brand,
  • I wouldn’t feel pressured to compromise my core values to satisfy a publisher
  • Looking at the smaller publishers from a publisher’s perspective (I edited and published a lifestyle magazine in my youth) I knew that if my sales didn’t meet their expectations, I could be dropped like a hot rock. Nothing personal, it is the ONLY way they could make their numbers work. High turnover is the only way to quickly build a back catalog and visible presence among customers. Keep what sells well and drop what doesn’t pay the bills. Never mind the fact the burden for marketing and networking was squarely on the author’s shoulders and not the publisher’s. I also knew that no publisher would believe in my series as much as I did, and wouldn’t feel as driven to market it. And lastly,
  • The quality of editing in far too many of the smaller press e-books that I was reading would NEVER have made it over the transom let alone out the door back in the day. Having aspired to being published by the lofty, “big” houses with their exacting standards, I wouldn’t allow my name to be associated with a publisher who turned out less than quality work. If there are editing errors in my books, they are solely MY responsibility, but I can promise my readers that I have done everything possible to turn out the best quality product it is within my ability to produce. I couldn’t guarantee the same from some of the smaller e-publishers whose books I was reading.

If I hadn’t had so much experience in the industry already under my belt, I may not have opted to go the self-publishing route. As it was, I knew what was involved before I started. I had done the writing, editing, layout, design, art, and marketing before. I couldn’t see where a small press or digital first publisher could do anything for me that I couldn’t do for myself. I knew that I could turn out a product that was at least as good as any digital first publisher, if not better than most.

I’m old school. Quality and integrity are of paramount importance. I want readers to know that if they pick up a book with JC Cassels’ name on it, I am providing them with the best book it is within my power to produce, technically as well as creatively. Smaller press e-publishers couldn’t guarantee that, not from the quality of products that I’ve seen out there.

FloppyDiskFor me, the biggest learning curve was unlearning everything I knew about traditional publishing. It’s not the same industry it was back in the late 80’s. On one hand, that’s good for authors who write outside the mainstream. On the other, the ease of self-publishing has relegated some damn fine authors to a different kind of slush pile in which they vie for readers rather than publishing contracts.

Ultimately, I believe a quality product will find its niche in the marketplace. The current environment means authors, self-pubbed or otherwise, just have to work harder to get the attention of readers slogging through the virtual slush pile on Amazon. This means to succeed, you can’t skimp on editing or packaging. The longer you can hang in there, and the more quality books you can get OUT in front of readers, the more likely you are to survive, self-pubbed or otherwise.

So when I’m asked who my publisher is, and I answer that I am my own publisher, I do so proudly. I bring nearly thirty years experience in the publishing industry, several awards for excellence in writing and editing, and a reputation for high standards and a quality product. It doesn’t get more professional or reputable than that. Arcana Double Cross Cover2

Oh, and as for my friend, the book she was referring to in her email is ARCANA DOUBLE CROSS in which I introduced Darien Roarke as the gambling alias of the one and only Blade Devon. It is a much darker, grittier story and more of a “James Bond in space” than a romantic adventure. As for the manuscript I sent her to read, the backstory notes for that became SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END.  The “new” manuscript I sent to her is still being rewritten and will be released under the title it has always had:  BARRON’S LAST STAND.

Saturday Snippet: No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part III

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Since we’re finished with the Crime Lord, I thought I’d address some comments from previous snippets, namely the nature and identity of the Stowaway… Yes, this is still from BARRON’S LAST STAND. While breaking the Crime Lord’s kid brother out of a high security detention center, one of the other escapees – unbeknownst to Bo – tracks them to her ship and manages to stow away in her engine compartment. Unfortunately, Sundance, (Bo’s shipboard computer,) fails to let her in on this little nugget until after she’s fought another ship, outrun two picket ships, engaged her hyperdrive, and settled in to her bunk for a much-needed rest. Here, she confronts her uninvited “guest.”

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

“Hello, my love.”

The smooth, familiar, baritone voice hit her like a plasma storm, taking all her defensive systems offline. Her lungs felt as if the hull had been breached and all the atmo had blasted out into the vacuum of space, leaving her helpless to do more than stare into eyes the same shade as the bluestone of the Gallis Highlands where she’d grown up.

A slow, rakish smile softened his stern features.

Blade Devon did not get to swagger back into her life after all these years as if nothing had happened. Bo tightened her grip on her blaster and clenched her jaw.

“On your knees!” she snarled. “Now! Keep your hands where I can see them!”

“Now, love, let’s not do anything hasty,” he said calmly as he obeyed.

“Don’t worry. Anything I do to you, I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time.”

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

No Such Thing As A Free Ride
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part II

Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Three
Portrait of a Crime Lord — Part Four
Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part II

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Since we’re finished with the Crime Lord, I thought I’d address some comments from previous snippets, namely the nature and identity of the Stowaway… Yes, this is still from BARRON’S LAST STAND. While breaking the Crime Lord’s kid brother out of a high security detention center, one of the other escapees – unbeknownst to Bo – tracks them to her ship and manages to stow away in her engine compartment. Unfortunately, Sundance, (Bo’s shipboard computer,) fails to let her in on this little nugget until after she’s fought another ship, outrun two picket ships, engaged her hyperdrive, and settled in to her bunk for a much-needed rest. Here, she confronts her uninvited “guest.”

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

“Show me your hands and step out where I can see you,” she ordered.

He hesitated briefly then spread his arms wide as he stepped away from the machinery into the center of the narrow walkway. The dim light gave her a slightly better look at him. Intense and relaxed at the same time, he moved fluidly, with the supreme confidence, grace and controlled power of an experienced predator: sexy as hell and very dangerous.

Human. Male. Taller than average. Well built…Very well built. His shaggy blond hair took him out of uniform regs for the Consular Guard.

His head bowed, shadows obscured most of his face. A close-trimmed beard and stern set to his mouth gave him a slightly sinister appearance. He stepped slowly out of the darkness.

Something about him reminded her of…

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

No Such Thing As A Free Ride

Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Three
Portrait of a Crime Lord — Part Four
Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: No Such Thing As A Free Ride

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Since we’re finished with the Crime Lord, I thought I’d address some comments from previous snippets, namely the nature and identity of the Stowaway… Yes, this is still from BARRON’S LAST STAND. While breaking the Crime Lord’s kid brother out of a high security detention center, one of the other escapees – unbeknownst to Bo – tracks them to her ship and manages to stow away in her engine compartment. Unfortunately, Sundance, (Bo’s shipboard computer,) fails to let her in on this little nugget until after she’s fought another ship, outrun two picket ships, engaged her hyperdrive, and settled in to her bunk for a much-needed rest.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

As silently as she could, Bo made her way, barefoot, across the deck plates towards the engine compartment aft of the small ship. The palm blaster in her hand packed enough of a punch to take out organics, but not enough to interfere with the engines or breach the hull. That she had picked up a stowaway at all was inconceivable. According to her brother, Edge, she had the most secure ship in the Commonwealth, save the Sovrans’ personal yachts.

She paused just beside the open hatch into the engine compartment and took a deep, calming breath to steady her nerves. Releasing it, slowly, she counted to three then stepped through the hatch and quickly descended the steps, her weapon at the ready.

Something moved in the shadows near the repulsor drive. Bo leveled her weapon at the darkness. As she stared into the stygian black, her eyes adjusted. A large, humanoid silhouette stood still and patient as though waiting for discovery.

Son of a kretch! There is a stowaway!

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Three
Portrait of a Crime Lord — Part Four
Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: Portrait of a Crime Lord Part Four

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Welcome back! I’ve been hard at work on the third book in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series. This snippet comes from a scene early in the book, just before Bo Barron makes the transition from frying pan to fire. The book opens with her in the middle of a job, breaking a crime lord’s kid brother out of a Third Sector detention center. Bo comes away with a lot more than she bargained for, including another inmate who somehow managed to stow away aboard her ship. In this scene, she’s turning over the crime lord Gray’s kid brother to him in exchange for the payment he promised.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

Gray nodded. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you, Commander,” he said. “Give my regards to your boss, whoever that might be.”

She grinned. “Give it up, Gray,” she warned. “Everybody knows Redmaster Blue is a myth.”

Gray’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. “I hope not,” he said calmly. “With the news reports coming out, you’ll need all the protection you can get.”

With a wave of his hand Gray ended their audience.

“Wait,” she said. “What news, Gray?”

He rose and his retinue fell into step around him.

“Gray?”

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Three
Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: Portrait of a Crime Lord Part Three

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Welcome back! I’ve been hard at work on the third book in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series. This snippet comes from a scene early in the book, just before Bo Barron makes the transition from frying pan to fire. The book opens with her in the middle of a job, breaking a crime lord’s kid brother out of a Third Sector detention center. Bo comes away with a lot more than she bargained for, including another inmate who somehow managed to stow away aboard her ship. In this scene, she’s turning over the crime lord Gray’s kid brother to him in exchange for the payment he promised.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

She gestured toward the communications terminal on the table. “My credit transfer?” she asked.

“Already taken care of.”

Bo’s lips twitched in a bland smile. “You don’t mind if I check for myself?”

Gray waved a hand and one of the Q’mann pushed the terminal across the table to her. “Be my guest, Bo,” he said. “You’ll find everything in order. Not even I would be brave enough to try to cheat Redmaster Blue out of a fee well-earned.”

Bo didn’t believe that for a nanosecond and she flashed him a look that said so.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two

Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: Portrait of a Crime Lord Part Two

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Welcome back! I’ve been hard at work on the third book in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series. This snippet comes from a scene early in the book, just before Bo Barron makes the transition from frying pan to fire. The book opens with her in the middle of a job, breaking a crime lord’s kid brother out of a Third Sector detention center. Bo comes away with a lot more than she bargained for, including another inmate who somehow managed to stow away aboard her ship. In this scene, under the watchful eyes of his two Q’mann bodyguards and his pair of snarling amphibious pets, Bo is delivering crime lord Gray’s kid brother in exchange for the payment he promised.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

“Hello, Gray,” she said, coming to a halt across the table from the crime boss. “Here he is, delivered alive and well, as promised.”

“So I see, Bo.” Gray took his time looking her over.

She’d been leered at before. She’d been leered at by the best…and the worst. Gray fell somewhere in between. Sure, he was a disgusting slob, twice as repulsive and slimy as the dorn behind him. He was also a sadistic misogynist looking for a way to get under her skin and between her legs – by force if necessary. The main thing that kept him in check was the well-known fact that she could drop both Q’mann before Gray finished ordering them to grab her.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One

Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: Portrait of a Crime Lord

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Welcome back! I’ve been hard at work on the third book in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series. This snippet comes from a scene early in the book, just before Bo Barron makes the transition from frying pan to fire. The book opens with her in the middle of a job, breaking a crime lord’s kid brother out of a Third Sector detention center. Bo comes away with a lot more than she bargained for, including another inmate who somehow managed to stow away aboard her ship. In this scene, she’s turning over the crime lord Gray’s kid brother to him in exchange for the payment he promised.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

Bo stepped into the darkened interior and paused in the doorway a moment. She scanned the sedate crowd of diners and drinkers doing business in a very civilized manner. Gray and his entourage patiently waited in a distant corner.

Gray resembled nothing so much as a mythological garden imp. Only a year or so older than Bo, his curly shock of brown hair had already migrated from the top of his head to his prodigious chin, leaving only a few stragglers behind to mourn the exodus. Two Q’mann warriors stood watch on either side of him like a bad cliché. A pair of clawed, amphibious dorn snarled at everyone from their perches behind him, the short tentacles around their mouths quivering.

Bo wove her way through the maze of tables towards them. She didn’t have to look behind her to know that Nix followed her. She could sense him as strongly as if he’d been attached to her back like a Kamet symbiant to a Pader Lung Howler.

She allowed herself one small sigh; whatever sibling rivalry that stood between these two brothers was no business of hers and she’d be damn glad to get rid of both of them.

“Hello, Gray,” she said, coming to a halt across the table from the crime boss. “Here he is, delivered alive and well, as promised.”

“So I see, Bo.” Gray took his time looking her over.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: Shakedown Part Three

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

This is the third installment of a snippet from a Bo Barron short story that I am working on. You can read parts ONE and TWO. Bo is in a hotel room, waiting for a man. He is blissfully unaware that his hotel room is already occupied.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

“Just let me get a shower and change and I’ll meet you downstairs in the bar in an hour,” he said.

He stepped through the door and it shut behind him as he turned and reached for the light.

Taking no chances, Bo leveled her blaster at him and pressed it hard into the middle of his back.

“Don’t move,” she said, her voice hoarse with emotion and disuse. “Show me your hands.”

His spine stiffened and he slowly held his hands out to his sides. “I’ve got maybe a couple hundred in currency,” he said. “You’re welcome to it.”

Using her blaster, Bo shoved him against the wall. “Spread ’em.”

He hesitated a millisecond before he complied. With her free hand, Bo patted him down. Once satisfied that he was unarmed, she stepped back, but didn’t lower her weapon.

“Switch on the lights and turn around slowly.”

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.