Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Don't Judge A Book By Its Genre

I just can't help shuddering whenever someone tells me, "I don't read science fiction!" I'm sorely tempted to respond, "So what type of science fiction have you tried?"

I realize that all brands of SF are not everyone's cup of tea. I've read widely and have my own likes and dislikes; however, I have come to know that all novels in the genre are not alike. ( I'm not talking here about other media, such as TV, movies, comic books, etc. ) You can't judge all SF novels by the one or two you may've already read.

For instance, if you're a fan of fantasy, you might enjoy reading Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books. When I read the first book, Dragonflight, I assumed it was fantasy--after all, dragons! McCaffrey later confirmed that the series was SF as her people originally came from another world where there were no dragons.

A lot of SF is "hard" science fiction; in other words, it's based on hardware and scientific principles and theories, real or imagined. In that category are many books by Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven's Ringworld, and Hal Clement's Mission of Gravity.

To tell you the truth, I prefer what's known as "soft" SF: novels which concentrate more on character development and relationships rather than hardware. I'm particularly fond of Zenna Henderson's People books, which are about a race of human-like characters who come to Earth as survivors of a world that's been destroyed. These books are emotional, spiritual, and often heart-wrenching. I love them!

"Space opera" is another related genre, among others. Unlike SF, it tends to be action-oriented with little to no character development. (Think shoot-'em-up in space! ) My novel Galaxy Rand is unabashed space opera.

The brand of science fiction that I usually write ( such as my Tartarus Trilogy ) definitely falls into the category of soft SF, although I try hard to keep my tech and space-facts as accurate as possible. If you've read any of it, you know I concentrate on the plot, as well as on character development and emotions. I do toss in some action/adventure, a bit of romance ( not X-rated! ), an epic love story, mystery, and political intrigue.

So if you are one of those who has always thought science fiction isn't for you, you might think again. I'm sure there are books out there you'd not only enjoy, but come to love. Take my advice: don't judge a book solely by its genre. Read widely and don't be a book-snob!

Whatever you do, keep reading and keep on writing,

Monday, June 26, 2017

Some Tips for Indie Authors

As an independent author, I'm well aware of how difficult it is to sell and promote your books. Here are a few of the ideas I've come across or utilized during the past six plus years:

1.   Get some business cards; make sure they look attractive and professional. Offer one to everyone you meet.

2.   Visit libraries and book stores; tuck one of your business cards into books with genres similar to yours. ( ie: Romance, Sci-fi, etc. )

3.   Donate copies of your books to local libraries, and volunteer to speak about your book and your writing.

4.   Keep an eye out for author events such as book signings, panels, speaking engagements, etc. and sign up.

5.   Donate books to charity events such as raffles and auctions.

6.    Attend events related to your genre, including conventions, conferences, writing groups, comic cons, etc. Be prepared to do readings, be on panels, or to speak about your books.

7.   Investigate the possibility of speaking at book clubs, local colleges and schools.

8.   Post flyers about any events that you are going to attend or hold. Post online as well.

9.   When someone asks you what you do, be prepared to give a concise explanation of your work. Hint: Do not be long-winded--that's the kiss of death!

10.  Trade books with other authors, preferably of similar genres, with the promise to review each others work. Caution: many people will renege on their promise!

11.  Do not be tempted to buy reviews! Readers can spot a phony miles away. It makes you look bad!

Of course, not all of your efforts will succeed, but these tips are well worth a try. See what works for you. Keep trying; keep thinking; most of all, keep writing!


Friday, January 27, 2017

A Never-Ending Story?

For fifty years now, I've lived with the main characters of my Tartarus Trilogy. Over that time I've come to know them pretty well, perhaps better than I know some of my own family members! And I must admit that I've grown very attached to Rona Scott, Malkis of Tartarus, Richard Hughes, and Kalom of Eris.

My first published book, Judgment on Tartarus, was a scifi adventure about a young woman who always dreamed of a career in space. The story grew out of my love for science fiction and space exploration. ( I always hoped we'd have a base on Mars by now--or at least on Luna! ) My interest in Greek myths definitely influenced the story, and it was also my way of protesting bigotry against "others": anyone who is different in appearance, culture, beliefs, etc.

As the young woman who is the main protagonist in Book One became drawn into galactic events beyond her control, my characters refused to allow the story to end there. The novel was intended to be a stand-alone tale, but a sequel, True Son of Tartarus, was born. Before Book Two was ever published, I realized that my characters had even more of a tale to tell, and thus Ransom of Tartarus came to be.

After a long, frustrating road, the entire trilogy was published, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I pursued another novel entirely. Then one of my readers planted a seed in my imagination. She wondered how my characters first met, what was their backstory. So I was soon off and writing a prequel to the Trilogy: Malkis of Tartarus. Now as that novel ( which will be my first YA ) nears completion, I shudder to recall a woman once asking me at one of my signings: "Is this one of those never-ending sagas?"

Well, I certainly hope not! But who knows what lies in wait.

Thanks for reading, and keep on writing!