Lyssa Peate, my female bounty hunter, is an interesting character. For me, having known this crumpet since I was fifteen, I know her ins and outs and motivations. It's been interesting to watch others get to know her. But man, she's a hard gal to love. She's mean, she's angry, she'd sooner shoot herself in the foot than accept help. She walks stupidly into bad situations, blinded by her own ego and egged on by her insecurities. She's a contradiction wrapped in snark with a creamy center of abandonment and Daddy issues. But I never said I was writing a perfect character. Perfect is Subjective The thing is, there are tons of characters in literature who aren't perfect or likable. Most of those characters happen to be male. I'm not saying there's overt sexism involved in the criticism (although there are a few reviews that blatantly are). True enough, some people just don't like reading about shitty characters. And I get that. But there's something to be said about a female character that suffers from insecurity and doubt while struggling to fight her demons and learn how to be a not-terrible human being--while also having adventures with politics and pirates and prisons and police and whatnot. And that, to me, is the basis for the book series. How does one woman who starts off alone and somewhat miserable end up finding the balance between her career, her relationships, and her past? That was the story I wanted to tell--just in space with pirates and junk. Spoilers ahead for the series if you haven't read it. My Girl Lyssa is very good at pushing blame on other people. She blames Dissident for keeping her on probation, even when Sage offers to give her a leg-up to prove herself. To be honest, she might've been a lot more successful if she'd just put aside her pride and joined his crew. But no, that would've been anathema. Lyssa also has the worst combinations of her mother and father. Like her mother, she's quick to snark at anyone who dares defy her. Also like her mother, she's incredibly self-centered, insecure, and focused on what other people think of her. Her father, on the other hand, was self-centered, but as it related to his work. He wasn't above using Lyssa as a child to get where he wanted to go--although, in his mind, he was doing [...]
Two major milestones this past weekend (I'm so late on this...). First and foremost, on Sunday, I turned 30. Secondly, also on Sunday, I released the final pieces of my very first complete series. I can't believe I'm saying goodbye to Razia. For those who've been living under a rock, or perhaps just joined us, or maybe are just visiting the site for shits and giggles (hai!), Razia is a four-book space opera series about a woman leading a double life as a space pirate bounty hunter and planet-discovering scientist. Unfortunately, neither life is going so well. As Razia the space pirate, she's one of the least wanted pirates in the universe, and as Lyssa the scientist, her intern is definitely spying on her. Things get worse when that intern is mistaken for her hostage by the universal police. Me and a few disgruntled one-star reviewers agree--it's not your typical sci-fi. It's less about space and ships and battles and more about the idea of self-worth, parents, children, and how one woman comes to terms with the life she's been given. The thing about Razia is that she and I lived parallel experiences during the drafting of the first few books, so closing out the series the same time I close out on my twenties seems symbolic. She and I have figured ourselves out, and while we're not perfect, we are both able to close the book on our journeys of self-discovery and get down to the business of living. Regardless, it's going to be weird to not be actively promoting Razia. Now that I've got Madion and Spells to focus on, Lyssa's going to have to go sit with Lauren in the back. And we all know how much she hates that. So I thought I'd dedicate one more blog post to her, and to give everyone the run-down of what was released on Sunday. The Complete Razia Series The entire enchilada, all four books, one prequel novella, and seven short stories wrapped up in one eBook. Clocking in at over 312,000 words, it's a binge-worthy experience. Special note: Reviews would be super appreciated on this one! Kindle Nook iBooks Kobo The Razia Series in Hardcover For those who've been waiting to get Razia in a gorgeous hardcover version, they're now available (I have ONE set on hand here, so you might get it faster via Amazon). Each book also [...]
Double Life, the first book in the science fiction series Razia is a study in what happens when a person has no self-worth. Lyssa is overcompensation city. Like most of us, her idea of self-worth formed when she was a kid. In the book, the dominant religion subscribes to the idea that being good or being bad is the key to heaven. Lyssa's relationship with the Great Creator is personal and private, and not something she readily discusses. For the majority of the first book, Lyssa believes that she is inherently bad. No matter what she does, she's doomed to burn in the fiery river Plethegon. Side Note: If you aren't up on your afterlife mythology, Plethegon, Lethe, Arch of Eron (Archeron) are all rivers in ancient Greek mythology, and the idea of good or bad souls comes from the Ancient Egyptian belief that Osiris, chief god of the afterlife, weighed hearts against a feather. Of course, some dumbass author misspelled Phlegethon, but whatever. For Lyssa, the idea of being inherently bad is tied into her overall feeling of worthlessness. Not in the way you'd think. Lyssa and Tauron Lyssa become a pirate because the one person who ever showed her kindness was a pirate. If he'd been a cook, she'd probably have ended up a pastry chef. People who have no self-worth do an awful lot to be with people who make them feel worthy (even if those people aren't good people). And for Lyssa, Tauron made her feel worthy. Under the surface, she still held onto the belief that she didn't deserve his attention, because she's inherently bad. At the end of the book, she finds something out about Tauron that sends her reeling. Her first thought is that it's her fault. That's a hallmark of someone with self-worth issues. Even though she moves past this issue with the help of Vel, it's pretty clear that she's still carrying that weight on her shoulders. And unfortunately, it's going to take her another couple of books before she can let go of that completely. But hey, dumbass decisions make for good fiction! That kind of rhymed...
Today, I thought I'd provide a little more background on the inspiration and character description for Lyssa's mutually-hated-family, the Peates. In 2005, I went to go visit one of my dear friends in the land of Sverige (that's Sweden for you uncultured swine). Along the way, we visited (what I think - Tove, please let me know if I've got the wrong Slott) was Drottningholm Slott (again, Drottningholm Castle), which provided me the inspiration for Lyssa's home of The Manor: Drottningholm Slott is called the "Versailles of the North" for the beautiful, expansive gardens. Even when we visited in winter (yes, I visited Sweden in the winter), they were still beautiful. I remember walking the gravel paths and imagining Lyssa doing the same; there's something about walking around an old castle that puts the inspiration right in me. When I picked the nearly-complete book up in February to publish it, I took to the internetz to add in some more Swedish tributes. This lovely lady is Hedvig Eleonora, the mother and grandmother of two of Sweden's kings. And by mother and grandmother, I mean total boss and Queen of the castle. I saw a lot of key similarities between Hedvig and Mrs. Dr. Sostas Peate, so I finally gave the latter a name - Eleonora Hedvig Serann Peate. (In the first couple of iterations, she had no name, because symbolism.) The Seranns are descended from a long line of Deep Space Explorers, the first being Jora Serann, who was the ancestor in the book who first settled B-39837 and built the Manor. He was an incredibly pious man, reverent of the giant Black Hole of Doom (aka Leveman's Vortex) perched close enough to see in day and night-time. If Eleonora's demands to attend Temple weren't enough to compel the kids to do so, then the constant threat of the Vortex in the sky did the trick. As it would turn out, the real Hedvig Eleonora had a granddaughter named Hedvig Sophia of Sweden, which became some of the inspiration for Sera, Lyssa's eldest sister. Sera always had the name Sera, in all the iterations of Razia that she appeared in. Sera came before the name Serann, the maternal bloodline of B-39837. Since the Seranns were notorious for having tons of children (the image of the youngest to the oldest at the dinner table was partially drawn from dinners at my [...]
This is the Double Life hot wash. For those who aren't in the military, a hot wash is a run-down of the good, bad, and ugly when you have an event. So, I published a book last week... Yeah, I know I'm super late blogging about it. One should probably write a blog on the date of such an important event. But, to be honest, I didn't quite know what I was going to want to write until it happened. Then it was a busy weekend marketing and all that, then it was Father's Day (apparently, I made my daddy cry, which is no easy feat #rightinthefeels). First of all, thank you to the ~50 folks who've bought my book so far. Per the latest stats from le Amazon and le SmashWords, I'm looking at about 24 online purchases (mostly ebooks). The rest of the books I've sold from the copies I ordered directly from CreateSpace. I've still got about 20 or so in my car to sell, which means I might actually make a bit of profit this go'round. (Yeah, it's not a lot. But it's a looooooong game.) Second, thank you to the folks who have cracked it open so far, and I know at least one of you has finished it already (besides my amazing beta readers who are incredible). Thanks for going on a journey with me and Lyssa; hope you enjoy it :) (And, you know, I'd LOVE it if you'd leave me a review on GoodReads or Amazon or whatever...but no pressure). Okay, so the thank yous are out of the way. But how was my birthday/release day? Amazing, incredible. I've been feeling lonely lately, whining to myself and all that. Needless to say, I definitely ate a lot of crow on Thursday. I felt all kinds of loved and appreciated from people near and far. I got a bunch of facebook well wishes (responded by book!spam, but c'est la vie) I got the best lunch ever from Wegmans I got cupcakes from my fun runners I got unexpected gifts from my best friend in the mail Lastly, a bunch of people bought my book, which was the best birthday present ever. In other news, I wanted to share the results of my GoodReads giveaway. I had over 700 people enter to get my book. SEVEN HUNDRED. Not only that, but over 300 people [...]