Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sisters of Solomon cover reveal!

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my beloved, what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.

"It was a woman Edward Fitzgerald, I think, suggested who made the ballads and the folk-songs, crooning them to her children, beguiling her spinning with them, on the length of the winter's night." ~Virginia Woolf.

So I wrote Sisters of Solomon last summer, after reading Michael Bunker's Pennsylvania novel about a young Amish man who is traveling to a new planet/colony and gets involved in a conflict he didn't even know existed. It was a really cool look at a new kind of story, and I thought "hmm. Interesting take on the hero-myth." And I thought I was done.

Then I started having vivid dreams about a woman in that world, a young Amish bride sent to colonize a strange planet. And the consequences of that action, the travel to a place where your only family is the other community of colonists and your spouse, and what would happen if....and lo and behold, Michael Bunker & my friend Chris Pourteau accepted it for inclusion in the Tales From Pennsylvania anthology.  I was so excited! It was my first official publication in the real world!!

I've always been really into the idea of women's history-- the stories that haven't always made it into the history books. Sure, we can see what happened during the Revolutionary war, but aside from a few stories about say Betsy Ross or Abigail Adams' letters to her husband, what all do we know about a woman's life during that historic time? Or ANY historic time, for that matter?

In her amazing book, A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf said "I would venture to guess than Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman." And I think that's true-- women were busy doing other things. They weren't much for writing books, poetry, history. But they were there. They were sewing quilts, they were canning vegetables. Alice Walker also talked about this issue in In Search of Our Mother's Gardens-- that a woman's art, at one time, may have been in those quilt colors, in the beauty of her flower garden.

And so, I like to write that story, even in small snippets. I did it some in Mariposa-- the long stories that some people have thought were distractions from the main action of Sallie White selling her chili in San Antonio, or of the tragic actresses, or even the sad story of the ghost of one of San Antonio's respected hotels. They are all women's stories, small bits of a life often unrecorded. Anonymous.

It also seems to me that a lot of women don't read or write sci-fi. Genre fiction is often "paranormal" (and I love that genre, myself, wrote a book or two in it.) But sci-fi is not the preferred. Why is that, do you think? So they stay anonymous, in those "space opera" kinds of stories.

Not anymore. This story is a little sad. It's a diary written during a time of transformation for Sarah Atwood (named, by the way, partially after Margaret Atwood and partially after Sarah, from the Bible.) But I hope to revisit Sarah, at least in a short story, and discover the ways that she transforms from a grieving young woman to someone who takes the history into her own hands. I hope you'll come with me. There's a reason I called it "Sisters of Solomon." It's based on the Song of Solomon, from the Bible, which is a beautiful love-story. And it's about Sisters. Maybe even Shakespeare's Sister. I've appropriated a little corner of Michael Bunker's universe to find a woman's story, and I think she is going to be interesting, to say the least.

Here, then, without further yakkity yakking, is the amazing cover. I just love the colors, the brightness of the yellow with the twilight blue of the background. Just... yes. I love it. I hope you will too. The story is already live on Amazon, and if you've read it already, I would very much appreciate your opinion, your review.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

All About that Indie

This morning, I was thinking about the path I've taken in the last year. It was about this time last year that I was bored, hanging around on The Facebook (I like to call it that to be so retro) and I noticed a "Launch Party" for a book called Synchronic.  I didn't really know what a launch party was at the time, but I moseyed in there and started watching people. Chatting in a launch party can be really fun, depending on who is hosting at the moment. One of the authors there (Nick Cole) offered to write a free blurb for anyone who had bought the book, and since he was a trad pub author, he had obviously done a pretty good job on his own. So I threw a short plot synopsis of my manuscript, as then unpublished, which I was still considering sending out to trad pub agents/etc. He gave me a blurb, and I thought it was pretty good. Then, another of the attendees at the party, Samuel Peralta, helped me tweak it 'til it was what I have now. I was pretty happy with all the help I had gotten. And then, I had a revelation.

I didn't need to wait. I didn't need to send my manuscript around to agents and the like who would take forever, then maybe or maybe not reject me as unmarketable, or whatever. Mariposa is not firmly in a specific genre-- it skirts a couple-- and it's not one of the "hottest" markets. It's not technically Urban Fantasy (although it's close). It's not horror. It's definitely not YA, although it's kind of New Adult, but also not really. It's best called magical realism, but no one really seems to quite know what that means. So I probably would have not been considered an easy sell by most traditional agents.

But So What? I sent out a note to my awesome cover artist and commissioned my art. I found myself a developmental editor to see if the manuscript which I loved but probably didn't have the distance to actually notice the flaws in and he got to work. My target launch date was early November. And I did it.

I launched my novel a little later than November, but in the meantime, I was also invited to submit a short story for my first anthology, Tales From Pennsylvania. That story, "Sisters of Solomon" will soon be available to read on its own, and it's set in the world of Michael Bunker's Pennsylvania.

And now, since then, I've published an entire new novel that I hadn't even thought up 'til last October or so. I've also published a couple of short stories, one in an anthology called The Dragon Chronicles, "The Book of Sefkhet," which will be released as a standalone in July sometime.

All of this stuff about me is actually an introduction, then, to all the amazing work I've read this year, and the indie writers I've met as part of the scene. People who I have on my Kindle, who I have read, and who are on my increasingly long To Be Read list.

A lot of people think "ew. Indie publishers are just vanity writers who need edits and have ugly self-made covers and sucky stories who couldn't get published on their own." NO. Some are, yes. But none of the people I have come to be friends with fit into that category. We have professional teams-- editors, cover artists, formatters, beta readers, and reviewers, all who truly put out an amazing product. Some of the authors I know have hit the bestsellers lists like USA Today and NYTimes. Seriously. And the great inspiration for a lot of us, Hugh Howey, is a stellar superstar of indie publishing that sets a very high standard.

So, long story short, (too late) here is my list of writers you ought to be reading. Amazing work, super awesome nice people, and great books. Books that will change what you think about indie publishing. Books that kick the crap out of a lot of trad pub, and that seriously did it all in the kind of independent drive to succeed that people applaud in industries like music, but who for some reason make fun of in books.

So I'm gonna go through my Kindle, and list what books pop out at me that you really ought to read. I'm probably going to miss some people, but if you get started here, you will be on a path to greatness. A lot of these books are written by authors who I have read multiple works by, but I'm putting here my favorite, just so simplify. I'm only doing one book per person, although the temptation to put more is great.  Oh, and I'm also only including people in the list below who are not also included above, but you should find those up there ^ too.


Read these. Not necessarily in this order. But read them. 

Next time I'm going to create a list of the books that I have on my Kindle and TBR list that you should also read. I have so many. It's a long list. It will take me a while to compile, but it has amazing writers on it, and they're all great folks who I really need to spend less time chatting with on FB and more time reading their books.

Anyway... the point of it is this: these books are all amazing. And if people ask "why bother reading indie writers when there are so many other writers who have been proven by agents & publishers to be good?" Seriously-- some of them are. Truly. I am not against traditional publishers. But I also realize that there is an element of luck and timing and who you might know to getting your manuscript noticed and published in the traditional path. And for a lot of people, that's simply not realistic, but that doesn't mean they aren't GOOD.

There are some really good indies. Just because you took a chance on an indie book one time and it sucked, don't give up on all of them, because that is just a shame and you're missing out. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

4.9 stars!

That last .1 star! Augh!

How do you like my new graphic for the promo?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sale! Sale! Sale!

My novel Mariposa is on a limited time Kindle Countdown deal starting today for only 99 Cents!!    

I think most of my friend list already has a copy, but I'm really hoping that if you liked it, you'll "gift" a copy of it on Amazon to a friend who you think might like a new read. I'm still hard at work on the sequel, the story of Tony, Meg's boyfriend, and hope to get it published very soon. But for now, check out the novel one reviewer called "The best book [he] read all year" and others have called beautiful and said it kept them up all night!

It's a love story. It's a ghost story. It's about history, and all the things that keep us stuck in our own bad patterns in life. It has intertwining main characters that have to learn what "haunting" really is all about. Not to mention supernatural wolves!For less than a buck!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Goin' up to Memphis

Like a bitter weed, I'm a bad seed
But when that levee's through and I am too
Let the honky tonk roll on
Come mornin' I'll be gone
I'm goin' to Memphis, yeah Memphis....
~Johnny Cash

by 5@CDickerson

This summer, the family & I are planning a trip up river. Up the Mississippi river, to be exact. Part of it is research for my sequel to my Apocalypse novel Memphis King  (due sometime this Fall) where we might even get to meet THE King (oh, forget the might-- you'll totally have more than a cameo from our favorite King). 

We're going to pop over to the Mississippi Delta to meet up with a dear old friend, then up to Memphis, then we're planning to ride the City of New Orleans train all the way up to Chicago & back to Memphis. It'll take us about a week, I think.

So the point of this blog post (and subsequent Facebook & Twitter posts) is to ask anyone following me who know:  what would you do, see, be sure NOT to miss along that path? Any tips? Places to be? Share away with me in the comments &/or any means you like... I need to know.

We plan to visit Graceland and take the VIP tour because DUH. In spite of some warnings that the neighborhood isn't great, we'll probably stay at the Heartbreak Hotel anyway. So those are covered. The trip up to Memphis from Shreveport will be car, then there's the train, and then Chicago city time. So-- give me your best shot, Internet.

Oh, and speaking of Apocalypse Weird, the first three of my friend's novels are on sale this week for only 99c, across all platforms. So if you've been waiting to try them out, now is totally the time!