Your thoughts on the cover, please

I have three versions of the Perihelix cover; there are subtle colour and font differences.  My editor and sword designer likes one, I prefer another.  The text on the right is from the Kindle cover creator, and I can’t manage to find a match; the left and centre ones were the nearest I got. Maybe the centre one would be better semi-bold or normal from the current bold.

This is your chance to express a preference – just comment below!

Update on the books

Yes, books.

I’ve nothing much to say about The Perihelix, except my editor is working on it and I have a provisional launch date of January 12th.  If I don’t get the edited copy back in the first week of December, I think the launch date will slip.  I want to set up a blog tour, but I can’t find a tour provider with a good record of managing scifi books.  I looked at the blogs involved with a couple of scifi books toured by a reputable outfit, and most of the blogs involved had very few followers.  I’m hoping my Goodreads groups will provide a better platform – or I may put together my own blog after the hard work of the launch is done.

I have done some work on the cover, though.  I’d like to play with it a little more before a formal reveal, although I did put the current version in my graphic for my Blogoversary over on Jemima Pett. The eagle-eyed may have spotted it already!

Book 2 has got about 3000 words in the file – a combination of the first chapter and a half which I carried on writing straight after finishing the Perihelix (in August! How time flies), and notes and snippets, which occur to me as I go.  Basically, the plan for the book is coming together, and I came up with the title Casualties of Warp the other day.  Better than my last idea, but I think titles have to wait for the book to be finished.  I haven’t checked whether there’s anything out there with that title either.

So, if you’ve got any ideas to help me on blog tours, or thoughts on the second book title, or would just like to say hi, pop a comment below.

Trick or Treat for Halloween

Jemima is participating in the Trick or Treat Book Blog Hop today, and the Viridian System Sampler is included in her treats.

It’s a collection of eight short stories that led to the development of the Viridian System series.  Book 1, the Perihelix, will be out in January.  It’s science fiction, with adult language and nudity, but very tasteful.

All you have to do is to take this code:


and click this link

and you can download the Viridian System Sampler in the format of your choice, absolutely free.  It’s a Halloween offer, so no buying after cock-crow in your location!

Why not sign up for our newsletter and get updates and offers for the Perihelix and future books in the series? [wysija_form id=”1″]

To go to other book bloggers in the Trick or Treat Book Hop, return to Jemima’s blog.

Viridian System Sampler released today


The sampler is out today, price 99c from Smashwords, for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo or any other eReader.  Just go to this link, click ‘Buy’ and you’ll be able to download the file of your choice after you’ve completed the buying process.

The Viridian System: lightyears from any other inhabited planet and several million lightyears from the centre of the Galaxy.  Should be safe from the domination of the Imperium, then.  Big Pete and the Swede think they’re safe, but they’re uneasy.  Asteroid mining is tough enough without the Imperium or the Federation getting involved.

That’s the scene for the Viridian System series – but how did it all begin?  These eight short stories take us to the origins of this universe and the development of the adventures of Big Pete and the Swede, their escorts, and the fixer and bar-owner Zito.  A little back-story, and little scene setting, all in digestible chunks, which hopefully will whet your appetite for the first book in the series, The Perihelix, to be published in January.

If you’ve look at the last newsletter I sent to subscribers, you will have a coupon code to get the sampler FREE.

If you haven’t received your newsletter, let me know below and I’ll send it to your email address as used in your comment.

If you’d like to sign up for the newsletter, I’ll send out a newsletter to new subscribers at the end of this week, which might just have another coupon code for the Sampler…

Happy reading!

PS Did you know you can send your mobi file to your kindle cloud so that it is there for all your kindle apps?  Once you set up your email address in your kindle settings online, just email future kindle files to it.

New flash fiction by Jemima

Today’s Friday Flash Fiction on my blog is called “Surviving the Sleeve.”  It’s post-Perihelix, so it may contain clues to book 2.

In fact, if you look through the short stories set in the Viridian Universe (they often seem to be somewhere other than the Viridian System itself), take out the ones in the Sampler (out on Sept 28th), then take out the ones that look like they might be part of the Perihelix… it starts to look very interesting in terms of clues.

This week’s has some business between the Federation and the Imperium, who are two, let’s say ‘opposing’, super-organisations in the universe.  And someone called Kaa Birith is involved.  All I can tell you is that he is a significant character in the series!

Viridian System Sampler releases 28th September

The eight short stories that form a little teaser for you, in advance of the first book in the Viridian System series, is now online and available to pre-order at Kobo, iTunes and B&N.

You can also sample it (sample the sampler!) at Smashwords, but I’ve misunderstood the system and it isn’t available for pre-order there, so apologies to my newsletter subscribers.  Your coupon will be extended to 10th October to let you get it there if you prefer.

Working on revisions

Thanks to super-fast feedback from some of my beta readers, I’m already working on the revisions to the Perihelix.  

Naturally I saved a copy of the last file I was working on as a new version to make these changes.  About halfway I noticed something.  I thought I’d changed that, I thought.  Oh, darn, don’t tell me I saved it into the beta version with new edits….  I haven’t found a way of comparing versions on the iMac, so I’ll convert it to Word and compare it with the beta I sent out from the PC laptop.

Well, in response to the feedback I’d put in a new section giving the girls some more background – not their life history, of course, just a bit more to show who they really were under their working image.  It’s a discussion point, really.  These women are escorts, so of course they are going to do what pleases the men.  However, since they get to do things on their own, I can give them full rein to develop in their own personalities rather than their work personas as the story progresses.  What?  You haven’t got a work persona?  I certainly had.  I’m not sure whether I have now or not.

There was also desire for more background on the Imperium and the Federation.  Part of that fits with the girls’ backgrounds, but I hit on an idea which I hope you’ll like, by giving a snippet from the ‘Universal Word Usage, 2822 edition’ at the start of each chapter.  My aim is to make that reference book wholly biased towards the Imperium, and very sanitised (so reading between the lines is useful), and then let the characters flesh it out in their own sweet way, sometimes in the same chapter.

I’m also examining the role of women (and other sexes) in the book.  Farsight is the best place to promote gender equality, since it’s an academic planet.  Unfortunately the Imperium is very much alpha male territory, and Viridian itself is Wild West, not that there’s any barrier to women asteroid miners, they just don’t tend to get that far; I already have women visitors and inter-sex and non-sexual aliens there, though!  The Federation is interesting, since it definitely has reptoids as well as humanoids in its personnel profile.

I hope the beta2 version will be ready at the end of the week, if anyone’s ready to give it a reading for me.  Should that be beta2 or gamma?

A Viridian System Sampler

I’ve just about finished the edit of The Perihelix and will send it to my editor tomorrow.  So if you asked for a beta copy to comment on, that will be sent to you within the next day or so, too, if you haven’t already received it.

If you forgot to put yourself forward for this honour (!) then complete the form here to send to me and I’ll be in touch by email.

viridian-system-samplerI threatened you with a free sample of Viridian stories – well, you’ve already seen them, but I’ve collected together eight stories that are part of the Viridian System (including Paradisio, Ghostgum Creek and Hell Hath No Fury, which kind of derive from Paradisio).  The plan is to send them out as an ebook, free, via Smashwords, as a teaser for The Perihelix.  I am also adding three other scifi short stories – Pilgrimage and Homing Instinct, which are two sides of one story, the Last Ice-cream – and also Traveller’s Return, which is more of a ghost story (but then, so is Ghostgum Creek).  Do you think that would put readers off the Perihelix, having other work in the sampler?  Should I stick to Viridian-connected stories, or is more better?  The twelve stories add up to about 17,000 words, which is a nice sort of sampler, novella-sized, which is why I included the extras.

I already have a lot of short stories which belong after the Perihelix.  With a little time to spare at the end of camp, I wrote a few chapters to start the next book in the series!

Your thoughts are welcome, as always!

Update on the Perihelix

I’ve nearly finished the main editing of The Perihelix – enough to send it to my editor and to any beta-readers that would like a copy.  I could keep tinkering with it for ages, of course, and if I really think it needs changes, I’ll make them, but it would be better to get feedback from beta-readers first!

It’s actually grown in the editing, which is unusual, but that’s because I’ve changed both the beginning and the ending, and I’ve paid attention to more description of people, places and especially smells!  I suspect I can do more of that, but I don’t want to go overboard.  It’s currently just over 80,000 words, which isn’t that big for a scifi novel.  What do you think?

On Jemima’s blog today there is an excerpt from the book, together with some questions that might interest you.  Why not hop over and read it?

And while I’m thinking about the book… do you think I should have an author photo without the guinea pig for the scifi series?  I have to confess that there is a reference to these wonderful animals in the book, but it doesn’t continue.  Hm, that’s just given me yet another idea for the second in the series 🙂


Editing the first draft of The Perihelix

Exciting times here, as I start to work on the first draft of The Perihelix to get it into shape for publication.  It’s my Camp NaNoWriMo project for July, to get it finished

It may seem a long time to leave a first draft, and I suspect the next book would only lie around for a few months waiting for further attention.  I like to be able to approach the story completely fresh to get a better view of what it is, and especially in this series, to make sure that the world-building is correct.

World-building?  Yes, well scifi to me needs not only to have interesting worlds but accurate ones.  So, I’ve been thinking about the concept of having two planets in more or less the same orbital path as each other – fairly common for star systems, so I’ve extrapolated it to planets – and also my idea that Sunset Strip has a 12-hour period of rotation.  If that was the case, then the speed of rotation of the planet could make it uninhabitable, at least at the equator, but then again, if it was a smaller planet, then the speed of rotation would not be such an issue. Imagine a tennis ball and a larger ball like a volleyball: if they both rotated the same number of spins per minute, the surface of the volleyball would travel faster in miles per hour than the tennis ball.  The reason speed of the surface matters is because of winds and surface stresses.  I’ve made Sunset Strip very earth-like apart from the two sunsets per standard day, so its size and rotation have to be such that it isn’t be ripped by megastorms (which is what happens in Jupiter’s atmosphere).

That’s a very rough guide to the things I’ve been worrying about in the science of my fiction, but I also want to make sure I’m consistent with my technology.  I’ve been considering why their technology may only be slightly in advance of ours in some ways. Even a year ago, tablets and thinkpads were much less common than they are now, so will they be ‘old’ in my world? How did my civilisation in the Viridian series get so much more  advanced in others (space travel).  And there’s a plot point where Dolores and the other girls get worried about having to refuel the ship.  The more I thought of refuelling, the more ridiculous it sounded, but I’ve got it worked out now, and the concept of refuelling stands, even though it isn’t a case of putting gas in the tank!

Part of the editing of the first draft will be devoted to these technicalities, then there is the attention to consistency: how they land at the Pleasant Valley space dock is treated two ways in the first draft! I also need to work on building the characters, tweaking the story, building tension and drama, and generally making it a Good Read!

When I’m happy with all that, I’ll do the grammar edit!  And then the typos that are still left…

And then I’ll send it to my beta-readers.  If you’d like to be one, leave a comment below.