September 2021 update #Viridianseries #amediting

zanzibars rings draft cover

September 2021. I’ve finished Zanzibar’s Rings. Well, enough to send it off to the editor and beta readers. I’m really honoured they should give up their time for this.

The rest of the plan

I hope to have all the comments on the manuscript back by early November, and work on rewrites until Christmas, and send it for checking again if necessary in the ealry new year.

If that goes to plan then we are on schedule for a launch date of 22nd February 2022. In English, that’s 22.02.2022. I couldn’t resist it when I realised.

Before that, I expect to have a cover reveal in early December, to start to raise awareness, if that’s possible. Although it has slipped out in a couple of places (will a couple by the time December comes, I hope not more than that). The monochrome ringed planet on the draft cover is just for now. More colour is coming! I will need people to host cover reveal (and/or launch) posts, so let pme know if you can help.

Then the launch plan. I don’t know whether to do very much. The last in series launch seems relatively low-key, since if most people haven’t read the first two… well, I suppose it’s an opportunity to grab new readers for the series, and that can only be good.

  • Launch post
  • Guest appearances
  • Possible virtual tour during February and March 2022
  • Giveaway

Those seem to be the things I’ve always done, and I still wonder whether they work nowadays. I probably should be doing video launches and podcasts. But I think I should stick with my skill set for now, and see what happens.

You can pre-order Zanzibar’s Rings!

You can–if you’re really keen, you can pre-order it already. That would be wonderful! Here are the links:

Amazon ~~~ Apple iBooks ~~~ B&N(Nook) ~~~ Kobo ~~~ Scribd ~~~ Smashwords

And, yes, there will be a paperback version. More news of that in the new year.

What comes after…?

I have some ideas for a new setting for a science fiction novel. It might give me scope to try some new ideas (to me, not to the scifi world, I’m afraid.) I may well keep this website as the showcase for all my scifi work, though. I hope that will make sense, in the long term.

Some of the Viridian characters appear in my short story collection Snowflakes and Shivers, due out in October. I have some other pieces written about the Viridian world, and as I’m planning to remove the VS Sampler from the Smashwords shelves, there may be room for a more organised library here.

And I was planning at one stage to put the Cavalieri-Chang Universal Word Usage entries here (the snippets beneath each chapter heading.) I’m not sure whether I will or not. It seemed a suitably offbeat thing to do in 2013, but now? Well…

Plenty to think about!

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.

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?

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.