Grav. Attraction Launch Party – How Much To Tell?

July 21, 2014

spacestation

Exposition in Science Fiction. Yes, it’s an odd topic and it rhymes, but try not to get scared off yet. It’s one of the things that causes SF writers the most angst and anguish. SF, by definition, discusses things that could be, that might be, possibilities, and probabilities. Stuff that hasn’t happened yet or hasn’t been invented/discovered/fully theorized yet.

 

Master storytellers like Ray Bradbury were criticized for not enough exposition, not enough science, leaving too much unsaid and to the imagination (heaven forefend!) SF geeks like their science. Kinda follows, eh? But if you go to the other end of the spectrum, we have brilliant scientific minds like Arthur C. Clark. Astounding, prophetic thinker, someone who understood the universe better than perhaps the universe itself does. As a storyteller? Often dry as dust. The reader needed constant rehydration just to get through some of the chapters, long, never ending passages of nothing but exposition.

 

So we walk a fine line writing SF. Don’t think about the science enough, and you have fluff, worse than space opera. It becomes stripped and empty of everything that makes it SF and you might as well make it into a contemporary romance because the spaceships are just backdrop. Think about the science too much? Lose the average reader. Fast.

 

So when I wrote Gravitational Attraction, it was with mixed feelings that I cut out the detailed explanations of how the GEM (gravito-electromagnetic) interstellar drive worked, as well as bits about how lumanium was discovered and certain detailed aspects of life on T’tson. Important to me in understanding the created universe? Yes. Important to the story? *scuffs foot on the carpet* Probably not.

 

If you’re not a writer, creating universes in your head is often called schizophrenia. So long as you keep up the appearance that you know the inner universe is pretend, no one tries to have you committed. But, ye gods, the more you build, the more real it becomes. Brave new universe, that has such aliens in’t. Which, when you get down to it, is really the point of any fiction. If writers don’t believe, what charlatans we become trying to convince the reader they should.

http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/

 

Grav. Attraction Launch Party – The S in SFR

July 21, 2014

SFR (Science Fiction Romance) – Does the R really trump the SF?

There’s a growing trend out there among romance authors – everyone wants to jump on the Science Fiction Romance bandwagon, er, starship.

This should make me deliriously happy. It should. I’ve been a science fiction fan since I could read (this, my dears, is a long time) and have spent decades enduring the derisive and sometimes nasty comments from other readers and writers about geek fiction and “that kind” of fiction and so on.

So the rise in interest should make me dance with joy, right? In many way, yes, of course. It means more publishers are taking an interest, it means more people are reading SF. (Woohoo!)

However… (show of hands – who knew that was coming?)

I recently saw a review of an SFR that I won’t name in which the reviewer (also not named) said he/she liked how it was all about the characters and the science fiction didn’t intrude on the story.

Um…

Here’s the thing – in SF, the science is half the point. If you ignore it, push it to the side, have a romance where there is no science, where you just happened to stick in a couple spaceships and alien races, what’s the point? SF without science is just…F. It could take place anywhere. It could be fantasy or paranormal or regular contemp instead. Might as well have your setting down the street at Joe’s Diner instead of Alpha Centauri. Why bother?

You need the science. Doesn’t have to be physics. There are all sorts of possibilities. Biology, immunology, anthropology, xeno-studies, sociology, psychology – I’m not picky, but it’s not SF without some speculation regarding what could be.

There are tons of romance readers out there who would disagree with me, I know. *shrugs* I’m a geek and a bit odd, but I like running across innovation and thoughtful world building when I read. SF stories with romances in them, rather than the other way ’round. When writing SFR, I tried my level best not to throw the science out with the bathwater, so to speak. The reader will find new tech along with the romance, new worlds along with the sex. Promise.

Space Opera is fun. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good, rollicking SO from time to time, too. But don’t go halfway if you want to call it SF. Build, think, speculate, then write, don’t just hang a regular romance off the fins of a shiny starship.

GravitationalAttraction-alt(1)

Gravitational Attraction

“Get involved in this, in any way, it’s going to bite you so hard on the ass you’ll never be able to sit down again.”

Captain Drummond’s words of advice quickly become prophetic. One bitter, failed fighter pilot with a bad neuro-implant, one shattered, lost mercenary who’s not sure if he’s just caused a bloody catastrophe, one quirky, talented crew, one power-mad admiral, and a mysterious planet in the quarantined zone – all blenderized together for your reading pleasure.

Join Isaac, Turk and the intrepid crew of the Hermes on their first journey. You might be surprised at how far it will take you.

 

Grav. Attraction Launch Party – Brain Issues & Excerpt

July 21, 2014

So…brains…

I think a lot about neurological issues. Some of the obsession is personal since my own immune system is trying to eat my brain, but most of it has to do with the astonishing biological mechanism itself.

Some amazing brain facts, you say? Sure, always happy to oblige.

  •  Your skin weighs twice as much as your brain. Yep. Truth. The average brain weighs about three pounds
  • There are no pain receptors in the brain itself. There certainly are in your head, but not your brain.
  • Humans continue to make new neurons and new connections throughout their entire lives in response to mental activity. Exercise your brain!
  • Language learning alters the structure of the brain. Children who learn two languages before the age of five develop much denser gray matter as adults. (Dense in a good way.)
  • Brain waves are more active while you dream than while you’re awake.
  • Research shows that humans carry genes that help protect the brain from diseases contracted through eating human flesh, so it’s more than possible that we used to eat each other.

 

Why all this brain talk? Has Angel finally slipped a gear? No, no, as usual, I have an ulterior motive. My new release, Gravitational Attraction, has as one of its main themes the amazing capacity of the human brain to adapt and to change. Both of the main characters have, each in his own way, a brain that’s his own worst enemy and one of those brains has developed potentially deadly talents.

Brains. Putting the weird in weird science.

funny

Excerpt:

 

A terrible jolt yanked him from the dark. Shchfteru. Agonized screams. Rage coursing through every nerve. The white… blinding white… imploding suns… the terrible silence…

 

He had no wish to open his eyes again. There had been a face, a beautiful face, but he must have dreamt it in his madness. The silence remained. If he opened his eyes, he would see the cell again, the blood drenched walls, the gray horror of his floating tomb. No. Better to keep his eyes closed and see again those dark eyes set against flawless golden skin.

 

Wait. Sound. The soft sound of even breaths drawn. Not alone. Sweet spirits, I’m not alone.

 

His eyes flew open to find a miracle staring at him from across the room, the same lovely face from his vision. It must have been true. His body felt warmer and no longer as if he might go mad from thirst. Rescue… perhaps. But he needed to be cautious.

 

“Hey.” The beautiful, golden-skinned man spoke, his smile reaching his raindrop-shaped eyes. “You recognize me?”

 

He could only stare, hesitant to believe the evidence of his senses. They had lied to him before in recent days.

 

“You have a name?” The voice rivaled the face in beauty, soft and warm, caressing his exhausted mind. “All right, we’ll start with mine. I’m Isaac Ozawa. And I guess I could just call you the Marduk Rescuee, or maybe Ishmael—”

 

“Ishmael?” The word caught in his dry throat, barely a rasp.

 

“Yeah, you know, the sole survivor? And I alone survived to tell the tale? Oh, never mind. But it would be nicer to have a name.”

 

He swallowed against the rawness, trying for more of a voice. “Turk.”

 

“That’s your name? Turk?”

 

He nodded and watched in fascination as Isaac shook his head, dark hair fanning his cheeks.

 

“Of course it is. No soft sibilants or lingual sounds for you. Oh, no. Nothing but hard, strong sounds. You probably have a last name that would hurt to say.”

 

Turk drew a slow breath, trying to keep up with events. His head ached. “Always… talk so much?”

 

“Only when I’m nervous or pissed off.”

 

“Which?”

 

“Which is it now? Oh, nervous, definitely.” Isaac shifted, head cocked to one side. “Not that strange men usually make me this nervous.”

 

“But… I do.” He forced his attention away from the captivating face. Isaac was in uniform, burgundy with gold piping. He couldn’t match the colors with any unit he knew. Whose hands had he fallen into? “Water?”

 

“Oh, shit.” The beautiful smile fell. “Of course you want water. Damn. Hang on.”

 

Turk eased his head back to the bed, waiting. Something pinned his hands and feet. In his weakened condition, he had little hope of breaking a magnetic or even a physical barrier. Isaac came back into view, water bottle in hand. A sharp, electric jolt ran down Turk’s spine when an elegant, golden hand slipped behind his head to help him drink. He had no business thinking about those hands.

 

“Better?”

 

“Thank you.” Why did he have to be so kind? It would make what he had to do so much harder. He closed his eyes on a sigh, gauging the remaining strength in his wasted body. “Back hurts. Need to…”

 

“Stupid restraints,” Isaac muttered. “They should’ve at least left you one hand free so you could shift a little.”

 

He chewed on a sensuously full lower lip, considering, as Turk watched in helpless fascination. Isaac’s jaw clenched as he seemed to come to a decision. He reached over and pressed the pad to unlock Turk’s left wrist.

 

The moment he regained movement, Turk lunged. He seized Isaac by the throat, applying enough pressure to constrict his airway.

 

“What unit? What battle group? Whom do you serve?”

 

Isaac’s fingers scrabbled at his hand, his eyes wide and desperate. “Don’t… please…”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Not… military,” Isaac choked out, his coloring edging up from pink to crimson.

 

“Liar,” Turk growled. “Implant. Fighter pilot. Behind your ear.”

 

“Ex-Altairian… fleet…” Isaac gasped, struggling to pull away. He was strong but not large enough to break Turk’s grip. “Bad… implant. Discharged… this is… commercial ship… courier…”

 

His eyes rolled back and his body went limp as if someone had stolen his bones. Turk let him slide to the floor, his heart racing. With his free hand, he unlocked the rest of his restraints and rolled to peer over the edge of his bed. Isaac lay crumpled on the decking, the shadows of his thick, black lashes caressing his cheeks.

 

No insignia, no rank designation, a courier ship… what have I done?

 

 

About the Author:

 

Angel Martinez, millionaire heiress and international woman of mystery…what? Why are you laughing so hard? *sulks* Fine. Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a short, middle-aged mom who happens to write between evil day job duties and mom duties. She lives in northern Delaware with her hubs, son, and two cats and someday wishes to build a utopian city on the moon. (It’s a dream, all right?)

Website: http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Angel.Martinez.author

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1010469.Angel_Martinez

 

 

 

Gravitational Attraction’s Universe – it’s a strange galaxy out there

July 21, 2014

GravitationalAttraction_headerbanner

ESTO - the Eridani Sector Treaty Organization was born from a desperate rebellion against a despotic plutocracy. A far-flung confederation of planets, ESTO’s original intent was to build a republic where humans could be free, autonomous individuals. Original intents are often difficult to maintain. Suspicions and ambitions lead to border wars and bureaucratic neglect.

In the post-war galaxy, paranoia and xenophobia color every action. A few brave individuals reach out, though – to other races, other worlds, to those unlike themselves.

These stories follow the heroes who struggle to change minds and win hearts, to redefine how humans will fit in a universe where we are no longer alone.

There are currently three novels and two short stories in the ESTO Universe – Gravitational Attraction was the first of these to take shape in my brain and make it onto paper.

Taken in chronological order, (according to the timeline in that universe) the stories are:

Picture

Prisoner 374215

Amazon

While the cell is sparse and cold, at least this one has a bed. The figure resting there is too thin; too still, the prominent bones the result of long starvation, the stillness the product of too much anguish and abuse. He watches, though. An anxious, intelligent mind still occupies this frail and failing body, one that watches and wonders about the new guard occupying his cell each night.

 

Picture

Vassily The Beautiful

Vassily Belikov, composer and pampered son of privilege, suffered neurological damage in the accident that killed his father. Resentful of his invalid status, he lives as a recluse, dependent on his mother, until the day she brings home a new husband with two sons of his own.

His mother’s kidnapping leaves him at the mercy of his amoral stepfather. Fighting addiction, fear, and physical shortcomings, he’s forced to seek out the criminal mastermind Baba Yaga for a replacement part. While she agrees to a deal if he beats his addiction, paranoia infuses her household. Drawn to her fierce youngest son, certain his actions are carefully measured, Vassily must find the courage to face his fears and his desires if he expects to survive.

Picture

A Matter Of Faces
(From the Cabin For Two Series)

Amazon
All Romance

A data privateer crash lands on a barely habitable moon where he’s rescued by a research scientist who refuses to show his face. Though suspicious and paranoid by necessity, Rhodi finds himself drawn to the soft-spoken man behind the mask.

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Gravitational Attraction

A mysterious distress call draws the crew of the Hermes to what appears to be an empty, drifting ship. Empty, except for the gore-spattered corridors and one survivor locked in a holding cell. Drawn to the traumatized man, the crew’s comm officer, Isaac Ozawa, makes Turk his responsibility, offering him kindness and warmth after the horror he experienced.

Turk longs for Isaac, a desperate, hopeless ache he’ll always carry with him.

But Turk’s brain harbors dangerous secrets, a military experiment gone wrong. When an amoral, power-hungry admiral kidnaps Isaac to convince Turk to become the weapon he’s hungered for, it will take Turk’s strength, the Hermes crew’s ingenuity, the enigmatic Drak’tar’s help, and Isaac’s own stubborn will to save them.

Picture

Sub Zero

Amazon

Major Aren Dalsgaard’s newest assignment is to investigate a series of murders on the frigid planet, Drass, where relations between the Treaty settlers and the natives have taken a nasty turn. A linguist and trained xenologist, Aren should be the ideal Special Investigations officer for the assignment. So what’s the problem? Drass is where he died, more than a hundred and twenty years ago.

Sent by his family to the chigyel city, Nyachung finds himself confronted with a murder charge, racial prejudice, and a cryo-revived investigator who claims to be a hero from his grandmother’s generation. Major Dalsgaard could be crazy or he could be lying, but the sincerity in his spring-green eyes disturbs Nyachung more than anything else he encounters in the foreigners’ city.

Now, confronted with mysterious black boxes and a beautiful yet evasive young man as a prime suspect, Aren hopes he can solve the murders before his fierce sexual attraction to Nyachung gets the better of him…

 

All the ESTO stories can be read individually – but, yes, I did write Gravitational Attraction first. It’s the original, the blue print. Start there if you haven’t started these books yet. :)

Gravitational Attraction Launch Party

July 21, 2014

Hi all! Angel Martinez here, stealing the blog today!

My science fiction novel, Gravitational Attraction, releases today – 7/21/14 – and I’m super excited. Stay with me for all sorts of SF goodness and maybe even a giveaway along the way ;)

 Gravitational Attraction

GravitationalAttraction-alt(1)

A mysterious distress call draws the crew of courier ship Hermes to what appears to be an empty, drifting troop vessel–empty except for the blood and gore spattered corridors and a lone survivor locked in a holding cell. Drawn to the handsome, traumatized man, the crew’s comm officer, Isaac Ozawa, makes Turk his personal responsibility, offering him the kindness and warmth he needs after the horror he experienced.

Isaac knows firsthand what it’s like to be different and an outcast, and this cements their bond. Once a promising pilot, Isaac was left with a damaged body when his brain didn’t meld with the high-tech implant needed to fly fighter ships. Turk’s brain is no better. The result of a military experiment gone wrong, his natural abilities have been augmented to a dangerous degree.

When an amoral, power-hungry admiral kidnaps Isaac and uses him to convince Turk to become the cataclysmic weapon he’s hungered for, it will take Turk’s strength, the ingenuity of the Hermes crew, the help of the enigmatic Drak’tar, and Isaac’s own stubborn will to save them.

Don’t forget the discount code: Martinez0720

Good at the Dreamspinner website until the end of Tuesday for this release!

Working It Out Release Party—And We Have a Winner!!

July 19, 2014

As promised, I’ve done my hat and names thing (I used my Tour de France baseball cap) and the winner of a copy of the book is…
 
 
…drumroll…
 
 

Deborah H.

 
 
Congratulations!

Please contact Hayley@dreamspinnerpress.com and let her know your DsP email address so she can add the book to your bookshelf. If you have any problems, please get in touch with me as well on my blog or via Twitter.

And thanks again to everyone who read the posts and all those who commented. Maybe I’ll see you again elsewhere on the internet.

Kristen Slater
xxx

Working It Out Release Party—Almost time to go

July 19, 2014

Well, it’s nearly midnight here. And, as in all good fairy stories, at the witching hour I’ll go back to my ordinary self and leave this sparkling world behind.

Thank you for having me and for listening to me babbling on about not a lot. It’s been fun and I hope to be able to do it again one day. I’m now off to put the names of everyone who commented today into a hat and draw one out. I’ll do one last post in a short while with the name of the winner of a copy of Working It Out.

In the meantime, if you haven’t had enough of me—not only can you follow my blog and twitter, but I’m going on tour. A number of kind people have agreed to let me post on their blogs and you’ll be able to find me at the following places.
 

Tour dates—Summer 2014

 
Monday 21 July Lex Chase
Friday 25 July Shae Connor
Thursday 31 July Charley Descoteaux
Monday 4 August Brynn Stein
Friday 8 August Jana Denardo
Friday 15 August Allison Cassata
Thursday 4 September Grace Duncan
Thursday 11 September Michael Rupured
 
And just as a reminder, you can buy Working It Out at http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5223 and see what all the fuss has been about today.

Blurb

Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.
 
Cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater

Working It Out Release Party—Fruit With Faces

July 19, 2014

Kristen Slater here with my penultimate post in this release party for my first ever published story. You’re probably looking at that title up there and thinking “Huh? Has she finally lost the plot?”. Well, not exactly. For a start, that would mean there was a plot to lose, and I’m not too sure there ever was.

If you’ve seen my twitter or blog, you may have noticed that my picture is… well, not me. Instead it’s these guys.
Kristen Slater gravatar
 
Why oranges? With faces?

Well, you see, it’s like this.

It’s that National Novel Writing Month thing again. You remember how in my last post I mentioned that people doing NaNoWriMo meet up to write? The problem is, it’s all co-ordinated via the internet. So how do you recognise someone, or a group of someones, you’ve never met? Particularly when you’re meeting in a place, like a coffee shop, that lots of other people go to in order to socialise.

If you live in Yorkshire in England and are taking part in NaNoWriMo, you take a piece of fruit with you. It’s not a really odd thing to carry about in public, and yet not many people sit in coffee shops with fruit in front of them. It’s therefore a safe bet that if there’s a group of people with fruit, they’re probably the people you’re meeting. In South Yorkshire (which is a separate county), we put a slight twist on that. Our fruit has faces. Hey, don’t knock it. It works. One year I turned up at a pub with a pineapple under my arm. Last year it was little oranges—clementines to be precise.

Notice how I think it’s important what type of oranges. That’s because, as part of another hobby of mine, I’d just finished reading a book on medieval heresy and the Inquisition. It was fascinating.

At one point complaints were made against the Inquisition. There were strict rules governing its conduct, which included not torturing people just for the fun of it or out of personal animosity towards the victim. An appeal was made to the Pope at the time, Clement the fifth, who promptly investigated and attempted to reform the system. He did this by issuing a number of instructions requiring that the inquisitors had to have the agreement of a bishop before torturing people or imprisoning them. These were known as Clementines and they threatened excommunication against anyone who abused their power for personal reasons. Of course, I immediately thought about little oranges, and a week later when I had to think about fruit to take to a meeting, what else could I choose?

I never did eat those clementines. I just couldn’t, they were so full of personality. But then they went the way of all fruit that isn’t eaten and had to go in the bin. They live on in the pictures I took of them, and I can’t help but smile whenever I look at them.

Well, that’s me almost done for the day. You’ve got a little longer to comment to have a chance to win a copy of Working It Out and try out a new writer absolutely free. What odd things have you found yourself doing for perfectly logical reasons? When I post my final message an hour from now, I’ll collect together the names of everyone who’s commented up to that point and pull one out of a hat at random. The winner will then be announced around midnight UK time.
Cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater
 
A quick reminder of what the story is about
Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

And if that intrigues you enough, go to the Dreamspinner Press store to buy it.

More from me at http://kristenslater.wordpress.com and twitter.

Working It Out Release Party—Writing is…

July 19, 2014

Kristen Slater here again.

So we’re well into the evening here in the UK. I’ve just realised, this is the seventh out of my nine planned posts, so you’ve got about two and a half hours to comment if you want to enter the competition to win a free copy of my novella, Working It Out.

This time I thought I’d talk about what writing is for me. Much in the style of those old “love is…” cartoons, but without the pictures.

Writing is… fun. There’s nothing like the rush of a new story jumping up and down in your head, clamouring to be told. Except perhaps seeing it come together on the page or screen. Or maybe finishing the story. Or perhaps reading it through and thinking, “I wrote that”. Even the editing process was fun.

Writing is… therapy. I’m prone to depression, have been since I was a teenager. There have been times when I spent a lot of time barely existing and there are gaps in my memory, some huge, forever lost to it. I was lucky if I went more than three or four months without having a period where I just wanted everything to stop, because living was too hard. Then I discovered writing. In the past four years there have been maybe three times when I’ve felt like that. Each one lasted less than a day. And it’s all down to being able to release that creative streak, to finally use it as it was always meant to be used. Even if I never succeed in publishing anything else, I’ll keep writing. Because now, I’m alive instead of existing, I’m happy instead of blah, I’ve had the energy and motivation to start sorting out some of the other problems in my life.

Writing is… fulfilling. I always knew I was creative, I just didn’t have a satisfactory outlet for it. Discovering writing filled a hole inside me that I’d never realised was word-shaped.

Writing is… compulsive. Who needs narcotics? Seriously, just try writing. Once you’ve experienced that buzz, that “oh wow!” moment of seeing a story appear from your fingertips, you can’t get enough of it. You want to do it again—and again, and again.

Writing is… surprisingly social. I came to writing via the internet and National Novel Writing Month. So I was surrounded (virtually) by people doing the same thing as me. All talking about it, encouraging each other, providing help and advice to each other. And meeting up to sit in the same room and write. OK, not all of them in the same room. That would be difficult since there were over quarter of a million people round the world doing it last year. But people in the same area getting together to write. Then there are the writers’ forums, where you can connect with other writers, share hints, tips, recipes, all sorts of things.

So, that’s a few of the things writing is… for me. What do you like to do for fun? What makes you feel good?

While you’re thinking about that, here’s another excerpt from Working It Out, something that makes Cas and Joe feel good.
Part of cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater

While Joe is unconscious in hospital, Cas talks to him, hoping it will help him to wake up. In three weeks it will be Joe’s birthday, and Cas makes a promise.

“I’ll do your favorite cake. With gummy bears.” I’d promise anything to bring him back. Cake’s not such a big thing.

Joe makes it to his birthday, and Cas makes good on his promise.

Joe’s got the computer keyboard on his lap, and he’s checking emails and his favorite websites. He’s missed being in contact with people. I found out within days of meeting him that he’s miles more social than me. Lots and lots of friends, all of whom have written to ask how he is. There’s an inner circle of people, and Joe doesn’t know yet, but they’re coming over tomorrow for a surprise birthday party.

He’ll be ensconced on the sofa like a king holding court and we’ll all gather round him. Like I promised, we’re having cake with gummy bears on the icing. His favorite is lemon sponge cake, and I’ve had one made in the shape of a medieval castle. There’s lemon icing over it and then gummy bears climbing the walls, defending the towers, standing and lying all over the place. What? So? We both like gummy bears; it’s our favorite thing to take with us when we go to the cinema. I can put them on lemon cake if I want.

To read more, buy the story at http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5223.

I can be found on the web, babbling away at http://kristenslater.wordpress.com and on twitter as @Slater_Kristen.

Working It Out Release Party—The Evil Day Job: Not so Evil?

July 19, 2014

Another hour must have passed by, because here I am again to talk about my new story Working It Out.

Like many other writers I don’t write for a living. It’s a hobby—a paying hobby, but a hobby nevertheless. I’ll never write enough, or sell enough of what I do write, to be able to give up the day job. While I wouldn’t mind having to myself the time the job takes out of my week, at the same time I enjoy my work.

A lot of creative artists refer to the bill-paying, food-buying job as the “evil day job” or EDJ. I’m not so sure they’re all that evil, specially if you write fiction.

Why not? Because they bring you into contact with people and situations that can be used in your stories. People say things you could never make up, they do things you wouldn’t have thought of. Things happen that you just didn’t expect. I see the day job, and my commute there, as providing inspiration for my writing.

Just like sitting in a cafe, a bus station, or a park, your job presents you with opportunities to observe people. You also get to see how a workplace functions, how a team interacts, what happens in the course of a working day. It’s no coincidence that quite a lot of my characters work in offices. That’s where I’ve spent my working life, I know how they work. In one story, still to be finished, I have a character arrive at the office in the morning. This sentence was inspired by what actually happens if you work for a big organisation, where the computers are connected to a centralised network and run a mandatory virus check at every point, including logging in.

“He busied himself with the usual routine of turning on the computer and making a drink while it crawled through the login process.”

That right there is an example of writing something I know inside out. How many times have I done exactly the same thing? No idea, but it’s a lot over the years.

In Working It Out, Joe has a bullying boss. I’ve had a few of those in my time, and she’s based, in part, on some of the things they did. Thankfully I’ve had a lot more good bosses than bad, but the bad ones were very bad indeed. The silver lining is that they provided me with an example of something a bully does, which is to decline holiday requests as a method of showing you they’re the one in charge. So even the worst jobs can give you something to use in a story.

A new hour means a new question, of course. What was the worst (or best) job you ever had? Comment for a chance to win a copy of Working It Out. (You don’t have to answer my question, you can make up your own if you’d like.)

Cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater
 

Blurb

Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

You can buy it now in the Dreamspinner store.

And don’t forget to see what else I have to say on my blog and twitter.