I'm a sci-fi and fantasy author who also enjoys reading those genres. Some of my favorite authors include Keri Arthur, Gini Koch, and Patricia Briggs.
When I'm not writing, I'm either lounging on a beach in sunny Florida with a good book, watching anime, or writing a new work in progress.
* Syphons - A Sci-Fi Novel - Available: May 3rd, 2019
* Stolen by the Ash - An Urban Fantasy - Available: Now
This is embarrassing, I feel like Steve Harvey at the 2015 Miss Universe winner’s ceremony.
Gerard has graciously paid his $20 gift card forward to a winner in the United States. Thank you so much for being an awesome reader and that free copy of Syphons is heading your way, on May 3rd, 2019!
The Starbucks & Syphons Giveaway Winner is….
Thanks, Tina P. for following my blog and me on social media. You will receive your gift card really soon! 😀
Thank you to everyone else who participated in this giveaway. Please know that this is my FIRST ever giveaway and since it was so successful, I plan on making this a regular thing!!
Please subscribe for news alerts about my novels, and of course more information about giveaways.
Always remember, each and every one of you are Winners in my book.
I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life and now here it is.
Syphons, a science-fiction novel with a new adult vibe is going to be released on:
May 3rd, 2019
Syphons, A Novel is about a curvy, twenty-something whose life is turned upside down when she crosses paths with a man who’s not only harboring a sentient symbiotic alien lifeform within his brain but has a number of gifts and secrets.
If you’d like the full synopsis, I suggest you check out my novel’s official blog post, complete with a sign-up form which is separate from being one of my blog followers here at lovely WordPress.
I appreciate each and every one of you.
And, I hope to prepare a product that will not only tantalize your reading tastebuds, but keep you coming back for more reads from me.
Here’s a gift to keep you anticipating the future release of my novel, Syphons:
Recently, I was thinking about the fact that my Main Character (MC, going forward) is a plus-sized diva that fights bad aliens and does it with speed, agility, and charisma, three things you don’t think of a plus-size MC.
I believe the common notion of a plus-size character is either the “woe-is-me” variety or the “I’m-so-easy-to-bully-and-use” variety. I tried to create an MC that was neither and who is just true to herself. Sure, she has a weight problem, but it doesn’t hold her back in my novel.
My first introduction to a plus-sized character was when I was a teenager and I read a sci-fi novel, which I adore to this day called, Infected by Scott Sigler.
He had this character called, “Fatty Patty” (I believe that was her moniker going forward in the novel. Fatty Patty’s body was infected by the main villain of the story. And, I remember the MC, who was an overweight former college QB having disdain for her fatness, which in turn became her weakness and downfall in his eyes.
Being a chubby teen reading that book, I quickly overlooked Fatty Patty’s parts out of fear that we may share some similarities. This post isn’t a diss on the author, oh no. Most of the novels I read either by Stephen King or some other prevalent writer created characters that were fat, but it wasn’t just a physical trait but made up the actual individual.
The only time in the past I recalled reading about a plus-size MC doing positive things in a novel was usually after they lost a few pounds and then they were able to get the guy, get the job, or get their groove back.
Either way fat was seen as a negative thing.
Just like in modern society. There are TV shows that glorify being fit, thin, and/or slim (no disrespect, at all), and then there are the shows that throw negative light on fat people, they are usually bed-ridden, lonely, and waiting on death or their next plate of food.
The above may seem like an extreme example, but it is what I see on the regular. But, thankfully fatness and women who are overweight, fat, whatever the term of the day may be, are starting to get more props.
I can’t wait for a world where novels feature MCs that are thick and still able to get the man without having to drop a pound or she is happy to wear cute clothes and show off her curves regardless of how the world feels about her.
Maybe that world will come soon or it’s possibly about to be here and now?
What do you think? Do you have any novels that come to mind that feature plus-size MCs in a positive light? I’d love to read them!
This review is being provided through D. A. Smith Writes inleu of an Amazon Review, because apparently, I haven’t reached some community guideline which doesn’t allow me to read books and then review them unless I spend $$ on their website.
Well, I haven’t purchased books through Amazon in a very long time. Maybe, that’s because I support Brick and Mortar Stores, sometimes, and I LOVE the smell of new paperback books! Have you ever tried to sniff an ebook!? Try it! I digress….
The story begins in the world of Kimmeria, where Audry Duvessa the last surviving member of her astute family of witches lives in a world created on the side of darkness. This character is a named “Dark Beauty”, not only due to her mystical gifts but because of her mother’s involvement with the realms of both dark and light.
Audry goes on a journey early in the novel in search of powerful relics left through various clues and traps, which she must solve and escape from. She’s not alone because two mystical shapeshifting pets/wands join her named Thorn and Petal, (and one dangerous hunter). Her goal is to use the discovered relics to eventually lead her to the powerful Firebird.
When Audry crosses paths with a dangerous hunter of the light during her travel through the realms, instead of feeling fear towards Roei, she develops a strong bond with him. Roei may hunt dark creatures such as Audry and her (once living) family members, but his kind heart and gentle nature lead him to develop affection for Audrey.
Their forbidden love leads to a bigger dilemma. Beings of Darkness & Light cannot come together. But, despite a mission filled with dangerous bloodsucking plants and venomous creatures, Audry and later Roei work together to find more than just the Firebird, but a true surprise at the end once Audry discovers a special Gift within herself.
D. A. Smith Writes a Review:
Some of the aspects of the novel I enjoyed included the world building. Each realm had personality, an intriguing take on flora and fauna. And, even some moments when what-you-see isn’t what you get. The romance between Roei and Audry warmed my heart, and there were more tragic moment’s as well, especially when their love was deemed unclean, and Audry was imprisoned for years before she could be released, but with ONE exception. Interested in finding out how the story ends? Let’s just say there’s a family secret revealed and a possible child of light produced. You’ll just have to buy the book and read it on Amazon to find out.
Rose S. King not only spins literature that is diverse and much needed in the African American community, but it is also layered with both spiritual and fantastical themes. The author created a novel that doesn’t end with just Audry and Roei falling in love and running away in the sunset. These diverse characters will keep you planted in your comfy chair waiting for more.
Speaking of more…
If you want to enter into a saga where fantasy meets religion and light joins darkness. Then, this is the novel for you. I hope you enjoy the work and remember that Rose S. King has additional books so be prepared for the battle of a lifetime when you pick up this series. You can find out more about Rose S. King on her blog here.
When I was growing up, I had the dream of making enough money from my writing career to be a self-employed adult capable of purchasing anything from a house to my own sports car. At 24, my dream lingers, I’m just more realistic, and I have a full-time gig.
Well, my work sucked when I tried to create literature just for money. My edit jobs were hasty. My book covers looked like they were designed through Paint (what could I say, I was 18 and balling on a budget). And, worst of all, I assumed that my books would sell as long as I posted it on Amazon, without any prior marketing.
I blame inexperience, ignorance, and youth.
The authors I looked up to were people who seemed to have these mystical ‘overnight’ success stories. When actually a large majority of them started working on their books way before I was even a thought in my mother’s mind.
So, why would anyone want to rush and create a product that is unwanted just for some dirty pennies? Creating work just for the money is like buying fast food. Nothing against fast food. But, I have yet to see a fast-food joint earn 3 Michelin Stars.
Writing should make you a profit if you create quality work. A reader shouldn’t feel cheated when they purchase your book. And, when it comes to writing, you shouldn’t cheat anyone as the author. Because what goes around comes around. And, bad reviews online, might lead to a lack of sales and respect from fellow writers and your readers during the next new release.
Like this post, let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget, I’m releasing a free exclusive first chapter of my new release, SYPHONS, A NOVEL. Get your copy here!
For some odd reason, while working on revisions of my current WIP, Syphons, a sci-fi/new adult novel, I started thinking about the write-what-you-know motto.
In my novel, I wanted to create a revamped love story between a plus-size African-American woman who awakens with rare abilities due to her hybrid alien heritage, and an Anglo-Saxon man with telepathic abilities and a craving for human brains caused by a 500-year-old parasitic alien living within his own brain.
The only problem with writing romantic elements in my sci-fi novel is the fact that I have limited (if any experience) in the romance department.
At 24, my longest and the only relationship I had lasted 62-days (can you even consider that a relationship?), and I dated the guy back at the ripe old age of 21. I suppose you don’t need to be in a relationship to write a great romantic story.
But, the imposter syndrome all writers seem to face hits home hard, especially when my characters have intimate (yet, tame) moments together.
Some of the common questions I battle with, thanks to feeling like an imposter includes:
How do you write-what-you-know, when you don’t know anything about long-lasting romantic love!?
Why did I ever take up the stressful task of writing a romantic story between two individuals in my first sci-fi novel?
Isn’t this task just too big for me?
Sounds more like a sad predicament which is bigger than just writing romance.
The more I write, the more panicked I become about my own lack of love in life. I’ve questioned my motives. Wondered if my imperfections were so flawed that love will forever remain out of reach. Maybe, my issues with an unloving father finally caught up to me. I’m damaged goods, not worthy of love from anything with a pulse. I’m going to be the crazy cat lady who reads about love and never finds it.
The angst I feel now is what makes up my main characters unique take on her instant connection with her love interest in my novel. Even though, I didn’t spell out things the way I did above. You will be able to tell that my main character is afraid of love, even if the man she’s with adores her.
I guess, in a way, I am writing what I know.
Romance in some novels just seem so hot and heavy and all about getting the girl undressed, and ripping the guy’s jeans off that the characters forget to be intimate.
Kind of like the real world…
Sure babies are still being made, but is anyone really making an effort to turn off their Twitter notifications in order to hold an hour-long conversation with their SO at dinner?
Something to think about.
In high school, I remember devouring every romance novel I could get my claws on. And I’m not talking about the Stephanie Meyer stuff. I’m talking about the urban fantasy, sci-fi romance stories that made novels like Breaking Dawn, seem like a cheesy attempt at writing about love between two bloodsuckers.
Authors like Kelley Armstrong, Gini Koch, even Patricia Briggs created strong female characters who had romantic elements and complicated relationships. True, lust was explored in all of the relationships, but something about each individual romance story made you want to see the characters end up together and win.
Maybe, my main character will achieve love, even if the author who created her is using outside influences to create a romance worth reading.
But, then again, who said that writing-what-you-know means you actually have to go out and experience that particular scene?
I haven’t read about any crime authors attempting murder in order to learn more about methods to kill and get away with said murder. The same is true for romance authors.
So what if I never experienced a mindblowing first kiss, but I’m sure my wicked imagination will help me spin an idea of what makes a first kiss amazing. A dash of research and some sappy romance stories through the Hallmark Channel can help me create a fairytale ending for my characters in love.
I’m writing this post to future me. So, that I can look back at it and say, okay. I’ll try again.
Giving up is easy to do.
Keeping up with a project and doing it until completion, that’s difficult.
Fear of failing and an unhealthy (obnoxious) dose of perfectionism keeps me from moving forward at times in my life.
I read something on Twitter about failure. I’ll paraphrase the Tweet here, ‘take your failures, stack them up, and build a hill for you to step up on to move to the next level.’
In other words, stop treating failures as the end all be all.
And those who fail but keeps going uses these three things to deal with failure:
When I think of being resilient I always think of the flu shot and the actual virus.
Seeing as it’s flu season, tons of germs can infiltrate us at any time. But, when the flu shot is in our system, it can fight the virus off sooner and we won’t stay as sick longer.
But, some people tend to forget that the flu shot still contains an inactive strain of the flu virus.
What does this mean?
In my humble opinion, we need small weaker fails to help us fight off the bigger more detrimental fails.
So, I’m not encouraging you to fail on purpose. Just try not to make a big deal of fails.
I tend to make small things into big deals.
The small fails are easier to take if you do a task more frequently.
Such as blogging.
Some of my posts fall short.
Others seem to resonate with readers.
All in all, just because some posts fail or others resonate, doesn’t mean I’m a horrible writer who will never see publication.
No, it just means I need to be resilient, keep going even when I don’t want to. And, see everything as an opportunity to improve instead of getting stuck in the hamster wheel of doubt and failure.
Learn from the “F”
Take the F.
Not in school, I mean unless you really didn’t do that assignment.
I’m talking about learning from the F, as in failure.
I think when we start accepting failures and trying to learn from them, we are able to move past them sooner.
I’m thinking of big fails here.
Your novel that completely flops.
A media post that resonates with no one.
A loss of money, time, and/or energy.
It’s not a true loss, if you learn from it.
In my college days, I failed general chemistry. It ruined me for a while. I felt like everything I did after that class proved how much of a failure and a loser I was.
I didn’t want to keep learning.
I wanted to drop out.
I wanted to give up on writing too (since, technically, I failed chemistry because I wrote a sci-fi during lectures).
Did I quit?
No, I learned from my mistakes, changed my behavior, and retook the class. I passed with a B the next time around. And, I stopped focusing on the negative air that came with being a failure and learned to accept it.
Keep moving forward.
Just Do You
Feeling like a failure prevented me from sharing my stories and writing with the world. It wasn’t until I sat down with my therapist/friend and she told me to write anyway, so what if no one reads my work.
I thought about it. Of course, I wanted to be read.
But, I also knew that you can’t be read if you don’t write.
So, I told my inner-critic to shut the hell up. I ignored the trolls from writing attempts past. And, I started to just do what came natural to me; writing.
The first few weeks were like yanking teeth without novocaine. Painful. But, as I wrote more and started to receive feedback. I started to loosen up and go with the flow.
Sure, in the back of my head, even now I think about how I could be wasting my time writing this.
But, I know that the reader, who will probably be me in the future, wanted to know that failure didn’t destroy her or her love of creating art.
I wrote this for everyone who feels like a failure will end them. Don’t let it.
After every failure there’s an opportunity for a new beginning and a fresh start. Remember that and the fails won’t hurt as much.
Now, I’m getting into some of the tedious areas of creating great science-fiction. I could focus on a number of different areas and turn this post into a book in the future (noting it!). But, for now, I’ll focus on these three specific areas that I believe is important to writing sci-fi:
The world your characters travel in should become a character itself. When I think of sci-fi, I do automatically think of distant worlds or a future filled with chrome buildings and jetpacks. Not every sci-fi needs to be futuristic, or follow the distant world formula. Some dystopian-type sci-fi stories, which are popular today, may show humanity returning back to “ye olde days” and reverting to a time when technology is no longer king.
When you are writing a piece of sci-fi, your world gives you the opportunity to create a space for your readers to disappear into. Readers might not care about every single detail that comes into play. However, they will remember worlds that come alive. Worlds that leads readers out of their comfy chairs and into the pages of your book. They want to explore these worlds and miss them when the book ends.
A great example of world building comes from Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. Area X came alive from the flora and fauna that took over part of a former city within the novel’s version of Earth. Area X wasn’t just a rainforest of sorts with a cave system and fungi that spelled out words (spoiler alert). But, it was a living and breathing animal of an environment.
There aren’t rules as to what kind of world your sci-fi should have. But, one that is unique and that includes enough trials for the main character to explore, would be a great start.
Storyline or Plot
I’ve read stories where the plot just didn’t make sense. I might’ve loved the characters and the author, but the plot became difficult to grasp. Another scenario would be that the plot was complicated. Too many side stories were being built into the original storyline and by the end, I was lost and disinterested in reading the story.
The storyline or plot (using it interchangeably) should be central to your writing. The world is where the action takes place. But, the plot should contain the action in an order that readers can follow.
Most beginning writers (myself included) may create flashbacks, flashforwards, or side stories that detract from the main plotline. It’s important to remember that flashbacks, flashforwards, or side stories should be like seasonings to a plot “stew”. The story might’ve started on Mars, but somehow we’re sipping iced tea on grandpa’s back porch in the middle of June somewhere back on Earth…, see even I’m lost.
Unless grandpa’s back porch is important to what’s going on in Mars, then let’s keep it out of the story. Your central plot takes the key characters’ time and energy and should be the main focus.
The central plot doesn’t have to be a typical trope or stereotypical storyline. For example, the trope of a woman who is abducted by aliens and later returned to Earth pregnant is a cliche at this point. Where have you seen this before (I’m talking to you almost every sci-fi ever made since the dawn of history)?
Tropes aren’t necessarily bad if done right. They can be reworked and revitalized, i.e. the Cinderella fairytale was transformed into a popular work of sci-fi through the novel, Cinder by Marissa Meyer.
Of course, as the creator of the story, it’s your job to find out how to recreate a trope into a fresh sci-fi storyline.
If I were to describe your sci-fi story as a dish:
world building = veggies
plotline = mashed potatoes
characters = t-bone steak
The characters can be humans, humanoid aliens, a bloodsucking parasitic worm; whatever your mind produces the characters should be able to carry the story even if the world sucks and the plot is thin.
The emotional tension.
The powerful clash between two warriors.
All of these things are what makes a reader excited to read your work.
Some sci-fi writers may feel a little lazy when it comes to creating the secondary characters. Sure, we know the primary character’s favorite colors and their license plate number. But, the secondary characters, such as aliens from a different world, may all act exactly the same.
And that’s not right!
Let’s say your secondary character is an alien from a distant planet.
Aliens that come from another planet shouldn’t be exactly the same. No two humans on Earth, twins included, are not the same. They all have different religions, emotions, cultures, and so should the aliens in your story.
Yes, it may feel easier to blame a particular planet of aliens for abducting most of the human race. But, not all aliens have the same motives or even look the same. Neither should their reason for abducting humans.
This is true for villains.
Sure, a villain might want to destroy the planet, but why? It can’t just be because he’s an evil monster from planet Turde 15-C (crude name, I know).
He’s got motivation.
Something that makes him a bad guy that happened back in his childhood in his homeworld.
No, you don’t have to go into a backstory about the villain’s homeworld, but you can give him some soul so that when he gets ready to crush the hero or terrorize the planet, we know that he’s doing it for some reason bigger than just being an alien from Turde 15-C.
Still on the fence about getting a copy of the first chapter? Check out the synopsis below:
Synopsis:Solstice Bellatrix, an ordinary, curvaceous, twenty-something was already killed once.
She’s not cool with almost being killed again.
A chance encounter at a nightclub with a violent being covered in multiple appendages leads her into the home of a handsome stranger.
When she awakens, she’s greeted by Alexander “AJ” Ward. Witty, charming, and, dangerous with a set of golden eyes that makes her melt. She fears her past is about to return at full speed with this man in her life.
Alexander Ward sees or rather “tastes” through Solstice’s false sense of humanity, and easily calls her out on it. AJ knows more about the enemy who wants her dead than he admits, but he’s willing to help her, at a cost.
The attraction between Solstice and AJ is otherworldly and their new bond comes with a special set of super abilities.
Solstice is going to need more than a couple of self-defense classes and a good pair of running shoes to make it through the week. She must trust AJ to help protect her and her friends from a deranged Queen and her hoard of brainless Drones.
Thankfully, AJ has a team of non-humans, a couple of top secret agents, and of course his own gifts to protect his Entangled One.
The blinking cursor mocked me as I stared at my daunting 50k sci-fi novel which needed to be revised, edited, professionally edited, and then possibly revised again.
I felt overwhelmed.
I didn’t want to rush through the revision process and produce a half-hazard work of fiction. This novel was my baby, I needed to work on it until it reached near-perfection, and then publish it.
But, I still wanted to produce fiction, even if it wouldn’t be my all-time best work on the planet.
So, I wrote a short story about a fox shifter and her time spent under the custody of a powerful and dangerous wolf pack.
At first, I knew my medium was going to be digital only. But when I added the short story to my blog, it seemed too long. And like most blog posts, they go unread after a few weeks (unless you have a high traffic website).
I noticed that I wasn’t getting much traction, but I really liked the story.
My approach to this story changed. Instead of treating it as a throw-away project, I put more effort into the story and turned it into an e-book in 7 days.
Days 1 – 3: Rewrite. Edit. Revise. Repeat
My ebook needed to be cleaned up.
I searched the web and discovered the website Reedsy. I plopped the short story onto the platform and started the editing process.
Because I kept the story short. Editing wasn’t daunting. It wasn’t costly either.
Once I edited the first draft, it was time to re-read and rewrite some scenes.
I felt confident about the story after the third draft. I shared my story with a second set of eyes. Then, I used the Reedsy platform to produce a functional ebook.
Now, I had an ebook. It looked good. Had the proper front page, back page, and middle materials. I just needed a handsome cover.
Days 4 – 5: Cover to Cover
I wasn’t about to produce a great short story, have it edited, and not give it a cover worth loving.
I used the website Canva (love, love, love it!) to produce my cover.
I designed the ebook cover to be simple. At first, I thought it would work. But, then I realized the first cover had nothing to do with the fox or her plight.
So, I went back to the design board, and with some help from Unsplash, a copyright-free image database, I found an image I adored and revamped the ebook cover.
Now, it looked like it would stand up against the big dogs already producing plenty of gold stars on Amazon.
Days 5 – 7 (technically, all 7 days): Lights, Cameras, Promote!
I must admit I went about this all wrong.
Fiction writers (and all writers in general) should start promoting their work as soon as they believe their work is worth finishing. Even if they’re on the second draft.
The marketing game, when it comes to ebooks, is no laughing matter.
I spent more time on Twitter, Instagram, and other forms of Social Media then I’ve ever spent on socials for my own personal life.
The marketing techniques I used were basic but still effective. Such as commenting on other blogs. Writing great tweets with eye-catching photos. And, so on.
Without much effort and some help with Amazon’s free 5-day ebook promotion. I distributed my first ebook to over 50 individuals. And, one person even bought an ebook from me (even before I started to heavily promote it).
What Have I Learned?
I’ve learned many things in the seven days it took me to write and promote an ebook. And, the lessons I took away from the process is this:
Social media provides great exposure if you’re willing to be consistent and deeply involved with brief, but useful communication.
Goodreads is a great way to find like-minded writers, readers, and reviewers. I knew this resource was there, but until I actually used it, it became fun and I even gained a reviewer through the process.
No amount of free publicity will increase sales, but it will help with the distribution of free ebooks.
Not everyone who follows my blog or social media account wants a free ebook. They just wanted to get to know me. And that’s just as valuable to me.
On this note, I’m moving onto my next project. I’m working on a new novel. And, using the knowledge I’ve gained from this project I hope to be on my game the next round. Want to find out more about my next project? Click Here!