Posts Tagged ‘Dark Legacy’

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: Me and Dorchester, the CliffsNotes Version

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

You have to be willing to take risks in this business of ours. Calculated risks that are nonetheless precarious for the careful thought you put into jumping off whatever cliff of opportunity looms before you. Sometimes a marvelous parachute glide awaits you, easing you into your next step forward. Sometimes there turn out to be holes in your plan and you land in the trees–if you’re lucky. Sometimes you crash and burn completely. My experience with Dorchester Publishing these last few years, like many authors, has been more the latter.  But as of last week I can officially say it hasn’t been a crash and burn fiasco, and the trees that were grabbing at my chute are receding farther and farther away each time I look back. Perspective?One might call it that, this ah-ha sensation filling me. Hind sight gives us the illusion of finally seeing things as they were always meant to be. Maybe it’s just dumb luck… You be the judge.


Too often it feels as if I have absolutely NO idea how I got to this moment of deep sighing and appreciation for a journey well traveled and a fight bravely faced and won (Amazon, the publisher who also recently signed a three book deal with me to publish a women’s fiction/contemporary romance series has bought out Dorchester’s list at auction and will not only pay me royalties due from the last three years, but will re-list and potentially buy new titles into my sci-fi/fantasy series).

To be honest, I have some idea. But my mind’s still spinning as I process the twists and turns and decisions and retreats–stopping myself, ultimately, from making several end-game decisions that would have ended this wild ride before I achieved what I’d set out to. What follows is the CliffsNotes version of that adventure, because publishing can be a sucky journey for all of us and I’m happy to share my personal suckage if it might possibly help others finding themselves in their own potentially no-win situations, trying to choose the least objectionable of the unsatisfying options before them.

no win decision

But first, let’s identify what exactly I wanted to achieve from the start. Because the best business decisions are potentially bad business decisions, regardless of the odds in your favor, if you don’t understand your goal. My best advice to anyone when they ask me my opinion of what they should do about a book, agent, publisher or contract is to figure out what you want and determine the best way to achieve that. Beyond that, I got nothing. Because as you’ll see below, the rules are always changing and what works for me or someone else now may be a no-win choice for you tomorrow. You have to be flexible in this business. You have to dodge and duck and know when to jump or stand still.  None of which you can do effectively if you aren’t sure where you’re headed.

My goal with my sci-fi/fantasy series: To establish my mainstream fiction work and to build a series for a broader audience than my contemporary romance roots, into which I could continue to sell future novels. Simple right?

success failure

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

  • Round about the fall of 2008: Dorchester offers a 2-book deal for my Legacy Series. Dark Legacy to release nationwide in mass market paperback in the fall of 2009.
  • I deliver the book on time, but the advance money isn’t coming from the publisher as quickly as it should. Agent pushes hard behind the scenes, but we don’t pull the book from the schedule. It’s more important to my goal to be established as a mainstream author with bigger stories to sell than my category romance roots, than it is to join in the shrieks of dissatisfaction with the publisher beginning to rumble all over the Internet.
  • Fall, 2009: Dark Legacy in stores, positioned well, I’m signing in the B&N flagship store in New York’s Lincoln Center, and we’re off. Sales are good but nothing fabulous. We can do better, publisher says. My series is repositioned away from traditional romance and closer to the sci-fi/thriller market it’s better suited for.
  • Secret Legacy due to editor in early 2010 for a rushed summer 2010 release because they want to break it out. They’re behind this very different, edgy thing I’m doing with my mainstream work 110%. They’ve also by now paid me the advance I’m owed to date. Agent and I see this as a good chance to shine within a smaller traditional press, so I keep working.
  • Health issues and surgery prevent me from turning the second book in on time. Editor and publisher couldn’t have been more understanding. Deadline for delivering Secret Legacy is pushed to the spring of 2010, with a fall release. It’s the hardest writing period I’ve ever had, and I called my agent to quit more than once, but the book was finished and revised in a gruelingly short amount of time. If nothing else, this experience proved to me that I had to keep writing–if for no other reason than I couldn’t seem to make myself stop.
  • Fall 2010: Serious money spent on my part and committed by publisher to promote the book that should break out, even though remaining advance for the second book on the contract hasn’t yet been paid. However, lots of publisher plans–print and digital promotion. Extensive online blog tour being set up. Again, agent and I are staying focused on the publishing possibilities and my investing in my mainstream future, which means I continue to do my job and play nice while she rattles their cages fighting to get me the money owed.
  • Two weeks before Secret Legacy’s launch: it’s announced on the Internet (not to individual authors) that overnight Dorchester’s pulling their print publishing arm (meaning all my mass market print books are being yanked, never to be distributed retail) and beginning immediately  to shift to a digital first/print on demand business. My break out release: not going to happen. My sizable investment in promoting to mass market retailers and readers: wasted. My remaining faith in publisher: destroyed.
  • (more…)

The Psychic Realm: Reverse Engineering the Brain

Monday, February 6th, 2012

More Dream Theories tomorrow from Dr. C, but Michio Kaku is obsessed with the application of “impossible” physics to every day life, and today in the Psychic Realm, so I am I. He has a lot to say about reverse engineering the brain to understand seemingly “out there” psychic phenomenon, the soul, consciousness and teasing apart neural pathways to one day model (artificially) how all the things we think and sense and feel and don’t fully comprehend work. I’m taking copious notes, every time I dive into one of his books, as I build a contemporary fantasy world around three new Legacy novels. And I’m sharing, ’cause I can’t seem to help myself.


I want to dive deeper into this science with my new family who are discovering they have latent, powerful psychic gifts. What could be better than to have the government’s “Center” taking apart the brain, neuron by neuron, so that computers and other technologies can simulate how empaths and the like do what they do. Imagine my love of Kaku’s books, as they talk about how possible something like this really is!


Basically modern neuro science is developing the ability to understand how the brain works, exactly the way a motor works. Which isn’t to say they’re all the way there yet. (more…)

The Psychic Realm: Spirit Guides. Like camp, only better…

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

The easiest way to remember you way around spirit guides is to think of them like camp counselors, only you’re choosing the camp and the counselors of your next life (told you we’d get around to past life theory), not your parents. And the counselors (spirit guides) have to be dead before you’re born, and are typically from your family line or the immediate acquaintance of someone in your family, so they’ll understand your world.

Okay, dipping my toes into past life theory for just a paragraph. Let’s say for the same of argument that after we die, our spirits are still very much active and aware of our past life history, and some of us do in fact return to learn what we haven’t yet or explore something we’ve missed or make a difference only we can make. Except we won’t remember (explicitly) everything we’ve fought so hard to learn in past lives, or our purpose for returning, at least not at first. Enter Spirit Guides: spirits from that realm we stay in, in between lives, who knew us before we came back and advise, support, and guide us on our newest path.

spirit guides man

Whether you believe the above or not, many of us would have a hard time arguing that there are times when we know for sure that we’re not alone. That there’s someone with us, someone who seems to know us better than we do ourselves, helping us sort through alternatives and find our way. Almost as if that’s their job.

Not to be confused with guardian angels (we’ll do a Psychic Realm post on angels soon, promise), spirit guides aren’t our protectors as much as their our, well, counselors.They don’t intervene or interfere. The theory goes that we start a new life with predetermined purpose and goals that we don’t explicitly remember. Our spirit guide’s job is to, somehow, communicate our purpose to us when we need most to remember the path we chose to take.

It’s a fun concept to play with, and I use it extensively in my next Legacy novel. Call spirit “knowledge” instinct, hunches, or problem-solving dreams, but don’t you wonder sometimes where these amazing clues come from? Is it really our subconscious working out our problems for us, or is someone, some spiritual influence, nudging us along in the right direction? (more…)

Dream Theories: Animals show us the way!

Monday, August 29th, 2011

It’s going to take a few Mondays to cover animal themes in dreams. It’s one of the most frequent symbols I’m asked about. There’s so much to study when you try to analyze animal dreams: your age, gender, current life circumstances, as well as the animal content itself. Ready to dive in?

dream dog

Monday Sept 12th (after we break for Labor Day in between), we’ll do specific animals, so come back in two weeks for fun imagery tips and trade secrets. But before we get into categories of animal symbols, let’s talk about you.The dreamer. Who are you, what in your life is calling these animal images out of your subconscious and into your dream states, and how might even your age be shaping what you see when you sleep?

Did you know that research shows children’s dreams are more likely to reference animals than adult’s? Those who follow my Psychic Realm posts have heard me say that in metaphysics many believe animals are the closest beings on this earth to pure spirits, and that children have a closer connection to spiritual realms/dimensions than adults. Could this be playing out in our young one’s dream cycles? Also, we haven’t gotten to “familiars” in my Psychic series (where I’m researching parapsychology, etc. for a future fantasy series), but in general the theory goes that we all have a totem/animal spirit that’s most attached to us. We tend to gravitate toward these creatures as pets. Is it significant, then, that the majority of animal dreams amongst children (dreams being where our spirits often feel most free) tend to be about their pets? Hmmmm…

A less spiritual way to look at animals dreams is to consider that we’ve grown up associating certain traits, behaviors and emotions to the animals we see and read about. You’ve heard the cliches: stubborn as a mule; sly as a fox; sneaky as a snake. (more…)

The Psychic Realm: Imprints. I’m betting we’ve all felt them…

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Imprints were the stepchild of last Tuesday’s ghosts vs. spirits smackdown: because they’re neither. Now they’re having their day. Imprints are pure energy that we’ve all experienced. Admit it. Ever walked into a room or a building or even an open area, shivered, and known something or someone had been there before you? What you’re likely experiencing isn’t a haunting or a visit from some other dimension–it’s the residual energy from the past.


Imprints happen to a specific place, where a very dramatic event or series of events has occurred.  The theory goes that the emotional impact and sometimes even the imagery from the event(s) literally imprint on the physical space and atmosphere. Future persons who visit the imprint and react to it (many are deeply affected, others find themselves merely uncomfortable in an odd way, but almost everyone has some kind of reaction to these places) then feed even more energy into the powerful phenomenon.

Think of them as energy vortexes. Human like images can be part of them, only adding tot he disturbing, dramatic illusion you experience when you find one. Shadows. Something there out of the corner of your eye, while emotions that aren’t yours flow. But these images aren’t earthbound or alive. They’re echoes. My research tells me that the actual participants in the events that cause imprints are long gone and of no threat to you. Imagine if you will a three-dimensional hologram trapped in a never-ending, never-changing movie scene. One final affirmation that you’re not actually interacting with a ghost or spirit–an imprint’s image never interacts with or even notices the humans that have stumbled across its space.

Examples of how I’m contemplating using imprints in my next Legacy series (dealing with ghosts and hauntings and harnessing the spirit world)?  I read an account of a devestating fire centuries ago in a now historic house that was rebuilt on the site of the event. (more…)

Dream Theories: Changing Gender. The flip side…

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Ever shock yourself in a dream by realizing that you’re experiencing that night’s vision as the opposite sex? Why do we do that? What is our mind’s agenda? Is it more important to focus on the physiology of what we “are” in our dreams, or the psychology of how we’re thinking and behaving differently? Let’s find out–you know, beyond Freud’s obvious interpretation ;o)

dreams silhouette

Let’s face it, these can be bizarre dreams. First of all, what’s going on in all the grey matter that we’d even notice something so strange and disorienting as seeing/experiencing/walking through the world in a different body? You know, it’s our body, but it’s different. We’re different. Almost as if the “me” we know is disappearing and being replaced with someone else. And maybe that’s our first clue.

Could this be an imbalance bubbling to the surface, begging us to take notice? A mask we need to drop? Another part of our personality (masculine of feminine) that needs to take a stronger hold? That’s what I meant with my question about whether the gender change you notice has more meaning to you emotionally, than it does physiologically. In gender-switching dreams, be on the look out for what parts of yourself might be fighting their way out of obscurity. This tends to be so much more important than the outward, glandular appearance of something being different.

The strong emotional reaction we have to a shocking dream like looking down and noticing that our bodies are changing before our eyes can be an opportunity to explore and change and grow. And NOT just in the phallic, penis envy way that Freud and his cocaine addiction would have us believe. (more…)

The Psychic Realm: Spirits vs. Ghosts, The Grudgematch!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Pouring through my parapsychology notes for the next three “Legacy” fantasy novels, the difference between spirits and ghosts comes up a lot. For this Psychic Realm blog series, it’s a classification that most who like but don’t study parapsychological phenomenon can easily miss. These become key distinctions in my next books, because how all this works beneath the plot is just as important as the way the exciting characters play their spooky, exciting stories out on page.

spirits dancing

Some basics (that you many not have gotten from watching things like Ghosts Whisperer):

  • Ghosts are trapped here on earth before passing on to where they’re meant to be next.
  • Spirits have already ascended.
  • Ghosts retain the injuries and scars from their lives and earth.
  • Spirits have healed.
  • Ghosts tend to be confused and befuddled about where they are and why they’re there.
  • Spirits are calm and clear thinking.

What does all this mean?

First of all, no conversation of the spirit world would be complete without a healthy dose of past life theory thrown in up front as a disclaimer. But I’m not gonna go there, at least not in this post. Because I’m difficult, and also because the debate muddles the definitions I want to focus on for now. If enough interest grows either in the comments or my emails, we’ll do past life one day. Promise.

Second, if you think you’re experiencing energy that isn’t your own (or the man/woman sleeping next to you, heh), the simple classifications above can be instantly helpful in determining what might be going on. In my novels, they become road signs/clues to help my protagonists sort out their own messy denial about what is or isn’t happening to their worlds/ minds.

For example, if the “being” you think you’re encountering appears to you as physically impaired in any way–ghost. (more…)

Dream Theories: Losing Your Teeth/Power?

Monday, August 15th, 2011

It’s Monday. Time for another dream theory post, based on the research I do for my sci-fi/fantasy Legacy series. What’s one of the scariest types of dreams I get asked about most? What does it mean when my teeth fall out in my dreams? I’ve had personal spooky moments with this theme myself, and it always gives me the creeps! Shudder. But what does it mean? You know, once I’ve raced to the mirror to make sure everything’s really okay…


First, as soon as you wake (or those of you who find yourself lucid while you’re dreaming, focus as soon as you become aware), ask yourself: were your teeth crumbling, breaking, falling out one by one? The momentum with which you’re losing them can be key. How rapidly, violently, emotionally is the loss happening?

Why? Because dreams about teeth tend to be about control, power, and what’s stopping you from exercising one or both of them in your life. So it follows that the momentum and circumstances surrounding your dream teeth loss might give you insight into the significance of whatever’s triggering the symbol’s appearance.

There are a variety of interpretations about teeth dreams. They’re one of the most common dreams, overall. Pretty much everyone’s experienced it at one time or another:

  • Freud would like us to believe they’re about…wait for it…castration anxiety. WhatEVER (I’m NOT a big Freud fan when it comes to dream interpretation. He always leads with his dangly parts. Someone along the way should have suggested he get a handle on his fixation. Literally.).
  • As far back as Artemidorus’ Oneirocriteria (The Interpretation of Dreams) it was suggested that loss of either the top or the bottom teeth can indicate upheaval in your household.
  • Calvin Hall found that not only do men tend to have teeth dreams more than women (Wow. Really? Just like men have more naked dreams? Hmmm….), but that the prevailing emotion he detected associated with teeth dreams was loss or misfortune. He took a more content approach to his study. Think about it. We lose our teeth spontaneously throughout our lives, through no fault of our own. It’s a loss we have no control over. So, is that the emotional dynamic our minds are working through when they call up this particular type of dream?
  • In Chinese and other cultures,baring your teeth is a sign of aggression/warfare, so losing them in your dreams can symbolize a loss of power.
  • Others have thought that, depending on the type/size of teeth you dream about losing, you could be experiencing a fear of aging (are you losing small/baby teeth or larger/older teeth?). Is it a fear of maturity or responsibility playing itself out in your nighttime fantasies?

But having said all that, and back to my original questions above (HOW are your teeth falling out in your dreams), a more modern interpretation suggests that that teeth dreams are about communication (or realization) of core issues in your life. (more…)

The Psychic Realm: Clairaudience, Clairsentience, Spirit Guides and Apportation

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The BEST part of my research for my new psychic proposal is learning about clariaudience and spirit guides. Both play key roles in the developing series about a new family evolving into a legacy of latent parapsychological gifts. If you’ve ever felt someone near you when no one was there, experienced an epiphany from out of nowhere at the exact moment that you needed it, had a stranger share the precise message or insight that will get you through a personal struggle, or avoided disaster at the last moment because of a random encounter with someone or something that diverted your from danger… Haven’t you wondered if there might just be more intent than whim behind what you’ve encountered?

spirit_guides woods

First, let’s back it up and talk about a spirit world theory that is the basis for new books in my Legacy series and the foundation of a philosophy that says that the energy of beings we can’t see coexists all around us, every second of the day.In a world such as this, spirits surround us but exist in a dimension that most of us are incapable of interacting with. Those most likely to see and hear them tend to be children, because they’re more spiritually conscious and less likely to dismiss an encounter, and animals (whom some believe are the most spiritual evolved beings on the plant).

So, whithout digressing into past life philosophy and a deeper discussion of whether higher/faster plains of existence that we can’t see are possible, let’s agree for the sake of this blog post that spirits of those most of us cannot see and hear do exist. Spirits, the theory goes, of those who’ve died before us and whose energy has passed on to another dimension.

A principle like this opens up a world like the one I’m drawing in my books to fantastic possibilities.

Why? Because what if these spirits were regularly trying to communicate with us, all around us, from wherever their energy has gone? If only we could hear them, what could we learn? How could these souls help (or in some cases) harm those they’ve left behind? In fact, how would they go about getting our intention, while we walk right by and ignore them.

Which brings us to the terms clairaudience and clairsentience–the gifts of being able to hear beings and information from another dimension, or receive and actually experience the physical and emotional projections of those spirits on the “other side” of your dimension, respectively.

Many say children are born with these gifts (that all children have at least one psychic gift). Have you ever witnessed a child talking to her imaginary friend, having a tea party with no one, or repeating something that’s been said to her that she should have no way of knowing? Have you ever wondered how they can be so engaged?  What if they were really hearing, seeing, and interacting with something?

spirit guide

These would be the gifts of people who tell us they communicate with the dead and can pass on information from spirits. (more…)

Dream Theories: Men have more naked dreams than women???

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

We’ve talked about examining, grouping, and interpreting your dreams. Now that I’m back from Summer break, let’s get specific and have a little fun. Starting with getting naked ;o) The most common take on being naked in dreams is that these images represent the dreamer’s fear of being vulnerable. Remember, dreams are all about emotions/feelings. Except, not every culture views nakedness as something to be ashamed of, and not every dream about taking our clothes off in front of other people is about exposing ourselves to ridicule…

naked exposure

Yes, in North America, nudity is most often forbidden, even illegal in some situations. So it’s a normal, literal interpretation to think your naked dreams are about being embarrassed or mortified. And, yes, studies have told us that men have more naked dreams than women. Which, metaphorically, could mean that men have a greater fear of being exposed.

Still, remember that dreams are often not quite as literal as we think they are. What if naked dreams are telling us we’re tired of covering up, and that we’re wanting people to notice something we’ve been hiding too long. What would that say about the men (and women) in our society who dream of letting it all hang out ;o)

In a lot of naked dreams, we discover ourselves standing in front of strangers, rather than keeping parts of ourselves hidden the way we often do in our everyday lives. So, if we feel anxious and cover up, or if we feel proud and confident in front of faceless or nameless onlookers in our dreams, what does that mean?

We’re all born naked and learn to feel embarrassed by our exposed bodies based on cultural and social norms . But in the right places, even in conservative societies, being without clothes is the goal–say when we’re having sex. Naked doesn’t always mean safe. Our naked dreams can be about no longer needing to protect ourselves so closely. They can be about wanting to experience a more natural lifestyle. Which would be a good thing, right?

naked newborn

The types of clothes you dream you’re taking off (or staying in) can be significant, too. Cool, huh? Okay, maybe it’s a girl thing, (more…)