Posts Tagged ‘Legacy Series’

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…)

Dream Theories: Dr. C Wades in on Imagery!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Everyone, welcome “Dr. C” back to the Dream Theories club house! You’re gonna like her “real world” take on dream inages, to go along with my more metaphysical ramblings ;o)


Dream Imagery: “Where did that come from?”

Dream imagery has both straightforward and random aspects to it. I know Anna has covered some of this in earlier posts from a layperson perspective, so I’m here to give you the skinny from a psychological professional who deals with it on a weekly basis. First, I’m going to review some major theories of dream imagery and interpretation using a case study familiar to us all:

Client Name: Ebenezer Scrooge
Age: 70-ish (adjusted for modern life expectancy, etc.)
Occupation: Banker and Curmudgeon
Presenting Problem: Very vivid nightmares, particularly around the holidays.

“You don’t believe in me,” observed the Ghost.
“I don’t,” said Scrooge.
“What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?”
“I don’t know,” said Scrooge.
“Why do you doubt your senses?”
“Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

- “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, 1843


When clients tell me about their dreams, a common statement is, “I have no idea where that image came from!” (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…)

Dream Theories: Parasomnia, Brains Gone Wild!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Welcome back guest blogger “Dr.  C” to Drem Theories. She’s sharing her in-house know how about the sleeping mind. Today, let’s spook our way through the confused and abnormal disruption (and potential trauma) parasomniacs endure.This is the kind of science I LOVE to play with in my contemporary psychic fantasies. Understanding more about how our brains work in sleep and out, makes me a happy geeky girl ;o) And it opens worlds of plotting happiness for even bigger and more exciting stories about worlds that play out in our minds alone. Bwahahahaha!!!

So read on, then come back to Dream Theories often to hear more of my meanderings about my personal dream research–and more from Dr. C., as she feeds my (and your) imagination about the physiology behind oursleeping brains’ most intriguing, if disturbing, patterns. If you look closely enough, even in today’s post, you’ll see the bones of the “fringe” science on which I crafted the parapsychology of my first two Legacy books. No, NOT Exploding Head Syndrome (though I don’t know HOW I missed that one!).


Don’t forget to ask Dr. C. your strange dream/sleep questions in the comments… She’s SO much fun to talk to ;o)


Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.  ~William Dement

Lady Macbeth: Out, damn’d spot! out, I say!—One; two: why, then ’tis time to do’t.—Hell is murky.—Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our pow’r to accompt?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? ~William Shakespeare, Macbeth

What do these two quotes have in common other than being by men named William who like to ponder the weird things people do in their sleep?  It is often assumed that parasomnias, or “…unpleasant or undesirable behavioral or experiential phenomena that occur predominantly or exclusively during the sleep period,” (Mahowald & Bornemann, Principles & Practices of Sleep Medicine, 4th ed.) have their roots in some sort of psychological distress, including guilty consciences.  However, the cause is more physiological than psychological.

If you’ve learned to drive a stick-shift car or been in a car with a failing transmission, you know how it stalls out or moves jerkily from one gear to another if something is off, either with the driver’s clutch timing or in the transmission itself.  Remember that hypnogram from last week showing the different sleep stages?  Sometimes the brain doesn’t shift smoothly from one stage to another, or it gets interrupted, and that’s when parasomnias can occur.

brain (more…)

The Psychic Realm: The Subconscious Mind’s Power

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Dr. C. will be back in our Dream Theories series next week, giving us more inside skinny on cool sleep know-how. But first–let’s dip into The Psychic Realm and talk about the power of the subconscious in day dreams!Wonder what the Doc will think about my wacky take?…


This grey area of dreaming became the premise for the fringe science in Dark Legacy for a reason–many believe the “alpha” brain activity we enter during states like meditation, biofeedback and daydreaming is where our subconscious mind is at its most accessible and potentially powerful. Hence, in my first psychic thriller this was the “active” state dream scientists were attempting to trigger behavior in, using a persons “programmed” subconscious connection to what had already happened while they dreamed. In my books, the unconscious/unaware mind was programmed by psychics, so that the sub-conscious mind could be triggered when the brain is at it’s peak “concentration efficiency”–that is, during walking, waking daydreams.

But what does this mean for you and me? A lot of really cool stuff, if you’re looking for ways to plug into your creativity and awareness and the power of the mind-body connection. Our minds move through natural cycles, or at least they try to. Alpha, Beta (full consciousness), Theta/Delta (sleep) rhythms. We need all of them to function well, and factors like stress, nutrition, chemicals, and fitness/exercise can contribute or disrupt the way our minds function in each state. How balanced our brain function is as our thoughts move through these states determines how in touch we are with the worlds both outside and within our own thoughts. And some would say, the reality within our minds is the key to being fully aware and fully engaged in our existence.

75% of our waking minds (in Beta state) are wrapped up in keeping our bodies functioning and moving. That leaves only 25% to deal with conscious thoughts. But in Alpha, when we let our minds wander (even in focused ways such as meditation), the efficiency of our subconscious thoughts peaks at 95 to 100%.Mystics and psychics would say this is the brain rhythm to tap into, to be at your most aware to messages and signs. Parents would say this is when they see the true potential of their children shine through. Writers and other artists would say that this is the world they must “dissociate” into, in order to create. What do they see, these “seers,” when they let their undirected minds wander? What would you see, if you set aside time daily to do the same? (more…)

Dream Theories: Sleep Myths Debunked!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Welcome guest blogger “Dr.  C” to Drem Theories. She has great sleep and dream facts and myths to share and bust for us! A PHD in clinical psychology with a specialization in sleep disorders, she’s giving us awesome insight into what’s happening to our minds and bodies as we dream. She’s also a fantasy author and has been a great “real world” resource for me as I write about dreams and parapsychology and metaphysics and all the other “brain” stuff I use as I create my contemporary fantasy worlds.


Read on for some sleep basics (types and stages and helpful hits about sleeping better yourself). You’re sure to learn something new. Ask questions, get her talking about all that she knows, heckle, or whatever else entertains you ;o) I know I’m going to!

Next week: more of my Dream Theory insights based on the research I’ve done for my Legacy series. Dr. C will be back in two weeks, with all her knowledge and confirmation that I’m a quack and that she’s the sleep expert, and that you should all be listening to her instead of me ;o)


Thanks, Anna, for inviting me to do this series of guest blog posts! 

People do weird things in their sleep.  It’s one reason I love being a sleep psychologist – I rarely hear the same stories twice.  Also, I feel I can make a huge and almost immediate difference for my patients, and I get to be a “Myth-buster” of sorts.  Yes, there are lots of myths going around about sleep and dreaming, so for my first post, I wanted to take the opportunity to “bust” some common misconceptions. All of these have been said by several of my patients.

Myth #1:  If I don’t remember my dreams, I must not be having any.

To address this one, we need to back up a bit and talk about some sleep basics. We have different stages of sleep from lighter to deeper, and when you go in for a sleep study, the doctors and techs can tell what stage you’re in by the kind of squiggly lines your brain is putting out on the EEG channels.  There are two main types of sleep:  Rapid Eye Movement sleep and non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep.  We progress through non-REM to REM in cycles.  Here’s a hypnogram to illustrate how we do it:


Here are the stages within types.

Non-REM sleep: (more…)

The Psychic Realm: Apportation Rocks Our World!

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

While we get serious about sleep science in next week’s Dream Theories, lets go fantastical about flow of energy between this dimension and others. In other words, how the “other” worlds around us mess with things in ours.

apportation hands

One of the cool things about researching sci-fi/fantasy novels where I get to make up my own rules, is starting with some already-defined dynamics that I get to lift from particle and quantum physics. You know, the physical laws that tell us how things move and flow, and how this type of matter interacts with that kind, and what the boundaries are, and the state of things as we know them. Then, as the writer, you get to blow things out of their defined buckets and have some fun.

apportation cat

Add in the parapsychological world of thought, which some of the physical laws lend themselves to if only we could bend a few known factors here and there, and we’re cooking with gas.

Apportation is one of these areas, where if you can suspend belief about how we currently think light and matter flow, and if you will accept that multiple dimensions exist on different planes within the same space, moving at different speeds so they’re typically invisible to one another, then you can arrive at the premise that someone or something from one dimension could be capable of moving objects within another. (more…)

Dream Theories: Falling and Flying Your Way to Tomorrow

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Do falling dreams predict an incident to come? No. Well, maybe, for some of us who feel the energy of our dreams in our waking worlds. Bwahahaha… For others, you could simply be “falling” into sleep. Or, there might be deeper psychological meanings. Let’s take a look!

falling impressionistic

Do you fall or fly, surrounded by vivid imagery and wrapped up in a story line? Are you feeling anxious or soaring? These are key indicators that you’re mind’s processing how you’re feeling about something that’s happening or about to happen in your life that you’re worried about. And if you’re always falling and never hit bottom? Maybe you’re feeling out of control, with no sense that you can take charge. You’re, quite simply, taking a leap of faith.


Far from crashing into the ground meaning that you’re going to die, it can often mean that you’re ready to make the choice you’ve been avoiding. (more…)

Dream Theories: Retrievers & Wolves & Seals, Oh My!

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Dogs are best friends. Wolves are wisdom. Seals are over-the-top aspirations…Three of the animals readers asked me to share after my last Dream Theory post. But generic symbolism is just the beginning. It’s not you. Do you dream about your dog, friendly or ferel wolves, swimming or land-locked or tame seals?

Ok, some linky links to start the day off right:

That said, let’s talk about you ;o)

Dream Golden Retriever

Depending on the strength of what you’re feeling about those golden retrievers in your dreams, you could be celebrating a growing friendship or mourning a relationship that’s in trouble. (more…)

The Psychic Realm: Animal Totems

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

To continue this weeks animal theme, let’s talk about the loyalty and protection of the animal spirits we attract. Yep. Totems. You know, metaphysical protection and guidance. Don’t scoff, like I did at first. Animal imagery has played a large role in my fantasy work, at first unintentionally. The images you see on my covers came to me as my characters’ dream sequences organically evolved. Then I began researching the underlying meanings of the animals I was weaving into my work, then the animals I’ve invited into my own life, the ones that fascinate me, and I began to wonder… What is it about animals that seem to comfort and inspire and challenge us creatively, the way nothing else does?

animal totem owl

Keep in mind that I’m doing non-stop reading and research into all things interesting and barely there, to help me build an alternative contemporary world that will support the next series of books I’m crafting. The theory goes that we choose our animal totem or guidea in another dimension, before we begin our lives in this one. From birth, these loyal creatures then are powerfully attracted to us, bringing us what we need for our journey.

So, I guess it’s pretty important what totem you choose, huh?

animal totem skunk