Thursday, 15 December 2011

Penguin Nails

Okay, so its holiday time.
I wanted something more festive than 5 colours of blue creeping up my nails. So, I turned my fingernails into wee little penguins.

Ain't they cute?

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Chocolate Chip Chat Cookies

Viola’s Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies 

            ¾ cup margarine
            1 cup packed brown sugar
            ½ cup white sugar
            2 eggs
            1 teaspoon baking soda
            1 teaspoon vanilla
            1 teaspoon salt
            2 cups flour
            1-2 cups mini chocolate chips

Cream the sugars and the margarine together until smooth.  Beat in eggs. Add Vanilla.  Sift the flour together with the salt and baking soda.  Add slowly to the sugar and egg mix.  When all of the flour is incorporated add the chocolate chips.  Chill for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drop the batter onto ungreased cookie sheets using teaspoons (or use an ice-cream scoop for really big cookies).
Leave room for expansion.  If the cookies look a little tall, squash them down with wet fingers.
Bake them for 10-12 minutes.
Let cool slightly, remove from pan and cool on a rack.

**add 1/2 cup chopped nuts for variety**

Sunday, 4 December 2011

A sneak Peek at Pilot in Command

Dec 15th...the final sector guard book takes us to the beginning when Pilot meets Commander and is sent out on a mass recruitment while the Alliance council tries to shut down the project before it starts.

Helen has enjoyed her tenure as an Alliance pilot, but working with unpredictable crews is wearing on her nerves. When an incident of defense of the innocent via mutiny ends her career, controlling warships is over. Joining the Sector Guard felt right, but if she had known what was ahead of her, she may have held back when the handsome Azon doctor offered her a job.
Hyder has always known the matches that he sees are the perfect mate for the person he is speaking to. He may not know a name, or a location, but he knows what everyone’s perfect match looks like. Seeing himself as the Terran’s perfect match is a surprise, but when he looks her over, he is sure he is up to the challenge. He just has to put Pilot in command.


Helen Taline swung her ship around so that the gunners had full access to the raider ships. They fired back and she felt every impact on her hull like a mild burn.
“Pilot! What the hell are you doing?” The com screamed in her mind, a sound run through the wires that led to her implants.
“I am flying the ship, Captain. Nice of you to ask.” She winced as another strike hit her broadside.
“I told you to clear the area!”
“There are civilians in the area. We are buying them time, Captain.” Her voice was a mock-up of her physical voice translated from electrical impulses into a speaker.
Captain Westerhale was a coward. She had filed numerous complaints against him, but it was a pilot versus the captain. It was not as if she could physically witness anything from inside her tank.
With a quick flick of her mind, she disconnected all manual controls. The crew was in her body, they were going to have to play by her rules.
Her gunners were devastating the raiders and they fell back, but it wasn’t good enough. Keeping the bulk of the Burnt Star between the raiders and their initial targets, she pursued them until an array of ships was lying in her wake.
The captain was screaming into her sensors and she released the control back to the control-room staffers who were trying to cut her override.
She would face disciplinary action for the hijacking of her own ship and she was ready for it. Those family transports had nowhere to hide and for a moment, she had been the only thing between them and disaster. She would do it again.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Short and the Short of it...

Hello, now as most reading this know, I write short stories almost exclusively.
This has caused me some problems with reviewers and readers in the past, but though I have issued three full novels, it doesn't seem to help the matter.

My name is Viola Grace and I write short stories.

To find out why, you have to go back to my roots. WAYYYYY back... When I was a kid, books were my refuge. I could dive in and be in another world.
When we moved from a rural area to the city of Winnipeg, the school I attended had a library...a library... I was in heaven.
At seven, I was a slightly more advanced reader than my peers and dove into the Andrew Lang fairy books. Red, green, crimson, olive...all the books with stories that wrapped you in another world and let you go when everything was sorted.
After fairy tales, it was greek myths, and after mythology, the natural progression in my teens...was comic books.
I had a job at 13. I had to buy my own clothing with that job, but the rest was mine to spend...I picked comic books.
The endless serial of stories that continued again the next month set the pattern for the way my brain thought of stories.
There were books, I loved all the soft sci-fi i could get my hands on...but Comics were my passion. The first thing in my life that was mine alone.

Some of the comics I collected were, Amethyst (my only DC comic), New Mutants, X-Men, X-Factor, X-men Classic, Wolverine, West Coast Avengers, and of course, the Canadian super team of Alpha Flight.

A reviewer once referred to my books as morality tales and with the history of my evolution in reading now shown to you, the good must struggle a little, the evil must be punished and good has to win the day.

The full length novels I wrote were cute and fun, but oddly, my audience enjoys them but they don't draw new readers.
Financially, they tanked.
As much as I love my Nexus books, when they come out it is for fans because they are just not viable as a series.
Gnomes of Suburbia (Nexus Chronicles, #1)Gargoyles in the Round (Nexus Chronicles, #2)Pixies In The Park (Nexus Chronicles, #3)

That said, I had a book I was writing for submission to an editor, but I have decided to write it and give it to Extasy books. Look for Confining Fire in September 2012. The first of 3. one every 6-12 months.

Oh yeah, did I mention? Writing a novel takes me 6 times longer than the equivalent word count of short stories. I can write over a dozen short stories in the time it takes to craft one novel.

Is it about the money? Yup. This is my day job.
It might make me sound mercenary, but everyone likes to get paid for a full day's work. Authors are no different.

When you start you write for yourself, when you evolve, you write for your fans and to find your true voice. When you do it for a living, it becomes a whole different animal.

There. I have spilled my early tales and my motivations...I hope this answered questions that folks haven't asked because it wasn't polite.

Next post, I will discuss why some authors use pseudonyms and why it seemed like a good idea at the time. (not me, Viola Grace is on my driver's license)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Excited...and Queasy

Once upon a time, seven years ago...I received confirmation that my book had been accepted by Extasy Books. Preparing for my grand debut, I started to design my own website.

I determined that I could not have a website up until I had a book to advertise, so my plotting and scheming and the backgrounds my brother made in DAZ studio waited. And waited. and in 2006 my website was born. It has been made and maintained by me for the last five years and I am done with it.

I never contemplated having over a hundred books, let alone making my living from my writing. It was a vague dream that I had never let firm up into reality.

Fast forward to today. A month ago I realized that I need a new website. I have outgrown my old site. My reliable, cartoonish site.

Asking for recommendations I contacted a web developer...paid the bill...and by the new year I should have an organized, professional site up and running.  **crossing my fingers**

My site will remain bright, no grim blacks and nastiness, but everything else is up in the air. Crossing my fingers and back to my writing...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A Short Destiny...

I have fought to complete my full-length novel all summer and I only have one conclusion...I was destined for short stories.

While I can write a full novel, I get bored with the project and lose my focus. I still want to complete Confining Fire, but instead of seeking mainstream publication, I may simply hand it over to my current publisher.

Extasy books has always done a good job with my work, in editing and in cover design (yes, the poser covers are my idea. i like knowing that the story you are about to read does not have any ties to reality)

So, with 1/3 of my novel in place, I have decided to let it sleep and I will concentrate on the stuff that I really enjoy. The short stories that frustrate reviewers and kindle readers alike.

It has been peculiar that folks object to the idea of short stories, but from this moment on, they can stuff it. I am a short story writer and that is where I will pitch my tent.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Reading and Writing don't mix...

As some of you may know, and others may not care but here it is anyhoo... I am bi-polar. This means that I am either up and chipper or mopey and grim. Both show up in my books.
It is under control and I live a fairly normal life, but the ups and downs still happen.
When I am in a down cycle, I read to snap me out of  it. The problem in this is that I was recently reading an erotic series and now I have to write a mainstream book.
So, here I am...working on a Sector Guard book and I am having to censor the hell out of the characters to keep them from jumping each other on the page.  It is a bizarre conundrum and one I have rarely faced before. How to make inherently sexy characters keep to business is my fight and you can let me how I did when Seal the Deal comes out.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

midnight manicure

There. better photos of my nails. I should really stop doing midnight manicures. Sigh...Sadly, I feel that penguin nails will be my 'thing' during the holidays.
Or...falling stars and nebulas. is a dangerous thing.

Now...on to writing. Seal the Deal has taken a weird turn. My friends Dave and Gale had their beloved Samoyd Niki pass on to the great bunny chase in the sky. As such, my solo heroine is joining the Sector Guard with the first pet ever. Maxi will join Counsel as they travel with Contract to assignments.
I look forward to the problems of a large fluffy venomous pet in the confined area of a shuttle.

Oh, and on a Zenina Masters note. The Four Ever More series will resume in December.
There. i am finally using my blog for good and not evil. Well, the nails are a little evil. :)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Why I Hate YouTube

Sigh...okay. I don't really hate YouTube, but it really gives me far too many ideas.
tonight, because i needed something blue on my fingertips for a new book, I painted my nails in a graduated blue-purple pattern with sparkles.
I should have been writing. Sigh...
At this point I am simply thanking my stars that I don't have the nail stamps yet. Those will be here in a month.
The nails are powder blue with a medium blue to dark purple going across them like oncoming twilight. Just the perfect thing to keep the character's skin tone in mind during Seal the Deal.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Vegas...home of pervy ideas.

So...last week I went to Las Vegas for 7 days. I saw Cirque's 'O', the knights in the Tournament of Kings, and Thunder From Down Under. Oddly enough, it was the Cirque performance that stimulated my plotting and scheming genes. Some time in the future there will be a book/short story by me that will combine all three of those ideas into a Terran Times book that will occur back on earth.
That's right. there are aliens amongst us and they are living in Vegas as anyone surprised?

The above Old Tyme photo taken at the Buffalo Photo shop in Circus Circus has my two friends and my humble self. In order from left to right, Barb, Viola (smirk), and Gale.   I still can't believe that they let me hold a gun. (barrel was empty, chambers were empty and it was a replica so no danger of my finger in the trigger).

Out of all the hotels visited in the days I was there, the most fun I had was at Circus Circus. It suits me in some ways I can't describe. :)

Oh, and Tomorrow NIGHT marks the release of Escaping Lightning. My favourite of the fairy tales at Trapezium so far.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My Apologies

Sorry that it has been so long since I posted. I have been wrestling with a slight problem of isn't writer's block, but it is writer's dribble.
Currently, I am working on Intercept, the third book in my Drai/Terran times tales.
Knowing how my characters will react to stimuli is normally an easy thing for me, but Maud has been fighting me all the way. She simply shuts down and while that is a personality trait i am familiar with, it is a hard one to write in an interesting manner.

I am confident that she will snap out of it soon, but working to get her into a situation where she can relax is going to be tricky.
This trickiness has marked Intact, Intensity, and the last two Sector Guard books. the only books that want to come free of my mind easily are the fairy tales and only one of those is released per month.

and you know the reason for my silence. i just couldn't think of what to say. One more block in an autumn of headaches.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Faery Tales and fantastic frolicks

The above books make up my favourite series to date. Faery tales with a sci fi twist are not to everyone's taste, but they are gathering a small but loyal audience. 
I am left with a conundrum. My publisher has agreed to release the books in a bound volume (print book for signing) for RT 2012 (including all 12 tales), and of course for the Lori Foster Gathering 2012.

So...What should the book be called? Grace's Sci-rotic Tales? 
Grace's Tales - Sci fi faery tales for adults.
Weirder by the dozen?

If you have any ideas...let me know. Every bit of inspiration helps...and as tales for Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, All fur, Snow white and others loom before me...Input is vital. :)

Thanks for anyone who can come up with help on the book title.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Making my Characters work for me...

Now, as some of you know, Writing is my day job.
It has been my pleasure to write full time for just over two years now. (two years, two, weeks and three days)
Now, since I have gotten a regular income going, I have decided to pour money back into my house. Based on the series I have written, the breakdown works out sort of like this.

My landscaping was done by the Champions of Terra. As my oldest series they have done more to keeping me in my home and my bills paid than any of my others. They put the bricks into my sidewalk and crafted my patio. Hardworking Terrans, Admaryn, Azon, Avari, a Haldis Emperor and a cranky Dhemon all got together and made my yardwork happen. No more loss of soil or my neighbours yard draining into mine. GO CHAMPIONS!

The Warders are responsible for my next project. A little more modest and closer to home, they will be doing my windows, guarding me against the harsh Winnipeg winters.

Next January, the Terran Times will be called out to work on a new kitchen, while the Sector Guard sponsor my new floors.

In case you think I have forgotten about The Sisters of Silverwood, They bought me a very nice eco-friendly table and chairs for my deck.

Here is wondering what the Hashka can come up with next year...Possibly new bathrooms in 2013.
Who knows with those charming blue whackos.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Once upon a roadtrip...

Last winter I had a wonderful idea. I would drive down to Cincinnati for the Lori Foster Reader Author Gathering and meet some readers and other authors at what was touted as the friendliest environment around. What can I say?
Yes, I am a driving maniac, and Yes, they were correct. I have never been in such a warm and fuzzy environment with so many huggy people.

I spent five days in Joliet on the outskirts of Chicago, meeting and greeting a friend that I have only known previously in online conversations. We went shopping, played Magiquest (with her teen children...twice) and enjoyed the peculiar environment of Medieval Times and the challenge of eating in a dim to dark environment while using only our hands.

After this riotous good time I got my butt back in my car and headed for Cincinnati. With my GPS now sporting the voice of C3P0, I giggled may way through the tolls and snugged into the Marriot of West Chester.

I had previously signed up for the breakfast gathering and even losing an hour by heading east, managed to get up and into the main hall for breakfast across the way at Bob Evans. I sat with authors, a reader and the event photographer enjoying a lively discussion of everything from the layers of ordering that some dishes required (eggs - doneness, meat - type, sausage - configuration, toast- species) By the end of the list I had a fork to my throat and I was willing to use it.

After breakfast I returned to the hotel and met my writing partner. It was slightly odd as I recognize her from her photo, but no camera has yet been able to capture my soul. ;-)
We greeted, hugged and arranged to meet later.
I had donated some of my needle felted dolls as centrepieces and sat down at the table that sported them, introducing myself to a lovely and friendly reader group from Kentucky, one of whom who had actually read and enjoyed my work.
I stifled a tear as Dawn Z. told me she had a print copy of Champions of Terra for me to sign and I informed her that I was not going to be parked in the hall for an official 'signing'. She found me anyway.

I met several authors that I had previously known by name and spent every moment I could with Tianna and her husband. Meeting two additional authors from Extasy Books was also a treat and Missy Martine and Tim Smith were perfectly charming. If fate is kind I should have a picture of all four of us as there were several of them taken by the official gathering photographer.

Energized by the open friendliness of the gathering, I headed for home on the Sunday and made it home Monday evening.

Next year I will be attending RT 2012 in Chicago as well as the Lori Foster Gathering and enjoying my local sci-fi/fantasy con in between. It is going to be one frenzied spring and I am looking forward to it.

As a final note, I cannot say enough good things about the Hampton Inn Joliet I-55. They went above and beyond and had the cleanest, friendliest facility I have ever been to.
 If you are staying in the suburbs of Chicago, this is one Inn you would not regret staying in.

You may have noted the word Friendly came up a lot in this post...when you are traveling alone, friendly counts for everything. I was out of my country, away from my friends, family, and surroundings I was used to and having smiling faces greet me was what made the difference between me staying in my room and coming out to play with the folks who belonged to those faces. Thank you Tianna, Kevin, Trixie, Dawn, Wendy, Lily, Cathy, Kathy, Belinda, Mary (and the rest of the Canadian contingent that invited me to the bar). It made all the difference.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Good decisions/bad decisions

Good go to my friend's place in Illinois five days before the Lori Foster Reader Writer Get Together.
Bad do the first 12 hours of a 15 hour drive in one shot. ow ow ow ow ow.

Now, being from Canada, interstates creep me out, and having to depend on my GPS is daunting...but i made it through the 12 hours of driving without any honking from folks behind or beside me.
I am now nine hours from ohio, but only 2.5 from chicago. whew. Driving is hard.
At least on the way home next week, I have divided my time more evenly. only 10 hours per shot. I think I might fly next year if I do the Gathering again.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Confining Fire...Wave of Power series

Yes, That is my title.  Confining Fire. 
Ideally, the book will be the first of three. Confining Fire, Controlling Fire and Unleashing Fire.
So far the heroine has attended her nephew's birthday party, been arrested, and is sentenced to be launched into space with a bunch of other folks who gained superpowers in an event five years earlier.
A friend volunteered to do an edit for me and she is enjoying the slow build in the book with the flashes of action. so, here is hoping I can find a representative for it and can hit the bookshelves like a big girl...wait, i am a big girl. a grown up?
Nah, if you are here you know I will probably never grow up. :)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

What I have learned so far...

Okay, the book I am working on combines a regular bunch of human ladies, paranormal abilities, evil aliens, a hole in space and a planet full of alien superheroes who have been left to die.
So far it is coming slowly but surely.

Now...I just wonder if there is anyone out there who wants to read it when it is done? Believe it or not, many authors, myself included, are not sure if a new series/book will capture an audience.  I am hoping it will, but braced for anything.

 That is my business plan. Brace for anything. :-)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

On your mark...get set...Time Off!!!

Twisted of me, I know, but to keep from burning out I need to take a rest now and then.
This month I am attending my local sci-fi convention as me, and the first week of June I will be attending the Lori Foster Gathering in West Chester, Ohio. (I won't be at the book signing, too much paperwork to bring my stuff over the border)

But...the true dark secret to my time off is...I am working on a complete novel to submit to an agent at the Lori Foster Gathering. Yes...its out in the open. though I love writing short stories and ebooks...
While I have some books in paperback, due to the nature of ebook publishers they are not available in stores (well, McNally Robinson in Canada, but that is the only place you can find them in person).

I am a huge nerd, I really really really want to have one book on a shelf somewhere...I want to do another book signing, I want to meet the folks who read my work.

The amount of work that I have to go through to do a book signing for the books that are Print on Demand (POD), is ridiculous. And since all of the printers are in the US, and I am Canadian, it is a pain in the butt to bring them into the country en masse.

So, my dark secret is that I want a regular book on a regular bookshelf that I can do a regular book signing for. I love the thrill of seeing my name on a book cover, and want to have it in every bookstore in the city. ;) 
Not a horrible thing as goals go.

And so, to sum up a long rant, I will be spending the next month writing a novel in a new universe with new characters and new superpowers. If you want me to keep you posted, I will. :)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Okay, a few more short books...

Chase is going to remain a shorter book, as will it's companion the final of the CH series  Chasm.

My sister had her graduation and it caused a three day delay in my writing time. :)  
This is just a heads up for those expecting the longer books to commence immediately, it ain't happening quite yet.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

An author's voice

In the last year there have been two incidences of plagiarism that have rippled through the ebook community. One was handled quickly and quietly, the other has been made public in the most obvious of ways.  I have one question for the 'authors' involved. What were you thinking?

Readers are loyal, they read an author's books and enjoy the cadence of the voice that the author uses. If they come across a book in the same genre that uses that voice, they know it. Emails are sent to the publishers, publishers compare notes and a ripple of books disappear from the internet.

That's right. The only place that these books are now available is from the pirate sites that had copies of them.
Since I am not naming the authors here, those who are curious will have to remain so.

The cases I am referring to involved the plagiarist ripping close to or an entire chapter out of a could they not know they would be discovered. Those who read in a genre are devoted and intense. A new author is a potential treasure. To find that author has ripped off one of the most beloved of their grouping sends a shock wave of fury through them. This is not something that the readers will ever forgive.

Some folks turn to the publishers and ask why they didn't catch the plagiarism before it went to print. There are a few reasons for this. One of which is that the time it takes to run a complete scan looking for duplicates of the words is prohibitive. The other main that the AUTHOR signs a contract stating that they own all the rights and all the words in the document are their sole creation. (I am paraphrasing.)And that the work is not based on any work of existing fiction.  If someone counterfeits a bill, do you blame the person who gets it in payment or the one who passes it off as real?

Though theft may have been what seemed like a good idea at the time to get the story going, having folks on the lookout for the latest plagiarist in any incarnation is going to make re-entering the publishing world almost impossible. To steal the fruit of someone elses thoughts is the lowest of the low, and this community will not forget or forgive.

To bring a book to completion and out into the world is a labour of life energy, of love, enjoyment, and is a lot of work. The moment someone steals that effort from you and claims it as their own is the harshest of outrages. Would you do a job if someone else was getting the paycheque?

As anyone who has ever met me knows, my speaking voice is the same as the one in my books. I take pride in my words, and I know each and every source.

Thank you for listening,
I do all my own stunts. :)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Achieving goals and what comes next...

Alrighty.  I have created my 100th book... and now I need to get to the next one. Moving my mind forward is easy enough, but getting it to settle on one topic/plot is the hard part. Should I build in drama? Light bondage? A hunt?  I think I will just finish my Beauty and the Beast tale as a Trapezium exclusive for some distant release date... Asylum Mine will be done tonight.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Book 100 comes out tonight...

It took a bit of time, but I managed to complete book 99 (Shaken and Stirred). It is not my strongest work, but it is a cute story that will be continued in Echo in Time.

With Tosha and Micix squared away it was time to work on Captive of the Stars...or as I call it...Book 100.

I started Captive last summer when I took a few weeks off to work on anything that fluttered through my thoughts, so it was with some surprise that I realized I had named the female lead Nasha. Tosha and Nasha have been destined to debut since the moment I first put pen to paper. Or, fingers to keyboard. It just goes to show you the horrible truth...I forget most of my work the moment that I send it to the editor.
The book changed from my original idea. The characters shifted and the harsh edges that had seemed so reasonable in August were now softened by my mood of the Spring. Being a stream of consciousness author, I play a movie in my mind and simply dictate what I see. The characters determine what will happen next and if I write mean people or conflicts that I can't resolve, I get downright cranky.

To all the readers...thank you for hanging in there with me...Not all of my works have been fabulous and you have told me when I stumbled. The honesty has been tempered with kindness and for that I thank you as well. Many reviewers can be a little harsh with authors of fluff (in which category I firmly place myself) and they take umbrage when there is not enough conflict. 
It seems that those reviewers just do not get it. I am not out to highlight conflict, I want to make people smile. I want to lighten their day, I want them to forget the outside world for just a little while and reenter it with a lighter heart.

Improving someone's day has been my goal over the last 100 books and it is up to the readers to determine whether they want me to continue or not.

I wonder what book 101 will be like...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Your Biggest Fan...

Some of you may have written me at one point or another, some follow my work, some think I suck out loud, but to anyone who has ever read one of my books, I am your biggest fan.
Along the way, many authors forget that without someone to purchase their books, they are engaged in something that amounts to verbal masturbation.
My personal philosophy is that you are a writer when you put pen to paper and an author when someone you don't know reads your work. I have done a lot of mentoring over the last few years and that is the one thing that creates the demarcation mark for newbies. Sometimes it makes them acknowledge that while they want to write, they never want someone else -- a stranger -- to read it.
Many have told me that the most recent blockbuster movie looks just like their book and to them I have to say "I call bullshit."
There are apparently only a dozen or so master plots in the world, it is the author's interpretation that makes the story line original. You can't avoid similarities, but you can put your own twist on the wonderful world of your own making.

It came to me as a bit of a shock the day that a reviewer referred to my books as 'enthralling morality tales'. Had I been lecturing my readers? I went over the stories and realized that I had.
They didn't complain, and many enjoyed it, so I came to realize it was 'my style' and went on with writing. If they didn't enjoy my work, they never would have bought the next book in the series.
 And favourite part of the process began...the emails. I started to get fan mail from those who enjoyed my work, it made them laugh, it kept them smiling and occasionally it exhausted their husbands. Each letter made tears come to my eyes. These folks were enjoying what I had spun out of my mind and were looking forward to more.

How could I resist?

To my Readers...I am Your Biggest Fan...
Thank you.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

My Beloved Champions

The Champions of Terra is and will probably always be my most beloved series. Not only did they garner me some sales, but they let me settle into my sci-fi genre with some confidence. Being a nerd, I was quite comfortable in the land of speculative fiction and enjoyed every moment I could spend in the Alliance with my Champions.

When I first conceived of the Champions, it all began with Amy Tyrell. The image in my mind of a woman dressed from head to toe in concealing armour was a beacon to me. What would it be like to live where you could touch no one and no one could touch you? Why would anyone agree to it to begin with?
She had to be the mover and shaker in the Alliance. She had to be the one behind the scenes making things happen.
With Amy as a pivotal character, the plot for the others started to roll along. Kyra was the catalyst, she found the lost planet of Admar and set the rest of the events in motion. On the way to the planet she had discovered she was kidnapped and her violent reaction got her sent to the Arena Station where she met her match.
Amy is there when she is found, but what we don't know is the other three women involved have been twisted into the circle by events.
Samantha was a hunter who tracked Kyra after Sarah had pinpointed her location by watching the mating vid. Annabelle was the Pilot of the warship that transported the attack vessels to Arena Station. These women were all in the same place at the same time and didn't even know it.

Amy Tyrell steered each of these women, these Champions of what it meant to be human into stable relationships with men who complimented their diverse characteristics.

Now, what few readers know is that the origin stories for each champion were included in the Print copy of Champions of Terra available at Amazon.
When the books went to print, it was a sneaky thing for me to plant their origins and basic training in the back of the book, but I consider it a 'special feature'. :)

The Champions went up with only a bit of a fuss. The fight for the cover art was one of my first. With the light nature of my books a Manga style cover was produced, unfortunately the main character had a gun pointed right at the reader. I hate guns. So, I whined, begged and pleaded, and eventually was able to describe the sort of 'Bond girl' silhouette from the beginning of the movies. The Champions are all different, races, colouring and physiques. The concession was that I would use the same cover for all five books. 
Many new authors do not ever earn back their cover art, but since I was positive that there would be an audience for them, I agreed to the change in text colour for each book. Angela Waters did the artwork and she got what I was aiming at. I was very happy when the cover art was done and my Champions were launched.

I think it adds a unification to the series, to have the same cover, but there was an added selling point for me. No one at the time was using colourful covers. It made my books stand out and once they were blinded by the pink and purple and read, they stayed for the excerpt.

To those of you who have read the Champions, thank you for helping me to get a toe hold in the sci-fi erotica readership. They laid the foundation for the Sector Guard and the Terran Times, and I wouldn't be here without them.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Holy SNERT! Never Again!!!!

Today marks my 98th individual release under my Viola Grace name (not including Anthologies or co-writes), okay, technically it is 99, but who's counting?
Never again will I have 4 books out on the same day. Each had its challenges, and this is where you get to hear about them.  (do you like my use of commas? my editors spend most of their time picking them out).
We will begin with the book finished first. My contribution to the new bookstore that Extasy has acquired, Trapezium Ebooks.

Now, I love fairy tales. and my first book of for the Trapezium Exclusives was well received, so Flight and Fantasy took shape in my mind. The retelling of the ugly duckling came easily to me. I love fairy tales, fables and touches of steampunk. This story had it all in one tiny package.
Here is a secret that no one knows, so don't tell. I can't really write well until I find or have a picture to work from. Once I see the picture I spin the story to make it happen.
I saw the bodysuit and wings and knew that Annanya was in a flight suit competition. A wingless woman in a world of angels. She doesn't use a sword in the book, but it looks cool, so I went from there.

Next on the hit parade was for my alter ego. I don't get my regular editor for the Zenina Masters books, so I try and finish them first.

For those who don't know, I use the Zenina Masters name so I can write stuff that is outside my normal purview without freaking out my regulars. So the Zenina stuff is a little coarser, more violent and yes, each book features foursomes. I don't mind writing triads as Viola, but for foursomes, it is easier to put the Zenina mask on. If you buy something under Zenina, no reader can tell me that they were shocked by content. (in a later post, I will tell you why I created my alter.)
Anyhoo...This is my dragon shifter menage. I love the dragons and will eventually write a Viola set of the Terran Times where Drai (dragon) sleepers wake and have their wicked and determined way with the Terran Volunteers.
Take Me On was the first of the Shifter Sets, and with three more of those to go, I am cautiously optimistic.

Then there was Multiple Organisms.
Now, earlier I said that I wrote from a picture. Not true in the case of the Sector Guard. All of the book titles exist right now and I use those to tell me what will happen. This title made me laugh when I thought of it, and I still smile every time I see it.
I use my books as free therapy. I work out all of the slights and insults I have ever received and I turn them into entertaining stories. So it is for Drahali. She is a character known for her strength and nothing else. She wants to be seen for everything she is, not just the one aspect. In my opinion, something a lot of women struggle with today.
So, the story took off and Remar ended up with the same hangups from the other side of the gender spectrum. They are orphans in the emotional issue storm, but they begin working to a mutually beneficial attraction by the end of the book. Yes ladies, he can be six men at once, but there is no sex in this book. :)  Neener, neener, neener.

Ah, Chaos was an easy write. It didn't fight me like Take On Me did. It simply wove itself gracefully into a story that made me smile in the end. The bears on the cover made me laugh and I knew it had to be a multi-shifter book. Her graceful gown was too pretty for her surroundings, so she became the reluctant avatar of a planet. Zora had her own issues. Grumpy any time she was around crowds or out of her element she turned into a sweetheart the moment they touched down and she could enjoy the white glow of the new world. 
I was halfway through writing this book when I noticed that I had never given the guys their first names, so I kept it that way. She lives, laughs, loves (yes, this is a menage) and snarls at her men while calling them by their last names. They never mentioned their first names and she didn't think to ask.
The part of my brain displayed here is my innate grumpiness with my complete inability to learn names. 

So, when I next post about my current books, I will keep you informed about my countdown to number 100.
The books will be Captive of the Stars at Extasy, and Shaken and Stirred at Devine Destinies...which one should get to wear the badge of book 100, I wonder?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A public appearance and publisher disaster...

This segment is all about the trauma of my first 'coming out' as an author at my local sci-fi/fantasy con. And the Warder's Djinn was the stresser.

In the weeks before the event, I begged the EIC to have the book ready and released by the convention. It had been sitting in files for months, and each time I inquired about it, I was told that someone else was holding the books back.
When the week of the convention dawned, I was panicked. There was no sign of my title and I was freaking out. I had volunteered to do panels at my convention on writing, and with only one lost little book behind me, I wasn't really as impressive as the guest that was accompanying me. When you have a bestselling author next to you at a panel, you want to appear competent, but my hopes were slowly being flushed down the toilet.
Frantic emails were sent and assurances were given that the book would be up. (I later found out that the CEO had posted it to the website while the EIC had forgotten all about it for the ninth time.)
I did my panel on Sex in Fantasy, held my head high, and returned home after the convention to find that the publishing house I worked for had cracked in two over the same weekend I had just spent introducing myself to the world as Viola Grace.
Many stories were handed around, and I asked a few of the 'reliable sources' what had happened. Unfortunately for them, they changed their record of events between the first week and the fourth. This is why I keep all business related emails. People embellish, embroider and get creative.
Stick to the truth and you don't have to worry.

A strange thing happened in the chaos of that fallout. I panicked and asked to pull the books I had in the hopper, and the CEO called me for the first time. She asked me for time, gave me publishing dates, and everything I had was edited as soon as an editor could be arranged. 

Sick to my stomach, I wrote a series based on a character I called Nakedella. It was a fun flighty romp, and since I was unaware of dealings behind the scenes, I offered the book to the ex-EIC and she accepted it for her new company.

My publisher's CEO worked through the amazing backlog that she had been unaware of. She started over and I was surprised to find that my books were selling. 

It took nerves of steel that I didn't know I had to let the books come into the light, slowly but surely. They did, and I found out something that I had known all along. Sci-Fi erotica sells.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

My first Book and what the heck is going on...

Wardstone was out, the third party seller known as Ebookad was selling it and I was excited.

Something strange started happening to the Ebookad website. It was there one day, gone the next and back again. Finally, 6 weeks after my book release, Ebookad was gone. No one had an idea of what was going on.

It turns out that this third party seller had not paid their bills. Their website was 'unplugged' by their server, and now all of the publishers were stuck without having been paid.

Now, most folks are unaware that if our publisher's don't get paid, we don't get paid. It is in our contracts. And so with this disaster, not only did my first sales go up in smoke, but I had no idea when or if my next book would come out.

Not an auspicious start to a new writing career.

My publisher took out a personal loan and paid out all of the ebookad sales that she could find. This gave me payment for the first 14 books I ever sold. Despite the roiling nausea that was filling me at this point, I was encouraged. People were willing to read my work and I had 11 books in the hopper by now at my publisher. This might work out after all.
Now, I just needed another book to be released...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A Game of Patience

Well, with six books seething in the hopper, I kept writing. No release dates came my way and when I queried about it, I was told there were problems with the new site, that the CEO was holding things back (found later to be untrue. CEO was shocked when she saw the size of the backlog.), and that sci-fi didn't sell.
During NanoWriMo, I created the Warders. The Warder's Djinn, the Warder's Dragon and the Warder's Wolf.

Still nothing was on the horizon for a release, and when a new author who had taken a space in the 'Sins and Virtues' collection had a nervous breakdown, I stepped in and took Anger.

This book was GUARANTEED to come out on Feb 14th with the rest of the books in the series so I wrote up a storm and almost went nuts in the process. My heroine did the same, so we were crazy together.

My release date finally arrived and I was giddy with excitement. Due to a problem with setting up a new website, the publisher's site was down and the books were listed at a well trusted third party seller...

Two weeks from the first release of my first book...Things went sideways.

Monday, 21 March 2011

In the Beginning...

With the 100 looming and my desperation to avoid writing, I have decided to tell a story.

 Once upon a time, a friend who is hooked on a variety of erotica and porn showed me a free site called Literotica. He and his wife both told me that I could probably write as well or better than many of the authors who were there and I should try it. So I did.

 Dragonlord appeared chapter by chapter and with the feedback provided by the readers I was able to tailor my work to what they seemed to want.  I wrote it to a happily for now, and then had to start on a few other stories.
 The Champions of Terra started to take shape, I took the criticism over 3 years, learned from it, and kept going with each 1.5-3k installment. I felt confident in my writing and I worked those stories into submission length should I send them?
I attend a few sci-fi/fantasy cons and I ran into an author who had a certain sparkle in her eyes. I spoke to her after the panel and she mentioned that she would have liked to have been able to talk about her other area of expertise, and I knew in that instant that she wrote erotica. I asked her about where she was published and she gave me the website. Imagine my delight when I saw they were based in Canada!
 I sent in my first submission and held my breath. Arena Station was out in the world and someone was assessing it. When the okay came through and my first book was accepted I ran around the sound making a high pitched teakettle noise. I had no idea then that it would be 18 months before my book saw daylight, that the EIC thought 'sci-fi doesn't sell'. I was wallowing in happiness and soon submitted The Wench and the Giant, Deal with a Dhemon, Avari Nyx, and of course, my favourite to this day, Haldis Imperium.
These books sat and waited...and waited...and waited...and I just kept writing.

In the next installment, I will tell you what happened next on my road to my first published ebook.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

100 is around the corner...

With one hundred solo ebooks right around the corner, I decided to begin a blog about what goes through my head as I work on these books. Some may be interested, some may not, but here it is for anyone to see.

These are the first three books that will take up the bulk of the next few weeks of discussion. Take Me On is fighting me all the way. Getting three men in bed with one woman is trickier than it appears.