Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Date of Publication: December 1, 2015
Number of pages: 320
Cover Artist: Steven Meyer-Rassow
Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.
Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.
As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.
“Caeli, is everything okay?” he asked while they sat by the fire and she prepared their food.
She didn’t look at him but nodded. “It was a small group of Amathi soldiers. They were on the other side of the river coming through a pass, but heading in the opposite direction.”
“Do you think they might be looking for my ship?” Derek asked, a knot of dread forming.
“It’s possible,” Caeli acknowledged hesitantly.
“Shit,” he cursed under his breath.
“Or they could just be looking for ore deposits. Anyway, it would take some effort for them to get to this side of the river. It’s why I chose to make camp here. We’re okay. At least for a while.”
I don’t want to run anymore. Caeli didn’t speak out loud, but Derek heard her as clearly as if she did. Her face held a haunted look he hadn’t seen before, and despite her reassuring words, he knew she was more worried than she was letting on.
She passed him a bowl but didn’t take one for herself. Anxiety poured off her, and he didn’t have to be empathic to feel it.
Carefully, he put his bowl aside and turned to face her. “Caeli, how did you escape from Novalis?”
She looked in his eyes and then dropped her gaze to the ground. “I didn’t.”
1. A completed manuscript is a draft. It isn’t even close to the finished product!
Typing the last word on the last page of my first novel was one of most satisfying things I’d ever done. Writing a book had been on my bucket list of personal and professional accomplishments for years, and when it was finally finished, I was giddy. But, wow, I look at that manuscript now and cringe! Clunky writing, character issues, and loads of info dumping littered my pages.
The thing is, that’s okay. That’s a first draft! But thinking the first draft is ready for the world to embrace, well, that’s a rookie mistake. Don’t get me wrong; completing a first draft is an accomplishment of epic proportions! Celebrate! Rejoice! And then proceed to edit!
2. Everything takes longer than you think in the publishing world.
It took me three and a half years to bring Horizon from the first word to print, and that’s considered quick! But I’ve learned you can’t rush the process. I wanted a finished product I could be proud of, and it required a lot of time and effort to make that happen.
3. Independent publishing means starting and running your own small business. It’s a viable option - for the right reasons.
I think there are compelling reasons to self-publish. But if you choose this path, it’s an investment. You are essentially starting a small business and you have to treat it as such to be successful. First and foremost your product has to be good, and you have to be willing to put in the time, energy, and funds to make it so. You also have to build an audience, and then promote and market yourself, or be willing to hire others to help you do it. You have to take ownership of it all. For some writer’s, like me, this is exciting. For others, it’s terrifying.
Publishing independently was mostly a business decision. I’d been offered two contracts from small presses and I was thrilled. But once I took a good look at those contracts, and considered the things I would have to give up, the decision was easy. For a modest investment on my part up front, I could surround myself with professionals of my choosing, bring my book to market on my own timeline, and create more of a partnership type relationship with the people I worked with.
4. Rejections, and lots of them, are part of the deal.
The first time someone said “no thank you” to my manuscript was the worst! But the thing about rejections, once you recover from the sting, is that they can sometimes be helpful. If your manuscript isn’t polished enough, you may need to work with an editor. If the story isn’t pulling people in quickly, you may need to spice up your opening chapters. Usually there is a common thread, and if you are open to hearing it, you can make adjustments and move forward. My first round of rejections, which included one R&R (rewrite and resubmit), suggested that I had a good story, but the manuscript needed more work. I hired an editor, and after months of rewriting, I had a much-improved draft.
5. Don’t read the negative reviews!
People like different things. Not everyone is going to like my story. Logically, I understand this, but it still hurts to have my book baby slammed in writing! Early on I received very solid advice: Don’t read the negative reviews. Once the book is out in the world, the time for helpful critiquing is over. Horizon went through several rounds of beta reads and numerous edits, so when it finally went to print, I knew it was the best it could be.
6. Creating balance in my work life is more challenging than I thought.
Two years ago I left a job I loved to do something I loved more – write. Turns out, even though writing is now my full-time work, there still aren’t enough hours in the day! I struggle to balance writing creatively (making up the new stuff), with promoting my existing book, networking, blogging, editing, etc. And there is still a household to maintain!
When I was working full-time outside my home, I made time to write and I protected that time fiercely. Now, other things weave their way into my day and cut into that valuable time. It requires real discipline to stay productive.
7. Writers are wonderfully supportive of other writers.
I love the network of writers that surrounds me. I’ve met lifelong friends at conferences and received valuable advice and guidance from the writing group I belong to. Writers want other writers to be successful, and this sentiment is pervasive and authentic.
8. Beta readers are critical.
Beta readers see things in our manuscript that we don’t because we know our story so intimately. With Horizon, some of my beta readers had a problem with my male protagonist. They didn’t like him at all! I had to figure out what they were seeing in him that I wasn’t. I realized when I started the story, in my mind, Derek was about ten years younger. Once the plot got moving, he needed to make decisions and have a certain authority in his own world that required him to be older and have more experience. The character I had written was still too arrogant and immature to be the hero I needed him to be, and I think this is what my readers recognized. So I did a major edit of his scenes, attempting to keep the essence of his character, but giving him more depth and maturity.
9. Good editing and good cover art are a must.
I have to give a shout out to my amazing editor, Amanda Rutter, and the mind-blowingly talented cover artist, Steven Meyer-Rassow. The first thing a reader sees is the book cover, and Steven created a stunning image to pull people in. A really good editor offers just the right cues to improve the story. Amanda found those places where my characters or plot weren’t working and prompted me to fix them without imposing a solution. I can’t stress enough how important these things are when bringing a book to life.
10. Go with your gut. There will be decisions to make, and once you’ve done your research, it may come down to trusting your instincts.
I really thought a publishing contract with any press, large or small, was how I wanted to launch my career. But I know I’ve made the right choice publishing independently. It was a total gut call. There are a lot of resources and good advice for writers out there. Not all of it applies to every person or every project. I do my research, ask people I trust who are industry professionals - or who at least have more experience than I do, and then I weigh their information against my own instincts.
Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She is married, has four great kids, a spoiled Ragdoll cat, and lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full! She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at a small, independent Waldorf school. She also worked in the admissions office there before turning her attention to full-time writing.
You can visit her blog at www.tabithalordauthor.com where she posts author interviews, hosts guest bloggers, and discusses some favorite topics including parenting and her writing journey. Horizon is her first novel.
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