Monday, August 7, 2017

#FreeRead...and More News!

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on InstaFreebie
StarDog is Live...and it's #FREE!

During my July 24th post, I unveiled the new cover for my novella, StarDog, which was originally part of the popular Pets in Space collection that is no longer available.

At that time, I mentioned StarDog would be offered as a standalone freebie for readers via a link in the upcoming Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 collection. Since the story is a prequel to both Inherit the Stars and my new story--Courting Disaster: StarDog2--I think it will make a great bonus.

But you can get it now!

StarDog is live on InstaFreebie and I've offered it to my newsletter subscribers, so I'm now going to extend the same offer to my blog readers.

If you'd like to grab a copy, it's available in .mobi, .epub, and PDF. Click the caption at right to open the InstaFreebie link.

It'll make a wonderful refresher for those who've already read the story, plus Courting Disaster is a sequel to StarDog with references to that adventure, as well as being a great introduction for those who are new to the Inherited Stars Universe.

My Farewell Andromeda giveaway has now ended and nearly 900 copies were claimed. That's wonderful, but my goal for StarDog is to break that record by having 1,000 or more copies snapped up. With nearly 200 copies claimed in just the first couple of days, it's well on the way. Go, StarDog, go!

The Outer Planets Lives!

My edits are back on my second novel and I'm hoping to get this one sewn up and available for sale as soon as possible. This book is a whopper--roughly 20% longer than my full-length 110,000-word Inherit the Stars, so final edits will take some time.

Though I'd love to get it out before my cut-off date of September 10th, it's probably more realistic that it will launch sometime before Christmas.

I'm excited about this next novel, because it's the first in a brand new, Near Future timeline in the saga. This story takes place in the early 2040s, just a few decades from now.

Because of this, The Outer Planets can be read before, during or after previous books released, which in story-chronological order are--StarDog, Inherit the Stars, and Courting Disaster: StarDog 2 (releases October 10th) with Farewell Andromeda being a book in a future timeline of the series.

Here's the blurb for The Outer Planets:

What Lissa Bruce knows could kill her.

A female video reporter with an altered identity and a damning secret joins the crew of a research mission bound for Jupiter, only to find the past she wants to escape is already onboard.

Lieutenant Mitchell Coe, the loyal aide de camp to a murdered general–and Lissa’s late spouse–is the one man with the power to blow her cover…or salvage her heart. But after a series of mishaps threatens the mission, Lissa suspects she’s not the only one aboard with a dangerous secret.

The Outer Planets is an action/adventure/suspense sci-fi romance with a military hero, set on a planetary research vessel with a combined military and civilian crew.

Awards: The Outer Planets was a 2011 RWA Golden Heart finalist, and won First Place in the 2013 Launching a Star, 2011 The Write Stuff, 2010 Heart of the West, 2010 Ignite the Flame, 2010 First and Ten, and placed in the 2010 RWA FF&P On the Far Side, 2010 Great Expectations, and 2010 Toronto Gold competitions.

My Vocabulary is most like...
 
I regularly sharpen my skills with the online Lumosity training games, and the site recently introduced a new insight into my vocabulary skills. By analyzing the words I use in some of the vocabulary drills, it developed a list of six famous people my vocabulary is most like.

Here's the list:

Person                         Score
Agatha Christie.............199
Stephen Covey..............196
Martin Luther King, Jr..196
J.K. Rowling.................186
William Shakespeare....177
Stephen Hawking..........168
 
Though all the names raised my eyebrows, two really jumped out at me.

The comparison to the amazing and brilliant Stephen Hawking was a bit humbling. It's probably because I tend to use a lot of science fiction-y words like trajectory, quantum, plasma, exosphere, holograph, radius, micron, electromagnetic, etc. in my vocabulary tests.

And Martin Luther King, Jr.! If you've followed my blogs you know how much I admire and respect the late social activist. I love that he's also very high (tied for the #2 score) on the list.

I was also delighted to see three influential and diverse authors in the mix. (Or four if you consider MLK Jr. an influential author, which I do.) Agatha Christine? J.K. Rowling? William Shakespeare? What author wouldn't want to be compared to any of them, vocabulary-wise!

But Stephen Covey is up there, too. Hmmm. I've certainly scouted The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but I seem to have some real issues putting those habits to good use. Maybe I should brush up on the plan. After all, we seem to share the same vocabulary.

I don't know how useful these comparisons truly are, but they were certainly fun and inspiring.

Patio Garden Update--Hail Yes!

It's been over a month now since my patio garden was nearly annihilated by a monster hail storm on June 26th. Though I was heartbroken at the time, some of you commented to take heart, because many of the plants would recover. And you wise peeps were right, because many have, much to my delight. Though some will never be the same as they were before the hail-hammer fell, I thought I'd share a few photos of the then-and-now success stories.

Unfortunately, the flower we deemed "Sloth Flower" (Allium) was a total loss.
That one couldn't recover after being severed in two by hail.

Pansy planter after the June 26th hail storm

Pansy planter yesterday

White Petunias after hail storm

White Petunias yesterday

Various potted plants after hail storm.

The Deep Pinks (Calibrachoa) in nearest pot yesterday.

Garden Sage and Rosemary herbs after hail storm.

Garden Sage and Rosemary (with a random Marigold) yesterday.

The fancy Petunias in the hanging baskets have recovered quite well.
 
The white Alyssum and Lavender Pink Nemesia are now flourishing.

Not only did the Violas recover, but a Black Locust tree sprung up in their pot.
The tree will be moved to a new location in the yard this week.
Black Locusts grow very fast and it will be tree height in about 5-7 years.

 
So yes, Mother Nature has a way of bouncing back even after the worst pummeling. Though some of the flowers never recovered, many came back even better than they were before the storm.
 
There may be a lesson for writers in that. *grin*

That's it for this week. Hope you have a great one!

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