Category Archives: Morgan’s Choice

The best 2-star review I’ve ever had

picture of Morgan's Choice coverOf late I’ve noticed a bit of discussion about that never-ending topic, reviews. I’ve had a few things to say about that subject before today. But on this occasion I want to illustrate how ‘reviews’ are used in – shall we say – unexpected ways.

This is the one and only review of my book Morgan’s Choice on Smashwords. The reviewer awarded the book two stars. **— Here’s the review, in full – but feel free to check it out on Smashwords. Just click on the cover at top left of the article.

“Just wanted to tell you that I loved your book, Supertech, and couldn’t wait to read the follow-up, Morgan’s Choice, so I purchased it soon after. I would like to say that I enjoyed this book every bit as much as I enjoyed the first, but I ran into a problem. The copy of the book I purchased and downloaded to my Sony reader died at page 63. I cannot move past that page, in fact it shut my whole reader down. I can’t even read it on my computer. I wish you the best of luck with all your books and am saddened I didn’t get to finish Morgan’s Choice. What I did read, however, drew me in and made me want to read more.”

There’s no way an author can respond or contact a reviewer on Smashwords, but I contacted Smashwords, knowing they would have this person’s email address, and asked their support people to suggest that she contact me direct at my email address so I could send her a new copy of the book. Mind you, I don’t believe there was anything wrong with the file on the Smashwords site. I had downloaded it to check the content, and did so again. But it’s about solving a problem in the fastest possible way. The lady did contact me and I sent her a new version of the file, asking her to get in touch if she had any further problems. She didn’t, so I expect that was okay.

So… a few questions.

Was the review about the book? Definitely – what she read of it. And I have no cause for complaint on that score.

Was the complaint fair? Definitely. She’d paid for something she didn’t receive.

Was the complaint addressed to the right person? No. It was a technical problem which should have been raised with Smashwords – having first made sure the issue was not with the reader, or the internet connection.

But readers are people. They will do what they think is right for them. Suck it up, guys. That’s life.

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SFR Brigade presents – a scene from Morgan’s Choice

Morgan's Choice coverMy contribution to this week’s SFR snippets is a piece from my space opera, Morgan’s Choice.

For a short time only, buy the book for just $2.99 at  Amazon Barnes & Noble Kobo Apple

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Morgan bolted, back toward the reflecting pool where the shuttle stood.

Behind her the building moaned as if in pain. She turned as a wall of sound crashed around her. Smoke surged. Fragments of rubble pattered out of the sky like some strange hail. Somebody caught her arm. “Quickly, this way.”

They darted down a passage between two buildings.

No, this was wrong. Morgan slowed, pulling back against the insistent tug on her arm. “The shuttle’s that way.” She peered, trying to discern the face behind the helmet.

Hands grabbed her, pulled her arms back behind her.

She arched and fought, straining against the pressure. The man released his grip a little and fumbled with something. Morgan kicked backwards. Her boot connected. He swore and moved his leg. She whirled and twisted, broke one arm out of his grip. Someone else thrust forward, hands outstretched. She wrenched her arm free and thrust her head at the new attacker. The head butt clashed against her assailant’s helmet and he staggered back. Now. She sprinted. Three strides and arms locked around her thighs. The roadway rose to meet her.

A hand reached over her shoulder and pressed the helmet release. The sections snapped down into the suit. She felt a sharp jab in her neck.

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Thanks for reading – and be sure to catch up with this week’s other contributions.

1. Misa Buckley 3. Maria Hammarblad
2. Rachel Leigh Smith

Ashkar Ravindra – in the flesh (so to speak)

picture of Jiddu KrishnamurtiI’m not one to use pictures of real people as ‘character cues’, if you see what I mean. I know many writers do, but I’m happy to have a picture in my mind. It’s often quite detailed, too. After the book is done and dusted, it’s quite fun to have a ‘casting couch’ session – trying to work out who you’d have when the movie offers roll in. I did a casting couch for Morgan’s Choice, if you’d care to have a look. We decided on John Abraham for Ravindra, but to be honest, I wasn’t entirely convinced.

I came upon this picture here quite by accident, on Facebook. The gentleman is Jiddu Krishnamurti, an Indian philosopher who died in 1986. He was into peace, love and the unity of all mankind.

Admiral Ashkar Ravindra might not have agreed with the sentiment, but THIS is what pops up in my mind when I mention Ravindra’s name. Handsome, aloof, aristocratic. Yum. Dribble.picture of Ravindra's abs

An added note: A few people have asked about the abs, since they’re an important component of the package. I was thinking something like this.

Morgan’s Return – the Next Big Thing?

Picture of Morgan's Retun book coverI’ve been tagged in The Next Big Thing by fellow writer Mona Karel. Unlike me, she writes real romance. I have to tell ya, the sex scene in Teach Me To Forget is one of the steamiest, smoothest bits of prose you’ll ever read. Not blow-by-blow, how-to erotic. Just very, very sensual. Check it out if you haven’t. Ahem. Back to my Next Big Thing.

What is the working title of your next book?

Morgan’s Return. I’ve even done a cover. See?

Where did the idea come from for the book?

In Morgan’s Choice, Supertech Morgan Selwood finds herself lost in space with a useless accountant. The pair are fortunate to escape death when ‘rescued’ (captured) by an alien battleship, which defeats a small force of opposing ships. Her captors are humanoid and both Morgan and Manesai Admiral Ashkar Ravindra realise Humans and Manesai must be related. After a series of incidents and adventures, Morgan gets caught up in a civil war and an alien attack. It’s a stand-alone book, but a few people have asked for more from Admiral Ravindra and Morgan. And there are many more questions left to be answered. Where did Admiral Ravindra’s people come from? How? When? So Morgan’s going home with Ravindra in tow, to find some answers.

What genre does your book fall under?

Space opera with the usual dollop of romance. It’s not ‘hard’ science fiction, although I’ve tried to bear in mind the rules of physics and there is no magic (as in waving of wands etc) in the plot.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’ve done a casting couch for Ravindra and Indian actor John Abraham got the gig. I ran a poll for a lady to play Morgan and Rachel McAdam was selected. (I rather thought Joanne Kelly as in Warehouse 13, myself).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Going home can be a bitch. Somebody’s out to kill Morgan, but when unknown forces are inadvertently unleashed, that’s the least of her worries.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ve given up on agencies.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About 6 months, with a full-on push over November and December. I promised myself I’d have the first draft ready for Christmas and I made it. Just.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Compare? I never compare. All I’ll say is if you enjoy fast-paced action-adventure type space opera with a dollop of romance you might find this fun. Linnea Sinclair’s Games of Command, and Finders Keepers come to mind. Maybe Elizabeth Moon or Anne McCaffrey with a slurp more sex, or Star Wars with a slurp more science along with the sex.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I guess mainly the response to Morgan’s Choice. I had hoped originally to spin out Morgan’s adventures into two books at least, but that didn’t happen. Really, people’s interest in what happens next motivated me to tell this story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It was an interesting book to write. I don’t find writing specially easy at the best of times I go with the flow and let the story go where it wants. I was intrigued to find at the end that bits of what you might call ‘fluff’ – like the short encounter between Admiral Makasa and his grandson – ended up having much more meaning than I’d thought when I wrote the scene. The subconscious mind is a marvellous instrument.

Tag some other writers

Just about every writer I know has been tagged already, at least once. So rather than nominate another Next Big Thing, I’ll list a few of my favourite author blogs, ones I pop in on often.

http://mona-karel.com/ Mona Karel writes about food, dogs, writing and whatever else

http://www.tobyneal.net/ Toby Neal writes about books, Hawai’i, therapy and stuff

http://mmbennetts.wordpress.com/ MM Bennetts is a historian and author of historical fiction and her blog is full of fascinating historical facts. There’s nothing dry about her posts. They’re full of detail about life in previous times and in the Napoleonic War

http://ngeminisasson.blogspot.com.au/ N. Gemini Sasson is another writer of quality histfic. She also talks about dogs and life.

http://juliarachelbarrett.net/ Julia Barrett writes about food, dogs, life in a very entertaining way

http://www.allandouglas.com/ Allan talks about all manner of things. Good advice on writing, lovely stories from his former life as a pizza delivery/maker/person, his dog and other bits and pieces.

http://sandinmyshoesreviews.wordpress.com/ Diane Nelson reviews books. Her reviews pull no punches, not for no-one, and they’re always worth a read.

These are just a few of my favourites. Do pop over and take a look. Tell ’em Greta sent you 🙂

The problem with writing sequels

Picture of Elizabeth Moon booksI’m in the midst of writing a sequel and I’m finding it difficult. So I’ve stopped for a moment to try to understand why it’s difficult and what (if anything) I’m doing wrong.

I love series of books because I’m taken back to a place I already know and/or characters I’ve met. Like a favourite sweater, it’s comfortable. I can sit back and relax, and enjoy the trip. I know readers don’t want to wade through backstory at the start of the next book, even though they might not have read the previous book, and I’ve taken care not to do that.

The plot is the issue. A well known example of a series of sequels is The Lord of the Rings. Leave aside the fact that Tolkien always saw his book as just one story. I remember listening to (I think) Peter Jackson describing the way the odds rise from one book to the next. At the end of book one, a company of several hundred orcs capture Pippin and Merry, having sustained enormous losses at the hands of Aragorn, Legolas, and Boromir. In book two, thousands of orcs besiege Helm’s Deep and it is only the last-minute appearance of additional troops, and the involvement of the Ents, which prevents a wholesale slaughter of the Eorlingas. In book three, the odds rise once again. Tens of thousands of orcs, men, olifaunts and the dreaded Ringwraiths are pitted against the white tower and its numerically inferior forces. Once again, help comes from unexpected quarters to save the day, but though the battle is won, the war is not yet over.

Take another example, Elizabeth Moon’s ‘Vatta’ books. In each novel (there are 5) Vatta faces larger odds and her own forces grow until the final confrontation.

So it seems one ‘rule’ of sequels is you have to up the ante. I did this myself with the Iron Admiral books. In book one, Conspiracy, the galaxy is threatened with the return of a deadly virus which could kill the alien ptorix, which would inevitably cause an inter-species war. In book two, Deception, I came up with an even worse calamity and when that is diverted, the battle is won, although the war is not yet over. I’m told Deception worked very well as a sequel, so I’m kind of stuck with the notion I have to turn the screws, so to speak.

But does it always have to be like that?

Does anyone know of any well-loved sequels where this didn’t happen? Where it’s just a well constructed second story with the same characters? What would you expect if you were to buy the sequel to Morgan’s Choice? I’d really love to know.

Greta’s next big thing…

Picture of handsome young man Hah. This could be about anything, couldn’t it???

But it’s about my current work-in-progress. I’ve been tagged in The Next Big Thing by fellow writer Heikki Hietala, author of  Tulagi Hotel and a host of brilliant short stories. I’m instructed to tell you all about my next book by answering these questions and then to tag some other authors about their Next Big Thing. So here I go!

What is the working title of your next book?
Morgan’s Choice 2 – Morgan Returns

Where did the idea come from for the book?
In Morgan’s Choice, Supertech Morgan Selwood finds herself lost in space with a useless accountant. The pair are fortunate to escape death when ‘rescued’ (captured) by an alien battleship, which defeats a small force of opposing ships. Her captors are humanoid and both Morgan and Manesai Admiral Ashkar Ravindra realise Humans and Manesai must be related. After a series of incidents and adventures, Morgan gets caught up in a civil war and an alien attack. It’s a stand-alone book, but a few people have asked for more from Admiral Ravindra and Morgan. And there are many more questions left to be answered. Where did Admiral Ravindra’s people come from? How? When? So Morgan’s going home with Ravindra in tow, to find some answers.

What genre does your book fall under?
Space opera with the usual dollop of romance. It’s not ‘hard’ science fiction, although I’ve tried to bear in mind the rules of physics and there is no magic (as in waving of wands etc) in the plot.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ve done a casting couch for characters. Indian actor John Abraham got the gig for Ravindra and Rachel McAdam would play Morgan.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Morgan’s return to where she came from isn’t welcomed by everyone, but the external threat will leave her personal problems in the shade. (Or something – give me a break – it isn’t finished yet)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published. I’ve given up on agencies.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
You’re not listening, are you? I hope to have it done by Christmas.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Compare? I never compare. All I’ll say is if you enjoy fast-paced space opera with a dollop of romance you might find this fun. Think Elizabeth Moon or Anne McCaffrey with a slurp more sex, or Star Wars with a slurp more science along with the sex.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I guess mainly the response to Morgan’s Choice. I had hoped originally to spin out Morgan’s adventures into two books at least, but that didn’t happen. Really, people’s interest in what happens next motivated me to tell this story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
For those who wanted more about Ravindra and Morgan I’m sure it will satisfy. As usual, they’ll end up in lots of hot water. Sometimes cold water. Their relationship will be tested and Morgan will be tested – by another Supertech. A few characters will be back, you’ll learn a little more about Admiral Makasa – and there’ll be a new peril which might lead into a third book. It should be fun.

So that’s it for me. Why don’t you pop on over and see what Mona Karel and Ian Smethurst are working on for their Next Big Thing?

Oh, by the way. Him up there on the left? He’s Ash in my paranormal romance, Black Tiger. You might want to check him out.

What’s going on?

Publishing life has been a tad hectic of late but things are settling down. After a brief hiatus my books are back on Smashwords with sexy new covers. Except for Starheart, which will join them later in the month (promise).

AND…

The sequel to Morgan’s Choice (working title Morgan’s Return) is well under way and has met with approval so far. Morgan, Ravindra, Prasad and Tullamarran are back, Morgan’s old boss, Makasa, plays a major role and you’ll learn all about the Conflagration, which very nearly destroyed the human species. With  a dollop of romance, of course 😉

The Iron Admiral series:

Picture of the Iron Admiral Conspiracy cover

The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy

Politics. Hatred. Star systems on the brink of war. A species under threat of extinction from a deadly virus.

Ex-Admiral Chaka Saahren goes undercover to discover the truth. Systems Engineer, Allysha Marten, takes one last job to rid her of debts and her cheating husband. On Tisyphor, deadly secrets about the past explode, as Allysha and the undercover agent scramble to prevent the coming holocaust and xenocide.

When the ex-Admiral’s identity is revealed, she must come to terms with her feelings for a man she thinks caused the death of innocent civilians, including her father.

In a race against time, Allysha must set aside her conflicted emotions and trust a man she barely knows. Saahren must convince the woman he loves to find the truth as he once more assumes his position as … The Iron Admiral.

Read an excerpt here

Reviews here

Buy the book in print or e-book  Amazon Smashwords

TPicture of the Irona Admiral Deception coverhe Iron Admiral: Deception

Grand Admiral Chaka Saahren has the rewards of rank

…but he doesn’t have Systems Engineer Allysha Marten. Determined to keep her safe, Saahren will go to any lengths to win back the woman he loves. Allysha agrees to temporary employment by the Fleet, hoping to avoid at all costs the man she believes responsible for the death of innocent civilians, including her estranged father.

Sean O’Reilly has a plan…

…and it involves hijacking Allysha and convincing her, one way or another, to do just one more job—a job that would clear his debts and save his hide.

Allysha Marten must come to terms with her feelings…

…in the face of a reality that suggests she is a pawn in a growing power struggle, one where she will need all her skills and cunning to outwit a heinous plot that could result in the loss of billions of human lives.

When Allysha decides to tackle the conspirators on her own, she forces an impossible choice on… The Iron Admiral.

Read an excerpt here

Reviews here

Buy the book in print or e-book  Amazon Smashwords

Morgan Selwood series:

Picture of Supertech coverSupertech

She’s a Supertech, bioengineered from birth, fresh out of the Academy and tasked with designing a control system for an experimental fighter. Morgan’s up for the challenge but there’s more to the job than meets the eye. The Fleet invested in her education but did they train her for … this?

Ensign Morgan Selwood was almost too good at her job and far too casual about Fleet rules and regulations. Tasked with designing a control system for an untested attack fighter seemed like a dream come true and a real career booster. But the specs and modules tell only part of the story—what Morgan discovers can put not just her career, but lives at risk.

Read an excerpt here

Reviews here

Available from Amazon

Morgans Choice coverMorgan’s Choice

You met Morgan Selwood in ‘Supertech’ – come with her on a later adventure when she’s stranded in unknown space.

Two alien ships respond to Morgan Selwood’s distress call, but the rescue turned out to be more than she bargained for.

He will use force if necessary to remind her of her place…
Autocratic, aloof, Admiral Ravindra wants to use the strange alien female and her gifts in his battle against an unknown force threatening to annihilate his worlds. Born to rule, a man of wealth, power and privilege, he will have what he most desires.

She will use courage and independence to carve a new future…
Morgan Selwood is a Supertech, bioengineered from birth to stand against the horrors of the Cyber Wars. Her abilities and appearance are the stuff of legend, exactly what the resistance needs to throw off the yoke of millennia of oppression. Caught in the crossfire Morgan must choose sides.
Together they will face a threat beyond imagining.

Read an excerpt here

Reviews here

Buy the book in print or e-book  Amazon Smashwords

Picture of A Victory Celebration coverA Victory Celebration

What’s good for the gander has to be good for the goose … or so Morgan thinks. The fleet has won a major battle and Ravindra’s doing his celebratory thing with his officers. Morgan gets a rare invite for a girls’ night out.

Dinner, a little dancing, a little jealous pining… And a whole lot of trouble when Ravindra discovers his lady is out ‘n about… without protection. What started as an innocent night on the town turns into something very, very different.

Buy the book from Amazon US or Amazon UK

Is it hot in here?

A Victory Celebration cover pictureFrom 1 August to 5 August you can pick up a Kindle copy of ‘A Victory Celebration’ from Amazon for FREE. Absolutely gratis. It’s on the Kindle Select program, so I’ll still get the benefit.

Readers asked for a little more interaction between Admiral Ravindra and Morgan Selwood, Supertech. So here it is. Set after the events of Morgan’s Choice, it’s a little bit hot, a little bit steamy. And it leads into the next book, tentatively called Morgan’s Return.

Here’s the blurb:
What’s good for the gander has to be good for the goose … or so Morgan thinks. The fleet has won a major battle and Ravindra’s doing his celebratory thing with his officers. Morgan gets a rare invite for a girls’ night out. Dinner, a little dancing, a little jealous pining… And a whole lot of trouble when Ravindra discovers his lady is out ‘n about… without protection. What started as an innocent night on the town turns into something very, very different.

So go on; go get it. And tell your friends. Here’s the link.

My book’s in the top 100 best seller list!

picture of book covers in top 100Yes, I know it’s an ephemeral statistic based on sales in an hour, and it’s of a sub-set of the millions of books on Amazon. But it’s pretty awesome to me because my book Morgan’s Choice is right up there with the classic space opera titles. In that top 100 you’ll find Enders Game, the Thrawn trilogy, Arthur C. Clarke and a whole swag of titles from the Star Wars franchise. That’s what I think my audience is. In the picture at left, Morgan’s Choice is #96 in space opera but it has been as high as #82  #76 #69 #61 #52 #44 #34 (so far) and you’ll excuse me, but I’ll whoop and holler every hour my little book is up there.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll get to the first page. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Want to win a book?

Morgans Choice coverI’ve guest posted over at Rom Con. Leave a comment over there to be in the draw to win an ebook copy of Morgan’s Choice AND its sexy little sequel A Victory Celebration. Here’s the link. A Victory Celebration cover picture

Then again, leave a comment here and be in the draw to win an ebook copy of A Victory Celebration. I’ll announce a winner on the 17th.

Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner has been notified.