February events.

UKYAextravaganzaI’ll be one of the authors appearing at the UKYA Extravaganza at Waterstones, Birmingham High Street, UK on the 28th February. Tickets for this are £3 and will be on sale from 10.00 today (Call 0121 633 4353)and I expect them to go extremely fast.

I should also be at Southcart Books, Walsall on the 7th Feb.

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Award Eligibility Posts, Monday Mornings When I Was Ten, and the Fascination of Word Counts.

Earth Star USA coverIt’s the time of year when author award eligibility posts appear, and there’s the odd argument about them. There are definitely some serious issues involved, but this year I’ve been having a lot of fun reading the posts for purely personal, nostalgic, and highly illogical reasons. When I was ten years old, my school teacher would write the same words on the board every Monday morning. ‘What I did at the weekend.’

The whole class then had to spend the next hour writing about this gripping subject. Looking back at it now, I think the teacher found Monday mornings a strain, and followed this weekly ritual to give herself an hour of relative peace. At the time, my mother complained bitterly about it, convinced the teacher was spying on her pupils’ home life, and presumably selling the information to whichever of the MI5, CIA, and the KGB would offer her the most money.

Earth Flight Cover it's time to risk it allMy classmates complained bitterly about it too. Most of us did the same things just about every weekend, so it got incredibly boring repeatedly writing about it. I solved this problem by focusing on the books I’d read. Every Saturday afternoon I went to the library. By Sunday evening, I’d usually read the three library books I was allowed to borrow, and had started reading the ones my father had borrowed as well. So each week I gave my school teacher a list of these books, some startlingly unsuitable for my age.

For me, reading award eligibility posts is like reading a variation of my old weekly essays. Where I was making a list of things I’d read at the weekend, authors are making lists of what they published last year. They often include an enthralling extra detail as well. Word counts!

Earth 2788-400x600When I’m writing the first draft of a novel, there’s a compulsion to check my word count each day. The inner child in me delights in checking my progress, asking if I’m nearly there yet, but the adult me knows that the word count is meaningless. I spend a lot of time coming up with ideas before I start writing a first draft. Once the first draft is finished, I will revise it multiple times, throwing away a lot of the words I’ve written. I find award eligibility posts fascinating because they contain the only really meaningful word count, which is the number of words that have reached your readership.

There are also some perfectly sensible reasons why I like reading these posts. They tell me of the existence of books or stories I’ve somehow managed to miss and would like to read. They remind me whether something belonged to January of last year, or December of the year before. They help me overcome the natural tendency to think of something read in November, ahead of something read in February. Mostly though, it’s the enjoyment of reading essays on ‘What I published last year.’

So I can’t resist reverting to ten years old and writing one myself, including word counts of course!

What I published in 2014

Books:-

EARTH STAR, the second book in the Earth Girl trilogy, published in April in the USA by Pyr. 107,000 words.

EARTH FLIGHT, the final book in the Earth Girl trilogy, published in August worldwide excluding USA by Harper Voyager. (It will be published in the USA by Pyr on 8th September 2015.) 107,000 words.

Short stories and novelettes:-

I also posted the eight stories in the Earth 2788 collection on my website, the last one going up on December 31st. This is a set of prequel Earth Girl short stories, intended to give existing readers a glimpse into the varied backgrounds of the characters, while being suitable for readers new to the 28th century world of the Earth Girl books.

Incidentally, I thought that two of the short stories had turned out to be novelette length. I discover I was wrong. According to the lengths quoted on Scalzi’s web site, short stories are up to 7,500 words; novelettes are 7,501 to 17,500; novellas are 17,501 to 40,000; novels are 40k and above. That means Zeta Sector 2788 is just long enough to qualify as a novelette, while Kappa Sector 2788 was only a few words short of being a novella.

EARTH 2788 – The title short story featuring Jarra. 5000 words.

ALPHA SECTOR 2788 – Short story featuring Dalmora. 6000 words.

BETA SECTOR 2788 – Novelette featuring Lolia. 14,300 words.

GAMMA SECTOR 2788 – Short story featuring Krath. 4,000 words.

DELTA SECTOR 2788 – Short story featuring Fian. 5,500 words.

EPSILON SECTOR 2788 – Short story featuring Amalie. 5,800 words.

KAPPA SECTOR 2788 – Novelette featuring Colonel Riak Torrek. 17487 words.

ZETA SECTOR 2788 – Novelette featuring Major Drago Tell Dramis. 7527 words.

#SFWAPRO

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News about the USA edition of EARTH FLIGHT

A lot of people have been eagerly asking when Earth Flight will be published in the USA, and here is the answer!

Earth Flight will be published in hardback in the USA on 8th September 2015 by Pyr.

You can see details of Earth Flight here, together with pre-order links for some online stores. I’ll be adding more pre-order links as soon as I see them appear. You can also read some reviews of Earth Flight here.

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A New Free Short Story for New Year’s Day

Earth 2788-400x600The New Year posts started going up on everyone’s websites yesterday, and I can see that all the informative, deep, and insightful things have already been said. I’ll settle for just thanking everyone who supported my Earth Girl books in 2014. Whether you reviewed them, rated them, contacted me to tell me you loved them, told a friend about them, voted for Earth Girl to be a Teens’ Top Ten title for 2014, signed up for my newsletter, or just quietly sat down to read the books and enjoyed them, then thank you! It’s been amazing knowing that people around the world were reading books that I’d written.

EarthGirlXmas from AlexSo my special thank you to you all is a bonus story for the Earth 2788 short story collection. Zeta Sector 2788 features the devastatingly handsome Major Drago Tell Dramis who appears in Earth Star and Earth Flight. This is definitely the final story for Earth 2788. Not only have I run out of sectors, but I need to focus on writing some longer things now.

You can read the full set of stories here.

As my characters say in the 28th century future of the Earth Girl trilogy, you are all totally zan! Happy Year Day 2015 to you!

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Merry Christmas!

EarthGirlXmas from AlexAlex Storer thelightdream.net sent me a special Christmas version of his cover art for my Earth 2788 short story collection. I couldn’t resist sharing it with you all.

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today, and I hope everyone else has a great day too.

Watch out for the final bonus story in the Earth 2788 collection, appearing on this website on what Jarra would call Year Day 2015.

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The People You Meet On The Road

???????????????????????????????Today there’s a post from me over at Author Allsorts, talking about the writing journey and The People You Meet On The Road.

#SFWAPRO

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Teens Top Ten 2014 Interview

Earth Girl USA cover artToday there’s a Teens Top Ten 2014 interview with me over at YALSA’s (the Young Adult Library Services Association) The Hub.

#SFWAPRO

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The bonus story vote and a new web page.

Earth 2788-400x600I decided to do an extra bonus story for the Earth 2788 collection of free stories, and this time I asked readers to vote on which character from the Earth Girl trilogy they’d like me to feature as the main character. Voting closed at the end of November, so I’ve been counting the votes and . . . (insert drum roll to build the suspense)

The winner is the devastatingly handsome Drago Tell Dramis! I should have guessed he’d win, though there was some strong support for Playdon too. For anyone who has only read Earth Girl, and is wondering who Drago is, he doesn’t appear until the second book, Earth Star. Drago also appears in the Kappa Sector 2788 novelette, and I’m aiming to set the bonus story just after that ends. The story should be on this website in time for you to read it on Year Day 2015!

There’s another extra too, this time an extra website page. The new page is all about things that aren’t writing, featuring a painting and some music by talented readers inspired by the Earth Girl trilogy. If you’re feeling especially brave, you can also listen to me reading aloud from Earth Girl.

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EARTH STAR is a Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2014

Earth Star USA coverI was delighted that EARTH GIRL was a Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2013. I’m even more delighted that EARTH STAR is a Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2014 as well!

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The Seventh Free Earth Girl Short Story, and a bonus story to come!

Earth 2788-400x600You can now read the whole of Kappa Sector 2788, an Earth Girl novelette featuring Colonel Riak Torrek, here.

This is the last of the planned EARTH 2788 short story collection, but I’ve decided to add a bonus short story at the end of the year. This time I’m asking readers to vote on which character they’d like me to feature in the short story. If you’d like to vote, then please sign up for the newsletter for full details.

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