Red Lotus to Launch next Week

RL BannerI’m very excited to announce that my first novel-length science fiction novel Commanding the Red Lotus has been finalized and scheduled by Seventh Star Press to go live over various formats next week.

Cover Commanding Red Lotus
Cover art by Enggar

Money Can’t Buy Respect

Sayuri Arai, privileged daughter of a corporate mogul, abandons a promising career to find her own path. She invests in a broken-down asteroid mining ship and steps in as the commander of its crew. Every day presents a new challenge just to keep her ship from falling apart and the bitter crew from killing each other. Can Sayuri unite the feuding factions, or will her rivals turn the entire complement against her? Commanding the Red Lotus offers a classic sense of wonder for today’s science fiction readers.

While exact times on internet publications are not so precise, what usually happens is the ebooks go live first, with Amazon/Kindle taking the lead and the rest following soon after, then over the next couple of days, the paperbacks show up and are available to order. That means we may see links go live as early as Tues April 26 and everything should be up by late in the day Thurs April 28. You can check the dedicated page on my site to watch for each link to “turn on.”
RJ Color Cmmndng Red Lotus Author picWhat is not so uncertain is that the books I ordered for Indiana Comic Con at the downtown Convention Center Fri April 29-Sun May 1 will be there and on site, and I’ll have lots of copies for sale, and it’s certainly the first place you can get your hands on a signed copy of Commanding the Red Lotus. I’ll be sharing a booth with my author pals John F. Allen and Chris Garrison, and Frank Smith III. Frank created my new author photo you see here.

You can expect to see a lot more promotion on the book after the event. I’m very excited to share this book, it’s a labor of love in the genre I love best, and I hope y0u dig it, too.

Red Lotus Novel Coming into Focus

RL series bannerIt’s time for an R.J. Friday Update, meaning, I have an update and it happens to be Friday.

Commanding the Red Lotus, my first official novel-length collection into spaceship sci-fi, has a tentative target release window. Seventh Star Press is closing in on the week of April 22 to launch the ebook and paperback. It might shift a bit sooner, but it lines me up to premiere the title at Indiana Comic Con the weekend of April 30th as the first event where I’ll have copies on hand!

At the same time as the release of the novel, Seventh Star Press will re-launch a revised edition of the first novelette of the collection, Fate of the Red Lotus, as a perma-free ebook download. That means you can check out the first 12K words of Commanding the Red Lotus at no risk whatsoever. Then you can purchase the novel to continue the story after you already know you love it.

I’m super-excited about getting this book out to my readers. In the meantime, after considering the choices among my basket of ideas, I’ve picked my next project and am rolling up my sleeves to settle back into drafting mode. I’ll say more about that in the months to come.

Two TowersAnd while I’m writing, I’m also partnering with my TV and movie loving buddy John F Allen to launch the first few episodes of our YouTube program The Two Towers Talk Show. Watch for a post linking you to the first show, coming in a week or so. I’m also prepping for the start of convention season and one of my favorite annual events, the That Book Place 6th Annual Authors Fair in Madison, IN for Saturday, April 2nd.

Details on all this excitement coming soon.

RJ’s interview at Writer Groupie

Kim Smith authorI sat down in the midst of the holiday insanity of last December to Skype with Kim Smith, the charming hostess of the Writer Groupie Podcast, and talked about my favorite topic for 40 minutes: me. Specifically, she asked about my ghost stories, my love of science fiction, and asked about my upcoming release, Commanding the Red Lotus. She also asked what advice I’d give to an aspiring writer.

So when you have a half hour and change to spare, check out the full interview by clicking here (scroll toward the bottom of the page) and then let Kim knows you loved it as much as I did.

kim coverAlso, Click this link to check out Kim’s Kindle ebook download FREE this week only. Enjoy! (What, not all my posts run 1k words)

Early cover reveal for RJ Fans Subscribed to Email Updates

Next Tuesday, I’m offering my email update newsletter subscribers an early sneak peek at the front cover of my next release, Commanding the Red Lotus. Frankly, it’s a pretty stunning cover, and if you dig spaceship artwork that captures a sense of wonder, you’ll love this.

DWACOW low rezThe cover was created by Seventh Star Press staff artist Enggar, the man behind last year’s Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy cover. Though he humored my odd request for that one (and knocked it out of the park) science fiction space opera images are in his wheelhouse, and he created a great one for me. Which is why I want to share it early. Just…only with my special people.

“That’s a bummer, RJ,” you might be saying. “I’m not on your RJ Fans Email Updates list. And what’s in it for me?”

Fear not, frustrated one. All is not lost. In fact, you can join my newsletter updates list right now just by clicking on this link and filling out the form partway down the page. Not only will you see this awesome cover well ahead of the Muggles, you get a permanent $2 discount off any autographed books you order from me. And best of all, regular (but not too regular) updates on all things RJ. What’s not to love?

So to see a piece of awesome art well ahead of everyone else, and get RJ Updates delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for my Email Updates list before Tues, Feb. 12. You’ll be glad you did.

RJ Update for January 2016

animated-inflatable-shivering-snowman-3Hello, and welcome back! I hope everyone had a great holiday and is staying warm through the dreariest time of the year for us Hoosiers. Indiana winter weather always poses challenges; it affects schedules and vehicles in negative ways and always brings a bit of a letdown after the optimism of the holidays. This winter is no exception.

Typically, the holidays and the first couple weeks of January are the time I stop writing and try to recharge in anticipation of returning to my regular schedule when the view out my window is a tad less gloomy. That didn’t happen this year. I took on a new short story project over the holidays, which I completed last week. I also wrapped on the draft of the third Red Lotus story. Let’s look at those one at a time.

First, last fall, Pocket Books and Paramount announced a Star Trek Strange New Worlds Contest, requesting original Star Trek fiction to be considered for an upcoming anthology in 2016 to celebrate the program’s 50th anniversary. I swore off fan fiction some time back in high school, but, Star Trek (and by Star Trek I mean Captain Kirk and The Original Crew) is not only one of my favorite TV shows, but probably one of my favorite anythings, and it certainly served as the gateway to a larger appreciation of SF. My love for Star Trek continues undiminished to this day.

On the one hand, I fully understand that my chances of earning one of the twelve coveted slots are only slightly better than my chances of successfully riding a unicycle down the street without losing my balance. Over a sheet of ice. During a wind storm. But on the other hand, the chance to contribute an “authorized” tale of the Starship Enterprise proved too great an attraction to ignore. If I didn’t do it, I realized, I’d always wonder what might have happened.

UhuraAnd so, two days before the January 15 deadline, I turned in “The Fittest,” a first contact tale in which Lt. Uhura gets into a heap of trouble during a planetary scouting mission.

And if it doesn’t get picked for the contest…well…it just might show up as a free download somewhere, someday.

Prior to the Star Trek contest throwing off my plans to take it easy (or as easy as I ever can during the hectic holidays) I managed to bring my third Red Lotus SF tale to a conclusion and get the draft out to a few pre-readers for their evaluation. That process is going forward, and should wrap up in a couple of weeks.

The result of that will be my first novel-length entry into the spaceship SF genre, Commanding the Red Lotus, to be released by Seventh Star Press. The book will include all three Red Lotus tales gathered into one volume and released as a softcover paperback for the first time: Fate of the Red Lotus (a previously released novelette available in ebook only) Red Lotus: Innocence Lost (a previously released novelette available in ebook only) and Mutiny on the Red Lotus (a 30K word novella which will be new to this collection).

RL series bannerIn the meantime, Seventh Star is pushing forward with the production. I have just signed off on the cover to the release, and it’s pretty amazing. Enggar, the same SSP artist who created the cover for Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy, has a knack for space opera, and he channeled that talent to create an incredible cover for Commanding the Red Lotus. Watch for a follow-up post in a few days where I’ll unveil the art in all its glory. We are still aiming for an April release.

12219607_803380699784113_3892389422267407084_nSpeaking of April, keep the Indiana Comic Con in mind, as that’s a new event for me, where I hope to have all of my titles on sale, including Commanding the Red Lotus. Indiana Comic Con is at the Indiana Convention Center the weekend of April 30-May 1. It’s going to be the biggest event I’ve participated in as a vendor, a pretty star-studded event–and I’ll be there, too. Details to come.

I think that’s it for now. Just wanted to let you all know I’m still here and things are pushing along behind the scenes, and 2016 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet!