EXTRACTION Release Day!

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It’s here! It’s live! You can buy the book on Amazon in ebook and paperback. You can add it to your Goodreads shelf. Sign up for the giveaway and win a signed author copy!

I’m SO EXCITED for you all to read this one! In light of the #authorstats threads that were going around twitter, let me give you some insight in how Extraction came to be:

  • 2008 – Draft 1: Wrote the very first draft of this novel with my partner, Jon, waaaayyyyy back. Essentially, the bones of this book is how I learned to write fiction.
  • 2011 – Draft 2: Then Jon was like “Ugh, I don’t want to do this anymore, you take it and run with it.” And I did. And I drastically rewrote it.
    • Changed the main character and cut out about 50k worth of text (including a whole host of secondary characters)
    • Redid the worldbuilding from the ground up
  • 2014 – Draft 3: I pulled the book back out of the digital drawer and reread it. It was…full of dudes. Start to finish, just dude central. Changed a bunch of characters to women. Tinkered with it. Put it down. Tinkered with it some more. Realized it was more than one book.
    • Got REALLY EXCITED about the second book. Started writing that instead of polishing up that first books. Oops, I got distracted.
  • 2015 – Draft 4: My old publisher signed the series! Yay! And gave me some edits.
    • I had edits of my own, anyway, since in drafting books 2 and 3 of the series there were consistency changes that needed to be worked into Extraction. This was supposed to be the polish & finesse last pass draft.
  • 2016 – Draft 5: OH BUT WAIT my publisher folded. You know, it happens. So, then, the rights were mine and it was time to find a new home for the book.

The path to publication is as weird and circuitous as any individual book’s plot. And then the story is out there, and it’s not the author’s any more. When the books are out there, they belong to the readers. I’m thrilled to release Extraction into the wild, and to let it find a home in someone else’s heart.

EXTRACTION Cover Reveal!

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Look at all that cover!!!

I am SO excited to share this with you! I’ve been sitting on it for weeks, and it’s gorgeous, and as the release date approaches for the book I could not be more thrilled! Ok, so first:

About The Cover Artist: C. Bedford

The cover for Extraction is a commissioned digital painting created by C. Bedford. This wraparound cover features Rethnali against some of the landscapes she travels through in the story.

Bedford also designed the covers for Ariah and the second edition of Resistance, which gives this cover the same visual identity as the the other two Aerdh novels.

C. Bedford is social!

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Deviant Art

About the Book: Extraction

“There is no justice in convenience.”

Rethnali, a newly-minted captain in the long-standing and brutal elvish rebellion, wants to do more than keep her soldiers alive. She wants to turn the tide of the war for her people. When her old captain and mentor, Li, shows up at her camp with orders to go deep into enemy territory, she may have the opportunity to do just that.

But as Rethnali’s mission unfolds, she realizes that she is just a pawn in a larger game. While she tries to protect her soldiers, she is forced to decide the course of her future and the future of the elvish rebellion itself. Extraction is a story of lives shaped by hard choices and unforeseen consequences.

EXTRACTION will be available on Amazon in ebook and paperback formats on November 21st, 2017, and will be up for pre-order soon! Watch this space, or sign up for my newsletter for an alert to get information about pre-orders! If you want the book even sooner than that, my Patreon subscribers will get an early bird release of the book!

A Fresh Start

Sometimes you get an email and it’s like

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And then you’re like

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So here’s what happened: my press, Zharmae, is folding after five years of putting out books. They’ll be shuttered at the end of the month.

That’s ok! That happens. It’s tough out there for presses–even the big ones.

The open question is what this means for me. In the short term, rights to Ariah and the not-yet-published A Tale of Rebellion series have reverted back to me. I am without an agent. So, basically, I have books in hand and many options.

The idea of getting back out there and subbing all over again is fearsome, but it’s also invigorating. Fresh starts are…well, shit, they are fresh if nothing else. This news comes at a time of a lot of general transitions in my life,* and while not necessarily unwelcome, it is has given me pause. It’s a moment to slow down for a second and figure out what I want and don’t want in my writing life.

In any case, stay tuned. I’m not going anywhere. That much I know for sure.


*Day job transitions, kiddo just started kindergarten, just a whole lot of stuff flipping over at once. Things are hectic.

 

I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo!

Ok, so do you remember this very exciting news? About how in 2017 I’ll have another set of Aerdhverse books coming out with the Zharmae Publishing Press? Let me refresh your memory:

About A Tale of Rebellion
The humans of Elothnin went west, hungry for wheat and space, but the elves were already there. When the humans burned the elves’ homes, the elves rebelled. For forty long years the rebellion smoldered, but the elves have been beaten back into the gnarled forest, forced to rely on guerrilla tactics and strange bedfellows.

Rethnali has only ever known the rebellion. Born and bred to it, raised by a great elvish general and now a captain herself, Rethnali’s whole life is ruthlessness and strategy. Over the course of four books, Rethnali’s will is tested. Some friendships fray and tatter; surprising new ones blossom. She puts herself and her soldiers in danger over and over again, all in the name of winning back the lands stolen from her people. Sacrifice–what will she sacrifice to see this rebellion through to its end? And who will she be once all those sacrifices have been made?

Exciting, right? So, Book 1 (titled Extraction) is already in edits. I’ve got first drafts of the second and third books done. The final book is outlined. I’m using Camp NaNo reread and revised the second book in the series (The Incoming Tide). It sorely needs it. Here’s some of the things I’m planning to work on this month:

  • Pronouns. Several characters have shifted genders over the course of the edits, and this draft has to be brought up to speed. I have to hunt and peck and correct the pronouns, which is a kind of penance for getting their genders wrong in the first place.
  • Pacing. In the current draft, time jumps in weird twitchy ways. Action is glossed over where it should be played out. I’m noting all these weird hitches for the revision stage.
  • Consistency: Tracking all the character names, the place names, the names of the pirate ships. I have a running tally of all the votes taken and the shifting alliances.
  • Changes: At least one character I knew had to die is going to live after all. So that changes things. I’m wondering if someone else is going to surprise!die. Gotta keep track of all these notes in the margins.

Wish me luck!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sanders Signs New Series With Zharmae!

(download PDF of press release)

B R Sanders Signs New Fantasy Series With Zharmae!
A Tale of Rebellion promises action, romance, and more elves!

DENVER, CO. 7 Oct. 2015 — Following on the critical success of their novel Ariah, the Zharmae Publishing Press has signed B R Sanders once again! Set in the same rich and diverse fantasy universe as Ariah, this series explores new corners of that world, new tensions and new characters.

About A Tale of Rebellion
The humans of Elothnin went west, hungry for wheat and space, but the elves were already there. When the humans burned the elves’ homes, the elves rebelled. For forty long years the rebellion smoldered, but the elves have been beaten back into the gnarled forest, forced to rely on guerrilla tactics and strange bedfellows.

Rethnali has only ever known the rebellion. Born and bred to it, raised by a great elvish general and now a captain herself, Rethnali’s whole life is ruthlessness and strategy. Over the course of four books, Rethnali’s will is tested. Some friendships fray and tatter; surprising new ones blossom. She puts herself and her soldiers in danger over and over again, all in the name of winning back the lands stolen from her people. Sacrifice–what will she sacrifice to see this rebellion through to its end? And who will she be once all those sacrifices have been made?

BRSanders_HeadshotAbout B R Sanders
B R Sanders is a genderqueer writer who lives and works in Denver, CO, with their family and two cats. Outside of writing, B has worked as a research psychologist, a labor organizer and a K-12 public education data specialist. B’s previous novels, both set in the fantasy universe of Aerdh, are Resistance and Ariah.

B is social!
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter

About The Zharmae Publishing PressZH_web_logo
The Zharmae Publishing Press is a Pacific Northwest based Independent Publisher. We
aim to deliver stories with depth, that cut to the heart, and appeal to everyone, from Science Fiction to Memoirs and everything in between.

Zharmae is social!
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

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On Finishing THE INCOMING TIDE

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According to my meticulously kept daily writing records, I started planning out The Incoming Tide last October two days after finishing Extraction. The records show fairly steady work on it, interrupted now and again for a burst of short stories or focused edits on other projects further down the publishing pipeline. Still, I didn’t finish the first draft of The Incoming Tide until May 22nd. It clocked in at 70k words, which is on the slim side for a novel. It took me seven months to crank out 70k words. Maybe that’s not slow, but it certainly felt slow to me—Ariah is a hefty 128k words and I wrote it in a little under three months. Ariah is nearly twice as long and took half the time, so what gives?

The Incoming Tide was an altogether different beast. Ariah was a second draft. It was a substantively rewritten second draft, but still it was a second draft. I knew the characters. I knew the shape and color of the narrative. I knew, in short, what I was writing. So there’s that: first drafts feel different, and for me, they often take a little more time to get out. And, actually, referring once again to my copious records, The Incoming Tide is the only first draft of a novel I’ve written since I started trying to get my work out there. Everything else had been rewrites. Extraction, the volume preceding Tide in the Tale of Rebellion series, is on its fourth draft.

But it was more than that. Tide felt sometimes hard to write. I felt a weird pressure while living in that book. Drafting and redrafting and redrafting Extraction meant that I could never quite move past it. Tide was like a light at the end of that tunnel. Tide was the promised land. It’s strange, you know, getting finally to that blinding light. It takes awhile for your eyes to adjust. It took me some time to find the rhythm of Tide, to find the style and voice of it.

Of course as soon as I finished Tide I started planning the follow-up book, The King and His Makers. Of course I did. But I’ve taken a couple of weeks off from it to queue up blog posts, to work on edits for Ariah, to ponder life. A little bit of space, I think, will take the edge off and make the first draft of King a little less scary.

Call for Beta Readers: EXTRACTION & THE INCOMING TIDE

Hi friends!

I’m looking for a few brave and candid beta readers to provide feedback on the first two novels in a series. I’m sketching out the third novel in the series, and I’m 99% sure there will be a fourth volume as well. Leave a comment or use the form below if you’d like to get in on the ground floor of this series!

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Times are desperate for the red elves: a generation of rebellion has brought them nothing but a decimated population and a shrinking army plagued with low morale. Dealing with heavy losses and now out of options, the elvish captains retreat to devise a new strategy which just might turn the tide of the war to their favor. While the captains bicker about theoretical tactics, their beleaguered soldiers are left behind to hold off the Lothic Army.

EXTRACTION follows the Cardinal’s Clutch: last fighting band of elvish guerrilla strikers left on the front lines. Old loyalties are sorely tested when their captain, Li, returns with orders for a suicidal mission. As the strikers of the Clutch travel across mountains, through deserts and back into a country that would see them dead, three of Li’s soldiers—the young and ruthless interim captain Rethnali, the bitter medic Sellior, and Li’s old friend and confidant Vathorem—begin to suspect this last mission is not what it seems.

Set in the unique and finely realized fantasy universe of Aerdh, EXTRACTION is the first of a series of books about the Lothic Elvish Rebellion. EXTRACTION is about the toll of war, the price of loyalty, and the cost of building a better future.

TheIncomingTide_wordle

As hard as guerrilla warfare on her own turf was, negotiating with pirates is far worse. Following the events of EXTRACTION, Rethnali finds herself and her crew mired in deadly pirate politics, surviving a sea voyage and finally laying siege to an unsuspecting port city. Lives are lost and new lives come into the world. Friendships splinter, and new ones blossom in their place. Everything changes.

Set in the unique and finely realized fantasy universe of Aerdh, THE INCOMING TIDE is a completed fantasy novel 70,000 words in length and the second in a series of books about the Lothic Elvish Rebellion. THE INCOMING TIDE is about victory, grief, and hope.

RESISTANCE Cameos

Resistance CoverYou can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

Resistance is set in the secondary fantasy world of Aerdh, which to date is where most of my writing is set. I consider myself a digressive writer; by that I mean that my ideas for new stories are inspired by the one’s I’ve already written or am currently writing. The stories I write become nest, tangled and interrelated. One way this happens is by cameos.

Sometimes when I’m writing a minor character springs to life. Sometimes, they demand their own stories. This is, actually, how Resistance was born: Inkstained Succubus put out a call for self-rescuing princesses, and I knew a pair of tertiary characters who’d appeared in a few unpublished works of mine were due for their moment in the spotlight. I wrote a short story—“Proof”—about them. The anthology I wrote “Proof” for didn’t pan out, but Inkstained Succubus did me the great honor of requesting that I give Shandolin and Rivna and even brighter spotlight: their very own novel.

Maybe you’ve read Resistance and maybe you’d like to see more of some of these characters. Due to my digressive writing style there’s only a handful of people in the book who only appear there.

A Tale of Rebellion, a series of novels I’m currently mired in the middle of, features some pretty prominent cameos from our friends in Resistance. These books are just a couple of years after Resistance, and there is a meaty section in the first book, Extraction, which takes place in the City of Mages. There, we meet again Shandolin, Rivna, Moshel and even Velo and Po. Kel plays a prominent role in Extraction, appears again in its sequel (The Incoming Tide) and is shaping up to be a major character in the third book in the series (The King and His Makers).

Some characters even have their own short stories all to themselves. Moshel Atoosa’Avvah is the lead in “Matters of Scale”, a short story of mine currently in submission and open to beta readers. Rivna’s father, Pahvo, gives readers a glimpse of what life is like from his perspective in “Blue Flowers,” a short story included in Crossed Genres’ Fierce Family anthology.

Even the City itself appears again. For insight into what the City of Mages looks like quite a few years after the events of Resistance, you could check out “The Other Side of Town,” currently available to read for free over at Redhead Ezine.

Happy reading!

Stuck in Rewrite Mode

It’s hard to write the second half of a story when you’ve only ever written the first half. Extraction is done, and I’m working on its sequel, which I’ve tentatively titled The Incoming Tide. Drafting The Incoming Tide is a completely different experience than rewriting Extraction—as I mentioned in this post , Extraction brewed for years and was the fourth completely overhauled draft of the book. Extraction was a matter of writing the same story over and over; I knew what its themes were, and I knew where it needed to go before I ever sat down at the keyboard this time around.

The thing about The Incoming Tide is that it’s only ever existed as sketched-out worldbuilding notes. Because I’ve written past this moment in Aerdh’s history (notably in Ariah and sections of Sound and Song) I know how the story ends. And I have a fairly detailed outline worked out already. I know what I’m writing, but writing it the first time and writing it the fourth time are different experiences.

Since The Incoming Tide is yet in its infancy, it’s a strangely reflective process. According to my writing log*, I started The Incoming Tide on Halloween, which means I’ve been working on it for about three weeks. And I’ve made progress:

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16k words in three weeks is not bad at all. Three chapters in as many weeks is nothing to smirk at. So, the writing is clipping right along. The thing about it is that I’m trying to work how how to write the story right along with what the story actually is. This two-headed discovery process characterizes first drafts for me, and sometimes it’s thrilling and sometimes it’s unnerving. This time, for whatever reason, it’s unnerving. I’m second-guessing everything—are these the right viewpoint characters? Is the pacing alright? I think I have to many plot threads going already and need to scale back; Extraction really crystallized as a book when I pared it down. Right now, the draft has two storylines working in parallel, and I think they could feasibly be split into separate books. But I like writing the characters in both! Argh.

The solution is simple, but it’s not all that easy: just keep writing. Just write it all and sort it out in the rewrite. Just write and write and write some more and get some fresh eyes on it to get it where it needs to be. Something about moving from a final iterative draft of Extraction to this completely new initial draft of The Incoming Tide has me doing something I haven’t done in years—it’s got me trying to approach a first draft like it’s the final draft. 16k words in and I’m still struggling to change my internal frame of reference.

*Spreadsheets for everything! It even has aggregation formulae and shit embedded in it!

Writing EXTRACTION – entry 11

so many questions!!

so many questions!!

This is the eleventh in a series of posts about the redrafting process of THE LONG ROAD which will be composed and published as I rewrite the book. The other posts in this series are here.

I know I’m getting close to the end of a piece when I start brainstorming for the next one. Unlike in my personal life, in terms of writing I am a serial monogamist: slavishly devoted to one piece…for a while. I can see them through the end, but as the story wraps itself up I get a wandering eye*. And so it is with The Long Road rewrites (which I’ve tentatively titled Extraction.

I’ve been working steadily on the manuscript. Between a particularly hectic period at work and a particularly hectic period at home I haven’t had much of a chance to blog about the rewrites, but they’ve been going well—lots of bus writing, you know. The draft will definitely need a second pass to clean up characterization and clarify themes, but the draft looks really solid. I’d been shooting for a rewrite which streamlined the previous draft down from a sprawling 150K word novel to a tighter 70K word young adult novel. Parallel storylines were jettisoned, the cast of characters was pared down. I’m entering the last section of the book at the 63K word mark, so I’m right on schedule.

But is it a young adult book? That part I don’t know. YA seems to me a slippery construct, probably in no small part due to the fact that I was a precocious reader who read frankly inappropriate stuff quite early. I’ve read most of the YA books I have as a fully-fledged pushing-thirty adult. I guess what I mean to say is that I set out to rewrite this book as one I would have wanted to read as a young adult (which is what, when you’re 14? 15ish?). But there’s part of me that suspects that if I tried to shop this around as a YA novel it would be deemed too adult. There’s some drugs in it, and not all of them are portrayed in a DARE-ish JUST SAY NO kind of way. Addiction is explored somewhat. There’s sex in it, some of it fairly explicit (though there are plot reasons for that). All the sex is consensual, a lot of it is queer, and all of it is of the positive life-affirming variety, even when it’s not a 1:1 match with love. There’s surprisingly little violence in the book. This seems appropriate to me.

But then I think about The Hunger Games. Those books are all violence, no sex. Some chaste kisses, that’s it, though kids get gutted and torn apart by genetically mutated dogs. Somehow that’s more ok for young minds to read than two women having heartfelt and thoroughly enjoyable sex together? I don’t know. It makes no sense to me. Which is not to knock The Hunger Games at all—I love those books. They are fantastic, and they explore a lot of ideas about PTSD and heroism and propaganda that I think are absolutely appropriate for young adults. But America, with its Puritanical streak, is so much more ok with kids reading vicious ciolence than positive portrayals of sexuality. It just so strange.

Ultimately I’m not sure it matters much one way or another. Hopefully this book will find its audience, and its audience will probably be some adults and some young adults. I think it will probably get out there through a small press, likely not one with a particular focus on YA lit, so this is probably all a moot point. But it’s food for thought.

*I’ll expand on this in another post soon. YOU GUYS I’M VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE.