Project Gene Assist Book 2, The Watch & Wand – You always have a choice. Make the right one

The Watch and Wand, the latest in the Project Gene Assist #Book Series Launches December 5th www.alliepottswrites.comBarring acts of God or radioactive slime beast hellbent on scaling the largest tower in my city while simultaneously leaving a swart of destruction in its wake, by this time next week, my book children will officially outnumber my human children.

I am going to level with you – it hasn’t been easy.

An Uncertain Faith - www.alliepottswrites.comWhen my first bookborn arrived, I didn’t have a clue what to expect. I did whatever any new bookparent would. First I converted a small underused space on the internet into a cozy little site where my bookbaby and my author platform might grow side by side. I overbought supplies (many of which I hadn’t the first clue how to effectively use) so I might be ready for any occasion. I sent out cards alerting the friends and family. I hung up bright shiny pictures of its cover positioned in various poses and dreamed about all the things I thought it might one day be.

I nested. I sanitized my words. I reached out to other new bookmoms and bookdads for sympathy, tips or other advice.

But I was overwhelmed and no matter how much attention I bestowed, my bookbaby still always demanded more.

I consulted the experts who all agreed that the best thing I could do, for us both, was to give my bookbaby a sibling.

I made a choice.

Project Gene Assist Book 1: The Fair & Foul - www.alliepottswrites.comSo after a lengthy labor of love, culminating on one cold rainy night, my second bookbaby made its grand first appearance. After the launch, I wanted nothing more than to get some rest and enjoy the benefit of my expanded catalog. Only things didn’t work between the two quite as smoothly as I imagined.

For one, the newest edition was a completely different genre, meaning, as I learned in short order, I wouldn’t be able to utilize most any marketing hand-me-downs. Nor did either book’s temperament allow me to bundle them together. Well… shoot.

I consulted the experts once again on what to do. The answer was the same.

Write more books (preferably this time in the same genre).

But at this point, my other children, my human children were no longer going to bed early or taking mid-day naps, nor was the day job getting any less demanding.

Then, to make matters worse, the words stopped flowing. Not all at once, but bit by bit until one day I realized that somewhere along the line, I’d let my story slip.

I found myself at the base of a mountain – a mountain of a goal – a goal I’d created.

I thought about quitting. I thought about it a lot.

I thought about quitting.

But I didn’t.

You didn’t. You could have. You didn’t let me.

I made a choice.

So now I’ve scaled a mountain – a mountain of a goal – a goal I created, only to see another mountain on the other side.

With your continued patience and more than a little of your support, I’ll scale that one too.

Thanks to you all.

I’d never have come this far without you.


Project Gene Assist Book Two: The Watch & Wand officially goes on sale Tuesday, December 5th. (Kindle Pre-order now available). You can read an excerpt here.

How Important is Your Plan to Your Outcome

How Important is Your Plan to Your Outcome - www.alliepottswrites.comA three-day weekend loomed in front of us and our plan was to have no plan. We’d sleep in as much as the children allowed. We’d stay in. After being away from home most weekends in August, my husband and I were looking forward to tackling a few projects but generally doing nothing more than relaxing. It would be a weekend to simply enjoy being a family.

It was a good plan.

I’d no sooner stepped out of my bedroom Saturday morning when I was met in the hall by my eldest son and his best friend, Biff. “Mom! Biff invited me to go with them to a mud run. Can I go? Can I?” I blinked. I hadn’t drunk enough coffee that morning to be able to process that level of excitement. It was a wonder I’d even gotten into my day clothes already.

I stalled. “Those things usually cost money.”

“My mom will take care of it,” Biff assured me.

I felt like there was something I was missing. Kiddo would be out of the house all morning? He’d be exercising instead of alternating between begging me to allow him to binge-watch his latest favorite cartoon (there are only six seasons, mom), creating Lego minefields, or complaining about how bored he was and I wouldn’t have to pay for it? It seemed too good to be true.

It was.

We learned no such offer had been authorized. Sure, Kiddo was welcome to come along (the more the merrier!) but the insurance waiver clearly stated that a legally responsible adult must be present along with every child. One of us, either my husband or I, would have to go with Kiddo else live with a weekend long case of ‘you are the worst parents ever!’ There went our relaxing morning.

My husband and I faced off like gunslingers at noon in an old western.

“It’s only a couple of miles,” my husband pointed out.

“You are the one training to run another marathon,” I reminded his father.

*do-la-doooooo wha wha whaaaaaa*

“Please?” I swear Kiddo batted his eyelashes. (Don’t ask me where he learned that trick).

My husband broke first. “I’ll go change.”

LT, our youngest, caught wind of the conversation. He had no idea what a mud run was, but his brother and father were going. He would not be left out or heads would roll (as would the rest of him as his tantrums are typically full body affairs). Then all four of us were at the starting line with the elder Potts guys in their work out attire and me and LT standing on the spectator side with a camera and their spare clothes.

A fog horn blew and then they were off.

How Important is Your Plan to Your Outcome - www.alliepottswrites.com

This is after he swam across a pond. My washing machine is demanding a raise

A short time later, two incredibly filthy smiling faces crossed the finish line. I know they were smiling because the only part that wasn’t covered in brown was their shiny teeth. The shoes they’d worn were tossed in a pile which would be industrially cleaned and donated to those in need. A large tanker truck provided the water needed to remove the mud from Kiddo’s ear. Speakers blasted music while LT grabbed fistfuls of grass and rubbed them into his hair and across his belly in order to look like one of the participants. We hadn’t brought a change of clothes for him, but I found I didn’t mind. Not one part of the morning had gone to plan, but it was still a good morning.

No. It was a better morning.

I am a planner by nature as much as by habit. I set goals. I track milestones. I know how to keep a program advancing, but though it is making me twitchy writing this, there are times you have to focus on the outcome, but let the plan go.

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” – Tony Robbins

I was supposed to have another book out by now, but my characters rebelled. I found myself asking what was more important? My outline or my outcome.

I thought my outline was a good one. I’d put real thought into it. I’d spent hours if not days planning and pacing. I’d created character profiles and scene summaries. I’d researched setting. It should have worked, but it didn’t, and ultimately I allowed myself the flexibility to adapt moving forward. I picked outcome.

Though I hate that it has taken so long to get to this point, I have to admit my characters were right. I rewrote my plan. I altered my method. I’ve received my feedback from my beta readers and all that is left to do is a few manageable rewrites and work through my final edits before sending it out to the next round of advanced proof readers (if that sounds like something you’d enjoy, please contact me at allie AT alliepottswrites DOT com).

The path to publishing this book may have deviated from my plan. It’s taken a few twists and gotten messy along the way but my commitment has never wavered. With a little patience and a whole lot of support, I will publish this book and it may just be better than I ever planned for.

Calling on Beta Readers – Project Gene Assist Book Two

It was supposed to be a simple supply run

But after the world ends, nothing is ever simple.

While the last few days have gone out of their way to put me behind schedule, I am set to finish edits of book two in my speculative fiction series (Project Gene Assist), currently titled The Watch & Wand in the coming weeks.

Set fifteen years after the events of the first book, the future no longer looks quite so bright. Stephen Thomas knows this only too well. Had he been born a generation or two before, his talents for mechanics and programming would have virtually guaranteed him an easy, if not celebrated, life. Instead, he has been forced to endure a near pre-industrial existence with only his aging guardians for companionship.

The trouble with talent is it rarely allows itself to stay hidden…

A broken windmill, a tavern fire, and a chance encounter later, Stephen finds himself on a mission and on the run from groups such as The Watch, who blame the world’s troubles on all but the most basic technology – groups, who seek to control what remains of the rest of the population through intimidation and vigilante justice.

Interested in learning more?

If so, I am in need of a few more beta readers. As I’ve intended this book’s story to stand on its own, you don’t even have to have read book one, though why haven’t you?

What am I looking for in a beta reader:

  • You enjoy post-apocalyptic settings and/or quest style storylines
  • You enjoy earth based science fiction or urban fantasy as a genre
  • You don’t require main characters to be champions of virtue or expect villains to be pure evil
  • You must be able to read a ~80K word (estimated 320 pages) novel in approximately three to four weeks with little notice (targeting starting early-mid August)
  • You must be comfortable giving detailed feedback (preferably in the form of a commented word document). If you don’t like a character, or a scene doesn’t work, I need to know why (otherwise how can I fix them)
  • You do not need to be a grammar expert – while this is a huge help, I am more interested in gaining feedback related to story flow, character development, and gaping plot holes at this time than proofing issues, however if you are a grammar expert or one of those lovely people able to spot a typo from 100 paces, please let me know that too.
  • Bonus points if you are also an avid hiker, biologist, or structural engineer. While I did research before writing, I always appreciate hearing directly from experts.

If this sounds like you, please contact me at allie at alliepottswrites dot com, or better yet, sign up for my mailing list

 


Project Gene Assist Book One – The Fair & Foul

Juliane Faris is a brilliant programmer determined to change the world through scientific and technical advancement. Blinded by ambition, she will do whatever it takes to secure her legacy including agreeing to participate in an experimental procedure.

Her decision grants her unprecedented knowledge and cellular control over her body but threatens everything she holds dear including her sanity. When others undergo the same modifications it becomes apparent that not everyone can afford the price that this technology demands

Juliane has a supercomputer for a brain and she isn’t afraid to use it.

Perhaps she should be.

Read an excerpt at: https://alliepottswrites.com/books/excerpt-the-fair-foul

Read a review at: https://alliepottswrites.com/books/review-the-fair-and-foul

Purchase at: http://authl.it/B01678T7CU

 

A celebration five years in the making

A celebration five years in the making - www.alliepottswrites.comLT woke to the sounds of his family singing. He grinned a sleepy grin as he stretched underneath the covers, rubbing eyes which weren’t quite as ready to wake up. This was it. His birthday. His fifth birthday. It was the culmination of every wish he’d held most dear since, well . . . since the last one.

If you’d asked him, he likely would have told you that mommy and daddy had tricked him this time last year. Other than dropping the guard rails from his bed, four hadn’t been nearly the magical age that they’d led him to believe. He still wasn’t big enough to cross the street unattended. Or go on the big kid bus to the elementary school. Or do any number of things that he felt were his due.

But five. Five was going to be different. He just knew it.

Still grinning his sleepy grin, LT made his way into the bathroom he shared with his brother, Kiddo, only to stop in front of the colorful staircase that led to his toothbrush at the bathroom sink. He looked to his father. “I don’t need the stairs anymore daddy,” he announced. “I’m a big boy now.”

His father, always the one most likely to indulge the boys, pulled the steps away while answering “Is that so?”

LT grinned again and approached the sink fully expecting that somehow in the middle of the night his arms and legs would have stretched to lengths more fitting of a boy of his new maturity. He reached. And reached. And reached. And yet the faucet remained stubbornly just beyond his fingers’ touch.

“How about we use the steps, just a little bit longer,” his father suggested.

This minor setback was not enough to spoil his mood. At breakfast, LT’s grin might have been seen from space if it weren’t for the kitchen’s ceiling. “I’m five. I’m going to graduate [from preschool],” he proudly announced to his brother in between spoonfuls of cereal.

“Not until this summer, honey,” his mother corrected him. “Soon.” She gave him a squeeze. “But not too soon.”

LT took another mouthful as he chewed on this latest development.

His Nana came to visit that evening, an event that also meant pizza and even more presents. LT, having already enjoyed a cupcake or two at preschool that afternoon, bounced from room to room high on sugary treats and greasy goodness, scattering wrapping paper with abandon. It was his day and he would do whatever he wanted. Or so he thought.

“It’s bedtime.”

LT interpreted the announcement to mean, ‘it’s time to build a blanket waterfall/fort.’

“Bedtime. Now.”

LT threw himself on the stairs in a fit, his body flopping into the same limp dead weight mastered by children around the world in protest at the merest threat that he might be carried to his room like the baby, he knew, he was no longer. Like that, LT’s birthday was over.

There was nothing written on the calendar the following day, a fact that should have meant that life had returned to normal. Gifts were put away. Preschool would resume its regular routine. By all accounts, the day should have been entirely unworthy of note. LT, however, chose not to view the new day that way.

Turning to his mother, he echoed the words uttered unbeknownst to him by one of his cousins the year before, “and now I’m almost six,” proving that while even the best days may include a disappointment or two, and the ordinary days, potentially, even more, there is always something to celebrate as long as you think positively.


The Fair & FoulLT’s big day wasn’t the only one to receive presents last week. I’m pleased to announce that my science fiction/cyberpunk novel, The Fair & Foul – Project Gene Assist Book One, has been gifted with a new cover, and the finalization of the cover of its sequel is not far behind.

And for those who enjoyed my Women’s Fiction/Cozy Mystery novel, An Uncertain Faith, here’s what I hope will be a present for you – I’m on track to finish the first draft of its sequel by the end of March, meaning I may have not one, but two potential book launches in my immediate future.

Like LT and his quest to ride the big kid bus, or even reach the bathroom sink unassisted, I know I still have a number of milestones still left to achieve before any of this can happen, but at least I know I am closer now than I was the day before, and that’s reason enough for me to celebrate.

Is it a good time to make easy changes?

“Are you Allie?” A woman I’d seen temporarily filling the office’s front desk asked. I nodded. “I have a package for you.” She disappeared for a moment only to return with a box that could have easily fit a flat screen TV. It was my new desk. My new standing desk. Yes, apparently, the newest hires managed to persuade the powers that be into experimenting with new-fangled equipment in hopes of making us all more productive, happier people.

(I am both intrigued and alarmed at this video of an office that takes the term rat race a bit too literally)

The box remained in the corner of my office unopened. I knew once those seals were broken, there would be no turning back. The box seemed to stare at me as if aware of my thoughts. Don’t you care about your health, it seemed to ask. I do, I thought back in reply, it’s just that I enjoy sitting down too.

Change. It’s never comfortable. Is it?

Eventually, I succumbed and cut through the packing tape, my inborn need to keep my work area relatively clutter free outweighing the fear of the change the box represented. The entire thing slid out in one piece. Darn it, there goes my excuse to procrastinate set-up due to assembly.

Within minutes my workstation was online. Taking a deep breath, I found hidden handles underneath the desk. Then, with a squeeze, my workspace rose. And rose. And rose. I pushed my chair backwards and grit my teeth. Here goes nothing. I started to work. I originally intended to work for only a few minutes, but then return the desk back to its ‘seated’ position. I would ease into this change. But a glance at the clock informed me that an hour passed.

A bit later, my feet began to ache. I shifted my weight. I could have sat back down, but instead decided to go for a walk around the office if only to see how the others might be coping. The funny thing was none of them were at their desks either. Where had everyone gone? I wondered. I pulled up my calendar. Was I missing a meeting? No. By heavens! It was lunch time. The insidious device had tricked me into working into the lunch hour. The horror! I quickly fled my office to find sustenance as no one likes me hungry. No one. I don’t even think my children like me when I am hungry.

But it got me thinking. I’d accomplished quite as a result of that one simple change.

Fall is once again almost upon us, bringing with it, more change. School is once again in session, the faintest hint of red is beginning to show on the leaves outside my window and I have managed to drive more than once with the air conditioning off and the windows open. Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

In fact, it can be quite healthy from time to time.

Earlier this summer, dismayed by my lack of progress and bullied by fans (just kidding Eric – I am grateful for each and every one of your friendly reminders to get back to work), I decided to change how I managed my writing goals by teaming up with another writer. The idea was we’d help each other stay on track in order to complete our various writing projects, preferably before the end of this century.

I expected I’d be better about hitting my goals, but what I didn’t expect was exactly how helpful this simple change has been. I’ve doubled my weekly word count since we started (or tripled compared to some weeks). While I have yet to write the words “End of Book Two” in my current work in progress, I am overjoyed to say it has an ending (if you are interested in either beta reading or becoming an advance reviewer when the time comes, be sure to let me know).

Unfortunately (at least for me), my accountability partner has grown overly fond of our current rate of success and is forcing me to make other changes. Like actually telling people when The Fair & Foul will be available for free download (September 8th – 12th). Or the fact that I’ve been invited to be a guest on Speculative Fiction Cantina radio show on September 23rd (details to follow).

“Change is inevitable–except from a vending machine.” -Robert C. Gallagher

If change is inevitable, then the least I can do it try to lead the change rather than let it lead me. These small changes I’ve made, and the ones I make tomorrow, may not seem much to you, but a year from now, I will look back and know they made all the difference.