Title: Houses of Common
Author: Derick William Dalton
Publisher: Synaptic Labs, SP
Blog Tour Organizer: Blog Tours By Elana
Release Date: January 14, 2014
In the 22nd century, pilgrims leave Earth for the nearby planets that terraformers have crafted to meet their needs. Ranyk is a smart-mouthed alien, the best of the world-builders employed by the US government--and he always completes his risky assignments solo, pushing to the deep recesses of space for the good of colonists and to avoid his growing fame.
Until he's handed an on-planet assignment in Ireland, of all places, as an undercover international student of aquaponics. His real plan? To pull scientists and their families out of a country careening toward civil war--and off earth to a world of their own before marital-law lockdown ends their ground-breaking discoveries.
Risking his life is no novelty for Ranyk. He's been battered by asteroids, nearly incinerated in volcanoes, and has out-piloted pirates. But political espionage on Earth is more dangerous than anything he's encountered before, and he's completely ill-equipped for such delicate matters. Now he must figure out who to trust and who to eliminate, or it will mean his freedom, the safety of forty thousand desperate colonists, and the lives of his friends.
I was browsing this site to get a feel for the authors who post here, when a familiar face jumped out at me. A coworker from my day job is a fellow writer. As in my current I-was-just-there-yesterday day job! And neither of us knew the other had such a dark secret as writing!
(That person can out themselves in the comments if desired, but that's all the gossip you're getting from me.)
Small world, eh?
A similar juxtaposition of unlikely events happened several years ago with my sister. I was in graduate school to become a biology teacher. A third of the time I was drinking in knowledge like my kids will take down a Slurpee on a Saturday with their granddad. The other two thirds of the time, the bulk of my classes, my brain was a squirmy nine-year-old with ADHD. After a Slurpee. To compensate during these mandated wastes of time, I'd draw and write. I'm proud to say my doodling had matured since I was nine, and the beginnings of a novel emerged. I graduated and got a teaching job and the novel experienced a few years of neglect before I picked it up again. About that time, my sister and I both had kids who were old enough to love bedtime stories. Though hers was barely a toddler, my sister made a comment about always reading the author's name with every story.
I found that obsessive. Why the interest in the author's feelings? I found out a year or so later. It's because she was one. She had a nearly-complete YA sci-fi novel, and she was just as shocked to find I'd been writing sci-fi too. Lots of swapped manuscripts and a road trip together for a writing conference later, she's querying agents about a novel I find intimidatingly fantastic, and I'm published. Pretty good stats for a writing group.
I have to confess: I skipped three years in that happy little story, and I'm not going to out myself with any comments. But I will discuss one of the big solutions that kept those three years from being four or five or ~shudder~. That's networking with great people.
I married a sharp woman. When I've been humble enough to take it, she's given super feedback. One example is the shape of the sculpture in chapter two of Houses of Common. Her idea. Sometimes it's tough to be open about one's creativity with those closest to us, but I've found it healthy, and she's a spectacular editor.
My sister, Jessica Parsons, also helped me out of my “independent and invincible” mentality as neither of them are applicable to a successful author. Check out her site for news on her sci-fi/thriller/romance Time Walker: jessicaleeparsons.blogspot.com.
As part of my mentality recalibration, Jessica introduced me to Eschler Editing. Phenomenal services, which are an absolute must for anyone wanting to self-publish. Their network lead me to other authors and eventually to being alerted that openings were available at a sci-fi and fantasy symposium. I sat on a panel with more established authors, taught some things, and learned a lot. It lead to my first book signing.
What I got right was being open with the right people. But what if I'd been more open about my writing sooner? That's scary, because for a time I wasn't comfortable with what I'd put on the page. But what if I'd talked to my sister a year or two earlier? What if I'd discovered my coworker was a fellow writer four years ago?
Finding a balance between being open with my creations and keeping them safe until ready to share is hard. I think more openness would have served me well.
Houses of Common is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. The paperback is less expensive from Createspace with the coupon code APSQBFT8.
About the Author
Mr. Dalton is a professional student who has taken an occasional hiatus for such frivolities as teaching high school science, residential construction, and treating patients as a physician assistant. When not speaking of himself in the third person, he hangs out with his wife and kids and a smart-mouth turtle. He's also planning a mountain biking trip on the moon.
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