Days of the Dead Blog Tour: Gail Z. Martin Guest Post: Paths to Publication


Paths to Publication
by Gail Z. Martin

In today’s market, authors have more choices than ever before on how to bring their book to readers. Traditional big publishers, small press, self-publishing–what’s an author to do?

Each path to publication has pros and cons. There are a few considerations to factor in as you’re looking at options. What do you want out of publishing? If you have your heart set on becoming a New York Times bestseller, that’s more likely for a book put out by a big traditional publisher (and even then, it’s far from guaranteed). Likewise, if you’re hoping to pay all your bills with your advance check, a big publisher is the way to go. Large traditional publishers have national (and sometimes international) bookstore distribution, still a factor with today’s readers. You may also find more marketing resources with a big press, though that is debatable as staff cuts continue.

On the other hand, if you want someone else to handle the details of publication (editing, layout, cover design, some marketing) but you’re not worried about fame, bookstore placement or an advance, a reputable small press could be a good fit. Small presses can put out books of equivalent (or better) quality as large publishers, and tend to invest more editorial time in working with authors. Their marketing clout might not be as substantial, but marketing is an iffy proposition even for large publishers. Bookstore distribution and lack of an advance are the biggest drawbacks, but even big houses are paying smaller advances nowadays and bookstores are not as plentiful as they once were.

If you enjoy total control, self-publishing (also called indie) might be a good fit. Or, if you believe in a book and haven’t found a home for it, self-publishing with today’s online tools and Amazon can still make sure your book reaches the right readers. Self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it used to when the only choices were unscrupulous vanity publishers. A growing number of authors who have enthusiastic fan bases are finding it possible to make a living with self-published books (though it is still not guaranteed, even for established authors). The biggest caveat is that when you self-publish, you are both author and publisher. You write the book, hire the copy editor and proofreader, arrange for the cover art and the layout, handle the audio rights, set up the accounts with Amazon, Nook, Kobo, etc. A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into bringing a book to life after the writing is done, and the type of work required is not everyone’s idea of ‘fun’. Succeeding with self-publishing takes a lot of effort and attention to detail, but it’s more possible now than ever before.

Most of us pursue ‘hybrid’ careers, meaning that we play in all three arenas. If you can snag a contract and an advance with a big publisher, grab it. If a small press wants to include you in an anthology or bring out a niche novel, do it. And if you want to bring out some series on your own or self-publish short stories/novellas tied in to your series with other publishers, go for it. Working with big publishers, small presses and some self-publishing makes you more resilient to fate, since you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. I’m seeing more and more authors going this route, and it’s the path I’ve personally chosen because it allows the greatest range and ‘security’ in a highly volatile business.

The greatest thing about your writing career is that you get to chart your own way, making the decisions that are best for you and your books. Know your options and then pick what works for you. And be sure to enjoy what you do every day!


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SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Ahsoka

Star Wars: Ahsoka by EK Johnston

Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance.

Ahsoka is on the run and just wants to hide away like Obi Wan. But she isn’t willing to stand aside as her new friends become overrun by the Imperial troopers. She’s an intriguing character with a lot of talent. This standalone story follows Ahsoka as she tries to help defenseless farmers against the ruthless Empire and her path that eventually leads her to the Rebel Alliance.

This young adult novel is exciting and full of adventure, intrigue, and suspense. Events build to a strange pause when Ahsoka goes off-planet for a while and then returns, which made for some awkward pacing. But once the pacing picks back up, the climactic ending doesn’t disappoint. Young Star Wars fans will want to pick up this fun, new story with plenty of heart.

Box Review: TeeBlox – October 2016


TeeBlox is a t-shirt subscription service that brings 100% authentic licensed geek and gamer shirts to your doorsteps every month. No hidden fees. Cancel anytime. Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Get 1 shirt and 2 other items starting at $12.99/mo and use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Subscribers can pick from the following categories: SciFi, Marvel, DC Comics, Cartoons, Movies & TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

* received a box for review purposes.


Star Trek T-shirt – I LOVE this design. It’s a mashup of the different crews in their primary colored shirts, in the shape of the saucer section of a ship with a fade out for the tail end of the ship. I would have liked it even more (and gotten more use out of it) if it were gray instead of black.


2000AD Presents #18 – This was a fun, retro comic.

Deadpool Air Freshener – I haven’t opened it to smell it yet. But the image of Deadpool doesn’t convey something smelling good to me. But it’s Deadpool, so it’s cool.

Summary: The shirt and comic combo is awesome. This Star Trek shirt is even better than the last. This is one of the more affordable mystery packs – and it’s one of my favorites.

Remember, use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Blu-Ray Giveaway: The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack)

Courtesy of Warner Home Video, I have an extra copy of The Legend of Tarzan (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack) for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends November 11. I’ll draw a name on November 12, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

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SciFi Book Review: Star Trek: Legacies Book 3: Purgatory’s Key

Star Trek: Legacies Book 3: Purgatory’s Key by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore

Eighteen years ago, the Starship Enterprise thwarted an alien invasion from another universe, and Captain Robert April took possession of the interdimensional transfer device that made it possible. Since then, each captain of the Enterprise, from Christopher Pike to James T. Kirk, has guarded this secret with his life.

Now, Romulan agents have succeeded in stealing the device and using it to banish Ambassador Sarek and Councillor Gorkon to an unknown realm in the midst of their groundbreaking Federation-Klingon peace negotiations. With time running out as interstellar war looms in one universe—and alien forces marshal in another—will Captain Kirk and his crew preserve the tenuous peace and reclaim the key between the dimensions?

Purgatory’s Key is the final installment in the Legacies trilogy. We get to see more interaction on the planet from the alternate universe, but it’s still quite a bit of a mystery. With the Romulans closing in on the Enterprise and xenophobic, ruthless aliens hunting the individuals stuck in the alternate world – there’s a lot packed into this finale. The strength of this story was the character interactions – from some powerful scenes with Sarek to an upheaval aboard the Romulan ship. I thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy, and the climactic ending did not disappoint. With plenty of intrigue, suspense, and drama – this was a well-paced story from a talented writing team.

Blog Tour: Moon Chosen Excerpt!


Moon Chosen: Tales of a New World by PC Cast

CREDIT: From Moon Chosen by PC Cast. Copyright © 2016 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

Mari braced herself, and as she had so many times before, felt her mother stiffen while energy surged through Leda and into Mari, sizzling through her palm, down her arm to swirl around and around inside her, growing in power with each second that passed. Mari’s heartbeat began to hammer and her breathing suddenly increased until she was panting as hard as was the pup. In her arms, Rigel whined uncertainly.

“Focus.” Her mother’s voice was only a whisper, but Mari could feel it through her whole body. “You can do this. The power is not yours to keep – your body is merely its channel. Borrow serenity from the image of the Earth Mother. Though you may be surrounded by chaos or sickness or injuries, find the true you within. Release that which belongs to the world –fears, worry, sadness, so that the silver stream may wash unimpeded through you. It is a waterfall at night. Rigel is the basin that must hold it.”

Mari stared at the beautiful image of the Earth Mother that Leda pruned and cared for so lovingly. But, as always, the figure was only foliage and art to Mari. She couldn’t feel the divine presence her mother revered. She could not find her true self – her center. “Mama, I c-can’t. It’s s-so c-cold. It- it hurts.” Mari stuttered through chattering teeth.

“Only because the healing power is not meant for you. Release the fears of your body, Mari. Focus! Find your grounding and become a channel for the moon’s energy. Tonight you must succeed. If you do not, your Rigel will surely die.”

Her mother’s words exploded through Mari’s body. “No! He can’t die. I won’t let him.” She gritted her teeth against the cold and tried to focus past the pain – to release the cacophony of emotions that swirled through her body unimpeded – and to be the channel for the moonfall of water. Yet, still the power was a whirlpool within her. It terrified Mari and threatened to suck her down to drown in its freezing depths.

This was when she usually failed. This was when she dropped her mother’s hand and allowed sickness to claim her so that she vomited, dry heaving misery and moonlight while Leda stroked her back, consoling her with calm, loving words that reminded Mari there would be a next time – she would do better the next time.

But there was no next time for Rigel, and Mari refused to lose him. Think! Focus!

“Mari, slow your breathing. Calm your heart. This is no longer practice. You either heal Rigel, or fail and he dies from shock and blood loss. This is your reality.”

“That’s it, Mama! I need to make this my reality!” Mari squeezed her eyes closed. Could that be the answer? Could it really be that simple? Mari imagined that she was in their burrow, alone, sitting at her desk preparing to create a sketch. Her gulping breath slowed. Her hammering heart quieted. Mari found her grounding as she envisioned a blank sheet of paper. On that paper her imagination began to quickly, easily, sketch an image of herself, sitting crossed-legged with Rigel spread across her lap. From above her silver light cascaded into her lifted palm, washing through her body in a glistening wave to spout from her other palm, which was pressed against the pup’s bloody chest. Eyes still tightly shut Mari worked on the scene, creating a picture of Rigel’s body that was washed clean of blood by the liquid light, leaving behind wounds that were neatly closed and already healing.

Suddenly the cold tide within Mari was controllable. Instead of drowning her, it used her as a conduit, passing through her harmlessly as she let go of the energy. I’m doing it! I’m doing it! And just that quickly her concentration shattered. The picture she’d been creating disappeared along with the tide of power within her.

“No! No! Get it back! I was doing it – it was working,” Mari gasped, gripping her mother’s hand like a lifeline.
“It’s too late. The sun is fully risen. Even with your help I cannot call the moon back to me,” Leda knelt beside Mari, gently disentangling her daughter’s hand from hers. “But it was enough. You did it, sweet girl. I knew you could. Praise the Earth Mother and the blessed Moon! You have saved him.”

Feeling dizzy and disconnected, Mari looked down at Rigel. The pup wagged his tail animatedly and sat up, licking her face. Even though she felt light-headed, she laughed weakly and put her arms around him. He nested there, curled against her body and, sending her waves of contentment, Rigel fell sound to sleep in her arms. With a trembling hand, Mari brushed aside the blood-matted fur on his chest. What had only moments before been deep, seeping, whip-like lacerations were now pink lines of newly joined flesh that had ceased bleeding.

“I knew it was true. You do have my powers and more.”

Graphic Novel Review: Dresden Files: Wild Card

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Wild Card

A bizarre double murder draws the interest of Chicago’s only wizard-for-hire. But as Harry Dresden begins his investigation, the clues lead to troubling conclusions about the possible perpetrator, and set him on a path that will place him in the middle of a conflict between the city’s three most powerful factions – a conflict that could engulf all of Chicago!

This original story is set in between White Night and the graphic novel Down Town. For those of us impatient for the next novel, these comics are a welcome addition. The story is fast-paced and fun – with plenty of suspense, humor, and magic. I only wish it was longer to see more character interactions. The artwork is fantastic, though I wasn’t a fan of how the villain was drawn. This story arc definitely makes me want to go back and read the graphic novels that I’ve missed.

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