Vanya Serafine-Reyes – A bounty hunter and sworn agent of the Ylendrian Empire, Vanya is a former “event planner”. She is married to Tal Serafine-Reyes, also a bounty hunter. She has a fondness for sleep, coffee, and people who make her life difficult. Featured in: The Slipstream Con
Today’s Peripheral Passphrase Letter is: H
Welcome to the countdown to Peripheral People! Every day until our release date (May 11, 2015), we’ll be giving you a glimpse into our universe, the Ylendrian Empire. And every post will include a new letter in our scavenger hunt/word jumble contest. Catch the new letter each day, unscramble the words, and start submitting your contest entries on May 10, 2015 to be entered in a random drawing for the Ridiculously Cool(er) Ylendrian Prize Pack, which includes all of these prizes:
One (1) Slipstream Laboratories lunch cooler- a lovely powder blue insulated bag, proudly emblazoned with the Slipstream Laboratories corporate philosophy: Ethical Dilemmas Are Only a Problem If You Have Ethics
One (1) $10 (US or equivalent currency) gift certificate to one of the following bookstores: Riptide Publishing, Amazon.com (or .country for non-US residents), or Barnes & Noble.com (Winner’s choice)
One (1) signed, full-wrap cover print of the cover art for Peripheral People, by the amazing Simone
Contest submissions open May 10, 2015 through May 24, 2015. Winner to be announced May 25, 2015. Contest open to US and non-US residents. Shipping for physical items will be paid by the authors; any duties or taxes due upon delivery are the responsibility of the prize winner. Winner will be notified via email, as well as announced on this blog and various social media outlets. Eligible entries must contain the correctly descrambled phrase, contact name, and valid email address. Winner will be chosen via random number generator.
Imagine our surprise on Saturday evening, when we received an email out of the blue from one of our editors, telling us we’d just won a Rainbow Book Award. Second place in the Best Bi/Trans Science Fiction and Fantasy category!
Hint: It involved us staring at each other for a few minutes in shock, then losing a large portion of the evening to jumping up and down, calling our respective Mom’s, and celebratory lattes. (Hi, Mom!)
So imagine getting home from the Starbucks run, caramel brulee latte’s held high to toast, and finding out we’d won a second category! Queue more stunned silence, followed by noises that made our cats very, very worried. (And another call to my Mom. Hi, Mom!)
After finally getting ourselves back to a pitch that could be heard by human beings, we decided to do what Good Authors should- namely, get back to work editing the next book in the series. It was a grand plan. A fine plan. It would have worked, too, if it weren’t for those pesky kids- the same ones who awarded us a third Rainbow Award – the completely unexpected, and incredibly flattering Best Bi/Trans Novel of 2012! We took second place in this category, and we couldn’t be more proud to be chosen.
Thank you to Elisa Rolle, the judges, all our fine and worthy competitors and compatriots, and of course, to our amazing readers. Knowing what a talented pool of authors we were up against, we didn’t even expect to make the final cut. We’re so honoured, and we look forward to getting the next book in the Ylendrian Empire series out there to be enjoyed. (And probably pasting that lovely award banner all over our desks for a few weeks!)
In The Slipstream Con, when Kellen is injured, he sings a song about a seal lord and a human bride. Tal and Vanya don’t recognize the song, but if they did, they’d be able to trace it back to Kellen’s homeworld- a bit of information Kellen hasn’t shared with anyone since he left it.
If you’re wondering where the inspiration for the song came from, take a listen to Heather Dale’s “The Maiden and the Selkie”. (And pick up her album The Green Knight, which is fabulous.)
“I kind of love the plot. Because it’s more than just characters falling in love, and no matter how much I like that part, I really like a book that gives me a little something more. What’s more, there is nothing predictable about the plot here. Every time you think you’ve got it figured out, there’s a new wrinkle.”
It’s a lovely write-up, and I’m honoured that our book was chosen as one of the inaugural reviews for the site. It’s definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye on, because I love a good poly relationship story.
The thing about Kellen Frey is, most times, he can get what he wants. Like a lot of people, the few things he can’t have are the most intriguing to him. The pair of bounty hunters on his tail top that list.
Do U Damage – The Specimen I wanna, I wanna get close to you
This is a silly, pop-y dance track, with a “do your worst, I’ll do my best” theme that underlies the lyrics. The “do your worst” definitely pits Kellen against the world, while the “I’ll do my best” reminds me of his need to prove himself to Tal and Vanya throughout the story.
Nocturnals – Peter Gabriel (YouTube Link, because it’s not available on Grooveshark) i dream of birds, birds without wings
children who grow up to be dangerous things
This is my Vanya song. It’s creepy and violent and sexy, in a very understated way. You would not want to mess with this song in a dark alley. Likewise, Vanya wouldn’t be my choice of people to cross. She’s got a habit of making things happen, and she doesn’t particularly care if other people like that or not.
Pain Killer (Summer Rain) – Turin Brakes Batten up the hatches, here comes the cold
I can feel it creeping, and it’s making me old
You give me so much love that it blows my brains out
Sometimes, loving someone just wears you out. I think Tal feels that way a lot.
The Con – Tegan and Sara Calm down, I’m calling you to say
I’m capsized, staring on the edge of safe
I think if there was a Kellen’n’Cassie song in this mix, it would have to be this one. Love is a game, and at least one of them forgets that to some people, the point of a game is to win.
Out the Airlock – Paul Dempsey
Okay, so maybe there are two Kellen’n’Cassie songs on here. Or maybe this one is all about a man who thought he knew what he was doing. Or maybe I’m cheating, and I just liked the song. We may never know…
Backfire – Mutemath
Isn’t having something to watch when it all blows up in your face the whole point of having a plan? Nobody in The Slipstream Con is getting what they expect, but some of them are getting what they want anyway.
Perfect Weapon – Communique
Tal and Vanya have a very physical element to their relationship that I love writing. They communicate with body language and touch, and Kellen picks up on that pretty quick.
Tell Me ‘Bout It – Joss Stone
Oh, repressed lust, you look so pretty under the stars… Even though the story didn’t allow for a lot of on-screen sex, there’s a current of tension that starts almost on the first page, before you even meet Kellen in person, and carries through the whole book.
27 – Fall Out Boy
My mind is a safe, and if I keep it in, we all get rich
Kellen’s warring desires to help Cassie and keep Vanya and Tal out of his mess collide with his own fervent wish not to spend time behind bars. It’s a lot to keep track of, a lot to control, and I like this song because it made me imagine Kellen as the man pulling the strings, who doesn’t realize they’re all about to be cut.
Let’s Pretend – No-Fi Soul Rebellion
Oh, let’s. I love the backwards/forwards/sideways/upside-down vibe to this song. It takes a strong personality to live under all those lies.
Fair – Remy Zero
What if you catch me, where would we land?
So, say you were a law-abiding, licensed Good Guy. Say you had the worst habit of falling for people who lived on the other side of that line. Where would you meet- in the middle, or would you just keep running?
Armistice – Mutemath
I’ve mentioned a couple times, I wrote the entire last scene of the book with this song on loop. And not-so-subtly paid homage to it, as well. Back and forth, give and take- those things can get lost, when you’re not sure if you’re even fighting for the same things.
A Good Idea At the Time – OK Go
Well, it did! I can actually hear any of the three of them saying this, at any given moment.
I hope you enjoyed the drive-by commentary, and the mix itself. Remember, just leave a comment on any entry from this week and be entered to win a signed paperback copy of The Slipstream Con. (Soundtrack not officially licensed or included. 😉
(The following piece of flash fiction contains minor spoilers for The Slipstream Con.)
“Oh, I was an art student.” The instant Kellen uttered the seemingly innocuous words, he wanted them back behind his teeth, swallowed down deep into the lost part of him that shouldn’t even exist anymore. “Of course I was also the wealthy son of an investment banker, and possibly a lost Imperial cousin.”
Vanya kissed his forehead, her hand gentle on the back of his head as she moved past him. “The difference is, only one of those was true.”
He didn’t answer her, but he didn’t go to bed that night, either. She came into his studio hours after she should have been asleep, and her voice was soft. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I don’t know how I did, but if you tell me what I said, I’ll figure out if I’m apologizing or not.”
Kellen laughed, staring at the brush in his hand for too long before he replied. “You didn’t do anything wrong.” It felt like he was breathing fire, his tongue shaping flames as he spit out an explanation that didn’t really tell her anything, and still felt too revealing. “I like who I am. I like who I’ve become. I’ve never liked who I was.”
“You’ve changed, though. You’ve gotten out of that life–”
“I don’t mean my alleged criminal activities.” Red paint dripped from his brush into the canvas, marring the landscape. He made no move to wipe it off. “I can’t talk about it. And I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I don’t want to be around anyone right now. Can you just…”
He didn’t have to ask her to go. The door shut halfway through his request, and he didn’t know if she was on the wrong side or not, but at least he was alone.
Angry with himself, Kellen picked up a tube of crimson paint and filled his palm with it, smearing it across the perfect copy of Hoefling’s famous starscape, Imperial City. He’d worked on it since the anonymous trail turned up a result he was almost insulted by.
Kellen hadn’t seen her face in years, but his fingers dragged it out of the brilliant red pigment, smudging in age he hadn’t witnessed, and a smile he barely remembered. When he was done, so angry he could barely keep it in, he ran a hand through his hair, ignoring the paint, and stared at the portrait until it dried just enough that there was no way to erase her.
It didn’t matter that she was alive. It wouldn’t have, to anyone but her son, and he was dead and buried, a year shy of graduating art school when he was dropped in the ground.
He should have left it alone, but it was a sickness he’d suffered from lately, this feeling like he needed to tie up loose ends. He wasn’t dying, or settling up a score, or clearing the way for a new con, and there was no good reason to have gone looking for her, not after all this time.
He wasn’t her son. He could remind himself of that all he wanted, but the fact remained that he’d found her alive, and he didn’t know what to do about it. He wasn’t her son, just a man of his own making, who used her son’s face. He owed her nothing, and wanted nothing she could give.
Her son’s name had been Grant. He didn’t know who Grant would have been, but it was a fair bet it wouldn’t have been Kellen Frey. He wasn’t sure Vanya and Tal would see the difference between them, and he couldn’t take that chance.
Alone, in the wee tiny hours before the false dawn of a ship on the drift, Kellen sealed her away with wide swaths of black paint. Her face disappeared from the canvas, mouth first so she couldn’t spill his secrets.
As we may have mentioned once or twice, the paperback release of The Slipstream Conis next Tuesday, March 6. To celebrate, we’re going to have a week-long party here on the blog, with something new and fun every day.
Monday- Michelle-a-palooza! (In other words, I have no idea what Michelle is going to post, but it’ll be awesome.)
Tuesday – Release day! We’ll post a bit about where you can find the book, and perhaps an excerpt or two.
Wednesday – Wednesday is Random Interview day ’round these parts, and we’ll be torturing talking to Tal Serafine-Reyes, voted 2012’s Most Beleaguered Bounty Hunter by Ylendrian Bounty Hunter Magazine.
Thursday – What? Did you hear a rumour about a bit of flash fiction featuring Kellen Frey? (He probably started the rumour himself, just to distract people while he stole their valuables.)
Friday – If it’s Friday, it’s time for Reesa Radio, where I’ll be posting the (semi) official Slipstream playlist, and doing drive-by DVD commentary on the songs.
Be sure to stop by every day. We’ll be holding a contest and nobody wants to miss the chance to win Amazing Free Things, do they?
Of course, if you do, we know a guy who can probably acquire them for you anyway, as long as you don’t mind a five-finger discount.
Those of you who didn’t get the chance to participate in the Long and Short Reviews/Whipped Cream Reviews 4th Anniversary blogfest can still reap a reward- we wrote a brand new short story featuring the characters from The Slipstream Con, celebrating an anniversary of their own.
Enjoy, feel free to comment, and spread the link around. (Be aware that the story does contain minor spoilers for The Slipstream Con.)
My goal today was to do something to promote The Slipstream Con that went beyond my comfort zone. I’ll be honest, like many authors, the entire concept of self promotion is outside my comfort zone, but that’s beside the point. Today I went looking for reviewers. I emailed a couple of genre review sites, querying them about the possibility of sending them a copy of the book, and then I girded my loins, and sent off a request to a site I adore, that I considered too big for us.
Yes, they review books. Yes, they review books in our genre(s), from our publisher. But they were lumped into the category in my head that I’m trying to erase – places that only deal with “real” authors.
I got a reply within five minutes, and whether or not the book makes it through the review process, I met my goal for the day. I stepped outside my safety net, and even if they hate the book so much that they renounce technology and flee to an Amish community, emerging once a year to steal a computer and post again about the novel that ruined their life, I can cling to the fact that I did it.
Thank goodness I’m not worried about this stuff anymore. Whew!