My Debut Novel: That Distant Dream

My debut novel, That Distant Dream has been out in the world for over two months!

I wrote and book and it’s published!

It’s hard to capture my thoughts and feelings, because so much went into creating it, from the writing process to the editing to finally finding a home for it with NineStar Press and working with NineStar’s awesome team.

And, of course, the Wattpad community, particularly the Rebel Elite book club, which saw an early (haha I had only thought it was done at the time) draft and provided so many helpful comments and boosts and everything else. Somehow the book was a Wattpad feature, and then it made the Watty’s Shortlist in 2018 (I just stared in bewildered amazement with each notice that it made it one extra leg, because I’d submitted it on a whim, never thinking it would get that far).

Self doubt is fun, folks.

From Goodreads:

After her escape pod is found drifting through debris nearly two decades after the end of the Redelki Wars, Melin is woken from cryosleep to find a galaxy where she no longer belongs. The galaxy has moved on from the horrors she experienced, the experiences that transformed her into a hero while she slept, but she hasn’t.

Alone, broken in mind and body, Melin is slowly pulled to the planet of her ancestors. She just wants a fresh start. A chance to end the dreams plaguing her sleep. A chance for answers. For new beginnings. For a life lived in oblivion where no one knows her name or what she did.

But Satura is a planet at war. And there are no fresh starts for heroes.

Warning: Ableism, colonialism, guns, medical procedures (off page), past trauma, PTSD, assault, torture (off page), prisoner abuse, war

TDD is weird for me to sum up. Which is all awful, because I hate getting review requests from randos who are like “my book is genre-defying!” and…generally speaking they are not.

TDD is not genre-defying.

It’s science fiction (more on the science fantasy end), with a couple other elements wrapped in.

It’s kinda military science fiction, although the actual military service has ended and Melin is left picking up the pieces. What military science fiction that remains is more bureaucratic and supply-based. There are some time travel elements, thanks to nearly 20 years of cryo-sleep that left Melin literally a woman out of time in a peacetime universe where everyone else has processed their trauma and moved on and she has not. Adding to her sense of being adrift is the mystery aspect of the book: the dreams that make her question the fabric of her reality. And it’s definitely a fantasy.

Melin just wants to fade into the background, but everyone around her wants a hero, and she has to navigate those unrealistic expectations while coping with her PTSD, her disabilities and those fucking weird-ass dreams. She’s already faced the worst, but needs reassemble the pieces of herself, lick her wounds and slowly pick herself back up—wherever that leads her.

And it ends with a um, literal cliffhanger.

I’m really selling it, aren’t I?

Here’s a brief snip of Chapter 1 from the release blitz:

The shuttle jerked violently to the left, shuddered as both engines made the distinct whine of crystal overload, shrieked, and died.

Someone in the back screamed as the craft tumbled, rolling wildly through the atmosphere.

Melin gripped her armrests, squeezed her eyes shut as she willed her breath to remain steady. Hyperventilation would kill her faster.

She tried focusing on what that quack psychoanalyst claimed were “soothing” mantras as the onsetting gravity of reentry sucked her into her seat at a pace faster than the cheap civilian gravity suit could compensate. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

A distant corner of her brain—the one not occupied with breathing, muscle tension, and avoiding G-LOC—remembered a military-grade ship suit wouldn’t have had this problem. Her old space armor would have allowed her to carve a hole out of this blasted shuttle and free dive planetside. She sucked a tight inhale through clenched teeth, chest burning. Think of the positive.

Then she remembered she’d never link in with a set of space armor ever again, and she was back where she’d started.

On a free-falling shuttle with a one-way ticket to the ground.

The shuttle flipped, gaining a moment of antigravity that triggered a spate of relief—and retching and sobbing and fervent prayers—for its passengers.

The shuttle rolled again, nose pointing down.

Melin’s vision tunneled, graying at the edges.

I will not die like this.

A jolt of energy passed through her, setting her fingers on fire and dissolving her vision into sparkling blue light. An engine sputtered, hissed, and restarted with a ferocious roar.

As quickly as the onset had begun, the shuttle leveled in its descent, catching before it hit too steep of a reentry and turned them into a smear of fire and ash across the sky.

Anywho, after a really awful writing year (2020 was…not kind for all of us), I managed to get the rough draft of Book 2 finalized and I’m elbow-deep in edits. Fingers crossed I can send it to my very patient editor by the end of February.

Tentative working title for Book 2 is That Slow Awakening.

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