Date Published: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Ink & Magick
As a ward of the Lacklands, Robyn Loxley has lived a privileged life. Even now, in 1942, when another war ravages the world and people on the home front must do without, her adopted family is not affected by the rations and shortages.
That’s not to say she hasn’t been affected by the war personally. As Robyn hits yet another roadblock in her quest to see her best friend Will, trapped in a Japanese-American concentration camp, she stumbles onto the people of Sherwood.
With dark truths revealed about the Lacklands and what really goes on in Midshire, Robyn must answer what justice means to her and what she’s willing to do to exact it.
Robyn and the merry band get an update in this dieselpunk sci-fi adventure.
“The Treason of Robyn Hood has suspense, drama, humor, romance, and action, all jam-packed in a tightly paced novel full of intrigue…I enjoyed it immensely and will highly recommend it to fans of fantasy and adventure. “
“Connoisseurs of urban fantasy and offbeat romance will find this novel both a fun and fulfilling read. The clever characterizations and skillful melding of fantasy, adventure, and romance put a spotlight on sisterly devotion, oddball alliances, social conscience, and the human ability to rise above broken hearts and broken lives. “
—The US Review of Books
D. Lieber has a wanderlust that would make a butterfly envious. When she isn’t planning her next physical adventure, she’s recklessly jumping from one fictional world to another. Her love of reading led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.
Beyond her skeptic and slightly pessimistic mind, Lieber wants to believe. She has been many places—from Canada to England, France to Italy, Germany to Russia—believing that a better world comes from putting a face on “other.” She is a romantic idealist at heart, always fighting to keep her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.
Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John) and cats (Yin and Nox).
Identifying your writing problems is a real struggle. On one hand, you don’t know what you don’t know. And on the other, it’s hard to face our mistakes on the best of days.
But we all want to get better right? We want our manuscripts to be the best they can be.
So, let’s talk about the first problem. Clearing your vision as to what you don’t know is there. There are a few ways, I’ve found that help me.
1. Read. A lot. They always say you shouldn’t compare your work to someone else’s, and I can agree with that to some extent. But you’re going to. It’s just how our brains work. Reading other people’s writing can help you recognize things that work and don’t work in your view. And when you go back to read your own stuff, you’re bound to pick up on some of your shortcomings as well.
2. Give yourself some lead time. This one is hard in today’s publishing industry. Writers are told to produce, produce, produce. Publish, publish, publish. But I’ve found that leaving my finished first draft to sit for a few months does wonders for the end product. When I come back to it, I have fresh eyes. And that makes a world of difference.
3. Get help. This one is also important. Sometimes we are truly blind to our own problems, and we need other people to give us feedback. So, get some betas, hire an editor, read reviews if you have to. But listening to what others have to say can really help me see where I’m falling short.
On to the second: facing your shortcomings. If I’m being honest, this is the most painful. You’ve put a lot of work into this creation. And you’d fight to the death before letting someone tear it to pieces. But if you want to get better, you have to listen. Let’s break it down.
1. Ask someone you can trust. The most important quality in a beta reader or critique partner is that they are trustworthy. You need to be absolutely sure that you believe that they are pulling your work apart because they want it to be better. Because if you can’t trust them on that level, they could just be being a jerk.
2. Make sure they’re honest. It’s also important to find someone who isn’t going to sugar coat things for you. If you want to get better, you need to have a beta who is more worried about making your work better than sparing your feelings.
3. Self-reflect and breathe. It’s going to hurt, a lot, to hear everything you did was “wrong.” You thought it was perfect. And now your work has been torn apart and your heart along with it. Your first instinct is going to be either to give up or push away everything you just heard. Resist that urge. I know it feels overwhelming, but you literally just wrote an entire book. Refining that book is not as difficult as the thing you already did. As to pushing the truth away, well you asked for the help. And these people took time out of their busy lives to offer it. It’s only courteous for you to see if there’s something valuable in what they told you.
And finally, and potentially most importantly, throw out everything I just said. The truth is, there are ways to make your story better. Of course, there are. But the person you need to please most is you. The whole world can tell you you’re wrong. Your betas laughed, your editor cringed, the reviewers railed. But if you know in your heart that you made the right choices, if you did all the above steps and still came out thinking this was the way to go, then do it. It’s your work. It’s your name. You’ll get “better” at your own pace.
Tatum checked the time: twenty minutes after Luna Hour 17, and Avery still hadn’t shown up. It was Tuesday Happy Hour, their ritual weekly date since Tatum was hired by the Zoning & Mining Commission last year. Not that she ever called it a date; she and Avery weren’t an item. She was sure of that.
But Tatum enjoyed Avery’s company, and Rick’s Café in Luna Center made the best Frozen Tychos in the entire city compound.
Avery was the one who had suggested that they hit Rick’s—Tuesdays were Ladies Night, a retro gimmick that appealed to the younger crowd in Luna City, which was pretty much the entire population. Luna Council had an upper age limit for immigrants, with the result: almost no one was over fifty-five.
“Another Tycho?” the wait staffer in Luna blue murmured at Tatum’s side.
Tatum nodded. What the hell. If Avery was standing her up—but he wasn’t, because they weren’t an item—then why not make the most of the evening before she headed back down to her pod on Level 9?
The cabaret was full, standing room only at this point, and Tatum watched the crowd churning through the room, laughing, talking, bouncing in the low gravity—one table was even singing a rousing happy birthday.
She sighed and drained her glass. Elbow to elbow with more people than she could count yet very, very alone: the life of an introvert engineer.
“May I?” A goateed man about her age nodded to the empty chair opposite her. He wore the dark green shirt and pants of the Air Quality division. “Our table needs an extra chair and this one is . . . ” He shrugged and smiled. It was a warm smile, a friendly one.
Tatum shrugged back. “Go ahead. I got ghosted. I won’t be needing it.”
The man raised his eyebrows, and Tatum knew she was being scrutinized; the gray Mining division uniform, her dark mass of curls, her face that tended too often toward seriousness. “His loss,” he said kindly. “I’m Sam. Please join us—we’re celebrating Kammy’s birthday. We’d love another partygoer.”
Avery emerged from the swirl of people to stand next to Sam, his face a scowl. “That’s my seat. Tatum was saving it for me.”
Tatum’s eyes flashed. “You’re forty minutes late, and it’s a zoo here tonight. He can have our chairs.” She took Avery’s arm and faced him toward the bar, then turned back to Sam. “We’ll stand—enjoy your party.”
Avery ordered a Bailly’s Special, and the two of them shouted to hear each other over the throbbing beat of an electronic “As Time Goes By.” He was late because of a priority request from the Mare Frigoris Region. He hadn’t messaged her because he was swamped; he didn’t think she would mind.
“No,” she shouted back. “I don’t mind.” But I do, she was surprised to realize.
Sam from the birthday table brushed against her as he passed, heading toward the bathrooms. He leaned in to speak in her ear. “Are you okay? You can still join our gang if you want to leave this basin bloke.”
Avery pushed Sam away from Tatum, and fueled by a second Bailly’s he’d just finished, punched the other man in the face.
“Ave!” Tatum said, grabbing to pull him back. “Stop!”
The music ended abruptly, as though someone had flipped a switch, and the crush of bargoers shrank back slightly, leaving the three in their own small, cleared, quiet space. Tatum could feel the crackle of emotion from Avery, from Sam, from the surrounding crowd. All eyes were on them. Luna City was fairly tame compared with the reports Tatum had read of Earthside towns, but arguments still erupted and anger still bubbled up.
Blood dripped from Sam’s nose, and he dabbed at it with a bar wipe. He faced Avery squarely, although he was half a head shorter and slender to Avery’s bulk. But Avery held up his hands, palms out, a supplicant.
“Sorry,” he said, “I went too far. But she’s with me.”
Sam gave a brief nod and looked at Tatum. “And what do you say?”
She reran the last few moments in her head—the explosion of anger, the fist connecting with face. Avery was jealous? It was a side of him she’d never seen.
“Thanks,” she said to Sam. “I’m fine. I’ll be fine. He’s with me.”
I’m briefly detaching my nose from the keyboarded grindstone of novel prep to promote my next book. It’s the final instalment (installment for my U.S. friends) of The Fireblade Array. Not sure how I feel about it – sad that it’s over and I’ll be saying goodbye to some favourite characters for a while, but also excited to have the opportunity to begin new projects.
This series has been so experimental, so weird, and such a fantastic way for me to learn about the craft of writing. I truly hope everyone reading it has enjoyed it. Oh, and one of the book bundles in the series hit no.2 in the iTunes, B&N and Amazon sci-fi categories the other week, so that’s cool.
Ascent of Ice (Volume 7) is out on 27th-28th February. If you pre-order, you can get it for the reduced price of $1.99. Woo.
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