The Allure of Print

It has never gone away for me despite all the advances in ebooks and technology more generally. The convenience, the accessibility, the portability of electronic texts are undeniable, but so are the risks of the corruption, obsolescence, and their relative invisibility when so much else is competing in the digital space.

I guess I’m old-fashioned in that I like to hold paper in my hands, feel the weighted slide of the pages, and rub my fingers over the text. When it’s something that bears my name, the effect is magnified, and for a moment I feel connected with the larger world in a way that’s impossible on my own.

That’s why the novelty never wears off whenever a story of mine comes out in print. Last week, author copies of two different magazines arrived. The first, DreamForge Magazine, has a brand-new fantasy story from me called “Sing! And Remember.”

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I talked about it briefly here, but that was back when the magazine was still in production. Having now seen the Founder’s Issue after their successful Kickstarter firsthand, the quality of the magazine has exceeded all expectations. It doesn’t hurt that my name’s on the cover–a first for me.

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The second magazine is also a new venture. Serial Magazine specializes in pulpy genre stories, and their third issue just came out, featuring “No Regrets on Fourth Street,” which I’ve mentioned before.

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My mash-up of science fiction and romance kicks off the glossy issue, and the rest of the volume features a number of great love stories to celebrate Valentine’s Day. You can check out the table of contents here and learn more about my fellow contributors.

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Both magazines are now available in print and digital, with a variety of subscription options. Be sure to check them out! Happy reading!

Implanted wins a 2018 SFR Galaxy Award!

Yesterday, I received the happy news that my novel Implanted won a 2018 SFR Galaxy Award. The Science Fiction Romance community may be small relative to other genres but it is mighty, and every year for the past seven years, the SFR Galaxy Awards highlight “standout” books in the field.

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You can learn more about the awards here, but basically:

The SFR Galaxy Awards is an annual, multi-award event for science fiction romance books. The theme of the SFR Galaxy Awards is inclusiveness. Instead of giving an award to a single book, this event will recognize the worth of multiple books and/or the standout elements they contain. Each of the seven judges are reviewers, book bloggers, librarians, editors and/or avid readers. Authors do not enter to win and are not aware they have won until the awards are announced.

Judge Lee Kovan singled out Implanted for the way in which I incorporated communication technology into my story, saying, “Teffeau presents the possible consequences of the evolution of smartphones. She also shows how much maintenance time we have to put into our technology, a cost we rarely think about critically.”

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It’s always so wonderful to know when someone not only gets what you’re writing but appreciates it too. I put a lot of rigor into building the world and technology of Implanted, and I’m grateful that effort was recognized. Needless to say I’m thrilled, and my thanks go to Lee, the other judges, and the organizers of the SFR Galaxy Awards.

Be sure to check out the other winners across seven different judges and add them to your TBR pile stat!

Query-Go-Round

When this year started, I promised myself I’d start querying my historical romance this summer.

Umm…that didn’t happen. I was too busy incorporating feedback from my writing group and fretting about, well, everything.

Then I said I’d query this fall for sure. October came and went. (Where did October go? I really want it back.)

Then I told myself I’d query before December—because everyone knows agents automatically discount December queries as half-baked Nano novels and if that’s true, I didn’t want that to happen to my story.

I started querying last week.

Delight or Terror. That is the Question.

And the last few days have been full of Exhilaration (A request? They like me, they really like me!), Despair (Form rejection? Form you!) Second-Guessing (No auto-reply? Maybe I should send again.), and now impatience as the holidays take their toll on the industry.

But that’s ok. I met my (oft-modified) personal goal for querying and know the novel is the best I can make it right now. And for that, I’m thankful.

What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Voice Matters Blogfest Challenge

Two characters. Three genres. Each scene with an appropriate voice.

It’s the Voice Matters Blogfest Challenge, hosted by my critique partner Lori M. Lee.

I took my characters from my historical romance and put them in a contemporary romance and a science fiction scene. Tricky stuff!

Historical Romance:

“I want to thank you for taking the time to show me the area, my lady. However, I would ask in the future that you do not venture out on your own, even if you plan on remaining on your family’s lands.”

The pretty color he had noticed in her cheeks earlier began to darken. She pushed aside her trencher. He steeled himself for yet another fight. But before Isobel could respond, the innkeeper came bustling over with a jug of wine and two mugs. Her eyes flashed with anger but she didn’t stir until the innkeeper moved a discreet distance away.

“I wonder how long you have been waiting to recite your little speech, Sir Alexandre,” she said before taking a deliberate sip of wine.

He watched her lips close over the cup, the column of her throat working as she swallowed. He raised his own mug to her in mock-salute. “For quite some time, I can assure you. And please, call me Alex.”

Contemporary Romance:

Even though he was still a respectful distance away, Isobel could see his knowing grin flash in the afternoon sun. “I didn’t believe it when Daniel said that you’d be here so I came to make sure.”

She relaxed her stance and let go of Rufus. “Alex Johanson?” Her mouth curled bitterly as she took in his thick, dark hair and proud yet even features. “I didn’t realize it was you without the suit.”

The dog bounded over to Alex, and she let her eyes feast on him for only a moment before she tried to calm her furiously beating heart. She had nothing to be ashamed of, she reminded herself. Rufus, the little traitor, pranced happily around Alex’s feet as he strode towards her.

A maroon flannel shirt peeped out from underneath his unbuttoned lambswool-lined jacket, a sharp contrast to the three-piece suit and tie he wore when she saw him last. He seemed completely at ease, which annoyed her even more.

“I’m not the only one who has changed.”

Science Fiction:

Alex saw her, of course, before she had even decided to seek refuge in the café. One did not often see the senator’s daughter out and about unescorted. She must have run into the rally he heard rumors of all week. Stupid girl.

Alex turned back to the stack of books he’d gotten from the library, determined not to get involved. No good would come from that. He pulled the volume on design theory he had special ordered towards him. Diagrams animated with electronic ink winked up at him.

“I’m sorry I’m late. I’m glad you didn’t wait for me,” a female voice announced, before the owner of the voice took the seat opposite of him. Alex blinked, taking in Isobel’s face, for once unencumbered by her trademark glasses, her hair unbound and framing her dusky features.

Surely she wasn’t so desperate she’d use a stranger to get out of the trouble she’d found herself in. But when he saw the determined glint of her gray eyes, the strict way she held herself as if she was prepared to bolt the second he made things difficult for her, he supposed she was.

***
This was a hard challenge — to establish the characters’ relation to one another, establish setting and other genre conventions, and still make it clear which character’s voice was narrating the scene.

Be sure to check out other participants in the blogfest here.

And remember: Voice matters!
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Review – The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

I recently popped my Steampunk cherry with Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke, my March selection for the 2011 Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge.

I had heard of steampunk before reading this book (who hasn’t?) but I didn’t really understand the appeal. That changed as I read The Iron Duke and got transported into a world where England has recently revolted against Horde control — nanotech “bugs” that augmented and controlled the English people for almost 200 years.

Our heroine Mina is a police inspector, and the product of a rutting frenzy triggered by the bugs between her English Lady mother and nameless Horde overlords. Because of her Horde features, Mina suffers everything from social slights to physical abuse as England struggles to pick up the pieces of their culture and move on from such a horrific time. When a dead body is dropped from an airship onto the estate of Rhys Trahaearn — pirate and war hero in England’s fight against the Horde — Mina’s investigation propels her into a conspiracy hoping to topple England once more. Add in zombies, privateers, and Horde-augmented giant squid, you are left with one rollicking, imaginative romance. Because yes, despite all the steampunk trappings, The Iron Duke is ultimately about the relationship between Mina and Rhys.

The book was named “Best Paranormal” in the 2011 All About Romance Reader’s Poll, which is where it first popped up on my radar. And I am so glad it did. This was the first book I’ve ever read by Brook, and I really enjoyed the deft writing, the characters, and the tremendous worldbuilding. Another book in the series will be released this fall, and I look forward to see how she takes the relationship between two minor characters from this book and weaves it into another story. I was impressed by the way she set up the second book in The Iron Duke, not to mention eager for more.

Be sure to check out the other March book reviews that are a part of the 2011 Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge.


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