Obligations

Posted: September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

I ran a facebook event for “Obligations” over Labor Day Weekend, 2015.

It was fun and I am moving everything that was posted in the event to here so it won’t be lost.

Go grab a copy!

Go give a review!

This is my first sf novel and sets the seeds for my space opera universe. Written in 1994.

“Obligations”

I want to thank Jose E Rivera for his great review of “Obligations” – Thank You!
Reviews make a huge difference to small press and indie authors and directly translate into more paid sales of the book.
The three biggest things you can do to help a small author is to share their links when they post them, comment and interact with their pro-author page when they post something, and leave reviews on amazon and goodreads. It really helps.

Jose E R.
Yesterday at 6:46pm ·
“Interesting read, not my normal read. (I read mostly tech manuals, and white papers on cyber security.) So I actually enjoyed reading something different for a change.”  “I really liked it.”

4 out of 5 stars! Thank you Tammy J R.
What happens to all the street people who simply vanish every year?
By Tammy J Rizzo on September 4, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“This book mostly follows Morgan, a Taiwanese-born young woman, snatched with a handful of other young people from an alley in an American city and thrown into the galactic slave market. The story jumps backward and forward in time, using flashbacks and current happenings to follow Morgan’s experiences as she struggles to find a place for herself in a completely alien culture.
I found the book very interesting, and while the alien names can sometimes be confusing, the alien culture and society feels whole and complete. Once I started reading this book, I had to stay up until after 2am reading, until I had finished it!”

FB showed me all the nice things people said when they shared this event, thank you…

“I finished the whole book last night, even if it DID take me until 2am to do it! 8-D”

“It’s set in space, so some of you will like that. It’s also a timeless story about growing up different, adjusting well on the outside, and devastating challenges as an adult in a war torn universe of politics. Some of you may enjoy that. And there’s some steamy sex and almost sex. Not tagging anyone. ….”

And I posted, alot.

Kidnaped from Earth as a child, sold as a slave, discarded on an alien world as broken, Morgan is adopted by a Sansheren ruler and raised in a loving home. Now she finds herself desperately trying to hold onto her Sansheren identity while reconnecting with her human past.
Obligations is at its heart a story about the myths of childhood and how they color Morgan’s ability to relate to herself.
It is a gender confused story about trying to live in one culture while relearning her humanity without losing herself.
About being two-spirit and walking between worlds against a backdrop of Space Opera sci-fi that showcases the after effects of planetary war and manifest destiny.
Originally written in 1994, “Obligations” speaks to the writer’s struggle to find her science fiction voice after publishing romance books and was used as her primary writing sample during her career as a ghost writer.

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When I wrote “Obligations” I had already written 6 romance and 3 hard erotica books. And started 3 (as yet) unfinished sf books. The romance voice is imprinted on my writing style; the soft, nearly passive regret narrative.
Modern sf doesn’t use this voice, I still like it.

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When I wrote “Obligations” I did not see myself in the character Morgan, (Lui Moe Gan, Morganea) though I did identify with her personal struggles.
Truth is, I wrote each POV character as the main character, fully invested and with a separate plotted arc.
I like to head hop when I read and I like to head hop when I write.

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“Obligations” was submitted to one of the big sf publishers in 1995. They held it for 4.5 years, every year or so I would sent a query asking if they were going to buy it and would get a response that “It was under consideration”.
In 2000, the first page was returned without so much as a note.
I submitted a rewritten copy to the next big sf publisher in 2001. They replied 6 months later that they would like to hold it “for consideration.” They didn’t reply to any follow up letters until 2005 when they asked if I was willing to be listed as second writer to a name author. I said no and they rejected the book.
In 2004, I was contacted by a movie studio; they sent a contract for option. I never initiated the exchange so I figure it came out of the second publishing house. I received $3000 cash for a book that wasn’t published. That option has long expired – hint hint…
I did take the letter asking me to defer to a name writer to an agent and started ghost writing professionally, up to that point everything was private deals with writers I knew.
From 2006 to 2010 I wrote 18 books as a ghost and added considerable content to 15 more. I can write fast – it’s the editing I suck at.
In 2011 my agent got cancer and I decided to go public. My first decision was to not resubmit “Obligations” and to press it myself.
It’s been slow, but I’m having fun. “Obligations” has been a part of my writing brain for over 20 years, give it a read and tell me what you think.

-Dates are -ish, I’m tired and dyslexic and not bothering to pull out specifics.

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My husband teases that “Obligations” is a furry book – it isn’t. Though the one scene with the old medic and the two aliens…. doesn’t go that far….

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When I wrote “Obligations” I was a Mormon.
I was very gender confused, considered myself bi-sexual, but mostly was just completely miss-gendered physically and emotionally.
I was even more confused about race and ethnicity; growing up brown and poor can do that to you when everyone claims “We’re Irish,” with a straight face, brown eyes, and black hair… The husband and I traveled to my great grandmother funeral and my father gave me my grandmother’s tribal records to copy. I spent years pursuing information in an attempt to get registered and then one day my grandmother decided to go ahead and register everyone.
And was just starting to get treatment for severe ptsd and depression. The medical doctor said bi-polar, the neurologist said seizures, and the psychologist said “Wow, some of your life really sucked.” The tegretol I was on then is what damaged my bone marrow.

-“Obligations” isn’t a straight forward sf book and the journey I took writing brought me to who I have been ever since. If you know me now – you would not have recognized me then.

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#5,097 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#21 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
#30 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera

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“Obligations” was the very first writing project that I used an outline for and I have found that outlines greatly increase the chances I will finish a project.
There was a segment on 60 Minutes that examined a trend of rich Taiwan families sending their kids to school in the US. At the time, I had an acquaintance who was a Taiwan born US living artist. I was researching and planning out a romance book.
Then there was a flood of news stories about runaways going missing. The numbers were staggering (still are) and having been street they really hit home.
One morning between the kid going to school and getting home, I started to outline a story. My original plan was a romance in space. I started from the first reconnection scene in the bar on Wergol and ran the story forward. In the outline, everything before Wergol was a flashback. It took about 6 hours to outline.
The first outline was 8,000 words and went chapter by chapter. A writing friend insisted that I just write very short first drafts…..

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The human’s:
Morgan (Lui Moe Gan, Morganea) is a Taiwan born girl who comes to power among the Sansheren.
Greg is a 20something African-American man who is struggling to stay sober and be a part of his daughters life until he finds himself standing on an alien slave auction block.
Enrico is a Mexican youth who is struggling with bitterness and depression as he fights to keep his Sansheren child alive.
Isaac had a marketable skill and so never saw the downside to the alien slave trade.
Sam is a Choctaw and US Marine and damn but he gave it his all.
Denise just wanted to go home, unfortunately for her, humans buy slaves on alien planets.
Tim was a ROTC cadet officer before he ran away from home, now he’s trying to drink away giving the order to nuke half a planet.

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The character Tim is only lightly developed, he’s written as a bit of an ass, because the outlined sequel is about the male perspective of the Sansheren and human’s.
Every character who is a POV in “Obligations” is in a Sansheren female role or is female at the time of the scene.
Tim, Enrico, Morgan, and Habkiko are outlined as the main driving characters in the sequel.

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Characters die.

Beth E “I’m NOT liking this part! I want to kill off Tadesde myself!”

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In the outline, two human characters died. As I wrote the story I realized that Morgan would be hit harder by Sansheren deaths.

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There’s a meme going around about how “when you buy a book you aren’t just buying the book, you are buying the writers hopes and dreams and frustrations and pain.” Something like that.
I disagree.
When I buy a book all I want is the story. It’s like a blind date – I don’t want an in-depth retelling of a 3rd grade trauma on a first meeting. If I like the book (the story) I will seek out other books by that author. Around about the 4th or 5th book by that author – I will seek out the author and learn about his/her backstory.
The problem is that in todays fb driven market I am constantly told that I need to sell my backstory to sell my books.
This event is my first attempt at marketing the backstory, Is it working for you?

-I’m not so much on the tech driven, I’m action, dialog, and character.

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When you hit a roadblock or writers block while writing the first instinct is to go back and edit. That will derail you.
Instead, when you are at a standstill in the story, build the universe. Write out character descriptions, backstory, name the pets….
Start outlining the sequel based on where you see the characters going. (if the story takes a left in Albequerque just rename the characters and you have a different project ready to go.
Write a short story about a side character.
Map out houses, ships, and star systems.
Anything to keep moving forward.

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“Obligations” was written using a “How to write a novel in a year” writing program.
310 words a day, 5 days a week, equals 80,000 words a year.
These days I write 300 words in a faceb post, several time a day….
Back then it was hard.

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The first working title for “Obligations” was “Homeward Bound” but every person who knew I was writing would say “Oh, like with the dogs and cat?”
So I changed the title to “A Debt of Honor” and that held until the very day after I wrote the last page – when Tom Clancy announce the title of his next book.
I like “Obligations” better than the other two, the sequel (outline) is titled “Intentions” and if I write a third it will be “Traditions.”

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One of the common comments I get is that I don’t seem dyslexic. Or that my writing doesn’t seem dyslexic.
There’s a few reasons for that.
1. Grammar and spell checks are built in to most every thing these days, you just have to take that extra minute to correct things that have lines under them. I will rewrite until all lines go away because I can dyslex green and red…
Then I throw it into paperrater or grammarly and work it again. Then I put it into hemmigway app. Then I ask beta readers to check it. And then I pay a copy editor.
2. I’m only mildly dyslexic. I was diagnosed in second grade; back before it was common. The actual paper work said “improperly socialized, possible english language transition difficulties, learning disability – dyslexia.”
I was impatient, had moved every few weeks/months for most of my life, and couldn’t communicate so I threw fits. Most school teachers just put me in the corner and waited for us to move again. That happens when a kid’s transcript comes in with a lot of moves – they write you off.
I missed most of second grade.
We moved back to Washington, moved to Carbonado, and my mother put her foot down. Insisted on no more moves. That lasted 5 years.
3. I have TBI dyslexia. This is a severe brain injury wiring problem. I verbally dyslex worse than I write. I frequently watch people hear me dyslex one word for another or swallow a stutter before changing words and decide that I’m not very bright. I see it in their eyes, their impatience, their attitude. They get one gentle push back and then I walk away. I fight too hard for normal to let anyone’s bullshit perception of me cast me into a comfortable role for them.
I’m missing a big chunk of grey matter, have had my brain exposed to oxygen on two separate injuries, and have had neurologists actively work to tell me how amazing my function level is. I’ve had every IQ test and neuro-norm battery there is, I had to learn to talk again and I’ve had to learn to walk again. So what if I can’t enunciate half of the words I can think and write.
In writing, my brain will thesaurus a word. Thinking subscription writing prescription. It can lead to some good puns and the occasional dry wit. In writing there is a distinct stutter sensation when I type the wrong word. I can catch it most of the time.
Except numbers. Numbers are evil. Numbers give me a migraine. And number change places without warning. Numbers hide behind other numbers until i walk away. Numbers lie.
I can’t see a number dyslex. I get no sensation from a number dyslex. I usually only have problems with numbers when I’m tired, but numbers also make me tired.
I can do math, I used to love math. I took advanced physics in college and medicine is all about numbers. Keeping focused on numbers in any form for any length of time is physically exhausting, generates an acute fight or hell fight response, and is actively painful. Reading math and counting columns feels like a bad sinus migraine every time.
I gets worse when I’m tired, sick, or stressed.
So, I dyslexed the start time of the give-away, and I dyslexed the end time on this event… Bets I got the end time on the give-away correct?

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If you’ve ever hung out with me when alcohol is being consumed then you may have heard one or two of my spider stories.
Giant spiders, swarms of spiders, walls dripping with spiders, tasty spiders….
I seem to have some life path, karmic, spiritual bond with the damn things.
Buy me a drink, I’ll tell you a story….
Only it happened. Each and every one.
I’ll leave you with this tidbit – I once had an adult female goliath spider jump on my back… One claw visible on either shoulder, one claw on each side trying its damned its to tickle my sides. And stood frozen, trying to whisper for help for over thirty minutes while the thing tickled my neck. When I finally got someones attention – he ran for a camera. Nearly an hour before it was “removed” and blisters everywhere it touched me.
Goliath spiders taste like stale fake crab when you roast the legs for soup….
Google “goliath spider,” I dare ya.
night night…

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Reviews make a huge difference to small press and indie authors and directly translate into more paid sales of the book.
The three biggest things you can do to help a small author is to share their links when they post them, comment and interact with their pro-author page when they post something, and leave reviews on amazon and goodreads. It really helps.

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The event was titled First Love always lingers – Obligations.

Sunday I commented “I’m thinking that I could just as easily titled this event “Politics and Social constructs are harder when your green.”

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