A Look Back At 2016

January 1, 2017, marked my two-year anniversary in Alaska. I spent 2016 learning to drive on ice (and not die), dodging moose (without dying), and chasing whales (while avoiding death). There was a bit of a theme in 2016.

I only had one book published in 2016, DECOHERENCE, but there was a lot going on behind the scenes. Let’s look at the writing stats.

Total Words Written In 2016: 364,000
Total Words Edited In 2016: 1,266,000
Best Writing Month: April
Best Editing Month: September
Worst Writing Month: July
Worst Editing Month: October
Projects Finished: 1 (Decoherence)
Projects That Will Be Finished Q1 2017 – 2 (Free Fall, Bodies in Motion)

Conclusion: I survived the winter slump that crushed me in 2015, yay! But October is consistently bad for me. There’s always a crush of business things to do, and a lot going on with school and family. But, my word count is improving and if I wasn’t writing daily, I was writing consistently. Honestly, even though it wasn’t my most productive publishing year, I think it went well. My writing improved a lot over the year. I finally figured out how to write a High Concept Pitch. And I think I’ve set myself up for a very successful 2017!

So… how was 2016 for you? Did you survive, or are you only reading this post because your crypt has wifi?

 

 

DECOHERENCE ARC Giveaway!

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The ARCs (advanced reader copies) of DECOHERENCE have arrived and that means it is time for some giveaway fun! Are you ready?

Now, the big event is going to be November 1st. One lucky winner will get a complete set of the Time and Shadows trilogy, autographed and personalized. But, since I have advance copies, two lucky winners are going to get signed copies of DECOHERENCE before it’s available at the store. That’s right, October 25th I am picking a winner, taking the winner’s book to the post office, and mailing you that book so it arrives before November 1st (the weather and the US postal service willing) so you get to be the first to read the print edition.

Exciting?

VERY!!!

How do you enter to win? Simple: sign up for my newsletter. You can pick between the New Release Newsletter so you only get notices when I have a new book out or the Semi-Monthly Newsletter (sign up form below) that includes cover reveals, sales, and other fun stuff.

Already signed up? Then you’re already entered to win!

Sign up for a chance to win an ARC of DECOHERENCE!

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Want an extra shot at winning the coveted ARC? Sign up for the Impulse Buy and every Tuesday you’ll get a hot new book whose e-edition is $5 or less!

 

 

 

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The Gift of Failure

Originally published on Savvy Authors in 2015.

The Day Before: A Time And Shadows Time-Travelling MysteryBack when I had just started writing with the intent to publish, around 2006, I printed out a copy of my very first novel and shared it with a friend who had a good taste for books. She was the kind of friend you have in your twenties: flaky, insincere, and negative. In your early twenties you think any attention is good and you let a lot of negative people to clutter your life. Or at least I did. Still, at that point I trusted her opinion and I shared my first novel with her.

“You realize,” she said, “this will never get published. Getting a book published in New York is nearly impossible.” And she handed back the four hundred pages I’d printed at home.

Those pages sat by my bed with a red pen for months. I wanted to edit and send them to an agent, but I was afraid she was right. What if no one wanted my book? What if… perish the thought… I failed???

I couldn’t bear the thought, so I tucked the novel under my bed and started a new one. I researched the publishing industry. I read every single blog post on the new defunct Miss Snark blog. I joined an online writing group. I wrote the next novel and shared my favourite scene with the writing group.

They hated it.

They shredded it.

They didn’t understand my vision or how poignant and awesome this scene would be with the right mood lighting and an epic soundtrack. Or maybe I was just a young, raw writer with a big imagination and not enough practice telling a story well. Either way, the manuscript was dropped. I quit writing it and moved on.

Several more novels died in the same fashion, murdered by a combination of high hopes and rejections.

What changed everything was an off-hand comment to my critique partner when I handed her novel number I-wasn’t-even-counting. “What happens if this isn’t The One?” she asked.

I shrugged. “It’s fine. I have two short stories out and I’m almost done with another novel. It doesn’t matter if this one fails or not.”

And that was the magic trick. Although the novel wound up under the bed for other reasons, it didn’t die of rejection because I had a plan for failing.

The secret I didn’t know when I started writing was that failure is a part of success. Failure isn’t a setback, it’s a stepping stone. It isn’t the end of the road, it’s a curve in the path. Once I started planning for the inevitable failures and rejections my whole process changed.

Watching other writers over the years I realized we were all falling into four groups based on failure.

First there were the people who had a dream but no idea of how to achieve it. They were the ones who talked about writing, but never wrote anything down.

Then there were the people who had dreams and, like I had in my early years, shied away from any perceived failure. If it wasn’t perfection, it was failure. Any poor review was a failure. Any rejection from an e-zine was the end of the world. The people in the second group either outgrew this phase, or quit writing in despair. This isn’t a place you can build a career in.

The third set of people are able to deal with slight setbacks. They know rejections happens and they accept the occasional bad review, but if they’re agent quits, editor leaves, or publisher rejects their next manuscript they fall apart. Not without reason. Those are some pretty major setbacks.

But the smart authors fall into the fourth category, they plan to fail. They know no plan survives first contact with the enemy and before they even query their novel they know exactly what they will do in any contingency. They have a small press back up plan for their Big Press novel. They know how to self-publish if they need to go that route. They know which publishing option is right for their book, and they know how to market any book in any situation.

Even Villains Fall In Love: Heroes and Villains Book 1Planning to fail means these authors don’t waste time moping and wondering what to do next. They can switch gears in a few minutes and move forward with the other plan.

The expectation also provides a much needed emotional buffer. Authors tend to be emotional people. We need to be. Empathy and compassion allow authors to write characters with real emotion that draw out sympathetic emotions from readers. While that’s a boon while writing, it can result in a hot mess when reading reviews. But only if the author is expecting nothing but paeans of praise. If they’re already mentally prepared for the inevitable bad reviews they don’t hurt nearly as much.

Parallel to all of this is a plan for success. Every author daydreams about being the next JK Rowling or Stephen King but few can even articulate what that means.

An author who wants to build a successful career is going to plan ahead, accept failure as the gift it is, and always be ready for the next turn in the road. Publishing no longer moves at a glacial pace. You can go from unagented to agented-with-a-three-book-deal-to-a-major-press in under three months. You can go from unheard of aspiring talent to sensation overnight. If you don’t want those changes to ruin your life, you’ll make a plan for every scenario.

With luck, all you’ll ever need is the plans for major successes. But, if failure comes in any form, you’ll be prepared to tackle the problem and turn a rejection into another stepping stone to acceptance and success.

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#Decoherence Blog Tour

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How To Write Time Travel – Unbound Worlds – a fun article on how to write travel and steal time machines
Once Upon a Time – Jack Heckel – a fairy tale twist on your favorite series

And then we have the infamous #Decoherence Drinking Game. Grab some water (or any other beverage) and take a sip every time I mention JRR Tolkien!
Sept 12 – Book Girl Knitting
Sept 15 – Torie James
15 SeptBooks on Fire
16 SeptWriting Dreams
16 SeptRomance Reviews Today
16 Sept – Romancing the Book (with gift card giveaway) and their review of DECOHERENCE
17 Sept –
Stormy Nights
18 Sept –
Shelli Rosewarne
18 Sept –
Cynthia Bloggs
20 Sept –
Romancing the Book
23 Sept –
Girl With Pen
03 Oct  –
Literary Misfit
13 Oct   –
Patricia Stoltey
14 Oct   –
Celtic Lady
17 Oct   –
Night Owl Reviews

 

My Readers Really Are The Best

Back in June I released the first chapter of EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE in an intro anthology from the SFR Brigade titled PORTALS:Volume 4 (we’re up to 7 now I think). I didn’t really think much of it until this week while I was in a post-book shambles. I went to the SFR Brigade with my woes (what now? what next? how shall I go on?) and along with the usual encouragement author Carysa Locke sent me this…

I have a story for you, Liana Brooks! Yesterday, I had a new 5 star review post to one of my books. The reader said she tried to stop reading and go to sleep, ad literally could not put the book down and stayed up until 4:30am reading. 

After I hugged her words to my heart and basked in the warmth of a reader loving my book, I clicked on her name to see what else she had reviewed - I do this fairly often, because sometimes if someone is enjoying my books, *I* might enjoy reading other things they've liked. I noticed she also reviewed Portals: vol 4, which you and I are both in. She mentions you specifically as THE author that brought her to Portals, and talks about the high quality of the first chapters. She is apparently a huge fan of your books, Portals brought her to mine, and now (hopefully) she will be one of my readers, too! 

My thought on it is this: CLEARLY you have some awesome readers out there who love your writing. She said in one of her reviews that your new book was next up for her, and she sounded SO excited to read it! I bet she will post a review very soon. :)

portals-volume-4First: Hooray! I have a reader who leaves reviews! Reviews are the magic pixie dust of publishing.
Second: Hooray! The PORTALS books are working and readers are finding new authors to love.
Third: Hooray! Someone stayed up late reading a book! That’s awesome!

Stories like this are what authors love to share. I love knowing that one of my readers found another series of books they adore. I love knowing that my friend has a new reader for her series (Carysa is the pen name for an awesome writing duo & you should read their books).I love knowing that I have a loyal fan who had read all my books and is waiting for more.

Because, at the end of the day, knowing there’s a reader waiting is what pushes me to do more. If I were writing for myself, I wouldn’t be as good an author as I am. If I were writing only for myself, I wouldn’t ever try to improve.

Thank you, Readers, for being readers. Thank you for taking a chance and picking up my books. Thank you for leaving reviews. Thank you for being there so all of us writing a book have someone to write for.

<3
– Liana

#Decoherence has arrived!

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THE DAY BEFORE set the stage.

CONVERGENCE POINT showed us the possibilities.

In DECOHERENCE, it all falls apart.

The body of Jane Doe was discovered on the first page of THE DAY BEFORE. We’ve known her name all along. Now it’s time to find out which Sam Rose goes home, and which goes into the grave.

Lovelies,

I’ve spent an hour trying to think of what to write here. What do you say when a trilogy comes to an end? How can I tell you how grateful I am for this opportunity to tell this story? How do you condense the seven years of encouragement, friendships, and loyalty that went into making this idea a reality? I don’t even know where to start.

Some of you have been loyal fans since before THE DAY BEFORE was published. You read EVEN VILLAINS FELL IN LOVE, or FEY LIGHTS, or SEVENTY. You were friends I met on Critique Circle, or Twitter. Others are new readers. Maybe you picked up the series during the sale on August. Maybe you’re visiting my blog for the first time because you heard about me somewhere. Whatever the case, I’m glad you’re here. Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for reading. Thank you for spending your hard earned money on my books.

I could not ask for better readers or fans. You are truly amazing. The stories you share with me, I treasure. The moments we share together across the internet or in bookstores – those times you tell me what you love about my books or any books – are amazing.

I hope you enjoy reading DECOHERENCE as much as I enjoyed writing it. And I hope it’s the ending you think the series deserves.

Love,
Liana

$3.99
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Readers of Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER and Wesely Chu’s TIME SALVAGER will love Liana Brooks’ DECOHERENCE–the thrilling, time-bending conclusion to the Time & Shadow series!

Samantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.

But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.

She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.

When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.

Shelve It On GoodReads

 

Questions From The Email (Part ???)

Is the female Agent MacKenzie Sam and Mac’s daughter?Eonly 9780062407665 Cover

 

One clever reader noticed this line in CONVERGENCE POINT. Could Agent MacKenzie who befriends the swamp pirates be a future daughter belonging to Sam and Mac? That is one logical explanation. There are a few others (including the sad truth that MacKenzie is a fairly common surname). Luckily, you will find out in DECOHERENCE!

If you haven’t read CONVERGENCE POINT yet I suggest you get to it! You’re going to need all those clues to solve the mystery of DECOHERENCE.

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Last day to buy CONVERGENCE POINT on sale!

CONVERGENCE POINT is on sale for 99¢ until midnight tonight! 

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Peace is an illusion.
~ excerpt from The Heart of Fear by Liedjie Slaan

Monday March 17, 2070
Florida District 8
Commonwealth of North America
Iteration 2

Sam watched the EMT roll away the final lab-blast survivors. In her hand was the name tag of the last person—Henry Troom wasn’t walking out of this one. The police had pulled his plastic ID card out of the wall.

“Agent Rose?” The lab facilitator approached her cautiously. “I’m so sorry, but why aren’t they taking Troom out yet?”

“Because it’s a crime scene, Dr. Morr, and because I can’t allow anyone in there who doesn’t have the proper security clearance. Someone will be here shortly,” she lied. Someone would be here, but it probably wouldn’t be soon, and it would probably cost her another lunch with Feo Petrilli from District 6.

Drenmann Labs was a major source of contention between Sam and her director at HQ in Orlando. Drenmann was a secure facility attached to NASA and sometimes used by the naval post and Patrick Air Force Base. All of which fell under the heading of Too-Classified-To-Think-About-In-Public and within the boundaries of Florida District 6.

Senior Agent Feo Petrilli had a complete staff with ten full-time agents and two full-time medical examiners with class-four or higher security clearance.

Senior Agent Samantha Rose of District 8 had one junior agent, an agreement with the local PD and coroner’s office, and a bunch of retirees stretched along the space coast like beached albino whales. The crime rate here didn’t justify keeping a larger CBI force. Drenmann Lab was the exception.

She stepped into a small conference room and locked the door behind her before calling the main office.

“Junior Agent Dan Edwin speaking, how may I direct your call, sir or ma’am?”

“Hi, Edwin, it’s Rose.”

“Agent Rose!” Her junior agent’s voice cracked. He was an excitable puppy of a person. Sometimes it seemed like a miracle that he didn’t jump up and lick her face.

“Did you get in touch with Petrilli yet? I need that coroner.”

“Petrilli has one out on vacation, and the other is elbow deep in something. I didn’t get details.”

“That’s not what I want to hear, Edwin. What I need to hear you say is, ‘Yes, ma’am. Your medical examiner will be there in twenty minutes.’ Can you do that for me?”

“Yes, ma’am. I called around, and there was a conference in Orlando. One of the doctors has clearance, so I had him pulled off the plane. He should arrive shortly.”

“Orlando is over an hour away,” Sam said with a sigh. “Good try though—it’s better than nothing.” Hopefully, Dr. Morr would accept her excuses. Of course, that would leave her with nothing to do for an hour but kick cleaning bots away from the door and wonder if she could get a contact high from the smell of pine-scented cleaning fluids.

“Not to worry, ma’am. The air force had a set of fighters doing emergency landing drills with the tower director there, so I commissioned one of them to bring the coroner to the local airfield, and there’s a car waiting. They should be touching down now, ma’am.”

Saints and angels. She could not have heard that right. “You scrambled a fighter jet?”

“You said it was urgent, ma’am.”

Sam rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Tell me, Edwin, have you ever heard the term overkill?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Outside, Sam heard the whine of police sirens coming closer. “What kind of car did you have waiting for our kidnapped coroner?” She had a sinking suspicion that she already knew.

“I called the PD, ma’am. You did say fast.”

“Thank you, Edwin. Remind me to note your diligence and willingness to think outside the box in your next performance review.” Sam hung up the phone and shook her head. Excitable little puppy. If he hadn’t been a six-foot-ten Viking with curly red hair and an eager smile, she might have broken down and used his nickname out loud.

Sam walked back into the main lobby as the medical examiner walked in with police escort, the broken lighting throwing shadows across their faces. Mentally she prepared herself for an angry tirade for interrupting their travel plans.

But he—and it was most definitely a he—wasn’t what she expected. Six something, dark hair, well built, wraparound sunglasses, and wearing a thick black trench coat over black slacks and a black shirt. Wherever he was flying to, it wasn’t in the South, where early-spring temperatures were already making it shorts-and-skimpy-dress weather.

“Dr. Morr,” Sam called, motioning for the facilitator to come over. “Our ME has arrived. Do you want me to go back with him, or would you like to be there?”

“Um.” Dr. Morr twisted a handkerchief in his hands. “Is it likely to be, uh, organic?”

“Most deaths are. It would help us immensely if you could look over the scene and comment on the position of equipment, maybe tell us if anything is missing.” The doctor paled. “If you’d like to wait until after the body is moved, however, that’s fine.”

Dr. Morr nodded.

“Agent Rose.” The voice made her smile in the shadow of death. Low, and husky it spoke of devotion and safety. “You are the only woman I know who would scramble a fighter jet just to see me.”

She’d missed his voice. “What can I say, Agent MacKenzie; I wanted to show you my corpse.”

Want to read more? Buy it here!
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CONVERGENCE POINT Flash Sale!!!

Convergence Point Sale 2

We are six weeks from the release of DECOHERENCE and my publisher has announced a flash sale for CONVERGENCE POINT so everyone who needs to can buy it and catch up.

The sale ends AUGUST 3, which isn’t much time and I know… no notice! But, the book is 99¢, which means you can probably buy it with loose change you find in your car (or your parent’s car, or at the bus stop).

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