I'm excited to report good news about Defining Raven: To Gain By Force. The story was one of my first completed full length novels and by researching the 'search' option in old emails, it looks as if the original manuscript may have been started in 2004/2005 and finally picked up for publication in April 2007. It was only on the market for a couple of weeks with an Australian-based publisher before I pulled the manuscript because of the publisher's change in ownership. After that, Defining Raven was pitched again and again to more US publishers and no one would touch it..
During that time, I received statements like, "I don't think we can publish it due to the content and the predictions involved" or "Susan, I didn't even want this manuscript on my computer because of the political elements...."
To say I was dumbfounded is an understatement. As far as I was concerned, Defining Raven was fiction. In any event, I cut out a lot of elements that might have been considered more controversial matters but a lot remains, too, because without those elements we wouldn’t have a story.
I'm not involved in politics or conspiracy-type theories so the plot wasn't/isn't based on predictions. However, as I read over the manuscript for round two, I started to see where some readers might have formed a different opinion. Still, it is/was fiction.
In the end, the majority of the 'rewriting' involved focuses around changing one huge player to Alpha 13 and assigning code names to other foreign countries which works out rather well since the President in this story is only in office due to.....well, you'll have to read the book. In a dystopian novel, anything can happen.
The second thing I want to mention about Defining Raven: ToGain by Force is this—the first edition was horrible. The first one shouldn’t have been published at all and while it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen, it was indeed full of ‘flowery’ language where this writer was apparently trying to sound like…well, a writer.
I had to laugh, most of the way through it actually, because I can't really stand 'flowery language' in manuscripts or anywhere else so it was sort of the hot kettle calling one steamy.
In the first edition, the POV shifts were obvious and in abundance. Hopefully that's all fixed now. If readers read this one way back when, I have to wonder if they're still with me. Let's hope so.
The biggest thing I noticed is a huge change in my writing style. With the aforementioned, I’ve always heard writers can change their ‘style’ but not their voice. In my opinion that’s wrong. A writer’s voice can absolutely change which is what made reworking this novel so difficult. In fact, I would dare say it’s been the greatest writing challenge I’ve faced in recent years.
In any event, because of so many different reasons and the fact that Defining Raven is a second edition and was an original first novel for this writer, the price of Defining Raven: To Gain by Force is $.99.
I still want to warn my regular readers: You may be disappointed by the quick and very different 'sex' scenes. In fact, while reading the original scenes in the book I found myself asking if I'd ever had sex prior to writing that mess. *Smiles* The scenes were not hot and there wasn't a lot I could do to fix them without gutting the whole manuscript so I want to be upfront about that. Still, there are several there and they have been tweaked.
A wise publisher once told me: "It is easier to write a new manuscript than it is to fix an old one" and now I'm a believer. About 30 hours went into editing and reworking this one as time permitted. Still, there were so many other things I could’ve done to improve the manuscript but I ran out of time. Eventually, I had to step away from it because it is a second edition book and there’s only so much you can do with a dated manuscript.
I hope those of you who like dystopian romances will enjoy this one but again, it’s different than most of my current works. My voice has changed quite a bit over the years. In fact, I always tell readers, if you’re new to my work, start with the most recent series and titles and work your way back. There’s a reason for that.
This morning, I want to thank Lili Booth for editing the second edition and Patty Foltz at Way2Kool Designs for creating a beautiful cover. They both worked hard on this project. A team effort, Defining Raven: To Gain by Force is a futuristic dystopian novel with a little suspense, too.
While I wish I’d written this novel from scratch (and it might have been easier), I’m still proud of the plot and the ideas that went into this particular work. Yes, the plot has changed somewhat thanks to our world’s current events, but overall the nuts and bolts are still there. The end result was kind of neat, too. It looks more like a collaboration between two writers than a book written by one. In fact, I couldn’t remember anything at all about the story when I first jumped in and started editing and rewriting portions of the second edition so it was a real treat of sorts.
Readers, if you paid more than $.99 for this title during pre-orders, Amazon should adjust the price but if not, let me know. Now that I’ve written a book here, I’ll direct you to the book mentioned above and below. Defining Raven: To Gain by Force is available for pre-orders at Amazon and is coming soon to all third party retail sites on release date which is January 19th.
Happy 2015! Hope your year is off to a fabulous start!
The year is 2088 and The United States of America is under siege by its own government. President Lee is in power returning to regal formalities in an era inappropriate for a ruthless tyrant. The power he holds over his country is overwhelming and he is the most feared man in the world using an iron fist to maintain his laws and proposed order.
When the new man in power discovers a beautiful woman working in The White House, he decides it is time for a First Lady. He offers her ‘an opportunity’ to become his bride. Refusing the President isn’t an option.
Facing a technology war and threats from outside forces, Lee marries Raven as a strategic chess move. He can distract his enemies if he marries. When Raven becomes a target, he is free to make his first political move.
After President Lee places Raven in protective custody, a talk, dark, and handsome agent is assigned to her security detail. The two form a mutual attraction almost from the start and while they fight the lust burning out of control, the chemistry is more than either of them can deny.
President Lee focuses on a looming war and calls a press conference to address those who are attacking the country. In front of the world, he kills a well connected journalist, a journalist who is coveted by the countries behind the looming war. Still, Lee's message is clear. He is his country. He answers to no one. More importantly, he will not relinquish control over technology and electronic communications to anyone.
Lee's ruthless ways and cruelty generate whispers about a nation desperately in need of a savior. Instead, the President becomes more unreasonable. Soon, the world is at Raven’s mercy. And an enemy uses her lover against her in hopes she will stop a madman from remaining in the most coveted political seat in the world.