Casey Lea is a mother and daughter writing team with a strong interest in science fantasy. The Casey Lea partnership began in 1990, with the arrival of Emma Casey Frost, first daughter of Shelley Lea and Gary. Although Emma was a very precocious child, it took another fifteen years before she began working with her mother.
Shelley Lea (pronounced ‘lee’) was born on a snowy June day, near the bottom of the world, in Invercargill, New Zealand. Reluctant to supply a date of birth, she would rather claim several decades of maturity, but only a few days of actual wisdom. Those decades have covered a range of jobs, a couple of degrees (including English Lit), one great husband, plenty of travel, two gorgeous daughters, several scatty cats and one charmingly dumb dog. They’ve also included an on-going struggle to put pen to paper in any spare second. This has led to some dire poetry, some eyebrow raising children’s stories and finally to something resembling a novel. This languished in a sadly disjointed and hand written form until…
Emma Casey inherited her mother’s love of books and the ability to string two sentences together (sometimes three). She proved to be the missing link in trying to actually finish a manuscript. Younger, savvier and able to turn on a computer without causing it to explode, she picked up the book and ran with it. Emma is also studying graphic design and happily provides Casey Lea’s cover artwork.
Starting out as an author - five things you should know…
- First and foremost, no matter how much you love writing, it will be hard. Not just hard work, but emotionally challenging. When you create something it’s very difficult to accept criticism. An author is invested in every word and can be too close to their writing to recognise flaws, or feel so devastated by any dislike that their confidence is shaken. You need to be tougher than goats’ knees to survive.
- You also need to be open minded. The secret to making the grade is rewriting, which means your work isn’t perfect. Ever. You need to pursue its faults and doing that fully involves other people. Cultivate insightful beta readers. Find a content editor who offers big-picture advice that helps you hone your story. Join writers’ groups and tell the authors involved to bring it. Your novel needs to be forged, which takes fire and you might get a little burnt in the process, but it’s worth it.
- Learn by writing, but also by studying your craft. Read every ‘how to’ book you can. Work from basics like the three act structure, inciting incidents, and point of view, to reach imagery, themes, micro tension, knowledge gaps and any other theories that resonate with you. Concentrate on your weaknesses and strive to improve them. Use this research to create a file for future reference that highlights the points you found most useful.
- Also start a ‘bible’, to keep track of all the decisions you make in your writing. This is obviously vital in genres such as science-fiction and fantasy, where every facet of your world, comes from your imagination. However, it’s also essential for any story, because you choose specific details from multiple possibilities. It’s easy to forget those decisions, especially as the words add up, and avoiding continuity errors is important. Readers want to be immersed in your story, which means it has to be plausible. The most fantastical story can be realistic as long as it’s consistent. It’s vital to be accurate and remain true to the laws of your world.
- The internet is your friend and self-publishing can be your best friend, with one proviso. To be successful your book should be of a publishable standard. A rejection slip doesn’t always mean it isn’t, because good stories can slip through the publishing net. A poor query letter, or weak pitch will send your unread manuscript straight to the slush pile. Trying too hard to be cutesy or original can achieve the same thing. An unknown author with a story longer than 90,000 words, or a series, is also likely to fail.
However, the majority of manuscripts are rejected because the writing falls below a certain standard.
So… give your work its best shot. Study writing, practice writing and expose yourself to criticism. Rewrite relentlessly. Then, when your novel is as good as you can make it, try self-publishing as an e-book. If you’re lucky you’ll get reviews, which will tell you more than any rejection letter ever will. Don’t take every one to heart, but if you see trends, be prepared to follow advice.
If you’re really lucky you’ll sell steadily… and then it’s time to get promoting.
Welcome to the learning curve of being an author.
Book Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Publisher: Pegasus Press
Release Date: IceFlight – December 8th, 2013. Frostbite – TBA (March 2014)
Buy Link(s): IceFlight - http://www.amazon.com/IceFlight-The-Iron-Altar-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B008DO6Q5S Frostbite - TBA
The Iron Altar trilogy – The Iron Altar trilogy follows the paths of two women, one young and the other ancient beyond belief. Both are destined to die on the same altar.
One death would precipitate mass murder and destroy billions. The other sacrifice would claim only two lives – the martyr and the monster who made the Iron Altar.
Amber Grace will be that martyr, but only if she reaches the altar first. And only if she still thinks we are worth dying for…
IceFlight – Darsey Ice never thought her first trip past Jupiter would claim the lives of her crew. But then she hadn’t expected to become the first person to make contact with aliens either. Kidnapped, enslaved and lost on the Outer Rim of a mighty civilization light-years from Earth, the only person she can turn to is her enigmatic new owner.
A dishonored outcast, he is just as alone as Darsey. Exiled by his people and struggling to survive, the last thing he wants is a rebellious primitive as a slave. She complicates his efforts to hide a dangerous secret and to complete a quest that is likely to claim both their lives.
Frostbite – When the ice comes for you… When it has already taken your friends… What do you do?
Amber Grace has spent countless lives preparing for battle, but has finally run out of time. She is mortal now and can only hope that her enemy is close, that when the monster comes to devour them all, she will be ready.
All Amber has to do is hide and wait, keeping herself safe so she will be there to save everyone when death comes for them. But one thing the Universe never guarantees is safety.
Forced from hiding and trapped on the Rim with the criminal scum of every interstellar species, Amber finds herself truly living in a way she hasn’t for millennia. Suddenly her choices are more than equations and the potential of billions killed must be balanced against protecting her friends.
Amber finally dares to embrace her last life, but a single mistake costs everything she has won.
Now the ice is coming… and it’s not alone.
IceFlight - In front of them a massive waterfall fell through the pyramid, a silver curtain blocking their path. It filled the entire landing and Darsey tried to stop and stare, but the floor wouldn’t let her. Instead it kept flowing forward and carried her with it. She tried to walk backwards, but the strange cushion of air accelerated to waft her faster, straight at the monstrous waterfall.
"Wing," she squeaked and her fingers found her companion's hand. She squeezed tighter than she intended, but Nightwing didn't flinch.
"It's kay. See."
Darsey stared unblinking at the silent curtain of water she was rushing toward. They hurtled into it and she grabbed Wing’s arm with her other hand, but the flow parted ahead of them. A v-shaped gap appeared above the path, looking like the ripple left by a speedboat. She had to duck her head against his shoulder to fit, but it worked.
Wing put his arm around Darsey while they slowed to a sedate drift under the weight of a ten story waterfall. Silver boiled above them and the light grew dim. The path under their feet began to glow blue and when she glanced up at the kres he looked haggard. He also looked starkly alien and she suddenly realized how familiar his strange features had become to her. She’d started to see him as just another person, but that didn’t mean he was human. Not even close.
Darsey looked away with a shudder and her spasm seemed to trigger a nightmare. The bridge under them pulsed red while a siren sounded and then the silent waterfall began to roar. She looked up just as the shield protecting them vanished.
The water fell and Darsey fell with it. The weight of a giant fist pounded her while she plummeted down into darkness and the noise was so overwhelming it seemed as solid as the water. She could hardly feel Wing’s fingers clamped tight round her wrist, but she knew they must be there because she was still alive. His com field was the only thing keeping her that way and she prayed he wouldn’t let go. Not that it really mattered, because the impact when they finally hit the bottom was going to be brutal. His shield would be overloaded and they would both die anyway.
Frostbite - Zak broke off when his words were lost in a thud and a grunt. Misty ducked her headfurther from cover to see what was happening. Ace. He'd finally managed to slither from his party burrow and do some work. Impressive work too. He must have taken Zak down with a diving tackle, but the nearest cover was meters away. Not a bad leap.
Unfortunately, Zak arched hard enough to throw Ace off and they came to their feet together. Two swords appeared and they attacked each other instantly. Their blades clashed repeatedly, without pause or hesitation.
Misty stopped and stared. She had never seen such a fight. Every blow was countered and each riposte was blocked. It was like watching someone fence with a mirror. There were no advances and no retreats. The fighters stood toe-to-toe, perfectly matched. The pace increased, until their swords were a blur, but still no one broke through with a blade.
Zak decompressed a second sword and slashed at Ace recklessly, driving him toward the cliff. The clash of blades was constant as the Beserk pushed forward. Misty took half a step toward them, but Ace spun around Zak, away from the drop. He swung his sword over his shoulders to guard his back and caught the blades trying to cut him down from behind. He twisted his arms while crouching, to turn and sweep one of the weapons from Zak’s hand.
Ace leapt high, while Zak jumped too. Their swords collided and they both swung a fist as well. Ace smashed his opponent in the mouth, but a punch like an anvil glanced from his chin and he staggered. He fell to a knee, before surging upright to back away and look for the Beserk. He attacked as soon as he saw the stranger - still on his back in the dirt.
Zak sprang to his feet just in time to counter the blow, then took an unsteady step and Ace paused too, breathing heavily despite com support. The stranger used the back of his hand to wipe blood from his lips and frowned when he saw Ace wiping his own bloody mouth.
“Get out of my head, snot balls.”
“Glad to,” Ace sneered. “I don't usually play in garbage.”
Zak sprang forward, but this time he put his full weight behind his swing. The wild blow was a risk, but Ace was too surprised to take advantage of it. He belatedly tried to block Zak’s sword, but its momentum was too great. Both swords flew through the air and Misty jumped aside when they clattered past. Ace reached to his wrist for another blade, but was too slow. This time Zak tackled him and they went down together. They grappled with each other and rolled across the plateau toward the cliff.