In my last post, I said that there would be two new release announcements in the near future. This is the second new release announcement, a new novella in my In Love and War series.
But first, I’d like to point out a the SFF Book Bonanza, a huge cross promo that is currently going on. There are more than sixty books in various SFF subgenres included in the promo, including one of mine, and they’re all available for only 99 cents from May 21 to May 27. A list of all participating books, organised by subgenre, may be found here. So what are you waiting for? Grab your next SFF read.
And now back to my own new release announcement. As mentioned above, it’s a new novella in the In Love and War series called Hunter and Hunted which pits Anjali and Mikhail against a crew of bounty hunters intent on capturing them for the prize on their heads.
The initial inspiration for Hunter and Hunted was a piece of music. For one day, I heard the 1980s A-ha song “Hunting High and Low” on the radio, which I hadn’t heard in a long time. Now I am heavily music-synaesthetic, i.e. certain pieces of music basically trigger scenes and sometimes whole mini-movies in my head. “Hunting High and Low” is one of those songs and the scene it always triggers in my head is that of two men fighting in the snow, while the girlfriend of one of the men sleeps peacefully in a nearby cabin. When I heard the song on the radio again lately, complete with the matching mini-movie playing in my head, I thought, “That’s actually a pretty good scene. Maybe I should write a story to go with it.” And then I realised that the scene in question was perfect for an In Love and War story. And so I sent Anjali and Mikhail on a mission to a frozen planet, with bounty hunters on their tail.
I started writing Hunter and Hunted sometime in March, when it was still cold outside, so writing about fight and flight throughout a snowy landscape wasn’t too much of a stretch. However, then it suddenly got very warm very fast and just stayed that way, which was quite jarring, because suddenly I was sweating while writing about Anjali and Mikhail battling hypothermia in addition to a squad of bounty hunters.
Now I tend to classify the In Love and War stories as cozy space opera, because there is as much focus on the characters and their relationships as on the usualy space opera action. However, Hunter and Hunted is actually a very action packed story by the standards of the In Love and War series, because it’s a sequence of fight scenes interspersed by brief moments of respite. What is more, Anjali and Mikhail both get put through the wringer physically in this one (come to think of it, I do tend to put them through the wringer a whole lot), though that also means that those moments of respite include some nice hurt/comfort scenes.
The cozy aspects of cozy space opera as well as the comfort part of hurt/comfort both take place in the supremely cozy setting of a secluded cabin in the snowy woods. Now the cabin already features in the original inspiration (in the mini-movie in my head triggered by the song in question, it’s always a log cabin), but I still had to find a way to make it work in a science fiction setting. I had already established that the mountainous parts of Harketon, the planet where the story is set, were a popular destination for holidaymakers. And so I simply decided to use the mountain lodges in the Alps (and elsewhere) as a model for the cabin where Anjali and Mikhail find shelter. After all, the initial purpose of these lodges was providing food and shelter for stranded travelers, though they have morphed into hostels in modern times.
Most mountain lodges in the Alps have a lodgekeeper, who takes care of the lodge and the guests, keeps it stocked with food and firewood, etc… The lodge where Mikhail and Anjali find shelter has a lodgekeeper as well, but because this is still a science fiction story, the lodgekeeper is an AI I named Toni after the popular German pulp novel series Toni, der Hüttenwirt (Toni, the Lodgekeeper). So I guess you call Hunter and Hunted a science fictional Heimatroman – because the In Love and War series clearly doesn’t mix genres enough already (after all, a cabin in the snow is not science fictional enough for certain people, at least according to a rather infamous review of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice).
As always with the In Love and War stories, there’s also action, fights, desperate last stands, romance, food (though no recipes this time), vid dramas and even opera, because on occasion space opera should include some actual opera.
The cover art is once again by the talented Thai artist Tithi Luadthong a.k.a. Grandfailure, whose stunning artwork graces all In Love and War covers so far. And this piece of art is really pitch perfect for this story, because we have the frozen landscape, a lone figure and a cozy cabin in the distance.
So what are you waiting for? Get Hunter and Hunted today!
Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.
On their way back from a mission, Anjali and Mikhail are ambushed by a squad of bounty hunters. Wounded and hunted through a frozen landscape, they find shelter in a mountain lodge.
But their pursuers are still out there, tracking them. And with Anjali too injured to fight, Mikhail must face down seven bounty hunters on his own…
Length: 21000 words
List price: 2.99 USD, EUR or 1.99 GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.