Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

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Monday, October 3, 2011

My New YA/SF Novel: Open Minds

Coming 11-1-11 ....
Open Minds 
(Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)

When everyone reads minds, 
    a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where being forced to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

I am so excited to launch this book!

I catch myself gazing at the cover in wonder of D. Robert Pease's artistry (my cover designer). He spoiled me by making the interior design just as pretty. If you are in need of design services, make sure you check out his Walking Stick Books site! I'll be talking about my decision to self-publish in a separate post, later this week, but if you want a sneak peek at some of the process, you can check out my new Mindjack Trilogy website.

Add Open Minds to your TBR: Add to Goodreads

An Intolerant World
I love this story for a number of reasons, one being a theme that's close to my heart: intolerance.

In Kira's future world, everyone goes through "the change" around age 12 and becomes a mindreader. Her disability - being unable to read minds or have her thoughts read by others - means she is branded as untrustworthy. The disenfranchisement of a "zero" goes beyond an inability to communicate telepathically: society has evolved an elaborate trust system based on knowing the truth of a person's thoughts and memories. Zeros are feared because they can keep their thoughts secret, which makes Kira the definitive "other" in a society where every thought can be known ... except hers. The intolerance of Kira's world and her isolation in it drives a lot of her choices, and in the end ... well, you'll have to read the book for that part. :)

The idea of tolerance (or the lack of it) is a compelling one for me. The human brain is wired to distrust the "other" - to be wary or outright hate those who are different. This is the wolf of hate, that Rick Hanson spoke of so eloquently. It takes conscious acts of courage and open mindedness to overcome this natural tendency to fear people who are different, to feed our wolf of love instead of the wolf of hate. While racial intolerance has a tremendous impact on the world, I think of tolerance as a broader issue that affects interactions between all kinds of people. Even small acts of open mindedness can have a huge impact on the people both giving and receiving.
  • Open minds treat you with respect, instead of snubbing you for being too strange or too new or too foreign or too shy.
  • Open minds are compassionate, giving you a hand up when you are down, instead of pretending they don't see your pain or piling on when the pack attacks.
  • Open minds accept you, treating you like the flawed, unique, wonderful person that you are, instead of judging you by your looks, skin color, or accent.
A Small Story About Keeping an Open Mind
When I moved from California to the Midwest, I brought my mini-skirts and boots with me (hey, it was the 80's). I quickly learned that standard California fashion would gather looks that had nothing to do with measuring my IQ, so I camouflaged my origins with khaki pants and collared shirts. But my independent thinking ways were a little harder to hide (also: I didn't try). When I met my future husband, he soon brought me deep into small-town Wisconsin to meet his beloved grandmother, who had lived her entire life on a farm and working in a factory. Never mind that I was adept at the camouflage at this point, that savvy grandma saw straight through as I talked about my plans to become an astronaut, possibly getting a Ph.D. along the way. I waited for the sideways look, the slight frown, and possibly a comment about a woman's place being in the kitchen, where she had spent a lot of her life, raising five boys and making ends meet.

Instead, she held my hand in her weathered one and said, "You knock 'em dead, girl."

I loved that wonderful eighty-year-old woman fiercely from then until the day she passed away at ninety-three, still strong and fiesty to the end. Many years after that day, she told me that she wished she had a chance to do some of the things I had done (go to college, pursue my dreams). But I already knew something more important from her gift of open mindedness that day: that she hadn't judged me, and even more importantly, that I had misjudged her.

I vowed to keep a more open mind from then on.

Open Minds Virtual Launch Party

On November 1st, I'm throwing a Virtual Launch Party and I'm inviting everyone to come! I want to celebrate tolerance and open mindedness and how they make the world a better place.

Will you join me?

When: 11-1-11
Where: On Your Blog
What: A celebration of #keepingOPENMINDS

Here's How to Join the Party (pick one!):
1) Write your own post about #keepingOPENMINDS
Share a story like the one above about someone who showed you a small act of tolerance. Someone who kept an open mind about who you were, who didn't judge you, who could easily have been a wolf of hate, but chose to be a wolf of love instead. In an age when scandals blow across the interwebs like tornadoes, sweeping up all the attention in their path, I hope these posts will brighten the blogosphere for a day, celebrating people who make the world a better place by #keepingOPENMINDS.
2) Post a review of Open Minds 
Oh, and there's this cool badge.

Do you see how awesome Dale's artwork is?

I can't wait to read your stories!
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  1. Awesome! I had a feeling this was coming! I absolutely love the cover! Def. makes me want to read it.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Mind bogglingly good. Unless you're just controlling my mind...

  4. Congratulations, great cover! I've added this to my to-read list on GoodReads. Good luck with it.

  5. Congrats, I'd love to help promote this. I like the idea of "mindjacking" concept!

    And hats off to D.Robert on the cover design, looks fantastic :-)

  6. Hi Susan .. great news that the date isn't that far away now .. Open Minds .. - mmmmmm I might be a little scared .. but love the title cover - should be so much fun .. good luck - Hilary

  7. Congratulations! The book sounds great--I'm a sucker for paranormal stuff. Best of luck!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing my excitement, guys!!

    @Ava I'm so glad you like the paranormal stuff - I hope you'll enjoy it! :)

  9. WONDERFUL. I absolutely love the premise of your book. I signed up but realize you probably won't want to send an ARC to France, in which case I would love a guest post. CONGRATULATIONS, Susan!

  10. Sue! Once again you've outdone yourself. I love the idea of this story and can't wait to read it!! Whatever you need...

  11. Sounds awesome, I can't wait to read it! Gorgeous cover, very intriguing like the plot summary. :)

  12. I had no idea this was coming! Great cover and launch date, and good luck. :)

  13. Gorgeous cover and terrific idea. Looking forward to reading.

  14. sounds interesting and original, can't wait to read it!

  15. Congratulations, Susan! I'd love to have you do a guest post, and I'm looking forward to reading your book. It looks fabulous.

  16. Gah - can't wait to read this! Congrats Susan!

  17. Yay! I cannot wait to read this, Susan--truly!! Count me in! :-)

  18. This looks like an amazing book, and what a cool theme to explore in fiction! I'd love to have you guest post. :-)

  19. Well, I love doing a showcase of indie authors so I can't wait for a chance to spotlight Open Minds on my blog.

    Angela Brown

  20. Susan, I am so, so excited for you! I've showcased your book in my newsletter this morning.

    I'm obviously more than happy to help promote! And congratulations!

  21. @prerna Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it!

  22. @Michelle What a beautiful surprise!! Thank you so much for the newsletter plug!! #youreawesome

  23. Yay! Fab cover, and I've added you to my Goodreads. I'll need to have a look at my calendar and see if I have anything on for Nov 1, but either way I will do a review for you! And if I don't, please remind me I said I would! :)

  24. Congrats! And what an awesome personal story :)

  25. omg! Susan! This is so fantastic!!! The story sounds amazing, I love your own story about boots and minis, and I love the launch idea you have.

    I would SO offer to do a review, but I'm ridiculously backlogged and don't think I'll make it. But wow. The cover is GORGEOUS. And I'd LOVE to have you guest post!

    I WILL do a review, too, just need time~ SUPER CONTRATS!!! :o) <3

  26. @monkey Thanks for the well wishes! :)

  27. I love a good party!

    And I'm looking forward to reading the book again. :D

  28. Congratulations, Susan! Your husband's grandmother sounds like an amazing woman. What an inspiration. Your book cover rocks. The book sounds awesome, and I love the name of the trilogy. Mindjack! That's so cool. I look forward to reading your book. WTG!

  29. How exciting! That is an awesome cover and a fantastic premise! Congrats on the upcoming release!

  30. YAY!! Congrats, Susan! I am SO looking forward to reading this again <3

  31. Awesome cover! I'm so excited for you, congrats!

  32. CONGRATS!!!! It sounds AWESOME! I can't wait. I signed up of course. I checked two boxes, but I want you to pick whichever you prefer. You know what my blog is like. :D

  33. This post deserves a better comment than I can give it. I love the play on words/theme in the title! I can't wait to read it and I love your idea of #keepingOpenMinds and writing about one of our own experiences.
    I have felt the same way about not judging people and taking the time to LISTEN to people for a long time, though I have my own strange twist because I don't like to call it tolerance. However, keeping an open mind is perfect.

    Love your husband's grandma - what a great story. Sigh - I heart posts like this!!!

  34. Congrats, Susan, the premise of your book is a good one. Mind-reading appeals, kind of like time travel. I'll check out your book.

    I also moved from one end of the country (south) to the other end (northwest)and had to adjust for the differences, so I know where you're coming from (no pun intended). That grandma sounds like my own. We need more women like that!

    Tolerance is something we all have to work at, since we like it when it comes our way.

    So - former California girl, eh? An interesting footnote.

  35. @DG Thanks! I hope you enjoy the book! And yes, Grandma was awesome! (Miss her still.)

    In the day, I could speak some wicked Valley Girl (yikes!). :)

  36. Yay Susan!!! I can hardly wait, I'm so excited for you. And wow, what a beautiful cover, love it! I'll be joining in for sure!

  37. So excited!!! Great cover and concept! :)

    I clicked off one of the choices, but I'm completely open to all of them. If you want a balance of different types of posts, I can EASILY change to another type of post!

  38. Wow, oh wow, oh wow. I'm so thrilled for you, and the book sounds killer. I do think you need to post a picture of you in the mini skirt and boots. I can't wait to party. I signed up right away.

  39. Congrats!
    The book sounds interesting - I've added it on my TBR list on goodreads.

    You're welcome to guest post at my blog (there was no button to tick) and if you really want to send the ARC to Malaysia I don't mind doing a review ;)


Erudite comments from thoughtful readers