My fiction writing plans for 2018

This shot looks like an alien world to me.

Continuing on from my post from yesterday, now onto the fun writing I’m working on. I have a lot of science fiction publishing planned for this year (making stuff up is soooooo much easier than academic writing!) .

Day 115 on an Alien World will be out mid-April (I’ll be revealing the cover soon!). This will be book 1 in a four book series about a colony starting out in a new solar system. This is my debut book, and I’m really happy with how it has turned out.

Here’s my working blurb:


This morning Gary Holbrook watched his wife die.

And she wasn’t even a wife he wanted. When he signed up for a brand-new colony on a desolate planet connected to Earth by an intermittent wormhole, there was a catch – the mission was for married couples only. Without a suitable spouse, he reluctantly married a woman he’d never met: Margo Murphy, a grubby entomologist with a fondness for butterflies.

It was the crash of their colony ship that started a cascade of life-threatening problems. Accident after accident robbed them of colonists, and their desperately needed skills, while damaged and broken equipment had stalled their efforts to make a viable colony. To Gary, Margo’s death seemed like just more of the same bad luck.

That was until Gary read his late wife’s journal and her suspicions of a saboteur in their midst. Now he has to follow a trail of clues to unmask the saboteur and stop them before the colony is completely devastated. The first communications window with Earth – their only chance to ask for help – is fast approaching, and someone needs to be alive to make that call.


The follow up book, Far Side of the Moon, is written and going through editing right now. This book starts right where book 1 ends. I’m aiming for a summer release.

Here’s the working blurb:


Margo Murphy is in a borrowed body and running out of time.

Just over a week ago, the colony she calls home, an intermittent wormhole away from Earth, survived The Conglomerate’s efforts to destroy it. As it departed, The Conglomerate’s ship abandoned the mastermind behind the sabotage, Lucy Snow, and her sick son at the colony. The boy knows things that he couldn’t possibly and is hiding a secret that puts the colony at risk.

Before the colonists could catch their breath, their adopted world of endless daylight throws them a twist – extended darkness combined with frigid temperatures. At the same time, the colony’s artificial intelligence becomes compromised by a Conglomerate virus, bleeding power when they need it most. The colony is in jeopardy once again. Something needs to be done to remove the virus before the colonists freeze.

Lucy is the only one with the skills to hack into The Conglomerate’s system, forcing Margo to work with her to stop the virus.

Putting her life in the hands of an experimental technology, Margo travels to the moon, to convince a group of insurgents to help her infiltrate The Conglomerate and get the answers she needs to save the colony and the sick boy they’ve taken in.


Book 3 in this series was my NaNoWriMo project titled Abandoned Ships, Hijacked Minds and has been the funnest one for me to write so far (I’m loving working on this book). My aim is to publish this one in the fall.

Here’s the blurb:


Someone or something is trying to kill Margo Murphy.

It’s been six months of progress for Margo’s colony, a wormhole away from Earth. Things are finally looking up for the settlers – crops are coming in and new colony members are on their way.

A group of insurgents turned refugees led by Iago Ocon arrive. The Conglomerate destroyed their home in an abandoned lunar mine, leaving them looking for a safe haven. The influx of new people creates new tensions and opportunities, including Iago’s unwanted interest in Margo.

With the refugees came a space worthy ship, reopening the question of what happened to the first two colonies. Margo’s was the third colonizing mission sent to the same solar system. Repeated efforts of communicating with the other colonies only returned silence. Were others out there, and did they need help?

Margo joins an awkward combination of colonists and former insurgents lead by Iago to investigate what has become of the other colonies. While still suffering the side-effects of her last battle with the megalomaniac leader of The Conglomerate, what Margo finds changes everything.


Book 4, The Alien Artifact, is still in the outlining stages, I hope to get into writing the first draft later this spring. Likely this one will be out early 2019. For now, I’m going to keep the details on this one to myself.

I’m working on a couple of short stories and a novella set in this world, which I’ll send out when they are ready.

Finally, I have a request. Is anyone interested in getting an advance copy of Day 115 on an Alien World in an exchange for an honest review? If you are, just drop my a line at jeannette.m.bedard{at}gmail.com (changing the {at} to a @) and I’ll send you a copy when it’s ready (likely late March).

The NaNo experiment

Some of my favourite writing advice, but I still screw this kind of thing up.*

For November I ran a writing experiment (most everything is an experiment for me, a side effect of being a scientist in my day job), I signed up for the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. The goal was to write 50,000 words over the month. A whole horde of people do this, including a large group on my Pacific Island, there was even a steady stream of writing get togethers (I went to one).

The book I chose to write was book 3 of my Settler Chronicles series titled Abandoned Ships, Hijacked Minds, which can as simply summed up as space horror. By the end of the month, I successfully completed a first draft. Considering it’s a ‘shitty first draft’ I’m very happy with it – especially the ending. I’m itching to share it, but I need to finish polishing the first two books first.

So here’s what worked for me (and this is all common advice):

  1. I started with a moderately detailed outline, so I knew where I was going. Whenever I’ve tried working without an outline, I’ve always reached a point where I have to stop and write one. To write a book in a month (while working full time and not totally ignoring my family), I knew I wouldn’t have time to stop and worry about story structure.
  2. I found a writing buddy for support and we regularly got together to write. Find her here.
  3. I wrote every day, which went better than expected. My daily word count ranged between 200-2700. A migraine struck on one of the weekends (why do migraines always strike on weekends?), but I managed to do a bit of writing reaching the low end of my word count range.

With an outline to work from, I decided to start in the middle. Since I typically follow a three act structure, my starting point was the beginning of the second act (yeah, I started in that ‘muddy middle’). I came back to the beginning scenes at the end of the month. The reason I did that is my middle was full of action, which I prefer writing, while the beginning was focused on character development, which I find much harder to write.

I thought I’d be done with two days to spare. But, when I inputted my wordcount onto the official site, my total came to 49,999 words. I was a single word short! What was the probability, I’d get that close? I since added another few lines of dialogue, which put my comfortably over the required number.

I found NaNoWriMo a great way to get a draft novel done and I think I’ll do it again next year (assuming my writing buddy is willing).

*sadly I don’t know who originally made the zombie image