Meet the Cast: Anna Popova

[Periodically, I’ll share Meet the Character posts spotlighting some of the new characters who will be appearing in Legacy alongside Mina. I’m also currently working on a Meet the Characters page that will feature key players in the Heritage Verse]


Born in the Magistrate Era, Anna knows nothing of the before. She grew up without a family, whether through abandonment or death. By the time she was born, the Magistrate had abandoned its program of adopting Mramorian orphans off-world to Magistrate families. So instead, she was placed within the Magistrate’s social services in Old Imperiya, which were badly mismanaged by Alyypriliv, a revolutionary faction that maneuvered its way to the top of Mramor politics following Magistrate intervention.

Faced with food shortages and mistreatment, Anna fled the orphanage and found sympathy from a mechanic who offered her an apprenticeship at age 14. Now at 21, she’s joined the Mramorian Fleet to expel the Magistrate from her homeworld and displace Alyypriliv and their allies from power. She’s never forgotten the cruelty of her orphanage.

Popova serves as one of Mina’s flight team members and roommates.

Fun Character Fact: She is a hopeless romantic and has an extensive collection of romance books at home. The steamier, the better. If it’s way out there, she will buy it — in fact, she is a connoisseur of odd pairings.

Fun History Fact: Anna Popova shares her last name with Nadezhda Vasilveyna Popova, a famous Soviet Night Witch during WWII. She is not the only new character to feature a nod to the Night Witches. If you haven’t heard Sabaton’s song about them, what are you waiting for? For an overview of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, Wikipedia gives you an overview.

A Long Awaited Update

“I’ve been given the distinguished duty of turning you first into soldiers. Then, perhaps even fighter pilots […] You were selected because of your willingness and your warm bodies. Nothing more.”

-Lt. Commander Foma Zima, “Legacy: A Heritage Verse Story”

So, it’s been a while since I last posted. I really wish I could say I dropped off the face of the Earth to get a lot of writing done; sadly, that’s not the case. I haven’t wholly slouched on the writing part, but it’s been a snail’s pace as I’ve been a little discouraged and still spread thin between the two jobs. But I still wanted to hop in and celebrate some accomplishments, no matter how small.

Impending Author Event

If you’d like to meet me, mark your calendars! I will be at North Webster Community Public Library at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, for an author meet and greet, where I will share information about my writing process, books, and publishing route. Have questions? Ask them! I will also have copies of my books available for purchase at a discounted price. I hope to see you there!

“Legacy” Work Continues

Fans of the Heritage Lost Series’s Mina won’t want to miss “Legacy: A Heritage Verse Story.” This planned novella will solely be from her perspective and show her step onto her own path away from Katya to pursue becoming a fighter pilot, to strike back. This novella also serves as a bridge to Book III: “Once Removed,” though it is not required reading. However, I think readers who read it will find it enriches the reading experience of “Once Removed.”

This story is fully outlined, and a couple months ago, I broke out the tarot cards to really flesh out a sizeable number of new cast members (visit the above link to see how I use tarot cards for character development). I hope to introduce you to these characters soon, right here on my blog. Most are going to be characters within Mina’s flight team — maybe even a new love interest in the works.

In terms of writing, I’m just exiting chapter two and hope to pick up steam again. There is the possibility I will release this story first on Kindle Vella; however, I’m still researching that option. Would you like to see it there? Let me know! If you’re a fellow author who has used Kindle Vella, please let me know your experience.

“Once Removed” Update

“Once Removed,” Book III of the Heritage Lost Series, is also outlined, and I have started Chapter One and some select scenes. I’m eager to fully dive into “Once Removed.” Of all the entries, it is going to be the most emotionally hitting, I feel, for my characters.

It maintains the genealogy-themed naming convention I’ve been using for the Heritage Lost Series, with a few double meanings. The biggest and only one I will give away is the nod to Mramor and several other planets leaving the Magistrate. This is the story of what happens after they have removed themselves. Katya, Akakios, and Mina will serve as POV characters. Katya just might receive the information she was looking for in this entry.

Things are not slowing down life-wise as I had hoped, but I plodding forward, one word at a time.

Reflection And A Glance At What’s Ahead

2021 served as a year of change for me, starting on a low note by not receiving a dream job. However, a few months later, I landed another dream job, which I think has been dreamier. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve stayed on as a part-time editor for one publication at my previous employer.

Needless to say, I really didn’t have a life in 2021, but I’m making progress toward restoring some work/life balance. And despite circumstances, I accomplished a lot in 2021. I finished edits on Descent and brought it to Amazon as an e-book. (The paperback is still on its way after production delays.) While working toward publishing goals, I polished several outlines and launched a few new writing starts, including the next installments of the Heritage Lost Series.

I have hopes for 2022, especially once I restore my life balance.

Writing

My primary focus for 2022 is Legacy, which centers on Mina and will be from her point of view. I expect this story to be of novella length, and it will also serve as a story bridge to Book III, Once Removed, covering a time span where Katya really tries to mold Mramor’s training practices and unified the planet’s efforts.

In Legacy, Mina seeks to carve her own path, removed from Katya’s. She’s dead set on becoming a fighter pilot and finally striking back at the Magistrate. Alongside this goal, she navigates cultural differences as she integrates into the ranks of Old Imperiya. It doesn’t help that Katya has tasked her with being a bridge between Old Imperiya and recruits from other former countries. Given the levels of distrust and hatred between all the former countries, Mina comes to believe it’s an impossible endeavor.

It’s been fun to hop into Mina’s POV after spending 500-some pages with Katya in Descent. I really look forward to journeying with her as she grows and maybe experience another case of young love. I expect to carry her POV, alongside Katya’s and Akakios’s, into Once Removed.

More Reading

Another hope for 2022 is more reading. I haven’t been doing a lot of it (I think I only read eight books in 2021), but at least 2022 is off to a promising start since I’ve finished Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and March: Book One by John Lewis. I’m also super close to finishing My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King.

Since the library has a new reading challenge, I’m definitely encouraged to reach at least 15 books by the end of September, especially after falling short of my 2021 reading goal. I must redeem myself!

Refresh Author Business Plan

My five-year author business plan is horribly out of date. After I finalize 2021 business-related matters, I’m going to sit down and create a new plan for 2022-2027. I also need to revisit and follow through with marketing plans, including lining up more reviews for my books.

StoryOrigin will hopefully make that last part easier since it’s added a review copy feature. So far, I really like how it functions. If you’d like to pick up a review copy, click either the Heritage Lost or Descent button — or both, even.

Win A Descent E-Book

Descent, Book 2 in the Heritage Lost Series, arrives Wednesday, Dec. 29. Like Heritage Lost, Kindle Unlimited readers can read it for free! Two lucky readers without Kindle Unlimited will also be able to read Descent for free, too!

Visit this link to enter your name and email address between now and Sunday, Dec. 26, for a chance to win. I will randomly select two winners on Monday, Dec. 27, and contact them that day as well. I will format the e-book to work on whatever e-reader the winners are using, whether Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc.

While waiting for Descent‘s release, revisit Heritage Lost, sign up for my author newsletter to receive Heritage Lost‘s prequel novella for free, and finally, browse the Into the Heritage Verse blog series to learn fascinating facts about the species, organizations, and characters that call the universe home. During December, I will add new entries to the Into the Heritage Verse blog series, so stay tuned!

Plasovern leader Hedda Strom has fulfilled her promise for Sotiris, almost to a miraculous level silencing his genetic mutation. With this achievement, it now falls on former Magistrate captain Katya Cassius to pay the price, as Strom tolerates no freeloaders. However, the cost may be steeper than she’s willing to pay, requiring her to entirely turn against former comrades and her adoptive family in a campaign to destabilize the Magistrate.

While Katya struggles with her former loyalties, Mina has embraced Plasovern’s cause, threatening to tear their relationship asunder. Building tension within Plasovern and Mina’s push to join one of its cells forces Katya to pursue alternative routes to Strom—even risking her wrath.

As the Magistrate’s fringe space spirals into chaos and Sotiris’s medical needs limit options, Katya’s only recourse may be a return to her original homeworld, a place she fears for the truth it may hold.

Platforming Dabbles: The Struggle For Eyes Never Ends

Heritage Lost Book Trailer

Authors eternally seek ways to engage potential readers — the umpteenth social media account, newsletters, artwork galore, podcasts, video, etc. Some writers do well with a relatively tight platform, while others utilize quite a few avenues. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to platforming. And speaking from experience, it can be incredibly hard to find one’s people.

Two years into being a published author, I still don’t feel like I’ve found my people. With its shifting algorithms, social media feels more like a void that I’m shouting into nowadays. But I still try to plug away at it and keep my ears open for potential opportunities.

Video has been on my radar, though I dread it. I’m not the most photogenic person, and when placed in front of a camera, my brain tends to shut off, tossing aside carefully considered responses. However, I did force myself from my comfort zone with digital readings in 2020. That is the way the digital world is moving: video.

Enter FilmForth

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I was encouraged to pursue a short film for my book by a fellow vendor at Hall of Heroes Comic Con, who pointed out that it’s never been easier to do so with a cellphone. While I haven’t bolstered my courage for a short film, I did begin to browse video editors and available free stock video with the hope of doing book trailers.

This search led me to FilmForth, a video editor I still can’t believe is free. It is easy to use and allows for nitty-gritty editing. It offers many great effects and transitions, the ability to adjust and remove sound, picture-in-picture support, and so much more. The best part? By liking the software’s social media, you can remove the watermark. Heck yes!!!

Using it, I first created the Descent trailer below. The Heritage Lost trailer above was my second attempt and shows more playing around with the software. I also had to get more creative with it because the stock video was just not there. How can there be no toddler stock footage? I ended up mixing still photos, abstract videos, color clips to convey a rough overview of Heritage Lost.

The stock photos and video came from Pixabay, a fabulous resource! The Descent trailer music came from YouTube’s royalty-free library, while Heritage Lost used a royalty-free song from Pixabay (where I also found its sound effects).

FilmForth allows users to export projects in various sizes perfect for different types of social media and uses.

It is easily five stars with its price tag (free!), ease of use, and abilities. I knocked it down by half a star because it lags on projects (even small ones) with numerous layers. I would start exporting to review the video rather than use the in-software video previewer just to make sure text and sound effects were really where they should be. On the Heritage Lost video, I did experience one freeze, but it still saved in the background so I lost nothing.

All in all, if interested in video, test it out!

Descent Book Trailer

Beta readers wanted!

Descent arrives Dec. 29, 2021, but you can read it early by being a beta reader! Or you can pre-order your copy today, but clicking this link.

Beta readers are a major part of the writing process for most writers. They help catch issues with manuscript that a writer, far too close to it, might miss or not even consider. For the beta reader, they get to read a book before anyone else! It is a win-win situation for all parties involved.

With my second wave of revisions complete, I’m looking for speedy readers who can get through an approximately 148K book by the first week of November. I’ll be using the new StoryOrigin beta reader feature for Descent. Interested readers need only click the button below to request beta reader access. Haven’t read the first book, Heritage Lost? No worries! I’ve included a synopsis and character list in StoryOrigin to aid new readers to the series.

Continue reading “Beta readers wanted!”

Descent Cover Revealed and Hall of Heroes Wrap-up

Kylie Betzner and S.M. Wright at Con booth.
Kylie Betzner and I sit at our Hall of Heroes Comic Con booth on Sept. 5. The convention was a two-day event.

It was a great weekend at the Hall of Heroes Comic Con in Elkhart, IN! Fellow author Kylie Betzner and I had a fabulous time and met so many great people, including con goers and fellow vendors.

While we had one heckler who was quite adamant that we know there was no difference between sci-fi and fantasy, most people enjoyed the free book raffle in good humor, even those who love both genres and were forced to choose. After the con, we tallied the votes, and it was super close! Sci-fi ended up winning by just four votes. Since the tally was so tight, Kylie and I decided we would draw winners from both genres’ buckets rather than just the winning one.

Continue reading “Descent Cover Revealed and Hall of Heroes Wrap-up”

Meet Me At Hall of Heroes Comic Con

Hall of Heroes Comic Con 2021 promo image with tickets on sale soon.
Learn more about the comic convention at hohcomiccon.org

I’m super excited to announce I will be attending Elkhart, Indiana’s, Hall of Heroes Comic Con, Sept. 4-5. Come visit me at the Far-Flung Press booth (AA7 in Artist Alley). I look forward to meeting readers old and new alike. I will have print copies of Heritage Lost available and should have Descent‘s presale launched by the time the event arrives. There just might some sweet online deals for those who can’t attend in person!

Kylie Betzner, author photo
Kylie Betzner

Author Kylie Betzner will be joining me at the booth. Kylie is an actress, martial artist, and the author of comedic fantasy series. She is also the proud mama of two cats. A fellow Hoosier, she will have her The Six–er–Seven Kingdoms trilogy and her Arthurian parody The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. Check out Kylie’s catalog on Amazon by clicking here.

Continue reading “Meet Me At Hall of Heroes Comic Con”

Descent update and other life events

One tired editorial assistant!

I’m approaching the midpoint in initial Descent edits, which is massively behind where I’d envisioned I would be in April. I’ve been under a lot of stress in my professional life as I looked to transition from one career to a new one. Pair that with a nasty upper respiratory infection, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. In particular, the “is the new job going to happen or is it not going to happen” was a killer when it came to creativity and consumed so much of my mind that revisions fell to the wayside.

However, the answer to that question is yes! I’ll be stepping into the role of communications specialist for my local library system. I’m one of those people who frets about change so I’m facing this transition with both excitement and anxiety. While part of me is screaming “what have you done,” my rational self knows this is the right change for me and will result in less stress for my poor body, which decided in 2018 it couldn’t handle stress anymore.

Continue reading “Descent update and other life events”

The Joys Of Audiobooks

A variety of audiobooks, including Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood, Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood, Peace Talks by Jim Butcher, The stationary shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Broder and Never in Finer Company by Edward G. Lengel.
Above are a just a few of my completed and future audiobook titles.

Three months into 2021, and so far, I have six read books under my belt. Juggling two jobs and edits, I’m amazed with this progress toward my twenty book goal on Goodreads, though I’m aware of the irony. When I only had one job, I was lucky to even read ten books in a year. Perhaps, it’s the lack of free time that truly makes me appreciate what time is available. Maybe it’s the carrot of my local library’s Break into 2021 Book Reading Challenge. Or perhaps, after a rough couple of years, I really need a bit of escapism. No matter why, audiobooks have been my saviors.

My love affair with audiobooks began while traveling with my brother and sister-in-law to Indy. It was a Dresden Files audiobook, and it wasn’t even at the beginning, but narrator James Marsters (yes, Spike from Buffy) had me sold. Thanks to Overdrive, I dove into the Dresden Files audiobooks from the beginning, even loading my cellphone with them for a work trip to Florida.

Continue reading “The Joys Of Audiobooks”
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