& giveaway contest!
In the opening pages of Pipe Dreams, author Destiny Allison paints a bleak picture of a world set in a not-so-distant future: The staggered progression was like a funeral procession, only no one shed tears for the dead. Inspired in part by the work of The Occupy Movement, Pipe Dreams follows the story of Vanessa Kovalic and the members of the cell "the Fallen" as they work to survive the watchful and corrupt inner workings of the New Social Order.
Beneath the park bench, a young girl cries for help, her voice a cold hand on Vanessa’s throat. “Please,” the girl whispers, a tear trickling down her battered face. Vanessa glances at the empty square. A piece of trash tumbles. A bird settles in a tree. Then there is silence—no voice, no wind, no movement. It’s as if the world is waiting. The naked girl is desperate, but compassion for the Fallen is never forgiven.
Vanessa’s hesitation is her undoing. Unbeknownst to her, Lewis is still haunted by her thick, auburn hair, serious eyes, and mocking laughter. She is the symbol of all he hates and her interaction with the girl is just what he needs to gain control of the virus. Originally developed to save mankind from itself, the virus can be used to create a slave race. When it is released, Lewis will have his revenge.
As his plan unfolds, Vanessa is forced to flee. Escaping through the sewer, she finds love, heartbreak, and the red beam of a gun sight dancing on the slick, black wall. In the deep dark of the foul pipe, she also discovers she has been betrayed. That’s when she learns Texas is real.
As one reviewer writes, the book is "creepy, honest, and sometimes even bone-chilling, Pipe Dreams is a taste of reality that you won’t be able to put down.”
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Destiny\Allison (June 2, 2013)
Pipe Dreams is available in print and as an e-book at Amazon.
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Pipe Dreams, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes Monday, July 8 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author:
Destiny Allison is an award-winning sculptor, businesswoman, and community builder, although writing was her first love. As her passion for the written word evolves, Allison is writing what she loves. Pipe Dreams is her fiction debut and other fictional works are soon to follow.
In 2012, she published Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life and it recently took first place honors in the non-fiction/memoir category in the 2013 LuckyCinda Publishing Global Book Contest. In it, Allison reveals the truth that life is art and it is a book Allison felt she had to write. She lives in Santa Fe, NM with her husband and dogs, alternately missing and celebrating her three grown sons.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Destiny’s website: http://shapingdestinythebook.com
Twitter hashtag: #PipeDreams
-----Interview by Renee Roberson
WOW: This is your second blog tour with WOW!— you launched Shaping Destiny, A Quest for Meaning in Art and Life with us last August. While Shaping Destiny was a work of non-fiction, Pipe Dreams leads readers through a fictional dystopian world set in the near future. I’d love to hear about the inspiration behind the story.
Destiny: It wasn’t planned, that’s for sure. I had just returned from my honeymoon, a week driving back roads on the northern California coast. The time with my love without cell phones or a computer was blissful, quiet, and fun. On returning home—to our kids, dogs, and hectic life—I lost it. I was working on the blog tour for WOW and didn’t have a quiet place to think. My husband suggested turning a guest bedroom into an office. I said no. I had lots of good reasons. Where would guests stay? Being locked away in my own room would put strain on our family. I would be okay.
Shortly after that, a man fell in love with one of my paintings but couldn’t afford to buy it. He offered me a trade. When someone loves a piece that much, I do what I can; so I went to see the piece of furniture he was offering. It was gorgeous. Antique and hand carved on every inch of its surface, it was also huge. Where would I put it? I measured spaces and moved furniture around, but no matter how much I wanted to help him out, it wouldn’t fit in my overcrowded home. Not wanting to tell him, I ducked his phone calls and emails for a couple of weeks. Then, one day in my studio, it hit me. If I took the bed out of the guest room and made it an office, I could do the trade. So I did. I created a sanctuary and decorated it just for me. Then I committed to a new writing discipline, knowing that I needed to do a follow up for Shaping Destiny. I would write a minimum of 500 words a day, get back in the habit, and produce the book.
About a week later, after having finished all the posts and interviews for the WOW tour, I had nothing to say, so I decided to journal for my 500 words. The next thing I knew, my protagonist’s voice was speaking through my fingers and Pipe Dreams was born.
The moral, I traded a piece of art for a piece of furniture that gave me back my peace of mind.
WOW: What challenges did you face transitioning from non-fiction to fiction? How did you tackle them?
Destiny: I’m laughing as I write this because I faced more challenges than I had thought possible. Writing Shaping Destiny was a matter of choosing which stories to exclude. Writing a novel meant learning how to world build, plot, and carry a story to satisfying conclusion. At the beginning, I didn’t even know what passive voice was. When I finished the second draft, a whopping 156,000 words, I decided to enter it into a contest (Yes, my ego can get carried away). The contest only accepted manuscripts up to 150,000 words. Yikes! How would I cut that many words?
I started researching and came upon a blog written by a man I follow on twitter. The timing was perfect and he taught me which words to search for and omit in the editing process. Whack, there went 20,000 words. I sent the draft to beta readers and one of them hinted carefully that I might want to pay attention to my use of passive voice. I looked it up and boy was I surprised. Whack went another 20,000 words. The deadline was fast approaching and I was working 16 and 17 hour days to meet it. The more I researched, the more I learned. Needless to say, I didn’t make it past the first cut, but I was on fire. It was so exciting—every day a new discovery. I worked on it for three more months until I couldn’t take it any farther by myself. Then I hired a top editor, really believing the book was almost done. When I got the manuscript back, I cried. Every page was bleeding, badly. I went to work again, learning even more.
With the help of two more rounds with beta readers, I finally finished it, and wow was I glad to be done. Still the journey was powerful, insightful, and full of rewards. As the first reviews are starting to come back, I’m so glad I did all that work. People love the book.
WOW: That does sound like an arduous process, but one worked out well for you in the end! I agree that contest deadlines are great motivators for writers to edit and revise their work for submission. In addition to being a writer, you’ve spent years working as an award-winning metal sculptor and artist. I’m curious if any of your artwork or the sculpting process in general helped “shape” the setting of Pipe Dreams in any way.
Destiny: Not in terms of plot or setting, but definitely in terms of process. Writing is a lot like sculpting. First you build an armature or skeleton that defines the shape of the work. Then you start adding mass and volume. Eventually, you refine what you’ve added, cutting away unnecessary parts until the form is whole, clean, and well defined.
I think sculpting for so many years helps me understand the process and overcome obstacles along the way. I’m not scared when something goes differently than I’d planned or when I get stuck. I know how to move past blocks and follow the creative thread.
WOW: How long did it take you to finish the first draft of Pipe Dreams once the idea came to you? Can you lead us through what a “typical day” looks like in your creative life?
Destiny: The first draft was finished in 30 days, the second a month later. When I’m working, I’m a bit obsessive. It’s the only thing I want to do.
On a typical day, I wake up and check my social media accounts, respond to emails, and putter on the marketing end while I have my tea. Then I go to work—either into my office or to my studio. I push through whatever I’m working on without stopping to refine it along the way. If I slow down to edit or question a plane, I can get blocked so I get it all down first. When writing, I commit to a minimum of three chapters a day. When I can, I squeeze in more, writing around the edges of my life. These days, I’m spending more time writing than I am sculpting and I love it. I can’t get enough. I’ll pause every so often to stretch my muscles and get something to drink, but otherwise, I don’t get out of my chair until the day wanes and my family starts to come home. Then, after dinner, I read aloud what I did that day to my husband. He questions my logic, probes me to find out where I’m going, and generally gives me feedback on what I did. It’s a process we both enjoy and it’s been immensely valuable to the work.
WOW: It's always nice to have a member of the family guide us through a writing project in a constructive, but gentle, way! On your blog, you often discuss the importance of “paying it forward.” Can you give us an example of how you’ve done that in your writing career, and what you learned from it?
Destiny: I decided to pay it forward by donating 25% of the sales of Pipe Dreams to help other authors and artists achieve their dreams. Anyone can enter to win. All you have to do is help spread the word. If you tweet about the book, post it on facebook, etc, I’ll put your name in the drawing. Once a month, I’ll select a winner and cut that person a check.
It’s been so rewarding to see people joining in. Many of them have helped to promote the book but have specifically asked not to be included in the drawing. They just want to help, too. People are often surprisingly beautiful.
WOW: You have an impressive turnaround time for publishing your books, so I'd say being obsessive is a positive trait you have. You’ve also advised readers that “your life is your greatest work of art.” Can you show us how your own life is an example of that mantra?
Destiny: That’s a big question, mostly answered by Shaping Destiny. I suppose the best way to say it is that I determine my own life. That means I have to choose my palette, select my brushes, and color my canvas in a way that hopefully imparts meaning and inspires others. When I make mistakes and muddy the image, it’s my responsibility to either incorporate them into the vision or fix them so the painting looks right. Simultaneously, I can be inspired by others, but my expression is my own. I have to be honest and true to who I am. The painting is always a work in progress. Every so often I have to start it all over again, but each layer is part of my journey and adds to richness of the next.
WOW: Shaping Destiny was your first foray into publishing, and you’ve made the decision to self-publish all your work from here on out. Could you give us some insight on what helped influence that decision? Also, what advice would you give to authors exploring self-publishing options?
Destiny: I wouldn’t say I’ll self-publish all my work from here on out. If the right agreement was struck that would mutually beneficial, I would consider working with a traditional publisher, but I don’t see that happening any time in the near future.
I self published for several reasons. On a gut level, it feels right. I built my art career by going indie first so it feels pretty natural. On the business side, it’s the only thing that makes sense. The publishing industry is upside down right now, but even if it weren’t, publishers don’t offer much more than I can do for myself. If I were traditionally published, I would still have to do most of the marketing, give up my rights for as long as seventy years after my death, and agree to a tiny percentage of the sales. If I’m going to do all the work, I want to get paid for it and, perhaps more importantly, I want my books to have time to develop a readership. With traditional publishers, if your book doesn’t do really well in the first six weeks, it’s done and can’t be brought back. Self publishing gives me creative control, the opportunity to connect with readers in a real way, and the potential income stream traditional publishing can’t, but it is an immense amount of work.
My advice to those interested in self publishing? First, don’t rush. Make the book as good as you can and then hire help. A professional editor can make all the difference between a bad or mediocre book and a good one. DO NOT consider putting your work out there without one. The biggest hurdle indies face is themselves. Grammatically incorrect work, flat characters, typos and more will kill your book and your reputation. In the social media age, your reputation as a professional is imperative. Your creative expression is only heard when you’ve taken the time to respect your readers. If they get frustrated because you didn’t care about them, you’re done.
Also hire a professional cover designer, not just a graphic designer. Book covers are their own art form. If your book has a shabby cover, it won’t sell no matter how good it is. Finally, stay away from the predators. There are lots of companies out there that will take your book, edit it, design the covers, and do everything you can do for yourself for twice or triple the cost and then still take a percentage of your royalties forever. Friend other indie writers on social media—I love Twitter for this—and learn from them. They are some of the most open and supportive people I’ve ever met.
The most important thing to remember is that after you’ve finished writing, the book is no longer your baby. It’s a product that needs to be professionally packaged, presented, and marketed. That means that you have to hire and manage a team of skilled professional and work harder than you ever dreamed. For me, it’s worth it. If you don’t think you have the personality for that, it may not be route for you.
WOW: You work as a mentor for other artists by sponsoring a gallery space in Santa Fe and letting them keep 100 percent of their sales. Have you ever had any mentors in either the art or writing world that helped support and guide you on your own path through the years?
Destiny: I have been very blessed with people who showed up a just the right time. Some of them are still around and we talk often. Others helped for a moment and were gone. The list is too long to name here, but I will always be grateful to each and everyone of them for what they contributed to my life. Since I can’t always return the favor, I choose to pay it forward instead.
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, July 1 @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!
Tuesday, July 2 @ My Fiction Nook
Visit My Fiction Nook to read an excerpt from Pipe Dreams and an author spotlight on Destiny Allison. Plus, enter to win a copy of a the book!
Friday, July 5 @ Thoughts in Progress
Destiny Allison, author of Pipe Dreams, shares the difference between writing non-fiction and fiction in a guest post.
Thursday, July 11 @ Selling Books
Visit Selling Books as Destiny Allison answers questions about her writing life and the types of books she likes to read for pleasure.
Monday, July 15 @ Books I Think You Should Read
Liz Parker reviews Pipe Dreams on her blog, Books I Think You Should Read.
Tuesday, July 16 @ CMash Reads
Destiny Allison, author of the science-fiction book Pipe Dreams, shares an excerpt from the story. Readers can also enter to win a copy of the book!
Wednesday, July 17 @ Downright Dystopian
Thinking about self-publishing a book? Destiny Allison, author of Pipe Dreams, discusses her decision to publish two books independently.
Monday, July 22 @ Gutsy Living
Stop by Sonia’s Marsh’s blog to hear all about Destiny Allison’s “gutsy story.”
Tuesday, July 23 @ Author Allen Watson
Learn how Destiny Allison created the world of dystopian sci-fi for Pipe Dreams at author Allen Watson's blog.
Wednesday, July 24 @ Reader Girls
Destiny Allison explains the importance of book cover design and offers tips for self-publishing authors.
Thursday, July 25 @ Books and Such
Teri Polen reviews Pipe Dreams at Books and Such and interviews the author, Destiny Allison.
Friday, July 26 @ Books and Such
Author and metal sculptor Destiny Allison describes writing as it relates to art in a guest post for Books and Such.
Monday, July 29 @ Fresh Fiction
Destiny Allison guest posts at Fresh Fiction.
Tuesday, July 30 @ World of My Imagination
Destiny Allison illustrates the importance of pursuing your dreams in a guest post at World of My Imagination.
Wednesday, July 31 @ The New Book Review
Read a review of Pipe Dreams, by Destiny Allison, at The New Book Review blog.
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.
Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at email@example.com.
Book Giveaway Contest: Enter to win a copy of Pipe Dreams! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget Monday, July 8.
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