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In Ageless Sleep – Book Release

So, this post is a bit belated, due to a fun combination of living out of a van in the wilderness and also being miserably sick—but here it is! The moment you’ve been wait-ing for! …Or at least, the moment I’ve been waiting for. Let’s skip the drumroll, I can’t wait any longer.

My first published novella is, at this very moment, available for purchase as an e-book.

Whew, I won’t get tired of hearing that any time soon.

In Ageless Sleep is a sci-fi romance loosely based around the tale of Sleeping Beauty, clocking in at about 17,000 words. I’d describe it as a snarky romp with a heaping side of emotional tension, a story of conflicted loyalties, cryosleep malfunctions, and banter over made-up card games. I honestly suck at writing blurbs, so I’ll stick with the one on the book itself:

“Mal is a spy, a misanthrope, and a coward; growing up in the brutal Reaches has taught her that honor is a quality best left to the dead. Her latest mission: to hijack a cryo-ship carrying the brilliant daughter of the Sovereign King, and deliver her straight into enemy hands.

But when a vital component of the ship’s cryostasis system malfunctions, the only person who can keep the unconscious passengers alive is the woman Mal was sent to kidnap. Alone together on a ship of silent sleepers, Mal must remember that she and Aurora are enemies—or risk them becoming something much more dangerous.”

On a quick personal note, it is honestly so exciting to have my first book in print; or more accurately, my first novella in e-print. Even more gratifying is the wonderful feedback I’ve gotten on it. I hope it’s not too conceited to include a few snippets from my favorite reviews so far, but I’m just too thrilled to resist.

Here’s what readers are saying so far:

“Ellis secures her audience’s attention with sharp wit and masterful characterization. Her command of written English had me gobbling sentences like candy, and her viewpoint character…it’s really the electric tension between the characters that will keep you turning pages. With dialogue sharp enough to cut yourself on and lively, energetic prose, you won’t be able to put it down.” —K.E. Walton, (KEWalton.com)

“…Though it was short, it was awesome. I would definitely recommend this very short novel if you like science fiction stories, lgbt+ romance or retellings.” —Lia (Lost in A Story)

“I paused halfway through instead of devouring it all in one sitting because I wanted it to last but I just picked it up again hours later.” —Julia (Goodreads)

“i have no idea how arden ellis managed to get so much character development, world-building and plot twists into a story that’s like 20,000 words long, but she did.” —Percy (Goodreads)

Thanks so much for the kind words, folks. And if you, gentle reader, have yet to pick up a copy, as of writing this post it is still on sale! Grab one now from LT3’s website, and be sure to let me know if you liked it.

Alright, enough self-promotion. Back to my new occupation of being sick in the woods. Take care guys ✌

Hard Way Home

There are certain points in anyone’s life when the ground rises up to shake you loose. Right now I feel like I’ve been tossed right into the stratosphere.

After months of planning and years of intent, I’ve finally done it—I packed up all my worldly possessions into the back of my camper-van and set out west on March 15th. My plan was to spend some time on the road before making my way up to Olympia, Washington, where I planned to settle down. My mother tagged along on the road trip for the first two weeks, a little vacation to spend more time with me (and help with the long drive through corn country). And after taking her on a tour of Utah’s national parks, I dropped her off at the airport and began a new chapter of my life alone—a moment I’d been anticipating for months.

But as I pulled away from the Departures terminal in Vegas with my mom waving and crying in the rear view mirror, there was no sense of rising excitement; no swell of newfound freedom. Instead, I felt nothing more than a pit of terror eating its way into my gut. In that moment, there was nothing I wanted more than to turn around and beg my mom to buy me a ticket back with her.

Continue reading Hard Way Home

Bad Mnemonics

Am I the only one who routinely forgets that February only has twenty-eight days?

I mean, it’s the same thing every year. You’d think that after going through it twenty-three separate times I’d have gotten the hang of it by now. I blame that old rhyme they taught us in grade school:

Thirty days has September,

April, June, and November,

All the rest have thirty-one,

Except for February, which has twenty-eight.

I literally believed I had mis-remembered the final line, but it turns out that it’s just terrible. It doesn’t rhyme, doesn’t match the meter; no wonder it refuses to stick in my head. Basically, all of this is a long-winded excuse for the fact that I accomplished basically none of my goals for the month of February. But those last three days, man. I really could have read another four books, written another 6,000 words, done a month’s worth of Spanish practice and finished two more short stories, if I’d just had the whole thirty-one. Honestly.

Yep, I am absolutely willing to attribute all my problems and failings to cosmological inconveniences. Works wonders for peace of mind. But despite being an era of steadfastly procrastinating on my goals, the past month did yield some exciting new writing releases.

 

Have you ever thought that Sleeping Beauty could use more epic spaceship battles? More crackin’ wise? More lesbians? If so, April 11 will be a good day for you, because my novella In Ageless Sleep will be hitting the e-shelves! And if not, well—I may be biased, but I think you might just love it all the same.

You can pre-order your copy (on sale until release!) right here. Continue reading Bad Mnemonics

One Down

A lot of things are different this year. Last January we got dumped with three feet of snow—this year, we got less than three inches. Last January I had no idea when (or even if) I was ever going to get a piece of writing accepted, and now I’m starting to get the hang of this whole ‘getting published’ business. Last January I wasn’t googling things like “how to resist a political coup” and “current risk of economic collapse.” Now how’s that for nostalgia value?

This January has not been easy for me. I’ve spent much of the past eleven days in a “dissolving into 80s synth pop while staring into the endless void of a blank page” state of mind. Writing fiction feels almost trivial in the face of everything that’s happening right now. It feels wrong not to at least acknowledge that.

But between walking in the Women’s March and swallowing my social anxiety to call my Congressman for the first time in my life, I’ve been trying to stick to my creative goals. Letting fear and helplessness poison me into abandoning my goals is just giving the fascists what they want. I know it’s not exactly a form of grand and meaningful resistance to simply try not to let my own spirit get crushed into powder, but it’s something, right? And if things continue as they’re going, it will only be the beginning. I’ll put Connolly on my speed-dial if I have to.

Continue reading One Down

Year of Weird

I used to think I wrote Weird fiction. Now, I realize I have a lot weirder to go.

I still remember the first time I read Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer—it was in my junior year of college for a class called “Imagined Worlds,” a class which I would have gladly sacrificed an arm to get into if I hadn’t made the first cut (luckily, no amateur limb removal was necessary). Back then, the concept of “weird fiction” was not yet a twinkle in my eye. But it was about to be.

The first paragraph of the book happens to be a passage that changed the course of my writing forever (or at least, so far):

The tower, which was not supposed to be there, plunges into the earth in a place just before the black pine forest begins to give way to swamp and then the reeds and wind-gnarled trees of the marsh flats. Beyond the marsh flats and the natural canals lies the ocean and, a little farther down the coast, a derelict lighthouse. All of this part of the country had been abandoned for decades, for reasons that are not easy to relate. Our expedition was the first to enter Area X for more than two years, and much of our predecessors’ equipment had rusted, their tents and sheds little more than husks. Looking out over that untroubled landscape, I do not believe any of us could yet see the threat.

If I had been reading a paper copy of Annihilation, there’s a good chance I would have ripped out the first few pages in a fit of wild passion and eaten them. I was literally astounded—I had never read anything like that before, the perfect balance between the matter-of-fact and the utterly bizarre, all with a side of creeping dread. Not to mention that all the primary characters in the book were women, another factor I had scarcely found in any book that wasn’t about women. Unfortunately, I seemed to be the only person in the class who felt that way; no one else seemed so attracted to the strange balance of pragmatism and horror and surreal, a tower that plunged into the earth. The main character feels her world resonate with images and associations she can’t explain, the surreal growing out of the ordinary like a grotesque mushroom. As the characters move into Area X, our sense of a concrete place—and as a result, our sense of reality—is utterly destabilized.

Continue reading Year of Weird