Sunday, April 27, 2014

Feature: David Bruns, author of Irradiance

IRRADIANCE: The Dream Guild Chronicles – Book One


Amazon Link:    (.99 cent sale until midnight April 27)




The Community is your first responsibility as a Citizen.


So says the First Edict of post-Reformation Sindra.


Maribel is a new mother of twins in this bioengineered, telepathically networked society of comfort and safety, where the only relationship that matters is the one between a Citizen and her Community.


But Maribel is also a scientist, and scientists follow facts—wherever they lead. Her search for the truth awakens emotions in her she never knew existed, uncovers ancient powers long hidden in Sindra’s history, and has the potential to destroy her Community.


A dying planet . . .

A desperate parent . . .

A daring plan . . .


Irradiance is the story of Maribel’s choice.




The Control Officers set up their calibration equipment in the next room. Maribel could hear them through the wall as they moved furniture around and cracked open the large, black packing cases she had seen in the foyer when she came into work that morning.

She swiveled her chair in the dark and tried again to focus on the star cluster she was working on this week. Maribel was in the Star Chamber—alone, thankfully—and though she had nothing to hide, the mere presence of the Control Officers made her uncomfortable. And this story about crystal calibration seemed odd, to say the least. She’d never even heard of such a thing before this week.

Maybe this calibration setup was a front, another government crackdown on dissenters. She had overheard two scientists from the Pulsar lab saying they’d heard about someone from the Gas Giants section who went into calibration and never came out again. Maribel shook her head in the darkness. Community dissenters were a myth. What were they dissenting about, anyway? The Colonists had been defeated in the last election—again—and life goes on.

She turned her attention back to the star cluster and began her scan for habitable planets. The three-dimensional picture feed from the orbital sensors was particularly clear today: all the better for the more sensitive measurements. The work was painstaking, like trying to pick apart knotted string in the dark, and some of it relied more on intuition than hard data analysis. Suitable planets needed to be just the right distance from their particular suns, then have the right atmospheric elements, then—

She felt the tickle of a mental message. Maribel? It was Dr. Olgana, her department head. Can I see you in my office, please? It’s your turn.

Maribel felt a spike of fear in her belly and her crystal took on a deep red tinge. She sucked in a deep breath and held it until the little dots of light above her went fuzzy, then let it out slowly through pursed lips. The first rule of dealing with any Control Officer was to manage your crystal feedback.

She kept her red glasses on when she exited the Star Chamber so as not to ruin her night vision. Maybe this would be just a short interview and she could get back to work. Maybe she would never have to see what was in those packing cases in the next room. She took another deep, deliberate breath.

Since Maribel and her colleagues spent most of their time in and out of their Star Chambers, the lights in the Habitable Planets section were normally dimmed. Today a line of bright yellow showed under the closed conference room door next to Maribel’s chamber. She held the deep breath a little bit longer.

The light level was raised in Dr. Olgana’s office as well. The older woman sat behind her blank desk-screen, a study in gray: gray hair, gray eyes, gray crystal, even an ashen tinge to her pasty skin. She gave Maribel a neutral smile and nodded her to the only empty chair.

You can take off your glasses, Citizen. You won’t be going back to the Chamber today, she messaged. Maribel tensed at the use of the formal “Citizen” from Olgana but said nothing. With a Control Officer in the room, formality was a wise choice.

Author Interview



How did you get started writing?


Writing a book was always a bucket list item for me, but also something I was going to do “someday.”

About a year ago, I took a break from corporate life. The sabbatical was intended as a way to recharge my batteries and spend some time with my family before I looked for another job. As the saying goes, idle hands are a Devil’s plaything and having Dad/Hubby underfoot 24/7 has some downsides. It took about a week before the mutiny happened and I was told to find something to occupy my time.

I had started (and not finished) a few novels over the years, so my wife came up with the idea that I should write that book I was always going to write.

I started “The Dream Guild” with a rough first chapter and a vague idea of what I was doing. After the second chapter, I wrote an outline—and then revised it every few chapters for the rest of the book. I worked on my novel every day for the next three months, then revised it and got it edited.

Hitting the publish button on Amazon was a rush. I had modest sales, but it was enough to convince me that I wanted to write full-time. My “break” became permanent and I started planning my next book!

IRRADIANCE, Book One of The Dream Guild Chronicles was published in March. Book Two, called SIGHT, is in final production now and will be released at the end of May. Book Three, not yet named, is planned for a late summer release.


Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?


I chose to self-publish, but not for the reasons most people cite. I worked in business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing for almost twenty years. The process of securing an agent and/or publisher is a B2B transaction in its purest form. I can tell you from personal experience that businesses selling to other businesses do NOT use cold-calling as a sales technique.

In my view, the querying process is a baby-step above telemarketing, a low return activity on my time. I spend my time writing, not writing query letters. I do a bit of marketing, but without a backlist of titles that effort has limited value.

Since my decision to self-publish, everything I have experienced reinforces the publishing path I have chosen. I love the control over the process, the ability to connect with readers and other writers and the freedom to make my own business choices. It’s the start-up of me!


What advice would you give an author just starting out?

Because I entered writing as a hobbyist, I made a lot of mistakes, especially in final production of The Dream Guild. My top few pieces of advice for any new writer:

  • Write every day. Set a word count or page count or some daily goal and hit it. My goal for my first book was 5 pages a day. Some days those five pages took me two hours and some days it took me six hours, but I wrote five pages.
  • Set deadlines and finish things. I found that I learned more by saying “done” to a piece than by continually nibbling at it over time.
  • It’s never done. I look at everything I have written and see things I would like to change. Then I resolve to make the next book better.
  • Get a good editor. After my first book, I spent a lot of time finding a critique group and an editor that matched what I was trying to accomplish. It has made a world of difference.
  • Build up a website presence early. When I launched The Dream Guild, I had no website, no Facebook page, and a meager Twitter following from a previous job. I did have a very strong presence on Goodreads as a user, so that’s where I concentrated my effort initially—and where I got almost all of my first reviewers.


Are you a plotter or a pantser?


I’m a recovering panster. I have found that a good outline makes the writing process much more efficient, but I am always amazed at what happens when I sit down to write the draft of an outlined scene. I let the story go in the direction that the characters take it and rework the outline if I need to. To me that’s the magic of the craft.

What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?


I don’t believe in writer’s block. My feeling is that if I want to call myself a professional writer, then I need to make the words happen. Everyday. Period.

In showbiz they say “the show must go on.” When I was a VP of Sales and I didn’t want to take that meeting, what did I do? I took the meeting. Writing is like any other profession, make it happen or go home.

Are there days when it’s harder than others? Sure. And that means I need to try harder.

If I get stuck, really stuck, then I go for a run. Works every time.

Author Bio
David grew up on a small farm in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate degree at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and spent the next 6 years as an officer in the US Navy submarine force chasing the Russians at the end of the Cold War. After leaving the Navy, David spent the next few decades in the high-tech sector until he decided to chuck it all and start over as a writer.
A self-confessed travel junkie, he and his family have visited over two dozen different countries in Asia, North America and Europe. Today, he lives in the middle of the United States with his family.

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