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Friday, April 06, 2012

The Times, They Are A-Changin’



Before I landed a great NY agent, and a book deal, and published books, and fans, and all that comes along with all of the aforementioned, I never used to watch television. I didn’t watch TV because I didn’t have time. I worked full time, was a wife and mother, and used all my spare time (ALL my spare time) writing.

These days, I’m still a wife and mother, but I now write full time. What that means is that I actually have a modicum of spare time. (Not much, but some, and hey, some is better than none, right?) My husband and I both work from home (which is awesome, I must say), and in addition to our daughter, we also have three dogs (aka The Canine Death Squad) and three cats (aka The Killer Kitties). The pets are really USED to having both Mommy and Daddy at home. Meaning that when my husband’s done working and I’m taking a break between my afternoon writing and my nighttime writing, we tend to stay at home. Because the pets are lonely without us. (Or so they tell us and we tell ourselves.) So nowadays, we actually watch some TV.

As anyone who’s known me for about 5 minutes is already aware, I’m a huge fan of “Castle”. I’m also a big fan of “Dancing with the Stars” and now “The Voice”. Believe me, DWTS and The Voice being on at the same time is really giving the DVR a workout. But I digress…

I bring all this up because a couple of seasons ago (the Kirstie Alley season), one of the stars on DWTS -- upon learning that they were going to have to learn two new dances and then do a bonus round, in one week -- said to her professional dance partner, “They just never let you get comfortable, do they?”




It’s true, and part of what makes DWTS so fun to watch, but it’s also true in real life. Lo these many years ago now, I got a wonderful job that required one big thing -- move my family from Los Angeles, California to Phoenix, Arizona. It was a change we were a little worried about, and we didn’t want to leave California, our friends, or, worst of all, our family. But it was the best thing in the world for us, and for me in particular, as I wouldn’t have started writing if we hadn’t moved here.

This also holds true in terms of writing a series. If you want to keep things fresh, fun, and interesting, you can’t let your characters get comfortable.

I write the Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books/Penguin. When it all started (Touched by an Alien), Kitty discovered that the Roswell rumors were true, but with a twist -- the aliens were here to help us, and as a side benefit, they were all gorgeous. As the series continued, Kitty got further into Centaurion Division and discovered that there was a lot of bad out there, both internal (Alien Tango) and very external (Alien in the Family). She also got engaged, and then married. Then the ultimate life change a person can go through happened (Alien Proliferation).

But, for me, that wasn’t enough. Sure, I’d taken Kitty’s life and turned it upside down. She’s gone from marketing manager to superbeing exterminator to the Head of Airborne for Centaurion Division. She’s gotten engaged, married, and given birth. That’s a lot of change.

The changes have been fun, and Kitty’s been up for every one of them. So, I had to ask myself -- what would Kitty and Company do if they were faced with a change that sounds great, but puts each and every character out of their comfort zone? What about a change none of them really want, but know they have to accept?

In my newest release, Alien Diplomacy, which hit the shelves this past Tuesday, April 3, Kitty’s no longer the Head of Airborne and killing superbeings for a living. She’s now part of the Diplomatic Mission for American Centaurion, representing an entire race that’s hiding in plain sight. Kitty and her alien husband, Jeff Martini, no longer live in Arizona and New Mexico, but have had to relocate to Washington, D.C. Even worse, Kitty and Jeff, can no longer do what they both enjoy -- kicking evil bad guy butt -- because they’re public figures.

Not that this will stop the bad guys from scheming, or Kitty from doing her best to save the day with hairspray and rock ‘n’ roll. But now she’s got to do it diplomatically.

Well, as diplomatically as she can. Which, since it’s Kitty, probably isn’t going to win her any Decorum Awards. But, hey, that’s part of her charm, and that I refuse to change.

Being newlyweds and new parents is challenging enough. But nothing’s ever easy for Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, particularly not when they have to switch from being superbeing exterminators and Commanders in Centaurion Division to mastering the political landscape as the new heads of American Centaurion’s Diplomatic Corps.

Kitty’s brand of diplomacy and lobbying isn’t quite as smooth as Jeff’s—Washington parties, lobbyists of all stripes, and politicians from all states and countries present challenges a well-stocked iPod and quirky sense of humor aren’t always up to handling. But when a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators are identified, Kitty’s the diplomat for the job—in between “Mommy and Me,” “Diplomacy for Beginners,” and the dreaded “Washington Wife” classes.

As explosions, assassination attempts, and murders pile up, the question shifts from “who’s the target” to “will we all survive to see next week”?
    
Armed with only their wits, and dressed to kill, it’s up to Kitty and the Diplomatic Corps to stop the bad guys from unleashing mayhem on all the world’s leaders. But will Kitty trust the right people, at the right times, or will going her own way prove deadly—not just to her, but to her daughter, Jamie?

So, what’s been the biggest change you DIDN’T want to have happen that turned out to be the best thing in the world for you?

One commenter will receive a copy of their choice of any of the first three books in the series (Touched by an Alien, Alien Tango, or Alien in the Family), signed and personalized. Open internationally. Contest is open through Friday, April 13, 2012.

Gini Koch lives in Hell’s Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, AZ), works her butt off (sadly, not literally) by day, and writes by night with the rest of the beautiful people. She writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. She also writes under a variety of pen names (including G.J. Koch, Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch), listens to rock music 24/7, and is a proud comics geek-girl willing to discuss at any time why Wolverine is the best superhero ever (even if Deadpool does get all the best lines). She speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business. She can be reached through her website at www.ginikoch.com.


***Gini's winner is Lil! Lil, please email me at totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing info.  Thank you!***

26 comments:

marybelle said...

I'd rather read than watch television. I love how your personalty just shone through here on this post.

Lil said...

The biggest change that I didn't want to happen that turned out to be the best thing for me was to have the kids hit their teenish years. We had to follow my husband's work and it was complicated to do this with children and re-adjusting in a new place every couple of years. Sometimes, I felt a little lost in the face of helping the rest of the family get comfortable and form new bonds at school and work. It was harder to form similar bonds in my role as homemaker. We finally decided to settle down and moved to very near where I had grown up. The kids didn't need me so much at that age and so I stepped into the workforce at the beginning of the economic difficulty. When my husband found himself with much less work, I was in a position to keep us afloat and I found a wide circle of very supportive friends with the new career.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

Jessica Subject said...

I absolutely love that you don't let your characters get comfortable in their situation. It's part of what keeps me reading this series. :)

There wasn't any change in my life that I didn't want to happen, but there were many that scared the crap out of me. It's all worked out thus far, and I hope it continues this way.

All the best!
~Jessica Subject
jessicasubject.writer at gmail dot com

Denise Z said...

It is funny how we start out with preconceived ideas on how we would like our life to proceed. I think our biggest change was moving from So. Cal (yep born and raised Cal gal) to Oregon. This move ended up with me being self-employed and gave me the freedom to be with my son while he was growing up, letting me participate in his school and extra activities. I will always be grateful for that. Thank you for taking the time to share with us today and making me remember my blessings brought on by change.

dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for your post and giveaway, Gini. Your novels sound like fun reads!

In response to your question: I've been wracking my brain for the last few minutes trying to think of an answer. But honestly, I can't recall any cases in which a change I didn't want to happen turned out to be a good thing.

I can think of quite a few changes that proved to be different from what I'd expected. Unfortunately, they turned out to be even worse.

I wish I could give you the sort of answer you're looking for. But sometimes, when life shovels you-know-what on you, you can't grow roses in it.

Good luck with the release of "Alien Diplomacy"!

maryannelanders at centurytel dot net

Anne said...

I lost my travel industry job after 9/11. Found a better job only 1 month later. I've been there over 10 years now and have gotten a promotion and make 50% more than I did at the old job and have 2 weeks more vacation. Truthfully, I'd still be there if they hadn't laid me off.

acm05atjuno.com

ducknme said...

Thanks for the wonderful giveaway Gini!
Okay, the biggest change I ever made but turned out good was similar to yours. We moved from the Seattle area to the Salt Lake area. Just a warning if you are not Mormon and plan to move here, EVERYONE will tell you, "There's Mormons there you know." Turns out, there are and they are fairly nice people who do not have horns or sacrifice chickens at midnight or anything.

mamalynx said...

Started Alien Diplomacy and am really loving it...

Biggest change...
Being diagnosed with a serious chronic illness. It made me reassess my life and view things differently. It also gave me the opportunity to pursue art full time (since I couldn't work at my old profession anymore. So now I am exploring the creative side of me that has always been looking to get out and having a great time with it.

mamalynxx@gmail.com

Victoria said...

I'm with mamalynx. Having cancer is not something you want to deal with. It certainly brought a change to my life. It made me a more positive person. It has really made me open my eyes to all the beauty that's around me. So I guess there is a reason for everything.
I own the first two books :).

vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

*yadkny* said...

When I was younger my parents moved all us 8 kids from our bigger home to a smaller one. Their reasoning was that it was a safer environment for us, but of course I hated it because we were leaving our bigger home. It turned out to be the best thing for all of us and not just because it was safer, but we bonded more as a family and now I have some really awesome memories. I guess in this case my parents really did know better:)

yadkny@hotmail.com

Barbara E. said...

I didn't want to lose my job and have to find a new one, but I did and I'm so happy it happened because I got a much nicer job with less responsibility, less stress, nicer people, much better benefits and better pay. I would have never got out of the rut of working at the same place for many years if I hadn't been forced to, and I'm so happy it worked out for the best.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Naomi H said...

Well, we've done the whole moving thing too, moved to Melbourne, leaving all our family and friends behind, because if we didn't do it before we had a family, we probably never would have made the change. We had 2 children, a boy and a girl, and thought, yep that's it, the family is big enough. But that wasn't to be all. So when I fell pregnant again not only was that going to be change enough, but we moved into another house and my husband started a new job too. So for us when we have a change, it usually is pretty life altering!

naomi _geoffATbigpondDOTcom

Jen B. said...

I was sick for almost a year and the doctor finally suggested a hysterectomy. It was an extreme solution and the best thing I have ever done! jepebATverizonDOTnet

thekrazikat said...

Hey Gini! Life is about change, and I find I can typically move with the flow as I need too...but there are two that stand out most for me and since I couldn't pick just one, I'm lettin' ya have both! First, I was a teen mom. I had my oldest baby...who is now a teenager...when I was 17. I had been with the baby daddy for almost 2 years...but when baby came he disappeared. I found myself 17 years old with a baby and no support. Not just financial...straight up it was just me and my baby girl. People said things to me that were just plain rude. Things like "You will never be anything." And "All you teen moms are the same; welfare grabbing sluts that can't take care of your babies." SAY WHAT!!!!!! That is just a couple milder comments. As the years have gone by, and that baby girl is now a responsible 16 year old graduating highschool 2 years early after seeing me work my a$$ off to support her while earning my masters degree and working full time in a job where I actually created my position in a large corporation...well, so much for those early haters. A few weeks ago a friend of mine from highschool said "you are an amazingly strong mother and woman. You could be an inspiration to teen moms everywhere." And it all hit me in my face like a sucker punch...I had not really thought much about all those years that were hard and unexpected. I did what needed to be done. But dammit, despite the haters, I made it out of the trap. And now I am working on creating a support site for teen moms to learn not to listen to those negative influences so they can be better. I am also a writer, and will be writing a book about this as well...when I am ready too.

The other (now that I have gone on and on, I know...) is when I injured my back. I was stuck at home for several weeks. Always the writer, I decided to start writing a novel. By hand. In a giant spiral notebook. I am now working on the final draft so I will be ready to find an agent. Had I never had the injury, I never would have found the time to get those crazy thoughts onto paper. Any writer can agree, those stories in your head can really distract you if you can't get them out! My book is a big science fiction about a girl who finds out she isn't really human the hard way-being hunted...and I also discovered Gini when I was doing research for my 2nd novel about, ahem, aliens, that is in outline form right now...and I am so happy to have discovered Gini although I admit, Gini girl you are distracting me from my writing! ;-)

Margaret in ON Canada said...

Hi Gini from Canada!
Just finished Diplomacy...got it early on the 3rd as an ebook from Kobo..so can't order early but was counting the days, and didn't get the great cover art. OH well! You didn't disappoint yet again another one that was worth the wait. I love how you got some of the Vegas characters to Washington. Brilliant! They helped Kitty in her not so comfort zone.
Actually I am a pretty conservative gal, I like being in my zone and not have the boat rocked. But most of my life has been a series of changes that I did not plan, did not like at the time and had to adapt to. Some, like the mother-in-law from hell were a disaster, and some like moving to the far north in Canada, were the kind of life altering experience that one can cherish. So while I still don't like change, I have learned that there will be nice things about it and I have to look for them.

bgcfitness said...

Hi Gini! Thanks so much for all the wonderful hours I've spent with Kitty-Kat, Jeff, Reader, Gower, Christoper and the rest of the gang. The thing I never wanted to do was get divorced. But in the process (which I wouldn't wish on anyone-except a Big Bad) I learned a lot about myself. Found I was stronger than I thought I was. With a young daughter to care for, I changed careers. I became self employed teaching fitness classes and personal training. WAY out of my 'comfort' zone. But it gave me the flexibility and the income I needed. Then, although I swore "no more men!" I met my true soulmate. We've been married 15 years. I'm thankful everyday that I took that uncomfortable step that turned my life upside down - ultimately for the better.

erin said...

Thanks for a fantastic post! Please don't enter me, as I already have the entire series :)

I love, love, love Gini's books. I'm so glad that she's experiencing her dream and we are definitely reaping the benefits!

janhvi said...

Change in life and things happening unexpectedly is just the way of life and the sooner we accept it the better for it we shall be.I haven't had any life changing changes yet but you never know what the future holds!

Go Team Martini!

Janhvi
justjanhvi at gmail dot com

Natalia J said...

I think the biggest change that i didn't want but turned out for the best was go to the community college that I chose to begin with, I was thinking of going to one that was away from my family , but was really undecided, I was glad that I went to the college where I lived because it turned out to be much cheaper and I got to be with my family and some of my friends for high school.
neoterragoddess[AT]gmail[DOT]com

Jessica Williams said...

My biggest change was deciding to join the military. I had been out of work for a year and a half, was swimming in debt and wanted to back to school. This was a drastic change to make, for I am not known among my friends as a very good "follower", in fact any of them thought it was a practical joke. Also, doing basic training in my mid-20s did not sound like a lot of fun. But I succeeded and ended-up getting to see the world, travel around Europe, and actually live in Italy, Germany, Iraq and South Korea. The government got 4 years of my life to use in defense of the free world and I got to spend 4 years as a world traveler...an excellent choice.

NoraA said...

I've read all the books in the Alien series and loved them all. I'd love to win a copy of Alien Tango for my personal library.

NoraAdrienne(at)gmail(dot)com

Unknown said...

These books are my pick me up, i often think of the characters when crappy things are happening in my life i love the escapism, my buffer to 'real' life!

I don't need a new copy per say but it would be so awesome to have a signed copy!

Highly recommend this series!

yanaatkins@gmail.com

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

Thank you for the wonderful post Gini! :-) Well the most drastic change I had to adapt to was when due to my dad's work we lived 5 years abroad. It was hard at first I really missed my friends and my school, and even when we got home I was a little lost but thanks to that experience I learned to speak French as a second mother tongue, I gained more confidence and the ability to adapt to different environments and people. If I hadn't lived abroad my life would be different. I don't know if it would be better or worse, but definitely different.

Thank you for the chance and yay for another Kitty & co. adventure!! :-D

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

Aurian said...

Lol you sure put Kitty and the gang through the wringer! Can't really imagine Kitty being diplomatic to people she dislikes. Still looking forward to reading the book.
My biggest surprise, well I never though to fall in love and get to live together again, after 17 years of living alone. But it did happen, and I am happy with him, even though there are of course little things.
Good luck with the new release and with all the next books!

Sarah said...

It's fantastic that you never let Kitty and the gang get used to the way things are before you throw some changes at them, that's what keeps us all on our toes when we're reading the series :o) I can't wait to get started on Alien Diplomacy which Amazon FINALLY delivered today woohoo!

I think the biggest change that I didn't want was splitting up with my ex. I'm not sure if it has become the best thing that ever happened to me but it's sure worked out better than I thought it would - I'm now 86lbs lighter than I was when I was with him & feeling pretty damn good about myself lol. I'm a big believer in everything happens for a reason and even if you can't figure out why at the time it usually works out for the best eventually :o)

sarahsreviews at ymail dot com

Dina said...

I had some health issues last yr, returned to work and relized that work was also making me sick, so left that job. feeling better and not guilty for quitting, so really good for me.