Interview with Rainbow Albrecht

What's the story behind your latest book?
I started Episode 4.135557 a few years back, and it's been sitting on the shelf for a while. I've wanted to do story with space pirates for quite some time; there was an episode of Lost In Space that took the concept seriously, and it was so cheesy that I had to give the concept my own spin. The nucleus of the first part is the idea about the emergency reserves of biomethane used to power the rocket. The latest word on the Hubble Constant is that the universe is likely Euclidean, but the Riemannian theory had currency when I wrote it, so I'm sticking to it and that is the imprint the story has from the time I wrote it. The perspective that I'm writing from is 1947; this was the dawn of the Cold War, when the starry-eyed optimism of the postwar years gave way to the fact that "Uncle Joe" wasn't quite as friendly as the American public had been led to believe by the Roosevelt administration. Soon after, the USSR launched the first satellite, conducted their first nuke test (you're sure swell, Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg, and your pals too!), and it wasn't long before we were biting our nails and worrying about ICBMs; my story captures the shift in perspective at that juncture of history. The computer technology is fairly plausible as of 1947 (though of course we have better tech now), and the BSOD was one I had worked on (though I changed one of the parameters). The speech about piracy was (ahem) inspired by a real-world young inventor annoyed about people ripping off his software. (I can't blame them too much, since he was charging five hundred bucks in mid-'70s dollars for a BASIC compiler. I'm only charging the price of a cheeseburger for my story, which also took a lot of time and research.) That sets the stage for the piracy metaphor, and as for the young inventor, he's now as rich as God.
How do you approach cover design?
I do have some artistic ability, but it takes me a very long time to come up with anything good. And I haven't picked up the art pencils in ages. Anyway, I'd like to say I slave for hours over the design with Corel Draw, but that wouldn't be the truth. For Episode 4.135667, I got some public domain images from NASA and whipped it together in MS Paint. Stir, whip, stir, whip, whip, whip, stir.
What is your writing process?
It all begins with an idea. (That's pretty obvious, now isn't it?) Then I'll put in a few paragraphs, which will become a scene or two or more. When I run out of steam, I'll start with a different part. Eventually I'll come up with an outline, fill everything, and after endless rewrites, it all comes together.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The literal answer is the alarm clock. The figurative answer is survival.
Who are your favorite authors?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky rocks the house! Asimov, Pohl, Card, and Sterling are some of my faves in SF. Ayn Rand is good, even though I don't subscribe completely to her viewpoint. About half of Stephen King's work is excellent.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was three, and I'm afraid I don't remember the title, but it was a bit of an accomplishment to get through it all. It wasn't quite a 1000+ page blockbuster like Atlas Shrugged, I'm afraid to say, but you've got to start somewhere.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote some military fiction way back when. I might give it a rework at some point in the future, but I have no definite plans yet.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Much of the time, I'm at my day job helping senior management get richer. When I'm not writing, sleeping, or fixing servers, I might be working on the house (there's more entropy than I expected), dealing with the drama that other people throw onto me, or (preferably) petting a purring cat.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on more episodes of my Space Vixen Trek series. Given enough time and creative juices, there will be 39 stories in all. I have some other projects on the back burner as well that are unrelated to science fiction. Those will be novel length and take a good amount of time complete.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Back in the '60s, anybody could sell a story so long as it had a rocket ship on the cover. But by the '80s, there were a dozen publishing houses that controlled almost the entire market, all run by snooty editors in NYC. They were the gatekeepers of whether or not your book ever got to see the light of day. During the administration of Bush the Elder, antitrust provisions were scrapped for the media, so this became half a dozen corporate mega-conglomerates that decide what the public sees on TV, the news stand, on movie screens, and in bookstores. (And *don't* even get me started on what this has done to our political climate.) Then came the rise of the agents; once upon a time, they were helpful and - for a 10% cut - they'd shop out your novel for you and help you get sold, Bob's your uncle. These days, the mega-conglomerates will throw your manuscript in the trash can unless it comes from an agent, and the agents have become the gatekeepers, and are as fussy as the editors once were. When I found out that my chances of getting discovered from the slush pile of some snooty NYC agent are between slim to none (unless I wrote a story with sparkly vampires in it) I almost gave up hope.

Recently, I found out that electronic publishing is no longer the ghetto it once was. So, not only do I get to cut out one of the middlemen, I get to bypass the slush pile process and can get my story out there in a very short time. I don't have to wait by the mailbox for months, biting my nails and waiting for the rejection letter to come in, or abide by the "no simsubs" rule (Gods what a cute abbreviation!) unless I sign exclusive rights. Awesome!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I just got on. I'll have a better answer once I've sold my 100,000th copy.

As for now, though, I have access to the market. With print media, it would have taken months for an answer, and I might perhaps have a 2% chance of someone picking my manuscript out of a slush pile and actually reading it.
Published 2014-08-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Medieval Viden Quest Episode 0: The Search For Shlock
Series: Space Vixen Trek, Book 0. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 80,810. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
In this epic tale of thud and blunder, eight youths pretend to be in a generic medieval-style fantasy world, frequently interrupted by arguing about the role-playing game's prissy rules and driving each other up the wall. When one of them casts a spell for real, what happens next makes one of those corny 1980s books warning about the "dangers" of role-playing games seem like a walk in the park.
Righteous Seduction: Redemption for Nerds, Unappreciated Nice Guys, and Captives of the Friend Zone
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 212,210. Language: English. Published: January 19, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Dating, Nonfiction » Sex and Relationships  » Men's sexuality
The sexual revolution changed the face of society, including the game of courtship. The dating scene has become very difficult for most men today, especially for those unaware of the new rules. Relying on outmoded advice, pop cultural conventions, and other misinformation will leave you behind. Take the Red Pill, find out how the game really works, and move your social life into the fast lane.
Space Vixen Trek Episode 13: The Final Falafel
Series: Space Vixen Trek, Book 13. You set the price! Words: 40,460. Language: American English. Published: April 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Two besties, a nerd and a redneck jock, go on a trip. The nerd discovered his Jewish heritage and is taking it up to eleven, the jock recently became a devout Muslim. Their destination is Jerusalem. Religious bickering and romantic rivalry heat things up from the beginning. Their goofy classmate goes off the rails and declares himself to be the Second Coming. Then things get much weirder.
Dark Horse Rising: Charles Manson on the Campaign trail
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,940. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Alternative history, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
After Ronald Reagan disappears mysteriously, another California entertainer joins the 1980 primary: Charles Manson. In the summer of 1969, he was discovered by a music promoter and his rise to stardom began. When he turns his attention to politics, his spin doctors go into overdrive to clean up his image, while conventional politicians scramble to keep up.
Safe and Secure in Atropia
Price: Free! Words: 5,040. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Political
A couple recently moved into a master planned gated community, kept up to exacting standards by aerial surveillance, "helpful" bureaucrats, and of course the vigilant HOA. But having to worship a parking meter seems a little much. This farcical satire of suburbia illustrates that totalitarianism isn't always an iron-fisted dictatorship (yet), and it may be closer to home than one might think.
Date Expectations
You set the price! Words: 7,780. Language: American English. Published: August 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
By day, Jack works for a petty tyrant at a dead end job. His version of night life is beer and TV at his filthy apartment. His minimalist approach to hygiene leaves him with no social life, so he takes matters into his own hands (for once only figuratively). But he gets quite a bit more than he bargained for when he answers the ad for "Simulacrum Spanish Fly" in the back off a dirty magazine...
Space Vixen Trek Episode 4.135667: Walking the Planck, sub figura XVI
Series: Space Vixen Trek, Book 16. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,850. Language: American English. Published: August 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
A dorky genius and a knuckle-headed linebacker take a prototype spaceplane out for a three hour tour. The navigational computer crashes, they're hopelessly stranded, and the jock ate too many beans. But at least the nerd is far from his greedy creditors and especially his control freak wife. Then he discovers the horrifying reason why he hasn't made a plug nickel from his super duper invention...