Thursday, December 20, 2012

For Some Very Good Free Ebooks...

Show us your Nook! Or your pretend-Nook, if you don't have a Nook. From now through Dec. 31, a bunch of authors, including the one attached to my fingers, are giving away a free ebook from Book View Café. All you have to do is visit Katharine Eliska Kimbriel's Live Journal page at She has the instructions there. The idea is you post a picture of yourself with your Nook to Cat's Livejournal or Facebook page, and in return you get some coupon codes for free books. Just go to Book View Café to collect. Nothing to register—just use the coupon codes to download epub editions of the books.

I'm giving away Eternity's End, a Nebula finalist. You'll also get Cat's Fires of Nuala, Vonda N. McIntyre's Starfarers, and Jennifer Stevenson's King of Hearts, all in DRM-free epub editions. (Which means, among other things, that if you have a Kindle pretending to be a Nook, you can easily convert the epub to mobi-Kindle format with Calibre, a free program.) See Cat's page for a list of other participating authors.

Here’s where you can go to collect your epub copy of Eternity's End once you have your coupon code:

Hurry! Before we run out of ebooks!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

A Book Trailer I Can Relate To

One of the hardest things for many writers—beyond, you know, actually writing—is trying to describe your book in just a few words. Here's a funny book trailer that tackles the question head on.The author in this trailer reminds me of my sister-in-law, Suzanne.

Discovered courtesy of The Passive Voice.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy 12-12-12, Everyone!

This is the best day since 11-11-11.  And as my friend Crystal pointed out, the fast-approaching 12-21-12 will be almost as good. Alas, we may never see a 13-13-13, and not because of the end of the world.

Say Twelve-Twelve-Twelve fast a few times, and then check out my earlier 12-12-12 post (right below, if you're reading this directly in the blog) about works in progress and the great Blog Hop.

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The Next Big Thing — Work in Progress

Today I'm diving into an author meme that's circulating around the net this month. It's called a Blog Hop. The idea is to post some tantalizing information about your work in progress, to get folks (that's you) psyched about what's coming down the pike—and then to link to some of your writer friends and colleagues, and encourage the same folk (you, again) to go check out what they're doing.

Here goes. First question, please:

1) What is the title of your next work?

The Reefs of Time.

It's Volume Five of The Chaos Chronicles. Or, to put it another way, it's the long-awaited sequel to Sunborn. It's also still very much a work in progress, and I don't have a publication date for you, unfortunately. Some of you have been waiting a long time for this book, and I very much appreciate your patience.

2) Where did the idea come from?

It continues a story inspired by chaos theory, which began years ago with Neptune Crossing, the opening volume of The Chaos Chronicles. The series chronicles the adventures of one John Bandicut from Earth, a survey pilot out on Triton (moon of Neptune), whose journey starts with a search for relics of life from outside the solar system. He finds it, in the form of a quarx—a noncorporeal alien who takes up residence in his head—and the translator, a powerful machine or being of equally alien origin. A lot happens after that—four books' worth, in fact. Worlds in danger, starting with Earth. Reluctant heroes. New friendships and loves where least expected.

In The Reefs of Time, we are hundreds of years further into the future, out at the edge of our galaxy. There's a calamity in the making, of truly galactic proportions. Li-Jared's homeworld is involved. The starstream is involved (see From a Changeling Star and Down the Stream of Stars). The Mindaru are involved (see Sunborn). The inspiration for this volume came not just from chaos theory, but time theory, as well. The human element was inspired by... well, I'm not really sure, to be honest. My own feelings of awe in the face of a seemingly chaotic universe, perhaps.

Each of the books is a story complete, while building a much larger story arc.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Sounds sort of like science fiction, doesn't it?

4) What actors should play your characters in the movie?

I'd never thought about that until now. Well, okay, this sounds nutty, but actually Tom Cruise, toned down, might not be bad as John Bandicut. Chris Pike could be good, too. Or Jeremy Renner, or Mark Ruffalo. He has to be smart and capable, but also a little crazy. He's got actual, alien voices in his head, and he's loyal to those he loves, and when pushed, he's willing to take some enormous risks.

Most of the characters in this book are aliens, and that's a tough casting challenge. Willem Dafoe was great as Tar Tarkas, and he might be a pretty good Ik (an alien). Lynn Collins (Deja Thoris in John Carter) could be the beautiful, four-breasted humanoid, Antares. Or Lena Heady. For Julie Stone, human... not sure. Someone smart, competent, cute, reminiscent of Allison Mack (Chloe in Smallville); but I'm not sure she's quite right. Someone similar, though. Summer Glau? Too exotic. Piper Perabo? Too adorable. I think this part is still open. Li-Jared and the robots, I really have no idea.

5) Give us a one-sentence synopsis. (Go ahead, try!)

When a time distortion opens a channel from the center of the galaxy in the deep past, to the outer galaxy of now, it also opens a path for a malevolent group of cyber-entities to come forward in time, threatening thousands of civilized worlds. It falls to John Bandicut and his alien companions to find a way to close the timestream. And if Bandicut survives, he might just learn that Julie Stone has made it to Shipworld, out at the edge of the galaxy, and that she has played a part in the mission.

Okay, I made it in three sentences. But it's a whole lot more complicated than that, really.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It is slated to be published by Tor Books, who have been waiting patiently for the long-overdue manuscript.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?

Ouch. Five years or more in, I'm nearly finished with the massive first draft. I expect the rewrite to go a lot faster, though it will be a huge job, involving a lot of weaving and a lot of cutting and tightening. 

8) What other books would you compare this story to?

That's a hard one. It has some of the epic proportions of Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, and A Deepness in the Sky. Maybe some kinship with Gregory Benford's galactic core books. Or Jack McDevitt's The Engines of God. Or Samuel R. Delany's Nova. Or Niven's Ringworld. A bit of Heinlein, a bit of Clarke. It's character driven, but probably comes in somewhere between hard science fiction and galactic space opera.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

James Gleick's book, Chaos. An article in The Planetary Report about chaos in the solar system. An image of a man, a pilot, driven a little mad by the loss of his cybernetic implants, as the first human to encounter an alien.

10) What else might pique the reader’s interest?

It's a great, sprawling adventure with characters I find very interesting (humans, aliens, robots), a complex plot spanning half the galaxy, and—oh yes—time travel! I can't wait to read it. And I really can't wait to finish writing it. The Reefs of Time. When it's done, the readers of this blog will be the first to know.

All six books that connect to it, by the way, are readily available as ebooks. (That includes four books of The Chaos Chronicles, plus the two Starstream novels mentioned above. Paper books are also available, though you might have to go to the used market for some of them.)

If there are no more questions, why don't you check out what some of my fellow authors have to say about their works in progress? (Some might be posting over the course of the day, so if you don't see anything, check back.)

Richard Bowker
Ann Tonsor Zeddies
Lois Gresh

The next bunch of writers are all colleagues of mine at Book View Café:

Patricia Burroughs
Katharine Eliska "Cat" Kimbriel
Pati Nagle
Steven Harper Piziks
Deborah J. Ross

Others will be posting on December 19. I'll try to get some more links for you then.

If you're a writer and have posted your own "Next Big Thing" (or want to do so right now), please go ahead and post your link under Comments!

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Monday, December 03, 2012

Holiday Specials!

Before this gets away from me and I forget to promote it (What good are specials if you keep them to yourself?), I have a few book specials lined up for the holiday season.

Ebooks first. At Book View Café, you can pick up my two short story collections, Going Alien and Reality and Other Fictions, for just $1.99 each through December 31. (That's a dollar off the regular low, low price of $2.99!) Epub or mobi (Kindle) format, your choice, DRM-free.

In the Kindle store, the price of my spaceship-racing thriller, Clypsis (Book One of the Roger Zelazny's Alien Speedway trilogy) has been marked down by the publisher, at my request, from $9.99 to $5.97. That's a 40% markdown! Gentlebeings, start your engines! A rousing collaboration with the late, great Roger Zelazny, for young adults of all ages! (Plus, when you compare the ebook price to $89.56 for a new, vintage paperback, it's a no-brainer. Never mind the $.01 used paperbacks. I'm sure they're not as good.)

Finally, for lovers of tree-books, I remind you all that personalized, autographed paper books make fine gifts for the discerning gift giver.  Why not visit my virtual bookstore at Take 10% off the book total (not off the postage, please) for any order you send me in the month of December. This sale is not listed on the website. Just take the discount and mention you read it on my blog or Facebook page.

The book is dead? I don't think so. Long live the book!


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