Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! And Have a Great Day!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, and a totally blessed day whether you celebrate Christmas or not! 

On our tree, the dragon and angel ornaments have each other’s backs. This is as it should be.

Enjoy your holidays, everyone!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

KJ Kabza’s Under Stars

From time to time, I like to brag about some of the great work my former students are doing. (I may be taking too much credit in calling them “my students.” They participated in my writing workshops, but they came loaded for bear with talent.) One of them, Chris Howard, created the cover art for The Infinite Sea, and is working on art for Seas of Ernathe. Another, LJ Cohen, has come out with several books, both SF and fantasy, leaning toward young adult.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned KJ Kabza before, but the time is long past due. KJ is a short story writer more than a novelist, and as such he is one of the brightest and most original new talents I’ve seen in a long time. He’s been selling to magazines such as Fantasy and Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and Nature (yes, that Nature, the one with all the science). He’s come out with not one but two collections of his stories, available right now in ebook format.

If you like quirky, eclectic SF and fantasy in the short form, do give him a try! And look for more about his work at

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Colbert Interviews Smaug

No sooner do I get that last post up than I see this, from last night on the Colbert Report. Stephen interviews Smaug the dragon:

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Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat

That’s the assertion of Stephen Colbert in this classic bit from 2010. I’m going to miss the Colbert Report when it goes off the air next week.

The Boston Globe has compiled some of Colbert’s best moments.

And you don’t want to miss President Obama, taking Colbert’s seat and lampooning himself. Great stuff.  And good to see that he’s kept his sense of humor.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Well, It’s Happened Again

You’ve squandered another perfectly good hour listening to... no wait, that’s Car Talk.

This is Bookbub. That’s right, starting today, I’m practically giving away another book: Star Rigger’s Way, which only recently came back into e-print via my Starstream imprint. Ninety-nine big ones for this novel, for one week only. That’s 99 Lincoln pennies, neatly lined up with all the dates right-side up, please. That’s less than a dollar, and much less than half of a Starbuck’s coffee! What’s not to like about that?

Fun facts about Star Rigger’s Way:

1. A minor character in this book, Legroeder, became the main character of a later book, Eternity’s End.
2. Characters only mentioned in passing in this book—i.e., space-faring dragons—became the central element of two other novels, currently available in one omnibus, called Dragon Space.
3. The original Dell paperback cover for this far-future saga appeared to feature a guy in a NASA-issue spacesuit, taking a space walk from Skylab. (Remember Skylab?) It was a very pretty cover. But a tad anachronistic.

You can get this deal in any of the following book pubs:

Kindle | Nook | Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks | Google

That’s $.99, for a limited time only!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Funnier Star Wars Trailer

From the sublime (previous post) to the silly. Disney recently released the first trailer for the forthcoming Star Wars movie: Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.

Saturday Night Live released their own version of the trailer (thanks to the Boston Globe for the link). See Chewie in the cone of shame:

You can also see it here:


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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Wanderers (of a Strange and Distant Time)

Want to be mesmerized for three and a half minutes? Open this on a good monitor, click the “full screen” icon in the lower right of this video, turn up the sound, and sit back and journey the solar system. See if you recognize the voice.

Thanks to Astronomy Picture of the Day for showing it to me. For more information about the film and scenes depicted, visit the website of Erik Wernquist, who assembled the film. A remarkable piece of inspiration.

And yes, my title line is a near-quote from the Moody Blues. Extra point if you can name the album, without looking it up.

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Monday, December 08, 2014

The “Carver” Papers at BGSU’s “Browne Center for Popular Culture” Get an Infusion

Any scholars of writing out there? If you want to study my manuscripts down through the ages years, I know where you can go. I just shipped off nine (9) heavy boxes of manuscripts, plus some hardcover books, covers, BSG script and story bible, etc., to Bowling Green State University’s Browne Popular Culture Library. That’s Bowling Green, Ohio, by the way, not Kentucky. They will join an already fairly extensive holding of my stuff, which I first seeded in the 1990s. Since then, I’ve been letting boxes of various drafts, etc., pile up in my office (by procrastination, not design). Now, in a paroxysm of trying to make enough room to turn around in my office, I have laboriously wrapped them all in multiple layers of shipping tape and sent them to their new home.

Four of the nine boxes
You can view the inventory of the “Jeffrey A. Carver” papers online, but to actually see the materials, you must travel to the Jerome Library at BGSU. I was told by a librarian from another university that they have done an excellent job of cataloging the materials. Anyhow, that’s where to go if you want to look at the multiple rough drafts of Sunborn, before I got to the final version, for instance. Or the heavy line editing I did on an enlarged photocopy of the Dell version of Panglor to produce the revised version for the later Tor (and my ebook) editions. You can even look at some of the editorial correspondence related to some of the books.

They have a pretty good collection of stuff by various authors, by the way. Take a look at their overall listing of manuscripts.

Fun fact about BGSU: Although I have no affiliation with the university beyond the fact that they’ve provided a home for my literary papers, my father, Robert D. Carver, went there to finish his uncompleted undergraduate education and got his diploma from BGSU at the age of 70-something.

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

What I want on My Gravestone


Oh, how I want that to be true!

I’ve just finished spending a lot of time over several days fixing typos that a reader found in the three-book omnibus of The Chaos Chronicles. The irony is that I had just put up a new version of The Infinite Sea, with a new cover—and with several typos (or formattos) fixed that I had found myself while rereading the book. (I’ve been reading through all the Chaos series, to refresh my memory on the story details as I write the fifth book.) The very next morning, I received an email from Kindle support, listing four typos that “readers” had reported in the Chaos omnibus. I checked, and sure enough, they were real typos. They were also spread across all three books—so I had to correct, not only the omnibus volume, but all of the individual novels as well. (The two in The Infinite Sea were different from the ones that I had found in my own reading.)

I have no idea how many times these books have been gone through, by me and by others, trying to catch any lingering mistakes. It just goes to prove how blasted hard it is to catch everything.

I’ve written before about how time-consuming it can be to fix typos in ebooks, especially when you have several slightly different versions distributed across a bunch of different outlets, in two different ebook formats. I took the opportunity this time to fix something that was already on my to-do list, and that was to change all the quotation marks from straight quotes to curly quotes. When I first created these books, ebook reading devices could not be counted upon to display curly quotes correctly, and I avoided them like the plague. Now, though, it’s normal to have curly quotes in ebooks, and the lack of them in these books made them look a little less professional than I would have liked. So, that’s done now. (Changing them is quick—a simple Find and Replace in Word. Checking for all the insidious ways in which Word can screw it up is not nearly so quick.)

If you own any of the first three Chaos Chronicles ebooks, you should be able to go back to the store where you got them and download updated versions.

And if you’re one of the readers who reported the typos to Kindle support . . . (sigh) . . . thanks. I really do want the books to be as error-free as humanly possible.

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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Launch of Orion

Yesterday’s unmanned test flight of NASA’s Orion deep-space craft is a great boost for those of us who want to see us back in the game of venturing beyond the Earth. We’ve had sensational successes in robotic missions; but not since the 1970s, with the end of the Apollo Moon program, has a human being flown beyond low-Earth orbit. It’s high time we got back out there, and got on with the challenge of making us a spacefaring, multi-world species. Here’s what the launch looked like:

Also of note is that the launch rode the fires of a Delta IV Heavy rocket, which actually uses advanced, American-made rocket engines. (Many of our crucial space launches nowadays ride on Russian-made engines—including military launches, which is really weird and unsettling, when you think about it. Nothing against the very smart Russian rocket designers, but given the political direction of Russia these days, I’m not happy being so dependent on them for access to space.)

I only wish we were giving this program the proper funding, so that the development of deep-space capability weren’t being stretched out over decades. The next launch of Orion isn’t scheduled until 2017.

Anyway, Go NASA!

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Friday, December 05, 2014

In the Game at Google Play

Many of you have asked me, “Jeff, why can’t I buy your books in the Google Play Store?” Well, okay, no one has ever asked me that. But now you don’t have to. Because all my books, or almost all of them, are now up in the Google Play Store.

Why the delay? Well, to be honest, when the Google store (which everyone thought would be an Amazon-threatening game-changer) opened, it was kind of a train wreck. The listings were scrambled and inaccurate, the interface for an individual author wanting to list books was incomprehensible, and in general it was a place you really didn’t want to hang around in. But that was then, and this is now. They’ve cleaned things up pretty good, and the interface for both those putting their books up and those wanting to buy books is generally up to the standards of all the other stores.

Do people actually buy books there? Well, so far my own listings are off to a slow start. But when I had books with E-reads, and later Open Road, I did see some sales there but not a lot. It used to be I didn’t sell much of anything at Kobo, either, but their regular promotions have turned that around, and now Kobo is a significant player in the big picture (my personal big picture, that is). One can hope that something like that will happen with Google.

Anyhow, if you’re an Android user (as I am), you probably stop into the Play Store from time to time. Now, when you do that, you can buy books, too. Even mine. Here’s my author page there:

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Ursula LeGuin Gives Moving National Book Awards Speech

"Truth is a matter of the imagination." That's a quote from the Left Hand of Darkness, a classic of science fiction, that I've had up on my website for years.

In receiving a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the recent National Book Awards ceremony (Neil Gaiman presented the award to her), science fiction and literary titan Ursula K. LeGuin gave a moving and heartfelt speech that began by celebrating SF and fantasy and all of its writers, and went on to criticize the trend among publishers and mega-sellers of treating books as commodity, instead of art with an intrinsic value to society that goes beyond dollars. She lit pretty well into Amazon for their recent battle with Hachette, with authors caught in the middle. (For the record, I don’t altogether agree with her assessment of that situation, in which I think the publisher was at least as much at fault. But then, who am I to argue with Ursula LeGuin?)

I certainly appreciated, and was touched by, her saying that she shares this award with all writers of speculative fiction. Ms. LeGuin, by the way, is a founding member of Book View Café.

Link via Blastr


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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Infinite Sea Goes Live at BVC, and Gets a New Look, Besides

My third Chaos book, The Infinite Sea, has been out as an ebook for quite a while, but I’ve been waiting to put it up at Book View Café until I could get a new cover designed for it. I’ve been wanting a new cover for a long time, but I couldn’t find the right art. (On my budget, the art on my books usually comes from stock art web sites, sometimes with significant massaging, or combining of images, by whoever does the design work for me. On my more recent books, that design work has been expertly done by my fellow BVC writer, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. Sometimes I can use the original art from the print edition, with permission of the artist, and that’s cool, when it happens.) But in this case, I just couldn’t find what I wanted: an undersea tableau on an alien world.

Enter Chris Howard, writer and artist, whom I first met when he enrolled in the Ultimate Science Fiction Writing Workshop that I’ve run from time to time with my friend Craig Shaw Gardner. Chris is a gifted writer. It turns out he’s also a terrifically talented artist. Take a look at his website,, and tell me he’s not. I commissioned a piece of original art from Chris, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.  

The Infinite Sea goes on sale today at Book View Café in its new clothes:

Original artwork (c) by Chris Howard

For those who like history, here’s what the future looked like in print from Tor Books, and also its previous ebook cover, which I created myself, using Chaoscope, a chaos image generator. I liked the Tor cover a lot, and I liked the chaos image, though my hand-made cover had a, well, hand-made look to it. I’m really psyched to be moving on to the new image, from Chris Howard (type design by Maya). It will replace the versions currently in all the other stores, as well.

 And these last two covers will retire, with honor.

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Monday, December 01, 2014

Odyssey Online Writing Classes to Begin Soon

Odyssey Writing Workshops is one of the premier SF/F writing workshops in the world, a six-week-long intensive program that takes the best writing candidates and helps them be all that they can be. Or wait—maybe that’s the Army. Anyway, they’re really, really good, led by the energetic and incredibly knowledgeable Jeanne Cavelos. I’ve done a couple of guest spots over the years and have been mightily impressed, both by the program and by the writers.

Well, that workshop occurs in the late Spring. But they’ve begun an online version, with some classes starting in January and February. If you’re an aspiring SF/F writer, you really might want to take a look. Don’t wait! Applications for the first sessions close soon!

Here’s where to go: Tell them I sent you.


Kobo on Cyber Monday

I can’t believe I just said that. I hate all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday crap, and the whole BUY BUY BUY ramp-up. Nevertheless, Kobobooks has a one-day 35% off sale today on selected ebooks, and it's pretty good. My selection is Dragon Space, an omnibus edition of Dragons in the Stars and Dragon Rigger, a pair of books in my Star Rigger universe. You can find it here, and use the coupon code CYBERMONDAY35 to get your discount. Today only!

To see the whole list of books in the sale, go to this page. You have to keep hitting Show More Results at the bottom to see all the books. My favorite book cover in the sale: Pet Noir, by Pati Nagle.

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