A Science Fiction Time Travel Series

IMG_9503Discounting or offering your book free…does it work as a marketing strategy?

When casting about as to what book to suggest for this week’s blog, I wandered over to my Kindle app to see what I had stashed in my library there.

Lately, a number of websites have emerged that offer free or discounted books. Every day I get an e-mail from Bookbub, Sweetfreebooks, Ebook Daily Kindle Freebi , and now Bookdaily. I also receive a number of Indie books asking for reviews. I specify the genre science fiction and fastasy, and that’s what appears in the e-mails. If I find a book that looks intriguing, I put it on my Kindle “shelf” for future reading.

When I went to look for this week’s suggestion, I was surprised at the number of books that I had accumulated. I picked out a few that had interesting covers and blurbs and started to read. After several chapters, a few didn’t engage me; so I moved on.

I think a lot of readers are finding new authors this way. It’s also a great way to introduce an interesting series at a reasonable price. If you have an author you love and know you’ll like the story, then go ahead and go retail. Sometimes, you want that book now, and you have the funds to indulge yourself. After all, Starbucks coffee is over $4.00 for a fifteen minute drink, and no one thinks twice about that, it seems…at least in my family. Or if you like that paperback, hardback feel, then click on that cart icon and bring happiness into your life. But for those new books that you’re not sure of, this is a way to winnow out those that match your taste from those that don’t when you’re not sure. And discover something new.

Time Travels of the 1800 ClubSo, when my brother requested a recommendation on a time travel book, I sorted through the time travel books at Amazon and latched on to a few. Slipped them on my “kindle shelf.” I kept an eye out for books in my e-mails from the various specials that involved time travel. Those I set on my “reading shelf.” A few days ago, I selected a few, opened up several, and sampled them. After plowing through a number of eBooks, I found a series that I’m now enjoying and want to recommend.

Time Travel Adventures of the 1800 Club by Robert P. McAuley has a very H. G. Wells flavor to it. It’s 2011, but a group of people dress up periodically to attend a dinner party to pretend for a night that it’s 1800. The rules state that you must stay in character the whole evening. Those that don’t are soon asked to leave.

Bill Scott enjoys his evenings at the club and is a stickler for keeping the verisimilitude of the 1800s. Then, the organizer of the club asks Bill to stay after and over drinks reveals that the club is a recruiting mechanism for time travelers. Their purpose is to travel back in time and repair events that are threatening to stray off the true historical path.

Bill’s first adventure is to disguise himself as Abraham Lincoln and give the Gettysburg Address. Seems Lincoln’s depression and drinking made him unreliable, and history needed the impact of the speech. So, off he goes.Time Travels of the 1800 bk 2

I use a similar idea in my first book, Caught in Time when I send Rowyna back to the Medieval Ages in order to make sure that certain events take place and keep the future intact.

Time Travel Adventures continues episodically with various famous people and events helped by the 1800 club. Not only 2011 becomes involved, but future travelers from 2066 visit to assign certain tasks to the members. Soon enough, Bill Scott takes over the leadership role of the club and is surprised to meet a future relative who confides that his family runs the club from then on out.

Time Travel Adventures of the 1800 club bk3The first book is free at Amazon. Much like Hugh Howey, the stories range around 157 pages and the subsequent episodes cost $1.99. There are quite a slew of them if you become an avid fan, and the reviews are good.

McAuley does a nice job with the story, providing an entertaining series based around time travel. He writes in a clear clean style. If you want gut wrenching emotion, so far I haven’t experienced it, but the situations and events are interesting and for time travel enthusiasts, it’s worth a peek.

 

 

 

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Filed under Alternate Universe Stories, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, Indie Publishing, science fiction, science fiction series, The future of publishing, time travel, Uncategorized

A Foolish Fantasy

IMG_0174I am a summer girl, consequently  I morn the passing of Summer. Still, Fall has gorgeous weather in the northwest, and the tempo is picking up as I get ready to publish my next book, Someone’s Clone. It is now in the hands of several Beta readers worldwide. In the next couple of weeks, it will be back in my hands, full of excellent suggestions and corrections. I’m on the final lap toward publication of my most favorite book yet. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I am trying to put together a marketing plan for the Fall season and sort through what may be interesting reading to suggest for my blogs.

This week I read Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb. This book forms a good contrast to last week’s Cibola Burn. Cibola Burn is action packed and straight forward science fiction. In it you have aliens, planets, ships and all the trappings of a classic science fiction novel. The reader becomes involved in the characters, but Fool’s Assassin is heavily character driven with intervals of action and a barely developing plot.Assassin's Fool

It has been twenty years since Robin Hobb’s Farseer series first came out. Not expecting much when I first read it, I loved it; especially the first few. Unfortunately, in this book, Hobb spends a lot of the early chapters trying to give you backstory with a lot of telling. Each chapter starts with a letter and the action is really slow at the beginning. But because I liked the character of FitzChivarlry so much, I stuck with it, and it paid off.

FitzChivalry, the bastard son of the king’s brother, has given up his role as king’s assassin and now lives quietly with his true love Molly and her brood as Tom Badgerlock, country squire. That is until one night pale skinned strangers show up and after they are gone, a messenger has disappeared, most likely murdered.

Tom/FitzChivalry reminisces about his closest friend, the Fool, and wonders why he hasn’t contacted him throughout the years. He worries that the messenger may have carried important news from his old friend. He has reason to worry.

Meanwhile, even though Molly is now advanced in years, she claims she is unexpectedly pregnant. After two years of claiming she is with child, many around her feel she has lost her mind until she finally gives birth to an incredibly small infant that matures very slowly and is mute and considered brain damaged by most.

Hobb portrays the pain of a loving father who faces criticisms from the rest of the world against his precious, supposedly backward, daughter. He tries to do his best for her while his dreams for her golden life wither with her silence and her fragile size. Despite what others say, he still loves her deeply.

And after Molly’s death, he stumbles around mired in grief, abandoning the child in his despair until his oldest daughter tries to wrench her away and wakes him from his stupor. His old mentor asks him to take in and protect a young, annoying, high born girl and another royal bastard, much like Tom was. Both of their lives have been threatened by family, and they are in danger. New servants, tutors and renovations stir life into the household and bring conflict and change.

Tom’s assassin’s training comes in handy again as the Fool and his people threaten his household, and those he holds dear.

You must read the first books in the Farseer Series to fully appreciate this one. The ending does make it clear that this is just the beginning of a new trilogy…but it will leave up you gasping and eager to read the next adventure.Assassin's ApprenticeRoyal Assassin

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Hot Science Fiction New Release

IMG_0165With the flood of science fiction stories coming out, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ferret out the good stuff buried in the new slush pile of easy publication.

 I’m getting increasing cranky with authors writing stuff that I get fifty pages in, and I don’t care what happens. This has happened with both established and Indie authors recently…but more often with the self-publishers.

 As an author myself, this scares me. I want my readers hanging on every word I write. So, what is the magic alchemy that keeps a reader turning pages long after they have vowed to quit in order to sleep, to eat, to breathe? To so enthrall a reader that he or she rubs reddened eyes and mumbles, “Okay, just one more chapter, then I’ll stop.”

 Here’s an interesting blog by a reviewer who attempts to answer that question, and provide insight to any authors out there.

 http://creativityhacker.ca/2014/08/26/the-5-most-common-writing-mistakes-that-break-reader-immersion/

 Cibola BurnAs both a series writer and reader, I recently picked up Cibola Burn by S.A. Corey (who we know is Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). I’ll have to admit the title rather put me off, but the cover was awesome. Besides, I liked the first three books in this intriguing space opera series.

 I also had the usual issue of a newly released, traditionally published book in that it was available only in hardback at a high price of $27.00 or for an ebook at $12.99. Thank you not Hatchette Group.

 Rant. Rant. Rant. Ahhh. Library solution.

 For me, Cibola Burn is the best so far in the series. It’s sort of a Firefly meets Apocalypse Now.

 The mysterious gate (Abaddon’s Gate) has opened up a vast new universe of empty worlds to human exploration. Made homeless by the destruction of Ceres, a shipload of desperate humans rush through the gate, searching for a place to settle. Life is like the wild west frontier, but they manage to eke out an existence on one of the brave new worlds. Then, word comes that the big corporations and governments are sending their ships with papers that contain deeds and property claims all tied up in pretty ribbons and fancy legalese to kick the current settlers off their land. Many on the ship are scientists coming to study the new world and send back reports.

 The “squatters” revolt to protect their homes. A bomb meant to explode the landing pad accidentally kills a shuttleful of passengers, including the “new mayor.”Abaddon's Gate

 A fast trigger finger on the surviving security chief from the new ship retaliates and a feud between the original settlers and the new arrivals bursts forth. Familiar characters from the earlier series, James Holden and crew, are sent in by Earth diplomats to mediate the dispute.

 Holden lands just in time to witness the security chief shoot the leader of the more violent settlers in the eye, igniting a blood feud.

 As the conflict escalates, Holden is one of the few to look around the planet, notice alien artifacts of a long dead civilization and wonder what killed the former residents all off. A highly intelligent, amorous, female scientist provides him with disconcerting observations and ardent help, much to his discomfort.

 The answer to his question is important. Amidst violence erupting from both sides, the humans suddenly realize that more is at stake then their own petty squabbles as the long buried and hibernating alien artifacts stir and awaken.

 The taste of a Firefly episode lingers at the back of my mouth, which isn’t unpleasant. “No good deed goes unpunished” also reverberates throughout the story as Holden puts human life ahead of regulation and power grabs, while trying to do the “right thing.”

 I found the solution for the panting, young scientist insulting, but it didn’t destroy the story for me. Although this book could stand alone, it is best enjoyed after reading the three previous novels. Still, I must say that I enjoyed the story and recommend it.

Assassin's Fool In this age of hard to find good science fiction, I keep stumbling over fantasy novels. And since Robin Hobb has come out with a new novel, Assassin’s Fool, that continues the Story of FitzChivalry and the Fool, I just had to read it.

 I’ll give you my reactions on it next week.

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Filed under alien life forms, Alien worlds, Aliens in Science Fiction, Best selling science fiction, ebook marketing, fantasy series, Indie Publishing, science fiction series, Science fiction world building, Self-publishing, Space opera, space travel

Results of Summer Science Fiction Marketing Program

photoThe results are in from my summer marketing experience.

A few comments first. I couldn’t do everything, so I picked what interested me. You will put energy into those things you want to do and slide if you’re uncomfortable with doing it. So pick what you think you’ll like to do. And do that.

I am not a famous author (yet) and I have a small platform. I am not John Scalzi who shows up for a book signing and gets a large crowd at Powell’s. I haven’t won a Hugo (yet). I Twitter some, but usually stare at the feed and think, “What the heck can I say interesting?” I enjoy writing and editing, so most days I’m doing that rather than having coffee with friends or grabbing a movie. Consequently, my local network is small because friendships take work and I keep busy with family and writing.

I do like to blog about books I like, and I like people. I don’t have a big marketing budget, and so far have used book sales to cover all expenses such as editing, covers and marketing.

Having said this, I decided to try two approaches. One was to use Amazon’s KDP Select programs. The other was to get out and do person to person.

Which would be most cost effective?

Hands down, Amazon won. In fact, it blew me away. At zero expense, I enlisted in the KDP Select and put the first book in my series Caught in Time on sale for free for five days after Mother’s Day. I submitted to Bookbub for a listing during my free days. It would cost $100 to list on their site and I’m sure they get affiliate fees in addition…but I wasn’t big enough for them and got turned down. I submitted to Sweetfree Books and received a very enthusiastic response and got a listing there for free for my free day.

I also Tweeted and blogged about my upcoming deal.

Cibola BurnNow…I am a follower of Dean Wesley Smith and several others and my cunning plan all along was to write a series as a way of selling my books. I’m also a fan of Lois Bujold, Ann McCaffrey, Lee Modesitte, Sharon Lee, and others who have big series. In fact the two books I’m reviewing next are part of an ongoing series I have been reading: Cibola Burn and Fool’s Assassin.

The first day Caught in Time went free, over 800 books got downloaded worldwide. The second day, 3000! I had expected some lag time with the others in the series, but immediately readers started to buy them, and in fact, A Dangerous Talent for Time did amazingly well.

At the end of May, there were 4500 free worldwide downloads of Caught in Time and over 60 books sold at retail in two weeks by the time the program ended.

Excited, I plunged into the Publisher’s Book Fair to sell person to person. For this, I shared expenses with Diana Peach (Myths of the Mirror, Sunwielder) I bought $100 worth of paperbacks of my titles to fill out my inventory. I bought two crystal necklaces ($50) as incentives for a three book deal, and I paid $25 toward renting the space. I bought flowers ($10) to decorate the table and chocolates ($5). Diana paid parking, drove, paid half the rent and brought the tent she had borrowed from a friend. She also purchased inventory, brought chairs and decorations. We spent from 10 a.m. To 5 p.m. standing and talking to people…which was a lot of fun.

I sold six books at discounted prices.

Okay. We had fierce competition because over fifty tents all around us were also selling books.

Did I mention that I had fun? But my feet hurt.

So, next was the Amazon Countdown Deal experiment for July. This ran seven days and I was doubtful about how successful it would be, but it didn’t cost a dime and required very little time and energy.

Blam! Right away, readers all over the world started buying. They started with Caught in Time and then nibbled on the others. In fact I sold almost as many A Dangerous Talent for Time as I did the Caught in Time deal. July was my best month ever.

But I had a book signing in August to round out the summer. And another Countdown Deal with Cosmic Entanglement because now I was a believer. For the book signing, I advertised on my blog, Twitter and Goodreads. Once again, I bought flowers and added to inventory since I had sold out Caught in a Time at the Publisher’s Fair, and everyone buys the first in a series. But Jan’s Paperback Books provided cookies, table, tablecloth, chairs. I just had to show up with books and a smile. Diana bought $150 in radio advertising to see how that would help sales. We both put out the word to our multitude of friends.

Debbie and Jody of Jan’s Paperbacks were terrific hostesses. They agreed to consign two of our first two books. So locals, you can find my paperbacks there in Aloha, OR.

Neither I nor Diana sold a book.

Those who showed up knew me and had already bought. At a following book club, three people whispered they were going to come to my signing, and I had to tell them that it had already happened.

But did I mention that I had fun?

And sore feet.

But…I had one more promotion for August, and the Cosmic Entanglement Countdown Deal rolled around with me rubbing my hands in excited anticipation. This a great read and because I do time travel, it is also a good starting book. I expected wondrous things.

The universe has a way of surprising you.

I don’t know whether it was the timing (school starting), the title, the cover, reading fatigue or happenstance. I didn’t sell as many as before. But an interesting thing did happen. I sold four KLL/KOL books. These are books sold through the Kindle Lending Library and the new Kindle subscription program…and I sold a few on Smashwords…those not on the KDP Select Program. I hadn’t sold there in over a year.

When payday came, I had eight lines of income coming in. The USA, UK, Fr, AU, CA, EU, KLL/KOL and Smashwords. Then Amazon POD or the CreateSpace Paperbacks kicked in some too.

So, what have we learned boys and girls?

Amazon rocks. Don’t hesitate to experiment around. Online was better in this case and more cost effective than person to person. Series are good. Be in it for the long term.

And keep trying different stuff.

Anyone have comments on what did and didn’t work for you? I’d love to hear it. Maybe a guest post?

Here’s an interesting article on this subject.

http://tarasparlingwrites.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/what-makes-people-buy-self-published-books/

Because I blathered on, I’ll review Cibola Burn next week…stay tuned.

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The Anti Hero in Fantasy

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What is happening to the hero who is firm of jaw and pure of heart? Where is the man who faces dangerous odds in order to rescue fair damsel?

Lately he’s the clever, disfigured dwarf (Game of Thrones), the contorted torturer (The Blade Itself), or a multi identitied spaceship (Ancillary Justice).

The Blade Itself2

And the fair damsel is an ass kicking chick with knives to spare and attitude.

The two books I read this week have both.

Prince of FoolsThe first is Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Fools.

Jalan Kendreth of the Red March, tenth in line to the throne, likes boozing, gambling and womanizing. He is a man of no ambition and an admitted coward and liar.

He is a royal prince, who adheres enthusiastically to the rights of royally. As he leaps out of a noble lady’s window pursued by an antagonistic older brother, he justifies his roguish actions with a wide grin.

He admits to cowardice with nary a qualm, never revealing he was running away when he ran into the surprise attack and won the war. He’s acclaimed a hero, and doesn’t hesitate to trade on the glory it brings, always forgetting to mention his true intention at the time.

He lines out his philosophy by saying, “Enjoy the world while you can, I say. A shallow enough philosophy by which to live, but shallow is what I got. Besides, deep is apt to drown you.”

Through an act of sorcery, Jalan becomes entangled with a fierce Viking slave, Snorri ver Snagason who is bent on revenge for atrocities to his family. Snorri is a blonde mountain of a man with a abundant courage and a good heart that turns dark when violence taps into his “blood rage.”

Throughout the whole book Jalan is pulled along in Snorri’s wake as he struggles to free himself from their sorcerous bond. Snorri misinterprets a lot of Jalan’s actions as heroic, while Jalan recognizes the more realistic truth of his intentions. Often he tries to ply the influence of royalty only to find the farther away from court and his own country he goes, the less influence it wields. Deference turns to yawns as Jalen scrambles to find new levers with which to survive.

Prince of thornsEvidently there is a prior series that begins with Prince of Thorns set in this same universe and wildly acclaimed. The story is dark and edgy. While there are dark and edgy moments in Prince of Fools, the humor between the two men as they struggle with each other, gradually becoming fast friends, dominates the book. I loved the banter and developing friendship as the two search for release from each other. But when Jalan is told that all he has to do to be released from Snorri is to order him killed, he responds by inquiring if perchance there might be another way.

Mark Lawrence writes a thoroughly engaging story with their “buddy adventure” as the main thread. If you like your hero a bit tarnished, and your world rich with description and magic, then I recommend Prince of Fools.

 

Hunting PartyI’d never read anything by Elizabeth Moon, but I heard her name often enough. So I thought to try one of her novels. Several people in my book group offered enthusiastic suggestions, so I settled on the first in a series called Hunting Party.

Descended from a famous family of Admirals, Heris Serrano resigns her commission from the military due to mysterious circumstances that gradually are revealed. Although beneath her dignity, she hires on to captain a space yacht owned by Lady Cecelia de Marktos, a wealthy eccentric.

Lady Cecelia’s passion is riding horses, and she is bound to a hunt at Lord Thornbuckle’s, known to his peers as Bunny. Owning an entire planet, Lord Thornbuckle has recreated his version of an old English hunt. Unfortunately, before Cecelia can get away, her sister ropes her into taking along her spoiled son, Ronnie, and his three friends, George, Bubbles and Raffele. Bubbles is Lord Thornbuckle’s daughter.

Seems Ronnie, the profligate son, bedded the prince’s current mistress and then bragged about it, causing full royal fury complete with death threats. So Ronnie is put on probation and sent away with his maiden aunt and a few friends.

All the commotion has set back the schedule, and Heris is pressured to get underway without a full inspection. Only gradually, after launch, does she come to realize how lax and sloppy the former captain ran the ship. A serious problem develops into the journey that requires they put in the nearest shipyard for repairs. Heris tries her best to calm down her new employer who will miss opening day by suggesting a bet. If the repairs extend past a certain deadline, she will learn how to ride, and if they make their timetable, Lady Cecelia will learn about her ship.

Contraband is discovered as parts are replaced, causing legal delays, so Heris agrees to train on Lady Cecelia’s mechanical mount on board the ship and ride at the hunt. Cecelia relents and agrees to learn more about her yacht. The two develop a friendship.

They arrive, a bit late, but intact. Ronnie is bored by the hunt and suggests a midnight escape in Lord Thornbuckle’s flitter with a picnic at dawn. Bubbles remembers a childhood island where the family would go camping. They head there, but as they approach the island, they are waved off. When they circle back, they are shot down.

It turns out the island is being used illegally for a different kind of hunt and Heris’s former crew is involved. Now Ronnie and his friends are also in danger for their lives.

Moon turns in her version of The Hunger Games that involve an old nemesis of Heris’s and a mysterious Mr. Smith that wears boots that leave a royal print.

Plot drives this story and provides a pleasant tale with danger, friendship, intrigue and bravery. Not a wilting violet among these strong females with Heris as the kickass captain who can take charge when things become dangerous, and who has extra guns and attitude to spare.

 

 

 

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Science Fiction Hugo Awards

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Excitement! The Hugo winners were announced this past Sunday. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie took the prize for best science fiction novel.

Made me happy. (See my March 12 blog that comments on the novel)

Ancillary Justice

Also, winner for best novelette is Mary Robinette Kowal for her “the Lady Astronaut of Mars.” Mary is formerly from the Northwest and keeps in touch. Recently, she was at Powell’s bookstore for a signing…and puppet show. Mary is an accomplished puppeteer also. She was reading from her recent novel, Without a Summer. Mary writes in the Jane Austen style and milieu, but adds steampunk magic to her stories. In fact there are rumors that she’s Jane Austen who has time traveled to the present day. Compare the photos of Jane and Mary at the end of the blog. Eerily alike?

But it’s only a rumor. *wink* I promised not to tell.

Charming and energetic, she was delightful company during a small dinner afterwards. She told us of plans that scheduled her to drive to a signing in Gresham the next day, and later that night she was meeting friends in Portland. It seems TOR authors do quite a bit of traveling. She is also the Vice President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Hmmm…

Shades of summerAs much as I like Mary and wish her well, I notice a strong presence of TOR, Orbit and Baen writers in the winning list once again. Is the Hugo a closed shop to big publishers only?

What about Hugh Howey, Ryk Brown or Christpher Nuttall? All with popular novels that are selling extremely well.

Is that a sniff of politics I smell? Collusion?

Either way, the Hugo awards have offered me a wonderful list of science fiction stories that I have read and enjoyed over the years…especially back in the day before the internet when word of mouth was the only other way you discovered good sci fi.

If anyone was talking.

Before this blog and others like it.

So here is the list for 2014. Check it out and enjoy all the great science fiction.Ancillary Sword

The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, Loncon 3, has announced the 2014 Hugo Award winners. 3587 valid ballots were received and counted in the final ballot.

BEST NOVEL

Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)

BEST NOVELLA

“Equoid” by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)

BEST NOVELETTE

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com /Tor.com, 09-2013

BEST SHORT STORY

“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)

BEST RELATED WORK

“We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY

“Time” by Randall Munroe (xkcd)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

Gravity written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films;Warner Bros.)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

Game of Thrones “The Rains of Castamere” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM

Ellen Datlow

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM

Ginjer Buchanan

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

Julie Dillon

BEST SEMIPROZINE

Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki

BEST FANZINE

A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher

BEST FANCAST

SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester

BEST FAN WRITER

Kameron Hurley

BEST FAN ARTIST

Sarah Webb

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER

Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2012 or 2013, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award)

Sofia Samatar

The 2014 Hugo Award winners were announced on Sunday evening, August 17, at the ExCel Converntion Centre in London, England. The ceremony was hosted by Justina Robson, Geoff Ryman. Text-based CoverItLive coverage of the ceremony was provided through the Hugo Awards web site. Video streaming coverage was provided by Ustream.

The 2014 Hugo trophy base was designed by Joy Alyssa Day

See the Final Ballot Details for a full breakdown of votes, subsequent placements, and nomination counts.

So, time traveler or not?  you decide.Jane-Austen-waxwork

Jane Austen/Mary Robinette Kowal

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Filed under Alien and human bonding, Aliens in Science Fiction, artificial intelligence, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, Hugo winners, magic, military science fiction, modifying humans, Robots in science fiction, science fiction, Science Fiction Novelettes, Science fiction thriller, space ship, Steampunk, Transhumanism

Science Fiction Author Signing

IMG_0174One more program left in my marketing endeavors and the results will be in for this summer’s attempts. I’ll let you know which was the most successful: online or face to face.

On August 16, Cosmic Entanglement will be eligible for the Amazon Countdown Deal. It will be $.99 for 16/17, $1.99 for 18/19, $2.99 for 20/21, $3.99 for 22/23, then back to regular price. It’s a seven day special. Cosmic has never been discounted before, so this should be interesting.

It’s the third in the series, but, hey, we’re dealing with time travel here, and it makes a nice introduction to several other books. You get to see Rowyna as a young clone, you meet Braden and Richard as kids and discover how each finds his own path: Richard into the Timelab and Braden out into space on the Seeker. Also, you experience a pivotal scene that provided the inspiration for my current novel, Someone’s Clone due out in late Fall. Someone’s Clone begins with a murder, goes to a time jump into the future, and then involves a developing war between the Alysians and invading Earthlings.

Yes, invading Earthlings. A bit of a twist.

I want to thank Jan’s Paperback in Aloha, Oregon for supporting Diana and my authors’ signing. It was a well organized event and I very much enjoyed myself. Thanks Debbie and Jody.photo

Diana Peach (Myths of the Mirror, Sunwielder) has been a great companion author throughout all our book festivals and signing endeavors. In spite of the wind blowing over my roses and splashing water all over her at the festival, and then me juggling a water glass that landed in her lap at the signing, she weathered all liquid events with aplomb and a gracious smile. A true lady.

Recently I’ve noticed that many of the best selling science fiction novels are priced on Kindle at $9.99 and up. Run a finger over some of the well known authors and see what the bigger publishers are asking for a downloaded book. Right now Amazon is engaged in several battles to get prices down while being painted as the bad guy in the negotiations. When the cost of ebook production is so low, those margins are outrageous. The customer is paying for infrastructure and salaries of the big publishers. Also, they are supporting flying best selling authors all over for signings, thus making them even bigger best selling authors. Recently, John Scalzi tweeted that he was tired of traveling so much. The small publisher, like me, doesn’t have the deep pockets to do this. I go where I can drive. But you, the customer, are paying for these big named authors out of the prices larger publishers put on ebooks.

I’ll step off the soap box. Sorry, these rants just spontaneously combust.
So…

For those science oriented readers who are feeling slighted by a recent lack of hard science news…I have an interesting tidbit for you. With the caveat that I discovered this on the internet, and all that implies, check out the following link.

http://www.space.com/26713-impossible-space-engine-nasa-test.html

14-space-future-spaceflightTwo independent labs claim that a means of space propulsion has been validated using what they are calling the ” em drive,” or vacuum plasma thruster. The idea is to bounce microwaves around in a closed container. These microwaves are generated by using electricity powered by solar energy. The engine can work forever as long as the hardware holds out. In 2009 a team of Chinese scientists built it and claimed they could produce 720 millinewtons, which is reported as enough to build a satellite thruster.

Then, Guido Fetta and a team at Nasa Eagleworks at the Johnson Space Center has produced a paper that demonstrates a similar engine using the same principles does indeed produce thrust…but only 30 to 50 millinewtons. There’s a far ways to go, but think of the advantageous of not having to carry fuel on board, but be able to get your thrust from solar energy.

Wow! Not having to carry a heavy load of fuel would be a major advance in the traveling to Mars program. Now, how fast can it get going?

Hmmm… going to Mars for an author’s signing? Wonder when that might happen? I would think they’d have lots of time to huddle indoors and read great scifi on the red planet, eh? A future market?

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