Category Archives: Indie Science Fiction Authors

The Fragmentation of Book Publishing

IMG_0174A quick note: Caught in Time is now being offered for a very limited time as a free download through April 15th. See side panel for summary and more information, or go to

And on to our blog…

Amazon, through the Kindle and the Kindle Digital Platform, exploded the world of book publishing and bewildered writers and authors are trying to make sense of the pieces flying about their heads.

Let’s say that you’re a new author with a good science fiction story. What are your options? What are the pros and cons of the various publishers?

Let’s start big.

For science fiction, the top dog is TOR (St. Martin’s Press) followed by Baen, Daw, Ace (Penguin Group), Del Rey (Random House–Ballentine Books), Pyr, (Prometheus ), Tachyon Publications, and more. A list is given in Wikipedia. For just ebooks: Double Dragon, Sky Warrior to name a few. (I don’t know these as well)

If you want to try the traditional way to publish, you first need to find an effective literary agent. Why? Because only a few of the larger houses will even look at a manuscript unless screened first by an agent. Good luck finding one. Hopefully you have a contact, an “in,” a brother or cousin in the business…thousands of fans who avidly read your novels.

No? Ah, well.

TOR is one of the few houses that still has a “slush pile” of unagented manuscripts and you can go online and peruse their submission guidelines. Then submit and pray.

Why do this?

The pros of going with a big name publisher are compelling. You will have professional editors directing your story, a cover artist who will produce a cover and a marketing arm that will help sell your book. If you have a robust “platform,” you may even get an advance. The money flows from publisher to author…hopefully.

Sound good?

Maybe too good.

Reality check.

Chances are likely this won’t happen, and you will waste years waiting for a response. Big publishers have a “no simultaneous submission” rule and can take up to two to three years to respond to your submission. Very few are taking first time unproven authors. You have to show there are reasons that you will sell big and make them lots of money. You have to have a “platform.”

But who knows? Maybe lightning will strike. And they offer you a contract.

However, large traditional publishers take years to get a book to the shelf. It’s long term. You could be making royalties somewhere else while you wait…which on average if you ever make up your advance and “earn out” could run less than 25% depending on the contract. Plus, you will only be able to take their word on what you sold and most likely receive your royalties months after the sale. They control that information also.

Because they are the publisher of record and hold your rights. You’ll need a contract lawyer to protect those rights, and maybe not the one the publisher offers to help you.

And your story and cover?

They have control over that and get to decide what it’s going to be. Not you.

That’s the traditional way.

Onto this scene has come several publishers who style themselves as “author friendly” but are really out to grab your money. Authorhouse is a culprit here. Beware! Many offer “packages” that for a substantial fee will edit, and publish your book. They may also take a percentage of royalties and claim your rights while doing little to market your book. The author spends large amounts of money with little to show in sales.

Other publishing houses offer editing services and a budget to do your cover, but require a minimum purchase of at least a hundred books at a retail price. The author finds her/himself with a garage full of books with little editing and mediocre covers. The cost has pushed the retail price way up if the author wants to make any money. They may also be required to give up a percentage of their royalties for a contracted period of time.

The plus side is that the author doesn’t need to worry about formatting, downloading or editing. They sometimes can work with the publisher and control the look of the cover and the flow of the story. They may even get to see a sales report. And for the first time author may be a way to “get their feet wet.”

But at a significant cost.

A number of other companies and individuals are jumping in and offering “a la carte services.” For the Indie author who wants help, CreateSpace under Amazon offers various packages for cover design and editing help. The author has to buy these services based on what they choose, but they retain control of their rights, final cover, story and royalties for ebooks are 35% to 70%. Still, it cost the author.

And, you are on your own for marketing and selling…although several companies are stepping into the breach to offer services on that front also.

Again, for a fee. With mixed reviews. The services provided and the fees demanded vary widely. Some are fair while others are outrageous and results disappointing. Check around first.

The fallout from the publishing explosion is so varied that the choices are proliferating wildly and causing confusion, and it’s author beware. You must tread carefully and take the time to weigh what you need against what you are willing to pay…if anything.

You can publish and not spend a dime.

Kindle, Smashwords, Nook, Kobo, and iBook, offer free ebook publishing for the author willing to organize his own editing, book cover, formatting, downloading and marketing. CreateSpace publishes for free, and automatically gets you on the Amazon distribution network. Lulu also publishes for free and puts you in the ibook store and other places.

Positives for this path is that you will be published within 24 hours of submission. If you want a paperback, CreateSpace will do that. Lulu will do both paperback or hardcover.

Free. However…

The cost comes in finding and paying for an editing solution. Writing groups, beta readers and hiring independent professional editors are several ways writers can accomplish this. Price ranges from $0 and up, depending on the difficulty and page numbers of the work. Authors join groups and edit each other through writing groups and co-ops. Covers the same way. You can learn to do your own or hire a professional graphic designer. Costs range from $0 to $1000.

Going this way you keep all your royalties and set your own price for your book. But be aware that CreateSpace sets a minimum price and takes a chunk for the cost of publishing a paperback, even though you are charged nothing and the burden is on the buyer. So a 388 page book has a minimum requirement of $13.75 with expanded distribution (libraries and bookstores).  If you retail your book at $14.20, you will make less than $2.00 per book, depending on where it sells. If you want to make more, you raise the price and hope that it is so good enough readers will be willing to buy it.

photoThe story is happier for the ebook solution. If you pick Kindle, in the US, you receive 70% of your retail cost….and you can sell easily throughout the world. Sell at $3.99 and make $2.74. I’ve sold in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, France and through their (Distracting cute kitten)  Digital Select Program, India, Japan and more. I sell many times over through the ebook channel than paperback.

Exciting. I’m a worldwide author.

And they offer various promotions to help you sell. The Countdown where you price your book free and each day it gets more expensive. Or KDP Select where your book is offered only on the Kindle platform, and in order to gather readers you offer your book free any five days out of the ninety days the contract runs. That’s what I’m experimenting with at the moment.

I started mine on Mother’s Day to run five days and within 24 hours had over a thousand books downloaded. I hope some will like my book and go on to buy the others in the series. (Which are pretty good too)

The catch to this self publishing path is marketing.And it’s a big catch.

Now I’m hearing about companies that are selectively taking on certain authors for three years and editing, designing covers, and marketing while letting the author retain rights. They call themselves Hybrid Publishing. they charge $10,000.

Too much for my pocketbook, but maybe not for someone who has it and realizes that putting in quality time, effort and money might generate enough sales to overcome the investment, and much more.

Ask a number of successful self publishers who are making a nice living of selling a variety of books…Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, J.A. Konrath, Hugh Howey and many others. But it took hard work and time.

We’ve come a long way from what publishing used to be. Thankfully. The system was broken. But, now the whole industry is fragmenting into various pieces and big name publishers who want to survive are morphing into something new in order to survive.

And the dust hasn’t settled yet. It may just become an even wider array of choices that the savvy author will have to pick his way through and choose what best fits his needs and his pocketbook.

Author tread carefully and choose wisely.






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Filed under ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, Indie Science Fiction Authors, Marketing and selling novels, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Adrift in the Indie Sea

IMG_0165More and more authors are offering quality low cost books to the public. The advent of e-books over the past few years and the increase of tablets and technology have brought a flood of new writers offering interesting and fresh stories at good prices. Also, a large number of older authors are pulling retired novels out of the closet, reclaiming rights and re-igniting interest in past work.

Now the problem becomes how the bewildered reader sorts through this mass of books to find a good read.

The public reader has become the slush pile.

Amazon has done a great job of helping authors market their books. Reviews are key and Amazon Select and Prime offer ways the reader can sample new authors without bankrupting the piggybank. They have a new program called Countdown where the author puts the book on a program that starts out with a deep discount and following a set plan, the price escalates over a period of days.

One of the goals of my blog is to suggest books that I think science fiction readers will like. Because I am also swimming in the Indie Sea, so to speak, from time to time I pluck out a book and suggest a new Indie author that I have enjoyed, and also hope you will sample my own offerings.

Strings on a Shadow PuppetToday I’m suggesting Strings on a Shadow Puppet by Thomas L. Evans, a debut novel.

Strings offers my two favorite genres: military science fiction and spy thriller. The writing is clear and well written. There are very few errors of writing, which is especially welcome in a new fiction author. The characters are compelling and the action, when it comes, exciting.

Lieutenant Commander Alex Fotheringday lives with the shame of a coverup over  an attack he instigated on a civilian merchant ship. Fortunately for him, a few years in a  backwater planet on duty and now he has negotiated to command of The Hunter so he can “put things to right” and find out who is behind a network of pirates and mercenaries roving the system. He has set up a deal with his father’s opposition, Admiral Lord Li Yu Benjamin Rippavitch in the highly decorated “Ripper’s Raiders” to command a stealth military ship and search out the leader of the insurgents.

His Imperialist father is not pleased.

The crew for the Hunter is an odd assortment from Able Technician Francis Maria Harpur, a “natural” with no tech implants to a plugged in techno junkie Chief Petty Officer Sinclair, known as Sinner, who is a Wirehead and cyborg. The XO is a gorgeous woman named Samantha Smith who works naval intelligence for the Ripper and his TOMO (Tactical Ops and Marine Officer) Leftenant Rascoine Lord D’Ascoine, also known as Razza Dazza, who is also an Imperial Hierarch of Alex’s vaunted social standing.

Several more round out the crew. The first ten chapters introduce the crew and take a lot of time explaining the political set up and detailing the ship. There is a lot of time spent training in simulations even after lift off, and a lot of time digging through research and mining data for patterns and information trying to uncover the enemy…

or spy on each other.

For the hard science geek, Evans sounds very knowledgeable about military hardware and future technology. A bit too much detail for my taste, but his descriptions lend an authentic feel to the story.

It isn’t until chapter ten that The Hunter finally takes off, tracking down leads and trying to ferret out who the mastermind of the pirate’s network is. However, once the action does start, it is engrossing.

Several alternating chapters reveal the activities of the Waylang terrorists who are following orders of the Dalang, who is the enemy Alex seeks. Part of the gang is comprised of alien shapeshifters and how they go about killing and stealing is interesting.

The plot takes twists and turns as everyone appears to be spying on everyone else and no one is who they say they are.

I enjoyed the story and recommend it for any reader who likes military scifi. My main complaint is that the cover and the title really don’t reflect the military aspect of the story. And most of the action is on board a ship or asteroid. I know that the author is a fan of the Japanese shadow puppetry, and there is a shadowy “puppet master” behind the scenes that Alex is trying to ferret out, but for the most part for me, it was a military mission. Unless you read the story, you don’t realize the odd shapes on the cover are the shape shifting aliens and that could put off the avid military scifi reader.

With that said, the series has just begun and I look forward to reading the next one.

As you can see, my blog’s main purpose is to present to the scifi and fantasy reader stories that I found exceptional in the hopes that you will not have to wade through a public slush pile of books to discover that sparking gem.

However, there are many great novels that never parade past my sight, and those I do recommend are purely personal opinion. You might not like them. I tell you how I chose what I do…

The rest is up to you…

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How Do Readers Select Science Fiction?


Last week I selected five science fiction/ fantasy novels to read for 2014, and this week I’m adding five more. I talked about how readers decide on what they read. 1. Word of mouth  2. A favorite author  3. Lists  4.Covers and blurbs 5. Subject matter or genre

Another criteria for choosing a book is price, particularly if the author is unknown. Because I read a lot, the cost of buying books adds up fast. But new websites are cropping up and new strategies are appearing that entice a reader to read the first book in a series at a low cost or free, in hopes the reader will follow on with the rest of the author’s books.

Sort of like a lost leader in a retail store.

Amazon offers its KDP Select program. For three months, the author’s novel is listed exclusively on Amazon and nine days during that time the author can offer the book free. What nine days the free offer stands is up to the author. The book is also listed in the one book a month free for Prime, but the author still gets his royalties if selected by a Prime Member. Sweet.

Reported results came in strong early on. Downloads of the free books were heavy and often translated into more sales on other books by that author.

Now other websites are offering free or reduced price books. Bookbub is one site that is currently popular and my first selection is a free download from that site.

Human SisterHuman Sister by Jim Bainbridge had an interesting blurb, so I thought to try it.

I had nothing to lose.

A quick note: Bookbub is expensive for an author to list on and they are becoming very selective on what books they choose to offer. However, it’s free for the reader and many say it’s worth it, both as an author and reader.

Another free source is the library. I often prowl the new books section and that’s where I found The One-Eyed Man by one of my favorite authors, L.E. Modesitte, Jr. This was a two reason selection…both price and favorite author.The One-Eyed Man

A second factor for selecting a book is a review request. Because my blog reviews science fiction, frequently I’ll receive a request to review a new author’s book. What I finally pick often is random and whimsical. So please don’t be hurt if I don’t get around to yours. Other factors may have trumped the choice and yours may be perfectly wonderful. However, sometimes the request isn’t in my genre (yes, seriously) and sometimes it’s not what I read. (Horror, demons, anthologies YA…etc.) Although, as you know, I often stray off the path if the story sounds compelling, or the author is particularly interesting or charming.

Strings on a Shadow PuppetTherefore, Strings of a Shadow Puppet is my next choice.  The book was pitched as a science fiction spy thriller by a local Portland author. I am a John Carre fan and like spy novels, although I never would admit to it in this blog. So, I thought to select this title. Besides, the author was very nice and had no problem waiting until after the holidays to be reviewed, and I appreciated his courtesy.

I put Abaddon’s Gate on my list because it was on several lists of must reads and in that line of books Amazon puts on the front page as suggestions you might like. Also, Goodreads had it on their popular science fiction for 2013.

A quick word on Goodreads. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a great website where authors can list their books. Even more so, it’s a site for readers. Word of mouth doesn’t need to be person to person in this age of social media and Goodreads abounds with readers telling other readers what they recommend and what they like. There are hundreds of threads that cover every genre of book and I am signed up to several that focus on science fiction.Abaddon's Gate

Also, Goodreads has a section where authors offer a given number of their books (paperback) free. It’s a giveaway that readers sign up for and often large number of readers will sign up for an author’s book. I had 1500 sign up for a copy of Caught in Time, even though I only offered three free. Goodreads then selects who wins and I get their address so I can mail the books. I felt it was good exposure for the first in my series. Hopefully, readers will like it and go on to buy and read the rest. (See at right)

Anyway, when I went to read the blurb for Abaddon’s Gate, I found out it was the third in a series.(The Expanse) Sigh..BUT… James Corey is a pen name for Daniel Abramson, an author I have read and liked. So, what to do?

Further investigation revealed positive reviews for Leviathan Wakes, the first book of the series, so I thought to read that first instead. Changed my mind.

Leviathan WakesSometimes the reader can start with one book idea and developing factors cause him or her to switch titles. The summary sounded like a popular military space opera that I could enjoy over several books, and I wanted to start with the first in the series.

I had several other books on my list until I attended my writers’ group. Five very strong writers get together every two weeks and critique each other’s writing and discuss books and writing. Once again, word of mouth influenced me as Diana Peach expounded on the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Diana leans toward fantasy, but I recognized Joe Abercrombie’s name as a front runner in Indie publishing. He’d done a lot at the start to promote self publishing and it was time to support him. Besides, Diana was compelling in her enthusiasm for the series.First Law Trilogy

So that’s it for now. I have no order in which I plan to read these. That will depend on how accessible they are…and that is my final factor for what I select. Are they easy to get a hold of?

  1. Human Sister Jim Bainbridge.
  2. Strings on a Shadow Puppet T.L. Evans
  3. Leviathan Wakes James Corey
  4. The One-Eyed Man L.E. Modesitte
  5. First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

Happy New Year and happy reading.

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Cutting Edge Science fiction: Discovering a new Indie author

IMG_0174“Hacking the human brain” was a recent topic in the tv series “Through the Wormhole” moderated by Morgan Freeman. If you’re not familiar with the series, I recommend it to you.

The show covered several studies or experiments, but I was surprised to learn that a computer can “read” what the brain is thinking just by tracking blood flow. Thousands of test subjects were shown images and a “picture” was taken of the brain for each image or concept. It appears that these blood flow patterns can be categorized into words and concepts using a computer and then another human can be asked to think of certain subjects, I.e. a beach, a forest, friendship, the computer matches the blood flow patterns and puts out words that translates what the subject is thinking.28GRAYMATTER-articleLarge

So, using that computer program, you can read someone’s mind, or at least get an idea of what he/she is thinking.

That’s a little scary.

Another part of the show explained how false memories can be implanted into a human mind. Since our legal system uses witnesses and expert testimony to determine sentencing, this is also troubling.

A Brief History of TimeStephen Hawkings is an example of how the human brain can think of words and ideas and a computer translates them into both text and speech. By the way, his book A Brief History in Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes is a suggested non fiction read for anyone wanting to learn more about our universe.

This controlling of electronic devices through thought is the jumping off premise for a debut book of local Portland author Dan Marshall. His novel Lightcap explores this idea and takes it to the next step of controlling human behavior through a cap like device.


Adaptech made a fortune with its Mind Drive, a product enabling control of electronic devices through thought. Wildly popular, most citizens use it as a way to act more efficiently with everything from computers to coffee pots.

Now, Adaptect has come out with the Lightcap and Adam Redmon is promoted to lead a group of employees to test this new product. However, exactly what it’s function and side effects are is not fully disclosed.Lightcap

As the test goes on, blackouts and strange dreams, along with a mysterious death, lead Adam to discover the frightening function of the Lightcap. It controls the human brain and makes individuals open to suggestion. Suggestions like murdering a colleague who has turned against the experiment. Adam is not the only subject who becomes suspicious of the dark side of the device. Dej and Aria have realized the danger also and together the three try to fight the hold that Adaptech has on them and the corporation’s plans to control whole populations through distributing the Lightcap.

After watching the show on brain hacking, this novel’s premise intrigued me. Dan writes well, his sentences clear and grammatically correct. However, since it is written from Adam’s point of view, the reader is subjected to the influence of the Lightcap.

“Adam felt like a deer in the headlights until he blinked and broke the spell.”

I went for a cup of coffee to clear MY mind.

The first part of the book is woozy as Adam loses chunks of his life. His fear of losing his job if he complains or quits makes the reader want to shake him and yell, “Wakeup.”

After a colleague goes missing and two others in the test group reveal their concern for the effects of the cap, Adam starts to get suspicious and investigate.

From there the action picks up to the inevitable conclusion…and possible sequel.

If you like cutting edge science type stories and movies such as “The Bourne Identity”, then you might like Lightcap by Dan Marshall. Available most places online and local Indie bookstores.

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Paths for new Writers to Build Readership and Publish

IMG_0165Science fiction and fantasy authors are exploring many new and exciting paths in an attempt to get their name known to readers and find various  ways to publish their works.

Within the genre of science fiction/fantasy, the five writers in my Writers’ Group are following their own unique paths to finding readers and publishing.

One is entering writing contests and winning. Austin Briggs has a website that I have mentioned before that is Flash Fiction and the winner of the month takes home $55 for 55 words.

Allie Vaughn was their winner for her February entry. “Jump Through.” That’s a dollar a word! Not bad. Check out her winning entry.

Beyond the Mystic DoorShe has also submitted short stories in various contests with successful results. Her winning short story appears in “Great Tales Beyond the Mystic Door” by Professor Limn and is available on Sixty-one three minute short stories by sixteen exciting authors.

She also won “Golden Curl Girl” in the Aspiring Writers Short Story competition that will also be published in an upcoming anthology.

Allie is also a winner of poetry and won third place for “Lady Winter” to be published in a poetry anthology.

Winning contests is one way to get your name out there and build a reader base.

Another writer in our group is using the short story anthology route to publishing and also self publishing science fiction/fantasy games, while he waits on acceptance through traditional publishing. Clayton Callahan has just been accepted into a science fiction/fantasy anthology edited by friend Phyllis Radford called “How Beer Saved the World.” Should be very popular. His science fiction story “Beer Today, Gone Tomorrow” is a great read.

Clayton is also a gamer and has been involved in gaming for a while now. He just recently wrote a non-fiction article, “Playing a Role in Science Fiction.” Check it out  online at Perihelion, a professional science fiction magazine. under Clayton Callahan. He also has self published several non-fiction gaming manuals, one which is Battlefields: from Broadswords to Bullets. Another is a handbook for a game called Star Run, also available on Amazon. I used his information on military and weapons in several of my scenes.

“Pointy side out.”

Another author in the group, Ted Blasche, has also published in Perihelion a delightful short story called, “To Dance with the Girls of IOS-5.”

In addition to publishing in a well known online magazine, Ted is going the traditional route of submitting to major science fiction publishing houses and is currently waiting on a response to a military science fiction novel he has completed.

But Ted has also gone the script to screen route and has won a finalist spot in the Willamette Writers contest FiLMLaB. The final few will be used at the Willamette Writers’ conference and will be announced April 11.

We’re rooting for you, Ted!!! Screen plays from novels or short stories is another way to get your name out there.

A small subsidiary publishing house, Mockingbird Lane Press, has accepted Diana Peach’s novel Myths of the Mirror. Her website here gives a taste of her soon to be published book on dragons.

Already, she is busily writing a sequel and has recently put Dragon Soul into the hands of the editors there. There’s nothing so great as a book with dragons in it, and Diana writes wonderfully well. Look for Myths of the Mirror coming soon.

Many valid small publishing houses are springing up to service new writers and help them with editing, book covers, formatting and other needs. Increasingly, individuals are offering classes and panels (for a price) on various aspects of publishing, including marketing. The new writer has to tread carefully and investigate those he does business with as the scam artists are finding this new area of publishing and writing fertile ground. Even the well known publishing houses are buying out publishing businesses like Authorhouse and writing contracts for eager new authors that don’t realize what they are getting into. So authors beware. Check out editors and predators:

Several established authors in my Portland luncheon group are going the traditional route, but also are exploring other venues.

These are professional writers that have been writing for a while and are “connected.” David Levine has sold over fifty of his short stories and was recently on the cover of Analog Magazine.

Levine-SpaceMagic_600x900 copyI did an interview with him in my February blog about his short story anthology, Space Magic. This is a collection of his own short stories that he came out with in 2008, and now in January, he has reformatted the collection and put it out digitally through Book View Café.

Many known authors with backlists are bringing them out again in digital format and reselling their story. David has teamed up with other well-known Portland authors to do readings and book signings all over the area. He recently did a successful reading and signing with other authors at Powell’s at Cedar Crossing in Beaverton. Getting out face to face is a tried and true method for known authors. Pairing up with other authors swells the attendance.

Phyllis Irene Radford, in addition to her recent forays into editing anthologies, has just published the third trilogy in her Dragon Series. The Silent Dragon: Children of the dragon Nimbus #1, which is now available on Amazon through DAW. Phyllis also has published a series on Merlin’s descendents with her Guardians of the Balance and also a series on fairies of which Chicory Up is the latest. Adding on to a popular series is also a recommended route to success.Silent Dragon

While following the traditional publishing route, she also has a serious eighty-six-page nonfiction called Magna Bloody Carta. This was published through a writers’ online co-op called Book View Café. Writers getting together and providing exchange services for each other on a website that lists and sells digital books is becoming a popular way to build readership, become known and sell books. Self-publishing authors are banding together to help each other. Many online websites that offer digital books are providing an avenue for authors, both new and old.

She also has gone into other anthologies with her own short stories: Gears and Levers 2: a Steampunk Anthology and Breaking Waves through Sky Warrior Book Publishing, a small publishing house.

And I’m going the self-publishing route via Digital Imagination Publishing. You can check out my series on the right. All are available online at most known booksellers, Smashwords, Kindle, Amazon, ibookstore, and others. I’m following the advice of Dean Wesley Smith and using serial writing to get my name out there. I recently experimented with the KDP Select program that offers Caught in Time for free to Prime members of Amazon for ninety days…so pass it along. Hopefully, they’ll like it and buy others in the series.

I am also dabbling with social media (ex. this blog) as another way to get my name out there. In fact, I just won a Liebster Award for my blog submitted by Andy McKell. This is a new fun way smaller bloggers are spreading the word, so stay tuned next week for the details.

The paths to establishing a following of readers, eventual publication and greater sales is varied in this new world of writing, and new writers are trying many new and interesting ways to find a reader base, get published and sell their story.


Filed under Best selling science fiction, dragons, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, fantasy, Indie Science Fiction Authors, magic, science fiction, Science Fiction Anthology, science fiction series, Steampunk, the fae, Urban Fantasy

Discovering the Science Fiction Anthology

IMG_9512Okay, so many science fiction readers are busy people and don’t have time for a Peter Hamilton tome or a Patrick Rothfuss compendium, but prefer to get their science fiction satisfaction a gulp at a time.

What to do? What to do?

How about a well thought out anthology?

Now, I’m not usually an expert in this field and there are many anthologies out there. I’m the doorstop novel kind of reader. However, I wanted to cover this topic and present three varieties of anthologies, with the caveat that there are many others out there.

But here’s three.

Legends1. Legends edited by Robert Silverberg.

I received this as  a Christmas present in December 1998 and it blew away my mind. If you want an anthology organized around the heavy weights in the field, then here are eleven stories by world famous science fiction/fantasy writers. The list starts with Stephen King and includes Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, Raymond Feist, Orson Scott Card, George R.R. Martin, Ursula Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, Tad Williams…with illustrations by Michael Whalen. Need I say more? Although published over fourteen years ago, the stories are still timely. And subsequent Legend volumes have come out since.

Legacy of Stars2. Legacy of Stars  by Danielle Ackley-McPhail  Maybe you just want some science fiction military stories with a  kick-ass heroine. Enter  Katrion Alexander who never does what is expected.  With forwards by such notables as John G. Hemry a.k.a Jack Campbell (Lost Fleet Series), Jack McDevitt, Bud Sparhawk  and others. This collection of stories focuses on Private Katrion Alexander and hard science military. In fact, the first story in the anthology, (but not the novel) is entitled “Carbon Copy” and has quite a nice twist to it that would please any hard science/military scifi reader. Interspersed between Katrion’s  adventures in the Alliance Universe, are other military science short stories that will have you turning the pages just as rapidly. Several thought provoking poems break up the action between stories, and all in all, provide the military scifi reader with a well balanced read. A hidden gem.

Levine-SpaceMagic_600x900 copy

3. Space Magic by David Levine. Sometimes you are a short story superstar like David. You have won a Hugo for “Tk’ Tk’ Tk’, published over forty short stories, many award winners, and now it’s time to wrap them all together and put out your own anthology. Anthologies can be a way to develop  a platform for further work.

Linton Robinson of LinkedIn blogging notoriety has an excellent blog on this idea and I encourage you to read what he says in the link below. He has started a thread on LinkedIn for authors interested in writing for anthologies and anthology editors looking for submissions. Check that out too.

Now, I’m lucky enough to know David, so I asked if he would subject himself to an interview by me and he graciously obliged.

David’s stories plumb the depth of character, both alien and human and sometimes the interactions between them. Start with a story that takes place in the mind of a starfaring alien, visit a very unusual junkyard and check out “I Hold my Father’s Paws” that introduces, not transgender, but transpecies medicine. Walk with a salesman trying to sell on an alien world and meet a fairy like no fairy you have ever met before. His stories are different, fresh and provocative.

So here now without further ado, is David Levine.

Welcome Hugo winner David D. Levine who has just launched his new anthology, Space Magic.David Levine

Sheron: It seems to me that I ‘m seeing more and more science fiction anthologies coming onto the market. Do you agree, and why do you think that is?

David: If you’re seeing more SF anthologies — and this is not a phenomenon I’ve observed — it’s probably because the market for SF short stories is in transition. Although science fiction and fantasy is one of the few places in literature today where you can still get paid for a short story, and the main print markets (Asimov’s, Analog, and F&SF) are still going strong, a lot of the other markets that were out there five or ten years ago have vanished and many new ones have appeared.  With all the changes in this area, it’s not surprising that a lot of writers and editors have decided to release their short stories in anthology form.

 Sheron: You’ve had an interesting and successful writing career, writing over 40 short stories, writing for George R. R. Martin in his Wild Cards series, handing out the Hugo for short stories in 2012 and even winning a Hugo in 2006 for “Tk’ Tk’ Tk'” yourself. What would you say was one of your best moments as an author? And what would you say to encourage other writers in this genre?

David: Winning the Hugo was an awesome, overwhelming career highlight (you can see my overwhelmed response here:  Selling my first story (“Written on the Wind”, to Beyond the Last Star) and my first acceptance at a major magazine (“The Tale of the Golden Eagle” at F&SF) were also fabulous moments, and getting a good review is always a thrill.  These moments are really brief, and it’s important to keep them in the back of your mind and haul them out whenever the writing feels like a pointless slog.

Sheron: I hear you there. We always need those moments to keep us going forward. Where do you get your inspiration? Or what got you started on this career path?

David: I’ve been writing SF stories since I could hold a pencil. I still have a two-volume SF novel I wrote in fourth grade (it was two volumes because I filled up the first spiral notebook) and a disturbing little book called “The Boy Who Could Fly” that’s considerably older than that.  But, although I took an SF writing class in college and was encouraged to submit my work, I got into technical writing as a career and that consumed all my writing energy.  I didn’t write a lick of fiction for about 15 years, during which time I met my wife Kate, so that when I declared in 1999 that I wanted to spend my Intel sabbatical at Clarion it was a surprise to her. But I did go, and I learned a lot, and I started selling shortly thereafter.  I’ve been selling 3-5 original stories each year since then, plus reprints.

Sheron: Why did you decide to publish Space Magic and where can it be found?Levine-SpaceMagic_600x900 copy

 David: People have been asking me for several years now whether Space Magic was available as an ebook, and I think it was in 2010 that I took some of the stories off of Fictionwise (which required exclusive rights) so that I could produce an ebook of my own. But there were a lot of options — should I do the work myself, or pay someone to do it, or send it to an e-publisher? — and I waffled for years.  Then, back in October, I had a really bad day. I got four novel-related rejections in a period of three days.  (Despite my success with short stories, I’ve been trying and failing to sell a novel since 2006.)  I got depressed, and then I got angry, and then I decided to channel the energy of that anger into areas I could control. I started up three major projects that week: my new website (, which went live in December and looks fabulous), the Space Magic ebook (which launched on January 15), and a video of my story “Letter to the Editor” (which goes public on January 21).  Now that all of those are out of the way I hope to be focusing my efforts on another novel.  Hope springs eternal.

Sheron: Rejection in all kinds of forms seems to be part of this business. It’s those that listen to the ideas, incorporate the helpful comments to make their work stronger and keep on trying that eventually become successful. If you’re looking for constant accolades, take up another career. Kudos to you as Space Magic is the result.

So, what’s next?

David: I’m working on a YA Regency Interplanetary Airship Adventure, which takes place in an alternate English Regency that includes airship travel to Mars and Venus (which are, of course, inhabited).  Arabella is a Patrick O’Brian girl in a Jane Austen world.  Born and raised on Mars, she was hauled back home by her mother, who didn’t want her two younger sisters turning out as wild as Arabella had.  She finds England’s gravity, climate, and expectations of women stifling, and when she learns that her cousin Simon plans to kill her brother, still on Mars, and take control of the family fortune, she disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of a Mars-bound merchant ship in order to save him.  But pirates, mutiny, and rebellion stand in her way.  Will she arrive in time?

Sheron   Sounds terrific. I look forward to publication. Thank you David.


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Five Science Fiction Novels to Start the Year off.

IMG_9512Welcome to 2013.

Are you as amazed as I am at the number I’m looking at? 2013 is a science fiction far future date to me…

And yet here we are….

I would have expected by this time to have a colony on the moon, spaceships flying to outside our solar system, at least.

However, since I have written Past the Event Horizon where I needed to figure out some of the problems in surviving space travel, I have gotten a better understanding of how difficult it is to travel in space. Not only the lack of oxygen, gravity, and resources make it difficult, but it’s so darn far to get anywhere and if the scientists are correct, everything is getting farther apart. So, I was surprised to find a blog on NASA seriously looking into WARP drive as a means of propulsion. Here’ a case of science fiction (Star Trek) leading science. Of course, my usually caveat about anything you read on the web applies, but check out this interesting idea for 2013.

Now, (rubbing hands) for my first five picks for 2013.

I decided to mix things up with old favorites and new authors.

DragonshipFor an old favorite, I have been eagerly awaiting the next book in the Liaden Universe series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. So, I was delighted when a Christmas present arrived in the form of Dragonship. What’s intriguing about this story is that it concerns the symbiosis of a self aware A1 controlled starship that interfaces with Theo Waitley, daughter to Daav yos’Phelium. A lot of what and how I write is similar to this series and I only hope mine will someday be as popular as Lee and Miller have become.

For a new author, I have selected Gravity by Tess Gerritsen. The title caught my eye and then an enthusiastic review of her work. This is a story about working on a space station and a virus or new organism erupts to put the station and possibly the whole world in danger. Once again, since I’m now writing a novel that includes a space station, I was curious to see how it would be portrayed by another writer.Gravity

shipbreakerMy third choice is Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. This best selling science fiction author came to my attention last year when I read The Windup Girl and again, when my science fiction book readers selected it for this month’s read. I  liked The Windup Girl and expect to like Shipbreakers also. We’ll see.

A lot of buzz in the new world of book publishing has been created by Joe Konrath. He has been at the forefront of Indie publishing and for a while now, I have felt that I must pay him homage and check out his books. TimecasterTimecaster looked to be right up my alley as it deals with a policeman who can predit the future and stop crime. Sounded a little like the Minority Report, the movie Tom Cruise was in, but we’ll see. I like time travel books and my first two novels dealt with the complications time travel can create. I’ll revisit time travel and the Timelab in future books also.

AngelmakerAnd last, Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway. Here’s another new author that I just recently heard about. I thought the cover and blurb interesting enough to get me to read the book and let you know my opinion. Besides, with “Angel” in the title, it gets my vote as angels fascinate me and creating angels is a theme I also explore.

There’s five best selling science fiction novels to start the year off with. I’ll let you know what I thought of them on down the road. In between, I’ll offer other new reading ideas and science tidbits.

Meanwhile, happy reading and happy 2013….GADS! REALLY?

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A Space Launch

It’s a space launch! Wahoo!  Past the Event Horizon is finally published! Kennedy declared that man should land on the moon and ten years later, we made it. While it hasn’t been ten years launching Past the Event Horizon, or maybe it has, a book about traveling through space has all kinds of challenges and is really fun to write.

One challenge is gravity. Low gravity is hard on the human body. Take your characters away from Earth’s gravity and you encounter all sorts of problems. Bones decalcify, blood flow changes, digestion stymies. Currently, the answer is to provide centripetal force, or gravity induced by spinning parts of the ship. When this stops and zero gravity occurs, the human body and all things around it float and provide amusing experiences.

In one episode, on his way to a crisis, Captain Braden encounters a floating sock. Sex in zero gravity is different also. Body parts float, and there is always the action, reaction law. Push at someone and you’re likely to be rebounding off of walls or furniture. So, the crew snickers about tethering each other on certain occasions.

Providing edible food in space is a challenge. On my ship the Seeker, we have the farm, which uses wide spectrum light to grow plant food and duckweed and water hyacinths to filter water. The diet is soy based supplemented by animal proteins and grown vegetables. Miniature goats and chickens are present. In an extended voyage, keeping the menu interesting would be difficult. However, as Captain Braden says in the story, “People will eat anything if they’re hungry enough.” And it is the wide variety of foods that humans can eat that has helped us survive. We’re flexible eaters, but keeping the crew healthy and fed is a real challenge.

Enclosing twelve people in a small space with no egress strains the human psyche. Currently around the world, a number of experiments have been run to assess what people will do in such an environment. Check out David LeVine’s blog at Mars journal: editor, and not a few in my writing group, protested the antics of several of the crew on board my ship.

Then, I attended a panel at Orycon on enclosed space habitats and learned of some of the extreme behaviors human beings resort to when enclosed with each other for prolonged periods of time. One of the panelists quoted an experiment in an enclosed habitat that had to be discontinued due to violence and serious death threats. On board the Seeker, a lot of the crew make bets to keep themselves amused. Never did I mention what the payoff for these bets was. I thought I would just let the readers imagine that part. Emotions often get high, people jockey for power, and there is an attempted rape by a frustrated male. Yes, I had a mixed crew. As I wrote, “The crew was mixed military and civilian, mixed male and female, mixed nationalities and temperaments. In total, a handful of headaches thanks to the thoughtful selections of Mission Control. And lately, everyone was getting cranky with everyone else.”

I had to think about how to power the ship both inside and out. I decided to walk on the wild side of science and, once the ship is in deep space, it uses a dark matter propulsion matrix that powers the ship along. Sucking up dark matter and spitting out bits provides propulsion in frictionless space. Because once you get going, there’s little to slow you down. I have a magnetic field surround the ship to protect it from random space debris and radiation, much like the magnetic field around Earth protects it. While I was in the neighborhood of wild science, I put in a stargate. The wild ride through the stargate provided some fun reading.


“Some kind of beam has locked onto us and is pulling us toward that energy mass’s center,” Bashar shouted.

Braden activated his emergency comm to Adam and commanded, “Reverse engines. Increase reverse thrusters, NOW!”

From the engine pod, Adam’s voice could be heard yelling, “I can’t! I can’t! I’m trying. We’re picking up speed. Nothing’s responding. It’s got some kind of grip on us.”

Braden stared at various digital readouts that began to flicker wildly, recording huge leaps of increasing speed. Red lights started to flash all over Navcom. He saw Bashar’s hands fluttering over helm’s board, as chunks of rock grew larger and closer in the overhead monitor. Soon, the overhead screen showed bright flashes as bits and pieces of rocks hit the magnetic field and disintegrated into bursts of light. A fanfare of fireworks circled all around the outside of the ship. A violent jolt to the left smashed Braden against something hard. He blinked and put a hand to the side of his head. Pulling it away, he saw blood coating his palm.

Sweat poured down Bashar’s face as he jabbed at the control board. Blinking red lights flashed collision alert warnings. Another sharp jerk, this time to the right, caused Bashar’s fingers to slide over his board. He shook one hand to his side to bring back feeling, while the other gripped a control lever even more tightly.

TAKE HOLD…ALL PERSONNEL SECURE FOR TURBULANCE…TAKE HOLD. The ship’s computer blared out warning.

“We are experiencing severe turbulence. Everyone get in and stay secured,” announced Braden through the comm. Bashar’s hands started to shake uncontrollably from the strain of holding the ship’s course. Bashar bit his lip and bright blood swelled at the corner of his mouth.

Icabar glanced over worriedly.

A path began clearing again. The ship gave a quick jerk to the right to avoid a large asteroid that tumbled by outside.

The computer started flickering and printing error messages.

Frag, no! They couldn’t lose the computers at a time like this!

Braden stared across the gaping void and a visible hole began to iris open at its center.

They were going to be swallowed alive!”

And so they enter the stargate into a new universe where they discover ALIENS!

Yes, the whole purpose of the mission is to find the aliens that created the probe that crash-landed on Alysia. And find them, they do. And that is just the beginning of what they discover.

What the aliens look like, what they do and how they change the entire crew and what amazing things Braden and his crew  find out in deep space, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Thanks to all who helped birth this one. I appreciate you all. Now go forth and spread the word. Or grab one and enjoy the read.

Available as both paperback and online through Amazon.


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Trying Something New: Seven Steps

Sometimes it’s good to get out of the old rut and try something new…a new lipstick, a new dress, a new recipe, a new friend, a new job..or a new author.

Earth Shattering, I know. But bear with me.

Recently, I had to tear my favorite authors from my cold hard grip and take a flying leap off the cliff’s edge into the abyss of a new author.

Well, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but I did take a deep breath.

In selecting a new author, what does a reader look for? I recently selected Dissolution of Peace by Richard Flores IV and here is the seven step process I used.

1. The Cover:  They say that you can’t tell a book by its cover and that’s somewhat true. Recently, I tried a story because it had an awesome cover of a beautiful girl with wires coming out of her head, but the story was about a Jesuit Priest in a jungle. So, the cover brought me to the book, but I felt betrayed by the story. Then, there’s the horrible cover, such as Lois Bujold’s first cover for Mirror Dance, but I already knew that Lois could deliver a good story, so I bought the book anyway. The back part of the cover is important also. Often, I will check the back for a summary of what the story is about. If it sounds good, then I might buy it.

Still, a good cover with a tempting blurb on the back can tantalize readers with the promise of a good story and often is the first step towards them buying it. New author Richard Flores had a gorgeous cover that was spot on about his story.

2. The Interior: Next, I usually flip through the pages to how the book is formatted. This is more important than you might suspect in that poor formatting, ill-placed chapters, wonky fonts, often shout out that the author doesn’t care about his or her reader. At first, Richard had  reasonable front matter. Plain, simple, but clean. But the paragraphing indents were off. Annoying.

Now here’s the thing.

I, myself, am struggling with the new flowable text. My paperbacks look beautiful. Everything stays in place and behaves. However, when it goes to e-books and flowable text, everything changes around. What looks professional on my iPad, reconfigures to some weird formatting on my kindle. Or visa-versa. The formatting just won’t stay put.

That is the beauty of the e-book. For us older folks, we can enlarge the print without having to sneak a large print book off a store’s shelf under our coats. And I have over one hundred books on a light weight iPad or kindle for anytime reading with no pending library fine.

Still, having the paragraph indents change bothered me. Set up the book to either have reasonable indents or space between paragraphs. Readers need the eye relief. Long pages of blocky print with a three space indent, or changing indents is exhausting. Easy fix.

3. Technicals: We are talking about grammar, sentence structure, spelling and word choice.

All the stuff your high school English teacher talked about. At least I did when I taught.

You insult your reader if you don’t at least make an attempt. Now, these mistakes are like fleas on a cat. No matter how hard you, as a writer, try to eliminate them, there are always more lurking in your text.

Gads! I know. I have read through my own work a multitude of times, given it to a professional editor, had beta readers look it over, my writing group, a professional workshop critique, and still the odd comma, the shy apostrophe, the computer respelled words crop up. Even in a traditional press book this happens. But if it’s flagrant, then the reader is kicked out of the story. Do that too many times and you lose your reader.

As I began reading Richard Flores’ book, this wasn’t  a problem. His sentences flowed smoothly and his grammar and spelling made a sturdy framework for the story. I could delve deeply into the book without the distraction of poor grammar or bad spelling.

4. Action: It used to be that a story began calmly at the beginning with describing the world and the characters and gradually picked up pace. Not so any more. Editors are expecting action on the first page and they want to be hooked by page two or your story’s in the dumpster.

Wham, bam, start the story strong.

I’m ambivalent on this. Where can a writer go from there? I am the personality type that likes to look around and get my feet under me before things go wild.

So, in the Dissolution of Peace, the story begins with one of the protagonists on a shuttle coming toward the warship that she will be serving on.

After trolling through back alleys of Urban Fantasy, I was ready for this military style world and outer space adventure. The description of the ship, the internal dialogue that told me that Janice Kanter hated space, her enigmatic partner who just arrives from a fellow officer’s funeral, all intrigued me, and set me comfortably in her world.

Chapter two introduces Captain Christina Serenity, a recently injured ship captain, who is the youngest captain in the fleet. She has just survived an attempt on her life and is covering up her injury in order to get back into duty so as not to lose her ship. Someone is out to kill her, so she has been assigned two bodyguards to protect her. She has a conversation with her commanding officer, Admiral McCorvick, who appears to want to discredit her and get her away from Earth. The Mars colony is building a fleet and a war is brewing between Earth and Mars. So, there’s lots of conflict, even though no one’s been shot just yet.

Okay, I’m in.

A reader wants a story that gives him an experience… To go “Where no man has ever gone before.” Or possibly, can’t go at the moment because his couch isn’t space worthy and the wife doesn’t want him off fighting Martians around dinnertime.

5.  Believable Characters: Along with exciting events, the reader wants a satisfying emotional experience…to feel strong emotions at the right time in the story, to live through another person’s eyes and be more than he can be in his own skin. So, the reader can’t be told how the character feels, but must experience the character’s life. Feel his dreams, hopes, fears, love.

In other words, “Show don’t tell.”

Yes, that’s me screaming in the background. This is a struggle I have, and the hard part of writing but vital.

This was done well in Dissolution of Peace. You had several  characters that were all dealing with emotional conflict. I wasn’t overwhelmed by it, but then, I remained reasonably involved. Captain Serenity’s courage and determination to duty against the pull of true love is well done. Janice Kantor’s character arc as she changes from hating space to becoming a competent bodyguard in space is also good. The feelings and emotions of Corporal Mike Carlson, the secret admirer and captain’s bodyguard is also good.

6. Story Arc: This is the stream that carries the reader along and is important to keeping him in the story. There is an arc to every story…a beginning, a middle and an end. In Dissolution of Peace, Richard starts with conflict that is interesting enough to engage the reader. A brewing conflict between Mars and Earth. Okay, fine.

Then, just when there’s a bit of a pause, an unexpected alien race comes on scene, and Serenity has to deal with a first contact situation. Then another alien race shows up.  And the two are deadly enemies. One to side with Mars and the other to side with Earth and we’re not sure if either can be trusted. Add in an old friend who turns out to be leading a terrorist  group that is trying to start a war.

Amp up the tension and suspense.

Next is another attempt on the brave, young, and beautiful Captain Serenity’s life, and we’re turning pages at one o’clock in the morning.

Throw in unrequited love between captain and her body guard…that no one can know about, or they’ll be thrown out of the military, and she’ll lose her ship…well…you see my point.

There is a rhythm to a good story that keeps the plot line and emotions moving higher and higher, so the reader keeps turning the pages, and then twists the story and makes the reader gasp.

7. Ending:   Of course I can’t tell you the ending of the story. SPOILER! But all endings must have a climax where everything is at risk and something awesome happens and then a resolution that makes the reader close the book with a satisfied smile after being on  emotional roller coaster. You want to have everything explained and tied up.

Unless you’re writing a series.

Which I am. And apparently, Richard Flores is.

His ending is explosive, but not final. I didn’t go, yes, wow, done…rather, now I want to read the next book.

And that can be okay. Most likely I will. His story is good. Lots of action, good emotional points and I love the landscape…or rather the wide open void of space that he traverses. I left my soft chair and became a love-crossed, beautiful captain of a starship who protects Earth and tries to stop a war.  And I sneaked into the world of a strong, competent bodyguard on a military spaceship who saves the life of the woman he loves, but can’t let anyone know how he feels about her.

Okay now…You try something new. Check out my right hand column for a few suggestions.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven LEAP!


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A Matter of Taste

A lot has been said and heard about the terrible editors and publishers who totally ignore or criticize eager new writers. With so many writers out there, the traditional publishing funnel is getting smaller and smaller. I know, I’m one of them. I wasted two years waiting for Baen books to get around to turning down my first book, after expressing interest and asking for a completed manuscript.


Now the shoe is on the other foot, and ouch, it pinches.

Because I write science fiction and have read it for years, I thought it would be fun to share that wisdom with others. What could go wrong??? I was always eager to hear a good book idea. Not many people around me ever read science fiction and I was always on the lookout for something good to read. I could spread the word about my favorites.

Amazon has solved that problem for me, somewhat. But I still thought it would be a good idea to blog about it…and I am having fun doing that. But a new monster has raised its head and that’s the monster of declining reviews of authors’ books.

So far, I have had wonderful writers that have been more than gracious when I have said, “No, thanks.” Recently, a UK new writer e-mailed me asking me to review a story about booze crazed alien slugs that unleash unspeakable terror on the world and only a Broken Vacuum array of cleaning attachments can save the day.

It was tempting, but I felt a need to decline in that I don’t review appliance fiction. (for your future reference) and it sounded a bit sucky, to tell the truth.

We’ll probably read about it on Amazon’s best seller list.

I also got a request from Richard Flores who wrote an intriguing blog on this matter at: http// which sparked this blog. His blog is entitled “Form Rejection.” Since he also reviews, he thought he would  respond to writer’s submissions that he had to reject with advice on how to make the manuscript better. You know, the personal touch.

Writers, on the whole, didn’t appear to appreciate it.

Turns out there is another side to this dance. Writers can get downright snarky if you call their baby ugly. He said that  some used foul language and threats. Check out his neat blog…and other blogs that he has done.

Hence the use of form rejections by publishers and editors and agents that are vague and non judgmental. “Doesn’t fit into out current offerings.” Etc.

A nice “No thanks.” For those that don’t want a home fire-bombed.

Now, so far, I have been lucky. Please, all writers be aware that just because one person backs away, doesn’t mean it’s a bad book or story. I recently said no because I couldn’t deal with the topic of dying of cancer that the book began with, even though the writing was good.  It’s just we have to make a judgement call on what we put our name on and in the publisher’s case…their money, or for some it’s their career. This doesn’t excuse certain behaviors that I have encountered by editors, but it has certainly opened my eyes to their side of things.

Just saying.

I have mentioned David Levine on my blog before and he recently e-mailed me and the Portland Writers Group after being at Wordstock. There they had the cards that Katherine Rusch and her husband Dean Wesley Smith have mentioned before. They are an attractive plastic credit card size that have scratch off codes on them that you can give away or sell. You upload your book to their server and anyone with a card gives the code and downloads your book. It’s a handy way to sell books at a fair or around town…maybe even at the nail salon when someone says that they may be interested and the iron is hot for the striking.

Here’s their website for further info:

Now…what’s on my reading list? Well, Richard Flore’s book had such a beautiful cover and interesting title, that I have started that. So, stay tuned for that review. He also did a blog on cover titles and looks like he followed his own advice.

Also, somewhere on a list and also on Twitter, the book Wool was mentioned and it was offered free.

Free is my price…so I’ll check it out for you.

And…I’m in a science fiction book club that has been assigned The Magicians” by Lev Grossman for their next meeting. So, I’ll need to get on that one too and let you know.

Been busy with Past the Event Horizon   that has been going through the grinder of my writers’ group. They have had some awesome things to say about it, but a chapter every two weeks has been dragging things out. However, a proof is on the way…yeah, yeah, you’ll believe it when you see it. But not long now. I’m excited.

Enjoy  a good science fiction read and let me know what you like…or an interesting science fictiony fact.

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