Category Archives: Political science fictionLois McMasters Bujold

A Science Fiction Author Greets the Holidays

IMG_0165The holidays are upon me.

Christmas horn

I’ll never get everything done.

I say this every year and, somehow, Christmas happens…but right now, I’m overwhelmed and my feet hurt. Once a year, my daughter and I do a Christmas window shopping excursion at the mall complete with a tasty lunch, laughter, and lots of gift suggestions. Everything she tries on, she looks great in. This year her mother-in-law, Nancy, joined us and made it even more festive.

We don’t buy, we just take notes. Then I go back and pick out what I want to give her/them.

Why am I telling you this?

I haven’t been reading, and I have barely been writing. I am finishing up edits and working on marketing in addition to the usual household craziness.

I’m makingChristmas horn excuses for a late blog.

Since I’m writing the next book in the Terran Series provisionally called Somewhat Alien, I’m focused on writing tips. I could go on a rant about all the current rules of writing…especially “show don’t tell.” Critiques concentrate so much on the details of writing that often they miss the forest for the trees.

Luckily, I have an author in my writing group who questions pacing and the overall balance of plot and characters. Sometimes it’s good to back up and get a viewpoint on your overall story.

A recent blog on this that I just read is:

Read through to remind yourself to back up and look at the overall story as you are writing.

On the marketing front, on Cyber Monday, I offered Someone’s Clone for free on Booksends. I figured lots of people would be checking their e-mails for deals, and there I’d be.

The results were disappointing for all that brilliance of thought, the follow-on sales thin, although follow on results have just begun. I don’t know if this is due to the ad site or mostly how busy everyone is. This book is rarely offered free, so if anyone else has used Booksends, I’d be interested in their results. Not long ago, I mentioned Jason B. Ladd’s website where authors are recording results from various add sites to compare which works best. Of course, the book itself plays an important part in success or failure of the effort.

However, not to be dissuaded, I’m once again offering my first in a series, Caught in Time on December 19 on Book Barbarian. For the price, it got good results recently. I’m thinking people will be buying new tablets as gifts and will be looking to load exciting stories onto them. Then on December 26, I’ll offer it again. Readers should be done with parties and want a quiet read. I’ve picked Fussy Librarian as my ad booster site then. It has gotten good reviews with a low cost.

I’m not doing book fairs or signings. In the past, they have been expensive and not cost effective. If they have worked for you, tell me how…I’m interested.

tinkers-daughterThis week I’m going to mention a suggestion given to me by another avid science fiction reader. Ted Blasche has written The Rust Bucket Chronicles, a military science fiction with humor and romance along the lines of Lois Bujold. He e-mailed me and suggested I read the Tinkerer’s Daughter by Jamie Sedgwick. When I went looking for an Amazon best seller, there it was.

Breeze is an outcast, born of an elven mother and a human father, who is recalled to a war between elf and human that has been going on for a thousand years. The safest place he could leave her is with a tinker who makes noisy inventions and dangerous machines. Kids at school bully her, and she has to hide her elven ears to protect herself from the townsmen who see her race as the enemy.  Then, she gets an idea that could stop the war and save the planet if it works. If it doesn’t she could be hunted down for treason and killed.

Mixed reviews suggest you consider whether this is your style of story, but my friend gave it two thumbs up, and I plan to read it soon.tinkers-war

If you’re looking for other ideas, there are a number of series that I haven’t had time to follow up on : Chris Rehner, (Catalyst), Bella Forest (The Star King), any Sharon Lee and Steve Miller in the Liaden series, and maybe you might consider my Alysian series. The later books get even better. Or scan through my two years of blogs on great science fiction reads.

Whatever you have time for, I hope your holidays are filled with fun and good company. Laugh, love, visit with friends, and have a good time.Christmas horn


Filed under Best selling science fiction, book fairs, ebook marketing, fantasy series, Liaden Universe, Marketing and selling novels, military science fiction, Political science fictionLois McMasters Bujold, science fiction, science fiction series

Best Selling Science Fiction: Is there a generational bias?

IMG_9512I’m more than half through the Quantum Thief and the thought occurred to me that maybe there is a generational bias in science fiction. This book has been recommended several places and was put in my Goodreads science fiction reading group’s list. So, I started to read it.

Christmas chaos notwithstanding.

What I’m finding is that the quirky cyber punk style is irritating me. Stories at the beginning jump around and I have to stop and try to figure out what is going on more times than I like. And whether it’s reality or some sort of virtual game. Still there is a detective story involving the death of a chocolatier that is downright tasty. Gradually the stories are being woven together and hopefully soon I will make sense of it. I might even like it.Quantum Thief

So I put it down when my order for Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance came through. Lois Bujold has won more awards in science fiction than most writers and for good reason. I couldn’t put the book down and my Christmas duties took a dangerous set back. Family relationships were imperiled.

Captain Vorpatril's allianceBujold has a deft way of taking characters, putting them into impossible situations and watching them jump. In the story, the perennial bachelor, Ivan Vorpatril, cousin to Miles, is known for his late night carousing and commitment phobia. He’s the handsome, charming cousin, that doesn’t have the thinking power of Miles, even though he is Barrayer royalty. So when he’s off world, the local Dome police are breaking down his door to arrest him for kidnaping a young gorgeous female and blue female construct companion who are running for their lives. Along with the pounding police are off world enemies bound and determined to destroy her family and want to extradite her for nefarious purposes. All because he loyally did a favor for his cousin, Byerly Vorrutyer, secret spy and political manipulator, by asking a beautiful girl out for a date….

And ended up tasered and tied to a chair.

Not a positive response for a first date, but when assassins show up and he overcomes them, she accepts his stuttering invitation to hide out at his place.

Talk about pick up lines.

So what does he come up with as the door is cracking? And the girl is eyeing his high balcony, threatening to jump in order to avoid interrogation?

He asks her to marry him…temporarily.

Because on Barrayer, the custom for marriage consists of certain sworn words and dancing on oatmeal. So while the door is splintering, he talks her into a temporary marriage contract to protect her from her enemies and get him out of an abduction charge, and trouble back home with Gregor, the king.

Also family.

Little knowing that she is Akuti Tejaswini Jyoti ghem Estif Arqua, daughter to a ruling house at Jackson Whole that has just been attacked and usurped by a rival house.

Get the picture?

And that’s just the beginning. While these two keep telling each other it’s only temporary, we know better and watch the hysterical developments both romantic and political unfold.

I just love Bujold.

The story was clear, the action non stop and I couldn’t help laughing so loud that I almost fell out of bed at one in the evening. Or was it two?

Am I a generational reader who just likes a clear story with defined characters and a plot I can understand?

It’s old fashioned science fiction…And it’s wonderful.


Filed under Best selling science fiction, Classic science fiction, Lois McMasters Bujold, Political science fictionLois McMasters Bujold, science fiction, Science Fiction book review, Science fiction world building