Tag Archives: story writing

Writing Science Fiction and a Military Scifi Review

photoIf you are an author or writer, I have three interesting links for you to check out. The first is a lecture series on Utube given by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, Way of Kings, etc.) for classes at BYU. Seventy-two fascinating lectures cover all aspects of writing: characters, setting, plot and the business end of getting published the traditional way: networking, queries, agents, etc.

You might want to grab a bag of gummie bears before you start. A great lecture series from one of our current best, free on Utube.

The second is a link to the short story market. Where to put a short story if that’s what you write.


The third is a survey by Freebooksy, an advertising site for free and discounted books. (So they are biased) The author signs up and when his book is offered free on KDP Select, Freebooksy features it for the date requested. Readers sign up and get e-mails of these free and discounted books at no cost for the service. Sometimes, the sites that do this charge quite a hefty fee to the author for a promo and are picky about what books they list. Still, the numbers in the survey are interesting.


Poor Man's Fight  by Kay Elliot

This week I read Poor Man’s Fight by Elliot Kay. This is the first in a series recommend by my ex-military reader and I quite enjoyed it. Bonus is that it is a well-written Indie published series; a gem glittering in a pile of self published novels. To see a self-published author take care with his story and presentation makes me proud.

Having said that, the plot isn’t dramatically new or the characters unique.

And that isn’t a bad thing.

Tanner Malone’s stellar school performance comes to a unexpected end when family problems and a rigged test cause him to flub his final exam for college placement. His poor performance requires him to go deeply in debt if he is to continue on to college.

Rather than go into debt, he enlists in the military that is ramping up its forces to combat the increasing threat of space pirates.

A large portion of the book deals with his trials and tribulations at boot camp. Then, the story picks up the viewpoint of the pirate horde and their grievances against the current government practices. The author flashes back and forth between the two.

Kay balances his characters nicely. You have both good and bad in both camps. In addition, he does a nice job of portraying Tanner Malone as a highly intelligent nerd caught in the grinder of the military boot camp where physical prowess and guts counts for more than independent thinking and intelligence.

Even in the pirate’s camp, brute viciousness is balanced with a likable leader and his capable, but deadly, female boatswain.

As you enter both worlds, you feel the inevitability of them meeting with violence and a lot of fighting.

If you like military scifi…future worlds with spaceships and battles, I suggest you gear up and try this one. Rich Man's War

Reviews on the sequel, Rich Man’s War,  are even higher.




Filed under Book reviews, ebook marketing, ebook science fiction, Indie Science Fiction Authors, Marketing and selling novels, military science fiction, science fiction, Science Fiction book review, science fiction series, Self-publishing, Writing Tips and Lectures

Story Structure Specialist

IMG_0165Discovering titles to read and actually obtaining them depend are certain variables. Easy access, pricing, and availability are a few factors.

Last week I read The Lies of Lock Lamora by Stephen Lynch first because it sat within quick reach on my night stand. It had been enthusiastically recommended by Powell’s knowledgable science fiction special, Peter, and I looked forward eagerly to reading it.

It delivered big time.The Lies of Locke Lamora

What surprised and caused me wild hope was that Lies was published in 2006 in Great Britain and I’m just now hearing the buzz about it from a local Portland bookstore and noting recent popularity on Amazon.

Eight years ago.

Maybe it takes some time for even a really good book to catch on…

That’s why I maintain optimism and consider myself writing for what they call the “long tail” (tale?) Fingers crossed.

Red Skies under Red SeadI enjoyed it so much that I’m currently reading the next in the series, Red Seas Under Red Skies and finding it also delightful and engaging.

Either way, my second book on my 2014 list to read is fresh out of the publishing house and was within fingers reach off the new book shelf at my local library.


So this week I’ll review The One Eyed Man by L.E. Modesitte.

But first, since I’m organizing and crafting the next novel in my series, I wanted to mention Larry Brooks who has published a non fiction book called Story Engineering. For anyone working on the writing of a story, I found his words of wisdom useful and would like to pass along his name.

I first met him at Orycon when he gave a lecture on structuring a story. Writers often get an idea and then start writing without any consideration of the way a story should be crafted or where they want it to go. For anyone who is writing, I suggest you consider his ideas…they may make your story stronger and give you direction on how your story should flow…because they are rules to the writing game if you want to succeed.

His blog, www.storyfix.com was voted top blog for writers in 2010 and still runs strong.

Here’s an interview on Utube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGq84WOQfqM.

Now for my second book on the 2014 list.

L.E. Modesitte is certainly one of the more prolific science fiction writers around. He has several series under his name that entertain significant popularity.

The One-Eyed ManThe One Eyed Man is a stand alone novel that opens with Paul Verano coming out of court after a nasty divorce that leaves most of his wealth to his cheating wife and ungrateful daughter.

Paul is a consulting ecologist with a PhD in ecology from the University of Bachman and has made a reputation for himself in the field. He is offered a lucrative contract to Sittara, a colony planet and chief source of anti-aging biologicals that extend life expectancy more than two fold for the wealthy residents of Bachman. So, invaluable.

For Paul, the trip will be relatively short, but his expected return will be 125 years later on Bachman…hopefully by then all problems and players will be distant memories. So the contract, while too good to be true, is compelling for him in his current situation.

Sittara is an interesting planet with such high winds that most of the population live underground and the dominant vegetation is a low growing purplish green grass. Foreboding whirling sky tubes roam the skies, but no one knows whether they are sentient or not.

The One Eyed Man is essentially a mystery that slowly our ecologist unravels. It explores the issue of human impact on an alien environment. True to form, politics and economic greed also create problems. Verano keeps insisting he is only there to measure and insure that the colonies are not hurting the environment, but no one believes him.

Some try to murder him. Most lie to him.

If you are a fan of Modesitte, you will enjoy this slow paced mystery. The alien world itself is intriguing. The egnimatic woman who wanders the planet with the mind of an eight year old and the age of an ancient knows more than people suspect. And Paul gains access and disrupts every big corp executive as he methodically measures air quality, chemical output and various parameters so he can complete his job properly.

Wild escapades, nonstop action and bantering dialog in The Lies of Lamora make an interesting foil for the more intellectual and thoughtful philosophical mystery of The One-Eyed Man...

But I liked them both.


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