Pre-Order: The Falconer’s Stairs

It’s official.  The release date is set, and The Falconer’s Stairs (Glimmer Vale Chronicles #5) is now up for pre-order everywhere.

Jared Tolburt twice almost cost Raedrick Baletier and Julian Hinderbrook their lives: once when he turned on them while they were fleeing the Army, and again when he unwittingly led a group of bandits into Glimmer Vale.  While fighting off the bandits, Raedrick and Julian found a cryptic, magically protected letter that hinted at the location of a great treasure.  Now, with help from Melanie Klemins, Lydelton’s resident mage, Tolburt intends to claim that treasure for his own.

The treasure is hidden far away from Glimmer Vale, and guarded by both physical and magical obstacles.  With Raedrick unable to travel due to his wife’s pregnancy and Melanie eager to assist Tolburt in his quest, Julian has to do the last thing he ever wanted: travel with and help the man he trusts least in the world.

Far from their home and beset with dangers of all kinds, Julian, Melanie, and Tolburt will have to depend on each other even to survive, let alone succeed in their quest for The Falconer’s Stairs.

But Tolburt already sold Julian out once when the going got tough.  What’s to say he would not do it again?

The sale price is $4.99, and the release date is 15 April.  Members of my Advanced Reviewers Program will receive their review copies by next Sunday, 26 March.

So go, grab a copy.  Read, enjoy, and leave a review somewhere!

🙂

You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me

I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks.  Have done since….2005? There abouts.  That’s for podcasts, anyway.  Audiobooks, I came to later.  The first I can think of that I listened to was “Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham.  It’s MUCH different from his other lawyer novels, a great fun story about a pro football player who moves to Italy to play there.  He spends an entire chapter describing the various courses of an italian dinner – holy cannoli!

My mom gave me and my wife that book on disc as a gift, and we listened to it in the car as we drove from Maine to DC back in early 2008.

I didn’t really look into audiobooks again until 2010 or so, when I was stationed in upstate New York.  I was 8.5 miles from work, so I decided I would just ride my bicycle to and from work (when it was warm enough anyway).  To pass the time on wheels, I listened to podcasts, but I quickly decided to try out audiobooks too.  Fell in love.

I now listen to either an audiobook or a podcast any time I am driving, riding my bike, running, or working out.  Other people run or lift to music – I listen to a book.

As I said, I’ve been doing podcasts for longer, and I listen to a lot of them.  One that I’ve listened to consistently since about early 2011 when I was just getting into this writing gig is Mur Lafferty‘s “I Should Be Writing”.  I’ve never met Mur in real life, and I’ve only read a little bit of her work.  But I like her show and, from what I can tell of her from the show I think I’d like her in person.  I’m pretty sure we have extremely different views on a number of matters, but she seems to genuinely be a good person and I certainly appreciate how open she is on her show about her own struggles as she goes forward.  So I always “tune in” when she has a new show ready for the download.

That said, as I was listening to her latest show, #369, I would have choked from shock had I been eating or drinking something.  At about minute 33:30 in the first interview, she asked the guy why he wasn’t putting out some of his older work.  His answer, and I shit you not, was that he couldn’t because his contract forbids him from putting out any novels, anywhere, until the third book in his series is published.  Furthermore, he cannot even submit a book to anyone until the 3rd book is submitted and accepted.

Seriously, listen to it for yourself.

Dude just, apparently cheerfully, signed away his career, completely, for at least three to four years.  And I’ll guaran-damn-tee he got only a pittance for it.

I was utterly shocked.  Literally shouting at my cell phone as I drove, saying something along the lines of, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Dude justified it by saying that MacMillian 100% would not negotiate that point.  And Mur just said yep as though hey that’s how it is and what are you gonna do.

What are you gonna do?  How about you get someone with some negotiation skills to act on your behalf to get that shit out of the contract!  But if they really won’t budge on it (and I am extremely doubtful that is the case – more likely his agent couldn’t care enough to try, or wasn’t competent enough to know why it makes a difference), WALK THE HELL AWAY.  And if no one else will offer a deal without that sort of jackassery in it, just publish the damn thing yourself.

I know I shouldn’t be flabbergasted, but I am.  I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last six years learning about the publishing business and how to not be a sucker.  And I have a tendency to assume others are as, for lack of a better term, curious as I am.  And I’ve been around so many savvy indie writers that it seems natural that others will follow suit.

Apparently not.

This dude seriously needed to have read Dean and Kris‘ blogs before he went for that contract.

Too late now, though.  He’s screwed.

Royally.

Don’t be that guy, folks.

*shudder*

Release Day

It’s December 4th, which means….

*drum roll*

It’s release day!

*cheers echo throughout the room*

 

That’s right!  Robbed Blind, the fourth book of the Glimmer Vale Chronicles, is now out there for the world to grab and enjoy.

Robbed Blind Ebook Cover 700x1060

A stunning robbery threatens to bring Lydelton’s economy to its knees, and it is up to Julian and Raedrick to find the culprits. With the year’s first trading caravan in town and the missing funds needed for vital transactions, time is of the essence. Fortunately, the Constables have assistance in the form of a team of Royal Marshalls, in town for a prisoner transfer. But they have an agenda of their own, and Raedrick and Julian must tread carefully to avoid revealing the secret of their own past.

With few leads and little time, the Constables will need to use all of their skill and wit to solve the case and save their adopted home from ruin.

 

The ebook is $4.99 and can be found on Amazon, KoboiBooks, SmashwordsInktera, and Scribd.  Nook and Google Play are still processing, but it should be live there shortly.

 

Alas, it is not available in print at this time, because of an unexpected problem with the cover art for the print version. I expect the problem to be resolved shortly, and will get the print version out there as soon as possible.  Stay tuned here for updates.

 

So that’s what’s new around here.  Go pick up a copy already!

Cool Developments

Hello, folks.

It’s been a while since I had anything to say on here.  Or rather, it’s been a while since I bothered to say anything on here.  Suffice it to say the last couple months have been pretty busy.  We ran through a fairly hefty financial debacle, got really busy with the kids and school, had several visitors from out of town, took a family trip to Disneyland, wrestled with the Navy detailers to figure out what my next (and last) Navy job is going to be, and…

Long story short, I haven’t gotten much writing done, though I did get stories submitted to Writers of the Future, so that’s good.

As the post title implies, I’ve got some cool developments to announce.  So let’s get to it.

First.  My orders are finalized.  My Last. Navy. Job. EVER! will be on a Carrier Strike Group staff here in San Diego.  Which is cool because we don’t have to move until I retire.  And because I get to go back to sea, on a Carrier.  On the down side, I’ll be deploying again, and only a few months before my retirement date.  So that will make transition…interesting.  But that’s the Navy for you.

Second.  Turns out the nice people at Kobo are having a sale on books that are published through their Kobo Writing Life portal – 50% off the list price.  Since all my stuff is published through that portal and I’m a big Kobo fan, I figure you guys might want to know about that.  The sale has a different duration depending on what country you’re in, as follows:

Canada
October 28th – October 31st
Promo Code: CA50SALE

United States/Australia/New Zealand
October 27th – October 30th
Promo Code: GET50SALE

United Kingdom
October 30th – November 2nd
Promo Code: UK50SALE

So if you want some cool books for a good price, run on over there and use those promo codes, and Kobo will hook you up.  🙂

Third.  I’m doing a giveaway of Glimmer Vale, book one of the Glimmer Vale Chronicles.  If you want a free copy of a fun book, click here, input your email address, and your wish will be granted.  🙂

Fourth.  You probably noticed I’ve given the website a bit of a facelift.  I had been using the Ocean Breeze WordPress theme for a while, but decided to try The Responsive after interacting with a few other writers who dig it.  I have to say, I like it so far.  What do you guys think?  Better, same as, worse?

Finally, and speaking of the Glimmer Vale Chronicles, the fourth book in the series, Robbed Blind, is, at long last, about ready to go.  The cover art is basically finalized, so I figured I’d share it with you.  There are a couple very small tweaks still to make on the cover, but I expect it will be wrapped up this week.  Here it is as it currently stands:

JFBeveridge-Glimmer_4-cover_conceptB-15-layout-900w

Pretty sweet, right?  Once again, James Beveridge consented to provide the artwork, and he did a great job as usual.

Anyway, once the cover’s finished, I’m going to do something that I’ve not done before: pre-orders.  Barring some unexpected catastrophe, expect to see the book up on all the sites that allow pre-orders next week, for an official release at the end of November.  It’ll go for $4.99 for the ebook and $13.95 for the trade paperback.

That’s all I have for you for right now.  Don’t forget to hit up Kobo, and please do either hit the link above or click on the Newsletter link in the menu atop the page, to sign up to get updates and free stuff.  It’s good for you.  It’s good for me.  It’s good for the children.

Remember the children.

🙂

Tollard’s Peak – LIVE!

Ok, it actually went live yesterday, and I neglected to to you about it.  Sorry about that.  But it’s true: Tollard’s Peak (Glimmer Vale Chronicles #3) is now live for sale.

Tollard's Peak Ebook Cover - 600x900

Winter in Glimmer Vale – a time to remain close to shelter or, preferably, indoors. Most definitely not a time to brave the mountain peaks surrounding the valley. Raedrick and Julian certainly have no intention of doing so until a man from their past, nearly dead from exposure, appears at the outskirts of Lydelton. Once recovered, he tells them of his friend who lies injured on the flank of Tollard’s Peak, the tallest mountain in the region. Unable to ignore the stranded fellow’s need, the two Constables form a party to rescue him.

But there is more to the story than it first appeared, and very soon Raedrick and Julian find themselves struggling against far more than the elements as they brave the perilous peak. It will take all of their strength and resolve to survive their quest and get to the bottom of the mystery that drew these men into the bleak cold of the mountainside. And they are not the only ones who are searching.

It’s priced at $2.99, and you can find it on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Google Play.  It’s not live on iTunes yet because Apple is still processing it.

You can also obtain it in trade paperback for $15.95.  At the moment the only place to get it is through the Createspace e-store, but it will show up on all the usual print channels shortly.

 

And don’t forget, Glimmer Vale is now free on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, and Smashwords, in case you’d rather begin at the start of the series.  All I ask is you leave a (glowing) review on Amazon and Goodreads, and anywhere else you care to.

 

So that’s the big exciting news.  I know I owe you a chapter.  I’ll give it to you tomorrow.  🙂

For now, go.  Read.  Enjoy!

Marketing and Pricing

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m presenting my stories, from a marketing and pricing perspective, and I’ve decided to make a few changes.

First, let’s talk Pericles.

I’ve been wondering for a while whether I chose correctly about its price point.  $7.99 is a very reasonable price – below typical mass market paperback prices.  But I’ve been wondering whether people read Passing In The Night, like what they’ve seen so far, and move on to Pericles…only to be stymied by that price, since it is above what a lot of other people ask for their books.  Maybe I’m just being silly; sales have been creeping along pretty steadily, after all.  But creeping is the operative word.  So I figure what the heck.  A little experimentation can’t hurt.  So I’ve dropped the price down to $5.99.  We’ll see how that does for a few weeks.

Second, short stories.

At first, my policy was $.99 for short stories, with prices rising from there.  But in the spring of 2012 at the workshop with Dean Wesley Smith up in Oregon, we talked about a pricing idea that I thought was neat: combine two shorts together, with story B as a bonus if you buy A and story A as a bonus if you buy B, and charge $2.99 for that.  Nice, huh.  A little extra value.  So I went with that.  The results have been ok I guess.  But then in the last year or so I haven’t put out many short stories, so…  *shrug*  But a couple months ago, another writer on a mailing list I belong to reported getting warning emails from Amazon for doing just what I have, saying the two products are essentially the same, so he shouldn’t have two separate listings up for sale.  And thinking about it, that makes sense.  So I think I’m going to de-double the short story listings.  Of course, if I do that, I’m not going to feel comfortable charging $2.99 for them.  Novelettes and above?  Sure, no problem.  But for a short story?  No.  So, I’m going to drop short stories back to $.99 and go from there.

Finally, Glimmer Vale.

As you all know, Out-Dweller was released about three weeks ago, to rave reviews and the adulation of the masses who were eagerly awaiting it.  🙂  Or not.  In truth, Glimmer Vale, though selling a trickle when it first came out, has been essentially dormant for the last year or so.  So frankly I’m not surprised Out-Dweller hasn’t made much of a splash yet.  So how to help it splash?  Well, I’ve found making Passing In The Night free helped keep Pericles rolling; I’m quite certain were it not for people picking up the prequel, Pericles would not be selling even at its current trickle.  Because what would point people to it?  Given that, I’ve begun the process to make Glimmer Vale free in all outlets.  Now, based on her post today, I suspect Kris Rusch might not agree with this decision.  Or maybe she would.  As it is, Glimmer Vale is generating little or no value, from a cash flow perspective (16 sales in about 18 months….yeah not so good).  But if making it free draws more eyes to the series, and enough of those eyes like what they see, it could be a very good thing.  At the least, it can’t be worse than what’s happening now: nothing.  Of course, there’s always the possibility that Glimmer Vale is just no good, in which case making it free won’t help at all.  But I rather think it doesn’t suck.  So here’s hoping some more visibility does the trick.

Right.  That’s it for now.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Concerns?  Snarky witticisms?  You know what to do.

 

Oh yeah, one last thing.  I’ve not been particularly good at pimping my newsletter signup.  But see that little link in the upper-right of my sidebar?  It’ll take you to the signup form.  The newsletter will announce new releases, special deals, giveaways, and other fun things.  I won’t spam you – just one message a month or so.  So go ahead and sign up.  As a sweetener, you’ll receive a coupon code for a free copy of Masters of the Sun, my first novel.  Hard to say no to that, right?  🙂

The Pericles Conspiracy – Chapter Twelve

On to the next chapter.

I am posting The Pericles Conspiracy for all y’all to read here on the blog.  Two chapters per week.  Given there are 63 chapters in the book,  if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Chapter 12 – Evidence

“We keyed in on the Pericles situation shortly after you docked,” Becky said as she tapped the control pad at the command station.

On one of the display screens that lined the far wall, a video clip began to play.  Jo recognized it as the news footage from Pericles’ arrival.  She recalled there had been minor media attention when they did not unload immediately, but it had quickly faded.  The video was nothing special: just a long panorama of Pericles’ two and a half kilometer long hull and the two counter-rotating rings which contained the ship’s main living and cargo storage spaces.

“Who is we?”

Becky looked sidelong at Jo and hesitated for a moment before answering.  “A group of concerned citizens.  Over the years, we’ve observed the Coalition government becoming more closed and secretive, taking a more oppressive stance toward the civil and economic rights of the citizenry.  A number of us, who value liberty and would not see it perish, gathered together to monitor the government’s activities and bring its misdeeds to light.”

Oh boy.  Jo had heard about these kooks, or at least about people like them.  Conspiracy theorists who saw malice in every act, no matter how mundane.  From what Jo gathered, there was little to be said to convince them otherwise, either.

“And have you found very many misdeeds?”

Becky nodded.  “More than we feared we would.  But none matching what they did with the eggs you brought to earth aboard your ship.”

Jo rolled her eyes, looking from Becky to Malcolm.  “Malcolm made that same claim to me before.  Do you have anything to back that up besides conspiracy theories?”

Becky glowered at her, and opened her mouth to reply, but Malcolm beat her to it.

“After what happened to Reynolds, do you still believe the Coalition is on the up and up?”

Jo hesitated.  Was she sure they were wrong?  What happened was awfully coincidental, after all.  No, that was not enough.  “You haven’t shown any evidence to make me think otherwise.”

Becky jumped back into the discussion, gesturing toward the video of Pericles.

“At first, all we had was suspicion.  The government’s behavior after you docked was completely irregular.  Which was odd, but the virtual news blackout at the same time made us certain something was amiss.  Then we met Malcolm, and he described what you encountered out there.”

Jo glanced at Malcolm.  She was sure her continued disapproval showed, but he returned her gaze with a level stare of his own.  “I can’t imagine you just took him at his word.  What convinced you, the video Alison shot?”

Malcolm shook his head.  “I didn’t have a copy of the video when I met them, just the technical schematics.  Those were enough for them to believe my story, at least at first.”  He gestured to the back of the room, where the men in lab coats were working.  “The group’s engineers were just as intrigued as I was when I first saw the documents.  Working together, we made more progress in three months than I had made in nine aboard Pericles. And since then…”

In spite of herself, Jo felt a surge of curiosity.  “What have you discovered?”

Malcolm smiled, an expression of wonder and eagerness that made him seem a young boy for a moment.  “It’s amazing, Jo.  Because the aliens only have three fingers and a thumb, they use a base-eight number system…”

“We knew that much on the ship.”

He nodded.  “Of course.  You remember how difficult it made deciphering the documents, though.  How frustrating it was.  Well, about six months ago, we finally learned enough of their mathematical language to translate the schematics.  Jo, they’re plans for an artificial gravity device!”

Jo felt her eyebrows rising high onto her forehead.

Malcolm’s grin grew more broad, and he bobbed his head.  “You see it, don’t you.  With such a device we could build more efficient ships that won’t require spinning rings.  We could build new propulsion systems, hovering systems, you name it.  It’s so exciting!”

“That’s a year after these people met you.”  Jo looked back at Becky.  “You’re very trusting.  That was a long time to go without any real evidence to back up his claim.”

Becky shrugged.  “If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s the value of caution, and of patience.  Malcolm made himself more than useful during that time.  And if his claims amounted to nothing…”  she spread her hands “…we at least got good work out of him.”

Beside her, Malcolm smirked slightly at Becky’s words, but she did not seem to notice.  Or at least, she ignored it.

“But it didn’t come to that.  Within a few months, we received confirmation, of sorts.  One of our informants within the NSA passed word that something strange had been unloaded from Pericles.  Something not on the shipping manifests.  If it had been narcotics or other contraband, the news would have been awash with reports of your arrest and trial.”

“That’s a big leap to make, from narcotics to alien beings and their artifacts: right past common sense to the fantastic.  You didn’t think it could possibly be anything else?  You don’t seem that dumb.”

Becky glared at Jo again, then tapped, more like jabbed, the control pad, and the display shifted.  The video of Pericles was replaced by an image of a long corridor, lit by recessed lighting in the ceiling.  The image bounced around slightly, as though the cameraman was walking.

“We investigated very carefully.  It took many months to learn where the NSA brought the eggs.  But finally, just a few months ago, we managed to get a person inside,” Becky said.  Despite her obvious irritation, Jo noted that Becky’s voice was calm and serious, and found herself impressed.  Becky at least was not a complete amateur.

“So this place is where, exactly?”  The corridor could be in any number of buildings Jo had seen over the years.

“Deep in the Australian outback.  Far from observing eyes.”

“Uh-huh.  And who is this person doing the filming?”

“Just someone who works there and decided he didn’t like what was happening.  You’d be surprised how many government employees come to us for just that reason.  He, however, was…a bit more emphatic about it.”

Jo held off replying, as the mole turned a corner and approached a wide antechamber that contained a security checkpoint.  Half a dozen men, armed and armored in the latest government issued gear, manned several scanners of various makes.  The image bobbed, and Jo realized the bobbing was caused by the mole nodding to the security foreman.  She blinked in surprise.

“He recorded this through his database implant?” Jo asked, feeling even more incredulous than she sounded.  “How?  Secure facilities have building-wide bug jammers so people can’t do that sort of thing.”

Becky crossed her arms over her chest and smirked.  Her voice was positively smug as she replied.  “It wasn’t too terribly hard to design an algorithm to overcome that.  It has a pre-programmed lifespan, so it will delete itself and be undetectable later, but it’s more than sufficient to get the recordings we need.”  She lost some of her smugness as she added, “Unfortunately, it’ll only record video, not audio.  But it’s better than nothing.”

Jo had to concede that was a pretty impressive feat.  From what she had learned during her security indoctrination, that sort of thing was supposed to be impossible.

On the display screen, the mole left the security checkpoint behind and walked through a pair of double-doors and onto a narrow walkway that ringed a large, open room.  The mole looked down over the railing that ran along one side of the walkway, and revealed that the room was two stories deep.  Jo could see from this high vantage point that it was divided into thirds.  The nearest area was set up like a lab of some sort.  Over by the far wall, it looked like there was a machine shop or something.  The central third of the room was covered, preventing a recording of its contents.

The mole turned away from the work floor and moved over to a set of spiral stairs at the far end of the walkway.  Quickly descending to the ground level, the mole passed by a round fellow in a lab coat who was waiting at the bottom of the stairs and stepped into a work area.  The image panned slowly around and Jo could see it was much more than the machine shop she’d taken it for from the overhead image.  There were lathes, drill presses, and all the other sorts of machines one would expect from a shop set up along one wall.  But the rest of the work area was filled with computer workstations and electronic devices of all kinds.  That was not unusual, of course, but Jo could see no less than three clean room containments and a vacuum chamber, and along another wall a series of pages containing odd symbols.  It took her a second to realize those pages were recreations of the pages of mathematics she had seen in holographic form aboard Pericles, projected from the alien leader’s black rod.

At least thirty people, all wearing lab coats, were working in the area.  A few nodded familiarly to the mole, but he did not pause to engage them in conversation.

Instead, the mole walked over to the wall dividing the work area from the central, covered area of the room.  A single door in the center of the wall provided access.  The mole stepped through and into an airlock.  A few seconds passed, probably for the airlock to shift over to the internal atmosphere, then the mole pushed open the inner door and stepped into the second area.

It was wide open, with hardly any furniture.  In the center of the chamber rested the aliens’ incubator, or egg stasis unit, or whatever the right term was.  About two meters long, a meter wide, and a meter and a half tall, it was colored black with the exception of the control panel on one side and the frosted-over transparent lid on top, it appeared the same as when Jo saw it last.

“Everything looks in order,” Jo said, not trying to keep the doubt out of her tone.

Becky cast an annoyed look her way.  “Wait until you’ve seen the rest,” she replied in a biting tone.

Jo sniffed.

The mole walked past the egg machine, and Jo saw that it was not as intact as it first appeared.  One whole side of the machine had been removed, revealing its innards.  Numerous probes and leads ran from a console set up nearby into the machine, to monitor or sustain its function, Jo surmised.  That wasn’t so very surprising.  The researchers would want to learn how the machine worked, but also would not want to disturb its function if they could help it.

The mole did not linger, but instead made his way through another airlock door which again stood in the center of the far wall.

“Son of a bitch,” Jo breathed.  She did not need to look away from the display to know that Becky wore a deprecating smirk as she voiced the words.

The laboratory beyond the airlock was clean, antiseptic even.  Yet it was also ghastly.

In an anti-microbe containment not far from the door sat an egg.  An elderly man with a kindly face that did not match what he was doing had his hands stuck into gloves built in the wall of the containment.  He was cutting into the egg with a scalpel.  Another containment several meters away contained what Jo had to presume was an alien embryo.  It was dead, dissected.  Nearby, three lab-coated men stood looking at an electronic microscope display of what could only be a part of the embryo and chatting amongst themselves.  One of them laughed.

Jo felt sick.

“Seen enough?” Becky asked.

Jo nodded, and Becky tapped the control pad again.  The video playback stopped.

*  *  *  *  *

I hope you enjoyed this chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy.  Stay tuned in a few days for the next chapter, or, if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

Released!

The Pericles Conspiracy is now out there, for the reading public to consume.

I am, of course, psyched.  And you should be too, because Pericles is, if I do say so myself, a great read.  😉  You guys really need to check it out.

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Josephine Ishikawa changed the course of history, but no one knows it.

She cannot talk about what happened during her last shift as Captain of the starliner Pericles, nor does she care to. She passed the ball to the authorities, like procedure required, and now has her sights set on getting Pericles through a major maintenance overhaul and back out to the stars.

Until she learns of a betrayal so large it defies belief, leaving Jo to decide between the life she loves and her duty to the beings she brought back from outer space. Her decision will affect not just her future, but possibly the futures of everyone on Earth and the other colonized worlds.

Available for purchase now on Amazon, Smashwords, and Kobo (though for some strange reason the cover art does not appear on the Amazon sales page.  I’ve contacted them to get the problem fixed, but so far no joy).  Nook will follow probably tomorrow, depending on how fast they process the files, and the other sites will follow as Smashwords and Draft 2 Digital get them out through their distribution channels.

But I know what you’re thinking.  Kingswood, how do I know if I’ll like it?  Well you can download a sample, you know.  But just in case you want something more, I’ll sweeten the pot.  Passing In The Night, the prelude to The Pericles Conspiracy is now free on Smashwords and Kobo.  Download it and you’ll get a nice little novelette to chew on, as well as the first scene from Pericles.  If that doesn’t wet your whistle…not sure what will.  🙂

Passing In The Night Cover (Revised)

A year-long shift in the middle of the interstellar void can get pretty boring.  For the Fourth shift crew of the starliner Pericles, enroute to Earth from one of the colony worlds, the passage could best be called routine.

Until the forward sensors detect an unknown and unexpected object ahead.  What they find there, in the endless night of space, will forever change the universe, for them and for the all mankind.

Go ahead and download Passing In The Night, and enjoy.  And if you want to do me a favor, swing over to Amazon’s Passing In The Night sales page and let them know that the story is free elsewhere, so they’ll price match.  I want it free on Amazon as well, so everyone can get a free taste.

Right.  Thanks, everyone.  Cheers!

Changing the Covers

I use GIMP to do covers.  At least I do when I don’t hire out for them.  It’s pretty powerful, and the price was right – FREE!

Over the last year and a half I’ve learned a lot about how GIMP works, and I like to think I’ve gotten a lot better at covers.  Certainly the cover for The Necromancer’s Lair is pretty good, IMHO.  This one also is pretty good.  It’s for a novelette called The Suspect’s Wife.  I wrote it under my Mystery pen name, Alex Mariner, and released it last month.

Suspect's Wife Cover (1333x2000)I like it because it’s simple and to the point.

Now that said, some of my older covers REALLY suck.  I modified a few of them a little while back.  And while those modifications were improvements from the originals, looking at them now, some of them are still pretty weak.

Problem is, though I’ve learned a lot about how to use GIMP by trial and error, my knowledge is still fairly elementary.  Or rather, was.  A few days ago, I found a great GIMP tutorial site that gives step by step instructions in how to do a lot of cool stuff, some simple and some complex.  Just reading through a few of the tutorials showed me how to better use a number of GIMP’s features, in particular layer manipulation and text effects.  So last night, I decided to work on the cover for Lords of the Remnant, one of my earlier short stories.  I like the story, but frankly, the original cover was lacking.  Here are the results:

The original cover:  Lords of the Remnant Cover

And the new one:    Lords

I think this new one is about a 1000% improvement over the original.  I’m sure there are more ways to improve it, but I like it a lot.  I think I’ll be re-working the rest of my early covers over the next several months.  Stay tuned for the results.

In the meantime…

Lords of the Remnant.  A fun science fiction short story, now with a more fun cover.  It’s feeling lonely, though.  You should go say hi to it, check it out.  🙂  And while you’re at it, say hi to it’s cousin, The Suspect’s Wife.  You’ll be happy you did.  🙂