Sep 01 2020

What a Long, Strange Summer it’s Been

Published by under T-Space,Uncategorized,Writing

One would think that, what with so much being closed, I’d have finished at least one of the books I was working on in the spring. Alas, things rarely go according to plan (see below), but I have made progress.

My son Robert (the paleontologist) came home for spring break, and, because of covid closures, ended up staying until mid-June. He was able to teach his classes (he’s a TA while studying for his master’s at Oklahoma) online, and some of the rest of the time he helped me with more brainstorming and world building T-Space. We pinned down many of the planetary system details, drew maps, and discussed back-story. Some of that information has made it to the T-Space wiki, and more will be showing up as the story lines develop.

Late June and early July found me increasingly tired, wanting to take long mid-day naps, and making it difficult for me to concentrate on writing. I put it down partly to summer blahs, until a casual pulse-ox test started alerting because my pulse was too slow. How slow? Thirty beats per minute. After a few days of trying to figure out what the problem was, (well, I knew it was bradycardia, but that’s a label, not a cause), I called the doctor. (Okay, yes, I should have done that sooner.) She told me to get myself to an emergency room, stat.

Less than two hours after showing up in the ER, I was being wheeled into surgery to have a pacemaker installed. Turns out that, loosely speaking, the top half of my heart was not communicating with the bottom half, and thirty BPM was essentially the emergency fall-back setting my heart beats at when not being told otherwise. The pacemaker (mine, anyway; there are different kinds) detects the signal that’s trying to make my heart beat faster, and directs it to the rest of my heart muscle. So I’m now part cyborg. (It’s programmable, with the right setup, and it will, via a bedside relay, periodically report back to the mother ship to let them know I’m still alive, so I guess I’ve been assimilated. Resistance was futile.)

Anyway, I felt much better after that. Just in time to work on taxes before the extended deadline. (Not just mine, but also those of my two sons to see if they still qualified as dependents. Spoiler: they don’t.) So then I could get back to work on the novels, right?

Not so fast. There was an anthology deadline coming up, and though I knew what story I was planning to submit, I hadn’t actually written it. I wasn’t too worried. Eight thousand words should have been easy, I started out writing short stories. (Several of my Analog sales were under a thousand words each.) However, for the past several years, I’ve been writing novels, not shorts, and this would be potentially reaching folks who had never heard of T-Space or of Carson and Roberts (yes, they’re in the story). It was running long, too long. I threw out the first two thousand words and started over again. Then trimmed it and polished it. I’m rather pleased with the result. More about that when I can say more.

Meanwhile, it didn’t help that while in the hospital, they’d changed my meds, and a side effect of two of the new prescriptions was fatigue and somnolence. I was still struggling to stay awake. That’s since been sorted out, changing my meds yet again, and I’m getting back into my old writing routine. Over 2,500 words yesterday, split between two novels, and on track for the same today. It’s also looking like I can split out another short story from a scene I’m writing for Downhill Slide. I’d like to do more of this in future, creating short stories I can give away to my newsletter subscribers, separately from the novels. We’ll see.

Barring unforseen events, I should still have two new books out this year, as well as some bonus goodies that I’ll talk more about later.

Meanwhile, how did you spend your summer vacation?

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Apr 28 2020

Still healthy, still writing

Published by under T-Space,Writing

Just a short update in these interesting times. So far I’m staying healthy, but then I’ve hardly been out in nearly two months. That’s more or less normal for me anyway these days, except for convention season. Although, I’m probably spending more time on Facebook than I should. 😉

I have several writing projects on the go. Isaac Asimov reportedly kept four different typewriters, each with a different book, story or article in progress. To take a break from one project, he’d move to another. I’m not quite that dedicated, and files on a computer are easier to manage than multiple typewriters. But it does help to have different books at different stages.

As to specifics, my next book, Kakuloa: The Downhill Slide is over halfway to a completed first draft. After the events of A Rising Tide, the Kakuloa economy is booming. Parry Cohen’s resort is a success, the Bimini Bay mines are in operation, and the tree squids are staying out of the squidberry farms. There’s also an orbital shipyard under construction. But of course, there’s trouble in paradise, including a mysterious murder, problems at the mine, and hints of something odd on the other side of the planet from Krechet’s Landing. Administrator Blake has his hands full, and James Watson, a former Detective-Inspector from Scotland Yard, is experiencing culture shock as he adapts to life on a frontier planet while trying to solve the murder. I hope to have ready for release this summer.

The other big project (there are others, you’ll hear about those when there’s more to report) is a new trilogy similar to Alpha Centauri but focusing on Delta Pavonis. (This is set decades before The Pavonis Insurgence.) In the first volume, Delta Pavonis: Discovery, Paul Fabron, the college-aged son of a high-tech billionaire, acquires the mothballed ship Jules Verne, built (but not used) for the first Alpha Centauri expedition. He refits it, and he and his crew set out to investigate the mysterious green planet orbiting Delta Pavonis, ignored until then because, from ten light years away, it didn’t look terraformed. Even if it is (no surprise if you’ve read any of the Carson & Roberts stories), getting there is half the fun. And there are still surprises. The follow-on volumes are Delta Pavonis: Exploration and Delta Pavonis: Settlement (all are working titles, they may change). I want to do a rapid release of all the volumes in the trilogy, so look for them in the fall.


Oh, and speaking of Delta Pavonis, the trade paperback version of The Pavonis Insurgence is now available from Amazon (as is the ebook), and through other outlets soon.

So, how are you all doing in these times? Post a comment below, or visit me on Facebook.

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Mar 23 2020

Living in interesting times

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

Things have certainly been interesting over the last month, and continue to be so. I haven’t been personally impacted much — I was already working from home, and my kids have all moved out — although I am wondering how my planned con attendance will be reduced. I did make it to the Writing Superstars and LTUE (Life, the Universe, and Everything) conferences in February. They were both a lot of fun, and I got invites to write some non-T-Space stories for a new anthology and an ongoing series. (More about that when appropriate.) But Starfest 2020 is postponed, and other conventions will be too. I hope things settle out in time for MileHiCon in October, and for 20Books-Vegas in November.

But, much as I enjoy meeting old fans and making new ones at conventions, I already do much of my business and social interaction on-line. So, three things: a new book (“finally!” I can hear some of you saying), price drops, and a free offer from Amazon.

Free Kindle Unlimited offer: The following promo gives you two months of free Kindle Unlimited: AmazonPromoLink For those of you unfamiliar with KU, it’s a subscription service giving you access to thousands of books, including all of my T-Space novels, as fast as you can read them. (The regular price is $9.99/month, so this is a $19.98 value — or considerably more if you’re a fast reader.)

Temporary Price Drop: For my part, I am lowering prices on my books over the next week. [updated] Countdown deals on the first four “Carson and Roberts” novels start at 6am (Denver time, 5am Pacific, 8am Eastern) Saturday 28 March. Price drops to 0.99 each, through the end of the month (Tuesday night), then ramps back to full price over the following few days. The timing is an Amazon limit. (Alas, due to printing and shipping costs, I can only do this for ebooks.)

The Pavonis Insurgence: Yes, the long-awaited sequel to both The Eridani Convergence and The Centauri Surprise is finally available (for pre-order now, live on or before March 31). This book picks up Jordan Burnside’s story as of the end of Eridani, and that of Carson and Roberts as of the end of Centauri Surprise. This is a long one, almost 20-percent longer than The Centauri Surprise (and a few pages shy of Kakuloa: A Rising Tide). It concludes some of the plot threads started way back in the first Carson & Roberts book, The Chara Talisman.

Writing the last couple of books in this series has made me realize that I had let things get too tangled — that’s one reason the sequel to The Eridani Convergence became two books instead of one 150,000-word monster (I write science-fiction, dang it, not epic fantasy! [grin]). Going forward, Carson and Roberts (and we’ll see Marten the timoan again) will follow the trail of the pyramid-building Spacefarers and the mysterious Kesh in one series; Rico, Burnside, and others will be tackling the Velkaryans in another. This will both help preserve my own sanity, and let me release volumes more quickly to keep readers happy. And never mind what Dr. Egon Spengler said; I’ll cross the streams from time to time.

Now, wash your hands, stay home if you can, and go read a book. 😉

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Jan 14 2020

COSine 2020 and other news

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

A few quick announcements of upcoming conventions and books. First, this coming weekend (Jan. 17-19) I will be at COSine 2020 in Colorado Springs, both on panels and in the dealers’ room.. My panels are “Hard sci-fi” (Saturday, 9am), “When are we going back to the Moon?” (Saturday, 1pm), and “Space and private industry” (Sunday, 2pm). I will also be part of the Author Reception and Mass Autographing on Saturday at 5:30pm. Come on by!

Upcoming conventions include the Life, The Universe, and Everything (LTUE) symposium, Feb. 13-15 in Provo, Utah. I’ve been wanting to get to this one for a while, and this year my friend and co-author Brad Torgersen (on “Strobe Effect” in Analog too many years ago) is Author Guest of Honor. I’ll just be attending this one, I’m not on any panels, but if you’re there and see me, feel free to stop me and say “hi”.

I’m also planning on StarFest in Denver, May 1-3, with both a table and (I hope) panels. Stay tuned.

As far as books go, The Pavonis Insurgence is still fighting to be finished. I’ve revised it a couple of times because I wasn’t happy with it. I started this novel two years ago now, although I did spin off some of that as The Centauri Surprise last fall. I want it done just as much as some of you do (grin). It marks a turning point in both the Carson & Roberts story, and the general T-Space story arc, so I want to get it right. It will definitely be out in time for StarFest, and probably for pre-order before LTUE.

I also have about 50,000 words of other T-Space books done, although that’s split across the next Kakuloa novel and a new trilogy (probably) based on the discovery and exploration of Verdigris at Delta Pavonis. These both introduce some new characters. There are a few other things in the works too, more about those later.

Oh, and happy New Year!

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Dec 10 2019

Alpha Centauri Trilogy “boxed set”

Published by under T-Space


As mentioned below, my three popular Alpha Centauri books have been packaged into a single “boxed set” (since it’s an e-book, the box is virtual). This includes the complete versions of First Landing, Sawyer’s World, and The Return.

Update: This is available on Amazon here. Sorry, with the usual Christmas chaos it took me a while to update this post.

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Dec 10 2019

An Excess of Exoplanets

Published by under Astronomy,Writing

In the course of doing research and fact-checking for the imminent release of The Pavonis Insurgence and a new in-progress series (probably a trilogy) set in early T-Space (the same era as the Kakuloa series), I came across a recent, and fascinating, paper by a veritable laundry list of authors (Tuomi, et al.), titled “Frequency of planets orbiting M dwarfs in the Solar neighbourhood.”

M dwarfs, also called red dwarfs, are the most common type of star in our galaxy. The authors of the paper surveyed and analyzed data from many studies, covering 426 nearby stars and a total of 118 probable planets. They further analyzed this to come up with an average: an impressive 2.39 exoplanets per red dwarf, (although that could be (on average) anywhere from 1.03 to 6.97, again per star).

The numbers are probably different for different types of stars (like our own yellow G type), but my guess (and it is just a guess) is that the larger the star, the more planets it is likely to have, simply because there was more material in the original nebula. Now, that is complicated by gravitational effects of binary and multiple star systems, which tend to slingshot stuff out of the system, and with the formation of gas giants, which can do likewise. But still, we’re talking about averages.

Anyway, the paper got me thinking (always dangerous). At several cons now, I have given presentations that either briefly discussed exoplanets, or were entirely about exoplanets. Maybe I should write a book…. There are several books on exoplanets out there, but they are necessarily dated (it’s a rapidly changing field) and none (from what I’ve seen) target the audience I’m thinking of, most folks who want to know more about the science behind science fiction, both the readers and the writers. (For you astronomers out there, you’re not “most folks”, grin.)

Anyway, just a vague heads-up. No specific release plans yet, but I’m thinking summer of 2020, maybe around the time we start getting results from the CHEOPS bird (CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite) due to launch later this month. Meanwhile, I have science fiction books to finish.

Next time you look up at the stars at night (and for best results, do this away from the city where the skies are dark), consider that almost every one of those points of light has one or more planets orbiting it. Do you really think we’re alone?

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Nov 27 2019

Alpha Centauri trilogy updated, more coming.

Published by under T-Space,Writing

With the success of the refresh of my earlier Carson & Roberts books, we have done the same with my Alpha Centauri trilogy (First Landing, Sawyer’s World, and The Return). This includes another edit pass to catch any lingering typos and clean up a few Britishisms, a reformat to improve the interior appearance, and a refresh on the covers. (The cover change is less drastic than than for the other books, mostly just a font change. The new covers are below.) So far this only affects the Kindle edition. The updates to the paper editions (with new ISBNs) will be done soon.

All this is preparatory to issuing all three books in a combined omnibus (or “boxed set”) edition. There won’t be an actual box even for the paper copies, production costs are just too high to be worthwhile. I plan to include some bonus material in the omnibus, things like maps and a few illustrations. Target release date is mid-December.

Work on The Pavonis Insurgence is almost complete, but we’re pushing the release back until after Christmas to give more editing time. A new series, centering around the first landings in and exploration of the Delta Pavonis system, is also under way, as is the next book in the Kakuloa series. More to come!

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Nov 11 2019

In Remembrance, and Thank You

Published by under Uncategorized

It’s Veterans Day here in the US, Remembrance Day in Canada, the UK, and other commonwealth countries.Poppy on jacket lapel. Sometimes called Poppy Day, after the traditional symbol named from the poem “In Flander’s Fields” (where poppies grow…)

To all veterans of the US, Canada, the UK and allied countries … thank you.

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Oct 30 2019

CAL book sale this weekend

Published by under Conventions,T-Space

The Colorado Authors League is again part of the Colorado Country Christmas Gift Show this year. It is this weekend (Nov 1-3) at the Denver Mart (I-25 & 58th). My books (trade paperback) will be on sale at discounted prices, even bigger discounts if you buy multiples. Use the coupon at right (click on the image for full size) for discounted entry to the show (there will be a lots more going on than just books, but lots of books.) (NB there is a similar show in Colorado Springs the following weekend, but my books will not be available there.)

All books are signed, but I will be happy to personalize them; I’m there from 12noon to 2pm on Fri, Nov 1 and 3pm to 8pm on Saturday the 2nd. I will also be there sometime before closing (5pm) on Sunday as I’m part of the tear-down crew.

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Oct 17 2019

MileHiCon 51

Published by under Conventions

MileHiCon 51 bannerIt’s October, and that means it’s time for MileHiCon, the Denver regional science-fiction convention. As usual, it will be at the Denver Tech Center Hyatt-Regency hotel. This, its 51th, is the weekend of October 18-20. I will be there for the weekend, including panels Friday afternoon and Saturday and the mass autographing Saturday afternoon. I’ll also have books at one of the author tables in the lobby. Find me and say “hi”.

Also coming up, November 1-3, is the Colorado Christmas Gift Show, which will have a booth for the Colorado Authors’ League (CAL). My books, as well as those of other Colorado authors, will be available. (I will be at the booth for a couple of shifts, I don’t know exactly when.) The Show is the weekend of November 1-3 at the Denver Merchandise Mart.

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