Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Aug 06 2022

Summer drags on…

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

I guess it has been a hot summer. I have my air-conditioning set to about 77F, and I open the windows at night, but my July electric bill was still almost $200. Ouch! Anyway, whether it’s the heat, or lasting after effects of surgery, or some low grade subclinical Covid infection (the home tests show negative), the works in progress aren’t going as quickly as I’d like. But then, do they ever? They are still going, however. One piece of advice that helps: when you think you’ve hit a roadblock because of a plot hole, turn it into a plot twist.

One of those twists is that much of Delta Pavonis: Destiny (the third in that series) actually takes place on Taprobane, the nominally off-limits planet in the Epsilon Indi system. Here’s the preliminary draft of the cover. The second Kakuloa book, The Downhill Slide, will likely be finished first, but I’m revamping the covers for that series.

The next convention I’ll be at will be Denver’s MileHiCon, toward the end of October. With a bit of luck and perseverence, I’ll have two new books for you by then, as well as a short story or two.

So, how’s your summer going?

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May 12 2022

Confession, and update

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

Forgive me Reader, it has been four months since my last post.

During January’s CoSine convention, I felt increasingly uncomfortable. I figured it was just something I ate, but the abdominal pain grew, and later that week I went to the doctor. Long story short, I was having an attack of gallstones. (Can gallstones attack? Whatever they were doing, it hurt.) A couple of weeks later, instead of attending Writing Superstars, I was in for surgery. It went fine, but then I spent a few more weeks feeling blah and slowly recovering, and not getting any writing (or much of anything else) done. Anyway, that’s all over now, and since the beginning of April, when I started writing again, I’ve got just shy of 18,000 new words done. I’m ba-ack! More about that later.

StarFest Denver, 2022
Next up, this weekend (May 13-15), is the StarFest multimedia sci-fi convention. This year it will be at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, the same place that MileHiCon is usually held. I’ll have a table there, so come out, say hi, and join the festivities.

 

 
Works in Progress

I have three novels in progress. Crazy, I know. My highest priority is Delta Pavonis: Destiny, the third in the Delta Pavonis series. Ironically, much of the action in this one actually takes place on Taprobane, orbiting Epsilon Indi, for reasons which will become clear in the book. In terms of word-count, I’m actually further along with Kakuloa: The Downhill Slide, but I’ve had to make some revisions since its timeline overlaps the Delta Pavonis books, and I don’t want to mess up the continuity. I hope to have both finished by the end of summer.

Of course I haven’t forgotten about Carson & Roberts, and I’m targeting the sixth book in that series for the end of the year. The working title is Return to Reticuli, so yes, we’ll be seeing the Kesh again.

Somewhere in there I’m planning to overhaul this web site, which is looking a bit dated, and revamp my newsletter system. Stay tuned, and let me know in the comments if there’s anything specifically you’d like to see. Which reminds me, I have a few more short stories in the works, more on that later.

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Jan 12 2022

2022, the year in preview

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

Why do a usual end of the year “year in review” type post? I’m a science fiction writer, of course I’m going to look forward to the year ahead … even if I’m late doing it. 😉

Urgent stuff first: I plan to be at the COSine 2022 convention in Colorado Springs (the hotel situation got sorted) Jan 14-16.

I’ll have books to sell, and a bunch of panels to be on:
(an M means I’m moderating):
Fri. 5pm – Paleontology Update (M)
Sat. 3pm – Best Rules for Time Travel (M)
Sat. 5:30 – Author Reception & Mass Autographing
Sun. 11am – Sci-Fi Predictions
Sun. 2pm – Exoplanet Update (M)

 

Speaking of books to sell, Volume 2 in the Delta Pavonis series, Delta Pavonis: Expansion, is now available (the ebook is still on pre-order, it will release on the 15th, the paperback is available now.) This is the sequel to Delta Pavonis: Discovery.

 

 
Also available in ebook form is the Jason Curtis story Steppenwolf, which was first published in The Expanding Universe 7.

 
 

That’s January. Conference/convention plans for later in the year include Writing Superstars in February, Starfest Denver in May, and MileHiCon in October, with other possibilities still being evaluated.

Later this year, I am planning the release of the long-awaited (by me, at least) second Kakuloa volume, Kakuloa: The Downhill Slide, the third Paul Fabron novel, Delta Pavonis: Destiny, and, later in the year, a new Carson & Roberts book (title to be determined, but they’re heading back to Zeta Reticuli). More when dates are firmer.

So, what do you guys have planned for 2022?

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Nov 06 2021

Vegas, baby!

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

For those in the Las Vegas area (however large you choose to define that area), on Friday, 12 November, I’ll be at Bally’s for a massive author signing/book sale (20 Books Vegas). Come on by and bring a book or six to get signed. No hardcopy book? I’ll have a few for sale, or a custom label I can autograph if you want to order a book for later delivery.

Speaking of later deliveries, although Gunfight on Europa Station (see below) is now available in e-book from the usual suspects, the print version is not, yet. The books have been printed but, thanks to supply chain problems, are sitting in a warehouse awaiting shipment to Amazon, B&N, etc. I am hoping that Toni Weisskopf (publisher at Baen Books) will have some copies with her at Bally’s next Friday (she’ll be there), but no promises.

Currently in progress: Delta Pavonis: Expansion (sequel to Discovery) is about 75% finished with first draft (I started it after MileHiCon) and I hope to have it out in time for Christmas. The second Kakuloa book, The Downhill Slide, is further along but is slower going (more subplots). Look for it early next year.

Finally, the massive collection The Expanding Universe: Volume 7 (also see below) is doing well, and has some excellent stories in it. Several (many?) of the authors will be at the Vegas event mentioned up top. A great opportunity to collect a bunch of autographs. I’ll have a few copies for sale.

Cheers, belated Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Whatever Other Causes To Celebrate you may have (which reminds me of a story my submariner/Antarctic researcher/writer friend, Robert Williscroft, tells about a certain alcohol supply and some Russian fellow Antarctic researchers, but that will have to wait for another time. He tells it better anyway.) 😉

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Aug 26 2021

Fall line up.

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

Or spring line up, for those of you in the southern hemisphere.

A new novel, two new short stories, and conference appearances. Currently available for pre-order:

Releases 31 August, 2021. A new novel of early T-Space.

Releases 12 September, 2021. Includes my new Jason Curtis short story, “Steppenwolf,” and stories by many other fine authors.

Releases 2 November, 2021. Includes my new Carson and Roberts story, “Incident at Raven’s Rift,” and other great new space westerns.

Cover - "Gunfight at Europa Station"

Cover – “Gunfight at Europa Station”

I will have a table at MileHiCon 53, October 1 to 3, in Denver. I will also be moderating a reading of Space Western stories, including an excerpt from my above “Raven’s Rift.”

On Friday, 12 November, I will have a table at the massive author sale and signing at the 20 Books to 50K Vegas conference at Bally’s hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as conditions permit. Stay well!

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Jul 10 2021

What’s happening…

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

There’s a lot happening at the moment. Some highlights:
The great folks at Fresh Ink Group have invited me to the Voice of Indie podcast this Wednesday, July 14. Listen and call in if you have questions or comments.

The revised manuscript for Delta Pavonis: Discovery is off to beta readers. The new book, covering the first voyage to Delta Pavonis, should be available for pre-order later this month. Next up in that series will be Expansion, wherein T-Space as we see it in the later Carson & Roberts stories begins to take shape. Delta Pavonis is a strategic gateway to several other systems.

Although I couldn’t participate because of a schedule conflict, authors of stories in the upcoming Gunfight on Europa Station talked about it at LibertyCon. The video is here. The book is now available for pre-order, and includes my new story, “Raven’s Rift,” wherein Carson & Roberts first meet.

Speaking of short stories, the new Jason Curtis story “Steppenwolf” is in final edit and should be available in September. Another short, “Shake Up,” has been rewritten (it was previously released to a limited audience), providing backstory for the main character of Kakuloa: The Downhill Slide, coming this Fall.

Also for my Carson & Roberts fans, I’m currently outlining the next few novels in that series. Yes, they’ll be returning to the Zeta Reticuli system…and going beyond.

Conventions and appearances: In addition to the Voice of Indie podcast mentioned above, I will be at MileHiCon in Denver Oct. 1-3, and at the 20Books Meet the Author day in Las Vegas, Nov. 12. I’ll post details on those soon.

So, what’s happening with you?

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Jun 05 2021

Summer!

Published by under T-Space,Writing

Update 7/7/21: The below book-bundle deal has expired. If you took advantage of it, thanks! I’ll be posting more news in a day or two, but you might want to keep Wednesday evening, 7/14/21, from 8pm to 9:30 pm EDT (6pm to 6:30 MDT) free.

Original post:
Summer is fast approaching, although with the 92F temperatures outside as I write this, it feels like it’s already here. I am scrambling to put the finishing touches on my new Delta Pavonis: Discovery novel, as well as on a new Jason Curtis story.

Remember him? The narrator of “Into the Fire” and “Renee (and the Space Raiders),” Jason is a favorite character of mine. “Into the Fire,” while neither the first story I wrote nor the first I published, was the first of what has become the T-Space series. I wrote the (now somewhat revised) opening scenes of “Steppenwolf” about ten years ago, but it got pushed aside by other projects. I now have an ending for it (which I quite like — we’ll be seeing more of Curtis in future) and it will be in print this September. More details closer to release date. It’s a direct sequel to “Renee,” but it stands alone. (“Into the Fire” appears in my Alastair Mayer: A Sampler, “Renee” is included as a bonus in the paperback edition of Kakuloa: A Rising Tide, or as a short standalone ebook.)

Special deal!

Space Adventure Book Bundle


Since you guys read faster than I can write, let me recommend a great book deal coming up, the Space Adventure Book Bundle, with twenty books for less than ten dollars. One of those will be my The Chara Talisman, another is my friend Robert Williscoft’s The Starchild Compact. I haven’t read any of the others yet, but I know most of the authors, and will be buying a copy myself. It will be avaible for any e-reader (not just Kindle), starting June 14 for a limited time only. It will be available here.

Have a great summer, more news soon!

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Apr 02 2021

Things to Come

Published by under T-Space,Writing

No, this isn’t about the H.G. Wells book or the ominously prescient 1939 movie made from it (well worth watching, by the way.) This is just an update on some works in progress and what I expect to release this year.

As mentioned previously, “Raven’s Rift,” a Hannibal Carson story, will be out from Baen in November. It’s already somewhere in their print queue, I turned in the final edits last December.

I’ve had two novels in progress for over a year now, Kakuloa: The Downhill Slide (second in the Kakuloa tetrology), and Delta Pavonis: Discovery which will probably be a standalone, although a sequel is possible. They have both taken longer than I expected, and to be honest, I can’t really blame it on the pandemic; it’s not like I have to leave the house to write. 😉 No, the real problem (in hindsight) was that I changed my approach, using new writing tools and working from a different kind of outline. I let the plots get away from me, especially in Downhill Slide. And yes, plots plural, in that one book. Hence the problem.

The overall arch of the Kakuloa series is the rise, fall, and rise again of Kakuloa’s economy (and indeed, that of the Alpha Centauri system as a whole). I alluded to this back in my first published T-Space story, “Stone Age” (in Analog magazine.) In that story (and in The Chara Talisman, which greatly expands on it), Stevens, the bad guy, and Carson get into a brief discussion of interstellar trade (Carson is trying to keep alien artifacts out of that trade, of course), and Stevens discounts the value of biologicals: “Look at what happened to Kakuloa: two years of a thriving trade in squidberry extract and then the bottom falls out when General Pharmaceuticals learns to synthesize it.”

The real story was more complicated than that, of course, and Stevens fudged some details, but the point is that any economy based on a single export is fragile. Kakuloa is also a frontier port, serving as a jumping off point for further interstellar exploration (such as, to Delta Pavonis). In the years between Alpha Centauri and the The Chara Talisman, there’s a lot that goes on. I made the mistake of trying to squeeze too much of that into one book.

How much is too much? Well, before some recent plot surgery, I had: a murder mystery, a drug trade, problems at the Bimini Bay mines, a spaceship rescue in Kakuloa orbit, spies, unauthorized squidberry plantations, a couple of romantic entanglements, and…but you get the idea. Worse, they’re all connected. As I said, I kind of let it get away from me.

I have ripped out over 9,000 words of the spaceship rescue and will publish that as a separate story, “Roadside Assistance.” I’m paring back the other threads, some of which will be pushed into the next book (Kakuloa: Crash and Burn), others which will either be spun of or dropped. (They may be referred to in passing, but I’m taking some of the focus off them.) The result will be a better book.

Of course, I haven’t forgotten Carson and Roberts. Their story changed but certainly did not end with The Pavonis Insurgence. I am outlining the next few books in their adventures, and we’ll be seeing more of the Kesh as Carson investigates the mysterious Pyramid Builders. There’s also an interstellar war brewing, although the battle lines haven’t finished being drawn yet. The Velkaryans and the UDT Space Force are obvious players, but what about the Kesh and Degkhidesh? Or others?

What’s your favorite part of the T-Space universe? Who or what do you want to see more stories about? I’d be interested to hear. Let me know!

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Mar 28 2021

Apologies…

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

I’m not quite sure how it happened (other than “one day at a time”), but almost seven months has passed since I last updated this. My apologies! And, if you posted a comment that got lost in the 2,556 spam posts (I’m not kidding) awaiting moderation, I deleted it. Again, my apologies. And f*k 2020.

I’ll post more in a day or two when I have a chance to organize my thoughts, (I promise!), but meanwhile, a teaser:

         Cover - "Gunfight on Europa Station"

The sharp-eyed will notice my name in that list of authors. This upcoming anthology, Gunfight on Europa Station, includes my new T-Space story, “Raven’s Rift.” Yes, it is the Raven’s Rift incident mentioned in Carson & Roberts’ backstory. Release date is November 2 of this year, from Baen Books. I wish it were sooner, but that’s out of my hands.

I will be releasing other books (and possibly short stories) before then. More on that in my next post. Also, MileHiCon will be back this year, first weekend of October (earlier than usual). Of course I’ll be there. Also in Vegas in November. Stay tuned.

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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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