Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Mar 15 2017

Launch Pad, and a Countdown sale

Published by under Astronomy,T-Space,Writing

A couple of quick notes. I’ve been accepted to this year’s Launch Pad Writers Astronomy Workshop this summer in Wyoming. Really looking forward to it, other writers who have been enjoyed it. And yes, even though I write occasionally on astronomy and try to get it right in my stories, back when I took astronomy and astrophysics in college, Pluto was still a planet and didn’t have any moons. Among other discoveries since.

The Countdown Sale is at Amazon, for Alpha Centauri: First Landing. Tomorrow (Thursday, 3/16) it goes on sale for 0.99, and the price will bump up about every 27 hours until Monday evening. Welcome in Spring with an e-book ;). Might also be just the thing to help you forget about the snow if you’re in the north-eastern US.

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Feb 22 2017

TRAPPIST-1 the UltraCool

Published by under Astronomy,T-Space,Writing

By now probably anyone paying attention is aware of NASA’s announcement of seven Earth-sized exoplanets, three possibly in the Habitable Zone, surrounding the “ultracool dwarf” star TRAPPIST-1 (aka 2MASS J23062928-0502285), about 39 light years away. Now, ultracool as having seven terrestrial (rocky) exoplanets is, that word really refers to the fact that it’s a fairly dim red dwarf star (type M8, for those counting). That means those planets in the hab zone? They’re really close. Like roughly 7-day orbit close. (Three of the others are even closer to their sun.)

That doesn’t rule out life. Habitable Zone means, that, well, they might be habitable. The temperatures could be right for liquid water. No guarantees, of course; technically, Venus and Mars are within (barely) Sol’s habitable zone. But still.

In the context of my T-Space series, this is also ultracool. At 12 parsecs, it’s not far beyond the 10-parsec limit that very loosely defines T-Space (in fact, it’s about the same distance as Zeta Reticuli, but off in a different direction). Because it’s not a G-type star like our sun (or nearly so like some K and F stars), it’s very unlikely to have had planets altered by the Terraformers. Earth life probably wouldn’t grow there because the sunlight and seasons would be all wrong. But that’s not to say that something else couldn’t grow there. There’s actually a fair body of serious speculation as to what life on a planet orbiting a red dwarf might be like.

Remember the degkhidesh? (Well, if you haven’t read The Reticuli Deception yet, you wouldn’t.) They came from somewhere. And although not yet explicitly stated in print, there’s a good chance they’re not from yet another terraformed planet orbiting a Sol-like star. We may have found their home world, or one of their systems near T-Space. Time to send an expedition to check it out.

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Feb 16 2017

Price drop!

Published by under T-Space,Writing

So, in anticipation of the long-delayed third book in my T-Space Carson & Roberts series (or if you prefer, the Starship Sophie series), we’re dropping the price on the e-book of the first, The Chara Talisman. Price is now $2.99, down from $4.99 (40% savings).

By the way, each of my T-Space novels is available on e-book for only $0.99 if you’ve bought the paperback version through Amazon, as part of their Match Book program.

You can start reading Chara Talisman at Amazon. One reviewer called it “A delightful mix of Indiana Jones and space opera.” Enjoy!

(The third in the series, The Eridani Convergence will be out later this year. If you’re interested in an advance review copy, let me know by replying below.)

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Jan 23 2017

Rolling into 2017.

Published by under T-Space,Writing

S-class ship
So, 2017 is well under way, and I’ve been adding stuff to the T-Space wiki. Mostly background but also some starship pictures (see right).

The publishing schedule this year includes both Alpha Centauri: Sawyer’s World and The Eridani Convergence, sequels in the two T-Space series out so far. (Dates when I know them, but I expect early summer and late fall.) I also hope to break my logjam with short stories (entirely my own fault, the magazines can’t publish what I don’t submit), a mix of T-Space shorts and unrelated stories.

And it being almost the end of January, I’m starting to see royalty statements coming in for last year. A big thank you to those of you who have been buying my books, and another thank you for those who have left reviews on Good Reads and especially Amazon. It all encourages me to get more stories out sooner. 😉

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Dec 31 2016

2016 – I’ve had worse

Published by under Astronomy,T-Space,Writing

Speaking of reviews (see below), this seems like as good a time as any to do a “year in review” entry.

A lot of people are moaning about how awful 2016 was. (It’s worse than you thought — not only was it a leap year, meaning it was 366 days, we also get a leap second just before midnight, so it’s 366 days and one second long.)

Yes, a lot of well-loved celebrities died (as did my ex’s mom), but so did a few not-so-well-loved folks did too. Fidel Castro comes to mind, for one.

And yeah, a lot of folks griped about the results of various elections. Face it, in any presidential election there are going to be millions unhappy with the outcome, whoever wins. I’ve got no particular brief on Brexit — I left Britain long before it became part of the EU, so in some ways for me it’s just a return to the status quo ante.

But now for the good stuff.

After their first brief successes at the end of 2015, both SpaceX and Blue Origin went on to successfully launch vehicles to space and return them intact several times in 2016. SpaceX did their first, second and third successful ocean landings on their drone ship Of Course I Still Love You as well as a couple more on land. (Alas, the unfortunate cryo tank detonation in September put a damper on that for the rest of the year, the good news is that they’ve figured out the problem and will be flying again as early as before January is out. Blue Origin, while facing a much easier flight regime (they’re not trying to put something in orbit) not only had several successful landings, but they reflew the same vehicle several times. SpaceX is still working towards this, and while DC-X did it twenty-five years ago, DC-X didn’t get anywhere near space, unlike Blue Origin’s New Shepard. So, in general a very good year for reusable spacecraft.

On the exploration front, NASA’s Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter in July, and has sent back some great new data on the gas giant’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. The Asteroid Sample Return mission, OSIRIS-Rex, is successfully on its way to asteroid Bennu (expected return in 2023). The James Webb Space Telescope was completed this November, and will undergo a year of testing with expected launch in 2018. And by no means least, especially considering the fiction I write, in May of 2016 the Kepler team announced 1,284 additional exoplanets found, of which at least nine are in their stars’ habitable zones. (That’s 1,284 more than the 951 already discovered by Kepler and brings the total to about 3,200.)

Also in 2016, the New Horizons probe spent most of the year (up to October) sending back the data it gathered in its fast flyby of Pluto et al. back last December. The tough little robot is now on its way to a rendezvous with Kuiper Belt Object “2014 MU69” in 2019.

So while 2016 may have sucked for some here on Earth, it’s looking good as far as us becoming a spacefaring species. Ad astra!

Cover image: Alpha Centauri: First Landing
And oh yeah, speaking of spacefaring species, this year I had another book published, Alpha Centauri: First Landing. If you’re still bummed about 2016, or even if you’re not, you may enjoy it. I promise, no mention at all is made of the events of this past year. Available from, among other places, Amazon.

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Nov 14 2016

Reviews

Published by under Writing

Amazon review poster.
I don’t expect everyone to like my writing any more than I like every other author’s writing. Some I like, some I don’t, some it depends on the mood I’m in. I do try to make it clear what the reader is getting with any of my stories or novels. In the case of stories I sell to magazines, that’s mostly up to the editor — an editor won’t buy a story unless they think their subscribers will enjoy it. With the novels, that’s what cover blurbs and free samples on Amazon are for.

But whether you like it or whether you don’t, if you’ve read something of mine that’s available on Amazon (or other online bookstore), please, please leave a review. Even a short one. It helps get the message out to other potential readers, and it helps with the various algorithms that e.g. Amazon uses to link books together (as in “readers who bought X also bought Y”).

Amazon has been changing its review rules lately because of incidents of scammers buying reviews and such. I won’t do that. I write to entertain (not least myself), and an entertainer always wants to reach the largest audience possible. (But I can’t afford to give it away. Artists, copyeditors and the like expect to be paid, and it helps justify the time and effort I put into it rather than indulging in some hobby — and so I can pay other writers for the stuff I read.)

All of which is a very long-winded way of asking: if you’ve read anything of mine, please leave a review. If you haven’t … why not download a free sample from one of my books on Amazon, or one of the short stories here. Thanks!

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Nov 04 2016

Next up: The Eridani Convergence

Published by under T-Space,Writing

So, I’m 15,000 words into the sequel to The Chara Talisman and The Reticuli Deception. (No, those aren’t all NaNoWriMo-qualifying words, I got a head start.) The cover outline is done (see pic),
but the detail image awaits at least the first full draft of the text. Meanwhile, Alpha Centauri: First Landing is selling at a modest pace, and I’ve had some good comments on it.

There are a lot of separate character threads at the start of the next book, with Carson and Roberts temporarily going separate ways. Meanwhile an old friend, and an old enemy, are back in the picture. And everyone seems to be converging on a star tagged 82 Eridani…

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Oct 31 2016

Finally, Alpha Centauri: First Landing is out!

Published by under T-Space,Writing

A few posts down, when I announced The Reticuli Deception, I promised a prequel to T-Space called Alpha Centauri.   Well, the tale grew a bit in the telling (as they do), so it’s really a two-parter. The first can be read as a stand-alone, and I’m trying to do the same with the second, it’s not like the publisher artificially cleaved it twain at the midpoint.  It helps that there are two habitable planets in the Alpha Centauri system. 😉Cover image: Alpha Centauri: First Landing

Alpha Centauri: First Landing came out last week, debuting in time for MileHiCon 48, and so far it seems pretty-well received.  The sequel, Alpha Centauri: Sawyer’s World, will be out in 2017, but prior to that I’ve promised another Hannibal Carson/Jackie Roberts adventure, sequel to Chara and Reticuli, to be called The Eridani Convergence.   Good thing NaNoWriMo is coming up, I have novels to write!

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Jun 15 2013

Worldcon is coming…

Published by under Writing

LoneStarCon logo

It’s just over 10 weeks now until Worlcon 71, the 71st annual World Science Fiction Convention. Also known as LoneStarCon 3, it’s coming up Aug 29 through Sept 2 in San Antonio, Texas. If you’re not already a member, sign up before the end of July to be able to vote for the Hugo awards. Eligible voters can download e-copies of most of the available works (obviously not the dramatic presentations) from the LoneStarCon web site. I just downloaded mine and am reading through what I’d missed; there’s definitely some award-worthy work in there.

I’m looking forward to the con, to seeing friends I haven’t seen since last con and meeting new ones. I don’t know if I’m on any panels yet, I got my volunteer info in kind of late, but I’ll be around. I think the last (only?) time I was in San Antonio was for an International Space Development Conference (many years ago!) and had a great time.

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May 10 2013

The Reticuli Deception now in print!

Published by under T-Space,Writing

Cover: The Reticuli Deception

My latest, The Reticuli Deception is now available in trade paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. The ISBN-13: is 978-0615-71102-7 if you want to support your local bookstore by ordering it through them. It can also be had in various e-book formats from the usual suspects.

This is a sequel to The Chara Talisman, and the latter has been reprinted with a few corrections and an added star map. Next up, and in progress, is a prequel to the T-Space series called Alpha Centauri, which covers the first landings.

I’d love for people to leave reviews of this — or any of my works — on Amazon, B&N, or any of the various review sites. I’m not asking for five-star reviews, just honest appraisals that will help new readers decide if my work might be for them or not (no author can please everyone). And feel free to drop feedback here too, of course. The more feedback I get, the more I write ;-)

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