Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Aug 02 2019

MALCon is coming, and more

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

The seventh Denver area Myths & Legends Convention (MALCon) is coming up, August 9-11 at the Radisson Denver-Aurora. I will be on a bunch of panels, mostly on the Saturday (along with autographing sessions) and one Sunday. It should be a lot of fun. If you’re in the area, come on out. I may have a few giveaways at my presentations.

Also, number four in the Carson & Roberts archeology series, The Centauri Surprise is available now for pre-order. Release date is August 20. It turns out Rico is alive, although he’s not sure just where; Carson finally gets to talk to Peter Finley (you may remember him from Alpha Centauri: Sawyer’s World — he’s not dead yet) about “Pete’s Peak”; and Homeworld Security is getting increasingly nervous about the Velkaryans.

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Jul 02 2019

Spikecon, and Carson & Roberts refresh

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

I’ll be heading to Spikecon in Layton, Utah, for a prolonged July 4th weekend. I have panels on Thursday and Friday, check the online schedule.

Today also marks the beginning of the refresh of my Carson & Roberts archeology adventures in T-Space. The three existing novels are getting all new covers, plus an edit pass to clean up a few typos but mostly to remove some British usage in the language that was inconsistent with my later novels. The e-books are being re-released first, starting with The Chara Talisman with new paper editions coming later in July. Also coming in July will be The Centauri Surprise, (currently in edit), which follows The Eridani Convergence, and then The Pavonis Insurgence.

Above, samples of the new covers.

UPDATE: The updated versions are all now live. Click the images for links to the books’ pages on Amazon. The Centauri Surprise is now available for pre-order.

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Jun 11 2019

An eBook Sampler

Published by under Writing

I have decided to make my collection of short stories, A Sampler, available as an e-book. I’m not sure why I didn’t do it before, but until now (it just went live on Amazon) it has only been available in paperback. If you’ve already bought the hardcopy from Amazon, you should be able to download the e-book free thanks to their Matchbook program, otherwise it’s 99 cents.

This includes my very first T-Space story, “Into the Fire,” and an excerpt from Alpha Centauri: First Landing, but the rest is a mixed bag of stories that have appeared in Analog and elsewhere.

Enjoy!

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Jun 08 2019

Relaunch, refresh, and new releases

Published by under T-Space,Writing

So May was a hectic month, between my two youngest graduating college (on the same day, 700 miles apart), attending the SFWA Nebulas conference, and ferrying one son to the six-week geology field camp that, for whatever reason, the university scheduled for after graduation even though it’s a requirement. Only about 12,000 words written on the new novels, but also I got some editing in and even, for the first time in years, got a couple of short stories out to seek homes in the magazines.

Speaking of words written and new releases, The Centauri Surprise is almost ready for final edit. I’d like to release it the beginning of July, with next one, The Pavonis Insurgence, following some time in August. I’ll post a more complete and definitive release schedule as details firm up. Also, look for Kakuloa: The Downhill Slide later this year. (Ideally, I’d like to have Kakuloa: Crash and Burn out this year too. All of the above are in various stages of progress, so it could happen.)
New Chara Talisman cover
Before that, though, I will be relaunching the existing Carson & Roberts novels (The Chara Talisman, The Reticuli Deception, and The Eridani Convergence) with new covers (I can hear several of you cheering as I write that) and some minor revisions.
The latter is mostly just typo cleanup, but there are a couple of inconsistencies that crept into the overall timeline when I wasn’t looking. For example, the Belize wreckage found at the end of Reticuli makes more sense in 2122, not 2123. Also, the name Flora for hurricanes was retired after 1963, so I’ll probably rename it Fiona. That’s a minor detail of no story importance, it just offends my OCD now that I’m aware of it. The new covers will look something like the one above. I’ll post another update with all of them soon.

With the change to the title font, the Alpha Centauri series covers should also be refreshed, so that will likely happen sometime this summer.

I’m also toying with the idea of boxed sets for the Alpha Centauri trilogy and the first three Carson & Roberts books. Not literal boxed sets, of course (very hard to do with modern publishing), but rather all three books collected into a single e-book volume for sale at a lower price. Stay tuned.

Let me know what you think of the proposed new covers, boxed sets (omnibus editions), or anything else.

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Apr 05 2019

Book Report

Published by under Mars,T-Space,Writing

Which is to say, a report on where I am with in-progress and upcoming books, not a report on anything I’ve read recently.

The first draft of The Pavonis Insurgence, next in the Carson & Roberts series, is finished, but still requires revision (which will probably add ten thousand words or so) and final editing. So, maybe by Memorial Day? I spun up a lot of different plot threads in The Eridani Convergence and The Reticuli Deception before that, and I’m starting to tie them together.

When I came up with the whole T-Space series, I envisioned a twelve book plot arc, loosely based on a four-act structure. The Alpha Centauri series was act one. Kakuloa was supposed to bridge act one and act two, the Carson & Roberts series. Those of you mathematically inclined (if you’re also familiar with the four act structure) will be starting to recognize a problem about here. Pavonis will be the fourth of the Carson & Roberts books, and I’ve already suggested that Kakuloa itself may end up as four books (the first, A Rising Tide, came out in January, the next, The Downhill Slide is also in progress, about one-third done, with some work started on the third, Crash and Burn). And I’m only (with Pavonis) nearing the end-of-act-two plot twist. So, maybe a twenty (-plus?) volume series? We’ll see.

In my defense, these volumes are not the multi-hundred-thousand word volumes of a Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) or Wheel of Time. (Note, I’m not comparing myself to Martin or Jordan as an author, just comparing word counts.) I grew up on much shorter novels, and I think my readers would prefer to see me publish more frequently than once every few years. So there’s that. Anyway, I’d like to have the next Kakuloa book out by Westercon/NASFiC, which is the July 4th extended weekend.

On the other hand, I don’t want to get myself pigeonholed as just the author of the T-Space series. I have a few other projects that I’d like to work on.

Two of these are set within our own solar system, and are old projects I’m looking at taking off the back burner. One is my “Great Martian Novel” (every hard SF author should write one), centered around a couple of major construction projects on Mars. The other is my “Apollo 18” book, which was about half-written when that [expletive deleted] movie of the same name came out. I think it has been long enough now, and the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 is coming up. Working title is now Apollo 18: Project Jeannie. This is set between Apollo 17 and Skylab, and has nothing in common with the movie except the mission number and the Soviet lunar lander. (No doubt we were both inspired by the revelation that there was a Soviet lunar lander, although it never flew and was kept secret by the USSR to pretend there never was a Moon race.) No promises on these. I have mentioned them in passing before and will post more when there’s something more definite.

Another one is set in T-Space, but will be YA (young adult). I’ve alluded to the fact that Jackie Roberts was born on a starship during the five-year Eta Carinae mission. I want to tell a story of her growing up ten years after that, when her parents take her on another multi-year mission. I’d like to have that one ready for Christmas, but that depends on my writing schedule and priorities.

Somewhere in there I’d also like to do a sci-fi/fantasy crossover, maybe an expansion of my short “The Gremlin Gambit” (but I have some other ideas, too).

Too much to write and too little time. What would you like to see?

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Mar 03 2019

Another (older) interview

Published by under T-Space,Writing

Speaking of interviews (see below), back when The Chara Talisman was about to be released, I was interviewed for a podcast while at MileHiCon. I came across a link to that recently. Oddly, the page is tagged for Connie Willis. She usually attends MHC, and she may have been a guest of honor that year. (Ironically, I interviewed Connie myself about twenty years earlier, for a public access TV show our local National Space Society (L5) chapter was doing.)

Anyway, here’s the link to the interview. There are two MP3s on that page for some reason; they’re both the same interview. I intend to make that available from this website in case that link goes away. I’ll post the link when I do.

The interviewer starts off relating how he was reading my “Poetic Justice” and got so distracted he missed his train. That story originally appeared in Space Horrors and is reprinted in my Alastair Mayer: A Sampler if you’d like to read it yourself. (And if you have read it, that page could use a few reviews. [grin])

Meanwhile, work on the next two Kakuloa books and the sequel to The Eridani Convergence continues. Look for releases beginning in May.

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Jan 30 2019

TV Interview with Jon Caldera

Published by under Writing

So earlier this month I was interviewed by Jon Caldera for his TV show “Devil’s Advocate”. The clip is up on YouTube. We chatted about science fiction in general and about indie publishing, but he did plug my books. Caldera is a science fiction fan from way back, I had fun. It’s only twelve minutes, so not very in-depth. Maybe it will lead to more.

Anyway, check it out. (I’m the one in the blue shirt and glasses. 😉 )

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Nov 29 2018

Kakuloa: A Rising Tide — Done!

Published by under T-Space,Writing

Finally. It still needs a few finishing touches based on early-reader feedback, and the usual publishing steps like formatting for print and ebook, cover blurbs, and so on, but the story is done. A Rising Tide comes in at about 85,000 words, so my longest yet.

The book starts out following the Victoria to the planet Kakuloa (in the Alpha Centauri system) immediately after the events of The Return, then skips forward a few years to the settlement of Kakuloa, and the rise of the squidberry* industry…and the problems they’re having with tree squids. Cephalopod expert Dr. Ellie Greystone is called in, but she has problems of her own on Earth, and not everyone on Kakuloa is happy with what she’s discovering about the squids.

Squidberries aren’t the only industry on Kakuloa, of course. It’s becoming a jumping-off spot for further interstellar exploration; a resort developer likes the beaches, and especially likes some loopholes in the law governing the planet; and William Blake finds his role expanding from mission commander to de facto planetary administrator, with all the associated headaches.

There will be more books in the Kakuloa series, bridging the gap between Alpha Centauri and the The Chara Talisman, but without the cliff-hangers that the Alpha Centauri series had. Jason Curtis will show up in there somewhere.

A Rising Tide should be available around Christmas. That’s the cover above on the right. Now, I have a couple of others to finish….

*(Squidberries are the source of an anti-aging drug.)

UPDATE: Kakuloa: A Rising Tide is now available in both Kindle and trade paperback editions. It is also available on Kindle Unlimited.

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Nov 14 2018

Progress!

Published by under T-Space,Writing

I keep promising that the next book is coming Real Soon Now, and it is, so I though folks might be interested in just how it is progressing. I keep track of my writing time and word count in a spreadsheet (this is valuable, especially if you’re doing something on a deadline like NaNoWriMo). Below is a chart from the current spreadsheet.
Book progress graph.

The dates along the bottom should be self-explanatory. The horizontal lines mark increments of 10,000 words. The dark blue line, which just crossed the 70,000 mark, is for Kakuloa: A Rising Tide. The orange line is for The Pavonis Insurgence.

You’ll notice a sharp dip in the blue line just before 09/08/18. That’s when I realized that a couple of chapters I’d already written more properly belonged in a later book, so I took them out. That’s the yellow line (incomplete because I’m not tracking it at the moment), which will be Kakuloa: A Downward Slide when it’s done.

The wavery bits in the September/October time-frame are where I’m doing some editing and revising, and October looks relatively flat because I’ve been removing outline notes to myself (which I embed in the text as I go along) and replacing them with actual story. Also incorporating edit fixes from my alpha readers. (Also dealing with some non-writing crap, like replacing my car.) Pavonis is mostly horizontal recently because I’m focused on finishing Kakuloa; it will climb rapidly once that one is done.

My pace this year has been slower than last, partly because of life interfering, but also because I’m having to do more extensive research and world-building (and keeping track of it all) than for the first Alpha Centauri trilogy. Next year should go faster.

So. I’m not forecasting a release date yet (still aiming for this year though), but my editor/beta readers should have it by Thanksgiving. For which I, for one, will be truly thankful.

P.S. There’s another chapter I pulled out because it was more of a sidebar that just didn’t fit. It’s relevant background, though, so I’ll probably make it available to my newsletter subscribers. You can go here to sign up. No spam, I promise.

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Oct 03 2018

Upcoming events – MileHiCon 50, CAL book sale

Published by under Conventions,T-Space,Writing

It’s that time again. MileHiCon, the Denver regional science-fiction convention, at the Denver Tech Center Hyatt-Regency hotel is celebrating its 50th the weekend of October 19-21. MileHiCon 50 logo I will be there for the weekend, including panels Friday afternoon and Saturday evening 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”.

The Colorado Christmas Gift Show will have a booth for the Colorado Authors’ League (CAL), which will have my books available. (I’ll also be at the booth for a couple of shifts, I don’t know exactly when.) The Show is the weekend of November 2-4 at the Denver Merchandise Mart.

I’m into the final editing stage for the Kakuloa book. This will be the first of three: Kakuloa: A Rising Tide, Kakuloa: The Downhill Slide and Kakuloa: Revivified (that last title may change). These span the gap between the Alpha Centauri series (you can think of them as books 4, 5 and 6 in that series, although the original characters make only minor appearances, if any) and The Chara Talisman. I can’t promise it for either of the above events, but I’m hoping. Definitely by December. And the next Carson & Roberts is in progress too.

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