About a month ago, I quietly released Redemption, the second installment in The End of the Iron series. To celebrate, I’m offering Redemption, along with everything else in my collection, free on Amazon from August 29th until September 2nd. Here’s a link to my Amazon author page. (If you don’t have a Kindle, Calibre does a good job of converting to .pdf and other formats).

Redemption is a novel about what happens when good people doing dubious things in pursuit of a goal. There’s also mischief, mayhem and awkward moments, as well as government intrigue, mass psychosis, and interdimensional demons … you can’t forget the interdimensional demons.

In other news, on August 20th, I finished the first draft of an upcoming novel entitled Doghead Empire. Set in the year 3000, this work begins and ends with the story of Kali Vance, a caterer who crosses path with an outlander suicide bomber.

Unlike in the Iron Age series, this book provides multiple POVs —five at this work’s current state.

I can’t decide if it’s premature to be talking about this work. Right now, it’s a first draft, which is necessarily a train wreck. Even worse (or better, depending), it’s a 140,000-word train wreck.

Fortunately, I had a pretty good idea of the story before I sat down to draft this work. The draft is a mess, and finishing it will take some time, but this should be my next major release.

Thanks for reading.

Direct links

 Reaction: The End of the Iron Age, Book 1

Redemption: The End of the Iron Age, Book 2

5 Short Tales of Strange New Beginnings

 

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For now, it’s only available on Kindle. I hope to have a print version out in the next couple months.

Redemption - The End of the Iron Age Book 2

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So the NSA Is Watching Us. Now What?

I’ve just published a piece on the PRISM scandal over at Spotsify. This was a fun one, as it allowed me to indulge my inner paranoiac. Here’s a sample:

…surely you can trust director of National Intelligence James Clapper when he writes here that Section 702 of FISA only permits targeting when there is an “appropriate, and documented, foreign intelligence purpose for the acquisition” and the foreign target is “reasonably believed to be outside the United States”?

Go ahead. Trust the government not to abuse this information. After all, according to this commentary on the original Washington Post article, PRISM analysts usually have a 51% confidence level their targets are foreign, which means there’s only a 49% chance that targets are U.S. citizens. And it’s not like the FBI and DHS would target protestors and activists in order to stifle dissent.

Who needs the first and fourth amendments, anyway?

 

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Book 2 Status

I’ve had a few queries on the status of Book 2: Redemption.  Here’s what’s happening right now:

  • The final, final, almost-final draft is on my hard drive. I’m due to receive comments from two more beta readers this week. So long as they don’t uncover any major disasters (and they shouldn’t), I’ll make one more quick pass before turning it over to a copy editor. 
  • I need to select a copy editor. I worked with a few good ones on 5 Short Tales of Strange New Beginnings, so that narrows it down.
  • My cover designer Ranilo is making some final tweaks on the design. I’ll post images here as soon as it’s done.

At the earliest, the Kindle edition will be out the first or second week of July. The  print edition will happen when it happens, most likely early August.

As a consolation for the delays, here’s a picture of an alpaca (thanks to tambako).

Alpaca

 

 

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Holy mother of God! I ran a 3-day KDP giveaway this weekend. I expected to give away a few hundred copies of Reaction. Instead, Reaction fought its way to the top of the Kindle free charts for both sci-fi adventure and satire.

Feels good, man. Reaction hits # 1

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing for a really cool online magazine called Spotsify. The editor gives me topics and turns me loose. Here are a couple articles I recently wrote that you might enjoy:

10 Chilling Post-Apocalyptic Novels 

10 Great Adult Dystopian Novels 

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The Reasons My Son Is Crying

Saw this tumblr today. Here are some reasons this person’s son is crying:

He threw his dinner plate on the ground. He now wants to eat dinner.

I wouldn’t let him drown in this pond.

I gave him a cup of water.

 It’s not my boy, but I can relate. Read it here.

 

 

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Evolution of a Book Cover

About a month ago, I quietly released 5 Short Tales of Strange New Beginnings. My budget for this project was <$200. Decent book cover design usually runs about $300-500. God knows what $200 would buy.

I decided to design the cover myself and spend my limited funds on copyediting services (more on this later, maybe).

While I appreciate good design and can (sometimes) spot ineffective design, a graphic designer I ain’t.

However, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted. Unfortunately, brain-to-screen imaging isn’t a thing yet, so I had to use a pencil. Here’s the sorry result:

crow and truck sketch

I’m comfortable with digital design tools, so I took a photo of these sketches, traced them in Illustrator, placed them in Photoshop, and came up with this ghastly thing:

5-short-tales-of-new-beginnings-cover-1

 

Yes, yes, I know. Even the title sucks. I grew disgusted with the alliteration after about five minutes. Also, the color looked too much like  brownish-yellow mustard (which, in my mind, will forever look like baby shit). Also, just looking at the typography makes me want to kill myself.

I played with this image for a few days. During this time, I pulled a bunch of books from my shelf and noticed a preponderance of outer glow. This is the result:

5-short-tales-of-new-beginnings-cover-v5

Meh. This version was better, but the outer glow was making my eyes bleed. Also realized the truck looked kind of silly. I decided to get an outside opinion on this little work, so I posted a quick request for feedback at /r/design_critiques. Only two users responded (and many thanks to them!), but with their help and a few more hours of work, my cover reached the final version:

Cover for 5 Short Tales of Strange New Beginnings

From the first image to the last, this cover went through about ten iterations. It would’ve been much worse if not for the kind people on r/design_critiques. According to my records, I spent 6.75 hours on this cover, but I can think of at least three nights I didn’t log my time (because beer). All told, the actual time from concept to finished product is closer to fifteen hours, spread out over two weeks.

Is this a great cover? Not by any means or measure. Does it convey a deeper meaning? Not really. It’s a big-ass crow carrying a truck. Is it effective? Maybe. Looks good as  thumbnail. Do I like it? Yeah. I’m happy with it.

Did I have fun making it?

Definitely.

 

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New Short Fiction Collection Now Available

5-short-tales-of-new-beginnings-cover-v11

On March 7th, I released 5 Short Tales of Strange Beginnings. 

Three themes unite this collection of short speculative fiction: new beginnings, the journeys that lead to them, and the strange stuff that happens along the way.

This 26,000-word collection is priced at $2.99 and available on Amazon (for now).

I’ll be giving away copies a couple times over the next few months. To hear about upcoming free days, check back here or sign up for infrequent email updates.

5 Short Tales of Strange New Beginnings contains the following stories:

“Windfall”
Chad Barnes inherits from his uncle a hotel in the North Georgia mountains. There’s one problem: Chad never knew he had an uncle. Nevertheless, Chad thinks this just might be the windfall he needs to save his marriage…or at least get his dog back. But things aren’t what they seem at the Kingston Mountain Lodge and Suites.
“Us, From Evil”
A decade after a second American civil war, tobacco farmer Roger Rollyson realizes that the Yankee oil embargo is going to put him out of business. He’s granted an exemption, but his first fuel run turns into a nightmare. Roger must weigh the life of the woman he loves against the lives of ten thousand strangers.
“Charlie in Check”
A tweaked-out trucker who sometimes sleeps in a cage joins an assassination mission to a wasteland penal colony. His co-conspirators: two living dead men who dismember each other for fun. When things go bad, he makes a decision that will change one life…and end another.
“Second Fiddle”
Guitar extraordinaire Baxter had a good thing going…until his ex took everything but her credit card debt. Now Baxter plays guitar in a novelty act fronted by a raunchy redneck puppet, and he finds the life of a working musician isn’t what he hoped it would be.
“His Own Path”
Expatriate antiques hunter Malachi Maxwell has a great life in Köln, Germany: he makes good money, he travels around the world, and his demigod friends ensure his continued success. Everything changes when someone tosses the severed head of one of his friends into his lap. His past has caught up with him, and Malachi must confront the truth of his own actions.

 

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Updates in Progress

Doing some spring cleaning here on the site, so over the next few days/weeks/years you’ll probably see some changes and quirks.

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