Posts Tagged With: series

It Happened One Doomsday ebook $1.99 until Oct. 2

It Happened One Doomsday ebook

Only $1.99 until Oct. 2

Dru Jasper now officially has her own book series. (Yay!) So if you haven’t tried it yet, now is the perfect time to start.

Plus, you can get a free bonus ebook.

Here’s how:

1. Get the first Dru Jasper ebook for $1.99 (hey, that’s 89% off).

2. Tell me when you leave a review (on any website), and I’ll send you the latest Dru Jasper novelette, Put A Spell On You, for free. It’s my gift to you.

That’s it! So easy.

But! The deal only lasts until October 2. So get it while it’s hot!

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Kobo

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Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet: VICTORIOUS on sale today!

If you’ve been waiting for the latest book in what SF Site calls “some of the best military science fiction on the shelves today,” then wait no longer, citizen.  Face forward and get to the nearest book store, full ahead flank! 

Trust me, if you haven’t picked up this New York Times bestselling saga about “Black Jack” Geary and the Lost Fleet, you’re going to want to.  An all-too-human hero, a desperate flight home from deep behind enemy lines, and possibly the smartest-written space battles ever combine to make this series a sure winner.  Check it out today!

The Lost Fleet: Victorious on Barnes and Noble
The Lost Fleet: Victorious on Amazon.com

Or, better yet, buy local!

Author’s web site:
http://www.sff.net/people/john-g-hemry/

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Bestselling author Jack Campbell on Sci Fi Bookshelf.com

Even before it rocketed to the New York Times bestseller list, The Lost Fleet series was hailed by critics and readers alike as some of the best new science fiction to hit the shelves.  Jack Campbell has a lot going for him: strong storytelling, real-life Navy experience, and a knack for timeless epics.  Plus, he’s a lot of fun to chat with.  Here’s what he has to say about starship battles, the legend of Black Jack and the inspiration that drives him.

Sci Fi Bookshelf.com: The Lost Fleet series kicks off with one heck of a bang: the near-annihilation of the Alliance fleet, and the heroic efforts of Captain John “Black Jack” Geary to shake off a century-long hibernation and lead the survivors to safety. Did the inspiration for The Lost Fleet start with that moment in time, or was it more about the harrowing journey home?

Jack Campbell:  The initial inspiration for The Lost Fleet actually grew out of a question posed by Susan Shwartz (another SF writer). She was writing Star Trek tie-ins at the time, and asked how a long retreat scenario would work in that universe. My answer then was you couldn’t do it because of the way Star Trek had established its rules for technology and faster-than-light travel. 

But it got me to wondering how a long-retreat scenario could work among the stars. The model for long retreats is Xenophon’s March of the Ten Thousand, so I tried to imagine how that would translate with a fleet of spaceships. That was half the inspiration.

The other half came from another idea I had been thinking about for a while, the widespread myths in which an ancient hero was not dead, but only sleeping, and would someday return when most needed. King Arthur is one of the most widely known, but there are many others such as the Twelfth Imam. I had been imagining what it would be like for a such a person to actually reawaken in the future. Far from being a figure of myth, they would be a real person, and probably stunned by the legends which had grown around them.

After years of mulling over these two concepts, at some point they came together in my head, and I think they fit very well with each other. The fleet which needs a hero to get it home through great peril, and the hero who is shocked to discover what he is now believed to be and that he is now expected to save the day. The fusion of two ancient ideas made a good basis for a story.

SFB:  What do you suppose makes Captain “Black Jack” Geary such a likable, all-too-human hero? Is it his constant struggle to live down his own legend, or something more?

JC:  I tried to make him human in the sense of being aware of his own limitations and in being often almost overwhelmed by responsibilities that he had never asked for or expected. In much lesser ways, many of us face such situations, so it’s easy to empathize with what Geary is facing. At the same time, he sees the need to be more than he is. Unless he can achieve the sorts of things his heroic image claims he can do, then countless people will suffer. He’s smart enough to know he needs the help and advice of others, that he can’t go it alone even though ultimately the decisions he makes have to be his own. As a result, he respects those around him for what they know and as individuals in their own right.

So I think he is both accessible to readers, who can understand what he’s facing, and a character they can like because he keeps trying despite his fears and does his best to treat others right. He won’t let down those who are counting on him, even though the pressure is almost too much at times. 

SFB:  Can you give us a glimpse of what lies ahead for Black Jack?

JC:  It’s hard to talk about what comes after VICTORIOUS without giving away what happens in VICTORIOUS. (Of course, the name VICTORIOUS does telegraph one of the plot points in that book.) His home is gone, lost in the past, so now the only home he knows is the fleet. He’s figuring out that every victory, every obstacle overcome, just leads to the next problem, and since his existence as Black Jack or his actions to solve past problems create some of the new problems, there’s no honorable way to avoid doing what he can to resolve each new problem. Fortunately, he won’t be alone.

SFB:  What was it like to find out that RELENTLESS had sailed onto the New York Times bestseller list?

JC:  Stunning. The success of the series built over time, so there were a number of “wow” moments. My first two series did okay, but not great, and never got past their first printings. It felt great when my agent called to say that DAUNTLESS had gone into a second printing. Then a third. FEARLESS got a second printing. COURAGEOUS went into its second printing almost as soon as it was released. I think that’s when it really sank in for me and the publisher that the series had serious legs and was continuing to build readership with each new book. VALIANT made some extended best-seller lists, so there were hopes that RELENTLESS would top that. And it did. It feels great to know that my writing, my storytelling, has been welcomed that way by readers.

SFB:  How has your real-life Navy experience impacted your handling of your epic, intellectually dynamic space battles?

JC:  It had a major influence. In the Navy I learned how to drive ships, getting a solid grasp for maneuvering very massive objects with tremendous momentum around each other. We were also tracking the movements of aircraft overhead and submarines beneath. That gave me an understanding of relative motion which I use to map out the movements in the battles. At times I use the old aviator trick of using my hands to visualize movements and aspects as portions of the fleet maneuver.

It was also important in terms of driving home how physical limitations constrain options. You have to plan ahead for where you want to be and when you want to be there. You need to factor in the range of weapons, and coordinate everything so that attacks don’t come in piecemeal or parts of your force are isolated from the rest. And you need to put yourself in the place of the opposition. Where could they go and where are they most likely to go?

I treat each situation, each battle, as if it were real, and I can’t just alter the composition of forces, or the arrangement of forces, or what ships could do. Once I set it up, that is what I have to deal with. That forces me to figure out how to come up with solutions that really would work rather than falling back on sudden amazing events or major on-the-fly technological breakthroughs that miraculously solve the problem. Basically, I treat the Lost Fleet universe as if it is reality, as if I’m driving those ships, and what happens has to fit that reality.

SFB:  Do you have any advice for new science fiction writers today?

JC:   Read and write. Read lots of things, even in areas you don’t normally like, because that’s how you get ideas for stories and how to tell them in different ways, and that’s how you learn what kinds of stories others told.  Write down your own stories, too. Don’t just dream about them, write them down, and when they’re done (and you have to finish most of them so you learn how to finish stories) write some more.

There’s a website that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America maintains called Writer Beware. It’s a great source of information on what to do if you’re a new writer, and on the many scams and frauds which can await new writers.

Write about what you know (from study or experience), and try to find those places where your own ideas and writing style meet the expectations of readers. You can’t just write for yourself, but you also have to be true to yourself.

And be prepared for rejection. Lots of rejection. Even veteran writers get shot down a lot. When you do get published whatever you wrote is fair game for anyone to comment on, and it’s pretty safe to say that some of those comments won’t be kind.

I always recommend going to SF/Fantasy conventions in your local area. That’s where you can meet and listen to local authors, maybe even meet an editor or two, get to know other aspiring authors in your area, and get some advice on writing and the publishing business. I’ve met a lot of great people at the conventions.

Oh, and speaking of conventions, this year I plan to be at Balticon in Hunt Valley, Maryland (May 28-31), Nasfic/Reconstruction in Raleigh. NC (August 5-8) and Capclave in Washington, DC (22-24 October).

SFB:  Sounds great.  Thank you so much for your time!

JC:  Thanks for reading my work!

Author’s home page:
www.johnghemry.com

Breaking news:
Book 6, VICTORIOUS, releases on 27 April 2010!  Don’t miss it!  Better yet, reserve a copy today on Powells.com or Amazon.com .

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Grand Master Joe Haldeman tells all (or some, anyway) to Sci Fi Bookshelf

Joe Haldeman has just been named to the Grand Master Award, joining the ranks of science fiction giants like Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and Ursula K. Le Guin.  He has also won three Hugo awards, four Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award and more.  He’s perhaps best known for The Forever War, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.  His latest novel, Starbound, just recently hit store shelves.  Somehow, in between teaching writing at MIT and winning staggering amounts of acclaim, it seems Joe still manages to find the time to write.  He was generous enough to share some views from the top, infused with his own unmistakably dry sense of humor.

Sci Fi Bookshelf.com:  Marsbound was met with some great reviews, and Starbound is in stores now.  Was there any particular idea that inspired this series?  And can you tell us anything about the upcoming book, Earthbound?

Joe Haldeman:  MARSBOUND started off as a stand-alone novel.  I’d written the novella “The Mars Girl” for a Dozois/Dann anthology of Young Adult sf stories, and I wrote it with the idea of expanding it into a YA novel.  I used the novella to pitch the story to a YA editor, and she said no, thanks.  (Later she told me she’d been wrong; her daughter read the novella and loved it.)

Anyhow, that made me think.  I’m not a YA author anyhow.  So why not make the protagonist a bit older and write it as a regular novel, sex and all.  So that became MARSBOUND.
Marsbound

I was literally a few days from the end of the novel when it occurred to me that it needed a sequel, with the two main characters upping the ante and going off to the stars.  I wrote an outline pitching that book, STARBOUND, to sell it to my publisher.  But in writing the outline, I saw it required a third book, EARTHBOUND.

So what started out as a novella became a trilogy.  Trilogies do sell better than stand-alone novels, but that wasn’t my motivation, at least consciously.

The books follow the same characters in an unbroken series of events, but I tried to make each one enjoyable as a stand-alone novel.  It was a challenge to write the second and third books so they would work both for a reader who was following the series and for one who had picked up the book without preparation.  Background information has to be presented in a way that’s not boring to the reader who’s seen it before.

I started EARTHBOUND with a literary problem in mind.  I’d just taught Cormack McCarthy’s THE ROAD, which was well written but mindnumbingly depressing, and I wondered (since EARTHBOUND had a similar opening situation) whether I could make my book work without it being so psychologically painful.  I don’t know whether I’m succeeding; I’m only halfway through the book.

SFB:  Is it true that you write everything longhand?

JH:  I write the first draft of my novels in longhand, with a fountain pen in bound blank books.  Other writing (like this) I do on the computer.

SFB:  The rumors are flying about Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Legend) doing a film based on The Forever War.  Is there any news you can pass along?

The Forever WarJH:  He bought the rights.  The astounding success of AVATAR makes me think the project is more likely, but I haven’t heard anything from Scott about that.  (Except that he also loved the movie and intends to do THE FOREVER WAR in 3-D.)

SFB:  What’s the biggest change you see coming in the science fiction genre?

JH:  We’re in the middle of a long slow change that reflects the reading public’s lack of interest in science, and their concomitant ignorance of it.  Hard SF is a hard sell, and a lot of writers are leaning toward fantasy.  I stick with hard SF, but I’m not selling as many books as the ones about dragons and mighty-thewed heroes. 

SFB: 
Do you have any advice for aspiring science fiction writers who haven’t been fortunate enough to take your class at MIT?

JH:  Writing can be fun (for the writer) and can be a tool for personal growth.  Writing for other people, in the sense of writing for a living, is relatively difficult.  Most writers make very little money and see little or no fame while enduring criticism and the excruciating pain of watching terribly written books outsell their gems.  The best advice is not to do it unless you can’t see yourself living any other way.  Or you could marry someone with money and write what you want.

SFB:  If this isn’t too obtuse to ask, how does it feel to win the Grand Master Award and join the ranks of some of the greatest science fiction writers of all time?

JH:  I don’t feel old enough for the honor.

SFB:  Joe, it’s been a real pleasure.  Thank you so much for your time.

JH:  Thanks.

Joe Haldeman’s web site:
http://home.earthlink.net/~haldeman/
Joe Haldeman on SFF.net: http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=xover&group=sff.people.joe-haldeman&from=-10
Joe Haldeman‘s blog: http://joe-haldeman.livejournal.com/

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Jeffrey A. Carver talks to Sci Fi Bookshelf about Sunborn

Jeffrey A. Carver was a 2001 Nebula finalist, and is famed not only as the author of the Star Rigger books and the Chaos Chronicles series, but also for writing the Battlestar Galactica novelization.  His latest science fiction novel, Sunborn, has just hit the shelves.  He took a break from writing about heady concepts like noncorporeal symbiotes and sentient stars to give Sci Fi Bookshelf a peek into his unique universe. 

Sci Fi Bookshelf.com:  For those readers who are new to the Chaos Chronicles series, do you think Sunborn is easy to pick up?  Or would you recommend starting at the beginning of the series?

Jeffrey A. Carver:  I did my best to make Sunborn accessible to readers new to The Chaos Chronicles.  That said, it’s always best to start a series at the beginning if you can—especially since the reader is plunged into the middle of an ongoing galactic adventure.  For readers new to the series, I put all three of the preceding books, starting with Neptune Crossing, into ebook format for free download from my website.  Just visit http://www.starrigger.net/Downloads.htm and download the format of your choice!

SFB:  Is it hard to write a series of this complexity and keep it fresh?

JAC:  Yah.  There was a long delay between books 3 and 4 because I took time out to write Eternity’s End between the two, and that book took a very long time to write.  Coming back after six or so years away was hard.  Also, I keep trying to set myself new challenges with each new book, and sometimes I find myself wondering, “What have I gotten myself into?”  The chaos theme of the series closely mirrors my state of mind at times.

SFB:  Are you planning any future Chaos Chronicles books?

JAC:  I’m currently working on book 5, The Reefs of Time, which takes up where Sunborn left off.  (Note: Sunborn is a complete story, set within the larger framework.  It doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, but rather with suggestions of what may come next.)  My plan is for 6 Chaos books altogether.

SFB:  A lot of readers may know you from Battlestar Galactica.  Do you feel that writing in the Galactica saga had any impact on the style of your latest work?

JAC:  It’s more that writing BSG was a welcome change of pace, and a chance to play in someone else’s playground for a while.  It posed different storytelling challenges, and allowed me to take a deep breath, while still writing the book quickly, as the publisher demanded.

SFB:  Do you have a favorite Battlestar Galactica character?

JAC:  I suppose Starbuck.  The web comic Sheldon said it best, when the kid in the comic got a bunch of BSG action figures for Christmas.  Each came with a list of 10 reasons why he or she was conflicted and would never find true happiness.  Starbuck came with a list of 30.  Besides, what’s not to like about Katie Sackoff?  Although, now that I think about it… Six is pretty amazing, too.  :)   Actually, besides the obvious attraction of Six, Tricia Helfer proved herself to be an astoundingly good actor by the end.  It’s been fun to watch where the various actors from BSG have wound up since the end of the series.

SFB:  But the real question is, did the studio send you any cool BSG toys?

JAC:  Well, they sent me a DVD of the miniseries, and production DVDs of Season 1, because they were already well into Season 1 when I wrote the book.   No working Vipers, alas.  I would have liked one of those.

SFB:  Any advice for aspiring science fiction writers today?

JAC:  Read a lot, and write a lot.  Take a good workshop.  See my Advice to Aspiring Writers page at: http://www.starrigger.net/advice.htm — and for that matter, my free online writing course at: http://www.writesf.com .   Also, my blog at: http://starrigger.blogspot.com/ is a good place to see what I’m up to.

SFB:  Jeff, thank you so much for your time!

JAC:  You’re very welcome.

Links for science fiction author Jeffrey A. Carver:
Science Fiction Worlds at http://www.starrigger.net
Pushing a Snake at http://starrigger.blogspot.com
Write Science Fiction at http://www.writesf.com

Available now from these and other fine book sellers:
Better World Books
Powell’s Books
Alibris.com

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Sci Fi Bookshelf interview: Harry Connolly on Child of Fire

Harry Connolly is making waves with his debut novel Child of Fire, the start of a new urban fantasy series that mixes explosive action with magic.  Harry was kind enough to share some insights with Sci Fi Bookshelf about dark heroes, inspiration and the fatal mistake made by most aspiring writers.

Sci Fi Bookshelf: For someone who hasn’t picked up Child of Fire yet, how would you describe it?

Harry Connolly: I call it a dark supernatural crime novel about a guy forced to help a powerful, dangerous sorcerer hunt down and kill someone even worse.

SFB: The main character is a convicted felon.  Was it hard to write a story from that perspective, and make him a hero the reader could root for?

HC: It wasn’t hard to write a character from that perspective, once I’d done a little research.  The important thing is that, however compromised he might be, the people he’s up against are even worse.  That’s a general rule for anti-heroes–not that I consider my protagonist, Ray Lilly, an anti-hero.  I’m just saying.

SFB: What inspired you to write Child of Fire?  Was it a particular experience or idea?

HC: I read and loved Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest and spent weeks figuring out how to adapt that feeling, of one man pitted against an entire community, to a story with supernatural elements in it.  It wasn’t as easy as “The Crime Lord Is A Vampire!”–fantasy elements have to be restricted in specific ways to make a mystery plot really work, and vice versa.

SFB: Can you tell us anything about the follow-up book, Game of Cages?

HC: Sure.  It’s darker than Child of Fire and has a touch of tragedy to it.  Ray is press ganged into an emergency job for the Twenty Palace Society.  He has to investigate an auction for a supernatural predator in a remote corner of the state.  Once he arrives, though, he discovers that things are much worse than he expected, and he has to deal with several very dangerous threats.

SFB: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

HC: Probably The Galton Case by Ross Macdonald.  Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker is also terrific, and so are the first two volumes of Joe Hill’s Locke and Key.

SFB: Do you have any advice for new writers trying to break into the market today?

HC: My advice is simple: Writers should treat every rejection as though it was their own fault.  Even if it’s not true (and it isn’t always true–sometimes rejection is about the buyer having a similar story in inventory, or a deep hatred of some story element, like cannibalism) assume that it is.  The reason I say this is that the biggest stumbling block to most writers is the book they write.  It is on the writer to improve, to change, to strive.  As soon as a writer starts thinking “They just don’t understand me” or “NY publishing only wants best-sellers” or “Editors only want to publish their friends” or any of the other ways people push blame onto others, they lose the power to reach their own goals.  Actually, they give that power away to figments of their imagination.  Keep the responsibility for your success for yourself, the good parts and the bad.

SFB:  Harry, thank you for your time!

HC: Thanks so much.

Child of Fire
Harry Connolly  harryjconnolly.com
Mass Market Paperback
Del Rey (September 29, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0345508898
Available from Powell’s Books

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SciFiBookshelf.com interview: Mike Resnick on Flagship (Starship, Book 5)

Mike Resnick is the leading award winner for short fiction among all science fiction writers, living or dead. He has won five Hugo Awards, a Nebula Award, and has been nominated for 30 Hugos, 11 Nebulas, a Clarke (British), six Seiun-shos (Japanese) and a mind-boggling array of other awards. He has sold fifty-eight novels and more than two hundred short stories. And he has edited fifty anthologies.

Not only that, he’s a swell guy who took time out of his jam-packed schedule to reveal what’s going on behind the scenes with his latest book, Flagship.

SciFiBookshelf.com: For a reader who hasn’t read any of the Starship series yet, do you think it would be hard to jump in? Or would you recommend going back and starting with Book 1, Starship: Mutiny?

Mike Resnick: If it’s difficult to jump into any of my series at any point, then I did something wrong. I’d like to think that a reader would enjoy reading them all, and in order, but no, it’s not necessary.

SciFiBookshelf.com: Do you draw on any real-life battles for inspiration, or make them up entirely?

Mike Resnick: I make them up entirely, and I’m a lot less concerned with the weaponry and the blood than I am with the brains and motivation behind them.

SciFiBookshelf.com: Being such a prolific and award-winning writer, do you have any advice for aspiring science fiction writers you’d like to share? (Without, of course, spoiling the upcoming release of The Business of Science Fiction?)

Mike Resnick: Same that I’ve been giving out for 40+ years. Writers -write-; dilettantes talk about writing, but hardly ever get around to actually doing it.

SciFiBookshelf.com: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Mike Resnick: In the field, Jack McDevitt’s TIME TRAVELERS NEVER DIE. Ouside the field, SERIOUSLY FUNNY, a study of the cerebral stand-up comics of the 1950s and early 1960s.

SciFiBookshelf.com: And finally, what are you working on next?

Mike Resnick: The novel I’m working on now, for Pyr, is THE BUNTLINE SPECIAL, a kind of Western Steampunk. I owe a novella, tentatively titled “Six Blind Men and an Alien”, to Subterranean. And I owe four or five stories to anthologies. All of these should be done no later than mid-April. Then Eric Flint and I have to write an overdue (due to his heart surgery) novel for Baen titled THE GODS OF SAGITTARIUS, and Lezli Robyn and I will owe a YA novel or two before the year is done, and I’m sure I’ll sign for and at least start another solo novel by summer. Oh, and Barry Malzberg and I do a quarterly column for the SFWA Bulletin; a collection of 26 of the better ones will be out this summer, titled THE BUSINESS OF SCIENCE FICTION.

Starship: Flagship (Hardcover)
Book Five of the Starship Series
Mike Resnick
ISBN: 978-1-59102-788-1
December 2009
MikeResnick.com
pyrsf.com

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