News and Notices from the Writing Trenches #154…

Books as gifts. I’m probably preaching to the choir here because you all know books make excellent gifts, whether print versions, ebooks, or audiobooks. I made out very well over the holidays. I received Isaacson’s Leonardo Da Vinci (even if there’s an ebook version, I’d recommend print because of the excellent art reproductions that accompany the text describing Leonardo’s development), Mark Weir’s Artemis (see my review on my blog), and Orwell’s Why I Write. There are no better gifts for a reader or writer!

Voices. On Saturday, January 13, I had the honor of being interviewed by Donna Carrick of Toronto’s Carrick Publishing. Donna handles most everything for my indie books beyond the writing, and she’s an excellent writer in her own right—see The First Excellence, her mystery/thriller set in China.

She now also creates the podcast series “Dead to Writes”; the link for my interview is: She precedes the interview with a reading of my short story, “The Case of the Carriageless Horse,” which appears in the anthology World Enough and Crime along with many other excellent crime stories. She has the voice for this; I don’t.

I found this to be a new, interesting, and educational experience. Isn’t technology wonderful? Kudos, Donna!

Talk. I’m looking forward to my talk at the Montclair Women’s Club on January 26; it begins at 1:30 p.m. I’ll be discussing writing and publishing and my recent book, Rembrandt’s Angel (published by Penmore Press last year).

If you’re in the Montclair, NJ area and have the time and interest, please drop by. The address for the Women’s Club is: 82 Union Street, Montclair, NJ.

Amazon. Don’t expect my books to be on sale at this online retailer. I’m no longer exclusive to Amazon—I haven’t been for some time—so Amazon doesn’t allow me to offer special sales at their site. Amazon is anti-indie in many ways; this is one of many. See my recent blog posts for more.

Sci-Fi Sale on Smashwords. If I offer special sales of my books online, this is where you’ll find them. Right now, More than Human: The Mensa Contagion and Rogue Planet are on sale at Smashwords—use the indicated coupon code during checkout. I only offer ebook sales online. For those readers who prefer print, I often offer a special event price for print books at events in the Montclair area—for example, at the talk at the Montclair Women’s Club.

Free books. Generally speaking, I only offer free copies of my books to reviewers in exchange for an honest review. Ebooks are the easiest, but print versions are doable within the U.S.—both ebook and print versions have a cap for each title. Beyond that, I mentioned on Donna’s podcast another alternative: I can’t publish everything I write—even the good stuff (the bad never sees the light of day, of course)—so I offer PDFs free for the asking. See the list on my “Free Stuff & Contests” webpage, and query me using my website’s contact page (or by responding to this email). You also can find free short fiction in my blog categories “ABC Shorts” and “Steve’s Shorts.”

What’s a bundle? This is a new publishing term for a collection of several novels. For example, I have several old print books on my shelf that are collections of Agatha Christie novels. The term “bundle” is generally reserved for the ebook collections, but I’m a bit old-fashioned so I still called my bundle of sci-fi novels The Chaos Chronicles Trilogy Collection, available on Amazon and Smashwords and all the latter’s affiliated retailers and lenders.

What’s coming? In the first quarter you’ll see the second edition of The Secret Lab, and in the third quarter The Secret of the Urns. These are two YA sci-fi mysteries. Other novels in the works: The Last Humans, a post-apocalyptic thriller; #3 in the “Mary Jo Melendez Mysteries” (title TBD); and #8 in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series” (title TBD).

Do you want to see these published ASAP? Purchase some of my already published books. I reinvest my royalties to publish the next books.

A. B. Carolan. I’m honored that A.B. has decided to collaborate with me. I always wanted a collaborator a la Preston and Child (Pendergast thrillers) and Niven and Pournelle (sci-fi). A. B. lives in Donegal. I met him on a trip to Ireland, and we’ve had some lively email exchanges since then. He’s a bit of a recluse, so he’ll be sharing this website—you might have already read some of his short stories.

Rumor has it that he’s a descendant of the great Irish bard Turlough O’Carolan. He definitely has a way with words. He’ll be collaborating on my young adult novels.

He’s finished the rewriting and reediting of the second edition of The Secret Lab (to be published this first quarter of 2018) and is finishing a new novel, The Secret of the Urns, which is inspired by my short story “Marcello and Me,” found in the speculative fiction collection Pasodobles in a Quantum Stringscape, mentioned by Donna Carrick in her podcast.

In libris libertas!

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