Here’s a sneak preview of an upcoming short story that will be available on Amazon as an e-book in the next few weeks:
“Commissioner Bellarbi’s administration of the Information Systems Investigation Authority isn’t going well. Communications networks are crumbling and a series of high-profile industrial and food production failures have threatened safety and cost jobs. He believes the global technology infrastructure is under attack from cyber-terrorists. With public protests rising and his job under threat, he needs answers fast. Leaving him only one choice: to seek help from her…
Mayrum Casteneda, the legendary founder of the Authority, is a relic from a bygone age who definitely doesn’t suffer fools. She might just be the only person who can help, but are the answers buried too deep?”
I have free copies available of two recently released stories (one fantasy, one science fiction) in exchange for reviews on Amazon and/or Good Reads. They are available in mobi, Epub and PDF formats (and remember you don’t need an ebook reader – just a computer, tablet or phone).
How Much Is That Doggy?
“Earl Duarte is at war. He’s fighting his aging body and dementia, not to mention his daughter’s efforts to move him into an “assisted living” community. Then an unexpected canine visit provides a peculiar dose of pet therapy with astonishing consequences.”
“It was Inser’s job to watch over the Complex. The distance from Earth made that seem somewhat pointless and he always suspected the motive was more political – the bureaucratic mind just couldn’t imagine a project costing billions without some form of security. More crucially he watched those working in the Complex for any signs of misconduct. Potential danger was far more likely to come from someone there officially, someone who had slipped through the screening process. So he watched them, scrutinized them…”
If you’re interested, please contact email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with details of which story/stories and format you’d like to read.
Using nothing but a regular DSLR camera, a zoom lens and a home-made tracking base David Schneider was able to detect a planet orbiting another star – HD 189733 63 light years away. His set-up cost him just a few dollars.
He did it by looking for occlusion dimming, where the planet moves in front of the star and temporarily blocks it’s light . Although it was already known that a planet existed around that particular star, the possibilities are, literally, astronomic. just imagine a crowd-sourced exo-planet hunting project!
As I’m currently on an enforced break, I’m taking the opportunity to make progress on my writing and it’s been really exciting and satisfying to do that. I find myself working all hours morning till night and don’t feel any kind of stress doing it. I guess the old idea of doing what you love is true.
So far I’e listed two of my short stories for sale on Amazon and am finalizing a couple more that will be available in the near future. I’ve also edited several others in preparation for both critiquing and/or publication. And all of these stories need blurbs writing and covers, so that’s my job too!
These days it’s vital for writers to pay attention to social media. So I’ve created a Goodreads Author profile and started posting more on there and other reader sites. I’ve also updated my website, which I think looks really fantastic and slic, even if I do say so myself!
I’m also working on putting together a collection of short stories and editing my upcoming novel “mathematics of Eternity”!
Talk about busy! But I love it so much that I almost don’t miss beer! Almost…
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I just published my first two short-stories on Amazon as eBooks. The books are listed as “Kindle Editions” and I’ve had people contact me saying that they don’t have a Kindle to read them. The good news is that you don’t need to have a Kindle!
Amazon’s Kindle is an eBook reader similar to an IPad or Android tablet except it’s dedicated to reading eBooks. The cheapest is around $80, while the latest, more featured versions cost about $200 – a lot of bucks to read books!
Fortunately, Amazon has also made available the Kindle Reader software app. This is great for people (and tightwads like me!) who don’t want to splash out on the Kindle tablet and/or have another device they prefer. And the really great news is that the Kindle Reader is available on all major platforms.
If you have an android phone, tablet or other android device, no problem. Download the Kindle Reader app from the Google Play Store. Got an iPad/iPhone/Mac? You can get it from the Apple Store. If all you have is a regular Windows PC or laptop, you’re still in luck – there’s a Windows version too.
If you prefer not to install an app or can’t for some reason, you’re still invited. There’s a free online “cloud based” version of the Reader too, so you can read your books through any web-browser.
So, there’s nothing to stop anyone from getting involved in the eBook revolution (and reading my stories, of course ). Welcome to the party!
At the weekend the big day arrived. Having crossed all the I’s and dotted all the T’s, the first two of my short-stories, “How Much Is That Doggy?” and “INSER”, went live on Amazon!
It’s been a lot of work getting to this point, with many hoops to jump through (some unnecessary…) but it’s been a great deal of fun too. Working towards that clear goal is a great way of focusing your mind and leading you on to get things done.
There’s still more to do, of course. This is just a stepping stone along the way, but it feels great to pause here and bask for a little while.
These are links for amazon.com, but they should be available in your “local” amazon too.
If you want to get a taste of my writing you can check out the excerpts through my writing page.
I don’t consider myself an “artist” (I leave that to my brother, who’s brilliant at graphic design!). But I do have some artistic flair and can knock up the odd image or two. I’m not necessarily very good at the raw creative side, but I can take an image or several and turn them into a creation that usually suits my purpose.
As I’m also pretty penny-pinching (at least in some ways) I don’t want to spend money on custom graphics and couldn’t afford to anyway. So I make use of pieces I can create myself along with stock images that I can purchase. (If you’re looking for stock images, sounds or video clips you might want to check out envato.com which offers a large selection of material at reasonable prices.
Armed with a few images I liked, I recently spent some time prototyping some different covers for my soon to be released short-story “How much is that doggy?”. This piece explores an unusual form of pet therapy involving an elderly man and a dog and I wanted the cover to reflect that while at the same time making it clear that it’s speculative fiction.
I tried a number of different mock-ups and variations, but eventually came up with these three that I felt were the strongest.
I liked the solo dog photo very much. It’s face is so expressive and has an uncanny human-like expression, but the first attempt (left, above) was a little indistinct at small sizes (Amazon thumbnail size). With the second (above, middle) I loved the vibrant colors and it featured both a man and dog in it so was definitely “on theme” but I still liked the solo dog and experimented further. The end result is the third version above. This was my favorite – vibrant colors, the expressive puppy and a hint of the mysterious.
I chose that one in consultation with my wife, who always gives me good advice, though I don’t always listen…
One step nearer to publication!
Something that’s been on my “to-do” list for quite a while has been to contact the U.S. Infernal Revenue Service to register for an EIN (Employer Identification Number). I needed this so I could claim my treaty rights of being exempt from U.S. taxes for selling my writing through Amazon. Otherwise I’d have to pay 30% in tax to the U.S.as well as Canadian income tax!
Both my wife and I have spent hours researching this and gathering information to try make the process as easy as possible and we had all this prepared a couple of months ago. This was delayed by my reticence to call them (who voluntarily wants to draw attention to themselves with the tax man?), plus my eccentric, almost pathological, fear of talking to bureaucrats in general. On top of that, I also had the trauma of my recent surgery with the prospect of far more serious amputation to come. No surprise really that it got delayed!
After being on hold for two hours (two separate calls) and going through the tortuous information gathering exercise, I finally got my EIN and felt pretty good about it I can tell you. Another somewhat lesser victory, but a significant one as it represents the last piece of red tape we need to do before going “live.”
A little later, after overcoming my giddiness at being all “official,” I went to the Kindle Direct site to update my information with grubby EIN in-hand, ready for the release.
Well, wouldn’t you know it? Amazon has now changed it’s process; recognising the Canadian SIN (Social Insurance Number) and assigning you the correct tax rate (0%) automatically. Not only that, it now refuses to even let me enter my bloody EIN because I’m outside the U.S.! After all that effort, that’s a low blow I’d say – though I’m not complaining too much
So I’m all set on the logistics side of things, just a few more odds and ends to prepare and then the first of my eBooks will be launched. This event will be accompanied by great fanfare and will undoubtedly become one of Amazon’s best sellers overnight!
The first one is a short story called “How much is that doggy?” I hope you’ll enjoy it. And remember it’s getting close to Christmas…
It’s heartbreaking to read the news of Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two failure on it’s first powered test-flight. From the news so far one of the crew managed to eject and is badly hurt but alive while the other died in the crash.
It’s a grim reminder of the dangers of space flight and thoughts go out to all of the people working on the project and the families of the crew members who have lost loved ones.
Space technology is still in it’s relative infancy and it’s important to remember that humans have only been doing this for around fifty years and the private space industry is only perhaps ten years old.
Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites were pioneers in this new era of private space flight, using new designs and technologies and that always carries a substantial risk. That doesn’t mean that such things shouldn’t be tried however, humans are at heart risk takers and it is only by undertaking such endeavors that we grow and develop as a species.
I look forward to seeing Virgin Galactic overcoming this setback and establishing themselves as a real twenty-first century company.
Per ardua ad astra
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve just had a couple of toes and part of my foot amputated after it got badly infected. While recovering I have been told to keep my legs elevated to maintain the best circulation possible and I also can’t put any weight on that foot for at least the next six weeks. So I’m pretty much bedridden for the duration.
Actually I’m not fully confined to my bed. During the day I move downstairs (sliding ignominiously down the stairs on my arse) and take up residence on the couch in the living room so I have easier access to food and the bathroom. It’s amazing how not having use of a leg changes your perspective on things!
Before coming home we had Continue reading