Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Trinity on Tylos available at Barnes and

As the title (and link) state, my science fiction adventure, Trinity on Tylos, is now at available at Barnes and Noble online. This is not really "news" in my mind, because BN bought eBook vendor Fictionwise a while back. For the moment, both are still operating independently, but I have noticed that Fictionwise now gets eBook versions of the good stuff early on, and that has to be due to the partnership with BN. Now, a few months after, customers can purchase eBooks from small presses. My publisher sent out a notice, which is what prompted me to look at the listing. Alas, it is barebones, with no editorial reviews and only one customer rating.

Will an additional outlet increase sales for small presses? I suspect that it won't, especially with minimal information in the listings, but I hope that I am wrong. Many good books are only available via small presses, and I enjoy reading offbeat works, so I have been a good customer at Fictionwise. As FW adds titles from the big six, I don't know if small presses will continue to use it as a sales vehicle.

Regarding sales of my own titles, I have noticed an upward trend for The Gift Horse, via Amazon and via a local retailer. I'm pleased by those sales, of course. I've done absolutely nothing to promote it in quite a while, so such sales are due to product placement and word of mouth.

I'm glad that readers continue to find The Gift Horse an entertaining read. And, I wish more readers would discover Trinity on Tylos, for it, too, deserves an audience.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Book by the Same Name

Google Alerts let me know that another writer has recently published a book entitled The Gift Horse. When I chose the title, I looked at Amazon and a few online used bookstores to see if the title was in print, and I noted that an autobiography by Hildegard Knef was the only use of the title in works intended for an adult audience, and even that had a subtitle, "A Report on a Life." The book had been in print for more than thirty years and was not fiction, so I decided to keep using it. Since its publication, I have had a few folks ask me if I chose the title because it had been used before, and that wasn't a reason to use it, but a reason to consider changing it. After some consideration, I realized that I really did not want to dump a good idea for a title, yet I certainly did not want to confuse readers, either. As I was pulling the manuscript together for publication, my cover artist suggested that I not picture a carousel horse, because that might make readers think the book was about a horse, or that it was intended for a young audience. The artist suggested the dark green cover, and I do like it, but I don't know if it helps people figure out that I am referring to the old saying, "don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

A couple of years ago, I created a YouTube video, A Brief History of Science Fiction, and that time I did play off Steven Hawking's famous title, A Brief History of Time. This video has served me well, garnering more than 1500 hits. Recently, someone posted a video with the same exact title, and I watched it a couple of times before deciding that mine really is better.

Back to that Google Alert. I had to surf a bit to see that a romance author, Jami Davenport, has used "my" title, The Gift Horse, for adult fiction— a romance. I wish her well with it. I might even read it sometime! When I began writing Angela Donalson's story, I had in mind to write a romance. Alas, it just wasn't in me. While I love and respect my hubby, I know that there are many pitfalls in life, and I threw a whole bunch of them at Angie, plus a few that I hope no one ever face, just to see what would happen. My version of The Gift Horse has plenty of suspense and conflict, but it certainly isn't a romance.

“Imitation is the sincerest flattery” according to Charles Caleb Colton, and rather than be miffed, I've decided to be glad that others thought my titles worthy enough to use them.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Say What?

I'm used to having my words used against me. (You guessed it; I have a family.)

But the link above will take readers of Pam's Pages to something called "Cyberpunk Review" and a blog entry which is based upon my brief review of Elizabeth Bear's Hammered. I enjoyed Hammered, but I am not certain that anyone reading this blog would know that.

The internet can be weird.

Really, really, weird.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Hammered— a quick review

One of the eBooks I purchased recently is a debut novel by Elizabeth Bear. She isn't related to Greg Bear, but I wasn't sure when I chose to put this science fiction action/thriller on my TBR stack. (One doesn't actually stack eBooks, of course.) After I read a couple of mediocre novels by writers who used to be favorites, I turned to Hammered.

At first, it seemed to gritty and urban, the dystopian version of the future which serious science fiction authors all seem to have. But there was enough freshness in the narrative, along with a main character who is former military, approaching fifty, and not without some physical damage. If the protagonist had been young and trying to find herself, I would have bailed, but a realistic and interesting main character was the reason that I stayed with it. All in all, I enjoyed the novel, and I will read the next story in the arc, because I was intrigued and do want to see how Jenny Casey gets through her next set of challenges.

If you like science fiction set on this planet, with overtones of cyberpunk, you should like Hammered. I don't like those things, and I liked it anyway.

Click on the title of this post, or the book title for links to more detailed reviews.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer— Time for a Conference

The Harriette Austin Writer's Conference in Athens, Georgia, is a great place to seek information and inspiration, and it is coming up next weekend. I've attended it a couple of times, and I really enjoyed the sessions and speakers. Writers and wannabe writers in the area should put this one at the top of their "to do" list.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Reflection Upon a Talented Writer

As a bored student in a high school Spanish class, I remember looking at anything and everything other than my classwork and/or my teacher. One day my eyes strayed to a glossy bound library book on a desk in front of me. The cover was standard issue gothic romance, but the title didn’t sound particularly romantic or suspenseful. Still, Michael’s Wife, by Marlys Millhiser, seemed much more interesting than my classes at Jefferson High School. When the bell rang, I asked my friend about it, and she told me enough that I knew I just had to read it. Mom, who was ever encouraging of my reading habit, made sure that I soon had that library book in my hand.

Nowadays, writers must have a great “hook” or a novel doesn’t make it to publication, but in those days, most readers had more patience. However, Millhiser’s debut novel grabbed me from the first pages, and I absolutely loved it. In fact, it was one of the books that I read and re-read during the summer break from school. I think I wore out “copy 1” at the Piedmont Regional Library; but if that first edition hardcover is still there, it is worth hundreds of dollars, and the reader rating at Amazon is a perfect five stars. Millhiser’s second novel, Nella Waits, didn’t do much for me, but I read the library’s copy of her third novel, Willing Hostage several times, until I finally found a paperback copy to purchase. Her next novel, The Mirror, was a bookclub selection, so I purchased a hardcover when it came out. While it is said to be her best known work, I remember it because it was the first time-travel romance that I ever read.

I read a few of Millhiser’s later novels, but none of them held my interest the way those earlier works did. Although I enjoyed The Mirror, the contemporary stories, Michael’s Wife and Willing Hostage, remain my favorites. Of course, the problem with any “modern” story is that times change and many details from the story invariably become out of date. Still, I fondly remember the Siamese cat named Goodyear, and it has been more than thirty years since I first read Willing Hostage. That’s talent.

For any of you who want to check out the gifted Ms. Millhiser, use the links within this entry to visit Fantastic Fiction’s website.

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