My Dream Come True

This picture is the literal fulfillment of a 26 year dream. My writing is on the same chart as George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut. Thank you for helping me make it happen!

Amazon Top Author with Vonnegut, Bradbury & Orwell

#1 for 99 cents

Chronology is now 99 cents, and it’s #1 in several Amazon charts! If you haven’t gotten it already, you should! Draconic King is the first of 24 great stories by many bestselling authors.

Chronology #1

Anthology Angst

CQ Chronology Ebook

I started out to become a novel writer. I wrote books from the beginning, and always wanted to publish novels. After writing a dozen of them and not getting any kind of response from agents or publishers, I heard some advice at the LTUE writer’s conference which was very timely. They said write some short stories and get those published to pad your resume. That can help with getting your books noticed.

So I tried it. I wrote a bunch of short stories and started submitting them. Oddly enough, I only had one published before my first book was contracted by Curiosity Quills Press. Apparently, just that one resume item was enough to get me noticed. I continued getting the others published, of course. Some have been reprinted. I figure some day I’ll collect a bunch of them into a single author anthology of my own… but I haven’t yet. More than the publishing credit for the short stories, I learned that I love to write short fiction. I think my highest short story achievement came out this year: Chronology. My story, Draconic King, was placed first in the book and the collection includes several best selling authors, as well as the legendary Piers Anthony!

Actuator 1-5 E-book

The next step up in my short story journey was to edit a collection of short stories. Actuator was a perfect playground for a multi-author project, so I started with that one. Last year at this time I was making final touches to The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology. I realized it was as much or more work to edit that collection than to just write another book. I certainly don’t get paid as much for it (since the royalties are split 16 ways). But I didn’t go into this business to get rich… luckily. ;) Also, I had a great time working with all the contributing authors.

Now that it’s been out a while, I’m contemplating another Actuator anthology. The first one has very good reviews. The one repeated comment is that they felt the stories were too short, due to word count restraints. So I will fix that in next Actuator anthology, if CQ decides to publish it. (Incidentally, the first CQ anthology, Primetime, is really blasting the Amazon charts!)

CQ Primetime Ebook

By the way, I don’t much care for the wide use of the word “anthology” to describe every one of these volumes. I think the term “anthology” should be reserved for definitive collections (all that there are). For most books of this type, the term “collection” is probably more appropriate. I have several ideas for future short story collections I’d like to edit. One thing I’ve noticed, more than a random collection of stories from several authors, a group centered around a tight theme seems to draw more interest. Many of the reviews for the Borderlands Anthology state how much they liked the broad application of the theme.

How about you? Do you like to read or write short stories? Do you prefer to write to a theme or just contribute to an open collection?

X-Men Media Musing

x_men_by_bryan2012-d3inazm

I’ve been a huge fan of X-men since I was introduced to them in college. I played a card game called OverPower, and developed an insatiable appetite for all things superhero. At the same time, they were running the X-men cartoons (the good ones with the bright colored outfits) on Saturday mornings. I’m not ashamed to say I saw every episode and loved it.

Recently I saw the latest movie Days of Future Past. It spurred a great many discussions, which I decided to bring to the blogosphere. I should start by saying I’m a big fan of the movies. I even liked the one (or two) a lot of fans didn’t. I have to give kudos to Bryan Singer, the director. He’s my favorite X-men movie director. Not only did I love the first two, but I think his recent work was nothing short of a miracle. Successfully fixing the bomb crater from #3, while tying in First Class and the Wolverine shows was incredible. I give him props on par with J. J. Abrams who did a similar save with the Star Trek reboot. In fact, I liked it so well that I’ve forgiven him for sidelining one of my favorite X-men (Bishop).

The Days of Future Past storyline has had one of the most diverse media re-tellings I’ve ever seen. The original comics in the 1980’s had Kitty Pride going back in time. The cartoons had Bishop going back in time. The movie uses Wolverine. Obviously they needed Wolverine to get more screen time to please the Hugh Jackman fans. But the bone-claws bit was pretty cool. I wanted to see him get those claws into Magneto.

What X-men does best, is to take the story to the next level, whatever it is. Time travel, extra dimensions, alternate realities, space travel… all of it. My books will attest to my love stories that embrace all the genres and don’t hold back on sci-fi tricks. This movie inspired me to kick it up a notch. I don’t know how it will look when I’m done, but I’m definitely itching to do something hyper-physical. I can’t wait for Apocalypse! Thanks, Mr. Singer.

Cover Contest: Salvation

perf6.000x9.000.indd

I just found out Salvation is in an on-line cover contest this week. If you have a minute, please go vote!

http://www.newldsfiction.com/2014-best-scififantasy-book-covers/

Review: Altar of Reality by Mara Valdarran

AoR

Sixteen year-old Madeline has struggled with epilepsy for most of her adolescent life, leaving her something of a social pariah. Things go from bad to worse when she wakes up from her first grand mal seizure in an extremely unfamiliar world but surrounded but familiar faces. Her hometown is in ruins, the aftermath of a Cold War turned hot.

Thomas, the boy that stomped on her heart a year ago, and his brother Brandon have been hiding her away since the explosion that killed her parents. The Lord Commander, now running the southern territories, believes Madeline died with them and the brothers need to keep it that way. The biggest problem? The explosion happened when she was twelve.

Madeline isn’t sure what to believe. The brothers insist her memories must be of a dream life she created while in her coma. But when she returns to the reality she knows, they insist this war-torn world must be the dream. She doesn’t know if she’s truly caught in the middle of a brewing rebellion or teetering on the brink of insanity. As she finds herself flipping between the two lives, her heart becomes torn between two versions of the same boy and the lines between her realities begin to blur.

My Review: I loved this book. With the recent push of fantasy and urban fantasy in YA, I think there is a stark lack of good YA sci-fi. This book fixes it. With a compelling protagonist that is yanked back and forth between two different dimensions, it kept me fascinated as the plot raced between two polar ends.

Check out Altar of Reality by the amazing Mara Valdarran!

Game Card

Card James Wymore

Anybody have a game this card can be used in? I’ll offer a reward if you tell me one. You can be the first person to die in my new book!

Sean Ricks, my friend and artist, made it at Comic Con last fall. I’m super-excited for FanX this month. They have our Space Balrog panel games in ballrooms. No more people fighting over chairs… well, except at the end. But that’s how it always goes.

Incidentally, I just started work on Choose Your Own Apocalypse book with the amazing and talented authors Jason King and Holli Anderson. It’s going to be epic x3! *Spoiler Alert!* I’m writing the robot faction. B)

I am actually in the middle of two other book manuscripts right now. But I couldn’t stop myself with the idea for this one hit me. The first lines:

There is no such thing as chaos. There is random, and there is order.