Divergent Fates on Sale

This fantastic anthology is comprised of stories by many great authors all set in Matthew Cox’s amazing Cyberpunk world. It’s been out for a while, but now you can get it on sale for just 99 cents!

Summary: A collection of short stories set in the Divergent Fates universe, encompassing cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and neo-feudal Japan. In Loose Ends, a false lead from an old case comes back to haunt Agent Kirsten Wren. In JS Hughes’ Last Flight, Raleigh, a shot-down pilot struggling to survive the Badlands encounters a strange child and a stranger reality. JP Sloan’s Snake Oil is a view into the harsh life of settlers who ask nothing more of the Badlands than continued existence, but even that is a prize hard won.

Wilbert Stanton’s Prophet’s Wake follows Cassie Black, a hardened escaped con chasing a hail-Mary payday into the Badlands. Betrayal leaves her at a crossroads between greed, revenge, and a change of heart.

In The Old City, young Althea ventures into the dangerous part of Querq to help some boys who broke the rules, and learns why the abandoned city is off limits to children.

Robert Defendi’s Stance-No-Stance is set in the neo-feudal world of 2418 Japan, where a master duelist faces a conflict of honor when he discovers a plot to exploit society’s most vulnerable for corporate profit.

In The Contractor by Mark W. Woodring, a retired merc can’t resist one last job. Alas, when something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

James Wymore’s Special Project tells the story of Min-gun, a mechanic who lives for hovercar racing in the Korean underground until gangsters get involved and threaten the life of the racer he loves.

In Field Test by Patrick Burdine, a Mexican-born commoner struggles to rise within the political ranks of the Allied Corporate Council. His assignment to infiltrate a resistance cell and destroy it from within offers a chance at recognition, if it doesn’t erase his psyche.

Nina Duchenne is adjusting to her new life with a doll body and a position with Division 9. In Maestro’s Requiem, amid one of the darkest cases she’s ever worked, she finds a surprising glimmer of light for her dreary soul.

Benjamin Sperduto’s Sins of the Father follows a man named Dmitri as his beloved daughter is taken away by the government for being psionic. His effort to save her costs him his citizenship and leaves him on the street, until a chance meeting with the resistance forces him to decide how far he’s willing to go for a lifetime of inaction.

With a line-up like that, you won’t want to miss it, especially at this price. Get Divergent Fates now!

Schism Audiobook

Schism Audiobook

Now Available: Schism Audiobook!

Actually, I have to confess, it’s been out for a while. The reader, Zach Bjorge, has an amazing voice talent. You won’t want to miss this story. It’s shorter than most books, so the audiobook is only about as long as a movie… a really great action movie!

Preview:

On the scorched world of Schism, all life survives in huge trenches, protected from the heat of the torrid sun.

In these chasms, human colonists often find themselves at odds with the indigenous humanoids called Spiders. Jake’s airship, powered by ancient technology, takes advantage of the unique terrain, but makes him valuable to both sides of local warring tribes. The captain and crew of the Sky Turtle are forced to risk everything in a fight between these followers of opposing elemental magics. If they fail, it could cost them everything.

If you start a new Audible account, you can get it FREE! If you don’t want one of those, just buy the e-book and then you can get it via whispersync.

Enjoy!

 

Special Project in Divergent Fates Anthology

Divergent Fates

Divergent FatesI’m thrilled to announce my latest short story is out! The Divergent Fates Anthology, edited by Matthew Cox, is set in his extensive Cyberpunk setting. He has over half a dozen books in two series set in the Divergent Fates world. It’s even available in paperback already!

Here’s the summary:

A collection of short stories set in the Divergent Fates universe, encompassing cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and neo-feudal Japan. In Loose Ends, a false lead from an old case comes back to haunt Agent Kirsten Wren. In JS Hughes’ Last Flight, Raleigh, a shot-down pilot struggling to survive the Badlands encounters a strange child and a stranger reality. JP Sloan’s Snake Oil is a view into the harsh life of settlers who ask nothing more of the Badlands than continued existence, but even that is a prize hard won.

Wilbert Stanton’s Prophet’s Wake follows Cassie Black, a hardened escaped con chasing a hail-Mary payday into the Badlands. Betrayal leaves her at a crossroads between greed, revenge, and a change of heart.

In The Old City, young Althea ventures into the dangerous part of Querq to help some boys who broke the rules, and learns why the abandoned city is off limits to children.

Robert Defendi’s Stance-No-Stance is set in the neo-feudal world of 2418 Japan, where a master duelist faces a conflict of honor when he discovers a plot to exploit society’s most vulnerable for corporate profit.

In The Contractor by Mark W. Woodring, a retired merc can’t resist one last job. Alas, when something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

James Wymore’s Special Project tells the story of Min-gun, a mechanic who lives for hovercar racing in the Korean underground until gangsters get involved and threaten the life of the racer he loves.

In Field Test by Patrick Burdine, a Mexican-born commoner struggles to rise within the political ranks of the Allied Corporate Council. His assignment to infiltrate a resistance cell and destroy it from within offers a chance at recognition, if it doesn’t erase his psyche.

Nina Duchenne is adjusting to her new life with a doll body and a position with Division 9. In Maestro’s Requiem, amid one of the darkest cases she’s ever worked, she finds a surprising glimmer of light for her dreary soul.

Benjamin Sperduto’s Sins of the Father follows a man named Dmitri as his beloved daughter is taken away by the government for being psionic. His effort to save her costs him his citizenship and leaves him on the street, until a chance meeting with the resistance forces him to decide how far he’s willing to go for a lifetime of inaction.

What are you waiting for? Get it now!

Book Review: Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach

Gerald

I’m thrilled to announce the release of Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach by Carl Hackman!

Summary:

In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking an entire inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald.

Looking for promotion of an inch or two, Gerald attempts to create a village landmark using his superior wizarding skills. But the spell he bought – from a guy who knows a guy – is a tad more powerful than he anticipates. The resulting earthquake breaks off a chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison.

A red-faced Gerald is banished from his village and, to complete his shame, is demoted another inch; two more and he’s likely to become a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s questionable acquisition of a certain golden amulet could be the answer to his problems. But when Vabalaz discovers it may also be the key to creating his elite wizard realm, Gerald is elevated to evil wizard’s enemy number one.

Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the damage to Wyverndawn and thwarting Vabalaz’s plans. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might well be his last.

My Review:

A fantastic mix of quirky and serious, Gerald is a fun character with a lot of heart. Hackman’s premiere delivers a surprisingly powerful feel good story you won’t want to put down.

You won’t want to miss this amazing story. Get it now!

Windows into Hell Audiobook

WiH Audiobook Cover

Now available: Windows into Hell Audiobook! It’s been a long road. The readers (Tonya Adolphson and Raphael Boivin) for the audiobook version were actually done soon after the book’s release, but due to editing and uploading issues, it took this long to get it on Audible. It’s worth it, though! You can get it for just $17.46 (or just use your Audible credits).

I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately. The one I’m currently in the middle of is Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut, read by Rip Torn. I’ve had mixed feelings about various readers, but Rip Torn is obviously awesome. Maybe someday I’ll try to read something of my own (more than just with the Freestyle Gargoyles).

I have two more audiobooks in the works. Schism read by Zach Bjorge is already done, but has a few technical glitches holding it up. It should be available next. Also, I’m in contracting for Theocracide to be read by Raphael Boivin through FJP. After that I plan to get Salvation out on audio. So it’s happening. 🙂

I couldn’t be more pleased with how well Windows into Hell has been doing in Audiobook. First day out and it hit #53 on two Amazon charts. It’s dropped a little, but it’s still in the top 100 for both categories as I write this. So, get it while it’s hot!

WiH Audiobook #53 #53 05-17

What’s in a name?

It’s been too long since I wrote a legit blog. Time is relentless in its march. Still, I want to talk about names. Really, I want to discuss made-up names and words of all kinds. Maybe the benefit of what I’ve learned will help you in your writing endeavors. If not, at least it should be interesting.

If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you probably remember the tragic first edition covers on my first two books. I’m embarrassed to show them now, but it makes a point. (Just to ease my mind, I’m putting the newer versions, too.)

 

 

To this day, the Space Balrogs won’t call my first book anything except, “The Cracide.” Which is what the title looks like on that initial cover. Since then, I’ve learned it’s best not to title a book after a made-up word at all. Not only because I get confusion by people who think the book is about killing God as some kind of anti-religious statement (which it isn’t, it’s about killing a Theocrat who claims to be God), but a lot of people aren’t attracted to the title at all because it inspires confusion more than curiosity.

I went to a book signing where Terry Brooks shocked the entire audience of fans by informing us that Shannara is pronounced Shan-uh-ruh, not Shuh-nar-ra. Every person there had been pronouncing it wrong for decades. I’m guessing after a lifetime of correcting people’s pronunciation of his title, he wishes he hadn’t used a made-up word in the title, too.

Exacting Essence isn’t much better. It sounds cool (to me), but nobody knows what it means. So again, it causes confusion instead of curiosity. So, by making bad decisions in the past, I’ve learned to title books using only common words people already know. It is much more likely to inspire them to want to learn about the book. Here are some better book titles.

 

Uniqueness in titles isn’t as important as getting the reader’s interest. Common words can make a really good title.

I think this has also affected how I think about made up words in the book as well. I have a few in Salvation, because it’s a straight up fantasy and monsters and towns need names. But even though there have to be made up words in it, I think I would advise authors to use as many common words and when they are made up, spell them in a way that’s easy to understand.

Schism is the name of the planet. An actuator is a legitimate machine part. The sense of something familiar being used in a new and “magical” way is more intriguing, I believe, than if I named the planet Blarghdorugh and the machine R.T.C.I. (Reality Transforming Computer Interface). There is a place for fancy made-up words, of course, but less is definitely more.

So what brought this up now? My work-in-progress involves me deciding what to call a city, the people in it, and various aspects of their culture. So I have been revisiting some of the wisdom I learned by past mistakes. The title will not be a word I make up. The city must be called something that sounds like a real city, named as real people would name one. And the characters will have names that are “futuristic” in the sense that they are names people might really use as a result of a real societal evolution… not Zaphanianna or some other nonsense that readers can’t pronounce. It’s unlikely that after people used the name Matthew for thousands of years it will suddenly disappear in 100 years and nobody will be giving it to newborns.

If I save just one author from making the same mistakes I did, this blog will have been worth the effort. 🙂

The Dark Glass, Free Audio

My short story, The Dark Glass, is now available in audio format as a podcast from Immortal Works, read  by the amazing Jason King. They do a weekly short story audio called Flash Fiction Friday. You can subscribe on iTunes (and you should!) or get it here:

The Dark Glass

This story has also been published in two different anthologies…