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Launch Day: The Bellbottom Incident

The Bellbottom Incident is now available both in paperback and on Kindle! You can find the book here in the US Kindle store, here in the UK store, and here in Canada. I’ve started to get some sales in Australia (*waves hello to Australians*) so I’m going to add that link as well.

Launch days tend to be somewhat of a bittersweet occasion. You’ve done all you can for the book and it’s now time to send it into the world and hope it finds its wings. That’s not quite true, of course, as there is still plenty that can be done and that needs to be done for the book — working on promotions, arranging giveaways, perhaps a book signing, and so forth. But mostly you’ve said good-bye to the characters, to the story.

That’s even more the case when it’s the last one in a series, as The Bellbottom Incident is; while there may be at least one short story to go along with the series, the three full length novels are done and it is time to clear the board and get cracking on that next idea.

So here’s hoping The Bellbottom Incident finds its wings. There’s already a nice 5-star review on Amazon to greet the book, and a giveaway happening on Goodreads. More to come!

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The Bellbottom Incident – paperback available early!

Psst! 

A bit of news just for my mailing list subscribers (well, and for anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook, and possibly some places I’ve forgotten my feed goes to…) Anyways, here it is: The Bellbottom Incident paperback has gone up on Amazon TEN DAYS EARLY. The Kindle version is still on track for release at the end of this month, March 31. But as of today, you can find the papeback for sale on Amazon US and on Amazon UK

Hope you all like this one and happy reading!


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Cover Reveal: The Bellbottom Incident

Amazon’s algorithms sent out the “Coming Soon” email this morning, sooner than I expected, so this isn’t exactly a cover unveiling as everyone can already see it on the Kindle preorder page.  But here goes anyway. Ta-da:

The Far Time Incident, the first book in the series, had a cover that was on the light side, off-white and gray. The Runestone Incident cover was mostly black with some red accents. So for this third one we went with lots of color, which also happened to match the time period the book takes place in. That it’s the seventies is pretty clear from the title, I think! TheBookDesigners get the credit for turning my vague word-sketch into a lovely and eye-catching cover.

Here is the back-page description:

Julia Olsen and Nate Kirkland, St. Sunniva University’s time-traveling crime-stoppers, are back and facing their toughest challenge yet in this third and final installment of the series. Sabina, their adopted niece from the lost city of Pompeii, has gone missing—in the bellbottom decade, of all places.  

The situation requires sharp investigative skills of the literary kind, as Sabina has managed to outwit History and disappear into parts unknown, with the only clues to her whereabouts hidden in a Kurt Vonnegut novel. But fiction and reality collide as it soon becomes clear that the consequences may be all too real…and all too high. Can Julia and her teammates rescue the out-of-her-time Sabina before the final, unstoppable showdown with History?  

Continuing where The Far Time Incident and The Runestone Incident leave off, The Bellbottom Incident brings the series to a gripping conclusion in this lively adventure through history, science, and literature.

Though only the Kindle book has gone up for preorder, there will be a print book of course, releasing the same day, March 31. This final book in the series comes to you via Westmarch Publishing, so there are some changes in how things got done, but none that should affect the reading experience itself, which is all that matters.

Thanks for supporting my books and hope you enjoy this one as much as I did writing it!

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Farewell 2014 Welcome 2015

Season’s greetings and best wishes for 2015! May the upcoming year treat you and yours well, and may any and all surprises be good ones.

I’m going to skip the obligatory recap of last year, as I feel it’s always better to look ahead than to sneak glances backward. Book-wise, here is where things stand going into the new year:

The publishing train for The Bellbottom Incident, the final book in the Incident series, is right on track, chugging on. We are in the middle of the copyediting stage and the book should be going up for preorder on Kindle in early January. The cover is all set and a publication date of March 31, 2015 for both the print and Kindle versions is looking likely.

I’m happy to report that The Runestone Incident is on this year’s longlist of nominees for the Minnesota Book Awards (you can find the whole list of nominees here; the book is about halfway down the page, in the Genre Fiction category). It’s very nice to see the book there, snuggled next to others of its kind. Finalists are announced at the end of January, so there’s not much to do at this point but keep fingers crossed. 

Back in November, I was invited to join a writers’ co-op, Westmarch Publishing, and I jumped at the chance. We are still in the early stages of organizing our group home, but you can take a peek at the website here. There are nine of us for now, that is to say, yours truly along with eight awesome authors who write everything from mysteries to zombie apocalypse stories to steampunk. Please check out their books when you get a chance!

I also have a short story in the works, a prequel to the Incident series. More details on that when (or possibly if) I can think of a good ending to the story.


As always, I’m thinking of what my next big project should be, while working on getting the current one (The Bellbottom Incident) out the door, but it’s entirely too early to reveal any details, so really I don’t even know why I put this paragraph in here.

Finally, in regards to conferences, I will be at next year’s CONvergence here in the Twin Cities, so look for me there in July of 2015.

Thanks for reading this blog and my books, and best wishes for 2015!

Neve
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Guest Post by Charlie N. Holmberg, author of The Paper Magician

Today I welcome Charlie N. Holmberg to the blog — her just-released young adult debut, The Paper Magician, is already rocking the Kindle bestseller lists! Charlie stopped by to talk about one of the less glamorous tasks faced by a writer, designing promotional materials, and how things didn’t quite go according to plan. Read on:

The making of the bookmarks for The Paper Magician was fun, but also ended up being quite a handful! This is namely due to my publisher’s decision to change the book’s cover literally days after the first set had been printed up. But it all worked out in the end.

Because The Paper Magician is my debut novel, I had never actually designed a bookmark before. That, and I’m not a designer, so I relied heavily on my friend Sara’s skills. (Sara has also done many a commission for me. She’s excellent.) For the bookmark, we decided to include a picture of Ceony, my protagonist. I sent Sara a description of what Ceony looked like, along with a few references pictures, and then got to work on the text.
There is NOT a lot of space on a bookmark for text, let me tell you that. I Googled several bookmark layouts and studied a few designs from fellow 47North authors to get an idea of what I should include. At first Sara and I tried using a logline for the book, but ultimately we went with a very trimmed-down version of the pitch. Trimming that sucker wasn’t the most fun thing I’ve done in my life. 😉 I also had to decide what authorly information to include, and ultimately kept it simple: just my website.
For the commission of Ceony, Sara originally tried the idea of her turning into paper, but the graphics weren’t coming out the way we wanted them to, so she used her genius to incorporate dozens of paper cranes. She matched the bookmark background to the cover and played up the snowflake motif to create the winning design:



Then the cover changed, but fortunately we weren’t back to square one. Sara changed the color scheme and had to nix the snowflakes, instead drawing out the diagram-like lines that decorate the second cover. She added some rolling paper effects as well, which I love, and we got bookmark #2!



I really lucked out using Sara as my designer, since she also happens to work for a printing company. 😉 As for the old bookmarks… we’ll just say they’re collector items.

****

Homegrown in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. She writes fantasy novels and does freelance editing on the side. She’s a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses.
Amazon purchase page: http://amzn.to/1yjGbom

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Guest Post: Michael Tinker Pearce Talks Aliens

Today on the blog we have one half of the writing duo of Michael Tinker Pearce and Linda PearceThe couple’s second novel, Rage of Angels, a military science-fiction story, is now available on Kindle. Michael stopped by today to talk about fictional alien invasions of Earth, and how they often seem to involve aliens that aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs in the galaxy. Read on: 


Earth is maybe the luckiest planet in the cosmos. Sure, we keep getting invaded but the invaders are always, well, stupid.  From the very first alien invasion story, H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, the prerequisite for attacking Earth seems to be that you must be dumb. Wells’ Martians had overwhelming technical and military superiority and they steamrolled us. It seemed like the perfect plan… except they forgot to filter their air-supply, caught colds and died.


In almost all books and movies on the topic the invaders make stupid, elementary mistakes. In Pandora’s Planet the aliens invaded despite the fact that they were less technically advanced than we were, and even holding the orbital high ground was almost not enough to insure victory. In Independence Day the aliens had never heard of network security. In Battle: LAthe aliens were doubly stupid- they designed their entire offensive around a single point of failure and they invaded for what? Water, made from some of the most common elements in the universe and readily available in space. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all of these books and movies. I just had to work extra-hard to suspend my disbelief. 

The thing is that smart aliens almost certainly wouldn’t attack our planet unless they knew they would win. The energy and effort to cross interstellar space is just too great and expensive to bother otherwise. Kudos to Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle for figuring out why a race that might not win would attack in Footfall, a great book and well worth reading even if it is a little dated now. Of course even his aliens expected to win, and would have but for one of the greatest and most entertaining ‘Hail Marys’ in science fiction.
So what if smart aliens attacked Earth? What if they had a good reason to do so and had a good plan that capitalized on their strengths? That was the foundation of the idea for Rage of Angels. The answer, it turned out, is ‘We’re screwed.’  Two thirds of the way through the book we realized that we couldn’t figure out a believable way for the people of Earth to win. Um… problem there…
We did eventually work out a satisfactory and believable resolution, did a lot of math to insure that it would work and finished the novel, but it was touch-and-go for a while.  It turned out that even our aliens weren’t quite as smart as we’d thought, but no spoilers.
We’re lucky in that we live in the best time to be a writer in human history. Especially a science-fiction writer. Not only do we have the ability to self-publish and reach a world-wide audience but we have the greatest research tool in the history of the world at our fingertips: The internet. Whether it is the history of the Viking Era or the maximum effective range of an M16A2 rifle it’s all there for the asking. And then there is Google Earth… Almost every location in Rage of Angels is a real place. As a writer I can look for the perfect location for my action, swoop in and get details of the terrain, elevation etc. Mind you, you don’t have to include that information in the story, but even if you don’t it allows you to visualize the action and describe it more accurately. Yes, you have to be careful and work from multiple sources when using the internet, but it’s still an amazing tool.
There is another reason that this is a great time to be a science-fiction writer. There are actually scientists at NASA and around the world working on Warp Drive and related physics. Seriously. We may well be only decades away from a faster-than-light space drive. Hilariously it works remarkably like the warp drive in Star Trek. What this really means to me of course is that I can use warp physics in my stories and still call them ‘Hard Science.’  Fantastic!  
As interesting as the science may be it’s the characters that drive the story.  Male or female, human or alien. Memorable, sympathetic and likable or coldly sociopathic and calculatedly evil. Without the characters it just isn’t going to happen because in the end it comes down to people. What ever else may change I think that’s likely to remain true for as long as people tell each other stories.

******

Michael ‘Tinker’ Pearce lives in Seattle with his wife and co-author Linda. He got the nickname ‘Tinker’ in the 1980’s when he was at various times a soldier, college student, a bodyguard, a private investigator, a meat-carver at a restaurant, a police officer, an illustrator, heavy equipment operator, competition shooter, cover-copy writer, outlaw road-racer, Drill Instructor Candidate, receptionist, executive assistant to the heads of corporate banking at Citycorps, Tobacconist, courier for a currency exchange etc.

He finally settled down to become a knife and sword maker, specializing in the blades of medieval Europe and the Viking Era. He is the author of ‘The Medieval Sword in the Modern World,’ and the designer of the CAS Iberia Tinker Line of medieval swords and trainers. He is a trained theatrical fighter and choreographer, and a student of Historic European Martial Arts. He co-authored the Foreworld novella ‘The Shield Maiden’ and the couple released their first novel ‘Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman’ in early 2013. They released a sequel novella, ‘Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman: Rear Guard’ in September 2013. Their second Foreworld Novella ‘Tyr’s Hammer’ was published in October 2013.

The couple has just released their second novel, ‘Rage of Angels,’ a hard-science military science-fiction story based on the events in ‘The Killing Machine’ and ‘What Happens in Dubai.’ Future projects include the full-length sequel to ‘Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman,’ ‘Lord of the North’ and the Contemporary Fantasy “The Gray Man’s Journal.’
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Update on Book 3 of the Incident Series

I’ve had a couple of readers email asking me when the final book in the Incident series will release, so here’s a quick update:

  1. There’s a working title (ta-na!): THE BELLBOTTOM INCIDENT
  2. The book is in the developmental (content) editing stage at the moment.
  3. Depending on how long the editing takes (and obtaining permissions for any quotes I include in the text, cover design, etc) the expected publication date is sometime this winter, that is to say, late 2014 or early 2015. 

Also, this final book in the Incident series may just be my favorite of the three. Just sayin’. Hard to comment further without giving away key plot points, but let’s just say Julia and the others get to go to near-time, meet a famous author… and, oh, all sorts of stuff happens.

Stay tuned. 

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Q & A with Scott James Magner

Today I welcome Scott James Magner to the blog. He’s a “writer, editor, designer, developer, and world builder” who has worked on everything from science fiction novels to card games to radio ads. In between all that, he found time to answer a few questions. Read on:

Neve: Scott, you’ve written science fiction novels, novellas, serials, magazine pieces, text/stories for video games and table-top games… Have I missed anything? Where do you recommend readers start in getting to know your work?
Scott James Magner: Card games, miniatures games, legal briefs, web sites, white papers, radio advertisements…just about anything I can get paid for, really. I describe myself as a marketing hack to students, when asked what kind of writing I do. Novelist is far too romantic a notion, and one I believe should be beaten out of English majors early on while their hearts are still unbroken. The stuff I wrote just out of school makes me cringe today, as does stuff I wrote 10 years ago, 5 years ago, and last year.
As to where to begin, www.scottjamesmagner.com is the home of all things me.
N: So what is a Bhagwan (the name of your website)?
SJM: A very long story indeed, and one I don’t tell that often. It started as a mistake of sorts, and turned into an alternate identity that I may never shake. The easiest way to explain it is to say that some folks understand satire, and others live it. I’ll leave it to the readers to determine which one I am.
N: How did signing with 47North come about?
SJM: Technically I never signed with 47North, but I can speak to the spirit of the question.
My friend and frequent publisher Mark Teppo was looking to flesh out the universe of the Mongoliad(known collectively as the Foreworld Saga, and hosted online at www.foreworld.com) with novellas featuring different stories than they could tell in the pages of the main plot. At this point, only two volumes of the Mongoliadwere out, which meant there was a lot of uncharted space on the map.
At a party one night, we discovered that we’d done a lot of the same linguistic research on medieval Europe, which led to him asking for a few writing samples. Specifically, fight scenes, which I was happy to provide. (In fact, the samples I sent him are a big part of my serial project, Seasons of Truth (http://www.bhagwanx.com/writer/buy-my-books/seasons-of-truth/)
After we’d determined working together was a good idea, we sat down over enchiladas and margaritas and found a corner of the Foreworld for me to develop, that in fact had strong links to characters in the main plot itself! I signed on to the overall sidequest project, and the rest is alternate history!
N: We both have stories set in Pompeii of 79 AD, though very different ones. What drew you to that setting?

SJM: The idea for Blood and Ashes (http://www.bhagwanx.com/writer/buy-my-books/blood-and-ashes/) hit me as soon as I realized that writing Foreworld stories in the ancient world was even possible. I roughed out a treatment soon after finishing Hearts of Iron.
The original story was more or less what you see in the book today, but as I started writing I realized how much more could be done with the characters and setting. Given my druthers, I could easily add another 50-60K words to the book and start an epic adventure series. But part of playing in someone else’s sandbox is respecting boundaries, and I’m very happy with the book we turned out.
N: What is your typical day like? Where do you get your best writing done — home, coffeehouse, other?
SJM: I can write just about anywhere, but the real creative times happen when I’m in my own chair in front of my own computer. At the time of this writing, I’m in-between paying gigs, so a typical day involves breakfast, and maybe lunch as scheduled activities. I write when I have a story in my head, no matter where I am at the time. Luckily, I’ve got a lot of stories waiting to be told.
N: Do you outline in advance or are you the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer?
SJM: I’m an outliner. I see stories in my head, start to finish, and know a lot of the important elements before I even start writing. So when I start a project, I get them all down on one piece of paper and then promptly ignore it in favor of getting the words out. I usually end up with something approximating what I wanted to do, and then I write it again. And again, as many times as necessary to get it sold.
N: Favorite quote about writing?
SJM: Hand’s down, it’s Dorothy Parker:

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

N: Just because I’m curious about how other authors function — do you read your Amazon and Goodreads reviews?
SJM: As they come in. I want to know what worked or didn’t with my readers, so that my next project will be better. Not for them, but for me. And I’m hoping to get a whole bunch more in the next month or so, to make my next book really shine.
N: E-books or paper ones?

SJM: Yes. There is no real difference between the two in terms of content, just experience. As I type this I am surrounded on four sides by many thousands of books (I am , in fact, at home, in only one of 6 rooms so adorned), and I still read and collect physical copies.
For me, reading a paper book is an experience worth savoring. Even though I read very fast, the act of selecting a book, finding a place to sit, and then reading it to the end is time dedicated completely to myself. But my e-readers (kindle, tablet, phone, portable computer) allow me to access content anywhere, any time, and in whatever window I have available to me.
Both formats allow me to live in someone else’s world, but one weighs a lot less and packs easier when travelling.
N: Finally, what are you working on now?
SJM: Besides finding a job? I’m continuing my marketing efforts for Seasons of Truth (tell all your friends!), and ramping up for the release (both hardcover and electronic) of my science fiction novel Homefront in November. I also have a novella outlined for later this year, have another novella planned for early 2015, and a science fiction novel that I wrote last year which failed to find a home. I plan to add another 50K words to the front end (which would replace some 15K of those already written) of that book and shop it around again later this year.
Or, I’ll write whatever somebody pays me for. I’m good like that.

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Pics from Uncle Hugo’s

My thanks to everyone who came to Uncle Hugo’s this past Saturday or preordered books — I had a great time, met some lovely people, and even got to sign a T-shirt! Here are some pictures:


Uncle Hugo’s, and next to it, Uncle Edgar’s.

One of us is Doug Hulick.

There are a lot of books behind me. There are a lot of books at Uncle Hugo’s.

I’m signing a T-shirt. My nose looks big for some reason — it must be the (ahem) angle.

The view from behind the signing table.
Ironically, I didn’t get any pictures of me signing an actual book. I did sign whatever was left in stock, so if you didn’t get a preorder in in time, there are still a few books available.
Cheers,
Neve

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News This Second Week of May

Finally some nice weather here in the Twin Cities – sixty degrees and (partly, but we’ll take it) sunny. The flowers aren’t blooming yet, but there’s hope.

There are various May promotions going on for my series starter, The Far Time Incident, so if you’re in the mood for a time-travel mystery, it’s a great time to pick up the audiobook (wonderfully narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal and $6.95 for Audible customers until May 10) or the ebook ($1.99 on Kindle until Memorial Day) or a print copy ($7.99 until May 15 on Amazon). In the UK, both The Far Time Incident and The Runestone Incident are £0.99 on Kindle for all of May.

Also, a reminder that this Mother’s Day weekend, I’ll be at Uncle Hugo’s. If you drop by the bookstore this Saturday, the 10th, you’ll find Douglas Hulick and me at the table by the door from 1-2 pm signing books. Hope to see you there.

Then, on Sunday, my guys will probably take me out to brunch somewhere. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Neve