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News This Third Week of October

If you receive these updates via email, as you can see, the newsletter has a new format! It’s now getting to you by way of Mailchimp rather than Feedburner. With any luck, the transition will go smoothly and the email won’t wither away in your spam folder…or, if it did go into spam, you’ve rescued it and are now reading this. As a side note, if the images aren’t displaying correctly, there is a link at the top with an option to view the email on the web.

My thanks to everyone who posted a review of The Feline Affair on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites! Reviews help other readers find the story, and Amazon reviews are particularly important because without a certain number of them the site’s recommendation/also-bought algorithms won’t kick in. (Exactly how many reviews it takes no one outside of Amazon seems to know.) So whether you liked The Feline Affair, or thought it was just OK, or frankly not very good at all… please let other Amazon customers know by writing a line or two about the book.

In other news, I’ve been hard at work on a standalone novel (no title yet). This one is a little different in that it’s decided that it wants to be written not in the traditional past-tense narration (Once upon a time, there lived a King in the small kingdom of Wilderia…) but in the present tense (The king of the far-way planet of Wilderia sits on his throne. An unexpected visitor enters. The king, dispensing with a thousand years of protocol, rises to his feet in terror…) Examples of present-tense novels you may have read are The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The immediacy of the present tense works well for those (quite different) books and I’m finding that’s the case for my new novel as well. So it’s a little bit of an experiment, but hopefully a good one. (Also, so there’s no confusion—there are no kings in the new book!)

Finally, I leave you with a couple of photos of beautiful Minnesota autumn, taken at Applewood Orchard, just south of us. Most of the apples had been picked over this late in the season, but our small group–husband, son, and family friends–quite enjoyed the pumpkin-shaped corn maze!

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The Feline Affair — Release Day

The release day for The Feline Affair is here! The novelette is available only as an e-book on Amazon for now, but you can read it on pretty much any device. So if you don’t own a Kindle, no worries. You’ll still be able to read it on your computer, laptop, tablet, or cell phone — you’ll just need to download a free Kindle app first (instructions here). 


Mid-month, I sent out the advance MOBI/pdf copies to everyone who requested one. If you requested a copy and didn’t receive it — or missed my previous newsletter and would like to request one now — reply to this email letting me know. Or you can always send me an email at neve@nevemaslakovic.com.

I’m writing this on the way back from Worldcon so I’ll keep it short, but I wanted to repeat something I said when I sent out the MOBIs and pdfs – I am one lucky and grateful writer to have such wonderful readers! Thank you so much for all the lovely things you said in your emails, for supporting my writing, for taking the time to write Amazon and Goodreads reviews, for, in short, being the best readers a writer could hope for!

The Feline Affair is my first foray into the world of novelettes and I had a lot of fun writing it — I hope you have as much fun reading it.

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Cover Reveal: The Feline Affair

There’s news to report on the Incident series novelette front. The official publication date is August 25 and the title is (ta, da!)…The Feline Affair. My multi-talented friend Cynthia L. Moyer has whipped up a simply wonderful cover:  


The novelette has gone up for preorder on Kindle, but I’d like to send complimentary copies to my newsletter subscribers. (That’s you!) Just reply to this email letting me know if you’d prefer a mobi format (which can be read on your Kindle/iPad/tablet) or a pdf, and I’ll make a list and send the story along mid-August. If you don’t hear back from me by end of August, please ping me again.  

And if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, quick, do it now! There is a sign up box to the left (here on my website) and you can email me at neve@nevemaslakovic.com to let me know which format you’d prefer.

The novelette takes place before the three books in the series and is about 50 pages long. And if you’re wondering where a cat comes into it…well, here’s the blurb:

A wager concerning a famous physics cat has everyone at St. Sunniva University’s time-travel lab choosing sides. Meanwhile, food has gone missing from the biology department fridge. Dean’s assistant Julia Olsen is on the case…or would be if the new chief of campus security didn’t stand in her way. Can Julia rise to the double challenge presented by one sneaky thief and one elusive historical cat? 

Set as a prequel to Neve Maslakovic’s time-travel series (The Far Time Incident, The Runestone Incident, and The Bellbottom Incident), the novelette The Feline Affair is a lively jaunt into science, history, and academia.

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News This Third Week of June

Hope everybody is having a good summer or, if it’s currently cold where you are, winter! I have two upcoming events to share with you and an update on the Incident series prequel short story.

First, I’ll be at CONvergence, here in Bloomington, in early July. Look for me on a couple of panels and at the “mass book signing”:

New Writers HOWTO Thursday, July 2, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Group Signing Saturday, July 4, 2:00pm – 4:30pm

Dystopia in Humor/Humor in Dystopia  Sunday, July 5, 9:30am – 10:30am

The full con schedule is here.

Second, in August I’m going to be attending the World Science Fiction Convention, called Sasquan this year, in Spokane, Washington. I’ve never been to the convention, so it promises to be interesting! I’m looking forward to meeting in person author friends I’ve only connected to via Twitter and Facebook, and spending some time with the lovely people of 47North, my publisher. If you’re attending or live in the area, I’ll be at the following event:

        Meet the Authors of 47North!
        When: Saturday, August 22nd at 3:30-5:30pm
        Where: The Cedar Room at the Grand Hotel


I’ll have complimentary copies of The Far Time Incident to give out and sign. Hope to see you there!

The last bit of news is that the Incident series prequel short story has been upgraded to a novelette based on length. It’s currently in the editing stage–no cover yet. More details to come.
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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.’