Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Please update your links. My new blog is here:
This will be available soon! The Wreath of Poseidon is basically Saltwater Witch remixed by my daughter Chloe and I. This version of the story is in 3rd person (Saltwater Witch is in 1st), and this version is a bit longer, contains more story, including some scenes cut from the original. We went back to the original 3rd person story I wrote in 2003 with some help from a nine-year-old Chloe (She's seventeen now).
I had this strong feeling you were looking for tarot card themed wallpaper for your desktop. Here you go. This is the art for my latest book Teller, which will officially be out next month. Three different sizes to choose from, but one of them should work for just about any aspect ratio you're running.
Click the one that fits your sceen best--then save it and set it as your wallpaper.
The first one is 1280x960 and obviously works well for 1024x768 and other resolutions with a similar ratio. The second one, 1280x768, is for wider screens, and the last one if for tablets (portrait, 768x1024)
Find and friend me here:
If you hit my blog with any frequency, you know I've been going on about a graphic novel/web comic project, Saltwater Witch. I've been posting 3 -5 pages every week (Monday's) since November. It's the story of one of my characters from my novel Seaborn (Juno Books, 2008), with the events taking place about five years before the events in Seaborn.
And it's free. I want anyone who likes fantasy, comics--any graphic forms of stories, the ocean, magic, or just a good story to check it out, grab the PDFs and share them. I have a lot of work licensed with Creative Commons licenses of various kinds, but I haven't placed Saltwater Witch under one yet. I'm still deciding.
So, what's this all about, and what am I getting out of it?
Okay, I'm after readers, lots of them, and I'm not going to cover up the fact that I really want you to buy a copy of Seaborn--and if you already have one, buy one for your local library.
But there's more to it...
I'm giving Saltwater Witch away for now because I also want to build up my comic art skills. (Give me some feedback!) Readers--and consequently (or maybe it's the reverse) libraries and bookstores--are buying more graphic novels and comics, and the market isn't going to get anything but bigger.
I want to be a part of that.
You've no doubt seen the graphic versions of stories from Laurel Hamilton, James Patterson, Jim Butcher, Cory Doctorow, and so many others. This is the big time, this the direction things are going, and as a writer who has some drawing and painting skills, I want to do anything I can, expand in every direction that will make me and my work more marketable. That's the key. I think so, anyway.
How long do you expect Saltwater Witch to run--in pages?
I couldn't tell you anything but a guess. It'll obviously be much shorter than the actual novel manuscript, which is under consideration with a publisher. No word yet on where that's going, but these are tough times, and editors have to make bottom-line-affecting decisions--and I'm an author with one published novel and a couple short stories out there. On the other hand, no one gets anywhere without taking chances, or looking to the future. So, maybe it's a great time to be an author with one published novel?
Oh yeah, I just posted pages 50 through 54. Check it all out here:
Let me know what you think--comment on any individual page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!
Free for non-commercial use. I posted a batch of book images on Flickr, closeups, edge shots, stacked, pages, a couple with USB cords sticking out of the pages.
These four books are from my Aristotle collection, not all the oldest, but my faves in the group, including a 1550 Madius edition of Aristotle's Poetics, and the big volume below, Operum Aristotelis Tomus II Guillelmo Laemario edition published in Lyon in 1597--I think this is really cool: the front cover is stamped with the crest of the Duke of Saxony, and the back is stamped with the crest of the Holy Roman Emporer. Here's the colophon. The interior shot on the left is from the oldest book in my collection, a Latin trans. of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, printed in Venice on June 25th 1516. More about this edition here.
Here's the thumbnail block. Click here to go to Flickr to check them out full-sized.
Title: Sly Mongoose
Author: Tobias S. Buckell
Age: Teen and up. Some language and violence, but very accessible.
Get it: Amazon | B&N | Powell's | IndieBound (used to be Booksense)
More: Tobias Buckell Online
I'm already Tobias Buckell fan, and to set the general theme of this review, I'll start with what I said about Sly Mongoose at a little past the reading halfway point: I thought Tobias Buckell already kicked ass with Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin, but now that I'm halfway through Sly Mongoose, I've found there is far more ass to be kicked--far more than I ever dreamed!
And now that I've finished reading Sly Mongoose, I'll say I like them all, but this story is my favorite so far.
Pressure is everywhere, a crushing atmosphere on the surface of Chilo, on the reader who feels the weight on the shoulders of Timas--and we know we'd cave with half of what this young xocoyotzin must bear. Sly Mongoose comes racing through Chilo's atmosphere on a makeshift heat-shield and no parachute--and the story never slows down, jumps without warning to new tracks, characters--and readers--all headed one way and then we're broadsided. Suddenly we're all plummeting into Chilo's toxic atmosphere, pressure's rising, and the plot opens, scattering characters.
Some important points, things I noticed: New characters drop into the fray, even late in the story, but they didn't seem to slow things down. Another point: Buckell pulls off an extraordinary couple chapter long flashback that doesn't lag, but kicks the plot into higher gear, letting readers in on what really happened--through Pepper's POV--aboard the Sheikh Professional. We read the truth and know what nastiness is in store for an entire planet, while the citizens of Yatapek--the floating city in which he "lands"--and his Aeolian captors just hear Pepper's side of the story in those same chapters, not a lot to compel them to believe he's telling them everything or even the truth. Come on, zombies from outer space? That's the best you can come up with?
Expect to move through Sly Mongoose at an incredible pace with the building pressure, floating cities, vaporizing heat, poisonous fumes, viral brain-killing weapons, planets burned of all life, a near-unstoppable swarming army, and not much standing in the way but one resourceful old soldier missing a couple limbs, a bulimic technician who works on Chilo's 800 degree surface, and a young woman with the voices of whole civilizations running through her senses and her mind. Yeah, I was up to 4:00 in the morning reading and wondering how the hell they were going to pull it off.
Right to the point, Buckell continues his course of great storytelling, with steady, beautifully unobtrusive prose, bold and unpredictable plotting, characters that really stick in your head--that you fall for, strongly sympathize with, and would pay to hang out with in any Seattle coffee shop, or a good Akihabura tech buying spree. I'm looking at you, Pepper. Not the most sympathetic character around, but you're that across-the-board cool.
Amazon's Digital Text Platform (DTP) is where you go to manage all of your ebook-selling functions for Kindle, Amazon's eBook Reader--and the "Kindle Store" the place to get all things Kindle, books, newspapers, magazines, and other downloadable content.
DTP follows a simple structure, you have a Shelf with all your ebooks, reports to see what's going on with sales, and your account information--address, identity, and bank account information--who you are, and how you're going to get paid.
I signed up yesterday to include my novel Nanowhere, really just to see how easy it is to get things going with Amazon. And, yeah, it's very simple. Some basic account forms to fill out--the same information you need for PayPal--and you're on your way.
If you're doing this as an "individual" business type, then you may have to get some numbers together first, like a bank account and routing number. I mean, I don't carry this information around with me, but I do have a bank account specifically set up for online stuff--an account separate from our main account. I recommend this if you're doing business of any sort online--and this is a business arrangement, you're selling books through Amazon.com, and they need to know where to send your money.
You will have to provide one of the following:
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
Social Security Number (SSN)
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Here's a quick walk-through of the ebook setup (Click any of these images to see the larger versions).
I created a nice readable HTML version of Nanowhere (using simple tagging. See the link at the end for all the supported tags). The upload block also has a cool Preview feature to show you what your book's going to look like on a Kindle.
Then I set a price, and saved the whole thing to my Shelf:
Before you can get your ebooks into the Kindle Store, you need to add your account information:
and--so you can get paid--bank info:
And you're done. It's free to set up, and anyone with a Kindle can wirelessly download and read your books, articles, stories.
Supported HTML tags:
Kindle books through Fictionwise? No problem:
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Juno Books
Running from the remorseless Mor, from the doomed battle at Gamth's Pass, Kirin draws on her forbidden powers to protect her love, Jazen Tor--but too late to save him, too late to retract her "sweetlings," the things she has "birthed" of the spirits of the dead.
The story of Kirin, blood magician, scout, mother, bear-killer, "abomination," starts at a relentless pace and never lets up through skirmishes, political turmoil, prejudice, deadly encounters with the Mor, and the challenges of controlling powers she doesn't understand. In alternate chapters, Cook skillfully guides the reader through Kirin's past, growing up in the shadow of her demanding twin sister, haunted by a marriage gone bad and her sister's brutal murder, but empowered by the teachings and the hidden books of wise old Edena.
When Kirin is saved by the beautiful Lia Cho and suspicious Brother Ato, her life takes on a new set of difficulties and hard lessons to learn, mourning her old love, fostering the possibility of something new. Lia, a runaway student with the extraordinary power to summon lightning, is taken with the mysterious Kirin, in defiance of the priest of Shanira who openly declares Kirin an abomination--damned, someone who manipulates the dead, and draws her power from the blood of the living.
Matthew Cook's Blood Magic is a dark feast of loss and blood and love, a fast paced fantasy in a world reminiscent of Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion, compelling characters with the ability to draw on otherworldly powers, who push the boundaries of life and death. I look forward to reading the sequel next year, exploring Cook's world further, and discovering where Kirin's tale takes us.
A couple questions before I start rambling: What tools do you use when you write? Do you pull out different gear for long form and short form, fiction and non-fiction?
I'm more interested in the tools that work rather than which ones don't, but I'd like to hear about the experiences you've had with any writing application or method.
First, I don't think it matters if you use Windows, Linux, Mac, or any other OS. I'm not even sure the tools matter as long as they get the job done and you're comfortable using them. What may matter is the availability of some tools on some operating systems, but even that's up to you. If you're like me, you'll find those story boarding/crafting/outlining tools interesting but ultimately unnecessary.
I have been using Ubuntu for months, not just for work, but as my secondary writing machine. I'm loving the performance--although like all OS's it seems to have slowed down over the months. I've always run Linux (used to run RedHat and then Fedora) on older machines, but this is the first time I'm on a new fast core duo notebook. Ubuntu: it's quick, it's easy, it has a very active community that has provided me with a lot of answers and advice, and it's pretty. It's a good looking, smooth UI, a really comfortable environment.
I have divided my world into Linux and Windows, and there are many tasks I will always have Linux handy to perform. For now, though, writing isn't it--and I think this is because I move between the two worlds. I don't know, but I suspect I would have the same issues if I was trying to write on Windows machines and Macs, moving docs back and forth, converting docs into different formats. Just asking for trouble.
Word Processing and Editing
One solution to this--pushed by my colleague and fellow author Skott Klebe (https://textiplication.com)--is Google Docs, which I admit is a very compelling service. It's entirely online, auto-backed-up, usable from any machine, and with most of the editing/word processing functions needed by writers. Not all, however.
I primarily use Microsoft Word, XP, 2003 and 2007, different version on different machines, but they all work well together.
I know there are plenty of writers who use Open Office--and have used it for years. And there are many reasons to use it exclusively.
I've tried to use Open Office for my documents, and as impressed as I am with the app suite on its own, I'm moving docs between MS Office and Open Office and have encountered all kinds of weirdness, wiped out styles, inserted multiple carriage returns between paragraphs. I'm not going to argue about which app is doing it wrong, MS Office or Open Office. I just need consistency across machines. I need to be able to copy a DOC or an RTF file from my desktop machine to my notebook, edit it, save it, copy it back, and have it appear the same on both machines. I can't seem to do that outside of Windows and Microsoft Office.
One feature I wish Open Office Writer and Google Docs had is the Doc Map, a feature in Microsoft Word I never seemed to need until I started writing 30 chapter books. The Doc Map allows me to one-click-jump to any chapter. You can probably get around this by using chapter length docs and opening them individually, but that's not going be as convenient as the Doc Map.
Ultimately, I don't think the word processing software matters as long as you can type, search within the doc, operate quickly inside five hundred page documents (very important), and print out standard manuscript format. There's at least one of these on every OS.
Story Crafting and Structure Utilities
There are a lot of them out there, but I can't say much because I've only used Writer's DreamKit 4--and that's off and on, and it's been at least a year since I last used it. I have repeatedly tried to get into the Dramatica story structure theory. I find the process fascinating, but it's effectiveness is still up in the air. The two times I dug in really used DreamKit, it forced me to build a summary for the stories, and I later used some of that material for creating synopses.
So, perhaps it does lead writers down the good habit path with summarization exercises, making it easier to see the whole, character development, adding depth, establishing general motivations for their type as well as individual needs that can drive the character.
I've already posted on journaling. Read about how important I think that is.
I love big paper. There's something about a thick stack of 11x17 paper that gives me a creative edge. I want to make big plans, plot farther, develop characters that push the edge. You can mind map, link ideas, draw characters, connections, conclusions easier on big paper. I recommend 11x17 or 13x19 and a good pen anytime you need to spill ideas.
It really works.
So, what do you use and what do you recommend for writing tools and methods?