Shakedown Cruise and Writing Retreat

I’ve headed back to my favorite part of Cape Cod for Writing Retreats, this time as my first expedition in the Mothership! Here I am taking command, ready to leave, having worked the dock crew’s fingers to the bone getting everything ready.

A few minutes after this is taken, I hit the spacelanes, full of confidence.

You know, everything looks different from the bridge of this ship. I like this perspective. My, aren’t those F-150 pickups the most adorable little cub trucks? Wait—is that a Ranger like mine, or a toy truck? Must be a toy. My Ranger isn’t that little.

The confidence takes a hit an hour in, when I make a stop and discover what I forgot to pack: my wallet. Drivers license. Money. Credit cards. Nooooo! Grumbling, cursing, 180 turn. Back home for the wallet. Then back onto the spacelanes, somewhat deflated. The more so when the Check Engine light comes on. Gritting my teeth, I forge ahead. Real spacemen don’t stop for no stinking Check Engine lights! Would Neil Armstrong have stopped? Hell no!

(Okay, I eventually stop and scan the code. Non-mission-critical. Steady on course, Mr. Sulu.)

I arrive and set up in the dark. Why does this always happen? Connect water—check. Connect power—check. Remove bike from bed in back and lock it to the picnic table—check. Check that we’re level. Oh no. The site isn’t level. I jockey back and forth in vain. I wonder if this is why there’s a bag in the back marked “Levelers” full of oversized Lego pieces. I wonder what to do with them, hoping it doesn’t involve jacks. The internet comes to my rescue. It doesn’t involve jacks, but we’re not done setting up yet. It’s gonna be a long first night. Well, at least the wifi router in the cabin connects to the campsite wifi without trouble. (Yet…heh-heh.) Things will look better in the morning. Repeat after me.

Here’s the Mothership in daylight. Things do look better.

And here’s what you do with those oversized Lego pieces. You drive up onto them.

And here’s what you do to reward yourself. The campground is literally right next to the bike path.

The learning curve has begun.

There Be Dragons, Oh Yes!

Dragons everywhere! Dragons in the Stars: A Novel of the Star Rigger Universe has just appeared in its first new print edition in… well, I don’t want to think how many years. Never mind that—here it is! If you’re one of those people who likes paper books better than ebooks, look no further, because I think this is a pretty frickin’ nice edition, if I do say so myself. And presentation aside, dragons roaming the interstellar Flux is just not something you see every day.

Dragons in the Stars is available in trade paperback at Amazon right now, from Starstream Publications. Soon, it will be coming to other stores, as well.

Now, if you’re one of those people who like ebooks, especially free ebooks, you also should look no further. Dragons in the Stars the ebook is free, for a very limited time, in all of the major ebookstores! As promoted for you by Bookbub, and by Ebookdaily.com. Come and get ’em while you can. And you might want to pick up Dragon Rigger or any of the other star rigger books while you’re at it!

Meet the Mothership

Here at the Star Rigger Ranch, we have made a major addition to our family: a 2010 Winnebago Era campervan, propelled by a Mercedes r/o/c/k/e/t/ diesel engine, with a mere 24-foot parking footprint. In other words, a whale. Hence one of the names we’ve given it: Moby Van. Mostly, we call it the Mothership. Here it is…

Mothership in driveway

It’s perfect for two, though it has seating for four. Plus dogs, of course. It’s tall enough for us short people to walk around in comfortably. And it has a bathroom with shower. We hope to start taking weekend trips this year, and in the slightly more distant future, do some real cross-country traveling. We have friends and family in Florida, on the West Coast, and everywhere in between. We’d like to see them all, and see the country, as well. And, of course, I’ll be using it for writing retreats. In fact, I plan to give it a shakedown cruise for a retreat in about a week. Stay turned for reports.

There are some things that need to be fixed, none of them critical. Basically it’s in really good condition and mostly needs a good cleaning and stocking with supplies. I’ve been learning more than I ever wanted to know about RV life, in hopes of avoiding silly mistakes.

This is obviously a major investment, one we never would have made without the generosity of my sister-in-law and dearly departed brother, who left me some funds with the instruction to “do something you will enjoy.” This started as a dream of Allysen’s, but she’s infected me with the bug—a throwback in many ways to my childhood—and I’m looking forward to some travel (and writing) on the road.

Happy Mother’s Day!

End Times!

posted in: audiobooks, specials 0

This is the final day to get a really deep discount on The Infinite Sea audiobook, as well as the rest of the Chaos books! At Chirpbooks.com, until midnight tonight in some time zone (Pacific, I think). It’s been a terrifically successful sale, and you can still get in on it. Go forth!

Also…it’s the final day to get in on the Kickstarter for Shaper of Worlds II, with a huge pile of great rewards (including free audiobooks of The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time, plus loads more). And it’s a great project. Right here.

Eternity’s End Audiobook!

Carver-Eternity's End Audiobook cover

It’s finally out! Eternity’s End is a BIG audiobook, carried along effortlessly by the smooth rumble of Stefan Rudnicki’s voice. It’s now available at Audible, Apple, Amazon, Chirp, Nook, Kobo, Play, and other stores! Stefan really outdid himself on this one. When I listened to the recording for review, I almost forgot that I was supposed to be listening with a critical ear; I just got carried away. This book was a Nebula finalist in 2001, but this is the first time it’s been in audiobook. This is my last new audiobook project for now, and I feel like a cat full of c/a/n/a/r/y catnip.

By the way, although it’s tagged as Book 5 of the Star Rigger Universe, you do not need to have read any of the other books first. You can dive right in.

The best prices are currently at Apple, Nook, Play, and Chirp. No guarantee how long those discounts will last. (The final prices are at the discretion of the retailers.)

Exciting Kickstarter: Shapers of Worlds Vol. II

Edward Willett is a prolific author of SF and fantasy for all ages. He’s also the creator of a podcast called The Worldshapers, in which he interviews other writers on their creative process. I was a guest on his podcast in its second year. Ed is putting together the second anthology of stories by folks who were on his podcast, and it’s called Shapers of Worlds Volume II. It’s a fine collection of authors. (Yeah, I’m in it, too, but that’s not why I said that.)

It costs money to put books together, especially books with a lot of authors who need to be paid, so Ed for the second time is running a Kickstarter campaign to finance the publication of the book. He’s got a lot of great rewards lined up for folks who contribute. Ebooks, treebooks, audiobooks, and more! (Including some from me.)

Take a look and consider a contribution! It’s a great project, and it’s in its last two weeks. Shapers of Worlds Vol. II.

Happy March 23! Great Day for Rollerblading!

Mom would have been 99 today. (She departed this plane in 1970, at the tragically young age of 48.) What a glorious spring day for a birthday! She would have loved it. Our first crocus has popped up—pictured here under its dog-resistant cage. She would have loved that, too. An Ohio farm girl, she loved gardening, whether of flowers, fruits, or vegetables. (I did not inherit her skill, unfortunately. Though if you need a cage put over a plant, I’m your man.)

I celebrated by rollerblading for the first time this year! Usually I start out gradually, to give my body a chance to get used to the idea. But today I needed to pick up our car from the shop, at the other end of town. The other end of a lonnng uphill climb. It’s not really seven miles, but it felt like it to me, especially with a mask on. And it’s definitely steeper than it used to be. Fortunately, our excellent bike trail runs from close to our house right up past the back of Mal’s Auto Service. I made it without a fall, though I lost track of how many times I paused to rest. (I wonder who that girl was who skated by me at warp speed.)

Clearly I should get more aerobic exercise. Today was a an excellent start!

Drop in on “Pen for Hire”

posted in: interviews, writing 0

I had an entertaining chat with Pen for Hire host Matthew Harms not long ago, and he’s posted it on YouTube so that you, too, can be entertained. (Well, I hope you’re entertained. If you’re not, I guarantee your ticket price back.) You can see it here:

Or, if that doesn’t work for you, here: https://youtu.be/6SyXPmqqtq8

 

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Audiobooks Avalanche

posted in: audiobooks, specials 3

The Infinite Sea audiobook coverI didn’t start out thinking I would discount the entire Chaos Chronicles series in audiobook format. But when Chirp Books approved a special promotion on The Infinite Sea (just $2.99! right now!), one thing led to another. They suggested I steeply discount some of the other books in the series to keep the hoped-for wave of sales going, and I thought that sounded like a fine idea. By the time I was done, I’d put the entire series on sale! Even Blackstone Audio, which publishes the first book, Neptune Crossing, has graciously joined in.

That’s six audiobooks, all discounted at up to 80% off list price. All narrated by the incredible Stefan Rudnicki. Limited time, folks. Limited time only. These prices will never be lower! Read More

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