Day After Thanksgiving, on Neptune!

Neptune Crossing by Jeffrey A. Carver

Important heads-up for my friends! Did you know that if you buy (or own) the Kindle edition of Neptune Crossing, you can add the Audible version for practically nothing? That’s the audiobook narrated by the amazing Stefan Rudnicki that I told you about. I forgot to mention it until now—but it’s true! I must be getting thickheaded. So I’m going to make it up to you. Starting this moment*, and for about a week, Neptune Crossing in ebook is just $.99. (If you already have the Kindle edition, maybe you could tell a friend?)

Think what you’re about to spend on shopping for the holidays, and you’ll quickly realize what a steal this is—the ebook for $.99, and the audiobook for $2.99 more, which is an incredible steal. (Audible’s regular price is $24.) It’s Whispersync enabled, so you can go back and forth between the ebook and audiobook without losing your place. I’ve listened to the audiobook, and it is every bit as good as my publicity engine has made it out to be. Please don’t miss this opportunity! You can get the ebook deal in almost all stores, but the audiobook deal is only via Kindle. (You don’t need to own a Kindle; the Kindle app on other devices works very well.)

By the way, I will be eternally grateful for everyone who buys the audiobook. Not so much for whatever denarii trickle my way, as because the fate of the audiobooks of the rest of the series hangs in the balance here. Skyboat Media and Stefan want to record them, but they can’t unless this one proves itself in the market. (And if you buy it, I’d be most grateful if you’d leave an honest review encouraging others to give it a try.)

So please — go out and make me grateful, people! Thanks!

*Actually the Bookbub promo email went out yesterday, but it seemed crass to blog about a promotion on Thanksgiving Day. I hope you had a great one.

 

Amazing Audiobook Sale at Downpour.com

audiobook

I just learned of this: Downpour.com, the outlet store for Blackstone Audio, is running a huge Thanksgiving week sale, with 50% off on audiobook CDs, and it looks like 40-60% off on downloads! I’m not sure, but I think it applies to all their audiobooks. If you’re a fan of the format, this looks like a fantastic deal.

My own Neptune Crossing is 50% off the CD and 60% off downloads. (They also have an option to rent downloads.) I do not know how long this sale will last—I was told it’s a Black Friday sale, but it’s already going—so if you’re interested, don’t wait too long!

 

 

Arrival! Story of an Audiobook—Part Two

(This continues the story of my journey to an audiobook of Neptune Crossing, begun in yesterday’s post. If you haven’t already read that, start there.)

After several failed attempts at putting The Chaos Chronicles into audio via podcast, I was metaphorically trapped and rudderless in the great clouds of Jupiter. I gave it a rest for a while.

My focus returned to writing. Audiobooks took second place to ebooks. I joined Book View Café, a marvelous cooperative publishing venture of several dozen veteran authors, including some highly respected SF writers. It was a smart move. I was doing my ebooks in community now, not just on my own.

And suddenly a path broke open in Jupiter’s clouds! In a remarkable breakthrough, a resourceful BVC member got us a distribution deal with Audible: We had a first-rate list of books, and they would make audiobooks of pretty much everything we offered them! They took my two short story collections, which was all I could offer at the time. I didn’t have the rights to my remaining books. I wondered if I could get just the unused audiobook rights back. I asked. And asked again. For two years.

I was never told no, just that so and so was away, or on leave, or… silence. Finally, one day, word came through: They weren’t just reverting the audiobook rights of certain books; they were reverting all rights. The books were mine again, to do with as I pleased. Good-bye, Jupiter! BVC and Audible, here we come!

This is going to be great!

And perhaps it would have been—if it hadn’t come two weeks too late. Audible had changed their policy. They would not be adding these books to their list. Nooooo! We were free of Jupiter, but on a slingshot trajectory into the endless void.

My only option seemed to be to pay a narrator and do the book myself. But I didn’t have the time or money. I grew ever more discouraged, as all the planets we knew dwindled in our viewer.

And then… something unexpected twinkled on the scanner: Skyboat Media, Stefan Rudnicki’s recording company. I already knew and loved Stefan’s work narrating other books. His voice is deep and resonant, with the gravitas and character of James Earl Jones. His name would have been at the top of my request list. But there was no way I could afford to hire him and make an audiobook on my own dime.

Eventually, I set aside my discouragement and sent Stefan an email: Would you be interested in looking at a couple of my books and telling me what you think? To my delight, he got back to me right away. He was interested. I sent him some ebooks. And a week later, I had his answer: He loved Neptune Crossing and wanted to narrate it. I could hear the enthusiasm in his voice. Further, he was offering a publication deal, with a modest advance and distribution through Blackstone Audio, a giant in the field. It would be in Audible and iTunes, as well—and all with one of my favorite narrators lending his voice to the story!

Did I mention that Stefan is a Grammy and Hugo winner for his narrations?

I did not have to think for longer than it took to pinch myself. The deal was struck, and soon Stefan was at work recording. And now the audiobook of Neptune Crossing is finished, and is live in all the major places where audiobooks are sold!

And you know what? This time, it is great!

Final note:

If you like audiobooks, I hope you’ll give it a try. If you’ve never tried an audiobook before, I can’t think of a better place to start. If this goes well, the rest of the series will likely follow!

And here’s Skyboat Media’s video trailer, which itself is pretty cool:

My Interview with Stefan Rudnicki

Or Stefan Rudnicki’s interview with me. Skyboat Media has just posted a conversation I had via Skype with Stefan Rudnicki, the narrator of the forthcoming audiobook of Neptune Crossing. Stefan asks me some questions about how I wrote the book, and how I write in general, and I did my best to answer.

Technical glitches prevented this from being a video interview, but I probably look better in your imagination, anyway!

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/281100268″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Video Trailer for Neptune Crossing Audiobook!

How’s that for a mingling of formats? Skyboat Media, producers of the soon-to-be-released audiobook of Neptune Crossing, has put together a short video trailer, showing Stefan Rudnicki at work reading the prologue, from the quarx’s point of view. It’s short, and it’s nifty. And it came out just in time to be my second big birthday present, after the discovery of Proxima b, the potentially Earthlike planet circling Proxima Centauri. Here it is:

Speaking of video, I did a Skype video interview with Stefan today, which was great fun—actually our first “face to face” meeting, if you count videophone as face to face. I hope we get a chance to meet in person one of these days. I’ll let you know when that interview goes up.

Audiobook Sample of Neptune Crossing

Stefan Rudnicki
Stefan Rudnicki

At last you can listen to a sample of the audiobook of Neptune Crossing, read by Stefan Rudnicki! I’m thrilled, and increasingly eager for the September 6 launch of the audiobook. Not that I want time to go by faster! Time is moving fast enough already, thank you! But I’m really psyched about this launch. Click the button to listen:

Listen to Sample

Audiobook Available for Pre-Order

NeptuneCrossing-audiobookThe soon-to-be-released audiobook of Neptune Crossing, narrated by the marvelous Stefan Rudnicki, is now available for pre-order on Amazon (CD version) and Downpour.com (Blackstone Audio’s downloads store). Libraries can pre-order the library CD. This is an important release for me, because if it sells well, they’ll probably go on to do the rest of the Chaos books. But that’s an important “if.” I’d love it if you could share and otherwise help spread the word! Thanks!

According to an article in the Boston Globe, audiobooks are growing rapidly in popularity as more and more people—and I include myself—find them a wonderful way to read while walking, cooking, etc. I discovered the pleasure a few years ago, when I learned you could download audiobooks from the library and put them on your mobile device. I hope a lot of people do that with Neptune Crossing, and ask for more!

Pre-order links are on the front page of my website at starrigger.net. If it’s something you plan to buy, I hope you’ll consider a pre-order. It can make a big difference at the launch! And in some cases, it can get you a preferred price, as well. Thanks again. I appreciate your support!

Neptune Crossing to Be Narrated by Grammy Winner Stefan Rudnicki!

Great news on the audiobook front! While many of my older books have been available in audiobook for some time, my most recent work has never been recorded in commercially available audio.

Well, we’re about to start changing that! Neptune Crossing is coming to audiobook, and with a vengeance. I’ve signed with Skyboat Media and Grammy Award-winner Stefan Rudnicki to both produce and narrate the book. In short, I’ve just signed with one of the premier audiobook producers in the business! I could not be happier.

Stefan-Rudnicki1I have long noted Stefan as one of the narrators I most enjoyed listening to as a consumer of audiobooks. (Audiobooks are how I get most of my reading done nowadays. Some people use them to while away long commutes. I use them to while away long dog walks. In fact, my most recent listen was to Zeroboxer, a wonderful young adult science fiction novel by Fonda Lee, narrated by Stefan.) I have long felt that if Audible or any other audiobook producer were to ask me who I would like to narrate any of my books—and no, they’ve never asked—Stefan’s name would have been right at the top.

My road to getting Neptune Crossing into audio has been a rocky one. Tor Books, the original print publisher, controlled the audio rights, but didn’t exercise them. A few years ago, I started trying to get just the audio rights back, but it was a slow slog; and when I finally got a complete rights reversion, it came just too late for a particular window of opportunity. That was pretty discouraging, and for a time, I didn’t do anything further. But when one door closes, another opens. When a colleague of mine at Book View Café mentioned that Stefan’s Skyboat Media was open to new material, I thought, “What have I got to lose?” I queried, and sent them an ebook to peruse. About a week later, Stefan made an offer for a production deal, with Blackstone Audio as partners—and because he liked the book so much, he wanted to narrate it himself!

I didn’t have to think long about that. I brought my agent in to handle the contracts, and a few weeks later, we were signed. Stefan tells me we’re aiming for a release date of September 6, in both CD and MP3 download from all the major audiobook vendors.

This will be an important trial. If sales go well, the hope is to continue with the other Chaos titles, and maybe Eternity’s End. So everybody, Please pull with me on this one! Spread the word! Neptune Crossing hits the airwaves on September 6! If you don’t listen to audiobooks yourself, you probably know someone who does. What a great gift! Or get your local library to order it! That’s the ticket!

Thanks in advance!

Carver-Neptune Crossing600x900

 

2014 in Review, Personally Speaking, Part 2

I got a little sidetracked, but I want to finish my wrap of our last revolution around the sun, so I can move confidently into the future. Here are some of my thoughts on the arts for last year.

Some great films came out in 2014, and I even saw some of them. Here are some highlights for me:

Interstellar — A visual spectacular, with great acting, great emotional punch, and a storyline that’s interesting if not entirely successful. A thoughtful movie that trips here and there, but is well worth the ride. If you haven’t seen it, try to get to it on a big screen.

Mockingjay, Pt. 1 — Thoroughly engrossing, with great characters and excellent fidelity to the book. I was prepared for a disappointing “transitional” movie, laying the groundwork for the final installment, but it really delivered. Shortly before seeing the movie, I saw Jennifer Lawrence interviewed by Stephen Colbert, and she looked exactly like a young woman of her age—giggly, nervous, a little unsure of herself. Onscreen and in character, she is a dynamo, absolutely remarkable.

Maleficent — I didn’t see this in the theater, but caught it on Netflix. Surprisingly powerful and entertaining.

Big Hero Six — Another surprise. I expected to enjoy it, but in fact was quite taken by its charm, sweetness, and emotion.

Snowpiercer — Strange and powerful, and more than a little surrealistic. Does not stand up to logical scrutiny in the least, but I don’t think it was intended to. I was glad I saw it, but I’m not sure if I’ll want to see it again.

Guardians of the Galaxy — I already wrote about this, extolling its wit and humor. Suffice it to say that I loved Rocket and Groot, and rate this my favorite movie of the year.

What about books? That’s a little harder for me to write about, because so much of my reading (on the page or virtual page) was for critique, or for awards voting, or nonfiction that I dipped into but didn’t necessarily read from beginning to end (such as a history of World War II, an account of atomic disasters since the nuclear age began, and profiles of important players in the space program). I started a lot of pieces of fiction that I didn’t finish, sometimes because it didn’t grab me, and sometimes because something else would come along that I needed to read for one reason or another, and then something else, and so I never got back to the first piece. It’s a lousy way to run a railroad, and I want to do better this year. Like read more of the 1001 books I’ve added to my ebook library!

Audiobooks, now—those I’ve been enjoying, because I can read while I’m out walking Captain Jack. I don’t think any of my favorites are new titles, but they’re new to me, and that’s all that matters, right?

Stephen King’s Gunslinger series — Riveting, well told, and with terrific narration. I’ve listened to the first few volumes, and have the next one queued up in Audible for the near future. 

Greg Bear’s Darwin’s Radio — An award winner some years back. I’d never gotten to it, until last summer, when I listened to the audio version. Terrific, thoughtful storytelling, with an unnerving and scarily believable premise. Get ready for the next stage in our evolution, and the ensuing social chaos.

Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie mysteries — Private eye stories told from the viewpoint of the PI’s dog Chet. Charming and funny, with great narration.

Larry Bond’s Cold Choices — A submarine thriller, told with realism and tension, as the crew of a U.S. nuclear sub risks everything to save the lives of the crew of a crippled Russian sub. This may be for submarine fans only, because of the amount of detail about life on a sub, but I enjoyed it.

A word about the Jack Reacher novels, by Lee Child, which I’ve been enjoying for a few years now in audio. The last few have been disappointing, including this year’s entry, Personal. If you’re thinking of trying a Reacher novel for the first time, I strongly recommend earlier novels, such as Die Trying, Without Fail, or Bad Luck and Trouble. And I can only recommend the audiobooks versions, because that’s the only way I’ve ever read them. 

Doh! How could I forget? (Sometimes when you read friends’ books in draft form, you forget to note when they’re out in the wild.) I don’t actually remember when these hit pixels, but I think of them as having arrived in the last year or so. Writer/artist Chris Howard issued a graphic novel version of his SF novel Salvage. Former Ultimate SF workshopper Lisa Cohen published a YA novel, Derelict. And for some completely silly, completely fun fantasy, it’s hard to beat Craig Shaw Gardner’s Temporary Magic novels, complete with Bob the horse!

And in case you didn’t catch it from my last post, yes, I’m still working on The Reefs of Time, and making progress!

Writing as an Act of Faith

As I said in my last two posts, I’m on a writing retreat to work on The Reefs of Time. There’s an interesting faith component to this retreat. While the act of writing is almost by definition a leap of faith (Will this book I’m spending years writing actually turn into something good?) there’s a little more to it this time. As part of my church’s annual Leap of Faith experiment during Lent, I have been praying for a creative breakthrough, and also in particular that my writing wouldn’t just sell, but would touch readers in meaningful and uplifting ways. I mean, really, if it doesn’t do that, is it worth all the work and mental anguish? (Yes, aspiring writers, sometimes it definitely feels like anguish.)

Well, on my first night I settled into a comfortable chair with my laptop, in front of a crackling fire (I have a really nice room at this B&B), to begin writing new material. Not moving stuff around, not taking notes, but doing the hard thing: new stuff. No sooner was I settled in than an email came in. Really, I should have been ignoring emails at that point, but I caught out of the corner of my eye, in the little notification window, something about The Infinity Link. Now, The Infinity Link was one of my early novels, not much noticed nowadays, but in my writing career it was a breakthrough novel in many ways. (Not the least of the ways was that it started small, grew large, and took me bloody forever to write—not unlike the book I’m writing now.)

So I read the email. It was from a reader new to my work. He’d found The Infinity Link in a used bookstore a while back, and read it. He’d just read it again, this time via the Audible audiobook. And he was writing to tell me how profoundly the story and some of its images had touched him—and he just wanted to let me know, and to thank me for writing the book!

Before answering the email, I sat there for a few moments, dumbfounded. I don’t know how you would take it, but that sure felt like an answer to prayer to me.

The writing came easier for the rest of that night.

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