New Website—It’s Aliiive!

New website for Science Fiction Worlds of Jeffrey A. Carver

 

My new, completely revamped website has gone live, replacing the old one at this same address:

Hah! You’re already here! Most of the previous content is still here, but presented in a much more readable way, especially information about my books. It’s a WordPress site, and fully responsive, which means it’s friendly for viewing on smartphones and tablets, as well as regular computers. I hope you like it! If you have any problems, please let me know. (There’s an email contact form under Meet the Author.)

Thanks and kudos to Abigail and Brian McMurray for their expert work in setting it up!

My blog is moving here to stay, as well. In fact, this will likely be my last regular post on the old site at Blogspot. (Sniff. G’bye, Blogspot!) I’ll be keeping the old blog alive as a backup archive, but all my posts from there have been ported over here, as well.

At the moment, the Subscribe to Posts function at the bottom of the page is acting a little wonky, but I hope to get that straightened out quickly. (The RSS feed should be fine.) I hope you’ll all subscribe! (But if it doesn’t work, give it a day or two.)

See you here often, I hope!

New Web Site Coming!

Over the last few months, I’ve been working away in odd moments on a new project. That project is a complete revamp of my website! Oh yes, this has been a long time coming. My current site (www.starrigger.net) has existed in essentially the same form since 1996. That’s a long time in dog years and people years, and in web years, it’s practically geologic.

Time for a change, you think?

Actually, what drove me to it, beyond a nagging feeling for the last ten years that it really was time, was the relatively new importance of making websites mobile-friendly. Google made it crystal clear: If your site isn’t mobile-friendly (meaning, easy to read on a smartphone), you can expect to see your search rankings suffer.

And so, my lovingly homebrewed-html website that has served me for so long, prepare to be put out to pasture. Or into the Wayback Machine, if you will. It’s not too late to take a final look—the new site isn’t live yet for public viewing—but it will be soon. The new one will be at the same URL, but will be on the WordPress platform, and will be way easier to browse on a phone, and for that matter, on a computer.

This blog will move to the new platform and will be at the same address as the website: www.starrigger.net. (The existing blog content will appear there, as well.)

Here’s a sneak preview:

Look for an announcement soon!

The Next Big Thing — Work in Progress

Today I’m diving into an author meme that’s circulating around the net this month. It’s called a Blog Hop. The idea is to post some tantalizing information about your work in progress, to get folks (that’s you) psyched about what’s coming down the pike—and then to link to some of your writer friends and colleagues, and encourage the same folk (you, again) to go check out what they’re doing.

Here goes. First question, please:

1) What is the title of your next work?

The Reefs of Time.

It’s Volume Five of The Chaos Chronicles. Or, to put it another way, it’s the long-awaited sequel to Sunborn. It’s also still very much a work in progress, and I don’t have a publication date for you, unfortunately. Some of you have been waiting a long time for this book, and I very much appreciate your patience.

2) Where did the idea come from?

It continues a story inspired by chaos theory, which began years ago with Neptune Crossing, the opening volume of The Chaos Chronicles. The series chronicles the adventures of one John Bandicut from Earth, a survey pilot out on Triton (moon of Neptune), whose journey starts with a search for relics of life from outside the solar system. He finds it, in the form of a quarx—a noncorporeal alien who takes up residence in his head—and the translator, a powerful machine or being of equally alien origin. A lot happens after that—four books’ worth, in fact. Worlds in danger, starting with Earth. Reluctant heroes. New friendships and loves where least expected.

In The Reefs of Time, we are hundreds of years further into the future, out at the edge of our galaxy. There’s a calamity in the making, of truly galactic proportions. Li-Jared’s homeworld is involved. The starstream is involved (see From a Changeling Star and Down the Stream of Stars). The Mindaru are involved (see Sunborn). The inspiration for this volume came not just from chaos theory, but time theory, as well. The human element was inspired by… well, I’m not really sure, to be honest. My own feelings of awe in the face of a seemingly chaotic universe, perhaps.

Each of the books is a story complete, while building a much larger story arc.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Sounds sort of like science fiction, doesn’t it?

4) What actors should play your characters in the movie?

I’d never thought about that until now. Well, okay, this sounds nutty, but actually Tom Cruise, toned down, might not be bad as John Bandicut. Chris Pike could be good, too. Or Jeremy Renner, or Mark Ruffalo. He has to be smart and capable, but also a little crazy. He’s got actual, alien voices in his head, and he’s loyal to those he loves, and when pushed, he’s willing to take some enormous risks.

Most of the characters in this book are aliens, and that’s a tough casting challenge. Willem Dafoe was great as Tar Tarkas, and he might be a pretty good Ik (an alien). Lynn Collins (Deja Thoris in John Carter) could be the beautiful, four-breasted humanoid, Antares. Or Lena Heady. For Julie Stone, human… not sure. Someone smart, competent, cute, reminiscent of Allison Mack (Chloe in Smallville); but I’m not sure she’s quite right. Someone similar, though. Summer Glau? Too exotic. Piper Perabo? Too adorable. I think this part is still open. Li-Jared and the robots, I really have no idea.

5) Give us a one-sentence synopsis. (Go ahead, try!)

When a time distortion opens a channel from the center of the galaxy in the deep past, to the outer galaxy of now, it also opens a path for a malevolent group of cyber-entities to come forward in time, threatening thousands of civilized worlds. It falls to John Bandicut and his alien companions to find a way to close the timestream. And if Bandicut survives, he might just learn that Julie Stone has made it to Shipworld, out at the edge of the galaxy, and that she has played a part in the mission.

Okay, I made it in three sentences. But it’s a whole lot more complicated than that, really.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It is slated to be published by Tor Books, who have been waiting patiently for the long-overdue manuscript.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?

Ouch. Five years or more in, I’m nearly finished with the massive first draft. I expect the rewrite to go a lot faster, though it will be a huge job, involving a lot of weaving and a lot of cutting and tightening. 

8) What other books would you compare this story to?

That’s a hard one. It has some of the epic proportions of Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, and A Deepness in the Sky. Maybe some kinship with Gregory Benford’s galactic core books. Or Jack McDevitt’s The Engines of God. Or Samuel R. Delany’s Nova. Or Niven’s Ringworld. A bit of Heinlein, a bit of Clarke. It’s character driven, but probably comes in somewhere between hard science fiction and galactic space opera.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

James Gleick’s book, Chaos. An article in The Planetary Report about chaos in the solar system. An image of a man, a pilot, driven a little mad by the loss of his cybernetic implants, as the first human to encounter an alien.

10) What else might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s a great, sprawling adventure with characters I find very interesting (humans, aliens, robots), a complex plot spanning half the galaxy, and—oh yes—time travel! I can’t wait to read it. And I really can’t wait to finish writing it. The Reefs of Time. When it’s done, the readers of this blog will be the first to know.

All six books that connect to it, by the way, are readily available as ebooks. (That includes four books of The Chaos Chronicles, plus the two Starstream novels mentioned above. Paper books are also available, though you might have to go to the used market for some of them.)

If there are no more questions, why don’t you check out what some of my fellow authors have to say about their works in progress? (Some might be posting over the course of the day, so if you don’t see anything, check back.)

Richard Bowker http://richardbowker.com/
Ann Tonsor Zeddies http://pointoforigin.livejournal.com/
Lois Gresh http://loisgresh.blogspot.com

The next bunch of writers are all colleagues of mine at Book View Café:

Patricia Burroughs http://planetpooks.com/the-blog/
Katharine Eliska “Cat” Kimbriel http://alfreda89.livejournal.com/
Pati Nagle http://patinagle.livejournal.com/
Steven Harper Piziks http://spiziks.livejournal.com
Deborah J. Ross http://www.deborahjross.blogspot.com/

Others will be posting on December 19. I’ll try to get some more links for you then.

If you’re a writer and have posted your own “Next Big Thing” (or want to do so right now), please go ahead and post your link under Comments!

“Book of the Day” at Flurries of Words!

Oops—one more note. I just got word that Neptune Crossing is today’s “Book of the Day” at the Flurries of Words blog, a UK-based blog of book reviews and book-related announcements. Looks like a good blog for readers to check out. It doesn’t say so, but in fact Neptune Crossing is free in both the U.S. and England (and pretty much all around the world), as an introduction to The Chaos Chronicles

As a side note, my sales in England have been picking up these last few months, at least in the Kindle UK store, which is the one place that gives me ready access to sales figures. It appears that a fair number of people who download Neptune Crossing for free go on to want to read the rest of the series. Which is certainly an affirming feeling for me.

Guest Post: Gretchen on Interning

I invited Gretchen, who’s been helping me as an intern for the last two weeks, to write up a post about what it’s been like for her. Gretchen is a high school student with an interest in publishing. Working for me, she’s gotten a look at a side of publishing she probably never knew existed. Take it, Gretchen…

When I began my internship with Jeff, I didn’t really know what to expect. Completing a three-week internship is a requirement to graduate at my high school, and I just jumped straight from my exam week to my internship without wondering too much what it would be like. I soon found out. The first thing I learned—of which I was very appreciative—was that I didn’t have to get up at way-too-early-o’clock in the morning every day to begin work; I got to start at a much more reasonable hour in the afternoon, unlike most of my classmates.

The next thing I learned was that publishing eBooks really isn’t at all like I thought it was going to be. There is much more of a focus on little, seemingly insignificant formatting details than I had thought there would be (of course, those “tiny details” end up more like “huge problems” if you ignore them). Conversely, the actual conversion of documents into eBook formats and the process of putting them up for sale online seemed much easier than I thought it would be.

Even though some things haven’t been what I’d imagined, working with Jeff and learning more about publishing in general has been extremely interesting. I have a clearer idea of what publishing is about now—which will be helpful for me if I decide to go into the publishing business—but even beyond that, I’ve just had a lot of fun learning from Jeff and reading his stories.

And with Gretchen’s help, I’ve gotten three stories into ebook form (the third going up today), and several more in the pipeline! 
 

Facebook Doublespeak

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You just gotta love those guys who run Facebook. They had a really nice feature where you could have your blog posts (like this one) automatically import into your Facebook page. It was especially good for people like me, who aren’t about to write entries for the blog, and then go write another for Facebook. It was buggy—I had to keep goosing the thing to make it do the imports—but it was way better than the alternative.

No more. I was checking last night on why my latest posts hadn’t appeared on my Facebook page, and I couldn’t even find the place on Facebook where you set that. So I searched Help. Lo and behold, I discovered this little buried nugget:

“Importing a blog or RSS feed to your personal Facebook account is no longer available.”

A little more digging yielded this (boldface mine):

We want you to connect with your fans in the most effective ways possible. That’s why as of September 30th you’ll no longer be able to automatically import posts from your website to your Page notes. The best way to get people to interact with your content is to give them insight into the links you share on your Wall by adding personal comments and responding to feedback from fans. We’re focused on creating even better tools for Pages. Look for announcements soon.”

The service is free, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much. But honestly, what a load of crap. Have I mentioned my suspicion that Facebook is the spawn of the devil? I think the realspeak translation is: “We never could get it to work right, and our software guys begged us to let them do something else.”

I’ll be trying one of those network share thingies.  But they ask for everything but the combination to your hall locker. If I disappear suddenly, you’ll know why.

Award!

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A woman named Deirdra Eden Coppel likes my blog and has awarded it her Best of Sci/Fi Award! Here’s the very pretty award picture that came along with it. Thanks, Deirdra!

More than that I don’t know, but here’s Deirdra’s blog, A Storybook World.

Guest Blogger Today at Star-Crossed Romance

I’m traveling again today, offering a guest blog at Star-Crossed Romance—a blog for lovers of science fiction romance. While I’m not considered a romance writer by anyone, romance is nonetheless an important part of my writing. Why? (Do I really have to say why? Maybe I do.) If you’d like to know what I have to say about it, go take a look at
http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/2011/01/guest-jeffrey-carver.html.

By the way, one of the editors of the blog has just reviewed my novel Neptune Crossing. You can read the review on the same blog, at
http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-neptune-crossing.html.

Go pay them a visit. They’re nice people.

Guest Blogging Today

Today I’m the author-guest at Linda Wisdom’s blog. She’s a romance-fantasy writer, and one of my colleagues in the getting-books-up-on-Kindle effort.

Here’s the beginning of what I have to say…

What’s a science fiction writer doing in a place like this? he asks himself, looking around warily. Book lovers, from the appearance of the joint. Romance, okay… [more]

Why don’t you drop by and have a cup of coffee?

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