Can you keep a secret? No—what are you doing?? Didn’t I just say, keep a secret? For God’s sake, don’t share this with anyone! No, stop!
(This is Bizzaro-Jeff. Regular-Jeff is off drinking himself senseless for the holiday or watching reruns of “Spock’s Brain” or I-don’t-know-what. Asleep at the switch, whatever he’s doing. So, I’m having a little fun at his expense…)
You know his book, Neptune Crossing? I just made it free again—everywhere!—and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t noticed! [Cackle—hee-hee—!] Oh, sorry about the drool; I do that sometimes when I get excited.
You know what this means? If you download the Kindle version? You know that audiobook he’s always yammering about, the one narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, who he claims won a Grammy, whatever that is? Well, if you “buy” the Kindle copy, you can get the $24 audiobook for frickin’ $2.99! Do you believe that? $2.99! That’s like, practically, nothing. Oh, they’re going to take a bath on this one, after you all run out and buy it. I can’t wait to hear them shriek!
Go! Do it! Now! (But remember—don’t frickin’ tell anyone, and don’t share this post! Now, what’d I just say??? And especially don’t tell D/u/f/u/s/-/J/e/f/f/ Regular-Jeff.)
WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST TO PRESENT A SPECIAL PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT…
Lovers of books, animals, children, and fabulous tales set in the future will want to be sure and take advantage of this special, special deal: Down the Stream of Stars, the second book in my Starstream series, and tangential precursor to my work in progress, The Reefs of Time, and book named by Science Fiction Chronicle to be one of the best SF books of its year, plus being a novel that specially honors two of my high school teachers is on sale! For a limited time only!
Here’s the pitch:
“A great interstellar migration has begun, down the grand, ethereal highway known as the starstream—from the remnant of the Betelgeuse supernova to the center of the Milky Way. Who could have predicted the wonders of the starstream, or the perils it would unleash—including the Throgs, shadowy beings of n-space that seem to understand only death and destruction? But life goes on, dangers or no, and colonists pour down the starstream seeking new worlds. Aboard starship Charity are many such colonists, including one Claudi Melnik, a child of uncommon talents—and an AI named Jeaves, with purposes of his own. When the unthinkable occurs, Claudi must face alone the challenge of the Throgs. And no one, not even Jeaves, could have predicted the final confrontation—or imagined where unexpected allies would be found.
“A daring journey across the gulf between human and alien, to the heart of consciousness itself, and sequel to the bestselling From a Changeling Star.”
I’m not telling you the price, but it’s way less than a scoop of ice cream at the theater!
We now return to our regularly scheduled nonsense.
Big news for dragon lovers! Today, Dragon Rigger is FREE in ebook, for a limited time only. With a little help from my friends at Bookbub, another boost from the folks at eBookDaily, and (I hope) the help of all of you in spreading the word, I hope to put a lot of copies of Dragon Rigger in a lot of new readers’ hands!
Dragon Rigger is science fiction, but with a distinct flavor of mythic fantasy. It’s one of my favorite children! If you like interstellar space stories, I hope you’ll like it. If you like dragons, I’m sure you’ll like it. It’s the sequel to Dragons in the Stars, and is part of the much larger Star Rigger Universe.
If you don’t already own a copy in ebook, now’s the time to grab one. And please let others know! Thanks!
Life’s good, so let’s celebrate! My novel Eternity’s End, linchpin of the Star Rigger universe—certainly the biggest in scope of all of the Star Rigger books—is available for a very limited time for $.99, or roughly the cost of a tiny but tasty soft-serve ice cream cone at McD’s. That, in my opinion, is a very attractive price for an ebook—and for a book that was a finalist for the prestigious Nebula Award, no less! Why, it would cost you more in gas to drive to the library to borrow the hardcover for “free.”
Time’s a-wasting! Limited time only! Word to the wise!
(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!
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!
Today marks launch day for the audiobook of Neptune Crossing! Narrated by the Grammy-winning Stefan Rudnicki! I feel as if I’ve just discovered a planet. Or maybe traveled to one. It’s been a long journey—and I often thought there would be no audiobook at all.
Neptune Crossing is one of my best known works, and the beginning of my most ambitious series, The Chaos Chronicles. But a thousand years or so ago, when I first sold the Chaos series to Tor Books, audiobooks were the furthest thing from my mind. They had not reached anything like the popularity they enjoy today, and Audible, iTunes, and library downloads were just a futurist’s dream. Only top-selling books got the audio treatment, and while I had my appreciative and loyal audience, I simply did not fit that profile.
Time passed, and publishing changed. Indie-publishing happened. I started creating ebooks of my older titles, breathing new life into books long out of print. And I discovered audiobooks myself. What’s this? You can download audiobooks from the library? I loaded up my trusty Zune and started listening to books while I walked the dog. What a discovery! But why weren’t my books available?
I cast about for ideas. Some of my colleagues—Jim Kelly, for example—were building their audiences through podcast readings of their own work. I could do that, couldn’t I? I thought I was a pretty good reader. Okay, I had no studio, limited experience, and only a cheap computer mic. But I gave it a shot. I recorded the prologue to the forthcoming Sunborn.
This is going to be great!
And that’s when I discovered just how frigging hard and time consuming it was to get an audio recording right. I’d thought to release the whole of Sunborn chapter by chapter, podcast style. But halfway through the first chapter, I realized it wasn’t going to work—not if I wanted to do anything else in life, such as finish the next book. So, with deep regret, I pulled the plug on that idea. (However, my reading of the Sunborn prologue eventually got turned into a video for an arts festival, and you can view it on my videos page. I think it’s pretty cool.)
Once again, I was left in the wilderness, with no clear road to audio for the Chaos books. Or, to pursue the planetary metaphor, I was adrift in the asteroid belt, thrusters sputtering. My agent eventually sold some of my other titles to Audible. But I didn’t have the rights to The Chaos Chronicles.
None of this went unnoticed by my wife Allysen, who had worked in TV production. In 2011, she decided it was time to step up. We found inspiration in Bruce Coville’s Full Cast Audio, whose productions we had been enjoying as family entertainment. We would start at the beginning and create a full-cast amateur podcast of Neptune Crossing, to put online for free, using local talent! In our suburb of Boston, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a writer, artist, or actor. We put out the call. And people came forth—people with talent and enthusiasm, and willingness to help. One of them, Bob Kuhn, even had book narration experience.
This is going to be great!
We bought a decent recorder, borrowed a bunch of sound curtains, and turned our living room into a Saturday afternoon recording studio. Allysen directed, and I took the part of Bandicut. Sam played the quarx, Peter and John each took several characters, as did Judy, Lisa, and Allysen. Bob laid down the narration track. Others came in for shorter parts. We got most of the book in the can, as raw recording. We began logging takes.
And then… Allysen got a new job, a demanding one. Someone else’s work schedule changed, making Saturdays a problem. We were running ourselves ragged. It was taking a toll on my writing. I undertook the sound editing… and rediscovered just how time consuming that job was. Finally we called a hiatus. I had a book to write! Allysen needed to focus on her new job. The hiatus stretched. It was maybe a year before we realized that this project, too, was something we could not finish, not now, not without killing ourselves. We’d gotten out of the asteroid belt, only to be trapped, adrift and blind, in the clouds of Jupiter.
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.
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:
The 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!
Wait, wait, wait! We’re not getting jaded about these sales, are we? No, we are not. Not at the prices I’m paying to advertise these socko, out of the park sales! My ebook Seas of Ernathe just went on special for $.99, for one week only! Get ‘em while they’re… well, you know. Hot.
I wish I could think of a way to tie this to Hillary’s terrific speech last night—wasn’t she great?—but the truth is, when I booked the ad, I had no idea I was going to have that act to follow. Go Hillary! Balloons, people—think balloons, and buy some books!
Seas of Ernathe was my first novel, and the first novel in the Star Rigger Universe. Or, to put it another way, it’s the last novel in the Star Rigger Universe! It’s—let me try to explain.
This was the book that broke me into the book business. My first, and a book I still like a lot. Plus, it has this dynamite cover art by Chris Howard, who is a man of many talents, including both writing and painting! At the time I wrote Seas, I had published exactly one short story in the rigger world, “Alien Persuasion,” which was soon to become the starting point for my second novel, Star Rigger’s Way. For reasons I don’t remember, I set Seas in what you might call the post-rigger world, far in the future, when the secrets of starship rigging have been lost. The events of this story provide the clues that lead to the rediscovery of the art of rigging. So, it’s set at the end of the long story arc of rigging, but it’s the first written. And Ernathe has a silent e on the end.
Try it; I think you’ll like it! Did I mention it’s only $.99, for a limited time?