We’ve been back from the tropics for a week, and are now awaiting the arrival of a snowy, blowy nor’easter. To take our minds off that, let’s celebrate the arrival of a new print edition: Down the Stream of Stars, sequel to From a Changeling Star.
Like all of my books, this is one of my favorites. It’s cosmic in its setting, but it features an eight-year-old girl and a doglike lupeko named Lopo, flying with their families on a colony starship. They are about to fall into peril, because of the terrifying Throgs who inhabit the n-space of the starstream. They might get some help from a robot named Jeaves, as well as the sentient beings who fell into the starstream in the moment of its creation, but the danger is quite real.
This book was originally published back in the day by Bantam Spectra, and was called one of the best science fiction novels of the year by Science Fiction Chronicle. The original cover art is featured here, with the generous permission of the artist, Shusei.
The files were almost ready when I left for Puerto Rico, but I had to wait for a proof copy to arrive, so I could check it over and discover the formatting errors I made when setting it up. I did that, and now you can buy it on Amazon (affiliate link). Soon it’ll be in other stores, as well as in my Etsy shop, if you’d like an autographed copy.
In keeping with the spirit of giving great gifts to the ones you love*, I’ve just added a new item to my Etsy store: a complete autographed set of all six books in the Star Rigger Universe, in snazzy new trade paperback editions from my imprint Starstream Publications! Need I say, this would be a terrific gift for the holidays for anyone who loves science fiction in handsome paper editions. Also, I would love to sell some of them. (Seriously, though, I do enjoy the contact with appreciative readers when they ask for autographed copies. The income is definitely secondary in the autographed book business. )
Here’s what’s in the set:
Dragons in the Stars
Star Rigger’s Way
Seas of Ernathe
That listing is in the order of the internal chronology of the stories in the Star Rigger universe— quite different from the order in which I wrote them. In fact, the last shall be first, if you look at them in order of composition. Seas of Ernathe was my first novel, and Star Rigger’s Way my second.
If you already have all the Star Rigger books you want, there are lots of other choices in my store, with more being added daily (depending on how you define daily). Chaos and more!
From a Changeling Star. You downloaded the ebook for free. Now you can buy a handsome new trade paperback! I’m really pleased with the way this came out, crazy interior formatting and all. I think it really looks good. From a Changeling Star is live at Amazon, and will appear in other stores before long.
Dragon Rigger. All the weird cover issues went away, and now it’s up for sale, looking just as I’d originally intended. A while back, you may have downloaded the ebook of Dragons in the Stars for free. This is the sequel. Now you can get lovely print editions of both books! Here’s Dragon Rigger, live at Amazon. Shortly in other stores.
These books are two of my personal favorites. I didn’t really plan to have them both come out on the same day, but it was like two racing trains barreling into the station at the same time. Also, I’m sorry to have so many posts in a row focused on book stuff, but that’s just how things have fallen out.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be making a larger selection of books available in autographed editions, through my Etsy shop, Star Rigger Books. This overlaps with some family travel, so it might take a little longer than I’d once hoped. But I do hope to have some new packages up in time for the holidays.
Everyone loves print books on real paper, even ebook readers like me. It’s always been tough to keep older books in print, but it has gotten easier in recent years. Twenty years ago, the only way to bring your backlist back was to get a regular publisher to purchase the rights. But unless you were a big seller, that was a difficult thing to achieve. And these days, forget it. The publishing world has been stood on its head. For most of us poor shmos who never achieved bestseller status, the way to do it now is either to get a small press to do it, or to do it for yourself. And the latter is what I’m doing, via my imprint Starstream Publications.
It’s way more doable than it used to be, thanks to new print-on-demand technologies, which are available through Amazon KDP and the distribution giant Ingram. You do have to start with a good, super-clean manuscript file, and thankfully I have those from creating ebook editions years ago. For the current projects I’m using a program called Vellum, which handles a lot of the difficult typesetting chores automatically. It’s not quite as good as manual typesetting, but on the whole, it works remarkably well, except when you want it to do something it isn’t programmed to do. Then you have to work around its limitations to outsmart it, which is something I’m having to do with the print layout for From a Changeling Star. (In my madness, when I wrote the book, I used all sorts of specialized layout settings to convey different forms of communication and levels of consciousness. These are proving something of a challenge in Vellum, but I think I’ve finally wrestled it to the ground.)
Vellum, by the way, is a Mac-only program, and I’m a PC guy, so to use it I subscribe to a service called Mac in the Cloud, which lets me run Vellum on a virtual machine—i.e., someone else’s Mac. Pretty cool.
Setting the type is only half the battle, of course. Once that’s done, you need the cover. Now, I already have good ebook covers, some with art I commissioned, some with art from the original trade publisher’s editions (properly licensed from the artists), some with stock art. But the art needs a type overlay, and needs proper formatting for the PDF file that ultimately becomes a print-on-demand book. Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, who has been expertly creating my cover layouts for years, is happily creating my new print covers. But sometimes there’s a hitch. Like with Dragon Rigger.
The Dragon Rigger cover, for some reason, has been refusing to cooperate. Maya creates a gorgeous PDF for me, and when I upload it to the Amazon publishing platform, it returns with a muddy mess. We’ve been at this for a week, with Maya trying every trick she can think of to convince the KDP platform to cooperate, but so far no joy. We haven’t given up, but it’s delayed the release of Dragon Rigger in print, which somewhat plays havoc with my intention to make complete autographed sets of the Star Rigger books available for holiday shopping. I may substitute the original Tor edition (I have lots of hardcovers stashed) in place of the Starstream paperback.
Here’s a shot of the cover Maya gave me:
And here’s what I got back from the KDP book previewer, ugh:
Breaking news! Suddenly the Dragon Rigger cover started working on the Amazon publishing platform. No change in what I did, only in how their system processed the file Maya gave me. It would seem they had a problem, and fixed it.
Good news for my plans. I hope to have new print editions of both Dragon Rigger and From a Changeling Star available real soon now.
My second novel, Star Rigger’s Way, has been out of print in paper for many long years. We aims to change that. In fact, we just did. It is now available in a handsome trade paperback from Starstream Publications.
Star Rigger’s Way was the first book of mine to gain much attention (read: sales). Based on a short story, “Alien Persuasion,” which was published in Galaxy Magazine, Star Rigger’s Way was the first book-length exploration of the art and science of starship rigging. That’s a little odd, since my debut book, Seas of Ernathe, was set in the Star Rigger Universe, but at a later time when the art of rigging had been lost; that story was all about rediscovery. Star Rigger’s Way, on the other hand, plunges us right into the experience—with a young pilot, Gev Carlyle, trying to work with a large, catlike alien, Cephean the cynthian, to get them both to safety through a dangerous passage.
Here’s an interior illo by Freff from the story in Galaxy, showing Cephean with his fernlike minions, the riffmar.
The novel is a coming-of-age story for Carlyle, and an alien contact story for the human and cynthian. We see some sights in the galaxy, talk to some drunken riggers in a bar (where we learn there are dragons in space)—and tangle with some interstellar pirates, inadvertently setting up a later novel, Eternity’s End. There’s a bit of romance, as well.
This was the first book of mine to be published, not just in paperback, but as a main selection of the Science Fiction Book Club. Which meant a low-cost hardcover, sent out to SFBC members who either ordered it or forgot to return the little form saying, don’t send it. Either way, it gained me some notice early in my career.
By the way, I plan to make complete, autographed sets of the Star Rigger Books available for holiday shopping. Just as soon as I finish the new edition of Dragon Rigger, which is real close now.
This new edition of Star Rigger’s Way is available at Amazon(affiliate link), and soon through other stores, as well.
I’ve got a new treebook to offer the world: Seas of Ernathe, my first novel and the beginning and the end of the Star Rigger universe to date. The beginning, because it’s the first novel I wrote in that world (or any other world), and the end because it’s set farthest in the future in the chronology of starship rigging. That might seem a little odd, but so it goes with story writing. I actually created star rigging in a short story, “Alien Persuasion,” which later became the starting point of my second novel, Star Rigger’s Way, published in Galaxy in 1974, I think it was. That came before I’d even considered attempting a novel.
Seas of Ernathe came about because of an odd opportunity for a new writer—I wrote it because of a rejection letter for a completely unrelated story. I’d been submitting short stories to a number of markets for years, including to the late Terry Carr, editor of a prestigious anthology series called Universe. He’d been responding with encouraging rejection notes. In this case, he sent back a story called “Love Rogo” (later published in the triad Future Love, edited by Roger Elwood). In his note, he said the story wasn’t right for the book he was doing, though he liked it, and would I be interested in possibly writing a novel—with an advance up front, if I could send him a sufficiently interesting outline and three sample chapters?
Would I? I dropped into my chair in front of my Olympia portable typewriter and started pounding… well, not so much the keys as my forehead. Novel. Novel. What could I write a novel about? I had recently sold “Alien Persuasion” to Galaxy, and starship rigging was in my head. Well… well… what if… well… what if they lost the ability to rig ships? Who knows how or why? It would have to be much farther in the future, maybe because of some breakdown in galactic civilization. I didn’t know. But I just started, eventually, to type. And what I typed was Seas of Ernathe. (That’s a silent “e” on the end, by the way. It’s pronounced Ernath.) And this story told us, not how they lost the art of rigging, but how they made a start at getting it back.
Well, now you can read it! On paper! And not in the cheesy-looking Laser Books edition, which was its first publication. In fact, it now has gorgeous cover art by Chris Howard, who also did my Starstream edition covers for The Infinite Sea, The Reefs of Time, and Crucible of Time. Okay, it’s the same art that’s been on the ebook for a while, and in fact provides the backdrop for my website. But it’s gorgeous, nonetheless, and you can hold it in your hands. The type layout is by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.
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 Amazonright 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!
Panglor—the man and the book both—have always been about exploring bizarre new worlds. It’s literally much of the plot of the story. For quite a few years now, he and his ou-ralot companion LePiep and his human companion Alo have been available only in the digital world. Now, he’s found his way back into Print World! Yes, a new print edition of Panglor has hit the newsstands—er, bookstores. This is the first print edition since the Tor paperback of 1996, which was a revision of the Dell first edition of 1980. Long trip, dude!
Here it is, wandering into a store near you, whether on that great long river (you know the one I mean), or elsewhere. Basically, in theory, any store that orders from Ingram. Which is pretty much all of them.*
Just in time for the holidays, I have put on sale a complete autographed set of The Chaos Chronicles (to date), right here in my very own, shiny new Etsy shop! This is a matched set of trade paperbacks from my very own Starstream Publications. Signed, personalized, you name your fondest desires. What makes a better gift than brand-new books autographed by the author? Plus…discounted 20% for the holidays!
I will be adding other books to my shop, but we’re starting out with the crown jewel! Click right here to take a look. There’s no harm in looking, right?
I’m pleased to let the world know that Eternity’s End is back in print—and by print, I mean treebook, paper! For this new edition, I have arranged for the use of the cover painting created by Stephen Youll for the original Tor hardcover and paperback. This time, it’s paired with great type design by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. It’s a big book, too—very hefty. I’m extremely pleased with the way this came out.
This cover design will very soon be applied to the ebook, as well.
I did the interior layout myself, using Vellum software, which I thought did a really snazzy job.