New Richard Bowker Novel!

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Some years ago, novelist Richard Bowker was developing a reputation around the edges of the SF/paranormal/thriller/mystery world as a writer with a nifty gift for characterization, story, and style, and a certain uncategorizability. It was that last trait that tended to get him into trouble, as his publishers didn’t always know where to place his books. Was his post-nuclear-war Boston private-eye novel SF, or was it mystery, or eccentric mainstream? For the readers plunging into the stories, it was great. But for the publishers and marketers, it was a challenge they did not always rise to.

Following Senator, Bowker disappeared for a number of years. (Well, he didn’t really, but in book terms he did.) Now he’s back, not just reissuing his backlist in ebook (a fine thing in itself), but publishing new work as well. You could do a lot worse than to check out Pontiff, just released in Kindle and Nook-format ebooks—a novel of religion, murder, and miracles from the author of Senator and Replica. [more

Pontiff on Kindle / Pontiff on Nook

Oh, I almost forgot to mention: It’s DRM-free, so if you want to read it on another device–say, a Sony Reader, or in Aldiko on an Android–you should be fine buying the Nook version.

Dragon Space Gets a New Face

The indie-pub gurus all say that the cover of an ebook can make or break sales. I don’t know if they’re right or not, but I’m putting it to the test. Since I released Dragon Space: A Star Rigger Omnibus in mid-2011, sales have been slow. (Except during my holiday sale, when I dropped the price from $6.99 to $.99 for a week. That goosed things, but I couldn’t keep it at that price forever.) Dragon Space is a boxed set, or omnibus ebook, of two of my Star Rigger novels, Dragons in the Stars and Dragon Rigger. It includes the beautiful map of the dragon-realm-in-interstellar-space drawn for the original Tor paper edition of Dragon Rigger by Elissa Mitchell.

Now, I really liked the first cover I used; I worked closely with designer Pat Ryan (who is also writer Pat Ryan, and who has since stopped designing covers in order to focus on her writing). She gave me just what I asked for. Here’s the original cover:

But apparently it wasn’t what the public asked for. So here’s a new look, designed by Amanda Kelsey of Razzle Dazzle Design:

What do you think? Is it more of an eye-catcher? 

By the way, if you already own Dragon Space and wish you had it with this new cover, feel free to save the image from here and swap it into the book with Calibre or another free program. Or, drop me a note and I’ll send you the updated book file. Or, you may be able to download it again from wherever you bought it.

Conversely, the same applies if you’re just buying the book now, but wish you had it with the earlier cover.


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No, I’m not holding a summit, or attending one. But that’s the name of a novel by Richard Bowker, just released in ebook by the author himself. It’s well worth a look, if you enjoy psychological thrillers with believable characters and crisp, vivid writing. Summit was originally published by Bantam in 1989, and is now available again for the first time in many years.

If we’re going to be forthcoming here, I suppose I should fess up that I was one of the critique group readers who can claim all sorts of credit (riiiiight…) for the quality of the novel. Seriously, though, Richard Bowker has been part of the writing group I’m in for over thirty years, and we got to experience the book’s gestation and birth, and even contribute a little in the way of helpful criticism. Here’s the description from the Amazon page:

She is the most dangerous person in the world — a powerful psychic used to turn loyal American operatives into KGB double agents. Beautiful Valentina, however, has one weakness — her infatuation with Daniel Fulton, the brilliant, enigmatic American pianist. Valentina hopes her love for Fulton will free her from the KGB. Instead, it traps her into using her powers one final time. Success will change the course of history. Failure will doom the only person she loves. One woman controls the fate of America… at the Summit.

You can’t tell from the product pages, but according to Rich, they’re DRM-free.

Free Thrillers and Beautiful Bookstores

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Interesting links spanning the whole book world have come across my desk in the last twenty-four hours. 

Free ebooks!
Five popular mystery/thriller writers are giving away books like popcorn today and tomorrow (through Feb. 2). J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, J. Carson Black, Lee Goldberg, and Scott Nicholson have joined forces to give away a big selection of their ebooks, plus ten Kindle Fires and a bunch of gift cars. Oh, and a generous library donation! If you like thrillers or know someone who does, check out the details and click free links at Big Kindle Boogie.

What’s the (book) world coming to?
The Authors Guild weighs in on some recent history of the publishing and book retail world. Is Amazon the innovator or the anti-Christ?* Is Barnes and Noble our last, best hope against crushing monopoly? Join the fray, or just read about it, at the Authors Guild blog

*For what it’s worth, I think Amazon is a little of both. 

World’s most beautiful bookstores
Let’s not forget physical books. Take a tour of twenty of the most glorious physical bookstores in the world! You could walk these aisles for days!

Happy 2012!

It’s not quite midnight here in California, where Allysen and I are visiting her brother and family, but we jointly decided to call it New Year at 9:00, when we knew the ball had dropped in Times Square. (Well, call it faith; we didn’t actually check online to see if midnight had come to the Eastern time zone, but I’m pretty sure it did.) We’re having a very nice visit, except that I’m fighting off a cold or something, and hoping I don’t give it to anyone else.  We went to see TinTin today, and thoroughly enjoyed it in 3D, after an aborted effort to see it in Imax 3D. (The volume was earsplitting, and the theater people said they couldn’t turn it down. We weren’t the only ones asking for refunds on the Imax tickets.) Anyway, in regular 3D, and regular volume, it was a fun movie, even if it went on a little too long in the action sequences. 

Two of my good friends are taking the ebook plunge, and I thought this would be a good time to introduce them. First off is Richard Bowker, author of a bunch of novels ranging from straight SF (Forbidden Santuary) to supernatural fantasy (Marlborough Street) to techno-thriller (Replica) to SF-mystery (Dover Beach) to straight-up political mystery (Summit and Senator). He’s been out of print for a while, and has just created a website and blog at, where he’ll post updates on the progress of converting and self-epublishing his previously published novels. Stop by and check on his progress. When his books go up for sale, I highly recommend them. 

Mary C. Aldridge works a completely different vein: African-folklore-inspired fantasy short stories. One of her stories was a Nebula finalist (“The Adinkra Cloth”), and one won her a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Fiction Fellowship (“The Work Leader”). She has five short stories up at, and I hope they’ll also appear in the Kindle and Nook stores soon. (But you can buy the needed formats for both the Kindle [.mobi] and Nook [.epub] right now.)  Mary has a remarkable talent that has been expressed too infrequently. Why not give them a look?

And in the meantime…Happy New Year!

Holiday Book Sale!

To celebrate the holidays, I’m joining with other Backlist eBooks authors in a huge $.99 holiday sale on selected ebooks in the Kindle and Nook stores, from right now through January 8! I decided—about half an hour ago—which book to put on sale. I’m going with Dragon Space: A Star Rigger Omnibus, regularly $6.99 for two novels in one: Dragons in the Stars and Dragon Rigger. That’s right; I’ve knocked the price back from $6.99 to $.99, from right now through the first week in January, plus a day. (Or, to put it another way, until two days after Three Kings Day.) If you like dragons, and if you like fantasy or science fiction, now’s your chance. It’s also easy now to give ebooks as gifts from both the Kindle and Nook stores. (This sale is limited to those two stores.) 

These books are actually personal favorites of mine. They’ve had some trouble finding their audience, so I thought I’d take a deep breath and help them along. And by the way, I’m pleased to report that sales of The Chaos Chronicles have picked up quite nicely in response to my making the first book, Neptune Crossing, free. I guess people are trying it, and liking it! I hope the same will happen with Dragon Space, which you can see here on the Backlist eBooks page.

By the way, in case I don’t get another post out before Christmas, best wishes to everyone for the holidays: Hanukah, Christmas, Solstice, anything you may celebrate. Enjoy it with people you love!

Tales from the Backlist

If you like short stories and variety in your reading, give this book a try. It’s a collection of short fiction by nineteen authors representing various genres, including science fiction, fantasy, mystery, contemporary romance, regency romance, and probably a couple of others I’ve forgotten.

What these authors have in common is that they (we) are all members of Backlist eBooks, a collection of widely published authors in all genres who are bringing our previously published, out-of-print books back into circulation through self-published ebooks. The group includes bestselling authors and winners of many literary awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Rita awards. To help make ourselves better known, we’ve released Tales from the Backlist, filled with (appropriately enough) backlist short stories.

Tales is now on sale in the Kindle and Nook stores, and Smashwords, in DRM-free editions. Soon it will be in the Sony, Apple, Kobo, and Diesel stores. (No matter what kind of reader you have, or none at all, you can get a format that works for you from Smashwords.)

For a limited time only, the regular price of $3.99 has been knocked down to just $.99 at all stores.  Check it out at, where you’ll find purchase links for the store of your choice.

More International Ebook News

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E-reads, publisher of  nine of my backlist novels, recently announced a huge joint venture with Gollancz of England to add many of their SF titles to the Gollancz ebook list—something like 400 titles. Gollancz has long been one of the premier publishers of SF in the British market, and this will further enrich their list even while it offers a new look and imprint to the E-reads books. The hope, of course, is that this will also boost UK sales for the books being added to the Gollancz list. 

Because my own E-reads books (From a Changeling Star [nice plug at E-reads], Down the Stream of Stars, The Rapture Effect, and six others) are a part of this deal, I’m also hoping that this will help those books find a new audience among the British readers. 

On another front, my own Starstream Publications edition of Sunborn finally has its finished cover, which you will see on the World Edition on sale in Kindle UK/DE/FR, in the iTunes store outside the U.S., and at Smashwords, where it’s offered to non-U.S. readers. (Inside the U.S., the Tor edition is the one to look for, available pretty much everywhere else.)

Here’s the cover Pat Ryan created for me:

And here are some links to help my friends outside the U.S. find it:
iTunes: Canada | UK | Germany | France | Australia

(For some stupid reason it’s not on my author pages in the international
iTunes stores. But those links will get you to it.)

Sunborn World Edition (epub) — At Last!

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This has really been a long time coming. If you’re outside the U.S., you can now get a legit ebook of Sunborn, the fourth book in The Chaos Chronicles, in epub format. I got the Kindle version up in the Kindle UK | Kindle DE | Kindle FR stores a few weeks ago, but the epub version (for Nook, Sony, Stanza, iBooks, and a plethora of other platforms) has finally hit the stores. It’s been approved in the Apple iTunes stores in Canada, Australia, the UK, France, and Germany, in DRM-free editions. You can also get it from Smashwords, though I’m contractually obligated to say: If you’re in the U.S., you should buy the Tor edition instead, available from the usual outlets.

Edit: Here are links to Sunborn in the iTunes international stores: 

Edit: the above cover was the placeholder until the final cover was done.  Here’s the new cover:

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