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!
I’ve promised to give occasional updates on my progress with The Reefs of Time. If the average picture is worth a thousand words, this one’s worth 125,000 words. That’s how far I am into the major rewrite of the manuscript, which as you can see from this picture is a little more than halfway through the 240,000-word monster total. For comparison, Sunborn was about 140,000 words total.
In pages, I’m at around 620 of 1200. So, I’ve come a long way, and still have a ways to go. But I’ve gotten through some really thorny rewrite problems, and what’s behind me feels solid. I think it’s a good story! I’m making excellent progress now, better than I have in a long time. Pray for it to continue!
What better way to crown the Fourth of July, a celebration of the birth of the U.S.A., than to plunk a billion-dollar spacecraft—Juno, the fastest-moving probe ever launched by humanity—into a perfect orbit around Jupiter? This isn’t just any orbit. NASA had to thread Juno into a precise path taking the craft between the planet’s upper atmosphere and its hellish radiation belt. Too close to that belt, and the instruments would have been instant toast. Fortunately, NASA eats challenges like that for lunch. Juno will be flying a highly elliptical path over the huge planet’s poles, zooming repeatedly to within a few thousand miles of the atmosphere and then whipping way out for a long-distance view.
Like so many space stories, there’s a lot in this that echoes my current work in progress. Readers of The Chaos Chronicles might remember that Li-Jared comes from Karellia, a planet with a fiery radiation belt surrounding it. In The Reefs of Time, Li-Jared (and we) get a chance to visit that world, which features things even weirder than the “beautiful, perilous sky” that its inhabitants know so well.
Take a moment to enjoy this view of Jupiter’s moons circling the great planet, shot by Juno on its flight inbound.
Here used to be a picture of me after licking a thorny plot problem in the chapter tentatively titled “Chapter 29” in The Reefs of Time. This would be the chapter that, in the first draft, caused me to type, “I HAVE NO FRICKIN’ IDEA WHERE THIS IS GOING! FIX IT IN REWRITE!” and then move on. When the rewrite came around, the situation was not much improved. But this time, I didn’t think I could do the same thing, so I just kept pounding my head on it until it relented and gave up its secrets. So, this time I’ve solved it and moved on. Having solved it. I think. You never know about these things until you circle back on the next pass and see it all in the context of the whole story arc.
Have I mentioned that this is a long and complex book, with many threads, and it’s taking me a long time to (re)write it? Think Game of Thrones… but without the thrones, the kingdoms, the backstabbing murders, the dragons, the dark magic, etc. Actually, it’s nothing like The Game of Thrones, except for the length, complexity, and the time it’s taking me to finish it. But that’s not nothing.
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.
I 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!
A long time ago in a publishing house far, far away, my novel Neptune Crossing, Volume One of The Chaos Chronicles, was published by Tor Books. (Okay, Tor, now part of Macmillan USA, is in New York, which isn’t that far away.) The book has been out of print in paper for not quite as long, but long enough.
Now it’s back—in a nice trade paperback—from my Starstream Publications imprint, in association with Book View Café! You can order it! You can buy it! You can give it away!
For the moment, it’s available direct from CreateSpace, an Amazon company. Edit: And now it is available at Amazon.com. In a few days, it should become available at Amazon.com. I make a smidge more from selling it at CreateSpace, but do what works best for you. Can you get it in time for Christmas? I honestly don’t know. I ordered copies from my publisher account, and they will not be here in time for Christmas, but it might be different for regular customers. If you find out, let me know! Edit: I think it’s possible, if you order from Amazon.
In the fullness of time, it will be available through other stores, as well, including (perhaps) your local bookstore. But that may take a while, and possibly a second printer/distributor.
But I am also launching new print editions! That’s on paper! Tree-books. Can you believe? It’s true!
First to appear will be Neptune Crossing, in a nice trade paperback. Perfect, now that I think about it, for giving to a loved one for Christmas! Or Hanukah! Or Solstice! Really, now that I think about it, the recipient doesn’t even have to be a loved one. It can be a liked one. Or a tolerated one. Or even someone you’d like to get rid of—someone you hope will turn back from the dark side. How about that? What better way to celebrate the new Star Wars movie?
Why else put “Star Wars” in the title of this post?
And yes, more titles will follow. Watch this space for an announcement. Soon!
The ebook in question is Neptune Crossing, which has been my free loss-leader for several years now. I ran a Bookbub ad on it the other day, to try to goose interest in the downloads, which had dwindled to a small handful every day. The result? Over 32,000 downloads in two days! Zounds! (About three fourths of the free downloads are at Amazon Kindle, and the other quarter are spread out among B&N Nook, Apple, Google, and Kobo.)
Why would I want to do such a crazy thing? Ha-ha, crazy like a fox! (A smart fox, I hope, not a rabid fox.) The answer, of course, is that I hope everyone who reads their free copy will be so eager to read the next books in the series that they’ll fall all over themselves rushing to buy them. Stampede! That’s what I’m talking about.
So is it happening? Well, paid sales went up the same day at Amazon Kindle. Not out-of-the-ballpark up, but nicely and encouragingly up. At the other stores, I haven’t seen any change whatsoever. Is that because of the sheer weight of Amazon, or because of some difference in the algorithms of how books are shown to customers in the stores? Wouldn’t I like to know.
Anyway, time will tell. People need a chance to read the books, after all. I hope it looks interesting enough that they won’t put it on their to-read pile and forget about it. Excuse me a moment while I shout:
“Hey, folks who downloaded Neptune Crossing! I hope you read it and like it! And if you do, please leave a review! And try the next book in the series!”
I haven’t been present here much lately, and that’s partly because I’ve been focusing on my other writing, specifically the next Chaos Chronicles book, The Reefs of Time. I am without doubt leaving in ruins any previous record for length of time spent writing a new book. But I hit a marker recently when I finished the major part of the rewrite on Part 1 of the book. That might not sound like a lot of progress to you. But to me, it was huge. (Actually, I only figured out a couple of weeks ago that the book needs to have major parts to it.)
I’ve worked my way through a lot of places where the first draft had hand-waving and confident notes to myself that something would happen here, or that chapter would get fixed in the second draft. So far, I think it’s actually working out pretty well.
In July, by the way, I’ll be attending a several-day workshop called The Schrödinger Sessions, which was conceived for the purpose of teaching science fiction writers as much about quantum theory as can be crammed into three days. I can’t wait. As it happens, I’m invoking elements of quantum theory, especially quantum entanglement, in an important subplot of The Reefs of Time. Won’t it be great if I can actually get it right?
I’ve just finished spending a lot of time over several days fixing typos that a reader found in the three-book omnibus of The Chaos Chronicles. The irony is that I had just put up a new version of The Infinite Sea, with a new cover—and with several typos (or formattos) fixed that I had found myself while rereading the book. (I’ve been reading through all the Chaos series, to refresh my memory on the story details as I write the fifth book.) The very next morning, I received an email from Kindle support, listing four typos that “readers” had reported in the Chaos omnibus. I checked, and sure enough, they were real typos. They were also spread across all three books—so I had to correct, not only the omnibus volume, but all of the individual novels as well. (The two in The Infinite Sea were different from the ones that I had found in my own reading.)
I have no idea how many times these books have been gone through, by me and by others, trying to catch any lingering mistakes. It just goes to prove how blasted hard it is to catch everything.
I’ve written before about how time-consuming it can be to fix typos in ebooks, especially when you have several slightly different versions distributed across a bunch of different outlets, in two different ebook formats. I took the opportunity this time to fix something that was already on my to-do list, and that was to change all the quotation marks from straight quotes to curly quotes. When I first created these books, ebook reading devices could not be counted upon to display curly quotes correctly, and I avoided them like the plague. Now, though, it’s normal to have curly quotes in ebooks, and the lack of them in these books made them look a little less professional than I would have liked. So, that’s done now. (Changing them is quick—a simple Find and Replace in Word. Checking for all the insidious ways in which Word can screw it up is not nearly so quick.)
If you own any of the first three Chaos Chronicles ebooks, you should be able to go back to the store where you got them and download updated versions.
And if you’re one of the readers who reported the typos to Kindle support . . . (sigh) . . . thanks. I really do want the books to be as error-free as humanly possible.