Hands full with aliens and art theft: Calling beta readers

Obviously, it’s been a long while since I posted anything. Summer has been busy, to put it mildly. At my library job our summer reading program turned the place into a zoo — though not literally, unlike last year when we had a live wombat and kangaroo as part of one program.

Then there’s been the writing: I finished a draft for a second Quantum Mortis novel and sent it off to my writing partner for that series, Vox Day. He’ll work his magic on it later this year. Then there’s a superhero story that I’ve been scribbling in my notebook for the past four months. I’ve finally started transcribing that over to the more high tech Microsoft Word.

But the big news is that I finished a novel that’s been in the works for two years. Tentatively titled For Us Humans, it’s a story centering around the recovery of a stolen piece of priceless art, set in an alternate version of the world we know today. And it… well, let me have the main character tell you about it:

“My name’s Caz Fortel. I’m thirty, good looking, and a great liar. In fact, that’s my job: to lie to people who steal works of art, and get them back.

Then one day I get the big call from the FBI: a million bucks, to recover a stolen statue with huge cultural value. Downside: my partner has an unhealthy interest in Jesus, an interest I’ve tried really hard to erase from my own life.

Also, he’s an alien with four arms and a tremendous sense of smell.

Welcome to 2011.

See, the Panstellar Consociation of Worlds is the boss now, of all the Earth and everything that goes on the solar system. Aliens showed up 10 years ago and made us a deal: join us as a protectorate and we’ll leak you tech secrets, pay you real well. All so they could set up a warp tunnel in orbit.

It’s their statue that’s stolen. They want the whole job kept quiet.

Or Earth could be in very, very big trouble.”

I’m looking for readers intrigued enough to read the rough draft. It’s 95,000 words — that’s about 350 pages. The book’s been spell-checked and had one copy editor do a quick pass, so it won’t be atrocious. I’ll be generous and give a deadline of Sept. 30. Sound good?

If you want to be one of my beta readers, email me: I’ll get you a PDF or another format if necessary.




‘Quantum Mortis’ by Any Other Name

My Quantum Mortis co-author Vox Day has been busy signing up intrepid readers across the world to translate the current series into various languages. Most recently Gravity Kill‘s Portuguese translation hit the market. It’s free today, I should mention.

You can find the entire list of translated books at Castalia House. There’s currently 25 translations of several titles Highlights include:

French: QUANTUM MORTIS Un Homme Démoli

Finnish: QUANTUM MORTIS Hajonnut mies

Spanish: QUANTUM MORTIS Un Hombre Disperso

Portuguese: QUANTUM MORTIS Un Homem Desintegrado

Reading a book in a foreign language is not something I’ve tried. Closest I came was reading short paragraphs in the Italian and Spanish courses I took in high school, and again in college. I’m considering giving it a whirl.

While my books with Vox are available from Castalia in epub format and in Amazon Kindle format, they aren’t yet available in print. However the Marcher Lord Press (newly renamed Enclave Publishing) books are available in all three. 

A new “Crosswind” review

Found this review of Crosswind at the blog Seeking the New Earth today. I was pleased to hear the reviewers enjoyed the book, and found both their praises and criticisms interested.

I know many writers say “Hey, don’t pay attention to reviews one way or the other — they drive you crazy!” but as far as I’m concerned, reader reviews can contain valid points about one’s book.

Yeah, the reviewer’s right, there are some spots that dragged and others that blasted by. I was especially glad to hear that the setting was appreciated, because it took a ton of time to build it.

Anyway, check out the review. I found it interesting and helpful.

Castalia House store opens

QM_AMD_900Very exciting news: Castalia House, publisher of the Quantum Mortis sci-fi books I co-wrote with Vox Day, has opened its online store for e-books.

Castalia is home to Vox’s Arts of Dark and Light epic fantasy series, the QM series, and several homeschooling resources on astronomy and astrophysics by Dr. Sarah Salviander. 

Several books published by Castalia, including Tom Kratman’s Big Boys Don’t Cryare not available through the store because, as Vox points out, those titles are in the Kindle Select Program.

Always excellent to see another source of independent sci-fi and fantasy become available to the masses, which I would say even if I were not incredibly biased as I am in this case.

Also, stop by to Castalia House’s blog to read reviews of sci-fi and fantasy novels of all kinds.

Yes, we are crazy

Author Mike Dellosso shared a very amusing insight about writers on his blog today. It deals with the mental stability (or lack thereof) among us folks who spend our time imagining things no one else understands. A sample:

We create worlds that don’t really exist. Towns, buildings, and people to inhabit those places. We give those people personalities and lives and histories and then we converse with them in our heads. Sometimes we talk out loud to them. We spend time with people who don’t really exist.”

All very true. I was at a statewide library convention for Wyoming a few years back and Ellen Hopkins was our speaker. When she talked about having conversations with her characters, one of my co-workers looked at me, grinned, and asked if I do the same thing. I said, “No, but I do overhear their conversations and write them down.”

It’s true. When I write dialogue, after starting with one character’s statement, the rest of it flows easily, as if I were sitting in the same room with these people. Never mind that they exist only in my imagination, as pencil and ink scribbles on paper, and as bytes in a Microsoft Word document. 

Mike is right. It takes a special kind of crazy to be a fiction author. I’m thankful I’m in good company.

Chapter-A-Week features “Sandstorm”

The first half of the prologue to Sandstorm: The Second Sark Brothers Tale is now up on the Chapter-A-Week Book Club’s Facebook page Sandstorm--Front%20Cover--Smaller[5][1]today. Sandstorm follows the adventures of brothers Winchell and Copernicus Sark as they search for a powerful ancient relic among the desert cities of the Caminante, with betrayal and intrigue around every corner. Enjoy.

I’ve got part of a third Sark brothers book stashed away, tentatively titled Broadside, with a more nautical environ to it. It’s on the back burner to other projects right now, but I’m itching to dive back into this world again.

Castalia House and Quantum Mortis

After a hiatus of a month, the Quantum Mortis titles are returning to availability. Vox Day has more to say about that, and the new publisher Castalia House who gained the rights from Marcher Lord Press:

My link to Gravity Kills is now back on, but you’ll notice that A Man Disrupted is still in need of fixing. I still highly recommend getting GK because it’s a good intro into the world of Chief Warrant Officer Graven Tower, MCID, and his augment/AI partner Baby.

Meanwhile I’ve finished off a 75,000 word fantasy story tentatively called The Bloodheart, which I started with a single piece of concept art on New Year’s Day 2013. It was satisfying to complete it almost exactly one year later. Now I’m diving back into QM 2, which is about 38,000 words (or roughly halfway) through the draft I’ll be turning in to Vox.

Oh, there’s also a superhero story in the early stages. Very early. That means I get to draw maps. And as anyone who’s ever traveled with me knows, I think maps of any kind are fantastic.


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