Made in Peterborough

I shall be taking part in Made in Peterborough, an event promoting local writers. It’s on February 7th in the Central Library, and I’ll be there for the morning session, 10-12 a.m. I’ll have some books to sell, and will answer questions about my work and writing. If anyone’s in town that Saturday morning, please pop in for a chat!

Blood Type now out in paperback.

Blood Type: an Anthology of Vampire SF on the Cutting Edge is now out in paperback. It’s edited by Robert S Wilson, published by Nightscape Press and will benefit The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I have a story in it, along with many other wonderful writers, including William F Nolan, Mike Resnick and Peter Watts.

I’m pleased to have done my little bit to help this charity. Cystic Fibrosis is a nasty disease with a huge impact on the lives of people who have it. When I worked in medical research – we studied the absorption of drugs in patients with malabsorption syndromes – there were some CF patients in the study. At the lab we tracked the changes in bacterial flora and antibiotic resistance of respiratory infections in our local group of CF patients, which was complicated and challenging work. It’s a hereditary disease – we had several sets of siblings. It was heartbreaking when we had a patient die, but it wasn’t all bad news. One of our local CF patients is the longest surviving recipient of a triple transplant – heart, lungs and liver. His own heart was transplanted into another man, who he got to meet – that must have been a very weird experience!

Blood Type is a big book and well worth just over a tenner, with free postage in the UK. It’s also available on Amazon US and Createspace.

Digital Book Day – some thoughts

So I set my collection of SF & fantasy stories, The Dragon, Fly, to be free on Digital Book Day, July 14th. I gave away 260 copies, and had over 200 visitors to this blog, which was nice.

Pros:

My book got into the Top 10 Free SF Anthologies list, so it hopefully got some useful exposure.

I got lots of new readers, who may like my stuff and want more. I might even get an Amazon review out of it.

I’ve sold a few books since.

Cons:

When I first put my books on Kindle, a free book promotion would push you up the rankings and keep you there for a while. Now they’ve altered the algorithms and a book quickly crashes back down into obscurity after its brief moment in the sun. I’m not sure that giveaways are much help anymore.

The book has now turned up on at least one pirate site.

Overall conclusion:

I think the results of Digital Book Day were generally positive and I’ll probably take part again next year.

Free Book!

To celebrate the first Digital Book Day I am making my collection of SF & fantasy stories, The Dragon, Fly, and other flights of fancy FREE on July 14th! It contains such delights as assassin nuns, a woman who can walk through the holes in reality, a super-intelligent cat called Ishtar, and two excerpts from future Anna & Zenni novels.

Get it here at Amazon US or at Amazon UK.

As Amazon works on Pacific time, I’ve made it free on both the 13th and 14th to cover other time zones.

 

The Dragon, Fly

 

Jabin, a book by Bev Allen

One of my oldest friends, Bev Allen, is also an SF & Fantasy author. We used to write at school – how we ever learnt anything with our heads away in our own little make-believe worlds I’ll never know!

Bev’s first book, Jabin, has been out for a while, but her publisher folded at the end of May, casting all of their authors adrift. Thankfully, Jabin has been picked up by Thorstruck Press and has been released in a new edition.

Edited to add: Thorstruck Press has also collapsed. Jabin is now available from Wild Wolf Publishing – Amazon link here.

Here’s a link to Bev’s blog with a description of the book. It’s a wonderful tale, with pirates and soldiers, and a very likeable young hero.

Jabin Cover

Spring Newsletter

The Pro Se version of To Die A Stranger is now three months old. Not sure how it’s selling – one disadvantage of being with a publisher is that you don’t get the instant feedback on sales that you do when you’re self-pubbed. I bought half a dozen and gave some away to friends and relations, my sister bought three and I know of a few others sold in the UK. It’s POD, so it won’t vanish from the shelves. Amazon did discount it for a while, so it’s worth watching out for a reduced price in the future. I have no control over that, as it’s all down to Amazon.

After a dry patch, I’m starting to write again. The sequel to TDAS, With Amber Tears, has been finished for a while, but I’ve never been totally happy with it and it was a little on the short side. I ripped the first half of it apart – rather like opening up a tin of spam along one side with an old-fashioned can-opener – and added two new characters and a bit more world-building. I think it’s better now. Dave’s going to read it and run an edit then, if we’re happy with it, it can go to Pro Se.

Warbird was accepted by a small publisher – it’s being edited and is in search of an appropriate cover. The plan is to bring it out later this year.

Judging from its Amazon rankings, the e-book of Blood Type is still selling. It isn’t out in paperback yet – I’ll let you know when that happens.

Spring has sprung here – we’ve had snowdrops and daffodils, and are now into violets, honesty and forsythia. The apple blossom is still in bud, and seems a little late this year. My father’s lawn is full of self-seeded primroses – not only yellow, but blue, pink, purple and red – plus violets in several shades of purple. He even has violets growing in his drive!

Three… two… one… we have lift-off!

To Die A Stranger is now officially out – here’s its page on the Pro Se website. It’s available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon, US and UK, and from other outlets including Smashwords.

I ordered two copies from Amazon UK and got them within a couple of days. In my opinion (and I admit that I’m very biased!) it’s a good-looking book, with a lovely cover and nice formatting on the inside. Pro Se have done a great job.

Pro Se's To Die A Stranger cover

To Die A Stranger

Pro Se Press have just released To Die A Stranger in a lovely new paperback version. It’s available on Amazon US and Amazon UK. New e-book versions will follow.

Have ordered a few copies and can’t wait to see it in the flesh!

Have Yourself A Very Merry Solstice

I don’t really do Xmas. When I was at the lab I was always annoyed by all the smug crowing of those who weren’t working between Xmas Eve and January 2nd, while we were lucky to get Xmas Day and Boxing Day off (and some of us didn’t, having to go in to tend the bugs or provide on-call cover). I don’t respond well to the constant demands to be jolly and spend, spend, spend. This year I sent out a few cards, bought a few presents and replaced the dead fern in the bathroom with an attractive mottled Poinsettia. In keeping with my Pagan beliefs, I do indulge in some festive eating and drinking, although Xmas dinner will be a quiet affair, and a sad reminder of family members missing from the table.

So, to all my readers, do have a very happy Xmas or Solstice or whatever seasonal event you choose to celebrate, and may good fortune fly with you in the New Year.

As a Solstice gift to all of you, I’ve changed the excerpt on the Warbird page to Chapter Ten of the lengthy space-opera, the bit where the crew of the Vienna have a first contact with a non-humanoid race. Please enjoy!

Blood Type: Vampire SF – the trailer

Here’s a link to the trailer for Blood Type: An Anthology of Vampire SF from Nightscape Press. I think it’s pretty cool and it’s great to be included on such a wonderful list of writers. I’ve been reading some of the stories, and the quality is very high. I enjoyed ‘The Undying’, William F Nolan’s contribution, which has the longest run-on sentence I’ve ever seen in print – and as a slap in the eye for all those creative writing gurus who’d like to outlaw such things, the effect is beautiful and poetic. I really liked Amelia Mangan’s ‘The Souls of Stars’  too, but I’m only seven stories in, so I haven’t picked a favourite yet.

The anthology will benefit The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, so if you’re looking for something to put on your shiny new Kindle (or other e-reading device) this Xmas, please consider it. A print edition is due in January 2014.

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