Tomorrow, the third book in the Translocator Trilogy, The Ares Initiative, comes out, so I thought I'd give those of you who are excited about the upcoming release a chance to get started early with some snippets from the book.
I posted Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 already. Here's Chapter 3...
This Friday, the third book in the Translocator Trilogy, The Ares Initiative, comes out, so I thought I'd give those of you who are excited about the upcoming release a chance to get started early with some snippets from the book.
Hey there! This Friday, the third book in the Translocator Trilogy, The Ares Initiative, comes out, so I thought I'd give those of you who are excited about the upcoming release a chance to get started early with some snippets from the book.
If you aren’t already signed up for my emails, you might not know that a few weeks ago I launched M.G. Herron’s SFF Book Club, introducing weekly book recommendations and adding a Facebook group for discussion.
I had been searching for a way to give back to my readers and fans. Since I am only able to publish 3-4 major books per year right now, this is also a way for me to offer you even more entertainment and value between my book launches, while I’m working on new stuff.
I bought a thriller novella in the grocery store checkout line today.
Well, I’d call it a novella. James Patterson and his publisher call them “BookShots.”
Now that I’ve finally had a chance to actually read one of these, I have some thoughts.
To start, I was among those chuckling under their breath when Patterson’s BookShots were first released.
I thought, Why is he renaming novellas? This is just a marketing shtick. Call it what it is.
Well, that’s true. I mean, look at the first line of his introduction, which is on the first page after you turn the cover:
You’re about to experience a revolution in reading—BookShots.
BookShots are a whole new kind of book — 100 percent story-driven, no fluff, always under $5.
I snorted a little. A revolution? Really?
You see, as an author familiar with book marketing, this is a little transparent to me. He literally just renamed novellas!
Also, a lot of authors are offering “100 percent story-driven, no fluff, always under $5” on the Kindle these days (though rarely in paper, even they have to admit).
None of this stopped me from buying the book, though. (Helped that it was 20% off) Call it professional curiosity. And the back cover copy was interesting.
This book is called Manhunt. The back cover reads…
MICHAEL BENNETT, BE GRATEFUL YOU’RE ALIVE.
Someone attacked the Thanksgiving Day parade directly in front of Michael Bennett and his family. The television news called it “holiday terror”; Michael Bennett calls it personal. The hunt is on…
Followed by pull quotes from Lee Child and Michael Connelly (thriller authors of the same type as Patterson, in case you didn’t know).
I finally opened the book, and what I found was a sparse, plot-driven terrorism thriller with good hooks and an emotional punch.
Part of me is still a little irritated that Patterson is coopting short novels and renaming them as this gimmicky “BookShots” bullshit, but the other part is impressed because the story has done its job and drawn me in.
The writing is solid and fast paced, but not without depth. One sentence paragraphs are common. There’s a very clear character voice and setting.
The chapters are short, often no more than two pages. If I had to guess, 500-750 words per chapter.
But the story moves. Hook after hook after hook. It’s very plot driven (what Patterson calls story-driven, I suppose), but as I said the depth is still there. We’re deep inside Michael Bennett’s head, whether he’s worrying about his large brood of adopted children or chasing a terrorist through the street.
I’m halfway through this book so I can’t say whether I was satisfied with the ending. But I’m gonna finish it.
In spite of the transparency of the marketing ploy, I’d happily read another one of these books. At the least, I’d pick it up and read the back cover.
I hate the name “BookShots,” but they seem to be entertaining stories, if you’re into the type of thrillers James Patterson is known for. Look past the silly branding and expect to be entertained.
And, to be clear, it’s not that you couldn’t get more out of an indie book, and probably for less, especially if you buy on Kindle or Kobo.
But I don’t know many authors who can do in 2 pages what Patterson seems capable of. To move a story at the pace he does takes skill.
It’s been another day in the word mines for yours truly, with not much news to share, so I’m choosing to take this blessed moment of calm to remind you that this is the last opportunity to receive six free ebooks, and enter to win two different bundles of paperbacks for your home library.
One offers prizes in multiple packages, all awesome indie books, all signed by the authors.
The other is a collection of 52 bestselling paperback books from the top science fiction and fantasy authors working today.
And as always, both are great ways to discover new authors you may fall in love with.
Honestly, you can’t go wrong. But be sure to read the terms and walk in with both eyes open. As with everything in life.
Last week for both giveaways. Don’t wait!
Happy binge reading.
SciFiBridge.com – Fall Sci-Fi Signed Book Giveaway
What have I been reading lately? I’m glad you asked. Here’s a list of all the good science fiction/fantasy books and stories I’ve read over the last few months.
Originally, I had it set in my mind that I would be doing blog posts for each book, but I’ve come to realize that this is an unrealistic expectation. Plus, I read a lot of short stories because I love the format. So I’m going to experiment with this roundup format instead—the focus, as ever with me, is science fiction and fantasy books and short stories.
(Psst, links to books are affiliate links, which means I get a few cents if you end up buying one or two. Thanks for the tip!)
A military science fiction tale fashioned after the Star Wars universe. The book has been described as “stormtroopers in Afghanistan,” which is not an inaccurate description—the story follows a company of Legionnaire’s (as they’re called in this world) who are incomparable shots with a blaster rifle and wear smart battle suits that protect them while they battle rebels on behalf of the (often incompetent) Empire.
But to just describe the book as Star Wars-inspired doesn’t do this particular story justice. Seeing what these men go through, living through their particular experience of combat, manages to be both emotional and endearing. It had me alternately laughing and choked up as they face death with a sense of humor.
Cole and Anspach have since released three more books in this series, so If you’re a fan of Star Wars, you’re bound to love it. Subtle (and some not-so-subtle) nods at the history of the original SW trilogy will have long-time fans chuckling and cheering them along.
I originally thought of this one as a purely scientific apocalypse story. What’s most incredible is all the legwork Mather did to set up a very realistic hard science apocalypse using real-life astronomy. The story is good, too. Our main character is a climber and adrenaline junky (easy for yours truly to relate, let me tell you), who is on a vacation in Rome with her mother when the world turns upside down.
Or maybe upside down is the wrong expression. When the world explodes might be better. I don’t want to ruin it, but if you like hard sci-fi, books like The Martian, or Thrillers with a sci-fi bent, then check this one out.
“The Key” by Isaac Asimov
I found this sci-fi mystery short story in a paper copy of The Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction: 16th Series. I love Asimov’s short stories, and a large chunk of what he wrote uses the mystery structure with his typical science fiction slant. The best part was when the detectives found a secret code, and they interpreted it as corresponding to the names of the moon’s craters, which, it turns out, were named after a lot of ancient astronomers who believed the Earth was the center of the universe.
It was a fun mystery that held up well though more than 50 years has passed since it was written. No buy link for this one because I can’t find an ebook on Amazon that has it. Wikipedia tells me you can find it in The Best Mysteries of Isaac Asimov, a collection of his stories.
“Passerby” by Larry Niven
Another great sci-fi short stories from the 1960s, I read this in the Galaxy from September 1969. I’ll admit here that this is the first Larry Niven story I’ve read, and I was definitely not disappointed. The story is built around a metaphor, and a frame story to boot, so the writer in me was absolutely delighted. A peoplewatcher in a park meets a “rammer” (a space man) who has returned to Earth from a journey through the stars where he encountered a mysterious golden celestial being who walks among the stars. It’s one of those stories that makes you stop to reflect.
I spent a little time this afternoon reorganizing the bookshelves in our house! Since we bought a new bookshelf for the office, we’ve finally got enough shelf space for ALL the books,
I put all the genres together and got the books into (mostly) alphabetic order. This time, one section of the got pulled out: my paperback “to read” shelf.
These are all the books I’ve been meaning to read. Anything look good to you? (Let me know in the comments).
This doesn’t include my digital to read pile, of course. I’ve got a dozen books on my Kindle in various states of unread. But that’s not important!
The rest of my evening was spent watching the X-Files and turning a new story into an ebook. Make Like The Roaches And Survive should be available soon.
I noticed tonight how much I’ve managed to streamline my post-production process, which is great because less time publishing and marketing means more time for me to focus on writing a good blurb and working on the next story.
Still have to write the blurb for this one, but I think I’ve got a good place to start. You can tell me how I did when it’s out in a few days 🙂
Spent the last 24 hours visiting with a good friend, Jacen, who was in town from Colorado Springs for a work thing. He only had a little time to hang out before heading back home, but even so I think it’s safe to say we did Austin right: we started with whisky tastings and eventually made our way into the wine bar last night, and then had breakfast tacos to sober us back up this morning. Thanks for visiting, Jacen!
As luck would have it, we found ourselves with some extra time to kill before his flight took off, so we stopped by an art gallery on the east side called the Recspec Gallery. It’s in a converted warehouse along with three or four other small galleries and it was great fun to see all the cool art they had. The Austin Book Arts Center also has a workshop in there (they do book binding classes and book restoration work).
Recspec also happened to have a very small display of science fiction magazines and anthologies from the 1960s. Now, that’s just up my alley. Imagine my delight to find the September 1969 issue of Galaxy Magazine with Dr. Menzel’s martians on the cover. Apparently he sent these doodles out to friends and the originals are “highly prized.” Fun to have a book cover featuring those same sketches.
And The Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction: 16th Series, first published in 1965.
Both books are in beautiful condition, with only a little normal wear from reading and time. The vanilla old book smell is strong, and the art is beautiful. You see those details in the eyeballs of the anthology? Maybe I’ll do a giveaway to pass these two treasured volumes on…or maybe I’ll hang onto them. I love the art, and it’s fun to have original stories from Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Roger Zelazny, Dr. Menzel, and Larry Niven. I’m gonna start by reading a few today.