I just put up a new cover for Brody on Amazon. I like it. What do you think?
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William Hertling author of Avogadro Corp just posted an amazon review of Brody. It’s great!
The notion of a ‘contained thriller’, that is a story which takes place entirely within a constrained environment, holds tremendous appeal for me because it allows the exploration of ideas, characters and settings without the distractions of the world at large. The tension is further heightened because the environment is limited: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window would be an entirely different movie if our protagonist could simply have gotten up out of his wheelchair and walked over to the neighbor’s apartment.
Such is the case with Brody: Hope Unconquered. Erik Wecks has done a superb job of using a contained environment (a two-person spacecraft on an unstoppable/unchangeable five year journey) to create, hold, and build the tension core to the story. In a time when year-long crewed missions to Mars are under consideration, I think this is a timely exploration of just what it means to live within such an environment.Read More »
So this morning I got a chance to be on AM Northwest in Portland, OR to talk about my financial book, How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any. It was a lot of fun. Here is the interveiw.Read More »
Originally published March 29th, 2012 on Wired.com’s GeekDad blog.
Here is a pop quiz for you: In early 2012, what author owned six of the top ten spots on the science fiction best sellers lists at Amazon.com? Would you believe it if I told you that author was an indie author who hasn’t sought out a traditional publisher for their work? Hugh Howey’s dystopian science fiction series Wool still remains firmly affixed on the top of the best seller lists at Amazon, rating number one in three different categories (although some of the individual stories which make up the Omnibus volume reviewed here have since dropped off the list). If you are interested in knowing a little more about Howey, I will be posting an interview in which we discuss his journey as an independent author. In Part Two of the interview we will also have a spoiler-filled discussion of the Wool series.Read More »
Originally Published on the GeekDad blog at Wired.com on February 17th, 2012.
The English language version of the Studio Ghibli film The Secret World of Arrietty arrives in theaters today (check out Matt Blum’s review and Kathy Ceceri’s perspective on the film’s science). The book which inspired Miyazaki’s film was written by Mary Norton and published in 1952 under the name The Borrowers. Before she wrote The Borrowers, Norton, who died in 1992, wrote Bed-knob and Broomstick, which later went on to inspire the 1971 Disney film. However, The Borrowers cemented Norton’s career as a children’s author. At its release, The Borrowers won the prestigious Carnegie Award for children’s literature in Britain. The Carnegie is the British equivalent of the American Newbery award. The success of the book led to five sequels, including The Borrowers Avenged, published in 1982, 30 years after the original.
The Borrowers tells the story of a family of little people who live beneath the kitchen floor of a deteriorating English country home. Pod and Homily Clock care for their adventurous daughter Arrietty by borrowing what they need, and a little more, from the human “beans” who live up above. So as not to arouse suspicion, they take only things which will not be missed, such as sheets of blotting paper and old cigar boxes. From these items they make a life and a home.
In a word, Norton’s book can best be described as precious. In recent times that word has taken on important and powerful ironies to make some clear points, but Norton writes before these ironies came to give the word notes of condescension. Thus, it seems appropriate to use the best meanings of the word precious to describe her work.Read More »
I am going to be on AM Northwest this Monday talking about my book How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any. I am so looking forward to the opportunity to sit down with Dave and Helen to talk about how people can do better financially even on a small income. It is going to be a blast! I will post the video after the interview.Read More »
This post originally appeared on Wired.com’s GeekDad blog on November3, 2011.
I promise: I tried to hate this book, I really did! Up front, I beg all of my fellow members of the cult of Catan to forgive me if you can. I mean, I pretty much despise the idea of a product tie-in with any board game, but I have come to expect such shenanigans from the corporate game companies in the United States. Battleship: The Movie, anyone? But now the Europeans are selling out too? And not just any European but the icon of European board games, Klaus Teuber. The world is truly doomed!
To make a novel from my beloved Settlers of Catan is beyond the pale! It is a sacrilege! After all it was Catan that re-ignited my interest in board games and taught me that not all of them had to be three hours of wasted life like Axis and Allies. (I mean, after the giant tank vs. infantry battle in Russia, which happens in the first hour of the game, you still have two more boring hours to play and the game is already over. I say if the Russians win call it for the Allies, and if by miracle Germany wins then call if for the Axis, end of game. Better yet, why don’t you take three red dice and I will take three white dice and we will roll them for three hours, add up who won the most rolls and call it good.) Catan was and is so much better. Settlers of Catan single-handedly made board games cool again. It is one of the few board games which can entertain both my 64-year-old Mother and nine-year-old daughter. It is simple enough that my nine-year-old can win, and yet it gives me enough of an illusion of control and choice that I don’t lose interest. It really is a genius game.
For almost a decade it was the password to a secret cult of European board games. At the beginning no one had heard of it, and it felt like a kind of alternative board game. Something far better than the standard party games which were still stuck on Pictionary and Taboo. Catan was like my own version of the ’90s rave. You had to know someone to find out about it.Read More »
This is a slightly edited version of an email which I sent to two other GeekDads, Matt Forbeck and Raymond Masters both of whom are also writers. I wrote this email right after How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any first became the number one ranked Kindle budgeting book on Amazon back in late July.
Matt and Raymond,
Since you two have asked, I figure that I will send both of you a quick email. If you guys think we can make a post out of it for GeekDad, let me know, and we will try.
I published my book How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any back on March 8 for the Kindle. The first thing I did right was sign up for the Kindle Direct Program (KDP). That program allows me to give away my book for free on a promotional basis for five days during any three month period. In exchange, I had to agree to exclusively market my book electronically on Amazon and nowhere else.
At the time, I was interviewing Hugh Howey who wrote the Indie science fiction hit Wool. He said that he had decided recently to go with the KDP for his books as well because 90% of his sales came from Amazon. That encouraged me and I took the leap.
(I later found out that he had probably sold 100,000 to 200,000 copies of Wool between January and March, so he knew what he was talking about. He also sold the movie rights to Ridley Scott just when my review of his book came out in GeekDad.)Read More »
So after way too much work and much to long of a wait, Moon Rise has finally been sent off to the copy editor. I am looking forward to finally getting it published, after promising it to readers of Brody back in June.
So what happened? Well it went from a three part project to a two part project and part one came in at 45,000 words instead of 30,000 as I intended. So I am excited to finally get that out to all of you. Along the way the story evolved from the one I pictured when I wrote the little blurb at the end of Brody.
I cannot wait for you to meet Jack Halloway and all the characters in the book. Jack was a really fun character to write. I wanted him to be a bit of a mess at the start of the book but still someone I rooted for. He challenged me several times. I kept trying to make him nicer and more sympathetic and found myself having to go back and edit those parts out.
It was worth the effort. I like the character I have created, even if he does start out completely misogynistic and self-centered. It does everyone some good in their lives to go through the experience of thinking that they are somebody important and then having their feet knocked out from under them. It helps us all sort out our values and clarifies the things that matter.
I can’t wait for you to read it!Read More »