Friday, June 28, 2019

Free ebooks in July Extravaganza

There are a couple big events coming up in July and I was going to have some free ebook deals, but then I decided to throw a couple more into the mix.  So in July you’ll be able to grab five of my ebooks all for the price of a click!  Here’s a listing of which books will be free on which days.

July 1 – 5

Everybody complains about politics, but does anyone do anything about it?  My attempt to do something about it is to collect forty of my short stories with a political element into this anthology.  My stories are either politically neutral or equally condemning of the national parties.  Instead of trying to sway you to one ideology or another, my goal is to just get people thinking about politics in the hopes a rose might grow out of all the political manure.

Since this is a collection of political stories, I try to have it free around elections, as well as the Fourth of July.  So as you’re prepping for the beer, BBQ, and booms of the Fourth, don’t forget books.

July 11 – 15

As a science fiction writer, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how technology will change the way we live.  I’ve come up with these ten short essays about science fictional elements that will – almost certainly – one day become science fact as a way for people to start coming to terms with them.  Because I’ve spent time thinking about clones and AIs, I feel that I’ll be okay when they do finally show up whereas most people will probably freak out.  I hope these essays will get people to start thinking about the future because, no matter what we do, the future is coming.

The main reason I started this extravaganza is because of the fifty anniversary of the moon landing.  So my two ebooks about the moon will be free – see below – and I just like to have this one about future technology also free.

July 17 – 21

Over the last few years a lot of people have caught Mars fever.  It seems a week doesn’t go by without a report of some new group wanting to send people to Mars, or some big name in the industry talking about why we have to go to Mars, or articles talking about the glorious future humanity will have on Mars.  All of this worries me.  In my opinion, a Mars base is currently not sustainable because there’s no way for it to make money.  A few missions may fly doing extraordinary science, but if it’s then cancelled for cost the whole Mars Project may just be seen as an expensive stunt.

Fortunately, there are other places in the solar system besides Mars.  While bases on the moon and amongst the asteroids won’t be as inspirational as one on Mars, they will have opportunities for businesses to make goods and services as well as profits, meaning less chance of them being outright cancelled.  This will make life better on Earth and secure a firm foothold in space for humanity.  The essays in “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” allow me to describe my ideas on what can be accomplished on the moon and with the asteroids, and why Mars isn’t the destiny of humanity its cheerleaders make it out to be.

The week this is free marks the Fiftieth Anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.  So yeah, I want to have my collection of essays about why returning to the moon is our best bet in space available.

July 17 – 21

Hopefully, in the not too distant future humans will return to the moon.  We will build bases and colonies, make farms and factories, and live, love and learn.  “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains five of my short stories that are all set upon the moon.  They give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us there.

I’m a big supporter of the moon, so it makes sense for my collection of short stories set on the moon should also be available this week to mark the Apollo 11 anniversary.

July 25 – 29

Over the years, I’ve posted several short stories on websites that later – for one reason or another – died.  While the corpses of some of these sites are still around where you can read my stories, many have vanished from the internet.  And since there are few sites that will publish such previously published works, the only way you could read them was if I self-published them in a collection.

In addition to such “lost” stories, I’ve included some new stories that – for one reason or another – I felt I’d have a hard time finding someone to publish them.  So “Seventh Story Stockpile” basically contains stories I didn’t know what to do with.  Hopefully now I can move on to other projects.

Originally I was just going to have the other four ebooks free.  But as I was getting this ready, I realized that I might as well add another ebook to finish out the month. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Grab my ebook “The Moon Before Mars” for free this week!

If all goes as planned, then on Thursday the Beresheet lander will touchdown in Mare Serenitatis.  This will make SpaceIL only the fourth entity to successfully land something on the moon.  They will follow in the footsteps of the Soviet Union’s Luna 9 in February 1966, the US’s Surveyor 1 in June 1966, and China’s Chang’e 3 in December 2013.  The big difference between this lander and previous ones, is that it is largely privately funded. 

I am a huge supporter of lunar exploration – both publically and privately financed – so I figured the best way to mark this occasion is to have a sale of my ebook “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” where I go into far more depth on why I feel returning to the moon should be our next step in space.

Hopefully, Beresheet is just the beginning of humanity’s return to the moon.  India is hoping to become the fifth entity to land on the moon with its Chandrayaan-2, scheduled to launch in May.  And then Moon Express – another private company – hopes to launch their Lunar Scout by the end of the year.  It is possible more landers will land on the moon this year, then in the past forty years combined. 

So if the idea of lunar exploration excites you, check out my book.  For this week, it will only cost you the price of a click.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Trying to write more

I can’t remember when or exactly why I started doing this, but I keep track of how many words I write each day.  Part of it was probably that I wrote it on my calendar so I could feel bad if I hadn’t written anything for three or four days.  After doing that for some time, I decided to take the advice I’d read countless times in writing magazines (this was probably around 2002) and write every day.  At first it was a bit of a struggle and I gave myself a lot of cheat days, but I eventually got into the habit of writing practically every day.  (The day I posted this was the 792nd day in a row I had written, which I believe is my current record.)

Now, writing every day is fine, but it also helps if you have a daily goal.  The goal I set for myself was 137 words a day.  (This will explain why.)  For some prolific writers, that is a really low goal.  Besides personal reasons for setting it at that, I also set it “low” so that I wouldn’t get discouraged if I missed it.  And a lot of things can get in the way of writing: needing to veg after a long day of work, illness, or having 8,000 other things to do.

For a few years I did pretty good, but for the last couple of years my daily output hasn’t been that great.  I have written almost every day for a decade or so, but some days it’s just adding a note like “Character A has some centaur food that Character B has never heard of.” That’s it.  I’ve been following the letter of “Write every day” but not the spirit.

Part of the reason I wasn’t writing much was because I was being overworked.  I got a part time job so I could make some money but still have time to help my parents and write.  But it soon turned into one of those 39 hours a week “part time” jobs, which was good because I needed to pay for a new car, but also sucked because it was so stressful I just wanted to veg when I got home.  Recently I’ve cut back to just two or three days a week, and now I have time and I’m not as stressed, which is a bit weird.

But another part of the reason I wasn’t writing that much was YouTube.  What happened was I found an interesting channel dealing with history.  They had some 300 videos, and I started watching all of them.  About fifty videos in, they did a collaboration with someone else and I checked their channel out.  They were interesting and had some 300 videos of their own.  I started watching all of them, and about fifty videos in, they did a collaboration with someone else.  It got to the point where I now have a bookmark folder of fifty or so YouTube channels I need to check out.  So in addition to all the channels I already followed, I’m working through the backlogs of two or three other channels.  While there are a few humorous channels I follow, most concern history, science, literature, etc.  I’m not memorizing everything I’m watching, but I’m at least getting exposed to a great deal of stuff.  Who knows what little tidbit stuck in my brain will birth a story, or someday help me out of a jam? 

Now to be honest, I will admit that there are days where I’ll just sit and binge YouTube or Netflix for like ten hours.  Some days it was because I was ill or injured, and really didn’t feel like doing anything.  But a lot of it is the “I only have twenty more episodes of this series to watch.  The sooner I finish it, the sooner I can get back to writing.  Or probably find another series to watch.” I felt terrible because I knew that if I spent a fraction of that time writing, I’d actually get shit done.  I’ve tried limiting the number of hours of videos I watch each day, or setting a set amount and if I want to watch another hour I have to write for an hour, and a dozen or so little tweaks to the system.  I haven’t found one that works all the time yet.  All I can say is that I’m trying to write more.  And that includes blogs, so hopefully it will only be weeks between posts and not months.