Monday, July 28, 2008

What, no periscope jokes?

As promised, sample readings from AQUAMARINE (40% of the book) are on the blog as of, uh, now. There'll only be minor changes between here and the paperback release. The widows and orphans have yet to be attended to (so just ignore them in the typeset you have here; I think there's something like three of the little buggers; we make them disappear, but don't actually ship them to a gulag, so it takes time) and we're still waiting for the ISBN.

Now, ISBN generation is supposed to take about three working days and sometimes takes two working weeks. You see, "ISBN" is an acronym standing for Interdimensional Superstring Boson-type Neutrino," and they're a bloody nightmare to catch. It takes a special kind of cyclotron to generate them. You key in the title of the book, the author's byline, the publisher, publication date and number of pages, then you shoot the request into superspace with the cyclotron, and get ready to "catch" the returning particles. They come blasting back through the fabric of space-time, and where they pass through, they leave micron-tiny fractures (the technical term is "holes") which, when scanned with an argon laser, can be read in binary code. The zeroes and ones of the binary are then converted back into numerals, and voila, you have your ISBN. But it's hellaciously hard catching the ISBN particles, and sometimes they have to fire up the cyclotron two or three times to get a result.

Anyway, all that lies in the hands of professionals. We don't profess to be in charge of the cyclotron, and the ISBN will be delivered when it's delivered.

In the meantime, here's the link to download 40% of the book, and -- enjoy!

ONE WORD OF CAUTION: these chapters and complete and uncut. There's some good, old fashioned raunch. Consider yourself warned! If you're underage, or if you're disturbed by gay relationships, you know what NOT to download, right? Everyone clear about the content of the PDF?!! Okay, here goes:

Download the first eight chapters right here; it's a compressed PDF, sile size is 1117k.

The sample readings will be up on the website in the next week, and the paperback will be about a week behind that. After which, my next project is to get my fantasy novel into the hands of DreamCraft, so it'll fill the temporal gap while I plot myself right back OUT of the deep, dark hole I'm in, with my haunted house novel.

I can't believe I did this to myself. I shot myself in the foot, and this is so rare, for me. The last time I did this was with SCORPIO. You remember the battle at the end of the book? I held hostage a pressurized city, floating in the air over an arctic wilderness ... and I had to get NARC riot troops in there, without punching a hole in the pressure skin, which would bust the city wide open and kill a quarter million people. Oof. I designed the scenario to be a page-turner; I didn't want a repeat of anything readers had seen in either DEATH'S HEAD or EQUINOX. It had to be all-new, and a king-sized challenge for Jarrat, Stone and crew. Visualize this, if you can: the fingers are flying over the keys, the scene is set, the Blue Ravens gather in the ops room aboard the carrier NARC-Athena for the briefing ... all eyes turn to Jarrat and Stone. "Okay, boss," says Gil Cronin, "what's the deal?" The silence was deafening. You could have heard a pin drop. Jarrat looked at Stone; Stone looked at Jarrat. They both looked at Keegan and Stone said, "All right, smart ass, what IS the deal?" It took me three weeks to get out of that one. Jarrat and Stone, and the riot troops? They had it easy. All they had to do was get in there and do what they were told -- by me. As for myself, I think I toasted about a billion brain cells, running scenario after scenario, while every one of them blew up the city.)

Let that be a lesson to me, never, NEVER to leave fine-tuning The End till I'm writing the middle. Ever after SCORPIO, I write the ending of the book in note form (maybe 10 pages which will be expanded out to 50 in the finished version), before I settle on what the fine points of the plot are actually going to be. In oher words, you don't just jot down, "The city is taken hostge, Jarrat and Stone lead the descant troops in there and liberate it." You figure out exactly (not approximately!) how it's going to be done. APHELION was another major challenge, but no real problem, and I've known for eons where the HELLGATE series ends...

All of which made me complacent. Did I get sloppy, planning the occult book? Or did I get too clever? I'm not quite sure, yet. Suffice to say, readers will be getting a full-on, full-throttle fantasy in the meantime, while I, uh, clean up my mess.

Anyway, enjoy the sample readings, and watch out for a newsletter from DreamCraft in the next day or two. There's a new screensaver uploading tomorrow, too. I'll put a link to it on the blog here, also.

All the best,

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