Third Kestral novel re-released with new cover

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cover of The Kestral Voyages: The House of JacquarelleThe Kestral Voyages: The House of Jacquarelle has been re-released, with revised text and a spanking hot new cover by yours truly!  If you haven’t yet checked out the Kestral saga, now’s your chance to get all three novels, with their new cover treatments, and start your collection off right.

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What’d ya do WRONG?

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Angel and Devil

My decision to lay off novel-writing, since I could not work out the promotional end of selling the books, has led to a common (and predictable) reaction from many of my friends and relatives, to wit: Since I enjoy writing, I should keep writing anyway, just for my own satisfaction.  The idea that creation is its own reward is ingrained in the thoughts of modern society, as well as the essentially honorable concept of the “starving artist.”

And though I, myself, bought into these ideas for years, I find that I can’t get behind them the way I used to.  And it’s not because I get no satisfaction from creating; I do, in fact, enjoy the process of writing and creating a good story.  But since giving up novel writing, I’ve found that I’ve had to cage up a tiny demon in the back of my head, one that has become a constant distraction to me.  He’s not my creative demon.  He’s my analytical demon.  And he demands to know what I so thoroughly fucked up. Continue reading

Making novels feel real

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Steven Lyle JordanI recently heard from a reader who wanted me to know how much he’d enjoyed how my stories had drawn him into the narrative.  He specified Verdant Pioneers, and described a scene where one of the female characters is reunited with a beau that appeared in Verdant Skies He described the moment with a series of words from the book, which I immediately recognized, and then lamented that not only did he strongly feel that moment, but he felt bad that he’d never felt such a powerful emotion directed at himself!

(Yeah, join the club.  We have T-shirts.)

I’m not writing about this to brag, but to point out the difference between different writing styles, and how they affect readers. Continue reading

Doc Savage: The mold from which heroes were and are made

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Doc SavageIt was recently announced that Iron Man 3 director Shane Black is in discussion to helm a new movie for Sony, starring the pulp hero Doc Savage.  A friend of mine saw this, and correctly guessed that I would squee upon hearing the news.

Why? I grew up reading the famous “181 Supersagas” of Doc Savage—also known as the Man of Bronze—and his friends Monk Mayfair, Ham Brooks, Renny Renwick, Johnny Littlejohn and Long Tom Roberts, occasionally joined by Doc’s cousin Pat Savage, as they raced around the world, investigating scientific mysteries, righting wrongs, and punishing evil-doers wherever they were found.  Doc and his friends were among the very first “science heroes,” those who embraced the modern world of steel and wonder, and who used science and intellect to solve mysteries and save the day… but with plenty of very unscientific fisticuffs and derring-do thrown in for excitement.  Doc Savage, the leader of the group, was no less than the template that future superheroes would be based upon for the balance of the 20th century. Continue reading

Encouragement and Zen

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Steven Lyle JordanI recently heard from a producer with whom I’m collaborating on a possible television vehicle, who told me he’d heard from an actress who had been a major character in the original production that inspired this new vehicle—and yes, that’s all you’re getting from me, as the project is still in stealth mode.

Anyway, this actress—I’ll call her M—had a chance to read through the material we’re preparing for the new vehicle, including two short stories of mine, and she reported back to my producer friend that she was left “in tears” over the wonderful treatments and ideas gleaned from the original production, of which she still has very fond memories.  M specifically mentioned my short stories as being among the most moving material she saw. Continue reading

The book promo waiting game

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Sarcology ad cardSo, I sit here in grudging acknowledgement of the fact that I am no self-promoter.  I am also in grudging acknowledgement of the fact that social media has done absolutely nothing to help me promote, since I am not blessed with enough money to saturate the interwebs with ads or friends to pass the word on to others about my books, nor am I clever enough to create a viral campaign that will bring in the hordes of lovers of independently-written futurist novels.  My efforts to promote Sarcology, and the rest of my catalog, have gone for naught.

So much for the future supplementary retirement income.  Oh, well.

I have exactly one trick left… and it’s already in motion.  I’ve had promo cards for Sarcology printed up.  On Memorial Day weekend, the first 2000 visitors to Balticon will find them in their swag bags… unarguably it will be the largest single group of people, presumably all science fiction fans as well, who will be introduced to my work.

And so, with nothing else to do, I sit and wait for June, when I will find out if this last-ditch effort will bear some fruit.  If it does, I will know how to advertise my books at other conventions and similar venues.  If it doesn’t… well, hopefully by then I will have figured out what my new hobby is going to be.

Americans applaud better security

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Police are applauded after Tsarnaev is capturedLast week’s nightmare in Boston makes for an interesting argument about the state of security in the United States at the moment, and the value in improving that security for all American citizens.  Though it’s hard to say the bombing at the Boston Marathon wouldn’t have happened if security had been tighter, it is easy to say it would have been significantly more difficult to have happened… that the perpetrators would have been likely captured or killed sooner… and that the American public is behind law enforcement when it comes to protecting our skins.  Continue reading

Sarcology is now on sale

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sarcology cover 2014Sarcology, my sixteenth novel, is now available at my site, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (There is a $1.00 discount when ordering through my site.)

On its surface, Sarcology is a futurist detective adventure: A husband-and-wife detective agency must help a scientist who has been blackmailed, forced to regularly submit to her blackmailer’s sexual appetites in order to keep her past indiscretions secret; but the blackmailer has suddenly moved up from sex to corporate secrets, and now he must be stopped.

But the heart of the story is in the relationship between Allen and Jessica Teal, the detective couple… and, later, between Jessica and a robot prototype that enters her life, carrying the memories of her husband. Jessica must soon try to decide whether the robot is simply mimicking her husband, or if her husband is trapped inside a robotic body… and whether that should make a difference.

A Press Kit providing more details about the novel is now available through RightBrane.com.

Review of Star Trek: Prime Directive

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Lest you think that my complete and utter disdain for The Wrath of Khan means that I loathe Star Trek; please enjoy my review of what I consider one of the Best of the Trek books ever written.

Prime Directive: Giant Star TrekPrime Directive: Giant Star Trek by Judith Reeves-Stevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As with so many things Star Trek, you have to overlook some things to find the gems of each story. In this case, you actually overlook the actual threat that causes the events of the story to unfold; once you are presented with it, it seems very old-hat and almost expected. And, of course, the usual Trek trappings such as FTL drives, transporters, and all those pseudo-SF elements that make Star Trek such a fun universe.

Yes, you overlook all that… in order to appreciate the real drama of the story. Kirk and his officers have apparently intentionally violated the Prime Directive, and caused an entire world to die. They are disgraced, they are ostracized, they are forced to go into hiding… none more than James T. Kirk himself, considered the pariah of the Federation.

But that’s not acceptable for the officers of the Enterprise. The report of what happened is wrong. And they’re going to prove it. Continue reading