Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Old Man's War - John Scalzi


I can sum this review in two words easily: Great sci-fi.
When I started reading, I could not stop until I reached the end. A true page-turner. As I read it, I was reminded of Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers, however, it's original and in truth has nothing to do with that other book (apart from the war in space). What reminded me of the classic was the tone... the sensation that I got as I read along.
The science parts of the book are well thought out and probable (however, far in the future). The plot was compelling and kept me interested. And the characters were real and well fleshed.
I would strongly recommend this to any sci-fi fan, most specifically to military sci-fi fans.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Back in Business

After some long vacations, I'm back, and with recharged batteries. This summer has been full of changes for me, and this is the reason why I haven't posted anything in my blog, and I have written pretty little.

However, I'm back on my routine. So I'll soon have a review for "Old man's war" by John Scalzi, updates on my writing progress, and many other things.

Stay tuned ;D

Monday, July 21, 2014

Publishing in Kobo Writing LIfe



I've just created an account in Kobo Writing Life to publish directly there, instead of using Smashwords. I've uploaded "The Test" and I'm waiting for it to be published.

In the folowing weeks I will be publishing all my books in Kobo directly.

Next: Barnes & Noble...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Indie Publishing Momentum

As seen in the last Author Earning report (http://authorearnings.com/july-2014-author-earnings-report/) from 'authorearnings.com' the momentum of indie publishing is still there. The big 5 publishing houses are loosing percentage of their share -which would explain the numerous attacks from their world to indie publishing and Amazon in particular. Also small and medium publishers are growing also.

All this is great news for all indie writers/publishers. It means that this path or route is no longer a last resort or a place for the ones who could not make it, but a valid option when deciding how to proceed with your literary career.

Every graph is interesting, but one of the most so, is the one dedicated to DRM usage.
As you can see, DRM does NOT insure author earnings; also, non-DRM publishing does NOT insure piracy. These are two very important affirmations that break down the myth of piracy. Readers prefer to pay for what they read, but readers are no fools, and don't want to be cheated with prices. If you charge the same -or barely- price for a e-book as for its physical counterpart, people will download them illegally. Readers aren't stupid. How is it that a physical book, which has production, transportation, and retail costs, has the same price as an e-book, which has none of those? The answer is quite easy, they increase the price of the e-book to deter possible buyers, and make them think "for the same price, I'll buy the physical copy". And the most outrageous part of this (at least for me, as an author) is that the increase in price, does not reflect in author royalties.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dean Wesley Smith's advice on indie-writing

I stumbled upon a great blog post by writer Dean Wesley Smith. He gives great advice that every starting writer (indie-writer that is), should read. He explains how to kill the myth that if you want to make it as an indie writer, you have to publish a bunch of books really quickly.

Take a look, it's great advice.

Killing the top ten sacred cows of indie publishing #7 I have to sell books quickly

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Restructuring and adding

I have been restructuring and adding stuff to my WIP "Commanders". This had translated into a longer length target for the manuscript. I was planning on 100,000 words; however adding several new chapters has grown that number to 111,000.

I needed a few more chapters to explain certain things regarding a couple of characters. Mainly Juni Lampress, a woman with a voracious ambition. Her schemes weren't clear, so I needed to add more chapters with her.  Also for Teron Cladwin, but in his case it was just to give him a little bit more of exposition.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Five Star Reviews

Just wanted to share my two first five star reviews of Children of Space. They were posted at B&N for the paperback edition.

"Nicely written and good story content."

"You will love this book!"

It is such a wonderful feeling to read these comments by people I have never met. However, in a way, they have met me, through my writing they can see parts of me (if they care to look).

I know this might sound a bit cheese, but I will save these reviews in my hard drive for later years.

Hopefully they will be the first of many to come.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Children of Space Paperback

Now available for sale is the paperback version of Children of Space. You can get it in Amazon and in Barnes & Noble. Here are the links for those interested:

Amazon

B&N

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Children of Space in Amazon

Finally, I hit the publish button and "Children of Space" is available in Amazon. This is not a short story as the others were. It is a novella that will most probably be the first of a series (I'm currently working on the second).


Humankind faces a catastrophe that will destroy the Earth. Our last hope is a generational spacecraft traveling to a distant Earth-like planet. 

A few years into the trip, a crisis will strike that could bring doom to the mission, and to the last remnants of mankind. 

Will humans survive a trip four-hundred and fifty years long, inside a city-sized vessel, knowing that only their progeny will see the end destination?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Viewpoints in fiction

It would seem that first person present viewpoint is the best choice when a writer wants to make the reader feel sucked into the story. What better than see the story unfold through the eyes of the main character; right?

I’m not that sure. In fact, I have never written anything using this viewpoint.

To start with, it’s harder to write than writing in the past tense. Most likely because people normally don’t speak in present -at least not when your telling a story. Most stories are told after the fact. Normally people don’t relate their actions at the same time as they are doing them.

The other important point -which also happens when writing in first person past tense- is the limiting point of view. Stories written in first person either have to be small in nature -only witnessing what one character sees- or you must switch from one character to the other so every angle of the plot is covered. Some novels do this by using the epistle format -a bunch of letters written by different characters, each in first person, but each with its unique point of view.

So if there are so many problems, then why use it at all? For the reason I stated above, it’s the best viewpoint to engage a reader and suck him into the story. The farther away the narrator, the farther away the reader is from the action. The main drive for a writer has to be to push the reader into the story, so he forgets he is actually reading fiction, and for a moment make him feel he is living in the world that you have created.

There is another problem also with the first person present viewpoint. Not many novels are written like this, and so not many readers are accustomed to this, so there are many that don’t like it, period.

When you’re planning to write a new novel or story, viewpoints are one of the many things you have to ponder. Sometimes it’s even good to start in several different viewpoints and characters to see what works better.

I yet have to write my first first person present tense viewpoint, I don’t know if I ever will. I can see the benefits, but I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle. Hunger Games trilogy is written like this, and it works perfectly. However the author those cheat in some instances -like when the main character remembers something to explane to the reader some other thing. If we are really just hearing Katniss’ thoughts, that would never happen. But, it’s necessary to tell the tail.


This is what bothers me the most -as a writer. As a reader, I pay it no mind, in fact I bet that most readers who aren’t also writers won’t even notice. But having to write a novel and make those small cheats is out of my grasp -for now at least. I’m very rational when I’m working on a novel; I usually write in third person limited viewpoint, so I’m extra careful not to give away anything that the character doesn’t know. So having to cheat wouldn’t work for me.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dust - Hugh Howey



The last installment in the Silo trilogy is as good or better than the first one. Here we return to the main characters moving the story to a satisfying conclusion. This doesn't mean that there couldn't be any more Silo books. In fact it's really easy to continue the series in one of many different directions. But as an ending to the story arcs created in the earlier two books, it's a great closing.
As is usual in his books, the tension keeps rising until the very end where all the loose ends are well tied and you finish with a sense of satisfaction.
I have to admit that when I was reading the last pages I was having a sense of fulfillment like I haven't had in most books. This is officially one of my favorite trilogies of all time.

If you haven't read it, do it immediately.

Shift Omnibus - Hugh Howey


Second part in the Silo trilogy, this really is the prequel to Wool. Here mysteries from the Wool universe are explained. It contains the necessary background information to make Dust, the last part in the trilogy, possible. That said, it is a great book, with great characters, some known and some new. This part expands on the dystopian universe making it bigger and more detailed.
As usual in Hugh Howey's books, it is really well written, there are multi-dimensional characters, and plot twists that keep you at the edge of your seat.
In my opinion it's not as good as Wool, but this is probably because Wool was the first, and novelty is usually more striking in fiction. However this is not to say that I was disappointed. My expectations were thoroughly met, and I was happily satisfied.
I usually read other works between parts of a series, so as not to get "saturated" with the world or characters; however in this case I was unable to follow my own rules and had to read Dust as soon as I finished Shift.
My honest opinion: one of the greatest sci-fi dystopian books I've read in the last years.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Yesterday's Gone (Season One) - Sean Platt & David Wright


This has been a happy surprise for me. I new these guys from their 'Self Published Podcast'. I saw one episode where they interviewed Hugh Howey. Then I found about their non-fiction book about self publishing, 'Write, Publish, Repeat'. So I finally decided to search for some fiction they had written and see how their tips and tricks translated to actual writing.
This serialized novel got my attention instantly. The blurb is compelling and interesting, and the tittle is really cool, (Yesterday's Gone, now there's a great tittle). And the fact that it was serialized struck me as an original way of writing and publishing.
So it starts up like many other end of the world stories, everything going awry, humanity disappearing, etc. But it soon takes pace as mysteries start developing.
I literally couldn't stop reading until I reached the end.
It's written in the form of tv episodes, so at the end of each there is a cliffhanger; and the end of the season is as thrilling as would be expected.
The characters are well fleshed out and different. And the plot is really well paced.
All in all, I can't wait to read the second season.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson


This new YA novel by Brandon Sanderson was really pleasant to read. It's the first in a new series and works as an introduction to the new world of the Epics and Calamity.
I have to admit that I'm not especially fond of YA literature, and there was moments I missed more adult themes, however the story and characters are so compelling that those moments diluted away barely unnoticed. In spite of being the first in a series, it can be read as a stand alone novel. It's one of those that if you don't read any more in the series, you wont be missing anything. So if you do read more, it's because you want to return to the alternate world Sanderson has created and to find out what happens next to the main characters. This is something I appreciate when reading the first installments in a series. Instead of leaving dozens of unfinished plot threads -which would be resolved in the next novel- he ties everything up neatly, and leaves it to the reader to decide if he wants to delve once more in his fantastic alternate world.
The characters are compelling, as I said before; maybe somewhat simple than what I would prefer, but it is a YA novel. However they are well fleshed and most of them don't fit the stereotypes. A few do fall into the common stereotypes, and I guess that once again the reason is because this is a YA novel.
All in all, I enjoyed it, and -mainly for this reason- I will read the next in the series when it comes out.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another revision of Children of Space

I'm doing another revision of this sci-fi novella, and I'm using for the first time the dictation feature of Scrivener. It's fantastic. It reads aloud your manuscript, and hearing it read to you makes it so much easier to catch mistakes in flow, typos, punctuation, etc. I had read before of authors reading aloud their manuscripts and always thought of it as an eccentricity, but now I understand why they did it.

As many authors have stated countless times, you never stop learning.

I strongly urge all aspiring writers -or well stablished authors, for that matter- to give a try at Scrivener. It's a great software that helps enormously in the task of structuring, writing, organizing, and formatting your manuscripts. And it's really cheap!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cat's cradle - Kurt Vonnegut


I was looking forward to reading this as it is considered a classic of science fiction and I love this genre. I finally got around to reading it and was somewhat disappointed. There is very little sci-fi material in the book to even consider it part of the genre, under my opinion. But I presume not to know more than those who have classified it thus.
My problem with this book is the fact that the plot could have been told in no more than five pages. The rest is character development, political and cultural descriptions of the fictional banana republic, and descriptions of the fictional religion. In fact, most of the rest of the book is about the republic's culture and politics, and about the religion and its beliefs.
If it were a short story, maybe ten pages long, I would probably have liked it.
It starts out great, then it winds down and meanders around for the most part of the book, until you reach the end where it revs up again, ending quite well. Mostly all of the plot is in the very beginning and the very end. As I stated before, the rest is the author musing about a fictional Caribbean banana republic and about a fictional new-age nihilistic pseudo-religion.
I had high hopes that haven't been fulfilled.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The end is near...

I've recently reached the forth quarter of my estimation for the novel I'm working on at the moment. I'm really excited for the story and for starting to see the end of the road so near. However I fear that in the end it will be longer than 100,000 words. But it doesn't bother me, because it won't be too much longer. As I said, I can see the end near, and it makes me really excited. Can't wait to have it finished and published to see if anyone enjoys it as much as I'm enjoying writing it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The lightning thief - Rick Riordan


This was a light read, but an enjoyable one. I had seen the movie (sigh) and was quite interested in the idea. So I decided to read the book and was positively surprised. Baring in mind that this is a YA novel, it's entertaining and engaging. The characters are likable and easy to care for; the plot is not as straightforward as it would seem in a YA novel, which makes it even better.

All in all, I thought it was a good book and would like to read the next one in the series (as soon as I have some time for it, that is).

Thursday, January 2, 2014