Significant Others just went LIVE on Amazon!

I’m so excited for everyone to read this new addition to the River of Light series! (It is the long-anticipated sequel to Lesser Beings and Rituals of Sacrifice.)

The NEW book is available in paperback and eBook format for Kindle (and FREE on Kindle Unlimited)! Here’s a link to its way cool Amazon page: 

The paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086PRKHKQ

The eBook: https://www.amazon.com/Significant-Others-River-Light-Novel-ebook/dp/B086RT7H53

Janek Larrivay is a disgraced empath from one of Earth’s distant colonies. Although executed by a hostile warlord, a higher dimension appears to sustain a willful fraction of his true self. Should he have let someone butcher him like that, back on Raisha? Was there a choice? And what the hell has he become?

Adrenaline surges. His flailing heart races. He discerns a jolting vibration that comes first as a buzz and then as a strange, lifting nothingness. His awareness shifts, and time stretches until he becomes aware that he is outside his body. Sights, smells, sounds all render as accurate but are more intense, vivid, and luminous than they have any right to be. A sense of freedom lures him aloft.

But, after death, is he a monster? Or merely superhuman? Is consciousness more than mere brain activity? Are our intrinsic personalities and sense of free will more than mere expressions of electrochemical fireworks?

A feathered seam of layered galaxies lights the heavens. Rose-tinted patches glow. New stars dazzle white-hot. Consuming the full breadth of the sky, stars stream and loop each galaxy’s spiral disk and halo. Welcome to the River of Light. On the planets below, the Ancients guard a gateway where good and evil strive to lend meaning to all existence.

Unfortunately, few such places survive contact with true evil. Not even those entirely in touch with the source code of reality. So, when an alien race’s penchant for killing stars threatens something as wondrous as the River of Light, what’s a guy to do?

A dead man? An unbeatable foe’s plot to kill stars? Despite the risks, why not join Janek’s adventure? After all, we rarely know how strong we are until being strong is our only choice. With the fate of eternity hanging in the balance, so what if all our answers lie at the end of a jaunt more wondrous and terrifying than anything we could ever imagine?

From the author of Cross the Sky, Lesser Beings, and Rituals of Sacrifice.

Anyway, if you would share the launch and contest news with your mailing lists … that would be AMAZING! Thank you for spending time with me, for reading my books, and for your continued support!

Yours! ~ Scott

Janek Larrivay will Return in Inherit the Night!

AND COMING SOON!: A New Time Wing Six adventure: Holding On For Life

Release Dates!

 

We are now just 10 days away from LAUNCH! (Hard to conceptualize! Harder to believe!) More dates, later….

Also, I think I’ll be posting some of this both as a “blog” (still don’t much care for that word!) and as a broadcast to everyone on the “Street Team” mailing list. My apologies to those of you receiving repeat lumps of “update.”

First off, thanks to everyone who has already taken the time to send me a note (or two) concerning either the Many Moons anthology or advisory notes about the first book of the River of Light series: Lesser Beings!

Even when working with very fine editors and proofreaders, it never hurts to have someone else look over a book manuscript! One of the typos found in Many Moons, could ONLY have appeared during MY “final” pass through a final, pre-publication galley! (Silly me!) Several of you caught the extra “m” and missing comma in the anthology’s introduction. Thanks so much! Also, in Lesser Beings, it was nice to learn that the word “Braille” only needs to be capitalized when directly referring to Louis Braille. Again, nice catch! (Please don’t hesitate to share anything else that you may notice!)

True historical note: in the latter days of the U.S./Soviet Cold War, when I was a young Navy officer attending a mandatory course at the Navy’s “Nuclear Weapons Training Group Pacific” in San Diego, California, we were routinely counseled not to worry over concerns about the use of nuclear weapons (in general) as they were merely “bigger bombs.” A natural evolution, of sorts, in firepower.

I’m not sure this is quite like that, but while working for the Time Travel Forces, I have been similarly advised that…unlike fictional time travel, we don’t have to worry about creating paradoxes. The universe, trust me, has a number of built-in mechanisms for dealing with them. 

Thus, I want to share a few numbers with you that should not in any way change how you currently react with reality, whatsoever.

As one of Hawk’s Grove Press’s “most-prolific writers,” I now have access to really cool programs such as “Scrivener,” “Vellum,” “MailerLite,” and “BookFunnel.” So, here’s what’s so cool!

Out of the 30 unique active subscribers who volunteered to join my VIP mailing list (or “Street Team”), fully 77.27% actually opened my first “campaign” email offering Advanced Reading Copies! More than 60% then actually clicked on one or more books! And I am told—by good people who are in the know about such things—that this is an EXCELLENT response rate!

Woohoo! I couldn’t be more pleased!

Additionally, deeper scrutiny reveals that somewhere out there, right this moment, 11 people have actually taken the time to download Lesser Beings AND (and!) 14 people have actually downloaded Many Moons!

Wow! Fantastic! What an impressive group! 

Well, I promised a few (semi-solid) LAUNCH dates and here they are: 

15 November 2018: Many Moons

15 November 2018: Lesser Beings

15 December 2018: Broken Bells (so I should have Advanced Reading Copies out on that sometime soon!)

Cover reveal!:

 

30 December 2018: Cross the Sky (ditto)

Cover reveal!:

 

30 January 2019: Home Before Dark

28 February 2019: Rituals of Sacrifice

To be determined: Fire & Forget

To be determined: Significant Others

Several people asked whether or not they will be able to review the books on Amazon when the time comes if they have been reading free copies.

From what I can tell, I should be able to “gift” each one of you a fresh copy directly from Amazon on launch day. (I’m hoping that’s true!) and if you “accept” the gift within 24 hours, you should then show up as a “verified” purchaser. Well, I am still climbing the learning curve on all-things Amazon…but I am sure we’ll all be able to figure this out together. 

So, what else is new?

I just turned in “Rituals of Sacrifice” (the sequel to Lesser Beings) on the 26th of October. Still no word on that…reminding me that all of these things take time. I am currently gathering notes for book three of that series: Significant Others. Let me know if you have any suggestions or even character names you’d like me to work in!

The current project is called “Fire & Forget” and—having just shredded/tossed out its first two chapters—I hope to start getting my act together on that later this morning! 

One last big THANKS to you all! And, please, if at all possible, be ready to post a short review sometime later this month….

(Scott)

Transcript of My Recent Radio Interview!

 

Photo by Jonathan Blocher

Q: Welcome back! Today, we’re getting to know science-fiction author Scott Azmus. Hi, Scott! How about we start with some warm-up questions?

A: Hello, again. Sure thing.

Q: What is your favorite drink and why? 

A: The best beer in this part of Wisconsin is New Glarus “Spotted Cow.” On some late nights, I also have a taste for quietly sipping room-temperature Patrón, Añejo Tequila.

Q: What’s left on your bucket list? 

A: Well, I always wanted to do a radio interview. No? I used to joke with my physics students that the August 2017 total solar eclipse was the last thing on my bucket list and that I was now ready to kick. They only believed that a little bit, and only because they often seemed to figure that I was about 65 million years old. But seriously? I’d still like to visit Australia and live on the Moon.

Q: If you had to eat the same meal every day, what would it be? 

A: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy with corn. Or maybe just ribs!

Q: What’s your phobia and why?

A: I have a fear of phobias!

Q: Why do you write what you write? When did you start writing?

A: I began sharing science-fiction stories in my early teens. I remember watching the first Moon landing and really idolizing the Gemini and Apollo astronauts. I looked at the Moon through a telescope for the first time when I was twelve. The mountains and craters and seas simply blew me away! About a week after that, I refused to turn down the weekly hits countdown on a transistor radio and had a pretty brutal encounter with my father over it. 

Q: Brutal? Sorry to interrupt…

A: He nearly wrenched one of my arms out of its socket, before literally tossing me out the front door and onto a pile of that week’s outgoing trash. I wasn’t allowed back into the house after that and went to live with my mom shortly thereafter. 

Q: Were you a troublemaker?

A: Probably. When the Navy ran their first background check on me, they came up with a list of the 18 schools I went to between kindergarten and high-school graduation. By the time I was 11, I’d already been off to live in a bunch of different situations where I’d had to learn to look out for myself. After somewhat being in charge of my life’s direction, I guess I found it difficult to live in a daily-changing family situation with a lot of arbitrary and capricious rules. Anyway, when I turned 12 one of my aunts gave me two science fiction books. Time for the Stars, by Robert Heinlein and Larry Niven’s Ringworld. Couple that with a daily dose of after-school Star Trek reruns, and I was hooked on science fiction.

Q: Sounds like a series of difficult but transformative events. Were you a good student?

A: I tried to be, although being the new kid in town year-after-year has a way of making ordinary events seem confusing. At least most of the science I was learning stayed the same from town to town! I was reading about a book a day at one point, science books and science fiction, barely sleeping at night, and invented some of my first science-fiction scenarios around the 1973 appearance of Comet Kohoutek. Somewhat fascinated by Captain Kirk’s leadership style—what there was of it—I think I even developed something of a secret personality crutch that helped me hold steady and look toward a brighter future. 

Q: Okay, I can’t quite leave that alone…

A: Science made a lot of sense to me, and one of my Apollo-era heroes was Apollo 17’s Harrison Schmidt. He was a geologist and the only scientist—to date—to go to the Moon. Like Harrison Schmidt and also “Spock” aboard USS Enterprise, I wanted to be a “science officer.” I then read Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins’ book Carrying the Fire and had a plan. I enlisted in the Navy and earned a Navy ROTC scholarship at the University of Colorado. Once commissioned, I served aboard the Spruance-class destroyers Leftwich and Ingersoll. Communications officer, gunnery officer, navigator.

Q: Were you a Star Wars fan?

A: Absolutely! In fact, well before the first Star Wars movie, episode IV, I was always diagraming spaceship interiors and telling stories about the “Time Travel Forces.” I was even president of one high school’s “Space and Astronomy Club.” So, yes, I was a true geek. But then Star Wars hit the big screen! And I actually gained some cool notoriety from that…so, just in time for senior year, I’d not only (finally) grown to over six feet tall but science fiction geekiness was at least a little bit cool. Without radio or TV, I was even able to sneak out of a lot of work in Navy basic training, because the other recruits did my field day chores in exchange for telling impromptu science-fiction stories. 

Q: You’ve mentioned Star Trek and Star Wars. Any favorite sci-fi movies?

A: The Fifth Element. GATTACA. Galaxy Quest. Alien & Aliens. Sunshine. The Truman Show. Forbidden Planet. Interstellar. 2001, A Space Odyssey. Blade Runner. The Matrix. Serenity. Arrival. 

Q: Back to writing. When did you sell your first story?

A: My first professional sale was to Charlie Ryan at Aboriginal Science Fiction. The story was called “The Catafalque.” The magazine hit newsstands in the Spring of 1999. I also had two big sales with Writers of the Future. “Reflections in Period Glass” and “Red Moon.” 

Q: Is there anyone special who cares what you write?

A: Just every reader on the planet! Oh, you mean like my wife and kids? Sure. Dora has put up with me for some 36 years now and is my first-line editor. If she doesn’t straight-out throw up when she’s reading one of my stories, I figure I might be onto something. All of our kids are grown and out of the house at this point. But even by text and email, they help with character names and motivations as well as approving book covers and such. 

Q: Do you have an ideal audience in mind when you write? 

A: People who at least like science and have a sense that we’re all missing something important in today’s political/social climate. Or people who may have a sense that there’s an underlying subtext to reality. Looking back, almost all my central characters are on something of a rags-to-riches arc. Given my deep background, I am uniquely positioned to see and articulate some of that. Although I grew up crazy poor and thoroughly unwanted, I have excelled as a Navy officer, owned a bookstore, been married for 36 years and helped put three kids through college. I’ve taught every flavor of science from biology to chemistry to astronomy and advanced placement physics. I’m passionate about words and writing and I try to improve my skill set every time I sit down at the computer. Reading, even for pure escapism, can improve our imaginations, boost creativity and heal the deepest wounds. Beyond merely trying to entertain, it’s cool to imagine relating a shared dream or maybe even connecting with others across time and distance. 

Q: What projects are you working on right now? How do you work to improve your writing?

A: I am about to release my first science-fiction anthology, and I also have several other finished manuscripts on hot standby. They each need one final polish, but then should jump up on Amazon and elsewhere sometime soon. All science fiction. I am getting better at deep point of view, showing more than telling, and conveying character emotion. Reader satisfaction is key. Providing value. I am always focused on putting my reader first and trying to please them by adapting, changing and improving my writing to better satisfy.

Q: How soon will you upload your first books to Amazon?

A: Should be any time now. The Many Moons anthology should launch about the same time as my first science-fiction novel.

Q: Tell us about some of your storylines.

A: Broken Bells involves a young man who has to learn to tap hidden dimensions for power in order to free his people. Part quest novel, part post-apocalyptic time-travel adventure, and part love story, it’s actually set in humanity’s near future. Cross the Sky follows a group of eight young women, a heist crew, as they fight to recover the lost starliner Aquila. Home Before Dark involves corporate espionage, evil cross-dimensional aliens and near-future access to nearby alternate realities. Lesser Beings and Rituals of Sacrifice deal with a young diplomat and his career dealing with aliens and with his own very strange personal evolution along the way. Coming up on the third book in the series, readers may be wondering if the main character will become a monster or just merely superhuman. Fire and Forget will be the first of many novels taken from the true archives of the Time Travel Forces.

Q: What’s your personal process for taking a book from idea to finished product?

A: Characters come first for me. For instance, I’m now in the process of mentally auditioning potential series characters for Fire and Forget. Meanwhile, I am also scouting potential locations and plotlines. I’ll outline how the story needs to start, but then write day-to-day with the usual hero’s journey story arc out in front of me. Once I have a rough draft, I like to let it sit for a month or so before revising. Then, if I don’t feel like flushing the whole thing, I try it out with first readers before it goes to my editor. After entering changes, the story can go through several more drafts before I feel like it’s ready for polishing. Unfortunately, I often introduce even more typos and such at that late stage and generally have to read the entire manuscript out loud looking for issues.

Q: Do you have an office? Are you a Windows or Mac person? What music do you listen to when you write?

A: I have staked out a special corner in the master bedroom. Our two Alaskan Malamutes, Zeke and Zooey, spend six days a week there with me from about eight in the morning to late mid-afternoon. Recently, I have hired a cat named “Kaylee” to help with punctuation since she likes to walk on my keyboard. After returning to being a “Mac person,” I’ll never go back. I write my first drafts using Scrivener. I then revise in Pages and Word before formatting with Vellum. I listen to Zhu, Rüfus du Sol, Bob Moses, Ladytron, Haelos, Late Night Alumni, Hooverphonic, Röyksopp and Parralox. Favorite voices come from Susanne Sundfør, Helen Marnie, and Colleen D’Agostino.

Q: What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a writer? 

A: Weaknesses: conflict avoidance and sometimes liking my characters too much. Impatience when it comes to keeping the plot moving ahead, and lack of marketing experience. Strengths: excellent science concepts and deep grounding in the history of science-fiction. Commitment and perseverance. I’d like to get better and more subtle at conveying character emotion so that each story better resonates with my ideal readers.  

Q: Why do you want to write and sell more books? 

A: I want to share new worlds and characters, evoke vicarious emotions, entertain with cool science concepts and—with alien/human interactions—share positive messages of diversity and richness. If I can create some kind of unique buzz about my character interactions and developing abilities as a writer, it might go a long way toward proving that I haven’t been wasting my time all along and that the weird, internal character paradigms I subconsciously connected with as a kid remain a solid foundation. 

Q: Day to day, what is the best part of writing? 

A: Even when I carefully plot a scene, I often don’t know what’s coming next until the words spontaneously spill out on the screen. I write nearly every day and once in a while I even sail past all the crazy tides and dangerous shoals of frustration and self-criticism. Oh, and I absolutely love fan mail! Another writer once wrote that my story, out of an entire anthology that we were both appearing in, was the best of all. An actress from Babylon 5 (Patricia Tallman, playing the empath Lyta Alexander) once had me “autograph” a story called “Red Moon” for her and said that she liked and remembered one of my previous stories. 

Q: Is there any bad writing advice you’ve tried to follow? What’s the worst thing you ever wrote?

A: I’ve learned that you can’t sit around waiting for inspiration. You can’t wait for your “muse” to check in. You have to write every day and let the words add up. Some writers say that they don’t know where their ideas come from, but I absolutely do…so that makes things a little bit easier for me. The worst thing I ever published was “Egging” in a little magazine called Little Green Men. I think it sold for $40 or $45. I’m still trying to decide if I should include it in my new anthology just to show the whole spectrum from blah to (laughing) brilliant!  

Q: In your spare time, what’s the thing that makes you feel the most you?

A: Astronomy. Running at speed with my dogs. Book collecting. Beekeeping.

Q: Introvert or extrovert?

A: Introvert.

Q: Okay, we’re running out of time. Final questions now. What’s the best thing you’ve ever done?

A: Being in love and being a good husband has been outstandingly rewarding. I’ve loved almost everything about being a dad. I was quite the great, deep-ocean navigator. I don’t know. Dogs and cats usually don’t hate me at first blush.

Q: Favorite writing snack?

A: I have no idea. Garlic-stuffed olives? Fig Newtons? Jalapeño-flavored potato chips? Jelly Belly gum drop blackberries?

Q: Tell us one last thing or two about yourself that not that many people know. 

A: There’s a hole in my pocket. Oh, and I like yard work and guinea pigs. I also collect minerals. And…telescopes!

Q: Last question. If money were no object, what’s the first thing you’d buy just for yourself? Seriously, what’s the one outrageous thing you’ve always wanted to own or do but haven’t had the courage? 

A: Wow. I guess I’d want to own my own space yacht and travel to Mars! Or maybe a star gate? A team of Alaskan Malamute puppies and snow sled? The possibilities are endless!

Thank you so much for being with us today.

A Few Tips on Writing Book Reviews

 

Writing a book review shouldn’t be a chore. And it shouldn’t take more than five minutes, plus or minus. You either liked the book or didn’t. Maybe you loved it and read the whole book. Maybe, just maybe, you couldn’t get past a certain point and deleted it or put it down. Either way, the author would really like some feedback. 

 

The fact is, good or bad, the more reviews a book has, the better for everyone concerned. 

A few words will do. A paragraph would be outstanding! And more is often even better! You don’t even need to summarize the plot or setting. The author probably knows a bit about the plot, and the Amazon description likely spells out most everything else. 

 

 (Photo by Elaine Howling on Unsplash)

Stick with how the story made you feel. 

…“I really enjoyed this book! The author did a great job maintaining story tension, and I really fell in love with some of the characters. After watching the characters change and grow, I was left feeling…”

…“After reading (title), I can hardly wait to grab (the sequel)! While this was one of (the author’s) first books, I really felt like…”

If you feel like you need to give away the ending, try tossing in the words “SPOILER ALERT.” (I always think that looks cool!) Also, if you’re going for a little more than a very basic review, try to be as specific as possible about what you liked or what didn’t work for you. Doing so will be SUPER helpful to the author and to the book’s next readers!

Which characters were most believable? Which settings were most interesting? Were there enough plot twists? Was there anything funny, thrilling, or bittersweet? Did you “get lost” anywhere in the writing? Did any scene make you feel uncomfortable? Were there any facts that didn’t ring true? Did the book need proofreading? 

Be as objective as possible. Believe me, authors receive all kinds of rejection as our skills develop and most of us learn to have amazingly tough skins. With that said, it’s probably best for your own “social karma” if you play as nice as possible. 

Speaking for myself, I’m always looking for better ways to make my writing as real and as readable as possible. And since reader satisfaction always comes first, I always try to remain focused on adapting, changing and improving my writing to better immerse my readers in the story. (Just wait until you experience all of the virtual-reality versions of my stories!)

 

 

So, what if you want to write a more professional, literary review?

Um, Okay. But guess what? I’m not actually qualified to tell anyone how to pen an academic book review. (I mean, my big-time university degree is in “Planetary Geology,” of all things!) Besides, I’m not even sure writing that kind of review would be fun….

But since you asked, these suggestions may be more in line with what someone might need to write a deeper review on Amazon or Goodreads. 

1. The first thing to take into consideration what someone else might like to know when looking for a good, probably-escapist read at the library, bookstore or when shopping online.  

What is the title of the book?

What is the book’s category or genre?

Who is the author? Is this a first book? Part of a series? Or one of many books in a writer’s career?

I might even add in the publisher, publication date, and the book’s edition if I thought them helpful. 

2. When reading (and writing), I find that character interaction has the most influence on my enjoyment level. Thus, I like to share the name of each book’s point of view character, and I often like to convey the book’s predominant point of view. First person? Third person? If the book is narrated in the third person, I might want to state whether or not I found their perspective reliable. I might then take a moment to relate my thoughts about the story’s antagonist if I can do so without giving too much away. 

3. As for setting, I like to briefly discuss the time period the book is set in or how any primary location may have influenced the story’s plot. 

4. If I managed to detect the book’s overall theme or message, I might describe it. If I’ve taken the time to note a few choice passages, this is where I might share them. 

5. If I decide to offer a plot summary, I don’t want to reduce reader suspense by giving away too many spoilers. With that said, discussing a few plot points generally lets me get back to whether or not I found the book’s characters credible in their roles. Who did I identify with? Could I relate to them?

6. I don’t think it hurts to say whether or not I liked the book. Was it interesting? Entertaining? Memorable? Did it blow my socks off? Did I enjoy the author’s style? If I had a favorite part, I like to say where and why. If something didn’t hold together for me, I might make a note of it but only if I have suggestions for improvement. I often like to say something positive before something negative. I then like to follow up with suggestions for improvement, and again add something positive. But what reviews ultimately come down to is whether or not you or I might recommend the book to another person. Yes? No? Maybe? Never!

7. As far as star ratings go, try to remain consistent and polite. I never post a review of fewer than three stars, because (again) I’m not that qualified. On the other hand, I have been reading for enough decades (okay: more than half a century!) to know when a story merits five stars. 

Just remember, no author expects anyone to give a fake or false review. We are all just supremely thankful for any honest feedback that you take the time to post.

 

By the way, I’m always looking for great reading recommendations! What books have you read lately? 

Thanks!

Scott

 

 (Photo by Eliot Peper on Unsplash)

Unforgettable characters?

So, I’m really supposed to be working on items related to developing my marketing “street team,” but that’s not what I’m doing. Looking at my editorial calendar, I should be working on all the story introductions for the “Many Moons” anthology. (My desk is covered with science fiction magazines and anthologies, plus piles of old manuscripts.) But that isn’t what I have been working on either. In the next few months, I expect to launch the anthology as well as several other stand-alone books, so I really ought to be generating interior formatting and looking at book covers. Again: not. 

For some reason this morning, my mind is lingering over “casting” considerations for my upcoming Time Wing Six novels. I’m not really looking to have a lone, central hero this time. Instead, I’d like to create a collective hero. A group of time travelers or dimensional travelers, with each of several main characters having separate moments of awesomeness. I’m not sure if I will start with a dysfunctional group that grows to work with one another or if there needs to be a central leader right away, although I know I want to show multiple aspects of loyalty and leadership as the team confronts the enemy and rises to each challenge.

For the moment, not knowing some of this is sort of fun and a little scary at the same time.

One of the team leaders should have at least beaten the odds and accomplished this or that impossible task a few times already. Maybe his or her superiors have taken notice and want to give the team a task to better solidify their reputation? I’m just not sure. I know that the Time Travel Forces are likely a self-funded, self-supporting military unit (as the TTF has been since I first started telling their stories as far back as 1976).

Having worked with (and been super-impressed by) Navy Seals and members of the Marine Corps while an active-duty Navy officer, I will probably look to examples of their teamwork and camaraderie for inspiration. For some reason, my thoughts keep coming back to team dynamics and character interaction.

 

So who are my top science fiction characters from TV and film? And from science fiction books?

Might thinking about some of them offer any level of inspiration? If I want to maintain the highest level of reader interest and entertainment, what kind of character interactions can I expect to generate and maintain with similar characters? And wouldn’t they all need to grow, change, and develop over time? After all, I am looking for long-term authenticity without ever copying anything someone else has tried. Knowing what I know (or remember) about each of these characters, how can I best learn from them so I can provide similar value and always put my readers first? 

 

Okay, so I know I’m forgetting a BUNCH of vital characters, but here are some of the names that immediately jump to mind:

 

My TOP 25 Science-Fiction Characters from TV and Film:

Ellen Ripley, Alien & Aliens

Ben ‘Obi-Wan’ Kenobi, Star Wars

Han Solo, Star Wars

The Doctor, Doctor Who

Hoban “Wash” Washburn, Firefly & Serenity

Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly & Serenity

Luke Skywalker, Star Wars

Captain James T. Kirk, Star Trek

Leeloo, The Fifth Element

Korben Dallas, The Fifth Element

Louise Banks as portrayed by Amy Adams in Arrival

Truman Burbank, The Truman Show

Neo, The Matrix

Spock, Star Trek

Kaylee, Firefly & Serenity

Physicist Robert Capa in Sunshine

Dave Bowman, from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Rick Deckard, Blade Runner

Captain John Sheridan, Babylon 5

Jack O’Neill, Stargate SG-1

Amy Pond, Doctor Who

River Song, Doctor Who

Vincent Freeman (pretending to be Jerome Morrow) in GATTACA

Gwen DeMarco/Tawny Madison, Galaxy Quest

 

My TOP 25 Science-Fiction Characters from Books:

Erasmus in Neal Stephenson’s Anathem

Severian on Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun series. 

Garion in David Eddings’ Belgariad Series (starting with Pawn of Prophecy)

Paul Atreides/Paul Muad’Dib in Frank Herbert’s Dune

Ender Wiggin in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game

Corwin in Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber

Karou in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Kevin Laine in Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Summer Tree (Book 1 of The Fionavar Tapestry)

Herrin in  C.J. Cherryh’s Wave Without a Shore 

Donel Aspic, the Hegemony Consul in Dan Simmons’ Hyperion

Pham Trinli (Pham Nuwen) in Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky

Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Kinnall Darival in Robert Silverberg’s A Time of Changes

Tom Bartlett in Robert Heinlein’s Time for the Stars 

Dua in Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves

Stavia in Sheri S. Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country

Captain Creideiki in David Brin’s Startide Rising

Kleph Sancisco in C.L. Moore’s Vintage Season

Koot Hoomie Parganas in Tim Power’s Expiration Date

Molly Millions in William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Luis Gridley Wu in Larry Niven’s Ringworld

Elizabeth Orme in Julian May’s Saga of Pliocene Exile (Starting with The Many-Colored Land)

Leisha Camden in Nancy Kress’ Beggars in Spain

Kitty McCulley in Elizabeth Ann Scarborough’s The Healer’s War

Shevek in Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed

 

Yes, I know I’ve forgotten SO MANY! And, well, I’m not sure any of this has helped push the new project in any particular direction. I’ll have to kick around a bunch of ideas for a while. But at least it was fun thinking back to some of my favorite characters!

How many science-fiction favorites do you have? Please feel free to remind me of a few!

Thanks,

Scott

 

Top Three Extremely Helpful People Online for Indie Publishers!

I am a huge believer in serendipity! Not a day goes by when I’m not accidentally making some kind of unplanned, fortunate discovery. My “morning commute” is a 20-minute walk with two big Alaskan Malamutes named Zeke and Zooey. I then work on my science fiction until I hit my daily word goal. After that, it’s generally time to delve deeper into long-term publishing and marketing considerations. These are the top three most-helpful people that I have found online … so far.

 

#3: Tom Corson-Knowles at tckpublishing.com.

Without really meaning to (but wanting to learn about publishing on Amazon), I first stumbled across all of the FREE author training videos available from Tom Corson-Knowles. In exchange for my email address, I gained immediate access to video topics such as: “Learn the 16 most important factors that determine how many books you will sell, and what you can do to attract raving fans” and  “Discover the three key areas you must focus on in order to make your readers happy and increase your sales for long-term success.” Once I worked my way through those, I also studied Tom’s free video course at ebookpublishingschool.com. That’s where I got my first taste of formatting ebook interiors for Amazon and elsewhere. He also has a screen-by-screen video showing how to publish a book on Amazon. 

 

#2: Joanna Penn at thecreativepenn.com

Joanna has so much information! In fact, she has entire sections on writing a novel, publishing, marketing, making a living writing and on the author mindset. Her free book (Author 2.0 Blueprint) is fabulous and crazy-informative. In addition, she has posted an unbelievable number of tutorials and do-it-yourself articles. I look forward to getting her emails each day, and it has been great getting to “know” someone so unbelievably upbeat and helpful. 

 

#1: Derek Murphy at creativindie.com 

Derek Murphy is KING when it comes to helping authors “develop their vision, build their platforms, and get more visibility with less time and effort.” That quote is from his mission statement and he has TONS of information on his many websites! I don’t know how Derek finds time in his busy life as a Digital Nomad, but he unfailingly builds trust and likability by pumping out amazing content. He also has a Guerrilla Publishing group on Facebook where he routinely interacts with his readers to offer helpful advice. In everything he does, he talks a lot about building relationships with readers and authors and he has made a HUGE impression on me when it comes to writing in service to my readers.  

Some of Derek’s free books include Guerrilla Publishing, Cover Design Secrets, Book Marketing is Dead, and How to Write, Format, and Publish and Promote Your Book (Without Spending Any Money). I purchased one of his many offerings and to date, I have taken (am taking) courses dealing with: “Reader Seduction 101,” “How to Self-Edit Your Book,” “Reach Your Readers,” “DIY Book Formatting  for Print and Ebook,” and “Cover Design Secrets that Sell.”

Wow!

I am so IMPRESSED with all of the helpful people in the writing and indie-publishing world! This is especially true of everything I’m finding in K.M. Weiland’s extensive offerings (helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com), at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University (blog.janicehardy.com), within Jami Gold’s many resources at jamigold.com and all I am learning from Leonard Tillerman’s book reviews (leonardtillerman.com).

Okay, so that’s my second “blog” entry so far in this lifetime. Don’t hesitate to let me know what you think, especially since I’ve definitely not yet found ALL of the helpful people out there! Please feel free to comment or tell me a bit about yourself or shoot any kind of note to [email protected]. I love getting to know my readers! 

Thanks!

Scott

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