Saturday Snippet: Repairing a capitalist motorcycle in communist Yugoslavia

Tim Severin is almost legendary among modern explorers and historians.  From his college days, he’s specialized in studying an ancient voyage of discovery or some other historical travel narrative, and recreating it using technology of the period and in as practical a way as possible.  In doing so, he’s dispelled many myths, but he’s also proved that many stories thought to be myth and fable were, in fact, firmly grounded in reality.  (Two of the most fascinating are the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece, and Ulysses’ voyage from Troy to his homeland of Ithaca, both re-enacted aboard a galley built in

Continue reading

The past was another country, indeed

One of the most famous quotations from L. P. Hartley’s novel “The Go-Between” is this: The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. I’ve been forcibly reminded of that while reading “A Builder of the West:  The life of General William Jackson Palmer” by John S. Fisher, published in 1939. General Palmer (brief biography here) was a Civil War officer, later awarded the Medal of Honor for his battlefield courage.  He was the founder and first President of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which has already featured in one of my Ames Archives novels, “Rocky Mountain Retribution“. 

Continue reading

Another interesting read for SF geeks

Alma Boykin is no stranger to readers of these pages.  She’s a friend to Miss D. and I in meatspace as well as cyberspace, and we’ve enjoyed her books for years.  (We’ll be spending time with her this weekend.) Her latest novel in the “Colplatschki Chronicles” series is an interesting one.  “Fountains of Mercy” is the eighth in the series, but is actually a prequel to the other books.  It might appear at first to be a dystopian novel with science fiction overtones, but it’s far from the run-of-the-mill in both genres.  Alma makes things much more technically interesting, and given her

Continue reading

Book news and updates – and please vote for a cover

After publishing or participating in three books over the past two months, I’m catching my breath and assessing the situation.  So far, so good! “Gold on the Hoof“, my latest Western novel, is doing well after its first week on sale. It’s attracted nine reviews at the time of writing, all of them 5-star, which is very gratifying.  I’m glad you like it.  Westerns are by no means my biggest “earner”, because that genre is a lot smaller than science fiction or fantasy.  With fewer readers, one gets fewer sales by default.  Even so, I enjoy writing Westerns, so I

Continue reading

“Gold on the Hoof” is published!

My latest Western novel, “Gold on the Hoof“, third in the Ames Archives series, has been published in e-book format on Amazon.  A print edition will follow soon. I previously published an excerpt from the book on this blog, to whet your appetite. The blurb reads: The Comanche and Kiowa are painting for war in the Texas Panhandle. The US Army is preparing to stop them – but it needs horses to do so. Lots of horses. Walt Ames knows where to find them, and breeding stock for his horse ranch, too. All he has to do is ride down to Mexico, buy them,

Continue reading

When the drug wars turn hot, who do you call?

Why, John Cronin, of course, the protagonist in Jim Curtis’ “Grey Man” series of novels.  The latest in the series, a novella titled “The Grey Man – Down South“, has just been published. Jim’s a good friend in meatspace and cyberspace, so I had the privilege of beta-reading this novella for him.  It’s fast-paced and interesting.  What’s more, those who’ve “been there and done that” tell me that his descriptions of the seamier aspects of the war on drugs in South America are right on the money. The blurb reads: After too much action, too much peace gets on a man’s

Continue reading

Oh, all right! I know when I’m beaten

I’d initially planned my latest fantasy novel, “Taghri’s Prize“, to be a stand-alone work, without sequels.  However, a large proportion of the reviews on Amazon.com have hinted, suggested, or plain outright demanded that I write more in Taghri’s universe.  I know when I’m beaten!  If I want to be a successful writer, earning a living, I have to give my readers what they want – and you clearly want more Taghri. I’ve begun working out a plot for Taghri 2.  It’s going to involve theft, plots against a King, skullduggery on the high seas, and city-states competing against each other

Continue reading

“Taghri’s Prize” is now available in a print edition

My latest book, “Taghri’s Prize“, is now available in a paperback edition, as well as an e-book. It was not fun getting it ready.  Amazon uploaded my text file, then sent me a template for the right cover size based on page count.  I had my cover designer prepare the print cover to that specification, which he did very precisely;  then I submitted the cover for approval.  It was rejected because its dimensions were wrong – even though they conformed exactly to what Amazon had specified!  That was very frustrating, for both my cover designer and myself.  Fortunately, he was able to adapt the

Continue reading

Happy book news – and another new book is out!

Last night was celebration time for Miss D. and myself.  “Taghri’s Prize“, my latest novel, has been on sale for just nine days.  As of the time of writing, it’s hit #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for Historical Fantasy! It’s also at #13 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for Epic Fantasy, and #11 on the Hot New Releases list for Sword & Sorcery Fantasy (both, again, at the time of writing). That’s the first time I’ve reached the top of any Amazon book ranking list. Color me happy! Thank you very much to all of my readers.  Your support made this possible. Of

Continue reading

A big “Thank you!” to all my readers

I honestly wasn’t expecting great things from the launch of my latest book, “Taghri’s Prize“, yesterday. It had been almost a year since I’d last published anything, thanks to a prolonged bout of ill-health fighting kidney stones.  (My creative muse goes on strike when pain levels get too high.  It’s no fun.)  I was expecting to have to rebuild my “name recognition” on Amazon, and build up a new readership cadre. I suppose that’s still a requirement;  but my existing readers clearly haven’t forgotten or abandoned me, for which I’m very grateful.  After just one day on sale, my book’s

Continue reading