Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Special Deals for Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes

If you'd like to give the gift of science fiction to someone special this year, you're in luck. I've lowered the price of the paperbacks to $7.00 for Lyon's Legacy (originally $8.00) and to $11.00 (originally $13.00) for Twinned Universes. Amazon has slashed the prices even lower than that. Both books are also part of Matchbook, so you can gift a paper copy and get an eBook for yourself. However, if you really want a great deal, you can buy paper copies directly from me. For five dollars plus shipping, you can buy an autographed copy of Lyon's Legacy; for ten plus shipping, Twinned Universes. (You can pay me through Paypal.) I'll even gift wrap them and ship them Priority Mail anywhere in the United States. I only have five copies of each book available, so you'd better order your copies quickly. Please e-mail me at ulbrichalmazanATsbcglobalDOTnet or comment below if you're interested. Thanks, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Letters to Psyche Featured on Mark of the Stars

Jessica E. Subject kindly featured my short story "Letters to Psyche" today on her blog, Mark of the Stars. Click here to check it out.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Blog Ring of Power -- Anna Erishkigal

This is the last new Blog Ring of Power interview for 2013; we'll be starting our Year in Review next month. In the meantime, please welcome Anna Erishkigal to the blog!

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing this thing or that for a long time, but I didn't write my first 'original' story with the thought that someday I might like to publish it until 2009.  That first rough draft was the beginnings of the Sword of the Gods saga.

When and why did you begin writing?

I've done non-fiction writing for a long time, legal thesis's and corporate policies and procedures manuals, but I didn't begin writing for fun until they killed the Stargate in 2007.  Coming on the heels of killing Star Trek Enterprise in 2005 and Angel in 2004, I was like the jilted girl who'd had her heart broken one too many times.  That was it, I said.  No … more … television!!!  I started writing fanfiction, mostly about superheroes, but after my third novel-length fanfiction (the last one was 550,000 words) I started writing my own stories combining my three favorite subjects:  angels … superheroes … and spaceships.

Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?

My first book was a paranormal/horror piece called The Spook Cellar, published by my wonderful fourth-grade teacher Sandra Dobbyns who sadly died a few years later from breast cancer.  It was about a black cat and a chicken that had to go down into a scary basement and chase away a ghoul.  I had no idea what a ghoul was at the time, but it sounded like a cool scary thing to put in my book.

When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?

I actually have a non-fiction legal self-help manual I wrote under my real name that I've been bootlegging since 2001 (it's on the 5th Edition right now), but I didn't consider myself a 'pro' until I began marketing my fiction.  I self-publish my fiction because my non-fiction book is self-published and, once you've already got the legal mechanisms in place to be your own publisher, why go hat-in-hand to New York to beg for what you've already been doing for years?  But marketing fiction is a drastically different ball of wax than the non-fiction stuff.  My self-help legal guide?  I could scratch the information out on a paper bag with lipstick, typos and all, and so long as it's accurate, people are desperate to have it.  Fiction is tough to market.  But I like having the control of being my own boss.

What books have most influenced your life?

I was an avid reader from an early age, so it would be hard to pinpoint a book that made me say, 'this is it.'  I loved mythology and devoured it from an early age, but the first book I would have to say really impressed me was A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L'Engle.  The winged horse is what drew me into the story, but it was the concept that you could go back in time and alter small things to change a major outcome which really captivated my interest.  A couple of years later I got the entire Hobbit and Lord of the Rings box set for Christmas and devoured the entire thing before New Year's.

What genre do you write?

I wish I could write hard Science Fiction [*hah*], but with my paltry scientific background the best I can do is write science-fiction 'decorated' space opera/epic fantasy.  Angels … on spaceships.  Nobody else was writing about my two favorite topics, so I decided to write about it myself.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?

Epic fantasy (with a hefty dose of science fiction-type decoration).  In my day-job as an attorney I'm used to handling these sprawling, complex legal cases with lots of players, tons of interesting little sub-drama's, and dozens of moving parts that all culminate into a big day at court.  That training carries over into my writing, which I picture as multiple armies on a chess board or Tom Brady moving a pass up the field to hit a touchdown.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

An astronaut.

Here's the rest of Anne's interview schedule:

The Writing Life: Vicki--11/26
The Creative Process: Terri--11/27
About Your Current Work: Theresa--11/28
Words of Wisdom: Emily--11/29

Anna Erishkigal is an attorney who writes fantasy fiction under a pen-name so her colleagues don't question whether her legal pleadings are fantasy fiction as well. Much of law, it turns out, -is- fantasy fiction. Lawyers just prefer to call it 'zealously representing your client.' 

Seeing the dark underbelly of life makes for some interesting fictional characters. The kind you either want to incarcerate, or run home and write about. In fiction, you can fudge facts without worrying too much about the truth. In legal pleadings, if your client lies to you, you look stupid in front of the judge. 

At least in fiction, if a character becomes troublesome, you can always kill them off.

Facebook page 
Goodreads author page 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sci-Fi Month: My Top Ten SF Authors

As part of the Sci-Fi Month hosted by Rinn Reads, I agreed to list my Top Ten SF authors. Even if I limit my selection to the authors I have in my personal library, it's a tough task narrowing the group to ten, let alone ranking them. Nonetheless, I managed to settle on a list.

10. Kim Stanley Robinson--I chose him for his book The Years of Rice and Salt, an alternative history in which Europeans are almost all wiped out by plague, allowing other cultures to dominate history.

9. James Tiptree, Jr. (the pseudonym of Alice Sheldon)--Brightness Falls from the Air was one of those books that kept me up all night.

8. Sheri Tepper--Beauty also kept me up all night. Tepper was Guest of Honor at the first WisCon I attended. Her books are provocative, but they can be a bit strident.

7. John Varley--Steel Beach has been out for a while, but I enjoyed the read.

6. Neil Stephenson--While I can't get into anything post Cryptonomicon, I did like Snow Crash and The Diamond Age.

5.  Lyda Morehouse--I recommend her LINK Angel series, which begins with Archangel Protocol.

4. Anne McCaffrey--I probably have more of her books than I do of all the other authors listed above. While she's most famous for the Pern books, I also like The Tower and the Hive series.

3. Octavia Butler--I read her Xenogenesis trilogy earlier this year and own Wildseed, Parable of the Sower, and Mind of My Mind.

2. Connie Willis--My favorite book of her is To Say Nothing of the Dog, but I also liked Blackout/All Clear and her collection Impossible Things.

1.  Julie E. Czerneda--She develops great aliens. My favorite series of hers is the Species Imperative one, though I also liked the Web Shifters series. Now I have to go through Goodreads and see if I missed any books of hers....

I better stop here before I get into Honorable Mentions, but please feel free to name some of your favorite authors in the comments!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blog Ring of Power--Jennie Bozic

Today the Blog Ring of Power kicks off a five-part interview with Jennie Bozic. Let's get to know her a little better:

Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?

I wrote a lot of short stories as a kid, usually involving mermaids or talking animals. When I learned to type, I spent hours on the computer writing a story about a mama chipmunk whose babies are kidnapped by squirrels. She rescues them with the help of an army of pigeons.

When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?

Probably when I snagged my agent. I don’t think that has to be the case for every writer, but that’s when it felt real to me.

What genre do you write?

Everything I’ve written so far has been for young adults, although that is technically a category and not a genre. DAMSELFLY is science fiction with some dystopian elements and a lot of romance. I don’t see it as strongly dystopian though, since I don’t view Lina’s world that way. There is definitely a lot of unrest in the world, but her primary battle is with her immediate situation and not the broader world conflicts. At least in this book. :)

What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?

I love science fiction and fantasy. I’ve noticed that memory tends to be a theme in almost everything I write. I’m fascinated with what makes us who we are.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

I don’t think I have just one ideal career. I like what I’m doing now (visual effects for film and television), and it’s prepared me well for receiving criticism as an artistic professional. I’d also love to be an English professor. If someone offered to pay me to play video games all day, I definitely wouldn’t turn that down. :)

You can find the rest of Jennie's interview at the links and times below:

The Writing Life: Vicki--11/19
The Creative Process: Terri--11/20
About Your Current Work: Theresa--11/21
Words of Wisdom: Emily--11/22

Author Bio:

I'm a visual effects artist for film and television by day, and at night I don my author cape and pen stories for the YA crowd. I love a good fairy tale, especially if there's a creepy twist, so that's what I write.

I met my husband in the World of Warcraft and we live in Los Angeles with our cat. We spend our time playing video games, reading, hiking, sweeping up cat hair, and cursing the terrible traffic.
Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:
Twitter: @JennieBozic

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Winner of the Joust Giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who supported me during the Joust on M. Pax's blog last week. The random number generator picked Erinn as the winner. Erinn, I don't have contact information for you, so I hope you see this! That said, I'm feeling generous enough to give the rest of my supporters eBooks too. Please tell me what story you want, what format you want, and which e-mail address you'd like me to send it to, and I'll gift it to you as soon as I can. Thanks again!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Science of the Week, 11/15/13

I'm over at Scene 13 today sharing one of my character's Thanksgivings. Please stop on by and check it out.

Here are some interesting science news articles for the week:

Fossil of new big cat species discovered; oldest ever found

How zinc starves lethal bacteria to stop infection

Better batteries through biology?

Fast-mutating DNA sequences guided evolution of uniquely human traits

 Scientists halt deadly organ tissue scarring in its tracks

Researchers make surfaces easier to cool under extreme heat

Nanogrid, activated by sunlight, breaks down polluants in water

It's been a very busy week at work, since we're in the middle of moving to a new location. I've been wrapping up lab equipment, packing boxes, and moving them for the last few days. The fun continues today and through next week. Therefore, I'm going to keep this post a bit shorter than normal. Have a good weekend, and see you Monday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Indie Life: The Pace of Self-Publishing

Please don't forget I'm still jousting at M. Pax's blog this week. Cheer me on up to three times a day using the phrases "Lady of the Lab," "Lyon's Legacy," or "Tosspot" for a chance to win an eBook from me!

This month's issue of Indie Life was inspired by a post called "New Rule: No More Binge Publishing!" You can read the original post here and some excerpts on Passive Voice. It's very interesting to see how the comments differ on the two sites: commenters are more supportive on Libby's blog than on the Passive Voice blog.

Is there a limit as to how much one should publish each year? What is the ideal number of stories one should publish, and does the length of the story matter? I for one don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule for this. Someone who has a backlog of stories, whether unpublished or with rights reverted, might be able to publish them more quickly than someone starting from scratch. Also, the more time you have to write, the more quickly (in theory) you should be able to finish, edit, and prepare the stories for publication. However, novels will probably take longer than short stories. The ideal and realistic number of published stories each year is going to vary from author to author.

So far, self-publishing seems to favor authors who can write quickly and publish rapidly. Since every work promotes all the other stories by making you more visible, this is a good strategy. I think even when the self-publishing industry matures a little more, the advantage will still lie with the prolific authors. However, it's also an industry that looks to the long-term. No matter what happens to the current distributors, there will be other ways of getting your books in front of readers. Since these stories will be around for a long time, it's best to make sure they're as good as you can make them at the time of publication. Even though your skills will improve with practice, you can learn more by finishing several stories instead of revising the same one over and over. Ultimately, each author will have to figure out for herself how quickly she can write and publish well.

Personally, I originally planned to publish six works this year. I did publish three early in the year, but the other projects I've been working on have turned out to be longer and more complex than I thought they'd be. Sure, it's frustrating that they're taking so long, but I think they'll turn out to be better stories for it. I'll know when they're ready to share with the world, and I hope my readers will agree. I also hope as my son gets older, I'll be able to find more writing time, since it's currently very limited. In the long run, I'd like to plan a writing/publishing schedule every year so readers know when to expect the next book in a series, though of course real life has a way of trumping plans.

Check out the linky below for other Indie Life posts:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vote for the Lady of the Lab!

I'm participating in M. Pax's Realms Faire this week in the Joust. Today through Friday, please cheer me on over at her blog. Up for grabs for me isn't just promotion, but also chocolate--and we all know how important chocolate is! There are daily prizes available for commenters on M. Pax's blog. You can read an excerpt from Twinned Universes on Thursday, but please cheer me on all week long by using one or more of the following words/phrases:

Lady of the Lab
Lyon's Legacy
Tosspot (drunkard)

Here are a couple of sample cheers:

Lady of the Lab, toss the tosspot over the wall!

Long live the Lady of the Lab!

I love Lyon's Legacy!

Of course, feel free to come up with your own cheer. To sweeten the deal, I'll collect the names of everyone who cheers for me during the week and select one at random to receive a free eBook of one of my stories. The winner will be announced this weekend. Thanks for your support, everyone!

Blog Ring of Power--Crystal Collier+Giveaway!

Today on the Blog Ring of Power I'm featuring Crystal Collier and her book Moonless. Let's learn more about Crystal:

When and why did you begin writing?

Once upon a time there was a little girl so anxious to tell her stories she picked up a pencil—not sure if she even knew how to hold the darn thing.

Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?

The Elephant’s Father’s Day Surprise while in 2nd grade. Yes, it was an actual book—and not a school assignment. I started as a cartoonist of “Cuties” (cats and bunnies), and branched into words, eventually leaving my sketch artist ways behind. At 11, I completed my first novella. Fast forward ten years, and meet novel #1, which happens to be part of the same story world as MOONLESS.

What books have most influenced your life?

This is not a fair question. Just sayin’. It’s always been the Scriptures, but shooting from a fiction angle, I adore ghost stories of a hundred different breeds. Fantasy won me in 7th grade with the Windrose Chronicles and the Myth Inc series—followed shortly by a Dicken’s obsession. In recent years I’ve branched out to Dean Koontz and a kajillion different YA authors—especially Cassandra Claire, Marissa Meyer, and Chanda Hahn.

What genre do you write?

Young adult. Middle Grade. Adult…ish. Although I’ve dabbled in most genres, I tend to stick with a fantasy/horror/romance mix. I LOVE writing for middle graders because it’s ridiculously creative as my brain can stretch, but ultimately I always gravitate to YA. A girl needs her romance too, right?

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Teacher, writer of commercials, composer, cheese eater…? There is no other ideal.

Here's the rest of Crystal's schedule:

The Writing Life: Vicki--11/12
The Creative Process: Terri--11/13
About Your Current Work: Theresa--11/14
Words of Wisdom: Emily--11/15

On the moonless night following her sixteenth birthday, Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

MOONLESS is available November 13, 2013 at:

Other: Coming soon to Barnes & Noble
Is your book in print, ebook or both? Currently only an ebook, but watch for it in print and audio book spring of 2014. 


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Back on the Blog Chain: Paul's Greatest Blessing/Gift

The blog chain is undergoing a bit of restructuring. Instead of two chains per month, with each person posting on a set day, we're going down to a monthly topic that bloggers can discuss on their own schedule. I plan to post on the first Wednesday of each month. Also, anyone who is interested in the topic is welcome to discuss it on their own blog and link to it in the comments. Eventually we will set up a Facebook group for the blog chain; once that's ready, I hope you'll stop by and join it.

Anyway, Katrina proposed the following topic for this month:

In your latest book or work-in-progress, what is your main character's greatest blessing? Is it a person, an item, or a talent? Or something else? Where did this blessing come from, and how does your MC use it to conquer the villain or solve the problem in your book?

Paul Harrison in Twinned Universes has many gifts. He comes from a famous, rich family. He's smart, good-looking, and a talented actor. He also has a special "quantum quirk" which I won't describe here because I want people to read the book. However, his greatest blessings or gifts (his parents are non-religious) are his close relationships with his sister Cassandra and their friends Scott and Yvonne. All four of them spent most of their childhood on the spaceship Sagan, leaving it only when it returns to the 21st century Earth each year. While other families do travel briefly on the Sagan, Paul doesn't form any long-term friendships with those children. He spends most of his time with Scott, Yvonne, and Cass, studying, playing, and hanging out with each other. Although each member of the group has a different personality and different goals, they've learned to get along with each other and reconcile after arguments--a necessity if you're stuck with the same group of people for an extended period. In some ways, they are all closer to each other than they are to their parents. So when Paul loses his mother at the start of Twinned Universes and get pulled into additional crises, he naturally turns to his friends for help. Since he faces problems in two universes, he needs Scott's skill with computers, Yvonne's faith and knowledge of psychiatry, and Cass's insight to survive, let alone achieve his goals. They also provide the emotional support he needs to cope with the changes in his identity. Like Ringo, Paul gets by with a little help from his friends:

What would your characters consider their greatest blessings? Please share in the comments or link to your own posts on this topic.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Blog Ring of Power Interview: PK Hrezo

Today as part of the Blog Ring of Power I have with me PK Hrezo, whose book, Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc., was just released. (The eBook is already available, but I think the paper version will go live next week. I have a sample of the book, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.) She's publishing this one independently, so as a fellow indie, I wish her lots of success with this venture. Let's learn a little bit more about her:

How long have you been writing? 

I still have stories I wrote at age 10. I’ve always been a writer, and fascinated with stories.

Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote? 

That first story I wrote was when I was ten--about a little girl who falls over the side of a cruise ship and saved by a shark. But the first actual novel-length story was about a wood sprite’s adventure into the human world. It was right before the Tinker Bell series came out, and that pretty much sunk my whole novel idea. They were too similar and it discouraged me.

What books have most influenced your life?

When I was expecting my first baby, I was pretty miserable during my last trimester, so I read all the Harry Potter books. This was before I decided I should focus more on my writing. JK Rowling’s imagination inspired me to tap into mine more. I know I’m not alone there. Plenty of writers were inspired by the HP series. Also the classics have always been a huge influence on me: Dracula, The Hobbit, LOTR, Vanity Fair, Treasure Island …

What genre do you write? 

Speculative fiction

What is your favorite theme/genre to write about? 

I love character-rich stories, so while I have an affinity for sci-fi and fantasy, I try to use that theme as the story catalysts, while focusing more on the quirky characters who don’t fit into the worlds they’re thrust into.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be? 

Artisan of some sort. I love crafting with my hands.

PK's interview continues as shown below:

The Writing Life: Vicki--11/5
The Creative Process: Terri--11/6
About Your Current Work: Theresa--11/7
Words of Wisdom: Emily--11/8

PK Hrezo is a native Floridian whose life could easily be a Jimmy Buffet song. She shares her home with her firefighter husband and their two children. When not creating characters and their worlds, PK can be found at her other job of rearranging passenger’s itineraries for a major international airline. The only hobbies she loves more than traveling, are reading, writing, and music, and when the four are combined she exists in total bliss.  

Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated

We are a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. Family-owned and operated, we offer clients one hundred years of time travel experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.

Anxious to attend a special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply

Conference us directly from our Website. Our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.

We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.  

Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. will be both eBook and print. Launches 11-12-13 (Nov. 12), but the eBook is already live.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Sci-Fi Month and Science of the Week, 11/1/13

First of all, for those about to NaNoWriMo (and those who started at 12:01 this morning), good luck! Here's a little inspiration:

I'm in the middle of revising the first novel of the Season Avatars series and drafting the next installment of the Catalyst Chronicles series, so I'm not willing to abandon them to start a third project.

Whether or not you're participating in NaNoWriMo, you can participate in Sci-Fi Month at Rinn Reads. Please see this post for the complete schedule. I'll be posting myself on 11/20 about my favorite books/authors. There are so many to choose from that it will be hard to pick only a few!

Finally, of course, here are some science links for the week:

Warm winters let trees sleep longer

Feeling pleasure at the misfortune of those you envy is biological

New substance effectively combats multi-resistant bacteria

Moral in the morning, but dishonest in the afternoon

Scientists: we can tell how creative you are in just a few words

Even in the dark, brain "sees" its own body's movement

Incurable brain cancer gene is silenced

Natural compound good for 3D printing medical implants

Animal personalities are more like humans than first thought

New stem cells go back further

Quantum reality more whimsical than previously thought

single brain cell can perform computations

Finally, this month's issue of Scientific American has articles about worlds with two suns, why the brain prefers paper (even though I really, really love my Kindle), and a one-stop carbon solution that would store carbon underground while harvesting energy. Check it out!

Enjoy your weekend, and see you Monday with a Blog Ring of Power interview!

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