15 Dec

STARBURST is available!

Yep…publication day #2 is here. Always an exciting day. Since this is already a long and scrolly post, I’ll leave my commentary brief today–except to note below that STARFLIGHT Book 1 is now available at 40% off list price (until Dec 20) at both Kobo and Amazon! But rest assured I’m quite pleased!



STARBURST


The second book of Stealing the Sun, a space based Science Fiction series from frequent Analog contributor and bestselling Amazon Dark Fantasy author Ron Collins.

Available Now at:


(Nook Link is still generating!)


Faster-than-light travel changes everything

Casmir Francis commands Universe Three agents hidden across the Solar System. Together they stay a step ahead of the United Government.

The game changes when the UG achieves faster-than-light travel and the ability to control the galaxy. To remain free Casmir’s web of operatives must pull off the most audacious operation ever undertaken.

Failure means Universe Three will be destroyed and Casmir will lose his family, his life, and the world of his dreams.

Success could be worse.

“Great characters I cared about, a kick-ass plot with surprising twists, great techie details, and a powerful story. Pick up Starburst. I guarantee you won’t set it down until you’ve read every last word.”

Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Hugo Award-winning author of the Diving Universe


GET 40% OFF BOOK 1 (Until Dec 20)


STARFLIGHT


The first book of Stealing the Sun, a space based Science Fiction series from frequent Analog contributor and bestselling Amazon Dark Fantasy author Ron Collins.

Available Now!


Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

Everguard‘s mission: Establish a multidimensional gate inside Alpha Centauri A for Interstellar Command to fuel their new faster-than-light spaceships.

Lieutenant Commander Torrance Black, career already on shaky grounds, finds himself facing questions.

Did they just contact sentient life in the Centauri system?

Will humankind sacrifice an entire alien species in their quest for the stars?

“Ron Collins is one of our best hard science fiction writers. A novel from him is a major event. Enjoy!”

Robert J. Sawyer
Hugo Award-Winning Author of Quantum Night


Praise for STARFLIGHT: (From Amazon Reviews)

“This is truly GOOD stuff if you’re a fan of old-school science fiction; it’s like stumbling on some undiscovered Larry Niven, or something from Andre Norton, or Orson Scott Card, or even Asimov himself . it’s that good.”

“Ron Collins takes complex scientific concepts and makes them accessible to everyone.”

“If you’re looking for a great read with strong characters, Starflight should be on the top of your list.”

“If you love science fiction, you NEED to read this book!”

“I’ve been following Ron Collins’s writing for some time now, and it just keeps getting stronger and stronger.”


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02 Dec

Expectation vs. hope

From the WP Article - linked (Ben Garver/Berkshire Eagle via AP)

From the WP Article – linked (Ben Garver/Berkshire Eagle via AP)

Yesterday morning I came across this Washington Post article that details the historic levels of support that is being donated to various nonprofit organizations since the election.

Lisa and I have had several conversations recently about the situation our country finds itself in. We’re both looking for bright sides, she maybe hoping for kinder and gentler near-term stability as well as long-term stability, and me expecting that the idea of a short term comfort zone is really not going to happen. We’re on the same side of the fence at the end of the day, though.

#

Note the use of the terms “hoping” and “expecting” in that second paragraph. I am with her and with all people who hope we can avoid violence in this transition, but I have no expectation we will. It seems to me that violence and turmoil are exactly what progress in our country has always been founded upon. My view is that if, as a country, we’re going to find a way to get through the Trump years without losing our basic identity, it’s going to be because of the groundswell of people who aren’t going to take his approaches sitting down. I’m happy to be wrong, but I think it’s really as simple as that.

So I expect struggles, and as a result of those struggles I expect violence and more turmoil. It’s already happening, after all–primarily in the form of Trump supporters taking their victory laps.

And, yet, I have hope, too.

I have hope specifically because of that groundswell of people who, as evidenced by the WP article I linked to, are showing up in a lot of ways that they have never shown up before.

I have hope in the long term because I also have great expectation that this groundswell will result in positive movement. That it will carry us further along the trail toward equality and true freedoms. It is a terrible shame that some people, mostly of minority groups, will now have to pay another price for this progress, a price that earlier generations thought they had paid in full, but I’m confident it will happen. This groundswell is not some grassroots effort, after all. It’s not a third party or fourth party just trying to get a foothold. This groundswell is a huge part of the country, a majority that actually out-voted the incoming administration. While the groundswell has been set-back, and are in a bit of chaos right now, it is a groundswell that seems to obviously understand what’s at stake.

The demographics of the country are changing. That much is clear. And by demographics, I mean mindset more than I mean ethnicity or gender or any other protected class. I believe that Trump’s election was a last gasp. A successful last gasp, but a last gasp nonetheless. Since it was successful, it will cause some serious damage.

Well. It happens.

So, yeah. Of course I hope that near-term violence and pain can be minimized. But the majority groundswell is large. Whatever price it will pay in either pain or violence, I have every expectation that in the end it will win the day.

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30 Nov

Publication day, election returns of a different sort

idea-write-releaseIt strikes me that the day a book launches is a lot like an election day. When the stores open, you get this feeling of relief. All the pre-work is done. All the toil of the campaign—the effort of getting the product together–is finished. You’ve stuffed the production line. The book is on all the sites, and man does it look good. It looks brilliant.

Yes, all the meat grindery stuff is done, and there’s that thrill of having created something fun and valuable and something that is truly yours—something no one else could have done, because even if they tried, they are not you. It would be different.

So, for a few minutes you look at what you’ve done and you feel totally brilliant. Totally full of hope. In many ways, this is the best moment of all. The world is full of hope for this book. It’s destiny is on the horizon.

That entire day is spent waiting for the turnout, which comes in fits and drabs. Numbers come in for a bit and you raise your hands up and think things are fantastic. Then there’s dry stage, and you think “is that all there is?” You worry that all the work you did in advance is out the window. Then the lines queue up again. Yes! The people are coming!

This is when you realize that there just isn’t any way to really predict this kind of future—that all your early polling (beta reading) is completely useless for any kind of real projection. All your exit polls are suspect.

The analogy fades on Day 2, though.

Yes, you’re waiting for reviews (which is maybe a form of the networks calling the race, eh?), but mostly you realize that a book’s success or failure is a long haul, and pretty much no matter how successful the previous day might have been, you’re still no different from before—you still look at the numbers, and you still wonder what will happen to it tomorrow, and the following day, and the following day.

Then you turn to your next manuscript and you realize that, no, the work isn’t done.

Publication is, in the end, not an election.

The work is never done.

Nor is the fun.

The next book has a destiny, too, after all. And it’s time to start making it happen.

– – –

Improve STARFLIGHT’s returns here!

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28 Nov

Starflight is published!

sts-bk1-starflight-ecover-600x400Yeah, I know. It’s been a little commercial around here the past week or two. Sorry about that, but I suppose it’s to be expected when you’re a writer and pubilcation day is … uh … here!

That’s right!

Starflight, Book 1 of Stealing the Sun, is now available to actually read. Even better, Starburst, Book 2, is now on pre-order, and will go live in a couple weeks–December 15, to be precise.

To say I’m excited is a vast understatement. I hope you enjoy it.

With no more bloviating, here are the necessary details.


Available Now!





Get Starflight in Print!


Get Starflight at your favorite bookstore!

If you want to buy Starflight at your local brick and mortar bookstore, you can do that by calling them and placing an order. This is a fantastic way to give Starflight as a present, right? [grin]

FIRST TIME OFFER! GET AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY!

Also, if you want a signed copy, I’ll be happy to do that for the low cost of $20 (includes shipping!). I can accept paypal. Just drop me a note and we’ll make the arrangements.



Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

Everguard’s mission: Establish a multidimensional gate inside Alpha Centauri A for Interstellar Command to fuel their new faster-than-light spaceships.

Lieutenant Commander Torrance Black, career already on shaky grounds, finds himself facing questions.

Did they just contact sentient life in the Centauri system?

Will humankind sacrifice an entire alien species in their quest for the stars?

“Ron Collins is one of our best hard science fiction writers—a novel from him is a major event. Enjoy!”

Robert J. Sawyer
Hugo Award-Winning Author of Quantum Night


PREORDER BOOK 2 HERE



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20 Nov

Stealing the Sun, the short story

sts-short-story-cover-changed-600x400This is very cool, eh?

In celebration of the November 29th launch of Starflight, the first in my new five-book series, Skyfox Publishing has released an electronic version of the short story that started it all. “Stealing the Sun” is now available at most online vendors.

Stealing the Sun first appeared in the October 1999 issue of Analog SF and Fact magazine. It proceeded to make Locus Magazine’s Recommended Reading list, found its way onto the preliminary Nebula Award ballot, and even garnered some solid support for a Hugo Award.

The story has now served as the, ahem, launching point for a series of five novels. I hope you enjoy it.


logo-amazonlogo-kobologo-ibooks

Want to read it for free?

Later tonight, I’ll be sending every member of my ultra-elite reader club a link to read “Stealing the Sun” for free. If you want in, just do the clicky thing here–and, yes, you will get both a free copy of Glamour of the God-Touched, and a free read of “Stealing the Sun” … what a deal, eh?

read-it-free

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19 Nov

Starflight goes on preorder

I’m pleased to announce that Starflight, Book 1 of Stealing the Sun, is now available for preorder through Skyfox Publishing at Kobo, iBooks, and other locations through Draft2Digital’s universal links. The book will be available through Amazon, Nook, and CreateSpace (print) on November 29—which is coming up fast!

If you’re a member of my newsletter you saw the cover some time ago, but for almost everyone else this notice is the first time you’ve been able to take it in. Among the things I’ve already enjoyed about this cover is that one of the first people who looked at it in person said they really liked it. When I asked why, she stared at it for just a moment and then said “I’m tired of all the negative stories out there. This looks hopeful.”

That makes me smile.

We’ll see if the stories fulfill that promise, but, yes, I remain hopeful. [grin]

If you want to be the among the first to see these new covers (and, grab a free copy of Glamour of the God-Touched–volume 1 of my series of dark fantasy novellas), just follow the links here or below to join my uber-exclusive newsletter.


sts-bk1-starflight-ecover-600x400


The first book of Stealing the Sun, a space based Science Fiction series from frequent Analog contributor and bestselling Amazon Dark Fantasy author Ron Collins.

Available for Preorder Now at:

Coming to Amazon and Nook November 29!


Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

Everguard’s mission: Establish a multidimensional gate inside Alpha Centauri A for Interstellar Command to fuel their new faster-than-light spaceships.

Lieutenant Commander Torrance Black, career already on shaky grounds, finds himself facing questions.

Did they just contact sentient life in the Centauri system?

Will humankind sacrifice an entire alien species in their quest for the stars?

“Ron Collins is one of our best hard science fiction writers—a novel from him is a major event. Enjoy!”

Robert J. Sawyer
Hugo Award-Winning Author of Quantum Night


free-book-ggt
GET YOUR FREE BOOK NOW



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18 Nov

Want a very skiffy Christmas?

Bundles are the rage, right? And Christmas seems like such a natural subject for a bundle, am I right again? I mean, what better way to celebrate finding a bunch of great stories than to have Santa bundle them all together, give you the opportunity to give to charity (does anybody remember charity?), and deliver them early to boot!

That’s a slick way of saying that my science fiction Christmas story “A Corner of the Mind” is now sitting quite comfortably in the Very Merry Christmas bundle–now available at Bundle Rabbit.

Get the Bundle here!

The bundle has been ably curated by Canadian author Rebecca Senese, who was kind enough to drop a little blurb about my other stuff up on her blog.

a_corner_of_the_mind-200x300

To give you a flavor of “A Corner of the Mind,” here’s the back cover blurb (with an inside hint that the first chunk does double duty as the first two sentences of the story itself.

How many times have you heard the saying: “If the walls had ears and could talk, what tales they would tell?” Well, they do, and I’m one. So let me tell you about the young boy who often does time here in one of my corners…

CORNER OF THE MIND is a Christmas mystery set in space. If that sounds like your slice of pie, come on in.

Intrigued?

Well…go pick your bundle up, then unwrap it and see for yourself what a solid set of stories are in there! You don’t even have to wait until December 25th!

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18 Nov

Me and the Leonids


NOAO/AURA/NSF


I watched the Leonids peak last night.

Since I live in Tucson that means I got up at about 2:30 AM, threw on a couple pair of sweatpants, a few layers of sweatshirts and a jacket. It means I then donned earmuffs and ventured out into the wilds of the night. You might be chuckling at my layering, but it does get nippy here in Tucson and despite my years of living in much colder climes I am a delicate flower. I like my ears warm, thank you very much. Lisa, being sane, did not get up. She stayed warm, snuggled comfortably under the covers.

We live on a cul-de-sac, or what I called a circle when I was a kid (we lived on a different cul-de-sac back then). I went out the front door and into the middle of the circle, then I looked up. It took me only a moment to realize I needed two things. First, a chair, and second, my binoculars. So I went back in to grab my binoculars. On the return trip, I dragged one of the lawn chairs we have on our front patio area along with me, eventually to plop my behind down once again right there in the middle of the circle.

Luckily there is no traffic at three in the morning around here. I felt pretty safe.

I also felt a series of strange things.

There I was, sitting in the middle of the street in what was supposed to be the darkness, but in reality was so moon-bright I could clearly see everything around me. The tones were all muted, blues and blacks, but everything was crystal clear. The air here is dry. It makes everything crisper. There was no wind. I mean, none. Zero. So the chill of the air just settled over me, coating me like an electric blanket stuck on reverse. The heat radiated away from me in all directions. The concrete was hard below my feet. The desert wash that lines the edge of the circle behind me was still and absolutely silent. Everything was clean and fresh. It smelled like rocks.

To my east, the ridge of the Catalina Mountains were vague and distant dark lines. Above me the sky was its most brilliant cloudless self that you can imagine.

Being born in the Kennedy years, I’ve grown up in an age when space was a big deal. I suppose that’s something different from most generations. When I was a boy, I remember being interested in the sky and the stars, but sometimes more as a passing thing than it should have been. Yeah, science, cool. Let’s play ball. As a younger kid I remember Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, but what I remember most was the ruckus that happened in our back yard later that night. I remember Apollo 13. I knew about Sputnik, and satellites, and spy planes. Star Trek only came in one flavor back then, and I remember watching it. What I’m saying is that the idea of people in space has always there for me. And, of course, I am a science fiction writer. While I’m not a deeply knowledgeable amateur astronomer, I love the base idea of the stars. I can pick out constellations, and I do understand something about comets and asteroids and where we are in the galaxies and all that–but I ‘m really just a space nerd, not a fully learned amateur astronomer. I am, however, enthralled by the metaphors that come with stars. I love what they mean.

Sitting there, I used my binoculars to look at Mizar and Alcor, the double star in the handle of the big dipper in Ursa Major. I looked at the Crab Nebula in Orion’s belt. I saw various Messier objects—those gauzy collections of stars or nebula or whatever that were categorized by a French Astronomer a long time ago (that’s another thing I love about astronomy—in a sign of human solidarity, every culture known to us has participated in astronomy). I thought about the talk a UA professor had just given our Astronomy club earlier tonight. He said we should think of the meteors we see tonight as being made of material that is billions of years old.

Which it is. A meteor is material that is billions of years old, and that hitched a ride on a comet to get here—to eventually burn itself up in the atmosphere above us, adding that material to the ecosystem of the planet we call home.

How freaking wild is that?

After sitting there alone in the middle of the circle for some time, under the dark canopy of the moon-lit night, in the silence that was absolute, I felt that remarkable thing that you can feel sometimes. I felt the size of the universe. Or at least I felt the expanse of it. The endless nature of space as we know it. The idea of infinity seemed suddenly more palatable.

Eventually, I got cold enough and tired enough that I packed it in and went back into the house, putting the chair back and storing my binoculars. It took me a little bit to get back to sleep, but I did. It was a good sleep. This morning, I’m writing this in a vain attempt to recapture that feeling of sitting out on my perch of the universe and taking it all in, but finding that this process is like trying to fully recall that moment when you first saw your wife or your daughter. You recall the idea of the feeling. You recall the flavor and the sense of it. But there is nothing you can do to replace that immediacy of actually being there.

Still, it’s good.

And, yes, I saw meteors, too. Some, anyway. To be honest, the shower itself wasn’t massive from where I sat. There were a few interesting streaks and several interesting flashes. Yes, beautiful. Very cool, each and every one.

But as I sit here this morning, the thing I remember most about my night with the Leonids is not the meteors.

Instead, I remember that at one point, as the stars were telling their stories and the few meteors were shaking their contrails, that out in the desert wash a bird spoke up with a small series of chirps. Normally, this wouldn’t have been much to notice, but against this backdrop of amazing nighttime and utter, absolute silence, on this evening I could hear every nuance in its song. They were plaintive notes. Simple sounds of existence. There are things that are worth a little pain, so I took off my earmuffs and listened to it.

It sounded amazing.

Given how I feel about so many things going on around me right now, this bird’s singing grabbed my heart. It felt important.

So, this morning, instead of meteors, what I remember most of my evening with the Leonids is the startling voice of that bird.

A single, solitary creature, singing away in the middle of a vast darkness.

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16 Nov

80% of Success

One more day, I say…one more day and I think I’ll have some fun news on the Stealing the Sun front (he says as he bails water out of his schedule)

#


Nick Kendall, a millennial, and the guy who also happens to be married to my daughter, wrote this post about the idea of participation trophies. In it he argues, using his own cantankerous form of the language, that it is not the millennial generation that is spoiled and expecting of rewards for just making an appearance (though wasn’t it the distinctly non-millennial Woody Allen who said that 80% of success as just showing up?). The problem, he argues quite well, was their parents.

I think the argument is pretty much spot on.

I’ll leave you to read his post, which I suggest you do.

My own experience with the millennial generation as a parent conforms to his view. A lot of parents of a lot of kids I knew were unable to deal with the conflict inherent in having kids growing up in their houses. Adding to the mix, a lot of parents live vicariously through their kids. A “failed” kid is a failed parent, and we can’t have that.

Now, look, I know I’m generalizing. #NotAllParents, in the vernacular. And #NotAllKids. But that’s what we do, right? We generalize. At least that’s the generalizing stereotype I hear people of my generation and older making when they talk about millennials.

That said, I think there is a difference in this millennial gang and my gang. I spent years in the corporate arena attempting to figure out how people worked–how to make policy and create environments where people could achieve their optimum performance. My experience with the millennial generation at work is not that they are looking for hand-holding, but that (unlike earlier generations) they showed up for work on day one expecting to be valuable—wanting to do something more than grunt work. They wanted and expected the company to do something for them at the same time that they accomplished something for the company.

Imagine that, right? I mean, imagine thinking that a company should be indebted to people who do the actual work, and should help people, even early employees, by enabling them to do something that is valuable to them as well as purely productive for the company. I understand that’s different from what came before, but I think it’s hella healthy relative to the alternative. My generation sat on a transition front—when I went to work, the idea of Individual Development was looked at pretty much slantwise. The idea of career progression was still heavily reliant upon the idea that you should just be happy that someone decided to hire you. You owed them big time, and you really should just kind of shut up and stay in your corner until your dues were paid, at which point you got someplace better…

You catch the irony there, right? Don’t you?

Okay, let me spell it out for you. The irony here is that in my era as a new employee, you fundamentally got to a better place by just showing up for long enough that they had to promote you. Sure, there was a bit of meritocracy to things, but seniority was and still is a big deal in the corporate environment, and anyone who says otherwise is missing a lot. And that’s the thing with seniority, isn’t it? You show up long enough, PARTICIPATE for long enough, and do at least well enough to keep from getting fired, and you advance. I wonder where I’ve heard of that before? [grin]

Anyway, there’s something wrong with the idea that you have to plan to come to work for X years of grunt labor before the company deigns give you something that feeds your soul.

So, yeah, #NotAllMillennials, and #NotAllKids.

The cool thing here is that all that coddling does not actually seem to have harmed them. Maybe they needed a little more time to figure out how to work in hierarchies. Maybe they needed more time to figure out who they were. Dunno. But in the end, I think their way of viewing the world–their ideas of hat leadership is and how they decide to follow it, is pretty danged okay. Overall, anyway. I think they’re fine.

After all, it’s not the millennials that have screwed the pooch on this whole “vote the country to the edge of destruction” thing now, is it?

Their parents, however … well … there’s a topic for another day.

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14 Nov

So much to do and the Spanish Inquisition, just for…uh…laughs?

The super moon hits its peak tonight at 8:52 EST. Cool, eh?

#

So I’m back from TusCon43, which was a great time, and where I met lots of great people. The panels I was part of presenting or sat in on were full of vigorous conversation. I signed a few books, and got to talk about story structure and basically just wallow in the fun and weird and nerdy environment that is fandom. So, yeah, the southwest was quite welcoming to this mid-western kid.

Now I’m trying to circle the wagons (to use a western metaphor) and figure out if there is any chance in hell I can get back on schedule. I’m figuring not, but I shall plow on and see what happens. Hang with me and I’ll soon be dropping exciting information about Stealing the Sun my new SF series, and about The Knight Deception the first book in what could be an episodic series that I’m planning to publish through Skyfox in February or so.

Super, super busy.

I’m pushing book one into early publication cycles now. Final proofing of book 2 is just complete. Book three proofing needed to start a week ago. Book four’s manuscript is nearly finished, but there’s a long path after that. And now book 5 will have to happen in conjunction with a major workshop workload.

So, yeah…sigh.

#

I was tired last night, so rather than do much heavy lifting, I went back and watched the Trump interview that CBS did on Saturday.

Amazing.

It just struck me a minute ago that it was kind of like a Monty Python sketch, but without the overt winks and nods, and without the laugh track.

Here’s hoping things go rocketing to greatness.

But, seriously…

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