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



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

05 Nov

My Kobo Map

One of the more awesome features on any indie distributor’s sites is Kobo’s sales map. It’s a screen from behind the scene that an Indie publisher can use to quickly see where in the world their audience is. I took a gander at mine earlier today, and thought it was pretty danged cool to see how many places my readership is coming from.

kobo-sales-map

14 Jun

Clinton vs. Trump …

From a FB comment I made earlier …

Donald Trump is probably the least capable candidate that has ever been associated with a possible run for president in the history of the United States. I’ve never been a [big] Hillary supporter [from a policy standpoint] (or really a Bill supporter), But the idea the Trump is even close to Clinton is laughably funny to me. If this were a hiring decision by a company, Trump would never even get a phone interview. That’s even before you take into account his actual “policies” which are barely even sentences.

In all seriousness, there are times where I step back from another one of the billions of pieces of news that actually presents the Trump as if he’s a real live viable candidate, and get this weird feeling that I’m just not in a real world.

I don’t think I could manage being a journalist covering Trump. I swear. All I would do is laugh like a stoned college kid every time I talked about him.

I guess it’s good I’m not a journalist.

I’m completely fine with anyone who isn’t a fan of Clinton’s policies. That’s cool and all. For most of my life, I considered myself a moderate-right lean on the political scale. I get it. But if I were her late this year and I were debating Trump I would look at him, then look at the moderator, then into the TV camera, and then I would say “this is a joke, right? Are you freaking kidding me? I’m being punked, right? I mean, where’s Ashton Kutcher?”

14 Apr

Workload and the Writer

So, yeah … remember that thing about how quitting the day job to write full time will help with the work load? Not happening. This writing gig, it turns out, is just about the same as any project-oriented corporate job I’ve ever had—the multitude of projects overlap forever, and the base skillset for “surviving” is to figure out which issues to freak out over right now and which to freak out about later …which, in writer reality, means finding ways to be okay with not doing all the other things I really know I need to be doing as I go along (which in the role of being an indie publisher, is pretty much a bottomless pit of tasks … Yes, my brain says, I need to do All the Things).

In all seriousness, the sensation can be a real problem if you’re like me.

This is because I feed off achievement. I like to see things getting done. Back in the days when I was working to develop technology, I used to tell people that I didn’t really care what I did or what I worked on—I could work in a bread factory for all that mattered, as long as I had goals and deadlines. This is probably technically a lie, but it’s got that truthiness about it that is so in vogue right now.

If you’re of a psychological makeup like mine, and you find yourself with a glut of creative projects that are all kind of at the middle of their existence, you can be in for some real discomfort. Creative projects that are in the middle of their existence always feel squishy, you see? The “deadlines” are different, and the fact that they have a creative element to them makes these projects petulant. Sometimes these infantile little creatures seem to alternate between screaming at you for pushing them too hard and laughing at you for pretending you know when they’ll be done.

Over the past three weeks, for example, I’ve been juggling the following projects:

• An urban fantasy novella that has grown like a sea monkey and is due to launch May 1, he says, sneaking a sly pre-announcement announcement into the mix. (Seriously … I’m done! 27K words is it, I say. Anything else goes into a Book 2, he says, making a potentially sly pre-pre announcement).
• Two short-short stories
• A 5K contemporary fantasy short story
• One 7K+ word short story that’s in collaboration with John Bodin (yes, be prepared for 6 Days in May, available at book dealers near you soon!)
• A final pass rewrite of a 40+K short SF novel that will be book 1 of a 5 book series.
• A new short story I’m committed to write for a short story in a week dare cycle I’m doing with Lisa Silverthorne, due Sunday night but still sitting there only with my mischievously chuckling prompt sitting on the page.

And those are just the items related to word creation.

If you’re an indie publisher—which I am for my longer work—there’s more. A lot more.

In my case, that “more” has included all the support processes for launching the projects related to bullet item 1 and 4 above: things like cover design, copy editing, interstitial creation, developing what I’ll laughably call “marketing plans” and all the other stuff it takes to make something I’m going to be proud of in the end. Since I don’t actually do all that work myself (why, yes, that is my wife over there in the corner laughing her behind off at the idea of me copy editing my own work, why do you ask?), and since I often use beta readers, this also means I’m juggling these projects around a lot of “dead time” waiting for other people. Which, of course, has its own form of passive-aggressive stress.

Oh, and don’t forget submitting stories to traditional short story markets.

Gotta keep all the irons in the fire, right?

Anyway, as I’m writing this, I’m sitting here on the back patio thinking about what I have to do and remembering my friends at the day job. When they heard I was leaving to be a full time bohemian, they basically asked what a writer does all day, thinking (I’m sure) about how cushy it all sounded. And, you know, I get it. Been there, done that, still watching it unfold before my very eyes at times. Life in corporate Anywhere can be really high-paced and really high pressure.

But this writing gig isn’t any less hard. It’s a hell of a lot of work. And, yes, it is stressful, too. Have I mentioned how all this work I’ve done is essentially unpaid until the market decides if it’s worth the notorious cup of Starbucks or not? No pressure, though. Just get that novella done, all right? (full disclosure, I am not the usual writer. I am insanely lucky to be financially secure enough to take this kind of “risk” without having any real concern about needing to pay for dinner tomorrow–so, for me that financial tightrope is only scary in the normal human way, not the Please Keep Me Safe way).

But in the end what this job doesn’t have is that meeting where you sit down with the boss and listen to him or her tell you what to do.

So, yeah. I can handle that part pretty well.

The challenge, however, is to remind myself to step back and take a look at the mountains every now and again. When I do that, this job really doesn’t suck.

The truth of the matter, though, is that I could say that even back when I was in the corporate pit, too. So I suppose you can take from this what you will.

In the meantime, just in case you need it today here’s a mountain to look at. Complete with moon.

mountain-moon

02 Apr

Uncollected Anthology Podcast

I’m a few days late dropping this, but I saw the Uncollected Anthology folks did a pretty cool little podcast with Mark-the-Kobo-guy (grin) a bit ago. As I noted before, (*) I’ll be their May issue guest, so I thought you might enjoy hearing the leaders of the band talk about it for a bit. The podcast was actually recorded during the last coast workshop, and discusses what those workshops are like, too…so you get a double bump for your money!

Here’s a link.

More news on this very cool project coming soon.

* And, yeah, my story wound up a 20K word novella.

11 Dec

The Donald: Is It All Just Reality TV?

Several friends of mine have made recent comments on Donald Trump, and I’ve had some thoughts on him in little bits and blurbs. I mean, how can you not, right? Right? The Donald is everywhere, doubling down and tripling down, and then quadrupling down over and over again. It’s almost like he’s just making this stuff up as he goes.

It got me wondering: love him of leave him, do you think Donald Trump knows he’s actually running for president? I am not joking. I mean the question seriously. Donald Trump has always been about making the mere idea of being Donald Trump over-grand, so the idea of running for president itself seems great in that light. Make speeches, pound chest a little, flash the hair, then retreat back to The Apprentice and run another business out of business.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

He’s done it before, after all. It’s great to be Donald.

I used to chuckle about this idea a few months back, but I’m actually starting to wonder about it now. Does Donald Trump actually know what he’s doing? What are the chances that he thinks that the whole goal is just to win the election? Period. Does he know this is not a reality show? Does he understand that after the public eventually says “You’re Fired” he has to go home and once again make it Grand to be The Donald? Or worse, does he understand that in the absolutely horrifying (*) chance that the public says “You’re Hired!” then he actually has to govern? I mean. You know, make real decisions? Influence real lives?

Does Donald Trump understand that Gary Busey is probably not going to be an acceptable cabinet member? That he’s probably not going to be able to make the Oval Office into the Board Room (technically, I suppose he could actually make this one happen, but go with me there)? Does he understand that governing means something more than looking over at Ivanka. Eric, or Donald, Jr. and having them shake their woeful heads and say “It was a tough decision, but you made the right choice?”

What are the chances that he thinks the game actually ends in November 2016?

#

Okay. Yes. I’m stretching the truth here just a little. I do actually think that Donald Trump is, at some literal level of existence, aware that the world will not come to an end in November of 2016, and that some TV guy will not suddenly pull the plug and cancel the show that is his life at that point, thereby allowing him to move on to the next performance. I know that he understands there is a job to do at the end.

But the concept still stands.

In no way do I believe that Donald Trump actually wants to spend time in the Oval Office, yet I also fully believe that Donald Trump wants to win—because (from my little neck of the woods) that’s how he’s lived his life. Everything is a game to win. A game, yes I do mean that—but a serious game. I use the word “game” as in Game of Thrones rather than as in Aggravation.

I am a writer, though, and in that light, when I look at Donald Trump and try to imagine how I would write him, I can work up a bit of sympathy for him. If it is true that he wants to win, but doesn’t really want to do the job, that makes for a terribly interesting internal conflict, full of internal angst and hypocrisy. It would make a helluva story with a touch of the anti-hero in it that could give it a certain coarseness that could give the movie version a little Oscar buzz.

Hmmm …

Oscar buzz …

Now, there’s a concept that The Donald could sink his teeth into.

You think?

#

* – I am not a great follower of all things political. I watch it more as a sport than anything else, though I do have my opinions. I have voted Democratic. I have voted Republican. I have voted Libertarian. But in all my years, I don’t think I’ve ever used the term “horrifying” for any political candidate, ever … despite the fact that there have been a lot of pretty dicey people running for office during my lifetime. When I think of a Trump administration, I admit that I get extremely interested in the “what if” aspect of it. I would be insanely interested to actually know what would happen if Donald Trump was president. But in the real world in which I live, I can see nothing but total disaster in that path. So, yes, I use “horrifying” in a way that I’m comfortable with.

29 Oct

Want my stuff at half-price?

The good folks at Kobo are offering half-price deals on all my stuff! Here’s a pre-configured search to help you find it! Once you’re there, you’ll want to use the promo code for your location as listed below:

Canada (October 28th – October 31st)
Promo Code: CA50SALE

United States/Australia/New Zealand (October 27th – October 30th)
Promo Code: GET50SALE

United Kingdom (October 30th – November 2nd)
Promo Code: UK50SALE

26 Aug

The Hugos that could have been

SF writer Tobias Buckell has posted an exercise wherein he uses data from the Hugo process to develop a view of what the Hugo ballot would have looked like had the Rabid Puppy slate not been pushed.

It’s an interesting list on the whole, and one I recommend pursuing. I was particularly pleased to see Kai Ashante Wilson’s “The Devil in America” included, as I thought that was a totally kick-ass story and was slated to be my next Rongo Award winner had I taken time away from my move activities to continue the process. It is a bit of a challenging story, though. Hard to read, but not due to any lack of skill from the author—no. Just the opposite. It’s a very “dark fantasy” rather than work of science fiction, set, among other places and times, in and around post-Civil War America. It focuses on non-white characters, and it has zero ray guns. Clearly not the kind of story the Rabids would enjoy.

But if you want a story that moves, a story with a sense of dark magic to it, a story that is (yes) entertaining, and a story that will make you think about a lot of things, my guess is that you’ll find “The Devil in America” to be a very worthy read.

The other story I was pleased to see here was Eugie Foster’s “When it Ends, He Catches Her” (Podcast Version, which if you like podcasts, I highly recommend). I admit I hadn’t read this until now, but it is both quite moving and represents the community’s last opportunity to award her work. This is a touching story, one that could not exist without its science fictional conceit, but a story that owes its power, its purpose, and its value to the power of what love means.

These are both remarkable pieces of work.

We can always just kind of shake our heads at what the Puppies have done, and we can say it will all work out in the end. It will, of course. But among the real costs of their shenanigans and tomfoolery is that stories like these two (and others) lost the opportunity to be recognized. For that, it would be nice if we were all saddened.