1. “He’d Always Been an Environmental Writer…”

    hand writingWho is “he”? Well, “he” is Harry, the subject of the Fimament prologues and epilogues.

    “But wait,” you say, “I’ve read the two existing Firmament books, and there were no prologues before the beginning of the story.”

    That’s true. But that’s because the prologues and epilogues aren’t in the books.

    I wanted to have an overarching story around the story, told in brief prologues and epilogues, telling the story of how Andi’s son, Harry, discovered and wrote her stories. But I didn’t want it to distract from the actual stories by having them be the first thing you see when you open the book.

    So my compromise was to put them online.

    But there’s a catch! (Isn’t there always?)

    While you can read any of the prologues any time you want, you can’t read the epilogues without a code at the very end of the book. That’s my handy way of making sure you actually read the whole thing (though in theory you could just skip to the end, but you wouldn’t do that… would you?).

    So all that lengthly explanation to say — today is the day I release the Firmament: Machiavellian prologue!

    You can find it by going to the Machiavellian page and clicking on “Read the prologue,” or you can just click right here.

  2. Two are Better Than One

    The proof of In His Image arrived safe and sound! I compared it to Radialloy and they look just gorgeous together!

    two Firmaments

    The paperback of In His Image is now available at the CreateSpace e-store, and it will soon be on Amazon! I’ll also be setting up a PayPal for signed copies soon, so keep an eye on the In His Image page!

  3. In His Image Excerpt

    While I work away on getting the second book of the series ready for publication, I’ll go ahead and share an excerpt with my loyal fans. However many there are. Two? Maybe three? Anyhow, I had best share it before somebody sends me an indignant email forbidding me to demean myself further.

    When we walked into the tiny transport mess hall, I saw that Captain Trent, the Doctor’s nephew Eagle Crash, and Mr. Ralston, another Surveyor crew member, were already seated.

    I slipped into an empty seat beside Crash, who was discussing something rather hotly with the Captain. The Doctor sat on my other side.

    “I think this whole crew could use a diversion,” the Captain said decisively. “And I might add, Mr. Crash, that the decision is not yours, and it is quite honestly not your affair. You’re not even a member of the Surveyor’s crew, what difference does it make to you?”

    “I may not be a member of the crew, but it does make a difference to me. I don’t want to see you waste your valuable time…” (I thought I detected a hint of irony in Crash’s voice with the word valuable) “…and Mr. DeMille’s money on a wild goose chase.”

    “That is what we are paid to do, Mr. Crash! Your personal beliefs have nothing whatsoever to do with me and my duties, and I would appreciate it if you would stop flinging them in my face.”

    “If you don’t want my opinions, why did you ask?”

    “I didn’t ask for your opinions, I asked for your observations. That was the whole reason we sent you…”

    The Doctor cleared his throat loudly. “Are we ready to eat?”

    The Captain and Crash stopped, and the Captain cleared his throat. “Yes, sorry Gerry. Dinner time, all.”

    “May I say a blessing?”

    A strained silence permeated the room, and Mr. Ralston glanced at the Captain. I lowered my eyes.

    “Certainly,” the Captain said at last, and Crash and I bowed our heads along with the Doctor.

    “Lord,” the Doctor began quietly, “please bless this food to nourish our bodies, and thank you for providing it. We thank you for your hand on our mission to Earth, and ask that you would help us to get back to the Surveyor safe and sound. Amen.”

    I peeked up to see if the Captain and Mr. Ralston were bowing their heads as well. Mr. Ralston was, and the Captain inclined his slightly, but he did not join in the echoed “amen” with the rest of us. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair. I half-wished the Doctor wouldn’t insist on doing this every meal. It wasn’t a problem back on the Surveyor–there we’d just say a prayer by ourselves, the two of us, and no one even noticed. But here, there were only five people. It was just a bit embarrassing. Not that I was ashamed of praying, or of asking God’s blessing. I just didn’t like making the Captain uncomfortable, which is what I knew we were doing.

    A moment of silence followed the prayer, as we began eating the fish we’d been served. I tried to think of something I could say that would relieve the touch of tension. Then I remembered the question I’d tried to ask the Doctor earlier.

    “Captain, what warp factor are we employing now?”

    He turned to me with a thankful smile. “Nineteen.”

    “Why not twenty?”

    “We were in a slightly dangerous area, I think. I’m doing my best to leave things to the discretion of the pilot.”

    I nodded, knowing that he was very used to being in charge.

    Another silence, and then I ventured, “I’ll probably regret asking this, but what were you two arguing about earlier?”

    “As if you don’t know,” Crash broke in.

    Ignoring him, the Captain said, “The same old thing, Andi. I announced my intention to continue on our way to Alpha fifty-four-thirty-three to investigate the probe reactions, but your cousin thinks it is–unwise.”

    “An understatement,” Crash emphasized. He spoke in a good-natured tone, but definite annoyance ran underneath it. “I say it’s a foolish waste of time.”

    The Doctor spoke up, expressing the annoyance without the good-nature. “Crash, you need to stop questioning your elders.” Then under his breath, “No matter how wrong they are.”

    The Captain smiled. Somehow, he didn’t mind the Doctor’s arguments as much as Crash’s. I never knew if it was because they were friends, or because the Doctor wasn’t cocky like Crash, or some other reason, but it was a fact. “I know you don’t believe in aliens, Gerry. But that’s beside the point. I am hired to search for them, and search I will. Now, I’ve had responses to life-probes sent to Alpha fifty-four-thirty-three, and it’s my duty to go there.”

    “You can go where you like, Trent, but you won’t find anything.”

    Crash pushed his chair back and got to his feet. “I’ll let you two finish this. I’m turning in. Come on, And.”

    I shook my head. “I’m not through eating, Crash.”

    He shrugged and left. “Come on when you’re finished. I need your help.”

    When he’d left the room, the Captain turned to the Doctor. “You’re going to have to do something about him.”

    “You have a suggestion?” The Doctor buttered his roll on the side and bit into it.

    “He’s going to hurt himself or somebody else one of these days.”

    I let my eyes plead with the Doctor, hoping he would defend Crash. He said nothing, but Mr. Ralston spoke up. “Where did he get such pronounced opinions?”

    The Doctor choked a little on his bread. “From me, I’m afraid.”

    “What about his father? I understood that he didn’t live with you until he was grown.”

    “I’m afraid I didn’t know his father very well.”

    I felt uncomfortable again. The Doctor didn’t like talking about his past, and his past included his sister, who he’d loved with all his heart and who’d run off with a man he didn’t approve of.

    But Mr. Ralston had no way of knowing that. I felt sorry for him, and I felt sorry for the Doctor, and Crash, and the Captain, and myself.

    “May I be excused?” I asked.

    “You haven’t finished your fish,” said the Doctor, eyeing my plate disapprovingly.

    “I’m full.”

    He peered at me for a moment, his gray eyes boring through me. I squirmed.

    “Go on. I’ll see you later.”

    I hurried out and made my way to Crash’s tiny cabin in the back of the transport.

  4. Radialloy Second Edition Released!

    I’m not sure that making a second edition of their book is something every writer dreams about. Most writers would probably much rather get their book perfect the first time, have it sell a quarter of a million copies or so, and never have to worry about the cover or size or interior or editing ever again.

    Still, there’s something about saying, “Yes, this is the second edition of my book” that just makes one feel like a real writer. The sort with eyeglasses who gets paid to go around and sign books and speak at conferences like they know something, not the sort who staves off hunger pangs while typing madly away in the basement with only one working lightbulb to illuminate their work.

    I didn’t do a second edition of my book because I wanted to feel sophisticated though, although that’s kinda a nice side effect. I did it because there were problems with the book that needed to be fixed before it could be maximally effective.

    The main problem was the cover. While people liked the old cover, many felt it wasn’t professional enough, and I could see their point. And another artist was provided at just the right time, who could do just what I’d wanted with the cover, while at the same time an editor who could tweak some of the grammar problems and style bumps that had slipped through was provided. All the pieces fell together just right, and the result is a much better product that I think will have a better chance of getting out there for people to read.

    So. I don’t expect to be paid to take book tours or speak at conferences anytime soon (though I do wear glasses sometimes!) but I have a second edition of my book, and I’m quite happy with it. You can find out more and purchase the new and improved edition on the Radialloy page.

  5. The Firmament Alphabet

    abcFirmament from A-Z! This month, I’m doing an alphabetical event on my blog, featuring all-things-Firmament. It’s fun! It’s educational! Okay, only if you don’t yet know your A-B-Cs, but nonetheless, head on over and explore the series universe through all twenty-six English letters.

    A is for Andi
    B is for bridge
    C is for cook
    D is for Doctor
    E is for Eagle
    F is for Firmament
    G is for Guilders
    H is for Harry
    I is for In His Image
    J is for Journey
    K is for Kainus Ge
    L is for Lavinia
    M is for Machiavellian

    N is for navigator
    O is for owner
    P is for physician
    Q is for quest
    R is for Radialloy
    S is for Surveyor
    T is for Trent
    U is for Ursula
    V is for vacuum
    W is for website
    X is for X-Rays, MRIs, and Other Medical Technology

    Y is for Yesterday
    Z is for Zone