Writing

Warbirds of Mars: Stories of the Fight, by Kane Gilmour and Scott P. Vaughn

warbirds_iconI picked up Warbirds of Mars: Stories of the Fight without knowing exactly what to expect.  It’s a collection of short stories that are all set in the same world, each written by a different talented author.  Additionally, the book contains some outstanding original artwork that was inspired by each story.  Together they make for a unique and engaging experience.  And while I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started reading this nearly 500 page novel, it was a book that surpassed even my wildest expectation.

Warbirds of Mars began as a web comic.  Stories of the Fight marks a substantial change in format for the content, but one that serves the story at least as well as any comic.  Warbirds of Mars takes place in a world where an alien force invaded Earth in the middle of World War II.  At that point, history as we know is shifts from all that we know to have been true.  Nazis side with the alien invading force while much of the free world struggles to remain free from enslavement or outright extermination.  Along the way, a resistance force rises up to bring the battle to both the Martians and the fascist regime.  They call themselves the Martian Killers— a larger than life, comic book like group of resistance fighters who champion mankind’s rebellion against an enemy equipped with superior technology and manpower.

What makes this book particularly interesting is the collaboration of a group of disparate and talented authors and artists.  Each one bringing his or her own style and flair to subject matter.  As a result, every chapter of the book is unique in content and tone.  For fans of genre fiction, this is nothing less than a unique and thrilling experience.  No single author could’ve created a story with such scope and diversity.  Some of the perspectives chosen by the authors border on brilliant.  Some stories offer seat of your pants action and thrills, others offer chills, while at least one will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye.
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Book Review: Sick, By Brett Battles

sickSick is book one in the Project Eden series, and after reading it I can’t wait to dig into book #2.  Though this book is a lunching point for a series that currently features four novels, thankfully it’s a fully fleshed out and complete story in its own right.  Packed with action and unending suspense, the book starts with a scare and the wild ride only continues from there.

The book centers around the character of Daniel Ash, an officer in the Army who has recently taken his family and transferred to a base that has just been taken out of mothballs.  As the story opens, he wakes in the middle of the night to tragedy and finds himself in the center of a fantastic conspiracy.  As the story unfolds, Ash fights for his life and the lives of those he cares for.
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What Did We Learn in 2012?

Looking at the site logs this morning I found a spike in traffic from last night.  Digging into the logs I found that The Guardian, a popular online publication in the UK did a story titled “Lessons the tech world learned in 2012.”  The story covers some of the big ouch moments that made headlines in 2012.  But it was lesson #8 that brought the spike in traffic to Maclive.net.

Lesson #8 was titled “If you want privacy keep off the net. Or at least encrypt your stuff.”  Needless to say, the finger was pointed at former CIA Director David Petraeus.  There was a lesson to be learned there.  But when the Guardian made note of the complexities of encrypting ones email, they linked to our post.  That’s where the surge originated.
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An Author’s Interaction with Fans at the Holidays

The holidays are here again and Christmas cards are being traded.  Among the cards that have arrived this year was on from the best selling author, Joseph Finder.  As in years past, Joe sends out cards to those who subscribe to his newsletter.  I think this is an example of an author going above and beyond to make a special connection with his reading audience.  Certainly any author worth his salt has a mailing list that can be used to alert fans to the release of a new book or the schedule of an upcoming book signing.  But how many authors take the time (or go to the expense) of sending out holiday cards?  Talk about going the extra mile!

A special note in this years card described how Joe had the good fortune of taking part in Operation Thriller, now in its third year.  Operation Thriller III was a USO tour of the Middle East with best selling authors including Kathleen Antrim, Michael Connelly, Brad Meltzer, Andy Harp, and Joseph Finder.  Read more about the tour here.
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ThillerCast Episode #61: The Challenges of Writing a Series

The latest episode of ThillerCast (Episode #61) features a discussion centering on the challenges of writing an ongoing series of novels.  For all of the fun the books might be for the reader, that running story arc presents some significant challenges for the author.  Particularly when the writer is working on other content between books.  David and Alan discuss how difficult it can be to pick up a previous project and continue a year later.  Aspiring writers in particular will want to consider their comments and suggested workarounds.

The episode also features  an interview with Chuck Wendig, novelist, screenwriter, and game designer.  Chuck had written books such as Blackbirds, Hunter: The Vigil, Double Dead, and Mockingbird.

Subscribe to ThrillerCast via iTunes, or download episode #61 directly.

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Resurrect, by Kane Gilmour

resurect_kgIn the 1850s, a powerful Chinese warlord proclaims himself the Son of God, brother of Jesus Christ, and raises an army with the strength to take over half of China.  More than fifteen hundred years later, his descendant and legions of fanatic followers set a plan it motion that could effect the entire world.  The key to stopping a potential holly war may be hidden in the lost final discovery of an infamous Swedish explorer from 1952.  But when a team of three archaeologists unearth something that threatens the plans of the extremist religious cult, no one is safe.

When members of the cult try to kill the archeology team, they come to the attention of Jason Quinn and his alpine research team from ARGO: Alpine Research and Geographic Observation.  ARGO, created by Teddy Roosevelt in 1902, was founded to deal with all manner of studies pertaining to alpine climates, volcanology, and glaciology.  The attempt on the archaeological team threatens disaster for Quinn’s expedition and provides him an increased personal stake in stopping the Chinese madman and his terror troop.
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Maclive.net Moves to WordPress CMS

jobs_bio-iconThis is the first official live post on the WordPress CMS.  The previous posts have all been migrated over from the last web site.  In this post I want to take a look at some of the features of WordPress and kick the tires on some of the basic configuration changes such as basic Twitter support that I will be adding to the default template.

In just getting started here, I just made a massive mistake.  I used the undo function of the browser, Google Chrome in this case, to correct a mistake I made in my writing.  It undid my writing alright.  It got rid of a ton of my content and there is not redo option to get it back.  All of my text is gone with no means of restoring.  With that in mind, it would still be best to do the writing in a dedicated text editor and then past the content into this page for posting.  But looking closer, it wold be wise to keep in mind that Apple+Z is the undo command in the browser.  The GUI text editor in the WordPress authoring area actually has its own undo function.  Had I used that, it is likely that I could have used the companion Redo option to retrieve the work that was lost.  Still, this is a sticky area as Apple+Z based undo is a shortcut that most of us use without thinking.  In just about every single other application it would have function exactly how I had anticipated.  I guess I live and learn!
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Quality Time with the Amazon Kindle

Amazon.com jumpstarted the stagnated ebook market with the release of the Kindle.  Though at a glance the device comes off as a simple e-reader, it boasts a feature set that make the device as powerful as it is comfortable to read.  A built in QWERTY keyboard makes it easy to annotate text, highlight passages, and leave notes beyond what would have normally fit in the magian of a conventional book.  All without doing physical damage to the book in the process.

I really wanted to take my time with the Kindle before putting together a review.  To that end, I have spent that last 5 months reading.  In that time I have completed 21 Kindle based novels and 4 hard cover versions.  More than enough time, I believe, to evaluate the content consumption device.
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Publish Yourself at Lulu.com

Back in my days of working pre-press, Print on Demand was a big concern in the industry.  It threatened to shake up the way the entire industry operated.  And, while new technologies promised such ease of use, they seldom lived up to their ultimate goal.

Lulu.com is an on demand print publishing service that finally offers the type of service that was promised back in the mid 90’s.  Do you have a book that you want published, but no one is willing to sign you?  Why not publish it yourself with Lulu?

Lulu makes it simple.  You submit your book and they print it, on demand, every time someone places an order.  There is no minimum order and no upfront investment.  If your book never sells, then it costs you nothing.  Lulu lets you set the price of your book.  Simply specify your own markup on top of what Lulu charges to print it, and you are all set.  Lulu will even make your book available in the Lulu online store.

But what about getting Amazon or Barnes & Noble to offer your book?  You want your book in the online stores that readers most frequent, don’t you?  Not a problem.  Lulu works with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others to get your work offered through their online stores.  This is an extra charge ($34.95), but it covers the ISBN fee for your book and gets it listed in the Books in Print database.  If you chose not to pay for the Basic Distribution Service, you can still sell your book though Lulu’s online store.

Once your book is published on Lulu.com, each time an order is placed, the book is printed and shipped by Lulu.  All you do is collect the royalties.  For better or worse, Lulu makes it easy for anyone to self publish!


Steve

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