Everything, it seems, is being cancelled. When hockey gets cancelled in Canada, and football is cancelled in the UK, you know things are getting serious.
But the cancellations are for a good reason. Social distancing is the best way to curb the spread of this virus. Social distancing and self-isolation is the responsible thing to do. I saw a thing on FB yesterday that made me laugh so hard it brought tears to my eyes. It went like this:
“Our grandfathers were called to storm the beaches of Normandy. We are being called to sit on the couch. You can do this.”
Yes, we can. The isolation won’t be fun, but it is the socially responsible thing to do. Even if you are not in a high risk category, you can still become contagious – so this is about protecting other people as well.
The good news is that reading hasn’t been cancelled. And with the entire world going into quarantine, restaurants, bars and all public events closing, there is going to be a lot of time to read.
This week, from March 16 to March 19, 2020, I am giving away for free the Kindle version of “Aliens, Spaceships and the Occasional Latte”. Available on Amazon now. It is a fun, escapist read that is by no means serious SF and has nothing to do with viruses, so I hope people will find it a refreshing and enjoyable diversion.
This is the first book in my Jack Winters series, about a detective and a group of alien smugglers who come to Earth for our coffee and have all kinds of adventures around the galaxy.
The second book in the series is also available now – “Coffee To Go, With a Spaceship.” The 3rd book is planned, and I hope to have that ready later this year.
Various promotions will continue after the free giveaway ends March 19. After March 19, I will raise the price up to 0.99 in both the US, Canadian and UK markets. (0.99 Euro for UK, and 0.99 USD for the States and something like 1.35 in Canada – whatever the conversation rate works out to.)
The book will be featured in a series of online promotions and email blasts between now and April 5, with BooksGoSocial, Bargain Booksy and BookSends. The price will remain at 0.99 throughout this time and to the end of April.
Please drop me a line and let me know what you think!
Stay safe and stay healthy… and don’t forget to wash your hands!
In response to the overwhelming demand from my readers, I’m planning the 3rd book in the Jack Winters series. Actually, truth be told, I’d planned on continuing the series from the very beginning. Readers have been asking me when the next is coming, and I expect to have it out in the first half of next year – by spring of 2020.
Thanks to my readers, the first two novels, Aliens, Spaceships and the Occasional Latte and Coffee to Go, With a Spaceship have been a tremendous success and I’m excited about continuing the series.
I will keep readers updated with news and progress. Keep an eye out for future posts on my website!
Okay, this is has nothing to do with my latest novel, but it’s still fun. I made the blade from 01 tool steel and used brass for the bolster. I grind and polish the pieces by hand using a belt sander and files. When I’ve finished shaping the knife, I heat treat it in a small forge. Heat treating the steel after the knife is shaped makes the steel really hard so it will keep a tough edge when sharpened. After the heat treat I cut out the handles from slabs of micarta and attach them using brass pins. Then I give the steel blade and handle material all a final polish by hand using a very fine grit sandpaper. I finished this last week.
When I get stumped on a plot point or where to go with a character, it helps me clear my mind by going out to the shop and making a knife.
Or, more to the point, is anything or anybody out there at all? Given the nature of my novels, I’m often asked if I really believe in aliens. But that question can mean a couple of different things:
Do you believe in aliens?
Do you believe in UFO’s?
These are two very different topics. ‘Do you believe there might be other intelligent beings out there in the universe somewhere?’ – OR – ‘Do you believe that the UFO phenomenon is real – that UFO’s are real and they are spaceships visiting us from other worlds.’
Many serious scientists, notably those involved in programs like SETI, believe there may be, even likely is, intelligent life in the universe other than ourselves. They do not necessarily believe in UFOs. I fall into that camp. I am agnostic when it comes to aliens – I think there could be other civilizations out there. We just don’t know and programs like SETI are looking for scientific evidence for that.
But do I believe in UFOs?
And here’s why. If UFOs really are visitors from other planets, then they aren’t very smart or seem to be very confused about what their mission is.
Consider this: The aliens either want us to know about them, and are here to reveal themselves to us, make contact, hopefully just to trade or engage in cultural exchange and other benign activities.
Or, they are here on a secret mission and don’t want us to know about them.
Either way, they seem to be doing a lousy job of it. If it is a secret mission, then they’ve screwed up big time. Thousands of people are on to them, and if the UFO conspirators are correct, then apparently the US Government knows all about them too.
If they are not on a secret mission and are here to reveal themselves, make contact, then that is not going very well either because the vast majority of us rational people don’t ‘know’ about them. It’s still a big secret only the conspiracy theory people and the US Government seem to know about. And the government is involved in a massive cover-up to keep it from the public.
If aliens from other worlds are really visiting us and want us to know about them, then HOW could the US Government cover that up?
I mean, wouldn’t it be a simple matter for our alien buddies to make themselves known and initiate cultural contact? Why don’t they just land a big ship in Times Square, or the front lawn of the White House, or Red Square for that matter.
Or how about in front of parliament in Ottawa? Canadians are generally pretty nice and aren’t as likely to start shooting.
But conspiracy believers will say they don’t do that because they aren’t ready to reveal themselves, or we’re not ready for them yet, so they still have to keep their presence secret. Well, if that’s the case we still have a big problem because they’ve been photographed and spotted literally thousands of times. And they seem to be obsessed with hanging around top secret US government airfields and stuff – and getting spotted.
Again, not very smart of them.
But no, apparently they only reveal themselves to fruitcakes. Because from the documentaries I’ve watched about people claiming to have met or been abducted by aliens, the people involved don’t seem to be entirely well balanced.
And why is there NEVER any hard evidence? Just stories by crazy people. Sure, lots of pictures but those are easily faked. Of course, this is where the conspiracy believers will say – “but there is hard evidence…and the US Government is hiding it and keeping it from the public… and they’ve used the tech to build spaceships that get us to Mars in 3 days… and there is a colony on Mars already…but it’s all a secret because people can’t handle the truth…”
Yup, you can watch documentaries on Netflix where people go into great detail ‘proving’ these very things.
But here’s the thing. Suppose for a moment that all this is true. I don’t think the cover-up is necessary any more because I’m pretty sure the public is long passed caring. What I mean by that is not that people wouldn’t be interested, it’s just there wouldn’t be panic in the streets. If the ‘truth’ came out, most of us would watch it on the morning news shows while drinking our coffee, mumble something like: “It’s about time the government finally came clean on UFOs”, then finish getting dressed and get on with our day. Sure, it would be cool, but we’d hardly panic.
Maybe the aliens coming here are cadets, spaceship pilots in training, and that would explain all the rookie mistakes they seem to be making.
Well, I think I’ve ranted enough. I’m sure the US Government has a lot of secrets they are keeping from us. I think they have to – how could they function otherwise. But I don’t think UFOs are one of them.
I think all that stuff that gets spotted in the sky, sometimes hard to explain, is exactly what a rational person would suppose. Advanced aircraft technology that the US is working on. Think about it – at any given time the Air Force must be working on the next generation of technology, and of course it has to be kept secret. And of course they have to test fly this stuff. When they first started working on stealth bombers, it would have been top secret and someone who happened to spot a test flight might easily mistake it for a UFO. I mean, after all, we don’t have anything like that on Earth, right???
And interestingly enough, the vast majority of so-called UFO sightings are in and around vicinity of military bases.
And I don’t think aliens who have the ability to travel light-years across the galaxy would be all that interested in how our jet engines work.
I think they’d be coming for cultural exchange…and our coffee, of course…
Exciting news! The Kindle version of Aliens, Spaceships and the Occasional Latte is going on sale for 99 cents! Okay, maybe that’s not exactly a free give-away as the blog title might suggest, but I thought the title was catchy, and it is still almost a give-away. Cheaper than a Latte, that’s for sure.
The promotion will be on November 18 and then again the 25th, featured on Booksends and Bargain Booksy.
I’ve got a promo running this month for a couple of my books, The Girl With No Shoes and Aliens, Spaceships and the Occasional Latte. The picture to the left with the cute pink flip-flops has nothing to do with anything, but I like it for its winsome cheerfulness.
The fun starts this week. I’m giving away the Kindle version of The Girl With No Shoes for free, from August 6 to 9. You can download it from Amazon here. After that, it goes on sale for 99 cents for the rest of the month.
Aliens, Spaceships and the Occasional Latte will be free (Kindle version) starting August 7 through to the 11th. Then it goes on sale for 99 cents to the end of the month or longer if the promo is going well. Download it from Amazon here.
Be sure to get your copy! I hope you enjoy the books as much as I loved writing them.
A paperback version of ‘Coffee To Go’ is now available, however it may be a few more days or weeks before Amazon has them linked together in all markets. If you search on the title, you will still see them listed separately. I’m told by the folks at Amazon that it sometimes takes a week or so before their automated algorithms link the two.
The paperback version has a different cover, and you may ask why… well, since you are asking, the answer is simple. Economics. All publishers operate on a budget for each title they publish, and indie publishers like myself are no different. Print versions represent a very small fraction of over all sales. In fact, I basically produce a print version to make it easier to give copies away to friends and family, and I probably give more paperbacks away than are sold. So since the bulk of my sales are digital downloads, that is where I decided to spend my money on the cover.
It’s kind of crazy how much extra it costs to get a paperback version of the same cover art, so I made the executive decision to make my own cover for the paperback and use the free images available.
Just a quick note to my readers that I’ve changed the title of my time-travel romance, Sand Angel, to The Girl With No Shoes. It is the same great story, just a different cover and title. My wife looked at me funny when I told her, and maybe you are too, but I have my reasons. First, like most creatives, I can be flaky. That’s just the way we are. Kind of goes with the territory, unfortunately.
But secondly, I just never really liked the original title and went with Sand Angel because some close relatives liked it and urged me to use that. But the title always made me feel itchy and recently I decided to do something about it. I really like the new title. Here is the new blurb I’ve put up on Amazon along with the new title and cover:
When the new girl moves in next to Jake’s beach house, he is immediately interested. She’s beautiful, intelligent and mysterious, and it’s not long before he’s head over heels in love. What he doesn’t suspect, and what Octavia can never tell him, is that she is a time-traveller from the 23rd century. A time-traveller on a mission, because the world is about to end in a terrible plague and the lives of Jake, his precocious young daughter, and everyone around her is in grave danger.
But as their romance blossoms Octavia is troubled by the dark secrets she is keeping from him and all the lies she has to tell. How do you tell the person you love that you are from the future? How will they ever believe you? But how do you continue living a lie by keeping secret the single most important thing about you?
As Jake grows suspicious, Octavia’s secret threatens to tear them apart and she is forced to make a horrible decision. Does she stay in the past with the only man she has ever found true love with, risking her life in the plagues to come, or return to the safety of her own time? Equal parts time travel adventure and romance, The Girl With No Shoes is a touching story about how love can change the future.