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Latest Review

Despite my late night blackest imaginings, apparently I can actually write a good story.

“I loved these two books. A wild and crazy ride, with great characters and a very imaginative story. I need more….please!”

Heart of Fire Time of Ice
All the Moments in Forever

The introductory speculation (first sentence, above) probably makes more sense to other authors. I’ll elaborate.

The problem is: writing a reasonably good book is only half the equation. The book still has to find readers and that requires marketing–aggressive marketing. At the current rate of change in the book marketplace, doing a reasonably good job of marketing requires all of your time, so how does one find the time to write?

I’d rather be writing. It’s fun to develop a book and watch the characters you’ve imagined develop. It’s enjoyable to tell an entertaining story. Getting positive feedback is wonderful.

On the other hand, marketing is expensive, a lot of drudgery, boring (at least to me), and frustrating. The learning curve is very steep and to make matters worse, the topography of the available venues and tools changes continuously.

Then there is the competition — millions upon millions of books, who knows? Thousands, maybe even tens of competitors are searching for your perfect reader. (Trying to be funny here.) In point of fact, the better you narrow down your optimal market, the fewer the competing books, but then the fewer the buyers also.

Heart of Fire Time of Ice seems to enrage some readers, while others find it so enjoyable they immediately start on the sequel: All the Moments in Forever. I can live with that, if I have to, that is.

Then there’s Cyber-Witch: The Origin of Magic <sigh>. It won the silver President’s medal from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association this year (2018). People who read it like it, but readers aren’t finding it or are bypassing it for some reason. Few sales to date and I’m deep in the end stages of writing a sequel.

Why am I doing this? I mean writing a sequel for a book that doesn’t sell. Why??? <insert mental picture of a man choking himself with his own hands>

Two reasons really. One is that Cyber-Witch is really close to potential reality. It is a possible version of our world at the very beginning of the AI apocalypse. The sequel extends that world into an interesting future.

The other reason is I think the basic idea is a good one and the characters deserve their story to be told.

The two books are entertaining and hopefully thought-provoking. The reader is led to contemplate questions about sentience and whether an AI can be considered to be equivalent to a human. I’m not positive yet, but I’m pretty sure that the character “Snake” in the second book will tug at the reader’s heartstrings with his (its-although he has decided that he has masculine characteristics) struggles.

As I write, I’m continually amazed at the plot twists that develop seemingly without my active intervention. Things just suggest themselves as part of the story. I’m left wondering how I can blend the various elements into a seamless whole, but they are resolving nicely at this point. Still, I want to be done–just to see how it all turns out.

The one thing I’m sure of is I’m not making much money out of all this effort. However, I still love to write.

If

I

could

somehow

be

a

better

marketer.

Then, maybe…

 

Namaste!

Eric

 

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CyberWitch wins Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Medal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ken Johnson, Committee Chairman

Florida Authors and Publishers Association

President’s Book Awards Program

(850)910-1897

kenneth.johnson@myFAPA.org

www.myFAPA.org

Florida Author Receives National Recognition

Lake Buena Vista, FL (8/6/2018) – The Annual 2018 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards recognized CyberWitch: The Origin of Magic by E. S. Martell, in the category of Adult Science Fiction, as a Silver medal winner.

Hosted by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association, this prestigious national award is open to books published between 2017 and 2018. The judges for this national competition are librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

The FAPA President’s Book Award exists to promote excellence in the publishing industry by recognizing talented contemporary authors who put both heart and soul into their work. FAPA is proud to be a champion of authors and publishers going the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect.” said Jane R. Wood, Past President of FAPA.  

CyberWitch: The Origin of Magic is a Adult Science Fiction Cyberpunk novel, published by Second Initiative Press, which blends current and near future technology to create a realistic look at where our technology could be headed. The writing is strong and articulate while fully immersing the reader in a compelling story.

Medals were awarded at the annual FAPA President’s Book Awards Banquet held this year at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace in the Disney Springs TM Area of Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

We are proud to announce this year’s winners who truly embody the excellence this award was created to celebrate. Their works are representative of the creative storytelling, bold concepts and innovative ideas which makes the President’s Book Awards so well respected by librarians and those in the publishing industry. This year was no exception as we had a record number of nominations! We salute all of our winners for their fine work.” said FAPA’s President, Angelina Assanti.

The Florida Authors & Publishers Association is an organization for authors, publishers, illustrators, editors, printers, and other professionals involved in the publishing industry. It focuses on providing the highest quality of information, resources, and professional development to members and others interested in the writing and publishing profession.

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What sort of weapons might an alien civilization have?

Interesting question, isn’t it? Especially if one imagines that we humans could conceivably be on the receiving end of said weapons. Of course, we’d have to meet the aliens first (or they’d have to discover us) and the relationship between our two species would have to be one where aggression made sense. That last is probably the most realistic assumption, considering our inability to get along with each other.

Our historical tendency towards international (possibly interstellar in the future) aggression and our distrust of those who are not members of our own self-identified group is actually the motivating point of my Gaea Ascendant trilogy. It starts with a sneaky alien invasion, works through multiple attacks, and ends with an attempt to structure a way for humans and two allied alien species to co-exist peacefully in an interdependent manner.

In the process, my hero, Declan Dunham, asks one of the Sunnys (a non-aggressive species that provides a lot of the advanced technology to the fledgling confederacy) how one of their primary weapons, an anti-matter projector, works. Below is a section from “Confederation”, the third book in the trilogy, wherein Frazzle attempts to explain the weapon. You’ll notice that Frazzle’s command of English is only fair. Humans cannot speak the Sunny language at all due to their use of whistles and supersonics that are beyond our capacity to reproduce. As an aside, Frazzle and Red are a mated pair and Dec has interrupted them in the middle of a moment of alien romantic cuddling.

Here’s the section:

————————————

Frazzle let his shoulders droop and I knew that he was upset, but Red suddenly gave him a hard shove. “Get over dat!” she said. “You and me both know dat there be plenty of need for the shooters. Tell Dec what he need to know.”

Frazzle sort of shook himself and then asked, “Whats you want to know. I can talk about the technology an I tries not to think about the use.”

I considered how best to ask. “What I want to know is a simple explanation of how they work and what could go wrong with them unexpectedly. I don’t want to be surprised at a critical moment.”

He seemed to be thinking it over, so I added, “I’d also like to know about their limitations and true capabilities. I feel like I’ve been lucky so far and I need to know more.”

He drew a breath and began to explain, “Making de anti-matter particles normally takes much energy, but we cheats. The weapon creates a field that gathers positively charged virtual particles from the sub-field of space – ”

Here I interrupted, “What’s that mean?”

He continued, “You call it de quantum plenum. It’s full of particles of all sorts coming and going, so there plenty of anti-particles to grab with the weapon field. The power of the weapon, the little power packs for the hand weapons and the ship power for the big gun first are used to grab these particles. All sizes of guns work the same, just the smaller ones can’t grab as much particles.”

He paused for breath and I interrupted again, “What happens to the particles once they’re captured by this field?”

He smiled; a closed-lip tightening of his cheek muscles, and looked aside at Red. She nodded her head.

“Dat a good question and it’s the next thing that the power pack does. It powers a circular field that uses the strong magnet force. The positive particles pulled from the virtual plenum become real here and are trapped in the circle field. When the shoot button is pushed, the field opens and the particles, whoosh – ” waving his hand wildly, “fly out. The direction tube (by which I thought he meant the barrel) has magnetic field that keeps the particles in the tube and away from the sides. That field also makes the particles to go faster. It uses electric force to make them accelerate to close to light speed. An you know what happens when anti-particles hit regular matter. Fswhoosh!” He threw both paws up in a gesture intended to represent the resulting annihilation.

“Okay. That sort of explains how the things work,” I said, thinking about what he’d just told me. “What can go wrong with the system? Does it wear out or break?”

“De direction tube and the place where the circle field is can sometimes get eroded by leaking particles. This happens most when the power pack is low and the magnetic field not strong enough. So, we put limiter on the weapon. It won’t work if not enough power. The hand held ones have flashing red light when power packs get too low. But this not a problem for the big shooter attached to ship-power. It not run out of shots and power is enough to keep erosion very low.”

He scratched his nose and then continued slowly, “De only problem you have with the big ones is that regular atoms in air or space dust get dissolved and thin anti-matter pulse down. If too much dust, or try to shoot through too much air, the pulse gets used up and no damage to the target happen. Same happens to small guns if try to shoot too far.”

“Frazzle, I’ve always thought that anti-matter reacting with regular matter would create an explosion. Why doesn’t that happen?”

“The shooters project a long burst of particles. Not much hit at once, though very fast. Difference like dripping water on dirt compared to dumping whole bucket at once on dirt pile. Best I can ‘splain,” he shrugged in a very human-like gesture.

Our, or maybe I should say, my grasp of physics wasn’t up to much more than this anyway, so I went on to my next question, “How far and how fast do the big ship cannons shoot?”

“De direction tube on the big ones use lot of energy with each pulse. By time the pulse reach the end of tube, it going nearly light speed. That gives very fast shot. Distance determined by matter in between like I ‘splain. Only thing is shooting at long, long distance, pulse take a while to get there, so target can move,” he answered, waving his finger in the air with an attitude of admonition.

“Okay, so keep the targets fairly close. The atmosphere must not be too much of a problem for the big gun. It had no problem burning a wide path through the middle of the Pug-bears position from space.”

“Dat’s correct. It more a problem for the hand-held weapons. They’re not nearly as powerful. But when we shooted Boulder to get the Pugs, I boosted power in the gun so the circle magnetic field built up much more particles than normal. Can’t do that much and it take some time. Try too often and erosions becomes a problem,” he answered.

I judged that I’d gotten about as much information as I could understand. “Thank you! I’m going to go talk to Rudy. You two continue where you left off.”

They laughed as I turned to the transporter. I was still smiling myself when I came back into the bridge.

—————————————

That’s the section. Now, should you be so disposed, I’d be quite interested to read critiques of the piece, particularly the implied science.

Namaste,

Eric

BTW – Here are the links to the series on Kindle:

Note that I’m about to re-release The Time of the Cat. It is my first fiction novel and it is self-edited. I’ve now got an editor and we’re working to make the story an easier read. The new edition should be out by 5/1/2016.

The Gaea Ascendant Series
The Time of the Cat
Second Wave
Confederation

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Reviews are important to the author. Here’s why:

saber tooth skull
Review of Heart of Fire  Time of Ice on UK Amazon.

By Lewlew on 3 Mar. 2016

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This is my first book by this author and I found the premise interesting and, unlike a recent reviewer, the physics lessons very much needed if you are to understand Kathleen’s predicament! She must master control over the positive and negative aspects of her discovery from years of research. Her life, and Cadeyrin’s depend upon it. I am not sure that the author is done with one book. When you finally reach the end of the book, you are wondering, how will the future be for her? Can she carry on functioning this way and be safe from further problems in the present and past?

I don’t want to give away anything as it is a book for discovering the characters as well as the plot. But I do hope the author is going to bring us another one. I would like to follow along as Kathleen follows her dreams!

More please!


   Beginning authors often have an unreasonable expectation that they will receive lots of positive feedback from admiring readers. While this may happen, it’s more usual for readers who enjoy the story to simply look for another from the same author. Giving feedback, despite being as easy as Amazon can make it, is still a task that few people have the time or inclination to tackle.

   The number of feedback responses to a book has an impact on its success. Most people will base their decision to purchase or not at least partially on the feedback count and the average number of rating stars. Popular books often get thousands of ratings. Of course, books become popular through marketing. It’s only after the prospective reader searches out the book on the internet that feedback becomes a part of the equation.

   Amazon’s sales rankings are one of the most important contributors to popularity. Once a book has moved into the top tier on Amazon, their algorithms ensure that it pops up on the computer screens of people who have shown interest in similar stories. This helps get eyes on the book, then the book’s description and the ratings take over.

   I’m not able to speak with authority for anyone else, but my purchasing decision tree goes through these steps:

  1. Become aware of the title by browsing Amazon’s categories, seeing it in a list of recommended books on Kindle, or through some internet marketing on other sites such as Twitter or Facebook.
  2. Search for the book’s page on Amazon.
  3. Read the author’s description of the story.
  4. Check the average number of stars given by readers
  5. Read some of the text reviews – both positive and negative
  6. Download a free sample to read.
  7. If the author hasn’t captured me by the time I finish the free sample it’s Sayonara.
  8. If I can’t wait to find out what happens next, it’s purchase time.
  9. Read the story.
  10. Assign a ranking, and if it’s a book I really enjoyed, write a brief review.

   So, that’s how I choose books. In my imagination, at least, that’s probably how many other readers act, too.

   The importance of sales and making money is one thing for an author, but there is a certain intense satisfaction from learning that a reader really liked the story and characters that is perhaps more important. I’ve had readers tell me they stayed home from work to finish Heart of Fire Time of Ice. I find that incredibly flattering. I only hope their boss was understanding.

   To my disappointment, the above review doesn’t show in the US Kindle site. Amazon shows US reviews on all of the other country sites, but not the reverse. Why, I don’t know.

   I’ve had some readers ask what happens next for Kathleen and Cadeyrin and have put some thought into their story after the events in Heart. I checked the UK page for the book just by chance and discovered the above review. That final sentence, “More please,” convinced me. There will be a follow-up story.

   I’ve already come up with part of the plot and the rest is bubbling around out there in the quantum plenum, just waiting for the two characters to lead me on the journey of writing their next story. My main problem is that I’m in the middle of another book with different characters. It makes it difficult to write when I’d like to be working on another project. As an aside, I like to finish one writing project before I start on the next. Now I’ve got to make a decision as to which way to go.

   Here’s the take-away: If you like a book and want more, you’d be well advised to leave feedback and ask for a sequel. The author will almost certainly see your request.

Namaste!

Eric

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On Developing a Believable Language for the Pleistocene

How does one come up with believable words from a 13,000 year old language? That issue posed a serious problem for me in my current work in progress.
The story involves a modern physics student who discovers a formula that describes what Fred Alan Wolf (aka Dr. Quantum) calls extraordinary time-travel. As her understanding of the formula becomes more intuitive, she experiences a series of deja vu events that foreshadow her developing abiity to shift times.
Trying to escape an attack, she accidentally makes a jump into the late Pleistocene, in the time of the Younger Dryas. The glaciers are advancing again and the climate is very dry. This is the period that led to the extinction of the Pleistocene mega-fauna: saber-tooths, mammoths, dire wolves, etc.
The land is dangerous and offers lots of opportunities for adventure. A modern woman (or man), unprepared, would probably not last very long in such an environment. She encounters a single hunter and their struggles to survive make for an exciting story.
One of the primary problems in the scenerio is that the two must communicate. He has his own language and she speaks English. He turns out to be somewhat of a linguist and learns English quickly. Some readers may feel that his ability to quickly learn English, is a stretch. If pressed, I’ll admit that there is some validity in that criticism.
For the sake of the story (and because I’m the author and can make such a decision), I decided that he was intelligent, his memory was excellent (this is usual in cultures with strong oral traditions), and he wasn’t stressed with all of the minutiae that we have to remember on a daily basis.
It might also be that his brain structure was slightly different from ours, perhaps in the rate of maturation. Children have no difficulty learning new languages until they reach a certain level of brain maturation. This has to do with the pruning of neuronal branches during the learning process. If that was delayed a few years, then his rapid learning could be explained.
Anyway, I couldn’t see writing an entire book with dialog on the level of “Me Cadeyrin; you Kathleen. Ugh.” It would quickly become tiresome. Since my goal is to entertain my readers, ‘tiresome’ is definitely something I strive to avoid.
Even though he learns English quickly, I thought the story would be more enjoyable if he used some of his own words at times. I personally find that books that have a large number of made-up words are difficult to read, so I limited his words to only a few animal names. The problem was how does one come up with words that are over 13,000 years old and that refer to animals that have been extinct throughout recorded history?
I’m no linguist and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on that issue, rather than actually developing the story. I eventually solved the problem by looking up names for animals in the oldest languages I could find. I was limited geographically also, since the story assumes that the Solutrean theory is accurate, ie. that the Clovis culture originated in Europe. That meant I couldn’t use Asian or Siberian or American Indian words.
I found words in old Norse, Basque, Celtic (both Irish and Scottish), German, Finnish, and Phrygian. Then I made what I considered reasonable modifications to the words.
Cadeyrin’s name can be used as an example of my process. I found the Welsh name ‘Cadeyrn’. I added the ‘i’, since English speakers usually don’t encounter words that contain ‘yrn’. ‘Cadeyrn’ means ‘King of Battle’. That could be reasonably be viewed as an enlargement of ‘Great Warrior’ or even ‘Good Fighter’. This process allowed me to come up with a name that I found believable.
Another example is the old Norse word, ‘ulfr’ or ‘ulfur’ (Icelandic) meaning ‘wolf’. When I shortened it to ‘ulf’ it seemed to fit. The suffix ‘sa’ came from my need to have a diminutive for the word, hence ‘Ulfsa’ means ‘little wolf’. The suffix ‘a’ usually makes a word plural in the story.
Much the same process was used for the other words I semi-invented for the story. After a few hours work, I ended up with a list of names for some of the animals my characters would encounter. The exercise was somewhat entertaining and it gave me a bit of a break from the actual writing.
Look for “Heart of Fire, Time of Ice” on Kindle – to be released soon.
Namaste,
Eric