Double Trouble: Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris Rush Amazon.com

Friday, August 8th, 2008
[audio:http://www.chasingthebard.com/wp-content/uploads/episodes/doubletrouble_promo.mp3] Double Trouble

Authors Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris are attempting to make a splash on Amazon.com with their new novels, both sequels to award nominated novel. You can help by buying their new books today (08/08/08) at 8am PDT1 . An event they are referring to as Double Trouble.

Digital Magic by Phillipa Ballentine

The Fey are gone… and with them, magic. At least, that is how things seem at the conclusion of the award-nominated novel Chasing the Bard. ~ Lord what fools these mortals be. ~ Penherem is a quaint, sleepy English village where people go to escape the 21st Century. Hiding from the world of laptop computers, the Internet, and wireless communication, is Ella. A writer, now barren of ideas and drive, she resigns herself to a quiet life of solitude. Everything changes with the arrival of a shapeshifting thief. Suddenly, everyone begins to change–from the local librarian to the lady of the manor–revealing their true natures and dangerous secrets. Something in this sleepy English village is awakening… something that might be better left alone.

Digital Magic is the sequel to Chasing the Bard, which is available in paperback, or as a free audiobook.

The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant by Tee Morris

Chicago, 1930, and following the financial calamity of Black Thursday, Billi is doing everything he can to keep his business afloat. The change in seasons, though, brings him a case that appears to be a true blessing from The Fates. Chicago Cubs Manager Joe McCarthy suspects something fishy with the Baltimore Mariners, a new team in the league, and he’s hiring Billi to look into it.

What appears to be the dream job – being paid to research and attend baseball games – turns out to be a nightmare as he discovers one of the Nine Talismans of Acryonis somewhere in play at Wrigley.

And wouldn’t you know it – with two outs and bases loaded, the heavy hitter of the Underworld “Big Al” gets early parole from The Big Dugout and is swinging two in the Batter’s Circle.

The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant is the sequel to Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword available in paperback and as a free audiobook.

  1. I checked with Tee and no matter what’s been said, he meant Pacific Daylight Time []

Re: Cover to Cover #319B: Electronic Formats Revisisted

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Dragon Page: Cover to Cover has been discussing ebooks at length lately, especially since Mike Stackpole is selling his stuff in the iTunes App Store. In the latest episode they spend the opening section lampooning the idea of e-book standards. The conversation that ensued contained a good deal of misinformation1 .

So I’m posting this in response here, hoping to keep the conversation going (I could post it as a comment on the site, but it’s a bit long for that, and it’s way to long to leave as a voicemail without sounding like even more of a crank).

Stand Alone Readers in the iTunes Store

The discussion gives an impression about the stand alone readers (specifically Stanza and eReader) having access to a bunch of old public domain content nobody actually wants to read. No mention is made of putting content you purchased outside iTunes or creative commons works into these readers, which seems to be their primary purpose.

Stanza

The Stanza iPod Touch/iPhone app is an offshoot of the Stanza desktop reader (Mac Only). Any file you can read on the desktop reader2) can be transferred to the mobile Stanza app. This covers a lot of commercially available content.

Also the mobile Stanza app is pre-configured to pull ePub files from Feedbooks. Feedbooks has 2500+ titles available for free. While many works are those you avoided reading in high school, it also includes titles from authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lester Del Rey, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, H. P. Lovecraft, Andre Norton, H. Beam Piper, Robert Silverberg and E.E. “Doc” Smith. Those too old school for you? How about Steven Brust, Tobias Buckell, Cory Doctorow, James Patrick Kelly, and Charles Stross, to name a few.

eReader

Although it’s stated that the eReader can be used to download free content (I admit I don’t even know if can download free content), no mention is made that it is actually designed to download your purchases from eReader. Also, any multi-format purchase from Fictionwise is also supported.

Since I personally avoid books that come locked in one format, the vast majority of my Fictionwise purchases are instantly downloadable to my iPod touch. That’s a big win for me, because it means when I’m home I can read on my dedicated e-book reader, with it’s larger screen, but when I’m stuck in the waiting room I can keep reading the same book off my iPod Touch without buying it twice.

ePub and Tower of eBabel

There is a group of […] e-book enthusiasts who are deaf on anything that is not the one true ring, the one true way. They want everything to be available in one universal format, which doesn’t happen to exist yet. […] and they want it to then be cross-platform available because they’re very resentful if seven years ago they bought a book for their palm pilot and now they can’t play it on their iPod.

Yeah, those people. Me.

Mike and Mike then then proceed to talk down to “those people” as if we all just fell off the esparanto truck by giving the same arguments all the digital music players that didn’t play MP3s used to give and why music would always have DRM. Making a buck will always trump the demands of the consumer. Format wars will always go on forever and ever and there will be no standard delivery mechanism3 .

More importantly, the format does exist in the form of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)‘s ePub, and it does have vendor support. Adobe, Amazon4 , eBook Technologies, OSoft, VitalSource and LibreDigital (among others) all support ePub in their current products. Sony just added ePub support to it’s line of readers, and Bookeen is currently working on adding it to their Cybook readers. You can get any of Feedbooks 2500+ titles in .epub. Heck, even the last of the freebie releases from TOR was released in .epub rather than .mobi.

Maybe I’m Crazy

I like e-books. I prefer them to print. I like being able to increase the font to rest my eyes. I like being able to read them on multiple devices. I don’t want this to happen to my books. I feel that e-books have to be more convenient that print to really take off5 . So either I’m a nut-job, or I’m who the people trying to sell these things should be targeting. I’m the one going to go out and extolling the virtues of these things to the people I know who are hanging by the sidelines waiting to see if they want to jump in. Feel free to tell me which one you think I am in the comments6

  1. I honestly don’t believe this was intentional. []
  2. Stanza supports HTML, PDF, Microsoft Word, RTF, Amazon Kindle, Mobipocket, Microsoft LIT, Palm doc, and EPUB (at least the DRM free variations of the above []
  3. Yeah, that’s why we don’t have a way to deliver audio programming in mp3 files over HTTP using RSS to any number of devices. []
  4. Amazon supports ePub in it’s Mobipocket products, but there’s no mention of the Kindle yet []
  5. It’s very likely publishers don’t what them to take off. Record companies still want you to buy CDs too. []
  6. If I don’t get any I’ll know I’m a crazy person talking to myself. []

Go Listen: PodCastle

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Not a hoax! Not a dream! PodCastle, the fantasy audio magazine from the folks who bring you Escape Pod and Pseudopod, launched today. The first story is Come Lady Death by Peter S. Beagle, read by Paul S. Jenkins (of The Rev Up Review). Check it out.

J.C. Hutchins’ “7th Son” Goes to Print

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

It’s been a big day for J.C. Hutchins. Earlier today he finished recording the last episode of 7th Son: Destruction, the final book in his 7th Son trilogy. More recently he posted a press release stating that the first book, 7th Son: Descent (previously reviewed) will be available in print from Saint Martin’s Press in 2009.

Congratulations, Hutch!

Go Listen: Lafferty, Sigler, and a Barrel of Monkeys

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Mur Lafferty’s Playing for Keeps

Playing for Keeps […] tells the story of Keepsie Branson, a bar owner in the shining metropolis of Seventh City: birthplace of super powers. Keepsie and her friends live among egotistical heroes and manipulative villains, and manage to fall directly in the middle as people with powers, but who just aren’t strong enough to make a difference. Or that’s what they’ve been told. As the city begins to melt down, it’s hard to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad.

Mur Lafferty’s latest podiobook officially launches tomorrow (although you can hear the first chapter right now). If you’ve ever listened to I Should be Writing you’ve probably heard of it (although perhaps under the title Keppsie’s Bar). It looks like Mur is trying out some new things with the Playing for Keeps Experience feed which will feature a host of additional content, including PDFs of the chapters and Stories of the Third Wave, a supplemental podcast.

Listen to the Promo and subscribe.

Scott Sigler’s Nocturnal

Something lives deep beneath the streets of San Francsico. Something that has been there for centuries, something that comes out at night … to feed on the dregs of society. A sub-culture, with its own myths, its own legends of leader named The King that will lead them out of bondage, and their own demon, a hunting shadow known only as Savior.

But the legends of Savior’s brutality have faded, the fear passed into stories told to frighten the young ones. When The King finally appears, just as foretold, the Nocturnals know their time has time — the time to come out from under the streets and hunt humanity in the open.

Scott Sigler’s newest podiobook thriller launches tonight at midnight EST. As usual it sounds like quite the ride. If you’ve heard Scott’s stuff you already know what to expect, if you haven’t you can head on over to Podiobooks.com and grab Earthcore and Ancestor at any time.

The print version of Nocturnal is currently scheduled for 2010, but the podcast launches tonight, so why not listen to the promo and subscribe.

The NanoMonkeys

NanoMonkeys Coverart

Hosted by PG Holyfield, Chris Miller, and Kris Johnson, the NanoMonkeys aim to help get you through the madness that is NaNoWriMo.

For those of you, like me, that are participating in NaNoWriMo, and thinking “Gah! Who has time for new podcast novels?”, I’ve got just the thing for you. The NanoMonkeys is a daily podcast (approximately five minutes per episode) that runs throughout November offering writing advice and encouragement. This year the line up features a number of guest authors (including me on November 3rd). I made listening to this part of my daily routine last year, and I recommend you do the same.

This year’s welcome episode is available now. What are you waiting for, subscribe?

NaNoWriMo 2007

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007 Participant

I figured it was time for a bit of a writing update. I’m currently prepping for NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is you can read about on their site. Short version: Write 50,000 words on a new novel during the month of November. I did it last year (and won) and I’m looking forward to trying again.

I’m currently doing some plot work in preparation. I’m using the same world as I used for Miracles, but none of the same characters (although I could easily play six degrees of separation I don’t think any of that will make it into the book). This will be the first novel I’ve written using Scrivener (the software that got me to buy a Mac mini, but that’s whole other post). I’m planning on the novel (not titled, I never seem to title my novels until the end) being about 90,000 words, which means I should finish my first draft sometime in January, although I’m aiming for the end of the year.

After this one is done I’ll go back and restart the stalled slog on Miracles, and possibly toss around some of my short stories back out into the market. I hope to have the Miracles revisions done by April, then I’ll hopefully start revising this new book. My first novel is pretty much dead in the water. I’m still waiting for feedback from two of my first readers (hmmm, time for an email). The feedback I’ve gotten to date has me thinking that there’s something worth saving there, but it needs a lot of work. If nothing else it was a great learning experience.

I’m also planning to try and post updates once a week in November, but it all depends on my word count progress (pretty much everything in November depends on my word count progress). If you miss hearing from me or just can’t get enough of me I recorded an episode of The NanoMonkeys Podcast1 (my podcast premiere, not counting voice mail or live chat) during the first few days of November. Besides, if you aren’t busy you should sign up for NaNoWrimo yourself (and leave a comment if you do).

  1. original post is long gone, but you can snag the replay []

Go Listen: SOLIDARITY! explained

Friday, September 14th, 2007

If you’ve been following me on Twitter or via my Lifefeed you may have seen some recent references to SOLIDARITY! Check out I Should Be Writing #76 in which Mur Lafferty interviews JC Hutchins about the phenomenon. You’ll also hear a rather rushed sounding voicemail from Yours Truly.

Links of Interest (June 21st 2007 through June 29th 2007)

Friday, June 29th, 2007
Pirate keyboard
CORSAIR Ergonomic Keyboard For Pirates
David Allen Company Podcast
David Allen Company podcast
Writer Stalking
Vlog-paparazzia stalk author/podcaster Mathew Wayne Selznick at Balticon.
Locus Online: New Books, mid-June 2007
Locus online’s listing of new SF/F/H books for mid-June 2007
The Dawn of Dilbert
The original batch of Dilbert strips that were submitted to the cartoon syndicates (with reactions).

Go Listen: 2007 Hugo Award Nominees

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
Escape Pod has a number of this years short story nominees available: Impossible Dreams by Tim Pratt, The House Beyond Your Sky by Benjamin Rosembaum, Eight Episodes by Robert Reed, and Kin by Bruce McAllister.

Go Listen: James Patrick Kelly Interview

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
Tee Morris posted a great interview with James Patrick Kelly (author of, among other things, the excellent Hugo Award winning novella Burn) on The Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy. Jim really goes into his thoughts on podcasting fiction. Now I’m extra bummed I missed him when he was at the library recently.