“angles of attack” giveaway.

There’s an Angles of Attack giveaway at Goodreads right now. If you’d like to put in your name for a free copy, you should head on over there and do the thing with the click and the stuff. The giveaway runs until April 21st, which is the official release day of Angles of Attack:


I get a box of author copies as is customary with most book contracts, and the one for Angles of Attack arrived yesterday:

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I don’t care how many books I’ll write in the future—opening that box and looking at the printed version for the first time is never going to get old. I feel like nerdy George McFly at the end of Back to the Future every time. You know, that scene where he gets his author copies of “A Match Made In Space”?


I’m still extremely busy writing “Chains of Command”, Frontlines #4, so you can all get it on your Kindles and eye-pods and eight-tracks and what-not before Christmas. It’s shaping up to be a really fun ride, and I think you’ll enjoy it. It is my personal opinion that Angles of Attack is the best Frontlines yet, and that Chains of Command may turn out even better. But I am, of course, heavily biased.

the novels of chang.

Chang Terhune is a good friend of mine.

We met for the first time back at Viable Paradise XII in 2008. He is one of the many talented writers in the VPXII alumni group that are also fine human beings and fabulously fun to hang out with. Because he’s practically a local (Castle Frostbite is in west-central NH, Casa Chang is in coastal southern Maine), we have been meeting up again at practically every SF/F convention since 2008. They say you don’t really know a man until you’ve gotten him drunk on chocolate martinis, and by that measure I KNOW CHANG VERY WELL INDEED.

Anyway, Brother Chang is a fellow SF writer, and he has decided to follow me down the self-publishing path I walked with some success before the magical 47North spaceship beamed me up. To that end, I want to direct your gaze toward his author page on Lulu, where he is offering up his three SF novels: HARVESTMAN, THE ASTROGATRIX, and AUGUSTA, MOTHER OF SALT. (HARVESTMAN is also available on Amazon here.)

So if your fancy new futuristic word tablet is out of new stuff to put on it, and you dig straight-up SF, consider supporting a deserving new author who is also a really nice guy EVEN IF HE CAN’T HOLD HIS CHOCOLATE MARTINIS. (Not a euphemism.)

that poor automobile.

This one will make the automotive nerds flinch:

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” totaled at Mille Miglia.

That’s a million dollars’ worth of Teutonic sheet steel turned into scrap metal, and they’re not making any more of those. The Gullwing is an automotive classic, one of the most desirable cars in the world, and it got turned into $500 worth of scrap by a speeding 1-series BMW. Some insurance appraiser probably had a borderline cardiac event over that one, because you can be sure that anyone who owns and drives an automobile worth as much as a luxury mansion is going to have that sucker well-insured.


one of the pretty-good-est books of 2013.

Buzzfeed has an article up on “The 14 Greatest Science Fiction Books Of The Year“, and TERMS OF ENLISTMENT comes in at #6. The author says a few very nice words about it, and it’s always a pleasure to see positive reviews, mentions, or inclusions in lists that have the word “greatest” or “best” in them.

I think I’m having an early case of the Release Day Jitters. LINES OF DEPARTURE will be out on January 28, but I already had trouble falling asleep last night thinking about it. I’d love for the second novel to do at least as well as the first one, which means that LINES has a big pair of shoes to fill. On the other hand, just about everyone who has read it (my editors and a very small group of beta readers) said that it’s a better novel than TERMS in almost every respect, which means that if people like it half as much as they did  the first novel, it should do just fine. I guess I need to quit obsessing and get back to work.

To that end, let me ask you all a question, especially those of you who have read TERMS OF ENLISTMENT and the ancillary short story and novella. Which character(s), settings, or events from TERMS would you love to see expanded and treated in more detail, maybe with a short story or novella on the side? I’m currently at work on the third novel, called ANGLES OF ATTACK, but there’s always a little bit of room on the dance card, so to speak.

random bullet points.

–I’m still hunkered down in my writing dungeon here at Castle Frostbite. I have to deliver the manuscript for Lines of Departure by the 31st, so I’m busy putting the final touches on it. If you’ve sent me email and I haven’t yet responded, I’m sorry. I’ll get to the essentials like email, showers, and the regular consumption of foodstuffs once this manuscript is in send-it-off shape.

–Because Lines of Departure isn’t due out until January, I’ll do my level best to put out some new material in late July/early August. It will be a novella called Measures of Absolution, and it will answer some questions I got from a lot of readers, namely “What the hell was going on in Detroit?” The story is told from the perspective of one of Andrew’s old squad mates, and it will go into the how and why of the Detroit riots, and why exactly the rioters had military-grade hardware and tactics.

–Six weeks until Readercon! I guess I should start stockpiling all that Basil Haydens I’ll need to ferry down to Burlington.

Terms of Enlistment has clawed its way back up to #2 on the Military SF list on the Kindle, and it’s back into the Top 20 for all SF (print, Kindle, and audio.) When 47North released its own edition, the novel lost its rankings and had to start from zero again, and I’m happy to see that it has regained most of the steam it had as a Frostbite Publishing(tm)! product.

–I watched Snow White and the Huntsman with the wife the other night. It was a truly awful movie, and we had our very own impromptu Mystery Science Theater 3000 savaging, which was probably the most fun anyone’s ever had with that flick. It is getting to the point where just seeing Kristen Stewart on the screen makes me sleepy almost instantly. She’s the thespian equivalent of thorazine.

–Pilot has a new fountain pen out, the Metropolitan. It writes ridiculously well, and I have no idea how they can produce such a nice pen, package it in a decent box with a converter and an ink cartridge, and sell it for under $20 without losing their pants, but that’s what they’re doing. I usually recommend the Lamy Safari to fountain pen noobs as a great starter pen that won’t break the bank, but the Pilot Metropolitan has the potential to knock the Safari off the #1 spot when it comes to “Best Fountain Pen under $50”. It has a lacquered metal barrel and cap and looks and feels a lot more expensive than $18.

–We got a Roku 3 for the TV in the grown-ups’ den upstairs, and holy shit, why didn’t I get one earlier? It will truly come into its own once they hook us up to the fiber-optic cable that’s tantalizingly hanging off the poles in front of Castle Frostbite, but even with our poky 1.5Mbit DSL line, it’s perfectly usable. (I got the Roku instead of the Apple TV because it supports Amazon Instant Streaming, which the Apple TV doesn’t.) Now we can catch up on that British series everyone’s been raving about. Downtown Abby, or something? I’m guessing it’s about a hooker.

Well, it’s back to work for me. Have a great Friday, and when five o’clock rolls around, hit that liquor cabinet harder than #3 hit the wall at Daytona!


music recommendation.

I’m sort of a late adopter, but I love Pandora now. I was suffering from severe Playlist Fatigue Syndrome with my iTunes library, and Pandora has fixed that issue for me rather handily.

We paid for the annual subscription to get commercial-free streaming. It’s nice to have an infinite playlist matching a particular mood or kind of song, but it’s also damn nice to discover stuff you hadn’t heard of before. I like writing to movie soundtracks and instrumentals because there are no lyrics to distract me from what’s on the page, and some of the very best stuff I’ve found has been by the Nick Cave & Warren Ellis collaboration. The soundtrack to The Road, for example, is very powerful and haunting.

But the best of the Cave/Ellis albums so far is the soundtrack to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It’s a great, great album of elegiac mood music, and the last track (“Song for Bob”) is worth the purchase price of the album all by itself.

I’ve discovered so many of my favorite writers or musicians this way–there’s a sample or a free copy available online, you sample, you like, you buy. Reading the free copy of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, for example, resulted in me buying all the rest of Scalzi’s books with cash money, so I’d say that the “First One’s Free!” strategy really does pay off.

bullets & links.

  • Gogol Bordello. Holy shit, why haven’t I heard of these guys before? It’s exactly what it says on the tin—gypsy punk—and for some reason I can’t stop listening to it. Robin hates the one song she has heard so far, but you know what they say about taste. Let’s just say that the Vanilla Ice “To The Extreme” CD that I found in our combined CD collections after we got married wasn’t mine.
  • Readercon. I’ll be there for most of the weekend, from Friday afternoon to Sunday noon-ish. Most of the Viable Paradise crew from last year will be there again, and I’ll get to meet a few new VPers I’ve only met on the Intertwitters so far. This is my one big con event for the year—I go to Boskone as well, but only for the day on Saturday—so I’m looking forward to talking shop and destroying ethanol with some of my favorite unsavory writer types again.
  • A Swedish zookeeper was eaten by wolves. She was delicious.
  • I finally finished watching all the Avengers precursor movies. The last one on the list was 2008’s Hulk. All of them were perfectly serviceable and entertaining, but if I had to put them in a ranking, it would go Iron Man > Thor > Iron Man 2 > Captain America > Hulk. It seems we needed to get to 2012 until a SFX crew managed a CGI Hulk that doesn’t look like he was Rotoscoped out of  a mediocre video game.
  • Chicken count: still 9. They needed a bit of coaxing to accept their new digs. The first night, I had to get their little wooden coop out and move it to its original location, at which point they all breathed a collective “Thank fuck” and filed in to roost for the night. Then I had to carry the coop back into Cluckheim Keep, chickens and all. The second evening, we had to corral them and herd the flock into the Keep. The third evening, I just had to kind of walk them in, no coaxing required. Now they actually use the roosting spots in the Keep to hang out during the day, so they must be taking to it.
  • Friend Mark pointed me to a website that sells repackaged old DOS games, rigged with DOSbox to be playable on modern Windows XP/Vista/7 boxes. (All the games are licensed from their original copyright holders.) Just for nostalgia, I bought a copy of Wing Commander III for $5.99. If you young whippersnappers want to check out what kind of games we old geezers played on our 50-megahertz 486s with 8MB of RAM, there are some fine classic examples of 1990s PC gaming on there for a song and a dance. The graphics are way dated now, of course, but the games are still fun, and surprisingly complex for programs that had to fit into 1/1000th the memory you carry around in your cell phone today.

Thus endeth today’s linkapalooza. Now I have to make some lunch to feed the beasts, and the chickens, too.