Harry Seven Released

My latest novel, Harry Seven, is now available on Amazon (ebook only – the paperback will follow in a few weeks.) For this week only it is available at the special introductory price of 99 cents ($4.99 or equivalent after that).

As my fourth novel I’m confident it’s my best yet. I really feel like I know what I’m doing now, rather than feeling my way forward through a process of trial and error.

Buy now at:
Amazon.com Amazon.com.au Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com.ca

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Newton’s Ark Promotion and Reviews

I’m running a free promotion on Newton’s Ark on Amazon on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 September (free promotions start and end midnight US Pacific Time – I guess because Amazon are based in Seattle).

Since the relaunch, Newton’s Ark has been consistently getting very complimentary four and five star reviews (good for an author’s ego!) Here’s what some of the recent reviewers have said:

“This was an intriguing concept. I didn’t know what to expect since my husband downloaded it to my Kindle and I had no idea what it was about. That being said, once I realized what the Ark was all about I couldn’t stop reading it.” – RRB (Manassas, VA)

“What a wild concept! The way it was written makes it seem entirely plausible …” – Frank (Hollister, CA)

“Simply fantastic, it for me was difficult to put down … Mr. Hill, thank you for what you have accomplished with this, please continue.” – Joe (Pompano Beach)

“This book is phenomenal… a really good sci fi read, and the author incorporates a ton of believable military imagery… he knows his stuff…” – Eric Cost

“Footfall meets P.K.D. While reading I could (in my mind) see inspirations by authors like Larry Niven, David Brin, and Philip K. Dick, but never felt like the author was not owning their own style and stories.” – David Martin

“I’ve got to stop reading end of the world books…but this book’s introduction was so exceptional I had to read it!” – Jennifer Peper

“Good story, interesting ideas, believable characters and its well written. What’s not to like? I’ll be reading the second part of the trilogy very soon.” – Jack (Castellon, Spain)

“Most self-published authors should never be allowed to put finger to keyboard. D.A. Hills’ book Newton’s Ark is the rare, enjoyable exception …  The characters are real, the setting true to life and the story is believable. What more could you ask from an author?” – Daniel Cox “Doc” (Las Vegas)

“A very interesting series. Well written and very thought provoking …The books, in short are an exploration of humanity, in all it’s wonderful diversity. Good, bad and bland … Really looking forward to book 3. Please hurry Mr Hill!” – Druidgate on Amazon.uk

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon have just announced a new program, Kindle Unlimted. For $9.99 per month subscribers (US only for now) have unlimited access to books in the program.

The included books are basically those already part of the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL), currently available for borrowing by Prime Members. Both Newton’s Ark and Fuller’s Mine are available under these programs. Fuller’s Mine is doing a steady KOLL business following the recent very successful free promotion on Newton’s Ark (5,516 downloads!)

If Big Publishing thought Amazon were giving them hell, they’ve just turned up the heat. Time for the publishers to start innovating or die. Going to the barricades to protect old business models, which seems to be their strategy right now, will only delay the inevitable.

My one criticism of Amazon is that they could have done a better job of communicating with authors. There’s very limited information on how author payments for Kindle Unlimited will work. I think it’s similar to KOLL payments, but I really had to dig around the KDP website to find anything.

Something completely different

I’ve started writing my third book. For those of you who have finished Fuller’s Mine and are (hopefully) awaiting the next installment, the bad news is I’m writing another story first. I am working on outlining book 3 in parallel, and have a broad idea of the story arc, but there are lots of details to be filled in yet – so this is your chance to ask the questions you think need to be answered in the final book!

The working title of my current project is Little Plastic Men: They aren’t green, but they are from outer space!

Obviously it’s still science fiction, but not hard sci-fi like the Emulation Trilogy. More like the sort of sci-fi in Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Hopefully it will also be amusing in parts, but I’ll be happy if I can be a quarter as funny as Douglas Adams.

Another important difference is that I’m writing it in the first person (or first alien, since the protagonist is not from this planet!) rather than the limited third person* point of view I used in Newton’s Ark and Fuller’s Mine. The big challenge is creating an alien character that readers will identify with!

* Limited third person means it’s in the third person, but told from the perspective of the characters, typically one at a time, vs. being told by a detached, omniscient narrator.

Now available in Aussie Dollars

Great news today for my Australian readers, Amazon has just opened an Australian Kindle store.

That means my books are now available for purchase in Australian dollars. Not only is the price lower (e.g. AUD3.99 for Fuller’s Mine vs USD3.99) you can avoid paying the credit card companies another 3% in foreign exchange fees, and I get a 70% royalty rather than 35%. Talk about a win-win.

Here’s the links to the books on the Aussie store:

Note that the new prices may take a day to flow through.

Price Drop

How much? You can’t be serious!

For a short while the ebook version of Newton’s Ark will be available for the ridiculously low price of 99 cents (£0.99 plus VAT in the UK, EUR0.99 plus VAT in Europe, ¥100 in Japan).

The new price is already in effect on Amazon and should flow through to iTunes and Barnes and Noble in the next few days.

Serialized Novels

Releasing novels in serial form seems to be making a bit of a comeback. Amazon for one is pushing the concept hard including re-releasing various works by Charles Dickens like Oliver Twist in their original serial form.

I picked that example because it highlights the issue I can’t get my head around. Why would you want to receive a novel that has been completed for over one hundred and fifty years piecemeal?

But what about a work in progress? Wouldn’t it be nice to receive each chapter as it is completed? Sure, but that assumes the writing process is linear. That has definitely not been my experience so far. I’ve written one hundred and sixty pages of Faraday’s Mine, but they are not even close to consecutive. It would be more like pages 1 – 50, 75-100, 130 – 140, 200 – 275. And there is lots of going back and reworking the story as I go along.

Which leads me to my question. I know many people who have read Newton’s Ark are waiting impatiently to see what happens next. Is there any interest in seeing Faraday’s Mine released as each chapter is completed, even knowing that they may change (radically) before it is done?

Writing Tools

One of the challenges I faced in writing Newton’s Ark was tracking several parallel story lines until such time as they all came together towards the end of the book. At the time the only tool I had at my disposal was Microsoft Word and its Outline view. It got the job done but it was a struggle, like driving a screw with pliers. You can do it, but why would you when there’s this thing called a screwdriver?

Soon after I began on the sequel, Faraday’s Mine, I realized I was going to have the same problem, only more so. Not only did I need to keep the story line straight, but it had to be consistent with what had already happened in the first book. And I wanted to raise the intrigue a level, making the web even more tangled.

Fortunately I discovered a wonderful program called Scrivener which allows me to organize the book into chapters and scenes using the metaphor of index cards on a cork board. Now I can easily create the structure of the story and then change it on the fly. I can attach notes to each scene to remind myself what I plan to write as well as attaching keywords for characters and locations to each of the scenes so I can see who is doing what to whom and where.

Here’s a look at one of the chapters. If you look real close you might just be able to figure out what is going to happen (warning spoilers – assuming I don’t change it or I’m not just playing with you).

It has turned out to be one of those tools I didn’t know I needed until I found it. Now I couldn’t imagine writing another novel without it.

This post brought to you by author, D.A.Hill.

Fusion Reactors

As I have mentioned previously I was very conscious in writing Newton’s Ark to keep the science as real as possible. The most speculative technology I included was probably the micro fusion reactor – a small, highly portable fusion reactor that could power a satellite for decades.

This technology requires us to find a way to build a self-sustaining fusion reaction that produces positive net energy. And then you have to miniaturize it – I’m going to ignore that challenge assuming we can solve the main problem.

This technology has been a decade away for the past sixty years. Will we ever solve this problem? Who knows. It may really be a only decade away, it may be another sixty years away or it may never happen. It’s hard to extrapolate from the experience to date. There has been some progress but not enough to be completely confident that the fundamental challenge can be overcome.

It is still an active area of research though. In fact I recently received an assignment to design a biometric security system (iris recognition) for an experimental fusion reactor facility!

This post brought to you by author of Newton’s Ark, D.A. Hill.

More Sci Fi Keeping it Real

I posted recently on keeping the sci fi real in my first novel Newton’s Ark.

I just ran across this article about stopping an asteriod specifically debunking the scenario presented in the movie Armageddon of using a nuke to split it in half.

Here’s a relevant passage from my book:

“Despite all the holo-movies you might have seen where they destroy the asteroid before it hits the Earth and everyone lives happily ever after, it isn’t possible with the technology and time we have available. To nudge the asteroid off course we have to hit it far enough out that we would need to launch now. Problem is we don’t have anything with the range and payload required….”

“Can’t we just nuke the damn thing when it gets closer to Earth?”

“Yes sir we can, but we risk turning a single very large asteroid into multiple asteroids, each still plenty big enough to wipe out a large city. Better to have only one object to track and to limit the impact to a single location.”

I think this quote from the article nicely captures my philosophy:

…fiction is all about the make-believe. But good science can make for a more plausible narrative, making it easier to suspend disbelief.

This post brought to you by author D.A. Hill.