Books

Signed copy of Bound for Xmas, anywhere in the world

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November 25, 2014
BOUND 3D Large Cutout small 197x300 Signed copy of Bound for Xmas, anywhere in the world

Bound – Alex Caine #1

Giving books as presents is actually a kind of magic. You’re giving someone a deep, emotional experience. You’re giving them a world, a life, that they wouldn’t otherwise have. It was George R R Martin who wrote in A Dance With Dragons, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” And I’m sure he wasn’t the first or will be the last to make that point. Also, whenever you give someone a book as a gift, a fairy gets laid.

That last bit may not be true, but do you want to risk the happiness of fairies? So with Xmas coming around again, it’s time to start thinking about buying gifts for people. You know the other great thing about buying people books? You’re actually giving two gifts at once. The obvious is the one mentioned above, where a person gets to live another life. The other gift you’re giving is to the author of whatever book you buy. It’s another little stitch in that person’s career, because only by selling books do they get to keep writing and publishing more books. You instantly become some kind of benevolent saint the moment you buy a book as a gift. Okay, maybe I’m overselling this, but it is fundamentally true.

And here’ my offer to you. If you want to buy someone a signed copy of Bound for Xmas, thereby giving both them and me a gift and becoming a saint in the process, it couldn’t be easier. Send me an email to alan[@]warriorscribe.com (without the square brackets, of course) and tell me who you want it dedicated to and their address. I’ll sign a copy, gift wrap it for you and send it off as soon as I get PayPal confirmation of your payment – I’ll give you PayPal details in a return email. All it will cost you is AU$25 anywhere in Australia (which is the same as the RRP should you go to a bookstore) or AU$35 to be sent anywhere else in the world.

I can’t say fairer than that! So hit me up via email and we’ll get it organised. But do it soon, because we’re running out of time for post to arrive before Xmas.

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Horizon — Consciousness Explorers: Inside a Transhuman

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November 12, 2014

Today I have a guest post from author and editor extraordinaire, Keith Stevenson. His new novel, Horizon, is out now. Take it away Keith.

keith stevenson b+w lo res 238x300 Horizon — Consciousness Explorers: Inside a Transhuman

Keith Stevenson

I’d like to thank Alan for giving over some space on his blog for the Horizon Blog Tour.

Horizon is my debut science fiction novel published by Voyager Impulse. It’s an SF thriller centred on a deep space exploration mission that goes very wrong, with repercussions for the future of all life on Earth.

One of the most interesting themes in science fiction, and one of the most exciting advances happening in medical research today, is how humans will become augmented through interfacing with technology.

In the real world, there are amazing advances that enable paraplegics to control the environment around them. In 2012 in the UK, a woman had an aspirin-sized array of electrodes implanted in her brain which picked up signals from neurons in her motor cortex enabling her to control a robotic arm. In sci-fi movies, humans interfacing with technology has brought about a variety of dystopian scenarios from (the now somewhat laughable) Saturn 3, to (the now very laughable) Lawnmower Man, as well as the Matrix movies and the more recent Transcendance.

One of the best books about the future development of humanity is Damien Broderick’s The Last Mortal Generation. It explores not only how the life of our physical body can be extended, but also how technology might free the mind from its time-limited physical form. The mind is the key to so much — our emotions and sense of self. What would it be like to transplant your mind outside of its fleshy architecture into the elegant symmetry of a computer? Would you feel any different if your brain was replaced neuron by neuron by ‘silicon brain cells’? Would you lose your humanity? What about extending the reach of your mind resting within its physical confines by hooking it up to a wider cognitive network that’s faster, richer, and electronic?

eCOV Horizon C2D2 196x300 Horizon — Consciousness Explorers: Inside a TranshumanIn Horizon, Systems Specialist Bren Thurgood is among the first couple of generations of transhumans: people who accept an implant that allows them to interface with computerised and artificial intelligence systems. It makes her very good at what she does, and she’s an indispensable member of the crew. However even though I’m an optimist, I find it hard to imagine a future where humanity doesn’t attack what’s different in society. And given the current controversy about metadata and government snooping, I think the reasons behind a widespread mistrust of transhumans are compounded. They are ‘creatures of the internet’, able to breach firewalls and hack sensitive systems as easily as breathing. As a result, ‘chipheads’ are the target of racist — or maybe that should be ‘specist’ — intolerance from the ‘norms’.

I think the most interesting aspect of interfacing directly with the electronic world, the world of data and numbers, is how our minds would interpret and present that augmented reality to us. We’re not digital, we’re analogue, which means — perhaps — we’ll take a figurative rather than literal approach to the datastream. Bren explains it best:

Lex pressed the patches to her temples and flicked the monitor into life. He picked up a metallic wand. ‘You shouldn’t feel any discomfort. I’m just going to send a range of harmonics through the soft tissue and see what the sensors pick up.’ He touched her chin and turned her head to the left. The wand hummed in his hand. ‘What’s it like anyway, the link?’

Bren snorted and a smile spread across her face. ‘You don’t know how many times I’ve been asked that.’

‘Then you should have a good answer.’

She turned towards him and he gently turned her head back into position. ‘A lot of people can’t get used to it. There’s the increased cognitive capacity, of course. You’re totally aware — of everything. When you’re linked, you can instantly understand concepts, complex equations, programming, the works. You access information, formulate solutions, in the blink of an eye. But the perception change can really get to you. Some things you encounter are actual representations, like when I saw Phillips in the ring. Some things you can template and construct yourself. But every now and then something will come at you that’s totally figurative. Like the interface has tapped into your subconscious imagery and selected something that embodies completely what you’re experiencing intellectually, emotionally, and even spiritually. It can freak you out if you’re not used to it.’

‘Like that package ticking?’

‘Yeah, but that’s a simple example.’

‘Look to the right, please,’ Lex said and swapped the wand to his other hand.

‘Anyway, it’s helped me become more than I ever could be. But Harris and people like him will never understand. And they’ll never trust what they don’t understand.’

No matter how augmented they become, I believe transhumans will retain their own human and individual ways of looking at the world. It may have to work that way to prevent their brains from overloading. It’s a fascinating concept to think about, and it almost makes me wish all this was a reality right now.

*****

Follow the Horizon Blog Tour

3 November — Extract of Horizon — Voyager blog http://www.voyageronline.com.au/

4 November — Character Building: Meet the Crew — Trent Jamieson’s blog http://www.trentjamieson.com/

5 November — Welcome to Magellan: Inside the Ship — Darkmatter http://www.darkmatterzine.com/

6 November — Futureshock: Charting the History of Tomorrow — Lee Battersby’s blog http://battersblog.blogspot.com.au/

7 November — Engage: Tinkering With a Quantum Drive — Joanne Anderton’s blog http://joanneanderton.com/wordpress/

10 November — Stormy Weather: Facing Down Climate Change — Ben Peek’s blog http://benpeek.livejournal.com/

11 November — Time Travel: Relatively Speaking — Rjurik Davidson’s blog http://rjurik.com/

12 November — Consciousness Explorers: Inside a Transhuman — Alan Baxter’s blog http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/

13 November — From the Ground Up: Building a Planet — Sean Wright’s blog http://bookonaut.blogspot.com.au/

14 November — Life Persists: Finding the Extremophile — Greig Beck’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Greig-Beck-Author/101428386583764

17 November — Interview — Marianne De Pierres’ blog http://www.mariannedepierres.com/

Keith Stevenson is a science fiction author, editor, publisher and reviewer. His debut novel Horizon is available as an ebook via http://www.harpercollins.com.au/books/Horizon-Keith-Stevenson/?isbn=9781460704653

 His blog is at http://keithstevensonwriter.blogspot.com.

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Dark Trinity book bundle only $4.99

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October 29, 2014

Here’s a good Halloween treat. I know, it’s more like Xmas than Halloween, but who cares. Halloween is far better than Xmas anyway. Out now is an ebook bundle called Dark Trinity. It contains the books Prophecy by J.F.Penn, Burnt Offerings by Michael Lister and Dark Rite by David Wood and myself. All for just $4.99. That’s a whole lot of reading for a fiver.

But it’s for a limited time, so get it while you can from here. Click on the image below for more information about the deal and the three books included. Enjoy!

ad for Dark Trinity 292x300 Dark Trinity book bundle only $4.99

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Free and signed Halloween reads

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October 23, 2014

So that most awesome of festivals, Halloween, is fast approaching. I plan to start a new tradition this year, that I picked up from author Willie Miekle. Willie posted on Facebook how he always writes a ghost story by hand in a notebook every Halloween. Brilliant! I’ll be doing that from now on too. But it’s also the time for All Hallow’s Read, which is something Neil Gaiman started a few years ago.

Suspended In Dusk NEW 187x300 Free and signed Halloween reads

Suspended In Dusk

So what is All Hallow’s Read? Well, it’s a new Halloween tradition where during the week of Halloween, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book. So here I’ll be giving you a scary book. A new anthology has just come out, called Suspended In Dusk. It contains 19 excellent horror stories, including one by myself, with an introduction by Jack Ketchum, all superbly edited together by Simon Dewar. The print edition should be coming out any time now, but the ebook is out already. And until October 31st, you can get it for free from Smashwords. Here’s the page to get it, and then use the coupon code DA68M at the checkout to change the price to $0.00. Happy Halloween!

And talking about scary books, you know the first Alex Caine book, Bound, is pretty scary, right? You can buy that in all bookstores, free shipping from fishpond.com.au, it’s still only $20 on booktopia.com.au. Lots of city stores have signed copies in stock. It’s also only $1.99 in ebook, from all the usual outlets.

However, if you want a signed copy directly from me, that’s no problem. They’re only $20 plus postage. Email me at alan [at] warriorscribe.com and tell me where you are and I’ll let you know the postage. I can send those signed copies anywhere in the world, even though the books are currently only officially available in Australia and New Zealand. A signed copy of Bound? What a great gift for Halloween, or Christmas, or just because you’re a great person and you buy books as gifts. You rock.

Meanwhile, grab that free anthology while you can. It really is a good collection of scary stories.

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I’m going to be doing a signing and Q&A at Kiama Library

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October 14, 2014

The ongoing Bound train continues to roll and next month I’ve got a hometown appearance. I’ll be at Kiama Library talking about the Alex Caine Series and answering questions and all that stuff. Here are the relevant details:

6pm Tuesday 18th November

Bookings essential – call (02) 4233 1133

7 Railway Parade,
Kiama NSW 2533

Email: library@kiama.nsw.gov.au

Copies of Bound will be available for purchase and signing, or if you already have a copy, bring it along if you’d like it signed.

So if you’re a local like me, or near enough to get to the lovely harbour town of Kiama, do come along. Might I suggest you arrive early and have some fantastic fish and chips for dinner down at the harbour, before walking around the library for 6pm. You know, I might even do it that way myself. Look forward to seeing you there.

Click the image below for a bigger version:

Caine flyer small 212x300 Im going to be doing a signing and Q&A at Kiama Library

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Goodreads Giveaway – a signed copy of BOUND

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September 18, 2014

I’m having a giveaway over at Goodreads. I’m such a fan of everything that site does – it’s a great community for readers. If you’re not on Goodreads, I suggest you check it out – you can catalogue your own book collection, rate and review stuff you read, see what other people think of the stuff you love and hate and so on. There are discussion forums, bookclubs and all kinds of other stuff. And, regularly, people give books away, like I’m doing now. All you have to do to be in the running for a signed paperback copy of BOUND is click this link and then click the Enter To Win button. That’s it. If you’re anywhere in Australia or New Zealand, you’re eligible to enter.

While you’re there, feel free to add BOUND, OBSIDIAN and ABDUCTION to your library by clicking the big green Want To Read button. If you click on the book titles in this post, you’ll get taken directly to each book’s Goodreads page. Have and go and please share this giveaway. Good luck!

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Sci-fi six pack for only 99c, including me

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September 10, 2014

scifi box set 300x300 Sci fi six pack for only 99c, including me So this is exciting: The publisher of my Balance novels, Gryphonwood Press, has put together a book bundle featuring six great sci-fi stories from six top-notch authors, for only 99 cents.

Humans fight off an alien invasion. A race of super-soldiers turn on their creators. A specialist undergoes a dangerous procedure in order to access a secret locked in his mind. Futuristic submarine warfare on alien worlds! A telepath and spice dealer battle gangs and madmen. A futuristic bounty hunter pursues a madman across the galaxy.

A dirty half-dozen science fiction thrills, three novels, two novellas, and a short story, by William Meikle, Justin Macumber, Terry W Ervin II, Terry Mixon, Ryan A Span and that one about the futuristic bounty hunter? That’s my novella, Ghost of the Black: A ‘Verse Full of Scum. So much sci-fi for under a dollar.

This box set will only be available for a short while. Get it now!

BUY YOUR COPY OF SCI-FI SIX-PACK

Kindle | Kindle UK | Kindle AU | Kindle CA | Nook | Kobo | Smashwords

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Alex Caine trilogy all out now and still only $12 total for all three

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August 25, 2014

Today sees the ebook publication of Abduction, Alex Caine #3, in Australia and New Zealand. So now the entire trilogy is out there in ebook (only for Australia and NZ readers at the moment, but as I’ve mentioned before, my agent and editor are working hard to secure US and UK deals for the books too.)

And you can still get the entire trilogy for less than twelve dollars. That’s barely the same as a single movie ticket. For three entire novels. Crazy! Book 1, Bound, is currently still $1.99 – for how long, I’m not sure, so get in quick. Book 2, Obsidian, is out now and only $4.99. Book 3, Abduction, is out today and also only $4.99. That’s all three books for $11.97. That won’t last, so get it while you can. Go to Amazon AUS, iBooks, Google Play or Kobo and search my name. Or start here and select the store of your choice for Bound.

And if you have read these books, or you plan to, and you enjoy them, please talk about them. Tell friends and family, tell colleagues at work, mention them on Twitter or Facebook, Goodreads and so on. Nothing works better than word of mouth, so if you love a book, talk about it and share the love. Authors will love you for it. Your voice is just as important as anyone else’s when you recommend a book to someone. And thanks for reading!

Caine three covers spread web 300x150 Alex Caine trilogy all out now and still only $12 total for all three

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The entire Alex Caine trilogy in ebook for less than $12!

By
0
August 18, 2014

It’s only one week until Abduction, Alex Caine #3, comes out in ebook in Australia and New Zealand. That’s very exciting, as it means the entire trilogy will be out there. Sadly, this is only for Australia and NZ readers at the moment, but as I’ve mentioned before, my agent and editor are working hard to secure US and UK deals for the books too. (Feel free to lobby (politely!) Harper Voyager in the US or UK if you’re really keen to read them and don’t live Down Under!)

However, for you lucky ANZ readers, you can get the entire trilogy for less than twelve dollars at the moment. I know, that’s just mental! Book 1, Bound, is currently still $1.99 – for how long, I’m not sure, so get in quick. Book 2, Obsidian, is out now and only $4.99. Book 3, Abduction, is out next week and is available for pre-order now and also only $4.99 – so click to buy it now and it’ll download next week. That’s all three books for $11.97. That won’t last, so get it while you can. Go to Amazon AUS, iBooks, Google Play or Kobo and search my name. Or start here and select the store of your choice for Bound.

And if you have read Bound and Obsidian, or you plan to, and you enjoy them, please talk about them. Tell friends and family, tell colleagues at work, mention them on Twitter or Facebook, Goodreads and so on. Nothing works better than word of mouth, so if you love a book, talk about it and share the love. Authors will love you for it. Your voice is just as important as anyone else’s when you recommend a book to someone. And thanks for reading!

Caine three covers spread web 300x150 The entire Alex Caine trilogy in ebook for less than $12!

How do you e-read?

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August 5, 2014

This has come up a couple of times in various conversations recently, so I thought I’d talk about it here. Ebooks are here to stay, obviously. While there will always be print books too, even if that does eventually reduce to Print-on-Demand and collector’s folio editions, ebooks will only continue to gain strength. There’s the whole format and DRM thing to still sort out – Amazon aren’t about to give up the mobi format any time soon, and a lot of places are struggling with where they stand on DRM – but these are all ongoing teething problems. I’d like to imagine a utopia where ePub is the standard across all vendors and publishers (which it already is if you don’t include Amazon) and where DRM is a thing of the past. But regardless of how it all shakes down, ebooks are mainstream now.

I love ebooks. I dig that I can carry hundreds of books around on my phone. Honestly, how living-in-the-future is that shit? And I do read on my phone. But primarily I read from an iPad Mini. I love my Mini – it’s the perfect size and does all the things I want. Plus, I have this sweet leather cover for it that makes it look like a cool old hardback book. Here it is:

photo 300x298 How do you e read?

Pretty sweet, huh? I use it for internet, email, videos, TV, games and loads of other stuff as well as reading. It’s just the best thing ever, technology-wise.

But I didn’t always read ebooks on the Mini and I use several apps even now. Other people I’ve spoken to use a variety of devices and all swear by them. Some people consider dedicated ereaders a cul-de-sac technology that’ll die down to almost nothing because tablets are so much more versatile, while others love their dedicated ereader precisely because it’s just for reading and has no other distracting functions.

I got onto the whole ebook bandwagon pretty early on. For example, when I originally self-published RealmShift back in the day, it was the 376th book to be uploaded to Smashwords, as evidenced by its URL there. There are now over 300,000 books on Smashwords. I would read ebooks on my PC from very early on too. I guess I knew right off the bat that this technology was going to quickly become the norm and it most certainly did. Interestingly, that massive rush into the mainstream that ebooks made was largely encouraged along by Amazon and their Kindle device. They really saw an opportunity and exploited it with expert (some might say evil) skill.

Amazon Kindle 3 203x300 How do you e read?After reading on my laptop and phone for a while, my first dedicated ereader was an old generation Kindle 3, like the one pictured on the left, and I got hooked fully into the Amazon ecosystem. I was already there really, using the Kindle app – I even converted ePub files to mobi to use on the Kindle. I didn’t mind at all at the time – Amazon always had the most content, you could buy with one click and it would roll straight onto your reader. And the battery life of the Kindle is awesome. The reading experience is great too, with no backlight and all that jazz. Apparently, the new Paperwhite is even better, but I’ve yet to see one of those in the flesh… plastic… whatever. But I don’t use my Kindle any more. My wife uses it a bit and I do actually miss it in some ways, but it became superfluous to my needs.

I used the Kindle app on my phone while I used my Kindle 3 and that was awesome. If I was out and had ten minutes to spare, I could dial up whatever book I was reading and the app would automatically sync it to the last place I’d read. But I began to get more and more disillusioned with Amazon and at the same time, more or less, got my iPad Mini. The Kindle was no good for comics and I read a lot of those, so an iPad was a great choice. I got the Kindle app for it and discovered that the backlit screen really doesn’t bother me at all. So the Kindle 3 became unnecessary luggage.

Now my phone and iPad are all I carry, and they do all I need. But I’m not all about Kindle any more. There are so many reading apps out there. Rather than buy in to the Amazon ecosystem entirely, I started looking at other options. I found that a lot of publishers sell direct from their own websites, a lot of small press use places like Smashwords as well as Amazon, and I recently discovered that the Kobo store is great. All of these use ePub, and don’t tie you to Amazon. And I particularly like ePub because I discovered a couple of years ago an app called Marvin. It’s only for iDevices at the moment, but apparently an Andriod version is in the works. It’s my favourite ereader now and I’ll always look for an ePub file that I can sideload to Marvin as my first port of call when I want a new book. If I can’t find that, I’ll shop at Kobo and use the Kobo app. As a last resort, I’ll go back to Amazon and read with the Kindle. I also still use the Kindle app to read PDFs and Word documents that I send myself  using my Kindle email thing. It’s really a case of what’s best for any given situation, but always looking for ePub first.

So while I almost exclusively read ebooks on the iPad Mini now (with occasional forays on my phone), I do it with a variety of apps and stores. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a dedicated ereader. And I read about 50/50 ebook/print, so I’ll certainly never abandon paper books. I’m an utter bibliophile and love my bookshelves. I love to get beautiful editions, especially hardbacks, of my favourite books, though income doesn’t allow me to indulge that as much as I’d like. And if I read an ebook that I really enjoy, I’ll get the paper edition for my shelves. Most recently that happened with Nathan Ballingrud’s amazing debut collection of short stories called “North American Lake Monsters”. I bought the ebook, absolutely loved it and, as soon as I’d finished reading, I flipped from the reading app to the browser on my iPad and bought the last signed hardcover from the Small Beer Press website. All without leaving my couch. There’s that living-in-the-future shit again. So brilliant.

So what about you? What’s your ereader of choice? How do you shop for ebooks? Let me know in the comments and let me know too about any great apps or readers I might have missed out on.

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Welcome

The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Zetetic.

Learn more about me and my work by clicking About Alan just below the header.

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