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Interview with James Alan Gardner

12 Jan

A great bundle of science fiction books is currently being offered at https://storybundle.com/scifi, consisting of six titles from Bundoran Press and six by some great writers who have befriended the press over the years. As an added bonus, we will be running a series of interviews with the authors about their contribution to the Bundle.

Next up: James Alan Gardner

What themes appear most strongly in your writing? What makes you particularly care about those ideas?

I’m a child of pop culture, steeped in comic books, science fiction, fantasy, and all those good geeky things. But I’ve always been distanced from that culture too; I love the genre in a “meta” way, rather than completely buying in. (I’m not cut out to be a capital-F Fan of the genre.)

So when I write, I’m always holding genre conventions up to the light. I try to see the underlying assumptions and exploit them. I seldom try to subvert conventions or defy them. Instead I ask myself, “What if the world truly worked like that? What if there’s a good reason for all those genre conventions, even if they seem ridiculous when you actually think about them? And how would intelligent people behave if they knew they were living in that kind of world?”

Beyond that, I try to show a broad range of humanity, rather than peopling my stories with the usual straight white men. It’s another way to take a second look at genre conventions without actually trying to disrupt them. “Okay, suppose you have a world where genre rules apply. How would different people live in that world? What new directions would they go in? What if you weren’t the male lead?”

Do you have a special routine when you are writing? Time of day? Inspiring music or images? Particular clothing or food/drink?

I write every morning, seven days a week. I try to get started by 10:00AM and go until at least 1:00PM. In the afternoon, I either do freelance editing for other people (hire me!) or I deal with different types of writing: blog writing, articles, short stories, or “punching up” whatever novel I’m working on.

I can’t think at all when there’s music playing, or when there are any other audio distractions. I drink two cups of coffee before I start my writing day, but for my actual writing time, I drink glasses of 1/3 orange juice, 2/3 Diet Coke, mixed together.

Are you a plotter or a pantser or some combination of the two? Do prefer to writing or re-writing?

I’m not a big plotter, but I need what I call a “keel” before I start writing. Just as a keel gives a boat balance and keeps it floating upright, a story-keel gives the essence of a book: why I’m writing it and what I want to hold onto, no matter what directions the plot and characters might go. In practice, a keel is just a few sentences of content I consider non-negotiable. Beyond that, I let myself improvise and follow serendipity.

That’s enough to get me through a very rough first draft. Then I start rewriting, which I enjoy a great deal. Rewriting is where the story really comes together; I know more or less what the story is about, so I can tune it and refine it to deliver its heart and soul.

If you could give one piece of advice to a budding writer, what would it be?

Read a lot, write a lot, and still have a life.

Bonus advice: I have strong reservations about “Write what you know”, but even so, work hard to know a lot of cool things. You need both breadth and depth. When a writer’s knowledge is narrow and shallow, it shows.

 

To learn more about this great bundle of books, visit https://storybundle.com/scifi.

To connect with Bundoran Press, visit our web-site, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @BundoranPress

To learn more about Jim and his writing, visit: https://jamesalangardner.wordpress.com/

 

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Interview: Al Onia

11 Jan

A great bundle of science fiction books is currently being offered at https://storybundle.com/scifi, consisting of six titles from Bundoran Press and six by some great writers who have befriended the press over the years. As an added bonus, we will be running a series of interviews with the authors about their contribution to the Bundle.

Next up: Al Onia

What inspired you to write Transient City? How does this book fit into the rest of your writing career?

The “endless memory” phenomenon was the starting point for the lead character but it evolved into a noir SF setting and an homage to British popular culture of the 1960’s. Transient City was the easiest book I’ve written; the plot, characters and setting became intertwined with each other and added depth I couldn’t have reached treating them independently.

Who is your favorite secondary character in this book and why?

I have two, Shoes because she developed from “one of the cast” to a compelling character on her own (one I chose as co-star in Transient’s sequel Rogue Town). The other favorite character is the city itself. Once I began picturing the detail, it took on a life of its own as either a haven or an obstacle for many of the characters.

What themes appear most strongly in your writing? What makes you particularly care about those ideas?

The idea of an individual transcending circumstance and internal barriers to “do the right thing.” True heroes are often overlooked to focus on fame rather than substance.

Are you a plotter or a pantser or some combination of the two? Do prefer to writing or re-writing? Do you write every day or when the muse strikes you?

I am definitely a pantser. I revel in the ideas which appear once I start typing. I outline as I go, seldom more than a few chapters ahead. I know the overall arc most times but I don’t commit to anything until at least half way through the first draft. I do prefer the energy and idea flow which accompany the first draft of any project. Re-writing is hard but the reward in it is the resonance one can control to give the work more substance. I write every day, whether I’m creating, re-writing or editing. I strike a time balance which allows progress, ultimate completion but doesn’t drain the muse.

Do need privacy to do your writing or do you prefer the social ambiance of a coffee shop or writing retreat? How do you balance your writing with the rest of your life?

I prefer to work in private. I have a dedicated computer space with a door for word-processing and a sunny deck for editing and early note-jotting. When I’m working on a project (which is most of the time), I make it my top priority each day, no distractive reward activities until I’ve done a hour or two first thing in the morning. When I was still working in a paying career, I’d try for 30-60 minutes before work and the full hour at lunch.

If you could give one piece of advice to a budding writer, what would it be?

Seek therapy. If you’re not convinced there’s better ways to create than writing, then seek fellow writers to support and be supportive of. Oh yeah, and write with the goals of finishing what you write, finding your voice and learning from each effort.

 

To learn more about this great bundle of books, visit https://storybundle.com/scifi.

To connect with Bundoran Press, visit our web-site, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @BundoranPress

To learn more about Al and his writing, visit: http://ajonia.com/

 

Interview with Robert J. Sawyer

10 Jan

A great bundle of science fiction books is currently being offered at https://storybundle.com/scifi, consisting of six titles from Bundoran Press and six by some great writers who have befriended the press over the years. As an added bonus, we will be running a series of interviews with the authors about their contribution to the Bundle.

First up is Robert J. Sawyer.

What inspired you to write Frameshift? How does this book fit into the rest of your writing career?

I’m very much a top-down writer. I pick a topic, research the heck out of it until I’ve found something worth saying on the topic — that is, until I’ve found my theme — and then devise the characters who will be most uncomfortable and at jeopardy as I explore that theme. I wrote Frameshift over 20 years ago, mostly in 1996, and back then the ongoing project of trying to map the human genome was a huge news story, so I chose genetics as my overall topic. And in digging into, it seemed clear to me, Canadian that I am, that the only thing that would make sense in the coming era of predictive genetic testing would be socialized medicine. That this issue is still front-and-center today in political and ethical discourse hopefully means that Frameshift is still relevant.

Who is your favorite secondary character in this book and why?

Avi Meyer, who is hunting for former Nazis who might be lurking in modern genetic research. In high school, I dated a Jewish girl, and her parents, including her father, who was a concentration-camp survivor, worked hard to break us up. I struggled then over why they would do that, and found some peace by walking many figurative miles in Avi’s shoes.

What themes appear most strongly in your writing? What makes you particularly care about those ideas?

Over and over again, two themes: rationalism and empathy. Rationalism because it’s the only way we’ll get out of the messes we find ourselves in, whether its the depredations of religious extremists or the existential threat of climate-change denial. And empathy because it’s the core value of fiction. As I said above, Frameshift let me walk in Avi Meyer’s shoes; modern fiction, with its structure based on one point-of-view character per scene, is the only narrative tool we have that places you firmly inside someone else’s head, and the whole point of that exercise is to realize that other people have value, too. It’s certainly a large part of Frameshift; it’s the main message of the book I wrote right after it, the Hugo Award-nominated Factoring Humanity, and it’s the core message of my latest novel, Quantum Night, too.

 

To learn more about this great bundle of books, visit https://storybundle.com/scifi.

To connect with Bundoran Press, visit our web-site, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @BundoranPress

A Big Bundle of the Best

9 Jan

THE BUNDORAN BUDDIES SCI-FI BUNDLE

The Bundoran Buddies Sci-Fi Bundle – Curated by Hayden Trenholm

Science fiction is our conversation with the future. That’s the philosophy of Bundoran Press Publishing House. But how can you have a conversation without friends? That’s why I’m curating this twelve-book science fiction bundle for www.storybundle.com, made up of eleven novels and one short story collection from established greats and rising stars. Half of the books were published by the Press and the other six come from some fabulous authors who have been our friends and supporters for years. As always, at StoryBundle, you decide what the books are worth and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

The Bundoran Buddies Book Bundle includes a never before published collection of selected stories from Hugo and Nebula nominated author, James Alan Gardner, available nowhere else.

Award winners and nominees abound in this collection. Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer offers up his genetics-based near future novel, Frameshift, while Arthur C Clarke Award finalist, Alison Sinclair, presents the first book of her SF Plague Confederacy series: Breakpoint: Nereis. Aurora Award winning Edward Willett gives us a rousing space opera with Right to Know.

If your taste runs to near-future, Ramez Naam’s mind-expanding and globe covering Nexus is right up your alley. Or you might prefer, Madelaine Ashby’s vN, a gripping tale of designer self-replicating robots meant to both thrill and terrify.

At the other end of the temporal spectrum, we have military space opera, Valor’s Choice, from multi-award-winning author Tanya Huff – still producing best sellers after over two decades in the field or Stars Like Cold Fire from relative newcomer, Brent Nichols, both of whose novels from Bundoran Press have garnered Aurora Award nominations. Jennifer Rahn’s The Cyanide Process gives us a fun romp in a hard science thriller that includes robot ninjas and space Vikings.

But wait, there’s more. Fall from Earth is a far-future first contact novel set in an empire based on Chinese philosophies and traditions while Matt Hughes mystery SF novel, Template, spans multiple worlds and human cultures smeared across half the galactic arm. Mystery lovers will also enjoy Al Onia’s diesel punk noir, Transient City, with one of the most unusual and engaging detectives you will ever meet.

The Bundoran Buddies Book bundle only runs for three weeks. It’s a great deal and a chance to pick up books by some of your favorite SF writers and discover some new favorites at the same time. – Hayden Trenholm

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff
  • Template by Matthew Hughes
  • The Cyanide Process by Jennifer Rahn
  • Right to Know by Edward Willett

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus EIGHT more!

  • Frameshift by Robert J. Sawyer
  • Nexus by Ramez Naam
  • vN – The First Machine Dynasty by Madeline Ashby
  • Breakpoint Nereis by Alison Sinclair
  • Stars Like Cold Fire by Brent Nichols
  • Fall From Earth by Matthew Johnson
  • Organisms – Selected Stories by James Alan Gardner
  • Transient City by Al Onia
  • This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

What a Wonderful Deal

25 Jul

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I see Terrence Green, Van Belkom, too

I see books for me, and books for you

And I think to myself what a wonderful deal.

 

I see Sean Stewart and Robert J. Sawyer

Hayden Trenholm and Mike Rimar

And I think to myself what a wonderful deal

 

The Aurora Award Book Bundle

The best in Canadian Sci-Fi

Horror and Fantasy are also there too

Everything for me and for you

 

Read Derryl Murphy and Michael Rowe

Read Bedwell-Grime and S. M. Beiko

And think to yourself what a wonderful deal

Yes, think to yourself what a wonderful deal.

https://storybundle.com/aurora

 

Bundled Up With Friends

25 Apr

I’ve got a lot of ties to the current e-book bundle at Story Bundle (which you really should have bought by now). I’ve already talked about my relationship with Darusha Wehm – whose book I edited and whom I first met in person in London, England at World Sf Convention after her book came out. We’ve seen each other in person a few other times but most of our contact is by e-mail or social media.

I also described my relationship to the other writers in the fabulous anthology Strangers Among Us. Some I’ve known some for a couple of years and others for a couple of decades (Edward Willett sang at my wedding). Most I see once or thrice a year at conventions or other literary and social events while maintaining contact through Facebook and the like. The same can be said for a couple of the other writers in the bundle.

The exception is Robert Sawyer whose Factoring Humanity was a Hugo Award finalist and who is one of only 3 writers I have read everything they ever published. So I was a big fan of his before I first invited him to teach at the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association workshop in 1995. We’ve since been fast friends and spend time together whenever we can. We’ve even dedicated books to each other.

But I want to emphasize that I was a fan of his work before I ever met him – and I remain a fan to this day and consider myself fortunate to also be a friend.

Factoring Humanity is a great book and like all Rob’s books delves deep into the human condition and asks profound questions about the impact of technology on society and individuals. This book has it all: messages from outer space, AI, neuroscience and a rollicking good story. If you haven’t read it, it would be worth buying the bundle just for that.

But wait, there’s more. Factoring Humanity is bundled up with 11 other books which you can get for as little as $15US.

What are you waiting for?

Story Bundle!

12 Apr

Here is a guest blog from Cat Rambo, describing the SFWA Story Bundle including Children of Arkadia by M. Darusha Wehm.

THE SFWA SCIENCE FICTION BUNDLE

The SFWA Science Fiction Bundle – Curated by Cat Rambo

I am so pleased to present the first ever SFWA-focused StoryBundle. The idea for it has been hovering in my head for a several years but it was only last year that we finally had the contacts and volunteer structure to actually enact it. Last year I asked SFWA members to send in their science fiction and fantasy works for consideration in the bundles, and the enthusiastic response to that call let me assemble this awesome bundle as well as a second one, this time with a fantasy focus, for later this year. Midway through this year, we’ll open up the call for applications for the 2018 bundles.

If you’re curious about other SFWA offerings, sign up for our quarterly newsletter, which features new and backlist releases from our members in the area of fiction, games, and other offerings.

One reason I’ve pushed this StoryBundle along is because it’s a program that works well for our small press and independently published members, whose market agility allows them to make full use of the bundle. The membership voted to accept these new members in 2015 and one of the challenges was making sure SFWA served their needs. They’ve added immense enthusiasm and knowledge to our hive mind, and it’s great to have a way that helps them promote their work while also supporting the organization’s Givers Fund, which gives grants each year to encourage and promote fantasy and science fiction writing, including organizations such as the the African Speculative Fiction Society, Alpha Workshop, Clarion and Clarion West, and Launchpad.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, it’s over 50 years old, and has a membership of professional writers and publishing professionals from around the globe. It administers the Nebula Awards each year. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, stop by the mass autographing session on the evening of May 19, which will feature (literally) dozens of authors, including many authors on this year’s ballot and SFWA’s latest Grand Master, Jane Yolen. Check out the SFWA website at sfwa.org for information on genre writing, the field, and other services. – Cat Rambo

The initial titles in the SFWA Science Fiction Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:

  • Saiensu Fikushon 2016 by TOBI Hirotaka, Toh Enjoe and Taiyo Fujii
  • Borrowed Tides by Paul Levinson
  • The Weave by Nancy Jane Moore
  • Truck Stop Earth by Michael A. Armstrong
  • Children of Arkadia by M. Darusha Wehm
  • Beyond the Gates by Catherine Wells

If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all six of the regular titles, plus SIX more!

  • Unidentified Funny Objects by Alex Shvartsman
  • Factoring Humanity by Robert J. Sawyer
  • Strangers Among Us by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law
  • Tech Heaven by Linda Nagata
  • The Burning Eye by John F. Carr
  • The Leaves of October by Don Sakers

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.