Sunday, January 22, 2006


I realized I never put up a FAQ for this page. So here it is. It may not be complete, but I'll endeavor to put your questions on this list if they become ... well, frequently asked.

What is the purpose of this page?

This page's purpose is to publicize my relatively recently published book. I also throw in news relating to my book.

What is your book about?

It is a science fiction novel of 313 pages, paperback. It is the first part of a series--or, at least, intended to be the first part of a series. The story is about a man named Henry who has always had an inexplicable desire to go into space. He is eventually given the technology to build a space vessel that can travel faster than light. He gathers together some friends (and their families) to make this journey; but, due to an accident during an experiment, attracts the attention of the government. He and his people now have to avoid capture and make it off of Earth.

Just how far-fetched are the concepts in your book?

The actual interstellar drive is loosely based off of a theory of Alcubierre. It is very similar to the famous "warp drive" from Star Trek (tm). When I came upon some papers done on Alcubierre, I scrapped a previous idea for an interstellar drive in favor of this one, as it was the easiest to explain.

The GEOCOM might actually be more far-fetched than the interstellar drive. There are theories for faster-than-light (FTL) travel. I don't personally know of any way to make a hologram in thin air, without the aid of some other medium. However, its abilities to scan for life and necessary elements to support life are not so far-fetched. Many of these abilites are used by NASA right now; for example, the ability to detect methane on Mars, which made NASA physicists suspect microbial life might still exist on Mars.

Outside of that, everything else is made out of either existing or legacy technology.

UPDATE: About the GEOCOM being far-fetched? Apparently, I was wrong.

Do you really expect to make any money off of this book?


Oh, really?

Yes, really. I don't expect to make a fortune. I personally won't be heartbroken if I don't make loads of money from my book. My biggest desire is to have as many people share this vision as possible. Hence, why I also created this web page.

But seriously. This book apparently costs $25, and I don't know you. Why should I buy it?

Well, that is up to you. There are excerpts on this blog; and there is also the work-in-progress found here. I am slowly but surely putting the entire book here so you can read it and decide for yourself. I've had a lot of people read my personal copy and they all loved it, for what that's worth.

How many books do you plan on having in this "series?"

This, believe it or not, is going to be a somewhat complicated answer. There is one book, complete and available for purchase (of course). There are also three other books in the series, plus another book that breaks from the main timeline, that I am done writing and are in different stages of touching-up. A fifth book in the series is about 10% completed. And, there are approximately two prequels (maybe only one...maybe as many as three...) planned that have nothing to do with Henry ...well, initially.

The "parallel" book, tentatively named Altair, breaks from the main Voyage timeline near the end of the first book, and rejoins the timeline in the third book. The prequels start around 1890 or so (yes, 1890) and join the timeline in book two.

Like I said, "complicated" answer.

What is the inspiration behind this book?

I give some detail behind the inspiration here, near the bottom of the page. I will quote it here for you:

The "dream" in the Prologue is based loosely on a dream I actually had when I was about four years old. I personally don't remember much of the dream, but my father does. It does involve a glowing being, outside our old house in Hancock, ME; and it involves the world being engulfed in flames. Please note that I was not brought up in a religious household, nor had ever been to church or Sunday school at this point. However, all of this information is second-hand through my father. I did, however, have two dreams that I can remember that involved said "glowing being": it was twilight and I was by a stream when the being came through the woods. However, all I remember was the being telling me to not be afraid. That's it. Finis. No flying off into space, no flaming Earth, nothing. So make of it what you will.

Are you crazy??


Yes, you are.

No, I'm not.

Yes! You are!

No! I'm not!

Are, too!



You shut up.

No, you shut up!

No, YOU shut up!!


But seriously. I'm as sane as the next guy.


Shut UP!!!

Dude! Sweet! (Voyage to Xanadu - Solar Flare: Science Fiction News)

Voyage to Xanadu - Solar Flare: Science Fiction News

Solar Flare, in direct response to approving and posting my ad, did a quick little blurb on this site and my book. Way cool! Check out the link; and check out the rest of the site. Happy, happy!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

This is some strange kind of advertisin'...

Some people may be asking, "well, you put up an ad for your book...why didn't this lead to where you sell your book?" I feel that you should be given the opportunity to see some history, and maybe read some excerpts, before you go and buy the book. If you want to buy it RIGHT NOW, there's a link on the right side of the screen.


I definitely encourage it. However, you can also read this page and see some of my own "press releases" (as it were) about the book, or follow the *other* link on the left to a free version of my book (still a work in progress).

So I hope that answers at least some of your questions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Selling out

AdBrite - The Internet's Ad Marketplace

Waiter Rant started using AdBrite so he could make a few extra bucks on the side for all his blogging work. It got me to thinking.

I took out some ad space using AdBrite, purchasing it on Waiter Rant (just because I love his writing so much). With that being said, and if you've found this place by clicking through the ad there (if he accepted the ad, I don't know as of the time I'm writing this), there are four things you can choose to do now that you're here.

As you read through this blog, you'll realize this is my feeble attempt at publicizing my recently "published" novel (the "quotes" are there for a some articles below). Therefore you can:

1. Purchase a copy of my book. I've linked to Barnes and Noble, as they have a discount club card that can save you 10% from the cover price. Since PublishAmerica (which has received a large amount of bad press, most of it--as I've discovered--unwarranted) in their infinite wisdom charges $25 for the book, and I (as a couple other respondents) don't see the logic in a person paying that much for an unknown author's first work, I figured $2.50 off would make the buy more enticing. PLEASE NOTE that, as I've said (read the articles below for more), PA has received a lot of bad press, you may decide you don't want to give your money to PA by buying my book. That's fine. You can do the next suggestion:

2. Get it for free. I'll admit, I've been slacking on putting my book on this separate blog; but it will get done in time. Maybe. In addition to this suggestion, you can also do the next suggestion:

3. Donate some cash. On the "freexanadu" blog (link above), there's a "PayPal Donate" button. Send me some dough$$! If you give me your email with the donation, I'll send you a complete copy of my book (non-published, in Microsoft Word format). I don't know how much of a demand I'll get via email, so if you don't get anything after a while, just know I'm working on it. Or, you can just contact me and get it cheap as free, but I'd prefer a little $$ for all my hard work. *wink*

4. Move on. Maybe sci-fi doesn't interest you. Maybe you HAVE heard of me before and know what a big jerk I am. I don't know. But you can always not read my work. That's fine with me. ... NO IT'S NOT! WAAAH! Ahem. Anyway.

Those are your four options. I also linked to AdBrite, just because.

Happy reading!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Politically colored blog entries

Ok, the past 3 or 4 blog entries on this page have been moved to Why Is The Sky Chartreuse. I have no idea why I kept on doing this. I need to pay more attention to the quick edit/Blog This! feature of Blogger. So if you're looking for my rants on various political topics, go here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I found that "infamous" Washington Post article...

Making Books (

Here it is: the WP article that examines PublishAmerica. Here's an interesting quote: "What happens if the author wants out of the contract? Some authors have been asked to sign a confidential release, agreeing to say only that the relationship 'dissolved amicably' and not to disparage PublishAmerica."

Not all about PA is a nightmare, apparently. There are several satisfied authors. It really DOES seem to me that the largest group of dissenters are authors who never bothered to read ANY of the contract.

And, from that, PublishAmerica got some bad press. I'm sure there are things PA did in the past that were unethical. Or maybe not. But I can see that at the very least, the largest reason for their bad reputation is from people who deluded themselves in thinking that PA is something that it isn't.

And, because of people like me who DO know what PA is, I have less of a chance to sell my book, on my own volition. All because of a bunch of lazy fucks who felt like blaming someone else instead of taking RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS. Rrrgh.

So I no longer fully blame PA for my predicament. Part of the blame goes to these dissenters.

But wait! There's more!

Mainstream publishers approach editing more broadly and take a more deliberate pace. And while PublishAmerica editors communicate with authors by e-mail -- some authors say they never even learned their editors' last names -- traditional editors not only pick up the phone, but frequently meet their authors in the flesh and have even been known to take them to lunch.

Emphasis was added. I know *my* editor's last name. Why didn't these other guys know? My book was published (or in the process of publishing) around the time of this article. So, what's going on here? Is it in fact that PA's editors aren't all doing their job in the same manner? I wonder if that is the case.

As for distribution, books are one of the few commodities retailers can return if they don't sell -- except for print-on-demand books, which aren't returnable and therefore don't get stocked by national chains.

This is true. PA books were non-returnable. As of a couple months ago, they are now. Hmmmm............

And here's a quote I LOVE:

"Sour grapes," says humorist H.B. Marcus of his fellow authors' complaints. "Their books didn't go anywhere . . . and they can't face it. It's easier to say, 'PublishAmerica ripped me off.' "

Couldn't have said it better myself. Also, this quote: "The Better Business Bureau is "conducting further research" on the 25 complaints it's received..." 25? Out of how many authors that PA has done business with? We're looking at a fraction of a percent.

Long story short, these "easier to say" people are the number one reason for PA's bad rep. I admit, it's very unlikely--even if PA had a spectacular reputation--that I'd ever make the bestseller's list (or even close to it). But that's okay. It's too bad, though, that my book will have LESS circulation because of bad press from confused people. Too bad.

NOTE: I found the following text right from PA's website: "FACT #5: PublishAmerica is NOT in any way a POD, vanity press, or subsidy publisher, and has nothing in common with them. Obviously, our authors are also not being self-published. In the most commonly used context, POD indicates "Publish On Demand", or vanity publishing. Vanity publishers charge for their "services". Some charge a few hundred dollars, others a thousand or more. We are not in that league, in any way, shape or fashion." This, as everyone knows, is untrue. They ARE POD. The only difference is that they don't charge to print your book, which is TRUE. Because they don't charge does not ensure that they are not POD.

Additionally: "FACT #10: As for the production time of our books, we put the author in full control. If an author wants us to release his or her book fast, we can do that. Authors who feel that their manuscript is already edited to perfection may opt to have no additional editing done, provided that we agree. Depending on how fast they submit all necessary information and materials, they may see their book go to the printer within as little as 6 weeks. If time is of no primary concern, or if we decide that additional editing is required, we assign an editor who goes through the text line by line. We don't touch style issues, we don't edit the author's voice, tone, or delivery. We edit for spelling, mechanics, grammar, and typos. In all situations, before it goes to print we send a book back to the author at least twice, to ensure that it looks exactly as the author wants it to look." People who had their books done in as little as 6 weeks will OF COURSE have an assload of errors in their manuscript.

I took ONE YEAR to get it printed. Therefore, it was done right. I found NO errors (other than my own, which were stylistic in nature) in the final manuscript. In fact, PA FOUND several grammatical and punctuation errors and fixed them. So I find it unfair that dissenters say that their editors don't pay attention to their manuscripts. They pay as much attention as the author allows.

Another spot to find my book: Forbes

About the Book Club

Yup. My book is on a bookselling website owned by You know...those dudes who write about money all the time? Well, anyway, I took a look at the "about" page for the Book Club. This is what it says:

The Book Club was designed to provide you with an easy way to order the best business and general interest books available.

The best?? Hmm. Well, my book has absolutely nothing at all to do with business; and it most certaintly isn't a "general interest" book, as far as I know. Strange to find it here, though. My book seems to be popping up in a lot of places now.

An unexpected jump in sales Voyage to Xanadu : Book One: Books: Andrew Magnus

Just this weekend, the sales ranking for my book was around #1,700,000. Yesterday, its sales ranking was #332,309.

Someone bought a few of my books. I don't know who it would be, as everyone I personally know who wanted a copy had bought one before Christmas. Interesting.

PS: The highest rating my book ever received was #212,007. The worst was near #2,000,000. Something's going on here. I also looked over at Barnes and Noble... you know... the company that won't stock PublishAmerica books because they think the publisher is a bunch of crooks? Well, apparently people have been buying there as well; and have bought such titles as Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, to name a few.

VERY interesting.

PS2: You can save $2.50 if you buy from Barnes & Noble with your membership card. So you'd be paying $22.45 instead of almost $25. Not TOO bad.