[OUT NOW] – ARIA: Abandoned Luggage by Geoff Nelder

300_Aria3ARIA: Abandoned Luggage
Book Three of the ARIA Trilogy
By Geoff Nelder
Published by LL-Publications
Print: $14.99 (US) /£9.99 (UK/EU) /eBook: $5.99 (US) £3.99 (UK/EU)
ISBN: 978-0-9905655-0-5 (print)/ 978-0-9905655-1-2 (ebook)
© Geoff Nelder
254 pages / 89,500k words
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Genre(s): science fiction, speculative fiction
“Geoff Nelder inhabits Science Fiction the way other people inhabit their clothes.”
— Jon Courtenay Grimwood

“Geoff Nelder’s ARIA has the right stuff. He makes us ask the most important question in science fiction–the one about the true limits of personal responsibility.”  —Brad Linaweaver

“ARIA has an intriguing premise, and is written in a very accessible style.”
—Mike Resnick

In 2015, a case found in the struts of the International Space Station is brought to Earth. It releases a virus giving people amnesia. They lose their memory at the rate of a year’s worth every week. No one is immune. Infectious amnesia is unheard of. Industry breaks down as people forget where they work and how to perform their duties. People die as they forget their medication, and production ceases along with food, water supply, and energy. A few small groups realise what is happening in time and find isolated refuges. Ryder Nape takes a group to a secluded Welsh valley where safety from the virus is possible. Biologists call the virus ARIA: Alien Retrograde Infectious Amnesia.

In this conclusion to the trilogy, Dr. Antonio Menzies arrives on Zadok. The ARIA-3 bomb had reached there two days previously, causing havoc. Surviving Zadokians consider a mass-migration to Earth to escape the effects of ARIA-3. Antonio’s madness grows, and he makes disturbing discoveries in their laboratories.

Meanwhile, Ryder’s group is now on a Pacific island. His relationship with Jena is unstable and others have astonishing infatuations in tune with the increasingly desperate situation. When their island becomes unsustainable, and the alien-Earth hybrid weed gets out of control, where should they go?

What was the Zadokian’s real purpose with the ARIA viruses, and how does it all end?

About the Author
Geoff Nelder lives in Chester with his long-suffering wife and has two grown-up children whose sense and high intelligence persist in being a mystery to him. He would do most things for a laugh but had to pay the mortgage so he taught I.T. and Geography in the local high school for thirty years. A post-war baby boomer, he is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (FRMet S), and his experiences on geographical expeditions have found themselves into amusing pieces in the Times Educational Supplement. Visit Geoff’s website – http://www.geoffnelder.com

ARIA: Abandoned Luggage is available in print and several ebook formats including Kindle and NOOK and can be found at many online retailers. Visit the ARIA page at LL- Publications: http://www.ll-publications.com/aria3.html

Five Secrets Never Before Revealed

Kathleen Kaska, author of the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series, is sharing five secrets on My Story, My Way. Find out what Kathleen really wants to be when she grows up; who her high-school role model was; and what popular, age-old cookie she dislikes. Stop by and share one or two of your secrets.

http://anindieadventure.blogspot.com/2014/06/five-secrets-from-kathleen-kaska-and.html

New ARIA prequel short story by Geoff Nelder

200x300SFWritersSampler-Cover 2Geoff Nelder’s short story, “Een’s Revolt on Zadik” has been published in an anthology called Science Fiction Writers Sampler 2014 on Kindle at:

Amazon UK
Amazon.com

“Een’s Revolt on Zadik” is a prequel short to the ARIA Trilogy. No humans involved, but there are links with the story to ARIA books one and two.

The Shining: In Tahiti?

Sherlock Holmes has become so popular you can find him almost anywhere—even in outer space. But most of us can’t imagine the Great Detective without thoughts of Victorian London, or Miss Marple without St. Mary Mead, or Nero Wolfe without his Manhattan brownstone.
How much thought do you give to your mystery’s setting? Is it mere backdrop or an integral part of your story?
I think we all agree that when a story’s setting is more than just a physical locale, the story’s plot is greatly enhanced. And when the setting is powerful enough to become a principal character, the story is impossible to forget. Take for example Stephen King’s bestseller, The Shining. Had King set this story in tropical Tahiti, would it have had the same impact? King undoubtedly could have put a spin on the plot and produced another memorable thriller, but for those of us who have not yet acquired King’s Midas Touch, it wouldn’t have worked.
Each time I’ve read The Shining I felt the frigid winter of the Colorado Rockies, the evil spirits haunting the Overlook Hotel, and the desperation of Wendy Torrance to flee the shackles of her prison in the blizzard.
My selection of settings for the Sydney Lockhart series is fairly easy. Each mystery occursSherlockHolmes_mockup02 in an historic hotel. I look for relatively famous ones that are still in operation. I stay a few nights, study the history, and eventually concoct the plot. Using the uniqueness of each hotel enhances the atmosphere of each story, but making the place come alive has its struggles.
When story and setting work together, you’re on to something big. As much as I love the place, The Great Gatsby wouldn’t have worked in Waco.

What You Shouldn’t Ask an Author

questionThe questions a person shouldn’t ask an author at a book signing seem obvious–but only to authors, apparently. A few that make us swallow before answering are below.

1. Have you written anything I might have heard of?

Variations on this are: “Are you famous?” “Are you on the NY Times bestseller list?” and of course, “Are you as good as Janet Evanovitch?” We usually stumble through an answer, saying something like “I hope so.”

2. Can I get your book at the library?

The answer is possibly yes, and we really should be thrilled you’re interested, but do you think we drove for miles, schlepping books that weigh a ton, wearing shoes, a bra, and all that stuff, to have you NOT buy the book from the in-person author?

3.  Can you tell me where the rest room is?

Variations: “Do you sell the Detroit News here?” “Does the snack bar make espresso?” and (of course) “Where can I find Janet Evanovitch’s new book?”

4. One of my favorites (!) is when someone asks, “Did you write these books?”

The polite answer is “Yes, I did,” but you know I’m thinking, “Would I sit behind this table full of Peg Herring’s books if I were Janet Evanovitch????”

5. “Have any of your books been made into movies?”

Apparently the only way to be a truly successful writer is to have Hollywood take your book, change it into something almost unrecognizable, and pay you a pittance. Anything less is failure.

If I sound bitter, I’m not. It’s usually funny when these questions come up, and the people who ask are nice people. Still, the people who’ve actually thought about how difficult writing is as a career say things like, “Congratulations. Getting published is a big accomplishment.”

The really good ones plunk down a few bucks so they can see for themselves whether I’m as good as…You-know-who.

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Killing Despair–Loser Mystery #3 Coming Soon

Series-Good Idea or Bad?

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The idea of serial stories is as old as Scheherazade, and readers and listeners have always loved them. We like revisiting characters we enjoy, catching up with their lives like we do with old friends we see infrequently.

Series writers tread some dangerous waters. We might offend our readers if a character does something they don’t like. In television they call it “jumping the shark” when a series goes too far (It relates to Fonzie on HAPPY DAYS, who actually did that in an episode late in the series.) Letting major characters marry is often a mistake, since it removes the sexual tension (e.g. MOONLIGHTING). As a reader I’ve been disappointed when authors take their characters into so much personal trauma that I feel like I’ve left the mystery genre for melodrama.

I understand the problem, though. How does an author write book after book with the same characters and keep readers’ interest? There has to be growth and change, doesn’t there?

As a writer, my solution thus far has been to limit my series. When an idea occurs to me, I make a mental estimate: How far can this/these characters arc from Situation A to Situation X, a logical stopping place for the “big” story? For my historical series, I saw Simon working with Elizabeth Tudor at several important points in her life. It laid out as a five-book series in my mind, so the readers sees Elizabeth as Henry’s daughter in HER HIGHNESS’ FIRST MURDER, Edward’s loving sister in POISON, YOUR GRACE, Mary’s distrusted co-heir in THE LADY FLIRTS WITH DEATH, a queen dealing with threats to her throne in the upcoming HER MAJESTY’S MISCHIEF, and finally, as an old woman, successful but quite different from the innocent young girl we first met (HER ROYAL HIGHNESS PLOTS, still an idea in my head.)

In my Dead Detective series, four books seemed reasonable. We introduced the idea in THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, continued to a second case in DEAD FOR THE MONEY, found Seamus a partner in DEAD FOR THE SHOW, and he’ll solve his own case in the final book, also still a little sketchy at this point.

The Loser Series took three books. Meeting the damaged Loser in KILLING SILENCE, we saw her heal a little in KILLING MEMORIES. In the last book we will see how she ends up, and I think readers will approve (KILLING DESPAIR releases in 2014).

Any one of these series could go on, but as a writer, I don’t think I want them to. If I grow bored with my characters, it will show. If they simply repeat what they’ve done before, it will bore me and my readers. And if I let them get too crazy, they’ll kill the affection we have for them.

So is a series a good or a bad idea? I think it’s good IF the author considers the readers “arc of discovery” and her own “arc of interest.” Could I write ten books in a series? I suppose so, but I have so many other ideas! Will readers wish there were more than three or four or five? Maybe, but isn’t there something about it being better to leave the audience wanting more?

The Golden Age of Publishing: Here or Gone?

agatha

At lunch with a friend who aspires to be published, I was griping (not unusual, I assure you) about the difficulties of getting my work noticed in today’s world. She’s even worse off, trying to get that foot in the door with an agent or publisher but competing with zillions of other wanna-bes.  A comment she made struck me, that perhaps the Golden Age of publishing is over. Her contention is that there was a period of time in the 1900s (Why does that sound so long ago?) when authors wrote for a living and were published by entities that saw to it the books were edited into shape, attractively presented, and noticed by readers.

It’s easy to get published today. A chimp with an iPad might release a book by mistake (and some idiot out there would buy it and claim it tops Shakespeare). But recent research shows that most authors make less than $1000/year. The Big Guys are playing it safe by franchising authors who are dead or dying and pressing their top writers to crank out more books per year. Plenty of small presses support those of us who aren’t named James Patterson or Janet Evanovitch, but nobody’s getting rich in such ventures.

It should be a golden age: more opportunities to be published, more resources to make sure it’s done well. Every book out there should be a gem, because in the computer age nobody has to retype the whole thing after each edit!

Sadly there are too many writers who don’t care–possibly don’t even realize–their work is shoddy. Two examples.

Last night I finished a book by a major author, though I knew about half-way through it was flawed. By the end I was thoroughly disgusted. The killer was so unbelievable as to be a caricature, and the book slewed every once in a while into totally irrelevant chapters that should have been edited out.

The other example came yesterday when I sampled a book by an author unknown to me but who offered the first of his procedural cop series for free. It had so many errors in the first three pages that I couldn’t make myself go on. It was obvious no editor had even glanced at the manuscript.

Here’s the kicker: The book had 17 reviews on Amazon, all of them 4 or 5 stars. Not  one review mentioned problems with commas, run-ons, fragments, spelling, point of view, and stereotypical description. They were obviously bought or solicited or whatever, and if you haven’t noticed that trend, consider this: If some big-name authors really read all the books they blurb, they’d never have time to write their own.

So how can we have a golden age when neither writers NOR readers seem to care if the end product is as good as it can be?

The tools for a golden age are here. We have access to good editors, publishers, cover artists, and formatters. It’s up to readers to reject shoddy work and tell the author/publisher, (privately if you prefer) “This is terrible,” or “This needs work.” Authors and rival publishers can’t do it, because it looks like sour grapes, but that doesn’t mean we don’t see it.

Readers, when you find a book riddled with errors or bad writing, tell the author or publisher. I don’t mean if you didn’t like the way the author dealt with the topic: that’s personal taste. I’m talking about serious problems with the writing, editing, or other basic elements that could be corrected if responsible people work to make a decent product. A book is (should be) a joint effort, and someone should care if it isn’t the best it can be. If it isn’t, tell someone!

If that doesn’t work, there’s always the one star review on Amazon.

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