Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Tor Free E-book: Soul by Tobsha Learner

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One thing you've got to be wondering is when Tor plans to end their Free E-book Giveaway promotion. I found out recently on good authority that the day the e-books stop flowing is July 20, so coming up pretty soon here.

Tor started the program to promote their new newsletter and presumably the re-launch of their web site. They provided links to the free e-books via email, so you would have had to sign up in order to get the benefits. Tor, for their part, gets what I can only imagine is a rather large list of email addresses. Anything associated with free is going to do well, if my Popular Posts section is any indication.

Hopefully you've been onboard from the start like I have, and have now accumulated a nice little pile of e-books. I haven't started any of them yet, but once I get through my print pile of books I'll be jumping in. I'll probably start with "Old Man's War" by John Scalzi. I've heard enough about the guy. Now I need to see if he can write.

For this week, Tor is giving us "Soul", by Tobsha Learner. This blog entry might possibly mark the last of my Tor Free E-books Giveaway posts. I hope you've enjoyed them. For me, it's been fun and educational. I've delved into the lives of a few authors I really didn't know much about and come away slightly more knowledgeable for it. What more can one ask?

7/14/2008 Update: Oops--looks like this is most definitely not going to be my last Tor Free E-books post. Tor has this to say on their web site:

Our current free book is Soul by Tobsha Learner; next week’s free book is Darkness of the Light by Peter David, and in the last week of our giveaway program, we’ll be making all the books in this program available one final time.

So, there's more a-comin'

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

Tor Free E-books: BSG by Jeffrey Carver and Flash by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

I'm combining this week and last's Tor Free E-book Giveaway cause I was fairly underwhelmed with last week's offering and never got to posting about it.

In any case, let's get to it.

Battlestar Galactica, by Jeffrey Carver

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Tor gave us Battlestar Galactica by Jeffrey Carver last week. Ordinarily, I might have been excited about this, but the book is an adaptation of the show's pilot which I'd seen at least twice already. Once we get past the initial "human gets greeted by the cylons and blown up" sequence, we're shown Starbuck running through Galactica's corridors shouting "Make a hole!" to ordinary citizens come to tour the battlestar before it's decommissioned.

Huh, how's that for deja vu? Just like the pilot episode.

I can only assume the book continues to follow the storyline as dictated by the pilot (it is an adaptation, after all). Sorry, that just doesn't do it for me. Book closed, didn't even bother saving this one.

As an aside, I've developed quite a love/hate relationship with the show. Sometimes, it's the best sci-fi I've ever seen. Other times (usually when they're dealing exclusively with Gaius Baltar), I'm bored to tears and my wife gets to listen to me swear off the show again and again. But I'm always back the next week hoping to see the show's true potential. Sometimes, I'm rewarded, and that's what keeps me coming back for more. Right now, I'm swearing off the show again cause they're making us wait until 2009 for the remainder of the episodes. I'm sure I'll change my tune by then.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

 

Flash, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

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Next up, and this week's giveaway, is Flash, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Cool cover, and you have to love a book that throws you into the action from the very first sentence:

Cracckk!
“Down!” Down! At the sound of the ancient slug-thrower,
I dropped flat onto the squashed soyl plants at the edge of
the field.

Similar to Tobias Buckell's Sly Mongoose, where the opening begins with the lead character hurtling through the atmosphere on a collision course with a floating city, this sort of opening promises a lot of fast-paced plotting, kick-butt action, and some general edge of your seat escapades.

Let's see what Amazon readers thought.

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Not bad. 4 1/2 stars out of 5. As one would expect with a rating that high, most reviews are favorable, though one reviewer who gave it 4 stars notes that the book "ultimately falls short as the world doesn't quite support the plot".

Guess I'll have to read the book to see for myself.

Modesitt has an extensive list of books to his name, so if you like this one you've got plenty of others to keep going with.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

BlogEngine.NET 1.4 released

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If you're using BlogEngine (like me), then you'll be pleased to know that version 1.4 has been released.

Al Nyveldt has come up with an upgrade guide to ease the transition.

Last, if you need a few reasons to upgrade, here's a taste of what's new:

  • Universal database provider (MySQL, SQL Server, VistaDB, Oracle etc.)
  • Drag ‘n drop widget framework (prototype video)
  • Author profiles using ASP.NET profile provider
  • Subcategories
  • Password encryption
  • Better performance
  • Tag selector in control panel
  • Semantic formats (FOAF, SIOC and APML)

I'm planning my migration strategy, the first step of which entails finding time to do it. Remember to backup EVERYTHING before you get started. Better safe than sorry.

Twitter: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

twitter_logoAs I write this, Twitter is dead. Not just down with the usual overusage whale or twittery bird, but completely dead as in their home page won't even come up.

This begs the question of how useful the service really is when it seems to spend so much time being down instead of up. Over on Men with Pens, there's a lengthy discussion going on about just that subject.

I've been using Twitter since my initial post about how I didn't get it. I like it well enough now. I don't use it all the time or even every day, but it was recently #2 on my list of driving traffic to my site (it only recently fell to #3 behind StumbleUpon), so in that respect it's been a boon. I also like the quick interaction it provides with others. However, when it's down, it's down, and not of much use to anyone.

One solution for when Twitter is down and you still want to twit is Twiddict. Think of Twiddict as an offline version of Twitter. Ahhh, maybe that's not the best way to describe it, but Twiddict queues your twits for you until the Twitter service comes back up. Then, when Twitter decides to come back up, it shoots them over. I've just tried using the service, so I can't attest to it's reliability, but it's a good idea and certainly interesting how niche apps crop up to fill gaps created by other applications or services.

Tor Free E-book: In the Midnight Hour by Patti O'Shea

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Tor's latest free e-book giveaway is In the Midnight Hour by Patti O'Shea.

Ms. O'Shea has an impressive list of books to her name with a definite slant towards the romantic.

From the author's web site:

Ryne is a magical troubleshooter, sworn to protect the innocent from being harmed by magic—and she's been chasing Anise, her former mentor, for six years.

Deke is a private investigator who knows something key to defeating Anise.  But Anise cast a dark spell over him, and even though Ryne has managed to temporarily lift the curse, Deke can't remember what it is that he knows.

Ryne has sworn to never get involved with a human, but Deke is sexy, charming, brave and irresistible—and as Ryne and Deke are pulled further into Anise's evil schemes, it's harder and harder for Ryne to resist the attraction.

But dark magic has its own attraction, and in order to defeat Anise and lift Deke's curse permanently, Ryne will have to risk following in Anise's footsteps and succumbing to the lure of the darkness...

Hmmm… sounds like romance and paranormal all wrapped into one. Not my usual thing, but what the heck. It's free.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.