Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Why You Should Read ARC's

Dark RainEOS Books has a call out for advanced readers for Tony Richards' Dark Rain.

I'm not in on this one only because I need the time to work on my current WIP. Participating as an advanced reader is a great experience, but it’s one of those things you have to sometimes temper your enthusiasm over. Personally, I love being one of the first people to see an author’s finished work. Also, it’s free stuff, and who doesn’t like that?

Ultimately, though, participating in these endeavors (along with a great many other things) can become a distraction. There’s typically a deadline associated with the ARC and its publication date. So you have to commit to a reading schedule. Then, you have to write a review. I like to put some thought into mine, and possibly do a little research about the author in the process. For me, it becomes a more fulfilling process that way. In any case, what this boils down to is time. Time away from other things, like writing.

One way to help deal with this is to limit the number of ARC’s you sign up for. Do one every two or three months, or every six months if that works better. But don’t not participate. ARC’s are a great way to get exposure to authors you might not otherwise read. I, for one, think it is of the utmost importance that a writer read outside of his or her field. It’s a sort of research, both into other content as well as writing style.

As for Dark Rain, here’s what EOS has to say about it:

Raine's Landing, Massachusetts, can't be located on any map. On the surface it appears an ordinary New England small town, but anyone who stumbles in wants to leave immediately . . . and once gone, they forget they were ever there. Real magic pervades this village of shadows, practiced by powerful adepts descended from the original Salem witches. But a curse has made it impossible for any resident to step beyond the town line. Those born here must die here as well.

That sounds awesome.

If you’ve got the time in your schedule, go check it out.

Free eBooks from Jeffrey A. Carver

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SF Signal reports that Jeffrey Carver is giving away not one but two of his Chaos Chronicles books, Strange Attractors and Neptune Crossing.

Carver reports on his site:

All the novels of the The Chaos Chronicles are here or coming soon—free!—as well as some short stories. This is a great way to rejoin the story before reading the soon-to-be-published Sunborn. Also planned—a podcast audiobook of Sunborn.

Carver is no stranger to giveaways: Tor gave away his Battlestar Galactica pilot episode adaptation back in July. I didn't download it, only because I'd already seen the pilot episode on TV at least twice and didn't really need to read it.

However, as far as these two giveaways go… I already downloaded them and can't wait to jump in.

You should, too. Go get'em.

NOTE: As of 9/22/08, Jeffrey has made all three books in The Chaos Chronicles series available as free downloads.

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.

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.