As the weather turns colder and hiking season wraps up, it’s time for some reflection and nostalgia.
I have been on some truly epic adventures and vacations, but simply “getting away from it all” to recharge the creative batteries doesn’t always need to be an ambitious, expensive, and time-consuming project.
With a busy schedule, I have often needed to snatch quick, impromptu “micro-vacations.” I like to carve out an overnight camping trip, throwing sleeping bags and supplies, a cookstove and a bundle of firewood in the back of the SUV. A quick run to the grocery store to pick up hot dogs, buns, beans, chips, soda, eggs, even a can of spam. (Sitting in camp, near the fire, may be the only time and place that hot dogs or spam taste truly delicious.)
Within a few hours’ drive, there are any number of state park or national forest campgrounds, offering beautiful wooded sites, picnic table, and firepit for $10-$15. I love to head out in the morning, find a good spot, set up a quick camp, then go for a hike. Back at the site, I’ll build a campfire, sit at the picnic table, and edit chapters on my laptop—what could be a better office? It becomes a challenge for me whether to put up with the pesky insects or the (arguably worse) smelly, greasy bug repellent.
As the sun goes down and the temperature drops, I’ll sit close to the campfire and read a little. Then I’ll unroll the sleeping bag and pad in the back of the SUV and close myself in for the night, playing a DVD on the portable player, drinking a pint of microbrew from the growler I brought along, cozying up in my little bubble, and having a great night.
The next morning I’ll wake up refreshed, get up into the cool dawn air, light the campstove to make instant coffee and scrambled eggs (with spam, of course) before packing up and catching a quick hike before I drive home.
It’s just a quick, two-day trip requiring little planning or expense, but with a large payoff in recuperation and inspiration.
Following up on my announcement from a few weeks ago, I’m now on the faculty of Western State Colorado University as an adjunct professor in the Graduate Program for Creative Writing. I’m helping out with their Certificate of Publishing program and I’m currently the only finalist candidate to serve as director of the program starting next summer (a position I hope to be offered as soon as I finish my MFA, which is a requirement).
It’s an exciting program unlike any other (in my opinion), a real hands-on program covering the range of publishing options, from traditional to new-model independent publishing. I’ve already formally updated the course descriptions to make sure we cover all the changes in the rapidly evolving field. We’re actively looking for students, but it’s limited to only 6-8 attendees, so we can do it right. Western’s Certificate in Publishing program is 13 months long, almost entirely online, with a two week intensive residency (in the gorgeous Colorado mountains) each summer in July (each cohort does two of these intensives, two years in a row). You can find more information at Western’s Publishing Certificate Remember, only 6-8 students. I hope you’ll want to join us.
Strap into your cockpit, fire up the faster-than-light engines, and set course for the nearest star. I’ve got a grab bag of 13 excellent science fiction books all in one new Adventure SF storybundle. Get them all for as little as $15, and help out a great charity, too!
I put in a brand new action-packed story, The Blood Prize, featuring the popular character Colt the Outlander from Heavy Metal magazines, with all new art by the Aradio Brothers. Robert J. Sawyer offers his classic novel Far Seer (a planet of intelligent dinosaurs!). Raymond Bolton’s Awakening shows a fantasy civilization on the cusp of the industrial revolution faced with an alien invasion.
You’ll read different adventures on very different lunar colonies in Gray Rinehart’s Walking on a Sea of Clouds, Lou Agresta’s Club Anyone, and T. Allen Diaz’s Lunatic City, as well as Louis Antonelli’s alternate space race and murder on the moon in Dragon-Award nominee Another Girl, Another Planet.
Jody Lynn Nye’s Taylor’s Ark follows the adventures of a star-traveling MD with a specialty in environmental medicine, and Brenda Cooper’s Endeavor-Award winning The Silver Ship and the Sea is a gripping story of prisoners of war abandoned on a rugged colony planet. Acclaimed, award-winning author Paul di Filippo gives a collection of his best stories in Lost Among the Stars.
And for thrilling military SF, the bundle also has Honor and Fidelity by Andrew Keith and William H. Keith, Recruit by Jonathan P. Brazee, and the hilarious adventures of Phule’s Company in Robert Lynn Asprin’s Phule’s Paradise.
The Adventure SF storybundle runs for only three weeks. You can get the base level of five books for $5, or all 14 for as little as $15. Pay what you like, and a portion goes to support the great efforts of the Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education.
Once again, it’s time for our annual TRULY EPIC FANTASY StoryBundle, with tremendous imaginative novels that will draw the sword right out of your stone!
This year we have some amazing work by world-class fantasy authors as well as the best of the up-and-coming indie authors in the genre. We’ll start with a triple play by legendary and New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore, three novels: The Sword of Bedwyr, The Woods Out Back, and The Education of Brother Thaddius. Famed Brandon Sanderson adds his incredible Sixth of the Dusk to the mix, and Michael A. Stackpole delivers A Hero Born.
If you like your epic fantasy in a historical vein, we have Blood of Akhilles by R.M. Meluch, Joanna Crusader by Hilary Benford, and Obstacles by Ryan English. For outside-the-box fantasy, the bundle includes Knight of Flame by Scott Eder, Blood Curse by Quincy J. Allen, Shadowcurse by Gama Martinez, Unwilling Souls by Greg Little, The Moonflower by Kim May, Warrior of Light by William Heinzen, and The Fallen by Erik Kort and Lee French.
This is enough to fill your e-reader with epic stories for the next half year, for a bargain-basement price. You name your own price, and a portion of the proceeds goes to a worthy cause, to support the Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education.
Pick up a copy of all these books now, while they last. The bundle is available for ONLY THREE WEEKS at https://storybundle.com/epic
The initial titles in the The Truly Epic Fantasy Bundle 2017 (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular titles, plus NINE more!
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!
AND a portion of the proceeds will go to support the wonderful Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education.