Kevin J. Anderson’s Blog

i write. i make up stuff. i adventure hard, so you don’t have to.
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  • Kevin J. Anderson

  • A Galaxy Full of Adventure SF

    Posted By on June 23, 2016

    Science Fiction is the literature that always set my imagination on fire, sparking my sense of wonder, taking me on adventures into the future, off to the most distant parts of the universe, to alien cultures, and the frontiers of the human mind.

    I’m curating a new Adventure SF bundle for that contains fourteen great books guaranteed to set your imagination on fire, and it launches today, June 22—for only a little more than a dollar a book.

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    If you like grand space opera, we’ve got DARKSHIP THIEVES by Sarah A. Hoyt, TIMEWEB by Brian Herbert, FIRE WITH FIRE by Charles A. Gannon, THE WORKER PRINCE by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and even TALES OF DUNE, the previously uncollected Dune short stories written by Brian Herbert and me.

    For hard SF, there’s LAUNCH PAD, an anthology of science fiction stories edited by Jody Lynn Nye and Mike Brotherton. In traditional fast-paced science fiction, the bundle has HER BROTHER’S KEEPER by Mike Kupari, MORNING SONG by Dean Wesley Smith, and BURIED DEEP by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

    In post-apocalyptic adventure, Aaron Michael Ritchey’s DANDELION IRON fits the bill. For gritty cyberpunk, Todd J. McCaffrey has CITY OF ANGELS. Alan Dean Foster has the undersea epic OSHENERTH. And THE CAULDRON by Jean Rabe and Gene deWeese offers mind-bending, thought-provoking future speculation.

    I’m also very pleased to include 2113, a new anthology edited by me and John McFetridge—a collection of stories inspired by legendary rock band Rush (and it includes my sequel to the classic epic “2112”).

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    With, you name your own price for this grab bag of Adventure SF books. For as little as $8 you get the basic bundle of seven titles, and for as little as $16 you get them all. A portion of the money goes to charity—the Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education—and, other than a small admin percentage, the rest of the earnings is directly divided among the titles.

    For this Adventure SF bundle, I’m adding an exclusive sneak preview for all customers—a first-hand look at the first few chapters of NAVIGATORS OF DUNE (due out September 13), the grand finale of the Great Schools of Dune trilogy, as well as the first few chapters of ETERNITY’S MIND, the climax of my Saga of Shadows trilogy.

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    This is available for a limited time only, running for three weeks. The bundle ends on July 12. Shoot for the stars!


    A Clockwork Climb for RUSH Fans—Mt. Evans

    Posted By on May 26, 2016

    UPDATE: Due to overwhelming response, our climbing group is at capacity. If you want to be placed on a waiting list, please email reed (at) via (dot) com.

    In August 2010, on a day between two Rush concerts at Red Rocks Theater near Denver, Neil Peart and I climbed a mountain—Mount Evans, 14,265 ft, and on that climb we plotted the story and characters of CLOCKWORK ANGELS (a hike described in detail in Neil’s afterword to the novel).  Now, some Rush fans want to re-create that climb this summer, and I have agreed to lead them.


    Mount Evans is a fairly easy climb, as such things go—non-technical, and with a good trail all the way to the top. But no 14,000-ft peak is “easy” and even though the hike is short, only 2.5 miles from the trailhead at Summit Lake to the top of the mountain, it does gain almost 1900 ft of elevation. And the air is thin, so I won’t kid you. You need to be in fairly good shape.

    It will be a tremendous experience, and some of the most breathtaking beauty you’ve ever seen.

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    On Mount Evans, the road goes all the way to the top, so we’ll arrange vehicles to pick us up at the summit (thus, you only have to climb one way). For those who don’t want to make the climb at all but want to participate in the group at the top for a fine photo, we can arrange to drive you to the top, without exertion.

    We plan to climb on Saturday August27. The Mount Evans Road is in the quaint western mining town of Idaho Springs, just outside of Denver. We’ll stay in one of several inexpensive motels in Idaho Springs the night before, climb on the Saturday, and even relax in the Idaho Springs mineral hot springs afterward. You are responsible for your own travel expenses to get there, and we’ll collect an additional $50 per person to cover other expenses.

    ***NOTE: the date has been changed to August 27 to avoid the post-Labor Day road closure.

    If you are interested, please contact Chris Reed at reed (at) vika (dot) com.  We hope to get ten people for the group.



    A Grab Bag of Sci-Fi Specials from WordFire Press

    Posted By on April 6, 2016

    (AI) LS Word Fire Press

    WordFire Press just teamed up with Humble Bundle for an exciting “Sci-Fi Specials” bundle of our titles, a full sampler of 18 of our books, and you pay what you want. Unlike other bundles I’ve run, fully half of the titles here are not available to the general public at the launch of the bundle, and the other half have never appeared in bundles before. You can get ALL of the titles for as little as $15—worth $106 if you bought them separately.

    KJA fans will find a new reissue, Artifact, a high-tech thriller featuring the Daredevil’s Club, which I cowrote with F. Paul Wilson, Matthew J. Costello, and Janet Berliner. There’s Virtual Destruction, my first Craig Kreident thriller with Doug Beason, about a murder in a high-security government nuclear design lab; and there’s my first novel, Resurrection, Inc., a SF novel inspired by the Rush album Grace Under Pressure.

    You’ll also find four previously unpublished novels by Dune author Frank Herbert, a new fantasy adventure by Alan Dean Foster, a fantasy sequel to MacBeth by Jason Henderson, a steampunk adventure City of Saints by D.J. Butler, epic fantasies by Ramon Terrell, Neo Edmund, and Shean Pao, post-apocalyptic dystopia by Aaron Michael Ritchey, science fiction time travel by Andrew Mayne, Gothic mystery by Peter J. Wacks and J.R. Boyett, noir SF by Quincy J. Allen, a sexy thriller featuring vampire detective Felix Gomez by Mario Acevedo, urban fantasies by J.A. Pitts and Josh Vogt, as well as a new science fiction anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt featuring a never-before-collected “Ender’s Game” story by Orson Scott Card.

    The Sci-Fi Specials Humble Bundle runs for only two weeks—ends April 20—and a portion of the money raised goes to two non-profits I’ve selected, the Challenger Learning Center for Space Science Education and the Emergency Medical Fund for the Science Fiction Writers of America. Please help us out, and you’ll get a lot of great books to read!



    Sample booklet from 2113: Stories Inspired by Rush

    Posted By on February 18, 2016

    In April, ECW Press will release the epic anthology 2113: Stories Inspired by Rush. It’s available for Preorder Now, from online booksellers as well as your favorite bookstore, so you can be sure to be the first kid on your block with a copy. 18 epic stories—science fiction, fantasy, thriller, dystopia, adventure—inspired by the music of Rush. Edited by me and John McFetridge, and it includes 16 original works, as well as reprints of “A Nice Morning Drive” by Richard S. Foster (Neil Peart’s original inspiration for “Red Barchetta”) and “Gonna Roll the Bones” by Fritz Leiber (original inspiration for the album “Roll the Bones”).


    To build excitement for the highly anticipated release—you know, like a high-energy warmup band!—ECW has produced a limited sample booklet that contains the complete gritty short story “Random Access Memory” by my co-editor John McFetridge, inspired by the song “Lakeside Park.”

    I will be signing and handing out free copies of the booklet at my convention appearances throughout the year, beginning with Pensacon in Pensacola, Florida this weekend. If you would like a FREE copy of the booklet, signed by me, just pay for the postage and envelope. You can order a copy direct from me at

    And please please please pre-order your copy of the book—I would love to see the Rush fans rally and preorder 2113 copies of 2113.



    SUPERSTARS 2016 Panel Schedule

    Posted By on January 14, 2016


    It’s always a challenge to juggle the subjects and the speakers. So many things to cover in three days of nuts-and-bolts industry and career information! This looks like our best Superstars Writing Seminar yet.

    If you haven’t signed up, you still have a couple of weeks.  Go to the Superstars website.


    8:00    Welcome and Opening Remarks
    8:30    The Popcorn Theory of Success—Kevin J. Anderson
    9:30    The Economics of Publishing—Eric Flint
    10:30  Making Money in Hollywood—David Farland, Jim Butcher, James Artimus Owen


    1          How to Build an Intellectual Property—KJA, Jim Butcher, Bill Fawcett (M)
    Collaboration—Jody Lynn Nye (M), Todd McCaffrey, Eric Flint, Rebecca Moesta
                Breakout room: Pitch practice (Lisa Mangum)

    2          Writing Jacket Copy and Synopses—Chris Mandeville (M), Lisa Mangum, Bill Fawcett
    Hands-on Workshop: Preparing Your Indie Book for eBook and Print—Quincy Allen
    Breakout room: Indie book critiques (KJA),

    3          The Young Adult Market—Lisa Mangum (M), Rebecca Moesta, James Artimus Owen
                Taxes, LLCs, and Other Fun Stuff — Jace Sanders, MBA, CFP(r)
    Breakout room: Career Consult (Bill F), story opening critique (BTS)

    4:00    Jim Butcher Imparts Wisdom (and Maybe a Little Misinformation)—Jim Butcher

    4:45    Open Q&A—James Owen, Eric Flint, Mark LeFebvre, Lisa Mangum, David Farland, Jody Lynn Nye


    8:30    A Day in the Life of an Editor at a Traditional Publisher—Anne Sowards
    9:30    EBooks and Indie Publishing—Mark Leslie Lefebvre
    10:30  Traditional, Indie, or Hybrid Author?—KJA, Jody Lynn Nye, James Owen, Dave Farland, Mark Lefebvre, Cat Rambo


    1          Working with Publishers and How They Are Structured—Bill Fawcett
                Dissecting a Contract—Eric Flint
                Breakout room: Indie book critiques (KJA and Rebecca Moesta), Pitch practice (Anne Sowards)

    2          What Are Editors After?—Anne Sowards, Bill Fawcett (M), Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Lisa Mangum
    Hands-on Workshop: Preparing Your Indie Book for Print & CreateSpace—Quincy Allen            Breakout room: Novel opening critiques (Eric),

    3          Analyzing and Finding Your Audience—David Farland
                Dirty Secrets of a Writing Career—Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta
                Breakout room: Pitch practice (Lisa Mangum), story opening critique (BTS)

    4:00    Drawing out the Dragons—James Owen

    4:45    Open Q&A—Jim Butcher, Anne Sowards, Rebecca Moesta, Todd McCaffrey, KJA, Bill Fawcett


    8:30    Bookstores, bookselling, and distribution—Mark Lefebvre, Anne Sowards, Lisa Mangum, Bill Fawcett
    9:30    Self Promotion and Tribe Building—Jim Butcher, KJA, James Owen, Jody Lynn Nye
    10:30  Agents: A Representative Panel—Bill Fawcett, David Farland, Eric Flint, Anne Sowards


    1          Myths of Publishing—Rebecca Moesta
                Hands-on Workshop: Scrivener basics—M. J. Carlson
    Breakout room: Career consult (Bill F), Ebook Formatting (Quincy)

    2          How to Increase Your Writing Productivity—Kevin J. Anderson
                Hands-on Workshop: Uploading your eBook on Kobo and Smashwords—Mark Lefebvre, Adric Mayall, Aaron Fernandez
    Breakout room: Novel opening critiques (Eric),

    3          Throwing Your Book at the Wall: Book Signings, Book Launches, Blog Tours, Book Tours—KJA, Jim Butcher, Lisa Mangum, James Owen, David Farland
    What an Editor Can Do for You—Josh Vogt (M), Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Joshua Essoe, Cat Rambo
    Breakout room: Ebook Formatting (Quincy)

    4:00    Finding the Balance: Being a Writer in the Real World—All

    4:45    Open Q&A—all



    New Instructor for Superstars 2016: Bill Fawcett

    Posted By on January 4, 2016


    We’re pleased to announce another new A-List instructor for Superstars Writing Seminar—well-known editor, agent, packager, and game designer Bill Fawcett.

    Bill head shot

    After writing for the early issues of Dragon Magazine in the 1970s Bill became one of the founders of and lead designer at Mayfair Games, a board and role play gaming company. He has continued his game design work creating a number of PC games and apps. Bill Fawcett & Associates has packaged over 350 books science fiction, fantasy, military, non-fiction, and licensed novels and series for major publishers. A packager for over 30 years, he has worked with numerous new authors who are now NY Times bestsellers and helped launched writing careers. Bill has worked with agents, on both game and media licensing and is senior staff on one of the nation’s largest conventions.

    As an author Bill has written or co-authored over a dozen books plus close to one hundred articles and short stories. The Fleet anthologies that he created with David Drake in the 80s was the first military science fiction shared world series. Bill has collaborated on several mystery novels including with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro including the Authorized Mycroft Holmes novels and the Madame Vernet Investigates mystery novels. As an anthologist Bill has edited or co-edited around 40 anthologies. Bill was the editor of Hunters and Shooters and The Teams, two oral histories of the SEALs in Vietnam.

    Among the non-fiction books Bill has written is Oval Office Oddities, thousands of odd facts, quotes, and just plain strangeness about the US Presidents, First Ladies, and White House. His other solo collections include The 100 Mistakes that Changed History and Trust Me and 100 Leadership Mistakes that Changed History. His historical “Mistakes” series of often amused look at how the mistakes in history changed our lives include It Seemed Like a good Idea, It Looked Good On Paper (Engineering disasters) and You Did What. His military mistakes series include How To Lose A Battle, How To Lose a War, How To Lose WWII, How To Lose a War at Sea, and How To Lose the American Civil War.

    Bill joins other guest instructors Jim Butcher, Anne Sowards (Penguin Random House), Mark Lefebvre (Kobo), Jody Lynn Nye, Todd J. McCaffrey, and faculty Kevin J. Anderson, David Farland, Eric Flint, Rebecca Moesta, and James Artimus Owen.

    Superstars 2016 is our sixth annual writing seminar, a three-day intensive seminar about the business of writing and publishing, as well as nuts-and-bolts career building. Only two more days before early-bird pricing ends. We hope you’ll join us February 4-6 in Colorado Springs.


    The ETERNITY’S MIND Editing Marathon

    Posted By on December 14, 2015

    It’s the last draft, my final read-through and edit of ETERNITY’S MIND, the 700-page manuscript I’ve been working on all year. The grand finale of the Saga of Shadows trilogy, tenth novel overall in my Saga of Seven Suns universe. And it’s complicated, 34 different point-of-view characters and storylines.

    I needed a place to concentrate so I could fit the whole story in my head, with minimal interruptions.

    It was time to head off to Estes Park, Colorado, again, one of my favorite writing retreats, with a cabin on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, kitchenette, refrigerator, bed, fireplace, bathtub. Add my iPod and my laptop, and it was the perfect environment. The weather was supposed to be bad, but that was good—I was just going to stay inside anyway.

    Four days and nights to get as much of the manuscript edited as possible. This would be my seventh time reading the book.

    I left a chunk of the manuscript at home, so Rebecca could start her detailed line and copy-edit, and I promised to send her 100-page sections as I finished them.

    I arrived on Thursday afternoon, unpacked, set up shop. I got groceries, bought a rotisserie chicken and a bag of salad so I wouldn’t have to cook dinner, and got to work. I finished about 50 pages before I called it a night at 1 AM and went to bed, but I was just getting warmed up.

    Next morning it was gray, cold, snowy…perfect editing weather. I wouldn’t be the least bit interested in going out for a hike. I sat on the futon with my lap desk, then I moved to the table where I could use the bluetooth keyboard, then back to the futon for another chapter or two, then in the afternoon I took a break and went to sit in Starbucks for an hour or two to edit in a different environment, then back to the cabin to keep going.

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    If I focus, I can edit about ten pages an hour. After making myself breakfast and getting to the second cup of coffee, I started at 9 AM, then tried to get ten pages done by 10 AM. If I made it, I could treat myself with a break to look at Facebook or check email; if I didn’t make it, I had to plow through and hope to make up for time and have twenty pages done by 11 AM. Then thirty pages done by noon.

    I heated up a can of soup and had some leftover salad, then got back to work, hoping to catch up with the ten pages an hour. Naturally, the inevitable “emergency” phone call or two or crisis email derailed the schedule. I made some Italian sausages in marinara sauce in the crockpot, so it would be ready whenever I needed to break for dinner. Sure, it would have been nice to go out to a restaurant to dinner, but that would have taken too much time and disrupted the routine.

    I did manage to reach my goal of 100 pages edited, by about 10 PM, and called to check in with Rebecca. After which, I “treated” myself by spending an hour and a half answering business emails, keeping up with social media, and posting a blog. I ran a bath, but my brain and eyeballs were just too wrung out to relax by reading, so I put in headphones and listened to an audiobook, then got to bed by 1 AM.

    Up the next morning by 7:30 AM, clouds and snow again—editing weather—shower, breakfast, coffee, then back to the editing by 9, ten pages an hour, canned soup for lunch and leftover chicken for dinner, and again finished my goal of 100 pages by 10 PM, more email, another bath and audiobook, to bed by 1 AM.

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    For four days in a row. Today it was beautifully, cruelly sunny, but I stayed inside and edited anyway. It’s still a pretty cool office.

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    Tomorrow I will leave to head home, and the novel *should* be finished and delivered by the end of the week. As of right now, I have done up to page 410 (out of 734), and I hope to get another 50 finished before I check out at noon. An exhausting but satisfying retreat.

    And the last time I did this, when I got home a neighbor commented, “I hope you had a really nice vacation.”

    ETERNITY’S MIND will be out next September from Tor Books. You can preorder your copy now.


    A StoryBundle of Holiday Joy!

    Posted By on December 13, 2015

    As I write this blog, Colorado has been hit with the first big snowstorm of the season, 8-12 inches overnight. School is closed for a snow day, and my snowplow guy just called to say that he can’t even get up our road to plow the driveway.

    So, we’ll sit inside all nice and cozy with a fire. A perfect time to read.

    Holidays are full of magic, good cheer, mystery, and wonderful fantasies. This time of year—from Thanksgiving through Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, New Years—is packed with possibilities, and great fodder for writers to tell some of their best stories.

    It was a tradition of mine early in my career to write a new story and get together with other writer friends, where we would share the stories on Christmas Eve. Continuing that tradition, in spirit, for the second year I’ve put together a bundle of entertaining and heartwarming books of holiday stories—from the magical to the fantastical. Stories to be shared…or just savored alone while wrapped in a warm blanket and sipping eggnog.

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    The Holiday Fantasy StoryBundle has 11 books full of wonders and excitement from the tiniest snowflake to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Two full “Cosmic Christmas” SF anthologies from Baen Books, the brand new anthology Naughty or Nice (edited by Hugo-nominee Jennifer Brozek for this StoryBundle to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research—which includes a new Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. Christmas story, Cold Dead Turkey, published here for the first time ever), and a brand new collection by New York Times bestselling author Jody Lynn Nye, A Circle of Celebrations, created especially for this StoryBundle.


    And you’ll also want to read the delightful and heartwarming St. Nicholas and the Dragon by New York Times bestseller Tracy Hickman, The Bear Who Found Christmas by Alan Rodgers, Up on the Rooftop by Kristine Grayson, The Rakehell’s Christmas Angel by Carole Nelson Douglas, The Nun’s Dragon by Christine Emmert,Santa and Other Christmas Criminals by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, as well as Naughty & Nice—the Dan Shamble Christmas story I wrote last year for my fans.


    At StoryBundle, you name your own price, all 11 books for a minimum bid of $15. AND a portion of the money received goes directly to help Be a Santa, Penny Lane, the holiday charity run by Babylon 5’s Patricia Tallman, to provide a great holiday for a shelter helping out abused children.

    These books are wonderful gifts to yourself, and even if you don’t read them all, you’ll find something to enjoy and share throughout the holiday season. Ho ho ho!  HURRY, this ends in THREE WEEKS.

    The initial titles in the Holiday Fantasy Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:

    • The Bear Who Found Christmas by Alan Rodgers
    • A Cosmic Christmas by Hank Davis
    • The Rakehell’s Christmas Angel by Carole Nelson Douglas
    • Naughty or Nice by Jennifer Brozek
    • Santa and Other Christmas Criminals by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    • The Nun’s Dragon by Christine Emmert

    If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all six of the regular titles, plus these outstanding books:

    • A Cosmic Christmas 2 You by Hank Davis
    • Up on the Rooftop by Kristine Grayson
    • Naughty & Nice by Kevin J. Anderson
    • Circle of Celebrations – The Complete Edition by Jody Lynn Nye
    • St. Nicholas and the Dragon by Tracy and Laura Hickman

    Circle of Celebrations – The Complete Edition by Jody Lynn Nye

    Jody Lynn Nye has been a friend and close writing colleague for a long time, and has become someone I can rely on for just about any literary need. At WordFire Press we’re releasing many of her backlist books. For last year’s Holiday Fantasy bundle, I had an extra slot and Jody put together a few of her holiday-related stories that might be of interest. But that lit a fire under her—and in the intervening year she wrote a lot more stories to fill the gaps, enough to make a complete book that we are publishing in print and eBook. Here, before it’s released elsewhere, you can get the complete volume of stories.

    Santa and Other Christmas Criminals by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    Up on the Rooftop by Kristine Grayson

    I have a long-standing holiday connection to Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and her pen name Kristine Grayson. Back when I was a young aspiring author, a bunch of us would gather in Eugene, Oregon, where Kris lived with her husband Dean Wesley Smith. We would share Christmas stories, reading them aloud on Christmas Eve. It became a tradition to write something new for each year—and Kris is still doing it, producing two books for this year’s Holiday Fantasy bundle.

    A Cosmic Christmas by Hank Davis
    A Cosmic Christmas 2 You by Hank Davis

    Toni Weisskopf, the publisher of Baen Books, isn’t just a traditional publisher—she’s innovated many new ways of distribution with the numerous changes in the business. Sometimes Baen Books fits the mold of a big publisher, but they also embrace cool ideas and explore techniques that indie publishers use, too. I’m delighted that Toni is letting us experiment with two Baen publications for this StoryBundle—and her two Cosmic Christmas SF holiday anthologies couldn’t be more perfect.

    The Bear Who Found Christmas by Alan Rodgers

    Alan Rodgers, a former bestselling SF/fantasy/thriller writer wrote a charming tale, The Bear Who Found Christmas, before he passed away a few years ago. The good people at Book View Café have been re-releasing most of Alan’s books, and they offered this wonderful story to go into this year’s bundle. I hope you enjoy it.

    The Rakehell’s Christmas Angel by Carole Nelson Douglas

    Carole Nelson Douglas is best known for her Midnight Louie cat mysteries and her Delilah Street urban fantasy series; we usually see each other at DragonCon each year, and she’s been a delightful addition to several of my StoryBundles. She offered me an urban fantasy holiday romance to add just the right amount of charm for warm Christmas cheer.

    The Nun’s Dragon by Christine Emmert

    When I was shaking the Christmas trees for titles to include in the holiday fantasy bundle, one of my writer friends, Stant Litore, brought The Nun’s Dragon to my attention. Christine Emmert was a new name to me, but Stant was right—this book is absolutely appropriate, and he promised to use his usual verve to help promote it.

    Naughty or Nice by Jennifer Brozek

    The Naughty or Nice anthology, to benefit Cystic Fibrosis research, is the main reason for this bundle. Jennifer Brozek, the editor, approached me to see if I would write a story for the book, provided the Kickstarter funded. Not only did I agree to do a story for her (a brand new Dan Shamble, Zombie PI Christmas story!) but I offered to put together this bundle, which would help to cover the expenses and raise even more money for the cause. Ho ho ho!

    Naughty & Nice by Kevin J. Anderson

    Naughty & Nice (not to be confused with the Naughty OR Nice anthology!) is the Dan Shamble, Zombie PI Christmas tale I wrote last year and published for fans of the series. In a world where all mythical creatures have come back to life (hence, the clients for my zombie detective), of course Santa Claus would exist as well! And he hires Dan Shamble to help him retrieve a very important piece of stolen property: his valuable “naughty and nice” list! You never know what might be coming down your chimney!

    St. Nicholas and the Dragon by Tracy and Laura Hickman

    Tracy Hickman is full of dragons—best known for his seminal work in the Dragonlance universe, and also developing games, serving as a writing instructor, and building his own huge fan base. Tracy told me about his special project, “St Nicholas and the Dragon,” two years ago, and I never forgot about it. He was one of the first people I asked when I was building this bundle. I’m so glad to have this piece as part of it.


    Making a BLOCKBUSTER

    Posted By on November 20, 2015

    When I was learning to become a writer, then a published writer, then a novelist, I read a lot of writing books, looking for the key, trying to figure out the next step. Since there were writers ahead of me on the curve, better than me, I knew I had to catch up. Of course, my goal was not just to be a “published” author, but a “successful” author so I could make my living at it. A bestselling author.

    The problem was, a lot of the people writing these How To books didn’t have any real credits of their own. One guy even wrote “How to Write the Bestselling Novel”…but he had never managed to hit the bestseller list himself. Hmmmm.

    Then I found a book that changed my whole perspective, a boot camp that was like a secret decoder ring for those subtle but key ingredients I had been missing: WRITING THE BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL by Albert Zuckerman. A detailed, insightful analysis of why some books succeeded and others crashed and burned.

    Writing the Blockbuster Novel Cover Final
    Zuckerman is not a writer himself, but a big league agent with major bestselling clients. He knows what it takes to make a blockbuster, and he lays it out. For instance, in a difficult and absolutely revelatory section, he goes through several complete drafts—published here in full—of Ken Follett’s outline for the international bestseller The Man from St. Petersburg. First draft of the outline, and an analysis of what needed to be fixed; then second draft of the outline, improved, but what still needed to be fixed; then third draft…all the way until the final.

    At the time I read that, my coauthor Doug Beason and I were developing our high-tech thriller IGNITION—like Die Hard at the Kennedy Space Center. We had our outline done and we thought it was ready to go, a sure-fire blockbuster bestseller. But reading the Follett outline, I realized that we had made the same omissions that Follett did. I had Doug read the Zuckerman book, and we modified our outline accordingly, then wrote the book.

    Ignition Front

    IGNITION sold immediately to Universal Studios for by far the largest movie deal I’ve ever received, and to a New York publisher for a major six-figure advance. I’d say the advice worked!

    A new edition of WRITING THE BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL will be out next year, but right now you can pick it up—along with 24 other extremely useful books on writing craft, professionalism, and career building—as part of the Nanowrimo Writing Tools storybundle for a minimum bid of only $25 (the price I paid for the Zuckerman book alone in the first place). I’m certainly glad I made the investment—it changed my career.

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    Check out the Writing Tools Storybundle at


    Writing Tools for Nanowrimo

    Posted By on November 10, 2015

    For the second year, I worked with to put together a massive batch of useful books that will help you survive—and thrive—during National Novel Writing Month. A dozen books on writing craft, productivity, and business—the full spectrum of useful information.  And you name your own price

    From the wide-ranging to the specific, the NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle is a treasure chest of books vital to your success not only in writing your novel but in launching your long-term career as a successful writer. This is a toolkit, a drill sergeant, a mentor, and a cheerleading section, all in one.

    All Covers 2015 Large

    For the big picture, there are two classics that have already influenced numerous bestselling writers: Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys and Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Al Zuckerman; there’s also Brewing Fine Fiction edited by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff & Pati Nagle, Jump Start Your Novel by Mark Teppo, and the unique and massive Synopsis Treasury edited by C.S. Haviland.

    For coaching on specific skills, Kevin J. Anderson presents Wordbuilding: From Small Towns to Entire Universes; Stant Litore teaches you how to Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget; Marie Brennan talks about Writing Fight Scenes, while Judith Tarr shows all about Writing Horses.

    And once you’ve got your book finished and your career launched, you need to know about Writing Copy by Dean Wesley Smith, Discoverability by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Million Dollar Booksignings by David Farland.

    At, you name your own price and receive either the basic bundle of six books (minimum $5 bid) or all 12 books (minimum $15 bid).

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    This year, as a special bonus we’ve never done before, is offering a “Superbundle” for a minimum bid of only ten dollars more ($25 total)—all twelve of this year’s Nanowrimo Writing Tools bundle titles AND all twelve of last year’s titles on productivity, craft, outlining, TV writing, and much more.

    Available in all eBook formats, and *worldwide*.