A retired professional engineer and one-time college math instructor, W. Blake Heitzman now writes science fiction and fantasy for the ebook market. His stories target young adult and adult readers. His first novel, A Far Traveler, has been nominated for a Global Ebook Award.
The Global Ebook Awards honor and bring attention to the future of book publishing: ebooks. Now in its second year, the Awards are in 72 specific categories. They are open to all publishers large and small so that a winner is the best in its category not just the best of small or regionally-published ebooks.
Ebooks can be read on everything from the desktop computer to the iPhone. Many devices, such as the Kindle and the Nook, are compact and have the capacity to store large volumes of reading material, making them perfect for travelers and people on the go. The convenience of electronic readers have led to their expanding popularity among readers of all ages.
On the publishing side, ebooks are less expensive to produce and deliver. The convergence of low costs and high demand attracts many writers to the ebook market, sometimes bypassing the traditional book process completely. Heitzman is one such author.
Science fiction and fantasy have surged into vogue. Along with them and just slightly this side of reality are alternative histories and paranormal investigations. One wonders if our palate will ever tire of it. While there is nothing new under the sun, A Far Traveler might just break the monotony. Its the tale of an ancient shipwrecked alien who seeks the protection from psychic humans, and how modern-day searchers discover the truth about his fate.
A Far Traveler is available as an ebook for $3.00 at Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, and other on-line bookstores. You can also access many of Blakes free stories at his website: http://shamangene.com/BLOG/. He can be reached by email at: ringringBlake@hotmail.com.
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A Far Traveler is currently available until mid-February on Smashwords for free using the coupon code ZE68Z. Reviews would be greatly appreciated.
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Red Rain by Aubrey Hansen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book which is actually a novella at approximately 35,000 words. It is one of the most intriguing books I’ve read in a while. I had to set it aside for a couple of days because of my schedule and found I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Usually under circumstances like this I would keep reading a book in bits and pieces but with this one I wanted to save it until I could give it my full concentration.
In addition to an engaging storyline, there are a couple of interesting themes running through Red Rain. One is that the ultimate separation of church and state has occurred and any who refuse to renounce their religion are forced to live in internment camps. The other is that the internet is a global, cloud-based network and it’s illegal to have a device that is not connected to the cloud.
I would have liked to have seen this story be rounded out to full book length. There were a number of aspects that could have been explored more fully without adding fluff. The ending in particular seemed a little bit rushed, although perhaps I was just sorry to see it end. 😉
Not only are there print and ebook versions of Red Rain, but it is also available in audiobook format. The audiobook is available for free until the end of October 2011 from Aubrey’s website. Red Rain Audiobook. As of this posting, up to Chapter 9 is available (which is a little over halfway through the book) and a new chapter is released two to three times a week. The audiobook is narrated by Grace Pennington. Grace has a very pleasant voice and I’ve listened to the chapters available so far a couple of times even though I had already read the book.
“When the government allows her to accompany her father to Mars, 17-year-old Philadelphia knows she must keep her head down or be sent back to Earth. But when a search for her deceased brother’s belongings leads her into a hallway that isn’t supposed to exist, Philadelphia is faced with a question she doesn’t want to answer – the choice between returning to Earth or destroying it.”
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Red Rain Audiobook
Red Rain is now available as an audiobook and Aubrey Hansen is releasing a new chapter on her website every few days. She is offering them free until October 31, 2011. Chapter 2 was released yesterday.
I confess, I’m impatient and bought the book (a novella). I’m about halfway done reading and really enjoying it! Look for a review in a few days.
The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an excellent collection of good old-fashioned science-fiction stories. Rarely have I come across a short story collection where I have enjoyed every story but this is one of them. They are mostly stories of survival and humanity’s triumph over adversity. I particularly enjoyed the first story (more of a novella) and the last story.
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