Read an eBook Week – It’s Almost Over!

Now you’ve gone and done it. You dithered, procrastinated, dallied, delayed, hesitated, vacillated, dawdled, and wavered, and look what happened. Today is the very last day of Smashwords’ Read an eBook Week.

It’s insane, really. Smashwords slashed the price for every single book in my What Man Hath Wrought series. The ones that were $3.99 are now $2.00 and the ones that were $2.99 are just $1.50. But only for the rest of today.

Oh, you meant to pick up one or more of my books at half price. The intention was there, but life dangled its distractions in your face, and you let the time get away from you.

Luckily, there are still a few hours left, but you’re burning valuable daylight reading this. Click on any link in this post now to grab a bargain. Just use the code RAE50 (for Read an eBook – 50% off, get it?) at checkout. Tell ‘em you were sent by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

½ Price Sale on Many of My Books!

You’re looking for some great beach reads for your Kindle this summer. You keep hearing about that author—what’s his name?—who everyone is talking about. That’s right, it’s Steven R. Southard, the one who calls himself Poseidon’s Scribe.

You’ve been meaning to read my books, but you keep thinking they’re so darned expensive. Well, you’re in luck. Your wait is over.

For the month of July only, Smashwords is offering many of my books (the ones in the What Man Hath Wrought series) for ½ price! That’s right, get two for the price of one.

Here’s how to take advantage of these great prices. When you click on any book at my Smashwords site, a message will appear telling you to use a specific code at checkout to get the discount.

Here’s the list of stories and their prices during July:

AftertheMartians72dAfter the Martians
$2.00

 

RippersRing5Ripper’s Ring
$2.00

 

TimesDeformedHand3fTime’s Deformèd Hand
$2.00

 

TheCometeers3fThe Cometeers
$2.00

 

ToBeFirstWheels4To Be First and Wheels of Heaven
$2.00

 

RallyingCry3fRallying Cry and Last Vessel of Atlantis
$2.00

 

ATaleMoreTrue3fA Tale More True
$2.00

 

TheSixHundredDollarMan72dpi-1The Six Hundred Dollar Man
$1.50

 

ASteampunkCarol3fA Steampunk Carol
$1.50

 

AgainstAllGods4Against All Gods
$2.00

 

LeonardosLion4Leonardo’s Lion
$2.00

 

AlexandersOdyssey3fAlexander’s Odyssey
$2.00

 

WithinVictorianMists4Within Victorian Mists
$1.50

 

WindSphereShip4The Wind-Sphere Ship
$1.50

 

Better take advantage of this limited time offer before Smashwords wakes up and realizes what they’ve done. Heck, you could buy all 14 books for a cool $26. How’s that for value?

Remember, go to Smashwords and grab these deals while they last. Tell ‘em you were sent by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

Book Launch—After the Martians

Your wait is over! My book “After the Martians” is now available. No more gritting your teeth, drumming your fingers, or watching the clock tick the hours away. Even as you read this, you could be surfing over to Amazon or Smashwords and purchasing your own copy.

AftertheMartians72dNot a bad idea. Stop reading this blog right now and buy the book.

Still reading this? Not yet sure you want to buy? Need a sense of what you’ll be getting first? Okay, here’s the short marketing pitch I use for press releases:

It’s an alternate World War I, with Martian weapons. Young Johnny Branch seeks military adventure, but a new and different uprising needs a hero.

This is your chance to be the first among your friends, family, and fellow members of your book club to read the latest book in the What Man Hath Wrought series. Download “After the Martians” to your electronic reader and let me know what you think of it.

Go ahead. I’ll just sit here gritting my teeth, drumming my fingers, and watching the clock tick the hours away until you submit your impressions about the book as a comment to this blog post. Your wait may be over, but it’s just beginning for—

Poseidon’s Scribe

H.G. Wells’ Fighting Machines — After the Martians

My upcoming story, “After the Martians”—to be released this month—features the fighting machines, or tripods, of H.G. Wells’ book The War of the Worlds. In that book, the Martians assembled the machines after their arrival on Earth, and they caused considerable destruction. At the end of the novel, the Martians all died from our terrestrial bacteria.

AftertheMartians72d“After the Martians” takes place in the world of Wells’ story, but sixteen years have passed since the alien attack. In my tale, humans make use of the Martian technology, especially the fighting machines, to fight World War I.

Wells depicted a fighting machine as being three-legged and about one hundred feet tall. He did not describe the carapace or main body of the machine, except to say that several flexible tentacles protruded from it. Two of these tentacles held a box with a lens from which shot the devastating heat ray. The tripod’s other weapon was a poisonous black gas.

Such a machine would have terrified the readers of 1897. Since then, the tripod from The War of the Worlds has become a science fiction icon, inspiring the walking weapons of Star Wars, the AT-AT and AT-ST.  Combining huge size with the human attribute of walking somehow adds to the horror.

In The War of the Worlds, we see the fighting machines from the inferior vantage point of puny human victims on the ground. In “After the Martians,” I take readers inside the carapace as human pilots control the alien machines to battle other tripods.

I enlisted the aid of a close acquaintance to make a wonderful 3D printed version of the fighting machine. (Frequent readers will recall my 3D printed Ring of Gyges from my story “Ripper’s Ring.”) For the tripod, she used a Printrbot brand printer, the Simple (Maker) Edition, and PLA filament.

3D printed tripod 13D printed tripod 23D printed tripod 3

The .stl files you need to print the fighting machine yourself are on the Thingiverse site, and the design is by FuzzySadist (William Myers). I added the wire tentacles, and painted the machine to be generally consistent with my story’s description.

Very soon, I’ll give you details on how you can get your own copy of “After the Martians,” by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

Jack the Ripper

Late in the year 1888, someone terrorized the slums of East London’s Whitechapel district, murdering at least five women. Before the slayings stopped, a newspaper received a letter signed by ‘Jack the Ripper,’ and that chilling moniker haunts us still, more than a century later. The cases have never been solved.

RippersRing72dpiJack the Ripper appears as a character in an upcoming story of mine, “Ripper’s Ring,” which will launch in early May and will be available here. After reading the story, you’ll understand how the Ripper got away with the crimes, and how a single detective at Scotland Yard really solved the case. Well, one fictional theory, anyway.

Hasn’t JtR been used in fiction before, you ask? Yes, in tales by the following authors, at least: Peter Ackroyd, Carla E. Anderton, John Brooks Barry, Robert Bloch, Anthony Boucher, Fredric Brown, Harlan Ellison, Philip José Farmer, Lyndsay Faye, Gardner Fox, Michael Generali, David L. Golemon, Richard Gordon, T. E. Huff, Richard Laymon, Kim Newman, Anne Perry, Robert Perry and Mike Tucker, Stefan Petrucha, Ray Russell, Iain Sinclair, and Roger Zelazny.

Obviously, JtR is a character too compelling for writers to resist. When you combine the horrific acts, the fear they induce in a community, the anonymity, and the timeless nickname, you get a powerful character suitable for unlimited fictional variations.

As you’ll read about in upcoming blog posts, my take on the Ripper is—I believe—unique. Since the story is part of the What Man Hath Wrought series, you know it has to involve technology, and the difficulty of coping with it. This story might even make you think.

“Ripper’s Ring” is darker than the other stories in the series, but is also a mystery/detective story, and a thoughtful tale about power and restraint. Soon it will be released on an unsuspecting public, not just in Whitechapel, but worldwide. It’s well worth the wait, according to—

Poseidon’s Scribe

The Story behind “Wheels of Heaven”

ToBeFirstWheels72dpiWith my story “Wheels of Heaven” about to launch on July 1st, I thought I’d tell you how I got the idea for the tale.

The series What Man Hath Wrought consists of alternate history stories involving technology. Basically, they’re “what if” stories that ask what would have happened if things had gone differently. While doing some research on interesting ancient technologies, I came across the Antikythera Mechanism. Or perhaps I saw a mention of it on a documentary on the Science Channel, Discovery Channel or History Channel.

300px-NAMA_Machine_d'Anticythère_1It’s a fascinating machine, advanced well beyond what anyone gave the ancient Greeks credit for. Moreover, until x-ray tomography was conducted on the device in recent years, no one knew what it was for.

Intrigued by the mechanism, I then had to think of an interesting way to fictionalize it. Some outlandish, but really fun, ideas occurred to me, but other authors had already explored notions such as the device being a time machine, teleportation machine, or even an alien communicator.

My story ended up being more plausible. I portrayed the mechanism as being exactly as it really was, a device for computing the position of the sun and major planets—the wheels of heaven.

In 1900 and 1901, divers discovered the device amid other shipwreck debris off Antikythera Island. “Wheels of Heaven” is my fictional account of how it came to rest there. An arrogant Roman astrologer will discover he can make predictions with greater speed using the device, but will come to question the connections between people and the stars.

rimtradeWhen research revealed the wreck to be a Roman merchant ship, I checked out what those ships were like. They differ from trireme warships in interesting ways. The carved neck and head of a swan which I describe in the story was actually a common feature of these ships.

For the most part, of course, “Wheels of Heaven” is about the struggles people have, the struggles we still have today. If you were certain you were right about something, an idea about which you’d formed a long career, and you found out it was all wrong, could you accept it? Are we all slaves of predetermined fate, or do we have free will?

Go ahead, take a trip through time to about 80 B.C. and voyage with my characters Viator and Abrax aboard the Prospectus. I know you’ll enjoy it; that much has been written in the stars by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

Launching July 1st

It’s the event anticipated all over the world and throughout the known universe, and it’s happening July 1st. For those not in the know, that’s the date of the launch of my newest ebook.

ToBeFirstWheels72dpiIt’s part of the celebrated What Man Hath Wrought series published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing, and once again you’ll be getting two alternate history stories for the price of one.

“To Be First” follows two space voyagers from an alternate universe as they return from the moon, in 1933. In their timeline, manned rocketry began in the Ottoman Empire, which advanced and spread. When these Ottoman lunanauts end up orbiting our comparatively backward world, they have a choice to make, one that will forever change their future and ours. Along the way, one of them will learn something about why humans explore.

In “Wheels of Heaven,” an arrogant Roman astrologer finds a geared Grecian machine for predicting the positions of celestial bodies. Today we know the device as the Antikythera Mechanism. On the voyage back to Rome, the seer meets a sailor who dismisses astrology, an astonishing notion in 86 B.C. But when the sailor’s prediction is right, and every one of the astrologer’s is wrong, he begins to question his most basic beliefs.

The star-studded cover, designed by Charlotte Holley, not only demands attention, but it illustrates the connection both stories have to outer space.

You’ll be able to purchase the book in all the usual places: Gypsy Shadow Publishing, Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, etc.

Now you’re caught up with everyone else in the universe. No need to thank me. It’s all part of the service provided by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

Guess Who’s Author of the Week

Yours truly is the Author of the Week for Gypsy Shadow Publishing. For those of you who’ve been on the fence, somewhat undecided about purchasing one or more of my stories, this would be the week to buy one (or more). It’s a rare opportunity to purchase a book during the same period in which I’m Author of the Week. Very few people can say they’ve done that.

To celebrate the week, I am embarking on a world tour. Well, not physically, but virtually. For this whole week, I’m making this website available everywhere all over the world.

GSBannerBrdrFor this honor, I’d like to thank Gypsy Shadow Publishing, the company that has published a good number of my stories, all in the What Man Hath Wrought series. Among the company’s huge staff, CEO Charlotte Holley and Chief Editor Denise Bartlett deserve being singled out for special mention. Thanks to them, my rough manuscripts have become e-books of timeless prose with eye-seizing covers.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also express my gratitude to all those who’ve influenced me in one way or another, helping me achieve this level of accomplishment. This list includes my parents, my critique group, and my spouse. Thanks as well to you, my legions of eager readers. I couldn’t have done it without you.

I’ve let it become known around my household that being the GSP Author of the Week comes with certain privileges, certain reasonable expectations of being catered to. These expectations include freedom from common drudgery work, absolute quiet while writing, the appearance before me of the beverage of my asking within moments of my asking, the use of respectful forms of address (such as Your Most Illustrious Highness, Author of the Week), and a polite bow or curtsey when approaching my presence.

To my amazement, my announcements of these sensible forms of deference have been met with very little interest, and even less obedience. This I find curious, and I’m sure you do too. Ah, well, I suppose greatness comes with the responsibility to educate the less deserving, to increase their understanding of the grandeur and glory of me.  It’s true that genius often goes unappreciated in its own week.

And, yes, to answer the question uppermost in your mind, it is wonderful for all of us to be alive during the very time that I’m the GSP Author of the Week. Someday your grandchildren will sit in reverential awe while you relate the sheer excitement of it.

Now that I think about it, being Author of the Week is the sort of honor that could go to one’s head. During weeks when it’s bestowed on lesser authors, that might well be a concern. But my unsurpassed humility and matchless modesty combine to keep me from becoming, in the slightest degree, egotistical.

No, fear not. I’ll go on, unaffected by the focused adoration of the Earth’s billions. To all of you, I’ll be the same old, unassuming—

                     Poseidon’s Scribe, Gypsy Shadow Publishing’s Author of the Week

 

 

 

 

 

FAQs About My Latest Book

RallyingCry72dpiEver since I’ve been dropping hint after hint about my upcoming book (Rallying Cry and Last Vessel of Atlantis), questions have been pouring in.  Flooding in.  Give me a break, I’m drowning here!  More questions came in than I could answer individually.

So I paid for some time on a supercomputer that compiled all the questions, sorted them, combined similar ones, performed complex statistical analyses, and spit out a list of the most frequently asked questions.

Below are those FAQs, complete with answers.

1.  What is the book about?  In “Rallying Cry,” an aimless youth meets two old geezers who spin bizarre war stories. They tell of a secret World War I regiment in France with ship-sized helicopters and mechanized walking tanks. Just as an inspiring shout can move soldiers to action, perhaps all Kane really needs to turn his life around is a rallying cry. In “Last Vessel of Atlantis,” a ship captain and his crew of explorers return to find Atlantis gone. While facing violent savages, braving fierce storms, and solving internal disputes, they must somehow ensure their advanced Atlantean civilization is not lost forever.

2.  Why two stories in one book?  I was in a generous mood.

3.  Why are these two particular stories combined?  They seem so different.  Actually, they’re both perfect fits for the What Man Hath Wrought series, which contains stories of alternate history involving people grappling with new technology.  The tales are quite different, though, but that means any reader would be bound to like one of them, at least.  That makes the book a pretty good purchase, I’d say. 

4.  What inspired you to write these stories?  I’ve written about that before…here and here.

5.  That’s a great cover.  Who designed it?  It is a wonderful cover.  Charlotte Holley of Gypsy Shadow Publishing designed it.  The bearded soldier gazes at something while a huge steampunk airship glides overhead and a big explosion goes off in the background. 

6.  Where can I buy the book?  Right now you can get it at Smashwords and Amazon.  Soon it will be available elsewhere, too. 

7.  You wrote an Atlantis story before, didn’t you?  What a memory you have!  My Atlantis-based story, “The Vessel” was published several years ago in an Atlantis anthology.  “Last Vessel of Atlantis” is that same story, with a title change and a few other alterations.  Definitely worth enjoying again.

8.  When will you have a print version rather than an e-book?   When the What Man Hath Wrought series is complete, I’m thinking about having a print version of the series.  It won’t be for a little while yet, since I have more stories I’d like to add to  WMHW. 

9.  What’s the next story in your What Hath Man Wrought series?  But that would spoil the surprise! 

Thanks for submitting your questions.  I’d invite more, but the deluge nearly crashed the supercomputer last time and almost tripped a wide sector of our national electrical power grid.  Let’s avoid tempting that fate, shall we?  I suggest you read the book, post a review, and before long there will be another book by—

                                                    Poseidon’s Scribe