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  December 23, 2010

Early this month one of my readers commented that he would love to be able to read my books on his Nook. This lead to a conversation with my publisher...next thing you know, I had the rough ePub files of my books in hand and was making tedious page-by-page corrections to get them viewable on the Nook. But now the work is done...

You can purchase ASCS for the Nook here, and TSS for the Nook here.

(While I was at it, I also translated two other Marcher Lord hits, By Darkness Hid and To Darkness Fled. You can find 'em just by searching.)

 
 
December 9, 2010

The second interview I had with AM Mayhem host Tommy Briggs is now available to listen to on the YES FM page here or if that no longer works, then just click here.

Ironically, the first interview I had with Tommy was on August 12th (8-12) and this second interview was on December 8th (12-8). What are the chances? (Nope, I didn't plan it that way.)

Give a listen!

 
 
November 25, 2010

When I started writitng A Star Curiously Singing one of the things I never imagined happening was for it to be used as an example of writing craft. It breaks many of the "rules" that commonly show up in craft books, after all. It is written in first person present tense, it often addresses the reader directly (ie "breaks the fourth wall"...to use the technical term,) and it has a good share of flashbacks--passages that can slow the momentum of a story. (Though I don't think mine do...but I'm biased.)

Regardless, it appears the one thing I never saw happening, has. The fine people of Writer's Digest just released a craft book entittled Plot Versus Character. Written by Jeff Gerke, the aim of the book is to help writers create a well-rounded novel that has both a gripping plot and compelling characters. And on page 115 of that book, amongst snippets by J.D. Salinger and Robert Graves, is a segment from A Star Curiously Singing. The first words I wrote for the book, actually. Isn't that something?

How did this happen, you ask? Well...Jeff Gerke is the head of Marcher Lord Press, and therefore my publisher. So that helps. But there was no guarantee the words he chose to include in this book would stay. Writer's Digest has the final word, after all.

Needless to say, I'm doubly honored--first that Jeff chose to quote my book of all the amazing books he's read (his own included) and secondly, because the quote made it into the finished product. It is an amazing blessing, and also the ultimate irony. I'm exceedingly grateful.

Plot Versus Character is available everywhere. Check it out!

 
 
October 27, 2010

Both A Star Curiously Singing and The Superlative Stream were eligible for the 2011 EPIC Awards this year, so I entered them in the Science Fiction category. I figured if the judges didn't like one, then maybe they'd like the other. Two horses in the same race, you know!

I was somewhat surprised (and honored) then to receive notice today that both are finalist for the award:

"EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Coalition™ (www.epicauthors.com) is delighted to announce that your entries, A Star Curiously Singing and The Superlative Stream (both entered in the Science Fiction Category), are finalists in the 2011 EPIC eBook Awards Competition™."

Now the hard part is deciding which of my "kids" I'd like to win the contest more. Thankfully, that decision is in the hands of fully capable judges and not me.

In case you're wondering, the EPIC award contest is the premier contest in the eBook and ePublishing world and was created to recognize excellence in eBooks of all genres. Since my books were published in both paper and electronic form, they were eligible for the contest this year.

The winners in each category will be announced in March of 2011 at Epicon.

 
 
October 2, 2010

I was honored to find out yesterday that A Star Curiously Singing is on the shortlist for a brand new award.  The name of the award is the INSPY and the purpose is threefold:

  • To focus on books that are of an exceptional literary quality and have a faith element that is essential to the story.

  • To represent the reader, as opposed to the critic. The INSPY is created by bloggers, a rising influence in the publishing industry.

  • To highlight books in the general market that meet the need of faith driven literature.

Sounds great, huh? And let's face it, the award picture is cool too:

Winners will be announcements in December. You can find out more about the award here.

 
 
October 1, 2010

My friend and fellow Marcher Lord author Stuart Stockton has done some fantastic work updating the Marcher Lord Press website. It is now not only professional and eye appealing, but it makes researching and purchasing our great books a piece of cake. It also has one of the coolest "Page Unavailable" pages I've ever seen...

So be sure to check the site out here, and while you're there, get some books!

 
 
September 18, 2010

My friend CathiLyn Dyck found this recommended reading list on the site of Port Yonder Press, another up and coming publishing house. If you notice, most of the list is filled with classics by the likes of Dumas, Stevenson, Dickinson and even Shakespeare. There are also books by such science fiction luminaries as Herbert, Le Guin and Gibson. But right there in the middle of the fiction column is my little ole story about that implanted man, Sandfly. 

Now that's the kind of honor that doesn't come with a trophy or an award certificate. That's the real stuff there!

Many thanks to Port Yonder Press for the mention, and to CathiLyn for pointing it out to me. Be sure to check out both their sites.

And if you stil haven't read A Star Curiuosly Singing, what are you waiting for? Find it here.

 
 
September 7, 2010

Marcher Lord just posted the goods on the upcoming October release titles. I'm excited by what's in store. Can't wait to read them. First off, there's the second Rick Macey title by fellow third lister Kirk Outerbridge entitled The Tenth Crusader. Then there's the second (non-sequel) book by Marcher Lord alum Marc Schooley, Konig's Fire. And finally, the debut title by Matt Koceich, called The Sending.

The premises of all three sound terrific. And as you can see above, the covers are outstanding. If you want to know more, or even read sample chapters, just go here!

 

September 1, 2010

Today marks the release of the novel Alpha Redemption by newcomer P.A. Baines. The story follows a lone test pilot on an experimental ship traveling to deep space. It is both entertaining and thought provoking, reminiscent of books written by Arthur Clarke or Frederik Pohl. I only had to read a few pages before I knew it was great.

That's why, when asked, I was both happy and honored to write a back cover recommendation. Alpha Redemption is available for purchase on Amazon, and if you want to see the full cover, complete with my thoughts, just cllick here.

 
August 16, 2010

The interview I did on YES FM with AM Mayhem host Tommy Briggs is now available to listen to on the YES FM page here or if that no longer works, then just click here.

 
 
August 6, 2010

The Lord is providing an opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone next week as I'm scheduled to do my first radio interview Thursday (August 12th) at 8:15 in the morning, Previously I did a podcast interview with fellow author Stuart Stockton, which you can listen to here. This will be my first solo attempt at radio silence, however, so I'm praying that my excitement about my books will overshadow any trepidation I have about speaking on air.

In truth, I am excited to be  on a station that seems dedicated to the young people of Ohio and Michigan. It should be a great, great time. And if you aren't in the general listening area, the YES FM home page has links for listening online, and for listening to interviews that have previously aired. So check it out!

 
 
August 5, 2010

Like most writers, I'm excited when another group of people gets the opportunity to read my work. So obviously I was happy to notice today that our Marcher Lord Press titles have started to become available at the Sony Reader online store. A Star Cuiously Singing and The Superlative Stream have both been quite popular on Amazon's Kindle, so I'm hopeful they'll bre well-received by Reader users, as well.

As of this writing only the second book in the DarkTrench saga is showing at the store, but the other book is coming, so keep watching this link. (Like I am.)

** Update **  All Marcher Lord titles are available for Reader now, so go get 'em!

 
 
August 1, 2010

As I mentioned in an earlier post, A Star Curiously Singing has been nominated for the Clive Staples Award this year. (The Clive Staples Award is a readers' choice award for best Christian worldview speculative fiction novel published in English by a royalty paying press.)

Well, now the voting is open, so here's your chance to show everyone what you think of Sandfly's original tale. To vote, just go here and follow the intructions. Or click on the sleeping lion below...

Thanks!

 
 

All of us at Marcher Lord Press are excited to have beloved Christian science fiction author Kathy Tyers join our happy little family. She is world-renowned for her forays into the Star Wars universe, with books such as The Truce at Bakura and Balance Point.  She's also commonly thought of as the founder of modern Christian science fiction, with her Firebird trilogy being preeminent.

Most importantly, though, she's read and likes my books! (...almost as much as I like hers!)

For the official press release, look here.

Check out Kathy's website here.

 
 

Today it was announced by ACFW that Marcher Lord Press has four titles (Starfire, Eternity Falls, The Word Reclaimed and By Darkness Hid) as Finalist in the Speculative category for their annual Carol (Book of the Year) Awards. In addition, Eternity Falls is a Finalist for the Debut Author category.

This is great news for the authors involved and for Marcher Lord Press as a whole. Early this year I predicted it would be the Year of the Marcher Lord and I have to say that my prediction has been more than fulfilled. A hearty "Congratulations and Good Luck" to all the Finalists!

For more information on the Carol Awards, check out this link. And for more information on any Marcher Lord Press book, go here.

As for A Star Curiously Singing, though entered in both the Speculative and Debut Author category, it didn't make the list of finalist. A disappointment, yes, especially given all the spectacular reviews it has accumulated over the past year. At this point, I've resigned myself to the fact that my stories and style of writing is a bit too avante garde for the typical awards judge.

I'm OK with that.

I intend to keep writing on the edge.

 
 

Last night, at a ceremony  held in St. Louis, it was announced that By Darkness Hid was the 2010 Christy Award winner in the Visionary category. This is a great and well-deserved honor for my friend and fellow Marcher Lord author Jill Williamson. It is also another huge step for Marcher Lord Press, and to some extent, all small publishing houses. I'm very excited for her and everyone involved. Way to go Jill! Way to go, editor and publisher Jeff Gerke! And onward the Year of the Marcher Lord!

For more information on the Christy Awards, check out this link. And for more info on Jill and her book, check out her website.

PS. In case anyone is wondering, A Star Curiously Singing was entered in the Christy Awards, but only in the First Novel category. It was a bit of strategy on my part. I hoped to avoid competing with other Marcher Lord authors, and wanted to try for the First Novel nod since this was my first novel. Unfortunately, it must not have been "first novel" enough...or maybe was "first novel" too much. <g> Regardless, congrats to the winner in that category as well.

 
 

After a lot of hard work on many people's part, all  Marcher Lord Press titles are now available on Christianbook.com. This is a great milestone for our beloved publishing house, as Christianbook is quite selective in what they choose to carry.

The whole Marcher Lord crew is excited, of course, because it means a whole new group of people will be exposed to our work.

To see the current listings, click here or on the picture below. 

 

June 10, 2010

Our third child, Tobias (Toby) Rex Nietz arrived safe and sound on May 24th. His birth was about a thirteen hour process as we arrived at the hospital at 6:00 AM for my wife to be induced. (She was already a day past her due date.)

In hindsight the decision not to wait any longer was a good one, because Toby is a big boy. He was 9 pounds 2 ounces at birth, and now two weeks later, is at 9 pounds 12 ounces and 21 inches long. So far, he has a very reserved and thoughtful temperament.

Mother and son are doing fine. Brother and sister are happy to have a little sibling, and dad is trying to figure out how best to help everyone involved.

As they say, the only thing constant in life, is change...

 
May 24, 2010

I'm very happy to know that my friend, editor and publisher Jeff Gerke is a finalist for the ACFW Editor of the Year award. In my opinion, there is no one in the business that deserves it more. He teaches at writers conferences, he has multiple books published on the craft of writing, he started his own publishing house to showcase out-of-the-mainstream talent (Marcher Lord Press), he has a website devoted to his genre of choice (WhereTheMapEnds),he has editing services, he's a published writer...seriously, how could anyone else compete? Jeff is a literary superhero!

 
 
May 12, 2010

A Star Curiously Singing has been nominated for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction. The Clive Staples Award is a readers' choice award for the year's best Christian worldview speculative fiction novel published in English by a royalty paying press. Here's what the person who nominated the book said:

This book was hands down one of the best speculative reads I’ve had in a long time, Christian or secular. It was imaginative, well-written, character and plot driven, and forced me to think about my world in a new way. For those who have read the sequel, you know this is a great series. I heartily recommend both books, and pray that Nietz is hard at work on the third

The competition looks to be tough, and like American Idol, the winner is chosen based on the voting of readers. For this writer, though, praise like that above is award enough. (The next few months will be hectic for me, BTW, but I have started on the next adventure of Sandfly...) Read more about the Clive Staples Award here.

 
 
May 8, 2010

A Star Curiously Singing has the uncommon distinction of being named a Finalist in both the Religious Fiction and Science Fiction categories for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Unfortunately, it isn't the winner in either category, but it is a definite honor to see that readers from two normally diverse categories thought enough of the book to name it a finalist.

In addition, fellow Marcher Lord Press author Jill Williamson was also a Finalist in the Religious Fiction category with her fantasy novel By Darkness Hid. With her being named a Christy finalist earlier this year, this is shaping up to be the Year of the Marcher Lord!

You can read more about the Indie Book Awards here.

 
 
April 14, 2010

The Superlative Stream just became available on Amazon, and I suspect a listing on Barnes and Noble will soon follow. Click on the image below to find the Amazon listing.

 
 
Mid April 2010

The Good News newspaper of Florida has a great story online about my publisher Marcher Lord Press. Well worth the time it takes to read it. You can check it out here.

 
 
Early April 2010

Marcher Lord Press has made available their fourth release list, and it is a big one. Included in this release are sequels to three of Marcher Lord's most popular books. First there is The Word Unleashed, the second half of Steve Rzasa's epic space opera that started with The Word Reclaimed. Then there is the second part of the Blood of Kings trilogy that started with By Darkness Hid, entitled To Darkness Fled. And finally, there is The Superlative Stream, the second part of the DarkTrench Saga that started with A Star Curiously Singing. It promises to be a popular release list, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

You can buy them all here.

The other bit of important news happening in early April is my online chat with the ACFW book club group. The date is April 5th at 8PM eastern. You can find out more about where here.

 
 
Early March 2010

Last month our family went to Colorado over a long weekend. Flying with two youngsters is never easy...I mean, a family of four will use about twenty of those plastic trays getting through security. Not to mention having to undress yourself and your kids and then ensure that your half-undressed child doesn't try to stage a security breach.

Our trip was truly something special, though. Our daughter got a double ear infection, even though her doctor assured us before we left that she didn't have an ear infection. Consequently sleeping every night was interesting. I also had a book deadline and so stayed on Eastern time and did a lot of editing from like 3:00 to 7:00 every morning.

The trip home was equally epic. Our original flight was cancelled (which we found out about at the counter) and the only solution for getting us home was to split the four of us. My wife had to run with a three-year-old to reach their flight in time...I had to wait 4 1/2 hours in the airport with a 4-year-old. When we finally reached home we found it was snowing...

Still, right in the middle of all that, the kids did get to meet one of their grandparents for the first time, and I got to meet my publisher face-to-face. And then one night at a Chinese restaurant I got this in my fortune cookie:

Coincidence? Or would God use a fortune cookie to encourage someone in the middle of a difficult situation?  What do you think?

 
  Mid February 2009

The momentum toward The Superlative Stream being published has started to increase. Most important to this author is the fact that the publisher has completed his read-through of the manuscript and still wants to publish it. (In fact, he was very enthusiastic in his remarks.) This lightens the weight off my shoulders considerably, as the document essentially went from my head and heart to his kind, yet critical, eyes. Now I have only seven pages of revisions to get through...

In the meantime, Marcher Lord Press has released the cover art and sample chapters to their website. You can check those out here.

 
 
Early February 2009

Sometimes the unexpected happens.

In December I mentioned how I had the first draft of my sequel completed. The earliest estimate for when that book, tentatively titled The Superlative Stream, would see a cover was next October (2010). The spring list for Marcher Lord had already been filled. It would be the sequel to By Darkness Hid (To Darkness Fled), the sequel to The Word Reclaimed (The Word Unleashed) and the first Marcher Lord Select winner, Sending.

Well, it turns out the author of Sending is adopting soon, and so won't have the time for all the revisions his book requires. So, guess who got picked to fill the spot?

Watch as one happy--yet now suddenly stressed--author tries to pull a rabbit out of the ether...

 
 
Mid January 2010

My wife had her second ultrasound this week. Baby looks real good. He/she was also very squirmy during the procedure--meaning he/she is either really shy or really ornery. Considering the two children we've been blessed with already, I'm guessing the latter.

I, of course, was very interested in the tech of the ultrasound machine.The clarity seems to have dramatically improved even since our last child. (Just three years ago.)

Definitely makes it all seem real. A glimpse into the miracle that happens in inner space...

 
 
December 20, 2009

In a 5-way poll that saw it fighting for the top spot with another great Marcher Lord Press title (Starfire by Stuart Stockton) A Star Curiously Singing managed to win the right to be the March 2010 reading selection for the ACFW book club.

This means that the last half of the month of March the book will be read and discussed on the book club forum. Then, the first Monday of April there will be an online chat that I'll be a part of. Pretty cool, eh?

The ACFW book club has around 800 members, so this could mean a great deal of exposure for both the book and Marcher Lord Press. I'm looking forward to it.

For more information, check out the ACFW book club page here.

 
 
Mid December 2009

After months of head scratching and writing, I've finished the first draft of the A Star Curiously Singing sequel. No title yet. But even if I gave it onesince no one else has seen the manuscript yetthe chances that the title would change would be pretty significant.

Same goes for the story too, I suppose. I hope that doesn't change too much, though, because I think it has a lot of cool, cool stuff in it. Technology, and astronomy, and implanted humans smack dab in the middle of it all.

From here I'll let the manuscript percolate for a bit, and probably let my wife read it. Then I'll pick it up again as a reader and refine it for a couple weeks.

Then, off to the publisher for comment...

 
 
Early December 2009

As weird as it seems to me, I've created my own "fan" page on Facebook. Another author suggested it, and it makes good sense as a place to post interesting tidbits and updates about my books. Still, as someone raised not to "toot my own horn" it sort of makes me suddenly feel like the high school braggart. Ah well, marketing is key to a book's success, no matter how you create it.

If you are interested in becoming one of my "fans" you can find the page here.

 
 
Early November 2009

It is nice to see A Star Curiously Singing starting to have some positive reviews, both on book review sites and on Amazon.

For a small sample, look here or check out the listing on Amazon.

 
 
Late October, 2009

A Star Curiously Singing became available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble much quicker than my publisher expected. Still, it is good for you because they usually have nice discounts on those sites. Just click the pictures below to find the listings.

amazon


 
  October 18, 2009

Marcher Lord Press is stepping outside the normal boundaries of fiction again. Today they announced the beginning of their Marcher Lord Select contest. Basically, it is American Idol meets book acquisitions, and anyone can be a judge. The pool of potential novels begins at 40 and over the weeks ahead will be narrowed down until finally only one remains...and then that one will be published as a part of the next release in April. How cool is that?

For the full press release, and information about how you can help, click here: MLP Select

 
 
Early October 2009

Marcher Lord Press has completed its third release list! A Star Curiously Singing is one of three new speculative novels now available for purchase. Get them while they're hot...here.

 
 
Late September 2009

As far as I know, I am officially done with the manuscript. Both the final content edit and copy edit has been completed. I've even had a glimpse of the layouts for printing. Very exciting.

In the meantime I've been doing a lot of interviews about the book. I added a page to catalog them all. You can see it here.

 
 
Early September 2009

Marcher Lord has updated their website to include information about the third release list, including A Star Curiously Singing. Check out the overview page here, the sample chapter page here, or Kerry's interview here.

 
 
Late August 2009

Over the last couple weeks I've had a chance to meet and converse with the other Marcher Lord authors whose books are being released at the same time as mine: Kirk Outerbridge and Steve Rzasa. Both are very cool, and like me, very excited about the impending release.

Right now everyone is furiously working away at last minute book details, website designs and uncovering viable book promotion ideas. Kirk's website is well underway, and can be found by clicking here. Steve's is in process as well, and is available here.

 

Early August 2009

Marcher Lord Press just sent out its August newsletter announcing the titles for this fall's release. I'll post it all for you here:

Marcher Lord Press has been kidnapped. Alas, it's true. Strange beings from outer space have apprehended MLP leadership while the authorities slept.

The fiends knew exactly how to hurt us. First, they disabled our defenses. Knocked the silly cat right out. Then they overwhelmed our proximity alarms with vastly advanced weaponry that MLP scientists are only now beginning to study. Finally, they attacked MLP leadership in the first wave. Without command instructions from the top, the loyal MLP defenders were paralyzed. It was classic shock and awe.

The morning after the attack dawned on a Marcher Lord Press materially different from what had been. Witnesses emerged from the rubble of their homes to behold three otherworldly vehicles cooling on the landscape.

The first was a futuristic-looking craft that appeared to be constructed half of terrestrial composites and half of strange metallic alloys. From this vehicle popped a superhuman warrior who told a tale of cyborgs, massacres, and autonomous battle tanks. In his world, a miracle anti-aging elixir has been developed--but something terrible has gone wrong, and the powers that be will do anything to keep the populace from finding out.

This cybernetically augmented human told us that his name was Kirk Outerbridge and that his ship was called The Miracle Cure. Though apparently ship names in his galaxy are subject to change.

No sooner had Outerbridge concluded his tale than a bald cyberpunk exited the second vehicle and began to speak. This vessel was even more advanced than the first. It was seemingly capable of deep-space--perhaps even interstellar--flight. The bald man spun a yarn of a future Earth in which Islam has conquered all, and privately owned debuggers, like him, must do the work that keeps this Imam-ordered civilization running smoothly.

Unfortunately, one of the bots has malfunctioned. On this ship's maiden voyage to a star curiously singing (which is, he said, also the name of his vessel), something happened to the main servbot on the crew. It seemed to go crazy and tear itself apart limb from limb. Our man has been called in to find out what happened. The debugger, who calls himself Kerry Nietz, says his tale is something akin to I, Robot meets Muhammad--in space.

The third vessel is the most advanced of the three. It sits confidently atop monstrous landing struts, towering over the battlefield. A young man leaps from an open portal and lands on the ruined street. He carries an odd white box at his hip. His ship is capable of many leaps between stars and has seen galaxies the other two could not begin to guess at.

In his world, the Act of Religious Tolerance has outlawed all but the state religion, and the holy books from all belief systems are banned. The galaxy is held in uneasy alliance and all the colonized worlds are at peace--or so goes the official story. The truth is that the secret military is about to stage a coup, a powerful warrior family is about to be shredded, and the forbidden item in the young man's white box can tear the empire apart. Or save it.

Our youth offers his name, Steve Rzasa, and utters an enigmatic whisper: The Word Reclaimed.

Whether or not these three vessels of war and their mysterious captains mean us further harm is yet to be determined. Possibly they pose no further danger and the destruction they wrought was merely the result of their interdimensional rifting into our dimension. Perhaps their stories are something we must and shall hear.

AlAll we can say with any assurance is that the future--that future beginning October 2009--has been claimed by men from the future and their tales of wonder, woe, and awe.

 
July 2009

Clearly the most exciting news is the impending release of Kerry's first novel. If all goes according to plan, it will be part of Marcher Lord Press's fall release list.

Typically, MLP releases three titles twice a year—in April and in October. Kerry has been furiously working most of 2009, trying to get his manuscript into release form. There has been lots of back and forth with the publisher. Many revisions and improvements, but the progress is ever forward. Surprisingly, since his initial draft, Kerry has added over 20,000 new words. All good stuff. Crazy cool stuff. Stuff he can't wait for the general public to read.

Stay tuned...