I recently discovered the platform Patreon and knew right away it was something I wanted to get involved in. I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking of how to build a page that delivers real value to my potential patrons and now it’s ready. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already one of my core fans so I hope you’ll take the opportunity to take our connection to the next level and share the page with your friends.
What I’m most excited about is the way Patreon is going to allow me to get you involved in my work. I’ll be posting updates about new ideas all through the planning stage and inviting feedback on everything from character names to plot twists and beyond. You only have to pledge $1 per book in my upcoming series The Silent Path, to get on the team.
But if you give more, you get more. Lots more. Rewards for higher pledges include downloads and paperback versions of The Silent Path books, plus all of my new works. That means every time I publish anything, you get it. Directly from me.
I hope to see you on my team!
Exciting news! I’m giving away thirty copies of the The Other Side of Hope! All you have to do is answer a brief survey and you’ll be entered to win! Just click here to get started!
The Other Side of Hope is a war drama set in a world in which the global roles of Christianity and Islam are switched. It is a story of loss and revenge, of redemption and hope. You’ll see a virtually unrecognizable North America mired in poverty and religious extremism. A devastating terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey, the thriving economic center of the world, touches off a war driven by revenge and fueled by mutual hatred and misunderstanding.
Fast-paced and exciting, The Other Side of Hope, has been called “flawless,” “captivating,” and “powerful.” Don’t miss your chance to read it!
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Islamicates Volume I, now is the time! It’s a free short story anthology, so what do you have to lose! As an extra bonus, IslamSciFi.com has also released a brief Q&A with the three winners of the contest (which includes me!). It’s a chance to learn a little more about the writers, where the stories came from, and what else we’re working on. Who knows, you might find a new author whose work you want to follow!
Technically, it’s been out for a couple of weeks now, but I was slow to notice and share it with you. I shared a few weeks ago that I placed 2nd in a Sci-Fi short story contest run by IslamSciFi.com. Well, that story is now officially available in Islamicates Volume I. It’s an anthology of the best stories from the contest, including my entry, “Inshallah.”
The anthology is completely free and available for download in a wide range of formats, so there’s no reason not to go check it out! I just downloaded my copy and I’m looking forward to reading the other stories! Take a look, then let me know what you think. And don’t forget to sign up to get more free stories from me!
I’ve noticed that it’s rare for sci-fi and other forms of speculative fiction to give much place to religion. Think about it: the typical story set in the future will give practically no mention to religions of any kind, despite the fact that the vast majority of humanity holds some type of religious belief. I’m not saying that sci-fi writers should devote vast quantities of time and effort to religion, simply that creating worlds without religion makes for worlds which are quite unrealistic.
I can’t change an entire genre myself, but I do want to contribute to sci-fi, and spec fic in general, stories which give a reasonable place and thoughtful consideration to religion. I think I’ve already done that to some degree but my next short story is going to be my first intentional effort in that direction.
Its current working title is “The Waters Above” and it will be about two Pakistani physicists on an expedition to explore the farthest reaches of space; the very edge of the known universe. What they find there will bend the expectations and realties of both science and religion. The story will be shaped in a significant way by both Muslim and Christianity theology as well as hard science facts — and healthy speculation!
At this point, I’m planning to shop the completed story around to major sci-fi markets like Clarkesworld and Asimov’s. So if all goes well, you’ll need to purchase one of those publications to read it.
Last week I got to sit down with Daniel Puckette from the Times Virginian to talk about The Other Side of Hope and the book’s launch party coming up this weekend. We had a great chat and the interview just got published yesterday both in print and online. You can read it here and learn a little more about the book and how I got to this point. Plus, it’s another reminder not to miss the book launch party on Saturday at Baines’ in Appomattox from 12 to 3!
Who doesn’t love a good party? Who doesn’t love a good book? So why not put the two of them together and come out to Baines’ Books and Coffee in Appomattox this Saturday?
I’ll be there from 12 to 3 in the afternoon, signing books and making friends. It would be awesome if you were one of those friends! You can stop by anytime, say hello, get some coffee (or tea if you’re like me), and pick up a signed copy of The Other Side of Hope. Baines’ is a great place to hang out and find fantastic books so don’t miss it!
The Bottom Line
All around better writing and a fantastic twist make this an enjoyable read. It’s only held back slightly by a lackluster resolution.
I’ve been reading Liberty Speidel’s The Darby Shaw Chronicles for what feels like quite a while now, but I finished the third book last week. It’s taken me a little while to get my thoughts posted here for but they’re finally up! You can also hear my discussion of the book with Josh on The Wrambling Writers podcast.
The first thing you need to know about Capitulation is that it continues to upward trajectory Liberty has been following since Emergence. Each book in the series is better than the last and I’m honestly hoping she’s got more coming because I’d love to see another Darby book even better than this one.
A big weakness of the first two in my opinion was that they were very predictable. Retaliation (the second book) had an interesting story but I was never surprised. Not once. Capitulation however managed to get an audible exclamation of surprise out of me when the big twist hit. I’m not going to say anything more about that because I hate spoilers, but I’m sure you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it.
The structure of this one is a bit different from Speidel’s previous outings as well. Darby and Mark are working a case throughout most of the book but that case isn’t central to main character drama. Very much like a detective/cop/mystery television show where’s there a new case every week but underlying drama between the characters that connects everything. I love that structure and Speidel uses it well for the most part. That case keeps things moving and even ties in to main story. In fact, the biggest problem I had with Capitulation came after that case gets closed because the pace started to lag and I felt like I was spending too much time listening in on random conversations that drug on just a touch too long.
In general, the characters are deeper, the dialogue is sharper, and the writing is just plain better than the previous two books. It’s been awesome watching the development of Liberty’s craft from one book to the next. Again, I’m really hoping there’s more, just so I can see more improvement!
Where it’s really lacking is in the ending. After that big moment I mentioned earlier, the plot drags and wraps up in a really dry way. On top of that, there are several bigs questions left hanging. Though I’m told they might get answered in the short story that’s included in the edition that includes books 1-3 in a single volume. I’ll get back to you on that.
To Read or Not to Read
Read. With no hesitation at all. This is a highly entertaining book with great characters and an interesting plot. You won’t regret picking this one up and I’m sure you’ll be waiting with me for the next one.
A few months back, I entered a short story contest. That’s not something I do often but this one was a perfect fit for a story I’d been sitting on for a while and didn’t really have any particular plans for. That story is called “Insha’Allah” and deals with issues of free will, God’s sovereignty, and technology from a Muslim perspective. I’d sent it to a magazine or two without getting accepted but I wasn’t really shopping it around too hard.
Then I found Islam and Science Fiction on Twitter and soon ended up reading about their Islamicate Science Fiction Short Story Competition. Since that’s a bit of a mouthful, the short version is that it’s for sci-fi stories with some connection to the Muslim world, whether through characters, setting, themes, or something else. With “Insha’Allah” just sitting on my hard drive, I figured I had nothing to lose by entering it. I sent the submission and mostly forgot about it. Until I got an email saying that I’d won second place in the competition!
You can read the announcement here and be on the lookout for news about when the FREE anthology of all the best stories from the competition will be released.
In case you read my review of Retaliation last week and have been waiting to hear the full discussion on the book, your wait is over. The third episode of The Wrambling Writers is available on our website and on iTunes. The review format is a bit different since Josh was too swamped to get through the book. So it’s a Q&A instead of a traditional review. But I think you’ll still enjoy it! Check it out, then let me know wha you think!