Mariner’s Wake Teaser

I wrote a quick teaser for Mariner’s Wake. It’s not a synopsis, exactly. Too long to be a pitch or a blurb, it’s just me telling you what to expect from this new story that I’m very excited about:

Mariner’s Wake takes place about eighty years in the future. Pacific coastal cities in the U.S. are ravaged every summer by hurricanes and have ceded territory to rising sea levels. However, some of the grim predictions regarding our oceans haven’t come to pass. The great plastic garbage patch has been cleansed. Some species of overfished sea life are coming back. And that’s all due to one people: The Mariners.

Refugees from a U.S. civil war some decades past, the Mariners have made the Pacific their home. Opinions about them are fiercely divided. Internationally, some applaud their conservation efforts. Most in the U.S. fall somewhere between mild dislike and outright spite. One shadowy bit of wisdom about the Mariners always seems to hold true: it’s bad luck to cross them.

This is the story of Kara Nkosi, a Navigator on the Mariner Vessel, Voyager. When an emissary from the U.S. government comes to Kara’s home island begging for help recovering a cache of unstable WMDs, she —and all her people— are naturally very suspicious. 

 Under threat of these weapons detonating in their ocean, the Mariners agree to help. However, an intelligence leak means that they aren’t the only people searching for these missing weapons. Kara and her ship will be pitted against corporate mercenaries and hardened criminals, all in the name of helping their enemy. An enemy who, it seems, may not be giving them the whole truth.

A Couple of Updates

You may have noticed I don’t post that often. I would apologize, but I’m not sorry. These days it feels a bit indulgent to post about writing when the nation (and world) has so many other, more important, things going on.

Over the past year, two short stories of mine, False Flag and Noble Memory, both received honorable mentions from the international Writers of the Future Contest. I might share them on the site, or I might try to get them published in order to reach a wider audience. Either way, it’s an honor to have been recognized in a contest with so many contestants.

My next novel, Mariner’s Wake, is now in the final revisions phase. It’s not a part of the Manal’s Resurgence series (The Changed, Survived) it’s a stand-alone in a different universe. I haven’t abandoned that series at all. For the readers who enjoyed those books, you will get a conclusion. I promise.

I had two reasons for writing in a new world this time around. First, I felt like it would be a good way to reach new readers. When I first wrote The Changed, there wasn’t quite as much post-apocalyptic sci-fi on the shelves. Even though I wouldn’t strictly categorize The Changed as such (due to spoilers that I won’t share here) there’s a certain amount of exhaustion when it comes to end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it fiction and people may not be as keen to give it a try for that reason. Hopefully, a reader who gives Mariner’s Wake a try and likes it may also pick up The Changed and start in on Oscar’s story.

Second, I had an opportunity this year to join forces with Brick Cave Media, a boutique publisher I’m very excited to work with. Bob, who runs the operation, offered me a home for a new story. It made more sense for this new story to not to be part of an existing series as it’s my first novel with this publisher. This past Saturday afternoon I spent some time on a podcast with Bob and poet Marcus Campbell. We talked books, influences, and Magic the Gathering. One of the reasons I’m excited about working with this team is how well our interests and influences match up. By working together I’m confident that Mariner’s Wake is going to be a story well worth reading.

I sincerely hope that anyone reading this post is doing well in these trying times. Especially if you live in the U.S. where there is so much fear and uncertainty. These are the times when we need to take care of each other more than ever. Some people will try (and have been trying for ages) to convince us that selfishness is king and that the individual is more important than the group. Of course you’re important. But so is your neighbor. Events like this global pandemic show us just how childish these viewpoints really are. Let’s do our part. Let’s be part of the solution. Let’s check our egos at the door and help each other where we can.

The Changed Audiobook Is Here

Well, it’s here, actually.

Audio Book Update

Many moons ago, I posted about the possibility of doing an audio book edition of The Changed. I’m pleased to say that it’s finally come together. With any luck it will be available on Audible.com (exclusively) within a couple of weeks.

Narrating the book is Steve Carlson, a man whose credentials are vast and technique is fantastic. Many worthy producers auditioned to narrate the story, but Steve took the cake. I know you’ll enjoy the style and character he brings to the story. I definitely did.

A little background on the project: At first I planned to DIY the whole thing. Ultimately, I decided against it. To create a truly good product, I quickly discovered that it was going to take more than just some equipment and time. Professional audio book producers like Steve don’t just bring high-quality microphones to the table, these folks are experienced voice actors, audio editors, and technicians all rolled into one. Doing the thing right takes experience, dedication, and talent. When I started hearing Steve’s chapters, I knew I had made the right choice. There was no way I would’ve been able to deliver that level of quality narration to my readers without him.

For other authors out there who are curious about the technical side of things, I used ACX as the platform to launch the book. Since I’m an Audible.com member myself, it felt like a good fit.

More good things coming soon. I’ll post an update before the audio book is set to launch.

Kirkus Fully Booked Podcast

Earlier this year I posted Kirkus’ review of Survived. It was a very positive review from a publication that is notorious for not pulling punches and holding a high bar. Naturally, I was stoked. Who wouldn’t be? As much as it sounds awesome to be one of those aloof, too-cool-for-school writers who chain smokes and drinks whiskey while clacking away at a typewriter and just doesn’t give a heck what you think — that’s not me. I write stories for other people to read, so I do care how my work is received. Obviously, I’ll never achieve universal popularity, but I love it when I see a positive review or get an email from a reader. Also, I don’t smoke, get hangovers too easily, and using a typewriter in this day and age is masochistic (I learned to type on a typewriter, it was awful).

Point is, I got the review from Kirkus, rode that high for a while, then moved on.

A couple months ago, Kirkus reached out to me to tell me that Survived had been singled out as one of their “Indie Books Worth Discovering,” a category of books reserved for indie titles that were in their top ten percent of favorites for the year. Awesome! Along with that I had the opportunity to plug my book in the Kirkus Fully Booked podcast. Sweet! So, last week I did a short interview which should be part of the January 8th edition of Fully Booked. If you’re one of the many podcast listeners, listen for an interview with a bestselling author, and then stay tuned for four minutes of me babbling incoherently.

For real. Listen, I’m not an extroverted person and I live in a general state of nervousness, like one of those dogs that pees when it’s really happy. Or sad. Or scared. Or when you bring food. When the editor called me on Skype for the interview, I was already humming along in a state of Maximum Anxiety. He was super nice, but I just couldn’t get it together. It went something like this:

Editor: Okay, A. Michael, we don’t have a ton of time, so try to keep your answers short so we can get to as many questions as possible.

Me: You got it. No problem.

Editor: Starts recording. Asks first question.

Me: Rambles like a methhead.

Good grief. I don’t even remember what the hell I said, or what questions he asked. All I know is that I made words with my mouth-hole. Hopefully, this interview doesn’t actually have a reverse effect and discourage people from checking out Survived.

Despite that, I’m still excited that Kirkus gave me this opportunity, and I’m hoping the actual interview won’t be as bad as I think it is. Fingers crossed.

Audio Book Question Mark

Audio books are popular and gaining more traction. I honestly had no idea, as until recently, I had little to no exposure to them. Sure, I remember hearing commercials for Audible on NPR, but I didn’t pay it much notice. Audio books always seemed like a format that was important for people who were visually impaired. Something restricted to a small section of a bookstore or that had to be ordered. It wasn’t until I started hearing people who had previously described themselves as “not a reader” talking about books that I gave the format much thought. Like so many other things, modern technological infrastructure (teh interwebz) has allowed this format to flourish.

What I heard from friends and coworkers was that they listened to books in the car while they were stuck in traffic, riding in a bus or train, or in a waiting room somewhere. I love the idea that people who ordinarily wouldn’t go shopping for a book are now finding themselves getting sucked into narratives or engrossed in interesting non-fiction.

The whole point of this is that independent authors such as myself (and many, many others) also have the opportunity to release our work in this medium. However, while there are platforms available to launch an audio book, such as Amazon’s ACX, the process can be costly, time consuming, or expensive. Many authors still avoid it, as there is no evidence that they’ll see any return on investment for the additional work and cost. I get that, and I don’t disagree.

However, I’m not in it for the money. Don’t get me wrong, man, I like money. Who doesn’t?

I just came to terms with the reality of being a writer, especially one who isn’t backed by a major publisher, a long time ago. It’s probably more accurate to say that I’m already expecting not to make money. I like creating. I love writing. And, personally, I don’t feel that artistic impulses should be regulated by profit potential. I want to have audio books for The Changed and Survived. Not because I’m under the illusion that it’s going to make those titles skyrocket to bestsellers’ lists, but because I want to my work available to people who may not have time to crack a book in the evening, but like to listen to a story on their commute.

I have no idea how long it will take, or even if it will work out. But, it’s a fun topic to do some blog posts about, especially since I blog so infrequently. So keep an eye out for some future posts, where I’ll be stumbling my way through making an audio book.

Congratulations to the Winners

The giveaways for the launch of Survived are officially over. Over 2500 people entered to win, which is my biggest turnout yet.

So, a big “Thank you!” to all who entered, and the books will be on the way soon. For those who didn’t win, I’m sure I’ll do another giveaway in due time.

Giveaways!

In honor of the release of Survived, I’m doing giveaways for both The Changed and Survived on Goodreads. Check out the details, below:

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Changed by A. Michael Marsh

The Changed

by A. Michael Marsh

Giveaway ends October 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Survived by A. Michael Marsh

Survived

by A. Michael Marsh

Giveaway ends October 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Survived – The First Review!

Survived_Kindle_Cover

Reviews can be tricky. You need reviews (ideally positive) to get people to read a book, but, you also need people to read a book in order to get reviews. It’s a vicious cycle that is the bane of many an author.

Unless you’re already a powerhouse author, a celebrity, or the child of a publishing executive, chances are that the New York Times isn’t going to come knocking on your door for the privilege of reviewing an advance copy of your latest tale. That’s okay. It’s just life as an author. Everyone has to earn their stripes.

What it means to authors like yours truly is that we have to engage with unbiased third parties to review our books. For the most part these are trade publications that specialize in reviewing new books — folks like Kirkus, Clarion, and Publisher’s Weekly. These reviews, when positive, can let readers know what to expect from a book, hopefully, enticing them to read and leave a review of their own on sites like Goodreads or Amazon.

Which is why I was absolutely stoked to see the first trade review for Survived come back. Foreword Clarion reviewed the novel ahead of its release and awarded it five out of five stars. Check out the review in its entirety here: https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/survived/

I’m setting up a Goodreads giveaway for the book as well, it should be up in a couple of weeks. I’ll also be posting a page for more information about the novel soon.

Survived is scheduled to launch on September 1st.

Almost here!

The edits for Survived have finally been reviewed and I’ve been busy getting the typesetting and other technical crap done. Since art was finished a million years ago, the book is very close to being published. 

Once these last few tasks are completed it will go to a couple of trusted beta readers then it’s off to the presses. I’m not going to lie, it feels pretty good.