Instalanche for Nobility Among Us!

Checking my post-countdown sales figures to see if the final day’s momentum was being continued, I noticed an unusual (and very welcome) upturn in sales of Nobility Among Us yesterday and today. A quick google search revealed the source, Nobility Among Us has the honour of being being featured at Instapundit, thanks to the ever-awesome Sarah A. Hoyt. People in the comments have been saying some nice things about my writing, making me literally jump for joy (causing my middle son to come running into the room to find the source of the loud thumping noise) 🙂

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/234415/

Click the image below to take a look at the book itself.

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EDIT: The Amazon ranking for the book has beaten its previous best record:

 

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,144 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

 

Last day of the Kindle Countdown deal for Nobility Among Us and Heroes and Wonders!

Less than 24 hours left on the Kindle countdown deals for both Nobility Among Us and Selected Verse: Heroes and Wonders (the deal for Beyond the Mist will continue for an extra two days, the price for Selected Verse – Faith and Family is permanent). Grab them while you can!

Beyond the Mistall cover_f1_v13_frontsmallSelected Verse - Heroes and Wonders

Selected Verse - Faith and Family

Nethereal Book Bomb is today

The book bomb on Nethereal I mentioned last time is now on. To quote Larry Correia:

It is BOOK BOMB time!

Today’s pick is Nethereal by Brian Niemeier.  I read this a couple of months ago and the best way to describe it is Space Pirates Go To Hell, only it is way cooler than that description makes it sound.

Nethereal
by Brian Niemeier
Nethereal

 

For those of you new to Book Bombs, the goal is to get as many people as possible to buy an author’s book on the same day. The more books sell, the higher it gets in the rankings, the more new people see it. If it is something that you would be interested in reading anyway, getting it the same time as a bunch of other folks pushes it up in the ratings, which means more publicity, exposure, and new fans. Success breeds success, and a good Book Bomb can get an author hundreds of new fans. We steer people toward Amazon for this because it is big, has lots of eyes on it, and has an constantly updating sales rank, but if you prefer to purchase somewhere else go for it, because the most important thing is that the author GETS PAID.

So please spread the word and tell your friends. Brian is a relatively new writer, so let’s give his career a boost.

Being an appreciative sort of guy, Brian had this to say:


Thanks Larry, and thanks to the Monster Hunter Nation. You guys have always made me feel welcome in the comments. I’m especially grateful for your hospitality today.
I first came to this blog as a reader, like all of you. I wanted the fun, exciting stories that seem to be in short supply these days.
Larry stands among a new generation of authors who write for a vastly underserved audience. These writers know that the reader is king. They put entertainment first. By their example–and with guidance from stellar authors like John C. Wright and Jeff Duntemann, and my awesome editors L. Jagi Lamplighter and Jason Rennie–I learned that I work for you, the readers.
How’s it working out? My first anniversary as a pro novelist is next month, and for my performance review, my bosses nominated me for a Campbell Award.
You did that. Words are the tools of my trade, but I can’t find any that fully express my gratitude.
So I’ll just say thanks and point you toward my first book, Nethereal. It’s been described as what you’d get if A. Merritt wrote a Dune novel after binge-watching 90s anime. Nevertheless, people dig it.
Already read Nethereal? I haven’t forgotten about you. The thrilling and even better-received sequel, Souldancer, is available now. And in honor of the occasion, it’s on sale.
Thanks again to my esteemed host the International Lord of Hate, and to the readers who support us authors. Buy my books so I can GET PAID and bring you more stories about space pirates in space hell.  
About Nethereal
A woman like no other who longs for acceptance.
A precision killer inspired by the dream of his captain.
The last member of a murdered race, fighting to avenge his people against the might of the Guild…and the dark powers behind it.
The Sublime Brotherhood of Steersmen holds the Middle Stratum in its iron grip. Jaren Peregrine, last of the Gen, raids across fringe space with Nakvin—her captain’s best pilot and only friend, apprentice steersman Deim, and mercenary Teg Cross.
Hunted by the ruthless Master Malachi, Jaren and his crew join a conspiracy to break the Guild’s monopoly with an experimental ship. But when its maiden voyage goes awry, the Exodus flies farther off course than its crew could have imagined.

The progress of the book bomb (in terms of the amazon ranking reached) can be followed over at Larry’s blog here

Book Bomb on Brian Niemeier’s Nethereal

Larry Correia is organizing one of his famous book bombs for my friend Brian Niemeier, specifically for his first novel Nethereal, a horror/action tale of space pirates on a literal journey through the circles of hell. It is a very well-written book, though I personally think the sequel Souldancer, is even better. A book bomb takes advantage of Amazon’s ranking algorithms by asking lots of people to buy a book on the same day, pushing the book well up the rankings and making it much more visible to regular amazon customers, leading to even more sales, and most importantly, the author getting paid for his work. The date for this book bomb is the 18th of this month, i.e. two days from now. For more details, see here:

 

 

Beyond the Mist and all other books are now 99 cents!

Beyond the Mist has started its second Kindle Countdown deal, so now all four of my books are on sale for 99 cents until midnight PST at the end of the 19th. Grab them while you can!

Beyond the Mistall cover_f1_v13_frontsmallSelected Verse - Heroes and Wonders

Selected Verse - Faith and Family

Kindle Countdown deals on Nobility Among Us and Heroes and Wonders!

New Kindle Countdown deals on Selected Verse – Heroes and Wonders and Nobility Among Us started this morning, they will be on sale for 99 cents for the next week. Selected Verse – Faith and Family was recently permanently reduced in price to 99 cents. Grab them while you can!

all cover_f1_v13_frontsmallSelected Verse - Heroes and Wonders

Selected Verse - Faith and Family

Reviewer Praise for Selected Verse – Heroes and Wonders

James Sale, of the Society of Classical Poets, had this to say about Selected Verse- Heroes and Wonders:

Poetry is a delicate balance of language that is prone to either too much yin or too much yang; or put another way, as the poet steers his or her course like Odysseus towards his true soul, Penelope, waiting at home, he must venture through the double danger of Scylla on the one side and Charybdis on the other. The danger is either writing the yin of non-poetry which we often call free verse—though it is neither free (pure prose with lines) nor verse (since structure-less)—or writing the yang of verse, an over-emphasis on conventional forms, dead tropes, and language reminiscent of past centuries rather than the living vernacular of today.

Some of the most popular poetry revered today veers so dangerously to the yin side that, like Odysseus’s devoured crew, the audience of poetry dwindles as well; people can’t tell if what they are reading is prose or just a cruel joke that academia has played on their seemingly sophomoric intellects. Ben Zwycky’s collection, Selected Verse: Heroes and Wonders, is a daring reversal of direction of the ship’s helm, careening us toward a different monster in a maneuver that is both thrilling and at times unsuccessful.

Heroes and Wonders is, as his title indicates, generally an excellent collection of verse: full of wholesome sentiments, familiar themes of love, honour, resisting evil, and at its best has some pithy aphoristic expressions. Indeed, his best verses are his shortest ones. His final verse, “The Beast,” is some 17 pages long and in my view far too extensive to be readable; but contrast that with “Days,” the second poem in the collection. The opening stanza shows Ben at his best:

 

Days of wonder, days of hope,
Days that help you learn and cope;
Days of refuge, days of peace,
Days that give your heart release.

 

The simple repetition, the pleasing and easy rhymes, all help convey a sense of goodness and strength, and  the anaphora of Days in the quatrains suddenly breaks free of that structure in a final concluding couplet, which gives the poem a nice symmetry:

 

Each new day is heaven-sent,
Make every day a day well spent.

 

The final couplet indeed could become a mantra for the kind of people I meet in my own other specialist field of management consultancy: specifically, time management gurus who will love it!

 

Within this simple goodness and strength, there are also gems that paint, not exquisitely but with the right breadth, the universal longing of the human soul without obtrusive preachiness; for example, these lines from “Beauty’s Message”:

 

All flowing from the source of all, who we’ll see face to face,
Where holiness is merged with love as justice is with grace.
There is our true purpose, there is our true home;
That is why down here on earth our hearts will always roam.

 

But in all this there is a sense of predictability, both in the subject matter, the approach to the subject matter, and the forms themselves. Whilst I am a great advocate of the importance of rhyme in and for poetry, the poet must always master rhyme and not be subjected by it.

 

Unfortunately, in some of Ben’s verse the rhyme has clearly taken control of the meaning rather than the other way round. So, in his poem “The Wise Men” we get:

 

This all our fathers saw and knew,
Most honoured gospel scribe Matthew.
We know their tale is one small part
Of a greater work of art.

 

We have here two issues: in the first couplet the oblique (oblique here meaning the rhyming of a stressed with an unstressed syllable) rhyming of knew/Matthew, which seems strained, and the effect of such an oblique rhyme being comic rather than serious; and in the second couplet the sheer conventionality of the two masculine rhymes so close together.

 

But that aside, if you like verse with simple diction, pleasing rhymes, heroic and moral themes, then this book could well be for you.

http://classicalpoets.org/poetry-review-heroes-and-wonders-by-ben-zwycky-2015

My response (which I have posted there) is as follows:

Thank you for the kind words, James.

It is indeed my goal, as a member of the superversive literary movement to create entertaining work that encourages virtue, courage and a sense of beauty and value, to fight against nihilistic drudgery and build up the foundations of civilization.

I am a flawed writer with almost no formal training in poetry, there are no doubt a few instances of my sacrificing content too much to fit a rhythm or rhyme. However I find it interesting that you pick out that stanza from “Wise Men”, since the situation there is actually the other way around. The structure was sacrificed at this point because of the content and historical context, they are the key to the purpose of my writing the whole piece.

It was inspired by the intriguing possibility (with some scholarly support) that the source of the Matthean birth narrative is the Magi themselves, and that Matthew obtained this knowledge by meeting with their sons. The poem is then something of a dramatization of what that encounter could have looked like, with the sons recounting the oral tradition they received from their fathers, and then asking what it all meant.

In those days oral traditions were often crafted into verse, or used puns, thematic patterns, vivid imagery and other linguistic tricks to aid their memorisation. For the original Magi, this very unusual adventure would have raised a large number of questions: all the intrigue, the signs in the sky, the further signs they no doubt heard about from talking with Joseph, all for a baby born in a pauper’s stall? They knew that something of major significance was going to come from all of this, and the great adventure they had been part of was only the beginning, one small component of a divine masterwork.

Decades had passed since any news of the supposed king of the Jews had been heard, the original Magi had almost certainly passed on by the time Matthew came along to gather additional material for his biography.

The sons would have joyfully repeated the flowing, artfully sculpted and polished oral tradition they were taught and then, with trembling lips at the prospect of their great questions being answered (perhaps compounded by only sharing a second or third language with the former tax collector, since they lived a long way from each other), slightly stumble over their words as they summarise “That is what our fathers told us, we know that there is much more to this than what we have heard. We have helped you, now please tell us the fuller story that you have, so that we can know what our fathers longed to understand all these years.”

The whole poem is building up to that life-changing moment for them.

Perhaps I could have conveyed this more clearly in the work itself, but that is what I was attempting to do.

If you’d like to take a look at the full collection, click the image below:

Selected Verse - Heroes and Wonders