The Enclaves of Sylox is Available!

Martian MorningMy latest book, The Enclaves of Sylox, is now available on Amazon.com.

As mentioned before, this is the start of a new series, which I plan to do concurrently with a part three to The Human Chronicles Saga, featuring Adam Cain.

This one’s a little departure from my last series. There’s more humor and a little less shoot-em-up — although it does pick up pace toward the end.

I have a special running until Wednesday morning , Sept. 17: The book is only $2.99, and also includes a second full novel, book one of The Human Chronicles Saga –The Fringe Worlds. On Wednesday, this two book set goes up to the full retail price of $4.98.

I hop you enjoy this one, and remember, reviews on Amazon are always welcome, and you can also email at bytrharris@hotmail.com.

The Start of a NEW Series!

This is both exciting … and nerve wracking.

Martian MorningNext Monday, September 15, will see the release of The Enclaves of Sylox, Book One of my new sci-fi series featuring the character Jason King: Agent to the Stars.

This story is somewhat different from my Human Chronicles books, yet also very similar, if that makes any sense? It’s still a space opera adventure dealing with Human interaction with alien civilizations and empires. Yet this story revolves around the activities of a hot-shot real estate broker working on the planet Sylox, the capital of the Galactic Union. Of course, Jason is much more than just a money-grubbing opportunist. He’s also a former Army Ranger with a set of deadly skills which come in handy in the second part of the book.

Essentially The Enclaves of Sylox is a mystery, however, it’s more of a ‘who’s behind it’ rather than a ‘who dun it’ type of mystery. There’s layer upon layer of conspiracy involving a quasi-religious artifact, whose theft is about to trigger a galactic war. The Earth has also become ensnared in this conspiracy, placing her squarely in the sights of two vindictive alien species bent on our destruction. Now all Jason King has to do is recover the artifact, capture the thief, prevent a galaxy-wide war from starting and save the Earth from annihilation. And do all this between his real estate closings. Oh, and there’s also a super-hot woman right in the thick of things, too, just to make it interesting. Plus chases through star systems, and shoot-outs, and fist-fights — you know, all the normal stuff I like to put in my books.

The other noticeable feature about this new book is the humor. A lot of my readers really enjoy the street-wise, genuinely-Human type of humor throughout The Human Chronicles books. In The Enclaves of Sylox, I took off the restraints. It’s much more prevalent in this new book/series, yet it’s observational humor, not slapstick. After all, Humans do have a funny way of looking at aliens, and we’re not afraid to express our opinions. But let’s face it, most aliens are basically pretty goofy. Right?

Just remember, my loyal readers: This is NOT another Adam Cain book. That’s actually coming in December! This is a Jason King book. And although you will find some subtle — as well as not so subtle — references and tie-ins to my other series, this one is a story unto itself. After all, how many space opera heroes have you seen who are real estate brokers? I’d hazard a guess that Jason King is the first.

So be looking for The Enclaves of Sylox available on Amazon.com, Monday, September 15.

I’ll be emailing to all my fans announcing the release (and offering a special NEW RELEASE PRICE DISCOUNT for the first three days after release). If you’re not on my email list, just drop me a line at bytrharris@hotmail.com and I’ll put you on the list.

And also remember: I write fun and light sci-fi adventures. I’m not trying to provide any major social commentary or predict a dire future for mankind as a result of the poor decisions we’ve made in the past. In fact, I’m a pretty big fan of Humanity. That’s why in my books it’s the Humans who out in the galaxy kicking-ass and taking names, and not some obscure mold spore enslaving the entire race. After all, let’s get real. We ARE bad-asses!

A Galaxy to Conquer is NOW available on Amazon!

AGTCCoverClick here to be taken to A Galaxy to Conquer on Amazon.

In this book, all the great forces in the galaxy clash for one final, epic battle to determine who will come out on top. And racing the clock is Adam Cain and his team of aliens and SEALs out to rescue Riyad Tarazi from a Kracori prison ahead of the approaching conflagration. The Kracori homeworld of Elision is about to be destroyed, and if Adam and his team can’t get Riyad out in time all will be lost.

For this one final mission, Adam has recruited many of his old friends from past adventures, including the aliens Kaylor and Jym, along with his old SEAL Team Six teammates Master Chief Geoffrey Rutledge, Petty Officer First Class John Tindal and Admiral Andy Tobias. And of course, the feisty and always interesting Sherri Valentine is along as well, bringing with her a unique down-home Kentucky brashness that readers in the past have found ‘humanizing’ to the Saga.

Within the pages of A Galaxy to Conquer you will learn the fate of all these characters and more, plus a resolution to the geopolitical struggles plaguing the galaxy. You will also learn what becomes of Adam Cain. (Let’s just say this old soldier doesn’t just fade away. Instead he heads out for new adventures in a  galaxy far, far away.)

Don’t miss this exciting, final volume of The Human Chronicles Saga — one of the bestselling sci-fi series on Amazon for the past two years. Once again, the hard-headed aliens of the galaxy have to be taught a lesson, one they repeatedly seem to forget: Don’t Mess With The Humans!

New Beginnings

It’s the first of January, 2014!

It’s hard to believe, but for a person like me who grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s, THIS is the future. And as a writer of science fiction, I’m a little disappointed that there aren’t permanent settlements on the moon and that we haven’t already landed people on the Mars. In other areas of science and technology, we’re right on schedule, with regards to computers and medicine. In other areas, we’re way behind the vision of the future we all had back then. I really can’t blame society that much, since we’ve already invented the airplane, the automobile and other major leaps in technology, and cellphones are pretty well on the way to Dick Tracy-type devices. Advances today are more subtle and they seem to creep up on us when we least expect them.

Even then, opportunity can reveal itself in the most unexpected manner. Here are a few examples:

In the mid-80’s I owned a print shop and one of my regular customers told me about this opportunity he had to invest in a thing called a ‘facsimile machine.’ I often wonder where he is today and whether or not he went through with it.

Also, in the mid-70’s I was in Washington DC and saw a table-top pong game. I was blown away. I was in the Navy at the time, but a buddy and I applied for an SBA-loan to buy some units and put them in the bars in the Hampton Roads area of southern Virginia. Unfortunately we didn’t qualify because we didn’t have enough minority employees at the time. (We didn’t have any, just two pasty white guys trying to get in on the ground-floor of a new technology.) Where would I be today if the loan had gone through? That, too, was a missed opportunity.

There was another moment I remember vividly back in the year 2000. I was thinking about ebooks, and realized that the only thing holding back that advancement from proceeding was the lack of a good reading device. With the internet and PDF’s, producing electronic books was easy, even back then, yet there wasn’t an economical way to read these books, and also in a format where the authors wouldn’t have their work reproduced and passed around without compensation. Needless to say, I wasn’t the one who came up with the Kindle or the Nook, yet I was proved right when these devices began to gain popularity — and changed the publishing industry forever. Now ebooks are the wave of the future, and there’s no turning back, even if the purists want to. There will always be paper books, but in the future they will become the novelty, and not their electronic versions.

It seems popular today for bloggers/authors to come out with their predictions for 2014, so I’ll give it a go myself.

1) Ebooks are here to stay and will dominate sales once again, gaining an ever-growing market share.

2) Traditional publishers will seek consolidation to survive and will change their business models to be more followers of trends rather that creators of trends. What I mean by this is that major publishers will pursue more of the successful indie authors, those who already have a proven audience, and will publish very few first-timers who do not already have a track record in the ebook market. So if you’re an aspiring author, forgo the traditional route and get your book up on Amazon as soon as possible. You’ll not only start making money right away, but you’ll begin to build the audience that the trade publishers will insist upon.

3) Publishing rights will become more fragmented, with successful authors successfully negotiating to retain the ebook rights for most of their books. And even if they do allow the trades to have a piece of the ebook royalties, the splits will be overwhelmingly in favor of the author and not the publisher.

4) More big-name authors will go the indie route, at least for their ebooks (see #3 above). This will put more pressure on the Big Six publishers to adapt or die in this new paradigm. Since paper books will not die completely, there will be survivors in the world of traditional publishing. How they’ll make it economically is still the sixty-four thousand dollar question.

5) Indie’s will become more professional in every way. The days of producing crap and making money off of it are gone. Readers are becoming more savvy and more demanding. However, there is a new sub-industry emerging to help us with regards to editing, formatting, cover design and even submissions to all the ebook outlets available. Soon, there will be no difference between a trade-published book and an indie-published book — except for who keeps the lion’s share of the royalties. And when indie authors have only pay-for-service expenses, rather than an on-going split of the royalties taken by the trades, then it will become easier to make a living as a writer.

6) More books will continue to be bought by readers. With the relatively low price of ebooks, readers appear to be buying more books than ever before, and this trend will continue. When two to three ebooks can be purchased for the price of one paperback, or four to five for the price of a hardcover, it comes as no surprise that readers are loading up their ereaders with more books than ever. Whether or not they’ll ever get around to reading them all is another question.

7) 2014 will be year of the author. Everything is trending in this direction. We’re making more money, selling more books and gaining more control over our destinies than ever before. But remember, you still need to produce a quality product. Ebooks are not the novelty item anymore. They are the accepted format for readers these days, and so your books must stand against all the big-names from the trades, as well as the every-growing ranks of very professional indies. The time for ground-floor entry into this business has passed. Opportunity and access has expanded because of technology and acceptance, yet just as every kid can’t grow up to be a pro basketball player, not everyone who aspires to write a novel will find success. Just do the best you can and accept the fact that there are no shortcuts. Learn your craft and accept the reality that successful authors are not lucky, they are skilled, just as in any profession. Acquire the skill, release your imagination, and then give it a go. There has never been a better time to be an author than right now … in 2014.

T.R. (Tom) Harris

Don’t forget: December 15th for the next Adam Cain novel, The Apex Predator

Book 2 of Part Two
Book 2 of Part Two

It’s almost here. December 15, this coming Sunday. Book Two of Part Two of The Human Chronicles Saga will be available on Amazon.com.

The Apex Predator is coming!

Update on The Apex Predator … Book 7 of The Human Chronicles Saga

ApexCover5I’m about to play poker with my next novel. Let me explain.

I wrote this book a little differently that my others; essentially in sections that now must be shuffled together. I have three major plot lines running throughout the book, one with Adam Cain and Sherri Valentine, one with Riyad Tarazi and another with Nigel McCarthy. These are almost complete stories in their own right, yet related to the overall novel. I’ve completed these three storylines, and now I have to shuffle them together to make one complete story.

In nearly all novels, the perspective shifts between characters, either through chapter changes or within the chapters themselves, and as the storyline moves along, the author switches from character to character and from locale to locale. We normally do this within the writing process, so one moment you may be writing from the perspective of Character A, and then the next Character C. And then you may go to Characters B and D before returning to Character A. With this book I decided just to stick with one character throughout and entire section of my master Word document and tell the entire story from that perspective. And then, with the miracle of Microsoft Word, I can cut and paste all the various perspectives together. This will involve some segue writing to tie everything together and then a careful examination of timelines. Yet it has allowed me to blast through one character’s (or set of character’) complete story without the constant switching of personalities and perspective during the writing process. Now it just needs to be all tied together and mingled so that the story flows and makes sense.

I’m planning on releasing the new book on December 15, 2013 … after the editing and proofreading process is complete. I know fifteen to twenty days doesn’t sound like enough time to edit and proof an entire book, but in the world of ebook publishing things can move very quickly. I have a number of beta readers already lined up who will receive advance copies and check for typos and other issues, while my editor and professional proofreader are on standby as soon as I do my last run-through of the book and email it to them. The Apex Predator should be my best-edited and proofed book. At least that’s my goal. (Of course, some things will fall through the cracks, and when this happens I hope my readers will email me with the corrections. Again with ebooks, I can make changes and upload a new version of the book in about five hours.)

Galaxy Cover60With The Apex Predator being book 2 of part two of The Human Chronicles, it will end up being the middle book of a trilogy. As such, it picks up where Cain’s Crusaders left off and sets up the reader for all the wild climax stuff that happens in the final book of the trilogy — A Galaxy to Conquer. I had the opportunity this time to essentially plot out two books at once, so the day after I send The Apex Predator to my editor, I’ll be starting to work on A Galaxy to Conquer, with the projected release date around the end of January 2014. This will the soonest I’ve released a follow-up book, so hopefully my continuing fans — plus all the new ones who come onboard during the holiday season — will find gratification sooner than others have in the past.

It appears — at least for now — that The Human Chronicles Saga will run for a total of eight books. But don’t worry, I’m sure Adam Cain will surface again in the not too distant future — he always does. However, as an author, I have a number of other projects rumbling around in my brain that I’d like to get to first. I’m not quite ready to announce these yet, since I still have two more Adam Cain novels to release. But rest assured, if you like my writing style, you will find the same in every book I complete. And no matter what the subject, they will always contain their fair share of humor, along with unfiltered realism. One thing I will never be accused of is bowing to politically-correctness!

Now, back to my poker game. I’ve got some shuffling to do!

T.R. (Tom) Harris

As always, I will be sending out broadcast emails to my registered fans announcing the release of all my books, so if you haven’t been put on the list yet, go to Contact Me at the top of this page and send me an email. Thanks.

Acquiring a Taste for Elephant

eating elephantSo I start a blog so I can keep my fans informed about my life as an author, as well as give tips to aspiring writers young and old.

But then I get bogged down eating elephants.

Yes, writing a novel is not something that can be done over a weekend, or even a week or two. Sometimes it takes months to finish the darn elephant, even taking one bite at a time. Elephants are big … and so are novels. That’s probably the reason most people who aspire to write books (estimated at 73% of the population) never do. It’s a daunting task.

Through the six books I’ve completed, I’ve found that starting the next book/elephant is the hardest part. Not because I don’t have the idea, or the story bores me, or any other such excuse. It’s simply because I know what a major undertaking it is. Once you commit to a book, it NEEDS to become all-consuming, otherwise you’ll never finish. (Or it will take you a Solar Magnetic Activity Cycle to complete. That’s eleven years if you didn’t already know.)

To help cut the elephant in the room down to size, some authors outline meticulously so they will know what each bite will consist of. Others just jump right in and start munching away. I’m kind of in the middle. I have a pretty good idea where the story’s headed, but mainly I let the characters lead me through the details.

Yet one of the most-important things I’ve learned is that you need to give yourself a lot of little victories throughout the writing process. What I mean by this is that you need to be aware of your progress as you go along, encouraged each day that you are getting ever-closer to your goal. Otherwise you’ll start believing that the task is just too big to complete.

For the most part, I accomplish this by writing most of the book out of sequence. Just as a movie is filmed as a series of out-of-sequence scenes and then edited together at the end, I take certain parts of the book that I already have worked out in my mind and just blast through these in quick order. Even though I may have to do extensive editing at the end to make everything mesh, at least I keep knocking out bite after bite of the elephant, eventually scaling the thing down the size of a small calf.

Here’s an example … sort of.

Suppose you have three main characters all doing different things throughout the book. I may write the complete story of one of the characters, even though in the finished the book we’ll be jumping back and forth between what each character is doing. If I find what this person is doing the most interesting at the time, then I write about that person. At other times, I may have a barroom fight outlined in my mind, even though it doesn’t happen for another 100 pages. But I’ll sit down and write it, and next thing you know, another 5,000 words have been chopped off the elephant. It sure beats having writer’s block. (A lot of writer’s block is a result of not knowing what comes next. Screw that! Write what you already know comes next, even if it’s the last scene in the book. Most people already have THAT worked out before they even write the first word.)

The key is to always be completing some part of the book, be it a scene, an important dialog or a chapter. Let’s face it, if you have 75% of a difficult task already done, the remaining 25% is all on the downhill slide. This remaining quarter may be the hardest part to figure out, but now we’re talking about only 25,000 words instead of 100,000. And the impetus is there to solve whatever plot issues you may be having. The book is almost done and the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel.

You will be amazed at how slowly a book begins … but how quickly it can get done once you reach this 75%/25% point. So if that’s the case, then get the 75% of the book done as quickly as possible. The rest will come naturally at the end.

The moral of the story is don’t get bogged down with writing in sequence. Write what you already have worked out. After all, these are usually the parts of the book that interest YOU the most. You might as well keep yourself interested in the story as you go along, because you’re going to be sitting at this dinner table for a very long time.

Now … back to work.

Write-on, my friends!

T.R. (Tom) Harris