Thomas Galvin
Purveyor of Fine Pulp Fiction

Triquetra
I'm kind of an attention whore.

Right now, as I’m typing this, my manager is meeting with a producer about turning one of my novels into a TV show.

This isn’t some indie producer looking to make an art house film that fifteen people see, either. This guy is the real deal, and he works for a company that one-hundred percent of you would know, if I told you the name.

This meeting might be one of the most important things to ever happen in my life, and it’s happening on the other side of the country, where everything is completely beyond my control.

That’s not why I’m worried, though. I mean sure, I’m afraid that my manager will come back with a “no.” But I’m more afraid that he’ll come back with a “yes.”

Which is stupid. This is one of the biggest opportunities I’ve ever had. It could completely change my life.

And that’s why I’m afraid. I’m an engineer, and I’m trained to work with systems, with algorithms. Right now, I have a very neat algorithm running my life. I wake up, I work out, I go to the office, I come home. I’ll be completely debt-free, no school loans, no credit card, no car payments, no mortgage, in about five years. I have a nice little IRA going, and I’m on schedule to retire when I’m fifty, with enough money to live forever.

If this deal goes through, I’d be debt-free the moment the check clears. And then everything would change.

I don’t know where I’d live. I don’t know what my schedule would be. Instead of cashing a paycheck twice a month, I’d have to set up my LLC to pay myself a salary. I like to think I’m better at math and money than the people who win the lottery and go bankrupt three years later, but I can’t prove that I am.

There are a hundred different things that would change, and I’m not even aware of most of them.

And then there’s the risk. Nothing in television is a guarantee. This show might go on to become a cult hit. It might go on to become a regular old six-seasons-and-a-movie hit. Or it might get canned after three episodes. There’s no way to tell. I’d be betting my future on a maybe, and as an engineer, that’s just not acceptable.

But I’d do it anyway.

Because this is the chance of a lifetime, and fear can go fuck itself.

A controversial new story from a former believer.

Caden Lyndsey was a Man of God. He battled demons, saw visions of the future, and wielded the fire of Heaven.

He lost his faith, but not his power.

Now, his visions drive him toward rural Washington. A madman seeks to summon the Norse god Wotan and unleash the Wild Hunt on an unsuspecting populace. If he succeeds, hundreds will die. Caden must battle witches, monsters, and ancient deities in order to stop him.

The Wild Hunt is the first chapter in the thrilling new Godless Saint series.

Available on Kindle and in paperback.

A shotgun barked, and the wall in front of me sprayed shards.

Demons aren’t supposed to use shotguns.

Burning sulfur summoned from the Dark Below? Sure. Barbed chains and rusty hooks? Classic. Hell, even a big ass kitchen knife? It worked for that guy in the Shatner mask in Halloween.

But they don’t use guns. Guns are too modern, too Michael Bay. What’s the point of being a spirit of darkness and hate if you’re just gonna pull a gun and shoot your enemy?

No one respects tradition anymore.

I was crouched behind my Jeep, at the dead end of an alley. It had snowed earlier and the pavement was still wet, which meant my jeans were soaked. Next to me, huddled in a ball, rocking slowly and whispering “It’s only a dream” to herself, was a twenty-something Pakistani girl named Aseelah. We’d met twelve hours ago.

So far, it had been the worst day of her life.

The demon’s shotgun barked again, and the window over my head shattered. Pieces of glass showered down on us. “Come on!” I shouted. “I just had this thing fixed!” I shook bits of glass out of my shirt.

The shotgun fired again, and the rear passenger tire exploded. The Jeep rattled and lurched toward the ground.

The demon had fired three times.

Boom! Chick-clack!

Four.

Boom! Chick-clack!

Five shots. The demon should be out of ammo.

I jumped to my feet. Aseelah grabbed for me, but I pulled out of her grasp. “All right,” I said as I came around the Jeep, “I’ve–”

Boom! The demon fired, right at my face.

It must have been a tactical shotgun. Eight, nine rounds, not five. Damn it.

The shotgun pellets met some invisible resistance, and the air around me rippled like a stone had been dropped into a pond. The lead balls stopped a quarter of an inch from my face, hung in the air for a moment, and fell to the ground.

The demon stared at me. She was attractive, or at least the body she’d hijacked was. Blonde, miniskirt, letterman jacket. But I had learned to see through illusion, to protect my mind from the glamours and veils of the spirit world. I opened my senses to the Æther, let the magic whisper to me, and I saw her for what she really was. Her hair was brittle, broken. Her teeth were rotted, cracked. Her skin was leathery and covered in sores. Her eyes were empty black pools.
Continue reading »

Here’s the cover art for The Wild Hunt, the first Godless Saint novel. I am, needless to say, thrilled.

The Wild Hunt

Click to bigger. This was done for me by a great guy named Phu Thieu, who you can find over at Fiverr. The Wild Hunt will be released in December.

I just got the cover art for Wish, the first Godless Saint short story, and I am thrilled.

Wish cover art

This was done by a great artist named Danh Nguyen, and you can find him over at Deviant Art.

Big Break screenplay competition

I just found out that The Janus Project is a Final Draft / Big Break Screenplay Competition semi-finalist! Out of 7,000 entrants, we are one of just 138 to advance to this stage. You can see our entry here, under Hour Pilots.

You can read the novel that inspired the Janus Project screenplay on Kindle and in paperback, or read the first chapter right here.

It’s finally here. My latest novel, The Janus Project, is now available on Kindle and in paperback.

The Janus Project is the story of Emily Mason, an ordinary teenage girl. She goes to school, has a crush on her best friend, and is stressed out about college applications.

Oh, and one more thing: Emily isn’t real.

She’s actually Nocturne, the leader of a team of super soldiers created by the Janus Project. Genetically engineered. Surgically enhanced. Chemically altered. Psychologically conditioned.

Emily’s cover identity is so convincing that even Emily herself doesn’t realize that she’s been turned into a human weapon. When a crazed soldier from the rival Ares program comes gunning for her, Emily’s perfect life is shattered, and Emily has to fight to discover who–and what–she really is.

I hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. check out the first chapter, or head over to Amazon to get your copy today!

The Digital Reader is reporting, and I have verified, that Barns & Noble has removed the “download” link from users’ Nook Libraries. Reports that they have also purchased a gun, aimed it at their feet, and pulled the trigger remain unconfirmed.

Previously, when you bought an eBook from B&N, you could download it, load it into Calibre, and then load it onto pretty much any device you want. A laptop, your phone, even a Kindle. B&N has disabled this feature, meaning you can now only read Nook books on a Nook, or in a Nook app.

This is remarkably fucking stupid.

There are two ways to make money in the eBook business: by selling the eBooks themselves, or by selling the hardware used to read them. And only one of them works.

Amazon has decided that it is a content company first, and a hardware manufacturer a distant second. This doesn’t mean that their hardware is crap; it’s actually very good. But it does mean that they aren’t trying to turn a profit on it. They sell their hardware at near-cost, and sometimes even at a loss, and make their real money when you read a book, listen to a song, or watch a movie. This means eReaders are a commodity, with razor-thin margins.

Barnes & Noble is also a content company. First because selling books is kind of what they do, but also because the Nook hardware business is hemorrhaging money.

It’s good for B&N that their books can be read on multiple devices, because no one is buying Nooks. The hardware is an albatross around their neck, and content is their lifeline.

By disabling downloads, B&N has made their content less useful. Less valuable. Less likely to be purchased.

I’m a Nook user. I love it. I read on it almost every day. Virtually every eBook I’ve purchased has been from Barnes & Noble, even though Amazon is cheaper. But this is indefensible. This might be what finally pushes me into the Kindle’s warm, front-lit embrace.

And it makes me even surer about my decision to go Amazon exclusive.

For a while, I’ve been wrestling with the idea of Amazon exclusivity.

Amazon makes no secret that they want as many authors as possible to be available only on their devices, a program they call Kindle Select. The biggest incentive they offer used to be the ability to offer five free promo days in a three-month period, and a lot of authors have made their career by giving away the first book in their series to a few hundred thousand new fans.

They sweetened the deal with the Kindle Lending Library. The Lending Library lets people who own a Kindle device to borrow a new book every month, and read it for free. The author, though, still gets paid, out of a fund created by Amazon.

Recently, they introduced Kindle Countdown Deals, a way for authors to temporarily put a book on sale and have it automatically, gradually increase in price.

The latest benefit is Kindle Unlimited. Unlimited costs $9.99 a month, and gives the reader access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Basically, it’s Netflix for books. Like the Lending Library, authors still get paid whenever someone reads past the ten percent mark (basically, they get through the free preview), and like the Lending Library, the only way to get your book in is to be Amazon exclusive.

There are a lot of perks to being Amazon exclusive. I’ve resisted, because I’ve wanted my books available to as many people as possible. Recently, though, I decided to take the plunge. Starting today, and until at least the end of the year, my eBooks will be available only through Amazon (but the paperbacks will still be available everywhere).

Why?

Exposure

This is the big reason. Between free promos, Countdown Deals, the Lending Library, and now Unlimited, there are a ton of ways to get noticed on Amazon. And just as importantly, my books are on the shelf next to a bunch of other authors’ who are using these tools to make their books more affordable and more attractive. Being in the Kindle Select program isn’t even about gaining an advantage anymore; it’s about evening the playing field.

The vast majority of my sales come from Amazon anyway

Sure, I might gain exposure on Amazon, but I’m also losing all of the sales I’d have coming from Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and all of the other eBook outlets, right?

Kind of. Almost all of my sales come from Amazon already, so I might be giving up five or ten percent by going Amazon exclusive. My bet is that the perks of Kindle Select more than make up for that loss. Hugh Howey, author of Wool, has been experimenting with this for a couple of months, and he’s found that the sales jump on Amazon easily overcomes the loss of other outlets.

Still, I want as many people to be able to read my stories as possible. Turns out, there’s an answer for that.

Kindle apps everywhere

If you have a Mac, a PC, an iPhone, an Android phone, a tablet, or even a Nook HD, you can download a Kindle app and read your books right on your device. And, unlike the Nook, this app actually works on Mac.

Also, my books are sold DRM-free, which means you can easily load them onto another eReader, including Nook. You can use Calibre to do your conversion and loading automatically.

Becoming Amazon exclusive gives me more exposure, and really doesn’t limit readers from getting ahold of my stories, so I’m going to experiment. I expect this to be win-win. And if not, I’m only committed for three months.

Markdown Writer is an application I threw together because 1. I love Scrivener and 2. I hate configuring Scrivener’s export options. This post isn’t going to be anything resembling an exhaustive documentation of features; instead, it’ll be just enough to get you up and running.

Step One: Install Pandoc

Markdown Writer uses Pandoc on the back end to convert from it’s native format to ePub (and other formats). You can grab Pandoc for Mac, Windows, and Linux here.

Step Two: Download Markdown Writer

You can grab the Mac version of Markdown Writer here, and the Windows/Linux version here. Just unzip and put in in your Applications or Program Files directory.

Step Three: Point Markdown Writer at Pandoc

Open Markdown Writer, and in the toolbar, click Help > Preferences. A dialog will pop open, where you can tell Markdown Writer where you installed Pandoc. On Mac, this is probably /usr/local/bin/pandoc. You can also use this screen to point to KindleGen, if you want support for creating .Mobi files.

Step Four: Create your masterpiece

Markdown Writer’s composition features are similar to Scrivener’s, or at least the subset of Scrivener features I ever used. You can create folders and documents, move things around, rename them, and add metadata. To create an ePub (or other export format), go to File > Export and choose your options.

Markdown Writer supports Markdown as it’s native format, which is documented in Help > Show Help. Hint: if you’re just creating HTML, ePub, or Mobi, you can also code directly in HTML without losing anything.

Markdown Writer is just some software I threw together for my own use. It works for what I do, but I offer no guarantees of usefulness, extend no warrant, et cetera et cetera. Use at your own risk. Back everything up, regularly. This is always a good idea, but especially when you’re using beta software.

If you love Sci-Fi, you’ve probably at least heard of Tor Books, a Macmillan imprint catering to the geek crowd. But even if you don’t know what the Prime Directive is, Tor Books is interesting for a very important reason: they have a no-DRM policy on all of their books. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, and it is (to be completely unbiased) a way for a publisher to deny you your fair-use rights. Want to read the book you purchased on multiple devices, or listen to that song on a device that doesn’t talk to iTunes? DRM aims to make that impossible, and at least succeeds in making it annoying.

Everyone – except publishers and some artists – hates DRM. Mostly because it makes it harder to do things you are legally allowed to do, but also because DRM makes the assumption that you, the person who bought a book or song, is a criminal. You can’t be trusted with this precious content, you see, so it has to be wrapped in chains. Because DRM is so universally loathed – and so universally useless – most industries are moving away from it. Apple no longer uses DRM on songs purchased through iTunes, and Amazon lets you download plain old MP3 files from their music store. And many eBooks – all of mine included – are DRM-free.

Tor was one of the first “major” publishers to take a stance against DRM. This was a smart move, because their audience tends to be more technical, and technical people hate DRM even more than most. Hachette UK, however, is somewhat less enlightened. They refuse to release any book without DRM. They have also announced that they will no longer acquire any books with any DRM-free edition, anywhere in the world. And now they’ve sent a letter to their authors, insisting that DRM be used to “protect” books … published by other houses.

In one letter, Hachette has stated that 1: they hate their customers, and 2: they believe in magic. It’s amazing to watch the publishing industry go through the exact same convulsions that the music industry experienced a decade ago. It’s like they haven’t learned anything.

(Publishers Weekly, via Boing Boing)