Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hal Spacejock 4 Review

The Specusphere has posted their review of Hal Spacejock 4: No Free Lunch. Lots of nice things said about the book, which is always a positive.

I've also knocked up a very quick book launch invite for family & friends. (The publisher is doing a proper one, but I don't get many of those and I like to hand things out nice and early.) Click the image for a bigger size. Or better still, come to the launch.

I've also decided against bookmarks for Hal 4, and instead I'll be doing a batch of rubber fridge magnets. (Although how people are supposed to stick a magnet on a rubber fridge is beyond me. And who keeps rubbers in the fridge, anyway? Do they really want to be THAT cool?)

This is the current draft of the magnet artwork, because, well, I like to share my work:

Would you stick one of these babies on your rubber fridge?

*EDIT* Whoever pre-ordered Hal 4 from Amazon .. you're a champ. Hope you like the book!

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Interview with Jenna Black

Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation.

Without any further delay, I present an interview with Jenna Black, whose novel HUNGERS OF THE HEART is released today.

What was your inspiration for writing HUNGERS OF THE HEART?

Since the first book of the Guardians of the Night series,
I’ve always known I would eventually write Drake’s book. Many of my readers
have also impatiently been awaiting his book since they first “met” him in
WATCHERS IN THE NIGHT. As excited as I was to write his story, though, it
turned out to be very hard to do. One of the most attractive things about Drake in WATCHERS was his self-confidence, the sense that he was comfortable in his own skin. Confident, comfortable characters, however, don’t make for interesting protagonists, so I had to shake him up. I found myself strangely reluctant to do so. That was the first time I had to struggle to make myself be mean to one of my characters. Usually authorial cruelty comes easily to me, as my readers no doubt know!

Which books and authors have most influenced your career?

I’d have to credit THOSE WHO HUNT THE NIGHT, by Barbara
Hambly, as being the book that piqued my interest in vampires. The main vampire character in that book, Don Simon Ysidro, is absolutely fascinating to me. There’s no question he’s a bad guy—all her vampires are killers, and none of them seem to feel any remorse for their actions. However, Don Simon also has redeeming qualities, such as a sense of honor, that make him at least somewhat sympathetic to both the reader and the novel’s hero. (And from that description, you can no doubt see how much I was influenced by that particular book!)

For my urban fantasies, I’d have to credit the Anita Blake series, by Laurell K. Hamilton as having had the most influence. That was the first urban fantasy series I read, and I ended up absolutely hooked. After reading her books, I went on to “discover” such authors as Kelley Armstrong, Keri Arthur, Rachel Caine, and Patricia Briggs. It was because I loved all those books so much that I set out to write an urban fantasy myself.

What’s the best and the worst advice you’ve ever received?

The worst advice I ever received was to slavishly follow all publishers’ guidelines for submissions. (Note the word “slavishly.” I’m not saying to ignore guidelines.) For the 16 + years I was seriously trying—and failing—to get published, I dutifully submitted books one at a time,
no simultaneous submissions. I can’t tell you how many times I had to wait a year or more to get a response. And during that waiting time, I refused to submit the book to another publisher, because most publishers say they won’t accept simultaneous submissions. It made for a painfully slow, agonizing, frustrating process. If I had it all to do over again, I’d probably go ahead and make simultaneous submissions despite the guidelines. I think it would have saved some of my sanity.

The best advice was for me to take responsibility for my own career. This meant always acting as though my career was under my control, even when sometimes it feels like I’m a victim in the winds of fate. This advice was crucial to my finally getting published. I had gotten to a point where I’d convinced myself I needed to get that lucky break to get my foot in the door. And that was a dismal prospect, because you can’t control luck. Then I went to a workshop where the teachers were adamant in their belief that luck has nothing to do with it, that if you write well enough and long enough, you’ll break in. It was a total change of attitude for me, and it
changed the way I approached my career. When I began to believe that it was my own abilities, not the whims of luck, that would ultimately get me published, I started working much, much harder at my writing. I started treating it like a career, rather than a hobby. A year later, I had an agent. Two years later, I had my first contract. And now I have five books out with four more under contract. So it was by far the best advice I’ve ever received.

What (besides writing) do you do for fun?

Number one on my list is, naturally, reading. Like most writers, I’m a voracious reader. I’ve recently become addicted to doing jigsaw
puzzles. My enjoyment of jigsaw puzzles has come and gone multiple times over the course of my life. I’ll go for years without doing one, then suddenly I’ll have an urge and I’ll do a whole bunch in a row. I’m finding them particularly fun right now because they’re something I can do that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a computer.

I also enjoy ballroom dancing, which I’ve just taken up
again after several years’ hiatus. I think it’s important for me to find things to do outside the house now that I’ve quit my day job. It would be so easy for me to become a hermit. So that’s why I decided to start dancing again. (Though it’s also a lot of fun as well as being good exercise.)

What are you writing now?

Right now I’m working on the fourth book in my Morgan Kingsley series. I’ve
just gotten started, so I’m still in those very uncertain “what the heck is
going to happen in this book?” stage. It often takes me a few chapters before I start feeling like I’ve “really” started the book. I’ve also been playing around with an idea for a YA urban fantasy, but I have to put that aside now to work on the book that’s sold and on deadline.

Did you always want to write? Or did you stumble into it? How did you get where you are now?

I wrote my first book when I was in fifth grade. It was an autobiography. It’s written in pencil, with crayon illustrations and a construction paper cover. So I’ve pretty much been writing forever. I wrote my first novel my senior year of high school for my English class on creative writing. (Actually, it was really a novella, but I considered it a novel at that time.) I then wrote my first real, full-length novel in college. However, it took about 20 years and 17 more novels before I made my first sale.

In college, I majored in anthropology and French. My
intention was to get a PhD in physical anthropology and become the next Jane Goodall. Obviously, my career and my ambitions ended up taking a different path.

What does a typical writing day look like for you? How long do you write, that sort of thing?

I start out by trudging up to my computer while guzzling coffee as I
try to shake the sleep clouds from my head. (I’m not the best morning person in the world.) I usually read emails and look at some of my favorite Internet sites (like MySpace and Romance Divas) while I wait for my brain to be fully functional. Then I drag myself to a computer that has no Internet access and no games—nothing installed on it other than word processing software. And I write.

I tend to write in multiple short (45 minutes to an hour) spurts throughout the morning and early afternoon. Between spurts, I check email or do chores or work out. (Or goof off, but I try to keep that to a minimum.)

Where do you write?

I have a home-office-cum-library where I work. It’s a converted bonus room over our garage, and it’s decorated to help stimulate my imagination—and give me the illusion that I’ve actually left the house to write. The effect is like working in a medieval/gothic library, with faux-wood floors and faux-stone walls.

What is the best part of being a writer? The most frustrating?

The best part about being a writer for me is hearing from
readers. I love knowing that people have read and enjoyed my books. I was
especially moved when I got an email from a reader who was seriously ill and told me my books helped make the bad times better for her. Books have always been my escape during the worst times in my life, and one of the thoughts that kept me going while I was struggling to sell that first novel was the desire to provide that same kind of escape for others. Learning that I’d done so for at least one reader brought tears to my eyes.

The most frustrating part of being a writer is how many things about your career are not under your control. You can’t control the whims of the market, the editorial shifts in your publishing house, the closing
of lines, the cover art, the marketing . . . You name it. (Some of those things you can control when you’re a mega star, but I’m not there yet!)

This isn't your first book; tell us a little bit about what else is out

There are three other books out in the Guardians of the Night series: WATCHERS IN THE NIGHT, SECRETS IN THE SHADOWS, and SHADOWS ON THE SOUL. There’s also THE DEVIL INSIDE, the first book in my Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist series. The second book in that series, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, will come out on July 29.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

My website is You can also find me on MySpace at

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Tate Hallaway interview

Tate's Bio:

Tate Hallaway is the best selling alias of the award-winning science fiction author Lyda Morehouse.  Lyda wrote a four book trilogy about angels, computers and the end of the world all of which are currently out of print, though she still writes and publishes science fiction/fantasy/horror short stories.   Tate’s books are all in print with more in the Garnet Lacey series in the works.  You can find both Lyda and Tate all blogging all over the internet including places like LiveJournal, Blogspot, MySpace, Facebook, and even YouTube.  “They” live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with five cats, a five year old son, and many, many fresh water fish.

Blurb for Romancing the Dead

It’s been one heck of a week for Garnet Lacey. The Vatican witch hunters finally think she’s dead, the FBI has closed their file on her, she’s co-founding a new coven—and the gorgeous vampire she loves has just asked her to marry him. How lucky can one girl get?

Then, her fiancĂ© goes missing and Garnet’s worried sick. Has he been kidnapped? Or could he have run off with that blonde from the coven? Now Garnet will have to seek the help of her future stepson—the same brat who turned her over to the witch hunters for a brand-new Jaguar. But there’s more bad news: the Goddess Lilith, who camps out in her body, has been making embarrassing appearances. And on top of that, some killer’s on her tail...
What was your inspiration for writing ROMANCING THE DEAD?

ROMANCING THE DEAD is the third book in my paranormal chick-lit Garnet Lacey series.  People often ask me how I, as a writer, stay inspired when writing about the same characters.  I think I could get pretty bored if I didn’t allow my characters not only to be human (and thus full of flaws), but also to change and grow. 

A lot of the romance I read when I first started reading romances were “first blush,” as in the main point of the story was the excitement of meeting someone new.  At the end of these novels, things faded very quickly into the nebulous (and unrealistic) happily, ever after.  One of the things I’m trying to do in the Garnet Lacey series is promote the romance that can be found in a long-term relationship.  I mean, Garnet is in love with a vampire, for goodness sake.  You don’t get more “ever after” than that.   I, myself, have been together with my partner for more than twenty years, and I don’t think those kinds of relationships get a lot of glory in romance novels, you know?

Plus, in every novel I like to take on one of the tropes in urban fantasy and do my own thing with it.  In this book, I have Garnet meet someone who may or may not be a werewolf.

Who are your favorite authors and books now and when you were growing up?

Currently my favorite authors are writing graphic novels.  I’m in to Brian Michael Bendis’ NEW AVENGERS.  I just finished reading NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI in preparation of the up-coming Secret Invasion.  I’m also a huge fan of Ed Brubaker’s CAPTAIN AMERICA, particularly his WINTER SOLDIER stuff.  Comic books haven’t been this fresh for me since I first picked up Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s FANTASTIC FOUR when I was a kid.

For more traditional fare, my favorites are Rachel Caine, who writes the Weather Warden series, and Kristin Katheryn Rusch who writes the Disappeared series, which is a kind of futuristic a police procedural set on Mars.  When I was growing up my favorite authors were Katherine Kurtz and Anne McCaffrey. 

What is it about fantasy/science fiction that attracts you?

The explosions.

Seriously, I was talking to a friend about this at a bar the other night, and I confessed that one of my favorite things about writing paranormal romances/urban fantasy is that you get to have all the relationship/girly stuff married to the high-octane adventure/boy stuff.  That’s pretty near perfect for me.

Why did you decide to make Garnet a Witch?

Because I am.

And it can be very difficult to find realistic portrayals of Wiccan religion in novels.  One of the things that drives me crazy in movies and TV shows like “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” is when a complete novice reads a spell they find in a dusty book and they conjure a demon without breaking a sweat. 

Of course, because the Garnet Lacey series is fantasy, I take liberties, too.  Real-life witchcraft can be pretty dull.  The scope of Garnet’s power is a lot stronger than anything I’ve experienced in real life, but I try to show ritual as part of her daily practice as well.  In other words, she doesn’t just cast spells, but she also prays to a Goddess and observes the cycle of the seasons, like the real witches I know. 

What (besides writing) do you do for fun?

I’m an aquarist.  I have four fresh water fish tanks in my house and have had over the course of a year:  powder blue dwarf gourami, neon tetra, bettas (a spawning pair), a white cloud minnow, yellow tuxedo guppies, and several goldfish (comet and shubunkin).  I’m so into it I read fish magazines and occasionally write long, boring blogs about my fish triumphs and woes on my livejournal:  [].  My betta Johnny/Giant-Girl is even a YouTube star:

What sort of research did you do to write this book?

Well, because I’d decided to play around with the urban fantasy trope of werewolves and the story takes place in Madison, Wisconsin, I did a little research and discovered that Wisconsin has its own werewolf myth: “the Beast of Bray Road.”  There’s a book about it by LInda S. Godfrey called BEAST OF BRAY ROAD: TAILING WISCONSIN'S WEREWOLF.

Garnet loves astrology. Is that your favorite thing too?

One of them.  Just like Garnet I’m an amateur astrologer. Yeah, we’re talking about predictions and horoscopes and stuff.  No, I don’t think the stars rule my destiny, but, yeah, I think it’s all a very fascinating and entertaining way to look at life and relationships.  

I love astronomy, too.  My friend Rachel takes me and my four-year old out star-gazing on clear nights.  The science fiction fan in me loves seeing the rings of Saturn and such.

What are you writing now?

There’s more Garnet Lacey in the works.  I’m currently putting the wraps on book four, DEAD IF I DO, which I like to describe as “The Wedding Planner” meets “Night of the Living Dead.”

Did you always want to write? Or did you stumble into it? How did you get where you are now?

It took boredom to turn me into a writer. 

True, I was an English major in college, but other than dabbling a little in fanfic as a teen I didn’t really do a lot of creative writing.  After college, I had a series of dead-end secretarial jobs and really didn’t require a whole lot of my brain power.  One of these jobs didn’t even come with a computer, but when I incessantly bugged my boss for work she taught me the art of the slack.  She said, “Sometimes it’s important to LOOK busy.”  So, I started typing letters home to friends.  The letters turned into little silly stories, limericks, and finally, the beginning of my first novel, Sidhe Promised, which has never been sold.

Someone either a friend or my partner talked me into taking a science fiction writing class at the Loft  I had an awesome teacher who taught us the art of critique and encouraged us to form writers’ critique groups outside of class.  The one I formed from that class with my friend and fellow writer H. Courrage LeBlanc, Wyrdsmiths is still going strong today, nearly twelve years later.  If you want to check out the "life" of a writers' group, we have a blog:

Eventually, through a friend of a friend I got my second novel, Archangel Protocol, under the nose of an agent.  The rest, as they say, is history.

What does a typical writing day look like for you? How long do you write, that sort of thing?

Well, I’m in crunch time now, so I write close to four hours a night, from about 8:00 pm to midnight.  Normally, however, I tend to clock closer to only a couple of hours, if that.  I have a full-time job as a mom, so my writing time doesn’t start until everyone is fed and tucked in their beds.  When not writing under a deadline, I also take weekends off.

Hm, which may explain why I'm in crunch time now, eh?

Where do you write??

Wherever my laptop is.  I tend to write propped up in bed or on the couch in the TV room. 

What is easiest/hardest for you as a writer?

I’ve always found dialogue the easiest to write.  That’s probably because it’s the part I practice the most.  Not only do I love to talk, but also when I’m falling asleep at night it’s the fictional conversations that I play with in my head. 

As for hard, that would be plot.  If I had my druthers, no one would do anything.  They’d all sit around in a coffee shop and argue.

This isn't your first book; tell us a little bit about what else is out there?

Though all of them are meant to stand more-or-less on their own, there are two previous Garnet Lacey books:  TALL, DARK & DEAD and DEAD SEXY.  Both follow the exploits of Garnet Lacey, a Witch who accidentally drew in the dark and murderous Goddess Lilith to protect her coven from attack by Vatican witch hunters.  When the stories start, she’s on the run and trying desperately to give up witchcraft, which Lilith (and, consequentially, she) crave like a drug.  Tall, dark and dead Sebastian Von Traum comes into the bookstore the Garnet manages and, as they say, hilarity ensues. 
And explosions… or at least zombies.

There’s an excerpt of the first chapters of all three books available on my website

Other useful stuff: links to Tate's books:

Romancing the Dead:

Dead Sexy (Garnet Lacey #2):

Tall, Dark & Dead (Garnet Lacey #1):

Places to find Tate on the Web:

Wyrdsmiths group blog:
Fangs, Fur & Fey (group blog for paranormal romance writers):

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Last one for today

I've been away for a week, which explains the sudden flurry of posts on my blog. I have a bulging inbox, mail file and clipboard full of notes to get to, so I'll probably be silent for another week while I try desperately to catch up.

Anyway, we've settled on a date and time for the Hal Spacejock 4 book launch:

Where: Dymocks Cannington, Westfield Carousel Shopping Centre
When: 27th May at 6:30pm
RSVP: Dymocks on (08) 9356 8888 (Trading hours & contact details here)

That's in Perth, Western Australia for all you overseas blog readers. This is what it looks like from (way) above:

View Larger Map

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Hal 3 review

The “Hal Spacejock” books are funny, very much in the tradition of “Red Dwarf” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” but there are plenty of things that make them different, and in some facets superior, to those famous titles.

This isn’t a gaudy, exotic, higher-state-of-consciousness type SF future; it’s a run-down, penny-pinching, two-bit swindling kind of future, and Hal Spacejock is often the biggest swindler of them all.

Full review here (Minor spoilers included)

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Measuring success

There are several ways to measure the success of a novel - and good reviews and appearances in bestseller lists don't really define the kind of success publishers are looking for. Sure, they're great when they happen, but you still have to shift the bulk of the print run to make any money, and a two-three week splash after release isn't enough to do it.

Because stores can return unsold books (within reason), initial orders for a particular title don't really tell the publisher a whole lot. If they print 5000 copies and ship 3000, there's a good chance 20-50% of them will come back for credit at some stage. (Publishers would prefer that books be non-returnable, but the problem with hard sales is that bookstores then order 1/2 to 1/3 what they'd take IF they could send them back again. And a big pile of copies in-store is a far more effective sales tool than nifty bookmarks or expensive press adverts.)

Back to the point. If a publisher prints X thousand books and sells the lot, then prints another x thousand and sells those too, THAT's success on their terms. In other words, second printing, third printing .. I like to think of it as going back to the goose for more golden eggs ;-)

I don't often post without mentioning Hal, so you can probably see where I'm going with this ... yes, my publisher just informed me that they're ordering a third printing for the first Hal Spacejock book. Now we can talk about Hal Spacejock 5 ;-)

And with every reprint, and every new Hal book, the price of the series to overseas publishers is going up, and up, and up ...

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

P-p-pick up a penguin

Just found this on my daily trawl through the web:

"Do you have what it takes to write a commercial crime/thriller novel? If so, enter our Penguin Crime Writing Competition and if you are judged the winner by our expert panel you will be published by Penguin Australia."

(Open to Australian residents)

Penguin Crime Writing Competition

Entries close 23rd June, and you can read the terms & conditions on the competition page. A quick scan shows they're only after the first few chapters (up to 5000 words), plus a complete synopsis with the estimated final word count. In other words, it doesn't look like you need a completed manuscript to enter (he says underhandedly)

Not a bad looking contest at all.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Hal 1 review

Rarely have I read a book that was simultaneously so amusing and so warm-hearted. Humour usually revolves around laughing at the misfortune of others, but there’s precious little nastiness here. This is an excellent novel, and I would recommend it to anyone.

Book Review - Hal Spacejock by Simon Haynes

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Friday, April 18, 2008

LibraryThing coolness

Today I discovered LibraryThing has added venues and events to their database. Users add their favourite bookstores, with links, and if you specify a location in your LT profile you can get a list of nearby bookstores, with ratings, and also any upcoming events in those stores.

Just go to to see the results in action. You even get a Google map of the bookstore location.

All very web 2.0

I stuck Fantastic Planet and Dymocks Carousel in the database, since both stores have been kind to the Hal books. If you're on LT and have a fave local store, why not add them in too?

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chapter One Samples

Below you'll find a double-sided flyer for each novel in the Hal Spacejock series. Each contains the complete first chapter of the relevant book, along with a cover shot and publication details.

Some suggested uses:

• School librarians could use them to tempt reluctant readers.
• Bookstores could leave a few on the counter*
• Bookstores could tuck the next flyer into the previous book.
• Keen Hal Spacejock fans could give them to friends & fellow SF aficionados.
• Dedicated Hal fans could put a few on the leaflet table at the next con.
• Rabid Hal fans could hand them to total strangers in shopping malls.

Hal 1 Free Sample Flyer   Hal 2 Free Sample Flyer Hal 3 Free Sample Flyer   Hal 4 Free Sample Flyer

One side is colour, the other monochrome. I print the mono side on my laser first, then flip them over and run them through the inkjet (borderless printing) for the colour.

These are three-fold leaflets - fold the back flap in towards the middle, then fold the cover over it.

* Because we ALL know how much empty space there is on a bookstore counter ...

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Publication blog

I promised to blog about non-sekret communications with my publisher, giving you an insight (hopefully) into the process.

I can't talk about this or that or even the other, but I can mention that I'm meeting with Clive and Claire from FP next week to discuss a major publicity idea for Hal Spacejock. (My idea of having a lifesize Clunk crash all the breakfast TV shows fell on deaf ears. It seems they're already hosted by expressionless old robots, so another one barging in wouldn't raise any eyebrows.)

I can't even discuss my grand idea yet, but it involves zero cost and isn't the least bit illegal. Bound to fail, in other words.

I also have five review copies of Hal 4 sitting on a shelf above my desk. At this stage I can only send them within Australia, so if you're in any way connected with a reviews site, blog, major daily newspaper or breakfast show (creaky robotic presenters notwithstanding), please leave a comment.

I'm guessing copies will start appearing in stores mid-May, which is just four weeks away, so I don't suppose there's any harm in posting a review from early May onwards.

The other thing I got was a nice poster with nice covers of the four Hal books and my ugly mug in the corner just to even things up. It's a good poster though - nice quality - and I'm sure I can organise copies for any bookstore staff who happen to be reading this. (Three that I know of, plus the incognitos who drop by to see whether I've finally written something other than Hal. Sorry.)

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Monday, April 14, 2008

The first review of Hal Spacejock 4 (No Free Lunch)

Unfortunately, you can't get your hands on a copy until June, but review copies are circulating and that means early reviews. (Don't worry, I'd never post spoilers.)

Anyway, the first Hal Spacejock No Free Lunch review is in, and they liked it!

"No Free Lunch is an effortless read that doesn't take itself too seriously. The plot is fun and intelligent, with some genuine laugh-out loud moments. [...] it is more subtle, and the main character more complex and endearing, than the macho title suggests." Bookseller+Publisher, May 2008.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Hal Spacejock 1 review

Hal 2 yesterday, Hal 1 today. Different reviewer, different take on the book.

This is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time and can't wait to buy the next in the series.

Every reviewer picks up on a slightly different facet of Hal's character, or the plot, or the humour. This is the first review I've seen where Hal is compared to a headstrong boss in the workplace ;-)

Full review here.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hal 2 review

I recently met up with Guy Salvidge after he joined Stromatolights (the Western Australian SF/F mailing list). We got chatting about SF, books, publishing, books and more SF, and then I did a nasty, horrible thing ... I offered him a copy of Hal Spacejock Second Course.

... a refreshing change from the post-cyberpunk trying-to-be-cool futures we get so often in SF these days.

Usually I'm pretty good about giving away books. I always make sure people get the first in the series, because I know how much I hate starting mid-stream. Recently, however, I've had to give away either book two or book three, simply because the first was in short supply.

Haynes is a skillful writer, but he never forgets that he is writing to entertain.

Anyway, Guy read Hal 2 in double-time and has now posted a nice review. Now I'll have to rustle up a review copy of Hal 1 for sure.

Descriptive scenes are particularly well done, conjuring just enough detail to keep the reader 'in the loop,' but not so much as to bog the story down. In short, Haynes knows what he's doing.

So, he's obviously a nice Guy ...

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Annual Locus Poll

If you're into SF and/or Fantasy, you might like to know about the annual Locus poll:

Locus Poll

There's a few days left if you want to fill it out. You don't have to be a Locus subscriber, and they publish a comprehensive table of results later in the year. More data points = more comprehensive.

Spread the word!

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Good Readings

Nope, not what you think. I just wanted to say thanks to Andrew at the Readings (Australia) bookstore chain. I emailed them because they were still showing an outdated cover for Hal 3, and not only did he fix that up but he also added summaries to all the books AND linked them all under a common author name. You'd think this would be standard for any bookseller, but take a look at some of the online catalogues around and you'll find four different spellings/combinations/re-imaginings/complete stuff-ups of my name - one for each book (and sometimes with a spare.) Another bookseller's catalogue has the most hilarious mashup of blurb sentences which stops mid sen--

The other point of this post? To let you know Readings are taking pre-orders for Hal Spacejock book 4.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Guest Author on the Zimbooktu forums

The Zimbooktu people have kindly invited me on board as their author of the month, and I'll be answering questions and generally making a nuisance of myself over there throughout April. (As opposed to making a nuisance of myself here, which is my usual course of action.)

Feel free to drop by and participate.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Hal 1 hits the bestseller list ... again

Fantastic Planet just posted their bestseller list for the month of March 2008, and what should appear in eighth spot but the original Hal Spacejock? This book was released in 2005, so it's pretty good going ...

March 2008 Bestsellers at Fantastic Planet

1...The Execution Channel, Ken Macleod
2...Off Armageddon Reef, David Weber
3...Heart of the Mirage, Glenda Larke
4...Halting State, Charles Stross
5...Rynemonn, Terry Dowling
6...Spiked, edited by M. Rode
7...Cosmonaut Keep, Ken Macleod
8...Hal Spacejock, Simon Haynes
9...Grave Sight, Charlaine Harris
10..Alliance Space, C. J. Cherryh
10..The Awakening, Bevan McGuinness

Just a reminder that Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch (book 4) will be released across Australia and New Zealand on June the 2nd. There will be a launch event, and I'll do my best to visit bookstores around Perth to sign stock.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

In case you missed it ...

Yesterday, I set up a new front page for my website.

Today, I'm reconsidering my choice of web hosting service.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)