Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hal Spacejock 5: Legacy publication date

Earlier today I posted to the Hal Spacejock mailing list, announcing several publication dates. I intend to stick with these, and revealing a deadline in public should do the trick.

First, I'm happy to report that I've finished the first draft of Hal Spacejock 5: Legacy. It still needs editing and polishing, but I'm aiming
for a January/February 2012 release.

I've also finished the first draft of Hal Junior 2: The Missing Case. This one should be out in April/May 2012.

I'm currently working on the first draft of Hal Spacejock 6: Safe Art, which is slated for release in June/July 2012.

Hal Spacejock books 7 and 8 are also in hand.

In each case I'll be releasing ebook editions first, then print.

Apart from my novels, I've just published another couple of stories on Amazon Kindle (Yard Fail and a short-short, Escape Clause), and all of my shorts are now available on Smashwords.

I also have another science fiction short story in the works, and I'm hoping to finish this one in the next few days.

Hey, I almost feel like a real writer again!

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Release-a-thon part 2

This is the second batch of shorts I posted to Amazon today, priced at 99c each. Sleight of Hand was published in Potato Monkey issue 1, back in 2000/2001. The other two have never seen the light of day. (And neither will I, once all those epic fantasy authors get hold of me ...)

Sleight of Hand
After a cosy meal, the protagonist retires to his host's workshop for an after-dinner drink ... and becomes the unwitting subject of an experiment.

Thonn Day
Like The Desolator, every time I write a fantasy tale it comes out as a gigantic p-ss-take on the genre. Farm boy ... check. Forbidden Magick ... check. Sage advice from wise elders ... er, not so much.

Billy's Book
Another knee to the fantasy genre's 'nads. Stable mucker-outer Billy Crump has heard all about farmhands becoming powerful wizards, and he wants a piece of that particular pie. Unfortunately this wizarding business is much harder than it looks ...

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


It's the middle of NaNoWriMo, so what better way to spend two whole writing days than ... editing six short stories into shape, coming up with covers for each one, and publishing them on Amazon Kindle?

I blame Pauline Nolet, proofreader extraordinaire, who nagged me on Twitter after I happened to mention the unfinished short stories cluttering up my hard drive.

Anyway, the first three are available now for the Kindle minimum price of 99c each. None have ever been published before.

Off Course
An alien invasion fleet picks the wrong golf course.

Social services call on ten-year-old Daniel, intending to take him away from his home. Danny has other ideas.

Catch of the Day
Ken and Steve reluctantly give up their lawnmowing duties for a weekend of fishing, booze and male bonding. Unfortunately the fish aren't biting, supplies are running low and worst of all ... the beer just ran out. Then, without warning, an alien colony ship arrives in orbit, and that's when Ken's problems REALLY start.

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Experimenting with Free

One of the beauties of digital distribution is that you can give stuff away, at little or no cost to yourself. If you're trying to promote a series of books, reducing the price of the first to 99c - or zero - can hook new fans and increase sales of the whole series.

So, what's my experiment? Right now, Hal Spacejock book one is a free download on, Smashwords, B&N (Nook) and iTunes

Overnight it hit #1 on Amazon's science fiction category, and #2 in humo(r). They maintain separate lists for paid & free books, but there's a kicker ... the free and paid tables are displayed side by side on Amazon's bestseller pages.

Gaining exposure is the toughest challenge most writers face. If you're prepared to give away the first book in a series, or perhaps a short story or two, it could be a cost-effective way of promoting all of your published work.

Has anyone else tried free? If so, how did it work out for you?

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

Monday, November 07, 2011

Dan DeWitt Fiction: Guest Post by Simon Haynes: Why (and How) I NaNo.

Dan DeWitt Fiction: Guest Post by Simon Haynes: Why (and How) I NaNo.: Dan here: I'm excited to bring you this guest post. It's relevant to all who are participating in NaNoWriMo (especially first-timers), an...

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

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Nano day 6 - Hal fragment #3 (Sample Sunday)

Hal eyed his oxygen indicator. Even if they got his suit free, he'd barely make the ship.
There was a flash of light as Clunk approached the cavern. The robot's shiny head appeared through the jumbled rocks at the entrance, and Hal smiled to himself. The situation was tricky, but Clunk was always resourceful. He'd know what to do!
"I don't know how we're going to get you out of this," said Clunk, inspecting the metal shard. "Removing all these barbs will take far too long, and cutting the suit will release the last of your air."
"I was hoping for something a bit more positive," said Hal. "You know, unpick the tape, carefully peel back the fabric, patch it up as we go. That sort of thing."
Clunk shook his head. "No, we'll have to cut it off."
"Eh! That's a bit extreme, isn't it?"
"It's the only solution. The longer we spend here, the more likely Sandy will run out of air too."
"No! You'll have to find another way."
"I'm very sorry, Mr Spacejock. Time is of the essence."
"But --"
Clunk raised his right hand, holding it in the beam from his chest lamp. The plasteel skin parted along the side of his palm, revealing a fine-toothed blade. "Hold still please."
"No, wait! You go back with Sandy and I'll take my chances. I'm sure I can get it free!"
"This is the only way." Clunk bent over Hal's leg, saw at the ready.
"Don't I get anaesthetic?"
"Trust me, this won't hurt a bit."
Hal screwed his eyes shut, clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. There was a gentle pressure on his shin, and he steeled himself for the bite of the saw. Instead, he felt rapid vibrations, and he realised Clunk was using some kind of self-healing surgical blade. The vibrations continued for several seconds, and then the pressure was gone.
"All done," said Clunk. "Let's go."

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

Friday, November 04, 2011

Nano day 4 - another Hal 5 fragment.

A fragment from today's NaNoWriMo effort.  (As before, it's unedited, unpolished, etc, and may not make it into the finished novel.)
This is from Hal Spacejock book 5, not Hal Junior!

Hal sailed across the surface of the asteroid, watching it fall away beneath him. The further he travelled the darker it got, and before long he'd be invisible to the others. Would Clunk be able to round him up in the Volante? Could the ship's sensors pick up an insignificant human sailing through space? It didn't seem likely, even if he waved his arms and flashed for all he was worth.
Something whacked him in the rear, a painful blow like a whip across the back of his leg. Hal was still recovering when his peaceful flight ended in a vicious tug. The suit tightened, and his eyes crossed as someone applied the biggest space-wedgie in the history of the universe.
There was another tug, then another, and when Hal looked down he discovered he was moving backwards. They were reeling him in like a prize catch! He crossed his arms, resigned to the embarrassing spectacle, and only unfolded them when he was deposited on the landing platform. When he twisted to inspect the damage he saw the safety line attached to his suit with a big dollop of instant glue. "Gee, thanks Clunk. Did you have to shoot me in the arse?"
"I merely aimed for the biggest target."
Sandy snorted.
"It was also the least likely to suffer permanent damage," said Clunk, who was struggling to keep a straight face. He snipped the safety line, leaving the blob behind. In the gloom it looked like a giant barnacle attached to Hal's right buttock. "If your pride was the only casualty ..."
"Yes, all right. Can we get on with it?"
"Certainly. Only this time perhaps you could use the railing?"

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

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Hal Junior giveaway

I'm offering a free copy of Hal Junior to one lucky reader of this blog. Let me know in comments why you'd like a copy and I'll pick one out at random on the 11th of November 2011.

You can find out more about Hal Junior: The Secret Signal here.

Terms and Conditions (please read before entering):

This draw is open to residents of the UK, USA, Canada and Australia only.
 * If the winner lives in Australia I'll post the book myself.
 * If you're the winner and you live in the UK, Canada or US, your copy will be ordered & delivered via the relevant Amazon store. (This involves adding Hal Junior to your wishlist, which means you'll need an Amazon account to claim your prize.)

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Nanowrimo day one - Hal 5

Here's a fragment of today's nanowrimo, unedited, unproofed and raw. Enjoy!

The Tiger finally passed out of range, and with Traffic Control's grudging permission the Volante docked with the space station. Hal charged out as soon as the airlock opened. He didn't know where to go or what to do when he got there, but that wasn't the point. Speed was of the essence.
As he dashed from the ship he almost ran into a welcobot. It was waiting in the boarding tube, all friendly eyes and fake smile. "Why hello, fine sir!" it said, extending a white-gloved welcoming-hand. "Can I interest you in a rundown of our facilities?"
Hal put two hands on the welcobot's head and vaulted right over it. His feet pounded the boarding tube carpet as he ran full tilt for the exit, rocking the tunnel in his wake. The welcobot oohed and aahed as it tried to maintain its balance, then toppled over and landed flat on its back. It lay there with its little rubber wheels spinning in space, shaking hands with thin air.
"Left, Mr Spacejock!" called Clunk, while Sandy helped the welcobot to its feet. "It's the other way!"
Hal skidded to a halt, did a quick U-turn and ran in the opposite direction. The welcobot had darted up to the main tunnel and was now waiting for him, its smile a touch less friendly and its large shaking-hand at the ready. Hal feigned a pass to the left, then darted right at the last second. The welcobot lunged, Hal leapt and there was a rip of tortured fabric as the mechanical fingers tore the pocket out of his flightsuit. What exactly it was trying to grab and shake Hal didn't like to think.
He pieced his flightsuit together and met up with the others further along the main corridor. Clunk was studying the information package they'd been given at the hotel. He inspected every page carefully, turning each one as though they were made out of the finest parchment. Hal wanted to grab it and rip through the pages until he found what they were after, and he restrained himself with difficulty. "Well?" demanded Hal. "What's the plan?"
"Historical records are on level three, corridor eighteen. There's an elevator just round the corner."
"Let's go!"

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