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How to Self-Publish a Novel in 2017

While putting the finishing touches on Singular, I thought it would be nice to capture all the steps required to self-publish a novel, so that any reader thinking of doing likewise, or myself in a year or two, has a ready guide for the process.

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American Gods

I’m not sure I understand this book very well. Perhaps I wasn’t looking deeply enough, but it seemed to be more ambient than purposeful, by which I mean, everything was described very beautifully but nothing seemed to matter that much. It also didn’t help that the story was punctuated with so many asides, quotations, and short stories that it felt more like a collection than a single story.

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Matter (Culture)

To say this was a complicated book would be to undersell the very notion of complex. Not that it wasn’t comprehensible, far from it, but without the appendix provided at the back, managing the mental gymnastics of all the characters, species, ships, planets, etc. would have been excessively burdensome. It’s still a little shocking to read a piece of fiction which requires an appendix, but there it is.

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Zack

Setting up Prettier in Atom

One of the things that I’ve missed about Go is the incredibly convenient gofmt tool. Through static analysis of your code (that means it converts it into an AST, an intermediary representation) gofmt can take your messy code and rewrite it in a standardized format. It completely eliminates a whole category of code “aesthetics” arguments.

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Look to Windward (Culture)

Playful. Witty. Magnificent. Masterful. These are just a few descriptors I could apply to this incredibly well built story from Iain M. Banks. I really loved The Player of Games but Look to Windward may have surpassed it.

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Inversions (Culture)

Every book I’ve read by Banks has been different from the last. Inversions, is no exception. In many ways, Inversions is the answer to the question, “What would it be like if Banks wrote a political intrigue fantasy novel?” A most unusual addition to the Culture series, this book takes place entirely on one planet, there are no space ships, there are no drones, and it is limited in feature entirely to a medieval planet.

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Zack

Testing with Jest, Promises, Mocks, and Third-Party Libraries

As javascript development has largely become a jigsaw puzzle of trending buzzwords, I’m going to write today about a technique for employing Jest and Dependency Injection to test a Node.js application with asynchronous promise-driven third-party libraries. Sounds fun, right?

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Nebula Awards Showcase 2015

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been catching up on short stories and thought it might be nice to look at what the Nebula’s have been awarding in recent years (technically this volume collects the 2013 awards). I’m continually impressed by the power of certain short short stories which, though they have few words, carry more weight than stories ten times their size.

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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

This book series is loved by millions so it’s difficult to add anything new to the conversation about it. Personally, I’ve had a hard time getting excited about Fantasy, so I kept getting drawn away from this book and over to the space operas I’ve been reading. That’s my own fault though, reading multiple books at once naturally divides the attention.

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Caliban's War (The Expanse)

I’m really enjoying this series. It is pure fun in space. Quintessential space opera. Heavy on the action, but with really fun character dynamics as well. I could certainly complain about a few things, but when you compose 595 pages of material, you’re bound to create some edge-cases for any audience. The fact that so much of the book comes off so well is a testament to this writing duo’s ability to entertain.

Singular: Chapter Four

From the comfortable quiet of his bedroom, Milo watched as the archaic computer proceeded to turn on and then boot up, that familiar resuscitation sequence that brought machines to life. An aberrant squelch emanated from the tiny speaker inside. There was a problem.

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Singular: Chapter Three

“It’s definitely broken,” Milo said as he pushed his glasses back into place. Having suffered through another week of school, it was finally Saturday and he was back to more enjoyable pursuits.

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Singular: Chapter Two

The following Saturday, with the first week of school finally retreating into memory, Milo awoke to a very special day: his birthday. Having a birthday that fell around the start of school, Milo was used to it being overshadowed by one of a countless number of activities that fill the calendars of helpless school children, but this year was different.

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Singular: Chapter One

Milo trudged through the doors of Bright Futures #127, knowing that today marked the start of a whole new year of not fitting in. He tried to remind himself that the move was necessary, but he had a hard time processing a big change like this. It was hard enough entering a room with people he didn’t know, let alone a whole school, so he already knew that this was going to be next to impossible.

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Singular: Prologue

Marvin watched the rain slide down the windshield of his vintage VW bus, its gentle patter providing a cadence to his deep thoughts. Absentmindedly he twisted his beard with one hand, while the other gripped the timeworn ring of the steering wheel. It had been almost a week since Milo’s birthday and Marvin still regretted not telling him the truth. It was such a special day that he felt it would have been cruel to interrupt the festivities, but now he felt very alone without Milo by his side.

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The Launch of Singular

After an inordinate period of preparation, Singular has launched! It is incredibly exciting that this story which has been locked away in my brain for all these years can finally leap out and bounce around in yours, hopefully to entertain and inspire.

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The Handmaid's Tale

A literary work of speculative fiction that falls squarely in the camp of dystopian, similar to 1984 though oriented around gender issues. Highly recommend it, especially in the present dystopia in which we live.

The Collapsing Empire

I read this book on a lazy Sunday afternoon and enjoyed the time spent. There is much to commend the book, Scalzi’s voice which includes the predictably snarky characters (especially Kiva), the premise of the Flow, a space empire, etc., but I ultimately felt that there wasn’t enough of an arc to the plot to really feel satisfied at the ending. I’ll buy the next one in the series when it comes out and hope for a stronger finish.