Tag Archives: free
I built another app over the weekend. This is one of those things that’s been in the back of my head for a couple years. I just thought it would be cool to make a mobile app that goes along with my book Teller, with a complete usable tarot—all 78 of the original 1909 Rider-Waite tarot deck, the most popular deck in the US. I also wanted the ability to identify the cards, the meanings, reverse meanings, and other interesting stuff from A. E. Waite’s “Pictorial Key to the Tarot” (published in 1911).
I still have some testing to do, but it’s pretty much complete, with the following features:
1. Complete deck, majors, minors, with the ability to shuffle, deal any number of cards.
2. The ability to move the cards around easily—the ability to use any spread you want, with a slidable background/tabletop with enough room for big layouts (see the 7-card spread in the screenshots).
3. Support for reverses and sideways card placement
4. Some gesture driven functions, like press-hold to bring up the help for any individual card with meanings for upright, reverses.
5. Simple help layer that points out the main features
6. Sample chapters from Teller (the first five)
7. Going to add some art from Teller.
Some screenshots. What do you think?
If you’re writing short stories or books—and let’s face it,
who’s not?—I have a few tools for you, character name generators (contemporary
and Seaborn names) and a word pair list generator, all of which I use for my
own work. One of the greatest things
about fantasy and science fiction as a genre is that so many F&SF readers
are also writers. I don't think you'll find that in
thrillers, murder mysteries, romance, or anywhere else.
The contemporary name generator lets you create a list of male or
female names. Same goes for the Seaborn Name generators, except that they're all ancient Greek names, male and female.
The word pair list is a way to spark ideas. Sometimes when
I'm stuck in a plot I will pull random words out of the dictionary–usually
nouns–and play with the ideas, see how the story would change if I introduced
poison, or make one of the characters a really good cook, or take a word like
"chronograph" and it makes me wonder what would happen to the plot if
there was a "ticking clock"–a count-down timer on a bomb, or the bad
guys are going to kill someone at a particular time and the protagonist has to
do something extraordinary in order to prevent it. The words are there to feed
the story with new and unexpected ideas.
It's not quite the same, but think of it as something like Brian Eno's
Oblique Strategies, except for writing instead of music. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_Strategies.
There was a cool "Oblique Strategies for Authors" panel at the last Readercon
led by Glenn Grant with panelists Gavin Grant, Eric Van, Jo Walton, and others).
Check it all out here:
Originally published in Fantasy Magazine, June 2010, Lost Dogs and Fireplace Archaeology is about the children of the men and women in the US Army who grow up going to ten different schools, who lose and find friends at every post, and the pieces of themselves they leave behind every time they move.
The second edition of my tech thriller Nanowhere is out, although the official release–in print–won't be until next month or early 2012. The ebook's available right now at Amazon and B&N on the Kindle, Fire, Nook, and any device with the Kindle or nook apps. (More eBook formats and channels to follow).
This edition has a bunch of edits over the original version, which came out in 2005, and includes two of the research reports by the character John Andreden at the back of the book.
The eBook cover is on the left and the print book is below.
Here's some of the back cover copy:
Nanowhere… it's a love story with all the usual elements: rogue soldiers, computer hacking, tyranny, cryptography, hit-men with an affinity for rolled adhesives, rebellious skateboarders, and sentient billion-node self-organizing nanotech ghosts.
Here's a clip of Cory Doctorow's kind words on Boing Boing:
Chris Howard has released an…interesting and well-written…sf thriller called Nanowhere along with a bunch of supplementary materials that purports to be the lab notes and publications of one of the book's characters …
I've been playing with the idea of doing a fancy version of Kassandra's family tree for a while–it was a scribbled on page in my journal for a while, and then a quick colored version of it in photoshop, but here's the result of trying to make it look good. (This all comes from Seaborn and Sea Throne if you're wondering–and, hey, if you're wondering, go buy the book–available in print, Kindle and iBooks!)
Want to make your own tree?
Family Tree Elements in PNG and PSD format. Get'em while they're hot!
(Click on the PNG link above to see what the template looks like)
Here's Kassandra's Family Tree–click for the full view:
Nanowhere…it's a love story with all the usual
rogue soldiers, computer hacking, tyranny, cryptography, hit-men with an affinity for rolled adhesives, rebellious
skateboarders, and sentient billion-node self-organizing nanotech
Here's a clip of Cory Doctorow's kind words on Boing Boing in May of 2006. Hard to believe that was four years ago!
Chris Howard has released a young adult sf thriller called "Nanowhere" … along with a bunch of supplementary
materials that purports to be the lab notes and publications of one of
the book's characters. I just read the first couple pages and they're
interesting and well-written …
Download and read the entire book with illustrations and "collateral material"–journal articles on artificial consciousness and "how to create a new order of being" all in one doc:
NANOWHERE (PDF 2MB)
Spent the last couple hours, sketching, painting, and posting three pages for Saltwater Witch, and you know how it is. I say this almost every time I do one of these posts: today I painted my favorite… until next time. It's the last panel in this set, Kassandra looking vengeful.
Check out all of Saltwater Witch web comic here.
But just to tease, here's my new new favorite painting–may end up making some promo cards for Boskone with this one:
To narrow that down a bit, does the posting of stories, novels, and art for free downloading, reading, viewing, and even sharing, make any difference in print book sales, in attracting more traffic to an author's or illustrator's blog, in doing anything to help that artist's career?
I give away a lot. I have a whole blog dedicated to some of my Creative Commons licensed content. I post my art regularly here on theophrast.us, on Flickr, deviantArt, and other art forums and presentation sites. I posted an SF novel Nanowhere almost four years ago under Creative Commons license. I post 3 to 5 panels for my web comic Saltwater Witch every week.
Free, all of it. Free to download, to read, to share, some of it out there for years.
Does it work, giving all of this away if you're just starting out? (I know it works if you're an established author, celeb, marketing guru, so I don't need the Doctorow, Scalzi, Anderson, Godin, etc. cases).
I'm curious to hear what other writers, illustrators, and readers think. Maybe you can guess what I think by what's on my blog or the Saltwater Witch site. I'm considering posting my entire novel Seaborn, which came out last July. And I'm wondering about the effectiveness of free. I completely get Tim O'Reilly's aphorism that the problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity. Maybe my real question is does giving things away solve that problem?