Win a Free Military Sci-Fi Trade Paperback!

Which military sci-fi trade paperback?  Why, the bestselling A Sword Into Darkness, of course!  I’m closing in on 5000 sales since launch (I’ll probably hit it by this evening, and I’m feeling magnanimous).  So I’ll make it easy since I have laundry and writing to do:

The astrodynamic destroyer USS Sword of Liberty (DA-1) and her sister-ships are pretty dang cool, but I’m prepared to allow that they may not be the coolest ships to ever sail the spaceways.  So, in 140 characters or less (approximately), what is the coolest spaceship to ever grace science fiction and why? 

Post your answer on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or here on the blog by Monday, and I will send the winning answer and maybe a runner-up or two a signed trade paperback copy of A Sword Into Darkness anywhere here on planet Earth, so long as you have an address.  Postage is on me.

So, what’s gonna win?  The Millennium Falcon?  The Enterprise, and which variant?  Serenity?  Or some bad-ass mama-jama I ain’t never heard of before?  Well, they’re all in the running!  Don’t forget to justify your answers!

ASID Front Cover 2


Apparently, every day being some sort of “BLANK” Day is a thing. Today, the 11th of February, is Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, and no, I am not making this up.  Therefore, I am not going to cry over spilled milk, in that I am going to rally and soldier on after one of my plans failed to work out completely.

What plan failed?  A problem with the book launch perhaps?  Nope, that’s going swimmingly.  Reviews and sales are both rosy and I’m pleased as could be.  In fact, A Sword Into Darkness is CURRENTLY IN THE TOP 10 ON KINDLE FOR EACH OF MY SUB-GENRES:  Military Sci-Fi/Space Fleet, Alien Invasion, and First Contact!  I’m quite proud to be in the same Top 20 as one of my favorite books, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, as well as a number of other worthies, all deserving a read (but me first).

No, the plan which (partially) failed was the distribution of my extra Advanced Reader Copies for the winners of the Zinger! contest.  Two Proofs and an ARC were indeed mailed out, and I’ve heard that the recipients are quite pleased with them, but the other two winners never sent me their mailing addresses.  So, here I am, with ARCs on hand and no one to give them to.  I KNOW:  LET’S HAVE ANOTHER CONTEST!

Nathan Kelley, Kris Muñoz, and Gordon Lee, the main characters from A Sword Into Darkness are intimately familiar with failure.  I won’t give away the specifics, but fate (otherwise known as me) kicks them in the ass on a regular basis.  They screw up, but then they always say, “Fuck it,” and soldier on.  So you tell me:

What was your biggest/funniest/craziest screw-up and how did you shrug it off to come out on top?

Answers can be anything from twitter length epics of perseverance or extended tales of incredulous/incredible whoa/woe followed by magnificent victory.  Drop me your answer here in the comments, Tweet me at @improbablauthor, or drop me a line in the Facebook or Google+ comments.  You have from 0000R (midnight Eastern) to 2359R on Feb. 11th, Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day.  I’ll pick my favorite two entries and you’ll each win an ARC of my kick-ass military sci-fi novel.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some milk to mop up.

Devious Bastards — Who Won A FREE BOOK?


First of all, THANK YOU to all the folks that participated in our little contest here. Whether for the eagerness to acquire a copy of A Sword Into Darkness, or the joy of entering a contest, or an actual need to show any potential invaders just how nutty and tenacious a bunch of murderers these largely hairless primates can be, I got dozens of entries, which — on a personal level — is very very satisfying (especially as launch day approaches).

Secondly . . . WOW, you guys are some DEVIOUS BASTARDS.  If I were an invading race, I’d be quakin’ in my space boots right about now.  Out of these dozens of answers for how YOU would stop an alien invasion, not a single one was exactly the same.  That’s some ingenuity right there.  They can, however, be grouped together in a few broad categories. 

Category A:  Hard(ish) Military Science — a few, but fewer than I originally imagined, went the realistic route.  Rather than delve into silliness, these armchair Ulysses Grants / bathtub Alfred Thayer Mahans took it as a serious challenge.  From using infiltration and subterfuge to lull the enemy in close before decisively striking, to making use of scouting raids and offensive probes, you all were methodical and calculating.  Shall we seed the high orbits with so much fast-moving debris (a la the film Gravity) or tungsten penetrators so it becomes suicide to approach?  Or should we stick to nukes and biological warfare and play the attrition game (playing NASTY, y’all)?

Category B:  Socio-Political Barbs — what’s the best way to answer a zinger?  Why, with a zinger of one’s own!  While these methods might not stop a fo-realsy alien invasion, they surely do put a hurtin’ on those humans that array themselves on the opposite side of a cultural divide.  Climate change?  Check!  High taxation?  Check!  Reality TV and the Internet as the cultural nadir of mankind?  Double Check! 

Category C:  Artistic Callbacks — let’s play “Spot the Reference!”  These folks firmly believe in not re-inventing the wheel.  Our greatest SF writers and directors have already produced soooo much material, destroying alien invasions in every way imaginable, WHY NOT utilize that resource?  These homages were both filmic and literary (plus radio show if you’re including original Hitchhiker’s Guide), and they indeed put a smile on my face.  H. G. Wells, Douglas Adams, H. P. Lovecraft, James Cameron, Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who and Torchwood), Galaxy Quest, Independence Day, and others all get referenced, and they all get a salute from me.

Category D:  Sheer Insanity — uuuuuummmmmm, right.  These were the most inventive . . . sometimes the most outright fun . . . but you might wanna make sure the NSA doesn’t know where you live.  🙂  We got your zombie clones of Dennis Rodman, interplanetary “Burning Man” festivals, Aerosmith attacks, sharknado-style laser rodeos, etc.  Magnificently warped, and I mean that in the best way possible!

Sub-Category F-U-Tom:  Some folks just don’t like a little shameless self-promotion.  I get it, I’m new to the Twitter-sphere and the art of selling yourself on Facebook.  Did I overstep by directly tweeting writers and self-identified sci-fi fans?  Perhaps.  Did I inadvertantly turn myself into a spam-bot?  Eh, I don’t think so, but then again, I don’t get all the unsolicited crap that many of my more experienced betters receive.  I was just trying to innocently get the word out and have a little fun with folks.  So, yes, I got called a spammer.  I got un-followed and blocked by some.  I was even accused of being an account hijacker and an untrustworthy person.  Ouch.  So, if my contest and the way I promoted it upset you, I apologize.  My only defense is being naive and inexperienced.  My only saving grace is that for every person I lost, I gained 4-5 more.  I can take that math.

Brass tacks time:  WHO WON?!?!?  Well, there were many worthy entries, so don’t take it badly if you didn’t get picked, but I only have so many copies of ASID to go around.  Therefore, in my expert-and-only-somewhat-random opinion, the Grand Prize winner of one proof copy is:  Michael Nicholas!  Michael was a bit of a triple-whammy in that he gave a great Dr. Evil-esque / SyFy Channel answer with his astronauts on flying sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads, covering categories C and D, then gave a completely separate answer about “scorched orbit” policies in Category A, seeding clouds of tungsten ball bearings through the approaches to Earth.  Michael, congrats!

But wait, there’s more!  Runner-up with the most tantalizingly nostalgic literary reference was T. Gene Davis, who made me go back and re-read my half-forgotten copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series) in order to get the reference about the alien fleet being swallowed by a small, yawning dog.  You get my other available proof copy!

Advanced Reader Copies (which are 98.7% identical to the final publication/proof version) also go to Cara Brookins for Most Re-Tweeted Answer, Adam Vickery for Most Bi-Polar Answer, and Donna Kallas for the Sheer Volume/No Hard Feelings slot.

I hope you all enjoy the books and I encourage your honest (and hopefully favorable) review on Amazon and/or the book vendor of your choice when you get done.  As for the rest of you lot, I hope you are intrigued enough to go pick up your own copies on Friday!  And, if you’d like to read all the best entries, you may find them compiled HERE:  Zinger Contest Entries

Happy Reading!!


The Zinger Contest — Win a FREE Book!

The Trade Paperback and Kindle editions are ready to go, and they will do just that next Friday, January 31st.  But you can get your very own kick-ass copy of A Sword Into Darkness RIGHT NOW.


Dylan has your space-opera-crack . . . and HE KNOWS IT.

To enter, you have to provide your own answer to the question posed in Chapter 3.  Nathan thinks the question is just a “zinger,” an interview exercise designed to show your prospective boss how you think.  Little does he realize that tech magnate Gordon Lee is completely serious when he asks, “How would you stop an alien invasion?”

So, that’s the question posed to you, dear reader:  How would YOU stop an alien invasion?

Provide your best Twitter-esque answer either here in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Tumblr, or via e-mail.  The only limit is the 140 characters (or so) of a standard tweet.  Otherwise, shoot for the moon (perhaps literally).  You can enter as many times as you want between now and Monday at 2359 eastern time.  Your answer can be based on the hardest of sciences, rely on supernatural forces (Cthulu smash!), Star Trek level handwavium / Doctor Who-ish macguffins, or be completely fun, insane, or off the wall.

On Tuesday, my panel of experts and I will quantifiably determine the absolute best answer and that worthy soul will receive a free proof copy of A Sword into Darkness via US mail before the big launch day.  I also have a few extra Advanced Reader Copies lying around which are just begging to get mailed out.

Enter soon and enter often and may the best invasion-stopper win!