2018 Year In Review: Books & Writing & Dungeons & Dragons, Oh My!

Well, 2018 has certainly been a year, hasn’t it? Time to examine those accomplishments (or lack thereof) and decide what to do with the next 12 months (or not). As you can see, my motivation is at ebb tide at the moment of this missive, so maybe the act of looking back will help… let’s see…

I did manage to exceed my 2017 read count by a whole 176 pages! I was down two books though, with only 29. I do know that much reading that is not counted up includes tons of editing (re-reading), research for writing, and also research into Dungeons and Dragons rules and lore. I’m totally counting the Dungeon Masters Guide & Player’s Handbook for D&D 5th Edition this year! The D&D wiki is also a rabbit hole of infinite depth down which one should carefully tread, lest you be engulfed and never return! So, yeah, I’ll count all that as a win.

The writing has taken a backseat for a while, although I did publish my Horizon’s Unlimited Anthology. I wrote and expanded on several short stories and submitted those. One was over 22,000 words! I have not yet been able to settle into a mindset that will allow me to continue another novel. I also have picked up that new hobby that I mentioned before…

You see, early in the year… Feb/March? I decided to try my hand at being a Dungeon Master for D&D 5th Edition starter set campaign The Lost Mine of Phandelver. This RPG is supposed to be a fairly short introductory campaign to help new players and new DMs (Dungeon Masters) learn the ‘art’ of play D&D. I had played through that campaign myself as a player, so I was hoping it would prove to be an easy way to get started as the man behind the screen… Weeellll…

I have a tendency to embellish things when I think they are a bit on the boring side. My players also have this same characteristic trait. I quickly found that if I dangled a shiny side-story in front of them, they would instantly shoot off in that direction before I could comprehend what I had done to myself. This is how LMoP become a nearly year long campaign with a follow on Custom Campaign #2 to be run me in 2019.

Oh, and we’re maybe…sorta…kinda… going to try recording it an seeing if people on YouTube want to watch it. That means I now have to learn video recording & editing software, etc. I have already started this, and it will be time consuming. It is why the ‘plans’ that I mentioned back in November never really happened.

Anyway, that’s what’s up with my life and hobbies at the moment. But, let’s get back to the BOOKS!

I only had 4 books that (5 if you count my own, but I’m biased) made the 5 star cut this past year. 7 earned a 4 star ranking. There were some good comics/graphic novels in the mix as well, but I count them separately.

Here’s the breakdown for my reads & reviews this year.

Total books read for the year: 23 (+4 Comics/Graphic Novels + 2 RPG Source Books)

Total pages read for the year: 7,646

Book ratings: 5 – 5 stars, 7 – 4 stars, 11 – 3 stars, 2 – 2 stars, 1 – 1 star

Comic ratings: 1 – 5 star, 1 – 4 star, 2 – 3 stars

I would love to hear from any readers in the comments.

How many books did you read in last year? What were your favs?

Wishing you all Happy Reading for 2019!


Showcase of some of my favorites from 2018 are below…

Five Star Books

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1
A Space Adventure Anthology
by J. D. BeckwithMy Book
Planetary: Mercury by Superversive Press (includes a short story by ME!)

My Review

A Place For War (Z-Day #3) by Daniel Humphreys

My Review

I Am Justice (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes #9) by Ryk Brown

My Review

Islands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising #3) by John Ringo

My Review

Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins #1, #2 & #3 by Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer

No Written Review – Buy Here

Four Star Books

Planetary: Venus by Superversive Press (includes a short story by ME!)

My Review


Fade & Night’s Black Agents by Daniel Humphreys

My Review

Retaliation (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes #10) by Ryk Brown

My Review

Strands of Sorrow (Black Tide Rising #4) by John Ringo

My Review

CTRL ALT Revolt!
(Soda Pop Soldier 0.5)
by Nick ColeMy Review
Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins #1, #2 & #3 by Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer

No Written Review – Buy Here

 

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Flash Update: Horizons Unlimited now on Kindle Unlimited.

I know I’ve been quiet on the blog for a while. The book reviews have been sparse because I’ve run across a few that I just don’t want to comment about, plus I’ve been quite busy with life.

But… I’m still here, and reviews and post will hopefully resume regularly soon.

In the mean time, I want to announce that I have decided to enroll Horizons Unlimited in the Kindle Unlimited program. Now you can grab a copy to read through your prime subscription, or if you own a Kindle, your free monthly Kindle Owners Lending Library borrow.

Here’s the link to it. Happy Reading & I’ll be back soon!

Launch Day! Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology

We have LIFTOFF!


Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1
A Space Adventure Anthology

$1.99 through July 1st!

eConscience Beta

 My awesome technothriller / comedy
is ALSO on sale for just 99¢ through July 1st!

If you’ve been waiting, or you just happened along today, you can get BOTH of my ebooks for just under $3!

HELP MY LAUNCH REACH ORBIT!

PLEASE SPREAD THE NEWS FAR AND WIDE!


HU_V1_FRONT-COVER_1726x2625
Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology

HORIZONS UNLIMITED
Matter conversion technology–Matt-Con–has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.In this volume:

Quicksilver
The space station Chariot of Helios–on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech–encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora
The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.In preparation for this, I have spent a lot of time learning to use Gimp 2 to design my own cover, bookmarks and other sundry media/ad items. There has been a steep curve to the software, but I’m getting there. It’s a great free resource that’s well worth taking the time to learn.


eConscience Beta8
eConscience Beta

ECONSCIECE BETA

Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few? And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – Launch Day is 1 Week Away!

The day is fast approaching! 7 Days until I ‘officially’ launch

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1
A Space Adventure Anthology

June 28th, 2018

And here’s the really cool part. It’s going to $1.99 on Launch Day through July 1st!

HU_V1_FB-EVENT

That’s right, I’m setting the start price just a bit higher than the cost of 20 oz. soft-drink!

Do yourself a favor and pick up three really awesome space adventure stories in one anthology for less than 2 bucks! Then do me the favor and share the love to as many people as you can!

Want some more cool news?

eConscience Beta, my awesome technothriller comedy will ALSO be on sale for 99¢ on Launch Day through July 1st!

Yep, you can get BOTH of my ebooks for just under $3!

If you need a reminder on the day, go ahead and Follow the Facebook page, maybe even add yourself to the Book Launch Event, Sign up for my mailing list either on the FB page or this blog. I will be sending out reminders.

Here are the covers and blurbs for both books! Happy Reading!


HU_V1_FRONT-COVER_1726x2625
Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology

HORIZONS UNLIMITED
Matter conversion technology–Matt-Con–has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.In this volume:

Quicksilver
The space station Chariot of Helios–on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech–encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.

Escaping Aurora
The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.In preparation for this, I have spent a lot of time learning to use Gimp 2 to design my own cover, bookmarks and other sundry media/ad items. There has been a steep curve to the software, but I’m getting there. It’s a great free resource that’s well worth taking the time to learn.


eConscience Beta8
eConscience Beta

Peacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few? And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.


I would greatly appreciate your help spreading the word to others who might like these types of stories.

If you just can’t wait, though, you can snag a copy on Amazon right now. Just click on the book images below!

HU_V1_FRONT-COVER_1726x2625

 eConscience Beta8

 

 

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1

eConscience Beta

Book Launch Countdown: 15 Days to Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1

The blog has been silent for a while because… well, I’ve been busy. I have not had time to read a lot or write a review lately because…

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 – A Space Adventure Anthology will officially launch on June 28th, 2018. Mark your eCalendars, set your Apple Watch, Go Follow the Facebook page, maybe even add yourself to the Book Launch Event.

HORIZONS UNLIMITED
Matter conversion technology–Matt-Con–has broadened the scope of mankind’s existence. It has opened up the real possibility of viable colonies on other planets in our solar system, and even space itself. Anywhere matter can be captured or energy from the sun can be felt, the possibility of expanding human habitation exists.In this volume:
Quicksilver
The space station Chariot of Helios–on its way to Mercury to become a power collection station for Earth’s growing need for energy to power matt-con tech–encounters a strange anomaly that threatens ship and crew.
Escaping Aurora
The sudden destruction of mankind’s first atmospheric terraforming platform leaves three unlucky exonauts struggling to survive in the skies of Venus aboard a cobbled-together airship. Meanwhile, the commander of the space station above battles obstacles that might keep her from rescuing her stranded husband and crew in time.

In preparation for this, I have spent a lot of time learning to use Gimp 2 to design my own cover, bookmarks and other sundry media/ad items. There has been a steep curve to the software, but I’m getting there. It’s a great free resource that’s well worth taking the time to learn.

Here’s the Facebook Cover Photo I came up with.

Facebook Cover Photo

Here are my bookmarks, which will be available for LibertyCon during my launch window.

Bookmark Front
Bookmark Back

And last, but not least (first, actually), the book cover itself.

The new book will be officially released in ebook format on June 28th, and I’m trying generate interest in advance so that everyone who wants a copy can help boost me up in Amazon rank by buying it on the same day.

I would greatly appreciate your help spreading the word to others who might like these types of stories.

If you just can’t wait, though, you can snag a copy of the paperback version on Amazon right now. amazon-buy-button

As for the blog, I do have  a book review coming up for the latest in the Frontiers Saga, but I don’t think I’ll get to it tonight.

In the mean time, enjoy this picture of my duck, Harley and her new hatchling!

Happy Reading!

20180612_172423
Harley (mama duck) & baby

Book Launch: Planetary Anthology: Earth

Announcing

Planetary Anthology: Earth

Earth Cover art

Planetary Anthology EARTH IS OUT NOW!

My short story Xolotl Resurrected is only one of twenty tales you can find featured in this new release called Planetary Anthology: Earth published by Superversive Press.

Xolotl Resurrected is the origin story of Horizons Unlimited, the organization that created Matt-Con tech. Its the same universe as Quicksilver (Mercury Anthology), and Thirty-Seven Shades of Yellow (Venus Anthology), AND the upcoming Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1 to be released later this month which will include a brand new novella call Escaping Aurora! Get this anthology now and read up so that you are ready for the fun!

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Here’s the teaser synopsis:

Xolotl Resurrected – A convergence of breakthroughs in quantum intelligence and materials technology has lead to the birth of matter conversion. Can the idealistic inventors prove its viability to the world, and share it, while still protecting against its misuse? They have the power to create anything, so why not start with a miracle?

Get your copy on –> Amazon!

Take a look at this awesome launch video put together by Ben Zwycky.

Here’s the blurb:

PLANETARY: EARTH

18 tales of explorers, lost worlds, strange and wondrous creatures, gods & goddesses of old, miraculous inventions, aliens, bots and post humans, brought together in this anthology of discovery and daring.

Come explore the legends and chronicles of planet Earth and the space beyond in the fourth volume in the Planetary series.

Included in this volume are:

Silesian Treasure by WJ Hayes
This Planet is a Hole by Lou Antonelli
Extinction Point by Richard Paolinelli
I Hate Mars! By Arlan Andrews
The Mantle of Gaia by Jody Lynn Nye
Reality Run by Alfred Genneson
Escape From The Lost Land by Nathan Dabney
Unacceptable Losses by John M. Olson
Climate of Change by Marie Genneson
Welcome to Mars! by A. M. Freeman
The Dawn of Reason by Dan Gallagher
Under A Wayward Sun by Josh Griffing
The Hidden Conquest by Hans Schantz
Complicit in Their Bondage by J. Manfred Weichse
Ringrun by Ben Wheeler
Xolotl Resurrected by J.D. Beckwith
We’ll Always Have Earth by Bokerah Brumley

eConceince Beta price drop!

I’ve decided to lower the price on my ebook version of eConscience Beta.

You can grab your copy for only $2.99 on Amazon!

Also remember that you can get a $0.99 ebook version if you buy the paperback.

Also, also, you can read it through Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime!

Happy Reading!

Also, also, also… If you haven’t followed my Facebook author’s page, you can get to it from here!

fblike

Book Launch: Planetary Anthology: Venus

Announcing

Planetary Anthology: Venus

The next installment of the Planetary Anthology series – VENUS – releases on Valentine’s Day!

If you like a little romance in your sci-fi & fantasy, or even a little sci-fi & fantasy in your romance, this one is for you.

My short story Thirty-Seven Shades of Yellow (yes, I went there, but it’s not what you think) is only one of twenty tales you can find featured in this new release called Planetary Anthology: Venus published by Superversive Press.

TSSoY takes place in the same universe as Quicksilver (from the Mercury Anthology).

Here’s the teaser synopsis:

Thirty-Seven Shades of Yellow – Terraforming Venus places human pioneers in a constant struggle against a raging environment, but the real challenge is finding that special someone with whom to fight the fight.

Help make this a great launch by  grabbing your copy on Amazon.

Take a look at this awesome launch video put together by Ben Zwycky.

Here’s the blurb:

VENUS

The second planet from the sun, a world of sulfurous gas and tremendous temperatures where the landscape features—mountains and valleys—are all named for love goddesses. Venus herself is the goddess most known for allure and romance.

Here are twenty stories featuring Venus, the planet, the goddess, or just plain love—both romantic and otherwise. Planetary Fiction explores the themes associated with these heavenly bodies as well as their astronomical, mythological, and in some cases even alchemical significance.

Included in this volume are 

Just Look, I’ll Be There by A. M. Freeman
Morning And Evening Star by David Hallquist
Ninety Seconds by Bokerah Brumley
The Wrong Venus by Lou Antonelli
Enemy Beloved by Monalisa Foster
Texente Tela Veneris by Edward Willett
The Happiest Place On Earth by Misha Burnett
Love Boat To Venus by Declan Finn
Venus Times Three by Margot St Aubin
Avalon by Dawn Witzke
The Rituals Of Venus by Joshua M. Young
First Cat In Space by  Dana Bell
Venus Felix by W. J. Hayes
The Rocket Raising by Frederic Himebaugh
Star-Crossed by Julie Frost
Honeymoon In Fairland by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Thirty-Seven Shades of Yellow by J.D. Beckwith
The Fox’s Fire by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Smiley The Robot by Amy Sterling Casil
Stones In High Places by Jane Lebak

Book Launch: Planetary Anthology: Mercury

Announcing

Planetary Anthology: Mercury

The day has finally arrived & I’m super-excited!

My short story Quicksilver (first non-self-published work), has been released as part of the Planetary Anthology: Mercury published by Superversive Press.

Help make this a great launch by  grabbing your copy on Amazon.

Take a look at this awesome launch video put together by Ben Zwycky.

 

Here’s the blurb:

MERCURY!

Innermost of worlds, blasted by the sun by day and frozen by night, Mercury remains an enigma. Mythical Mercury was also the messenger and trickster, and known for blazing speed and wit. Here are thirteen tales of science-fiction and the fantastic featuring Mercury.

Throughout history, the planets of our solar system have meant many things to many people; Planetary Fiction explores the themes associated with these heavenly bodies as well as their astronomical, mythological, and in some cases even alchemical significance.

Included in this volume are 

In the Palace of Promised Immortality by John C. Wright 
Schubert to Rachmaninoff by Benjamin Wheeler 
The Element of Transformation by L. Jagi Lamplighter 
In Tower of the Luminious Sages by Corey McCleery 
The Haunted Mines of Mercury by Joshua M. Young 
Quicksilver by J.D. Beckwith 
Ancestors Answer by Bokerah Brumley 
Last Call by Lou Antonelli 
Deceptive Appearances by Declan Finn 
mDNA by Misha Burnett 
The Star of Mercury by A.M. Freeman 
Cucurbita Mercurias by Dawn Witzke 
The Wanderer by David Hallquist

 

eConscience Beta – Paperback Available + Author Updates

3D-eConscience-BetaEarlier this month, I posted that my novel: eConscience Beta was available on Amazon! in ebook format.

It being a very hectic week, I managed to botch the announcement of the paperback’s release this week on this blog. I did announce it on Facebook in two places (which will get bumped again when I post this), but I completely forgot to say it here. So, here it is…

eConscience Beta: ALSO NOW IN PAPERBACK!

Share with your friends! Spread the word! Help a fella out!

You can also follow me on Facebook @ J. D. Beckwith – Author
AUTHOR UPDATE:
I thought I would also take the opportunity to update readers on what I’m currently working on in the writing arena. Well, it’s been mostly the publishing area lately, but part of this busy week was writing one short story. After a marathon session yesterday,
I managed to complete another short story for submission (7900 words) to the next in a series of anthologies called Planetary Fiction. I got it in on time, with a whole 45 minutes to spare! That one makes 3 short stories and 1 novella (50k words) that I have written this year in what I am calling my Horizon’s Unlimited Universe.
It started with a submission to Planetary Fiction: Mercury, which I’m proud to say was accepted. Quicksilver is scheduled to be published in January. It will be my first non-self published work.
The plan is to write one (or more if the muse takes me) story for each planet in the solar system, submitting them to the anthologies planned by Superversive Press. If they are accepted, great. If not, I will use them for my own Horizons Unlimited anthology next July.
The major precept of the H.U. universe is a future where matter to energy conversion technology has been made a reality. It is controlled by the Citizen Employees of the independent society of Atlantis, home of Horizons Unlimited, patent holder. They are the good guys, but they control their tech use with an iron hand… for the good of the world.
Anyway, I began writing for the Venus anthology in the early summer, but the story I started took on a life of it’s own and refused to be short. It turned into a 50,000 word novella (some would call it a novel, but Sci-Fi book tend to run 100k~120k-ish) so was not suitable. I’ve titled that one Escaping Aurora.
To fix my mistake of being long-winded, I came up with an alternate story that I submitted at the last minute (seeing a pattern yet?). That one I called 37 Shades of Yellow. Yes, I went there. Venus, Roman goddess of love… it matched the theme, OK? It’s still a sci-fi action story on another planet, just with a bit of romance. Anyway, I heard back that it might also be accepted for the Venus Anthology. It’s not 100% official, but I have high hopes. That was a welcome bit of news during a stressful week.
So now, I face a double-deadline for the Earth & Jupiter anthologies. Both are due by Dec 15th. *gulp* I started something for the Earth one a while back, but it keeps trying to turn into a novel. *headdesk* It’s the backstory’s fault. I actually had to create a timeline covering several hundred years into the future to keep things straight in my mind for what happens in the universe of Horizons Unlimited.
Anyway, as you can see, I’ve got plans. I’ve got ideas. What I always seem to be low on is time. I think that may have something to do with procrastination, but I’ll worry about that later.
Happy Reading, and stay tuned for further updates as I continue to try to figure out this whole writing thing!
Oh, and here’s the blurb for eConscience Beta again in case you missed it.

3D-eConscience-BetaPeacekeeper Incorporated’s breakthrough nanotechnology could bring repeat offense crime to an end, freeing society from the need for criminal incarcerations. But first, they have to finish testing it. With funding on the line, and time to prove out the project getting short, the lead scientist must find a way speed things up. That’s unfortunate for his guinea pig, and anyone who would stand in his way.

Can the goal of ending most crime justify committing one… even a few?
And what happens when you conflate altruism with egotism?

Find out in eConscience Beta, where two lab techs and an uncouth petty criminal must outwit a brilliant but sociopathic scientist who’ll stop at nothing to establish his legacy as the man who ended crime.

 Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon for me. It help the word to spread. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it!