Kerry Nietz’s first last book

Kerry Nietz is no stranger to our blog. He originally signed our slam book back in 2013 when the first of his Peril in Plain Space novels, Amish Vampires in Space, released. He was back last year to discuss Amish Zombies from Space. Now, he’s guest posting for us and brings with him two gifts: one for readers and the other for writers.

For readers: A Star Curiously Singing is free for a limited time. Grab this one while you can. It’s one of my favorite books!

For writers: Kerry gives us the gift of encouragement with this guest post. Since I’m in the querying process, it’s a timely gift for me. Perhaps it’s a timely gift for you as well. 🙂


This was supposed to be my last novel.

ASCS

foxtalesIn the fall of 2003 my first book—a memoir entitled FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software—was published, and I hoped it would smooth the road for me to become a published novelist. Anyone familiar with the publishing business knows that few first books (or second books, or third books) breakout enough for a writer to have publishers knocking on their door. Few books, in fact, sell more than a couple hundred copies. But alas, I was both naïve and optimistic.

Over the course of the next five years I wrote a handful of novels, corrected them, and queried publishers about them. I had a few nibbles, but ultimately nothing happened. I’d written a lot of words, but none of them were going anywhere.

By the winter of 2007, I’d reached the conclusion that my dream of being a novelist wasn’t going to happen. I’d tried a lot, learned a lot, but the road now looked like an unplowed field.

Still, I had this story idea about a computer programmer of the future. I also wanted to experiment with writing an entire novel in first person present tense. I’d written the prologue of FoxTales that way and wondered whether I could maintain it for an entire novel.

I decided I’d write one last story…for me. I didn’t care if anyone ever read it. I didn’t care if I even corrected it or queried about it. I was simply going to write it for my own enjoyment. Then quit.

So, while waiting in an airport one day, I pulled out my laptop, created a new document, and wrote:

It is hard to describe, this buzzing in my head. It wakes me, obviously. But it is hard to clarify for someone like you—at least the type of person I assume you to be—someone with a free head.

Almost fifty thousand words later I had a first draft. I read it over. I knew it wasn’t perfect. I knew it was a little short. Yet there was something about the book, tentatively titled 2000 AP, that I thought was truly unique. I decided to find a second opinion.

I knew of a guy, Jeff Gerke, who had just started his own publishing house. I knew he also worked as a freelance editor. One of his editorial services was a complete read through of a manuscript along with an opinion as to whether it was publishable. I hired him to perform that service with 2000 AP in the spring of 2008.

Months went by.

Finally, in the fall of 2008 he sent me a message. “I’m reading it now. I love it.”

He concluded that the book needed a better beginning, a revised ending, and a handful of other changes. “If it had all those things,” he said, “I would publish it myself.”

I spent the better part of a year making those additions, and in the fall of 2009 the book, now titled A Star Curiously Singing was published. My first last novel. There have been five last novels since.


 About A Star Curiously Singing

** Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal Award Winner **

Sandfly is a debugger. He is property, bought and paid for in an Earth under sharia law. All faiths but one have been banned. And the rule of the great Imam is supreme.

As a debugger, Sandfly has an implant in his head that connects him to the world’s technology–and doles out mental shocks to keep him obedient. All he wants is to fix bots and avoid shocks.

Now he’s been called into Earth orbit. The masters have a new spacecraft–one capable of interstellar flight. On its maiden voyage, the only robot on board went mad and tore itself apart.

Why? Better question: does it pose any risk to humans?

When Sandfly reviews the bot’s final moments, he perceives something unexpected. Something impossible.

As Sandfly pieces together the clues, a trap spreads beneath his feet. If he solves the mystery, he may doom himself. And if he fixes the robot, he may shatter his world.

Suspenseful, unique, and awash in cyberpunk jive, A Star Curiously Singing presents a bleak future that might be closer than we think.

GET YOUR FREE COPY HERE.

NOW YOU: Are you a reader or a writer? What are you reading/writing now?

 

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Happy Release Day to Amish ZOMBIES from Space!

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Read it. Enjoyed it. Have the t-shirt. 🙂

In 2013, I had the chance to read my first Kerry Nietz book – Amish Vampires in Space. I wasn’t sure what to expect because, let’s face it, it’s a title that can’t be taken seriously. I was pleasantly surprised because not only was the book strangely plausible, but it was really, really good. (Read my review).

Fast forward to today, and Kerry Nietz is one of my favorite authors, and his new book, Amish Zombies from Space, has released! I couldn’t be more thrilled to host him on The Scriblerians again (first interview is here) and ask him some questions.

Everyone, say hello to Kerry!

Kerry Nietz

Author, Kerry Nietz

Q: Last time I interviewed you, I asked “I understand that AViS is the first of a series. What can you tell us about the other books and when can we expect to see them on the shelves?” To which you answered. “LOL. Now that’s news to me. Who have you been talking to?” It’s not even 2 years later, and Amish Zombies from Space is here! What led to the sequel?

LOL. That earlier interview probably had something to do with it, Lisa.

Around that time I talked with Jeff Gerke (my then-publisher) about the possibility of Amish Vampires in Space having a sequel. Given the interest in AViS, he was confident that Marcher Lord Press could publish a series of Amish-themed science fiction books. I just needed to write them.

The subsequent sale of Marcher Lord Press complicated matters a bit, though.

Q: And really, why zombies?

Jeff was convinced that the next monsters I had to explore were zombies, simply from a pop culture standpoint. Zombies were ubiquitous—both in print and film. In fact, one of the Hollywood people that contacted us had connections to the Walking Dead. So it seemed an obvious way to go.

Q: Unlike most people, I’m not a zombie fan. I don’t watch the Walking Dead or any of the zombie apocalypse movies, but I did enjoy your book. How long did it take you to come up with a plausible scientific explanation for the zombies?

Not long. A day or two, maybe. I’ve been really blessed in that the science seems to present itself right when I need it. Much of what happens in Amish Zombies, though, is an outgrowth of the first book. The characters and situations of AViS fueled the characters and situations of AZfS. Same goes for the science.

Q: Amish Vampires in Space received a lot of notoriety–from worst book cover lists to the Tonight Show. What has been the craziest thing to come out of this series so far?AViS

Last year was a fun ride. There were so many unexpected twists and turns. I never knew what I was going to wake up to.

For instance, much of the week before the Tonight Show mention I spent trying to get the print version of AViS back on sale. I had some typos I wanted fixed and the time seemed right to do that.

Unfortunately, CreateSpace takes your book out-of-print while you make corrections. The AViS print galley has a few stylistic things that makes the CreateSpace reviewers nervous, things they flag even though the book would print fine. Consequently, it was a stressful process. I finally got the book back on sale on a Tuesday morning. That night it was mentioned on the Tonight Show. Good timing, huh?

But there were lots of fun things that happened last year. I got to chat, via Twitter, with folks all around the world, in at least seven different languages. (Thank you, Google translate!)

I also exchanged tweets with a gentlemen only to learn he was in the cast of the Ghost Hunters show. I talked to a handful of people from the film industry, in fact.

(In case you wondered, Amish Vampires in Space was considered too far out for the SyFy channel. Ah well.)

So yeah, it was a crazy, crazy time. Loved it.

Q: They say no publicity is bad publicity. Have you found that to be true with AViS?

For me, I think that’s true. It probably depends on how you approach it, though—on your attitude going in.

With Amish Vampires in Space my conscience was clear. I knew what I wrote, and why I wrote it. So most of the mockery and near-slander just rolled off my back. I embraced it, in fact. Every situation, even the confrontations, became an opportunity to dialog with people, and hopefully, leave as friends. It was a great little faith exercise.

Q: AZfS picks up a few years after AViS and many of the characters are still the same. Who was your favorite character to write?

Two of my favorite characters were new ones. I don’t want to spoil too much, but one of them is a friend of doctor Darly’s. He’s a bit of a wit.

Another favorite was Jeb and Sarah’s son, Isaac. It was neat to put my mind into “boy mode” again. To try to experience the world as a child again. Science fiction should have a good dose of marvel and wonder. What better way to present that than through the eyes of a child?

(Darly’s friend ended up as my favorite character as well, although I have always had a soft spot for Jeb.)

Q: Both your books do a great job of portraying the Amish and their love for a simple life, and you use them to sprinkle theology throughout your books. People who haven’t read your books might think you have no regard for the Amish or Christianity in general. Have you had any throwback from the Amish loving community over your books?

There was some of that initially, yes. People saw the cover and the title and assumed I was bashing the Amish. I even had one author tell me I couldn’t write about the Amish because I hadn’t been Amish. <sigh>

My goal all along was to be as realistic as possible. To keep everything plausible. That required portraying the Amish as faithfully as I could. Most of the criticism went away after people started reading the book.

Q: So, what’s in store for the next book – werewolves? 😉

Not sure yet. I’ve been working on Amish-something for nearly three years now and mentally I need a little break. I might circle back to some of my earlier characters and their worlds. See what excites me.

There will need to be another Amish book at some point, though. Werewolves seem to be the most commonly requested antagonists, so I would be foolish not to consider them. I need to find a way to make the concept interesting scientifically—to not travel paths I’ve already travelled.

We’ll see. Hopefully, the answer will come right when I need it. 🙂

Kerry’s doing something different with this book. In addition to the print, and eBook versions, he is also doing a serial version (3 parts). It’s cheaper to buy the entire eBook, but Part 1 is discounted for those who might want to try before they commit.  If, like me, you enjoyed AViS, why not show Kerry some love and puchase a copy of AZfS today?

LET US HEAR FROM YOU: Where are you on the Zombie fan scale from 1 (burn them all) to 10 (eat my brains)?

AZfS shirt

Kerry Nietz tells all…with an Amish Vampires in Space sneak peak

Kerry Nietz, before we can talk, you’ve got to sign our author slam book!

Author Photo
 Nickname – These days, I mostly answer to “DAD!”
Genre – Science Fiction
Personal Philosophy – In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Fave Scripture –Cast your care upon the Lord, He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22-23)
Fave Quote – We walk from here…
In high school I was a… friend, but shy.

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Kerry in high school


Amish Vampires in Space is Kerry Nietz’s newest novel.

I reviewed the book previously, and have described it as strangely plausible (and really good). Want to know where Kerry came up with the idea? Read all about it in his interview.

Still can’t decide if it’s the right book for you? How about we take a sneak peek at the first page?

AViS

Jebediah had a secret.

It was a weight, really. Something the songs of church service couldn’t lighten. Even daily prayers and scripture reading were no help. It was always present. Always hidden.

“It is Gelassenheit,” his father had said. “Surrendering yourself for others.”

So Jeb bore the weight. It was God’s will. Like Abraham tying Isaac to the altar. We hold the knife with the faith that God will stop us from using it.

With a groan, Jebediah pushed his way out of bed. Beside him, Sarah sighed and rolled his direction. Even with the passage of decades, she still appeared as beautiful to him as when they married. A day twenty years ago now. Her in a simple white dress and kapp. He in his best black suit. Family and friends, similarly attired. A simpler time. A happier time. An early spring.

Before the secret had passed to him.

“Is it morning so soon?” she whispered.

Jeb smiled. “Ya, it is.”

She made to get out of bed, but Jeb frowned and held out a hand. “Stay in,” he said. “At forty, you’ve earned a few more minutes.”

She put the back of her hand over her mouth and yawned. “So much to do today. The Troyers need breakfast. And Eli will need help with that baby. And the garden.”

Jeb glanced out the bedroom window. The sun had not yet begun to rise. And neither moon. Only a few distant stars and the mass of what was commonly called the Morning Nebbit.

Still very dark. That was a comfort, at least.

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

So, dear readers…who wants to win an e-copy?

Ways to get entered in our drawing [1 entry per action]:

(1) sign up for this blog,

(2) tweet about the giveaway,

(3) share about us on Facebook

(4) leave a comment–tell us your favorite vampire (or Amish) movie or book!

Drawing to be held on December 1.